The conversation about Africa is shifting from one of “deficits” and “gaps” to one about opportunities, prospects, ventures and creativity. That is not news to companies that have paid close attention to the continent and invested there. The fast-growing youth population, the urbanization expected to drive more than 50 percent of Africans to cities by 2050, and Africa’s formalizing economy are all well known. These trends and other developments have driven a half-century or more of growth in Africa and will continue to do so.
It is important to acknowledge that Africa tests an investor’s patience. Time horizons and return models that fit other markets don’t always work there. Even the most experienced, sophisticated companies can be forced to recalibrate, as Nestlé did last year when it announced a 15 percent cut in its workforce across 21 African countries.
Deficits remain. What’s important is that investors