Investing in Africa? Is there a choice?

April 2013 News

It is strange to hear the different opinions people have on the security industry. The most common one I hear is that business must be booming if you have anything to do with security in South Africa considering the high crime rate and poor service from official security services. Then you talk to the people in the business and sometimes hear a different story.

It seems we are in a tough economic cycle, especially in South Africa where some companies are so busy they cannot even breathe, while others are feeling the pinch and struggling to make ends meet. And it does not seem to be limited to specific businesses or particular sizes of business.

One integrator told me that it is worrying to see business so flat in South Africa, but this company is not too concerned as there are plenty of projects going on up in Africa. Another told me business is slowing in South Africa because some clients are dragging out their decision-making processes and others are squeezing their service providers’ margins to the bone. Some are even putting a hold on new projects for no other reason than taking a 'wait and see' approach. I am not too sure what exactly they are waiting to see, but the bottom line is spending is cut and upgrades or new projects are being cancelled or at least postponed.

Of course I have also talked to others who are very happy. One distributor told me the first quarter of his company’s year was the best it has been in four years. Another service provider is thinking of downsizing and pursuing new business in markets the smaller niches the company has never been involved in before, including business on the other side of the border.

It seems the South African economy will be a nemesis to some companies this year, but the African economy is the place to be working – assuming one picks the right country and gets to know the right partners. Nothing like a civil war to put the lid on new business ventures.

I would like to hear more on what our local companies are doing to keep the wheels turning, feel free to e-mail me on [email protected] if you want to spill the beans. In the next issue we will be focusing on local manufacturing and seeing just how much of a role Africa is playing in these companies' forward strategies.

On to a completely different topic. You should have received your CCTV Handbook 2013 by now. If you have any comments on the publication please let me know on the same address.

Until next time, enjoy the April issue and the holidays.

Correction

In the last issue we provided the incorrect contact details for Sukema Integrated Solutions. If you want to get hold of the company, please call +27 (0)21 914 5507 or e-mail [email protected]

Andrew Seldon, Editor



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