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africon GmbH has founded a new branch in Bremen

New year, new places: africon GmbH has decided to establish a broader regional presence and therefore opened a branch in Bremen’s heart on January, 1st, 2018. Right next to the Bremen Town Musicians is africon’s office:

in the Carl-Ronning-Straße 1, 28195 Bremen.

In Bremen sits the administration with focus on accounting, personnel administration and general administration.

Your prinicipal contact in Bremen is our Administrative Manager Karolin Heinrich.


 

Mohammed Al-Salafi as a visiting instructor at the Beni American University

Mohammed Al-Salafi, Business Analyst und der Länderaufbetragte für Nigera, hielt am 17.02.2018 als Gastdozent einen Vortrag zum Thema Strategisches Management an der Online Beni American University. Die Universität bietet verschiedene Programme an, darunter auch Strategisches Management, welches dieses Semester von Herrn Al-Salafi durchgefüht wurde. Mohammed Al-Salafi wird von nun an jedes Semester dieses Programm unterrichten.

Das Programm soll dazu dienen strategische Denkweisen, sowie die benötigten Fähigkeiten und Methoden zu erlernen die benötigt werden, um kompetente und professionelle Entscheidungen in der Geschäftswelt treffen zu können. Es werden relevante Konzepte, Werkzeuge und Fallbeispiele des Strategischen Managements vorgestellt.

 

africon GmbH held its first client workshop

On February 6. 2018, africon GmbH’s first Africa workshop took place in the Congress Center Düsseldorf. 44 customers followed the invitation as well as companions and partners of africon GmbH. Reason to launch this event was among others the occasion of africon GmbH’s seven-year existence.

 

After the welcome by the shareholders Mr Marc Zander and Mrs Sonja Mattfeld, the two also gave the audience a short review on the past seven years of africon. Mr Thomas Dohse, Deputy Director of interpack and also the representative of the host Messe Düsseldorf, welcomed the attendees of the workshop with warm words and spoke also about the experiences of the trade fair company in Africa.

 

Subsequently, Mr Hans Stoisser, author of the book “The Black Tiger – What we can learn from Africa”, delivered a vivid talk on the need for German and European companies to work on their Africa strategies. In his keynote he campaigned for a new perception towards the European neighboring continent Africa.

Above all, Mr Stoisser emphasized the dynamics and new opportunities that develop in African countries through the great creativity and above all though the rapid pace of development and growth. Even though today’s market sizes may still seem marginal to many companies, they should not do the mistake to ignore these innovative growth markets.

After a short coffee break, two separate workshop groups were formed. Each group had interesting and vivid discussions as well as exchange of ideas about two different topics. One group discussed on the question “How to sell investment goods in Africa?” and the other discussed on challenges concerning “How to manage partners in Africa?”.

 

It was a pleasure that Günter Nooke, the personal Africa-adviser of the German chancellor as well as the BMZ’s Africa representative, complemented the discussions in a very interesting way with adding some perceptions from a political point of view.

Mr Nooke specifically mentioned the progress in terms trade stimulation and the efforts of the European Union to promote economic integration, for example through free trade areas on the continent. He also emphasized the successful promotion of initiatives to improve investment conditions in African countries. Here he exemplified BMZ investment programs to promote job partnerships and industrial parks in Ethiopia.

 

The aim of the event was to facilitate a lively dialogue between companies that are already active in Africa and those who want to expand their activities on the continent in future. The interesting and diverse program as well as reciprocal recommendations, networking and exchange of experience and ideas among the attendees lead to a very positive feedback and calls for a continuation in the coming year 2019.

 

 

 

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 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 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.

 

Sonja Mattfeld Moderates Food Security & Agro-Tech panel in Munich

After africon’s successful participation in the first German Africa Business Forum in March 2017 we had the opportunity to participate also in the second edition in Munich on 28th November 2017. Interesting and lively discussions were held with participants from African business and governments. It was an honor that Sonja Mattfeld was allowed to moderated the panel on FOOD SECURITY & AGRO-TECHNOLOGY with a focus on the question how Germany’s enterprises can contribute throughout the value chain in order to minimize food waste. The mango-project initiated by africon and the SAVE FOOD initiative served here as a sample business case.

Find out more about the panel here.

Find out more about the Mango project here.

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 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.

 

For the 3rd time africon has been contracted by the German Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate to organize and conduct a business delegation. This time visiting Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

For the third time in 3 years africon won the public invitation from the German Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate to organize a business delegation trip. This time the delegation visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

From August 27th to August 30th 2017 the delegation of our longstanding client the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viniculture of Rhineland-Palatinate, consisting of three very different companies and being led by Dr. Richard Auernheimer, State Secretary A.D. visited Addis Ababa.

The three delegates are specialized in feed additives for animal feed, in chemicals for paints, varnishes and solvent mixtures and in communication & information solutions for Air traffic, Defense, Maritime, Public Transport, Public Safety.

 

The first day of the business trip, africon organized a city tour through Addis to familiarize the business people with the town and the rich culture and history of Ethiopia. In the evening Stephan Wendt, First Secretary – Head of Economic & Cultural Sections of the German Embassy welcomed all with a briefing note and valuable background knowledge on “How to do Business in Ethiopia” in one of the leading restaurants of Addis Ababa. Rounding up the cultural program of the day with economic knowledge.

On Monday the whole day was reserved for a B2B Event at the Radisson Blue Hotel. During which each of the delegates was presented with a number of arranged meetings with specifically chosen Ethiopian business representatives that matched the German’s individual business interests.

During the first part of the event in the morning leading Ethiopian business associations like “Chamber of Commerce”, “Ethiopian Investment Commission” as well as a representative of a law firm specialized on business law, were giving short presentations on their fields of expertise. Again providing the delegation with valuable knowledge on facts and figures to be aware of when planning on doing business in Ethiopia.

All speakers were invited to the following lunch break giving the delegates the chance to get involved into one-on-one discussions.

After the B2B meetings in the afternoon the day was rounded up perfectly by the invitation of the newly assigned Ambassador of Germany H.E. Brita Wagener to her residency. During this evening reception wine from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate which was sponsored by the Ministry was served and the delegates could mingle and chat with a number of Ethiopian, German and international business representatives, deepening the impressions and knowledge of the Ethiopian business community.

The third day, africon reserved the morning for official meetings at the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations, the Ministry of Industry as well as the Ministry of Mining.

Later on same day, drove 45 minutes outside of Addis Ababa to visit one of the many Industrial Zones: The “Eastern Industry Zone Park”. Here an introduction of the benefits and the general way of working as well as a tour around of the Industrial Park was given by the Park’s management.

The delegation also got the chance of visiting the production site of two of the companies who have set up their business in the Industrial Zone. One of the being Unilever who gave us a very interesting tour around their manufacturing grounds.

Early in the morning on Wednesday the delegation then left for the airport to proceed their trip to Rwanda. And from all e-mails exchanged after our trip as well as direct talks during the delegation, we can proudly say that we as africon have now for the third time 100% fulfilled the expectations of our longstanding client, the Ministry of Rhineland-Palatinate as well as their delegates. Each delegate got profound information concerning the Ethiopian business environment as well as business contacts – which made the trip a success for them – which then again makes their trip a success for africon.

 

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