The Republic of Angola is situated in southern Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country’s footprint spans more than 1 246 700 km2.
Angola boasts a solid relationship with China, which offers diplomatic backing for the state. There is, however, concern that an economic slowdown in China could limit financial flows to Angola.
As Angola is the second-largest oil producer in Africa, after Nigeria, its economy is driven by investment in the oil sector. This dominance of oil production and its supporting activities means the country’s industrial sector contributes substantially to its gross domestic product (GDP); estimated at 46.2% in 2015.
The Republic of Botswana adopted its name after gaining independence on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has maintained a stable representative democracy with a consistent record of uninterrupted independent elections.
The country is topographically flat, with up to 70% of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It also borders Zambia to the north, near Kazungula.
As the third-fastest growing economy in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the potential to be one of the richest countries on the continent due to its abundant natural resources. Private consumption is estimated to grow at approximately 7.6% each year between 2016 and 2025, making it the largest contribution to the country’s overall real GDP growth.
With significant growth prospects within production of its natural resources, as well as within agriculture, retail and financial sectors, foreign investors and businesses looking to expand into the Western Africa region could find viable investment opportunities within the DRC.
Ghana is located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238 535km2, Ghana is a multicultural nation, with a population of approximately 27 million with a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups.
Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical jungles, while its economy is also one of the most resilient and diversified in Africa.
Kenya offers investors a thriving economic centre with growing financial, technological and service sectors. Its positive investment climate makes it attractive to international firms looking for potential locations within Africa, to run regional or African branches.
The country’s performance is boosted by its strong trade platform and has the sixth-largest total trade volume in the region. The Kenyan government continues to encourage foreign participation in the economy and actively promotes the development of export processing zones (EPZs) around the country.
The landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho, encircled by South Africa, is renowned for its mountainous topography and resilient clothing and textile sectors.
Although the country’s footprint is small, and with a population of approximately 2 million people, it represents a good destination for retail and service oriented businesses.
Approximately 40% of Lesotho’s population lives below the poverty line, which presents an opportunity for businesses providing low cost products and services to the country. In an effort to boost its population’s literacy and employability, the government is focusing on its youth, providing free primary schooling and bursaries for orphaned and abandoned children.
While its copious natural resources can allow it to become a more significant export player, infrastructure development and foreign investment into mining and agriculture remains a challenge for the country.
Malawi is fast-becoming a preferred destination for SMMEs that are looking to improve access to African markets. Despite its landlocked positioning, if your business is looking for a cost-effective port of call that feeds into Africa, Malawi is the destination for you.
Mozambique is situated in Southeast Africa. Its capital and largest city is Maputo.
After nearly five centuries of Portuguese rule, Mozambique gained independence in 1975. Two years into independence, the country descended into civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992 and in 1994, Mozambique held its first multi-party elections and has since remained a relatively stable democracy.
The country boasts rich and abundant natural resources, however, poor infrastructure development hasn’t allowed the country to capitalise on these natural resources. Mozambique’s economy is based largely on agriculture, but several industries, including food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, aluminium and petroleum production is growing.
Known as ‘the gem of Africa’, Namibia is a coastal country in southern Africa and the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution. Its neighbouring countries include Botswana, South Africa and Angola.
Namibia is home to the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world. Its abundance of natural resources and the growing need for affordable products and services makes it a viable destination for businesses look to capture a receptive new market.
With a vast amount of resources, a large population and a fast-growing consumer class, Nigeria is proving to be Africa’s and West Africa’s choice destination for growth and investment, particularly in the expanding trade and consumer-related sectors.
As a key investment location, South Africa not only offers its own market opportunities, but also serves as a gateway to the rest of the market on the African continent.
Important drivers for inward investment include the country’s status as the most advanced economy in sub-Saharan Africa and its strong tourism potential and mineral wealth; while the country’s preferential access to the EU market (through a free-trade agreement) and to the US market (under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) also supports investment.
South Africa boasts a diverse economy, driven by the services industry. It is moving towards becoming a knowledge-based economy with a greater focus on technology, e-commerce, and financial and other services.
Swaziland is a part-monarchy/ part-democratic, landlocked, country in Southern Africa. It is neighboured by Mozambique to the east and South Africa to the north, west and south.
Swaziland is closely tied to South Africa as a source for trade and remittances.
While drought is expected to limit the country’s growth in the agricultural sector in 2016; it is expected to pick up in 2017. The Swazi government seeks to raise USD2 billion for its National Agricultural Investment Plan to reinvigorate agriculture. Moreover, tourism is expected to benefit from a weaker exchange rate, an investment loan from the World Bank, and new airport and tourist facilities.
Its small-scale mining sector consists mainly of coal and iron ore, but due to lower commodity prices, because of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, the mining sector is under pressure.
Located in East Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania shares borders with Kenya and Uganda in the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the south.
The country’s economic prospects are positive, with strong foreign investor participation, adequate foreign exchange reserves and relatively low political risk. Tanzania has also steadily diversified its economy, expanding the amount of investment opportunities available to businesses and investors.
The Republic of Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa and is the world's second-most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia.
Toward its southern border, Uganda incorporates a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Its close proximity to the African ‘Great Lakes’ region and the Nile basin provides it with a warm, equatorial, climate.
The country’s official language is English, while Luganda and Swahili is also widely-spoken across the country. Several other languages are also spoken in Uganda, including Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga and Lango.
Despite its challenges, Uganda remains a leading exporter of refined mineral products and it’s expected to become a leading exporter of crude oil thanks to ongoing, particularly Russian, foreign invest in exploring the country’s oil reserves. Its untapped oil reserves are estimated at 3.5 billion barrels.
Zambia’s government has established an investment framework to attract international businesses, which includes low tax rates, reduced levels of red tape, and equal rights for foreign and domestic investors.
As such, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is growing significantly, driven by favourable conditions for foreign business ownership, investment incentives and special economic zones developed by the Zambian government.
Zimbabwe shares its borders with Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.
Growth in Zimbabwe is likely to remain below levels envisaged in the government’s five-year economic programme:Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation.
The agenda, announced in late 2013, envisages growth ramping up to 9.9% by 2019, however, experts believe that Zimbabwe will continue to find it difficult to attract financing for the programme due to its indigenisation programme and general policy environment.
Performance in the construction and manufacturing sectors could improve if government successfully addresses structural bottlenecks, such as infrastructure deficiencies and an underperforming business climate. If a new government administration adopts a more business-friendly approach to policymaking, solid expansion of Zimbabwe’s economy may be expected in 2020.
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The agriculture, mining and technology sectors remain underdeveloped, affording foreign investors and expanding businesses several opportunities.
Additionally, the country’s population is in need of low-cost products and services due to the high level of poverty. If you are able to provide low-cost solutions, you could tap into an overlooked market of consumers.
The diamond, clothing and textile industries in Lesotho continue to thrive, however the country is looking to diversify its economy. Investment in social, health, retail and technology sectors is required in order to improve the country’s economic activity.
Due to its Southern African Customs Union (SACU) membership, Lesotho’s clothing and textile sectors receive a variety of rebates that drive profits. If you’re looking to become involved in clothing and textiles, Lesotho presents and ideal destination to set up low-cost manufacturing for exporting to other African countries or the rest of the world.
While there are several opportunities worth tapping into in Lesotho, the country is not without its challenges, and smart investors and businesses should carefully consider and plan for these encounters before establishing a presence in the country.
These challenges include:
Considering going into farming? Head of Agribusiness, Nico Groenewald gives top advice on common mistakes to avoid and how to overcome the barriers to entry in agribusiness.
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