Growing supply and demand through business relations
No doubt, the toughest terrain in doing business is the Sub-Saharan region. The endless red taped bureaucracy, the myriad of licenses and permits, accessing capital, ridiculous legal costs for enforcing contracts. Actually, now that I am listing this, I realise the challenges are not different from doing business in Austria.
What makes doing business in Africa difficult is the high diversity of cultures, poor infrastructure and sourcing the right skilled workers. Let me add in poor time-keeping and keeping up with customer behaviour. How can you circumvent these barriers to enable smooth trading? The answer is: You cannot. Your best bet is to understand your target customer, find a trusted local partner and mirror the negotiation skills of an Asian trader.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a growing trend of European enterprises taking advantage of the mixed economic system, private freedom and rising middle class in Africa. Austria is slowly catching on to this trend and realising the potential high returns of investment in education, skills, health and off-grid renewable energy.
Do not fear the dominant presence of Chinese.
The Chinese trader does a very good job in manufacturing and infrastructure development. The quality levels remain a matter of debate. But you should know that the African consumer loves quality goods, which are affordable, durable and fitting to local needs. You have a great chance of winning the African consumer if you provide sustainable products or services. Very often, no-frills products without unnecessary features are enough to cater for the mass market.
You are on the path to sustainable profitability as long as you are persistent, resilient, own enough liquid cash flow, supported by trusted local partners, and have an understanding of the consumer, local cultures and market trends. Your chances of success are heightened further if you are trading with African countries led by governments that are accountable and pushing innovative industrialisation strategies. Take for example Mauritius or Rwanda.
Join the expanding network circles of Austria-Africa relations.
Throughout September 2017, Austria offered an exciting programme of discussions, entertainment, education and training with a focus on business and development in Africa, including Aphropean Partners’ Frontiers of Dialogue, the Aussenwirtschafts Österreich’s Forum on Business and Development with focus on Africa, The African Gala 2017 hosted by the Diaspora, and so forth.
Building relations is the key to success. Together with strategic partners, we can help frame your understanding of the emerging and frontier market of Africa. Simply get in touch and email firstname.lastname@example.org for consultation and seminars.