In his presentation ‘Is Africa the Next China?’ Eblex head of export services Jean-Pierre Garnier discussed the possibilities that trading with Africa could bring to the UK export market, due to Africa’s “large and growing population”.
Compared to 1980, the population in Nigeria alone had more than doubled from 74m to 158m by 2010 and the rest of the country has also seen population increases of almost 50% since 1980, which makes the population of Africa twice the size of that in Europe.
Garnier said: “There is an increasing gap between the rising population, food demand and the growth of agricultural output. Africa’s wealth is growing due to higher commodity prices, so demand is for proteins.”
Beef consumption in Africa is around 5m tonnes per year, which equates to 5kg per person per year. However, Garnier predicted that this was due to grow as the population in Africa increases along with their aspiration to consume a Western diet.
Garnier also highlighted that livestock distribution systems in Africa were not adapted to modern-day needs – with exception of South Africa – and that the “UK is well-placed to supply cheap proteins through historical links and logistics”.
Beaumans Commodity Trading is an export company that already exports other consumables to Western Africa and is now looking into meat export between the two countries. Manager Mike Catton said: “We’re looking to export meat as well as our other products, as meat is growing in demand.
“Figures from the UK to Ghana show that exports of fresh beef have more than tripled from 2010 to 2011, while the middle class, which is a rich economy, is also growing quickly.”
Although the economy is growing and figures show an increase in wealth, Catton said the diet in Western Africa is “slowly changing, but still very specific and very difficult to change”.
Catton advised anyone considering exporting their meat to Africa to “identify the market you’re going into, it’s a very different trading community, but it’s very industrious.”