Finding a business opportunity to invest in Africa is not complicated, especially in the following fields: infrastructure development, energy, construction and telecoms. If you have no leads, hereunder is a list and best practices to find your new investment opportunity relying on the services provided by your national embassy.
Embassies are not only institutions aiming at providing administrative services for their expatriates, they are also mandated to develop commercial relationships with their host country.
In the past few years, the development of European, American and other Western diplomatic representations have increased across the continent.
In every major economic African country such as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya (just to name a few), you will always find diplomatic services in charge of supporting local trade development. In some cases, secondary-tier countries will be covered through a central diplomatic representation based on a major capital city serving all the sub-region they are assigned to.
Using the services of an embassy can be a lengthy process and sometimes frustrating. Nevertheless, they shall be your first entry point into a new market territory.
How to best utilize the services of your embassy to find projects for your investments?
Reach out to your embassy
The first step is to contact your embassy. You will be then contacted either by the appropriate local service of the embassy or the headquarter of the services in charge of foreign trade in your national country.
Contacting foreign embassies is a great source of information for many local African businesses and project owners and a way to find suitable business partners. Local business owners and diplomats will very often gravitate in the same circle and events. Therefore, it is worth it to make yourself known by the services of your embassy and potentially find your next partner.
Register for business listings
Most embassies maintain a registry of the companies willing to export their services locally. It is a great way to be known by the local market as this list might be shared with other local organisations (Foreign trade agencies for example) and might opened new market opportunities for you.
Embassies have many cooperation agreements with services of the host country in charge of welcoming foreign investors but also foreign trade representations. If your embassy is not able to perform certain services, it will rely on their network of partners to be able to support you. Services will very often come at a cost.
Hereunder is a list of useful links to find your local embassies in Africa:
Guide of Foreign embassies in Africa: https://www.africaguide.com/embassy.htm
US Embassy: https://www.usembassy.gov/
British embassies: http://www.british-consulate.org/british-embassies-in-africa.html
Be informed of local conferences
Major local business conferences will be part of your embassy’s agenda. One simple thing to do is simply asking whether or not your embassy will bring foreign companies as part of its delegation to the event. If the conference is not providing any matchmaking services, your embassy will certainly be able to help.
Attend events organised by your embassy
If you have the opportunity, attend events and other networking opportunities organised both in the country you are targeting but also in your national country by the services in charge of foreign trade.
In general, view your embassy as the best place to find relevant information. They will know everything about the market you are targeting and will be able to guide you.