Author: Uzoma Oguh

  • 20th October, 2023
  • 3 min reading
Diving into the vibrant African market?

Here are some essential tips to pave your way into this diverse continent with a growing middle class and an abundance of untapped potential.

Embrace Cultural Diversity:

Africa, the world’s second-largest continent by area and population, is unique with national and regional differences.

With this kind of diversity, it’s understandable that each African country also has its own unique identity, culture, and way of life. Although Africans have diverse cultures, they share common ground.

By taking the time to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about their day-to-day #business practices and business etiquette, you can overcome some of the challenges that are faced when expanding into Africa.

Find Your Niche:

Finding the correct target market for your products or services is the key to effective African market expansion. Africa’s growing economies provide great potential for B2B and B2C expansion.

With around 1.3 billion consumers now and an anticipated increase to 1.7 billion by 2030, the future of retail and consumer spending seems promising. However, African income levels have not been increasing at a steady rate since household expenditure on the continent has remained largely static.

While studies demonstrate that African consumers are sophisticated and loyal to brands, the vast bulk of consumer purchasing on the continent currently occurs in informal, roadside marketplaces, even in countries with well-developed retail and distribution industries.

A well-defined niche in Africa will benefit from less competition and will produce significant commercial growth while using fewer resources.

Phase Your Entry:

Market expansion can be a daunting task; doing things carefully and strategically is essential. When entering new markets, and not just Africa, you may as well test the waters with one foot. Rather than incurring the risk of fully establishing a company, developing strategic alliances with local enterprises that are already taking the risk and navigating the market can be a wonderful strategy with fewer risks. Consider a staged approach to entering the African market.

This will allow you to adapt and alter as needed, as well as test different ideas and approaches before committing to setting up in a specific location.

Leverage Import-Export Opportunities:

When considering expanding your business in Africa, you have several options available to you, each with its own set of advantages and problems. From marketplaces to local sales reps, local branches, subsidiaries, or joint ventures, there is something for everyone.

Similar to how businesses in other markets search to export or import from different markets, #African businesses look for strategic import-export prospects both within and outside the continent. Strategic collaborations can give your product or service access to new markets, such as Africa, as well as shared expertise and reduced resource expansion.

Establish Local Roots:

Having a solid local presence and focusing on your expertise can give you the confidence to extend your company into African markets. Local knowledge can assist businesses in better understanding the legal and regulatory environments of emerging markets, such as Africa.

African countries, like the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, have legal systems. What is legal in the United Kingdom may be illegal or strongly regulated in another country. Businesses that lack local knowledge may find themselves in violation of these restrictions, which can result in large penalties and legal action. Having local experience in the form of legal advice or #consultants can thus be quite beneficial in assuring compliance with local laws and regulations.

Harness the Power of Connections:

In the dynamic African market, relationships matter. Building strong ties not only keeps you ahead but also streamlines your supply chain and product availability. Cultivate these connections to stay competitive and enhance your market penetration. Cultivate these connections to stay competitive and enhance your market penetration.

Remember, the African market is as diverse as it is promising. Embrace your uniqueness, find your niche, and nurture relationships—these are the building blocks for your success. Here’s to thriving in the heart of Africa!

Photo by kurt arendse and  pius quainoo on Unsplash

  • 10th October, 2023
  • 2 min reading

We are building an Africa-focused Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) framework that will help companies meaningfully measure how they are performing with respect to the non-financial risks and opportunities inherent to their day-to-day operations.

At our recent partner event in Lagos, Nigeria, ETK Group Managing Direct, Mrs. Bolaji Sofoluwe, unveiled our new ESG framework for assessing companies using a series of guided questions and assessments. She revealed that “while none of the existing frameworks have implemented a scoring system, ETK Africa-focused ESG framework intends to align with best practices to ensure that the scoring system is reflective of what is adopted internationally”.

Brent Barnette, Operations Director at ETK Group, also highlighted the importance of an Africa-focused ESG approach to drive better results for businesses, including a variety of baseline assessments such as materiality, risk, and impact of supply chain challenges, as well as strategy development, implementation of mitigation and adaptation plans, and other services to ensure meaningful results for businesses.

