The Middle East and Africa is a vast region with a large, growing and youthful population making it one of the most rising consumer markets with a growing demand for a wide range of products and infrastructure requiring plastics from mobile phones to packaging. While much of this is still currently imported there is now massive investment going on in plastics processing operations driving double digit growth in polymer demand.
There is an increasing demand for plastics in Africa. The consumption of plastics had reached 9.7 million tonnes in 2015. This figure is expected to reach over 13.4 million tonnes by 2021. The market has been growing at an average of around 7% per year during the last four years due to more investments in plastics processing, urbanization rates, fast growing population and rising demands for packaging and packed goods.
In Egypt, there are more than 1200 plastics manufacturers who are all eager to the utmost developments in plastics machinery & technologies as Egypt consumed 2.1 million tonnes of polymers in 2017 as the largest African polymer consuming country to be followed by South Africa, Kenya and Algeria with 1.84, 1.02, 0.81 million tonnes respectively.
Qatar has lately been very active in petrochemical & plastics industries with a government-financed bunch of companies established in the last decade. The region is known to be the largest source for plastics raw materials and due to the increasing demands for end products, more new factories are under-construction.
Some regional African countries like Kenya, are also taking bold strides towards manufacturing with more foreign investment in polymers with demands exceeding 1 million tones. The North African countries are also topping African demands of plastics like Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia reaching 980,000 – 902,000 and 866,000 tonnes respectively.
Neighboring countries specially in the Gulf region, are importing their plastics end products either from Europe, Far East or neighboring countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. The packaging industry in the region consumes over a large proportion (50% in Egypt) of the total annual consumption of various types of plastic raw materials. The main portion of which is oriented to food packaging plastics.