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From JAPA to FIRAPA: The Exit of Businesses from Nigeria



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In Nigeria, a term is making the rounds that captures a worrying economic trend: FIRAPA. Coined by, this term echoes “JAPA,” which describes Nigerians moving abroad for better opportunities.

FIRAPA, however, speaks to something different but equally significant: the steady exodus of multinational businesses from Nigeria.

This trend is more than a buzzword; it’s a reflection of deeper economic challenges. Take the case of Chinedu, a former employee at Procter & Gamble in Lagos. “When they announced the closure, it was more than losing a job. It felt like losing a part of our lives,” he shares. Chinedu’s story is just one among many, as companies like Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline have also wound down operations.

The reasons for this business flight are complex. Nigeria’s business environment, once a beacon for investment, now presents challenges like fluctuating foreign exchange rates and infrastructural issues. “The power outages were the worst,” says Aisha, who ran a small catering service that supplied to these multinational firms. “Each blackout meant losses we couldn’t recover.”

But FIRAPA is more than an economic indicator; it’s about the people. Behind each company’s exit are stories of workers like Chinedu and Aisha, facing an uncertain future. “It’s a ripple effect,” explains Asein Collins, a publisher. “As these businesses leave, they take with them livelihoods and a slice of our economic stability.”

The emergence of FIRAPA as a term and a concept is a call to action. Policymakers and business leaders are urged to address the root causes: stabilizing the economy, ensuring consistent and fair regulatory practices, and investing in critical infrastructure.

FIRAPA is not just a word; it’s a narrative of our current economic reality. “It’s about resilience,” Dr. Uche adds. “How we respond to this challenge will shape our economic future.”

Nigeria is struggling with FIRAPA, and cooperation and creativity are needed to move forward. The next chapters in the FIRAPA story will be decided by Nigeria. The story is still being written. Will the story be one of persistent decline or one of resiliency and revival?

Future generations’ answers will be shaped by the decisions made now.


For the phenomenon of businesses exiting Nigeria, I propose the term “FIRAPA”. This is a blend of “firma” (a variation of “firm”, representing businesses) and “apa” (reflecting the “apa” in “JAPA”), symbolizing the movement or migration of firms and businesses.

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