One of the regions that are currently being closely watched by many business people nowadays is the continent of Africa. As it is, the region is now experiencing an upsurge in economic activity. This why many are looking forward into investing in Africa.
However, not a few economic experts are weary of the boom that Africa is might actually be not what it seemed. They argue that the boom is just temporary and is just a part of the ongoing African business cycle. Thus, they cautioned investors into becoming overzealous and putting out too much into the region.
But of course, not all can easily understand all that economics jargon that these experts are using. Thus in order to better grasp of all that, it would be a good idea to explain everything in simple terms terms. We then need to look at how all of these fit into what Africa is experiencing and how it will affect it in the long run.
So, what is a business cycle? In simplest terms, it is essentially the periods of ups and downs in the economic production of a particular region. Though the term cycle evokes a sense of regularity, and economic cycle is actually far from being one. Each period of the cycle can last anywhere from just a few months to several decades. Also, even though it is a cycle, most often, an economic cycle does not return to its previous levels. For instance, and economy might actually come out either poorer or richer after a cycle.
What is definite about these cycles are the reasons that causes them. Here one of the causes that are being pointed out is the amount investment that is put into the region. More investments means that the region’s economy would go into a boom. However, there is actually a flip side on this one. As a particular economy can accommodate a finite amount of investment, any more will likely cause it to slow down its growth.
Also, there are several other factors that can greatly affect the business cycle of a particular country or region. One factor in particular that is worth mentioning is the region’s social and political environment. This one actually has the largest effect on the cycle, as it can easily hamper the boom or speed up the decline of the economy.
And this is where the issue on the African business cycle comes into play. You see, according some experts, the African business cycle is actually nearing the end of its peak. Thus, it is actually about to slow down. Because of this, any additional investment here is unlikely to grow at a significant rate, mainly because the African economy is not as large as, say, Japan or the United States.
However, this does not mean that investment during this period is a bad idea. In fact, investments would still be very much welcomed during this period, as it would help cushion the impact of the slowdown. However, on of the most important things that investors need keep in mind here is that they need to put in safety precautions in order to also not be fully affected by the decline.
Africa has long been known as one of the last great frontiers on the planet. Thus, many have attempted to make the most out of it. However, as history have shown, a lot of these attempts failed severely, mainly due to the difficult challenges that the continent poses.
Even in the modern times, venturing into a business in Africa seems to be an impossible task, what with all the troubles that are likely to be encountered in the continent. Yet, many are still trying to penetrate the continent despite all this. Thus, the question is raised: is it really worth all the effort to invest in Africa?
To Answer this one, it would be a good idea to look into the continent’s economic conditions. The truth of the matter is, Africa can’t really compare to either Asia or Europe in terms of economy. In fact, of the thirty poorest nations in the world today, more than half of this are found in Africa.
And it doesn’t end there yet. Africa’s social climate is also not that great. The continent has been riddled by both international and domestic conflicts, which has also greatly marred the peace and order situation in the continent. Furthermore governmental lapses, corruption, and mishandling of the countries’ resources in the past and up to the present have greatly aggravated the situation.
Looking at this, it seems that the condition here is indeed very bleak, not only for the people, but also for investors. However, there is actually still much hope left for the continent, as Africa is now slowly taking small steps towards economic growth. For instance, despite it being considered as one of the poorest countries in the region, Nigeria’s economy has in fact grown by seven percent yearly for the last ten years. And while still not that much significant, other countries in the continent have also shown positive growth in recent years.
It is this small ray of light that many of the incoming investors here are banking. And this one is actually a good idea on their part. As these investors are courageous enough to do business in Africa, they are actually the ones who are going to greatly help in hastening the growth of the continent’s economy. Furthermore, it is also very advantageous for them to be the first ones to move into Africa. Since, most will shy away from the continent, they have the markets all to themselves, which means they will be able to get a better foothold.
However, this doesn’t mean that an investor can easily get in and expand in the continent. As have been said earlier, there are a lot of challenges that need to be overcome before one can actually succeed here. Furthermore, though it had been said that the economy is rising up, it is still pretty much a shaky one. Any unexpected event can easily collapse the whole African market. Thus a word of caution is still very much needed before moving in. nevertheless, Africa would still be viable as the next economic powerhouse here.
One of the regions that many strategic business consulting firms and business service providers are closely keeping an eye on nowadays is Africa. The continent is now currently undergoing a rapid change, both in its economy and its society, And experts are predicting that these changes will inevitably lead to Africa becoming an important hub in business.
One of the most significant changes that the continent have seen in recent years is the gaining of independence of many countries in the region. As you might have already known, much of the African continent was under the rule of the major western powers. With the turn of the twentieth century and the onset of the two world wars, many of the previous colonies were able to gain independence from their previous colonial masters. With the further developments that happened in world politics in the latter half of the century, more areas in Africa joined the ranks as independent nations.
