BCG Targets Nigerian Infrastructure as it Opens Office in Lagos

  • Consultancy follows rivals Bain, McKinsey in entering Nigeria
  • BCG expects to have 50-60 consultants in the country by 2020

Boston Consulting Group opened its first office in Nigeria as it looks to target companies investing in infrastructure, even as Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer endures its worst crisis in 16 years.

BCG opened an office in Lagos, its fourth in Africa after those in South Africa, Morocco and Angola, on April 4. The firm expects to increase the number of consultants in the country to as many as 60 by 2020 from 15 today and boost its revenue by up to 20 percent annually in that period, according to Pascal Cotte, the chairman for western Europe, south America and Africa.

“This is the right time to invest in Nigeria,” Cotte said in an interview in Lagos on Tuesday. “We want to grow, almost regardless of the day-to-day volatility, which there’ll be a lot of. The oil crisis is a perfect opportunity for Nigeria to move forward.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power last May, has made infrastructure spending a priority as a way to diversify the economy from oil, which accounts for the bulk of government revenue. Economic growth fell to 2.8 percent last year as crude prices crashed, the slowest pace since 1999. It will decelerate further to 2.3 percent in 2016, the International Monetary Fund said on March 31.

BCG will try to win business from Nigeria’s federal and state governments by advising them on how to develop their infrastructure. It will also work with energy, healthcare, finance and consumer goods companies on investments in the country, said Cotte.

FX Woes

Foreign investors and local businesses have blamed the central bank’s use of capital controls for worsening the economic slump. The Abuja-based regulator has pegged the naira at 197-199 versus the dollar on the official market since March 2015, causing a hard-currency squeeze that’s made it difficult for manufacturers to import essential inputs and weakened the black market rate to around 320.

While the currency controls won’t affect BCG’s operations, they probably shouldn’t be kept for much longer, said Cotte.

“What we know is that an artificially high currency level is not sustainable,” he said.

BCG follows rivals Bain & Co and McKinsey & Co., which already have offices in Nigeria.

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