The 7-Stage Export Roadmap

Managing the impact of COVID-19 on our businesses

The 7-Stage Export Roadmap is a comprehensive training program for exporters. The Export roadmap is a compilation of 21 training modules that walk exporters through each step of the export journey.  Each stage will be released separately and can be purchased as a stage or in individual modules.

You can find a breakdown of each stage below:

Stage 1 – Assess Capabilities and Capacity

Course 1: Consider, Why Export?
Course 2: Review your business capabilities & capacity
Course 3: Review your offering
Available for purchase here

Stage 2 – Developing your Core Export Skills Part 1

Course 4: Business Plan and Government Support
Course 5: Pitching for Success
Course 6: Risk Management
Available for purchase here

Stage 3 – Developing your Core Export Skills Part 2

Course 7: Legal, Contracts and IP
Course 8: Freight Logistics and Supply Chain
Course 9: Pricing and Finance
Available for purchase here

Stage 4 – Export Marketing Plan

Course 10: Market Research and Entry Strategies
Course 11: Export Marketing Plan
Course 12: Visiting the Market
Available for purchase here

Stage 5 – Entering the Market

Course 13: Launch Strategy
Course 14: Monitor and Evaluate Strategies
Course 15: Managing Expectations
Available for purchase here

Stage 6 – Export Review Progress

Course 16: Review Supply Chain
Course 17: Review Sales and Marketing
Course 18: Measuring and Monitoring Success
Released in March 2021

Stage 7 – Advanced Exporters

Course 19: Reviewing your Export Positions
Course 20: Expanding to New markets
Course 21: Financing for Growth
Released in March 2021 

Export Council of Australia’s Global Podcast

Export Council of Australia's Global Podcast

The Export Council of Australia (ECA) has been helping companies grow internationally for over 60 years.

This expansion is supported through skills development, policy advocacy and breaking down barriers to trade.

The aim of this podcast is to share insights from business leaders around the country to help with your business exporting strategies.

The COVID-19 series is about informing and offering solutions to businesses during the current pandemic.

We speak to experts from all sectors and industries about trading regions, reassessing your business, supply chain, marketing and finance strategies.

Our aim is to give practical information and insights on how businesses are navigating their way through COVID -19 pandemic.


  • Sarah Demenis, National Business Development Manager, Export Council of Australia
  • Shane Styles, National Skills Development Manager, Export Council of Australia


  • Episode one: our hosts Sarah and Shane are joined by special guests Chris Warry of PwC and Trena Blair of FD Global Connections, as they give their overview of the current impact of COVID-19 with Australia’s major trading regions, North America and Asia.
  • Episode two features special guest Paul Cooper, Owner of Rinstrum and Chairman of the Australian Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and explores how to best review the impact COVID 19 has had on your business. This includes: how your business is placed now, repositioning your business, identifying new opportunities and coming out the other side.
  • Episode three features special guest Stephen Stroner, Managing Director, UPS for a review on how the supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19. This episode looks at some of the challenge’s businesses have been facing around supply chain issues, including freight and how they are overcoming them. Stephen gives us some insights on how UPS has responded to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and how the business is managing the demands both now and in the coming months.
  • Episode four: our hosts Sarah and Shane are joined by special guest, Leila Naja Hibri, CEO of Australian Fashion Council for some insights on businesses current market position. They discussed the changes in marketing strategies during the COVID-19 crisis and the importance of reviewing your sales channels. Leila shares some findings from the AFC COVID-19 survey and the shift to e-commerce and the challenges around manufacturing. They also delved into the new opportunities both now and post COVID-19.
  • Episode five: Our hosts Sarah and Shane talk with guests from Export Finance Australia: Greg Caisley, Chief Customer Officer – SME’s, and Nessa McCarthy, Head of Transaction Management – SME’s. They discuss the ways in which businesses’ finances have been impacted during COVID-19, especially around cash-flow and how to mitigate risk. Greg and Nessa share information and insights on the support packages available to businesses at this time.
  • Episode six: Join Sarah and Shane for their conversation with Michael Coote, National Manager – Export Development, AUSVEG and ECA members: Dalene Wray, MD, OBE Organic and Heidi Walker, MD, Walker Seafood Australia. Dalene and Heidi share their stories on how they are managing their businesses through COVID. From adjusting their business models to the strategies they are implementing for the recovery. Michael talks on how this disruption has been felt across the potato and vegetable industry, especially around supply chain. While there continues to be daily challenges, they remain positive for the future diversification of the Australia’s Agricultural export market.
  • Episode seven: This week we are talking manufacturing with special guests, Garry Beard, Chairman, AH Beard and David Mumford, Sales and Marketing Director, RBK Nutraceuticals. We look at the disruption COVID-19 has had on these businesses and how they’ve adjusted. We discuss their journey over the past few months what strategies they are implementing for the recovery.
  • Episode eight: This week is the final episode of the special COVID-19 series. Sarah and Shane welcome special guests, Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist, HSBC and Tamara Orayce, National Manager, Policy and Research, ECA. They explore the road to recovery with the macroeconomic challenges the global economy will face as well as some changes in trade policy. We will also look at some practical steps to best prepare for the opportunities ahead whilst cautiously guarding against further COVID-19 bumps in the road.

