How To Start Export Business In Nigeria – Best Guide

How to Start export business in Nigeria

Are you looking forward to become an international business man or woman? Do you want to start a business of sending goods outside Nigeria for marketing? If yes, in this article, you will learn how to start an export business in Nigeria.

The trade terms and conditions required for sending goods out of Nigeria to other countries largely depends on the situation of the buyer’s country.

For example; sending goods from Nigeria to United States (US) depends on bilateral trade conditions between Nigeria and US.

These conditions may not be the same between Nigeria and another country.

Many people who want to venture into export business do not really know how to go about it, what to do or where to start.

If you’re one of these people, you’ve finally come to where you’ll get solution.

In Nigeria, it’s very clear that the most exported product is oil. But following the crash of oil prices, a lot of international business men and women who are into oil export business switched to non-oil products.

Most of these new non-oil products are agricultural products such as; cassava, yam, cocoa, cotton, palm oil, wood (mahogany & iroko), crayfish, cashew, onions, groundnut, groundnut oil, and many more.

According to statistics, the top countries that Nigerian products are exported to are Asian and European countries.

In doing that, over N600 billion are generated per annum.

The Nigerian government has recently announced that they will focus more on agricultural products following the crash of oil prices.

To prove how serious they are, they established a special government body, known as “Nigerian Export Promotion Council” (NEPC).

NEPC job is to encourage Nigerians (businessmen, agriculturalists and industrialists) to export more of non-oil products.

It’s obvious that Nigerian government encourages export business like never before.

So, why won’t you find a product to export and make money?

To export goods from Nigeria to foreign countries is not as difficult as you may think.

How to start export business in Nigeria

How to start export business in Nigeria

Export business involves sending goods out of Nigeria to sell in other countries for massive profits.

The requirements for exporting goods from Nigeria to other countries depends on the buyers’ country and the product you want to export.

Below are the steps to follow;

1. Decide what to export

There are many exportable goods in Nigeria to start with.

So, the first thing is to decide what to export to foreign countries.

We strongly advise you to choose non-oil products that you can easily access in Nigeria.

If it’s cassava, then make sure you establish contact with farmers that can supply the quantity you need.

2. Conduct a research

Carrying out research is a vital step you should take toward starting an export business in Nigeria.

You need to find out the country that most needed your product and establish contact in such a country.

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Below are tips on how to conduct a good research;

  • Find a country that most needed your goods. For example, you can search in Google, “country that need palm oil”.
  • Find way to establish quick connection in that country. It can be through friends or relations living in that country or anybody that will be interested to do the business with you.
  • Find the best way to advertise your goods to people living in that country. You can target that country using Facebook ad. But you still have to research if there are other better ways.
  • Find out how much it will cost you to export your goods to a particular country. Calculate the total cost to know if it is some you can afford.
  • Find the most suitable means to export your goods. This will help you know if you are to use a shipping company or Cargo flights.
    After doing transportation and market research, the next is legal requirements. So let’s quickly move to that.
  • Find out the documents required from you
  • Find out if the government will require you to certify your goods or register them.
  • Do not forget to visit Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) for support. Also, if you know anyone into export business, you can meet and learn from them.

3. Register your export business

It is important that you register your business if you want to do a serious business.

You can register your business with Corporate Affairs Commissions (CAC). Registered business will give you more authority.

Most often, customers will check CAC website for more information about your company.

If they discover your business is not registered, they will likely disagree with you, because Nigeria is known not to be a trustworthy country.

So, to gain people’s trust abroad, you really need to register your business.

See, how to register your business with CAC in Nigeria

Another vital thing is to register your business at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

This is for those who wants to export non-oil products from Nigeria to other countries.

Registration at NEPC costs around N12,000.

Once you paid, your company will be registered within a week.

4. Search for foreign customers

You need customers in foreign countries to buy your goods.

This is the crucial part of export business. If you have no customer to buy from you, then there will be no business.

Therefore you need to search for customers, and since you need foreign customers, promote your business by creating a good visual picture of your company and the products you export.

You can create a website for your business and promote it on Google web search and social media such as; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on.

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You should meet web developers that will create a multi-functional website that will display all products, along with your contact information and other things about your business that your customers might need.

