Romanian shoe maker steps into Senegal to keep up with Chinese competition

A Romanian shoe producer decided to relocate production to Senegal, where it plans to set up a mixed company with a local firm. The African state’s Government will provide transport for the equipment, the land plot and the utilities for the Romanian producer’s future factory in Senegal.

“We’re not making a lot of business here, banks don’t get you anywhere, and competition from China is very strong. We also worked for export, for important companies, and the intermediaries stopped payments,” said Marieta Gheorghiu, the main shareholder of Primo Tempo, a footwear producer in Bucharest. “In Senegal at least I know we will find people who want to learn. Here, there are losses and problems everywhere,” she went on.

The footwear producer, with sales of EUR 1 million last year, is betting on the low development of the footwear industry in Senegal. “They needed equipment, know-how, professional training. I will give them all of these, because I am working with people who already do this in Italy. Traditional retail producers have already moved production to Africa to keep up with competition from China. Italians have an industries in Ethiopia, and Spanish producers, in Morocco,” the shoe producer explained.

A group of state representatives from Senegal recently came to Romania as part of the country’s efforts to attract more foreign investments. This comes after the previous Government focused on investing in infrastructure, having built a 13,000 hectare park and having started work on a new airport.

Senegal’s connection to Romania and its aim to attract more Romanian investments came after Romanian businessman Ovidiu Tender signed a concession agreement with the local African authorities for the 5,300 kilometer perimeter, valid for 33 years, where it plans to invest some USD 100 million to extract oil on the coast of the African countries Senegal and Guinea – Bissau.

Senegal recently named an economic attache at its Bucharest Consulate, the third country to appoint an economic attache here, after the US and French consulates. Senegal’s investments totaled USD 3 billion last year, USD 400 million of which were foreign investments.

More about Ovidiu Tender’s investment in Africa here.

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