Foreign Trade


How the find trustworthy companies, this question leads us to concept of trust. The trust of your potential customer in your product and company will enable them to establish business contacts with you and this will increase the volume of your business. Trust is one of the most important topics for foreign trade companies.


In addition to traditional ways of trading, online commerce has increased the importance of learning and confirming the trustability of a company in the digital environment. In this article, we will share with you how to find trustworthy companies on the digital environment.

If people looking to buy your products from other countries have plain and easy access to your company information over the Internet, they will trust you and connect with you. Therefore, it is very important to position yourself as a trustworthy company in digital.

What Are the Current Problems Regarding Trust in Foreign Trade?

On the way to get an answer for how to find trustworthy companies on the Internet, one of the biggest problems in foreign trade is trust. Enterprises without commercial status approved by the competent authorities who do not import or export, but pretend to operate, are misleading other enterprises who really want to do foreign trade. Some digital foreign trade platforms may involve companies that are not actively trading in their system, making their members look more crowded than they really are. Although these companies are not currently engaged in foreign trade, they can display product offers and requests on these platforms as if they are engaged in foreign trade. Sharing your personal information with unauthorized people could cause your company’s security to be undermined. Is the company you have in mind trustable, does the company have up-to-date contact information, and does the company actively engage in foreign trade? You are strongly advised to take a look at these topics.

How Can a Company's Trustability be Assessed in Digital?

The first place to look should be the company’s website to see if the company is trustable. The website of the companies is also an online identity of the companies. The following are things to look for when investigating a company’s trustability on the Internet.
  1. Does the site have the company’s logo?
  2. How corporate is the company’s website?
  3. What products are on the company’s website?
  4. Does the company’s website contain a clear and unambiguous address and other contact information?
  5. Are there online reviews about this company or its products?
Other companies will also investigate you online to get to know you and see if you are a trusted business. Therefore, building your website and your communication with your customers along with these trust factors and revamping your existing information along these lines will go a long way for you and your business.

How Does Coimex Solve The Trust Problem In Foreign Trade?

Only companies that are rigorously selected in cooperation with local chambers of commerce, whose business activities are approved and trusted, are accepted into the Coimex community. Companies that will become members of the Coimex system go through several stages. Only trustable companies that can complete this verification and approval process will be included in the system. As a result, companies engaged in foreign trade can conduct safe and sustainable foreign trade with companies that actually exist, actively transact, and publish authentic product offers through a post-based platform with 24/7 visibility.

How Does Coimex's Verification System Work?


Companies to be included in the Coimex system go through a verification and certification process that consists of several stages. The Chamber of Commerce, with Coimex, checks whether a company is registered in the Chamber of Commerce to which they are affiliated. At the same time, the registration documents and documents of these companies are reviewed during the approval process. At the end of the inspection, these documents are confirmed through the state connections, coordinating union, and liaison agencies. The company that completes this process, which is carried out with the utmost care, becomes a member of Coimex. Therefore, your company establishes sustainable commerce relationships through real-world product offers and requests by connecting with trusted companies via Coimex’s web and mobile applications.

There you have gotten a professional angle on how to find trustworthy companies.

This article is meant to help you better understand Coimex and get answers if you still have some questions.

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In countries where trust is a major concern, Coimex, an international trade community that only admits reliable companies, offers its members numerous exclusive services. Coimex makes foreign trade safer and more accessible through its provided services. With the utmost trust, Coimex matches buyers and sellers since 2017, bringing 25+ years of exerience in to foreign trade.

Two Coimex members, Instanta from Turkey and Storesome from Kenya

14 Exclusive Services offered by Coimex

Coimex stands out in the international trade community, matches buyers and sellers, with numerous distinctive and exclusive services. Two services, in particular, are provided as priority and core services. One is the matching service, and the other is end-to-end negotiation support. These two services are offered to all our members and across all membership packages.

