Speaking to FoodProductionDaily.com at Gulfood Manufacturing 2014 in Dubai, Feyssal Omar, regional sales director, MENA, Bosch Packaging Technology, said it currently supports the region from its office in Cairo and another in Germany.
Cairo office two years ago
“We don’t have an office in Dubai, we can serve customers from our office in Cairo, which we opened two years ago. This covers not only the Middle East but North Africa,” he said.
“Our strategy at Bosch has been to stop working through agencies and to serve our customers direct by giving them better support.
“Then we started to think about growing the African market, which started by opening an office Johannesburg in South Africa five years ago. We also plan to open two more offices; one in Nairobi and Lagos, Nigeria. We had a soft opening last year and this year we will open with an official launch, this is how we are serving this market.”
According to Omar, Bosch Packaging is looking to further expand in Africa and said Euromonitor’s recent Markets of the Future reports show the next eight Sub-Saharan African consumer markets with the brightest growth prospects are Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.
Euromonitor said these markets had a combined consumer spending of $192bn in 2013 and a combined population of 289m. Between 2013 and 2030 their GDP will increase by 172% in real terms compared to 150% in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
It claims one of the key strategies for success in emerging markets is to adapt to local conditions. This could mean redesigning products and services from the ground up or tweaking products or packaging to meet consumers’ needs.
“Market research companies such as Euromonitor shows the African population is growing and spending more than anywhere else in the world, that’s why Bosch is following these markets by opening offices there and supporting customers from the beginning to grow with them,” he added.
“We see a big trend for automation because this region never had that before. Due to labour costs everyone was working with manual feeding systems but this has changed since one year ago and the market is moving towards automatic packaging.
“With a 30% growth every year, our customers are thinking fast about how to serve the market and how to reduce their waste. We are not looking to replace workers, in this region you take the people and replace them with machinery but you take the workforce and make use of them on another production line.”
As regional sales director, Omar looks after 15 countries and travels extensively across the MENA region.
“Our strategy is to be near to our customers and this year we are participating in more local exhibitions such as Afro Packaging, in Egypt, we took part for the first time at Mafex in Morocco and Djazagro in Algeria, in April next year for the first time. We want to have more presence at local exhibitions as we start to look for future projects.”