Challenges with Doing Business On the Internet from Nigeria

I came across an article at NigeriaGalleria.com just now, that not only highlights some of the challenges of doing business online from Nigeria, but also offers some solid advice on going around the challenges. It’s titled: “Obstacles to Conducting Internet Business in Nigeria“.

These obstacles vary from the poor electricity supply in Nigeria, to the lack of an online payment system (aside the expensive Interswitch gateway).Β  I must confess that this article has inspired me to offer some suggestions to folks in Nigeria, on how they can receive and make payment online for their personal and business needs.

Back to NigeriaGalleria.com, I must say that I love the article. The author is not named but he/she is objective enough to concede that Nigeria has a very bad name on the Internet. No thanks to the 419 and ebay scammers. He/she also points to the fact that some online businesses do not do business with residents of Nigeria, at all and has this to say to them:

The reality is that we don’t need them to be successful. Nigeria has a population of more that 140M (2006 estimates) and counting, and there is enough cash in the economy and e-business awareness to make money online without bowing down to Paypal, Yahoo and other characters that believe that nothing good can come out of Nigeria. The Nigerian economy is large enough to create internet millionaires and billionaires without funds from abroad. Nigerian IT gurus can team together to develop a Nigerian online payment system, if that is not in the works already.

Things are changing gradually, with Visa and MasterCard coming to Nigeria, and Nigeria being delisted from the FATF blacklist. A day will come when Paypal will beg to come to Nigeria the way Google was grilled before they were allowed to operate in China.

Are you in Nigeria trying to survive in a honest way online? Share your thoughts about your experiences and challenges.

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Avatar of Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.

55 Comments

  1. Its really difficult trying to survive in a honest way online as you put it.
    Not with the difficulty in opening a paypal account which most companies pay with in Nigeria.
    To be sincere, I am tired of this whole idea of making money online here in Nigeria…….as it is a difficult thing for you, if you are not financially buoyant enough to carry out the processes

    • I’ll have to agree with most here. especially Yomi. I think the good ones (Nigerians) should go out and set an example for the bad eggs/majority. Plus Efcc/government should please do something. Now big companies like SONY and so on are even using Nigeria’s scam image to make ads.

  2. Ifeoluwa, I agree with you that it is indeed very difficult doing business on the Internet, from Nigeria. Aside the 419 menace, the biggest problem in my opinion, is the grossly inadequate electricity supply. It is possible to go around all the problems but one needs much money to do that. πŸ˜•

    But then, with enough faith, perseverance and handwork, nothing is impossible. πŸ™‚

  3. Yes sir, you have said “RIGHT”..Internet business and trying to make a living from the internet had been so tidious these days for we the nigerians that it only take consistency, perseverance, handwork and determination coupled with some raw cash to be invested if not out rightly impossible to make money online…Meanwhile, to many trying to make money in a legit way as become a white elephant project cause it was nt a kind of “get rich quick” or “get rich over night’ idea..It takes the favour, and the grace of God *lol*

    Moreover, I have gotten a legit way of making money online with the investment of little amount, and this program could pay off within a day if taken serious and back up with hardwork, it has worked for me and its still working for me up till now… And it can WORK FOR ANYONE TOO.

    Check it out here http://www.e-cashmint.blogspot.com

  4. Severally I have been disturbed by the figures I read and hear people make online and yet Nigerians are kept away from it. The height of my anger is that we have people here in the country that walk shoulders-high in the name of internet gurus. To such group of people I have have this to say. “there is no amount of success outside the home can make up for failure in the home” Keep doing it out there and let your home be a total failure. You are indeed a failure.

    If you have no tears in your eyes, I weep looking at Nigerians trying tirelessly to make ends meet online in a lawful and legitimate way, but all their efforts are futile. Yet you parade yourselvs as brothers and fellow Nigerians. πŸ˜•

    • I feel for you Godfather. You could have been more specific with the people you had in mind. Perhaps, that would touch their conscience and push them to make amends.

      All the same, keep on keeping on.