Coimex provides boutique and exclusive services not found in conventional B2B platforms. There are three membership levels at Coimex, and the services vary according to these levels.

The 14 exclusive services offered by Coimex are as follows:

  1. Establishes business connections only with reliable companies.
  2. Enables members to benefit from real-time opportunities through a 24/7 listing system.
  3. Organizes online and offline B2B meetings for its members.
  4. Communicates with relevant authorities in the country of trade to resolve issues if they arise.
  5. Provides a web and mobile-based platform exclusively for members where sellers can submit price quotes, and buyers can announce procurement requests.
  6. Offers translation services for members conducting business in different geographical regions.
  7. Provides a risk-free membership with a customer guarantee for each category in the annual membership. If a member fails to secure customers despite showcasing products and participating in meetings, the membership is extended for free.
  8. Offers end-to-end negotiation support through video meetings, creating a common WhatsApp group, and assisting with negotiations, payment terms, and other related matters.
  9. Matches buyers and sellers within the system.
  10. Provides support for listings and sharing. If members lack time, Coimex takes their catalogs, product information, and prices, prepares listings, and uploads them to the system.
  11. Offers company reliability verification and validation support. When dealing with non-Coimex member clients, if there are concerns about the reliability of these firms, Coimex provides assistance.
  12. Offers marketing support. When entering different markets, Coimex assists in promotional activities in that region, providing PR support or joint digital marketing campaigns as needed.
  13. Provides fair meeting support. Coimex visits major food fairs worldwide. When you set up a booth at a fair, Coimex organizes face-to-face B2B meetings with Coimex buyer members who visit the fair and are matched with your company.
  14. Offers strategic support. When conducting trade in any country where Coimex is active, if you need support in areas such as dealing with the state, customs, or other strategic matters, Coimex provides assistance.
Coimex facilitates the pairing of buyers and sellers within the community, a process also known as commercial matchmaking.
B2B Matchmaking meeting between PFP (Thailan) and Cuddle Meat (Ghana)

Commercial (B2B) Matching: What Is It?

In commercial matchmaking, the goal is to establish connections based on trust, warm communication, and collaboration. It aims to bring together companies that can benefit mutually from business opportunities and commercial deals through B2B meetings.

Through the service of matching buyers with sellers, one-on-one offline and online meetings are conducted to find customers and suppliers by establishing warm communication. Coimex provides this matching service exclusively among buyers and sellers within its own community.

Two Coimex members, Hleks from Türkey and Storesome from Kenya B2B Meeting

What B2B Matchmaking Offers You?

Manual commercial matchmaking and subsequent B2B meetings allow Coimex members to come together both online and offline to get to know the matched company and its products. After these meetings, the warm communication process continues in joint groups, including Coimex, leading to potential business deals.

Researching reliable companies on the internet and examining them one by one can be time-consuming. Coimex streamlines this process by matching you with well-known companies and their products, providing information, and organizing online or face-to-face meetings with decision-makers, facilitating warm communication.

Coimex’s Matchmaking:

  1. Saves you time and money.
  2. Facilitates your international trade.
  3. Enables secure meetings with trustworthy companies.
  4. Shortens and simplifies the sales process through warm communication.
  5. Ensures that your agreements are made on a written and formal basis.
  6. Facilitates expansion into new markets.
  7. Increases your profits through new markets.
  8. Provides language support, i.e., translation assistance”
B2B Matchmaking meeting between Sungrano and Didan

About How Coimex Matches Buyers and Sellers

Coimex matches buyers and sellers but how? Coimex’s main service is providing matchmaking and end-to-end negotiation support. Coimex has an in-depth understanding of the buyer and seller companies within its network. It learns about their expectations, what they buy and sell, and understands their sensitivities. It works as an extension of your team, manually matching you with companies that align with your business. After receiving your approval, it organizes a joint meeting.

Unlike traditional B2B platforms, Coimex doesn’t expect you to do everything on your own after becoming a member. It doesn’t merely offer platform services; it provides you with a range of facilitative and beneficial services for your international trade.

