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africon CEO Marc-Peter Zander is PARLA expert trainer of the month

africon CEO Marc-Peter Zander is an external PARLA expert on Africa’s cultural and economic sector and has decades of experience with the continent. If you have followed us for a long time, you may know that he has spoken on many occasions as a keynote speaker, panelist and moderator on culture in Africa. See more from our news section.

He has vast experience in market entry consulting, regional focus sub-Saharan Africa, Africa´s economy, banking IT, FMCG, steel and packaging.  He is also a member of the International Advisory Network for Africa and has been working on Africa since 2002.

Since 2016, Parla and africon work together in consulting international firms on their cultural understanding with the key regions of Nigeria and Kenya.

Get to know more about him as well as his speaking portfolio here .

Sub Saharan Africa Workshop @METEC 2019: Successful premiere

African and German firms discuss market potential in Africa

Key players from Africa and Germany exchanged ideas on how to do business in Africa at the METEC 2019 Sub Saharan Africa Workshop. This workshop focused on the challenges and opportunities of the African metallurgy market. Speakers from a variety of African and European countries and companies were invited to hold presentations and participate in panel discussions thus giving the international audience an excellent insight into the African markets. The METEC Sub Saharan Africa Workshop took place for the first time on June 26th, 2019 during the METEC trade fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. It was initiated and organized by africon GmbH in close cooperation with Messe Düsseldorf and “The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association” in Germany (VDMA) represented by Dr. Timo Würz, Managing Director of VDMA Metallurgy. More than 50 attendees participated in the high-level workshop.

The Event

The event was characterized by an open and lively exchange between all participants and panelists. Opinions were exchanged, similar and differing ones debated, and many conclusions drawn. Several key challenges not only to European firms, but to African nations and industries were identified.

The following recommendations arose:

  1. European firms should consider Africa as a market. Although often small and sometimes challenging, some African markets can be very profitable and provide huge long-term growth opportunities. Many Africans already appreciate European quality.
  2. International firms have to understand that Africa is a huge and diverse continent. Especially smaller firms will not be able to deal with all countries at once. Clear priority countries have to be defined early on.
  3. Skills are a critical bottleneck locally. Training and education for staff is a key to success. Organizations like the German VDMA are in a position to support here as well.
  4. Providing adequate aftersales service is key for EU machine suppliers to African customers. To achieve this at reasonable costs, teaming up with other suppliers or utilizing locally present external service providers can be beneficial. Creating service hubs in certain countries can be equally help. E.g. Kenya can be used as a hub for East Africa.
  5. German firms often have to show flexibility in their commercial terms and conditions, as well as showcase cultural understanding for the other involved parties.
  6. German firms – wherever possible – have to check on their pricing models as this is still a huge issue. In that context, modular/scalable solutions are often highly appreciated. Offering German solutions made in lower cost countries like India can be interesting entry level options as well.

“As africon, we were very pleased to see a lively event with valuable insights for both existing market players and new entrants. We hope the valuable contacts exchanged on the event will bear fruits in future”, summarizes Mr. Marc Zander CEO and Partner africon GmbH.

More Details about the Programme

Panel 1 addressed: Needs and expectations of German/international metals production, metals processing and metallurgical machinery sectors when looking into doing business in Africa (e.g. technology, education & training, competition, etc.)

The Panelists included Dr. Tim Nikolaou (Managing Director, Frech Group, Germany), Mr. Cedrick Lusaka (Area Sales and Project Manager – Africa, Maschinenfabrik Herkules GmbH & Co. KG, Germany), Mr. Solomon Mulugeta (Director, Ruhe Consult and General Manager, Ethiopian Association of Basic Metals and Engineering Industries), Dr. Norbert Völker (VDMA department of educational policy / Skilled workers for Africa Project Manager), Mr. Glen Dikgale (President, South African Institute of Foundrymen (SAIF), South Africa. The Panel was Moderated by Marc Zander (CEO & Partner, africon GmbH).

Panel 2 addressed: What the African markets offer to and need from German/international metallurgy, steel casting and metal companies willing to start business in Africa? (e.g. market potential, financing, local support)

The panelists included  Mr. Till Schreiter (Managing Director, ABP Induction Systems GmbH, Germany), Mr. Bobby Johnson (Sector Chairman, Kenya Association of Manufacturers KAM, Metal & Allied Sub Sector as well as Director, Steelmakers ltd, Kenya), Mr. Ime Ekrikpo (Director Steel & Non-Ferrous Metals Department, Ministry of Mines & Steel Development, Nigeria), Mr. Gupta Gagan Santosh (Chairman, Kamal Steel Group, Tanzania), Mr. Dieter Brandstätter (Managing Director, ANDRITZ Maerz GmbH, Germany ). The panel was moderated by Friedrich Wagner (VDMA department of foreign trade).

