We wrote this book because we believe that businesses, large and small, must play a central role in accelerating Africa’s development and changing its people’s lives for the better. For entrepreneurs and investors, Africa’s long-term growth trends and large unmet needs present exciting opportunities for business-building. For the public and social sectors, partnerships with business will be essential to strengthen Africa’s skills development, healthcare outcomes, infrastructure and more.
Yet the vibrancy of Africa’s business sector—and the continent’s broader economic progress—remain under-reported in the global media. Stories of conflict, corruption and human suffering dominate the headlines about Africa. As consultants who have worked across every region and sector of the continent, we felt an obligation to recast that narrative and challenge global decision-makers to reset their mental maps of Africa.
In our book, we highlight Africa’s rapid urbanization: it already has as many cities with more than one million inhabitants as North America does. We point to Africa’s rapid technology adoption, with the number of smartphone connections forecast to double from 315 million in 2015 to 636 million in 2022. We consider how household income, literacy, health and governance have all shown steady improvement in recent decades—even if big gaps remain. And we show that Africa is already home to 400 companies earning annual revenues of $1 billion or more—around ten times the number that most observers assume.
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