Happily, this, too, was a pleasant experience. Being on a flight predominantly occupied by locals, we breezed through a relatively empty (by Lagos standards) airport without being harassed, searched or cajoled for bribes. This process, we’d been warned, could be costly (if you succumb to bribes) and it’s known that clearing Customs can take up to four hours – happily not our experience.
Once through Customs and safely reunited with our baggage we met our escort whose job it was to ensure our safe arrival at the Eko Hotel at Victoria Island.
Driving takes on a whole new dimension in Nigeria, so while peeping through our fingers and holding on to our seats for dear life, we caught glimpses of the city around us. Despite the chronic overcrowding, crumbling infrastructure and hellish traffic, expansion continues at breakneck speed in Lagos State, with an economic value of around $33-billion.
With the heat and humidity, visitors to Nigeria ‘feel’ the presence of its 162,47-million population, 18-million of whom reside in Lagos State – the financial heart of the country.
The Eko Hotel & Suites – the venue for Propak West Africa 2012 and our accommodation – was a welcome relief after the traffic mayhem, and our first opportunity to discover the polite, friendly nature of the Nigerian people. The prices in Nigeria, however, are high – three sandwiches and coffee set us back R560 – and the service operates purely on African time, but never without a smile!
But, with all its difficulties, Nigeria is evolving and everyone’s ‘popping in’ to discover the opportunities of this rapidly-emerging market. This being the reason for our visit, Propak West Africa provided an ideal platform to network and meet suppliers and manufacturers of packaging, printing, food processing labelling and plastics and the opportunity to explore expanding business opportunities in the West Africa region.
The mood at the show was energetic and positive. Exhibitors were enthused by the opportunities and positive leads they received and the show’s 1 200 visitors, during the three-day event, were eager to solidify relationships with exhibitors.
Follow this link to view a pictorial review of Propak West Africa’s exhibitors at this inaugural event in Lagos.