A startling analysis of African Business was published by The World Economic Forum in May 2016 which seems certain to increase confidence in those wishing to sell in to Africa. The report notes that according to figures from the IMF, Africa is likely to achieve annual growth of 4.3% between 2016 and 2020. This compares to expected UK growth in 2017 of just 1.3% (IMF, quoted in The Guardian, 20th July). Such figures are impossible to ignore for the forward thinking business person and the undoubted opportunities the African story will bring.
Impressive and consistent annual market growth
Taking the example of Tanzania from 2006 onwards (see figure 1) the growth rate is impressive, not just in raw figures but the consistent growth every single year. It should be noted that African countries are generally coming from a lower base than many European nations, however it may be the case that the gap is starting to close.
Figure 1 Tanzania, source: http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/statistics
Success rate up to four times that in established markets such as the UK, Europe and the US
At Chartered Developments we have correspondingly noted a strong upsurge in interest for marketing in Africa. Our team based at Exeter, Devon has found a success rate up to four times that in established markets such as the UK, Europe and the US. Although the level of new business being won in Africa is impressive it is important to understand the reasons behind this to make the most of your investment.
Firstly, Directors of African companies, whether larger banks and corporates, professional practices or mid-sized firms are generally much easier to reach. Key decision makers are less guarded and have an openness to new business relationships, far more so than in many developed economies. This means that we are having more conversations with Directors who are enthusiastically looking for partners to help them develop. In turn we are helping our clients meet such African business leaders to service their ongoing needs whether this be software, legal, accounting, investment or consultancy.
Key decision makers, much easier to contact and keen to engage
Africa is also less saturated with companies reaching out for new relationships. Many business people in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe will not be regularly contacted from overseas with a desire to starting a relationship. This means that when Directors do take a call they tend to engage very keenly and we often have lengthy and productive discussions. This will not always be the case and for UK firms in Africa there is a very real first mover advantage.
It goes without saying that with English being widely spoken in most African countries and a two hour time difference to the UK it would seem ideal to explore the continent for new business opportunities.
There is one caveat within Africa that UK based firms must be wary of. Sourcing data and contact names in the UK is very easy, information is easily available and is very accurate. Africa is much harder to source details for and many companies, even medium sized businesses may not have a website. As such it is not as simple as buying a list from a broker, more local knowledge is needed before starting a campaign.
Our team has been successfully building bespoke African marketing lists for some years and we appreciate that a small, focused list is better than a larger but inaccurate resource. If you would like to find out how we work with our clients in Africa and the strength of results we are seeing please do make contact.
Contact: Rohan Hardeman
T: 07807 100984