I got the notes and questions: how can you posit that Nigeria is the best place to invest as I noted in the piece on my BBC interview? My answer: few things work in Nigeria, and that means it has the biggest problems to be solved in the world. Provided that is the state, we can extrapolate that latent opportunities abound in the nation.
Getting ready for BBC interview – the stage is set. I will share insights on the following: (1) Nigeria is the best place to invest. (2) Entrepreneurial capitalism is unlocking new vistas in Nigeria, seeding new possibilities in this Cambrian moment. (3) My entrepreneurial journey and building a diversified digital conglomerate. If you are looking for someone with undeniable optimistic exuberance about Nigeria, you have seen Ndubuisi Ekekwe.
Good people, if someone asks you to come up with a business plan in London, I am not sure you can find something you can fix easily. I mean an open friction which has not been effectively managed.
Fix a Friction: Frictions exist in markets and because of those frictions we have the need for companies. Those frictions are the market needs which companies are created to solve and fix. As an entrepreneur, your main job is to find frictions which are prevalent in markets and which affect many people and companies. For example, in Nigeria, we have a friction in the inadequacy of electricity. It affects many people and companies and certainly something that needs to be fixed.
But in Nigeria, there are acres of diamonds everywhere. From our food systems to our healthcare systems, from our road systems to our power systems, from our educational systems to our aviation and indeed everything, you see frictions everywhere. That is why Nigeria is the best place to invest. And that does not mean that it is the easiest place to make money.
For that last one, talk to Dangote, Ovia and Elumelu to help you. All I know is that Nigeria has latent opportunities to mint new generation of business leaders who can be bold to fix all these challenges we have. Our nation remains a place where women die during child births needlessly because the closest hospital to her is about 3 hours away.
The good Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe is right. I just returned from a trip to Nigeria and the unsolved problems I saw there were amazing to me. Capital is often but not always the main impediment.
With big problems do come big opportunities. And Nigeria is a land of great opportunity. Ironically, the very reasons that these massive opportunities (problems) exist are the problems (opportunities) themselves: the difficulty of doing business, the infrastructural problems, all the things that scare your typical cookie cutter out-of-the-can investor. Indeed these problems are a real barrier to entry, and they make it difficult to engage or be interested in that country of 200 million people (400 million by 2050).
I expect our investors to be pleased when I debrief them on my trip. Nigeria has enormous potential, and each of those pesky problems is a great opportunity waiting to be seized.
When no unsolved problems remain, that is called heaven. It also means one is physically dead. While still alive and breathing, we have opportunity to solve the problems that make life difficult for others. And that’s how to live.