Export to Africa

Coimex, focused on countries with high trust issues and developing nations, connects more in foreign trade with 108 countries, 40 categories, and 50,000 firms.
Stekar visited Coimex's Turkiye Office.

Coimex welcomed its Kenyan member in its office in Turkiye. Stekar, reached another significant milestone after years of successful collaboration within our community. As the first member of the Coimex community to execute deals in Africa, the Middle East, and Russia, Stekar continues to enhance its success. The purpose of this visit was to establish communication with Turkish avocado importers and strengthen existing relationships.

Karen Ndulu and John Mengo from Stekar Foods, the first exporter member of Coimex on the African continent, visited Turkiye to reaffirm their commitment to our community, strengthen existing collaborations, and sign new agreements. During their visit, the member company toured Coimex’s Turkiye office, met with our team face to face, built a stronger business relationship, and took the first steps for new agreements. The success of our member was made possible through the unique advantages provided by Coimex to its business partners and members, built on strong collaboration foundations and support. This collaboration, lasting for years, is not only based on commercial agreements but also on a partnership grounded in mutual trust and support.

Improving ties, Coimex and Stekar enjoyed Turkish delicacies.
Our Kenyan member, benefiting from various advantages and collaboration opportunities provided by Coimex, engaged in interactions and collaborations with other members of the Coimex community through B2B meetings during this membership period. Stekar’s visit to Turkiye is an example of strengthening ties among Coimex members and increasing confidence in global trade.
This visit by our Kenyan member demonstrates that Coimex is not just a community in foreign trade but also acts as a supporter for its members, serving as a business partner and contributing value to global trade. While Coimex strengthens its leading role in foreign trade through its exclusive services, the success of our Kenyan member reflects mutual trust and support.
A nice shot from Stekar's visit of Coimex office in Turkiye.

With a vision of growing and achieving success together with reliable foreign trade companies, Coimex continues to add value to its members and support them. The visit of our Kenyan member to Turkiye is an example of the success of Coimex as a global food community. We, at Coimex, eagerly anticipate future collaborations, joint projects, and success stories from not only this member but also from all our members.

Coimex, which knows and follows its members well, encourages, matches, and supports its members in writing their commercial success stories. You too can write a success story with Coimex. Come, join the Coimex community without further delay!

“Not only is Africa’s population increasing; it not only has the youngest and most productive population, but also Africa’s purchasing power is increasing.”

On June 22, a webinar on “Development in Africa for Food Importers and Exporters” was held with the moderation of Selhattin Urfalı, the CEO of Coimex, and the participation of Lucas Murenzi, the Trade Attaché of Rwanda, and Assistant Honorary Consul of Liberia Jonathan N. Kulah. Murat Can Kılınç, Nairobi Trade Advisor, also participated in the webinar. They discussed many regarding foreign trade, including whether anything can be sold to Africa.

The webinar, which lasted approximately 1.5 hours on Zoom, had registrations from 25 countries. Important strategies for the development of food importers and exporters in Africa were discussed in the webinar and the top 5 strategies were highlighted.

Selhattin Urfalı said: “Dear importers and exporters, welcome to today’s event. I am the CEO of Coimex, a chain consisting of importers and exporters. Coimex is a new generation B2B digital platform, which is a community of foreign traders where we discuss their problems and try to find solutions for them to do business easily and make money safely. Although there are many borders in the world, Coimex says that there are no borders in trade. Especially in the digital world, there are no borders during the COVID pandemic. The digitalization process is rapidly continuing all over the world. The whole world will be digitalized, every city and every village will be digitalized. My father is 80 years old and he has video calls with his supplier in China, which excites me.

Today we really have an international group. Our participants are: 42% from India, 2% from Saudi Arabia, 4% from Ethiopia, 2% from Afghanistan, 11% from Turkey, 5% from Kenya, 2% from Cyprus, 3.6% from Liberia, 3.6% from Cameroon, 2% from the United States, 5% from Pakistan, and other countries 2%. All these participants are either import or export department managers or CEOs of companies.