For any more info, do not hesitate to contact us.

africon and Wolk After Sales Experts join forces for Africa

We are proud to announce that africon GmbH and Wolk After Sales Experts are joining forces for Africa.

Both German consulting companies are leaders in their respective fields, namely global automotive after sales industry and Sub-Saharan Africa business environment. Together Wolk and africon will be able to provide clients with comprehensive information and consulting support across the continent.

Since the beginning of its operations in 1994 Wolk After Sales Experts has grown into a consulting powerhouse well known to both vehicle manufacturers and independent aftermarket operators. Thanks to carefully built network of partners across Europe, Wolk monitors automotive markets in 35 countries – from Portugal to Russia and from Norway to Turkey.

In one world economy our clients need support not only in Europe, but on the other markets as well. Our cooperation with africon will allow us to include data from Sub-Saharan Africa into our AFTER SALES ACCESS aftermarket business intelligence tool. This will be a major asset for any automotive company aiming at creating or improving its distribution network in Africa” explains Zoran Nikolic, Managing Director at Wolk After Sales Experts.

africon GmbH, established in Germany in 2011, currently has offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. The company employs a team consisting of 7 nationalities speaking more than 10 local languages while running a network of more than 50 consultants in the African region. Over the past 5 years africon conducted more than 20 automotive projects in Africa.

The African automotive markets have been growing with more than 6% over the past years and offer great chances for global operating companies. After various independent aftermarket projects in Africa, africon could obtain significant data and know-how on African markets like Nigeria and Kenya which we are happy to offer to the excellent network of Wolk After Sales Experts” states Marc-Peter Zander, CEO & Partner at africon GmbH. Mr. Zander will be also a keynote speaker during upcoming Aftermarket Forum 2019: Going global! It is a top-level automotive industry event taking place on April 17th in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and organized by Wolk After Sales Experts. This year’s edition will focus on market snapshots of different regions of the world and Sub-Saharan Africa will be covered by the representative of africon.

In day-to-day business operations Wolk After Sales Experts and africon together will provide clients with exclusive market research, market intelligence and consulting projects in African countries.

SOTM March. Kenya’s construction and real estate sector

africon GmbH was contracted by one of our clients and we successfully conducted a research on the aluminium industry in Kenya. We found out that the key drivers of this industry are the construction and real estate sectors in Kenya. Findings revealed that these sectors have experienced positive growth rates within the last five years and are expected to expand even further.

Kenya’s construction sector expanded by 8.6% and contributed approximately 6% to the country’s GDP in 2017. It is also one of the major sectors attracting foreign investors to the country. 

According to Deloitte’s construction trends report, Kenya has remained the leading country with the highest number of projects in East Africa for four consecutive years, with projects increasing by 78% from 23 projects in 2017 to 41 projects worth $38.2 billion in 2018. The major construction projects are in real estate, energy and power, and transport, sources also reveal that the Kenyan government is spending billions of dollars on transport projects as Kenya is expected to become the logistics hub of East Africa.

Challenges to this Kenya’s construction sector include: the frequent use of substandard materials, long procurement procedures, low project completion rates, and low technological knowledge. Despite these apparent challenges, continuous growth is expected in the sector as the Kenyan government plans to build 500,000 houses by 2022, and also to reduce corporate tax for developers who construct at least 400 units per year.

Kenya’s real estate sector is the 6th largest contributor to Kenya’s GDP, and was valued at $5.5 billion in 2017. The sector expanded by 6.1% in 2017 compared to 8.8% in 2016, and this slowed growth rate is due to the elections and reduced credit supply (as a result of capped interest rates). The construction of new private residential buildings in Nairobi increased from 9,054 in 2015 to 10,002 in 2016, while new public residential buildings rose from 45 in 2015 to 1,062 in 2016. Some of the challenges faced by Kenya’s real estate sector include inadequate sources of funding, high land costs, and infrastructure development costs. However, government initiatives such as digitization of the land ministry, removal of land search fees, and inclusion of affordable housing as part of Kenya’s big four agenda is likely to boost real estate development over the next few years

Slide of the month showing the growth.

For more information, check out our other slides of the month and do not hesitate to contact us.

