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Africa's Rise: Hidden in Plain Sight

The rise of Africa is hidden in plain sight. It can be seen along the streets, and in the teeming aisles of retail stores such as Shoprite or Nakumatt. It is evident in the expanding airports and flight paths of Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, and many others (not to mention astute global carriers such as Virgin Nigeria). It can be seen in the extraordinarily rapid growth of banking, cell phones, automobiles, and consumer goods. It is right there in plain sight as you walk through the streets of Africa, but you have to open your eyes to it.

This book is designed to open your eyes to the rise of Africa and the opportunities it presents. In Chapter 2, "Africa Is Richer Than You Think," we consider how Africa is richer than India, and more than a dozen African countries are richer in GNI per capita than China. The development of cell phones and banking are creating a platform for further growth. It is clear that these early developments are just the beginning. In country after country throughout Africa, I heard that the heart of the future opportunity in Africa is the middle of the market, which I call Africa Two. In Chapter 3, "The Power of Africa Two," we examine the opportunities presented by the more than 400 million people in Africa Two, as well as the significant and immediate opportunities of the premium segment (Africa One) and the low-income segment (Africa Three)—for companies with the right models.

With this context, we then turn our attention to some of the specific opportunities that are emerging with the rise of the African market and some of the characteristics of the market that might come as a surprise. In Chapter 4, "Harnessing the Hanouti: Opportunities in Organizing the Market," we examine how the African market is becoming increasingly organized, with transformations in retail, distribution, transportation, and other areas. Companies are building their African businesses by leading or using this process of organization. In Chapter 5, "Building Mama Habiba an Ice Factory: Opportunities in Infrastructure," we examine how the weaknesses in African infrastructure—including electricity, water, sanitation, and medicine—are actually sources of opportunities and how companies are building businesses around meeting these market needs.

Africa has one of the world's most youthful populations—and growing younger every day—creating a significant source of opportunity for products from school uniforms to diapers to education, as examined in Chapter 6, "Running with the Cheetah Generation: Opportunities in Africa's Youth Market." With the rise of Nollywood and other less-visible centers of entertainment and media across Africa, there are more opportunities for companies to get their messages out or to build businesses in media and entertainment, as considered in Chapter 7, "Hello to Nollywood: Opportunities in Media and Entertainment." In many areas, Africa is leapfrogging the West.

The African opportunity is bigger than the continent, with millions of Africans in the global diaspora sending billions of dollars into Africa, as well as bringing their experience and knowledge back home, as examined in Chapter 8, "Coming Home: Opportunities in the African Diaspora." Although the outflow of talented African professionals led to concerns about a "brain drain," this is another hidden driver of Africa's rise and growing wealth. Finally, the Conclusion looks forward to the opportunities ahead for Africa and how they can be realized.

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