Nigeria is the largest economy on the African continent. Because of the rapid expansion the Nigerian market, Italian export to the country has recorded a strong growth for three consecutive years: despite Covid-19, in 2020 export increased by 6.5%, exceeding 786 million euros. The high complementarity between the Italian and Nigerian economies creates excellent investment opportunities for Italian companies.


After South Africa, Nigeria is Italy’s main trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa: the Nigerian market has an enormous potential for the penetration of Made in Italy. In the country, the presence of our companies dated back a long time, ranging from the oil sector to that of machinery, industrial equipment, fertilizers, passing through the luxury, healthcare and, above all, agribusiness sectors. The ties between Nigeria and Italy, in fact, started to grow in the past decades, when many Italians began moving to the African country to launch their own businesse.

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ENI plant in Nigeria

Most of Italian-capital companies operate in the construction and infrastructure sectors. Many civil engineering and construction project in various areas of the country were being carried out by Italian entrepreneurs even before independence. This testifies to a presence well integrated in the local context and which has been able to bring Italian knowledge, experience and technologies into a difficult reality, especially due to the complexity in terms of first access, logistical difficulties and the lack of understanding of local tax legislation.

Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontesilli

In Nigeria there is ample space for Italian companies also in the electricity and gas sector, where the country lacks proper infrastructure. “ENI today is the first producer of electricity in the country and last year Saipem was entrusted with the leadership of a consortium called upon to increase natural gas production by 50%” explained Italian Ambassador, Stefano Pontesilli, on the new podcast of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International CooperationVoci dalla Farnesina”.

According to the Embassy of Italy, the challenge to further increase Italian exports to the African country therefore lies in being able to offer trade associations and Italian companies useful tools for orienting themselves on the Nigerian market and identifying reliable partners. Therefore, Ambassador Pontesilli urged all Italian entrepreneurs to contact the institutions in the area to find out about all the investment opportunities in the country.