The SME advantage in exporting to Sub-Saharan Africa

A fast-growing market

Sub-Saharan Africa offers huge economic potential for French SMEs. With a market of over 1.2 billion inhabitants and a rapidly expanding middle class, the demand for quality goods and services is constantly increasing.

The region benefits from sustained economic growth, a GDP that has doubled in 10 years, and growing integration into international trade, making Africa the second most dynamic region in the world after Asia. Also noteworthy is the growing increase in outbound trade flows, illustrated by over 11 billion euros of exports from France to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2023. In 2023, France will remain the region's 8th-largest supplier, with a 3.2% market share.

Opportunities in every industry

Opportunities for French SMEs are present in all sectors of activity, particularly in energy, industry, new technologies and healthcare. The region has a population under the age of 25 of almost 60%, and an urbanization rate of 40%, making it an extremely attractive area for new developments. Sub-Saharan African countries are keen to develop all their services and collaborate with external partners to improve the living conditions of local populations. External companies with an interest in internationalization have considerable commercial potential, provided they are genuinely committed to adapting to local markets and developing innovative products.

Advantages for SMEs

The success of SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa depends on a number of factors. Indeed, geographical proximity and transport links greatly facilitate trade between the two territories. It's also important to remember that Made In Europe remains a guarantee of quality, and is highly attractive to local consumers. 

The French and English language, spoken by a significant proportion of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, also opens the door to numerous business opportunities, facilitating understanding and collaboration between partners.

The challenges of Sub-Saharan African markets

Before considering developing commercial relations with sub-Saharan Africa, it is essential to be familiar with the local markets and consumer habits, and to adapt to the sometimes complex regulations and administrative procedures (see article).

To facilitate this development, SMEs wishing to export to Sub-Saharan Africa are advised to obtain information beforehand, and to consider support from a specialized organization to maximize their chances of success.

These organizations can provide information on markets, help identify local partners or assist in obtaining financing. 

Sub-Saharan Africa represents a real source of opportunities for French SMEs. By building on their strengths, learning about the challenges they face and taking advantage of the support available, it's entirely possible to establish a foothold in this dynamic market and grow your business.