in Business & Finance

SMEs failing to see opportunities in Africa says DHL Express

Posted 26 November 2014 · Add Comment

According to an in-depth study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of DHL Express, approximately 40% of global SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) do not perceive Africa as a growth opportunity, despite the positive economic growth stories and growing middle class in the regions

The report further reveals that while many multinationals and state-owned companies are actively taking advantage of the opportunities that Africa offers, SMEs still remain apprehensive and are choosing to trade with other emerging markets instead.
Charles Brewer, managing director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (pictured right) , said that despite current challenges to attract global SME interest, the findings of the study highlight the untapped potential that still exists in the continent.

“The fact that SMEs expect to generate up to 50% of revenues internationally by 2019 is a massive positive and highlights the vast opportunities for Africa from an investment and job creation perspective.”
Brewer said that according to the study, which surveyed 480 SME executives and experts from business lobbying groups, SMEs are deterred by Africa’s low average consumer spend, cultural and infrastructure challenges, as well as inefficiencies such as corruption and political risk in the region. .

He explained that overcoming different market environments is the biggest hurdle. The quality of a target market´s infrastructure, the stability of its politics, administrative costs for establishing a local presence and cultural differences in doing business were all cited by the executives surveyed as factors that deterred them from entering new markets.
“The unfamiliarity of foreign markets received particular attention, with 84% of respondents describing understanding a target market’s culture or language as important or very important in determining its attractiveness. This also explains why most SMEs often expand into markets that resemble their own.

“This is evident in Africa, as companies looking to expand into the continent, often make use of a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Due to the various cultures, languages and customs on the continent, vast amounts of research need to be done into each region, and the services and products need to be specifically tailored to each country. Africa is not one country,” says Brewer.

In terms of expansion tactics, the survey shows that partnerships are an important consideration for SMEs. The study identified a number of innovative approaches in this area, such as piggybacking on another company’s existing retail network to enter the sub-Saharan market in Africa.

“A number of multinationals and corporates have experienced great success in Africa, DHL being a prime example. And the good news for SMEs is that they have the advantage of being more agile to adapt quickly and exploit the opportunities available. An entrepreneurial spirit is vital for the success of small businesses, we ourselves started out as an SME in 1969, and as they say, the rest is history. We too have focused on partnerships in Africa, and now have a retail presence of over 3500 outlets across Africa.

“We work with thousands and thousands of SMEs across Africa and have witnessed how these businesses are able to successfully establish a presence in the region. With the support of the right partners, a well-designed supply chain, clear understanding of their competitive strengths and the right mindset, SMEs can break through any border and make the world their market,”  Brewer said.

The full EIU and DHL Express report, Breaking borders: From Canada to China, barriers overshadow growth for expanding SMEs, can be accessed at http://www.economistinsights.com/countries-trade-investment/analysis/breaking-borders.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

AAR signs extended PBH contract with Air Austral

AAR has secured an extension of its contract supporting Air Austral's fleet of B737NG aircraft, which began in 2009.

PARIS AIRSHOW: Ethiopian wins Best Airline in Africa at Skytrax awards

Ethiopian Airlines won Skytrax World Airline Award for The Best Airlines in Africa at the Paris Air Show this week.

Sabena technics and Precision Air extend collaboration

Precision Air is to keep Sabena technics for the component support of its entire fleet of ATRs.

Etihad Airways to increase services to North Africa

Etihad Airways is increasing capacity between its Abu Dhabi hub and key markets of Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca and Rabat to cater to the peak June September travel period, while additional services to Dammam will be year-round.

Airbus launches new open aviation data platform to support digital

Airbus has launched a new aviation data platform in collaboration with Palantir Technologies pioneers in big-data integration and advanced analytics. Skywise aims to become the single platform of reference used by all major

PARIS AIRSHOW: GE and its JV partners receive more than $31 billion in orders

GE Aviation and its joint venture companies, led by CFM International, announced more than $31 billion (USD) in orders and commitments at this week's Paris Air Show.

Honneywell ADS-BSK310517
See us at
GroundHandling BT0303280917Aviation Africa BT18418Global Aerospace BT28218