Why You Need to Learn Portuguese: Kenyan Logistics in Angola

Halfway through the first month of 2014, Kenya has so far made commendable progress in cementing our economic future: our Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed signed a three bilateral agreements with Angola through her counterpart Georges Chikoti, as confirmed in a statement issued mid last week.

Photo Credit: Standardmedia.co.ke

Photo Credit: Standardmedia.co.ke

The signed agreements touched on three key factors: establishing the Joint Commission Cooperation, creating a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultation between the member states and the last a general agreement promising Nairobi-Luanda cooperation on matters economic, cultural and scientific. As ties between the two countries blossom under these agreements, we in supply chain management are keen to eke out our place in the Angolan market, keeping a few key issues in mind.

Kenyan logistics industry players hoping to kick off investments or trade with Angola will have to contend with the language barrier with our new partners. With the predominant language in Angola being Portuguese, arrangements must be made to facilitate translation of vendors’ contracts, working with customs or clearance agencies and of course, dealing with clients.

One thing supply chain managers seeking to venture into business with Angola will want to consider Angola’s key exports. Specializing in exporting petroleum oil, with emphasis on crude oil, logistics personnel with experience and access to equipment tailor made for storing and transporting crude oil will have a noted advantage in breaking into the market. They will, however, need to be top notch so as to unseat current industry players already in operation. With Angola set to produce 2 million barrels of oil a day by 2015, Kenyan companies with capacity to participate in the industry have a lucrative future ahead of them as opportunities arise with the growth of our partner’s oil output.

An alternative route for Kenyan logistics companies would be to engage in Angola’s imports. Although her imports saw a dip to 5112.95 USD million towards the middle of 2013, Angola remains an active importer that is a prime market for savvy supply chain managers. Key products to consider dealing with are machinery and electrical equipment, which make up the bulk of Angolan imports in a year.

Similarly, vehicles and spare parts for machinery are also major imports, followed distantly by medicine, food, textiles and military goods. Logistics firms in Kenya with strong connections to companies manufacturing these products could laugh their way to the bank by proving themselves worthy competitors to current suppliers of cargo to Angola, provided their wares meet the high standards demanded by the Angolan market.

As we make our Portuguese-English dictionaries our new favorite reads, we celebrate the efforts of both our governments to foster good relations between both countries. To our new friends over in Angola, we say “Bem-vindo a Kenya!”, and welcome you to our great nation as we begin to work with you. Karibuni!

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