We have all heard that seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. Two things have held investors back in the past the view that this growth is longer-term and the concern about the risk of doing business there. Thankfully, Africa is shedding both of these long-held perceptions, partly because of significant market reform, infrastructure and governance improvements, and partly because those who have taken the plunge are reaping the benefits.
We have seen solid progress by a number of African countries to reform policies and institute strong governance aligned with international best practices to attract greater foreign direct investment. Almost every major market has a published long-term development vision that includes investment in infrastructure and inclusive growth initiatives. And more and more, we are seeing peaceful transfers of power as the norm on the continent.
As a direct result, confidence and investment have grown in key sectors – including power, resources, agriculture, information communication technology, primary infrastructure, such as housing, and secondary infrastructure, such as healthcare.
The fast-emerging middle class in Africa is creating unprecedented consumer demand and opportunity. As the second most populated continent in the world an estimated 1.2B people now live in Africa with the youngest population 40% of the continent is under the age of 14 now is the time for consumer brands who are looking for growth to establish a presence in Africa.
Emerging markets will continue to affect the growth plans of every single multinational in the foreseeable future. The fastest growing consumer markets, the largest opportunities for transformation at scale, the most competitive global talent are all coming from the developing world. By 2050, half of the world’s working population will come from Africa. The challenges in Africa around infrastructure, education, financial inclusion, employment and entrepreneurship are real; but so are the opportunities to solve these issues in a way that benefits everyone.