Wesgro on upcoming business opportunities in West Africa

10 June 2015

Jacyntha Twynam, Head of Wesgro research, discusses business opportunities in West Africa.

Twynam states that “Business opportunities in West Africa are very diverse and differ from East Africa. We are looking at a market with a lot of opportunities. It is all about where you fit into that market.”

At present West Africa is strongly influenced by oil dependency together with a refined consumer group which is largely becoming drawn to technology.

 “We see our retailers going into West Africa, as well as business services companies, telecoms and retail banking with applications that are more suited to the mobile savvy consumers”

“There is a lot of construction happening in West Africa. The telecommunication sector is already developing, so construction and infrastructure development will be coming of the back of the growing ICT space in West Africa.”

Businesses in the Western Cape need to understand that doing business here is not the same as doing business in West Africa. There are still a lot of informal markets in West Africa – the retail space is not as developed so you are going to have a lot of competition in those markets because where West African businesses may not necessarily have the operating costs, they can compete on price. So we will have to rely on our partnerships in those markets to make sure we have competitive pricing.”

“Sectors where we see a lot of growth in West Africa is in the food and beverages sector and manufacturing sector.”

Twynam suggests that “Western Cape companies need to evaluate where they fit into the value chain when they look at the African continent”. It is crucial to venture into these African markets and assess where the opportunities lie in these countries.

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