Internet is literally the best way for you to get connected with foreign customers.

Also, Cooperation with other companies will help you a lot because they will help to find new partners and build necessary connections.

Required documents to start an export business Nigeria

We cannot discuss how to start export business in Nigeria without paying attention to required documents.

Let’s move on to the documents you need to start an export business in Nigeria.
Below is the list of documents you need for your export business;

1. Commercial invoice

Commercial invoice is a custom declaration for exporting certain products overseas.

This document is required for exporting company;

2. Cargo bill

This is a detailed list of a ship’s cargo which comes in the form of a receipt. This receipt is usually given by a captain of the ship.

3. Consular invoice

This document is to be submitted before shipping products abroad.

It is required to be submitted to the consulate or embassy of the country to which goods are to be exported.

4. Certificate of origin

This is an international trade document which confirms that the goods to be shipped were produced and packed in the particular country.

This document confirms the origin of your goods.

5. Inspection certificate

This certifies that products to be shipped were in good condition at the time of inspection.

The document is usually issued prior to the shipment. Such kind of pre-shipment inspection is required by many countries.

6. Dock receipt

This receipt is issued by the sea freight carrier to prove that your goods are at the carrier’s shipping terminal.

7. Warehouse receipt

Warehouse receipt is issued to prove that goods are stored in a warehouse.

The receipt tells who the owners of commodities in the warehouse or in other safekeeping place.

8. Destination control statement

This is issued as part of commercial invoice, ocean or air waybill.

It can be also in Shippers Export Declaration (SED).

The main purpose of this document is to notify the carrier and all foreign parties, that the item can be exported only to certain destinations.

9. Insurance certificate

This document provides information on a particular insurance coverage, in case of any emergencies.

The certificate is your proof of insurance police and usually contains some detailed information on types and limits of insurance coverage, your insurance company’s contact information, policy number, and the insurance’s expiration date.

10. The export license

Before you export any products from Nigeria to other countries. it is advisable to get an export license from the government agencies.

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The above are the 10 documents needed for export business. However, before you move to documents part, you still need to decide what to ship!

Before you venture into export business, you need to think well what type of goods you can ship.

It is not only oil-related products that can be exported from Nigeria. Nowadays, there are a lot of different products you can export.

Top 6 goods you can export from Nigeria to other countries

Top 6 goods to export in Nigeria

In this section, I will show you the top 6 products you can export from Nigeria.

Try to find out which products are in demand and to which countries these goods are demanded.

Below are top 6 non-oil products to export from Nigeria;

1. Textiles and African garments

This is so lucrative, the total amount of money Nigeria makes from textile export, is over $30 million.

You can export textile or garments to the US even without paying for duty-free passage.

Choose some unique African designs and Nigerian quality to show the world.

2. Rubber

Nigeria is a top producer of rubber in Africa. You can export rubber from Nigeria to other countries; but before that it needs to pass a test in the Central Testing Laboratory.

Be informed that that one metre of fine rubber costs $400 to $600. Rubber export is profitable.

3. Charcoal

Charcoal is another top products you can export from Nigeria.

Nigeria big amount of charcoal. Charcoal has a high demand in Asia, USA, and European countries.

One tonne of charcoal is over $900 which is about N30,000 (NGN)

3. Cotton

Cotton is needed all over the world, as a source of fibre. It is used to produce clothes and other textile materials.

4. Cassava flour

You can use cassava to make different food in Nigeria. However, a need for cassava is not only in Nigeria.

The cassava flour’s price keep going high as demand increases. You can export cassava to Europe, Middle East, and America.

5. Cosmetics and soap

Nigeria is now using modern technologies to produce cosmetics and soaps.

Made in Nigeria Soap and cosmetics can be exported to neighboring countries like Ghana, Cameron, Niger and so on.

Above are top six products you can export from Nigeria to other countries.


Export business requires a lot of preparation and good planning from the start. Also, it is capital intensive.

Therefore to have big business, you need a huge amount of money to start; also, you should be ready to take risk, especially in shipping goods.

Please, make sure your business is duly registered.

The Nigerian government encourage export business, hoping that will balance off trade situation and stabilize the country’s economy.

Exporting non-oil products is a profitable business.

I advise you to try it and join international business man and woman in the country.

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