How To Export Goods From Nigeria To Other Countries

Here are two shocking statistics for you: Nigeria is the 27nd largest exporting country in the world but 90.85% of its exports come from the oil sector.

The Nigerian Government is now trying to encourage exports from other parts of the economy. It’s perhaps no wonder then that Nigerians like you are asking how to export goods from Nigeria to other countries?

Check out our ultimate guide on how to start an export business in Nigeria below…


#1 Choose a Business Name and Set Up a Website

Perhaps it sounds simple but the first step to take is choosing a business name for your export business in Nigeria.

The name should be professional, easy to remember and most importantly not be the same as an existing business name.

How do you know if a name is already taken?

We recommend that you check out the domain names with the .com ending at GoDaddy and those with a .ng ending at WhoGoHost.

You should also ask a lawyer to check whether the name is registered as a trademark in the Trademarks, Patents and Designs Registry in Nigeria.

Once you have settled on a name, it’s time to set up a website for your business.

I can’t stress how crucial a website is for your export business.

After all, every potential customer will look at your business before doing business with you.

To set up a website, register your domain names at Go Daddy and WhoGoHost. You will also need hosting for your website which can be purchased through Nigerian websites such as Web4Africa or Hostgator.

You can use a free service such as WordPress, Typepad or Blogger to design a super professional website.

#2 Pick a Nigerian Product to Export

Once you’ve picked your name and set up an online presence, the time has come to pick a product to export from Nigeria.

Let’s start with what you cannot export from Nigeria.

According to the Nigeria Customs Service, everything on the Nigeria Export Prohibition List below is a big no-no:

  • Maize
  • Timber
  • Raw hides and skin
  • Scrap Metals
  • Unprocessed rubber latex and rubber lumps
  • Artifacts and Antiquities
  • Wildlife animals classified as endangered species and their products
  • All goods imported

So, what can you export from Nigeria?

To answer this question, we need to get into the mindset of why countries such as the US might want to import from Nigeria…

According to Entrepreneur, there are 3 reasons:

  1. There are some goods that can’t be grown or made in those countries. Good examples for Nigeria would be garlic that grows well in hot and dry conditions such as the Savannah areas or shrimp which is plentiful in the Nigeria Delta areas.
  2. Some goods have a better “image” if they are imported from a certain country. Think of “Champagne from France” or “Furniture from Sweden”. Can you think of an example for Nigeria?
  3. Goods can be produced far cheaper outside of their country. Nigerian manufacturers benefit from low labor costs but won’t be able to compete on price until there is better access to electricity. 

#3 Find An Export Market  

You’ve found a product to export from Nigeria, now you need to find someone to buy it!

The trick is spotting trends.

If you can find a country to place a product just before it becomes a huge seller then, then you’re in luck.

Make sure that you do your research beforehand and check the best potential market for your product. Two essential resources are Google Trends and The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business.

You can also check out the Nigerian import and export statistics at the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.

#4 Locate a Supplier

After you have chosen a destination country, now is the time to find a supplier of your product within Nigeria.

Like most things in Naija, you can rely on word of mouth.

A better method would be to rely on reliable sources such as Alibaba and Thomas Register.

When thinking about how to export goods from Nigeria, you need to ask your supplier:

Is there a way to improve this product?

Can we make changes to the product that would appeal more to the target export product?

Let me give you an example: Nigeria is the seventh largest exporter of Cashew nuts in the world. If you were a Nigerian exporter of Cashew nuts, you could think about adding flavours to the Cashew nuts or turning the Cashew nuts into a butter or oil.

#5 Price The Product

One discussion you will definitely need to have with your supplier is how to price your product for export from Nigeria.

Once you have agreed a price for the product, you will know what your cost is for a given volume of goods.

You then should price your goods high enough so that you make a mark-up on the costs (typically 10% – 15%) but low enough so that your customer will be willing to buy them.

Of course, higher volumes will make you more money. So the aim is to export as many goods as possible.

#6 Search for Customers

We’re now at the penultimate and most crucial stage in answering the question of how to export goods from Nigeria to other countries: finding customers for your export goods. 

If you have succeeded in building a presentable website (see Step #1 above), then customers will find you.

Like that famous line from the movie Field of Dreams:

“If you build it, they will come”.

But this approach is limited somewhat. You should also reach out to prospective customers.

There are different methods to doing this. One way is to attend international or local Nigerian trade affairs in the hope of meeting customers.

Another method is to speak with the NEPC as well as Nigerian chambers of commerce and embassies in the region to which you are importing.

For example, if you were exporting goods from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, it would be a good idea to speak with the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce or Nigerian UK Businesses.

#7 Getting the Paperwork Right 

The final step in setting up an export business in Nigeria is getting the paperwork right.

Firstly, you need to register with the Nigerian Export Promotional Council (NEPC).

The next step is completing and registering something called the Form NXP with a commercial or merchant bank. The NXP Form will contain the following information:

  • Name and Address of Exporter
  • NEPC Number
  • Description of the goods to be exported
  • Quantities and their measurements
  • Unit cost of goods
  • Total cost of goods
  • Other charges, if any
  • Mode of transportation
  • Name and Address of buyer
  • Country of destination

This NXP Form is crucial as it will be sent to government bodies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the National Maritime Authority (NMA and the National Customs Service (NCS).

Other documents you will need are a sales contract with the buyer, bill of lading or exit, NEPC registration certificate and a proforma invoice.

Conclusion – How To Export Goods From Nigeria To Other Countries

Setting up an export business in Nigeria is tough work. But it can be exceptionally rewarding. In fact, exporting goods is one of the fastest growing businesses in Nigeria today.

I hope this article has helped you understand how to start export business in Nigeria.

Whether your chosen good is charcoal or ginger or something else, the basic steps are the same: (1) set up a website, (2) pick a product, (3) find an export market, (4) locate a supplier, (5) price the product, (6) search for customers, and (7) fill in the paperwork.

Btw – if you’ve found our piece useful, then check out our insanely useful article on 37 ways of making money in Nigeria. 

Have you successfully set up an an export business in Nigeria? If so, please comment below and share your thoughts on how to export goods from Nigeria to other countries. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *