Africa - a land of opportunity for plastics processors

Africa - a land of opportunity for plastics processors
Plastics industry consultants, Applied Market Information Ltd., has published its first database of plastics processors in Africa, containing contact and product information on 776 processing sites. The African plastics market accounts for around 8 million tonnes of polymer and demand is expected to grow at around 8% per annum until 2018 making it a region of interest. This database covers 10 plastic converting processes - including mainstream moulding, extrusion and compounding processes - over 19 countries from Algeria in the North to South Africa in the South.

The largest share of the end-use market is accounted for by processors serving the food packaging industry at 50% while production of plastic pipes is another important sector accounting for almost 20% of demand due to the infrastructure needs of this developing continent. As expected, 97% of plastics processed in Africa are commodity polymers with PE being processed at 82% of the sites listed. PP is the second most used resin (44%), followed by PVC which is processed at 23% of the sites listed.

More than half of the sites listed in this database carry out injection moulding with household products the most common product group. 35% of injection moulding sites listed manufacture household items. These companies differ in size, scale and the products they make but one common point is that the vast majority are trade moulders. Almost 80% of both injection moulders and blow moulders are custom moulders with relatively little proprietary or in-house moulding being carried out as yet.

The vast majority of processors are either privately owned or part of African-owned groups. Nampak of South Africa, Sona Group of Nigeria, Flame Tree Group of Kenya and Group ENPC of Algeria are among the major groups operating multiple processing sites. International groups have invested in Africa and largely consist of European automotive or packaging groups in North Africa, a region offering low overheads, a readily-available workforce and an advantageous geographical position for exporting to Europe. The AMI database also includes the details of the African production sites of leading international manufacturing groups such as Nexans Group of France, El Sewedy Group of Egypt, Bericap of Germany, CFAO Group of France, Clariant International AG of Switzerland and EXCO Automotive of USA.

The database covers 19 countries with South Africa housing the largest number of plastic manufacturing companies in the continent. It accounts for nearly a quarter of the sites listed and possesses a more technically advanced manufacturing sector as well as stronger logistical services. Egypt has the second highest concentration of plastics manufacturing whilst Morocco and Algeria in North Africa also have well developed plastics processing industries. Kenya in East Africa has an established plastics sector and Ethiopia continues to develop as a significant base for major regional processing activities. In West Africa, the region is dominated by Nigeria.