Nigerian Businesses in Limelight

(THISDAYLIVE) Of the 16 firms recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as Global Growth Companies (GCC) in Africa during the 2014 WEF Africa in Abuja, six were Nigerian firms– they were “at the forefront of driving responsible economic growth, creating jobs in Africa  and entrepreneurism in Africa” and had “clear potential to become global economic leaders” based on their business models, growth record, leadership and their respective markets.


It therefore comes as no surprise that across the globe, a good number of Nigeria linked companies are creating positive and significant impact in various sectors and economies, especially in the last five years. It is the story of success amidst daunting odds, often figurative of the Nigerian story itself– steady economic growth despite a myriad of challenges.


A good example is Andela, a Nigerian  backed company based in New York City, which was only recently listed among BPlan’s ’“6 Forward  thinking Businesses that are making the world a better place”, alongside Warby Parker, Norvo Nordisk, Khan Academy, Theranos and Haier. Andela, which describes itself as “a new kind of technology partner for Fortune 500s and start-ups”, has Nigerians at its helm.


Andela has a fantastic approach to filling the ever growing worldwide need for programmers: they pay people to learn the skills, and then set them up with jobs. “Andela refers to their concept as talent accelerators where applicants are screened during a two week long boot camp, and the most talented, highest performing people are selected to become a part of the paid fellowship.


In February 2010, a Nigerian born investment banker and fund manager, Adebayo Ogunlesi, came into global spotlight when he led Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a New York based independent private equity fund where he is Chairman and Managing Partner, to acquire London’s Gatwick Airport from the British Airports Authority In a record £1.51billion deal.


Back home in Nigeria, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), which commenced operations in September1992 as Computer Warehouse Limited with only four staff, has expanded beyond borders and gone on to establish regional offices in West, East and Central Africa in pursuits of its Pan African vision. “to be Africa’ s number one IT platform service provider by 2020”,  and have evolved into an IT powerhouse with a focus on enabling businesses through strategic partnerships with world class organizations.


In the oil and gas logistics and supply chain business, TSL Logistics Limited (TSL), another Nigerian led company, is also creating positive impact beyond Nigeria’s borders; described as Africa’s largest independent oil and gas Terminal Management Company, with over 1,500,000MT of oil and gas storage under management, in 10 locations across Nigeria and Ghana.


In the manufacturing sector, The Dangote Group, which began in 1981 as a trading business with an initial focus on cement, has over time transited into a fully-fledged manufacturing operation with interests spanning a range of sectors in Nigeria and across Africa. It is currently one of the most diversified and fully integrated business conglomerates in Africa creating thousands of jobs in Africa.


In telecommunications, Globacom Limited, a 100 per cent Nigerian  owned company that started operations in Nigeria in August 2003, has expanded its operations in other countries in West Africa, namely, Republic of Benin, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and also introduced $800 million high capacity fibre optic cable known as Glo  for faster internet and telecom services .


There are numerous Nigerian private businesses making significant impact in different sectors of the world economy. A number of them, as exemplified by TSL Logistics and GIP, have exhibited the capability in turning around a seemingly decaying and unprofitable business.  There is therefore no room for doubt that, given the opportunity, Nigerian private sector players are capable of replicating these successes either in Nigeria or other climes for more sustainable economic growth.


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