Pan-African consumerism for the 21st century.
Africa trend bulletin
If you think China is
Africa’s most exciting
business partner today,
then you’re wrong.
Of course, the explosion of interest in Africa from foreign
brands is undeniable.
But Africa’s economic boom is also seeing a new wave
of African brands willing and able to reach out to – and
fulfil the needs of – other African consumers. Not just in
the brand’s home nation, but across the continent.
The most exciting story of cross-border consumerism in
Africa today? It’s Africa for Africa.
... And no, it’s not the West either ;)
In March 2014, the Special Status Agreement between
Ethiopia and Kenya passed, allowing Kenyan businesses
to open offices in Ethiopia.
KENYAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE, MARCH 2014
AFRICONSUMPTION | From
Mali to Madagascar, Sahara to
Savannah – the increasingly
intertwined and interconnected
relationships between the
Southern, Western and Eastern
regions of sub-Saharan Africa are
paving the way for a new era of
connected citizens, culture and
Legislative changes are making commerce between
African nations easier.
African growth rates remain strong.
Africa’s youth are reinventing the continent’s cultures
African brands understand African consumers better
1. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
2. The prosperity movement
3. ‘Young, African and Proud’
4. Local understanding
Four big forces are
driving this trend...
They are: political will, prosperity, youth
culture, and local understanding.
Especially when it’s the “will” of the
powers that be.
1. Where there’s a will,
there’s a way!
Since the dawn of Africa’s independence, political leaders have
spoken about unity amongst African nations. Fast-forward 50+
years: geopolitics and macroeconomics have finally come of age.
African unity is back on the agenda.
Today, Africa’s politicians are realising that as the African
consumer becomes an object of global interest, the regulatory
barriers that stop African brands from reaching those consumers
should be dismantled.
The result? A plethora of legislative action and cross-national
agreements easing the path for African brands across the
Led by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uhuru Kenyatta
of Kenya, African Development Bank President Dr Donald
Kaberuka and Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, discussion
of a visa-free continent dominated the World Economic Forum
on Africa hosted in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2014.
THE NEW TIMES RWANDA, MAY 2014
Africa’s pockets deepen, as the West’s
2. The prosperity
Even as other emerging economies have decelerated in
growth, Africa’s growth rates continue to shock and delight
Furthermore, as recessions and commercial saturation
continues to suffocate brands in the West, prospects for
African brands seeking expansion into other African markets
become more robust.
After all, African countries are now successfully telling (and
selling) their own stories on a global scale. The consequence
is a new opportunity for African brands: go global by (first)
When Nigeria’s GDP was recalculated – or ‘rebased’ – using
more recent (2010) production patterns, the estimated size of
the economy more than tripled to USD 488 billion, making
Nigeria the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest
in the world.
Nigeria’s new GDP raises the question whether there
are other African economies with a systematically
underestimated GDP, since only nine African countries are
reported to have partially or wholly rebased
and re-benchmarked their GDP.
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA, APRIL 2014
Africa’s youth are catalyzing a new wave
3. Say it loud: ‘Young,
African and Proud!’
The world’s youngest continent has a lot to say for itself as
far as AFRICONSUMPTION goes. Think Afrobeats, Azonto
and even Nollywood’s explosion...
Africa’s youth are no longer willing to accept the influences
and tastes of their post-colonial parents. Instead, driven
by rising prosperity and cultural confidence, they are
reinvesting in – and reinventing – African culture and
traditions, and making consumption choices to match.
And that makes Africa’s youth a perfect fit when it comes
Localized demands needs localized
4. Local understanding
Let’s keep this simple:
No brands understand African consumers better than
Okay, it might be a little more complex ;)
Yes, Africa is a diverse continent. But commonalities and
crossovers between African nations means that, often,
African brands are best placed to serve consumers across
Of course, plenty of consumers (often older and more
affluent) still look to foreign brands as a sign of social
status and quality. But as trade barriers fall, innovation
increasingly democratized and the online space
connects millions, African brands will have ever-more
chances to be, and to prove themselves, as good if not
better than foreign alternatives.
Let’s take a look at the boldest brands targeting African
consumers across the continent and spearheading
African hotel booking platform opens up its
services to Djibouti, Malawi, Zanzibar and
South African fast food group announces
new outlets in Morocco and Egypt
Mauritian startup launches black emoji for
Africans and the diaspora
Botswanan supermarket targets lower
middle classes in other African markets
Uganda becomes the 6th African market that
‘Nigeria’s Amazon’ enters
Pan African University
Pan-African workshop recruits students from
across the continent
Nollywood online distributor offers DVDs to
offline South Africans
Brewery taps into Biafran nostalgia to appeal
to Nigerian drinkers
Ghana International Bank
West African bank moves into lucrative East
South African clothing outlet takes on
Ghana’s emerging middle classes
A few pointers on how to make the best of
AFRICONSUMPTION while it’s hot...
Where to go first? Starting with the much hyped
Nigeria or Kenya may not be the optimal strategy.
And the same goes for your geographical closest
Instead find a common thread linking current and
potential customers, consider who can afford and
will benefit the most from your offering, then plot
your route. See how Choppies (above) did just that.
Plot your route wisely
All this talk of Pan-Africanism doesn’t mean Africa
is a single country. AFRICONSUMPTION doesn’t
simply mean duplicating tried and tested formulas
from one market to another.
To apply this trend well, respect the continent’s
plethora of cultures and – like SABMiller’s Hero
above – go the extra mile to tailor for the selected
Take localization to the extreme by offering
tailored products, services or experiences to a
limited area, tribe or demographic.
It is guaranteed to thrill the hand-picked
customers, patriots or exclusivity-seeking, luxury
consumers who you single out.
Limited Edition by
If Limited Location isn’t the play for you, how
about setting your sights on ALL Africans (and the
North too), as the Pan African University (above)
did? You’re bound to learn heaps from such a
range of diverse customers. So think Pan-African
campaigns to intra-continental services, and don’t
forget the diaspora – with many still connected to
the continent, they will certainly appreciate your
attention: see how Oju (above) catered to them.
There’s plenty of AFRICONSUMPTION love to
go round. Plus, you have thousands of exciting
companies to choose, from across 54 extremely
diverse countries, so what are you waiting for?
Partner up with one of these promising local brands!
And not forgetting
brands wanting in on
1. Our free Africa Bulletins 2.
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Chief Client Officer
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