On our doorstep: The African growth story

Charles Foster with Paul Omondi and Chris Githaiga
Millward Brown East Africa

While everyone was getting excited about the potential of the BRIC nations, Africa quietly emerged as the real growth story, and with apologies to Star Trek, Africa may just be 'the final frontier'. No other continent offers the same growth potential. Africa boasts tremendous mineral wealth, holds 60% of the world's uncultivated arable land, and recorded real growth throughout the recession. According to the latest UN World Population Prospects report, Africa will be the fastest-growing continent "by any measure" over the course of the 21st century, and investors are understandably interested.

The rise of Africa is an indicator of the changing orientation of the global economy. Africa's raw materials have attracted the attention of China, both as a lender and trade partner, and China's investment has been a critical driver of current growth. As major socio-economic changes occur across the continent, the wealth of African society is growing, fueled by the emergence of the middle class. According to The Economist, over the past 10 years, six of the 10 fastest-growing economies were in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in the next five years, seven Sub-Saharan economies are expected to make the list. Truly, the next decade belongs to Africa.