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Africa is the world’s next big growth market – McKinsey report

Africa is the world’s next big growth market – McKinsey report

Johannesburg, 20 November 2018 — A new book by McKinsey postulates that Africa is poised for economic acceleration similar to the Asian boom, offering a trillion-dollar opportunity to industrialize to meet rising domestic demand and create a bridge-head in global export markets.

In Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market (Harvard Business Review Press), Acha Leke, Mutsa Chironga, and Georges Desvaux detail the research that McKinsey & Company has done into Africa’s future growth prospects.

The conclusions they draw are distilled from 3000 McKinsey client engagements, in-depth proprietary research and interviews with 40 of Africa’s most prominent business and development leaders. The authors reveal how companies can better understand the African market and seize the opportunities for building profitable, sustainable businesses.

Major trends hint at explosive growth

Africa has a fast-growing, rapidly urbanizing population with big unmet needs. This means there is a trillion-dollar opportunity to industrialize Africa, to meet rising domestic demand and create a bridge-head in global export markets. In addition, there has been a big push by governments and the private sector to close infrastructure gaps. There is a continued resource abundance in agriculture, mining, and oil and gas, with innovation and investment in these sectors unlocking new production on the continent. The rapid adoption of mobile and digital technologies could leapfrog Africa past many obstacles to growth.

Leke and Desvaux, both Senior McKinsey Partners and Chironga, an executive at Nedbank, said “With over 400 African companies earning annual revenues of US$1 billion or more, we can identify what works. The highly successful businesses are often African companies, but many are entrepreneurial firms with Western, Indian, or Chinese founders. The most consistently profitable businesses demonstrate a higher tolerance for risk, are eager to adapt their products, production and distribution for African consumers, and commit to investing and building their businesses for the long-term.”

African success stories

The book examines several examples of African businesses that have translated opportunities into enduring business value. For instance, it shows how the Nigerian conglomerate, Dangote Industries, serves regional markets through import substitution and improved margins through vertical integration.

South African retail giant, Shoprite, adapted its supply chain and distribution centres for local logistics.

SABMiller created products for regional tastes and invested heavily in multiple markets and skills transfer.

Technology driven start-up, Kenya’s M-Kopa, is providing mobile money financed off-grid solar energy kits.

The authors also studied global companies that have succeeded in Africa for decades, like Coca-Cola, GE, and Total.

Four imperatives to achieve long-term sustainable growth

Leke, Chironga and Desvaux believe that building a successful business in Africa requires a long-term approach and four essential practices:

* Mapping an Africa strategy – setting a clear aspiration, prioritising markets, defining how to achieve scale and relevance and creating an ecosystem to thrive.

* Innovating business models – truly engaging with customers, creating products and services to fulfill unmet needs, getting lean to drive down costs and price points, and harnessing technology.

* Build resilience for the long term – riding out short-term volatility, diversifying portfolios, integrating up and down the value chain, understanding local context and engaging with governments.

* Unleashing talent – developing skills in frontline workers, creating robust talent development processes and harnessing the power of women’s advancement.

“At the heart of these four imperatives is a commitment to doing well by doing good. We have had the privilege of meeting and working with many remarkable business leaders from around the world. What has struck us time and again is how many of them are driven by a deeper purpose. They look closely at Africa’s high levels of poverty; its gaps in infrastructure, education and healthcare, and its governance problems. But they don’t just see barriers to business – they see human issues they feel responsible for solving. They show us that contributing to the social and economic development of the countries within which their thriving businesses operate creates value for both shareholders and stakeholders,” commented Leke. (APO)


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