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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 active in training and education in the African context

Beside the longstanding partnership with the Hochschule Bonn Rhein Sieg, the engagement in the TVET initiative in Kenya and the permanent supervision of student’s thesis, africon continues its engagement in the field of training and education also in the city of its new headquarter Bremen.

In November 2018, Sonja Mattfeld was invited to speak in front of a class of international students at the Hochschule Bremen in the study program of Global Management. In her presentation she raised not only the awareness for the huge business potential in Africa and motivated the students to look for careers in that growing market, but also shared insights of research projects and taught some research and analysis techniques. The lecture was part of their business administration curriculum and will in close cooperation with the professor directly enable the students to apply their knowledge in their exams. 

africon is always happy to assist international students and universities, give lectures and support with mentoring of projects related to Africa. For any questions on this please do not hesitate to contact our HR development manager Lena Schwoerer

Successful Plastic Sector Projects Done in East & West Africa

In the past months africon conducted two market assessment projects and one very successful business trip to Kenya for major international players of the plastic packaging sector.

Promising future market in Nigeria

The two market assessment projects had Nigeria as their focus market and more than 100 interviews were conducted with all relevant players of the plastic packaging sector locally.
The results concluded from the analysis of all interviews and market data in Nigeria is very clear: the plastic (packaging) sector in Nigeria is very vivid and growing at a high pace. Nevertheless, the Nigerian market is highly cost conscious. Competition is set on pricing strategy: the cheaper the product, the more sales a company makes. Most manufacturers still shy away from cost increases even marginally. The majority of consumers do not care much about quality as they do have an open eye for the cost.

At the same time the future is certain to come with changes. The upper middle class is expanding and there’s a growing awareness on quality products among Nigerian consumers generally.Any high quality / high price level company entering the Nigerian market will need a targeted product awareness campaign to help realize the market potential for their products. Both end users and converters need some form of education on the use of the products.

Modest expectations in Kenya

For Kenya, which has only a quarter of the population that Nigeria has and which’s BIP is 5 times smaller, the picture looks a bit different. The local production of BOPP film is for example not meeting its expectation in terms of capacity as it stands at around 30,0000 tons per year in Nigeria. Also, the import of machinery to manufacture plastic film stands at $ 87m in Nigeria but only at $ 38m in Kenya. But with the growing food manufacturing sector in both countries it is expected for the plastic packaging industry to grow as well. Since importing ready-made plastic film comes definitely more costly at one point than local production.

For any questions regarding this project please feel free to contact our practice leader Ms Lena Schwoerer.

The Manifestation of Interest. Kenyan-German TVET Intiative

africon GmbH signs the Manifestation of Interest along with many other multinational organisations such as Siemens, VW Group, Robert Bosch and Toyota.

The manifestation of interest is a cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Kenya, German Financial and Technical Cooperation and the Private sector Companies and Associations.  The agreement is originated during the bilateral government negotiations in September 2016 in Berlin, the Kenyan and the German delegation agreed to establish “Sustainable, Economic, Development – promotion of Youth Employment and TVET” as a new priority area of cooperation. The objective of the Kenyan-German initiative is to boost youth employment in Kenya by offering industry oriented technical and vocational training in close cooperation with the private sector.

The private sector companies agree to contribute by defining training contents and participating actively in the development of industry specific vocational standards. Furthermore, the private sector will assist with further training of vocational teachers from the network and provide opportunities for practical training of students through a combination of industrial attachments, work-based learning and prospectively apprenticeships.

africon is very happy and proud to be part of this initiative and is looking forward to participating the next steps with contributions to the training guidelines as well as with potential workshops and seminars and, of course, own inhouse training within the company.