How to Launch a Successful Go-To-Market Strategy in Africa: Part 1

five African colleagues discussing strategy in a meeting room

headshot of Harry Dhillon from GoGlobal's Recruit and Hire team

By Harry Dhillon, Director and Bekky Talia Otieno, Assistant Manager, Recruit & Hire, GoGlobal

Welcome to the first installment of our three-part blog series on developing an effective go-to-market strategy in Africa. In this series, we explore the evolving role of Africa in the global economy and delve into the intricacies of developing and implementing effective Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies in the region. 

From understanding market dynamics to overcoming challenges in global hiring, each installment will provide valuable insights and practical guidance to help organizations thrive in the dynamic and diverse markets of Africa. 

In this opening blog post, we uncover why Africa is rapidly becoming a focal point for businesses seeking expansion and growth opportunities. We also explore the key components of an effective GTM strategy tailored specifically to African markets and discuss steps for identifying the right markets for expansion and hiring. 

Africa takes the stage

Over the past few years, Africa has emerged as a pivotal player on the global economic stage, attracting the interest of investors and multinational corporations. This surge in attention can be attributed to several factors, including the continent’s rapid urbanization, technological advancements and demographic shifts – all of which have positioned Africa as a hub of untapped potential and opportunity.

One of the key drivers of Africa’s growing importance is the rise of its middle class. The number of middle-class Africans has tripled over the last three decades, according to the African Development Bank Group, reaching a staggering 313 million people and accounting for just over one-third of the continent’s population. This growth trajectory is expected to continue, with projections indicating that the middle-class population will represent nearly half of the total population by 2060, according to the United Nations.

With a median age of just 20, Africa boasts a youthful and vibrant talent pool, presenting immense opportunities for talent development and global expansion. The working-age population across the continent is expected to grow at a faster rate than any other age group, according to data from the International Monetary Fund, further fueling opportunities for economic growth and development.

Key components of an effective GTM strategy in Africa

In light of these trends, businesses around the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of Africa as a key market for expansion and growth. However, navigating the complexities of African markets requires a tailored go-to-market (GTM) strategy. 

Given the diverse cultural, economic and regulatory landscapes across the continent, a one-size-fits-all approach is simply not sufficient. Instead, businesses must develop GTM strategies that are specifically tailored to the unique characteristics of African markets.

In crafting an effective go-to-market (GTM) strategy for Africa, businesses must carefully consider several key components tailored to the unique characteristics of the region and target country:

  • Market Analysis: Conducting comprehensive market research to understand the dynamics of African markets, including consumer preferences, cultural nuances and regulatory landscapes. This analysis can support you in selecting the right market for your GTM strategy.  
  • Segmentation and Targeting: Segmenting the market based on demographic, geographic, and psychographic factors and targeting specific customer segments with tailored marketing and sales approaches.
  • Localization: Adapting products, services and marketing strategies to meet the unique needs and preferences of African consumers, taking into account factors such as language, cultural preferences and pricing sensitivity.
  • Market Expansion and Hiring Tactics: Identifying the right markets for expansion and talent acquisition in Africa, as well as implementing strategies to navigate the complexities of global hiring and recruitment in the region. Key functions for GTM include sales, customer service, marketing, advertising, management/consulting, research and finance. 
  • Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management: Assessing regulatory requirements and compliance standards to ensure legal and ethical business operations. This includes understanding employment laws, HR practices, corporate governance and other regulations to mitigate risks and ensure legal compliance while operating in African markets.

The market selection process

Africa is a vast continent and, as McKinsey recently emphasized in an advisory report, there is no ‘one’ Africa and the continent is a ‘mosaic and not a monolith.” Recognizing this diversity is crucial in identifying the appropriate market for your GTM strategy in Africa. 

To lay the groundwork for an effective GTM approach, it’s essential to follow a step-by-step plan that guides this process.

Market Criteria Selection Market Size
Step to Take Evaluate the potential market size and growth opportunities within specific African regions.
Examples at Work A healthtech startup from the US identified Nigeria and Kenya as key markets due to their large populations and growing middle class, which aligns with its GTM strategy to focus on markets with high demand for its telemedicine platform.


Market Criteria Selection Competitive Landscape
Step to Take Review the competition and determine if there’s room for differentiation within African markets.
Examples at Work A fintech firm from Europe conducted a competitive analysis in South Africa and found an opportunity to stand out by offering a unique mobile payment solution tailored to the needs of small businesses, supporting its GTM strategy to target underserved market segments.


Market Criteria Selection Target Audience
Step to Take Define the ideal customer profile and ensure resonance with the unique demographics and preferences of African consumers.
Examples at Work An edtech startup from Canada conducted market research in Ghana and Tanzania to understand the specific needs of students and educators, guiding its GTM strategy to develop localized educational content and personalized learning solutions for the African market.


Market Criteria Selection Market Trends
Step to Take Analyze market trends and changes to adapt the GTM strategy accordingly, considering the evolving African consumer landscape.
Examples at Work A SaaS company from North America monitored the increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions in Egypt and Morocco, adjusting its GTM strategy to offer scalable software-as-a-service products tailored to the unique requirements of businesses in these markets.


Market Criteria Selection Regulatory Environment
Step to Take Understand the local regulations and compliance requirements in African countries where expansion is planned.
Examples at Work A medtech company from Europe navigated the regulatory landscape in Mauritius and Rwanda to ensure compliance with healthcare regulations and obtain necessary certifications for its medical devices, supporting its GTM strategy to establish a strong foothold in emerging African healthcare markets.


Market Criteria Selection Economic Factors
Step to Take Consider the economic stability and purchasing power of African consumers, adapting pricing and product strategies accordingly.
Examples at Work An agritech startup from Australia adjusted its pricing strategy in both Zimbabwe and Zambia to accommodate varying economic conditions and purchasing power, complementing its GTM strategy to offer affordable farming solutions to smallholder farmers in these markets.


Market Criteria Selection Find Local Talent
Step to Take Identify local talent and assess the skill sets available and the expertise and experience of professionals within the African market, leveraging local networks and recruitment channels.
Examples at Work A tech conglomerate from the US partnered with a local recruitment firm and cross-border HR services provider to onboard skilled software developers and engineers, supporting its GTM strategy to build a diverse and agile workforce capable of driving innovation and growth in Kenya.

Up next: Building your GTM team and salary benchmarking

Thank you for joining us on this exploration of Africa, as we break down the complexities of GTM strategies and uncover ways for international organizations to successfully expand their operations across the continent’s diverse markets.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, where we will focus on building a winning GTM team in Africa. We’ll also provide insights into salary benchmarking for key roles and functions, equipping you with the knowledge needed to attract and retain top talent in this dynamic and burgeoning region.

Contact us to learn more about how Global’s one-of-a-kind Recruit & Hire solution can help drive your GTM strategy in Africa.