Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy. A federal republic in West Africa with 188 million inhabitants, it is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh-most populous country in the world.

Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims in the northern part. The official language is English, but there are over 300 local languages. As of 2015, Nigeria is the world’s 20th largest economy and considered to be an emerging global power.

According to Google Trends, Nigeria is the country where the most searches for “network marketing” take place—five times more than in the US. In other words, for every 20 Americans who type “network marketing” in the search box, there are 100 Nigerians searching for network marketing related information, education, companies and opportunities.

One reason Nigerians are wanting to learn about the network marketing business model and eager to get involved is that they love to sell by referral and earn commissions based on performance. It took some time, but Africa has fully embraced multilevel marketing as an efficient form of affiliate marketing.

Our spokesperson in this article is David Olowe, cofounder, master distributor, and corporate trainer for a one-year-old network marketing company in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos. In this interview David explains why most US-based companies fail when coming to Africa, and what they can do differently to thrive in this wide open and growing marketplace.

David also shows how the network marketing business model is permeating different business sectors and industries. He believes that 10 years from now 75 percent of Africans will be involved in some form of multilevel marketing. He sees the business model as the perfect vehicle for alleviating poverty and self-actualization.—J.G.

Nigerians are hungrier for network marketing opportunities than any other nation in the world. Yet most direct selling companies fail in your country. Can you enlighten us on this paradox?
Network marketing companies opening in Nigeria typically come either from the West or from the East. They are based in the US, China, or Malaysia.

These company generally bring a unique product or service designed to work mostly in the country where they were founded. For instance, American companies design products that solve a problem the American people are having—because every business is supposed to solve a problem.