A lot of African countries have gone through tumultuous times in their bid to break free of the rot of poverty and ignorance that they have been mired in by their leaders, and a lot of those countries have emerged powerful and stable, and are staking a hold for themselves in the world.
The rich natural resources of countries in this continent, their exploding hardworking population, and huge investment opportunities have made Africa one continent to look to for viable investment opportunities.
Why Invest in Africa? Why Start a Business in Africa?
In 2013, Africa was named the world’s fastest-growing continent as it grew at a rate of 5.6% a year, and its GDP is expected to rise by an average of over 6% yearly between 2013 and 2023. Going further in 2017, the African Development Bank reported Africa to be the world’s second-fastest growing economy, and estimates that average growth will rebound to 3.4% in 2017, while growth is expected to increase by 4.3% in 2018.
Indications of positive economic growth have been very visible throughout the continent, with over one-third of Sub-Saharan African countries posting 6% or higher growth rates, and another 40% growing between 4% to 6% per year. It is also on record that a lot of international business observers have named Africa as the future economic growth engine of the world.
Smart investors are presently going behind the scenes and taking advantage of this positive economic statistics and ratings, and you too can. Granted, doing business in Africa comes with certain risks like corruption, lack of transparency, bureaucracy and the likes, but if you are able to walk your way around these problems, the African continent would provide you better returns than anywhere else in the developed world.
Here are 10 African countries that are just right for investing in 2019.
10 Best African Countries to Invest or Start a Business in 2019
Mauritius is an Island off the coast of east Africa. The country has been transformed from a low-income agricultural based economy into a diversified upper middle-income economy, that has a robustly growing financial, industrial and tourism sectors. All these along with sound economic policies and prudent banking practices has shored up Mauritius’s economic ranking.
Mauritius is ranked 25 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The rank of Mauritius improved to 25 in 2017 from 49 in 2016. Ease of Doing Business in Mauritius averaged 27.20 from 2008 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 49 in 2016 and a record low of 17 in 2009.
The ease of getting building permits and other licenses in Mauritius beats most African countries. It takes just 6 days to start a business, 14 days to register a property and 81 days to be connected to electricity in Mauritius. The country’s efficient and transparent regulatory environment supports relatively broad-based economic development with competitive tax rates and a fairly flexible labor code to facilitate private-sector growth.
In addition to being a hub for financial services, it is also a beautiful island that attracts a large amount of tourism. Foreigners are allowed to own and develop property on the island and automatically qualify for permanent residency if they invest more than $500,000. With the economy of Mauritius showing a steady upward spiral, this is one country to invest with in 2018.
With a population of approximately 95 million, Egypt has a rather stable mixed economy and it enjoys an average growth, averaging 3%–5% in the past quarter-century. The economy embarked on various stages of development during which the public and private sectors played roles that impacted positively on the economy of the country.
Since 2000, the pace of structural reforms, including fiscal, monetary policies, taxation, privatization and new business legislations, helped Egypt move towards a more market-oriented economy and prompted increased foreign investment.
Egypt is currently targeting a 20 percent rise in total investment for 2018-19, up from 646 billion Egyptian pounds ($36.58 billion) targeted for 2017-18. Furthermore, to draw investment and boost growth, Egypt passed a new investment law last year offering great incentives to investors.
Though Egypt went through a period of crisis which negatively affected its economy, but by putting together well targeted polices, the country’s economy rebounded and is growing steadily.
South Africa boasts of a very large economy with a GDP of 354 billion US dollars and with a population of about 50 million people. The country has well-developed infrastructures with efficient financial, legal, energy, telecommunication and transport systems. All these make South Africa a very good country to do business in.
In addition, South Africa has an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world.
Agriculture, mining and manufacturing are the main drivers of the of the country’s economy, while its tourism potentials are not to be neglected as South African tourism sector is equally healthy.
Since the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the country has recovered at an unbelievable pace. In showing how the country has rebounded from its previous woes, Rwanda ranks highly among the most peaceful countries in Africa and among the easiest African countries to do invest in 2018. This high business ranking is due to the fact that some important reforms have been made which has made it more attractive to investors.
The country reduced the percentage of people living below the poverty line from 57% in 2005 to 45% in 2010, and the figure keeps decreasing. Rwanda is presently ranked at 62nd position in the world for ease of doing business, which is not too bad a score.
Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange are tourism, minerals, coffee, tea and export. With rankings such as 33rd in Property Rights and 47th in innovation, Rwanda is the 7th best country for business in Africa. Presently, Rwanda views the reduction in the country’s dependency on foreign aid through domestic resource mobilization and promoting domestic savings as a way of achieving economic independence.
Kenya is home to one of the fastest growing economy in Africa, and the third fastest in the world. The country is located on the eastern shore of Africa and positions itself as a transportation hub and gateway to the continent; and its capital, Nairobi is the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg. It has a population of about 48.5 million.
