Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Foreign investment in Nigeria requires careful planning and attention to local requirements. For those investors willing to take the necessary time and effort the opportunities offered can be rewarding. The prospective American investor must inform himself of political, economic, and social conditions. He must adapt himself to dealing with Africans and must try to understand their social and cultural patterns and their historical evolution. In the past this was desirable, but not essential, since business contacts were predominantly European. Today it is critical.

Invitations by Nigerians for joint projects involving public participation need not be regarded as an overriding obstacle to private foreign investment. Indeed, given the limited supply of local private capital and the extent of state regulation of business enterprise, a measure of government participation may provide compensatory advantages. For example, clear leasehold titles to landsites could perhaps be more effectively acquired with the government sharing in the venture. Also, operational problems involving power, transport, and communication, which are public sector activities in Nigeria, could be more effectively resolved. This is not to suggest that a United States private investor uniformly accept government participation. American investors should understand Nigerian aspirations and not be inflexible in their negotiations with government or individuals. Indeed, those foreign investors who invite participation by local African capital, who adopt policies to train local labor, and who indicate their sincere desire to assist economic progress, will find themselves held in the highest esteem in the host country.