Enquete Reveller – The Rising of Africa
The rising of Africa on the world map is becoming apparent everyday. From TV shows on the Food Network to full-on dedicated channels such as CNN Africa, MSNBC Africa, BBC Africa. Together with these new opportunities for the private sector, came the 2008 economic crash in the west that prompted foreign companies to reconsider the potential for doing business in the fast emerging economies of Africa. “When you have no growth, it forces you to look at markets that you have written off. And now you say, ‘hey, what about Africa?’” Africa’s demographics of over a billion people with a median age of around 20 years is often said to be one of the main trends that will drive economic growth in the coming years. Hakeem Belo-Osagie is a 58-year old Nigerian businessman listed by Forbes as the 40th richest man in Africa., who downplayed the role of demographics in Africa’s recent progress, saying the continent has had favourable demographics for the past 20 years. He said he finds it fascinating that two decades ago the large number of people in a country like Nigeria was described as an over-population problem, whereas today it is seen as an attractive market. Belo-Osagie noted there has never been a time in recent history that international business has been as enthusiastic about Africa. However, an “over-enthusiasm without careful analysis” does hold risks for the continent. He said foreign companies making uninformed investment decisions could lead to an “exodus” of investors from Africa if something goes badly wrong in one country. For Africa’s current growth spurt to continue, Belo-Osagie said governments need to focus on education and put in place incentives to develop infrastructure. One of the big dangers for Africa is a situation where leading business people influence government policies and decisions for the benefit of themselves and their companies. He said many businesses in Africa currently rely on government-created monopolies. Governments need to think about public interest and avoid “the transformation of the state to a playground for a group of oligarchs”.
lthough they’re putting money aside for a rainy day, African consumers are eager to spend. A perfect example of this, is Nigeria’s rapid growth over the years that have attracted noteworthy foreign investments such as global giant Procter & Gamble’s recent US$300million in manufacturing plant and the Dubai-like Eko Atlantic City being built on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, among other foreign investments.
Examining each African nation individually, striking differences emerged. According to Boston Consulting Group’s (BSG’s) 2013 Africa Consumer Sentiment Survey, there has been a huge demand for durable goods. In fact, “60%-90% of consumers in each of the eight African countries visited expressed a strong desire to buy more things every year – again higher than the averages in Brazil, China, and India, and twice the percentage of consumers in developed nations”.
The future of Africa seems really promising. One of South Africa’s most celebrated entrepreneurs and founder of the well-known hair care brand, Black Like Me, which he started in 1985, Herman Mashaba, stated that “t
he only way Africa will realise its full potential is for us, as Africans, to adopt politically a democratic system, where the citizens of our countries are the ones who determine the leadership of their country, and are the ones responsible for running their country. I think we need to find a way where we do away with this one party system and dictators. I think if we want to really succeed as a continent we need to follow democratic processes”.
There are many African cities right now that offer valuable and concrete opportunities for growth and return on investment. How We Made It in Africa has came up with a list of ten cities that combines critical mass of commercial activity and underlying growth factors to push them to the top of the continent’s city hierarchy. The 10 African cities on the international radar are Mature: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg Emerging: Accra, Cairo, Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi Early Adopter: Addis Ababa, Luanda
Rise and grind… The dream is free but the hustle sold separately