Nigeria Forum brought together companies, investors and NGOs


Partnering for Change project’s Nigeria Forum for Businesses and NGO brought together representatives from the private sector, civil society, the diplomatic corps, and academics to discuss innovation and opportunity in Nigeria, as well as partnering with NGOs for sustainable business growth. 

An audience is sitting and listening to a woman behind whom there is a large screen.

Sara Tabrizizadeh told about the Deaconess Foundation and how it has encouraged Finnish companies to do sustainable business in Sub-Saharan African countries.

“Cooperation between Finland and Nigeria is not just about business; it’s about people,” said Seun Fakuade, the Commissioner for Innovation, Science, and Digital Economy of Ekiti State, Nigeria.

This was one of the themes raised during the Nigeria Forum for Businesses and NGOs: The entrepreneurial spirit of Africa’s Giant, held on 16 May 2024. The forum was organised in collaboration with Art for Business, a consulting group.

Experienced speakers shared their understanding

The Nigerian and Finnish governments were represented by Anna Rautavuori of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Atinuke Enitan Akintan-Adeyemi, Head of Chancery at the Embassy of Nigeria in Stockholm, Sweden. The private investors that spoke on our panels included Jussi Hinkkanen, CEO of Fuzu Oy, Kelvin Chikezie, CEO of Dexude and Oswald Osaretin Guobadia of DigitA. Civil society speakers included Tunde Onakoya, Founder of Chess in SlumsAfrica, and Eva Wissenz from Lytefirea, a social enterprise focused on clean energy. The event was moderated and hosted by Akin Akinsola, Chairperson of Think Africa and Mwila Agatha Zaza, a communications specialist and member of the PARC team.

The speakers discussed their experience of doing business in Nigeria. They also responded to questions from the audience on topics ranging from market entry strategies to revenue generation.

Among the key takeaways of the day was from Hon. Akintan-Adeyemi, who outlined her embassy’s role as a facilitator for Finnish companies that wish to invest in Nigeria. The embassy provides tangible assistance through activities like organising bilateral discussions and meetings with potential partners.

Partnering for Positive Outcomes

A second important point raised was by Osaretin Guobadia who stated that by partnering with Nigerian counterparts and local communities, Finnish companies could contribute to positive social and environmental outcomes, while simultaneously driving economic growth.

Advice for Investors

When asked for advice for investors interested in the Nigerian market, both Osaretin Guobadia and Hinkkanen emphasised understanding the local market and its consumers before launching products and services. Ibrahim Bashir pointed out that due to its size and diversity, his advice was to localise to particular regions of Nigeria rather than to target the whole country.

Human capital is essential

Tunde Onakoya, a renowned chess master and Guinness World Record holder, contributed to the discussion of the role of social enterprises in the country, saying, “Nigeria will be the world’s future workforce. It is destined to be. It will be. But we must ensure people are at the forefront of that.” He emphasised the centrality of human capital in Nigeria’s development.

The event was followed by a photo-art exhibition and networking opportunity entitled Nigeria Re-envisioned. The exhibition, curated by Art for Business, featured the works of artists Ife Olowu, Dotun Popoola, and the art historian and archivist Oludàmọ́lá Adebowale.

Partnering for Change project
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