Slide of the month November – Aluminium foil

After growing its expertize in the African packaging markets throughout the last 5 years, africon supported a leading aluminium foil supplier to the flexible-, laminated carton, cigarette- and blister packaging industry with the development of its Africa strategy.

53 key industrial players were interviewed, including 11 packaging manufacturers in South Africa and 12 packaging manufacturers in Nigeria. In terms of market attractiveness, the South African market outscored the Nigerian market. However, given the well established long term relations many South African companies have with their suppliers, the Nigerian market offered a far bigger accessible market than the South African.

Only by meeting the local key players personally in Nigeria and South Africa, africon was able to identify which companies signalled interest in a future cooperation with the client. The africon hands-on approach was therefore once again essential for the development of a successful Africa strategy.

 

 

Slide of the month October – Automotive industry in sub-saharan Africa

In the past three years, africon has conducted extensive market research projects on the automotive industry in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, the market for automotive filtration in Kenya and Tanzania was analysed in detail. During the project, 60 senior level industry players from authorities, key automobile traders and leading parts distributors, more than 300 consumers, around 70 workshops and 100 parts traders in Kenya and Tanzania were interviewed.

In terms of vehicles in operation (VIO), Kenya and Tanzania belong to the countries with the highest stock of VIO in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Through a fast-growing local assembly industry, Kenya promises to stay the local automotive hub in East Africa. This also reflects in a growing local spare parts industry ranging from automotive batteries to tires. Also the automotive market in Tanzania, with a first local assembly line for agricultural vehicles in place and various spare parts manufacturers operating successfully, promises to continue growing in the next years.

Apart from the activities in Kenya and Tanzania, africon has been active in the Nigerian automotive market since 2015. With the new insights from Kenya and Tanzania gathered in 2017, the africon expertise regarding the African automotive market grew decisively.

 

 

Slide of the month September – Woodworking machinery importation

During a recent project conducted by africon with focus on the wood working machinery market in Nigeria, africon GmbH identified 107 furniture manufacturing companies and 14 machine distributors focusing specifically on the furniture manufacturing market.

By holding expert interviews with a big number of manufacturers and distributors it became quite clear that the furniture manufacturing sector in Nigeria is very much quality oriented when it comes to purchasing machinery. This stands in contrast to many other industrial sectors that are clearly driven by price when it comes to purchasing e.g. in the steel industries.

The slide of the month August 2017 shows that during economically difficult periods price is starting to become the underlaying factor even though quality is still considered to be very important. Therefore, the countries exporting high quality machinery have lost a big market share to countries exporting low price machinery. Consequently, it would be important for high quality machinery suppliers to widen their portfolio containing a lower priced machine that still meets all basic quality requirements.

 

Slide of the month August – Plastic Pipes

During a period of 3 years africon GmbH conducted more than 140 interviews with manufacturers of plastic pipes as well as distributors, hardware stores, construction companies and contractors in 11 countries in west and east Africa. Through all these interviews africon gathered extensive knowledge on the local manufacturing market of plastic pipes, the importation as well as the trends of different materials in different countries.

The following slide shows very well that when entering the African market a company needs a clear strategy for different regions of the continent since trends, developments and market sizes can differ quite a lot between the different regions of this vast continent.

 

Slide of the month July – Investment horizon in Africa

africon GmbH has made over 130 interviews with sub-Saharan African steel manufacturers between 2016-2017. In these interviews, one of the key issues holding back Western manufacturers was the risk perception of management, reflected in the preferred payback periods of the machinery. The management of steel companies was hesitant to make too large investments in machinery that would require long payback periods, mainly because of political, regulatory and other economic risks. The preferred payback horizon is 2-5 years, whereas most high-end Western equipment requires 8-12 years of payback time in Africa. Providing machines that fits risk perception or intended payback period is one of the main challenges of western engineering companies.

 

Slide of the month June – Automotive Kenya vs. Nigeria

In two different projects, both concerning the automotive industry in Kenya and Nigeria, africon has been conducting more than 65 interviews with vehicle assemblers, coach builders, repair garages and distributors of vehicles. Aim was to understand the current maintenance of windscreens in Africa to develop a go-to market strategy for a leading adhesives company.

These interviews as well as the analysis of general market data shows that the size of the automotive market in Kenya and Nigeria is quite different, which comes naturally when looking at the size of the population (46,05 million in Kenya vs. 182,2 million in Nigeria). But the proportion of new vs. second hand vehicles is very much the same.

Having 75% and 80% of second hand vehicles cruising the streets in Kenya and Nigeria the market for spare parts as well as chemical materials needed in the repair sector – like adhesives, sealants, paints, etc – is huge.

 

Slide of the month May – Steel investment Africa

During 2016 – 2017 africon GmbH conducted over 130 interviews with the management of sub-Saharan African steel manufacturers. In these interviews, we were able to discover that the current steel plant equipment and machinery market is dominated by low-price segment mainly consisting of Chinese and second-hand equipment. However, discussion with top managers on future investments in the next 10 years, the steel plant equipment landscape will change dramatically. Most of the new growth will come from mid-high price segment, with a total market share of over 50 % by 2025. This will open up great opportunities for steel plant engineering companies in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Slide of the month April – Spark plug market Nigeria

Within a large independent aftermarket (IAM) project in the automotive sector for Nigeria, africon GmbH had the chance to interview more than 50 experts and found that the IAM market in Nigeria is strongly dominated by fake products. A good example is the spark plug market where fakes in 2015 were at 65% but increased to almost 80% in 2016. According to an expert in the IAM market in West Africa, Chinese suppliers have lowered the quality of fakes to meet the lower buying power of Nigerian clients. The current market leader is NGK from Japan with a strong distribution by Asahi Brands. Other brands are distributed through various players e.g. Hydrotrans but also by OEMs e.g. Bosch.

Slide of the month March – Kenyan mobile money transfers

Mobile money has become the most important money transfer system in Kenya by far, in contrast to the European continent where people mostly stay suspicious to such paying systems. africon GmbH with its long-term experience in the payment sector did a research for a leading manufacturer of chip for payment cards. In this context, the Kenyan market of banking and credit cards has been analysed and an important data base including information from more than 50 expert interviews in Nigeria and Kenya with banks, personalisation bureaus, distributors and other key organisations was constituted. Thanks to this extensive research, africon can resume that the Kenyan banking market is saturated. Investments into this sector can hardly be profitable besides banks and telcos who still buy payment cards. The Nigerian market currently shows a strong margin drop for payment chips and new technologies are being explored by banks and payment providers. Nevertheless, the dynamic development of mobile money is an important opportunity for the IT sector and internet security companies.

 

Slide of the month February – Segmentation of the Nigerian sanitary market

The slide of the month January showed that Western Africa is a very active region for hotel development. The rise of the construction sector also drives the need of interior design and sanitary products. Two third of the total Nigerian turnover in sanitary products come from retail business. Only one third of the products are sold in construction projects such as hotels or office buildings. Whereas, when it comes to high-end class, the ratio changes and project business dominates the selling of sanitary and interior decor. Key to success in Nigeria is the identification of key players.

The segmentation of the Nigerian market illustrated by the sanitary sector is typical for Africa. Small distributors and unofficial markets dominate. Still, africon sees an opportunity for large contracts in high-end projects. A successful market entry must cover the whole distribution chain.