It’s ironic that some countries in West Africa are flourishing in terms of business, and others are moving in the wrong directions! We all hear and read about the instability of most countries in Africa, as if there’s not one good peaceful and stable state in that region that is improving the lives of their citizens, improving the basic human infrastructures, and the overall standard and respect for conducting everyday business.
Outside of Europe Africa is still the unknown for many countries like the US, it is a scary place for small businesses to even think of researching the idea of doing business, or exporting products and open a new market.Here’s a perfect example for you, ports like Cotonou in Benin, or in Togo, these ports are the busiest in West Africa outside of the port of Lagos in Nigeria that receive between 3 and 4 millions used or second hand cars from Europe, cars coming from Germany and France primarily. Most deals are made on the streets behind the ports, where typical dealers are bypassing brokers by sending their cars to ports such as the Port of Antwerp to make deals on the spot from buyers coming directly from Africa.
The main destination for these used vehicles is the Port of Cotonou in West Africa, it is the hub for the rest of the surrounding countries in East Africa as well. Once the used cars arrive in Cotonou, they are parked in large parking space where potential buyers come and chose the autos to buy.
From the 450,000 vehicles received by the port of Cotonou, only a very small percentage stay in Benin, only about 10%. The rest are shipped to countries like Mali, Niger, and Nigeria, and others.
Now the rest of the unsold cars might be exported towards India or Pakistan to be dismantled and sold locally in these countries for parts, or for scrap metals.
I am not sure that in the US, businesses are aware of this type of “affaire” is going on in Europe, African buyers that purchase these used vehicles are to make on average 30% profit after all their expenses are paid, NOT BAD AT ALL!
Used cars might not be the business for US companies to sell and export to Africa, however, there should be a way to create an environment to facilitate and make it easier for buyers to come to the US, and buy products and leave with their purchases.
Let’s choose the Construction Equipment and Heavy Machinery industry, The Dollar today is weaker than the Euro, let’s take advantage of that, let’s become the number one market place for the Construction Industry. The United states will be the hub for any such heavy vehicles and machinery for the world to know, ports like Baltimore, or Newark New Jersey for instance might become the busiest to show case the products to be purchased there on the spot.