'UK must take Africa opportunity' says Barclays report

11 April 2012

Manchester Evening News - 11 April 2012

UK companies need to do more to take advantages of opportunities to win customers among the growing African middle classes, according to a new report.

A Barclays survey of UK companies currently exporting to Africa found that the vast majority – 92 per cent - believe there is opportunity for UK businesses to win business in Africa today.

The biggest opportunity for firms come from the reputation of British goods and services, followed by growing investment in infrastructure across the continent and an expanding middle class with greater disposable income.

Michael Hartig, director of Barclays Corporate Banking in Manchester, said: “This is a ‘ground floor’ moment in many Africa economies, in which UK suppliers have the opportunity to build their brand in Africa at a time when a growing middle class is beginning to make long term brand decisions.

“The UK should not be missing out.”

But 70 per cent of the businesses surveyed said doing business in Africa was challenging, with corruption the biggest single issue for UK exporters, followed by poor payment systems and infrastructure.

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