Wednesday, October 16, 2013

‘Safe City Solutions’ll Attract Foreign Investment’

‘Safe City Solutions’ll Attract Foreign Investment’
First published by James Emejo of This Day Newspapers, 12.23.2009

Principal Consultant, Infoplus/IBG Nigeria, Mr. Ndudi Osakwe, has identified the concept of Safe City as one of the critical indices for attracting foreign investment and tourism into the country. The concept of  Safe City portrays an environment that is void of street urchins, violence, sale of alcoholic products in motor parks and hawking of pornographic materials on highways and street corners among others.

Osakwe, who just returned from the Safe City Solutions conference held in Tel Aviv, Israel said safe city provides the prerequisite for city growth and success, increasing business opportunities and a basis for a high standard of living for residents and visitors.

The conference, which was declared open by former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Tzipi Livni, with the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Olisa Dada, in attendance showcased technological solutions that enable emergency response units, law enforcement agencies and private security companies to reduce urban violence, fight crime and prevent threats. It also provided a platform where the best minds in Homeland Security matters from around the world delivered several papers on ensuring a safe city.

 “Imagine a city in which state-of-the-art sensors detect thieves trying to break into a home, cameras record the license plate number of a car trying to rob a bank, and experienced switchboard operators handle every resident request online. This is not a city in another planet but a safe city whose policies is now implemented in many cities around the world,” he said.

He said a safe city entails a society “whose residents cooperate and respond to every violation of the norm as established by the government, a city that responds quickly to robberies, youth at risk and dysfunctional families. A safe city contributes to effective education of the preschoolers for the first five years or more in order to prevent the formation of social vices. This is a tall order in Nigeria.”

On the contrary, he observed that most Nigerian cities are homes to frustrated youths, poor families and those whose high expectations of the city environment have failed adding that these issues demand immediate remedy from the government so as to encourage foreign investment.

Osakwe, who was accompanied to the conference by Managing Director, Pahek Security, Chief Patrick Keku and Chairman, Olasco Security Nigeria Limited, Chief Unuigbe Irheren, CSP (rtd), said: “A discerning government notes that increasingly, cities and urban regions compete with other places for attention, investment, visitors, shoppers, talent, events, and the like. With globalisation, competition is no longer limited to the capital and big cities as it now directly affects all cities and concentrations of urban settlements, near and far, within and outside of the country.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Do you do business in Nigeria?

Do you have agents and distributors?

Is your product doing well in the Nigerian market?

We can help you with market appraisal.

Email for an affordable rapid market appraisal.


The Nigerian market has become very competitive and there is a need to position your business. More retail franchise especially in the food and beverages sub-sector and brands, for instance, in beauty care products are entering the market due to its enlarged middle class occasioned by the engagement of more women in workplaces, more expatriates and more repatriates taking advantage of the emerging economy with GDP growth rate of over 7%.


Food and Beverages and Beauty Care Products


a.    Looking to locate agents and distributors

b.    Having clogged channels

c.    Finding ways to open up the channels


a.    Locate pre qualified agents and distributors

b.    Identify the problems with the channels

c.    Proffer solutions


Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Africa Investor, a leading investment magazine with focus on the African continent reported that even though South Africa is recognized as Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria far outweighed it in foreign direct investment, receiving about 16 billion US dollars in FDI between June 2009 and June 2010 to lead the pack on investment index in the entire continent. However, while most of the investment was in the oil and gas sector, other sectors have received more of lip service than real investment. It is not yet Uhuru!

Agriculture has been the greatest culprit because more than 70% of Nigerian population is engaged in agriculture-subsistence agriculture-leading to huge supply gap in the food sub-sector. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that out of about 71.2 million hectares of available cultivatable agricultural land in the country, less than half is currently being utilized. This is the sector to put your funds right now. You may invest in green houses, improved seedlings for farmers, post harvest facilities, processing of produce, agricultural marketing and export.
The Nigerian food market is robust and ripe for foreign investment for the following reasons:

 a. an enlarged middle class with good disposable income, in search for good quality and well packaged products

b. increase in the demand for ready meals and cold foods (frozen products) due to rise in the employment of women especially in the services sector.

c. increase in the number of Nigerian Repatriates (returnees from overseas)

d. growth in the expansion of supermarkets and shopping malls due to the renewed interest among Nigerians for convenient shopping

e. increase in the number of Expatriates working in various projects in Nigeria.

f. increase in the number of Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) in response to the gap created by long hours at work.

