Consumer goods markets in Africa have over the past 10-20 years become increasingly interesting for international companies. Growing overall populations and especially the growing middle class have motivated companies from around the world to expand their footprint on the continent. One learning during this process is that Africa is more diverse than previously assumed.
This slide gives an interesting example: consumer goods in Algeria are usually sold through a distribution network that resembles that of some European countries. In Ethiopia on the other hand, a vast variety of products first passes through “Merkato Market”, a relatively chaotic but hugely important trading centre in the capital Addis Ababa. Further differences between the two markets exist in the type of products traded along these networks, the profiles of companies active in them and in many more areas. For all key African countries, these differences need to be understood and their impacts taken into consideration when building up structures as a foreign company.