Michael Chu’di Ejekam, a recognized authority in retail real estate development, discusses a recent article about the planned entry of a major grocery chain into Nigeria and the problems faced by prior attempts by other retailers.
Ejekam says, “Though some retailers have struggled and exited the Nigeria market, those with the appropriate business models can survive and thrive. In many respects, Nigeria represents the perfect storm for retail as well as real estate investment; Large and growing population of 180 million, burgeoning middle class, rapid urbanization, high growth in household consumption. The same positive trend applies to many markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria’s population is forecast to grow to 400 million population by 2050 in a land mass about 30% larger than the US state of Texas.”
Nigeria is the largest retail market in Africa with nearly $200 Billion annual total retail sales forecast for 2016. Only 5% of groceries sales, for example, is via formal retail channels. Kenya, in contrast, has 30% formal penetration.
Ejekam continued to say, “Despite huge demand versus supply imbalance for Nigeria retail; retailers struggle to scale. Retail scalability is limited due to challenges in securing land, high construction costs, difficulty in securing equity and debt financing, high rental rates, the dearth of development expertise, limited pool of tenants with appropriate business models for the country”.
The impact of the underdevelopment of retail is felt by the general population. High food prices is a major problem: Approximately 60% of Nigerian household expenditure is devoted to food consumed at home vs. 6.5% in the USA.
Nigeria is merely at the first step of retail growth (development, leading to the next stage of acceleration and then consolidation thereafter). Despite the short-term challenges in the Nigeria market including currency, retailers entering or operating with the correct business models will reap the rewards for decades to come.
About Michael Chu’di Ejekam
Michael Chu’di Ejekam is a renowned leader in the “retail revolution”. He is a widely quoted retail thought leader, with strong local business and government relationships. Michael Chu’di Ejekam served as Director Real Estate for W Africa for Actis, a $7.5 Billion private equity firm- most active retail developer in Sub-Saharan Africa (ex SA) for 7+ years. Ejekam originated $700+ Million in retail projects. Projects include $100 Million Ikeja City Mall Lagos, $120 Million Jabi Lake Mall Abuja and Accra Mall. Other projects include Heritage Place, Nigeria’s first green certified commercial building. Originated three upcoming Nigeria malls ranging from $150-185 Million each totaling over 40,000m2 each, which would be largest in the region. Michael Chu’di Ejekam started his career on Wall Street, as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York.
He graduated with Honors from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with BSc in Economics with a Concentration in Finance. He received the Howard E Mitchell Award for academic excellence and extracurricular contributions. Learn more about Michael Chu’di Ejekam here.