This is according to Seni Adetu, chief executive officer of one of West Africa’s most popular breweries, Guinness Nigeria, who believes that Nigeria needs to address several factors before it can focus on the growing African consumer base.
He said that factors such as a lack of investment in manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure and skills remain major challenges for the West African country that need to be addressed at a quicker pace.
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“The question on how we can grow the consumer base in Africa is really down to how quickly we can address those factors. We really need to put our money where our mouth is in terms of really addressing each of those factors,” said Adetu at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja.
While many would believe that these challenges affect smaller business more, Adetu argued that larger companies suffer too. For instance, Guiness Nigeria’s capital costs have increased due to a lack of power and facilities which then leads to higher costs for the consumer, resulting in less revenue for the business.
“It’s not exactly true that its only small businesses which suffer and if you take it further to the subject of power, seven of us, including my business, have reached a conclusion that the only way to sustain the quality of our products is by providing our own power and facilities. I have my own gas pipeline that delivers gas to my breweries and that’s comes at a cost,” explained Adetu.
“Now that cost is often at times passed to the consumer because it actually affects your trading cost, it means prices are high, so it has a ripple effect on consumption.”
He therefore added that the World Economic Forum on Africa taking place in Abuja this week is the perfect opportunity to address Nigeria’s challenges and showcase the country to the world in order to attract more international investors.
“We have always said that Nigeria is an attractive market and I see the World Economic Forum on Africa as a powerful platform to really showcase the enormous economic opportunity that sits in Nigeria,” explained Adetu.
“There are so many reforms that are happening in Nigeria now, in the manufacturing sector, agriculture and so forth that actually require investment support from outside the shores of Nigeria. So for me, it’s an opportunity for those investors to come in and fill those reforms and make up their minds on how they can participate in what is about to happen in Nigeria, so both as a businessman in Nigeria and as a Nigerian I couldn’t be more excited.”
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