This month, CNN Business Traveller travels to Nigeria where host Richard Quest examines the country’s growth, infrastructure and what it means to do business in Africa.
The programme reports from the commercial hub of Lagos, which is battling ailing infrastructure to continue to develop and expand. Quest explores the etiquette of doing business in the country, as well as meeting key industry figures looking to put Nigeria on the map.
Quest speaks to Nigeria’s Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who explains that reducing red tape across the country is a priority, to allow for Nigeria to gain more international recognition.
Mohammed tells Quest: “Before, it would take about ten days to register a company. We are now trying to cut it down to two days… To get a business permit used to take about 42 days, we’re cutting it down that to 20 days… We need to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria so we can attract more people, both business and leisure tourists into the country.”
According to the International Air Transport Association, Africa will be the fastest-growing aviation region over the next 20 years and ‘CNN Business Traveller’ explores the efforts to redevelop Nigeria’s infrastructure to accommodate this growth.
As the most populous African country, there is an expectation that Nigeria should be poised to dominate aviation on the continent. However, with fewer than 10 domestic carriers in operation, there are several challenges that must be overcome.
To learn more, Quest meets CEO of Air Peace Allen Onyema, who outlines why over 40 airlines have so far failed to make their mark in Nigeria: “Why did these airlines fail? A lack of corporate governance, double taxation, lack of adequate funding… We are victims of poor infrastructure in this country.”
The programme hears how many challenges facing the aviation industry on the continent arise from the difficulties of flying within Nigeria and Africa itself, and the lack of a low-cost option for customers.
Quest speaks to Segun Demuren, MD and CEO of EAN Aviation, on whether the number of low-cost flight routes are likely to increase: “Eventually I think it could happen. I believe it can. For example, if you take the West African region, we need that area to be pretty much open skies and this is why I think Nigeria can be a leader, in fighting to get those regional restrictions dropped.”
Minister Lai Mohammed explains that an overcoming these challenges in the Nigerian aviation industry are part of the nation’s reappraisal of its infrastructure for international visitors: “We want to create an awareness for the business traveller that this is a great country for films, it’s a great country for music, and a great country for sports.”
This accommodation for the business traveller is also reflected in the expansion of the hotel industry in Nigeria, which is now drawing in the largest names from the hospitality industry, such as Marriott.
Quest speaks to Mosun Ogunbanjo, who runs The Wheatbaker, a boutique hotel in Lagos, who explains how Nigerians are responding to international competitors and larger hotel groups: “It’s the more the merrier. The more people in the ecosystem, the better you’re going to get. You have to improve your product.”
During his visit to Lagos, Quest also takes experiences the etiquette of doing business in Nigeria with media personality Mo Abudu. Quest also takes in some local culture through paying a visit to the Nike Gallery, which is home to 25,000 pieces of art, meeting founder Nike Davies-Okundaye in the process