Rwanda tops first African Retail Development Index
A new study designed to help large, organised retailers determine where and how to best enter Sub-Saharan Africa’s rapidly growing retail sector has been published by leading global strategy consultancy firm, A T Kearney.
Rwanda, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Gabon occupy the top five places of the inaugural A T Kearney African Retail Development Index (ARDI). South Africa ranks seventh due to the developed nature of its retail market.
The ARDI is a useful framework for retailers because it not only identifies the markets in Africa most attractive for retail expansion today, but those that offer the most potential for the future.
Africa is brimming with opportunities, not only for local and regional players, but also for large global brands and retailers.
South African brands and retailers have been at the forefront of African expansion but may soon see global competition coming in.
For South African players to keep their competitive advantage, sound strategies and investment plans will be required.
With a billion people and growing economies, seven of the top 10 ARDI countries are among the 10 fastest growing ecomomies in the world.
“Formal” retail, which takes place in malls, shopping centres, and other defined trade areas, remains in the early stages in most Sub-Saharan Africa countries, with the exception of South Africa, and is limited primarily to a handful of urban areas.
Low rates of formal retail coupled with increasing urbanization and the relative stability of many African economies represent massive room for retail growth.
Mirko Warschun, A T Kearney partner and ARDI co-author said: “The top 10 countries in the Index are diverse in terms of scale and growth potential.”
“It is essential that retailers understand where African countries are in the evolution of the retail landscape and the stages of market development to craft their expansion strategies for Africa.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.