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More opportunities than challenges in African market for Northern Ireland companies


  • As UK Prime Minister Theresa May visits Africa this week with plans to deepen trade and economic ties in Africa post-Brexit and promising an extra £4bn in direct UK government investment - which she expects to be matched by private sector, forward-thinking Northern Ireland businesses will have Africa already in their sights as they know Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy.

    Countries like Nigeria and Kenya are thriving democracies, have strong international ties, including through the Commonwealth and are fast-changing economies, but doing business in Africa is unique and understanding cultural nuances and business differences are key to success. 

    Franklin Atamewan, Managing Director of Natax International, which has offices in Belfast, London and Abuja, Nigeria helps companies unlock growth potential in Africa and urges Northern Ireland businesses to look to Africa now as their next market.

    Welcoming Theresa May's visit to the region he said: "It is vital Northern Ireland businesses are not left behind. 

    "Many of Africa's economies are on the rise and you will find microcosms of industry and innovation hubs across many cities.

    "60 per cent of Africa's population is under the age of 25 and forward-thinking Northern Ireland companies could play a key role in harnessing the innovation and creativity of young people in this region.

    "Yes, doing business in Africa presents hurdles and challenges for UK businesses. Companies need to do their research and ensure they get the right support and correct information right from the start.

    "Strong personal relationships based on mutual respect are the bedrock of successful business deals in Africa.

    "At Natax international, we understand that doing business in Africa is unique and we help companies maximise opportunities to grow their operations in Africa with the best chances for success and sustainability. 

    "I would urge companies to start exploring Africa now. It is a rapidly evolving market and even if a market may not be ready for your product/technology right now, things may be completely different in less than a year."

    Africa's economy is expected to rise by 3.5 per cent in 2019 according to World Bank Report 2018.

    UK direct investment in Africa was £42.7bn in 2016.

    To learn more about Natax International and how it can support your business visit www.nataxinternational.com

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