Here are 9 reasons why Africa is topping long-term investors’ agenda. According to press releases Eddy Njoroge, Chairman of the Nairobi Securities Exchange, told this week’s African Securities Exchanges Association conference in Kenya they are:
1. Recent research by economists indicates that 9 of the 20 fastest-growing economies are in Africa.
2. A recent report by Deloitte states that Africa’s economy will grow from $1.1 trillion to $3.9trn in the next 5 years.
3. The value of exports from Africa has risen from $170 billion in the late 90’s to $800bn last year. Africa is the only continent to have a trade surplus with China which would probably explain why several Chinese firms are setting up shop on the continent.
4. According to the African Development Bank, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into African economies will reach a record $80bn this year, with most of the money being directed to countries without natural resources but which nevertheless present attractive opportunities in other diverse sectors.
5. Today, Africa is the second most populous continent on earth with a current estimated population of 1.12bn. The Washington-based Population Research Bureau estimates that this population would more than double to 2.4 bn by 2050, with sub-Saharan Africa making up a headcount of 2.2bn.
6. Currently, the African middle class is estimated at 123 million with a projected rise to 1.1bn by 2060. Investor and philanthropist George Soros has termed this demographic shift as “the world’s fastest growing middle class.”
7. Infrastructure has played key part in Africa’s recent economic transformation and will need to play an even greater role if the continent’s development targets are to be realised. Africa’s largest infrastructure deficit is to be found in the power sector. The 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa less South Africa (with a combined population of about 780m people) generate roughly the same amount of power as Norway (with a population of 5m).
8. It is estimated that Africa’s infrastructural investment requirement will be $38bn per year and a further $37bn for operations and maintenance- an overall price tag of $75bn per annum. This translates into some 12% of Africa’s GDP. There is currently a funding gap of US$35bn per year.
Njoroge said Africa’s securities exchanges are key: “The conference gives us the opportunity to tell our own success stories; the story of an Africa that is on the rise and how we, the capital market practitioners, can transform a potential into a reality while ensuring that at all times, the fruits of economic success are widely shared across the population… Strengthening stock exchanges to support our capital-markets ecosystem will fuel economic growth. The Nairobi Securities Exchange will continue to work together with other stock exchanges strengthening Kenya’s position as East Africa’s financial services hub.”