With this newfound independence, these countries were now able to finally control the course of their economies. Previously, the colonial masters were the ones who decide on how to run the colonies’ finances. And most often, what happens back then was the parent country getting all the profits from the colonies while leaving them in a sorry state. When the colonies were freed, they were now able to decide the route that they would take for their economies.
Thus, a lot of efforts were made in these countries to improve their situations. Many also have to deal with the problems that were left behind by the former colonizers. Many of the new countries faced a lot of challenges in their development. However, the nations that once colonized them were generous enough to lend a hand and help rebuilding these countries through financial assistance.
These efforts resulted in the development of many of these countries as the new economic centers in the region. Their growth have also attracted the interest of many businesses from around the world to invest in them, thus furthering their growth. Now a lot of companies are seeking to expand their coverage into Africa.
However, despite these seemingly optimistic changes happening in the region, Africa is still far from being the economic powerhouse that many are hoping it to be. The truth is, there are actually a lot more issues that need to be resolved here. And in order to do these, a lot of effort must still be put in.
One of the major issues that is of particular concern to many African governments and foreign businesses is the peace and order situation. Many African countries, such as the Congo, are still at war with their neighbors, creating a fragile situation for businesses. Furthermore, internal conflicts between the various factions in many countries are greatly aggravating the situation.
This has led to many of the nations here having a fragile economic system. However, both the national governments and various international organizations are trying to solve the problem by mediating in the conflicts. It is hope by many that once these conflicts are resolved, the continent can co0ntinue with its development.
One of the places that has become the new frontier in the world of business nowadays is Africa. Indeed, the continent has come out from its rather backward past and emerged as a potential for commercial activity. Thus, many entrepreneurs have set their eyes into conquering Africa’s business scene.
However, doing business in here is certainly not going to be easy. Just like any new business front, Africa poses a lot of challenges that a company opening here needs to overcome. And what’s more, the continent has some unique features that needs to be considered by any business wanting to establish itself here.
One of the biggest considerations that one seeking to put up a business here need to think closely about is the continent’s culture. In fact, there is a lot of cultural notions that one needs to take note of here, mainly because the continent has a large number of different groups. In contrast, though the Chinese market, for instance, have a large reach, its culture is pretty much a homogenous one, which means that targeting this particular market would be fairly easy.
Sadly, this is not the case for Africa. The groups of people here are very diverse such that you will find two entirely different cultural groups in one city alone. Thus, instead of creating a general business strategy to cover all of the possible areas, one might have to break it down into several components to specifically suit these particular cultures.
Note that such a business strategy is helpful not only in marketing but also in building your company. In particular, knowing each group’s cultural heritage would be very helpful in putting up your business team. Since many Africans came from distinct tribal groups that have been at odds with each other in the past, these sentiments would often still run deeply even in the workplace. For instance, it is not uncommon for business managers in South Africa to have a hard time putting workers with Zulu and Xhosa backgrounds together.
But, of course, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. In fact, this one has already been done by many of the most successful businesses in the country. So what’s the secret? Well, its all about building a long term relation with the people here. Unlike other countries where relationships are strictly “for business purposes”, here you need to build a long term, almost spiritual, bond with the people around you. This will help you strengthen your hold on the various different markets here.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is the continent’s economic conditions. Though it has been said earlier that Africa will be the next frontier, don’t expect the people here to be as affluent as those coming from Korea. The truth of the matter is, most people here are living on an average to below average condition. Thus, you also need to consider their livelihood in order to target potential markets or get potential employees. This way, you will be able to gain a better foothold in the continent.
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To do business in Africa is a very challenging journey to take. It maybe very profitable, but anything goes if you don’t perform proper business management. From the start to the middle, everything else should be given enough attention to avoid any flaws. I’m not saying that doing business in Africa is perfect, but I just think that compared to some other regions, there is a bigger room and wider opportunities that can be found in the black continent. But of course, they are achievable if and only you are armed with all the necessary information as to how you can make your venture in Africa victorious.
If you prefer Africa as a whole, that is a hell of a job. With more than 50 countries, you might need intense preparation. But to simplify your task, you may contact a trade partner. Just make sure that you are dealing with a notable and credible business partner (Chamber of Commerce or Embassies). Get the service of a partner who is an expert in marketing and promotions. You can help each other to reach a wider range of customers.
Since sub-Saharan Africa was colonized by so many nations, take time to research about the social behavior and lifestyle of Africans. Knowing this will make every transactions and meetings more comprehensive. Their attitudes may vary depending on who conquered them.
Generally, Africans can’t speak pure English, and so, it would be better if you will know how to understand the way they speak. I’m not telling you to speak their language, just try to know what they really mean.
Well just like any country, there will be practices that will violate morality. You should know that most African countries’ government are corrupt. Although it has been transforming, be assured that you’ll meet some people, Africans or not, who will ask for bribes. When times like this come, you must know what to do. Any favors done for you, must be paid in another form of deed.
