German manufacturer Stihl Group chooses Kenya as hub for East Africa

German manufacturer of outdoor power tools, Stihl Group, has chosen Kenya as the first choice to establish its second subsidiary in Africa.

The subsidiary dubbed Stihl East Africa will be its hub in East Africa serving countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda and Burundi, among others.

Stihl East Africa Managing Director Francois Marais said Kenya is the gateway to East and Central Africa and its infrastructure provides access to these markets.

“Our plan is to distribute our products from Kenya to the traditional East African market which includes Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the countries of the Horn of Africa. We are also looking at the new East African Community (EAC) partner state, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We will have representatives on the ground in all of these countries that are will ultimately look after our customers through the concession model,” Marais said.

The offices will be inaugurated later this month.

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 better interact with nature through innovation. Through innovation, STIHL has been one of the market pioneers worldwide. Many of the features that are now standard on power tools were designed, developed and prepared for production by STIHL employees.

The company established its first African sales subsidiary in 1996 in South Africa.

“Kenya is a stable and dynamic economy with great potential for growth. Also, the local talent in Kenya has really enabled us to grow our business with their expertise and local knowledge,” 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 company is targeting the booming agriculture and construction sectors in the region as governments continue to increase investment in these areas.

“Our approach to the East African market is a bit different from other regions of the world due to the specific needs we have identified in East Africa. We are best known for our forestry and consumer products, but Stihl has also developed a wide range of agricultural products specifically for the emerging market. Our focus in East Africa will be to establish this product line across the region to bring mechanization to farmers who have not been able to afford it in the past,” he added.

Agriculture is a sector that is at the heart of the EAC economy, contributing between 24-44% of GDP in the partner states, while also representing the livelihoods of around 80% of the region’s population. .

The combined EAC has 300 million inhabitants after the entry of the DRC which has more than 90 million inhabitants. The bloc also has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $250 billion.

In addition to chainsaws, Stihl develops other portable outdoor power tools, including chainsaws, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, grass trimmers and augers.

“With this new strategic direction, we are securing a broader and more diverse product portfolio, improved access through a robust and well-supported dealer network and the STIHL DNA which is quality that delivers job and product safety. in all of its applications,” Stihl told EA Sales. Director John Wachira.

James R. Rhodes