  5. guy i don tire for this naija. person no see food chop. the clothe wey i wear now na borrow borrow. As you see me now i don tire

  6. well most people still find it difficult to believe that you can make money online in Nigeria.Well making money online in nigeria is possible,though it is not as easy as you would want ,but however one can still make a reasonable income online in nigeria if you remain resilient and dogged in you resolve like me.well if you want to know more on unlimited online making possibilities available to average Nigerians like you.Hit my blog site on chinemeremz.blogspot.com or email me on [email protected]

  7. well guess you guys said it all I think if we all work together maybe we can open a back door out of poverty and frustration for most Nigerians. I recently opened a website to help people like my self who have tried for years to make legit money and who have avoided the yahoo yahoo stuff not just because it’s wrong, but also because it puts us in a situation where people from other parts of the world restrain themselves from anything Nigerian.Lets help Nigerians make a positive change

  8. well it’s quite a pity that in a country like ours we can actually claim that “gurus” exist anyway we just need to put our heads together to help one another in proffering legit, minimal risk, online money making solutions. ‘course I believe that online jobs could be our long awaited doorway out of poverty please if you want to help visit my website yemiekesworld.page.tl. goodluck

  9. My fellow Nigerians, you have said a lot. Some are true some are false. It is not impossible or difficult to make money online from Nigeria. In my opinion, there are two problems we have (1) Ignorance – how many Nigerians actually take time to study before they leap, every one wants to jump into business and make money especially when there are promises of becoming a Millionaire overnight (2) The second problem is that of lack of ingenuity, we want to do things the way others do in the Western world, we forget that we are Africans and we can do our thing our way. I don’t want to talk more than this but I have been making money online for years now, you may visit my page at http://www.mycomputervillage.com

  10. Thanks josef!
    Deliver yourself from ignorance and overdependent on the whites by reading articles on how to make genuine money online at geniusplanet11.com. You will end up coming out with your own unique idea about making money online. Don’t imitate, innovate!
    Be part of this internet history, one million Nigerians making genuine money online.

  11. i have being looking for genuine ways of making money online .i need more guidance the whole thing look like a trap to collect the little money i have .

  12. hello,
    i would like to start a business export of a foodstuff yam flour(elubo)and i dont know if you could possibly make connections for me to start the export the yam flour is one of the best in Nigeria from kwara state, i did like to start it but i need someone ready to buy them it shall be processed and packaged, ready for preparation & consumption.
    i’ll be glad if my message/request is given serious consideration as these will help to create jobs and to serve as source of revenue for our dear country.
    thanks and God bless

  13. Hello Nigeria,
    Am new to this site.I have been thinking my time on reseach about internet business for something now,but have not really put my hand in anyone. Pls i need someone who could be of help so we could do this together.I will appreciate if i could read from a person that has being in ths business for long.my mailbox [email protected]

  14. please i’m a nigerian and i’ve been thinking of internet business that can really favour a nigerian citizen bcos all i’ve seen is for other countries.

  15. yes while i do agree that doing business successfully here in Nigeria has its problems i do not also agree that it is for the rich alone. all you actually need knowledge on how to go around most of the problems and determination to succeed.

    for example after wasting time and money with stupid programs like hyip and paid to read mails stuff i finally found a way to make money. in my first 3 weeks i had made $250 and then got a computer and the rest is history. now i make about $1,000 monthly as a freelance writer all because i bought a book and was determined to put the information to successful use

    u can succeed. what if i told you of a freelance writing site where when you join you can start earning 3 days after. u dont ve to beg for jobs, they are waiting to be done. what about a survey site and how to register so as to get steady surveys sent to you and make at least $400 a month from just the one website?

    many complain that they have not made money online, seriously how many how to make money online ebooks have you read? or u just googled up something or two and expected to become the next bill from it? the conclusion is that u need information and lots of it. u need to read up what works and how it does work.

    to help u may try, freeinfoclub.com a simple resource website with over 100 ebooks on plenty various topics. u can succeed online, learn as much as u cam, be determined and not ready to give up with each obstacle. also get free training from people who have made money here in nigeria online.

    best wishes

    Leno
    08038177950

  16. Hi, can someone explain to me how the Interswitch thing and naira2u.com actually work? How secure is it? I mean in terms of receiving payments electronically from customers for services that I shall provide them with?

