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
Business incubator to boost 200 Zimbabwean entrepreneurs200 would-be Zimbabwean entrepreneurs are set to benefit from business training and support, thanks to a business development programme to be launched by business incubation specialist KBA Africa. Read More
Union gives Globacom 14 days to reinstate 54 sacked workersThe Private Telecoms & Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has urged Globacom to reinstate the workers it allegedly sacked from its service. Read More
British envoy promises more investors at Rack CentreMr Paul Arkwright, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, has promised to do his utmost to encourage more British companies to do business with their Nigerian Counterparts. Read More
UBA, Mastercard in pan-African partnershipUBA and Mastercard have announced a five year deal across 19 markets focused on driving financial inclusion in Africa. Read More
MTN Business partners with the National Gazelles to boost SMEs marketMTN Business today announced a new drive to help support the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and contribute to creating sustainable entities. Read More
Travelport appoints new Managing Director for AfricaTravelport has announced the appointment of Douglas Jewson as Travelport’s Managing Director for Africa. Read More
Brexit’s impact on AfricaThe short-term implications of Brexit for African economies will be mainly noticeable through market volatility, say Control Risks and NKC African Economics. Read More
Safaricom Blaze to take 2nd youth empowerment summit to ThikaSafaricom will this Friday, 8th July 2016, host the 2nd in a series of youth empowerment summits under its recently launched sub-brand, BLAZE. Read More
Kris Senanu to lead Telkom Kenya Enterprise DivisionTelkom Kenya has announced the appointment of Mr. Kris Senanu as the MD of its Enterprise Division. Read More
FEATURED STORYFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes
Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job
Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market.