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Show Notes:

Guest Raymond Chimhandamba returns to ‘Attached to Hygiene’ to share his expertise in the African absorbent hygiene market with host Jack Hughes and podcast listeners. Over the course of just five years, this promising market is expected to grow by 40%. Its rapid expansion offers many opportunities for manufacturers who have the ability to navigate Africa’s distinctive challenges. In this episode, Raymond and Jack turn their attention to the top five consumer needs of convenience, comfort, confidence, cost, and consistency. Also considered are sustainability and Africa’s informal economy, as well as the industry’s reaction to both.

Meeting consumer needs including comfort, confidence, and convenience

Many of the continent’s trends are consistent with those seen elsewhere. Examples include the convenience of pant-style garments, wetness indicators, and home delivery. Features supporting consumer confidence—pads with wings, for example—are also well received. One difference is that African shoppers prefer to purchase products in smaller pack sizes, allowing them to better manage their cash flow. Another is the cultural assumption that pads need to be at least a certain size to offer adequate absorption and protection.

Laws, regulations, and increased sustainability in African nations

The impact of disposable items, especially single-use plastics, is a concern for many consumers throughout Africa. It is not uncommon to see openly discarded hygiene articles, often in rivers. There are even reports of items being eaten by livestock. National governments—most notably Kenya and Tanzania—have introduced legislation to ameliorate the situation. Both nations regulate how and where single-use plastics can be utilised—and did so even before the European Union. In May 2021, an EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) law in Kenya required brand owners to demonstrate plans to reduce the environmental impact of their products.

The informal economy and its effect on Africa’s absorbent hygiene market

Africa is known for having both a formal and informal economy. The latter focuses on resale of products outside of controlled or taxed channels. Such informal sales can be seen even in public markets. Common commodities include familiar brand-name products offered in smaller quantities. Consumers are known to buy in bulk when their monthly pay comes in, and then turn to the informal economy for a little extra product when funds run low. It is not unusual for retailers to plan their sales based on this peculiarity of the African marketplace.

Outline of the Episode

  • [1:35] The convenience of smaller packages, pant-style diapers, and more
  • [8:36] Lotions, double leg cuffs, and channels support comfort for wearers
  • [10:40] Ensuring confidence is crucial to meeting user expectations
  • [13:44] Consumer concern regarding sustainability, and government response
  • [19:16] Laws regarding plastic use in Kenya and Tanzania
  • [21:29] Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in Africa
  • [24:38] The informal economy and the market’s accommodations
  • [30:13] The rising popularity of period care products other than pads


Connect with Raymond Chimhandamba via LinkedIn.

To hear more about the EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa) market, listen to these episodes:
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Connect with Jack Hughes on LinkedIn. You can also find us at Disposable Hygiene Adhesives on LinkedIn or by visiting the Attached to Hygiene Podcast on our official website.

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Host: Jack Hughes

Music by Jonathan Boyle

Produced and edited by: Jack Hughes with help from Paul Andrews, Michele Tonkovitz, Emory Churness, Nikki Ackerman, and Green Onion Creative. Post production for Attached to Hygiene is done by

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