Tag: Africa-EU partnership

Nurturing relations for business and development

Nurturing relations for business and development

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.

Have patience.

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 curious@aphropean.com for consultation and seminars.

Aid for Dependency or Trade for Stimulus?

Aid for Dependency or Trade for Stimulus?

Stimulus or Dependency?

It’s not a secret that I am an advocate for trade rather than aid except in the occasions of force majeure.

Some of you may think it is easy for me to favour trade over aid in the comforts of an Austrian safety blanket. Nevertheless, I can reassure you that millions of internet-connected Africans exposed to the perception of them by high-income countries reject the reliance on foreign aid and pity.

Money alone does not solve the issues of brain-drained migration, security, climate change and weak governance. There are countless studies to show the high spikes of corruption levels upon receipt of aid money in countries with poor governance. Many foreign-funded orphanages resemble prisoner-of-war camps because managers pocket most monetary donations. Contributions in kind of equipment, materials, and supplies are either sold on or not suitable for local conditions, such as the hot, humid/dry climate and weak energy infrastructure and so forth.

The principal activities to finding solutions to stubborn global problems are constant open dialogue to foster knowledge exchange and international trade, particularly intra-regional trade to fuel economic progress for low-income countries.
Of course, other factors come into play to strengthen a strategic partnership for sustainable development, such as the accountability of African governments, European aid pushers or multinational corporations. However, both continents – young and old need each other to achieve sustainable growth, wealth, and development.

The Africa-EU Partnership reflects the commitment of both sides to work together on a strategic, equal, and long-term footing.

If managed well, the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership could facilitate favourable frameworks to mobilise all five capitals for individuals, enterprises, and institutions in both neighbouring continents to enable fair and mutual trade and cooperation.

Perhaps, you do not agree with my views – please get in touch. I always welcome a healthy debate!

The Business of Sustainability

The Business of Sustainability

Learn. Diversify. Adopt.

Distracted by the financial and migration crisis of the past few years has left Austrian businesses hard pressed to grow. Instead, many companies have been forced to become more risk averse, affecting the export market. But shying away from expanding into new markets will get us nowhere.

What it takes to gain an advantage.

It takes a risk taker armed with data, local partners and reliant cash flow to invest in the emerging markets successfully. So, it should not come to a surprise that the share of Austrian exports to Sub Saharan Africa peaked at 0.6% trade volume in 2016. That is not even 1%! Just imagine the benefits reaped from a monopolised position by these key players in Kenya, Nigeria, Kenya and other investment destinations.

Today’s climate presents an opportunity for you to increase revenues and profits in the long run. Austria’s well-funded program in start ups, green innovation, and digital solutions has made the execution of an internationalisation strategy easier today than yesterday. Now has come the right time to build on strategic partnerships, learn about options to diversify and adopt the smart business of sustainability.

Learn. Diversify. Adopt.

Among existing core strategies to develop your business, consider expanding to the sustainability market of developing countries. Sustainability is a trending element to innovative business models and ambiguous in the definition. In Europe, the ecological component of sustainability is of highest priority to manage climate change. In Africa, it is the economic part of sustainability that ranks first to improve the quality standards of living. But you probably know that.

At the upcoming Frontiers of Dialogue held on 7 September 2017, accompanied by a distinguished panel with Africa experience, we will explore together the opportunities and challenges of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Across Borders with a focus on Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. As you look forward, consider sustainable business and CSR initiatives for growth to acquire new customers, build strategic partnerships, expand into new markets and new product/service additions.

Challenge the status quo.

To bridge the sustainability market with Africa, you need to understand the business conduct and market demands fully. Those of you who have already attempted trading in Africa: what your business did to be successful in the past might not be ideal to in the future. Africa is connected and enlightened today more than ever before.

The underserved markets of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa demands technology, know-how, and investments to develop in water and sanitation, agriculture, health, and education.

Too many Austrian businesses fail to realise the high potentials of combining business with sustainability and ethics to expand to Africa’s emerging markets. Of course, this comes with a higher level of risk taking, trust and understanding. The strategic and cross-cultural partnership is crucial to the success of international business relations. You need to have a knowledge of the sustainability market, opportunities and challenges of the underserved emerging markets in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Leverage on your strengths.

Austria should not be intimidated by uncertainty and the barriers set by China and the US. Instead, we should leverage our strengths of social capital, high-quality production of energy efficient solutions and knowledge-intensive services.

Let us challenge the conventional thinking about doing business in Africa by asking the right questions. Together we can increase our understanding of the international business of sustainability. We shall explore innovative solutions and ideas to bridging the sustainability market between Austria and Africa’s emerging markets.

Join the upcoming Frontiers of Dialogue on CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa held on 7 September 2017, 18:00h at the Salon Razumovsky, 1030 Vienna.
More info about the event.

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