The matchmaking service is provided for both importers and exporters. Depending on whether the service is provided to the buyer or seller, it’s named accordingly.

  1. Customer Matchmaking: When providing matchmaking for the exporter or seller, we call it customer matchmaking. In this service, Coimex brings customers to the seller.
  2. Supplier Matchmaking: When providing this service to the importer or buyer, we call it supplier matchmaking. Coimex brings suppliers to the importer.

Since Coimex has an in-depth understanding of all its members – their profiles, preferences, the type of companies they want to work with, and their specific trade needs – it ensures a suitable match. Coimex doesn’t leave you alone within the system. It acts as a part-time foreign trade employee for companies, representing your business and supporting you in your international trade. The matchmaking is done manually without waiting for your involvement. In other words, this matchmaking doesn’t happen automatically or spontaneously within the system.

How Coimex Matches Buyers and Sellers Manually?

The Coimex team conducts meetings to get to know companies, developing specific foreign trade strategies and matchmaking efforts tailored to each company and its products. Through meticulous work, potential matches between companies are identified. Once a match is identified, contact is made with the company, providing information such as, ‘There is a suitable supplier or customer for you. Their products align with yours, and they are a great fit for your company.’ This initiates the first meeting between the potential customer or supplier, facilitated online with cameras on. This allows both the buyer and seller to see each other, laying the foundation for real and trust-based relationships with actual companies.

During the meeting, mutual questions are asked to address any trust-based concerns. Coimex ensures impartiality and an equal distance between the two parties in all meetings.

After the initial meeting, end-to-end negotiation support is provided.

End-to-End Negotiation Service

Once the matchmaking is done and the initial online face-to-face meeting takes place, this service comes into play. Coimex assumes two fundamental roles during these meetings: that of a mediator and a regulator. Throughout matchmaking meetings and the end-to-end negotiation service, Coimex maintains an equal distance from both parties. During these communications, Coimex does not favor either the buyer or the seller or represent either party. It acts as an impartial mediator, providing equal and fair mediation to both parties.

Mediation Feature: Coimex introduces both parties to each other at the beginning of the meeting. The team offers language support and resolves potential language issues during these meetings. Currently, the Coimex team speaks Turkish, English, Arabic, French, and Farsi. Additionally, Russian language support can be provided from outside the team.

As Coimex is well-acquainted with the sensitivities and commercial needs of both buyers and sellers, it ensures that the meeting is strategic. It facilitates the resolution of questions from both sides, fostering collaboration. Coimex becomes a strategic and driving force to take the meeting towards a commercial agreement and successful sales.

Regulation Feature: When two Coimex member companies engage in trade, certain rules and processes must be followed. For instance, attempting to conduct a sale with only a proforma without a sales contract in place may not be allowed. Coimex regulates the process to prevent such risky situations. If a buyer requests a sample, the seller covers the cost of the sample, but the buyer covers the shipping and transportation costs. Coimex does not allow situations to the contrary.

If an agreement is reached between two Coimex members, the creation of a sales contract becomes mandatory. Making commercial agreements without contracts within the system is not allowed.

Product inspection is carried out. Coimex collaborates with SGS to ensure inspection of goods during the sales process. Sellers are required to handle these SGS procedures before exporting the goods. During this process, the seller is expected to arrange the meeting with SGS. The seller instructs the buyer to contact SGS for inspection. The buyer is responsible for the inspection report’s cost.

When trading between Coimex members, it is mandatory to have internationally valid cargo insurance through a reputable company. Agreements without insurance are not allowed.

Proper and reliable companies are expected to be collaborated with for freight and cargo services. Coimex, in this way, regulates all risky situations in trade.

Typically, since sales are not concluded in a single meeting, Coimex creates a WhatsApp group for these companies after the meeting. This ensures that all questions, answers, and other communication occur within this group, overseen by Coimex management. This way, Coimex monitors both parties and the entire process.