The event also explored the need for managed services solutions to support businesses and entrepreneurs to successfully run their operations while they are temporarily or permanently away from the country their businesses are located in.

ETK Group is a market expansion, trade, and development consultancy provider positioned to contribute to the growth of the African business market by bringing great business opportunities from around the world.  We are the leader in Africa in market entry and business expansion and the go-to-market entry partner for businesses globally. ETK supports global and local businesses with effective strategy, planning, implementation, and e-consultancy to enable seamless and successful expansion into and across Africa.

We are strategically connected to international markets, which offers unique and lasting value to its clients. It has also delivered projects in 34 African markets and influenced over $1 billion worth of deals, making us one of the most prolific service providers in the African space.

ETK ConnectXperience was our second event in Nigeria, and it presented various partnership and networking opportunities to enhance businesses’ competitive edge and fuel their growth in the global marketplace.

Notable guests at the event included representatives of the Bank of Industry, the International Finance Corporation, Mastercard Foundation, General Electric, Africa Prudential, and other reputable organisations.

  • 5th October, 2023
  • 2 min reading

Soilless Farm Lab, based in Awowo Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, is making significant progress with its Enterprise for Youth in Agriculture (EYiA) initiative.

Recently, the project received and hosted the ETK team at the facility. On this routine visit, Team ETK was led by our Group Managing Director, Bolaji Sofoluwe, as part of our activities in supporting the successful delivery of the project as well as enhancing the capacity of Soilless Farm Lab.

At its core, the Mastercard Foundation-supported Enterprise for Youth in Agriculture project significantly contributes to the realisation of the Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works strategy. The project is designed to provide dignified and fulfilling employment opportunities for over 30,000 youths, especially women, by equipping them with valuable skills and inputs in vegetable production over a period of three years. The project focuses on cutting-edge technologies like greenhouse and soilless farming, integrated pest management, and leveraging modern farming tools and artificial intelligence (AI) for increased food production.

ETK Nigeria proudly supports Soilless Farm Lab by providing institutional capacity enhancement (ICE) and project management oversight which is critical for ensuring attainment of the project’s objectives. Through our collaboration, we ensure that our partners receive the support they need to thrive and create the desired impact set to be achieved thereby leaving a lasting imprint on Nigeria’s agricultural landscape.

During the recent visit, the ETK team assessed the level of progress made and how our work is contributing to the institutional capacity development of Soilless Farm Lab. The visit also presented us with an opportunity to review the overall project performance and reaffirm the objectives set forth by the MasterCard Foundation to be achieved by the EYiA project.

You can read more about the Enterprise for Youth in Agriculture project and the transformative impact it’s making here https://sfarmlab.com/EYiA/

Together, we’re sowing the seeds for a prosperous and sustainable future for Nigeria’s youth and agricultural industry.

 

 

  • 4th October, 2023
  • 2 min reading

On the 29th of September, ETK Nigeria hosted a remarkable evening at the luxurious Wheatbaker in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. The event, named “ETK ConnectXperience,” served as a platform for us to introduce ETK to potential partners and share our vision for the future with those who have played a pivotal role in our growth and success in Nigeria.

We had the pleasure of hosting Nigerian development agencies, the UK-based ETK Team, along with other team members and stakeholders from the trade and exports, export financing, and exports sectors. This gathering allowed us to showcase ETK’s accomplishments spanning over 13 years, highlighting our expertise in international trade and business development across Africa. It was not just an event; it was an opportunity for networking and collaboration among our esteemed guests.

During the event, our Group Managing Director, Bolaji Sofoluwe, delivered an insightful presentation. She shed light on how ETK has utilised a combination of people, processes, and technology since our inception in 2010. This approach has enabled us to successfully execute projects in 34 African markets and engage in deals worth over $1 billion.

