Expansion into African market is crucial to the long-term strategy of MSA
Expansion into the emerging African industrial market has been highlighted as a top
priority in the long?term strategy of leading safety equipment manufacturer, MSA Africa.
According to MSA West Africa area manager, Russel Pieters, the relatively untouched yet vast market
outside South Africa’s borders has the potential of becoming a substantial source of revenue for the
company ? as the demand for safety equipment increases, along with the growth of industries that
include mining, agriculture, oil and gas.
“With unlimited market potential across Africa, it is important that we give particular focus to local
distributors that are well?known and, more importantly, trusted by our end?users. By developing a long-term strategy for African distributorships, we can ensure increased market?share in the future,” explains Pieters.
MSA Africa has distributors set up in a number of countries across the continent, which distribute a wide
variety of safety products on behalf of MSA, including; portable gas?detection units, self?contained
breathing apparatus, and head protection, to name a few. According to Pieters, MSA Africa places high
priority on key company characteristics when selecting a new distributor. These include market
expertise, the capability to hold stock and the ability to successfully market products.
“We set targets for our distributors with regard to the number of products that they sell in any given
market, and it is important that they can meet those targets. There are obligations from our end too,
and our distributors are provided with full backing and technical training from a global leader in safety,”
While overall sales of equipment have been steadily?increasing over the years, Pieters admits that there
are a number of challenges that MSA faces in the African market.
“One of the biggest challenges when entering a foreign market is the language barrier. Words can often
be understood, but misinterpreted. Another challenge that we face is convincing both our end?users and
distributors that our products are better than any others on the local market. We have experienced
success in overcoming both these challenges by ensuring that there is regular communication between
all parties,” says Pieters.
MSA Africa has seen the majority of its business development taking place in West Africa; however, the
company is also largely?focused on Central and East Africa as priority areas too, Pieters concludes.
This article was originally posted on Africa Venture Capital Platform