Africa’s potential for sustainable economic growth is both underestimated and untapped. In 2018, six out of the ten fastest-growing economies were in Africa – with Ghana topping the world rankings.

It is one of the fastest urbanising regions of the world, with a population projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. Its growing, youthful workforce feeds into its appeal, with an abundance of labour and a rapidly upskilling population.

Growth sectors are as diverse as banking, telecommunications and infrastructure – each of which present clear investment opportunities. 

Landry Singé and Acha Leke’s writings identify that a large percentage of growth is likely to come from manufacturing, and there is also a significant chance that Africa will become the world’s next key manufacturer.

With all developing fields, good communication and cooperation is key. For Africa’s potential to be realised, there is a need for greater economic integration. African countries need to work together to promote peace and stability and address barriers to trade. They must also pay proper attention to tackling climate change, dealing with corruption, and addressing cybersecurity and the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Some projections indicate that African industries could increase production by nearly $1 trillion within a decade. Yet, with nearly 600 million Africans lacking access to an electricity grid, poor infrastructure remains at the heart of the impediments to growth. However, Africa has doubled its investment in infrastructure in recent years, representing a huge opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs keen to play a part in bridging the infrastructure gap. 

Africa’s natural resources are vast, with agriculture and the extractive sectors forming a vital asset in global value chains. Investing in these commodities will shape global economic activities over the coming decades and reveal Africa’s untapped potential.

The key to the future of strategic and sustainable business in Africa is innovation. Prime examples of this are well-documented and include Sumitomo Chemical’s insect-proofing mosquito nets technology that are helping to fight malaria and Hitachi’s seawater technology which is accelerating access to clean water.The challenge to businesses is simple: the days of taking from Africa are over. We must pioneer authentic win/win scenarios. More than that, my prediction is that those who lead in this arena of integrity will benefit the most.

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