Other podcast episodes cover a range of topics including; supply chain, market position, finance and compliance. We drill down into case studies on how sectors and industry are responding with the purpose of giving insights on how to reassess your export strategy and reposition your business now and post COVID-19.

Episodes will be released weekly.

Subscribe today on Apple or Spotify or listen via links above.

Sydney Port Congestion Surcharge/Disruptions

Sydney Port Congestion Surcharge/Disruptions

For Brisbane Importers who require a day-definite or consistent transit time we suggest using the fast direct loops from Shanghai / Xiamen / Ningbo / Shenzhen / Guangzhou ( JKN/CNJ ) Avoid using vessels via Sydney and Melbourne in the short term, announced One Global Logistics.

There is currently a serious situation in relation to the Port Congestion in Sydney due to :

  • Ongoing Container terminal congestion
  • Escalation in action from 18/9/20, likely delays up to 14days
  • Already two shipping lines have announced commissions of 5 vessels in the coming weeks
  • Delays in Vessels en route into the Berth ( up to 6 days currently )
  • Recent Stevedore industrial action
  • Major congestion at Sydney empty container parks. Click here for further detail
  • See the Government Media Release here

As a result, two major shipping lines (MSC and CMA – CGM/ANL) have announced in the past 24 hours a Congestion Surcharge (CGS) which will apply to all containers coming into the Port of Sydney or being shipped out of the Port of Sydney.

It is expected other major shipping lines will announce a similar CGS in relation to the Port of Sydney in the coming days.

The surcharge announced by MSC is USD300 per 20-foot container and USD600 per 40-foot container (CMA – CGM/ANL USD285/USD570).

Various industry bodies, in conjunction with the APSA (Australian Peak Shippers Association), have lodged objections to this surcharge and lobbied Government, thus far these objections have fallen on deaf ears and we are not confident of any quick resolution that will result in the reversal of the surcharge. That said, these bodies will continue to pursue resolution through Government.

AIMA members in Australia will not have made any allowance for this unprecedented surcharge and will need to pass on these costs.

We would point out that the surcharge will be introduced with the following validity:

  • Import cargo: for vessel arrival on the 14 September and onward (CMA-CGM/ANL from 17th September 2020)
  • Export cargo: from commercial date 14 September and onward (CMA-CGM/ANL from 17th September 2020)
  • For import cargo from US: from cargo possession on 8 October ((CMA-CGM/ANL from 10th October 2020)
  • ONE – OCEAN NETWORK has increased all rates for cargos into Sydney from ASIA / CHINA to incorporate a “congestion surcharge” USD 300/600
  • For export cargo to the US: from cargo possession on 8 October (CMA-CGM/ANL from 10th October 2020)

Please note the CGS applies to both import container and export containers and we envisage the charge will be passed on together with freight invoices for exports and port terminal handling charge invoice for imports.

At this stage, there is no indication of how long the surcharge will be in place for although it is expected there will be much media and Government scrutiny of the actions by the shipping lines.