East african steel industry

africon’s editorial publication in the ITA journal

last October africon published its first editorial addressing the future of the Steel industry in East Africa at the 3rd journal edition of the International Tube Association. The article started by highlighting how East Africa distinguishes itself by economical growth and political stability in the region and being the least dependent on primary commodities such as gold or oil in comparison with other african regions. The East African region was projected to capture the highest regional economic growth over the past year in Africa. The article then went in depth to analyse those macro-economic factors and focused on the drivers of steel industry that promote economic growth in Africa and especially in East Africa.

Now you can read the full version of the editorial here or download it as a white paper

Automotive parts import Sub-Saharan Africa.

SOTM February. Automotive parts imports in Sub-Saharan Africa

africon conducted a market analysis on the automotive industry with specific interest in the automotive parts market in sub-Saharan Africa. Our focus was further narrowed down to the aggregate value of three main automotive service parts which are: Filters (consisting of air filters for internal combustion engines, as well as Oil or petrol filters for internal combustion engines), Spark plugs, and Brake parts. The total combined import value of these automotive parts in Sub-Saharan Africa was $753 million in year 2017. Brake parts recorded the highest import value worth $388 million which is 52% of the total import value of the three selected automotive parts combined, while spark plugs were the least of the imports valued at $58 million.

Based on our analysis of the available data on automotive parts imports in Sub-Saharan Africa, we found that South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, and Ghana were the top five importers of filters, spark plugs and brake plugs into Sub-Saharan Africa in the year 2017. South Africa being the largest market, accounted for 47% of these automotive parts imports worth $355 million, while Ghana being the fifth largest market was worth $21 million.

The major export partners were China, Germany, South Africa, Belgium and USA. However, the data from year 2007 shows that Germany was the largest exporter of these automotive parts to the Sub Saharan Africa region until 2013 when China took over as the largest exporter to the region. Brake parts were also the largest exports (of the three parts) from China and Germany while Filters were the largest exports from South Africa, Belgium and USA.

SOTM. January

SOTM January. The automotive parts market in Nigeria

The Nigerian automotive industry appears to be an interesting market, as our research on the automotive parts market shows that the market size is worth USD 4.4bn or more.

The total vehicles in operation in Nigeria is currently estimated at 12.7 million, and Nigerian drivers spend an average of USD 350 on automotive parts per year.

Interviews conducted with various automotive experts in Nigeria also confirmed that the market for service parts accounts for the biggest share of the automotive market.

SOTM December

SOTM December. Aluminium market growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

africon recently conducted aluminium market research in Africa and this revealed that the Aluminium market in sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing a steady growth in the past decade.

The major contribution to this, is the increased import of hollow profiles of aluminium alloys into Sub-Saharan Africa which has grown by 467%, from 23 mn tonnes to 107 mn tonnes between 2008 and 2017, compared to other profiles.

The non-alloyed profiles which has the lowest contribution seems to be dwindling in import size, as they only increased between 2009 and 2012, after which they began to decline.

Market entry project

SOTM November. Market entry project for a US communication company

africon was contracted to carry out a market assessment and recommend a suitable Africa strategy for a major international player in the two-way radio communication industry. The project had 7 countries of focus where a total of 184 interviews were conducted with the relevant players in the industry. The results concluded from the analysis of all interviews and market data was clear; South Africa dwarfs its counterparts in terms of market size and market maturity. Nigeria, Kenya and Angola on the other hand offer the greatest potential going into the future. Quality was found to be the key determining criteria for consumers when purchasing two-way radios. This is mainly due to fact that main users of two way radios tend to be in critical sectors where quality cannot be compromised including law enforcement, private security, mining, oil and gas. Customers in this sectors are willing to pay a premium for the guarantee of a reliable products. Africon can provide value to other radio communications companies by evaluating the market potential for their product, analyze the value chain and identify suitable distribution partners in the key market in sub Saharan Africa

africon CEO moderates the African Investment Day in Erkrath

Marc-Peter Zander, CEO and Partner of africon GmbH has been invited to moderate the African Investment Day which was held on the 29th of November 2018 to discuss the opportunities and challenges for investment in Africa.

The platform of distinguished African speakers gave a platform to the audience to discuss the first-hand access to investment, find out more about upcoming chances and also things to observe when investing in Africa. Key learning from the discussion steered by Mr. Zander was that investment in Africa needs strong local information basis, involvement with all stakeholders in African countries and the readiness to be locally present. In addition, it was summarised that there are great chances for investors at this moment in time as countries like Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya offer great opportunities for European investors.