At ETK Nigeria, we offer a range of consulting services tailored to assist African businesses in achieving their growth and expansion goals. From organisational transformation to capacity building, ESG strategy, reporting, auditing, market entry and expansion services, managed business services, and access to capital markets, we provide comprehensive solutions to empower businesses.

In response to questions from our guests, attendees had the opportunity to engage with our Director of Operations, Brent Barnette. He emphasised ETK’s commitment to supporting companies at any stage of their reporting journey. Whether it’s creating an ESG strategy and framework, conducting an ESG audit, developing mitigation strategies, or offering technology and engineering services, we stand ready to assist companies in their ESG journey.

For more than 13 years, ETK has been the preferred consultant for international companies aiming to grow and expand in Africa’s dynamic markets. We have also assisted African companies in their global expansion plans. As we look ahead, we are eager to continue our collaborations with partners in Nigeria and other African nations. Together, we aim to achieve even greater success and contribute to the growth of businesses in Africa and beyond.

  • 2nd October, 2023
  • < 1 min reading
Our Group Managing Director, Bolaji Sofoluwe, recently spoke to Boason Omofaye on ARISE News about how Africa fits into the UK government’s ambitions to increase UK exports to £1 trillion a year by 2030. She also spoke about how African businesses can maximise opportunities to export to the UK.

The UK’s Department for Business and Trade announced earlier this year that it is working with businesses across the country to encourage them to export for the first time or expand their existing international sales to support its mission of reaching £1 trillion in annual exports by the end of the decade.


As a UK Export Champion, ETK Group believes strongly that Africa’s economy can benefit greatly from this trading relationship, and we are committed to supporting businesses in the UK and across Africa to maximise the opportunities that are available.
 
You can watch the full interview here: https://bit.ly/3ZHK9ty

  • 21st September, 2023
  • 2 min reading

As we find ourselves well past the halfway mark to the year 2030, it’s important to note that many African countries are grappling with the challenge of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

According to a recent report by UNIDO, which you can find here https://tinyurl.com/urv2pcye , Africa is trailing behind in terms of progress and performance when it comes to the SDG 9 Index, a critical measure of our progress towards achieving the UN’s 2030 development agenda.

When we compare Africa to the global average, it’s evident that Africa is falling short across crucial indicators, with a few exceptions in Northern African countries like Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. The Southern African region, unfortunately, shows the most significant regression across most indicators, as highlighted in the report.

However, amidst the apparent sluggishness in Africa’s progress on the SDG 9 index, there are noteworthy achievements. Africa has outperformed in terms of manufacturing employment and medium-high and High-Technology, MHT industries. In various subregions, Africa has seen an increase in the share of manufacturing in employment compared to previous years. Additionally, the continent has recorded remarkable growth in MHT industries.

It’s essential to acknowledge that Africa, like many other regions, faces a cascade of global and regional crises that pose significant challenges to achieving the 2030 agenda. Despite these challenges, there are still opportunities to accelerate action and bridge the SDG gaps in Africa.

Urgent action is needed from both African nations and their global partners to accelerate reforms and implementation if we are to realise the 2030 development agenda. Africa’s sustainable development priorities must take centre stage.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasised, “Given where we are in meeting the SDGs globally, actions that are optimised to generate multiple benefits and deliver against multiple SDGs will be essential to getting the job done”. He called on world leaders to remain “determined to realise the Sustainable Development Goals and effectively leave no one behind”.

The stagnation of progress in Africa towards the 2030 agenda demands the attention of all stakeholders. Given the prevalence of low-income economies and the insufficient progress made thus far, advancing development in Africa requires focused efforts and targeted strategies. This includes the urgent need for recapitalization and the reallocation of $100 billion in unused special drawing rights, along with reforms in the global financial architecture, as emphasized by Mr. Guterres.

With the 78th United Nations General Assembly in full swing, we have high hopes that the UNGA’s SDG Summit will deliver strategic actions to translate aspirations into tangible progress, not only for Africa but for the entire world.

