BOTSWANA is the most attractive economy for investments flowing into the African continent, according to the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab.
According to the Index, Botswana scores highly based on a range of factors that include improved credit rating, current account ratio, import cover and ease of doing business.
Commenting on the Index, Prof Mthuli Ncube, Head of Quantum Global Research Lab stated: ‘Despite considerable external challenges and the fall in oil prices, many of the African nations are demonstrating an increased willingness to achieve sustainable growth by diversifying their economies and introducing favourable policies to attract inward investments. Botswana is a case in example – its strategic location, skilled workforce and a politically stable environment have attracted the attention of international investors leading to a significant influx of FDI.’
According to the report, the top five African investment destinations attracted an overall FDI of $13.6bn. Morocco was ranked second on the Index based on its increasing solid economic growth, strategic geographic positioning, increased foreign direct investment, import cover ratio, and an overall favourable business environment. Egypt was ranked third due to an increased foreign direct investment and real interest rates, and a growing urban population. The fourth country on the list, South Africa, scored well on the growth factor of GDP, ease of doing business in the country and significant population. Zambia was the fifth country on the list due to its significant domestic investment and access to money supply.
Mthuli further commented: ‘With a population of over one billion people and rapidly growing middle class, Africa clearly offers significant opportunities to invest in the continent’s non-commodities sectors such as financial services, construction and manufacturing amongst others. However, structural reforms and greater private sector involvement are crucial to unlocking Africa’s true potential.’
The report shows the breadth and diversity of African business, with 42 countries across seven major sectors represented. It also highlights strong company performances and the potential for these firms to become the next corporate champions powering Africa’s future economic and social development.
The report identifies 343 companies from 42 African countries as the continent’s most exciting and dynamic small businesses. Companies delivered impressive average compound annual growth rate (revenue) of 16 percent over a three-year period 2013-2015.
Fast-growing companies appear in all regions of Africa. The highest concentration of companies are from West Africa with 31 percent of companies, closely followed by East Africa with 26 percent and Southern Africa with 22 percent.
South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are the countries with the most companies in the publication, each represented by over 50 companies.
Fast-growing companies are present across a wide range of sectors. There is strong representation from innovative industries, with 22 companies in renewable energy and 40 in technology and telecoms.
Oil and gas, construction, manufacturing and chemicals, is the biggest sector , with 23 percent of companies in the report, followed by financial services which includes mobile banking, micro-credit, disruptive technology and Fintech, with 16 percent, indicating that the continent has great promise for both traditional and more recent economic success stories.
The 47 consumer services companies corroborate the trend of burgeoning consumer demand and growth of the middle-class across the entire continent.
The report also highlights the important role of female entrepreneurship: 12 percent of the companies in the report are led by female CEOs, three times the average for companies across Africa.
Company CEOs featured in the report were welcomed to London Stock Exchange Group early April by British MP Priti Patel and Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group, at a special launch event to celebrate African companies’ success, ambition and uniquely African entrepreneurial spirit.
They were also joined by a broad range of Africa-focused investors, as well as senior representatives of African Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC, all partners on the report.
International development secretary, Priti Patel said, ‘London Stock Exchange’s first-ever Companies to Inspire Africa report is proof of the dynamism and vision of the City of London in supporting Africa’s growing economies.
‘Now is the time for UK businesses to seize the opportunities offered by Africa, and the UK Government is supporting the City of London to become the global financial centre for the developing world.
‘This will help Africa industrialise faster, trade more and create millions of jobs, driving the continent forward to a future of prosperity, and helping some of the world’s poorest countries stand on their own two feet.’
Xavier Rolet, chief executive, London Stock Exchange Group said: ‘We are delighted to release the first edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s Companies to Inspire Africa report, which follows the success of our research focused on the UK and European SMEs. For the first time ever, we have identified hundreds of Africa’s most inspirational and dynamic private companies.
‘The report demonstrates the huge role that small and medium sized enterprises are playing as the driving force behind African economies: developing skills, creating high quality jobs and delivering growth.
‘London Stock Exchange has made it our mission for over 300 years to support access to growth capital for small and large companies in all parts of the world. We are proud to play our part in this great economic journey by shining a light on Africa’s success stories. We are also continuing to work in partnership with African stock exchanges to help develop robust, efficient and transparent capital markets to raise finance for companies like the ones listed in this report and thousands of others to realise their potential.’
The report was produced in partnership with African Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC who contributed their expertise to the report, and is sponsored by Citi, Diamond Bank and FTI Consulting.