A Week in Nigeria: 29 June

Highlights from Reuters coverage of Nigeria over the last seven days

Uber said it sees West Africa as a key area for potential growth

In this week’s round-up: Uber hopes to launch Lagos boat service in West Africa expansion, MTN’s $2 billion tax case rumbles on, and more fighting between ISWAP and soldiers in the northeast.

  • Global ride-hailing firm Uber is in talks with regulators over plans to provide a boat service in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos as part of a drive to expand in the region, a company executive said in an interview. Brooks Entwistle, the company’s chief business officer, said it was part of a broader drive to expand in West Africa. Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, a megacity of around 20 million inhabitants built on a lagoon where Uber began operating in July 2014, is beset by heavy congestion. Entwistle, who described Lagos as “one of the great growth opportunity cities in the world”, said the company was in talks with state regulators about providing a transport system on the city’s waterways as a way of bypassing its choked roads. He said Uber was also in talks about the possible launch of services in Ivory Coast and Senegal. “We have talked about West Africa today as being a big growth priority for us and launch priority for us moving forward,” said Entwistle. Ivory Coast and Senegal have two of the world’s fastest growing economies, according to the International Monetary Fund. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is also the continent’s most populous nation. A number of motorcycle ride-hailing firms have also targeted West Africa as an area for expansion in the last few months.
Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 but then failed to qualify for the last two tournaments in 2015 and 2017
  • There were several stories this week reported or written by Reuters correspondents based outside Nigeria that related to the country. The team covering the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cairo reported that Nigeria’s football federation (NFF) said it had received “part of the money” allocated by the government for the national side’s participation at the tournament following threats of protests by the players. The NFF’s acting president Seyi Akinwunmi said in a statement that it had received enough money to pay the players their win bonus for beating Burundi 1–0 in their opening game on Saturday plus cash other games. “We want to specially thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his keen interest in resolving this matter quickly, which has enabled us to receive part of the money in record time,” said Akinwunmi. He said he had a “telephone discussion” with team captain John Obi Mikel and “can safely say that all clarifications have been made and the usual cordial relationship and understanding between the players and we the administrators is still intact.”

Nigeria bureau chief for Reuters. Ghanaian family, British accent. Ex-BBC, before that newspapers.