World Retail Voice Blog Post
How easy it is to expand your brand into the neighbouring African country or region?
This week Trudi Hartzengerg, Executive Director at the Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (tralac), an organisation that works with governments and non- private sector to enhance the trade law and policy capacity in Africa, enthusiastically confirmed to speak at Retail Congress Africa in November. She’s taken on the challenge to demystify the intra-Africa trading processes for retailers attending the Congress. All to often I hear retailers complain of the complexity of trading blocs, the multifaceted architecture of regional economic communities and limited infrastructure making expansion less interesting and a minefield to navigate.
This made me consider whether the trading hurdles are protectionism to prevent new players from entering the market, weak legal systems, or lack of capacity to implement obligations of free trade. Regardless of the reasons, a retailer must work around the obstacles by knowing the legal small print, lessons learnt from those who have succeeded in setting best practice and be fully responsible for their trading practices.
Entering a new market can be exciting and offer huge opportunities. I don’t think that retailers should avoid expanding into a new African market because of trading practices, but should have access to correct legal information and best practice so to install robust internal processes and diligence to avoid arduous and costly mistakes.
Retail Congress Africa is taking place from 18-19 November in Johannesburg