In recent times, the world are now beginning to see that Africa is the next place to be when it comes to exploring the vast potentials that emerging markets can offer. It does not matter the industry, there are always places for each to thrive in Africa`s 54-country economic dynamism. The Chinese, the Indians, the US, and few selected others to mention a few have established their presence in the continent and have been reaping the dividends of globalization.
As an African-European, I observe that the European`s presence is so faintly represented. I even discovered that some European countries, particularly the Central Eastern Region had once dared to enter, but in no time closed down and withdrew their investments, and those that are still there are frustratingly operating without tangible results. This outlook sends wrong signals to others which in turn discourage them from even dare want to make needed entries. Although the EU in Brussels are beginning to encourage their members to start looking into trading and venturing into Africa again using different mechanisms.
However, there are some needed tips that if when look into and consider carefully can certainly help the Europeans trade and investments to thrive in Africa. They are as follows:
We Africans cherish our relationship a lot more than transactions. Yes transactions at different capacities are needed, but we place more values in making the best of relationships which will certainly foster possible and potential transactions. This is where local contents matter most. This builds needed trust and assurance that are vital and instrumental to trade and investments.
2. Spending Culture.
We African spend. Due to our more disposable income, we can easily spend. We spend on things of local values, but those with higher disposals spend more on foreign items. Apart from the quality of foreign items, spending on foreign items is simply because of the glamorous values they add to our lifestyles which certainly is another potential profitable ventures for any wise European investors. Just find the niche!
3. The Nature of the Market/Economic Structure.
African market structure is more of BOP -Bottom Of The Pyramid. Due to the vast existing wealth gaps, European investors should understand that they can be better of in long-term investments that tend to the common average Africans on the street, by investing on easily affordable items with local contents. This is one of the areas that makes the Chinese and Indians thrive easily in Africa. I know how expensive Europe is, but with a flexible business mindset, investments should be tailored towards the various market categories in the continent. It is worthy to also note that Africa`s economy is more of export-driven, which when mastered can be beneficial to potential European investments.
4. Regional Approach.
My Africa is one big and diversified continent with colours of glamours and beauty. As a result of this, the continent can better be approached regionally when it comes to trade and investments. With improving political terrain in most regions, a successful commercial presence of European investment in any of the African regions will certainly pave ways to other regional parts of the continent. Besides, this creates needed confidence while attempting other venture in the continent.
5. Resourceful Talents.
Undoubtedly, the continent posses vast population and resourceful talents. As an African-European business mentor, I strongly recommend European institutions to see beyond just enriching themselves by the inflow of African students into their various institutions; and work with corporations and government in assisting and motivating successful students who wish to set up businesses in Africa based on the knowledge they acquired. This will integrate the acquired European education into the African markets. European companies on the other hand can invest on these talents locally in Africa and later absolved them into various projects in the continent.
In conclusion, European investors and government should learn from President Barack OBAMA`s remark at the U.S. -Africa Business Forum in New York: “And wherever I’ve gone, from Senegal to South Africa, Africans insist they do not just want aid, they want trade. They want partners, not patrons. They want to do business and grow businesses, and create value and companies that will last and that will help to build a great future for the continent.”
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