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South Africa

Four things this packaging company teaches us about Africa’s consumer goods industry

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The consumer-facing sector has been pivotal to Africa’s growth story, with McKinsey & Company estimating it accounted for almost 50% of GDP expansion between 2010 and 2014. But recent years have seen a combination of low commodity prices and droughts dampen the prospects of many countries, leading some to question whether the continent still holds promise for consumer brands.

One company with a good vantage point of the sector is Polyoak Packaging, a South African-based operator with a footprint in numerous markets across the continent. Polyoak produces rigid plastic packaging for a wide variety of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) items, including milk, dairy products, soft drinks and sauce condiments. How we made it in Africa recently sat down with Keith Dilkes, Africa export sales manager at Polyoak, to get his perspective on the trends impacting the consumer goods industry. Here are the main takeaways from the conversation.

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Meet SA’s game changers

When dark forces come knocking, don’t despair: Broforce an underfunded, over-powered paramilitary organisation that metes out excessive force is not far away. And the bros are here to save the day. If the hyper-violent mercenary scene created in the adventure platform game doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps the "save the world" mission will. No? No matter, Broforce has found its audience. Developed by a Cape Town gaming studio called Free Lives, the game has sold over a million copies. Free Lives has made over US$3m to date from three of its major titles that have put them on the map: Gorn (sold for $20), Broforce ($15), and Genital Jousting ($5).

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Benji Coetzee, a South African entrepreneur on a mission to make cargo transportation more eco and cost efficient

How many times a day whilst we are travelling on the highways, railways and flightpaths of countries across the African continent do we see underutilized freight carriers. This results in more expense and a bigger environmental impact. But that is about to change with the entry into the marketplace of EmptyTrips. This innovative, digital company is a game-changer in the logistics and freight transportation business.

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Shale gas in South Africa: Game-changer or damp squib?

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Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, has in the past few decades made available the gas in previously ‘tight’ shale geologies. This has shaken up the energy sector worldwide by contributing to relatively low oil prices. Almost all the shale gas development has taken place in the US where production has increased from about one to nearly 16 trillion cubic feet (tcf) over the past 25 years. There are indications that shale gas may be present in a semi-desert region of South Africa known as the Karoo. The core region alone has an area of 400,000 km². If a viable gas resource were to be developed in the Karoo, what impact would it have on the global shale gas market? And how would it affect the energy economy of South Africa?

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