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The constant change that is a standard part of business in the dynamic African environment brings with it both challenges and opportunities. In the pursuit of growth, South African businesses that take their mandate seriously have invested into the continent, leveraging the growth and opportunity offered by African emerging economies.

The expansion of Phoenix Distribution into Africa has opened new doors not just for the specialist distributor and its vendors, but also for the resellers it has partnered with across the continent. Unlike many distribution companies that have embarked on a conquest across Africa, eager to gobble up local businesses, Phoenix Distribution’s approach is based much more on partnership, identifying long-term local partners who have a meaningful stake in the businesses they grow and are focused on the quality of the product.

"Our Africa expansion strategy is clear and simple. In each territory we look to partner with like-minded resellers, who share our values and our belief that innovative, integrated ideas can change the fortune of companies and brands,” says Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of Phoenix Distribution. "Our goal is to unlock the huge potential of African business and entrepreneurship across the African continent. By galvanising this talent and applying some of the lessons we've learned operating in South Africa for over a decade, we hope to create a new breed of distributor across Africa, combining world class quality and efficiency, creativity and effectiveness." 

This approach is already seeing results, with the company’s African operations growing month on month over the past six months. In addition to distributors, resellers and retailers, Phoenix Distribution is working with all of the telcos and banks in the territories it operates in, providing for a massive expansion of its business in Africa.

The use of local intelligence, local operations, local staff and consumer insights has been key to this, and Phoenix Distribution has taken localisation a step further through the use of production facilities in Dubai in order to capitalise on the business happening in the North African territories. “Africa is not one country and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Also, never underestimate the customer. The days of Africa being the dumping ground for poor quality goods is past. The growing African middle class is well informed and expects quality,” Campbell-Young says.

Phoenix Distribution currently operates in all the SADC countries formed strategic partnerships across the continent. The next few years will see the company continue to expand its total footprint. Phoenix Distribution’s leading markets in Africa currently include Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, Angola, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. With additional presence throughout the rest of the continent through its local partner base, the company has plans to open additional branches in other countries.

 “The fact that we have been in Africa for so long is by far the most important platform from which to grow,” says Campbell-Young. “It gives us a base of experience in these markets. Our network in Africa is facing a dynamic expansion. Our strong historic presence along with the economic growth experienced on the continent, offers many opportunities of expansion for all our brands.”