Big Picture Report: November 2023
Bernadette Wiltz-Lang, SUSTA
SUSTA has a new consultant in Africa to support our exporters
I am pleased to announce that SUSTA’s network of in-market consultants has expanded to include Africa. Zurcom, headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, is now onboard to assist SUSTA and its member companies. With 32 trade specialists across Africa, they are experts in agriculture and economics.
Zurcomwill be in Charleston, South Carolina – along with our in-country consultants from Canada, Central America, China, Hong Kong, Europe, India and Mexico – for a seminar on December 11th. If you are in the region, this is a great opportunity to hear their first-hand perspectives on these key markets.There will also be an opportunity to meet one-on-one with them to discuss your prospects and answer your individual questions.
Marketing into Africa, like any new market, will pose its own unique set of challenges. But with Zurcomto provide insight and support in the market, the potential for growth is significant. It has already proven to be an exciting market.
For several years, SUSTA has maintained its South Africa initiative, with export exhibitions and trade missions. Last year, the South Africa Inbound Trade Mission to America’s Food & Beverage Show in Miami netted $1.75 million in sales for SUSTA company participants. Moreover, Under the 50% CostShare program, there has been noticeable success over the years in countries across the continent. From 2019 through last year, 50% CostShare company sales have averaged more than $5 million annually.
Africa has all the qualities – playing out simultaneously - of a growing market for U.S. food and agricultural products. First, there is a long term trend of economic growth. Prior to COVID, annual GDP growth in Africa was uninterrupted for 10 consecutive years.
Second, the consumer base is growing. Africa has the highest rate of population growth of any continent in the world. Furthermore, it has the world’s youngest population, very much aware of U.S. food products and culture.
Third, is the trend toward urbanization, where younger, affluent, urban retail consumers and restaurant diners are seeking new food products. In fact, sub-Saharan Africa, which comprises 46 of the continent’s 56 countries, has the fastest rate of urbanization in the world.
These are the very same trends - population growth and increasing personal income associated with the trend toward urbanization – that built major export markets first in Asia and then in Latin America. Now that same dynamic is playing out in Africa. According to USDA data, since 2018, Africa’s imports of U.S. consumer oriented food products have grown by more than 33 percent, and given the trends in place, there’s plenty of reason to expect even more demand.
Indeed, Africa is the world’s next economic growth story, and so far, the first chapter has been pretty compelling. If you are interested in this new market, SUSTA looks forward to helping you develop and execute your marketing strategy.