Since its inception in 2011, this report has reinforced the message that Africa is open for business. It has assisted local and international corporates in traversing Africa’s vast terrain by identifying the continent’s most attractive investment destinations based on changes in their macroeconomic and business environments. In doing so, the document has helped to mould firms’ expansion strategies or reaffirm their existing growth plans. Our tried and tested methodology is derived from a simple aggregation of quantitative and qualitative components that represent economic activity and the relative ease of doing business across the continent. Each year, we test the soundness of this methodology to ensure that the scorings reflect the opportunities and challenges embodying each economy. In our first four publications, we defined economic activity as two separate components — a standardised measurement of market size and a forecasted level of real GDP growth — but found changes in economic growth to be rather erratic.
This year, we have adjusted for that anomaly by combining the macroeconomic variables into one indicator that is blended with an operating environment score to produce an overall attractiveness index. It is important to note that the fine-tuning of our methodology does not undermine our previous findings. In fact, our results are more or less the same when backtesting the data. What is clear is that the face of the top ten is well defined — South Africa has consistently topped our rankings while Nigeria and Egypt jostle for second place. North African countries feature prominently while Ghana and Tanzania work their way up the ranks. As always, the scores are complemented by a detailed look at specific sectors that are vital to Africa’s pursuit of all-inclusive growth.
So, what can you expect from this year’s publication? While last year we drew attention to Africa’s bustling cities, this year we address power and agriculture — two of the most under-invested sectors in Africa. Agriculture is the lifeblood of many African economies, employing a vast majority of the population. But, despite an abundance of arable land, Africa continues to import food to satisfy its insatiable demand, which is set to triple by 2050. Like agriculture, energy is fundamental to sustainable growth. However, the power sector is faced with a plethora of constraints, not the least of which is funding. The amount required to electrify the continent far outstrips what any government or donor can reasonably provide, necessitating private funding. We trust that Where to Invest in Africa 2015/2016 will provide a useful tool in navigating your voyage through Africa.