10 Business Opportunities for Investors in Africa

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There are incredible business opportunities for investors in Africa if you know where to look. Many entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses are joining the millionaires club every year.

An African wealth report by New World Wealth indicates that there are over 160,000 millionaires in Africa.

According to a popular saying, ‘the best place to find gold is to look where it has been found before.’ The opportunities in Africa today are numerous. The number of millionaires in Africa from 2000 to 2013 interestingly grew more than 145 percent, compared to the 73 percent worldwide growth.

Interested in making millions in Africa? Below are some of the hottest business opportunities you can invest in.

#1        Internet & Tech

Africa still lacks much infrastructure in Information and Communication Technology.

Tech hubs and incubators are being created all across the African continent. From Lagos (Nigeria) to Accra (Ghana), Nairobi (Kenya) and Johannesburg (South Africa), tech hubs are producing the best tech innovators and entrepreneurs ever seen on the continent.

There are many local IT and Communication companies, who wants to expand their business and are looking for foreign investors to fund their ideas.

The purchase of Saya, a mobile messaging app, created by two young Ghana entrepreneurs by New Jersey-based Kirusa in 2014 is an example of the great tech innovations and success stories in the Africa internet and tech industry.

The African tech industry is buzzing with problem-solving innovations and possibilities, waiting for smart investors to cash in. CNN article: 10 African startups that rocked 2014 will show you more interesting stuff on African tech startup.

#2        Agribusiness

There are enormous opportunities in Africa’s agribusiness and a World Bank report has projected Africa’s agribusiness to be worth $1 trillion by the year 2030.

Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank has almost 50% of the world’s uncultivated arable lands with rich soils. However, African nations still import more than 70% of wheat consumed in the continent. They also import 300,000 tons of chicken and spend over $10 billion on importing grains, particularly rice.

Agribusiness remains a largely untapped gold mine in Africa and with a population of more than one billion people; the continent has an open market even if an investor decides to ignore export.

With the recent crash in crude oil prices, Agricultural giants in Africa, including Nigeria and Angola are looking at agribusiness as a means of diversifying their economy. This means that the governments of these countries are now more supportive and open to foreign investors with agribusiness initiatives.

#3        Solar Power

Quoting a World Bank fact sheet, “Africa’s largest infrastructure deficit is to be found in the power sector. Whether measured in terms of generation capacity, electricity consumption, or security of supply. Africa’s power infrastructure delivers only a fraction of the service found elsewhere in the developing world.

“The 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (with a combined population of 800 million) generate roughly the same amount of power as Spain (with a population of 45 million).”

More than 600 million people on the continent, particularly in rural areas, don’t have access to consistent electricity. In most cities and towns, power outages are the standard and people habitually have to rely on noisy petrol and diesel powered generators.

This creates huge opportunities for foreign investors to invest in solar energy, as most part of Africa enjoy more than 300 days of sunlight every year.

The solar energy resource is free, abundant and is the solution to the elusive power supply in most parts of Africa.

Also, solar energy offers the best alternative for people in remote parts of Africa who are not connected to the national electric grid.

#4        Financial Services & Payment Solutions

With more than 50% of Africans not having access to formal financial service, the continent is one of the least developed financial service industry in the world.

Over $100 billion transactions are still done in cash every year in Africa. This presents enormous and lucrative financial service opportunities for entrepreneurs who can provide easy and convenient financial services and payment solutions.

SimplePay, a platform that provides payment solutions to online merchants in Nigeria has already attracted more than $300,000 in investments and plans to raise up to $10 million this year.

M-Pesa, a transformational mobile-based money transfer and payment services in Kenya and Tanzania has proven to be a huge success in the East Africa countries.

The financial service market in Africa offers investors a huge opportunity to invest and reap enormous profits.

#5        Startup Financing

Globally, there is a rise of entrepreneurs investing in startup and early-stage businesses. 67% of all venture capital (VC) funds in North America have been attributed to investments in startup and early-stage business.

Young entrepreneurs in Africa are constantly emerging with innovative and brilliant business ideas that can potentially disrupt both new and established markets.

A 2016 study by VC4Africa – the biggest online community of angel investors, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs in Africa – indicated that early stage African companies are securing a growing sum of investments. As these enterprises formalize their operations, they are creating important employment opportunities for their citizens and contributing to the tax revenue of the governments, which in turn enhance their ability to spend on infrastructure and social services.

All over Africa, start-up companies are attracting the interest of private equity, venture capital, social impact funds and angel investors who are searching for investments with higher returns.

There are already a number of angel investors who are already taking advantage of the startup financing opportunities in Africa.

Policy makers in African are yet to initiate incentive policies for angel investors, but when compared to the US and Europe, angel investors in Africa need reasonably small capital to become prominent players in the early stage investment market.

This offers real opportunities for new and small foreign investors who can relocate or focus on the African early stage market to take up a better market position.

