Untapped Business Opportunities in Africa: Blessed with a favourable climate for agriculture, wealth of natural resources, wildlife, improved macroeconomic policies, etc., Africa is a continent with great economic potential. Moreover, given the recent economic boost across the continent, Africa has revealed its readiness to accommodate new businesses. Thus, it’s undoubtedly an excellent location for investment.
Although Africa is already a hub of commercial activity, there are still many untapped business prospects on the continent. Understanding the African market is essential to successfully benefiting, from the abundance of unexplored business opportunities the continent offers. This article explores the untapped business opportunities in Africa.
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Top 8 Untapped Business Opportunities/Idea in Africa
1. Agriculture and agribusiness: Due to its favourable environment and enough rainfall, Africa is an excellent location for establishing an agricultural enterprise. Africa’s agricultural exports, such as cocoa, coffee, and tea, are well-known. Therefore, it is clear that one of Africa’s undiscovered business potential is agriculture.
You could start a chicken farm and either export or sell the eggs locally. You can also purchase dairy or meat cattle. Having a milk processing plant will be beneficial since it will allow you to process value-added dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese. In Africa, fish farming is an incredibly lucrative business.
Africa has a large supply of raw materials that can be used to make food, medicines, and other conveniences. Food production remains a massive and spectacular opportunity. Despite the continent’s enormous capacity to produce grains, milk, and other raw and semi-processed agricultural products, these are nevertheless imported into Africa.
Businesses that can produce food products locally stand to gain enormous benefits. Agriculture/Agribusiness has a ready market, and Africa’s climate is favourable. Given the present issues several Asian nations are facing, investing in agriculture in Africa is becoming a fantastic alternative.
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2. Cybersecurity Business: Cybersecurity breaches cost African businesses more than $3.5 billion annually. Cybersecurity is currently one of the most significant new business prospects in Africa due to the possible losses and damages at stake.
Attacks are being made against people and organisations of all sizes. The attacks range from straightforward email scams to extensive data theft, fraud, ransomware, espionage, critical infrastructure disruption, and other complex deeds.
Up to 96% of cybersecurity incidents in Africa go unreported or unresolved, per the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies, suggesting that the actual level of cyber threats on the continent is probably much higher than what government data suggest.
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3. Internet Access and Communication technology: The African internet market is valued in the billions of dollars. Hence, the fact that digital behemoths like Google and Facebook are making significant efforts to enhance internet access for millions of Africans is not surprising. Project Loon by Google and Free Basics by Facebook are just some of the many bold initiatives to connect Africa.
But some clever African businesspeople are already making substantial strides in the internet access sector. One example is “BRCK,” a Kenyan enterprise that has created a durable internet modem device for challenging settings with limited power and internet access. The modem has an eight-hour battery life and can switch between Ethernet, WiFi, 3G, and 4G networks.
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4. Off-Grid Solar Installation and Power Supply Business: While policymakers in Europe and North America debate what energy transition strategy is best for their respective countries, Africa presents a blank canvas for renewable energy, particularly solar. The battle to distribute solar energy throughout Africa has developed into a billion-dollar market that draws entrepreneurs and investors from both within and outside the continent. Solar energy is currently one of the most alluring business prospects in Africa due to the immense potential for off-grid solar solutions. And there is a high level of demand.
Over 600 million Africans are tired of waiting for electricity from centrally controlled power networks that are slow to deploy, inefficient, and unresponsive to the continent’s growing power demands. And, in a continent with over 300 days of sunshine in many areas, it’s tough to match the value proposition of a gadget that bypasses the central power system and meets your energy needs by directly tapping into the sun, a free energy source.
Solar firms such as M-Kopa, Offgrid Electric, Azuri, Mobisol, Lumos, GLP, and others are strategically entering Africa’s off-grid solar energy industry in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, and have accrued approximately $1 billion in funding thus far. As more funding and businesses compete to meet Africa’s enormous demand for off-grid solar solutions, this will surely be an exciting sector to watch out for.
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5. Outsourcing: Currently, a multibillion-dollar global business, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is anticipated to reach $52 billion in market size by 2023, growing at an annual rate of 11%. The increasing dominance of e-commerce and the digital economy is fueling a need among businesses for more data, real-time services, and a presence across several platforms. As a result, more enterprises are outsourcing their accounting, data processing, customer service, human resources, and supply chain requirements.
While India and the Philippines have profited from an increase in IT outsourcing demand in the United States and the United Kingdom, Africa has emerged as a prominent actor in BPO for the global Francophone market.
BPO companies are rapidly expanding in Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Mauritius, and Madagascar. Morocco, Africa’s BPO market leader, employs virtually 70,000 people in this sector. In Madagascar, the number of BPOs has expanded from a few in 2005 to 233 in 2018.
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6. Data Storage Business Opportunity: More data is being generated due to developments in information and communication technology. As there is limited room to store the ever-increasing volume of digital content, there is an increasing demand for data storage services.
Business owners can provide organisations or individual users with cloud-based backup options. Another suggestion is to offer internet-based file-sharing services where users can share their data storage.
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7. Untapped E-commerce Business: The e-commerce industry is yet another potentially profitable unexplored business opportunity in Africa. E-commerce is booming in Africa as a result of increased internet access and mobile phone adoption.
The young population in Africa is another factor making eCommerce a great business prospect there. These young Africans are always online, particularly on their smartphones. They are more trend-aware and have a lot of extra money to spend on the newest styles of clothing or whatever they see online. There are numerous prospects for those interested in the E-commerce sector. Accepting online payments from clients in local currencies is one suggestion.
8. Urban Logistics Solution: An increasing number of Africans are relocating to urban areas(cities and metropolitan regions). Africa is currently the world’s fastest-urbanising continent, with up to 1 billion people forecast to live in urban settings by 2050.
By 2030, it is believed that Africa will have 17 cities with populations of more than five million people, as well as 90 cities with populations of at least one million. Moreover, per UN estimates, the continent is likely to have 14 megacities by 2050.
While large cities offer enormous economic opportunities, they also pose considerable logistical setbacks in terms of locating people and providing goods and services. Hence, there are many untapped opportunities ready for exploration in this sector. As African cities continue to grow, businesses seek innovative technologies and solutions to help them handle the increasing number of commodities they receive and distribute efficiently. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs with experience developing digital platforms for trading interests.
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Africa is a continent that is rapidly developing and offers numerous investment prospects. However, there are still many untapped business investment opportunities. These opportunities which are ripe for exploration, are undoubtedly potential goldmines for prospective investors and businesses.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.