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Top African Business Opportunities to Watch out for in 2024

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Despite rising food and fuel costs, weakening currencies, climate change effects, security threats, political instability, severe power shortages, infrastructure limitations and several other economic and social challenges, Africa is still one of the fastest-growing emerging economies in the world and is projected to excel in the years to come.

According to Activator HQ’s recent report defining Africa’s Top 100 Opportunities to Watch out for in 2024, providing a guideline as to the continents most lucrative business ideas and investment opportunities, 2024 presents several interesting opportunities for business start up and growth in Africa.

The Africa Top 100, in its 7th year, identifies specific business ideas and investment opportunities in over 30 growth markets, industries, value chains and underserved niches across Africa.

High Economic Growth Projected for Africa

Despite Africa’s slow post-COVID recovery process, 2024’s prospects are promising. Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, offer unique opportunities for business investment and countries like Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Benin are estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to see 6% growth in 2024 compared to this year which is twice as much as the global economic growth estimated at 2.9% for 2024.

The CEO of Activator HQ believes that the in depth analyses they conducted through month research presents a expose of gaps in the market that holds the potential for lucrative business endeavours on the African content: “It is interesting to see from our 2024 selection that more business ideas and investment opportunities in Africa are actually borne from unmet market needs, difficult but highly-rewarding problems, and the megatrends we have identified that are currently shaping the continent.”

Its true that problems are often time a springboard for infinite possibilities. In Africa the continent’s deficit in food security, housing, finance, education, energy and other critical areas are inspiring innovative solutions, products, and services from a growing number of start-up’s and growth-stage businesses.

Here are the highlights from the list that best define the top business opportunities that lie ahead:

  • The food sector remains a multi-billion-dollar growth opportunity for the continent. The Africa Top 100 features several business ideas across the food value chain, from agricultural production to processing, marketing, and services in local and export markets.
  • The digital economy presents a $180 billion opportunity for Africa by 2025. With the world’s youngest population, digital skills training and outsourcing is a strategic but underexplored market gap that brims with innovative ideas for new businesses and investments in Africa, particularly for high-demand skills like cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing, and software development.
  • The circular economy: recycling of waste, such as generating electric power from landfill waste, recovering scrap metals for reuse, and processing municipal wastewater into potable freshwater, hold interesting business and investment opportunities that could, conservatively, inject an additional $8 billion into the African economy according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • The energy value chain is rich with opportunities for Africa. The combination of climate change effects, rising renewable energy penetration, and soaring energy prices precipitated by the Russia-Ukraine war has created market gaps and opportunities for more African gas supplies to Europe. There are also opportunities for local substitution of cooking fuels like firewood and charcoal with natural gas, and solar power applications for cold chain solutions.
  • Financial services remain one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors in Africa to watch in 2024. While payments and consumer finance usually get most of the attention, niche opportunities like diaspora investment funds and female-focused finance are spotlighted in the latest Africa Top 100 guide.
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