How To Start an Export Business In Nigeria

How To Start an Export Business In Nigeria

How To Start an Export Business In Nigeria
A large container cargo ship travels over calm, blue ocean


Do you seek ways to make money in Nigeria without hassle? if you do, this guide has been created to help you tap into the non-oil Nigerian industry of export.

Each sovereign nation on planet earth depends on each other to survive which is why we have importation and exportation of goods and services. 

Exporting goods and services help a country grow its GDP. However, this area has still not been tapped into by Nigeria which claims to be the Giant of Africa.

Compared to South Africa which traded $120 Billion in trade in 2021, Nigeria is still below par when it comes to international trade.

According to a report published by Nairametrics on the current status of the Nigerian trade in the year 2022.

Nigeria exported merchandise worth $14 Billion in the first quarter of 2022, rising by 23.13% compared to $10 Billion recorded in the previous quarter, this depicts the success of the Nigerian international trade but not to an acceptable standard.

The majority of Nigerian trade in 2022 includes Crude oil – $10 Billion, Natural gas – $1 Billion, Urea – $500 Million and all others capping the rest.

If you ask me, all I can tell you is that Nigeria still has a long way to go regarding export.

It’s up to the government and enlightened citizens like you and me to take responsibility and come up with innovative ways to boost our export most especially Non-oil export.

Do you have the following Questions;

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This article has been created to help answer the above questions with clarity. Make sure to stick to the end to get a comprehensive understanding.

Why Should You Start an Export Business?

Nigeria is one of the export countries in the world, holding the 51st position. According to, it shipped US$53.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019.

The total exported goods represent 4.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product. Here are some reasons why you should start an export business in Nigeria

1. Less capital intensive.

One good thing about starting an export business is that you can start with as little as N500,000.
You do not need to have a huge capital to start exporting things outside the country and making money with it.

Once you have a reliable source for your product, you can collect them on credit, send them overseas and pay back when you collected payments.

2. You earn US Dollars.

All currencies all over the world are backed by the US dollar because the US Dollar is a reserve currency.

With the present economic condition in Nigeria today, the exchange rate is at its peak. Earning Foreign currency can make you as rich.

Export business is very interesting and profitable especially now that the Nigerian government is increasing foreign income generation through agriculture and business.

It is one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria today because you’ll earn in foreign currencies.

3. You promote Your country.

Another reason why you should start an export business in Nigeria is that you get to promote your country to the world.

Nigeria has a huge diaspora of more than 15 Million persons, all needing to eat Nigerian cuisine.

To be able to achieve this, they rely on cheap raw materials from Nigeria to make things happen over there.

Nigerians need to eat Melon Soup, Banga, Onions and many others but are expensive abroad, so they prefer to ship down from Nigeria to the USA.

How To Start an Export Business in Nigeria

Nigerian exported food items which include; oil seeds, cocoa beans, cashew nuts, coconuts, oils, beans, lentils flour e.t.c.

All of these goods were worth a subtotal of US$53.6 billion by value for all products exported in 2019.

And the top export destinations include India, Spain, Netherlands, Ghana, France, South Africa, United States, Italy, China, Indonesia Turkey, Canada, United Kingdom, Ivory Coast, and Germany.

Here is a breakdown guide on how you can start an exportation business and become successful at it.

1. Understand how to export trade works.

Exports are explained as the goods and services manufactured in one country and acquired by citizens of another country. The export of goods or services can be anything.  This trade can be done through shipping, e-mail, and transmitted in private luggage on a plane. 

If the product is manufactured domestically and traded in a foreign country, it is known as an export.

Understanding the basics of export trade is vital to your success in it as a business. You need to understand what products are in demand, how to source for clients and how business is properly conducted in an international trading standard.

Make sure to stick with this article to get a basic overview of how to go about becoming a professional exporter in Nigeria.

2. Decide on a Product to export.

Now that you understand the basics of export trade, now it’s time to decide on what product best suits you for export.