Our topic today is growth in Africa. Surviving companies survive because they are today’s companies. They are developing and growing. They are more rebellious, out of standards, more futuristic, and more. Today, Africa’s population is 1.5 billion. I looked at the statistics of the World Trade Organization (WTO) today. In 2039, Africa will have 2.5 billion people. So, when we think of today’s world population, it is 6 billion.

If You Develop in Africa Today, You will Win Tomorrow

If you take your place now, if you survive today and develop in Africa, your company will produce and dominate 50% of today’s world in 20 years. Can you imagine that? According to today’s population, Africa is growing faster than other countries. The future Africa will be 2.5 billion in 20 years. First, we must understand Africa and the other countries we will do business with.

5 Strategies for the Development of Food Importers and Exporters in Africa

  1. Building empathy
  2. Think big: Avoiding prejudices, being open-minded and trying to understand the local culture
  3. Employing people who speak the local language
  4. Being honest about providing information
  5. Getting information from other businessmen and collaborators

I want to start with empathy. So our first tip is empathy. For example, I will call it empathy to a tribe in Africa. This is a very important issue.

Jonathan: Thank you. Liberia was one of the first nations to gain independence when it comes to forests and mines. This means that Liberia is still a leader in this regard.

Selhattin Urfalı: Let’s start with empathy. Can we talk about this?

Lucas: Thank you very much. Many people know the history of Rwanda, so 27 years ago… We empathize. As a country, we have an inspiring story, at least to some extent. Because we came from the brink of being a failed state to becoming a beacon of hope for the continent and other developing countries.

The first thing I noticed is that the topic is agriculture-centered. So I would say, don’t be biased against agriculture. It is a sad fact that about 70% of sub-Saharan African countries rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, if you look at the contributions to the relevant countries’ national GDPs, they contribute an average of about 25% to 30%. So what does this mean? It means that 70% or 75% of the population is engaged in agriculture, but they earn very little from their work. However, they earn more from jobs like mining and manufacturing.

The second thing is to share the hope we see at the end of the tunnel for the African continent. It’s time for Africa to serve. First of all, as you mentioned earlier, Africa’s population is not only growing, but it is also becoming the youngest and most productive population. Moreover, Africa’s purchasing power is increasing. There are also many investments in infrastructure and integration. Africa understands that it needs to connect. First, we need to work together, open up to each other, and then trade with the world. Railway and road infrastructure is being developed. Airlines are increasing cargo connections. Storage is even facilitating the development of many economic and industrial parks in all countries. Therefore, the increase in infrastructure and integration creates another hope for both the African continent and global partners.

Unlike the past, governance is something that is developing in Africa. We see less conflict, more stability, and more openness. There are more countries that can travel to each other without a visa.

Knowledge is a Very Important Power in Foreign Trade

I think one of the most challenging issues that B2B solutions can address is the lack of information. Without information, people are buying from third parties, purchasing substandard products, and rejecting expired products. There is no other way. And at the end of the day, as embassy employees, our businesspeople often want to get information from us. We ask them where they found the company. They say they found it on the internet. And they expect us to verify the information by going to the address. But this can only happen once. However, if it happens frequently, there should be a solution that simplifies everything. Of course, there are many opportunities, but there is always a financial problem. And financial transactions are also important. There are some uncertainties regarding payment. And people don’t like to try new things. At the end of the day, as you know, the cost falls on the consumer.

In Foreign Trade, Niche Products can Make a Difference

You know, every country has its own niche product. And that’s a good thing when it comes to agriculture. It’s a very diverse and generally broad trade. Not all countries have the capacity to produce the same products. They don’t have the capacity to supply all the raw materials and everything. We are a small country, so we cannot compete with countries like Congo or Tanzania, which have very large territories, we cannot produce more than them or be superior to them. Therefore, our ‘niche’ is usually having high-value-added products that are easier to transport: Low-volume, high-value products. Such as processed coffee… For example, instead of sending green coffee beans, importing roasted and ground coffee that creates the value needed.


