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Strategy and business development

Africa provides plenty of business opportunities. Companies from all over the world are increasingly recognising Africa's potential and are eager to step into Africa's markets. The key to doing business in Africa is a sound strategic framework. Given that Africa is a unique continent, this requires a special set of knowledge and skills. EMSA assists companies in all stages and aspects of their strategy and business development. With our access to reliable market data and up-to-date information on trends, both in the private and public sector, we have helped our clients successfully enter new, emerging markets since 2006. We have selected countries and locations, developed market entry strategies and revenue models, and defined product portfolios and product-market combinations, tailored to their specific business needs.

Country and location selection

Africa is bigger than the United States, China, India and all of Europe combined, comprising over fifty countries. An optimal location is crucial for the success of your business. Gathering the necessary information for a sound selection decision can cost a lot of time and effort, and without the right network or expertise on site, this task may seem daunting. EMSA has helped many companies and entrepreneurs with selecting the right business location(s) to start or expand their business. EMSA is also shortlisted for Starters International Business (SIB), a subsidised coaching programme for Dutch entrepreneurs that want to make a durable entrance on the international market.

Product portfolios and product-market combinations

No strategy is complete without a clear understanding of how products fit into the market. Relying on previous experience from other continents will not suffice when approaching Africa. A careful selection of product portfolios and product-market combinations allows companies to ensure a strong and steady core business and, consequently, revenue stream. With our guidance, you can determine the most suitable portfolios and combinations, and translate your choices into marketing and sales strategies.

Market entry strategies and revenue models

How do you enter the market of your choice? There is no one strategy that can be applied to the whole of Africa. A comprehensive strategy should address issues from initial costs, tempo and duration to the form in which your company will be present abroad. Simultaneously, you have to consider where the majority of your (expected) revenues comes from. Side services in one country may be a substantial source of income in another. As your partner, EMSA will evaluate potential options with you to exploit the unique features of your company.

Market and feasibility studies and value chain analyses

A proper exploration and analysis of commercial opportunities, economic feasibility and (potential) chain partners for supply and distribution provides the basis for a sound strategy. A subsequent value chain analysis is useful to identify what risks are associated with, for example, raw material suppliers and to develop an action plan to prevent or mitigate potential negative effects. Our team has performed numerous market and feasibility studies, and value chain analyses to help clients get a grasp of commercial opportunities and (often hidden) impediments.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Entrepreneurship is socially responsible in itself. It is, however, important that companies keep an eye on the social and environmental impact and sustainability of their business, with regard to their direct environment and their value chain. EMSA has assisted many companies not only with formulating their policy regarding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but also during the subsequent implementation stage.


Project and business implementation

The business climate in Africa is improving at a rapid pace. This trend is reflected in the Doing Business Index by the World Bank Group, in which the ranking of (sub-Saharan) African countries has increased in recent years. Nevertheless, Africa remains a difficult continent to do business in. Success starts with a good understanding of the business climate in Africa, and with proper guidance in all stages of the implementation cycle. EMSA has an excellent track record in this respect. We are able to provide an array of services as can be found below. In short: we do not only pave the way to enable our clients to make optimal use of Africa’s business opportunities, but we also stay involved with them throughout the entire journey.

Partner search and matchmaking

Adequate and reliable business partners are an essential element for successful business in Africa, either for market access, technical assistance, production capacity or other gains. With our extensive and unique networks in the private sector in Africa and Europe, EMSA has helped many companies with finding the right business partners and forging durable and successful partnerships. EMSA is shortlisted as consultant for the Matchmaking Facility (MMF).

Institutionalisation and legal framework

It is our belief that no business can stay successful without clear structuration. This plays an even more important role in an international environment. Questions like ‘what is an appropriate legal framework’, ‘how do we outline the governance structure’ or ‘do we cooperate on the base of a partnership or joint venture’ arise constantly. EMSA has assisted a large number of clients with solving issues like these. As your strategic partner, we gladly bring this experience to improving your business.

Taxation and import duties

Doing business across borders gives rise to many issues related to taxation, import duties and other administrative obligations. This does not only complicate matters, but may also raise costs dramatically. It is good to know that at present each African country has an investment scheme in place that offers tax credits and import duty exemptions. EMSA has the necessary expertise, experience and contacts to help you take advantage of them.

Bureaucracy and corruption

Every country has its own challenges when it comes to eliminating bureaucracy. It is a known fact that complex bureaucratic procedures hamper business. At EMSA we believe that with our help even the most difficult barrier can be overcome. Understanding the local public sector is a strong asset. As a recognised Africa expert in the field, EMSA is equipped to assist both companies and governments in this respect. Countering corruption calls for different, more invasive measures. We have developed our own counterstrategy, which is adapted to African practices and respective of international guidelines. This has proven effective for solving corruption issues for our clients.

Dispute resolution and mediation

Disagreement in business is not unusual. Different interests may cause partners to lose focus of common ground. This is exacerbated when communication styles diverge. When partners have already committed themselves to a joint business or project, the stakes get high and conflict hurts both sides. EMSA is often involved at this stage to mediate between partners. Our team has been successful at outlining a new track when necessary and getting everyone on the same track.


Acquisition of financing

Acquiring financing for investment projects in Africa remains challenging, both for foreign investors and African companies. On the one hand, foreign investors encounter reservation with banks to team up in financing investments in Africa. This is partly caused by the perceived high-risk profile of the African continent. On the other hand, there are African companies that have difficulties in finding financing due to capital scarcity and high interest rates at local banks. EMSA has helped many clients solve their financial issues and acquire financing for individual projects and corporate development.

Project financing

Both banks and development financing institutions provide financial assistance to projects. An important motive and selection criterion is the prospected developmental impact of private sector projects. These funds are usually offered in the form of non-repayable and repayable financing. EMSA is a well-known partner for the responsible agencies and maintains excellent working relationships with them. 

Corporate financing

Corporate financing is on the rise in Africa. Behind the impressive economic growth figures are many healthy and fast growing companies that are able to attract external financing to fuel their expansion. Corporate financing can be acquired by means of credits and loans, private equity and venture capital. EMSA has an extensive network among financial institutions, private equity houses and investment funds. We provide assistance in acquiring a suitable corporate financing solution for your company.