As an Africa-focused trade and development company, we are committed to collaborating with governments, non-profit organisations, and local communities to implement strategies and projects that can expedite trade and development on the continent.

Photo by bennett tobias and Doug Linstedt on Unsplash

  • 18th September, 2023
  • 2 min reading

Venturing into international markets, such as those in Africa, can be a challenging task for foreign companies. To set the stage for a successful expansion, it’s crucial to embark on comprehensive research to gain a deep understanding of the target market’s dynamics. This includes factors like buyer preferences, competition, regulatory frameworks, and potential barriers to entry.

Imagine your company has recently introduced a new product, and your research points to Africa as a promising growth opportunity. Whether you aim to establish more branches or tap into new markets across the continent, your team is likely grappling with the question of how to navigate this expansion in Africa effectively.

Here are 5 questions to help you successfully mitigate the risks and challenges and seize the opportunities presented by market expansion in Africa.

Which African market has greater potential for our product?

A critical first step when expanding into Africa is to dispel any generic misconceptions about the continent’s markets. Africa comprises over 54 diverse countries, each offering unique opportunities. Conducting thorough research on these markets will help you identify and determine the most suitable one for your products or services.

How well-suited is your product for African markets?

Entering a new market demands a deep understanding of local culture, business norms, and consumer behavior. In Africa, cultural and religious factors significantly influence product acceptance. It’s essential to consider how these factors might impact your product’s penetration and acceptance. Cultural and religious nuances should inform your product development, pricing, and packaging strategies for success in African markets.

What’s the ideal international market entry strategy for your chosen African market?

The choice between standardisation, adaptation, or localization of your strategy hinges on the insights gathered during your research. Leveraging local capabilities and talents is essential in order to minimise market entry risks and reduce costs. However, it’s vital to put robust monitoring and control mechanisms in place for an effective localization strategy.

How will local regulations impact your market entry?

From taxation and employment laws to company registration and permits, having a clear understanding of the various regulations governing business operations in your chosen African market can be a deal-breaker. Engaging local businesses that offer relevant services may prove invaluable in navigating these intricacies effectively.

Are there local partners that can ease your expansion process?

Expanding into a vast international market like Africa requires a strategic approach and time. After deciding on your market entry strategy, the next critical step is to determine the best way to enter the market.

Leveraging the expertise of local trade consulting experts in your chosen African market will help you develop local partnerships and networks, secure permits and registrations at lower costs, mitigate compliance risks, and gain a competitive edge.

Is your business eyeing economic opportunities in Africa? Our team of African business expansion experts is on the ground across the continent, ready to guide you in achieving your African market entry goals.

image Credit: Sophie-Maurine | Unsplash

  • 15th September, 2023
  • 3 min reading

The inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi held from the 4th to 6th of September, 2023, has concluded leaving behind a trail of promises and commitments from both government and private sector stakeholders. In a world grappling with the dire consequences of climate change, African leaders gathered at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, for a three-day dialogue aimed at addressing critical climate change issues specific to Africa.

The Summit, which featured discussions on evaluations, funding mechanisms, partnerships, commitments, and pledges to combat climate change, had a twofold purpose. Firstly, it aimed to establish forward-thinking initiatives and sustainable plans essential for meeting international climate finance and adaptation targets. Secondly, it aimed to reshape Africa’s image from that of a continent vulnerable to climate crises to that of a hub of potential climate solutions.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SUMMIT

The Nairobi Declaration

While a lot has been said and written about the three-day event, one standout moment was the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration. This landmark document serves as a blueprint for Africa’s future negotiations with Western countries on international platforms.

Despite contributing the least to global climate change issues, Africa bears the brunt of its impact, as reported by the World Meteorological Organization. Yet, the continent receives only a fraction of global climate change financing. The devastating effects of climate change in Africa, including food shortages, displacement, and migration, result in over $8.5 billion in economic damages annually.

