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Developing a retail plan for Africa

Jul 19th 2012, 08:27

Developing a retail plan for Africa

Some of the largest companies in the world are grocery retailers and some of the most profitable companies in the world depend on retailers to distribute their products to consumers. Retailers certainly play a pivotal role in any economy but their impact on an emerging economy is even more critical. The migration from informal retailing to corporate retail helps to structure and grow the economy as a whole as well as improve the lives of ordinary people.

Retailers employ large numbers of people; they provide training, a stable income and opportunity for personal growth. They help to maintain availability of products at reasonable prices and provide a valuable and efficient tax collection mechanism for governments. But most of all, they stimulate investment in production and processing facilities within the region.

Informal retailing does very little to improve the overall economic health of a country and in most instances, it stifles progress, growth and development. The difficulty is that you need a vibrant informal sector before that process of formalisation can take place but it cannot be seen as a long term solution to economic freedom, it is a mistake often made.

It is imperative that African economic leaders focus on creating an environment that will, as swiftly as possible; transform the retail sector into a value adding component of the economy. Creating free trade zones, investing in basic infrastructure, reducing corruption and ensuring that the customs’ process is a reasonably low cost exercise that quickly stimulates long term gains.

With South Africa and other international retailers eagerly awaiting opportunities in Africa, political willpower desperately needs to be aligned with the long term economic gain. In an ideal world we would have retail leaders and political leaders meeting regularly to formulate a dynamic retail investment strategy. The impact that progressive development in Africa will have on the world’s FMCG sector will no doubt be positive, so the willpower should be there.

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Fastmoving provides online data support and marketing services to FMCG brands and businesses operating in the retail sector. Our inventory management service is a central repository where FMCG brands can store and share hi-res pack shots and essential product information with suppliers for each SKU, on-demand, including barcodes, product endorsements, nutritional values, ingredients and allergens.
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