The 5 Companies Driving Nigeria's Trade Growth In Africa


In June 2018, Afriscaper released a report on intra-Africa trade titled ‘Nigeria: Intra-Africa Non-Oil Export Guide

In the report, we highlighted that despite being Africa’s largest economy by GDP, Nigeria could do much better on trading with other African countries and driving intra-Africa trade.

As a follow up to the report, we have identified 5 companies that are driving Nigeria’s trade integration with other African countries.

However, we will first start by emphasizing why intra-africa trade is important.

Why Intra-Africa Trade is Important

The ability to export commodities remains the driving force of development in sub-Saharan economies. Comparing GDP to exports highlights the strong relationship that exists between GDP and export earnings. For every additional dollar exported, GDP is likely to increase by US$3.5 dollars.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy with a GDP of about $405 billion as at April 2018 (Word Bank), down from a high of $584 billion in 2016. It is also one of Africa’s largest consumer of consumables.

Generally, the African continent is growing from an economic point of view. Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. With a growing middle class across the continent and rising inter-Africa trade, it is only normal to expect that Nigeria’s economic growth will be linked to other African countries primarily because of geography.

5 Companies Driving Nigeria’s Trade Integration with Africa

Below are the five companies that are driving trade growth between Nigeria and the rest of Africa

Dangote Group

  • Revenue: $4.1 billion (2017)
  • Employees: 30,000
  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • Number of African Country Operations: 10

The Dangote Group is a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, founded by Aliko Dangote. It is the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent. The group employs more than 30,000 people, generating revenue in excess of US$4.1 billion in 2017.

The company was founded in 1981 as a trading enterprise, importing sugar, cement, rice, fisheries and other consumer goods for distribution in the Nigeria market. The group moved into manufacturing in the 1990s, starting with textiles, moving onto flour milling, salt processing and sugar refining by the end of the decade. The company next moved into cement production, growing rapidly and moving into other African countries. A high degree of vertical integration is a hallmark of Dangote Group’s operating strategy.

The group now owns and operates over 18 subsidiaries, and operates in ten African countries.

The Dangote Group is responsible for almost single-handedly helping Nigeria achieve self-sufficiency in cement production.

One of the subsidiaries in the Dangote Group, Dangote Cement, is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and its market capitalization accounts for almost 20 percent of the total capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The Dangote Group is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.


  • Revenue: $1.5 billion (2016)
  • Employees: 1,500 (2017)
  • Industry: Telecoms
  • Number of African Country Operations: 4

Globacom Limited (or GLO) is a Nigerian multinational telecommunications company privately owned by Mike Adenuga.

GLO started operations on 29 August 2003 and operates in four countries in West Africa, namely Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. As of June 2009, the company employed more than 2,500 people but the number is currently estimated at 1,500 people.

GLO has an estimate of over 34 million subscribers (April 2016) of which 26 million are internet subscribers.

Globacom is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.

United Bank For Africa

  • Revenue: $1.5 billion (2017)
  • Employees: 12,000 (2017)
  • Industry: Financial Services
  • Number of African Country Operations: 20

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is one of Africa’s largest financial institutions with operations in 20 African countries and 3 global financial centers: New York, London and Paris. UBA has more than fourteen million customers and over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points globally.

In 2005, it completed one of the biggest mergers in the history of Nigeria’s capital markets with the business combination with Standard Trust Bank (STB) Plc. From then, it continued to expand to Ghana, Benin Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, Mozambique, Senegal, Congo DR, Congo Brazzaville and Mali.

In 2006, the bank pioneered the interconnection of its then 428 African branches making it the largest online real time branch network in Africa. Africans are able to withdraw or deposit money in any of these branches regardless of where their accounts are domiciled.

Since then, the bank has remained in the forefront of technology innovation in the African banking space, launching the first artificial intelligence Virtual Banking Robot in the African market early 2018.

Guaranty Trust Bank

  • Revenue: $1.4 billion (2017)
  • Employees: 30,000 (2017)
  • Industry: Financial Services
  • Number of African Country Operations: 10

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc also known as GTBank or simply GTB is a Nigerian multinational financial institution, that offers Online/Internet Banking, Retail Banking, Corporate Banking, Investment Banking and Asset Management services, with its head office in Lagos, Nigeria.

The bank was formed in 1988 by over 35 young Nigerians in their thirties, spearheaded mostly by Tayo Aderinokun and Fola Adeola, but also included Femi Pedro, Gbolahan Osibodu, Femi Akingbe, Akin Opeodu and others. The bank was incorporated as a limited liability company licensed to provide commercial and other banking services to the Nigerian public in 1990 and commenced operations in February 1991.

Today, Osaretin Demuren is Chairman and Segun Agbaje is Managing Director/CEO. The other board of directors are Adebayo Adeola, Olabode Augusto, Ibrahim Hassan, Hezekiah Oyinlola, Imoni Akpofure, Olutola Omotola, Demola Odeyemi, Miriam Olusanya, Haruna Musa and Bolaji Lawal.

GTBank has operations in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, Tanzania & the UK.

Nigerian Breweries

  • Revenue: $1.1 billion (2017)
  • Employees: 3,300 (2017)
  • Industry: Food & Beverage
  • Number of African Country Exports: 13

Nigerian Breweries Plc is a Nigeria-based brewing company and has Chief Kolawole B. Jamodu (OFR) as its Chairman. The company was incorporated in 1946 and started operations in 1949.

The Company is engaged in brewing, marketing and selling of lager, stout, non-alcoholic malt drinks and soft drinks.

The Company produces both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in addition to ancillary businesses which includes manufacturing cans, labels, cartons and bottles.

It operates over 10 breweries and two malting plants in Aba and Kaduna. It currently exports to 13 African Countries.



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