    What I wanted to know was, how to obtain payment from customers (where they will be required to register their method of payment/account/debit card details with my company)and authorise payment every single time and only prior to using the services that the company is providing, so it works that their payment goes through first before the service is delivered. Can this work in Nigeria? If the payment does not go through, then the service cannot be delivered. The idea is for both the payment and the service provided happend electronically and instantly as well.

    • Interswitch is the best Internet payment platform in Nigeria today. Not only is their system denominated in Naira, but most of the cards issued by all 25 banks in Nigeria are linked to the Interswitch network. That is a huge market for you to target.

  17. Hello all,

    Whenever I see this type of topic, Im always touched by all your coments. Forgive me if I write out of point but what happened is that after I had written a nice piece previously, I got distracted and by the time I returned the page was refreshed and all my write up gone.
    Not to be detered, I am trying again, I hope I remember all the points.

    Interswitch: Can anybody please tell me if they have changed their registration fee of N160k yet?

    Interswitch is a company that works well with the banks doing whatever they do, but they are not interested in the common merchant online and that is why they have such high fees for a service that as rightly pointed out is supposed to be free
    .(P.S – to those blaming paypal, do you know that befor such a company can come to Nigeria, the onus is on Interswitch to complete their homework, which it is far from doing for now because there are lots of loopholes in interswitch which they cannot take care of as yet. now dont ask me why)

    There a number of indegenous online payment providers here in Nigeria such as SoftPay.org, Neticash.com, Netnaira.com(which claims to have 15,700 users and counting, lol) naira2u,com(which is up for sale) and many more.
    It is these companies that need to register with interswitch so that common merchants can accept through them without having to pay stupid fees to inter-on/off. πŸ™‚

    This is the way it is done abroad. Not every company can afford to have a merchant account so they go through 2checkout or Paypal(which are third party payment processors too)

    Indeed the present method if giving out all your banking information on your website is not the best for obvious reasons. We only do that as a last result because we think we have not a choice.(but we do)

    I think what we should be suggesting here is more names of local processors and comments from people who have used them. Some are good for different things they do so we can compare and choose those that best suit us, and theres is no harm in applying all of them so your your customers can choose to pay you as they like.

    I dont like writing long reads and need to go to bed now anyway, so I must stop and continue this feed nextime(that is if I am able to find this link again. I hope)

    Then I will touch on the famous e-gold(what are they famous for?) and other solutions.

    Thank you for reading.

  18. walahi.com is one of Nigeria’s online business I appreaciate.walahi.com is an online bookstore which I hope if they continually innovate could compete with amazon, and other notable giants like barnes and noble.

    walahi.com marketing effort is not enough as of now. Not many people know them.Maybe, they are still new. They have to have more books, do more of awareness.

    I recently shop on their site and the experience is international standard. They accept Interswitch ATM card,VISA Card and bank deposit.Making it easier for those that are skeptical using their cards online.

  19. The challenge of doing online business in Nigeria has to do with the following:
    1. personel> Most aspiring online entreprenuers are mostly young nigerians who just came out from school.They donot have capital nor the experience of running a business venture in a turbulent economy like nigeria.Experience businessmen in nigeria donot want to invest in internet based business.They prefer to be doing their diesel supply businesses, suppliers, etc

  20. I am presently researching on ways Nigerians can easily make legitimate money online without hassles and things such as hiding your IP.
    The bad news is they are very difficult to find.
    Not to worry, because the good news is I’ve found some.
    You can visit internetbizguidenigeria.blogspot.com for more info.

