Global business leaders who misunderstand Africa run the risk of missing out on one of the 21st century’s great growth opportunities
Let’s test your own perceptions: How many companies in Africa earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more? Take a guess.
If you guessed fewer than 50 such firms, you’re in good company. We surveyed over a thousand business executives across Africa and the world, and 50 was the maximum number chosen by most respondents. Several said “zero.” When we asked the same question at events such as the World Economic Forum, participants were only slightly more optimistic: most put the number of billion-dollar firms at between 50 and 100. The reality? There are 400 such companies—and they are on average both faster growing and more profitable than their global peers.
The magnitude of the mismatch between global perception and on-the-ground reality prompted us to write a book, Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market. It presents a strategic guide to business in Africa based on interviews with 40 of the continent’s most prominent executives and development leaders, case studies of thriving companies in sectors ranging from banking to technology to manufacturing, and proprietary McKinsey research.