Summary of The Next Africa

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  • Analytical
  • Concrete Examples
  • Eye Opening


Africa experts Jake Bright and Aubrey Hruby lament Westerners’ misconceptions about the massive continent. They communicate what they see as a compelling growth story unfolding in a place Westerners often disregard. They look past the headlines about war and humanitarian crises to explore Africa’s emerging middle class, burgeoning stock and bond markets, and halting but impressive steps to join the global economy. If you seek outsized gains for your investment portfolio or growth in your corporate balance sheet, they advise, take a look at sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria boasts an expanding middle class, South Africa enjoys explosive stock market growth and Rwanda courts a wave of foreign investment. Skeptics will be forgiven for finding this analysis too full of cheerleading. The smart money says that civil strife will split African nations, that the region’s growing public debt will yield bond defaults, and that its informal economies, weak regulatory schemes and spotty infrastructure cannot produce double-digit growth. Bright and Hruby advise moving past the criticism and focusing instead on Africa’s wealth of opportunities.

About the Authors

Jake Bright is a Whitehead Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association. Aubrey Hruby is a senior adviser to investors and Fortune 500 companies doing business in Africa.



For Africa’s Economy, A New Image

In 2010, McKinsey & Company issued an optimistic report on Africa, “Lions on the Move.” The consulting firm projected sharp economic growth and calculated that Africa’s gross domestic product in 2008 totaled $1.6 trillion, matching the economic output of Brazil and Russia. In early 2011, The Economist compiled a list showing Africa as home to six of the world’s fastest-growing economies from 2001 to 2010, with Angola’s 11.1% leading the way. McKinsey’s report dispelled old notions about Africa’s economy being dependent on commodities. Wholesale and retail trade, transportation, telecommunications and manufacturing drive today’s African growth.

These reports recast Africa as a center of economic opportunity and emerging growth. The bullish sheen sparked new interest on Wall Street, which hosted a spate of panel discussions and investor conferences. Investors and corporate leaders globally could look past Africa’s war and poverty to see a growing cohort of consumers.

A Massive, Varied Land

Westerners tend to misconstrue Africa as monolithic. To the uninformed, the 2014...

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