South African companies cannot ignore Nigeria – Christo Wiese

Nigeria’s large and growing population is impossible for businesses to ignore, and a recent exodus from the West African state won’t last, South African billionaire Christo Wiese said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

“How do you ignore an economy like this?” said the former chairman of Shoprite, the continent’s largest grocer, who left Nigeria in 2021.

“Sooner or later, the big players will enter again.”

In December, Procter & Gamble Co. also ditched Nigeria, with at least three other global conglomerates in recent months announcing they are exiting Africa’s most populous nation and second-biggest economy.

Many African countries, like Nigeria, developed as single-commodity economies, which has meant that when the price of that product falls, the currency and consumer spending take a hit, making it difficult for foreign investors to get a return. 

“Most foreign investors, including South African investors, I think have adopted an attitude when it comes to Nigeria that it’s too early,” Wiese said.

“We’ve got to wait for things to settle, for the economy to develop more and then for governments that adopt the correct policies.”


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