While seeking out the best product to export out of the Nigerian market you should know that not all products are accepted internationally.

To learn more about products that are valid for export, check out the official website of the Nigerian export trade commission. Check out the link to learn more.


3. Source out for suppliers.

Next on is to source out for suppliers of your commodities, you need to seek out those who will supply the requested commodity in mass.

You can also produce if you can meet the demands.  But if not, try to establish a link with other producers and reach an agreement.

To begin, you can visit the production site of the goods you want to export or establish a communication channel with the producers or farmers of the products you want to export.

4. Incorporate your Business.

Incorporating your business enables it to become a legal entity in Nigeria, thereby adhering to the rules and regulations of the nation.

Company registration in Nigeria is essential for a business to run smoothly.  The entire registration process is done under the supervision of The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) which was built under the act of Companies and Allied Matters. 

Starting an export business in Nigeria remains one of the legal requirements to begin sending things outside the country.

You can kickstart registration of your company on the official website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) via the link below.


5. Get an export Licence.

If you need to export goods or services, a one-time registration procedure is required in Nigeria to export goods outside of the country.

Business or individuals who wish to export from Nigeria is required to register with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

The objective of getting an export licence is to ensure that only goods that meet international standards are exported out of the country.

The goods are subjected to inspection, conducted by relevant Government agencies according to the items for export.

There are two government agencies vested with the power to grant export licenses in Nigeria, and they are The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) which is saddled with the responsibility of issuing an export license for agricultural commodities & manufactured goods and the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development which is responsible for granting licenses for extraction & exportation in Nigeria.

6. Seek funding.

Funding a business can be challenging especially if you don’t have enough savings or family money. Many business ideas do not manifest due to a lack of funding.

Nonetheless, you can still access funding if you are smart and informed. Getting funding for a business is challenging. Yes, also challenging is knowing the right type of funding that suit your business need.

Next is to seek funding, there are various ways to seek for startup funds to start your business in Nigeria.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can access business funds for your business in Nigeria. Check out the link to the article to learn more.

7. Decide on a shipping Partner.

When it comes to exporting in Nigeria, a major factor that should be put in place is a reliable shipping company.

A shipping partner is essentially a third-party logistics company with its fleet of vehicles and delivery personnel that is in charge of picking up products from your warehouse/manufacturing hub, packaging the products, and finally transporting them to the customer’s doorsteps across the world.

There are various shipping companies in Nigeria that you can choose from, some are local others are international.

You not only need shipping partners to deliver locally and save your time. For the products to reach top condition, you need proper processing and sturdy packaging.

Also, fragile items require extra packaging to not break in transit. This is where a shipping partner comes to save the day. You should make sure you come to terms with the shipping fees and services.

8. Promote Your Export Business.

Now that you have followed the right procedures as mentioned above, Its now time to start promoting your business.

Exporting can be very rewarding in numerous ways. By selling your products and services in other markets you spread your risks and reduce dependence on the Nigerian market alone. You are also able to increase your sales, and productivity and become more efficient.

Using the right marketing strategy can help take your export business to the next level, without taking the word out there to the right buyers, your export business will likely suffer without any patronage.

In this section, I will outline possible ways that can help your export business generate huge sales.

1. Start a blog.

Starting a blog and dishing out useful content about your business is one means of getting the word out there about your business.

There are millions of searches on google every day while you’re thinking about how to get buyers, a simple positioning yourself for your prospects to find your business on google search can even do the trick for you.

If you’re familiar with SEO, It is all about ranking well at the top of any search i.e. when prospective customers input certain keywords related to your business anywhere in the world, they can find your website among the search results.

This can start engagements around your business and eventually leads to sales.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on this blog on how you can start a blog to the advantage of your business. Check out the link to the article to learn more.

2. Start a YouTube channel around it.

YouTube is now one of the biggest marketing channels offering lots of opportunities for growing your business.

More than 500 hours of video content is reported to be uploaded every minute to the site (as of this article’s publication).

