Identifying and quantifying market opportunities in emerging countries is never easy. Angola is one of the most difficult.
First, official statistics are either of low quality or non-existent. An example is that no population census has been conducted since 1970 and today’s demographic picture is almost unknown.
Second, most categories, products, and brands are not tracked by syndicated data providers and what little data exists is usually estimated.
Third, parts of the markets are informal and would not be tracked under any circumstance.
This is why we go to countries like Angola to generate new, primary data. Our approach is to engage a local research company. Their professionals prepare for our visit by doing interviews and collecting information well ahead of our visit.
We then go to the country ourselves, hosted by the local research company. On the one hand we want to quality control the information they provide us, and on the other hand go into the trade to observe firsthand what is going on. We go from slums to high-end outlets to span every aspect of the market. We may also conduct focus groups while in the country.
In the case of Angola, we spent several exhausting, yet exciting, days in Luanda together with Henriques Cabula and his team at HTC Research Associates, as well as a client executive. High points were a visit to the Congolese market in southern Luanda and observing affluent Angolans partying on Ilha.
Angola certainly showed why it is the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (after South Africa and Nigeria). The boom in the economy is impressive and the opportunities are immense over time, but the difficulties are also huge.