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The "Big five " trends that will affect business in Africa

‘Africa’s Business Revolution’, published by Harvard Business Review Press and endorsed by major business and world leaders, was launched on 8 November 2018 at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

The authors’ research includes a survey of more than 1,000 business practitioners all over the world. They also interviewed scores of successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders of development institutions, including the president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina.

The authors identified 'The Big Five' trends that will affect business on the continent:

1. Africa's population is young, fast-growing and urbanising

Half of its people are under the age of 20. In Rwanda, 75% of the population is younger than 30. Africa will account for one-fifth of the world's population by 2050, with 24 million of those moving to cities every year, with their incomes doubling or tripling in urban settings.

2. An industrial revolution is looming

In less than 10 years, Africa's manufacturing output will reach US$2 trillion. The region is also becoming more wage-competitive than China and India. In 2001, the average Chinese worker was paid 43 cents per hour, but now he or she earns US$2.88 an hour. That figure is well above the wages in many sub-Saharan countries.

3. African infrastructure is improving, thanks to public-private partnerships

Infrastructure spending totaled US$80 billion in 2015 - more than double the annual average at the beginning of the century. This increase is comes from government spending, development institutions and private investors.

4. Untapped resources

The authors cite the example of a highly successful agricultural project in Nigeria, which has assisted around 20,000 farmers, and aims to benefit up to 5 million people.

5. Technology

Technology will add US$300 billion to Africa's economy. Half the world's mobile bank accounts are in Africa, a sign of how the continent has leapfrogged the rest of the world with its own unique use of technology.

Another interesting fact is that there are 400 African companies that generate US$1 billion per year. And while these companies are on average more profitable than their global peers, they are also growing at a faster rate.