Walmart in Africa

I am feeling heavily backlogged on all the things going on in East Africa right now, but I do think I need to say something quickly about the proposed venture of Walmart into the African market with the purchase of South African-based Massmart.

This represents a different kind of investment than what we have typically seen from American companies–and Walmart, for better or worse, is a middle American icon. No oil or minerals or alcohol, just making margins on distributing and selling imported (presumably primarily Chinese for now) consumer goods. Arkansas to Africa. And Africa as one more part of the developing global market, rather than the underdeveloped outlier.

Aly-Khan Satchu in Nairobi “senses a tipping point”:

You know Africa is popping over the Radar when Wal-mart elect to
conduct their biggest acquisition in 10 Years on that very Continent.
Last Year India Inc. closed its second biggest Acquisition ever via
the purchase by Bharti of the Zain Africa Assets, One senses a Tipping
Point has been past and what was an Investment Trickle risks turning
into a Deluge.

With respect to the Political Risk Indicators. The Broad Trend has
been one way and thats lower. There are a few Recalcitrants but the
c21st has arrived on Africa’s shores [predominantly through the
Arrival of the Mobile Phone – Which has now connected Africa to each
other and The World] and the Landscape a new and disjunctive one.

What do you think?

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