BOBST third-to-last event in its Africa Roadshow, in Kenya on 24-25 June 2014, attracted more than 100 delegates from the Kenyan packaging sector and highlighted how innovations across the packaging chain can help realize the region’s great untapped production potential. In its Africa Roadshow, BOBST had earlier hosted conferences in Nigeria and South Africa.
Eric Pavone, Business Director for BOBST Business Unit Web-fed said Kenya provided the “natural country” for the third stop as “a strategic country for the east part of Africa”. “It is time now for the Kenyan converters to invest in localised production as there is growth overall,” he added.
Samir Khoudja, BOBST Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa, added that BOBST key message for the region packagers was its “commitment in product quality as well as strong technical support”.
Jacques Pitteloud, Switzerland Ambassador to Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Somalia opened the two-day conference at Nairobi Sankara Hotel with a speech that underscored the country’s opportunities in packaging as well as the challenges still to be overcome.
The Kenya Roadshow covered both flexible and carton packaging solutions along with the supply chain, raw materials and finished products. Experts from BOBST and its partners spoke on the equipment, consumables and trends set to shape the packaging sector. Flexible packaging was the focus for the event opening day, with presentations on value-creating solutions by BOBST, Atlas Converting Equipment, Coim, Daetwyler Graphics, Daetwyler SwissTec, Kodak, Lemo and Rossini. The presence of the local Nestlé packaging team reinforced the message of the needs and trends in the context of East African market. Rigid packaging was covered over the second day with business and technology insights from BOBST and its partners HeinzelSales, KBA, Kodak, Marbach-Egypt and NDigitec. BOBST also presented its analysis of the latest trends in both corrugated and folding carton packaging.
The event also provided attendees with the opportunity to network with banks and financial institutions with the aim to support them in their investments in BOBST equipment.
Eric Pavone said the Africa Road Show had provided an opportunity to introduce Kenya to the benefits of our high-quality machinery. “Kenya is now ready to invest in Europe-types machines, typically in the flexible packaging perspective of investments,” he said. “We are here also to raise the brand perception and also to network. As the market is very fragmented it is very important for us to know the market and the people and to build our brand.”
Samir Khoudja said that “Our prime objective in Africa, particularly in the East part, is to enhance and create customer awareness about BOBST commitment in product quality as well as strong technical support, especially at these times when we have competition from low-cost and entry-level products from Asia”. “Service and support are the main weapon for us.”
In Africa, which BOBST covers through subsidiary offices in Dubai and Tunisia and the well established agencies in South Africa, Egypt and North African countries, the company now sees outstanding growth opportunities in flexible packaging, said Eric Pavone. “There is a kind of new trend in Africa. If you compare the traditional folding carton industry, there is a slow shift, perhaps about 15-20% of packages that used to be produced using folding cartons such as detergents are slowly moving towards flexible packaging” he added. He also pointed out that “there is definitely a growth increase in Kenya, this being confirmed by many local converters and we strongly encourage them to invest”.
“I personally feel the trend will continue as the market is growing. With the assurance of safety and security of the plant as well as financing opportunities in some of these countries, there is a huge growth potential. We are ready to help these investors with the right solution coupled with ROI,” concluded Samir Khoudja.
Algeria in November is the next and final venue for the BOBST & Partners Africa Roadshow 2014.