US investors Wilbur Milhouse and Robert Blackwell: Nigeria is open for business

Guest Commentary

As has always been the case, American businessmen and entrepreneurs are looking for new global markets for investments. Relatively quietly, Nigeria has become an attractive market for American businesses. If fact, the largest and most important market in Africa has become one of the 20 global destinations for Foreign Direct Investment, and Nigeria receives the largest amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa.

Over the past few years the Nigerian government has put an emphasis on economic reform, and through privatization, global businesses have created opportunities in Nigeria as a result of the government allowing private ownership of previously government-owned operations.

By fighting corruption and helping create a business-friendly environment, President Goodluck Jonathan has helped make Nigeria the preferred destination for investors to do business. As a result, jobs are abundant. Nigeria's future continues to be bright for Nigerians as the creation of wealth escalates to new heights and the local economy continues to prosper.

A new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders in Africa and, more specifically, Nigeria are helping make Africa a place for innovation and exceptional growth. With bright minds flocking to the country, the new business-friendly government is ready to take the next step as direct foreign investments continue to grow and the Nigerian economy becomes increasingly more robust. These measures are evidenced by the fact that Nigeria has been recognized among the "Next Eleven" economies as one of the countries with the greatest potential to become one of the largest economies in the 21st century, alongside other emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Competitiveness drives profitability. That is what investors are seeking worldwide. Beyond multinational corporations, entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized business enterprises are also investing in Nigeria. By taking advantage of available opportunities, building up a thorough understanding of the business and socio-cultural environment and familiarity with local business rules, the future for investors in Nigeria is bright.

After visiting Nigeria and talking to their leaders and the country's citizens on the ground, one becomes convinced that Nigeria is a "can't miss" opportunity for global investors. It is for this reason that more and more American companies are directly investing in Nigeria. The list runs the gamut, from large corporations such as General Electric to small- and medium-sized businesses such as ours. If one wants to invest in a foreign market with a business-friendly environment, a solid workforce and an understanding of what it takes to be successful, then Nigeria is the place to be. Best stated: Nigeria is open for business.

Milhouse is president and CEO of Milhouse Engineering and Construction. Blackwell is the founder and CEO of Killerspin and Electronic Knowledge Interchange.