 #6       Real Estate

Another multi-billion dollar opportunity in Africa is the continent’s real estate market. All over Africa, real estate projects are springing up. This is a market with the potential to create new millionaires.

The biggest attractions are office buildings, high-rise hotels, shopping malls, residential homes, and apartments.

There is a shortfall of 17 million housing units in Nigeria alone, which requires a funding of $363 billion.

In Mozambique, prices of properties at the seaport, especially for warehouses are some of the most expensive in Africa.

In Luanda (Angola capital city), the prices for prime office rents are among the highest in the world at $150 per sqm per month.

Increasing urbanization, an expanding middle class, influx of expatriates and multinational companies, in combination with a large and youthful population are the key driving force for both residential and commercial real estate.

Major markets for real estate’s that are presently experiencing a real estate boom and should be on the agenda of investors are Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and Mozambique.

#7.       Media and Entertainment

The film industry in Africa is currently the third largest in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood. The industry has turned into a global and cultural phenomenon that enjoys a huge following within and outside the continent.

The African film industry serves an audience that craves for African stories of love, action, drama, comedy, intrigue, and more.

While Africa produces hundreds of films every year, the release of ’30 Days in Atlanta,’ A Nigerian romantic comedy in 2014 broke records.

The film grossed over $500,000 in just seven weeks after its release, making it the largest revenue ever realized from a single African movie. This shows the sign of greater and higher earning blockbusters that will come from the continent.

Apart from the film industry, African music is also making great waves globally. Numerous raw and promising music talents from Nigeria to South Africa are sweeping across the continent.

For smart investors, now is the time to invest and reap BIG by investing in the Africa-Media and Entertainment Industry.

 #8 Apps and Online Services

Africans are continuously coming out with innovative apps. In fact, there is a digital revolution happening on the African continent right now.

There are many Africa’s innovative apps including VCpay, a Fintech Innovation (South Africa) app that gives people without credit cards or bank accounts the power to pay for goods online anywhere in the world.

mPaper, an Educational Innovation (Tanzania) is a mobile application newsstand that brings together all the local newspapers, magazines and books.

Africa’s digital economy is growing fast and there is an app or an online service for basically anything one may want.

Hotels.ng and Jovago.com (Nigeria) are at present the biggest online services for the hotel booking business which you can use to locate a suitable hotel accommodation in Nigeria. Hotels.ng recently attracted a $1.2 million worth of investment.

IrokoTV, an app that you can use to instantly access over 5000 African movies secured an additional investment funding of $19 million in January 2016 to expand its presence across Africa.

Just think of a problem – there is an app or an online service on the continent that can provide a solution for it.

There are several innovative apps that need funding to promote and expand their operation. This opens a huge opportunity for investors who are sharp-witted to invest and cash in on the lucrative African Apps and Online Service sector.

#9. Retail Market

Another multi-billion dollar industry that offers a huge business opportunity for investors is the African retail market.

Apart from its over one billion population, the African populations are active purchasers of products as a result of their growing economies, rapid urbanization, and a rising middle class.

The retail market in Africa is experiencing a monumental shift as it gradually moves away from informal trading in open markets to organized retail shopping in online stores and shopping malls.

The breathtaking growth in Africa’s online retail markets can be seen in a brand like Jumia, which is currently worth more than $500 million. Jumia, now regarded as the ‘African Amazon’ is one of the fastest growing Africa online retail business.

Other retail brands in the continents like Shoprite, Woolworth, Game, and Nakumatt are spreading fast in other countries across the continent.

Notwithstanding the boom in the African retail markets, the industry presently makes up less than 5% of the continent’s entire retail markets. There is abundant room to serve the African retail market and make lots of money in the process.

A report on seizing Africa’s Retail opportunity takes an interesting look at the opportunities in the Africa retail markets. According to the report, Nigeria, Rwanda, Namibia, Gabon and Tanzania presently offer the best retail market opportunities in Africa.

#10.  Health Care

Another opportunity to invest and make money, as well as to serve social course in Africa is in the health sector. In Africa, the standard and state of health care facilities and services are still very poor when compared to the standards in America, Asia, and Europe.

The health care industry is a billion dollar industry all over the world and because the need for standard health care increases with age, health care services are always in constant demand. This opens up a huge secondary and tertiary health care service opportunity in Africa.

Many people in Africa, especially politicians and others that have the means usually travel out of the continent in search of standard healthcare service. This is mainly because of the obsolete and unreliable health care facilities on the ground. A good example of an Africa country with obsolete and poor healthcare facilities is Nigeria. Even the president usually travels out to Europe to seek medical attention.

The health care is a wide industry, which comprises of a number of sub-sectors such as:

  • Primary health care
  • Secondary health care
  • Tertiary health care

There are many healthcare business ideas which investors can take advantage of.

It should be noted however that the health care industry is the most strictly regulated because it directly affects human lives. In order to invest in this sector, an investor will need to obtain all the required licenses in addition to fulfilling all other requirements.

 

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