Financial Data
Updated 29 Feb 2020

5 Success factors for expanding into Africa

African markets are becoming increasingly more open for business, and investors have started sitting up and taking notice of the changes. To succeed in this market you need to consider five key factors for your African growth strategy

03 July 2014  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

According to Ernst and Young’s annual Africa attractiveness survey, Africa’s ongoing growth and development is starting to attract interested investors. African markets are increasingly open for business.

“Africa is often perceived as a high-risk, difficult and sometimes dangerous place to do business.

"However, our own analysis and experience indicates that many African countries benchmark well on key risk-related factors relative to emerging markets in other regions. We are actually seeing a very positive risk/ reward relationship in Africa, particularly for companies with robust systems of risk management that enable opportunity taking,” says Jonathan Blackmore, Risk Leader for Ernst & Young EMEIA.

But Africa is a continent of rich diversity and complexity and your business strategy needs to be adapted to include these dynamics. Here are five strategic success factors that will ensure a business strategy ready for execution in Africa.

1. Perspective

African business ventures can be risky, but not much more than in other emerging markets across the world.

Successful businesses investing have paid due attention to their perspective on Africa and adopted a ‘risk-first’ approach that first filters for risk and only then weighing the opportunities.

2. Planning

Patience and persistence leads to results and this philosophy holds true for Africa.

Experienced foreign investors noticed that nowhere else is there such a direct correlation between taking the time to plan carefully and getting a successful outcome as in Africa.

Take your time planning but also make sure you stay flexible to change when needed.

3. Places

Africa is a diverse place; the barriers to creating bigger and deeper common markets and trade areas are considerable, but these are becoming less and less. Strategy making around African growth opportunities involves executing your strategy in less conventional ways, both below the country level (African opportunity as turning on various key cities) and beyond the country level (African opportunity framed in terms of regions and other potential groupings).

4. Partnerships

Relationships cannot be stressed more than when doing business in Africa. Fostering good, proper relations with all levels of government will is a vital component of your strategy.

5. People

Your strategy won’t execute itself. You need to identify, nurture and retain talented and committed local staff. Africa has a history of underserved customer.

To foster this opportunity your business strategy should develop an approach of bottom-up receptiveness which will mean responsiveness to the needs and wants of Africa’s consumers, instead of informing new customers of their options. 

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