Sunday, 28th May 2023

Why Nigeria’s wealthy are investing in second citizenship

Ten short years ago, there were only a handful of immigration programs available to Nigerians. Over the last decade, the industry has managed to grow substantially – and today, there are more than 80 investor visa options around the globe.

Ten short years ago, there were only a handful of immigration programs available to Nigerians. Over the last decade, the industry has managed to grow substantially – and today, there are more than 80 investor visa options around the globe.

“Demand from West African nations has been steady for some time, but there has been a noticeable uptick over the last 12 months,” says Adewale Dosunmu, Savory & Partner’s Business Development Manager – West Africa. “It’s been an honour to bestow citizenship upon my clients and deliver on my promises to them.”

The most popular of these programs are the citizenship by investment (CBI) programs, whereby foreign nationals can legally obtain a second citizenship and passport in another country through an investment in the nation.

Considering Africa’s affluent upper and middle class and civil unrest becoming more prevalent due to socio-economic challenges, it comes as no surprise that Nigeria’s high-networth individuals are keen to obtain second citizenship in a stable and safe country.

However, the real question that needs to be answered is: why are high-net-worth individuals and business people in Africa suddenly so interested in obtaining second passports through these citizenship by investment programs?

The biggest determinants swaying Nigerians and citizens all over Africa to apply for second citizenship are mainly:

Safety & Security
Nigeria’s socio-economic and political turmoil as a result of the End SARS movement against police brutality is the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, so to speak, in a string of geopolitical issues that stretches over many years and was due to boil over into civil unrest at any given point – with the matter coming to a head and drawing international attention to the country in October 2020.

This coupled with the ensuing and unprecedented damaging effects on the nation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rush for golden visas and second passports among Nigeria’s wealthy.

Holding a second passport or residency in another country provides a Plan B for Nigerian investors and their families to escape the challenges of their own nation. It is invaluable to have the chance to move to an alternate place to live or reside during situations of war, political unrest, civil violence, economic downturns and natural disasters. In this increasingly unpredictable world, a second citizenship can bring comfort and peace of mind.

Global Travel
The Nigerian passport grants visa-free travel to only 54 of the 227 countries and territories worldwide – of which, many are fellow African nations like Ghana and Ethiopia. Having access to only 23.8% of the globe makes the Nigerian passport one of the lowest ranking in the world – especially when compared to its West African neighbours.
However, when paired with a second passport, Nigerians can obtain visa-free or visa-onarrival access to over 120 countries and territories, including the more popular areas like the United Kingdom and Schengen Zone. For instance, a Grenadian passport grants unrestricted travel to over 144 countries and territories, while a St. Kitts and Nevis passport will get investors into over 150 nations and one from Malta has access to over 180 countries

Global freedom of movement is a particularly attractive benefit for high-net-worth individuals and business people who enjoy or need to travel for business, education or leisure, as holding a more powerful passport saves time and money, as well as allows for more opportunities, both personal and professional.

Business Opportunities
Entrepreneurs and business people in Nigeria are severely limited when it comes to lucrative business and investment opportunities. As it stands, Nigerians only have access to 2.1% of the world’s GDP. This, coupled with the ever-weakening Naira (currency of Nigeria), hinders them from various opportunities in the global market and restricts them from strategic moves that could grow their business into an international success.

A second passport obtained through a Caribbean or European citizenship by investment program can grant access to key economic markets around the world, including the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA). Grenada citizens, in particular, have the added opportunity of applying for an E-2 Investor Visa in the United States of America, as well as visa-free travel to China. Therefore, by holding a Grenada passport alone, Nigerian investors gain access to two of the world’s largest single economies. In total, individuals will have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 58.7% of the world’s GDP.

Tax Benefits
The wealthy work hard for their money and deserve to preserve it as effectively as possible. Most CBI programs offer advantageous tax policies that high-net-worth Nigerians find very appealing. Depending on the program, these tax benefits range from zero or low tax rates on assets and income to protecting wealth with financial privacy laws and shielding assets from inflation by storing them in a different country.

Quality of Life
Nigeria is a beautiful, vibrant country. Unfortunately, its status as a developing country means it cannot provide its citizens with quality infrastructure and systems as much as it would like.

As the CEO and Founder of Savory & Partners, Jeremy Savory notes, “For over a decade I’ve been visiting Nigeria and I’ve built many professional relationships that over time have become friendships. It’s always a pleasure to visit.”

Second citizenship allows an investor and his/her family to access a better quality of life. The benefits of living in another country include world-class healthcare, top-tier educational facilities, robust infrastructure and public transport, as well as luxurious lodgings in attractive environments.

Where to get a Second Citizenship?
Applications to any citizenship by investment program would be best advised to be done through a government-authorized agent. Such accreditation is bestowed through a rigorous verification process that can only give citizenship investors peace of mind.

Savory & Partners, citizenship advisor, is one of those accredited agents, and for not just one but multiple governments where citizenship by investment is offered. Founded in 1797, the British government-authorized agency has evolved from pharmaceuticals to family assets and legacy protection through second citizenship or residence.

The company’s professional, multinational staff is made up of expert advisors who have guided 1000s of clients including Nigerian investors to find and apply to the most suitable CBI program for them.

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