Last Wednesday, we hosted 20 multinational executives in Johannesburg to discuss Sub-Saharan Africa’s outlook in 2018. Senior executives from the technology, consumer goods, industrials, and healthcare sectors gathered to share ideas for strategies to succeed in the continent in the years ahead. The lively conversation highlighted that most Western multinationals are currently focusing their attentions on a few key markets; while all want to optimize their route-to-market.
Click below to watch a short video with key takeaways from the event:
While growth in 2018 and 2019 is expected to pick up moderately compared to the previous year, customers are still price sensitive, conditions difficult, and competition is accelerating. However, because of an improved global growth outlook, most executives have been given a challenging mandate for growth and profitability. While companies are focusing on getting more out of their distribution partners, we’ve seen that the most successful companies are also adapting product and service offering to reflect what customers locally need and prioritize, while pricing has to reflect local purchasing power.
The group highlighted that lack of customer insights and data is a challenge. As a result, companies need to be have agile local operations that allow them to adapt to changing economic performance and customer preferences, and this needs to be powered by reliable and up to date customer insights.
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