With the upcoming launch of AfricaSIF and the start of the World Cup, it’s certainly an exciting week for Africa!  The eyes of the world are on the continent, and it is the perfect opportunity to showcase all of the great progress that has been made towards sustainable development.  With the momentum of all of this positive energy, Africa has the opportunity to very publicly position itself as the next successful frontier market for investment and economic growth.

One organization that has already taken notice of Africa’s “below the radar” growth is McKinsey & Company.  The June edition of McKinsey’s business journal, the McKinsey Quarterly, includes seven articles on the African economy which highlight sector-by-sector growth, the evolution of the African consumer and why global executives and investors cannot pass up the opportunity to do business on the continent.

http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/newsletters/2010_06_01.htm

My favorite article in the newsletter was the piece Fulfilling the Promise of Sub-Saharan Africa, authored by World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.  The article focuses on how recent political reform in many African nations has facilitated increased investment and economic growth.  Most people probably do not know, but sub-Saharan Africa grew at an average annual growth rate of 6% from 2002-2008.  Additionally, the region is expected to weather the current economic downturn better than virtually every other region of the world, including Latin America, Europe and Central Asia.

Okonjo-Iweala’s article also touches on Africa’s opportunity to benefit from increasing global awareness of climate change.  In addition to generating revenue by selling CO2 emissions allowances, Africa has great potential to be the next frontier for large-scale clean energy initiatives.  I’ve met some extraordinary individuals working on the continent on cook stove projects, solar lighting systems and self-charging batteries, and it’s been incredible to see the opportunities for progress.

KK