New Vision and Mission for africon GmbH
After six years of existence, africon’s long-term strategy was reviewed. That was done at the beginning of 2017, including the consultancy of an external specialist. The new vision of the company is: ‘Bridging Potentials’.
Bridging for us means building bridges – with Africa, the rest of the world and within the continent. We connect companies, ideas, projects as well as people and offer them a bridge to develop their potentials together in cooperation with us.
We believe in the African potential. These potentials are in the connection to and from Africa as well as within the continent. Potentials are defined for us as all possibilities to create an added value. Those can be personal as well as financial added values. With enthusiasm, we search, discover and promote these potentials.
The mission of africon as a company and each member of the team is to become the leading European consulting company delivering solutions for Africa to companies worldwide by 2030.
Our first step will be achieved in 5 years as a short-term goal. In 2022, we strive to be a leading European consulting company delivering solutions for Africa to companies in our key markets. Our solutions include market research, developing strategies and local implementation with our representations in key African markets. Using our networks and hands-on approach we create tailor-made solutions together with our customers. Our added value is the reduction of time, costs and risk.
Our staff is highly motivated. They are the trusted partners of their customers. The international and local teams are specialized and understand the African markets. A key factor of motivation is our company culture.
Our owners take an active role in the business. We grow constantly, profit oriented and are financially independent.
Sonja Mattfeld inaugurates the new Dried Mango production plant
In 2013, German trade fair Messe Dusseldorf and SAVE FOOD initiative hired africon, to perform research on the Kenyan food market. The study revealed a dramatic statistic: 300,000 tons of the mango harvest is lost because the fruits are not picked in time or cannot be processed quickly enough.
After an analysis of the reasons of losses and a deep insight into the Kenyan mango sector and its few processing techniques (mango pulp, mango juice, dried mangoes), africon together with Messe Dusseldorf and committed members of the SAVE FOOD initiative formed an active group and chose the Kenyan company Azuri Health Ltd. as their local partner in actually tackling the problem and invest in the niche market of dried mangoes.
This year on 8th February Azuri Health could, as a result of the successful business implementation, open a bigger production plant. Here, the production staff doubled from 5 to 10 persons and additional 25 casual workers during the peak production periods. Also, in terms of production capacity, the new plant evaluated to from 2 to 10 tons of dried mango per month.
Sonja Mattfeld, Partner at africon and Project Manager of “The Mango Project” was invited to hold a speech and cut the ribbon at the inauguration of the new plant. Just as was Dr. Clemens Schütte, Director of International Business at Messe Düsseldorf, a long standing partner of africon and “The Mango Project”.
Tei Mukunya, Founder and CEO of Azuri, states: “The Mango project is indeed the much awaited solution. They came to Kenya asked the right questions and realized what was needed.”
africon has published its slide of the month in the economic daily paper “Märkte Weltweit”. In the article, difficulties of doing market research in African countries are underlined and an “African approach” is presented. This has been illustrated on the example of a big IAM automotive aftermarket study.
German investors are still cautious when it comes to the African market. Differences in culture and doing business are big and scare many companies. Corruption and the importance of the black market seem to be unmeasurable. For these reasons, African business seems to be unpredictable. However, the africon article shows that extensive research on the ground can complete lacks in traditional statistical studies. The slide of the month that was published in “Märkte Weltweit” indicates that about 59 % of the spare parts in automotive aftermarket in Nigeria come from the open market. In order to raising reliable numbers, africon visited about 150 workshops and interviewed 48 experts as well as 500 consumers. Also, we created our own data base on the existing automotive brands evaluating more than 12 500 photos of the cars in Nigeria’s streets. That’s what we call an African approach for a study on the African market. And that is the reason why the regional knowledge and presence on the ground are that important when it comes to business in Africa. For a market entry, German companies should have partners with a very good knowledge of the African continent by their sides. That is one of the strengths of africon.
Marc Zander, Managing Partner & CEO of africon GmbH, has been invited to numerous conferences during autumn 2016 as a speaker and participant in discussions on African economy. Amongst others, he participated in the conference “Universities, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in Africa” in Sankt Augustin which was organized by the University Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. In Berlin, Mr Zander spoke on the “African Tech Entrepreneurship Conference”. With this recent focus on young initiatives in African economy the africon team got insights into a modern, energetic and highly inspiring part of the African continent.
africon conducted a major Nigeria research project for a German supplier of IAM automotive engine parts. The study – one of the most in-depth africon studies in Nigeria so far – evaluated the entire value chain of the automotive industry, the diesel generator business, the market for agricultural machinery as well as construction machinery in the country.
All areas suffer from a share of around 60-70% of fake parts in the aftermarket. Nevertheless, the numbers are huge: driven by mainly 12.5m motor vehicles and 400,000 diesel generators, the engine spare parts market in Nigeria is an industry of several hundred million dollars.
After a successful trip to Kenya in 2015 with our client The State Ministry of Rhineland-Palatinate for Economic Affairs, Traffic, Agriculture and Viniculture, africon had this year the pleasure to organize a business delegation to Tanzania.
Nine companies from various industrial sectors participated in the three-day trip to Dar es Salaam in order to get to know the general business environment and explore the potential for their own products and services.
