8 African Countries In The Forefront For Formal Retail Investment In 2017

Kurt Davis Jr.
Written by Kurt Davis Jr.
Ermenegildo Zegna opening in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Brandessencenigeria.com

Nigeria

The Nigerian retail and consumer goods space is already the focus of international strategic and private equity investors. Cross border M&A activity, similar to Egypt, endured an approximately 50 percent drop in M&A activity (in total value) in 2016, but will see a complete reversal in 2017 (possibly an uptick north of 60 percent in value).

Asset prices in the Nigerian market remain low. As one private equity investor described it, Nigerian companies did not generally degenerate in 2015 and 2016. They rather stomached a recession, a weak currency, and limited foreign reserves. One can add in the political uncertainty with President Muhammadu Buhari continuously returning to London for health reasons and extra check-ups.

Better translated, the Nigerian high performers are still relatively high performers and the private investors at the Nigerian borders are anxious to tap into nearly one-fourth of the sub-Saharan African GDP through the Nigerian market. The formal retail and consumer goods market also has a distance to go in Nigeria, and only present a greater topline revenue opportunity for investors with an eye and patience for future growth.

Lastly, the regional growth story for West Africa—regional expansion being the growth strategy of many East African retail and customer good companies—will likely include a few strong Nigerian companies in the narrative as they grow locally before expanding beyond the national border.