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Nigeria

At age 36, this Nigerian already has a lifetime of business successes and scars to show

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Aigbe Omoregie has had a passion for business since a young age. He was only 13 when he began selling eggs from his uncle’s poultry farm close to Benin City, the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria. He started out shifting about 10 crates of eggs a week to various outlets, but eventually grew that number up to 1,000, with seven people working for him. The business lasted all through his secondary school years. “Before I got admission into Auchi Polytechnic (situated in Edo State), I told my parents I was just going to school to earn a degree because I wasn’t going to use it to search for jobs. I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur,” says Omoregie, who is now 36 years old and the managing director of Intercontinental Paint Limited, a Lagos-based paint manufacturing company. During his first year in college, Omoregie sold used clothes, bags and shoes to students; the following year he added typewriters and desktop computers to his product range.

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Start-up snapshot: Invest in Nigerian agriculture from anywhere in the world

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Farmcrowdy is a Nigerian online platform which allows users (sponsors) to invest in the country’s agricultural sector. Sponsors can choose what kind of farms (and crops) they want to invest in. Farmcrowdy then uses the investment to: secure land; engage and train the farmer in best agricultural practices; plant the seeds; insure the farmers and crops; complete the full farming cycle; sell the harvest; and then pay the farm sponsor a return on their investment. Sponsors are able to keep track of the full cycle through updates in text, pictures and videos. Farmcrowdy founder, Onyeka Akumah, tells us about the risks facing the business and his most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

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The value in investing in Nigeria

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Active managers in Africa and frontier markets have to counter the perceived higher risk of investing in volatile markets prone to political and economic uncertainty. In response, most investors gravitate to growth strategies, pursuing markets or sectors with attractive GDP growth prospects and predictable policy makers. Inevitably, when investors flock to the preferred country or sector, the top-rated companies command a premium valuation, often justified as buying ‘growth at a reasonable price’.

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Transforming Nigeria’s agricultural value chain

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Agriculture was the mainstay of  Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of crude oil. From 1960 to 1969, the sector accounted for an average of  57.0% of GDP, and generated 64.5% of export earnings. From 1970 to late 2000s, the sector’s contribution to GDP and export earnings steadily declined, because Nigeria’s focus shifted to petroleum exploration. Over the past five years, the sector has contributed an average of 23.5% to GDP, and generated 5.1% of export earnings. Due to the recent fall in crude oil prices, export earnings from crude oil has reduced significantly. This has triggered conversations around the critical role agriculture has to play in diversifying the economy.

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