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‘Nigeria in dire need of a coordinated country marketing programme’

Lagos, Nigeria, August 24, 2016: The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of C&F Porter Novelli, Mr. Nn’emeka Maduegbuna, has called for the development of a coordinated country marketing programme for Nigeria with the specific aim of attracting foreign direct investments.

Maduegbuna made this call at the 3rd Lagos Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Stakeholders’ Conference, which focused on the theme: “Communication, Reputation and Sustainable Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria”.

He attributed the fall in FDI to Nigeria from $8 billion in 2011 to $3 billion in 2015 to the lack of transparency in the foreign exchange trading market, business policy flip flops, poor infrastructure, local insecurity, and the lack of a coherent, comprehensive PR messaging strategy for the country.

In his presentation, Mr. Maduegbuna noted that access to FDI capital is directly correlated to good corporate and country governance and added that there was a need to recognise Nigeria’s potential investment opportunity and recognise the Nigeria brand as a country open to foreign investment through a coordinated outreach programme that positions the country as a preferred investment destination.

He stated that attracting FDIs to the country involves a two step process: First, improve the external financial inflows to earn the right reputation for the country, and then, communicate the positive reputation repeatedly. This needs to be done through a country marketing programme, structured in such a way that ensures that all agencies targeting foreign investors will have a coordinated and unified information campaign.

This means that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, all need to coordinate communication efforts to effectively speak as once voice, aimed at foreign investors with a messaging strategy consistent with an established country marketing programme.

“There is the need for a detailed business review and FDI research programme that would assess the real and perceived risks and opportunities associated with investing in Nigeria. This effort should focus on a comprehensive review of existing macroeconomic and sectoral trends in the country; and an assessment of all existing public relations strategies, advertising campaigns, institutional facilities and staff skills,” Maduegbuna said.

He added that the situation analysis should feed into the national strategic plan, highlighting the main investment opportunities, needed to develop the unifying message; the areas most likely to benefit from investment promotional activity; the strengths and weaknesses of existing promotional activity; and the target audiences.

The presentation also identified the role of international business journalists, the international business community, institutional investors, and the private sector, as the tools for a Nigeria centric marketing campaign, which will employ the full range of marketing disciplines such as market research, branding, media relations, advertising, direct marketing and digital/social media.

Mr. Maduegbuna also noted that there are two broad set of challenges: The first, macroeconomic challenges, relating to the approach of developing countries to economic competitiveness, and the second, the implementation challenges, dealing with the institutional arrangements for promoting FDI.

The Lagos NIPR Stakeholders’ Conference is an annual event organised by Addefort Limited, a public relations firm in collaboration with the Lagos State Chapter of NIPR. It aims at creating a viable communications bridge-building platform for stakeholders to discuss and proffer solutions to social, political and economic challenges plaguing the nation.

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