Despite slowdown, 'Africa Rising' still has long-term potential

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The ‘Africa Rising’ story may still be a viable concept, but mostly for those who are willing to make the long-term investment in the continent, this is according to Geoffrey White, Agility Africa CEO speaking from the World Economic Forum currently underway in Davos, Switzerland.

Despite the slowdown on the continent, White says he sees an increasing appetite to invest into Africa globally.

“I think it depends really on your time profile for your investments, I think there’s a growing interest from people who have a five to ten year view of what they want to be investing in to actually go to Africa.

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An interest which he reckons stems from two points;

            1. “People beginning to understand the opportunities and the growth and the demographics and the burgeoning consumers within Africa.”

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            2. “The volatility around the world means that companies are looking for alternative places where they can build businesses and grow and Africa, the one thing you cannot deny, is a dynamic expanding.”

White explains how the African market will be growing for the next 20 years, unlike a lot of parts in the developed world which are starting to slow down, and “not as buoyant as they are in Africa”.

The fourth industrial revolution, technology and Africa

“I think Africa has got a great track record, if you look at cell phones for example, of accepting new technology and coming from a low base is able to do a massive quantum leap and step into new technology very happily.

White says this is partly because it’s a young and growing population which is where the fourth industrial revolution ties in; he reckons this will give Africa the ability to develop.

“There are real opportunities for them to embrace the new technology that is here in Davos and actually use that as a way to leverage growth and leverage development.” 

Expansion plans for Agility Africa in West Africa

“We operate logistics for our customers all around the world, from the USA to Europe, to the Far East and we had a lot of feedback saying, ‘why can’t we have the same facilities and infrastructure to support our businesses in Africa that you do around the world?’”

Hence they will be expanding a network of distribution in parts of the continent.

“The first one opens at the end of March in Ghana, we are thrilled with the interest and a number of people already taking space.”

The response has been positive in that not only connecting companies through an international gateway but also getting encouragement from Ghanaian companies who want to use the platform too.

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