Investing In Africa’s Fast-Rising Economies – Part 1

Image by: Retlaw Snellac
By Steven Morrison II

When most people in America think of Africa they think of starving babies with flies buzzing around their heads, thanks to decades of  well-intentioned TV commercials aimed at reducing hunger on the continent.

Perhaps that negative PR and constant late-night television cries of “help, we can’t even feed our children” has hurt American investment in the long-term. I mean, what investor wants to even pay attention to a market that has more problems than solutions?

Admittedly, the negative publicity affected me. I did not generally think of Africa when I was thinking of investments. Like many of you, it just wasn’t on my radar, in my sights.

But I am here to tell you that the African economy – the big and proud lion that it is – is about to roar.

We Should Have Listened To The Band Toto

OK, now that we’ve gotten to the bottom of why you don’t invest in Africa, let’s talk about why you should.

Well those days of ignoring Africa are over, Money Honey watchers. It should be on your radar now, possibly on the hot sheet. Let’s kick it up a notch. Bam!

The thing is, Africa actually has a lot going for it. Not everyone is starving, chopping off arms or poisoning tigers (all awful things, yes I know). There is a robust continent at work developing new economies just begging for investment. They want what the rest of the world has and they are willing to pay for it.

First off, despite what you hear and see on the news about Africa’s most impoverished and war-torn regions, there are many pockets of great economic growth and success to be found. And much money to be made. According to pro-African business trade group economists, the continent holds 70% of the world’s economies.

It is a massive place, for sure, and one that hasn’t even truly begun to churn, let alone make butter.

African Jet Set

Take for instance the charter jet industry. What? Yes. Turns out, over the past several years, Africa has oh-so-quietly risen as a major player in the private jet set, as reported by CNN.

“Over the next 20 years, we do forecast 810 business jets to be sold into Africa,” Bombardier Business Aircraft’s Robert Habjanic told CNN.

But hold on – there’s an intriguing M. Night-style twist to this growth story. Everybody knows that Africa is very wealthy when it comes to natural resources. The problem is getting them in and out inexpensively so that a profit can be turned.

That is no easy task, seeing as that warlords still hold sway in many countries and the people are often treated like cattle or a nuisance. And there is very little commercial airline traffic to be utilized by shippers. There are trains and trucks, but that’s where the bandits are.

So independent fleets of jets shuttle goods back and forth. Of course this is expensive as compared to the standard cargo boxes and boats method, but it is also a sign that business-minded folks will do whatever it takes to tap into Africa’s hot commodities.

So if a continent that has very little commercial plane travel can suddenly sprout up to be a leader in the business-travel-shipping version of that same market, it goes without saying that surprises are abound in the highly populated, highly volatile and (now) highly profitable continent.

Got your interest? Good. In Part 2, we’ll discuss the sectors that show the most growth potential and are therefore ripe for investment.