Nigeria has been reported to be one of the few countries in the world now that up to 30% return on investment can be achieved. Take a chance!
Let us be your guide. Email us on




Tuesday, July 30, 2013



I feel humbled to be called upon to give the closing remarks on this August occasion on “Doing Business in Israel” put together by the Nigeria Israel Chamber of Commerce and Infoplus Business Information Services.

Israel has been described by one of the speakers as a mission, practical and focused with know-how, new concepts and set of skills that have transformed its economy, whereby once desert areas have been transformed into agricultural fields; and the country able to feed itself and to export! As a matter of fact, Israel’s capacity for innovation has been identified as its main strength such that insecurity and other significant adverse conditions have not fazed the citizens of this great country from digging deep into research and development. The World Economic Forum recently issued its Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-13 which indicated that Israel remains a competitive player in the international economy.
I will paraphrase the works of Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their book on the ‘Start- up Nation, the story of Israel’s economic miracle’. In this book, the authors noted that Israel has something to offer that is sought by other countries, including countries that are considered on the forefront of global competitiveness. According to the authors, in addition to the institutional elements that make up clusters-which Finland, Singapore and Korea (South) already possess, what is missing in these other countries is a cultural core built in a rich stew of aggressiveness and team orientation, on isolation and connectedness, and on being small and aiming big.

The secret then of Israel’s success is the combination of some classic elements of technology clusters with some unique Israeli elements that enhance the skills and experience of individuals, make them work together more effectively as teams and provide tight and readily available connections within an established and growing community.
Messrs Dan Senor and Saul Singer further noted that while innovation is scarce, it is a renewable resource. Unlike finite natural resources, ideas can spread and benefit whichever countries are best positioned to take advantage of them; regardless of where they are invented.

Imagine therefore a country as Nigeria endowed with youths with abundant energy and overflowing ideas channeled into wrong activities, most of which have brought shame and mistrust to the country. In my candid opinion, Israel serves as one country with ideas that can be deployed to implement the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government. Countries such as India and Singapore are aware of this fact and have entered partnership with the state of Israel for scientific and technological research and development. Our NOTAP (Nigerian Office for Technological Acquisition and Promotion) should consider a high level discussion with the government of Israel through its Embassy in Nigeria to implement the technical agreement signed by both countries several years ago.
It gives me joy that in this gathering, we have representatives of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, various state governments and members of Nigeria Israel Chamber of Commerce, I hope that we took notes.

I look forward to a day, when like Pilgrims to the Holyland, the Nigerian Government considers sending equal number of young Nigerians on study exchange to Israel. Our economic recovery journey would have been shortened.
Long live the Nigeria Israel Chamber of Commerce.

Consultant, INFOPLUS


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Egi MJG Launches Float Glass Manufacturing Plant In Nigeria

mara group
VENTURES AFRICA – Egi MJG Float Glass, a joint venture between the Egi Community, Mara Group, JS Group and Ghani Group in River State today announced the groundbreaking for their first float glass manufacturing plant in Nigeria, which is valued at $210 million. The production facility in Rivers State which aims to produce 500 tonnes of float glass per day will cost $110 million during the first phase, and an additional $100 million during the second expansion phase.

During the ceremony, Prashant Manek, Director at Mara Group, declared: “Today’s groundbreaking is a first step in making Nigeria self sufficient in terms of glass manufacturing. As a result of the strategic location and the locally available raw materials, we are highly confident that we will be able to build a world-class, cost-competitive facility.”

According to Ali Siddiqui, CEO of JS Group, “since the year 2000, the global float glass industry has experienced strong growth. In particular, the industry has significant potential in West Africa and this project in Rivers State is a strategic investment in the building materials sector in Nigeria.” Chief Oris U. Onyiri, President-General of the Egi People’s Assemble stated that the community was “extremely excited with the development of this plant.” According to him, the development will generate employment and transformation.

Nigeria’s domestic demand has increased to an estimated 360,000 tonnes per year as a result of the country’s booming housing industry but is highly dependent on imports from Europe, South America and particularly China as a result of the lack of domestic float glass plants.

Source: Ventures.

NB: We recall doing a market study for Euromonitor, an international market research organization  on the prospects of the Floating Glass subsector in Nigeria. This is a timely investment by the Mara Group, JS Group,  Ghani Group and the Egi Community.  As noted by Ventures, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

We are at your disposal in Nigeria for market research, business intelligence and trade advisory. Email us on

Thursday, July 25, 2013


We are business facilitators, market researchers and consultants. We are Nigerians as well as Israelis. We have lived and worked in Israel and now do the same in Nigeria therefore we understand the cultural nuances in both countries. 'We speak their languages'.

