Living in Nigeria, Opportunities
for expats, and education possibilities.
Nigeria is a country of great contrasts and great opportunities. Oil
(black gold) has brought great wealth to many, but this stands alongside
poverty and disease. Nigeria has so many developing markets and is fighting
to produce so many everyday products within the country that there are
huge opportunities in so many sectors.
Expatriates workers are visible in many sectors of the Nigerian economy,
but perhaps most obviously in sectors such as oil and gas, telecommunications,
banking and finance, and basic infrastructure programmes. Starting a
business can be difficult through problems such as water and electricity
supply, communication networks, the cost of land and import / export
difficulties. Much is made of security issues by the international media,
but common sense and a reliable driver will ensure that the huge majority
of disturbances can be avoided.
Most international products and services are available, but it can
take time to find them or to access them. The traffic on the roads has
to be seen to be believed and a Lagos 'go slow' can be very frustrating
making travel times excessive.
There are plenty of schools to choose from and both UK and international
programmes are available. Most of the best schools have their own websites,
but you need to visit the school to get a real feel for the place. When
you do chose a school, think carefully about location and travel times
as these can be very important factors. Ask for advice from schools
and your driver. Do not chose a distant school unless you want to consider
the option of boarding.
A levels are quite widely available, but you will probably want to
look to the UK, US, Canada or South Africa for university. Also, be
aware that many schools are still offering the (very) old GCE 'O' level
programme which was replaced in the UK by the GCSE (equivalent to IGCSE)
in the early 1980s.
There is a good choice of housing available, but you will want to take
local advice on security. Most companies employ drivers and compound
guards. Do not be surprised by the state of your 'new' house as there
is a general lack of maintenance and owners rely of the shortage of
good properties to make sure that the renter will generally paint and
redecorate the property.
There are plenty of shops, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, local
markets, a cinema, sports clubs, etc., but local knowledge is essential
as things tend to be scattered around the islands and the mainland.
Lagos is often frustrating, but never boring and the people are wonderfully
warm. Remember that this is a third world country and if you can only
live in a clean place where everything runs to time and everything works,
you will never cope here!