Transcript: IMEA Essentials- Africa

Video transcript

So, Africa’s a very diverse continent. You’ve got 1.25 billion people living across 54 different countries; you’ve got one billion of those living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The average age in Africa is only 19-years-old. You’ve got 40 percent of the population living in urban areas. You have over a thousand languages. You have 24 Francophone countries. You’ve got one of the fastest-growing regions on the planet, so it’s a hive of activity, it’s a hive of change; there’s a lot of opportunities across the board in Africa.

So, that said, there are still some negatives. Obviously 41 percent of the population in Africa still lives in poverty. The economic downturn and particularly the commodity downturn in recent years has had a significant impact on the exporting countries within Africa, some of those will be well-known to our New Zealand exporters, and that downturn has had an impact on the ability of those markets to get access to foreign exchange and that, in itself, has made trading with those countries far more difficult.

So, very much like New Zealand businesses NZTE is really just starting its entry into Africa. New Zealand currently has three embassies on the continent; in Victoria in South Africa and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Cairo in Egypt. NZTE provides trade support from Dubai where we work very closely with our embassies, but more importantly we work very closely with our honorary consuls throughout many more markets on the continent and we work with a range of advisors, consultants, and Beachheads advisors to support New Zealand businesses entering Africa.

One of the key questions that we get is “Where do you start in Africa?” There’s 54 markets broadly split into four regions of north, east, south and west. But it can be a challenging question to ask a new company coming into the market. What we generally do is cut out some of the macroeconomic factors that can significantly impact the ability for a company to do business in those markets, so factors like corruption, factors like foreign exchange, factors like ease of doing business, crime rates; all of those negative factors play a role in where we focus our efforts. And so, NZTE is targeting 16 markets at the moment across a range of Francophone and Anglophone countries and that’s where we put our primary emphasis in supporting New Zealand businesses.

Africa is a significant market. In total it’s a six trillion-dollar market. The three big players are South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt. Together they make up over 50 percent of that six trillion. Africa is generally for those companies that have spent some time in other markets that are looking to expand a successful export strategy. Countries like South Africa, like Egypt and like Nigeria do offer significant opportunities for the right companies.