Local exporters urged to tap into African markets

JOHOR BARU: Malaysian exporters should start exploring the African continent as a potential new export market destination as it offers good business opportunities and growth prospects.

Malaysia External Trade Development (Matrade) southern regional office director Raphy Radzi said the continent had been dubbed “the new economic frontier of the world”.

He said local exporters should act fast as countries such as China were making their presence felt in the continent with big investments.

“Our exporters must continue exploring for new export market destinations and should reduce their dependency on the traditional export markets,” said Raphy after hosting a visit by a delegation from the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI).

The delegation was on a two-day visit here for business matching sessions with the Johor Malay Chamber of Commerce, the Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Johor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said the African continent could become the next big market for Malaysian exporters and Matrade would assist those interested to venture into the African countries.

Raphy said Matrade had offices in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kenya’s Nairobi and Lagos in Nigeria.

“From the three countries, our exporters could venture into other African nations,” he said.

There are 47 countries on the African continent and Africa is the second most populous continent in the world.

The current population of Africa is 1.24 billion people as of July 25, 2017 based on the latest United Nations estimate, of which 40.5% or 505.42 million of the population live in urban areas.

“The African continent is like a rough diamond waiting to be cut and polished for the shine and sparkle to emerge,” he said.

Closer to home, Raphy said local exporters should further expand and strengthen their exports to Asean as the export markets in Asean countries were big enough.

“Our exporters understand Asean markets as countries in the region are always their traditional export destinations but you need to move up the scale with better products,” he said.

Based on the latest United Nations statistics, as of July 25, 2017, there were 643 million people in the Asean countries.