Gong recently hosted a breakfast meeting chaired by The Economist’s Business Editor, Robert Guest.
One of the topics discussed was that too much “ignorant” money is going into Africa simply because there are not enough listed companies outside of Nigeria. The big question is therefore “where to invest?” Where are the various opportunities that tomorrow’s Africa presents, and what makes one country more attractive than another?
With 54 diverse markets offering unique prospects and challenges, most delegates had different opinions. What they didn’t have however, was conflicting opinions. Most agreed that there are still only a handful of good entry point to expand into Africa today.
Here are the top 5.
1. With a population of 170 million people, a growing middle class, and a reputable stock exchange, Nigeria is a notable market for those looking to target a large consumer base in Africa. With reformed petroleum regulations, Nigeria has also become an appealing market for multinational companies.
2. Ghana is doing incredibly well and has proven to be politically stable. The fact that Ghana and Nigeria have space programmes is a measure of how much these two countries are ahead of the game. The difference between Ghana and other countries is that everything (power, institutions, infrastructure) works. With the discovery of offshore oil, the country now really has everything to soon be claiming the number 1 spot.
3. Kenya is more business friendly compared to other regions on the continent. In addition, there is access to good human capital, excellent IT infrastructure, and IT skills.
4. Tanzania has always been politically stable and is therefore emerging as the most effective gateway for trade into Eastern, Southern and Central Africa. It has lucrative investment opportunities in infrastructure, privatization and value-adding facilities, and oil has recently been discovered off-shore.
5. Mozambique is developing at a rapid pace, has much oil and is also politically stable.
I should add that Ethiopia received an honourable mention at the Gong breakfast meeting; It has become Africa’s fastest-growing non-energy economy and Diageo and Heineken recently paid nearly $400m combined to acquire state breweries in the country. Ethiopia is not for the faint-hearted, however. Its population of 85 million people still ranks among the world’s poorest.
The conclusion was to watch what the diaspora is doing – and they are returning first and foremost to our top 3.