Coming back to Nigeria was to represent the US federal states of Missouri and California Offices of International Marketing, East Mediterranean Regional Office in Nigeria. We have since moved on to doing business in other parts of the world, leading business delegations to Singapore, China and Israel. Amongst other things, we have also contributed to doing ‘business beyond borders’ by holding a seminar on cross border trade between Nigeria and Benin Republic in collaboration with the Consulate of Benin Republic, Lagos. Recently we collaborated with the Nigeria-Israeli Chamber of Commerce to host a seminar on Doing Business in Israel. We provide market intelligence, conduct market research, do business matching, assist with market entry, help to locate agents and distributors. The Principal Consultant is also an academic and for his Ph.D would be investigating Nigeria-China business relations by applying various spatial interaction models....that's for another day!
There are many other things that we do as business consultants. Like... we offer non pilgrimage travel services to locations within Israel that traditional pilgrimage may not consider. As a matter of fact, this service is packaged with the middle to upper class in mind whereby in addition to their routine of unwinding in locations in Nigeria, are also able to temporarily get away from the hustle and bustle of Nigerian daily living.

Israel is particularly interesting because of the range of options it offers on stress relief, age renew and body rejuvenation. It is also a great location for honeymoon getaways, vows renewal, spiritual rebirth and journey of a lifetime experience. The Dead Sea was first brought into prominence by Cleopatra the King of Egypt and the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon's mistress. The Roman Caesars were also regulars at this World's only natural Spa. Today, visitors from all over the world throng the Dead Sea especially for Wellness.
On the other hand, Eilat with its breath taking view of the Red Sea is a resort worth visiting. Visit to Israel without reaching Jerusalem is incomplete. We do not wish to bore you more by telling you about the myths and holiness of Jerusalem.

Just form a group of ten persons and give us a call. Special surprises await you. Email

Thursday, January 10, 2013


By Sherwin Pomerantz

The basic economic statistics for 2012 are now beginning to surface and it is clear that economically, in spite of the world’s financial doldrums, Israel did pretty well.

From 2009-2012 Israel experienced economic growth of 14.7%, well ahead of most OECD countries (e.g. US – 3.2%, Germany – 2.7%, Australia – 10.7%, Canada – 4.8%) and much better than the general decline in economic growth in Europe of 1.5%. Israel might have had even better results if not for the continued sabotaging of the natural gas line from Egypt which caused the country to replace that source of energy by purchasing fuel from more expensive suppliers. There is, of course, no telling ultimately what will happen with that situation, as much depends on how the political situation in Egypt evolves.

In 2012, Israel demonstrated economic growth of 3.3%, which was more than double the OECD average of 1.4%. The only two major economies of the world that did better than Israel were India, which saw 4.5% growth, and China which experienced 7.5% growth. Coupled with this growth was a decline in Israeli unemployment to 6.9%, also lower than the OECD average of 8%.

Where Israel really did well last year was in tourism. With 2.9 million tourists in 2012 the country set a new annual record and 2013 looks to be even better, given existing travel agency bookings. The single largest group of tourists came from the US, while other significant sources of tourism included Russia, France, Germany and Britain with a growing cadre of visitors from Asia. This will, no doubt, continue to improve as even countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations such as Malaysia, are now permitting their nationals to travel to Israel, especially for religious tourism.

The challenge for the country, of course, is to keep these numbers progressing in the positive direction and to leverage Israel’s position as the world’s second largest source of innovation so as to spur continued economic growth. For the moment, large firms worldwide continue their interest in growing their Israel operations. As examples, Google late last year opened a start-up incubator in Israel and Dutch giant Phillips has also announced the establishment of a new R&D center in the country.

All of this, of course, remains quite amazing in the face of continuing political distress among most of Israel’s neighbors which, in Syria’s case, has resulted in large scale fatalities as well. Israel’s added value is its depth of technological capability along with relative political and financial stability.

Ndudi Osakwe and Sherwin Pomerantz are associates on Doing Business In Israel. His company, EDI continues to encourage its clients and prospects to explore opportunities in Israel further, as the firm is uniquely positioned both to assist foreign entities to gain a foothold locally and to assist local companies to locate strategic partners overseas. 

For Nigeria-Israel business inquiry, look no further...reach us on

US ExIm continues support to its Firms selling to Nigeria

Ex-Im Approves $15.7 Million Direct Loan to Finance Export
of American-made Fire Trucks to Nigeria

Washington, D.C. – The board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized a $15.7 million direct loan to the state government of Lagos, Nigeria, to underwrite the purchase of 32 American fire-fighting vehicles manufactured by W.S. Darley & Co. (Darley) of Itasca, Ill.

