But Nigerian satirist Elnathan John said these were empty threats.

Investor trust

Local businesses in Nigeria also benefit from the operations of these South African companies. For instance, retail giant Shoprite, which has eleven stores across the country, uses local suppliers to stock its shelves.

The long-term effects of boycotting South African businesses will also damage investor trust in Nigeria. Given the predictions on Nigeria’s rapidly growing economy, damaging investor trust in Nigerian markets is the last thing the government should want.

More importantly it seems unlikely if boycotting South African businesses in Nigeria will stop xenophobic attacks 4,000 miles away. The attacks are carried out by irate mobs emboldened by various provocative statements and sentiments. A more efficient way of pushing for a lasting solution would be for Nigerians to pile pressure on the federal government to explore available diplomatic channels.

Boycotting South African businesses in reaction to xenophobia is more impulsive than strategic. And given how much this boycott could affect Nigeria and Nigerians, it might well be a case of cutting our nose to spite our face.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.