Investments are slowly returning to Africa

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Between the 1960s and 1980s, companies from the former Yugoslavia dominated the African market. In the decades that followed, other countries took the vacant place of the former giants. Despite strong competition from China, Germany, France and other countries, a few Serbian companies are taking pioneering steps. So Nelt opened a confectionery factory in Luanda, the capital of Angola.

Africa remembers. A hotel with a convention center in Harare, dams, roads, hospitals, railways are reminders of friendship and cooperation. In the capital of Angola, a street still bears Tito’s name as a sign of gratitude for the help provided in the fight for liberation from colonialism, writes RTS.

Professor Zoran Krstić of the Faculty of Political Sciences says that the situation after the end of the Cold War influenced Serbia to withdraw from that market, stressing that it was a big mistake.

He believes that Serbia’s presence on the market of the countries of the African continent and the EU are complementary processes. Krstić emphasizes that the market of members of the Non-Aligned Movement is a valuable potential for the future.

After 12 years of being present in Zambia, Mozambique and Angola through distribution and logistics and 400 employees, Nelt opened a confectionery factory in the presence of high-ranking officials , the first large one of its kind in Angola. Due to the administrative procedure, the construction lasted almost three years, and 20 million euros were invested.

The CEO of Nelt Group, Miloš Jelić, says that with this move, the company wanted to assert itself on the African continent in the field of production and brand building.

“By opening the confectionery factory, we are taking the first step in that direction”, adds Jelić.

Candy factory operations director Milena Kiselički emphasizes that the big challenge is working in a new environment, in a multicultural environment.

“The factory can produce 6,700 tons of candies, lollipops and chewing gum per year.” With 90 employees, it is currently at the level of 15 tons per day, but we expect that with the growth of distribution and the opening of new markets, that number will increase”, says Kiselicki.

Economic cooperation is a national interest

Experts say that such moves are in the national interest because it means the placement of domestic wisdom, experience, technology and products in the fierce international competition, and at the same time opening the door to the local market for other domestic companies.

Zoran Bogetić from the Faculty of Economics says that it is important to encourage, motivate and develop local investments, as well as to open new markets.

“I think we were conservative enough, closed enough that now we need that risk diversification at the national level as well”, Bogetić points out.

The professor of the Belgrade FPN recalls the fact that the African continent is burdened by the consequences of the colonial and post-colonial past.

“Of course, this does not mean that we, as Serbia, should withdraw from that market”, says Zoran Krstić.

Today, Africa has the highest natural increase and the youngest population, and of the ten countries with the fastest growing growth rate, as many as seven are from that continent. Since last year, the agreement of 55 African countries on free trade has been in force, which for those who work there means a market with 120 million potential customers, Biznis writes.