10 Business Opportunities in Africa That Will Make More Millionaires in 2015
by John-Paul Iwuoha and Dr. Harnet Bokrezion, authors of 101 Ways to Make Money In Africa
It’s true there are lots of amazing business opportunities in Africa. However, it can be confusing to spot the best ones, especially if you don’t know where to look.
‘The best place to find gold is to look where it’s been found before.’
The opportunities in this article have created some of the biggest successes Africa has ever seen. If you want to increase your chances of building a successful business in Africa in 2015, these opportunities could make your dream come true.
Let’s meet them…
1. Media and Entertainment
Africa’s film industry has become a global and cultural phenomenon that enjoys a huge following within and outside the continent. It’s no surprise that it is currently the third largest in the world behind Hollywood and India’s “Bollywood”.
’30 Days in Atlanta’ is a Nigerian romantic comedy film that was released in late 2014. Africa releases hundreds of films every year but this one has totally changed the game. Just seven weeks after its release, ’30 Days in Atlanta’ grossed over $500,000! It’s the largest revenues ever made by a single African movie! This is great news for the continent and a sign of more high-grossing blockbusters to come!
2. Food & Agribusiness
The opportunities in Africa’s food and agribusiness space remain huge and will not be going out of fashion anytime soon. With over one billion people to feed, Africa’s food and agribusiness market is a multi-billion dollar opportunity for entrepreneurs who know where to look.
Food production is still a huge and breathtaking opportunity. Grains, milk and all sorts of raw and semi-processed agro products are still imported into Africa even though the continent has an enormous capacity to produce these. Entrepreneurs who can produce food products locally could reap very huge rewards.
Africa’s retail market is going through a monumental shift. Retail is gradually moving away from informal trading in open markets to organized retail in shopping malls and online stores. Africa’s homegrown supermarket chains like Shoprite, Game, Woolworths and Nakumatt are entering more countries and spreading fast across the continent.
The growth in Africa’s online retail market is more breathtaking. Jumia.com, one of Africa’s fastest growing online retail businesses, is now worth more than $500 million. With a presence in several African countries including Egypt, Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria, Jumia is now regarded as the “Amazon of Africa.”
According to McKinsey, the global business consulting giant, Africa’s eCommerce market could be worth $75 billion by 2020. Rwanda, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Gabon currently provide the biggest retail opportunities in Africa.
4. Fashion & Beauty
Africa’s fashion and beauty market is developing at an impressive pace. The continent’s overwhelmingly young population provides a ready market for trendy fashion. All kinds of apparel, including locally-made fabrics and imported designer labels have become hot-selling products across Africa’s rapidly expanding urban areas.
Africa has hundreds of rising stars who are building successful businesses in the fashion and beauty industry. The list of promising African entrepreneurs who are building successful businesses in the fashion industry is quite impressive. This would be an interesting industry to watch in 2015.
5. Real Estate
The demand for both residential and commercial real estate continues to grow across Africa. However, there is still a huge accommodation shortage.
In countries like Nigeria, for example, over 16 million new houses need to be built to solve the serious housing problem. The estimated cost of providing these homes stands at a whopping $350 billion!
The opportunities in Africa’s real estate market include investing in land and real estate (properties) to take advantage of fast rising property prices. There is also lucrative potential in developing middle and low-income housing and office space for sale, lease or rent.
6. Internet & Tech
Africa’s Internet & Tech space will be a joy to watch in 2015. Tech hubs and incubators are springing up across the continent from Accra (Ghana) to Lagos (Nigeria), Jo’burg (South Africa) and Nairobi (Kenya). These hubs have become Africa’s “Silicon Valley” and continue to produce the best tech innovators and entrepreneurs Africa has ever seen.
Last year, the acquisition of Saya, a mobile messaging phone app developed by two young entrepreneurs from Ghana, made the headlines. This simple app for feature phones, which was created in 2011, started to replace SMS texting and became an instant hit in West Africa and even in faraway India!
7. The Green Revolution
Around the world, the appetite for green and eco-friendly products and services is growing quite rapidly. Due to the threats of climate change, any solution that preserves the natural environment, reduces waste and pollution, and promotes reuse and recycling have become huge business opportunities.
In Ethiopia, Solerebels has become the world’s first truly eco-friendly footwear brand. In Tanzania, Patrick Ngowi, has built a multi-million dollar business from solar power. Biogas production from organic waste is also another growing opportunity in Africa.
The Green Revolution will definitely be an interesting space to watch in 2015!
8. Building and Construction Supplies
Africa is going through a construction boom, an opportunity that will certainly create a lot of wealth for entrepreneurs on the continent.
It’s no surprise that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is heavily invested in the cement business. Cement is one of the most important construction materials and Africa used to spend billions of dollars to import it.
Cement is just one example of several building and construction supplies that are growing in demand across Africa. Steel, timber, plumbing and electrical supplies are huge too!
9. Financial services
More than 50 percent of Africans still don’t have access to formal financial services and a huge number of transactions are still done in cash. Entrepreneurs who can provide simple, easy and convenient solutions will be well rewarded.
One interesting startup to watch in this space in 2015 is Nigeria’s SimplePay. This platform, which provides payment solutions to online merchants in Nigeria has already attracted over $300,000 in investments and plans to raise up to $10 million this year. If all goes well, SimplePay could become the PayPal of Nigeria, and could make its young founder a millionaire!
With slow economic growth in North America and Europe, more investment is pouring into fast emerging regions like Africa. In search for higher returns, more investors are now looking to invest in Africa. Whether you plan to funnel funds into Africa’s stock markets or invest directly in African startups, the potential for high reward has never looked better.
Towards the end of last year, a Nigerian billionaire investor, Tony Elumelu, committed to invest $100 million in African startups and entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. This is just one of several ambitious investment initiatives that will create tremendous opportunities and wealth for entrepreneurs who can exploit them.
There’s never been a better time to invest in Africa’s future!