FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo of a two Rand coin from South Africa
South African companies taking part in the Outward Selling Mission in Kenya had identified several business opportunities in different sectors. According to a statement from Minister Rob Davies’ Department of Trade and Industry (dti), the South African companies, which have been in Kenya since Sunday, had participated in business seminars, business-to-business meetings, as well as a site visit to a company with South African linkages.

The dti said the delegation visited PG Bison Kenya in Nairobi, which specialises in the supply of decorative wood-based panel products such as particle boards, flooring and door skins to the construction and furniture sector.

The plant, which has been operating since September 2002 and employs 150 workers, supplies to the different sectors in Nairobi and the East Africa region.

According to Ntombenhle Khathwana, the chief executive of AfroBotanics, which manufactures hair and body products from essential oils and natural ingredients sold in 317 South African retails store chains, PG Bison was a perfect example to emulate for South African companies harbouring ambitions of securing business in overseas markets.

“I came to Kenya to understand the Kenyan market better, from a regulatory business perspective, as well as from a consumer perspective. I had already attempted to enter the Kenyan market through Game Stores, but the regulatory issues were preventing me, so this trip was a blessing, bringing me here to meet the role players,” said Khathwana.

She added that she already knew that Kenya had a fast-growing natural hair movement where women were opting away from chemically straightening their hair, but did not realise how big that target market was, nor how and where they bought their products.

“I was able to successfully unlock the issues preventing my products from entering Kenya through Game Stores, which is already selling my products in five African countries besides South Africa.

"The business-to-business meetings we had assisted in fast-tracking my ability to send products through. AfroBotanics products will most likely be available in the Kenyan market in the next three months,” she added.

She said she was able to have a good initial conversation with a Kenyan retailer of natural hair and body products that owns four stores.

The managing director of Tarch Chemicals, Gertrude Makamure, said the meetings she had with several Kenyan businesses would result in partnerships.

“I have noticed that a lot of material can be supplied by South African companies here, particularly chemicals and related ingredients, at a much cheaper rate than is being currently supplied.

"The dti has built the bridge for us, it is now up to us to cross it,” said Makamure.

ANA