The Importance of Location in Foreign Trade…

Most people live far from the sea. Therefore, we are trying to position ourselves as a distribution center for international trade companies that want to distribute and sell their products in the region. So how are we going to do this? Of course, the best thing to do is to create a favorable and preferable environment for them to do so. And that is exactly what we are doing in Rwanda. And of course, those closer to the sea may have more advantages than others. However, as a continent, our main vision is for something that everyone can progress together on. You know, the cost of barriers to doing business is extremely high. And at the end of the day, we need to find ways to make both domestic and international trade cheap and affordable for everyone.

SU: There are rules for the European Union in Europe, but I don’t know about the laws in Africa. What do you think, Jonathan?

Jonathan: The laws were probably established a long time ago by someone who was a king or a president. But now, the advantage of the digital platform is that wherever you are, whoever you are, if you have something in demand, you can buy it.

SU: I think I need to find solutions to the problems of foreign traders and exporters. Fourth, we need to be honest when providing information, as everyone agrees on this. Therefore, it is very important to be informative and we need to explain everything.

The fifth point, I would like to say, is digital. But I’m not saying this as an advertisement. Of course, as Coimex, we want more members, but we want them to solve the problems of our members, not just for the sake of numbers. I think the 5th point will come up during the discussions and questions.

Today, among us is Murat Can Kılınç, Nairobi Trade Advisor, who participated in our previous event “Safe Export to East Africa in 8 Steps”. It’s great to see you again.

Murat Can Kılınç: It’s great to see you too. Thank you for the informative presentations.

SU: What was the reason for attending this event? Did this event help you in this regard?

MCK: The event was very good and quite helpful. We thank the organization and also the participants from different African countries.

The main reason for my participation in this event is that I have been working in Kenya for three years and I realized that sometimes we need more insight from African professionals.

SU: Okay, I found the 5th item too. The 5th item: getting foresight from other businessmen and collaborators who know Africa. Thank you.

How is the situation in Kenya, especially in terms of food? Kenya is an important port country. Can you tell us a few things especially for food importers and exporters?

MCK: Actually, many food items are important. When you look at Kenya’s largest imports, you always see some basic things like flour, wheat, date oil, and rice. These products are always in the top 10. These are the products that you can import. Products like rice and wheat are not sufficiently grown in Kenya. Kenya imports such products in large quantities. Of course, there are opportunities and processed goods are still being imported into Kenya.

Construction materials, steel products, textiles, fertilizers, pasta, and flour are exported from Turkey to Kenya. But last year there were a lot of green vegetables and fruits. I see a green light for vegetables in Turkey’s exports to Kenya.

SU: Fresh vegetables?

MCK: Fresh and processed vegetables. Like green peas, for example.

SU: Green peas?

MCK: That’s right, green peas. If green peas are being purchased in Kenya, pay attention to that. This was not the case in 2020. I don’t know what has changed now.

Don’t Be Prejudiced

SU: Anything is possible, everything is possible. Thank you for the information. We were also saying the same thing, don’t be prejudiced based on old figures because the old numbers could be different. If Kenyans have never bought peas before, you would never think you could sell peas to Kenya. But if you get information from a supermarket or wholesaler there, that could make a difference. As Lucas said, you need to get the information correctly.

You need to build the confidence you need. And this happens through giving and receiving, not just by receiving. You need to give something, you need to share something as well.

Jonathan: In addition, the beauty of Africa as a whole continent is that there are many sectors that are underutilized. Therefore, there is nothing impossible for people who are trying to innovate once you create quality resources.

SU: I will ask a question: we said that Africa doesn’t eat cheap food. Is that so? If the answer is yes, then they eat low-value products. If the answer is no, can products that are worth your money be sold more than cheap products in Africa?

MCK: I agree, but I would like to add that there is a very large population in Africa. It is also true that they cannot afford expensive products. I live in Kenya, so I understand better how the middle class is rapidly growing in Kenya. Therefore, you can also see that they are moving from cheaper products to higher-quality products. More and more people in Kenya are demanding higher-quality products and food because the middle class is really growing in this country. And during the pandemic, the Kenyan economy grew by 0.6%. In many other countries, there are negative growth rates. In 2021, the World Bank predicts that Kenya will change and its economy will grow by 6.9%, which is a very high rate.