The africon- team consisting of Lena Schwoerer and Aneth Herman organized an excellent program with 51 personal meetings for the delegates with individually and carefully selected potential clients and partners for the participating companies among which we had a wine exporter, different machine manufacturers as well as producers of feed additives, tools and special chemicals.
During the trip, it was a special honor for the business delegation to be received by Mr Mohammed Dewji, the Group CEO and president of the MeTL Group which is Tanzania’s largest homegrown company with revenues of more than $1.5 billion, employing more than 24,000 people and with a presence in 12 countries in Africa.
To make the program round we created also some space for networking with other German companies and institutions already present in Tanzania, for example during a visit to the company Achelis (Tanzania) Ltd. and the dinner reception of the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany which supported us together with the Tanzanian German Business Center during the trip.
The feedback of all companies as well as our client, The State Ministry, was very positive and we could once again prove how our excellent business expertise and understanding of the local markets together with a hands-on-approach and professional organization on the ground can bring added-value to German companies.
africon GmbH, a specialized consulting company with sole focus on Africa, is happy to announce its new advisory board with immediate effect. The advisory board which has significant long term Africa experience will guide and advise africon GmbH in its current growth phase and contribute with ideas, contacts and local know how.
africon is happy to officially welcome Mr. Dennis Awori, Mr. Alastair Newton and Mrs. Tei Mukunya on board.
Mr. Awori is Chairman of Toyota Tsusho East Africa, Kenya Airways Ltd and the Bank of Africa Kenya Ltd. Moreover, Mr Awori is Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (the umbrella body for Kenya’s private sector) and a Trustee of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. From 2003 to 2009 he was appointed the Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Japan and Korea where he built strong relations between Kenya and the two countries, especially through their private sectors, keeping in mind his prior experience in multinationals in the motor industry across East Africa. Mr. Awori will support africon with its sound industry expertise and African business network.
Mr. Newton is Co-Founder and Director of Alavan Business Advisory Ltd. since 2015. Prior to Alavan Alastair Newton was career diplomat (1985-2005) who went on to work as a political analyst in the City from 2005 to 2015. As a British diplomat he served in Africa, Paris and New York. In London, he had spells in intelligence liaison, policy planning and coordinating the prime minister’s G7 team. Additionally, he joined Frankfurt-listed African Development Corporation in 2008, first as an advisor to the Supervisory Board then as a member. He took over the chair in 2013, from which position he successfully oversaw the fund’s acquisition by Atlas Mara in 2014. Mr. Newton will assist africon with his long political expertise in Africa.
Mrs. Mukunya is owner and founder of Azuri Health Ltd. She is also a Director of Midas Golden Academy a private elementary school. Prior to this she built 6 years of experience running Touchstone Consultancy Services in developing and marketing products for cooperatives and groups. She worked with GIZ, SNV, ACDA-VOCA, EU-CDTF and USAID in capacity building on business development and marketing for women and youth. Prior to that she started her corporate career at British American Tobacco serving in various marketing roles including Trade and Marketing, Marketing Operations, and Brand Marketing for the Horn of Africa markets; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia. Mrs. Mukunya will support africon with her long term marketing and start-up experience.
“We are happy and proud to have such a highly experienced advisory board. Since we are still a relatively young team we look forward to a continuous exchange with the advisory board to support the growth of our company.” Marc Zander, Managing Partner & CEO of africon GmbH.
The large real estate fair by Messe Munich called “Expo Real” has contracted africon GmbH in exploring opportunities in the Nigerian real estate sector. africon was tasked with gathering contacts in the real estate market, provide market intelligence on the real estate market and organize a business trip for the fair director Ms. Boymanns meeting key personnel of large real estate companies, banks and developing companies. For the second time, Expo Real has given special focus to Sub Saharan Africa with the real estate sector showing great potential.
Expo Real with almost 40.000 participants will be able to bring together stakeholders in the property and real estate sector to discuss the latest trends and access first-hand information on the industry. Nigerian companies participating in the expo, stand to gain from meeting international investors and bringing in more international capital into Nigeria’s booming real estate sector.
The industry association Spectaris contracted africon GmbH in 2015 to analyse the Nigerian market potential for German companies in the area of laboratory and analytical equipment.
Focus of the joint Nigeria study was the analysis of market sizes for the various product areas, the identification and evaluation of promising target market segments, as well as the explanation of macroeconomic developments. Best practice examples of German companies operating in Nigeria display the present potentials, valuable insights from local industry players are a key element of the study.
With a total market size of around $80m and rapid growth in various sectors, Nigeria is the 2nd largest market in Sub Sahara Africa after South Africa for companies supplying laboratory equipment. Even though low quality standards are a common challenge in the industry, more conscious segments are emerging, driving demand for German high quality products.
The decision for the study was a result of an increasing interest of the German high tech industry on the African growth markets. Especially in the area of medical devices, but also across many other sectors, some African markets are experiencing rapid growth, opening up opportunities for German and international companies.
In continuation of the joint exploration of the African markets, Spectaris and africon furthermore conducted a joint work shop for its member’s companies on the opportunities in East- and West Africa in June 2016. Outside West Africa, East Africa boasts strong potentials, e.g. for medical devices with major public and private projects in the Kenyan health care sector, oil discoveries in the region will attract investments in laboratories. Successful regional integration initiatives as well as strong economic growth further enhance business potentials.
May 4 - May 10