  21. FRIENDS,
    IT,S QUITE A PITY THAT WE ARE IN SUCH MESS HERE IN THIS COUNTRY. THE PAINFUL ASPECT IS WHERE EVERYONE SUFFERS SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE FOOLISHNESS, STUPIDITY, AND CALLOUS ACTS OF A VERY FEW BAD EGGS IN THIS NATION STATE CALLED NIGERIA. YOU BET THAT I AM ONE OF THOSE TRYING SERIOUSLY TO DO LEGITIMATE BUSINESS ONLINE BUT BECAUSE OF VERY OBVIOUS REASONS, VERY PAINFUL THOUGH, WE ARE SHOULD I SAY SEGREGATED, EXEMPTED FROM SUCH OPPORTUNITIES ONLINE. TO A LARGE EXTENT I DO NOT BLAME PAYPAL, ALERTPAY, ETC BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE A REPUTATION TO PROTECT BUT THE MISTAKE THEY MADE IS THAT THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE STOPPED US OUTRIGHTLY INSTEAD, IF THEY MUST, THEY SHOULD TRY AND VERIFY THE SOURCE OF THE MONIES NIGERIANS MAKE ONLINE WITH THEIR SERVICE. WHERE SUCH MONIES COME FROM INDIVIDUALS THEN THEY CAN TRY AND MAKE SURE THAT THE PAYER IS IN NO WAY HOODWINKED TO PARTING AWAY WITH HIS/HER HARD-EARNED MONEY. BUT WHERE SUCH COMES FROM DOING LEGITIMATE ONLINE BIZ WHO CARES. AFTERALL IT’S A PAY FOR DOING GENUINE BIZ. TO OUR LEADERS AND BROTHERS WHO THINK THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO PAINT US BLACK, I HAVE THIS MESSAGE FOR YOU: A TIME SHALL COME WHEN YOU FOLKS WILL SAY “IF I HAD KNOWN…”. THE EARLIER YOU REALIZE THE DAMAGE YOU ARE DOING AND CEASE FROM IT, THE BETTER FOR YOU IN PARTICULAR. WHAT HAPPENS THESE DAYS IS THAT NIGERIANS SEE HOW THEY CAN THROUGH THE BACK DOOR OPEN U.S. BANK ACCOUNTS. IMAGINE!!! JUST IMAGINE!! OF ALL BANK ACCOUNTS WE SWEAT TO OPEN A U.S. BASED BANK ACCOUNT SIMPLY BECAUSE OF PAYPAL. GOD FORBID. NO MORE TO SAY THAN TO SAY THAT THOSE OVERSEAS ARE FORTUNATE BECAUSE OF THE UNLIMITED ACCESS. WE HERE SHOULD START TALKING ABOUT IT ESPECIALLY IN THE NATIONAL NEWS. WE HAVE TO PUT A STOP TO ALL THIS BULLSHIT HAPPENING AND AFFECTING THE INNOCENT! YOU CAN PRAY TO SLEEP AND WAKE UP TO SEE YOURSELF IN AMERICA. PITY!!

    08032325433

  22. The crux of the matter is that it is difficult doing any sort of busioness in Nigeria, be it online or offline. The terrain is just impossible.

    Many businesses – small and large – die daily. Many of those still in operation are struggling, and believe me when I say that this includes some of the largest. The problem we see with banks today underscores this plainly.

    I doff my hat for those who resiliently keep their businesses going in this country – offline or online.

  23. May I also mention here that Nigerians love self-deception. We keep saying that our image is due to the activities of “a few bad eggs”, when in reality the majority of people are involved in corruption in various ways – bribery, falsification of age and/or documents, examination malpractices, driving against traffic, beating traffic lights, promising services we cannot deliver on, et al.

    The list is almost endless.

    For example, at every corner, you see people accuse our political leaders of cheating on the followership, and in the very same vein these people themselves don’t blink about cheating their employers, employees, or customers.

    It is insane.

    As a nation, a significant proportion of Nigerians are bad. The earlier we admit this and change, the better for us.

    • I’m TOTALLY on board with you. In some little way, every Nigerian is corrupt. It’s like me for example having to pay a small token so that my international passport can be processed a lot faster and before others who have previously submitted before me ;).

      With regards to doing business, I’d say my greatest challenge has being reliable internet connection. Thank God for the likes of ETISALAT and GLO, the problem is gradually being resolved.

