Michael Ejekam is known for his work in the retail development sector throughout all of Africa. He has had a hand in numerous projects, often with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and his motherland of Nigeria. AT Kearney recently published its African Retail Development Index and rated countries based on various aspects, such as market attractiveness, country risk, market saturation, and time pressure, to determine which ones were the most desirable for retail development. Which ones came out on top? You’ll find the answers below, in this Michael Ejekam blog.
The prior report listed Gabon as number five, but the recent increase in growth helped it earn the top spot this time around. According to the report, Gabon has the most stable middle-class, and one of the highest per-capita income levels of any Sub-Saharan nation, which sits at around $21,000. Moreover, newcomers to the market don’t face serious struggles due to heavy competition because it’s just now beginning to blossom.
For similar reasons, Botswana climbed from number eight to number two on the list this year. The country has a very diverse economy, drawing revenue from mining, agriculture, and tourism. It’s a natural place for retailers to head to, and many of the big players in retail have become well-established already. Choppies, for example, has more than 70 locations there. This makes it more difficult for a newcomer to get established, though companies with a unique proposition or product still do well and the market continues to grow.
GDP growth makes Angola a very attractive place to do business. In these terms, it’s one of the fastest growing areas, with a 7% annual increase. However, it is still small (approximately 1/8 the size of Nigeria) and the middle-class population is nearly non-existent. Businesses that do well in Angola recognize this and tend to cater to only the affluent Angolans or the very budget-conscious consumers.
Despite economic struggles, Nigeria remains a powerhouse for retail development. The population is massive, plus the middle-class is large and growing. Many citizens still favor local shops and small outlets, but the increase in urbanization is changing this as well. Numerous malls have been constructed and big companies like Shoprite have put down roots. Companies that do very well right now are catering to the loyalty of Nigerians, and are using locally-sourced goods whenever possible.
These four countries beat out all others, including South Africa, in terms of desirability for retail development. As time passes, we’re sure to see great things emerge from these markets and positive results from those who enter them with a sound business plan.
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