Peel back the layers, and you will find Nigeria has more to offer than you expected. At a low cost of living (the Nigerian Tribune estimates cost of living in Lagos to be ~$1,200 a month) you will be able to experience it all. Plus, you won’t be alone. Due to its position as a major exporter of oil, Nigeria is home to many international corporations drawing a large expat community from Great Britain, US, India, Japan, Greece, the Middle East and China. Cell phone service providers are plentiful and relatively cheap with the two major providers being the South African company, MTN and the Indian company, Airtel.
Although mobile connections tend to be fast, internet reliability and connection speeds have been notoriously on the low end for the country. Expats report finding better success at hotels and expat/tourist-oriented accommodations. Even Google has taken note of the internet infrastructure challenges in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, and since the first quarter of 2022 has made public plans to build the Equiano subsea cable. The project is expected to bring 1.6 million jobs to the country, increase internet speed by a factor of 6 and reduce costs by ~20 percent. Power outages are relatively common as well, and many expats staying outside of hotels invest in their own power generators. Look at it as an off-the-grind experience, likely not for too long.
Nigeria is a polygot’s paradise. Home to over 500 indigenous languages and over 250 ethnic groups, Nigeria is one of the most diverse nations in the world. As you walk the streets of Lagos alongside its 21 million inhabitants tone your ears to hear Hausa, Yoruba, Fulfulde, Igbo, Kanuri, Arabic, English French and countless other regional dialects. Getting settled in Nigeria as an English-only speaker, however, won’t be a problem. A lesser-known fact about the country is that Nigeria is part of the British Commonwealth along with Australia, New Zealand and Canada, which means English is not only the official language but is spoken by a large portion of the population.
With such diversity in language and culture comes an equal array of never-ending delectable meals native to the country. To get the true “lay of the land” you should start by ducking into a buka (casual Nigerian restaurant) and checking out the local menu. One thing you’re sure to find straightaway is Iyan (pounded yam). This dish has one basic ingredient, yams, and is made by pounding them into a smooth paste, forming them into balls and serving them as a side dish to a spicy vegetable stew. Yum! (No, yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing.) Yams are staples in West Africa, the Caribbean and other tropical Asian/American climates, and Nigeria is the world’s greatest producer. Nigerian food is aromatic and full of spice. One more not-to-miss dish is jollof rice! Just ask any Nigerian. It’s something like the their version of the Louisiana jumbalaya – made custom, straight from the heart of the cook. Served with a rice, tomato and pepper base, it will usually include a custom combination of additional mixin’s and spices, including prawns, peas, onions, chicken and minced meat, and to top it off some curry powder and Scotch bonnet (40x hotter than a jalapeño)!
What are black velvet tamarinds, garden eggs (eggplant), tropical almonds, kola nuts, rose apples, African star apples or tiger nuts? If you aren’t familiar, awaken the foodie in you and brave the local markets to discover the joy in trying something completely new.
Art and Entertainment
For those inspired by art, the Nigerian Nollywood movie scene, according to Canon, produces over 1000 movies a year, making it even more prolific than Bollywood. Oh, but let’s not forget about the music…. Nigeria gave the world a twist on jazz with the Afrobeat genre, which is named the creative engine behind the 2022 international music scene. With an underlying cry for liberation, it mixes jazz, funk, psychedelic rock and rhythms with instruments from local cultures to produce ever-inspiring beats, driving music innovation to new heights! You’re sure to find a local artist in Lagos or wherever you choose to settle, and you’ll likely be at the cutting edge of what’s happening in the industry.
A little on the Landscape
If you long to explore nature then choose an area in close proximity to one of Nigeria’s eight national parks. The terrain you will encounter varies from desert landscapes, jeep/camel rides in Chad Basin National Park to the world’s oldest rainforest habitat and 200+ bird species in Cross River National Park. Ever dreamed of watching an elephant or baboon in its natural habitat? Then Yankari National Park will give you the best chance to catch your fill of exotic wildlife.
Get a glimpse of Nigeria’s history at Old Oyo National park, the ancient capital of the Yoruba Kingdom. This smaller park contains burial and cultural sites throughout.
For the innovator and entrepreneur inside of you, the country is rebounding from the pandemic better than expected. As of the first quarter of 2022, IMF released a statement upping the country’s GDP growth forecast for 2022 from 2.7% to 3.4%. Choosing smartphones over laptops, over 75% of Nigerians estimated to use social media on a regular basis and many have turned to mobile banking solutions in place of traditional bank accounts, making the country a hotbed for fintech startups.
The Nigerian startup Flutterwave, for example, just surpassed a $3B valuation, with funding rounds led by US-based B Capital Group and Tiger Global, among others. As mobile usage continues to increase, the internet stabilizes, and the youth join the tech-savvy talent pool in exploding numbers, Nigeria’s tech scene, largely centered in Lagos, is growing in tandem exponentially; thus, drawing mega deals, impact investors, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Consider Nigeria as the home base for your next start-up.
Whether you’re completely new to the wonders of Nigeria, or you’re a Nigerian native living abroad and want to reconnect with your roots, you’re sure to expand your world and rack up unique experiences in this culturally diverse land.
Feel the rhythm of some Afrobeats as we work faster than current Nigerian wifi speeds to bring you more rich information about this arising destination.
As you wait, dig deeper into our on-the-pulse information about Nigeria and connect with leading immigration Advisors on the ground in Nigeria today.