NIGE­RIA

Business Traveler (USA) - - INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION -

With its huge min­eral wealth and vi­brant energy, Nige­ria is the‘Gi­ant of Africa’– the most pop­u­lous coun­try on the con­ti­nent, and in 2014 sur­passed South Africa as the largest econ­omy.

The ex­port of crude oil ac­counts for two-thirds of its GDP. The coun­try also has one of the world’s largest proven re­serves of nat­u­ral gas, along with sub­stan­tial de­posits of iron ore, lime­stone, lead and zinc. Po­lit­i­cally, the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment faces the grow­ing chal­lenge of pre­vent­ing Africa’s most pop­u­lous coun­try from break­ing apart along eth­nic and re­li­gious lines. CITIES: The main busi­ness travel des­ti­na­tions in Nige­ria are La­gos – the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal – Port Har­court and Abuja, which is the seat of gov­ern­ment. With an es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion of 21 mil­lion, La­gos is the largest city in Nige­ria and the most pop­u­lous city in Africa.

In­ter­na­tional air­ports are lo­cated in La­gos, Abuja, Kano, Port Har­court and Enugu. Mur­tala Muhammed In­ter­na­tional Air­port in La­gos is the main gate­way, with di­rect ser­vices to des­ti­na­tions across North Amer­ica, Europe and Africa. The air­port is 14 miles north of La­gos, although the jour­ney to Vic­to­ria Is­land – the main busi­ness hub – can take hours, depend­ing on the city’s no­to­ri­ous traf­fic.

As one of Africa’s busi­ness travel hotspots, no sur­prise that there was plenty of busi­ness travel-re­lated ac­tiv­ity, with dozens of new routes and in­creased fre­quen­cies be­ing added to the air sched­ule through­out the coun­try. HO­TELS: On the ho­tel scene La­gos fea­tures a large sup­ply of in­ter­na­tional brands, in­clud­ing In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal, Sher­a­ton, Radis­son Blu and Best Western. Protea (now part of the Mar­riott group) has the big­gest pres­ence, with six ho­tels in La­gos.

It’s worth not­ing that sev­eral ho­tels in Nige­ria re­quire trav­el­ers to pay be­fore is­su­ing a room key. Many prop­er­ties re­quest an ad­di­tional se­cu­rity de­posit as well which will be re­funded at de­par­ture.

In the past, Nige­ria has been a pre­dom­i­nantly cash econ­omy. But the gov­ern­ment has em­barked on a“Cash­less Nige­ria”ini­tia­tive. Thus MasterCard,Visa or In­ter­switch Verve cards are now be­ing ac­cepted in most shops, stores, restau­rants and com­mer­cial or en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties in the coun­try.

If you hold a Visa, MasterCard or Mae­stro Credit/Debit card, you can with­draw cash in naira from var­i­ous ATMs around the coun­try. Opt for an ATM in a ho­tel lobby or bank build­ing. Fraud is still a prob­lem in Nige­ria. Many in­ter­na­tional credit card com­pa­nies block trans­ac­tions from Nige­ria, so ad­vise your credit card com­pany be­fore you travel.

Visit nige­ria.co.za and vis­are­quest.co.za.

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