Africa is a dynamic goldmine for whomever wants to invest in the continent. More than ever Africa is eager to rise and back itself up. Like the President Ouatarra has stated in the past, it is not impossible for Africa to achieve transformation and emergence, but only with the help and support of the private sector
At Africa Business Venture we want to support Africa’s different regions and their efforts to promote and attract investors as well as business partners.
We are therefore delighted to announce that Africa Business Venture is now a proud partner of the Africa Trade and Investment Summit, which is the prestigious conference designed specifically to facilitate international trade between Americas, Asia, Caribbean, EU, UAE, and Africa.
The event will cover 16 economic sectors, focusing mainly on manufacturing, agribusiness, power, construction, transportation, IT, health, fintech, tourism, telecoms, and natural resources sectors.
Our CEO and co-founder Sonia Galat has been invited to attend as a key-note speaker to advise on the best way to enter Africa’s large business market. She will explain Africa’s business model and structure, how to prepare your business for Africa investment, and how to manage and sustain growth
Africa Business Venture is an online resource platform for African market-entry business services. We assist companies to source business support services that are vital for the success of their business ventures in Africa.
Africa is a dynamic goldmine for whomever wants to invest in the continent. More than ever Africa is eager to rise up and back itself up, just like President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo said : “We want to build a Ghana beyond aid” and that bold statement is true beyond Ghana’s frontiers.
On this big land, there are countries that do not look at agriculture and tourism as providential for their economy, but rely also on innovation and technology. However trying to start a business from scratch in sub-saharan Africa can be tricky and full of barriers. We listed out the countries that will make it easy for you to kickstart a business or invest.
1. Mauritius (Ranked #49 on World Bank “Ease of doing business”)
Mauritius is by far the best country to do business in Africa. Mauritius ranked 49th in world bank’s “ ease of doing business”. It’s economy is based on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services. The country shifted its focus toward diversifying its economy. The government added many other important sectors such as information technology and renewable energy then proceeded to make several positive reforms which has enticed foreign investors to the country.
2. Rwanda (Ranked #56 on World Bank “Ease of doing business”)
Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economy in central Africa. By 2020 the government aims to transform Rwanda from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with a middle-income status, currently 17% of the country is urbanised, but the plan is to reach 35%. The country is really safe and corruption is almost non existent. Business registration is so fast, it would make your head spin.
3. Botswana(Ranked #71 on World Bank “Ease of doing business”)
Botswana is a politically stable country that had held 11 elections since it’s independence in 1966. The country is ranked among the world’s least corrupt countries.
Botswana is a signatory to the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and other agreements that ensure maximum security for investors.Start-up procedures; have been streamlined to 47 days since 2008. Botswana has one of the fastest growing economy rates per capita in the world and has had the largest success in the areas of diamond and precious metal mining,
4. South Africa(Ranked #74 on World Bank “Ease of doing business” )
South Africa is Africa’s largest economy with a GDP of 354 billion US, it’s key industries are: tourism, auto manufacturing, information and communication technology development, and mining.
According to the World Bank report which ranks South Africa 74th, the state has reduced the time and the number of documents required to export and import through its ongoing customs modernization program which has reduced export times from 30 days in 2008 to 16 days now and import times from 35 to 23 days.
5. Kenya (Ranked #92 on World Bank “Ease of doing business”)
Kenya is turning its economy towards telecommunications,transportation and energy, Google participated to that effort in putting 700 billion us dollars into the wind power and grid infrastructure project. Kenya made starting a business easier by removing stamp duty fees required for the nominal capital.
Honorable mention to Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia who were among this year’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken.
Shortage of available skills is one of the most common obstacle to overcome for many companies doing business in Nigeria. The more technical your company is, the more crucial it will be to find the right talent.
There is no need to introduce Nigeria anymore. Located in West Africa, Nigeria is the first market of the continent and often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”. Its 182 million inhabitants, including more than 35 million young people aged between 18 to 35 years old, make it the seventh most populated country in the world with one of the largest population of young people worldwide.
