Niger Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays

Introduction

It is a small market characterized by low purchasing power of the population, traditionally oriented towards French goods. The exporter should focus on the entire UEMOA/ECOWAS region. The customer focuses primarily on the price, the quality of the goods comes second – the ever-increasing imports of cheap Chinese goods represent a significant competitive obstacle.

Addressing

The first step is to realize whether your product or service is applicable on the Nigerian market. The market here is 89% purely pro-import and most things are imported from abroad. It is important to remember that the market is very price sensitive. A lot of goods are imported from China, which is difficult to compete on price+, but there are a lot of companies that are rich and prefer quality. Nigerians are a proud nation and therefore it is not good to acquiesce in everything when dealing with them. Price is important and always comes first. It is not a good idea to increase the price extremely and then negotiate, because with a final price that is 25% or more lower, the client will feel, and rightfully so, that you wanted to cheat him. It is also important to realize that most letters where someone claims to work for ECOWAS or is interested in your product, without further specification, is a scam. Don’t waste your time with these companies. Secure your payment instruments very well. Most often, a confirmed irrevocable letter of credit (L/C) is used with the simplest possible terms to avoid payment delays. Try to have most of your payments cleared and in your account before shipping.

Business meeting

French is the primary language for negotiations. Plan your trip outside of Christmas and Ramadan. Keep in mind the country’s ethnic, cultural and religious differences. A very common and frequent phenomenon in Niger is general indiscipline and tardiness. Perceive what is happening around you, be cautious, be careful with your property, take care of your safety and avoid risky situations. Find out who your business partner is with whom you work. You absolutely cannot do without a quality local partner who will open the door to customers. It is better to check the partner through the local embassy to avoid possible fraudulent activity. It is good to meet your Nigerian partner in person. Nigerians are very self-confident and assertive in business dealings. Negotiations can be preceded by a long, informal prelude, during which the client gladly boasts about his achievements. Rich or influential Nigerians like to flamboyantly display their wealth (influence), including perfect clothes and cars. Be graciously confident and self-assured, especially about your product offering. Above all, present yourself well. The required clothing during the meeting is trousers and a jacket. You don’t have to wear a tie. Be careful with alcohol, this is primarily a Muslim country and act accordingly. Don’t be swayed by the initial impression that the client wants everything and in bulk. Nigerians are masters of manipulation and like to create the impression that a deal is already done during the first meeting. Be prepared for unexpected delays and changes in the entry of requirements from the Niger side. In the case of meetings being prepared at the authorities for Friday, it is only necessary to count on the morning, the Muslim part of the population is at prayers from noon and the authorities tend not to function anymore in the afternoon.

Nigerians suffer from proper titling (if they hold important positions), attention and flattery. They are fans of long speeches and are excellent and funny speakers themselves. It is worth considering that the backbone of the company is still traditional structures (although it may not be visible on the surface) and all major investments and business cases are promoted by influential groups with traditional structures. A potential business partner should have ties to these structures. The authorities are functional, but the decision-making processes are lengthy and are often stimulated by corruption or the interests of influential groups. The actions of officials can sometimes be considered arrogant, which is related to a false sense of national pride and a sense of the importance of the position held. In these cases, it is recommended to react rather gently and not give vent to feelings.

Traffic chaos reigns on the roads and city streets of larger cities (a significant part of the approximately 177 million inhabitants live in overcrowded urban agglomerations) and pedestrian movement on Nigerian streets is not very safe. Compared to European standards, the average level of technical condition of vehicles in Niger (as well as in other West African countries) is very low. This factor (congestion) must also be taken into account when planning the meeting.

Communication

The language of business in Niger is French. 80% of the population is Muslim, you need to dress and behave accordingly. The importance of acquaintances and personal contacts is essential in closing deals. The authorities are functional, but the decision-making processes are very lengthy and are often stimulated by the interests of influential groups. Small attention can change the behavior of an official, but at the same time it must be remembered that corruption is also a crime here. You can communicate by email and by phone, Whatsapp and other modern communication technologies are very popular. Personal meetings are highly recommended for business relations. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Niger culture and traditions.

Recommendation

It should be emphasized that Niger today prefers investment in production over mere imports, which it is trying to limit (at least in some sectors). The basic condition for success in the market is the price of the product and a long-term active export strategy focused on this country and a permanent presence in the country. You cannot wait for a really good contract in the Czech Republic. Cooperation with a local representative or a company registered in Niger (importer) is a great advantage, but even these persons must be sought actively, preferably personally on the spot. A very common request (especially for machines) is the possibility to see a sample in operation in Niger – in this case, companies that have a presence in the country and can immediately offer the equipment have a competitive advantage. Czech manufacturers will encounter very strong and rapidly growing competition not only from Niger, but also from French, Indian, Chinese companies, of which there are thousands operating in the local market. Due to the complexity of the local business environment, it is of the utmost importance to negotiate all aspects of the business agreement in detail (preferably with the help of local legal counsel). Before concluding the contract, the partner must be carefully checked by a specialized company (due diligence).

Public Holidays

January 1 New Year

On April 4, Concord Day commemorates the peace accords ending the 1995 Tuareg rebellion

May 1 Labor Day “la fête du travail (1er mai)”

August 3 Independence Day

December 18 Niger Republic Day

December 25 Christmas Day

In addition, the movable Christian holidays Good Friday, Easter Monday and the Muslim holidays Idel-Kabir, Id-el-Maulud, Id-el-Fitri are celebrated (note: the dates of the days off around the holidays are usually specified by presidential decree shortly before the actual holiday, if the holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is usually moved to Monday).

Working and sales hours: Days off: Saturdays, Sundays The usual opening hours of shops (supermarkets) are every day from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (on Sundays from 11:00 a.m.), offices generally work from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – usually without a lunch break or with a break between 1 and 2 p.m.

Banking hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., or Saturday 8:00 – 11:00

Niger Culture of Business