Sensible optimism on African economies

We find that Africa’s economic growth surge was widespread across countries and sectors and that its roots extend far beyond the global commodity boom.

While there remain risks to growth in any individual country, our analysis suggests that the continent’s long-term growth prospects are quite strong.

Africa’s business opportunities are potentially very large, particularly for companies in consumer-facing industries, resources, agriculture, and infrastructure. Global executives and investors cannot afford to ignore Africa’s immense economic potential.

That is McKinsey’s conclusion in Lions on the Move. It’s kind of breathlessly exciting and optimistic in the manner of all consulting reports, but rather good overall.

It also has many graphs that are thoughtful and interesting once you take the five minutes necessary to figure out what the heck is going on in a picture with eight different legends and notes.

Highly recommended.

3 thoughts on “Sensible optimism on African economies

  1. Interesting indeed, but where does it leave us on job creation and poverty alleviation in Africa? Some of the report’s projections on demographic trends may turn out to be double edged swords. In spite of growth, not even the most dynamic and fasting growing economies (i.e. S. Africa) can absorb all the young people trying to enter the job market — or provide them with quality education for the workplace. 1.1 billion working age people by 2040 is a tough number to beat.

  2. Yeah, that’s a brilliant report. One corollary of Africa having 1.1 billion working age people should be that Africa will have more potential good soccer players. So Nigeria should be rocking the World Cup in 2040!

    Patty, regarding poverty alleviation, they do project pretty strong economic growth and urbanization. And well, that’s how the western world went from poor to rich, with a booming population, urbanization and economic growth.

  3. I just noticed that the “diversification” axis reads “Manufacturing and service sector share of GDP”. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the report, but does that really measure diversity, or just the absence of agriculture and natural resources? Chile, for example, would register as being fairly diversified using a Gini or Herfindahl coefficient of sectoral concentration, yet is still hugely focused on food and mineral production, and doesn’t have much of a manufacturing sector to speak of.