For further information or advice, please contact our customer service teams on 1300 401 617

A.H. Beard succeeds despite Covid-19

A.H. Beard succeeds despite Covid-19

In 2020, this family-owned Aussie exporter and ECA Member faced an unprecedented challenge. To overcome it and get through the COVID crisis, they decided to do things differently. Ultimately, this saved jobs with everyone banding together as a team to ensure the business could continue.

When Covid hit Australia, AH Beard sales were impacted and despite receiving 1M AUD jobkeeper assistance to help keep everyone on the books, things were tough. Different options were considered but staff showed their loyalty and commitment to the business, going to 4 days pw and taking a voluntary 20% pay cut.

And then something extraordinary happened. After a few weeks into the pay cut and with some staff working from home, sales went trough the roof. All the staff had to go back to 5 days, more staff had to be hired and extra shifts had to be added.

AH Beard made the decision to repay the Government as well as every single staff member was reimbursed their pay-cuts!

AH Beard says the staff accepting the cuts in days and salary helped them manage through the difficult times and they wanted to repay them.

Watch their story on The Project:

Roborigger gears up for global growth with the opening of its new manufacturing facility by Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch

Roborigger gears up for global growth with the opening of its new manufacturing facility by Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch

Perth-based crane lifting and logistics automation company Roborigger celebrated a significant milestone with the opening of its new manufacturing facility in Wangara today. Innovation and ICT Minister Don Punch officially opened the factory with Roborigger customers, shareholders, local WA suppliers, and stakeholders in attendance.

The facility will allow Roborigger to scale its manufacturing operations to meet the demand for the product that has now arisen in Europe, Japan and other overseas markets.

Roborigger units have been in operation in Australia since the first unit was used on the New WA Museum in Northbridge in 2018. Roborigger units are currently operating in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth and at several sites in the Pilbara. The company has also shipped units to Singapore, Japan, Dubai, Germany and New Zealand and continues to receive demand for additional units in these regions.

The WA government has been instrumental in assisting Roborigger maintain its development progress through the COVID-19 restrictions. This has helped fund Roborigger to have its units certified for use in Europe and to build sophisticated load test equipment needed for the manufacture in Perth using WA suppliers.

At the opening, Roborigger demonstrated new products and technology in development including a voice controlled operation system for Roborigger units and a novel data capture system that allows all load movements by Roboriggers or forklifts anywhere in the world to be automatically recorded and accessible on the web.

Roborigger Managing Director Derick Markwell stated that these developments will revolutionise the way information is made available for crane lifting and logistics management since it not only has the functionality we are familiar with for online parcel tracking but adds images, weight and location as well as information from the company’s commercial system.

“It means that wherever you are, you can find your load and see it when it was last moved without having to attach the expensive tracking devices that are currently used.” Markwell said.

Roborigger also announced that it had appointed JOTO Sangyo Co. Ltd as their agent in Japan and had entered into a cooperation agreement with JOTO and Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co., one of Japan’s largest construction conglomerates, to use the Roborigger system in its SQRIM fully precast concrete construction method for high rise buildings. Markwell commented that this is world leading technology equivalent to using driverless cars on roads. Japan is a unique environment where they have an aging population and shortage of construction workers as well as a passionate interest in automation and technology to improve their businesses.

“We are really pleased that we have been selected to be involved on this project.”

“We are now seeing Roborigger deployment picking up speed exponentially. We will have Roborigger working on Sydney and Auckland metro projects, mega projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a shipyard in Germany, building powerlines and handling loads in the Pilbara, on revolutionary high rise buildings in Japan and loading equipment onto supply boats for offshore drilling. It really is exciting to see the momentum we have gained.” Markwell said.

Hon Don Punch MLA, WA Innovation and ICT Minister said “Roborigger is key example of the outstanding innovative and entrepreneurial work that is occurring in WA, and the State Government is proud to have supported its development with funding through both the Local Capability Fund and the WA Innovator of the Year programs.”

“Congratulations to Derick and the entire Roborigger team on the official opening of your new Wangara factory today. It is a pleasure to see the wholly Western Australian innovation continuing to build their workforce locally from a wealth of WA talent and capability.”

