CCR Magazine

You are here  :Home arrow News arrow Africa primed as growth market - but first understand the intricacies
Contact Us Newsletter Signup RSS Feeds

Latest News Headlines

Headlines

 
Commercial Credit News

Headlines

 
Africa primed as growth market - but first understand the intricacies PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 February 2016

Africa has been earmarked as a big growth market in which to operate, but you need to know what you’re doing to achieve any kind of success in this dynamic environment. This is the view of Louise Robinson, Managing Director of Database360, a Cape-Town and London-based strategic marketing consultancy specialising in lead generation and business-to-business (B2B) database creation in especially the IT, telecoms and mining sectors in South Africa and across the rest of the African continent.


Robinson believes that mapping out your strategy with a real understanding of the pitfalls and opportunities is the best way to approach business in Africa. “First off, bear in mind that dollar-based trading can be exhorbitant. Operating in African markets often requires a lot of capex and particularly time and money spent building up relationships with your customer-base, but once achieved can deliver above average returns,” she points out.

Communication is paramount in business because of its collaborative nature. Robinson emphasises that building up relationships requires a good understanding of cultural differences. “This extends to how digital communication platforms are used, especially mobile platforms which have a high penetration in Africa. It often boils down to an understanding of how cultural standpoints differ between Western rule-based and African relationship-based communication, so how you word an email can make or break a nascent business relationship.

“A Western direct approach in writing with minimal greetings and an emphasis on rules and deadlines is not necessarily acceptable in many African cultures. You will get better results with indirect communication with emphasis on polite greeting and perhaps enquiries about the person’s health and family. Don’t dictate deadlines but rather suggest a desired outcome allowing the recipient time to consult with team members. Foster relationships built on trust. If there is common ground for business, it will develop along with the relationship,” she says.

Starting a successful business venture in Africa requires an understanding of the cultures and societies present on the continent. Rich with opportunity, Africa is still largely considered uncharted territory for the business world compared to other regions, so getting to know the challenges and intricacies of working alongside African colleagues and their traditions could provide your company with an edge.

From a technology perspective Africa needs infrastructure in the form of computers, fibre optics and cell phones to launch a communications revolution. Limited resources means that many people use phones as their primary communication platform, and technology needs to adapt to this. In addition, while Africa has a reputation for profiteering and corruption, stability does exist in pockets and there is a move to adopt formal ethical corporate governance principles, especially in countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Ghana and even Nigeria. There is co-operation in Africa in efforts to create a single market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investment, paving the way for a continental customs union and improved regional and continental integration.

Concludes Robinson: “As Africa becomes an increasingly attractive location for international business ventures, we are seeing an increase in the number of corporate and public sector clients who ask for training in operating in African countries like Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia. These organisations are leading the way in ensuring that their employees have the right level of cultural support and intercultural training they need to successfully adapt to their professional and daily life in Africa.”
 
Enghouse Side Banner

 Forums International Ltd

Forums International Ltd

 Attendance at your first meeting is free of charge, and please quote reference 'CCR2016' to receive the special 10% discount off of your first annual subscription.

Find out more here.

latest issue

CCR Cover

The latest edition of CCR Magazine, the leading editorial publication in the UK credit industry, is out.

Read the latest issue online

subscriptions

CCR is the premier magazine for consumer and credit professionals. It provides an independent voice to the industry, breaking major news stories and running in-depth features.

As a magazine, it works with and campaigns on behalf of the credit industry to promote its importance as a centre of potential profit and business development to the wider business world.

Subscribe to CCR Magazine

CCR World Magazine


 

Providing information and analysis for thousands of senior credit professionals worldwide, every quarter.

Find out more

GTS Media Ltd
81 Cambridge Road
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS1 1EP

Registered in England No: 05483197