U.S. micro and small businesses need to stop shying away from sub-Saharan Africa because of the maladroit perception of the region provided by the mainstream American press. You should be searching for opportunities and be concerned with how to expand into and invest profitably in the region to seize what may be the world’s last frontier market opportunities.
Africa has been dubbed the “next Asia”. It is composed of 54 highly promising long-term growth markets. The African Development Bank estimates that the continent’s total combined consumer market will reach $2.2 trillion by 2030. Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world in 2018 were in sub-Saharan Africa: Ghana, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Senegal, and Tanzania. They represent enormous potential new trade and investment markets for U.S businesses, both big and small, especially very small. Because micro, both in the U.S. and in Africa, is truly beautiful.
African governments are increasingly looking for investments that can generate shared value and benefit for a majority of stakeholders. Micro and very small U.S. businesses are the ones that can best deliver appropriate business processes and technological innovations that are “lean”. They do more with less time, less energy, and less money and at the same time create more employment and more economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
South of the Sahara desert is a region of young entrepreneurs, driven by what Dayo Olopade, a Nigerian-American journalist, identifies as kanju – creativity born of Africa difficulty and resulting in innovating to do more with less. Their business development needs and consequent investment opportunities can best be addressed through the “lean” approach inherent to micro and very small U.S. businesses, rather than a “fat” approach that invests plenty and takes plenty.
A lean approach generates revenues and at the same time effects a more positive transformational impact with a bottom-up social dimension. This, in turn, generates greater value and return on investment. In other words, it is micro and small U.S. business that can best do good business in Africa. By doing big little things they can deliver a huge differential value that Chinese investments and big U.S. business do not: shared value, trust and social capital.
Africa and the U.S. both want to harness market potentialities through successful partnerships that make “lean” profitable for all, while avoiding a race to the bottom. On one hand, governments in sub-Saharan Africa are concerned with how to attract productive investment into their countries, and their private sector, composed mainly of microenterprises, is looking for qualified partners to help address the enormous and growing market opportunities on the continent. On the other hand, the U.S. Government is looking to achieve greater U.S. influence and economic leadership in the sub-Saharan region, by providing more funding and support to the U.S. private sector.
Micro and small U.S. business are the inflection point for getting the U.S. back on track in Africa and back to basics: business for good, that is, responsible and sustainable. They are also the prime energizers for rebuilding America’s ladder of opportunity in Africa, because they are the ones who can lead the advance in trade and commercial ties in a way that will be favorably viewed and supported by Africans.
Upboost LLC already has a wagon in the band playing into Africa. We can take you there and help your business thrive based on your strengths and the beauty of small. We have a deep understanding of local market dynamics, skills, and conditions. We know what individual markets actually need, and through our network of local experts and partners we can match your capabilities to the circumstances of each local market.
So jump on the bandwagon and stay tuned! More articles coming…