Study about Africa. It is not just an overnight job. There is a lot more about Africa, things that you don’t learn that easy. From time to time, you will meet challenges that you’re not prepared about. Just make sure that you can provide them with appropriate solutions to avoid profit loss.
Carefully choose what kind of business you are going to establish. Make sure that it is something that can make African life lighter, not something that they’ve seen or experienced before. Present the benefits that people can get from your investment because it is what they want from any business. Know their culture and their consuming preferences.
Hire an expert consultant, most especially the person who is expert about Africa. They can help you in solving conflicts and challenges that will occur during your business campaign.
Spare a lot of patience and be open minded. Doing business in Africa is very different in doing business in other countries. Always expect the unexpected.
Author Recommends Future Africa for management consultancy services
The potential of Africa to become an exporter is really high. They only need their resources to be given attention to open doors for abundant production. Before, they do not know what they are capable of. But now, chances for growth are great because of their awareness of their potentials.
According to African Rice Center, Africa’s rice production increased by 18 percent in 2008. A prediction was also made that the region can be the main exporter of rice if there will have more land under cultivation. The increase is a result of the support provided by the African government to farmers during the global financial crisis since 2007. Senegal is now the 8th world’s largest rice producing country. This is just a proof that Africa is globally competitive. That they have something to say when it comes to trading industry.
Countries like U.S., France, and China are boosting their trade relationship with the Sub Saharan Africa. They noticed what Africa can offer them.
Since year 2000, there have been programs to boost the trading finance of the African region. African countries has started changing the way they do trade. Instead of landing to the former colonial leaders, they do it now by themselves, in partnership with some foreign investors. Before there were problems when it comes to the cost of exporting from Africa, corrupt officials tend to put higher prices on products leaving and entering their borders. But it is resolved now, every year, there is a greedy official being kicked out of his seat. This is just the introductory part of Africa’s Economic Revolution.
One step that African countries should take to get more trading opportunities is to diversify their products. They have a great source of products but it still needs expansion. More than agricultural products, or petroleum and diamonds, there are opportunities in machinery, medicines, iron and steel and equipments. This will provide open doors for exterior and interior businesses.
Eliminating of tariffs also shows that Africa is really committed in trade industry. Though it’s impossible to make all trades free, thanks because tariffs on goods was reduced to the lowest that it can be. Higher trade taxes on the region compared to other continents is one of the factors why investors get discouraged to start a trade among African countries.
On products where Africa has a clear advantage to produce and export, tariffs were also melted down. These products are raw materials such as fiber, pesticides, fertilizer and many more.
In July 2009 the African Development Bank (AfDB) showed its support for trade and finance by lending $500-million. This will be extended to all African companies who are involved in trading industry. AfDB is shared by 53 African countries and 24 non-African donor countries. With this fund there will have more focus on the improvement of Africa’s Trading Economy.
Author Recommends Future Africa for business consulting
Investing is a very delicate task to do. There are a lot of things to ask, some of them should be turned to a project management consultant, and some are answered all by yourself. You may gain better profit but the risks as well is high, if not properly thought about. You must answer what type of investment you should deal with, when is the right time, and the last and most important, will you be able to handle it.
First and the most obvious thing to keep in mind before investing is your financial capability. Money, this is the one that will decide if you are a potential investor or not. It would be wrong if you will invest into something big knowing that you cannot support it. You’re just digging a hole for yourself. In addition to that, choose the kind of investment that you think you can carry. Small capital can only do small investments. Depending on your management, it’ll grow someday into a bigger one. Your present financial situation will dictate the kind of investment that you are capable of. Your personal interest comes only on the second place, unless you can make loans that will expand your capital.
Know what’s the purpose of your investment, if you opt to save it for personal or family benefits, everything will be different. But if your investment is to make money, you may consider a money market account. If it is for five years assurance, you can invest on stock markets and mutual funds.
Understand your investment options. If you are a first-time investor, consider investing into mutual funds. This is is composed of multiple individual stocks that commonly offers smaller initial investment costs to be contributed on a monthly basis. When you are beginning to invest, it is a must to know what’s the meaning of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, cash value life insurance and annuities. These are investment options that you must take time to research about to know what combination can best suit you to reach your goals.
A financial planner would be a big help for you. Hire a planner who is knowledgeable about investment issues. He/she must know what to do or say on your investment queries. Explain to him/her that goals that you are trying to achieve and get options on how to achieve them.
Next is the time frame. How long will this investment work? How long are you going to hold onto an investment? To answer these questions you should know when is the need for the money. Putting deadlines will determine what kind of investment is right for you. Also, know if you can provide recovery once a loss occur. Nothing is guaranteed in this world, in investment either. So you better make out on what to do once a problem rise. Create and provide an emergency fund for your investment.
You must also know if you are a risk taker or just a steady investor. There are a lot of opportunities in a stock market. There are times that you will indulge yourself into one of them. Your confidence is more likely an asset than being a coward investor.
Author Recommends Future Africa for strategic planning for business