The Summit’s declaration was rooted in Africa’s inability to adapt to climate crises. A key element of this declaration was the establishment of a target of 300 GW for renewable energy generation capacity in Africa by 2030, up from the current 56 GW. Achieving this target requires a tenfold increase in current levels of climate investment in Africa.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa will need to mobilise approximately $213.4 billion annually to close the climate financing gap by 2030. The Summit provided a platform for African leaders to emphasize the urgency of increased financial flows from developed countries to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the continent.

The declaration also highlighted the importance of developed countries honouring their commitment to provide $100 billion in annual climate financing, as promised 14 years ago at the Copenhagen conference. It emphasised the importance of decarbonising the global economy for the sake of equality and shared prosperity.

Climate Finance and Investments

Climate investment was a central theme of the Summit, with stakeholders and financiers making substantial commitments to climate financing. African leaders called for a reassessment of what they deemed unfair climate change financing practices.

A pivotal moment at the Summit was the announcement of a remarkable $23 billion commitment from various stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, multilateral banks, and philanthropists, for green growth, mitigation, and adaptation efforts related to climate change across Africa. This landmark announcement signaled African countries’ commitment to reposition the continent as a destination for climate investment rather than a hotbed of floods and droughts.

Notable investment pledges included $161 million from the United States government, £34 million from the UK government, and a $4.5 billion pledge from the United Arab Emirates to finance climate projects in Africa. The final communiqué from the Summit’s organisers revealed that the total capital commitments made during the week amounted to $26 billion, representing contributions from public, private, and multilateral development banks, foundations, and partners in the development finance community.

The African Carbon Market

One crucial discussion at the climate conference revolved around attracting investments to Africa’s carbon market through carbon credits, with the aim of bolstering incentives and enhancing climate action financing across the continent. The Summit provided African leaders with a platform to advocate for market-based financing instruments, such as carbon credits, and garnered substantial support for scaling up the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative.

This initiative, launched in 2022, enables companies operating in Africa to offset carbon dioxide emissions they cannot reduce from their own operations to help meet climate targets. The Summit’s first day witnessed significant investments in the African Carbon Credit Initiative, including a $450 million commitment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to purchase carbon credits from the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI). While many applauded this initiative as a step towards making polluters accountable, critics and environmental analysts viewed it as an inadequate and unrealistic solution.

The three-day climate summit, along with the African Climate Week 2023, undoubtedly provided a platform for Africa to unite and demonstrate that, with the right investments and commitments, it can play a central role in a renewable future. We hope that these commitments will yield effective solutions to Africa’s climate challenges.

  • 30th August, 2023
  • 2 min reading

 

It’s a question that’s been circulating, and last Friday, we found ourselves at the heart of this conversation at the ProvidusBank Non-oil Export Summit in Lagos, Nigeria. This event was a true gem—a gathering of minds, a network of opportunities, and a hub of discussions on how Nigeria’s non-oil sector can take the reins in steering the nation’s economic growth.

Stakeholders from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Customs, and other key players graced the event, each bringing expert perspectives on the untapped potential of Nigeria’s non-oil industries. From the engaging keynotes to the thought-provoking panel discussions, a unanimous consensus emerged: Nigeria must urgently harness the vast potential of its non-oil sectors.

For decades, Nigeria has relied on oil exports as its economic backbone. However, with recent oil price fluctuations and the global shift towards renewable energy, countries blessed with resources like Algeria, Angola, and Saudi Arabia are reassessing their oil-centric strategies. It’s a wake-up call for Nigeria to diversify its revenue streams, secure sustainable growth, boost government income, and generate job opportunities.

📌 Insights from the Summit’s Experts

📍 Embracing Diversification: Walter Akpani of Providus Bank stressed the paramount importance of diversification. He pointed out how fellow oil-producing nations are pivoting towards non-oil industries to brace themselves for a post-oil era. Highlighting the soaring global demand for products like vegetable oil, he urged investments in Nigeria’s rich resources, from oil seeds to fruits and spices, to drive non-oil exports.

📍 Sustainability for Export Success: Entrepreneurs eyeing the non-oil sector must prioritize sustainability in production and packaging. This mindful approach ensures lasting success in the export game.

