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Winning in Africa

Surging economies, rising incomes, and expanding urbanization are creating a new consumer class in Africa. Buying power on the continent is growing, and there’s a hunger for products and services. With a population topping 1 billion that speaks more than 2,100 languages, the continent is tough to categorize. But a vast amount of untapped potential awaits.

The Key Drivers of Growth in Africa

Awareness of the Africa opportunity is one thing. Winning in Africa is another. Many companies that have operated there for decades have learned the hard lessons that await newcomers, who do not necessarily know how much to expect, where to start, or how to succeed. Implementing the right plan now to build their Africa capabilities by 2020 will help companies achieve success on the continent.

Companies that want to win need to address at least five realities:

  1. Despite the operational challenges, the time to enter is now. But
  2. The continent is a collection of different markets, cultures, borders, and trade and financial agreements, but they all require vastly different approaches to strategy and organization. Companies need to address Africa’s diversity.
  3. More than in most other emerging markets, talent and market knowledge are in short supply, and political, economic, and governance risks remain. Companies must build 2020 Africa capabilities now.
  4. An African consumer class is emerging and starting to reach critical mass. Companies must understand these consumers and develop products, services, and brands that resonate with them.
  5. African leaders are working to improve their nations’ economic and social infrastructure. Companies should determine how they can help countries achieve their development goals while also making a profit. They need to commit to Africa.
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