Details About Business Ethics & Culture in Nigeria
|December 20, 2013||Posted by Vishal under Nigeria, Nigeria Business Visa||
Facts about Nigerian business culture and customs Culture is very important to Nigerians. Nigerians like to think big which sets them aside from other Africans. As a business traveller, you’ll need to prepare yourself for any cultural differences you may come across. Below are some points to consider:
- You’ll need to have a grasp of politics and the economy and its influences and behaviours.
- Business attitudes. Style values and communication
- Negotiation tactics and social ethics.
- Learn how to cook and prepare Nigerian food.
The Economy and politics
Politics plays an important role in both business and social culture. The country is presently enjoying its longest period of democracy and civilian rule. Nigerians see their country as an African super power, but moan about not having filled the country’s great potential and destiny until now. The country (officially) has a population of 140m people. Port Harcourt Lagos, Abuja and Kano are the principal cities.
The vast majority of Nigerians are either Christians or Muslims. Christianity is dominant in the south and Islam is dominant in the north. The capital Abuja has a mosque and church, and is seen as a tribal trouble spot. On the whole most Nigeria’s Muslims and Christians are very tolerant of each other.
Nigeria’s biggest export is Oil. Nigerians say oil has been a gift and a curse.
There are three ethnic groups in Nigeria the Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa. Although all these groups have their own languages, English is the official and main language for business purposes.
Outside of big business most Nigerians speak Pidgin English. You may find yourself struggling to grasp the meaning of some words. But after a while you’ll get your ear in and will understand more.
This is the main business district in Lagos.
Attitudes to Business
Nigerians are very good business people and often hold or aspire to positions of power. In business, it helps to be friendly, polite and likable. Attempt to show genuine interest in the people you meet. In the United Kingdom it isn’t necessary to like a person to do business with them. Nigerians we like to find a reason to like you and think you’re a good person. If you are dealing with big business or government then expect a more formal attitude.
In business, Nigerians like and love successful people. A formal education is seen as very important. Show off your degree especially if it is a Masters or Ph.D. Display it proudly on your business card. In Nigeria culture showing off is normal. Address people by their titles and honours.
In Nigeria older people are respected and age is seen as a sign of wisdom. It is important to show respect to elders. Takes things slowly initially don’t rush especially when meeting people for the first time. In social situations Nigerians like to talk about politics. In the U.K, people avoid politics as a subject in social conversations. Everyone, no matter their background has a political opinion, which they like to express with conviction and gusto.
Giving kickbacks are usual and bribery is rife. In Nigerian culture kickbacks are actually a form of tips. Give kickbacks or tips freely but make sure you are with a local. Market goods are open to negotiation. Taxis drivers, traders and business men expect you to negotiate on price. You won’t get robbed if you are lucky enough to have a local to accompany you.
This post was written by Vishal Mavadia, Business Director Visa Services London.