📍 Nigeria’s textile and garment industries offer huge opportunities for export: Olori Ronke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi’s eloquent presentation celebrated Nigeria’s textile and garment industry. In the 80s and 90s, it was a major player in Africa, employing masses. Today, with the world’s growing appetite for African textiles, Nigeria’s fashion industry holds immense export potential.

📍 Nigeria has a comparative export advantage: Uade Ahime from Nairametrics underscored Nigeria’s export edge. With its young population and fertile lands, Nigeria is primed for agriculture-led exports. A key takeaway: a shift from raw material exports to finished goods.

📍 Structured Financing is Key: Finance will no doubt play a pivotal role in harnessing the huge benefits of the Nigerian export sector. Export finance experts at the event made a strong case for thorough follow-up on export financing from bean to bag to adopt best practices in non-oil export processes. Daniella Jarikre of NEXIM Bank outlined efforts to smooth the financing journey for exporters, a move welcomed by all.

📍 Regulatory reforms are crucial: The panellists—Olasunkanmi Awoyemi, Ikenna Egbukole, Bamidele Ayemibo, and Ajibade Ogunniyi—dissected strategies for the agribusiness and mining sectors. They all agreed that for Nigeria’s non-oil sector to reach its potential, regulatory reforms are essential. A business-friendly regulatory environment is a prerequisite to attracting more investors in the non-oil sector.

Mariam Musa and Aminu Murtala Nyako further enlightened us on agribusiness hurdles and export opportunities in Nigeria’s fashion sector.

Congratulations to ProvidusBank for organizing such an impactful stakeholder dialogue and reinforcing itself as a progressive partner for international trade and export.

At ETK Nigeria and ETK Group, our unwavering commitment to international trade and exports resonates deeply with this event.

Imagine the possibilities for your business! 🌟 Our services and solutions have a proven track record of helping over 200 African businesses transcend geographical borders 📈✈️, foster growth, and create connections on a global scale.

  • 24th August, 2023
  • 2 min reading

In a world marked by constant change and evolution, the African continent stands on the brink of an exciting opportunity.

With its vast potential, #Africa has the capacity to emerge as a pivotal hub for high-tech manufacturing across various industries, including #automobiles, #smartphones, green energy, and #healthcare says UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2023.

The shifting tides of geopolitics and economics have prompted a re-evaluation of global manufacturing and supply chains. Today, stakeholders are driven to fortify and diversify these chains, seeking resilience in the face of #disruptions.

Africa’s rich natural resources, such as aluminum, cobalt, copper, lithium, and manganese, hold the key to unlocking a prominent role in the global supply chain. These essential materials are crucial for the production of high-tech and green products like smartphones and #solar panels.

Remarkably, the Democratic Republic of the #Congo alone boasts an astounding 46% of the world’s cobalt reserves, a vital ingredient in battery manufacturing. To put things into perspective, UNCTAD estimates that the production of an electric car demands approximately six times more #minerals than a conventional vehicle, underscoring the significance of these resources.

As the global drive towards clean and sustainable energy gains momentum, the demand for critical metals is poised to surge. This presents an exceptional opportunity for Africa to position itself as a major exporter of high-value goods. The ripple effects are profound: #economic growth, #job creation, heightened productivity, and improved wages.

However, seizing this momentous potential requires strategic action. African nations must enhance productivity by embracing #technology, securing favourable mining contracts, and obtaining exploration licenses. By doing so, local industries can flourish, empowering domestic firms to not only design, procure, and manufacture but also supply the essential components for technology-intensive products.

In this era of transformation, Africa stands ready to play a pivotal role in reshaping #global supply chains and high-tech manufacturing. The journey ahead promises growth, innovation, and prosperity.

Join us on this transformative expedition.

Your support drives our shared success.

#TradeInAfrica #TradeWithAfrica #ETKGroup #AfricaMarketEntry #AfricaMarketExpansion  #Africadevelopment #investinafrica #AfricaEconomicGrowth #GlobalSupplyChains