More than 60 per cent of the supplies are from manufacturers based in the Far East. The re-export trade is overwhelmingly for computer hardware destined for Iran, GCC, Indian subcontinent, CIS and Africa. Re-exports to African countries has registered a two-fold increase in the last two years.
Africa has been targeted by UAE companies as the next emerging market for computer hardware, software and accessories. Large number of buyers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea, Senegal, Congo and South Africa are seen buying large quantities of computer hardware and accessories. From printer cartridges to complete computer systems, these African buyers are buying increasingly large quantities.
As the drive for computerization gains momentum in Africa, demand has also registered a huge increase. Africa is said to be one of the fastest growing markets for IT in the world with an annual growth rate of more than 14 per cent.
South Africa's computer market, valued at close to $1 billion, is changing its focus from mainframes to personal computers and PC-based networks. This transition, further stimulated by the continually increasing processing power and decreasing prices of personal computers, is also boosting demand for laptop and notebook computers, peripheral equipment including printers, storage devices and other add-on hardware. In addition, South Africa is also a major supplier of IT products and services to its neighboring countries like Botswana.
Many computer vendors have been keen to set up distribution channels in African countries to capture the growing market in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan and Ghana.
Although there are many computer vendors in Africa, many companies are now realizing the importance of the African market and its potential in the coming years and are now eager to penetrate these markets through proper distribution and marketing channels.
Despite the current economic slowdown, there should still be opportunities for vendors across several sectors of the South African IT market over the next few years. The total size of the IT market is expected by BMI to increase from US$8.8bn in 2009 to around US$13.0bn in 2013, faster than real GDP growth, which is now projected to be negative this year.
IT spending growth is seen as easing further in 2009 before recovering fairly strongly in 2010 and 2011.
Computer hardware accounted for around 68% of South African consumer electronics spending in 2008. BMI projects South African domestic market computer sales (including notebooks and accessories) of US$3.86bn in 2009, up from US$3.83bn in 2008. Computer hardware CAGR for the 2009-2013 period is forecast at about 8%, with notebooks and netbooks accounting for about 40% of sales.
AV devices accounted for around 13% of South Africa’s consumer electronics spending in 2008. South Africa’s domestic AV device market was estimated at US$759mn. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% between 2008-2013, to a value of US$1.3bn in that year.
Mobile handset sales accounted for around 19% of South Africa’s consumer electronics spending in 2008. South African market handset sales are expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% to US$1.7bn in 2013, as mobile subscriber penetration reaches 120%. The replacement market will be increasingly important, with growing niche demand for PDAs, smartphones and 3G handsets.