This story was originally published by Roborigger.

Further information for the press: Ati Aziz, Marketing & Business Development,

Featured member: Murray Cod

Featured member: Murray Cod

Murray Cod Australia (MCA) was listed on the ASX in January 2017 after a group of like minded aquaculture pioneers and business innovators recognized the potential to establish a large aquaculture business in inland NSW more than 500km from the nearest ocean.

They established their Aquna Sustainable Murray Cod branding to differentiate their product from others in the marketplace.
They grow high quality Aquna Murray Cod in open ponds on the Murray Darling Basin river system – the fish’s native environment.
With full traceability, our business has a vertically-integrated approach for breeding, growing and supplying what is Australias best tasting freshwater fish. The Murray cod is an iconic Australian species with a history dating back 20 million years to the Miocene age. Murray cod was an important and nutritious food source for indigenous Australians as far back as 40,000 years ago and the fish remains culturally important to them to this day.
The superb eating qualities, uniqueness and the iconic story of the Murray cod makes it a fantastic fish for export markets.
They have built an export accredited processing facility within 30 km of their growout farms in Griffith, NSW and it is from there that they are able to export product all over the world.
Exports of their products were underway to Japan and the US prior to Covid 19 and samples had been well received in Europe and the UK. Unfortunately the pandemic has forced them to retract from these export markets temporarily, though they have been able to increase domestic sales to account for all production to date.
Murray Cod Australia is in a phase of extraordinary growth that will take their production to 10,000 tonnes per annum by 2030. This extra production will facilitate their re-entry into export markets in early 2022 as the world re-opens post pandemic.
They look forward to taking this exciting product to the worlds premium food markets.

Export opportunities in South Africa for Australian businesses

South Africa’s rich endowment of gold, minerals, and base metals has long presented opportunities for competitive miners and mine engineering and technical service (METS) providers. Today ASX-listed companies are the largest foreign investors in South Africa’s mining sector. Australian companies are also the largest presence at South Africa’s annual “Investing in African Mining Indaba”. While Mining Indaba is normally held in Cape Town in February each year it was conducted “virtually’ in 2021 and attracted major and junior miners from Australia and around the world. Participants heard President Cyril Ramaphosa speak about plans to strengthen South Africa’s investment environment and create new business opportunities in mining and related sectors, such as energy, renewable energy, and the hydrogen economy.

But South Africa is not just about mining. South Africa is the most advanced, broad-based economy on the African continent. Today, services account for over 60 per cent of South Africa’s GDP while manufacturing accounts for a further 14 per cent. South Africa offers traders and investors a sophisticated industrial profile, a mature financial sector and highly developed transport and communications infrastructure.

Australian businesspeople are very active in South Africa. Australia is the seventh largest foreign country investor and Australian investment here increased 17 per cent to A$5.9 billion in 2019. Australian investment flows into South Africa are on par with our investment into Mexico, and exceed our investments in Chile, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam.

Strong bilateral investment flows between Australia and South Africa support significant volumes of trade in goods and services. South Africa is a top 30 trading country for Australia, and our largest trading partner in Africa. Two-way trade in goods and services in 2019 was worth almost $4bn. The trade relationship is fairly balanced, with Australia exporting aluminium and coal, and importing passenger motor vehicles. Australia’s trade with South Africa makes up around one per cent of South Africa’s total trade volumes.

Growth in trade and business opportunities between the two countries is supported by the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, the Australian Business Chamber of Commerce for Southern Africa (ABCSA), based in Johannesburg, the Australia Africa Chamber of Commerce (AACC), based in Melbourne, and Austrade, with three Business Development Managers and a Trade Commissioner based in Johannesburg. On 11 May, both business chambers, supported by the Australian High Commission and Austrade, sponsored a webinar which looked closely at South Africa’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policies and the investment environment. Speakers included B-BBEE Commissioner Zodwa Ntuli and Invest South Africa Head Yunus Hoosen. The webinar provided Australian investors and traders with valuable insights into the business environment in South Africa and is available on the internet here.

