SA companies spot business opportunities in Kenya

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pretoria – South African companies taking part in the Department of Trade and Industry’s Outward Selling Mission in Kenya have identified business opportunities in the east African country.

Since arriving in Kenya on Sunday, the delegation of 27 business people has participated in business seminars, business-to-business meetings, as well as a site visit to a company with South African linkages.

AfroBotanics Chief Executive Officer Ntombenhle Khathwana said she was impressed by the Kenyan market. Her company manufactures hair and body products from essential oils and natural ingredients, which are sold in 317 South African retail stores.

“I came to Kenya to understand the Kenyan market better, from a regulatory business perspective as well as from a consumer perspective.  I had already attempted to enter the Kenyan market through Game Stores but the regulatory issues were hindering me, so this trip was a blessing, bringing me here to meet the role players,” said Khathwana.

Khathwana and the rest of the delegation visited PG Bison Kenya in Nairobi, which specialises in the supply of decorative wood-based panel products, such as particle boards, flooring and door skins, to the construction and furniture sector. 

The PG Bison plant, which has been operating since September 2002 and employs 150 workers and supplies to the different sectors in Nairobi and the East Africa region.

Khathwana said PG Bison is a perfect example for South African companies to emulate.

Khathwana said she is aware that Kenya has a fast-growing natural hair movement, where women are opting away from chemically straightening their hair. She was impressed by how big the target market is, and how and where they buy their products. 

“I was able to successfully unlock the issues preventing my products from entering Kenya through Game Stores, which is already selling my products in five African countries besides South Africa.  The business-to-business meetings we had assisted in fast-tracking my ability to [export] products.  AfroBotanics products will most likely be available in the Kenyan market in the next three months,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Tarch Chemicals, Gertrude Makamure, said the meetings she had with several Kenyan businesses will result in partnerships.

“I have noticed that a lot of material can be supplied by South African companies here, particularly chemicals and related ingredients, at a much cheaper rate than is being currently supplied. The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has built the bridge for us. It is now up to us to cross it,” said Makamure.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the mission will strengthen the already existing cordial relations between South Africa and Kenya. –

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