Africa for Small Businesses – Opportunities, Opportunities, Opportunities!

In this post:
Importing versus Made in Africa for Small Businesses,
a technology consumer to a Technology Producer – Consumer Goods, IT, Info. Comm. Tech, Machinery, Plastics
…a list at the bottom of posts in the Africa and ReManufacturing series.

Business at the Driver’s Wheel

……keeping the Circular Economy in mind!

African business is integrating Africa—economically and otherwise.  Driving it are homegrown/native businesspeople and fast-growing African companies, as well as multinational corporations.

Africa for SMEs

Africa is dealing with tremendous growth.  Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent.  French speaking countries in West Africa, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Angola and Kenya are among those growing rapidly.
Africa is a continent of 54 countries, unification is coming.  Africa has a 50-year vision to establish a continent-wide economic and monetary “union”.

Importing versus Made in Africa for Small Businesses

Because of low industrial capacity across the continent and population growth, manufactured products are very high in demand and still limited in supply from “made in Africa” sources.  Domestically produced products would come with lower carbon footprints, lower shipping costs – especially if the raw materials are African.

In the past, the continent was viewed as a dumping ground for the surplus and waste of western nations but this is no longer the case as in China or anywhere else.  For example, in Nigeria, e-waste is being controlled by the country’s environment regulatory agency.  E-waste imports are prohibited by this regulation, and its enforcement has resulted in the return of several illegal e-waste shipments that arrived in Nigeria stuffed in second-hand vehicles or other containers.  Each continent has to start dealing with its own waste.

Africa has the potential to change their image from a technology consumer and become a technology producer.

Let us take a look at what Africa still imports.  Can they concentrate on these to increase industrial capacity and employment?

Consumer Goods

It is a price-sensitive market.  Asian manufacturers are producing affordable products precisely for Africa. Those who have mastered the art are making a fortune from it. China now does more trade with Africa than any other continent. “Every time I come to Africa, I have seen the dynamism of the continent and the aspirations of its people for development,” China’s Mr. Xi has said. “I am very confident in the future of Sino-African relations.”  Africa for Small Businesses.

IT, Information and Communication Technology –

The Silicon Savannah, with over 340 million Africans on the Internet and 99% are handheld devices.  More than all of North America combined.  It’s hard to overstate how much mobile phones have changed the shape and form of life in Africa. They have a growing appetite in Africa and considering that only a small fraction of the population already has access, the market potential is almost limitless. South Africans, alone, are spending more on mobile handsets and refrigerators than people in Japan, Europe and America combine.  In Nigeria smartphones and hi-tech TVs are taking the market lead.  Kenya, is bringing the smartphone to more people.

:46 min


Pay-As-You-Go solar – Easy Solar   >>  West Africa
Lagos, on-line university study  EduTech is a Nigerian Technology Company helping African traditional universities take their on-campus degree programs online –
Nairobi – Ushahidi, which translates to “testimony” in Swahili. We’re a technology leader in Africa, headquartered in Nairobi, with a global team.

to say nothing of the new African Fintech suppliers:
Why does Kenya lead the world in mobile money?
 Africa now leads the world in mobile money transfer.

:40 min

The multinational IT companies have recognised these trends they are all investing and tapping into the growing talent; including facilities, infrastructure, improving supply chains and training workers.

In Africa, there are over 300 active Tec-hubs in 93 cities across 42 countries of which the top five countries — South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, and Morocco — account for 50%.  Awareness of these tech hubs is growing.

3:40 min

L’Oasis in Niamey, as a 1,000 m2 place whose main partner is the Veolia Foundation, it offers training in entrepreneurial innovation, incubation programs, and spaces for rent – in particular for co-working – that can accommodate up to 40 entrepreneurs in residence.

Machinery –

The automotive market has also shown remarkable growth on the continent. The new vehicles are being developed for the rough terrain and poor infrastructure.  Africa already can boast of their own car companies on the continent in Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana.

Africa for SMEs

Uganda, Kiira Motors Corporation
Originally developed by students from Uganda’s Makerere University for a project headed by MIT, the sedan hybrid electric vehicle called the Kiira EV POC was designed for the local terrain and consumers’ ability to afford the car. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and also an internal combustion engine-based generator which charges the battery.  The first commercial vehicle from this line is expected to rollout in 2018

3:12 min

But, the majority of vehicles sold in Africa are second hand. The collective demand for used cars in good condition makes this a worthwhile opportunity.  Vehicle ownership is still very low and infrastructural development of Roads is picking up. This has made motor vehicle maintenance a whole lot easier. For all these reasons the sale of car parts should continue to rise in Africa. All aspects of vehicle maintenance and ReManufacturing are potential jobs.

Agriculture in most African countries requires a large investment in related tools.  As there are few Agro-Vehicle manufacturers on the planet, farmers must rely on imports for the equipment needed for farming; including buses, trains, road and construction equipment.

Agro-Vehicle and road building equipment manufacturers are some of the first and the oldest ReManufacturers on planet Earth.  These big international companies have totally embraced the concept of Re-Manufacturing.  The Re-Manufacturing of 2nd hand car parts and heavy equipment is a great opportunity for Africa to get practical experience in these important industries, training, develop careers, jobs.

How can Re-Manufacturing move growth forward in Africa?


Plastic Waste into Floor and Roof Tiles [email protected] 

Plastics –

Plastics is at the top of the imports list into the continent. The driving force for the high demand is directly proportional to the demand for consumer goods in heavily populated areas – the environmentally dangerous single-use plastics.  For as long as these products are marketable, polymers and hopefully more bio-plastics will continue to be a big sell.  Some local investment in domestic production has begun, but it is low compared to demand and potential.

Africa for SMEs

COMSOL Cooperative for Environmental Solutions empowers waste pickers in Maputo, Mozambique



There are lots of interesting infrastructure projects/businesses in Africa. They are perfect examples of solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way that advances business and jobs for Africans.


EcoPost, Nairobi, Kenya uses 100% recycled plastics to make aesthetic, durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber for use in applications ranging from fencing to landscaping.






Examples of import demands per country include:
MOROCCO – Importing: Renewable energy, water treatment, building construction, and safety and security equipment
NIGERIA – Importing: Health-care services and equipment, automotive parts, marine vessels, and financial services
SOUTH AFRICA  – Importing: Transportation consulting and services, international franchises in various sectors, and IT consulting and equipment

This is the slightest “tip of the iceberg” melting…..a scant few examples of what businesses exist and what can be done in Africa with planet Earth and closed-loop concepts.  Africa is a huge continent with 54 countries.  Some of them are not waring. 

Look for the opportunities! They are there!

This is a series of posts about Africa and one of the business areas that I believe Africa could take on, to re-use all the old imported products on the continent:
Africa – Please Stay Harmonised with planet Earth.
Africa for Small Businesses – Opportunities, Opportunities!
ReManufacture, Reman, ReNewed
ReManufacturing Win-Win for Africa
There are more posts that mention Africa here

Your eco-concerns are the motive for my blog. Tell me what’s on your mind, good or bad.

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