For decades, Africa has been at the bottom of every ranking on global trade & competitiveness. Africa rarely trades with itself, intra-Africa trade stands at a paltry 15% compared to Europe 67%, North America 48% and Asia 58%. This is largely due to fragmented markets that constrain economic growth and inhibit efficiency. With the ACFTA coming into full force (and likely implementation in 2020), there is an opportunity for the much hoped for defragmentation of the continent ushering in a new era of economic integration, growth, and prosperity for the continent.
The AFCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) will be the world’s largest free trade area accounting for $4 trillion in spending and investment, covering a market of 1.2 billion people and a GDP of $2.5 trillion across all 55-member states of the AU.
This is not just an opportunity for big governments or big businesses but also an opportunity to be harnessed by small and medium-sized enterprises as 80% of Africa’s businesses are directly tied to SMEs, this invariably means that small and medium businesses will play a key role in driving growth on the continent.
For brands and businesses on the continent, the AFCFTA will open up new vistas of growth and redefine what it means to be local. A small food processing company in Nigeria now stands the chance of seeing Ethiopia’s 105 million population as potential customers as the AFCFTA will create ease and access to new markets. To put it succinctly, the AFCFTA will fuel ambitions, see local African businesses move from small to great and drive the emergence of powerful African brands on the global stage.
Next steps for you: Adopting a brand-driven growth model.
While there are routes to take when planning for an AFCFTA driven growth and expansion, one key strategy we pride ourselves in and recommend to medium, as well as large businesses, is a brand-driven growth strategy. (More details in a subsequent article). Other options such as business merger and acquisition, creation of new businesses etc come to the fore when the issue of multi-market expansion is discussed, however, a brand-led strategy is the most potent as it serves as an enabler if mergers and acquisition are to be considered.
Think Continental, Act Local:
The first step of action for a growth-minded business is to rethink and redesign your brand strategy, ensuring that your brand strategy captures the breadth of your corporate ambition over the short and long term. Brand strategy, (one of the services we offer our clients) is one of the most important tools and key drivers of growth. A well-developed brand strategy will help you win locally while positioning you for new market realities at play at a continental level.
See the case study of a similar brand strategy project we worked on here
As we head into 2020 and the continent prepares for a future with the AFCFTA, we will be focusing our efforts on working with businesses across major markets on the continent to design winning brand strategy for their businesses. Our team of strategists and consultants will work with individual brands and institutions to set the stage for their next level of growth.
Align from within
Our brand strategy services come with a complimentary brand acculturation training for employees. Aligning internal teams with laid out brand strategy framework is key to success. While it is important for chief executives to develop a brand strategy roadmap for the enterprise, it is equally important to understand the vital role that employees play in driving corporate growth and building a brand that your customers love. Without proper brand acculturation, good strategies remain on paper and lack the fuel needed for brand transformation.
Not sure of your brand strategy or have none at all? Please do reach out using the form at the bottom of the page.