What’s the first thing every business should do to succeed?
Make the potential customers aware of its presence.
In addition to making sure of that, lobbying firms also inform business owners of public policies which might affect their operations and help them in influencing the governmental decision makers, thereby making sure that their business gets a favorable political environment for its operation. Lobbying also applied to the Entrepeneur world, to make the business environment favorable as well.
Is that legal, you might ask?
Of course. As reputed publications tell us, lobbying firms spend tens of millions of dollars to further the interests of their clients in Africa. As long as the business is on the right side of the law, so will be the firm lobbying for it.
Is Lobbying Legal In Africa?
In contrast to what most people tend to believe, lobbying isn’t bribery.
Instead, it is a perfectly legal practice performed by firms which are registered – yes, REGISTERED – with the government. Such firms run public campaigns to pressure the government to undertake policy actions that will benefit their clients.
Still, to make it crystal clear that lobbying firms are indeed legal in Africa, let’s give you some examples:
Lobbying in South Africa
As far as Africa is concerned, the legality of lobbying stems from the constitution and practice of almost all African countries. No country serves a better example of this point than South Africa – which has one of the best-performing economies in the region.
To make sure that lobbying deals are made under the ambit of law, South Africa has issued guidelines for lobbying its parliament. That means that Nelson Mandela’s birthplace has legalized lobbying, though it isn’t the only African country to do that.
Lobbying in Rwanda
While the South African government has only legalized lobbying, the Rwandan government went one step ahead by contracting a foreign lobbying firm to improve the image of the country in the west.
While examples of other African countries which have legalized lobbying could also be given here, the point remains: it is perfectly legal for a business to hire a lobbying firm in Africa.
Why Lobbying Firms Are Important For Your Business In Africa?
Now that we’ve proved beyond doubt that lobbying firms are indeed legal in Africa, let’s turn our attention to why your business could do with Africa-based lobbying firm for its success.
1. Take control of the conversation
Imagine that a debate is ongoing in the parliament as to whether or not the government should tax the industry of which your business is a part of. With profits already razor-thin, you know that your business might not be able to survive additional taxes.
Enter a lobbying firm, and its defense of your cause. By telling the parliamentarians about the economic benefits your business is giving to the society – in lieu of employments, capacity building, etc. – a lobbying firm might convince the government to go easy on your industry.
2. Get good publicity for your business
It doesn’t matter how many ads you run in favor of your business, most people won’t take them at face value because they think that since these ads are coming from you, they are bound to be biased in your favor.
Lobbying firms, on the other hand, get credibility for your business by getting its message across via authentic, independent people who have no connection to your business.
3. Know everything about political decision making
As a businessperson, you know that knowledge – especially of governmental decisions regarding your business – is crucial to the long-term success of your business.
Therefore, if you have hired an effective lobbyist, not only will they identify key decision makers but would also keep your company informed of any impending legislation that might affect your business.
With this information, your business could develop a political risk management strategy and remain at a competitive advantage.
4. Establish channels of communication
With a professional lobbying firm on your side, you can establish channels of communication between your business and those who have the power to regulate it.
In future, you can use these channels of communication to advocate in favor of your business interests.
5. Know relevant pieces of legislation
In Africa, there are regional treaties which allow the passage of intra-African trade without requiring any payment of customs duties. Business owners might not be aware of such nitty gritty but lobbying firms do.
Therefore, with an experienced lobbying firm, you could get guidance on specific aspects of such laws and treaties which might help in improving the scope of your business.
With their technical expertise, political connections, knowledge of relevant legislation and strategic placement on the business world, lobbying firms play an important role to enhance your business in Africa.