Africa: Looking Ahead

By Friday February 3rd, 2017 Investment

Now that 2017 is fully under way, we are checking in to let you know what we’re thinking and what we are focusing on this year.

Here are a few key points for 2017:

1)      Technology changes everything. Social media prevents dictators from operating in the dark. Rapid data transfers bring African business into the modern age and allow innovation to flourish. Electronic payments and mobile money keep cash from going astray. Financial services, healthcare, agribusiness, education, and commerce are all enabled by technology—positioning these sectors to develop and prosper.

2)      Agribusiness is poised to change economies. Serious investment in fertilizer and seeds, irrigation, post-harvest storage and processing, and improved productivity should yield higher farm incomes, stronger consumer spending, and improved overall economic performance.

3)      Power is starting to come onstream, including gas-fired, renewables, and captive/distributed generation. Access to power is critical to boosting economic growth and productivity, and improving African competitiveness across the board.

4)      Countries in the mix: Nigeria faces strong headwinds but we remain confident in the long-term outlook for this dynamic market of over 170 million people. Kenya benefits from a diverse economy and an increasingly integrated region—offset by misguided rules capping bank interest rates, which are pinching growth. We have travelled to 15 African nations including Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, the DRC, Angola, South Africa, and others—each has different drivers and risks, as outlined in our detailed reports.

5)      Challenges: currency weakness and lack of access to forex is a serious issue for commodity exporters. Global funds flows may work against the continent, but a rising level of domestic funding is being mobilized based on liberalization of pensions and higher personal savings. Policy missteps and unfriendly business climates still present barriers to entry.

6)      What’s next? In 2016, we traveled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, and Zambia. Information from these trips is still highly relevant. We are heading to Ghana and Nigeria next week. We intend to return to the continent on a regular basis in 2017 to meet companies, policymakers and sources, refresh our knowledge, and generate ideas and insights for clients.

Let us know if you’d like to set up a call to discuss how we can support your team’s work.

We are a Valuable Resource. Our clients tap into our deep knowledge and vast network, global experience, creative matchmaking, and skill at helping sophisticated executives and investors quickly get up to speed on why Africa matters—and how—for their business.

Now is the Time to Sharpen your Africa Strategy.  Even if you’re not actively putting funds to work directly on the continent, this is the time to build your knowledge. If you run a global portfolio or operate a global business, Africa matters to you already. African markets are growing rapidly and the competitive dynamics on the continent may have broad repercussions for companies in different industry groups.


What Makes Us Valuable to You?

1)       We get information directly from our own sources. 5-6 trips/year to Africa, over 40 trips since 2007.

2)       We bring a global perspective: 25+ years’ experience in global equity research, extensive frontier and EM work, massive network of sources.

3)       Covering sectors that matter to global investors and companies: industrials/infrastructure/power, consumer, agribusiness, tech/telecom, financial services, healthcare.

4)       We save you time and money: our business intelligence offers hard-to-find information, analysis, and insight– all based on our own legwork. Commentary on public and private companies, local and multinational names.

5)       We are connectors. Need to talk to a source on a key issue? Looking for a local partner or insight into a particular market works? We have about 10,000 names in our database—let us connect you to people on the front lines of African business.

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