SU: All of Africa is growing. I checked the trade organization’s numbers. All of Africa grew in 2021.

MCK: Therefore, the people of the future will demand higher-quality products, and demand in the future will be greater than today.

Payment Systems in Liberia

SU: I want to ask a question. How are payment services in Liberia? I’m also asking the same question for Rwanda. How are credit card services and do they have access to international banks here?

Cash always Works well for fast Trading in Africa

Jonathan: We have 10 international banks in Liberia, some of which are open to letters of credit, and some are open to TT payments according to the trade sector. There is still a trust issue with the banking system in Africa. Therefore, they do not use it too much. For this reason, they prefer to keep their money at home. So if you want to do business quickly in Africa, it is better to use cash. For example, if you are involved in forestry in other countries, you just need to send us a route. You need to get a phytosanitary certificate for Turkey. You cannot pay for this with a letter of credit.

SU: Mobile money?

Jonathan: Mobile money is money used through phone banking. You use your phone number instead of a bank account. But I must point out that one of our biggest challenges in Africa is the system. Because we don’t have a standard system. This is one of the biggest challenges that most digital platforms will face. For example, you lend money to someone but you may not find that person in the records. This is a problem if you do not have a standard database that controls that person. In Africa, the government can decide to change a person’s entire passport and everyone can change their passport number. This also creates a problem.

What products can be exported to Kenya?

SU: I want to ask Murat Can Kılınç. Can textile exports be made to Kenya? You mentioned pasta, flour, and green peas. What are the other right products?

MCK: Actually, anything can be possible. A Turkish company even sold a ferry to Kenya. So anything can be sold to Africa.

SU: What can we say about Rwanda?

Lucas: Construction materials, machinery, and textiles are imported from Turkey to Rwanda. Wheat is also imported for food. But the largest percentage is made up of textiles and construction materials.

SU: How about in Liberia?

Jonathan: The situation in Liberia is not about the product. Connections and marketing plans are important here.

Thank you all for your participation. The webinar ended after the Q&A session following the determination of the “5 Strategies for the Development of Food Importers and Exporters in Africa”.

You can find growth strategies in Africa-India-Turkey food trade in this article.

We are a digital platform that provides the opportunity to conduct foreign trade in a trustable community, enables target audiences to be found by both exporters and importers, offers one-to-one communication with decision-makers, and provides social media services to traders. Although you think that the system makes sense, if there are still some question marks in your mind, then this article will support your decision to join Coimex.

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1) How Is Coimex Different From Other Digital Platforms?

In cooperation with local chambers of commerce, only companies that are high quality and trustable are being accepted to Coimex. Coimex is very different from solutions like TradeAtlas, which works like a static catalog and is closed to interaction, and traditional marketplace solutions like IndiaMart and Alibaba, which are suitable for spot shopping and contain many companies of different qualities. After becoming a member, you not only reach trustable companies in your target audience and communicate directly with decision-makers, you can also develop long-term relationships through a social media platform where you can share your announcements and have conversations about foreign trade.


2) How Can I Be Sure Without Trying the Product?

In foreign trade, the time needed for trust-based and good relations to be established is more than one or two months. It is thought that after you become a member of our system, you can be matched with an average of 1-3 companies per month. After two months of being a member of our system, you can cancel your membership, if you are not satisfied with it. The best thing you can do as a member is to exhibit the maximum number of products your package allows in these first two months and see if you can get results quickly.

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3) Will I be able to get a return on my investment?

You will acquire visibility in the digital world once you have a Coimex membership. Coimex eliminates the need for you to trade solely physically by bringing foreign trading to a trustable platform. Even if you don’t have a website, the membership features will allow you to display your company and its products 24/7. With a single click, you can directly contact the company’s decision makers and check their profiles, prior transactions, scores, and comments. You’ll make a great return on your investment and save time and money with your first trade in a year.

