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To understand Africa better, spend time on the ground

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To understand Africa better, one has to talk with people in local communities. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

To understand Africa better, spend time on the ground

When you want to expand your company’s footprint into Africa, or you are interested in investing in Africa, there is only one way to get all the relevant information: spend time on the ground.

By Leon Louw owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine.   

There is not a better way of collecting information than to travel through African countries and talk with ALL stakeholders, including governments, decision makers, business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, NGOs, and development agencies. Most importantly though, one needs to interact with people on the street and local communities. In the end, these are the people that matter the most.

While it’s great to attend conferences, which WhyAfrica does a lot of, one needs a balanced view and understand what is happening at grassroots level. To do that, you have to be where the action is.

There is a huge gap between what is said and discussed at conferences and what happens on the ground. With our WhyAfrica Road Trips we aim to cover that gap, and at the same time, promote Africa and those companies that do business in Africa with the objective of improving the lives and living conditions of the people who really matter, and the natural environment in which they live.

Get a balanced view (To understand Africa better, spend time on the ground)

When you do business in Africa, it is critical to get a balanced view of what is happening on the ground. When one travels through a country and talk with a diversity of people, spend time on the ground, sleep in local villages and interact with people in local communities, your views about certain things in the world change (including your perceptions based on what you hear and see at international conferences and/or read on social media), and you realise that there it is a complete different world out there.

When you want to expand your footprint into Africa, or you are interested in investing in Africa, there is only one way to identify opportunities, find solutions to problems or mitigate the risks: determine what is happening on the ground.

After the completion of our second successful WhyAfrica Road Trip, we have already started preparing for the next one. During our 2023 WhyAfrica Road Trip we travelled more than 7800km through Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Botswana and South Africa and visited several project sites in different stages of development.

Furthermore, we interviewed people in extremely remote communities to find out how they are affected by development, climate change and extreme weather events.

We also spend a lot of time with business owners, CEO’s and operational managers active in a range of economic sectors, while we continuously scanned for business opportunities, identified challenges and, with local communities, discussed possible solutions.

In Malawi, we even made it into Parliament and Government House where we spoke to ministers, decisionmakers and blue-sky thinkers.

To be on the ground in order to gather business intelligence takes time, and not everybody can spend two months away from home or the office. Therefore, WhyAfrica will spend the time on the ground for you and make sure you get all the relevant information you need, good and bad, while you continue doing what you do best.

If you do business in Africa or if you want to know more about the continent, give us a call, and follow WhyAfrica on our Road Trips through Africa. When it comes to the natural resources of Africa, we cover all angles.

The 2023 WhyAfrica Road Trip would not have been possible without the backing of our primary sponsor Remote Exploration Services (RES), our silver sponsor NSDV and our bronze sponsor ESG Africa Conferences.

To understand Africa better, spend time on the ground


WhyAfrica provides on the ground information and business intelligence about the sustainable utilisation and extraction of natural resources in Africa, and can assist your company through:  

  1. Membership:
  • WhyAfrica’s membership offers great business insights to you, your company, and clients.
  • Amongst many other benefits, we will publish editorial content about you or your company on the WhyAfrica online platform and on all WhyAfrica’s social media pages – the annual fee is R5,500 and you can find out more or subscribe here: https://www.whyafrica.co.za/product/membership/ 
  1. Sponsorship:
  • WhyAfrica’s Road Trip takes place annually in July and August. During our Road Trip we aim to visit more than 30 project sites. Sponsoring the Road Trip, or to be a WhyAfrica member, gives you unparalleled insight into the business environment of the countries that we travel to and the project sites we visit.
  • To be a member or sponsor allows you access to invaluable, on the ground, business intelligence and a great marketing opportunity for all companies doing business in Africa.
  • The main aim of our Road Trips is to promote Africa as an investment destination and to showcase Africa’s greatest companies, and projects to our large global audience, which includes a list of potential investors, venture capitalists and serial entrepreneurs.
  • To view the photos of this year’s Southern Africa Road Trip click on the gallery link or follow our Instagram account at why.africa https://www.whyafrica.co.za/road-trips/whyafrica-road-trips/. 
  1. Advertising:
  • We publish daily online articles on our WhyAfrica platform and post them on social media every day. Our combined online reach is more than 45,000. In-article banner ads are highly successful advertising tools as is advertising space on our website.
  • In addition to our bi-weekly newsletters, we publish two printed- and two interactive digital magazines per year. The printed magazines are distributed at major events and conferences throughout the year, and also on our WhyAfrica Road trips.
  • Digital magazines are e-mailed to all our subscribers and shared on our social media platforms. A copy of the latest edition is automatically attached to all our outgoing e-mails.
  • WhyAfrica magazines provide great marketing opportunities. There are also in-article and on-line advertising opportunities at exceptional rates. Contact me for more information on leon@whyafrica.co.za or give me a call.
  • To subscribe to WhyAfrica’s free newsletters and magazines click on the link and register: https://www.whyafrica.co.za/subscribe/  
  1. 4. Partnerships
  • Maximise your African exposure and link with our large business network through becoming one of only 10 WhyAfrica partners. We have only five prime partnership positions left for 2023, so contact me at leon@whyafrica.co.za to get the best deal. 

To understand Africa better, spend time on the ground

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