Come join the Coimex community and match with suitable and reliable companies. Organize B2B meetings with the matched firms to find new buyers and sellers. Develop your market and increase your profits.

Coimex is not just a B2B digital platform. It is a foreign trade community where offline and online worlds come together, offering different services to buyers and sellers, and where members support each other. Coimex gets to know all member companies closely with a boutique service approach. It is well acquainted with their products and needs. Accordingly, it offers various services in different packages tailored to their needs.


As an international foreign trade community consisting exclusively of reliable companies, even in less trustworthy regions, Coimex contributes to the foreign trade of developing countries, and organizes B2B meetings for its members in the food industry.

Coimex is not merely a B2B digital platform. It is a foreign trade community where both offline and online entities converge, offering diverse services to buyers and sellers, and where members support one another. Coimex adopts a boutique service approach, getting to know each member company closely. It is well-versed in its members’ products and needs, thus providing different services in various packages tailored to their requirements.

Coimex, operating in 108 countries, is not just a digital platform but a community!

Coimex is an international food community that allows you to connect with trusted food companies from around the world and establish trust-based, long-term business relationships. With both web and mobile-based platforms exclusively for its members, Coimex’s seller members provide price quotations, while buyer members announce their product requests. However, Coimex’s contribution to your foreign trade and its services to traders are not limited to this alone.

Coimex supports its members’ collaboration by organizing both online and face-to-face B2B meetings between buyer and seller members. Coimex operates on an annual membership system, and one of the membership packages includes a service that brings buyers and sellers together through online and physical B2B meetings, facilitating end-to-end trade.

How are Coimex B2B Meetings organized?

When a dialogue begins between a buyer and a seller member on Coimex, the process unfolds as follows. The seller member displays the product on the platform along with its current price. The buyer member sees this listing promptly thanks to real-time notifications. Typically, buyer members prefer to reach out to Coimex’s Customer Success department representative rather than contacting sellers directly. They ask questions like, “I saw this listing. Who is this company, and is it suitable for our business?” They request a meeting through Coimex to get to know the company and its products better and to determine whether a business collaboration is feasible.

Salix Fruits and Stekar at Coimex B2B Meeting.

Alternatively, a buyer company may contact Coimex’s Customer Success representative, saying, “I need this particular product.” They enter the advertisement for the product they want to buy into the system. When seller members see this listing, they often prefer to contact Coimex rather than sending a direct message to the buyer. They ask questions like, “I saw this listing. Who is this company, what should I pay attention to in the trade, and how should I submit an offer?” They request a meeting through Coimex to get to know the company and its products better as listed in the advertisement.

Due to Coimex’s close familiarity with buyer members and its deep understanding of their product needs, sometimes dialogues like the following can occur: Coimex says, “Among our members, there are these suppliers. You might not have seen their listings. This supplier’s products might suit you, so let’s arrange a meeting with this company.”

Coimex schedules an online B2B meeting on a date that suits both parties. These meetings, typically lasting around 30 minutes, are conducted with video and cameras on for transparency. During the meeting, each company introduces itself and its products. They discuss the details of the listing in the system, all questions and answers, and terms. Coimex maintains a neutral stance throughout the meeting, staying equally distant from both the buyer and seller members. This ensures the protection of both parties’ interests, promotes trade, and offers support. With its in-depth knowledge of both companies, Coimex assists in negotiations regarding payment terms. Coimex team, being well-versed in the products, provides help with product details and highlights important considerations. Certificates, documents, and SGS reports are discussed for the secure progression of the foreign trade process. Coimex fosters dialogue between the two members, facilitating agreement and ensuring a secure transaction.

After the meeting, a shared WhatsApp group enables smooth communication involving both members and Coimex. Coimex follows and supports the entire process end-to-end until the trade between members is completed.