  24. Massa Nigeria is corrupted with fraud on the internet it true and the whole world knows it . PERIOD……

  25. I have often wondered what a successfully run internet based business in Nigeria would be like. All the same I believe that despite the challenges, it is still possible to make a success of any internet based business you set up in Nigeria.

  26. Hello,

    I would like to say at this junction that population alone doesn’t just make Nigeria a big, you might also want to consider the acceptance of technology. A lot of Nigerian still prefer to do things the traditional way which on the long run isn’t good online businesses

    • True talk. The population of the educated and internet users is important but the recent ranking of Nigeria’s internet users places Nigeria at the 2nd position in Africa with about 11 million internet users. That is still a very huge market for any serious internet entrepreneur. Won’t you agree?

  27. To accept mastercard online you have to pay N1.60M NAIRA!(one point six million naira)Outrageous.How can ecommerce develop in Nigeria with such fees? Interswitch, 150k, etc.

    In develop economies accepting payment cards online is peanuts.

    The problem is we donot have good government at all levels. I wonder what agencies like national assembly and the CBN Governor is doing.Either they are so shallow they donot even know what e-commerce is all about.

  28. Hi my fellow nigerian it is a pity that a few nigeria have denied us the opportunities to benefit of online shopping of good bargains worldwide retailers,however myself and my partner in nigeria are running a. Mailorder/personal purchasing agency business, bywhich we undertake all your online and uk shopping for you or your business [email protected] a very considerate commission and delivery of goods are made direct to your given nigeria address

  29. Hello fellow netpreneurs, i believe the days of the obstacles militating against the smooth runing of internet business are numbered, by the number of Nigeria coming online on daily basis and that of grace of God.

  30. I quite concur that with time Nigerians are going to realize that making money starts from within themselves. There is nothing so special in making money online right here from Nigeria rather, the big deal is about the way most of them goes about it. I have developed a site to teach Nigerians and Non-Nigerians alike the best way to start making money online here http://kawotek.com/blog/how-to-make-money-online-or-how-to-make-money-on-the-internet-in-nigeria/.
    The moment they starts learning how this things operate out there, then they can start replicating what others are doing and incorporate here in Nigeria, just like the copycat thing.

  31. I thank God for the challenges are less these days with the help of InterSwitch, FasteCash and etransact with regards to online payment system in Nigeria. Apart from all odds, I commend Google Adsense for enlisting Nigerians online to participate and cash in with Internet business amongst others without trying to come in through the back door.

    Beyond all that, I agree with you also on concentrating on the Nigerian market considering our huge population and the recent quest among many towards legitimate Internet businesses.

    Again, it is rightly said in the industry that “content is king,” I have seen many oyibos online who subscribed and even made purchases from sites, blogs and hubs owned by Nigerians(especially when it is very informative, helpful and resourceful). It’s getting better by the day. Thank you.

  32. Determination alone wins all. Get more information before deciding to embark on an online business adventure. Google adsense is really preferable. No matter how hard, how tough it is, don’t give up. The others doing it are they not our fellow humans? Whereas they did it, why can’t we do it. We can make a change if we nigerians will be willing to help eachother as brothers. It will be my greatest joy to realize to that i helped many nigerians achieve success online. And if we all can do the same. But, it is really hard as a nigerian to start earning income that quick online. Let your determination lead you through. God bless Nigeria!

  33. Dear All,

    i want to start the business of selling palm oil within and outside the country but do not know how to go about it, can anyone link me up with a ready market.

    Many thanks

    Baroness

  34. Bareoness, if i were you i would look for an experienced and trusted person in this line of trade. Because in my opinion, it would be easy to learn from someone who had gone through the road before.

  35. Hi my fellow nija! Broz nd sis! Its quite a pity.cos d hardship! A little nigerians go through! Bcos of paper. My case is no expection! Am undgraduate! Of unn! And boy its not easy!! I decide nt 2 join d band wagon of complainers and decider 2 do smtin abt it! So if anyof anybody! Could push me in d right direction i would realy appreicate!

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