A recent report authored by professional services firm, PwC, ’10 insights into 4IR’ on mining in South Africa says there is increasing demand for digital technologies in mining in South Africa, as part of the so-called fourth industrial revolution (4IR). Challenges encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated demand for innovation and automation in mining in South Africa. This includes demand for technologies that will help companies to increase efficiency, manage risk, improve health and safety and reduce maintenance costs.

There is also an opportunity for Australian Education providers to potentially work with Australian and other mining and METS companies. According to mining executives spoken to by Austrade, upskilling South Africa’s workforce is as big a challenge in the South African mining sector as technology adoption increases – opening up opportunities for Australian education providers that can specialise in increasing the skills and technical proficiencies of the South African mining work force.

South Africa has promoted itself as a base for foreign companies to set up Global Business Services and Australian companies have benefited considerably. Australian companies now make up 20 per cent of the market and have identified opportunities in the professional services, finance, e-commerce and communications sectors.

While Australia and South Africa are perceived as natural competitors in the agriculture sector, there are opportunities for research and development collaboration in agri-processing and agricultural services and technologies. There is strong interest in leading edge Australian research into the propagation of commercial crops such as macadamias and avocadoes.

Under its 2019 Integrated Resources Plan South Africa is looking to diversify its energy mix, including by increasing supplies of renewables, solar, wind, nuclear, gas, hydropower and cleaner coal. As a major source of platinum group metals, South Africa has developed a hydrogen strategy and plans to build a hydrogen fuelled transport corridor in the Northern Cape to take advantage of battery storage and related technologies. Australian commercialisation ready hydrogen supply chain technologies – such as innovative hydrogen storage and transport solutions, are likely to be attractive in market as this new industry emerges.

There will be research and investment opportunities as Australia and South Africa jointly host the Square Kilometre Array. This includes potential promotions at the annual Science Expo and the World Science Forum which will be held in Cape Town in December this year.

South Africa presents opportunities for Australian retail business exporters and innovative digital healthcare service and product providers. Innovative Australian companies able to offer digital healthcare solutions remotely will be attractive in market, according to a recent health care roundtable with the South African Medical Technology Industry Association (SAMED).

South Africa’s population is young with a medium age of 27.6 years. About 44.7% of the population is under 25 years with more women (50.5%) than men. According to a 2019 Next Gen survey targeting young consumers, despite most household spending resting with parents and older consumers, direct and indirect youth expenditure was calculated to be approximately $AUS12 billion annually in 2019. South Africa has approximately 18 million female consumers – often the primary purchasing decision maker within a household. They are discerning consumers of skincare, sanitary protection and shampoo and hair products and Australian companies that export consumer goods directed at women may benefit from their increased purchasing power and the population boom.

South Africa has also seen growth in the eCommerce industry which is the 37th largest market for eCommerce with sales of $AU5.2 billion in 2020. The growth in South Africa’s eCommerce market may provide opportunities for Australian companies looking at using eCommerce platforms in South Africa for retail connections to consumers or associated technologies in service delivery, such as ‘last mile’ logistics systems. The ecommerce market is projected to generate just over $AU 6 billion in sales in 2021 in South Africa.

South Africa is Australia’s gateway to Africa. It is the core member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which enables duty free access between member countries. In addition, from 1 January this year, trading started under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and will continue to enhance South Africa’s status as the preferred launching pad for business operations into Africa.

During his State of the Nation address, delivered in February, President Ramaphosa sought to shift South Africa toward a more growth-oriented posture while still focusing on measures to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While South Africa faces significant economic and social challenges it is driven forward by a young, educated and diverse population. It has deep people-to-people links with Australia and it offers good business opportunities to exporters who can bring unique and competitive goods and services to the market.

Australian High Commission, South Africa

Middle-East and Africa Regional Insights

The Middle-East and Africa region comprises two distinct sub regions – Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Sub Saharan Africa. Pre-pandemic, the World Bank and IMF had predicted 3-4% economic growth in the sub regions in 2019-2021. But with the onset of COVID, only certain economies in MENA are expected to rebound this year compared to the rest of the region, due to benefits from higher crude prices, reduction of OPEC+ cuts, and vaccine rollout.