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4) Will I be able to reach the companies in my target audience?

After you become a member of Coimex, we predict that you will find 1-3 companies per month that are suitable for your target market among trustable importer and exporter members separated by geographical region and product categories. Our member application process is carefully managed, and we work in association with chambers of commerce. Therefore, there are few but very qualified companies in the system. Coimex aims to find reliable and qualified companies for its members, right in their target audience. This helps ensure that trade is carried out on a trusted platform, and with carefully selected companies that are trustable. 

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5) Does it appeal to companies with narrow marketing budgets?

Yes, it does. Today, regardless of whether you are a large or small company, you need to have a modern website, advertise on Google, Linkedin, and social media, and allocate a budget for fairs, events, customer visits, and training in order to be competitive and not fall behind. Coimex provides you with a membership at a much lower cost than you would spend on other digital channels, and the opportunity to instantly contact and directly seize opportunities with those who are suitable for your target audience among the reliable companies selected, without causing you to get lost in the digital world. 

If you found answers to your questions after this article and the system made sense to you, we would like to see you in our community of reliable traders. Come join us now.

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On September 15, under the moderation of Coimex CEO Selhattin Urfalı, 3 Geography, 3 Speed, 3 Strategy events were held with the valuable participation of Bangladesh Ambassador Mosud Mannan His Excellency, Yeccima Director General Warmate Jones Idikio, Uncci Secretary General S. Kabagambe, Nairobi Trade Advisor Murat Can Kılınç, Baccima General Manager Sani Tahir Hamid and Mumbai Commercial Attaché Hüseyin Aydın.  

In the webinar, African, Indian and Turkish markets were evaluated. Developments and opportunities in trade relations with these countries were discussed. The subject of developing sales strategies was discussed. 

What Does the Bangladesh Market Promise?

Ambassador of Bangladesh, Mr. Mosud Mannan, greeted everyone who attended the meeting, opened the meeting and summarized the topics to be discussed. He continued his speech by explaining how Bangladesh gained its independence through the liberation war and inherited an economy to which the country was accustomed to its poverty.  

Bangladesh Ambassador Mosud Mannan’s main goal is to see the country prosper. For this reason, the Ambassador stated that they are constantly trying to improve both their economic situation and their social areas. Explaining that Bangladesh has managed to keep its GDP growth positive over the years, Ambassador stated that even after the pandemic, Bangladesh still has a GDP growth of 3.8%. The Economic Intelligence Unit announced that the country’s growth expectation for the next four years is 7.4% annually. Mannan also said that Bangladesh is one of the countries with the highest GDP per capita growth rate in Asia in 2020 and that Bangladesh’s GDP per capita grew by 9.1%, with Bangladesh having the highest GDP growth rate in South Asia. Stating that Bangladesh’s lands are fertile, Ambassador also announced that they will continue to give priority to agricultural growth in the coming years, as rice production is at an all-time high.  

The Ambassador stated in his speech that banking systems have changed since they left British rule. Stating that Bangladesh has moved from a state-controlled system to a market-based open economy using a stabilization, liberalization, and reorganization program, Ambassador also said that there are numerous new facilities and opportunities for those who want to do business with Bangladesh. According to Mr. Mosud Mannan, paperwork procedures have also become much faster and able to provide a skilled workforce. 

Which Products Can You Import and Export With Bangladesh?

In the export area, Bangladesh offers high-quality rice, seafood such as shrimp and fish, and although they have a high amount of rice for import, they sometimes want imported rice when production is low due to weather conditions in addition to onions and lentils. In addition to these, he stated that they are open to the import of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Ambassador Mr. Mosud Mannan also stated that although they are very popular in Bangladesh, cherries, and nuts cannot be grown in Bangladesh and this could be a good option for those looking for export opportunities. 

What are the Strong Products of the Nigerian Market?

