africon GmbH held its first client workshop

On February 6. 2018, africon GmbH’s first Africa workshop took place in the Congress Center Düsseldorf. 44 customers followed the invitation as well as companions and partners of africon GmbH. Reason to launch this event was among others the occasion of africon GmbH’s seven-year existence.


After the welcome by the shareholders Mr Marc Zander and Mrs Sonja Mattfeld, the two also gave the audience a short review on the past seven years of africon. Mr Thomas Dohse, Deputy Director of interpack and also the representative of the host Messe Düsseldorf, welcomed the attendees of the workshop with warm words and spoke also about the experiences of the trade fair company in Africa.


Subsequently, Mr Hans Stoisser, author of the book “The Black Tiger – What we can learn from Africa”, delivered a vivid talk on the need for German and European companies to work on their Africa strategies. In his keynote he campaigned for a new perception towards the European neighboring continent Africa.

Above all, Mr Stoisser emphasized the dynamics and new opportunities that develop in African countries through the great creativity and above all though the rapid pace of development and growth. Even though today’s market sizes may still seem marginal to many companies, they should not do the mistake to ignore these innovative growth markets.

After a short coffee break, two separate workshop groups were formed. Each group had interesting and vivid discussions as well as exchange of ideas about two different topics. One group discussed on the question “How to sell investment goods in Africa?” and the other discussed on challenges concerning “How to manage partners in Africa?”.


It was a pleasure that Günter Nooke, the personal Africa-adviser of the German chancellor as well as the BMZ’s Africa representative, complemented the discussions in a very interesting way with adding some perceptions from a political point of view.

Mr Nooke specifically mentioned the progress in terms trade stimulation and the efforts of the European Union to promote economic integration, for example through free trade areas on the continent. He also emphasized the successful promotion of initiatives to improve investment conditions in African countries. Here he exemplified BMZ investment programs to promote job partnerships and industrial parks in Ethiopia.


The aim of the event was to facilitate a lively dialogue between companies that are already active in Africa and those who want to expand their activities on the continent in future. The interesting and diverse program as well as reciprocal recommendations, networking and exchange of experience and ideas among the attendees lead to a very positive feedback and calls for a continuation in the coming year 2019.




Slide of the month (SOTM) October. Automotive industry in sub-Saharan Africa

In 2017, we analysed the market for automotive filtration in Kenya and Tanzania in detail. During the project, 60 senior level industry players from authorities, key automobile traders and leading parts distributors, more than 300 consumers, around 70 workshops and 100 parts traders in Kenya and Tanzania were interviewed.

In terms of vehicles in operation (VIO), Kenya and Tanzania belong to the countries with the highest stock of VIO in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Through a fast-growing local assembly industry, Kenya promises to stay the local automotive hub in East Africa. This also reflects in a growing local spare parts industry ranging from automotive batteries to tires. Also the automotive market in Tanzania, with a first local assembly line for agricultural vehicles in place and various spare parts manufacturers operating successfully, promises to continue growing in the next years.

Apart from the activities in Kenya and Tanzania, africon has been active in the Nigerian automotive market since 2015. With the new insights from Kenya and Tanzania gathered in 2017, the africon expertise regarding the African automotive market grew decisively.


Slide of the month (SOTM) November. Aluminium foil

After growing its expertise in the African packaging markets throughout the last 5 years, africon supported a leading aluminium foil supplier to the flexible-, laminated carton, cigarette- and blister packaging industry with the development of its Africa strategy.

53 key industrial players were interviewed, including 11 packaging manufacturers in South Africa and 12 packaging manufacturers in Nigeria. In terms of market attractiveness, the South African market outscored the Nigerian market. However, given the well established long term relations many South African companies have with their suppliers, the Nigerian market offered a far bigger accessible market than the South African.

Only by meeting the local key players personally in Nigeria and South Africa, africon was able to identify which companies signaled interest in a future cooperation with the client. The africon hands-on approach was therefore once again essential for the development of a successful Africa strategy.