Africa is experiencing an economic renaissance and is currently - and projected to remain - one of the fastest growing regions in the world. From Cairo to Cape Town, Dakar to Dares Salaam, the continent is witnessing unprecedented economic growth and development. The fundamentals driving this new wave of growth are sound: improving debt ratios, rising foreign exchange reserves, a more benign investment framework, increasing regionalisation, favourable demographics and an improving political situation.
Whilst resources and commodities have historically played a key part in African growth, in recent times growth has also been enhanced by the rise in consumerism, tourism and the explosive development of sectors such as telecommunications. The improving political climate and greater regionalisation has also provided the right environment for necessary investment in longer term infrastructure projects, such as ports, roads and railways.
According to the United Nations, Africa's 900m strong population is projected to increase steadily by more than 2% per annum with the youth expected to form up to 45% of the population in some countries. The growth of the 'working age' population, compared with reverse trends in more developed regions, coupled with rising real incomes, is a key driver of the rise in consumerism.
Africa's external debt levels have also reduced significantly due to debt relief programmes and better fiscal discipline. The improved debt ratios, at their lowest levels for 30 years in sub-Saharan Africa, allow investors to capitalise on the more favourable credit ratings of African countries to secure cost-effective financing for their investments.
For many, Africa represents the last frontier of emerging markets and the conditions for the private sector to capitalise on the huge opportunities that the continent offers have never been better.