Now is the time to invest in Africa
BUSINESS| July 9, 2012, 12:27 p.m.
For too long, Africa has been at the centre of negative publicity, partly promoted by foreign biased media reports and Afro-pessimists, scaring away potential investors and hampering its development. But that seems to be in the past, as European, US and Chinese investors look to Africa for lucrative investment opportunities.
China, in particular, has become economically involved with every country on the continent. Many Chinese companies—some of which are backed by the government—have made significant investments in Africa. "They are really taking a long-term view about investing in Africa," says Louise Robinson, Sales Director of Database 360.
“The governments of countries like China have realised that they're going to need resources from the African continent to fund their growth and consumption in the future, and they aremaking important infrastructure improvements on the continent as part of their ventures.”
This, she says, has resulted in a situation where Chinese companies are far ahead of their South African counterparts in establishing valuable trade relations. “Those that are left behind, stay behind, and while African economies are growing, those South African companies that don’t take the window of opportunity to invest in the continent will lose out to the Chinese, who already have a presence everywhere.”
Robinson adds that many investors have already missed the "ground-floor opportunity" in Africa. According to projections from the World Bank, nine of the 15 countries in the world with the highest rate of five-year economic growth are in Africa, and with governments across Africa working to improve the business climate, there has never been a better time to invest.
The reason many South Africa companies – together with their European and American counterparts – are resistant to moving into Africa is their awareness of the challenges of trade on the continent. However, Robinson points out that engaging with African companies is simple once you know the rules of engagement. “Doing business in Africa is different to doing business in the Westernised economies. But if you know what to expect, it’s manageable. Our extensive experience across the continent has allowed us to gain a complete understanding of the mechanics of doing business in each country, and providing this knowledge in order to ease entry into a market is one of the services we offer,” she explains.
Because of the idiosyncrasies of doing business in different African countries, and because of the general lack of available information, Database 360 provides a complete database and touchpoint solution, offering investors the details of decision makers across Africa as well as the necessary background and other knowledge required to enable the to effectively make contact with the right people. “Africans are open to providing and receiving information, if you know how to approach them. We leverage our knowledge and experience across the continent in order to ensure that our clients are able to meet their goals,” Robinson says.
Africa is rich in opportunities and potential. It is home to seven out of ten of the world’s fastest growing economies. Despite the continent's structural problems and the relentless focus on aid and debt relief, Ghana's stockmarket was the world's third-best performer last year, while Egypt topped the global table and is soaring this year too. “In the long term, Africa provides a great opportunity, and now is the time to start investing. Those companies that wait too long will be left out in the cold as the continent’s growth reaches its potential,” she concludes.
MORE BUSINESS NEWS
MasterCard grants Unified Payments acquiring licenseMasterCard has granted an acquiring license to Unified Payment Service Limited, a leading payments service provider, in a move expected to broadly increase the acceptance of MasterCard payment cards in Nigeria. Read More
MTN Business backs emerging ICT entrepreneursMTN Business has embarked on a long-term supplier development programme that will empower young, black entrepreneurs to take their place at the forefront of South Africa’s evolution to a knowledge-based economy. Read More
CNN, MultiChoice launch 20th African Journalist AwardsCNN International and MultiChoice this week officially launched the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015 Awards. Read More
Cokodeal.com aims to revive ‘made in Nigeria’Cokodeal.com, describing itself as Africa’s largest medium for business exposure, is aiming to boost Nigerian manufacturers through greater online exposure. Read More
Leading African airline adds new payment optionsASKY, the leading airline in West and Central Africa, has partnered with PayGate and booking engine SITA to offer web-based booking to its customers for the first time. Read More
Francis Dufay takes the reins of Jumia in Côte d’IvoireE-commerce firm Jumia has formalised the appointment of Francis Dufay at the head of its subsidiary in Côte d’Ivoire. Read More
MTN Uganda rewards women entrepreneursThe 2015 edition of MTN Women in Business Awards have seen Mrs. Barbara Ofwono, the proprietor of Victorious Schools, scoop the overall Award of MTN Women in Business SME CEO of the year. Read More
Microsoft 4Afrika launches Biz4Afrika online SME hubMicrosoft 4Afrika used the opening of the Connected East Africa event in Diani, Kenya today to launch Biz4Afrika, an online hub providing Kenyan small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with access to locally relevant information and promote trade. Read More
BTCL, SA’s Vodafone seal partnershipBotswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) and South African based Vodafone have signed a non-equity partnership agreement. Read More
Mascom Derby horse race extravaganza for BotswanaMascom is doing it again this year with its annual Mascom horse racing event which has been on the Mascom calendar for at least 10 years. Each year during the Easter holidays, Botswana’s leading mobile telephony provider gets people to Botswana’s tourist resort of Maun for the race. Read More
FEATURED STORYe-commerce space untapped, says phonekings head
E-commerce is the future, says the head of a new online electronics mall launched in Nigeria. Tayo Olusanya spoke to Kokumo Goodie in Lagos.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHVillagers get solar training at Barefoot College
The Botswana Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) has seconded seven semi-illiterate mostly Ngwatle villagers for a six month solar electrification training course at the famed Barefoot College in India.
COMPANY NEWSICT skills in Kenya to grow as ICT Authority and Microsoft sign MOU
Kenya’s ICT Authority and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will, among other things, see Microsoft offer support in providing a platform that will ...