With the eurozone again teetering on the brink of contraction and meagre growth forecast for much of the year, the need to expand the UK’s trading horizons to higher-growth markets in order to ensure long-term growth has never been more apparent.
And whilst this need is increasingly recognised by business and by government, much of the focus lies on the giants of the high-growth markets: namely Brazil, Russia, India and China. Though these economies will doubtless be crucial to the future of the UK economy, the African continent poses countless opportunities for proactive entrepreneurs and investors.
Below are just three examples, from an increasingly diverse list, of high-growth African economies home to countless opportunities.
Having suffered a turbulent economic history since independence, Ghana has enjoyed a relative stability since ‘Junior Jesus’ Rawlings seized, and was later voted, into power in 1981 and 1992 respectively. The country’s consistently high economic growth since the 1990s has lifted Ghana into ‘medium’ state in the UN’s human development index- the only West African state to have done so.
Two-way trade between Ghana and the UK is on the increase, and UK Trade and Investment are active in the country:
UK business interests in Ghana continue to grow and our export figures demonstrate year on year growth… The Ghanaian economy is growing rapidly and there are many opportunities for doing business here.
The country also enjoys considerable more economic freedom than more popular export markets. Whilst Brazil, Russia, India and China are ranked 99th, 144th, 123rd and 138th worldwide in the Heritage Foundation’s annual economic freedom index, Ghana’s more open economy scores
- Population 25.2m
- GDP growth rate: 13.5%
- Imports: $14.03bn
- Exports: $13.13bn
Although its powerful economy remains mired by corruption and sectarian instability, Nigeria remains among Africa’s most dynamic places of business. It is home to the continent’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, whose business empire ranges from cement to logistics and spreads its influence across the continent.
Significantly, the current president Goodluck Jonathon has, since 2008, embraced a host of measures to curb corruption and boost domestic manufacturing. Part of these reforms include a more robust regulatory system intended to boost 2-way investment, paving the way for entrepreneurial companies looking to invest or trade.
Crucially, the country has a long history of business with the UK, who is its second largest non-African investor, as well as a widespread use of English.
- Population 170m
- GDP growth rate: 6.9%
- Imports: $67.36
- Exports: $101bn
Despite being locked into a long and bloody proxy war between the USSR and US that later collapsed into a decade of anarchic civil war, since cease fire in 2002 Angola has delivered some of the world’s highest levels of growth. The country’s economy swelled by more than a quarter in 2005 alone and achieved double-digit growth for much of the past decade. However, growth remains largely due to oil exports and recently the country’s growth rate has slowed markedly to near 4%.
Whilst UKTI acknowledges significant barriers to doing business in Angola do exist, there remains significant and lucrative scope for trade. Further, the UK is the country’s second largest investor and the current £3bn annual sum forecast to rise further.
-GDP Growth rate: 3.9%
By Maximilian Clarke, Fresh Business Thinking