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Multinational Companies are Cutting Back their Presence in Nigeria

Market withdrawals by P&G, PZ, GSK and Unilever, whose presence in Nigeria span generations with brands that consumers associate with an assurance of quality and middle class life, is raising anxiety. Fears are growing over Nigeria’s capacity to hold foreign investors’ attention and retain thousands of jobs amid high levels of poverty. A volatile economy and internal security challenges pose “a really difficult environment to thrive” for large companies with limited flexibility to change long-established production standards, says Oluebube Nwosu, a consumer goods analyst at Lagos-based firm Vetiva Capital. Schulten, explaining P&G’s rationale for ceasing production in Nigeria, challenged a narrative that Nigerian entrepreneurs and defenders of government policy sometimes hold to always be true: that a country of 200 million people is a market foreign investors feel they must be active in.