Safrique exports to more than half of Africa


PHOTO: The immaculately attired Mervyn Moodley and Morgan Naidu of Safrique have become a regular feature at trade shows across Africa and Europe (here at the K-show in Germany), and the gentlemen have succeeded in developing active markets in most of the countries where Safrique participates.

THE Safrique team must be the busiest intra-African operators in the industry right now.

Mervyn Moodley and his Africa specialists are involved in exports to over 30 African countries as well as the Indian Ocean islands. Safrique is a regular exhibitor at trade shows and events across the continent: it has, for example, exhibited at plastics and packaging shows in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and China over the past year. These and other African markets are not necessarily favourite destinations for local businessmen, partly because business is conducted differently and there are language and communication difficulties and, besides, exporting into the continent presents very specific challenges.

Safrique founder Moodley was originally at SANS, where he was involved in PET sales into Africa. After he left and started Safrique in 1996, he continued as an agent for SANS. Gradually he built up the Safrique portfolio: besides PET virgin material, the Johannesburg-based company has been supplying colour masterbatch and additives, preforms; recycled materials (which have become increasingly popular), as well as a range of other products.

Recycled materials from South Africa have proved highly popular over the last few years too. In many cases, margins for manufacturers of film, containers, pipe, tanks and other products in Africa are especially tight, resulting in increasing demand for recycled HD, PP, LD and even PVC from South Africa.

Safrique takes care of the entire logistics operation: transport of the goods from the manufacturing site in SA as well as the full cross-border documentation process is handled from the Safrique HQ in Rivonia.

Safrique solution

“Due to the high demand for quality recycled material our South African recyclers are often not able to meet our needs and we have to source recycled material from Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia,” says Moodley.

The energetic and creative Moodley appears to have found solutions for developing markets in Africa.

“We spend more than half our time travelling to new markets around the world where we meet recyclers to source product, get our customers’ approval and then take it to market. It means constant travel, but it’s important that we meet our customers’ requirements,” Moodley explains.

Safrique’s key markets are in West Africa, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria; in Central Africa, Cameroon, Gabon, DR Congo, Angola; in East Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia; and, in Southern Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and the Indian Ocean islands.

Unique strengths

Moodley attributes the success of the company to, among other factors:

  • the fact that the company has a highly motivated team and local representative in strategic areas who are passionate about doing business in Africa, despite the challenges they face;
  • its staff complement of 12 includes French and Portuguese speaking individuals, which helps facilitate ease of communication with customers in regions across the continent; and
  • the marketing and sales team travel frequently into Africa, aggressively promoting the products of the suppliers it represents.

“Over the years we have built excellent customer relations and market intelligence,” said Moodley.

“In the 20 plus years of travel for the company I’ve encountered many challenges, – being caught in the middle of a coup d’etat and political unrest when there is volatility in some countries!” he adds. However conditions are much more stable in many countries now, which has resulted in steady growth over the last 5 years.”

  • Moodley says that he is looking forward to seeing his existing and potential suppliers and customers at Propak where they will be show casing some new product developments, which will also be of interest to the local plastic convertors.

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