Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Business of Africa | Topic Tuesday | TedxEuston

If you’re serious about investment, it’s clear that the question is no longer whether you do business in Africa, rather how to start and what to consider.
As many of us are already aware, Africa presents an incredible opportunity if you are willing to invest in high-growth economies.  

There are some key facts which haven driven the economic growth of the Continent in the last few decades. Here are some:
  • Over 1 billion people live in Africa. That is 15% of the world’s population.
  • More than 60%, 700 billion people, have a mobile phone, and the entire continent is undergoing connectivity leapfrogging.
  • Africa’s combined economy is over $2 trillion, with this forecast to more than double by 2025.
  • Economic growth is 2% above the global average, and has been since 2000, currently standing at 6-7%.
  • 60% of the population are younger than 30 years old, creating the world’s largest labour force by 2035.
  • Nearly 50% of the population live in cities, with increasing amounts of urbanisation underway.
Over the years several African entrepreneurs and economists have given talks at TEDxEuston – providing salient advice and wise information about the continent’s business environment – food for thought for our TEDxEuston’ers who are considering returning, setting up anew, expanding their enterprises or bootstrapping their start-up for major growth, and even simply if you are looking at increasing your involvement by investment.

There are many ways to take advantage of the opportunities across the continent. Here are a few suggestions, of which certain themes emerge from our previous TEDxEuston speakers.
  • The continent beats to its own rhythm, with a distinct culture and way of operating which differs from Western markets.  Appreciate and have a perspective, and respect the differences.   As our speaker Frances Mensah Williams discussed – allow everyone at home their own way of expression to you.

  • Focus on local dynamics as reflected by our TEDxEuston speaker Kene Mkparu. There is no single Africa strategy.  Each market is unique – the continent comprises a rich tapestry of countries. Markets present opportunities in a different way, and business products and services should be offered according to these consumer requirements.

  •  Commitment to long-term and to standards, as mentioned by Dolika Banda at our Facing Forward event in December.

  • Planning – deciding your time period for growth, reviewing your sector, market and objectives for success, as well as planning our business activities, positioning, country launch selection, as well as creating a specific hub for business development.

  • Perseverance – a critical characteristic for all business, and remarked by Jason Njoku, keep failing until you succeed, and understanding the reality of Africa may be, as stated by Ali A. Mufuruki, very different to the Africa Rising narrative.

  • Relationships and Partnerships – working with local, experienced management and partners, including government, community organisations and other players in your field, will yield long-term gains.
  • Local Talent and People – invest in your local team, and over the long-term, understand the role of training in broader society, mentioned in Tutu Agyare’s talk.  As the pace of commercial expansion will be significantly greater than the growth of formal education and training mechanisms.

While each country on the continent has its own set of laws, regulations, political system and cultures this ever-changing environment of systems and rules post the greatest challenge.   Each market should be considered and adapted to accordingly.  Africa’s complexity creates investment challenges and it is important to be adaptable and test traditional business models. 
The consumers within the Continent vary greatly from the new wealth, to rising middle class, and include the basic survivors, living on low or no income in urban slums or rural areas. Due to the connectivity explosion across the continent, this has enabled a range of other services to grow

The TEDxEuston team is committed to inspiring ideas about Africa and being a catalyst for our community and those wishing to engage with the Continent.    We’re actively seeking to connect members of our community to move forward. So please tweet us @tedxeuston, or me on @FeliciaTedx you want to stay in touch, or find out more.
elicia has been a key active organising team player for TedxEuston over the years. With a MBA from the esteemed London Business School, she holds a specialism in emerging markets. Currently a member of the foundation board, Felicia splits her time and career between Asia, Africa and UK.  

1 comment:

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