BUSINESS AND TRADE: KEYS TO UNLOCK AFRICA’S GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT by Michael C. Obidike.
The reality is, Africa is more developed than we care to admit. Over the years, the cameras have been on the conflicts, diseases, poverty which are tiny bits of what Africa entails. And no thanks to Western media and NGOs in Africa, one begins to see Africa as that poor continent with no developed cities. There’s no greater example of the danger of a single story – which boils down to stereotyping – than the one told daily by the media.
Well, there are actually lots of beautiful, developed and liveable cities in Africa which the media might not have shown you. From the beautiful skylines of Abidjan to the peaceful neighbourhoods of Dar Es Salaam, the gallant skyscrapers of South Africa, the breathtaking landscapes of Nairobi down to the busy streets of Lagos.
The many years of colonialism and bloody civil wars left scares in the body of Africa’s socioeconomic growth and development. However, a lot has changed.
By the year 2025, 45% of Africans will live in the cities. Africa will become the most urbanized continent in the world. There will be more people by percentage living in cities than the US and Europe.
What has changed?
Africa is making more money and growing rapidly not because gold price is going up. Not because the oil price has skyrocketed. Africa is growing because business is growing.
For a rapid economic growth, two important things are factored; a large population and people that have money to spend.
According to the Population of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Secretariat(2013), by 2100, 80% of people will live in Africa and Asia. Nigeria will be 3rd most populated country in the world after India and China which will sit in 1st and 2nd positions respectively.
According to Mobile Internet Traffic 2017, Nigeria is the world leader of mobile internet users. 81% of people use internet on their smartphone in Nigeria.
Africa has the highest number of mobile banking users among bank customers in the world. Kenya sits at 93% while Nigeria seconds with 85%.
A surge in population, rapid urbanisation, the adoption and absorption of new technologies, as well as the continued unlocking of abundant resources and the deepening of the continent’s financial sector are five prominent trends that are expected to propel Africa’s on-going economic reinvigoration in the next four decades.
As the global attention shifts towards Africa and other emerging markets as centres of future growth, experts believe business and trade will be crucial to the continent continuing to realise its economic growth potential.
All in all, Africa’s businesses are becoming increasingly attractive for local and foreign investors – and as a result, Africa’s traditionally illiquid stock markets are growing, and private equity funds are elevating in both size and stature.