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PMMI expands food packaging horizons in Africa

By Jenni Spinner+

16-May-2014

PMMI is joining with Ipack-Ima to launch East Afripack, to take advantages of growth in the area.
PMMI is joining with Ipack-Ima to launch East Afripack, to take advantages of growth in the area.

PMMI and Ipack-Ima are launching East Afripack to capitalize on opportunities in the booming regional market.

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is joining with Italian trade fair producer Ipack-Ima Spa to launch East Afripack. The event (scheduled September 9-12 in Nairobi, Kenya) will connect technology providers with producers working in or looking to enter the region.

Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of global markets for PMMI (the producer of the annual PACK EXPO processing and packaging exposition and conference), spoke with FoodProductionDaily about the event, and what it can provide for food and packaging companies looking to take advantage of the region’s economic growth.

Why does the East Afripack launch make sense?

Africa is a very new territory for the packaging and processing industries. It’s also a very promising region, according to research from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Today’s East Africa is experiencing quite a bit of change in its economic landscape: the nations of the East African community have a combined real GDP of more than $43 million today, and the middle class has more than tripled in the last 30 years.

Packaging and processing sectors in the region are in their beginning stages, but they’ve taken hold and are advancing quickly, keeping pace with the burgeoning consumer demand for packaged goods. Put it all together and you see a need for the technologies that PMMI members produce. UNIDO’s  research backs this up, finding East African entrepreneurs inclined toward technology purchases, and 78% of them planning a packaging equipment investment within the next three years.

This isn’t the first partnership we’ve engaged in with Ipack-Ima. In a global marketplace, having an international presence is essential, and Ipack-Ima has earned the high regard of the international packaging and processing community. The combined strengths of our two organizations will make this event successful.

Tell us about the market opportunities in the region—how are food processing, packaging, pharma, and other markets growing in the area?

Over the past decade, East Africa has entered into a new era of opportunities, growth and development, and the outlook remains optimistic. Major investments from key multinationals such as PepsiCo (which opened a new $30 million soft drinks manufacturing plant in Kenya in February 2013) and Unilever (which announced plans to open a $204 million plant in October 2013) demonstrate confidence in Kenya as an important growth market.

After-harvest food waste and the safe preservation of food and non-food products pose critical challenges to the region, and advancements in processing and packaging technology and modern food production methods are fundamental to overcoming the challenges and meeting East Africa’s enormous food needs. East Afripack will provide leaders in consumer goods and packaging, processing and converting machinery a chance to come together and take their industries into a new era, strengthening African growth and global competitiveness.

What will PMMI and its members contribute to East Afripack?

PMMI members can exhibit in the PMMI pavilion at East Afripack—an arrangement that gives them a turnkey package including a high visibility location. We’re also conducting a market discovery mission trip for members that will introduce them to end users, potential agents and market research presentations.

The mission will broaden their understanding of business practices in the Eastern Africa region, and give them a better sense of their products’ potential in the market.

Why is PMMI broadening its reach into different regions and markets?

We’re in a global marketplace, with growth accelerating in developing markets.

This is an opportunity to support our members who want to access such markets, specifically East Africa, which is set to take off. It’s the right time to plan your company’s entry into a market that is widely forecasted to be highly profitable in the near- to long-term. What’s more, Africa needs technology and skilled labor capable of implementing international standards–the technology East Afripack exhibitors will bring to Nairobi in September.

East Afripack will take place September 9-12 at the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi, Kenya. Learn more at Eastafripack.com.

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