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Business opportunities in Eastern Africa

East Africa is experiencing the highest growth in Africa. In 2018 the markets in the region grew by between 5.5 and 9.6 percent. The high growth opens up new business opportunities for Swedish companies within a range of industries.

In 2018 Swedish exports to East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) amounted to SEK 1.2 billion with the most important commodities being manufactured products, machinery and apparatus, vehicles, paper and paperboard, and medical equipment. Several large Swedish industrial and services companies already operate in East Africa today and an increasing number of small and medium sized businesses are entering the market.

The East Africa Community (EAC) integration has improved the ease of doing business in the region as markets are now more consolidated. Some of the gains are the reduced transit times of goods from the ports, where roughly 90% of all goods entering EAC goes through the ports of Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es-Salaam (Tanzania). As an outcome of the EAC integration, goods being transported across borders now clear customs once, and are taken to their final destination without new customs checks - a vast improvement compared to earlier years.

Several sectors offer interesting opportunities, for example energy, IT, telecoms, healthcare and infrastructure. Investments within infrastructural projects are a priority in the region and growth within these sectors is being driven by both government and private sector initiated construction activities in energy and power, transport, real estate, water, mining, oil and gas, social development, healthcare and manufacturing.

The financial sector, sourcing of textile products and business with the United Nations are some other areas of particular interest. From a UN perspective, Nairobi (Kenya) and Entebbe (Uganda) are vital purchasing hubs for UN in Africa, which makes the countries relevant for companies doing business or looking to do business with the UN.

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Julia Torstensson

Consultant Nairobi Consultant, Nairobi
+254 20 3749760 +254 20 374 1788