Despite not being as developed as in Europe or America, the school system offers remarkable programs to attract and form the best students around the country. The best schools in Nigeria include the Warri Business School, the University of Lagos and the Kaduna Business School.
More generally, Nigerian universities and schools offer programs and majors similar to those we are familiar with: MBA, executive programs, marketing, accounting, logistics, supply chain and so on.
You will find a lot of dynamism among young populations. A larger access to internet access has enable education to reach a higher number of students and foster conditions for development giving rise to many tech startups.
As a foreign investor, how should you organize your strategy to anticipate and overcome the lack of skills?
One of the answer is given by the example provided by large extraction companies such as Agip Oil Company; Total or Chevron. Being technology based companies, they require highly trained people with engineering background to work on oil exploration sites. They have adapted a strategy common to the oil sector: close partnerships with academic centers of excellence. Conscious of the difficulties and costs associated with bringing expatriates to work in Nigeria, those companies have developed scholarship programs with the aim of detecting and training local talents. With this strategy, oil companies are able to compensate the lack of skills available by attracting, training at an early stage young students and working closely with the best universities and schools in the country.
Another element to take into consideration is the fact that over 1, 5 million students applications are received each year by the different schools and universities, whereas these institutions, all combined, can only accept 600,000 students and are outnumbered due to capacity issues and lack of funding.
Due to the shortage of skills, the competition is high among companies to retain talents. Developing relationships and network with local business schools is a great way to recruit the skills that you need.
The diaspora is the second nest for skills for many companies. As an example, the Nigerian diaspora in America represents 3,25 million people, including 115,000 medical professionals, 175,000 IT professionals, 49,500 engineers. Why is the diaspora not the main source for recruitment of local talent? The answer is simple. Members of the diaspora often cite lack of health system, the costs of living, lack of safety, corruption and political instability as reasons for not going back to Nigeria.
While this is and remains true, Nigeria’s situation is facing a steady economic growth (7% in average since 2005). Recent studies show that 70% of African graduates in the diaspora are now considering going back to Africa. For a company, relying on the diaspora is definitely a smart choice as many obstacles faced by foreign expatriates such as cultural differences and visa will be avoided.
As many other emerging markets, addressing the skill gap is of necessity at different levels for Nigeria from developing the country to social order. Nigeria has a lot of ambition for its development. Human capital is the first investment for any country to get out of poverty.
Companies and government have a major role to play in addressing the skills gap in the country. Partnerships between private companies and universities shall be developed with the view of (i) increasing universities capacities; (ii) identifying talents early on; and (iii) offer training opportunities and scholarship programs.
Many recruitment companies targeting the diaspora are starting to appear. It is a good trend to support as they promote relocation to the candidate’s native country or country of origin. Last but not least, the Nigerian government should provide assistance in organizing the return of the diaspora, invest massively in education and infrastructures and eradicate corruption and violence.
There is still a lot to do for Nigeria to catch up with G20 countries; however, changes are around the corner and Nigeria should benefit from its already-qualified professionals.
For entrepreneurs, conferences are the ultimate platform for networking. You can meet so many people who might share the same interest as you. And who knows, you might even get amazing business ideas for your venture in Africa.
This is how you build your tribe.
And if you are thinking of exploring the African market then here’s a list of top African business conferences that you shouldn’t miss in 2018:
Blockchain Africa Conference 2018, Johannesburg
The blockchain technology is changing the way organisations do business and the way information is exchanged. More and more organisations and start-ups are now exploring this technology to revolutionise their transaction operators and trying out new ways of transactions. And the fourth annual Blockchain Africa Conference is an event that no entrepreneur should miss. This event is going to be held in Johannesburg in March. It is attended by CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, and financial service professionals from all over the globe.
Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit (ATIGS), Washington D.C
This is a biennial business conference held in June 2018. The aim of this conference is to promote international trade between Africa and other Asian, EU, Caribbean, and the Americas. It also fosters FDI opportunities in Africa and is a platform for businesses who want to venture into African nations. The conference is attended by high-profile delegates from more than 70 countries, including government officials from African and other nations. Many international investors and project developers also eye this conference as a doorway to the African market. The event will be organised in Washington, D.C.
