“We are enjoying in Africa what I call the democracy dividend. The progress we are seeing, economic development are all part of the dividend of good governance, respect for human rights, rule of law. It has created an enabling environment that allows not only foreigners to come in and invest but for Ghanaians to invest. It has created an atmosphere for our young people to be creative, innovative…” – President John Mahama, Ghana
China used to be where the big money was – low cost workers and huge factories were plentiful. Now, with the Chinese downturn there are new reconsiderations for future investments. One of them is the prospect of Africa. If you have not seen all of the signals that this is the new continent to invest in, here they are.
- Africa is growing fast
The World Bank released a report that 6 of the 12 fastest growing countries in the entire world are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Half of the world’s population growth will be in Africa.
Africa has sure had its fair share of problems from physical geography (landlocked countries will disease-susceptible tropical climates) to manmade challenges such as corruption. However, when you view Africa as a long-term investment, the combination of demography and development make Africa a promising buy.
- China is already in Africa
For the past decade, China’s investments in infrastructure like mines, farms, roads, ports and railways have been the big story. However, they have also invested in energy to increase Africa’s raw materials like food, oil, diamonds and uranium.
Now, Africa is both a partner and rival to Chinese manufacturing of clothes, toys and electronics. Yes, right now Africans have to wait and see how much they will be affected by China’s economic slowdown. Most of the attention is focused on low commodity prices and possibly damaging capital flight.
- Western countries are absent
In ways of both governmental aid and private investment, the United States and European countries have been pretty minimal. Right now, western governments are cash strapped and have turned from public sector aid to more private sector investment as their global developmental strategy. However, this has not been working out well because the private sector is often deterred by the high risks involved in investing in Africa.
So, when you put these three factors altogether, it does look like the perfect time for American businesses to consider Africa for long-term growth possibilities. In the next 100 years, the consuming middle class African will be a huge driver of economic activity.
In major cities in big countries, the middle class demand is already very real. With better infrastructure, more efficiency, less corruption and more urbanization, investing in Africa will become the new source of wealth.