Cape Business News caught up with Jacyntha Twynam, Head of Wesgro research, to discuss business opportunities in West Africa.

“Business opportunities in West Africa are very diverse and differs quite a bit from East Africa. We are looking at a market with a lot of opportunities. There is no right or wrong answer – it’s about where you fit into that market.”

“What we see going on in West Africa is a lot of oil dependency and a strong sophisticated consumer group – which is becoming increasingly tech savvy.”

“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.”

“WC companies really need to assess where they fit in into the value chain when they look at Africa. It is important to go into these African markets and get a sense of what’s going on in there.”

By Kristy Jooste