Africa is the market of the future
In order to operate successfully on this continent, it is vitally important to follow certain business practices and to appreciate cultural differences. Many business people describe the countries of Africa as “difficult” markets. But this “difficulty” is generally due to a lack of knowledge about how these markets work.
We can remove one half of the “difficulty” factor by adjusting to the markets and the people there, and if necessary adjusting our behaviour.
We are then normally left with a residue of “difficulty”, with which we have to live. Today, there are simply no longer any new markets that are not difficult. Because every market launch is basically characterised by its own specific challenges, it is advisable to plan this step in good time with experts in order to avoid unnecessary costs and minimise risks.
Many business practices in Africa are alien to us. For example, we rely on the fact that, if something has been agreed, then this promise will be kept and agreed milestones will be reached, on time, naturally. We understand the phrase “no problem” to mean just that. In Africa, “no problem” usually means that there is a problem.
I will precisely prepare you and tell you how you need to behave if you are to avoid disappointment. Furthermore, I will make sure that your projects are also implemented and that the costs do not explode, e.g. due to the appearance of obstacles that you had not reckoned on.
The yardstick by which I work is ethical behaviour and fair trade. I can provide you with an insight into the historical and psychological background to African behaviours. Behaviours such as trust, friendliness, decency, a respectful, appreciative attitude and honest partnerships are other important success factors, since, in the African mind, all business relationships are also personal.
In this region, business relationships only run smoothly if you have built up a strong personal relationship with your business partners. You should invest a great deal of time in relationship development and travel out frequently. Only then will trust and loyalty begin to build up.
Trust is the beginning of and the basis for every serious, sustained business relationship.
As a “short cut” for this time-consuming pathway, I can offer you my widespread network.
You can speed up the process of your market launch by making constructive use of my reputation and the longstanding trust that the markets show in me.
In this, I cover two viewpoints:
African contacts trust me, and believe that I put them in touch with the “good” German business people who have the same honest attitude as me and are interested in a long-term partnership.
German partners trust me to provide them with serious, reputable contacts.
It’s all about people and communication!
I myself have been operating in the Maghreb since 1999. In all these years, I have constantly made great efforts to build and maintain contacts. At the same time, I have established a great deal of contacts in other African states and with national and industry experts with a wide range of global expertise and networks.
In Africa, the intensive maintenance of contacts is crucially important. In a culture which is based on friendships, you need someone who knows you well and can recommend you accordingly. In Western culture, a friend might be someone who is good company. In the traditional North African culture, a friendship is something very binding.
“Life is only worth living when a friend is at your side.”
(Arabic poet from Medina)
For us, “business is business”. In Africa, business is always personal.