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Author's profile photo Richard Howells

The African Renaissance

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at the Mastering Supply Chain and Procurement Event in Johannesburg. It is one long trip from Boston, but was well worth the jetlag and acing bones. I was joined by about 200 supply chain experts who all have a great perspective on the business challenges and opportunities that Africa has to offer.

One of the most eye opening presentations was by Karen Ramith from Richards Bay Coal Terminal (Pty) Ltd. What I found particularly interesting was the facts and figures that Karen shared about the opportunity the African Market brings to companies.

First of all, Africa is the 2nd largest contingent on the globe. In fact, Africa is larger than China, the USA, Western Europe, India, Argentina and the UK combined. To put this into perspective, you have to see the sheer size of the opportunity, in that Africa accounts for just 2.4% of global GDP but has 16% of the world’s population. The population is expected to more than double (to 2.3 billion) by 2050. Karen described Africa as “the continent where growth potential exceeds that of most of the developed world”.

On the supply side, Africa is literally a “gold mine” (with 40% of the world’s gold reserves). It owns 30% of the earth’s minerals, and in Nigeria, the 10th largest oil reserve in the world. Not to be outdone, Africa also accounts for 60% of the globes cobalt, and 90% of the platinum reserves.

Facts from the presentation:

  • Africa is the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped continent with a continental GDP that accounts for just 2.4% of global GDP.
  • Africa is the second most populous continent with about 1.1 billion people or 16% of the world’s population.
  • There are fewer people with internet connections in Africa than there are in just New York City.
  • Africa is the world’s second largest continent covering about 30 million square kilometers
  • More than 50% of Africans are under the age of 25.
  • The continent’s population is expected to more than double to 2.3 billion by 2050.
  • Africa has approximately 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources.
  • Nigeria has the 10th largest oil reserves in the world, and Africa’s biggest oil producer with about 2.2 million barrels produced every day.
  • The continent has the largest reserves of precious metals with:
    • Over 40% of the gold reserves,
    • Over 60% of the cobalt,
    • 90% of the platinum reserves.  

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