Out of (Which) Africa?

Via The Financial Times, an interesting look at Africa’s growth potential:

Bono said it, Ban Ki-Moon said it, Thabo Mbeki said it: the 21st century will be the African century.

But as funds single out investments in the continent and multinational companies battle for their share of the pie, a crucial question remains: which Africa are we talking about?

It is an important question, because Africa –  as fans of the Gall-Peters Projection undoubtedly know – is bigger than we realize (see map).

The Gall-Peters projection projects countries according to their true surface

More importantly, Africa consists of more than 50 countries, as diverse as Morocco and Madagascar. Is it going to be the century of all of them?

Not really.

Euromonitor International estimated that just 10 of 48 countries will drive almost four fifths of consumer spending in 2016. (No data were available for the DRC, Eritrea, Somalia and five smaller countries.)

The top countries are:

1. South Africa $358bn
2. Egypt $357bn
3. Nigeria $223bn
4. Angola $99bn
5. Algeria $94bn
6. Morocco $88bn
7. Ethiopia $69bn
8. Ghana $57bn
9. Kenya $50bn
10. Libya* $48bn

(* the 2016 number for Libya is a beyondbrics estimate, supposing Libya’s growth in 2010-16 is in line with the African average)

If we remove northern Africa and South Africa from the equation – to concentrate on what is often referred to as “developing Africa” – there are five countries that will really matter by 2016: Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya. The consumer spending of these “Big 5” in 2016 will be more than that of the other 38 (sub-Saharan ex-South Africa) countries combined.

Or, in absolute terms: by 2016 the consumer spending of these five will have more than doubled compared to 2010, from roughly $200bn to almost $500bn.

What’s more: in 2016, Nigeria alone will have consumer spending equal to more than half of the remaining 38 countries put together.

In other words, the 21st Century may be African – but that African will most likely be a Nigerian.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2012 at 7:32 pm and is filed under Uncategorized.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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