South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) member companies are increasingly looking outside the South African market for opportunities, owing to the country’s current economic climate, says SACEEC director and CEO Eric Bruggeman.
“South Africa’s market is dead. The local companies that are doing well are those that are exporting to markets outside the country, as there are no large local projects being undertaken.”
However, when considering doing business in other African countries, Bruggeman stresses the need to ensure that potential export destinations score well on their ease of doing business, payment being guaranteed and travel that is safe.
Ghana offers all this and, encouragingly, there is considerable interest in South Africa’s equipment offering from the country’s government and industry ahead of the inaugural West African Industrial Trade Exhibition (WAITEX), postponed from this year to April 2021, following the Covid-19 pandemic, he says.
Ghana’s gross domestic product is about 6%, compared with South Africa’s 0.7%, overshadowing the inherent challenges presented by establishing a foothold in a new country.
“Those companies that can export should be going to Ghana to showcase what they can do.
“There is a need for all the equipment we produce throughout Africa, as well as globally, owing to its good quality, reliability and being fit for purpose. Therefore, there will be demand in Ghana, which already imports about R5-billion in equipment from South Africa,” Bruggeman explains.
He says this equates to half the value of capital equipment exports from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, for example.
However, Bruggeman highlights the need to “get moving” and set up offices, distribution networks and agents in Ghana, thereby creating a foothold to export to other West African countries.
“If you want to increase interest in your offering in these countries, you need to visit more regularly and showcase your product portfolio. Subsequently, it is our strategy to get the mining community to relevant shows where they can view SACEEC member companies’ offerings.”
He tells Mining Weekly that the Ghanaian market holds significant potential for all equipment produced by SACEEC member companies, which were previously more focused on, particularly, the Southern African Development Community.
SACEEC has turned its attention to Ghana for good reason, with Bruggeman highlighting its gold production, which has exceeded that of South Africa, making it Africa’s top gold producer, as well as its production of other commodities and favourable shipping accessibility through the Port of Tema.
“The ease of doing business in Ghana is also good. Companies just need to approach the market from the right angle. Therefore, we believe that, through the WAITEX show and the work we are doing in inviting people to attend the event, our members are going to meet the right people to further their interests in the country.
“It is, therefore, a good market for South Africa to focus on. It is a country we should be examining more.”