The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: June 2007

Channelling the potential of Africa

28 June 2007

Africa – a well of untapped potential when it comes to IT infrastructure and solutions. As globalisation takes a firm hold of the continent, more and more opportunities are emerging for solutions providers to move into Africa and develop channels of their own.
Brandon Rochat, sales director: Expand Networks Africa, explains that the most significant trend currently emerging in the African market is its desperate need for bandwidth, “The typical situation we are seeing as we move into the continent is one where companies are trying to get bandwidth from their local telecommunications providers whose infrastructure is not up to standard. This means that some companies are rolling out their own satellite links, which ultimately results in bandwidth being very costly and very slow.” 
For a company like Expand Networks, the leading provider of application acceleration solutions over the WAN, the trend is significant. “We can help companies that find themselves in these situations by increasing their throughput and thus allowing them to deliver a service to the end users they could not before,” says Rochat. By enabling IT centralisation, Expand Networks allows companies to navigate and manage network complexities and, in so doing, positively impact on their applications, users and business productivity.
Rochat goes on to say that Expand Networks’ African experience mirrors what it has found in South Africa, “South Africa has similar bandwidth problems to the rest of Africa. The only difference here is that we are starting to have a choice as to who we get our bandwidth from. This will drive down local bandwidth prices. In Africa, companies still have no choice.” He explains that the South African experience can be used as a model on which to build a successful African channel, “In South Africa we are very good at ‘sweating’ the IT assets. We use the smallest router to do the biggest job.”
With over four years’ experience working on these types of networks, Expand Networks is perfectly positioned to help companies throughout the continent. “There is good business to be done in Africa. The key challenge we are finding is relationships. At Expand Networks we typically work with Value Added Resellers (VARs) in each country – something hard to find in most African countries.” As a result, Expand Networks has been working with a few companies in Africa to learn who the main players are so as to optimise its relationships in the various countries. The company is currently targeting countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana and other French-speaking countries as it already has relationships with VARs in these countries.
While poor infrastructure will continue to be an issue for businesses in developing African countries well into the foreseeable future, companies like Expand Networks are proving that there are ways to work around this and become truly global.
For more information contact Brandon Rochat, sales director, Expand Networks Africa, +27 (0)82 498 7308,

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