Nigerian Yeccima Director-General Warmate Jones Idikio said at the beginning of his speech that Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. He stressed that Nigeria is part of the MINC nations, a community that includes countries with great potential for economic development. Warmate Jones Idikio, who stated that the banking system in Nigeria is market-oriented, also stated that Nigeria’s GDP per capita is $1.116 trillion, its nominal GDP is about $514 billion, the human development index is 35.1 and the population density is 218 percent per kilometer. 

Yeccima Director-General, Warmate Jones Idikio, stated that their country is open to agriculture and Nigeria already imports high amounts of citrus, grapes, nuts, dates, figs, pineapples, avocados, cherries, peaches, and plums and will continue to import them.  

Sani Tahir Hamid, Managing Director of Baccima, said Nigeria is a major exporter of cocoa, cotton, palm oil, and palm kernels. Sani Tahir Hamid, who stated that Nigeria currently trades with more than 100 countries around the world, also stated that Nigeria has a total of 70.8 million hectares of land for agriculture, which they use to grow nutrients such as seeds, wheat, corn, rice, and yam. He said their main focus is rice production because they produced 5 million metric tons of rice this year, as in 2020. Stating that more than 45 percent of Nigerian citizens are engaged in agriculture, Sani Tahir Hamid underlined that Nigeria is also Africa’s third-largest cocoa producer. Stating that they exported 245 metric tons of cocoa only to India in 2020, Sani Tahir Hamid also stated that Nigeria also has 7 million hectares of land ready for mechanized agriculture, therefore they invite foreign investors and people who want to develop business relations to their fertile lands. Sani Tahir Hamid, who said that with this method, Nigeria guarantees that it will always offer export opportunities to its foreign investors, said that Nigeria has cement production and recycling options for those who want to establish small businesses. 

Stating that Nigeria started a program to encourage local milk production in the country at the beginning of February, Baccima Managing Director Sani Tahir Hamid said that,

Nigeria is inadequate in terms of modern storage facilities and distribution networks, as a result of which they tend to lose a significant amount of what they harvest. He also stated that another reason why they need modern storage facilities is their desire to import more.  

Kenya Offers Great Opportunities to Foreign Traders!

In his speech, Kenya Nairobi Commercial Counselor Murat Can Kılınç said that while talking about Kenya, he is talking about other countries in the region because these countries are similar to Kenya in many ways. Murat Can Kılınç said that in recent years, investors have started to turn their attention to Africa and that more and more investors are doing the same. He also said that Kenya is the most developed and largest economy in Middle East Africa, with Kenya contributing more than 50 percent of the East African community region’s GDP.  

Murat Can Kılınç emphasized in his speech that Kenya, which is a country dependent on agriculture, prioritizes nutrients in exports. Murat Can Kılınç stated that as a result, they exported a large amount of macadamia nut, pineapple, avocado, and coffee, and said that they also imported many foodstuffs. Murat Can Kılınç stated that sugary products, processed foods such as pasta, and fresh fruits such as apples and grapes are imported in large quantities in Kenya, adding that it is difficult to find apricots, figs, hazelnuts, peaches, and cherries in Kenya and that these products have small markets in the region.  

He said that in Kenya, they had no problems producing their own food until 2019, however, when the locusts emerged, the invasion had badly affected the country. Thereupon, Murat Can Kılınç, who said that Kenya had a difficult time in agricultural production and trade with the pandemic and drought, also stated that Kenya also had storage problems. Saying that Kenya needs modern food storage units, distribution systems, and product safety, Murat Can Kılınç also said that most of the packaged foods in Kenya are imported, such as pasta. He stated that although there is no pasta production in the country, there is demand and consumption and that the Kenyan government invites foreign investors to the country and the government offers reasonable prices to investors.  However, at the end of his speech; He also stressed the importance of being aware of the export verification procedure when exporting to Kenya.

In Foreign Trade, it is important to take the necessary steps completely and accurately as well as to know the market closely. Just knowing the market is not enough. Knowing what to do and how to do it gives you a great advantage in foreign trade. You can find the steps you need to take while exporting in 2021 in this article.