Across sectors and regions in Nigeria, let me remind you that we are still at infancy in nearly all of them. In other words, the opportunities are still there in our largely inventive societies. From my simple calculation, the capability parity value, after considering the resources in the nation, points to a GDP of at least $3 trillion. But we are less than $500 billion right now. You know the implication? Every value and opportunity can be multiplied by a factor of 6. That is how I see our nation – and that motivates me.
The best companies for Nigeria have not been started. If you look at Dangote Group and you think it is big, just note that it remains a company within a $500 billion economy. There are opportunity-moments for $2.5 trillion space available. If you look at banking and you think we have max’d all opportunities, I will remind you that Nigeria’s largest bank by market cap, GTBank, at less than $3 billion, is a huge testament that our banking sector is still at infancy. The big buildings should not fool you – the Nigerian banking sector has not reached up to 10% of its natural value even though First Bank may have clocked a century! Yes, in those years, no one has pioneered a credit system which is a legal money multiplier in an economy.
Why must you have 100% of cash before you can buy a car, build a house, go on vacation, send kids to school? Nigerian banks have not received the memos. Sure, no credit system is in place for them to build – and you cannot blame the banks; banking remains the most innovative sector nonetheless. But the fact that the credit system has not been done makes my point: opportunities abound ahead and the future is one of abundance.
We have no electricity, we have no roads, and we have an educational system that needs redesigns. If less than 8% of measurable adults in Yobe state can read and write, it means in Yobe state alone, there is a huge market on education. More than 37% of farm produce are wasted yearly, reminding everyone that preserving the little we produce could have real impacts on our agriculture sector and the wellbeing of our citizens. In aviation, the airports are so few that you wonder what we have been doing for decades. Yes, you fly from Lagos to Owerri, and you have to drive five hours to get to Ohafia. You fly from Abuja to Lagos, and you have to drive hours to northern Ekiti state.
Simply, Nigeria is an opportunity because we have not even started. Do not allow any human being to confuse you: every market opportunity in Nigeria is a fair game to compete right in and win. We are still at infancy and the best companies in this nation have not been started. Yes, tons of free range chicken opportunities that can come with no disruption.
Yet, it is not always necessary for a company to disrupt for it to grow. To explain that disruption is not always required for growth, I will use free-range chickens, found in most African villages, to create an analogy. A free-range chicken “is a bird that is allowed constant access to the outdoors, with plenty of fresh vegetation, sunshine and room to exercise”. As a teenager, I grew some and it was a very good business.
I want us to consider the need of creating new markets in Africa even when we are not disrupting any firm or sector. It is not always that one has to disrupt, but it is mandatory that one has to create, in order to find growth. My free-range chicken blossomed by finding its own paths and at the same time did not participate in any competition for my time. It used its creativity to survive and grow without disrupting (yes, disturbing) any person.
In the past, I have listed the business opportunities in this nation – they remain.