Exporting goods to west africa


I am interested in starting a business exporting goods, possibly wine to west africa, starting with nigeria. I dont have any capital, and I would be a first time business owner, with family memebers who are able to assist with accounting.

Where do I begin. What is the first step? How easy is it to obtain licensing, what license will i need? How much capital is needed to get started, and how would i go about being a wholesaler/exporter based online?


It is best to take this in stages. First you need to establish a company – you can do that yourself, on-line for a small fee with Companies House. You will need to decide if you need / want to be registered for VAT too.

You need to decide who to use for your online shop – there are lots of offers around but there are costs involved and some web site setups can be very expensive. You need a web site, the on-line shopping cart, a business bank account and a merchant’s account to allow you to accept on-line payments. You can buy an ‘off-the shelf’ set up or have one custom made. I would recommend you look at the services of the Federation of Small Businesses as membership is inexpensive and they have many discounted services that would help you.

You need to decide if you will offer to ship the goods for your customers, if you will pay the import duty and tax at the destination or if you will only offer to ship the goods as far as the destination port/airport. Obviously your pricing must reflect your choices. I would recommend that you allow the importer to pay the import duty and tax as this would be complex for you to calculate (each country and each product would have a different rate). You would also need to decide what quantities you would offer and thus what method of transport you would need e.g. airfreight or seafreight.
Again this affects your pricing structure. Lots of agents can give you quotes if you have the weight and dimensions of the package you intend to send. Be careful not all agents are as good as others – try looking at the BIFA web site for lists of member agents.

You will need to produce export documentation for each shipment.

There are lots more details to sort out and this may seem too much but it can be done. Take a look at articles on the Open to Export web site and perhaps look at getting some training.

If I can be of more assistance please feel free to contact me.



Thank you Susan,
I have been doing research on this website and others but there is a lot of information to take in, so Im just looking for a guide..then do the proper research on each step. For instance, what if any kind of license I would need on both ends.
Im still thinking about being just an online wholesaler, for purchase in certain countries.
but how do i go about getting the goods? and going from there


If you leave it to your customers to manage the importation into the destination country you would not need any kind of registration or licence in the destination country. This is the best way forward because if you intend to be the importer as well you will need to establish companies or arrange equivalent representation for tax purposes in every destination country.

If you intend to purchase product from a UK or EU company for you to sell onward the requirements will depend on the product type e.g. wine, beer or spirits.


Export Action Plan