Toyota Tsusho Corporation’s African head wants the continent to deliver 30% of the Japanese conglomerate’s total revenue over the next 20 years, up from 10% now.
The trading arm of Japan’s Toyota Group bought French distribution company CFAO in 2012, giving it access to businesses ranging from retail to healthcare across Africa.
These businesses have now been integrated with Toyota Tshusho’s own operations, which were mainly involved with vehicle sales, and employ more than 15 000 people.
“In the coming 20 years, we should increase from 10 to 30%,” Richard Bielle, CFAO’s group chairman and CEO, told Reuters, with reference to Africa’s contribution to Toyota Tsusho’s total annual revenue of $60 billion.
That goal was based on forecasts which show Africa’s population of 1 billion would account for a third of the world’s population by 2050, from about 17% now.
The Africa division is investing 100-150 million euros each year as it seeks to boost its food retail, production and consumer goods sales businesses, Bielle said.
CFAO’s automotive business, which includes distribution of Toyota and Mercedes Benz cars in Kenya, contributes 60% of revenue while healthcare, including pharmaceutical distribution, make up a third.
The rest comes from its technology and energy, which includes renewable energy generation plants.
Bielle said the company wanted to achieve a balance where all the businesses contribute close to an equal share of revenue, which it would do through increased investments.
The main risk facing global firms doing business in Africa was the uneven growth of countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria and Angola, which rely on commodities and whose growth was hit when prices crashed in 2015.
“We have seen in the last two years that countries that are too much dependent on raw materials like oil are not able to have sustainable growth,” he said.