The loan, which is in line with the Administration’s “Doing Business in Africa Campaign,” will support approximately 100 U.S. jobs, according to bank estimates derived from Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology. Moreover, 65 percent of the financing is expected to support American small businesses.
“This transaction reflects our continued commitment to increasing exports to sub-Saharan Africa while supporting American small-business jobs,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “Additionally, the financing, which targets one of our nine key markets, ensures the government of Lagos can respond efficiently and effectively to emergency situations.”

The State of Lagos, which is home to Nigeria’s commercial center and largest city of the same name, plans to upgrade its fleet of fire-fighting vehicles. The governor of Lagos has declared that the expansion and re-equipping of the fire service is an urgent matter of state security.

Darley is a family-owned small business founded in 1908. The company, which has exported its products to foreign markets since the 1940s, designs and manufactures firefighting trucks, equipment, pumping, and safety gear.

“Darley Company is excited to have the opportunity to work with the Lagos Nigeria Fire Service on this important contract,” said Peter Darley, vice president of Darley. “This project was only possible because our customer was able to secure financing with the assistance of Ex-Im. As a small business, this type of support meant we were able to compete with other companies outside of the US for this business. Darley, as well as some of our key partner suppliers, will need to hire new employees so we can fulfill this order.” Darley’s Africa Representative, Trinity International Inc. of Potomac, Md., arranged the transaction. In FY 2012, Ex-Im Bank authorized more than $1.5 billion to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years (from Fiscal Year 2008), Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services (see

Our Office facilitates Ex-Im loans through our collaboration with Trade Credit Group (TCG) and the Espirito Santo Bank (ESB) and available to fast track assistance to Nigerian medium to large companies and Government Agencies that wish to buy USA. 

We can be reached by email on for more information.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The Nigerian Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is renown nationally for his passion for the development of the agricultural sector of the country. I recall an experience at the BRACED summit held in Asaba, Delta State where he would not yield to the ten minutes assigned to him by the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Ms Evelyn Oputu to make his presentation. He was widely applauded. I was present at the summit as an investment attraction consultant

Like the ebullient Minister for Agriculture, we believe that agriculture should move from its present level of subsistence to a level where modern techniques and technologies are employed in its practice, particularly in an environment as ours where agriculture is the major occupation of the people. As a matter of fact, engaging the youths, especially the educated and fresh graduates would drastically reduce the level of unemployment currently faced in the country.

In 2013 therefore, we have put together a program with the objective of exposing Nigerians interested in farming to modern technologies and methods of Agriculture; from cultivation to processing, post harvest, marketing and export. The program, it is hoped, will inspire them to become independent agricultural business owners.

Israel has been chosen for the study tours on the strength of the innovative agricultural practices that have earned the country a pride of place in the comity of nations, agriculturally speaking. 

Agriculture in Israel is the success story of a long, hard struggle against adverse conditions and of making maximum use of arable land and scarce water. Its success lies in the determination and ingenuity of farmers and scientists who have dedicated themselves to developing a flourishing agriculture.

The close cooperation between R&D and industry led to the development of a market-oriented agri-business that exports agro-technology solutions worldwide. A good lesson to countries, including Nigeria, in dire need of solutions in their war against hunger, diseases, morbidity and mortality!

The proposed trips to Israel designed for at least ten persons would comprise of practical eight (8) days training sessions of lectures, study tours and excursions to various sites of interest in Israel including farms, agricultural processing plants, technology centres, the export and international cooperation institute.

The study tours and lectures will be given in English by Israeli experts drawn from the academia, state ministry of agriculture and entrepreneurs.

Overview of Israeli Agricultural Technology
Logistic Framework of Export: Harvest, Post Harvest, Packing and Transportation
Milk Production in Israel
Agricultural Risk Management                                                                
Marketing of agricultural products
Establishment of Value Chain Structure for Various Commodities
Agricultural Project Management; design, implementation and management

Study Tours
Kaplan Engineering and Agricultural Projects
Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute
Greenhouse; Intensive Vegetable Production
Intensive Crop Production Nursery
Drip Irrigation Company
Aquaculture – Fish Processing
Milk Products; Soft cheese, Yogurt and hard Cheese
Open-market and Supermarket as integral parts of the value chain
Field crop storage warehouse and harvesting machinery

The first program has been scheduled for March 2013 to hold in Israel. On request, sessions may be held in locations in Nigeria.

For further inquiries, email or call +234 1 878 2864.