We’d like to reiterate that Coimex does not charge any commission from the trade taking place between its members. The Coimex B2B Meeting service is provided within the membership fee.

Exemplary Coimex Offline B2B Meetings

Coimex members also have the opportunity to meet amongst themselves if they wish. How do these meetings happen?

At a food fair, whether as a visitor or exhibitor, seller and buyer companies have the chance to meet.

For example: Our Kenyan avocado seller member had a booth at the Fruit Logistica Fair in Germany. Go Fresh, our member from Kuwait, who is an importer (buyer), attended the fair as a visitor. These two companies had previously connected online through Coimex organization. In fact, they conducted business following this online meeting. At the fair, they met in person, strengthening their bonds.

Coimex's Members B2B Meetings — News

Fruit Logistica Berlin — Coimex Members Came Together at the Fair 2023

Two Coimex members, Athi Farms from Kenya and Go Fresh from Kuwait, met at the Berlin Fruit Logistica Fair held in February. Both of our members shared this meeting on Coiwall, which is Coimex’s commercial social media platform.

Once again, the Kuwaiti buyer company, Go Fresh, whom we had previously connected with online, visited the Turkish seller company, Sumfresh, at their office in Bursa. These same companies met on another occasion during a different visit to Turkey.

Two Coimex Members Met in Bursa and Shaken Hands!

Two Coimex members, MST Enterprise and Go Fresh, met in Bursa and shook hands. Our two members reached an agreement regarding various fresh fruit products such as lemons and mandarins through Coimex, after a successful B2B meeting.

Coimex doesn’t just provide B2B digital platform services. It also organizes meetings between two members until the trade is realized, and offers services such as translation, process follow-up, and contract support if necessary.

A case of Translation Support

Salix, a company from India, was looking to purchase apples. They came to Turkey to visit other apple companies. They visited various apple producers in five different cities. Among the companies they visited was Sum Fresh, whom we had connected online before. These two companies met face-to-face at the hotel where the Indian representative was staying in Adana. During this meeting, when a language barrier arose, a Coimex Customer Success employee joined the meeting via phone and provided translation support to our member.

Salix Fruits and Sum Fresh, at Coimex B2B Meeting.

At Coimex, members meet through B2B meetings both online and offline, at trade fairs, or in their offices, depending on their preferences. Coimex closely follows and supports all of these visits and dialogues from start to finish. Moreover, apart from the membership fee, Coimex does not charge any commission from these business deals.

Coimex, which knows its members well and keeps track of their activities, encourages and supports its members to write their success stories. Just like these companies, you can also write a success story with Coimex. Join the Coimex community today!

Customer and consumer behaviors are constantly changing and becoming even more diverse. As a result, the promotion of a product or service has become increasingly crucial. Industry fairs still maintain their significance as they serve as opportunities for sectoral gatherings and product and company introductions.

In today’s world, physical fairs still maintain their importance as they provide an opportunity to closely examine companies and products from various locations around the globe. In this era of intensified competition and increased reliance on online platforms, food fairs are gaining significance to enhance visibility in the industry. Therefore, we compiled the food fairs held in Turkey in 2023-2024, for you.

Participating in Food & Beverages Events in Turkey has Several Benefits

    1. Establishing Face-to-Face Communication with Target Audience and Potential Buyers

    2. Rapid Focus on the Target Audience

    3. Increasing Brand Awareness and Demonstrating Industry Strength

    4. Showcasing New and Existing Products to the Target Audience: 

    5. Exploring New Markets and Business Connections

    6. Outshining Competitors in the Market: By participating in fairs, you can gain a competitive edge over rivals.

    7. Better Understanding Competitors and Potential Customer Base

    8. Conducting High-Volume Sales with Exclusive Fair Promotions

    9. Sharing International Trade Experiences for Sectoral Knowledge Exchange: Fairs provide an opportunity to share experiences in international trade and exchange sector-specific knowledge with others in the industry.

