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10 Things Noone told you about doing business with Africa

photo: africa.com

You have heard that Africa is growing and is a now hot economic commodity like the next China or India. But wait, isn't Africa unstable and unsafe? But you’re ready, willing and eager to do business in Africa. But you have no idea where to start. We sympathize with you. This blog will tell you some crucial facts you would want to know about doing business with Africa that noone may not have told you.

1) The African business culture, similar to the Asian business culture, is driven more by relationships and less by transactions.

2) African consumers have more money than you think, and they’re willing to spend less money on food to purchase airtime.

3) When it comes to doing business in Africa, it’s neither one country nor 54 countries. Rather you have to take a regional approach.

4) Brand loyalty is high.

5) Corruption—it’s not just an American (or Western) concern. Africans take corruption very seriously because it costs entrepreneurs, drives uncertainty, and inhibits growth.

6) Africans think China is good for business. Firstly and perhaps most importantly, Chinese treat Africans as peers, not children who need incentives for good behavior. Chinese are faster to make decisions, and have provided high profile infrastructure–in other words, they have delivered on projects. An example is Ghana’s new international airport.

7) Poor people have market preferences, too. Before entering a market, research is essential. Don’t assume that cheaper is always better; durability is often a core value.

8) Modes of communication are different. Cell phones are ubiquitous, so expect to text–a lot. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll rely less on e-mail and the post office. Your driver might also serve as your courier.

9) Use local consultants and experts. They’ll have knowledge of local customs, culture and relationships. It’ll minimize “school fees,” and deepen your perceived investment.

10) Americans are the last ones to the party. Perhaps a more apt name for this article might be, “Ten Things No One Ever Told You…If you are an American.” Europeans, Chinese and South Africans—yes, this is one of those weird regionalisms where South Africa is a separate market from the rest of the Continent—are already doing business in Africa and profiting.

We hope our tips prove helpful and please we are available to consult and speak to your group or company about doing business in Africa. Contact Us Here.

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