Globally, business recognizes Africa as a region with enormous potential: It has a wealth of natural resources with a gross domestic product that exceeds the GDP in India and Russia. Africa has more middle-income households than India, and in two years will produce 13 percent of the world's oil. Among the world's fastest growing economies from 2001 to 2010, six were African countries, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Moses Kgosana, Chief Executive, KPMG in South Africa, and Chairman and Senior Partner, KPMG Africa Ltd., pointed to higher than average growth forecasts for Africa for 2011 as a motivating factor for investors to look at African markets. "It is estimated that the Sub-Saharan African economy will grow by 5.3 percent in 2011, with individual economies – such as Nigeria and Angola projected to grow at over 7 percent. Clearly, there is increasing confidence in Africa's economic potential as a collection of diverse emerging markets with much to offer the global economy."
But Buckle advises that first-time investors in Africa should approach armed with knowledge to help them navigate the complexities of doing profitable and sustainable business there. Challenges include power shortages, the need for higher education standards to create a more skilled workforce, and the need for better infrastructure.
"It’s incredibly important to have people working with you who know these markets," Buckle says. "You must research, learn, and listen. Show real cultural sensitivity and build relationships."
"We are able to serve clients in any of the 54 countries that make up Africa today," Kgosana says. "We have the capability to be where clients are and offer them a blend of local knowledge and skills. And our commitment to the continent speaks volumes. We've continuously anticipated change and work to recruit and train the best talent."