Angola is the third-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa with a GDP of over US$124 billion, and average annual growth of 5%. The Angolan economy is driven by the oil and gas industry, but is rapidly diversifying as the country’s growth has fuelled consumption and attracted foreign investors. The cost of doing business in Angola is high, but the rewards are commensurate. Areas with the best potential for U.S. exporters include: health & medical supplies, franchising, infrastructure (airports, ports, highways, roads, sewage systems, power generation), oil & gas suppliers and services, safety & security, agribusiness (fertilizers, machinery, and irrigation), food processing, mining, telecoms, construction, and environmental technologies.
Ethiopia’s population of over 90 million makes it one of the largest growing markets in Africa. GDP growth for the past five years has averaged between 7% - 12% annually, and Moody’s has rated Ethiopia’s credit worthiness a ‘B+’, reflecting the economy’s stable outlook and prospects for continued growth in the short and medium-term.
Now is an opportune time for U.S. companies to enter the Ethiopian market, as the government is revising its five-year Growth and Transformation Plan for 2015-2020 to charter the development path in key sectors–Renewable Energy (wind, geothermal, solar), ICT and other infrastructure related projects, agri-business , education, and tourism. Due to its strategic location to GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, stable security, low corruption and unprecedented growth, Ethiopia is a prime location for U.S. Multi-national and SME exports and investment.
Ghana has a vibrant democratic government and has witnessed strong economic growth (7.5% over the last decade, surging to 15% in 2011 as offshore petroleum reserves become available)due to prudent macroeconomic management, a competitive business environment, an increasingly diversified economy and sustained reductions in poverty levels.
One of Ghana’s most promising sectors is energy – both oil & gas exploration and power production. Ghana has far less production capacity than needed to grow its economy. Thermal power production has been hampered by inadequate and inconsistent sources of gas. Reliance on the West Africa Gas Pipeline to supply gas from Nigeria is one solution; a more sustainable and reliable solution to utilize gas from Ghana’s offshore energy fields is in development as are plans to source renewable sources of energy. In other sectors, significant opportunities exist for U.S. companies with the ability to provide comprehensive solutions – often including financing – for port development, airport expansions, road construction, rail projects and more.
Kenya has an estimated population of 44.3 million with a market-based economy and a well-educated, multi-lingual professional workforce, particularly in Nairobi, the country capital. Kenya is generally considered the economic, commercial, and logistics hub of East Africa. With the strongest industrial base in East Africa, Kenya has been successful in attracting private equity capital. U.S. companies continue to invest in Kenya and are setting up local and regional operations to take advantage of Kenya’s strategic location, comprehensive air routes, and status as a regional financial center.
Major opportunities for U.S. exporters lie in agribusiness, particularly horticulture, which relies heavily on the importation of fertilizers, pesticides and equipment to boost local productivity. Similar opportunities lie in Kenya’s floriculture industry, a leading exporter of fresh cut flowers to the flower auction in Holland. Energy presents another opportunity, particularly in geothermal and wind technology applications. Other sectors that show lucrative U.S. export potential are medical devices, infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, air- and seaports) and ICT products and services (Cloud, web-hosting, accounting, payroll).
Mozambique, with a population of 24 million, grew its economy on average by 8% annually from 1994 – 2009, a result of prudent macroeconomic reforms and large foreign investment projects.
Though infrastructure remains weak and the population is still largely rural, the government is committed to building a strong commercial environment. Real opportunities exist in developing transport infrastructure (rail and ports) and related equipment, as infrastructure projects will be key to Mozambique’s near- and long-term future. The government is investing heavily in expanding rail- and port capacity to manage the rising production of mineral resources. Regular new discoveries in oil and gas present excellent U.S. export prospects for construction and infrastructure projects and U.S. investment in the energy sector, particularly off-shore natural gas, is expected to grow tremendously in the next several years. Other infrastructure and equipment opportunities include telecommunications, energy (natural gas, hydropower and bio-diesel); mining (tantalum, graphite and coal); tourism (hotels, sports and leisure resorts); water supply and sanitation, medical equipment and consumables.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the world’s the fastest growing , with an annual GDP growth rate of about 7%. It is also Africa’s most populous country, with approximately 170 million inhabitants. Oil revenue currently accounts for almost 20% of Nigeria’s GDP and over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings.
In recent years, the country’s long-neglected non-oil sectors have been growing faster than the oil sector itself. This means significant opportunities for U.S. business in a wide range of sectors – not only in energy (oil and gas), but also in mining, power (generation and distribution), infrastructure (roads, buildings, and bridges), health (hospital care and medical equipment), transportation (aerospace, railroads, automobiles, and trucks), information and communications technology, agricultural technology, environmental technology, safety and security, education and training, franchising, and financial services. There is also considerable potential for American consumer goods in Nigeria’s expanding market.
With a population of 51 million and GDP at US$350.6 billion, South Africa is a middle-income country, with relative macroeconomic stability, a mature and diverse economy, urban infrastructure that resembles OECD standards and a largely pro-business environment. The banking and financial services sector is stable and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) ranks amongst the top emerging market exchanges in the world.
The U.S. is a critical trading partner of South Africa, and good U.S. export opportunities exist across a range of sectors. Much of South Africa’s infrastructure is in need of an overhaul – with the government looking to invest in improving and expanding rail lines, locomotives and network lines. Opportunities also exist in energy efficient solutions for power generation and smart-grid technologies, as well as medical devices, particularly in high-tech equipment and diagnostics, green technologies, green building technologies, automotive aftermarket (specialty products), water management, air pollution control and monitoring equipment and agricultural equipment.
Real GDP for Tanzania’s population of 48 million grew by 7% in 2013, the fifth consecutive year that Tanzania has enjoyed a growth rate that ranks it among the 20 fastest growing in the world. This growth is due to a strengthening manufacturing sector, continued investment in the natural gas sector, increased energy production, and robust growth in construction activities. While U.S. exports to Tanzania amounted to just over $400 million last year, this represents 70% year on year growth. Tanzania’s strategic location makes it a natural East African hub for investors seeking to capitalize not only on its vast resources but also a growing market of 527 million consumers in East and Southern Africa.