By JAMES MUYANWA –
ZAMBIA’s economic growth is likely to outpace that of China over the next five year, hence the continued influx of investments into the southern African country.
According to the latest Africa Business Brief, Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania are among 15 African countries, which are likely to surpass the Chinese economic growth.
Zambia and 14 other African countries are currently where South East Asia was some 30 years ago – at the threshold of the consumer boom.
The report indicates that with high growth economies like China, India and Brazil showing signs of slowing, the businesses are increasingly focusing on the 15 fast growing markets of Africa to offset the reduction.
Three years ago a leading international auditing firm in a report devoted to sub-Saharan Africa qualified its generally positive assessment of the continent with what it described as three challenges.
Africa needed to turn around international perceptions of the continent; it needed to accelerate regional integration; and eliminate the infrastructure deficit.
In the last three years, Zambia has heavily invested in the various infrastructure development particularly road and railway works.
Poor infrastructure, it was felt, was a major contribution to Africa’s under-development.
A new report from business advisory firm Deloitte agrees with that saying that now is the time for businesses to invest in Africa and those that wait too long risk missing out.
Africa presents many opportunities and is relatively untapped by both the United Kingdom (UK) businesses and investors, particularly in the emerging consumer sector.
Deloitte East Africa advisory leader Rodger George is quoted as saying that:
“Despite the many infrastructural challenges that Africa faces, Africans have shown they are willing to innovate. For example, Africans have leapfrogged poor or no fixed line infrastructure and moved straight to mobile, which has seen the fastest growth in the world over the last five years.”
The report notes that despite significant growth prospects, Africa remains complex and carries risk.
There are 54 countries with different markets and challenges, and issues like poor governance, a lack of infrastructure, fragile security and unreliable logistics can make strategic planning difficult.
However, Africa is making progress, with widespread democracy and fewer conflicts suggesting the dominant trend is positive.