5 Critical factors to consider when expanding your business into Africa

Wherever investors and companies are discussing growth and expansion, Africa is at the center stage. This large continent in which the US, China and India could fit in with space to spare for a few European countries; a population in excess of a billion and economic growth around 5.5% in 2014 and beyond is becoming very attractive to investors. The interest is not only in the resources sector. International and home grown brands are expanding across the continent. i.e.; Shoprite, Makro/Massmart, Standard Bank, Econet, MTN, Dangote, to name a few.

There are few critical factors to consider before your organisation embarks on expanding into Africa, including: marketing barriers, government policies on foreign investment, legislation and most importantly human capital developments.

In order to conduct business in any country, knowledge about the respective country’s human capital (HC) and labour force is imperative. Present and future HC trends need to be analysed and interpreted and understood at both a national/macro level as well as an organisational level.

Here is a checklist of the research and data you need to gather in order to make sound business decisions when doing business in Africa:

 1. The country profile

Having an overview of the history and the geo political profile, business and cross-cultural realities and governance of the country will give you the necessary perspective and will form a foundation for strategic business decisions.

 2. Economic indicators

Knowing the GDP and structure of the economy, the largest companies, how much foreign aid the country receives and whether it is easy to conduct business in that country are all important factors to consider.

3. Socio Demographic Indicators

Introducing your business in various African countries will require you to know the population demographics, the standards of living, human development indicators, poverty levels and the structure and nature of the healthcare system.

4. Education and Skills Development

To understand the your future talent pipeline you will require a qualifications profile of the population and the workforce, an overview of the national education, skills statistics as well as the quality of the education system.

5. The Labour Market

Each African country is very different to the next, each with its own labour force challenges. Having an overview of the labour market will require you to have knowledge and data on the:

  • Economic active population,
  • Employment and unemployment trends,
  • Job creation strategies and programmes,
  • Expatriates, immigrants and diaspora,
  • Wage and salary trends,
  • Industrial relations framework,
  • Labour legislation,
  • Skills development, and
  • Labour market efficiency.

For the last two years a team of researchers at KR have been working to compile a series of in-depth and comprehensive reports on the human capital and labour forces in African countries. What has emerged from the research is that there are incredible possibilities for further growth and development in the respective African countries. It is now just a matter of unlocking the human capital potential of the continent.

The Human Capital and Labour Reports are available in hardcopy, e-format or online subscription, and will provide you with the necessary understanding and knowledge of the context of human capital and labour in terms of:

  • Employment levels and trends
  • Education
  • Standards of living
  • Healthcare
  • Industrial relations
  • Economic indicators
  • Inter-cultural challenges
  • Labour market efficiency and more.

Country reports now available:

Angola, Botswana, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


For any queries regarding these reports please contact: Zia Attlee: zia@knowres.co.za or (011) 706 6009.


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