#HOTCS: Ryan Ward, Nairobi

“For Canadian companies, there’s a gap in understanding “why” they should be thinking about Africa instead of “easier,” more traditional markets, like the US and Europe. Canada doesn’t really have a history here outside of the extractive sector, so I spend a lot of time at trade shows bringing a personal view of the region directly to companies. These markets require an investment of time and effort to show that you’re serious, and it’s a long way to come, so companies have to be prepared to put in the work before expecting to win contracts. Strong local partners are key, and in a lot of cases are required by local governments. I work with Canadian companies to help them do business in Eastern Africa, covering a total of 13 countries at different levels of development. From entrepreneurial countries like Kenya, to frontier markets like Somalia and Comoros, there’s a lot of variety in the work and what companies need in order to succeed in these markets.”

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