Understanding the environment and having relevant skills for the market are prerequisites for setting up a successful business in Africa, this is according to Kellogg’s Chief Executive Gerald Mahinda.
Mahinda who oversees the cereal giant in Sub-Saharan Africa added that the success formula in Africa was not necessarily a mirror of business structures in your parent country.
“A number of companies go wrong when they try to create a structure with a talent pool that mirrors the headquarters in London yet the market is very different,” he said.
“The way salespeople sell in the developed market is not the same way people sell in Africa. Companies should be good at finding the right people, for the right job and for the right environment.”
He also called for improved infrastructural investment to allow easy flow of trade. He added companies need to understudy markets factoring relevant infrastructural needs.
“Overcoming infrastructural issues is one of the milestones that companies should also resolve so as to make sure their products get to the consumers,” said Mahinda.
He also urged intra-regional trade among African countries.
“We need to make intra-African trade seamless; if we are going to grow we need to trade among ourselves,” he said.
Intra-African trade currently accounts for only 10 per cent of Africa’s total trade, which is significantly lower than that of other continents.
“There is more FDI flowing between African countries like never before,” he added.
He also said there was a need to create synergy between governments and the private sector.
“There has to be more partnerships with governments so as to create an enabling environment. Sometimes it is easier to get a visa for overseas compared to another African country,” he said.