Countries are usually categorised as developed, developing and underdeveloped. For years, based on the milestones Nigeria had marked in the past, it has been listed among developing countries in the world and sometimes make claim of being one of the most developed countries in Africa. However, a question has hung in the air for years; whether Nigeria is a developing country based on past glories or an underdeveloped one due to all the setbacks it’s been having.
A guest on a radio station mentioned that Nigeria has not really been exhibiting signs of a developing country when compared to its counterparts. The guest indicated that there hadn’t been much progress in any of the sectors, in terms of expertise, development, infrastructure and growth. When judged using the qualities of developing nations, Nigeria might not be meeting the standard.
Digging deeper into facts rather than dwelling on an opinion, we stumbled on a research carried out in 2018 that showed a list of ‘top 20 most developed countries in Africa’ which excluded Nigeria. The study focused on the gross domestic product (GDP) these countries have developed over time. Leading the top five on the list was Seychelles which had $16,332 GDP per capita, following behind was Mauritius with a GDP per capita of $10,437, Algeria was next with a GDP per capita of 4,669, Tunisia had a GDP per capita of $3,531, Botswana had a GDP per capita of $8,443 and it goes on till the 20th.
Analysing the list further, we discovered these countries shared some similarities which is a diversified economy unlike Nigeria. Seychelles for instance, though known as a tourist destination, has invested on other revenue sources such as fishing, processing of agricultural products, building of boats, etc. Over time, these ventures have brought income and sky-rocketed the country to the top in the African continent.
Coming home, can we say the Nigerian market is developed or open to development? With a GDP per capita around $1,951 which was determined in 2017, Nigeria can hardly boast of sustainable development. This figure tells a lot about the slow paced or declining growth. The root of this slow growth is always linked to the fact that the Nigerian market had known one product, crude oil, for many decades. The oil boom might have brought some glories but still hasn’t taken the economy where it ought to be.
Moving forward, more products, with emphasis on products that are made in Nigeria, need to introduced to the Nigerian market. This should serve as a challenge to both new and existing entrepreneurs. While the Nigerian market is full of competition amongst businesses, it has been observed that there are too many similar ventures. This has left little or no room for improvement and socioeconomic development in the country.
From the statistics shown, it is safe to say that visible development will start from the market. This obviously gives businesspeople an assignment to answer the question, what new idea, product or services are they bringing to the table?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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As the spirit of enterprise keeps gaining momentum across Nigeria and Africa, I want to encourage startup founders and small business owners, to feel the pulse of their target market and ensure their ideas match the needs. As an entrepreneur, you might need to go back to the drawing table to reexamine what you are proposing to your prospective customers.
Do not just run with an idea that inspired you from New York, London, China or Toronto, translate the idea to have practical touch points with your target customers in your own primary market. Often times there is a tendency for entrepreneurs to be carried away with several sparks of foreign ideas, alien from their immediate environment. At the long run, their new product or service is hardly relatable and does not match the needs of clients.
If researches are too expensive for you, just pay closer attention to the lifestyle and behavioral patterns of people in your surroundings, engage in conversations and most importantly listen more. Also, study the ventures that are doing well and gain some market insights.
Have you observed how mobile phone retailers operate? Have you ever noticed the Supermarket and Fast Food Restaurant Chains? You should pay closer attention to them. Try to do a recollection of the strength of strong brands; remember Facebook thrives on the need for humans to connect, AirBnB thrives on accommodation (housing), Uber on physical cars, and so on. What is the point? Understand your local markets; housing, transportation/ticketing, health, finance, labour, fashion, education, etc. and plug your idea accordingly.
Making money is about the market, not what tickles your fancy. It should be registered in your mind that the essence of being in business is to satisfy the needs of longing customers who are always in search of a solution to their many problems. With this mindset, you will be meeting the demands of the market.
Before you think of going WIDE, first go DEEP. Test the waters, I believe that’s why the tech enthusiasts have what they call ‘beta’. Ensure you test your assumptions before you take the plunge. Carryout a proper market research, analyze and think through your innovation before it goes public. Whether it is a new idea or revamped one, tailor it to fit your target clientele.
Every entrepreneur has what it takes to churn out quality success stories, so remain encouraged in your pursuit. Finally, I leave this here;
“Innovation does not start with ideas but with customer insights” – Els Grabt
Written by Maple Dappa
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