Globally, as many as two billion users log in every month. Owning a YouTube channel can help you reach millions of potential customers without a hassle.

All you need to do is create videos around your product and let your audience know that you can export these things to their preferred location.

YouTube is available in more than 92 countries and 80 languages, with further expansion planned.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can start a YouTube channel and become successful with it. Check out the link to the article to learn more.

3. Promote on Facebook.

Facebook has billions of users. That means your Facebook page has the potential to reach billions of people around the world at a moment’s notice.

With such a large basic population, Facebook is home to one of the widest ranges of people in the world and remains one of the best ways to reach a multitude of people from all different walks of life.

Facebook is another medium to promote your export business. You can reach out to millions of potential export buyers who intend to buy your product from any part of the world.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can grow your business with Facebook. Check out the link to the article below to learn more.

4. List your Business on NEPC.

The NEPC is committed to driving zero-oil export in Nigeria. Registering with the NEPC allows the agency to confirm your status as an exporter which also enables you to get information regarding the respective nations needing your export.

Most times, This is mostly done by conducting events like trade shows in which sellers connect with prospects for their products.

As a registered member of the NEPC, you benefit from things like Market entry research to foreign countries, trade information, dissemination of both domestic and international commodities prices etc.
All you have to do is register on their portal and that solves it.

5. Contact the Countries Chamber of Commerce.

Another medium of promoting your export business is to contact the Chambers of Commerce for different countries in Nigeria.

Nigeria has trade relationships with countries like India, China, Holland, the United States, etc.

These days it is easier to reach these centres from the comfort of your home by visiting their web portals.

A simple google search can help you locate their web address. When contacting these people you have to have all the necessary information they need to convince them you are a genuine exporter and you can supply their respective needs.

6. Reach out to buying agents.

Like I said earlier, It’s not easy navigating the stormy waters of exportation, you need someone who understands how to navigate its waters.

Buying agents are procurement agents. They represent businesses from other countries looking to procure the necessary resources.

You can contact their buying agents in Nigeria and let them know of your products. Some of the private consultants can be buying agents for other countries in Nigeria since they know more about the markets than the companies abroad do.

7. Promote on Twitter.

One of the top benefits of Twitter for business is that it lets you share information quickly and start conversations with your target audience. In turn, your audience would find your Tweets and contains valuable and ideally, even share them with their followers.

Taking this trend to your advantage you can get your export business in the eyes of your target audience.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can utilize Twitter as a Medium to grow your audience. Check out the link below to the article to learn more.

8. Promote on Instagram.

Engagement on Instagram is 15 times higher than it is on Facebook, it’s the platform that, for many small businesses, can move them from a small business to a big one.

Instagram is a photo-powered platform, and this gives exporters the power to showcase their products to potential buyers across the globe.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can utilize Instagram to grow your business. Check out the link to the article to learn more.

9. Get Listed on export trade websites.

Export trade websites are a platform designed solely for connecting buyers and sellers. They operate more like eCommerce websites with an escrow functionality.

Today, it is easier than ever to connect with overseas suppliers and buyers. Whether you’re an importer of goods or an exporter of goods, the internet has made it possible to find new trading partners in just a few minutes.

With millions of buyers and sellers in your reach, your business organization can have more trading opportunities and chances to grow and expand your business.


One thing you should understand is before you invest a kobo into any business, invest your time understanding everything you can about that target product and market.

Another fact that should be understood is that When you export, you earn in foreign currency, diversifying your earning sources and providing a perfect hedge against local currency inflation in your local currency.

Exporting is a business that involves lots of rules, guidelines, and requirements across two or more borders.

For instance, if you export Cassava to China from Nigeria, you must satisfy the Nigerian export and Chinese Import requirements.

I wrote an article on other lucrative businesses you can explore as a Nigerian. Check out the link to the article to learn more.


What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

I teach you how to make money online.

You can connect with me on Twitter


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