Managing in Nigeria

Working in a Culturally Rich but Divided Country

Managing in Nigeria - Working in a Culturally Rich but Divided Country

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Explore how to manage effectively in Nigeria.

Nigeria is Africa's largest economy. It boasts lush rain forests and sweeping savannas, a rich cultural heritage, and vibrant music and art.

Nigeria is also a country of extremes. For example, rebel groups and terrorist organizations make life dangerous in some regions. In others, however, the friendliness, warmth and hospitality of the Nigerian people shines out.

You're likely wondering how to get the best from your team if you're relocating to Nigeria. You might also be concerned for your safety, or feel unsure about which language to start learning before you arrive.

In this article, we'll look at how you can live and work successfully in the vivid country that is Nigeria.


This article is intended as a general guide only. Nigerian culture is extremely varied, which means that you'll need to treat each person as an individual, and demonstrate sensitivity and respect. Always use your own best judgment, and stay flexible.

People and Culture

Nigeria is in West Africa, and is bordered by Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Benin. It was a British colony until 1960, after which it went through a violent civil war and several military coups. Nigeria became a democracy in 1999 and held its first fully democratic election in 2011.

It is an incredibly diverse country: there are more than 250 ethnic groups, speaking around 500 recognized languages. Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are the most widely spoken of these.

English is Nigeria's official language but it is not widely spoken outside the major urban areas. Nigerian – or "Pidgin” – English is far more common, especially in the Niger Delta region. (See our article on Cross-Culture Communication for more on how to communicate effectively with people from different cultures.)...

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