Normalization of political and economic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was looked to bring about stabilization in the Arab world. However, continuing geopolitical tensions, weakening fiscal outlooks, and uncertainty around the pandemic are presenting trade challenges across the MEA region.

Austrade has presence in the following key markets through offices and trade representatives that support the wider region in identifying significant opportunities for Australian businesses across priority sectors:

  • MENA: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and soon to open an office in Qatar
  • Sub-Sahara: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya
  • Other: Pakistan

Australia’s highest ranking partners in terms of total merchandise exports are the UAE (#17), South Africa (#25) and Saudi Arabia (#26).
Austrade, along with a widespread Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) network, and state governments, works closely with allies and partners, such as the Australian industry associations, business councils, and chambers of commerce and industry, to provide robust support to Australian businesses coming to the market.

Regional focus lies in maintaining and growing market share in strategic sectors of food and agribusinesseducationmining and resourcesdefence and spacehealthcareinfrastructure, and digital technologies.

Leading the way

Australia is seen as a source for premium, whole and organic food with product traceability and clean label ingredients.

Australia’s agriculture and food exports to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations were over AUD$2.8 billion in 2020. UAE, and Saudi Arabia ranked in the top 20 trading partners in this category, and ranked in the top five international markets for Australian fresh vegetables in 2020.

Australia’s third largest sheep meat destination is the UAE, and it has been a key supplier to the Middle East and North Africa region for over 50 years. As of recently, Australian Wagyu found a new market in Kenya after demand for premium Australian meat increased following a series of food roadshows organised by Austrade in 2017 and 2018.

Opportunity in diversity
MEA markets are the fifth largest regional group with 49,189 student enrolments in 2020 (covering North Africa, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Pakistan). This is around 5-6% of total international student enrolments.

There is considerable diversity across the region, and with Covid-19, new and emerging trends are focused on innovation and digital agenda to drive economic growth. Additionally, a significantly young population is seeking quality education engagement.

Australia has a strong transnational footprint with higher education and TAFE providers active in MEA markets (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Mauritius). These educational institutions are not only targeting students from the broader MEA region, but have also appealed to learners from the Indian sub-continent, looking to study closer to home.

The pandemic has been a ‘reset’ for education across MEA. Digital and new ways of learning are here to stay in different formats providing opportunities for Australian EdTech sector.

Significant footprint in Africa
According to Global Data, Africa has over 132 ASX-listed mining companies, operating 458 mines across 34 countries on the continent. At the start of 2020, there were up to 170 Australian METS companies in operation; with a larger proportion of them operating across the southern and western part of the continent.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia plans to spend more than USD $7.4 billion exploring for metals and minerals by 2035. This is part of a USD $426 billion infrastructure spending plan that seeks to exploit what could be USD $1.3 trillion in resources.
Also, large untapped resource potential in Turkey exists with 50 different minerals and metals in economically viable quantities (the largest gold producer in Europe). At least 40% of Turkey’s prospective area is not yet explored.

Untapped market potential
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) healthcare market is set to cross USD $30 billion in 2021.

Healthcare is one of the most important service sectors in the UAE. In 2019, total healthcare expenditure in UAE totalled USD $1.3 billion (comprised 7% of federal budget). And building a new healthcare infrastructure and digitisation of services are a priority for Saudi Arabia under the Saudi 2030 Vision.

Australian healthcare providers active in the region include Aspen, Cochlear, TAHPI, and Synapse.
The other key sectors such as, defence and space, infrastructure, and digital technologies, are seeing significant opportunities mainly in UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (Space), and Kenya (digital technologies).

In terms of investment, the Gulf States have 4 of the 10 largest Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in the world. Of the six GCC countries, the highest total foreign investment in Australia was by Kuwait at AUD $13.3 billion, followed by the UAE at AUD $12 billion in 2019.
Complementing DFAT’s efforts at Expo 2020 Dubai, Austrade will support the Australian Pavilion activities by scheduling programs around major commercial exhibitions that are taking place in the region, such as Gulfood, Arab Health, Big 5, Mining Indaba, etc.
The pandemic has shown exporters the importance of diversifying and looking beyond traditional trade markets, and the MEA region even though a bit challenging, offers plenty of scope for Australian companies to expand their international presence.

