Africa is projected to be the world’s second-fastest-growing economy to 2020 according to the IMF, with the fastest growing youth population. The continent is set to have 1.1 billion consumers by 2020 according to a recent survey, which is more than the populations of Europe and North America combined. With incomes continuing to rise, and the emergence of the African middle-class, the African consumer is proving to be a key conduit for enabling this growth on the continent. Despite all of these affirmative indicators, there is an emerging narrative that the African growth story is overstated and that the consumer opportunity is fragmented. The argument continues to advocate that most African economies are still overly reliant on natural resources for growth, are inhibited by lack of inter-continental trade, and lack the infrastructure to service the domestic demand from consumers.
The gloomy narrative neglects the overwhelming reality that despite recent challenges inhibiting accelerated growth in some countries, Africa’s current consumer and business spending is at $4 trillion. The middle-class on the continent is driving investments for local production of packaged manufacturing goods, sophisticated financial products, and disruptive technological innovations which have leapfrogged developed economies. As a result, there continues to be global appetite for investment on the continent, which will lead to economic development and sustainable impact.
The Oxford Business Forum Africa 2018 will bring together industry leaders from the continent, to deconstruct these opposing perspectives, analyse the size of the prize of these emerging trends, and deliver actionable insights to seize the opportunity, and in so doing, (Re)define the African consumer.
We would like to invite Ashish J Thakkar for a motivational speech