Business culture

Business Culture

Nigeria, with a population of about 200 million inhabitants is the most populous African country and 8th largest in the world. The country operates a democratic system of government. As a founding member of several economic blocs and international organizations, Nigeria is an important player in the global economy.


Do’s and Don’ts

A hand shake is an acceptable form of greeting. However, you may find people bowing to their superiors and the elderly as a sign of respect. Usually greetings include showing interest in your acquaintance’s family and health.

You may be treated to the Nigerian hospitality with your host paying the bill. Do not feel uncomfortable, but remember to appreciate the gesture.

The left hand rules apply here. Do not take or give anything with the left hand, because it might be perceived as disrespectful.

In timing, Nigerians are flexible due to its peculiar environment. Stay relaxed, be prepared and do not feel frustrated if appointments are delayed.

Complimentary remarks are appreciated, but be cautious and moderate.


Business communication

English is the official written and spoken language. In addition, there are 3 major languages (Hausa, Igbo & Yoruba). “Pidgin” English is also spoken. It is widely accepted to communicate in a direct manner. Be clear and specific in contractual agreements and avoid ambiguity. Make sure that the contractual terms/conditions for both parties have been fully understood, and that they are legal and enforceable.

Informal meetings are good for business relationships and are recommended to international buyers.



Be mindful of hierarchy in your business meetings. Identify the decision maker and endeavour to identify different job positions and their roles. Start talking directly to Nigerians by using their title, as they like formalities.


There are three major religious practices in Nigeria (Christianity, Islam & African Traditional Religion). You can be open minded in your business dealings. In public, be careful with alcohol in certain areas because of the Islamic culture especially in the Northern states.

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