Important Food Fairs Held in Turkey 2023-2024

The important international food fairs held in Turkey are as follows:

  1. World Food Istanbul (Istanbul)
  2. CNR Food (Istanbul)
  3. International Food and Beverage Specialty Fair (Antalya)
  4. Halal Expo (Istanbul)
  5. Export Gateway to Africa (Istanbul)
  6. Euroasia Interfresh Fair (Antalya)
  7. F Istanbul Food and Beverage Fair (Istanbul)
Coimex Team is at the World Food Istanbul Fair

World Food Istanbul is a massive food fair hld in Turkey that brings together global food companies from all around the world in Istanbul. This year, it will take place at TÜYAP Congress Center from September 6th to 9th, 2023. WorldFood hosts over 1,500 local and foreign exhibitors showcasing their products in 70 different product categories and thousands of brands. In addition to attracting nearly 50,000 visitors, the fair is also preparing to host more than 800 VIP buyers from over 70 countries.


Following, CNR Food is one of the significant fairs that bring together the global food industry in Istanbul. It will be held from September 7th to 10th at Istanbul Yenikapı-Avrasya Show & Art Center. The fair’s participant profile includes various sectors such as meat and meat products, fruits-dried fruits, and vegetables, dairy and dairy products, confectionery, biscuits, and bakery products, organic products, gourmet products, cereals and legume products, basic food products, food additives, and snacks.


Thirdly, the 30th International Food and Beverage Specialization Fair will take place from February 6th to  9th, 2024, at the ANFAS International Fair and Congress Center in Antalya. This food fair held in Turkey holds significant importance as one of Turkey’s major HORECA (Hotel/Restaurant/Café) fairs. The participant profile of the fair includes various sectors such as legumes, cereals, spices, solid and liquid oils, meat and meat products, dairy and dairy products, bakery products, additives, chocolate, confectionery, ice cream, wholesale food distribution, seafood, and beverages.

food-fairs-held-in-turkey halal-expo-2021-coimex-team
Coimex Corporate Communication and Content Manager, Figen Karaaslan

Subsequently, anohter important boutique fair that brings together halal companies and products in Istanbul. It will be held from November 23rd to 26th, 2023, at the Yeşilköy Istanbul Fair Center. Halal Expo will host more than 500 purchasing professionals from target markets worldwide, including Turkey, the Middle East, Central and Western Europe, the Balkans, and Africa, as part of the procurement delegation program. Additionally, new distributors will be present at the fair. There will be opportunities to establish halal business networks and sectoral conferences during the event.


Following, the Export Gateway to Africa Fair which will take place on November 21st to 23rd, 2023, is fifth. It will be at Istanbul Yenikapı-Avrasya Exhibition and Art Center. The fair aims to create new markets beyond the contracting European market, establish an extensive trade-export network with Africa for Turkey’s leading sectors, and increase the trade volume between Turkey and African countries.


The Interfresh Euroasia Fair, held in Antalya, will take place between September 28th and 30th, 2023. It brings together the sectors of vegetables, fruits, packaging, logistics, storage, and agricultural technologies under the Interfresh Eurasia Fair. The fair aims to create commercial and sustainable business traffic by bringing together participants, visitors, associations, sector unions, public institutions, and organizations.

Coimex Co-founder, Deputy CEO, Onur Kutlu Gago

Last but not least, the F Istanbul Food and Beverage Fair took place at the Istanbul Expo Center from July 12th to July 14th. This year’s fair was the second edition, following its inaugural event in 2022. The main objective of the fair is to shape according to the industry’s needs, reach alternative exporters and products that will boost the country’s exports to global markets, connect participants with new customers, and offer them new market opportunities.

Did you know that for Coimex Growth Package members who set up a booth at the fair, we organize live B2B meetings on-site during the fair?

If you would like to have face-to-face meetings with other Coimex members at the fair where you also have a booth, you can reach us at the WhatsApp number +90 532 447 92 99

“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.