This event brings together the key decision-maker, stakeholders, regional governments, UN agencies, and agricultural experts. This is a platform for discussing and exchanging ideas on sustainable agricultural practices and discovering agricultural innovations. Connect with the top agricultural professionals from all across the globe.
This would be the 20th edition of HBS Africa Business Conference and will be mainly focusing on the business opportunities in Africa and the development that’s undergoing throughout the continent. This is a platform for a global exchange of dialogue between the African nations and the rest of the world and for initiating discussions on the scope of Africa as a potential hub for investment.
This forum is a platform for the meeting of key players from in infrastructure, energy, and power sectors. This event attracts policy makers, regulators, fund managers, consultants from all over the world.
This international event brings together investors, leaders, journalists, and policymakers from over 70 countries in the world. This is one of the biggest annual meetings of the African private sector. This event is attended by over 1200 delegates and is alternately held in Africa and Geneva. In 2018, the event will be held in Abidjan in West Africa. This is a unique platform that’s dedicated to the business leaders to engage in thought-provoking discussions, providing excellent networking opportunities. If you are someone who is looking forward to promoting your business in Africa and want to learn the best business practices, this is a conference that you must attend.
With a host of expanding economies and ongoing development projects in Africa, investing in this continent is a tempting idea and it is more enticing if your business is doing pretty well in your local or regional market. When it comes to breaking into a new market, especially Africa, a look-before-you-leap approach works best.
If you have some ambitions to go international and expand your business in Africa, in this blog post, we are sharing the secrets of entering new and emerging markets with confidence.
Select the right country
With 54 countries, deciding which country to select for an export project is a daunting task. Nevertheless, here are some ideas to help you structure your project:
What is exactly your product?
Depending on the level of sophistication of your product, you may want to classify the potential markets according to the level of maturity of the customer markets and its size.
Because the size of the African markets is relatively small, adopt a regional approach for your export products. Africa is divided into several trade regions:
These regional blocs aim to reduce barriers entries for products and align trade policies. When exporting your product or services, take into consideration the region of export of your product and take benefits of the regional agreements to reach neighbouring countries.
Do not under-estimate the language and cultural barriers. You should look at your internal resources from a language perspective to determine where you would like to start. You might need the services of a translator to help you with your admin papers. It is likely that your embassy in the country offer such a service or is able to recommend the services of a good translator.
Test before you roll out
The idea is to sell directly to the market where you are trying to enter. For instance, if you are targeting a country in Africa, then you can get your product into the stores in that country and then see how things go. You can get a reliable local distributor or agent as they have more contacts than you. Be realistic with your objectives. This is an opportunity to develop your network as said earlier potential customer markets are smaller than in Western countries.
The easiest way to reach success is to develop partnerships and joint ventures with local distributors. They know the markets and know how to position your brand. Invest in developing your network and provide marketing, operational support to your distributor.
There are several resources you can use to find a local distributor for your products:
– Ways to Cap is a market place connecting prospective buyers and sellers in Africa;
– Alibaba, the popular website is undeniably a source to find potential buyers for your products.
The best way to know a country is by visiting that place. And if you are travelling to Africa for the first time, you may:
Contact the embassy
Contact the Foreign Trade Chamber of Commerce in your country. They support businesses both in your country and in Africa.
Enrol on a trade mission organised by your government and other trade organisations.
Attend business conference in the continent (for building networks).
When venturing into Africa, know that you will never be short of support. Look at business platforms such as Africa Business Venture or other facilitation services platform.
You will need the following support if you are serious about your export venture:
A local business developer to help you establish a local network a strong footing
A lawyer to help you deal with tax and regulatory issues related your business
Market researcher for verifying your assumptions
No matter the country in the world you want to export your products or services, exporting is a huge investments for companies. Seeking support can be costly but our experience show that companies with the highest return are companies that did not rush their export project but instead took their time to fully understand the realities of the local markets.