The Black Economy is booming. So who is scaling the African market?Worldwide, business executives understand the challenges of setting up branches in Africa. But surprisingly, not many of them are aware of the enormous potential lurking in the rapidly growing African economy. The exponential growth of some black-owned companies either matches up or exceeds that of worldwide competitors.
Situating African Markets
In fact, almost four hundred companies in Africa earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more. Recent studies show that various companies in Africa have rapid growth due to less or no competition in the circle. Hence, Africa has become a two-edged sword for the world with its pros and cons to doing business. On one hand, there are better chances for businesses to prevail due to unsaturated markets; Africa has also become a significant test lab for global innovation.
The inevitable hurdles to run a business in Africa, of course, exist. This includes inadequate infrastructure, lack of awareness and skilled workforce, insufficient supply chains and deformed business policies. However, these factors also create unique opportunities for value creation.
For example, the e-commerce market, which has become a global phenomenon, has not reached its full potential in Africa. Lack of internet access, poverty, and supply inefficiencies are some of the major problems that come in the way.
Nevertheless, recent years have seen an enormous advancement in the use of technology in Africa. Notably, the usage of mobile phones and access to the internet have become more frequent and common. Statista, one of the leading statistical sites on the internet, determines significant strides in online shopping in Africa. According to the numbers on the site, Africa generated $16.5 billion in revenue in 2017. It forecasts revenue of $29 billion by 2022. Nevertheless, to meet these expectations, Africa needs consistent hi-tech innovative solutions to promote financial inclusion and scale its markets.
Other sectors scaling African markets
Although e-commerce currently reins for scaling African markets, it is not the only potentially viable market. Entrepreneurs and business executives can tap into other markets like real estate development, industrialization and food production.
Governance remains a primary element that can boost or undermine the growth of any market, Africa without exception. Severe problems of governance and state enterprise cause stark structural deforms, which are no longer hidden from the world.
Nevertheless, in the current circumstances, Asia leads in revamping African markets from the hurdles of poor governance. China’s enormous investment deals in Africa strengthens this position. Today, China occupies the fifth position in the list of the largest investors in Africa, says UNCTAD.
Yet, Africa’s biggest strength is not its relative dependency on the other regions of the world. It is the young native and African Diaspora entrepreneurs who are pushing the boundaries to evolve Africa’s economy. There are many African entrepreneurs who believe in Africa’s potential to progress, and have shown the world how it’s done.
Entrepreneurs scaling the African market
Young black entrepreneurs all over the world keep moving the needle to scale African markets. They are optimizing the current opportunities, turning weaknesses into strengths. Their entrepreneurial approach is producing phenomenal businesses that are tackling problems and creating lots of jobs in the process. These youngsters represent innovation and disruption at its best. They have revolutionized the markets across real estate, financial services, manufacturing, media, tech, green tech, agriculture, and fashion,
A prominent example in this regard is the 27-year-old Nthabiseng Mosia. Nthabiseng is the co-founder and CFO (as well as CMO) of Azimuth. Azimuth is a for-profit enterprise, which provides energy to communities in Africa with no access to electricity and power. The company dispenses solar devices on rent at very affordable prices, on a rent-to-own basis enabled by Pay-As-You-Go technology. Easy Solar launched its operations in 2016, and has since succeeded in providing electricity to over 40,000 customers.
Another trailblazing African entrepreneur to watch out for is Bamai Namata, Founder and CEO of Maibet Inc. Namata’s company connects needful customers to technicians and professionals who can help them with their daily problems. From electronics to construction, Maibeta Inc has impacted over 60,000 lives in Cameroon and elsewhere since it started in 2016.
Talking about entrepreneurial excellence, not mentioning Oluwa tobi Ajayi will be injustice. The 30-year-old is a co-founder and CEO of Jetvan Automobiles Limited. His company is the largest authorized dealer of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in Nigeria. Oluwatobi started his career at Mercedes-Benz Nigeria. At the age of 24 he became the Head of division (Commercial vans). Seeing great potential for the business in Africa, Oluwatobi founded Jetvan, which sells more than 500 vehicles every year.
Opportunities for the African Diaspora
Opportunities in Africa are not restricted to native entrepreneurs. They extend to the African diaspora, which can valuably strengthen Africa’s economy. African entrepreneurs in the diaspora can utilize the duality of transnational space to their advantage and expand the economic strength of the continent.
Gibril Faal, president of the African Foundation for Development, is one of those scaling the African market from without the continent. He established his organization in the UK, alongside other immigrants from Africa. He shares his insight about the topic in the following words:
“This trend of ‘distant-management’ through information and communication technologies (ICT) is likely to increase and become more sophisticated. We have also observed a new trend in which diaspora entrepreneurs are becoming more formal in the way they run their businesses, hiring qualified local staff with the required skills and professional background.”
Furthermore, Blessed E. Ngoe, Founder and Publisher of EboniGram Magazine, believes that black people all over the world owe a duty to themselves and their progenies to develop the continent of Africa. According to him, the economic advancement of black people goes hand-in-hand with the economic and social advancement of the African continent. He says:
The socio-economic and political destiny of black people all over the world, whether in the Americas or elsewhere, intricately connects to that of the African continent. The Black woman faces marginalization in the United States because the Black man has no power in Africa. The Black child is rejected in Europe because the Black parent has not shown him a home in Africa. – Blessed E. Ngoe
It is no longer news that Africa’s economy is witnessing exponential growth in the 21st century. Scaling the African market remains a top priority for the wise invest. While the continent has remained true to its traditional partners like france, the Netherlands, and the US, there are newcomers on the scene with disruptive effects. China is arguably the most aggressive of these newcomers. Nonetheless, African entrepreneurs are also making strides to contribute a quota to the development of the continent’s economy.
Although the future appears to be bright, the African diaspora, especially of the America’s, lags behind in taking advantage of the opportunities in their home continent. Critics blame this on weak policies and bad governance that plague most African countries. However, there still remain a good chance for investors within the African diaspora to make their mark in African markets if they develop interest.