German manufacturer Stihl Group picks Kenya as hub for East Africa
German outdoor power tools manufacturer The Stihl Group has picked Kenya as its first choice to establish its second subsidiary in Africa.
The subsidiary dubbed Stihl East Africa will be its Eastern Africa hub servicing countries that include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi among others.
Stihl East Africa Chief Executive Officer Francois Marais says Kenya is the gateway into Eastern and Central Africa and its Infrastructure allows for entry into these markets.
“Our plan is to distribute our products from Kenya into the traditional East African Market which includes Tanzania, Uganda , Burundi, Rwanda,South Sudan , Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa countries. We are also looking at the new partner state in the East African Community (EAC), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We will have representatives on the ground in all these countries ultimately looking after our customers via the dealership model,” Marais said.
The offices will be launched later this month.
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Stihl started in 1926 in Germany founded by Andrea Stihl; he was the inventor of the first chainsaw. His philosophy was to create products that help people interact better with nature through innovation. Due to Innovation, STIHL has been one of the market’s trendsetters worldwide. Many of the features that are now standard on power tools were conceived, developed and made ready for production by STIHL employees.
The firm established their first Africa sales subsidiary in 1996 in South Africa.
“Kenya is a stable and vibrant economy with a lot of growth potential, furthermore the local talent in Kenya has really allowed us to expand our business through their expertise and local insight,” he noted.
The STIHL Group develops, manufactures, and distributes outdoor power equipment for forestry, agriculture, landscaping, construction and cleaning customized for professionals and discerning consumers.
The firm is targeting the booming Agriculture and construction sectors in the region, as governments continue to increase investments in these areas.
“Our approach in the East Africans market is a little bit different from other areas of the world because of the specific needs that we have identified in East Africa. We are very well known for our forestry and consumer products but Stihl has also developed a huge range of agricultural products specifically in the emerging market. Our focus in East Africa will be to establish this product range throughout the region to bring mechanization to farmers that haven’t been able to afford it in the past,” he added.
Agriculture is a sector that is central to the EAC economy, contributing between 24 and 44 percent of GDP in partner states, while also accounting for the livelihood of about 80 percent of the region’s population.
Combined EAC has 300 million people following the entry of DRC that has over 90 million people. The bloc also has a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $250 billion.
In addition to chain saws, Stihl develops other hand-held outdoor power tools that include cut-off machines, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, grass trimmers and earth augers among others.
“With this new strategic direction, we guarantee a broader and diverse product portfolio, enhanced access through a well-supported robust dealership network and the DNA of STIHL which is quality that delivers work and product safety in all its applications,” said Stihl EA Sales Manager John Wachira.