4) Chinese investment in infrastructure
In the past 10 years, African markets have seen a huge interest from Chinese investors who, in order to fuel their own growing economy and population, require access to Africa’s vast reserves of minerals and other resources.
“We certainly see the Chinese investing not only in resources but also in infrastructure,” said Standard Bank’s Heloise Smith. “They are building roads, they are building hospitals, they are building all over the continent.”
Smith believes that there is a much more positive view of the Chinese in Africa because everyone is benefiting. “I think even businesses and other companies active on the continent are starting to see the Chinese as partners, and investing in the infrastructure that is so critical to do along the whole resource boom, but also to enable … the growth which is everywhere forecasted for the continent.”
5) Growing African middle class boosting demand for consumer goods
According to Smith, the growing African population – that is increasingly affluent – is driving some of the trends seen in Africa, including investment in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.
“There is a lot of debate as to how you define the African middle class and you can debate about what the definition is, but the fact is its growing and it is increasingly urbanising which makes it possible for the FMCG [companies] and other service providers to get economies of scale because you are increasingly going to have cities in excess of 10 million people on this continent over the next few decades,” said Smith.