African Business: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya top 3 in foreign investments

Business in Africa keeps growing. We only hope that the growth comes with green and sustainable innovations. The following article was originally posted in Africa Banking Network; Author: Bas Vlogt

International investors choose South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya as the best African countries on the continent for investment in 2011. A survey conducted by Africa Business Panel among 800 business professionals involved with Africa shows that these 3 countries were earmarked as the continent’s favourites when it comes to international investment. Ghana, Angola, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Uganda and Mozambique are the runners up and complete the top ten countries for investment out of 53 economies on the African continent.

Virtually all African economies show promising year-on-year growth. This is attracting the attention of the international investor community who increasingly see Africa as ‘the last frontier’ for attractive growth opportunities. Research and numerous survey results among the international investor community consistently indicate that investors expect over half of the ten fastest growing economies in the world in 2011 to be African.The Africa Business Confidence Index has published a month-on-month business confidence index since January 2011. The index results for Africa based on surveys of 800 business professionals from more than 30 countries on the continent consistently show growth. Calculations are based on the purchase managers index methodology used globally. The outcome of the business confidence index for the African continent is consistent with the trust of the international investor community. The manufacturing business confidence index for May is 53.8 and for non-manufacturing 57.1 for the same month. Any number over 50 indicated growth.

It is no coincidence that the top-10 countries selected by the international investor community in  2011 are all sub-Saharan. Northern Africa has suffered a set back in confidence from investors owing to the political turmoil which started at the beginning of the year.

Another interesting outcome with regard to the most attractive African economies to invest in is the fact that they are among the largest on the continent and – with the exception of Rwanda – non-Francophone. 

The top-10 African countries selected by the international investor community in 2011 in order of preference:

  1. South Africa
  2. Nigeria
  3. Kenya
  4. Ghana
  5. Angola
  6. Tanzania
  7. Rwanda
  8. Botswana
  9. Uganda
  10. Mozambique


Lourens van Niekerk, Senior Manager at Standard Bank, South Africa:

Angola is still growing its economy at a massive speed and with the oil price appreciation it is bound to continue. A distinct lack of certain products and services is growing instead of declining and makes Angola a frontier market of the first order. You should also watch stock exchange developments, construction, green sector and professional services. As far as South Africa is concerned it needs to iron out its strategy after joining the existing BRIC countries, but its inclusion will surely result in increased trade. Using South Africa as a springboard into the rest of Africa is an attractive option for investors and I expect to see government initiatives to encourage this. Ghana’s economic and political stability persists as commercial oil production comes on stream for the first time. Trade with its neighboring giant Nigeria is key and Accra  is an attractive commercial centre to conduct business from with West Africa.

Ogo Ibok, CEO at Skill Enhancement Centre (SENCE), NIGERIA:

Nigeria has a huge population with a huge potential for growth, despite the infrastructural challenges, the opportunities for investors cannot be over estimated. Ghana is an emerging market, with a stable government. The country is attracting a lot of attention and with the recent oil activities there are vast  opportunities for investors. Rwanda is now one of Africa’s major success stories and is growing in leaps and bounds. The government has shown it is serious and determined about rebuilding its economy after the tragic events that took place in the past. Who does not want to be associated with success?

Nicholas Sowden, Business Development Manager at ToughStuff, KENYA:

The Kenyan economy is growing at a blazing rate and has done so for the last 3 years. We expect this to continue into next year. Nairobi as the regional hub for East Africa is becoming more important with the integration of the East Africa Community. For this reason dozens of companies are moving their regional and continental head quarters to Nairobi supported by the ease of travel and a pleasant lifestyle. This means that industries such as Construction, real estate and services to corporations are growing steadily and will continue to do so. Additionally, Kenya is taking advantage of Southern Sudan’s likelihood of joining the East African Community by creating a port in Lamu. This is further boost Kenya’s regional importance over the next several decades. Anyone interested in mobile and ICT technology will be drawn to Kenya. Its leading when comes to software developers, computer science colleges, incubators like i-Hub and others. Finally, the phenomenal success of the mobile payment system Mpesa will attract others who are interested in the opportunities offered by a country where a majority of the people now use their mobile phones for monetary transactions. In terms of entrepreneurship, Nairobi is and will continue to be one of the best environments for innovation in Africa. 3 great schools are turning out qualified engineers, computer scientists and business students. These graduates are getting jobs with successful companies and learning quickly. For the first time we’re seeing a bounty of talented young professionals in Africa taking risks by starting their own businesses or returning home from abroad to start businesses.’


About the Africa Business Panel

Africa Business Panel generates reliable indices on business developments and economic outlook in Africa. In doing so, Africa Business Panel wishes to contribute to the continent’s business reputation and produce in-depth market research data for governments, the business community and international organizations. Africa Business Panel provides intelligent matches for African business professionals with the rest of the world which results in promising business opportunities.

Join the Panel

Business professionals based in Africa are invited to join the Africa Business Panel. As a member of the Panel your insights and opinions directly contribute to the Africa Business Confidence Index. Panel members benefit by participating: the outcome of the survey results are shared with Panel members directly and in greater detail than with non-members.

All surveys are permission based, allowing you to decide when and to what degree you wish to participate. Your personal details are treated strictly confidential by the Africa Business Panel. No personal information is ever published or sold to third parties. If you qualify, please go to www.africabusinesspanel.com and click on Register and shine your light on the business climate in Africa.

For more information:

Africa Business Panel/NarrowMinds

Martin de Koning

+31 655 82 24 09

Van Heenvlietlaan 220

1083 CN Amsterdam

The Netherlands

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