We are keen to support you in-market, and provide further insights if you are looking at doing business in the region.

Connect with us at

Nigeria: opportunities in Africa’s cultural hub, a services giant ready to engage

A market of 200 million people, Nigeria has the largest population and economy in Africa and is projected to grow to 264 million by 2030, becoming the third most populous country in the world by 2050. It is also blessed with abundant natural resources, significant oil and gas wealth, and a very young population with a median age of 18.

  • A middle class (around 25 per cent of the population) means a market of 50 million people with substantial spending power. With this consumer spending power forecast to grow at six per cent per annum this decade, Nigeria presents immediate opportunities for Australian exporters of consumer goods, particularly food and beverage and healthcare products. Several medium to large Australian companies have begun exploring this market over the past year.
  • The commercial capital of Lagos has the third highest level of consumer spending of any city on the African continent (US$34.7 billion in 2020), behind only Cairo and Johannesburg. It is far and away the largest consumer market in West Africa, with Nigeria’s political capital Abuja (US$9.2 billion in 2020) in second place in the West African region and also top 10 on the continent.

Nigeria’s reputation as a difficult place to do business has discouraged the exploration of trade and investment opportunities, and it is true that there are real challenges for exporters. But Nigeria’s cultural exports are starting to change general perceptions of the country and for companies willing to make the effort and take some risks, the rewards are significant.

A growing tech sector and creative ecosystem
With proud traditions in literature and music, Nigeria has long been recognised as a cultural hub in Africa. And a dynamic and entrepreneurial youth are gradually changing Nigeria’s image by making international waves in fashion, film, music, gaming and tech – and monetising these digital opportunities. The Australian tech ecosystem could do well to engage and we are happy to assist our startups and tech hubs making contact with their Nigerian counterparts.

  • One of the most positive business stories coming out of Nigeria is its burgeoning IT sector. The industry has strong regulatory support. The Nigerian government has sought to rebuild digital trade from the ground up, with Africa-leading data privacy provisions. A new generation of local entrepreneurs is seeking to grow the sector with international support.
  • Fintech start-ups have attracted investment dollars and there have been some notable successes, such as Flutterwave and Paystack. With a young population accustomed to smartphones and mobile payments, and more than 60 million people without a bank account, there are substantial growth opportunities in this sector.
  • Payment solutions currently dominate the Nigerian fintech ecosystem of more than 200 companies, but there are increasing opportunities in consumer lending, insurance and asset management. Beyond Fintech, the Nigerian software market is estimated at over US$10 billion and enterprise software in fields ranging from health to cyber security is in demand.
  • Today, Nigerian fashion designers are gaining prominence internationally, many Nigerian musicians are topping charts in the UK and USA, and the country hosts the second most prolific film industry in the world, Nollywood, which is gaining a following globally despite its low production budgets. As with Bollywood, this is likely to change as the industry matures, presenting further opportunities for the Australian creative sector.

A thirst for knowledge

Nigeria is one of the fastest growing student recruitment markets in the world, with 90,000 Nigerians studying overseas before the pandemic. Nigerian student numbers to Australia have been on the rise, in a market dominated by the UK and USA. It will remain a high-growth market after the COVID recovery.

  • While our borders remain closed, Australian online offerings including our high-quality higher education and VET courses provide new opportunities beyond traditional student recruitment. Young Nigerians (and their parents) value education highly and have shown a large appetite for online learning and micro-credentialling courses.

Supporting infrastructure development and energy transition

Nigeria’s industrialisation has been a stop-start affair in recent decades with dynamic periods of high growth matched by slower spells. There is still an enormous amount of infrastructure required in energy, transportation and agricultural production as Nigeria develops.

