Gourmet Tea Exporter On Challenges Of Africa’s Luxury Market

Gourmet Tea Exporter On Challenges Of Africa’s Luxury Market

From How We Made It In Africa.

Cote d”Ivoire-born gourmet tea entrepreneur Swaady Martin-Leke says Africa’s luxury market offers increasing opportunities with the steady growth of discretionary income in the African middle class.

Martin-Leke targets higher-end consumers with her company, YSWARA, selling teas from around Africa. Ninety percent of her customers are in Africa, according to a report in How We Made It In Africa.

Kinkeliba bush tea is a daily drinking ritual in Senegal and Gambia while Rooibos, honeybush and buchu have been harvested by the Khoisan of South Africa for centuries, Martin-Leke said. Tea is grown in Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Burundi, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

Martin-Leke said in the article it has been tough-going. Africa’s industrial fabric is not made for high-quality goods produced at a competitive cost relative to China or India. She struggled to find suppliers who source or manufacture their products in Africa consistently for her South Africa-based company. “For example, our tea tin manufacturer just closed this month and there is no alternative in sub-Saharan Africa,” she said in How We Made It In Africa.

Competing with international brands and benchmarking her six-month-old company to be the best has been a challenge, she said. “On the export side, the cost of exporting outside of Africa is still too high.”

Read more at How We Made It In Africa.