Major industries driving the economy of the country include; agriculture, forestry and fishing, mining and minerals, industrial manufacturing, energy, tourism and financial services. As of 2015 estimates, Kenya had a GDP of $69.977 billion making it the 72nd largest economy in the world. Per capita GDP was estimated at $1,587.
With strong property rights, a mature, diversified economy, and improving infrastructure, Kenya is one of the top African countries to invest in or in which to start a business.
Ghana is the 12th best country for business in Africa. It has a population of about 28 million. The economy in Ghana is one of the most diversified and strongest in Africa, following a thirty years of relative stability and good governance. Ghana possesses natural resources like industrial minerals, hydrocarbons and precious metals.
Foreign property ownership in Ghana is permitted and real estate prices are still rather reasonable, especially compared with much of the continent. Its capital, Accra, is one of the most livable frontier market cities in the world.
According to World Bank report, Ghana’s economy expanded for the third, successive quarter in March 2017, to 6.6% up from 4.4% the previous year. The industry sector recorded the highest growth of 11.5%, compared to 1.8% in 2016, with significant contributions of this from mining and petroleum. The agriculture sector grew by 7.6%, up from 5% the previous year, driven by good performances in the crops, fisheries, and cocoa sub-sectors.
One of the most stable countries on Africa’s west coast, Ghana is expected to enjoy 32.7% capital growth over the next five years. The country is one of the hubs to look out for in Africa when it comes to investment.
Botswana is quite stable politically and it is a good place to invest and get very good returns on investment even though it has a relatively small population of a little more than 2 million people.
Botswana’s impressive economic record has been built on a foundation of diamond mining, prudent fiscal policies, international financial and technical assistance, and a cautious foreign policy. It is rated the least corrupt country in Africa, according to the international corruption watchdog, Transparency International.
By one estimate, it has the fourth highest gross national income at purchasing power parity in Africa, giving it a standard of living around that of Mexico and Turkey. Another factor going for Botswana is that it has the lowest level of corruption in Africa as well as one of the freest economies. Poverty has also been reduced while education has become widespread in the country.
Though much of Botswana’s economy is based in diamonds and other minerals, but it has a substantial financial reserve and it has equally developed it manufacturing sector, thus diversifying the economy. As its reliance on minerals wanes, there will be opportunities for growth in other areas.
Botswana has attained the highest average growth in the world, which is roughly 9 percent – since its independence from Britain in 1966. The country has brought its GDP per capita from US $70 to $14,000 today, making Botswana an upper-middle income economy, comparable to Chile and Argentina.
Trade is important to Botswana’s economy as the value of exports and imports taken together equals 99 percent of the GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 0.6 percent. The country is ranked 72nd globally for best countries to do business in worldwide.
Tunisia is one of the most peaceful North African countries. It has good infrastructure, well-educated citizens and a Gross Domestic Product of 46.99 Billion US dollars growing at a rate of 2.5%.
According to the US Central Intelligence Agency, Tunisia’s liberal strategy, coupled with investments in education and infrastructure, fueled decades of 4-5% annual GDP growth and improved its living standards. Key exports of the country include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products, chemicals and phosphates, with about 80% of exports bound for Tunisia’s main economic partner, the EU.
The World Bank predicts that economic growth will improve in 2018 and 2019; and as the business climate improves, structural reforms are implemented and security and social stability will increase, thus making Tunisia a country to look out for in 2018.
Morocco is a major player in African economic affairs and because of that, it is considered the 5th African economy by GDP.
Key sectors of the economy include agriculture, tourism, aerospace, automotive, phosphates, textiles, apparel, and subcomponents. Morocco has increased investment in its port, transportation, and industrial infrastructure to position itself as a center and broker for business throughout Africa. Industrial development strategies and infrastructure improvements – most visibly illustrated by a new port and free trade zone near Tangier – are improving Morocco’s competitiveness.
Morocco also seeks to expand its renewable energy capacity with a goal of making renewable energy more than 50% of installed electricity generation capacity by 2030. With their rankings of 17th in Market Performance, 21st in Monetary Freedom and 70th in the Global Competitiveness Report of 2016-2017, Morocco is Africa’s 3rd best country for business.
Namibia is the world’s 5th largest producer of Uranium and has an economy that is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of natural mineral resources for export.
Mining accounts for 11.5% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Marine diamond mining is gaining more importance because their terrestrial diamond supply has dwindled.
The Namibian economy is closely linked to South Africa with the Namibian dollar pegged one-to-one to the South African rand. Namibia is ranked 5th in Market Performance and 55th in Trade Freedom.
For anyone thinking of investing in Uranium or embarking on the business of mining, Namibia is sure the best place to consider.
In conclusion, there are also other economically viable African countries one can invest in as this list is by no means exhaustive. Countries like Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Nigeria etc. also have strong stable economies and are looking for investors to help develop the countries.
The key to becoming a successful investor in Africa is to conduct very detailed research to know which country produces which, what is lacking in them, their economic policies and reforms, as well as political leanings.