UK entrepreneurs hoping to expand their business should be looking to the African markets, according to leading entrepreneur Bassim Haidar.
Haidar, founder and CEO of Channel IT, was speaking at an E2Exchange dinner for entrepreneurs. He urged those in attendance to travel to the continent to see for themselves the opportunities available for growth there.
“Africa offers huge prospects for business growth, particularly in technology and telecoms, and UK entrepreneurs keen to expand their businesses in the Continent need to go out there and seek the opportunity for themselves,” he said.
The World Bank predicts that African economies will grow by an average of 5.2% in 2015, up from 4.5% in 2014. Infrastructure and agriculture, along with telecoms, transportation and finance, are the industries expected to see the biggest growth.
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Haidar called on UK entrepreneurs to follow the example of large brands such as Uber and Google and see for themselves the opportunities that are available.
“The distance between London and Addis Ababa is equal to the distance between Lagos and Addis Ababa which makes Africa as accessible to the UK as it already is to countries within the Continent,” he explained.
Only one in five UK SMEs currently export their products, compared to one in four across the wider EU. E2Exchange CEO Shalini Khemka called for more support for companies looking to trade abroad.
“E2Exchange believes that more specific measures, such as a dedicated export credit guarantee scheme and improved support in understanding the specific rules and regulations for different countries, is needed to unlock the potential that many SMEs have to grow through export, allowing them to play a vital role in the UK’s economic recovery,” he said.
Further reading: Why supporting Sub-Saharan African start-ups should matter to the UK