  • The slow burn industrialisation and modernisation of the country presents ongoing niche opportunities for small and medium-sized Australian exporters, who have enjoyed export success in Nigeria with products as diverse as solar technology (off-grid power solutions are enjoying increasing interest), metal detectors, electrical transformers, and parts for oil refineries.
  • Australian innovation and experience could support Nigeria’s energy transition. Equipment for the oil and gas sector remains in demand, especially as Nigeria ramps up its transition to gas for its domestic energy needs.
  • There are opportunities in agtech and medtech too. In the agricultural sector, there is demand for food processing equipment, storage solutions, logistics and livestock and land-management expertise. Nigeria is seeking to expand agriculture, and modernise the sector, while deconflicting competing land-use claims by different community groups. There is also a substantial market for medical equipment and diagnostics.

A high potential mining and METS sector

Nigeria’s mining sector is largely undeveloped but has great potential. Ongoing geological mapping projects funded by the World Bank are delivering very encouraging data.

  • In the meantime, there is an existing market for small-scale mining equipment and there will be further opportunities in METS as the industry develops. In 2020, Nigeria opened its first gold refinery and the country’s first fire assay laboratory was established in 2021.
  • Australia’s METS companies can also play a positive role in organically introducing world-class METS standards and practices into West Africa, benefiting the region as well as Australian METS companies in the future.
  • Toronto-listed Thor Explorations is due to pour its first gold in June and is on track to become one of the first commercial-scale internationally operated mines in Nigeria. This could catalyse more juniors to join the Australian companies already on the ground here and working towards production.

Interested? Read more or contact us

Services export action plan
Nigeria market insights

Australian High Commission, Nigeria

United Arab Emirates – Looking beyond oil

The UAE is well known for its modern infrastructure, international events and status as a trade and transport hub. It’s political and economic stability, and fast-growing capital markets, contribute to its attractiveness as both a place to invest and to operate businesses with a regional focus. It has the most diversified economy in the Gulf, but Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the non-oil sectors of transport, tourism, hospitality, real estate and retail, on the back of a shock to the economy from the drop in global oil prices.

High levels of PCR testing have been key to the UAE’s Covid-19 management strategy and are closely tied to vaccination levels. In a population of 10 million people the UAE has now administered over 12 million vaccine doses and conducted more than 47 million tests.

The UAE’s long-term economic strategy is centred on diversification away from oil. This includes a focus on tourism, real estate, retail, financial services, the provision of high standard medical care, and reinforcing its already leading role as a global logistics hub for shipping and airlines.

The UAE is also focused on increasing its reputation as a regional hub and business-friendly country. Examples of recent initiatives include the new “golden visa” which encourages expatriates to stay in the country long-term, including into retirement, more favourable rules for ownership by foreign companies which means foreigners of any nationality for the first time can now own 100 per cent of their business in the country outside of free zones, and a new “remote work visa” that enables employees from all over the world to live and work remotely from the UAE, even if their companies are based in another country.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Dubai’s investment office ‘Dubai FDI’ are providing various support packages to foreign companies looking to establish or expand in the UAE.

The sectors that offered the best opportunities in recent times for Australian capabilities are agrifood, health, defence, education, and niche capabilities in infrastructure. There are opportunities for companies across all sectors that offer solutions that save money and create efficiencies, particularly around automation and digitisation. The UAE is increasingly examining, including artificial intelligence, for example to scan medical images, and data analytics that allow executives to see where money and resources are being spent, digitisation of records and reporting tools, and precision medicine (looking at genes and customising treatment to be more effective). These areas may also provide opportunities for Australian companies.

The UAE will host World Expo in Dubai from October 2021 to March 2022. The Australian pavilion will provide a platform to showcase Australian ingenuity and innovation, and an opportunity to pursue trade and investment opportunities via a targeted business program in sync with Expo 2020 Dubai themes for: Food&Agribusiness, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Resources&Mining, Advanced Manufacturing, Renewables&Energy, Digital Tech and Education. The UAE’s organising committee has recently announced a hybrid delivery of in-person and virtual events in order to reach a larger international audience.The focus of participating nations is now trade and investment opportunities as part of their COVID-19 economic recovery strategies. Australia will leverage this event to support market diversification strategies for Australian industry and exporters, by delivering ‘B2B’ and ‘B2G’ activities at major commercial exhibitions occurring around Expo 2020 Dubai.For more information in relation to Expo 2020 Dubai and opportunities to participate, please email: