1. Introduce yourself, and your organization?
My name is Eddy Njoroge
The President of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) The world’s largest developer of international standards covering virtually every sector and business.
We are an independent, non governmental organization made of global network of national standards bodies. We have 164 members, one in almost every country in the world.
2. What advice would you give to a business looking to expand into Central Eastern Africa?
East and Central Africa is an area full of unmet needs in many social and growth areas. This coupled with a youthful demography and an ever fast growing population presents a lot of opportunities to investors.
For entrepreneurs ready to solve problems and innovate to meet the need of Central and Eastern Africa, there is tremendous opportunity for growth.
With the advent of African Continental Free trade area, the opportunities are presented in a unified bigger ma rket making them even more attractive especially at a time when the global economy is almost stagnant.
3. What similarities do successful businesses have in Central Eastern Africa?
leadership and governance. This must however be in an enabling climate anchored by attractive laws and regulations set by the state.
Corporate governance creates a culture of excellence at all levels, delivers good products and services, which, in turn, lead to good business performance. Good governance is the foundation of any organization it determines the success or failure and the same time, it can make or break a company.
4. What do Western companies get wrong when entering Central & Eastern Africa?
Overlooking the informal economy or what is referred to as “Kadogo” Economy in Kenya. “Kadogo” is a swahili word which means small, it is reported that in retail sector, 70% of fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCG) purchases are of products priced below a half a dollar. Even Safaricom success is partly attributed to the time they moved from charging per minute to a per second charge. Inability to consider this segment in the companies’ marketing strategies and product, pricing, will often be off the mark.
5. Why is working with a compliant local partner important when operating in entering Central & Eastern Africa?
Because it is the only sustainable model. Working with a local compliant partner especially in Central & Eastern Africa has great benefits. A local partner will understand the local ‘terrain’ which is specific to this region thereby avoiding any pitfalls that may arise. In addition, local partners provide on-the-ground knowledge and contacts, for example, how, where, and why consumers and stakeholders make certain purchasing or strategic decisions.