Austrade Update on Africa

Ian Halliday, Australian Consulate-General Dubai, General Manager - Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Austrade

5 September 2019

Doing business in Africa presents many challenges, but for those willing to invest the time and effort to truly understand this vast and diverse continent, there are also opportunities. With a rapidly increasing population of more than a billion, sub-Saharan Africa has a significant and growing middle class that is looking further and further afield for the products and services they need.

Of course Australian businesses need to consider each market in Africa individually. Each is unique with different regulations, business environment and opportunities.

Austrade’s posts in Africa take a sectoral approach that aligns with where we see the potential for growth. A key focus for Austrade continues to be the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. Austrade has supported the Cape Town Mining Indaba for many years, including most recently in February 2019. Mining Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment conference and Africa’s largest mining event.

Mining Indaba 2019 saw 290 exhibitors and sponsors and around 6,200 delegates including 291 Australian delegates. Large global mining powerhouses and junior miners attended to discuss potential new investment and other opportunities. METS companies were also well represented, alongside investors, African Ministers, foreign government officials, and the Presidents of South Africa and Ghana.

Austrade delivered another “Australia Lounge” program at Indaba, involving 28 companies. It offered a networking and meeting space, and Austrade allocated participants a dedicated Business Development Manager to help maximise their participation at the event, facilitate business matching and provide tailored business advice. Austrade is already looking forward to another successful Indaba in 2020 and is dedicated to providing ongoing support and promotion to Australian companies taking part.

In the education sector Austrade is actively promoting Australia as a study destination to African students, particularly in higher education. In 2018, 14,198 students from sub-Saharan Africa enrolled in Australian education institutions, with the main source markets being Kenya, Nigeria and Mauritius.

Image of Africa on a Globe.

The Australia Future Unlimited East and West Africa Education Exhibition is Austrade’s flagship education event in sub-Saharan Africa and provides an opportunity for Australian education institutions to access the growing markets of Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. The 2019 event will take place from 27 September — 5 October.

The event supports business development opportunities for student recruitment, transnational partnerships and institutional exchange programs. The 2018 exhibition took place in Lagos, Abuja and Accra in April, and attracted over 18 Australian institutions and approximately 1,000 students.

The 2019 exhibition will focus on higher education opportunities and will include Nairobi. Austrade market teams stand ready to provide advice and support to Australian businesses or education providers interested in this event, seeking to enter a market in Africa or looking to expand existing operations.

While METS and education are key sectors for us, Austrade is pleased to see growth in the agribusiness and fintech sectors across the continent. Australia’s gourmet food and wine scene is also highly regarded, and Austrade is always available to collaborate with producers seeking to access this rapidly growing and evolving continent.

The size and diversity of the African market means that information about business opportunities is sometimes difficult to find. This year Austrade, in collaboration with DFAT Heads of Missions in Africa and the Australia Africa Chamber of Commerce, will travel to capital cities in Australia to inform businesses about key sector activities being undertaken in Africa. This Roadshow — called Why Africa! — will take place in September and will be a joint effort by government and industry to raise awareness of the great potential offered by the growing markets of Africa.

Austrade has offices in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Morocco, reflecting the key markets of business interest where Austrade sees the greatest prospects for Australian commercial engagement.

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Last Updated: 2 September 2019