The South African Capital Equipment Export Council is focused on helping South African capital equipment manufacturers grow their businesses in Africa one step further. The council is well into the process of establishing a business centre in the DRC.

The centre will aid and encourage stronger business ties between South African OEMs and the central African country’s mining industry, writes Laura Cornish.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 8 2018

The SACEEC represents the capital equipment and project sectors for new projects and for the aftermarket and to this end provides a facilitating role in assisting the South African capital equipment sector grow their businesses through export opportunities.

The Council is regarded by its 230 member companies (40% of those are mining focused) as a major success which facilitated a massive R178 billion in export sales during its 2016/2017 financial year.

This can be largely attributed to its substantial database of connections in Africa, coupled with CEO Eric Bruggeman’s relationships with key industry players and government representatives.

Expanding the opportunity for South African OEMs in the DRC

The SACEEC believes the DRC is ripe with growth opportunities in the mining and agricultural sectors and has committed to fostering greater opportunities for South African OEMs to acquire contracts to supply new equipment into the country.

To achieve this Bruggeman is in the process of establishing a virtual reality business centre in the country. The business centre will represent/comprise South African companies with established subsidiary businesses in the country who will fulfil the role of host to other South African companies looking to do business in the region.

“The DRC is considered a challenging environment to take on new business if you are unfamiliar with its processes, legislation and cultures or if you don’t have existing relationships in place with the industry, but through this initiative the ability to grow your business into the territory becomes so much easier,” Bruggeman explains.

“Our business centre hosts will facilitate the process of setting up shop in the country by giving companies the opportunity to meet with potential clients, build relationships and gain access to mine sites and new projects. On the back of an order that may result from this, our host companies will share their premises (at a pre-arranged fee between companies) for stock and equipment holding once imported into the country.”

This is a quick, safe and cost effective way to encourage new business opportunities for OEMs in the DRC and once new contracts are flowing more regularly will enable that company to establish their own permanent premises in the region or secure partnerships with local businesses.

The ultimate objective is for those companies to become hosts as well and grow the opportunities for new South African business flow into the country.

Outstanding steps in the process

While the SACEEC has already secured the buy-in from three DRC-based host companies, it still needs to obtain support from in-country government and the necessary ‘political powers’.

Bruggeman is scheduled to visit the country soon to achieve this where he will dovetail his visit with government and strategic mining company role players to share his vision. While there he further intends to start tackling business challenges around bribery and corruption in the country.

“The ease of doing business in the DRC is one of its greatest challenges. If this were to improve, the cost of importing equipment would reduce. The SACEEC’s mandate tackles these difficulties and this has become a primary focus for the Council as part of our dedication to establishing a DRC business centre.”

Looking forward, Bruggeman is confident that his ambitions for the DRC will come to fruition as it represents benefits for all stakeholders. Having established a similar set-up in Zambia, he knows the model works and is confident that the DRC will successfully adopt the SACEEC’s mechanism for promoting equipment imports into the country.

The importance of exhibitions for the SACEEC and its members

The SACEEC participates at approximately 30 key industry events/exhibitions over the year and believes these are the ideal platform to network and build relationships with potential clients in key target areas.

The Council has formed a strategic alliance with Specialised Exhibitions and Spintelligent which sees it exhibit at all of their events – including Electra Mining, DRC Mining Week, Nigeria Mining Week and Kenya Mining Forum.

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