Why is Africa more than just a matter of time?

The population of the African continent exceeds 900 million, with incomes expected to grow 4-5% over the next decade. By 2050, Africa will have the world’s largest and youngest labor force, providing a growing opportunity for companies with the patience to invest in Africa to create the skills they need globally. This will be essential to support growth of local production – today, intra-African trade accounts for only 15% of the continent’s product, compared to 35% in the EU. Success will require understanding of governments that are often customer, partner, and regulator simultaneously.

In this episode of The Better Question podcast, EYQ Fellow Chris Meyer and Yassmin Abdel-Magied are joined by Nicola Kleyn, Dean of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, and Ajen Sita, CEO, EY Africa.

Chris and Yassmin’s two guests discuss how, if governments succeed in forging a model in which infrastructure for skills building is developed and global companies can partner with government to create long-term development, Africa could be the birthplace of a new social contract — one that might become a model elsewhere in the world.

Learning outcomes

  • Africa’s nations are coalescing into five regions — North, South, East, West, and Francophone Africa — each with populations of sufficient scale to warrant foreign investment.
  • Within each of Africa’s five regions, governments are converging around common standards for the movement of people, goods and money, enabling commerce on a regional basis.
  • Understanding the political economy, as much as business itself, is a crucial skill when government is often customer, partner and regulator, and government activity approximates 50% of GDP.
  • Leadership teams must invest in understanding how the individual economies in Africa are growing and changing.

Organizations must adopt a patient strategy, with a presence on the ground – businesses that have invested in human capital to earn a license to operate now benefit from exporting high quality African production to markets worldwide.

For your convenience, full text transcript of this podcast is also available. Read the transcript


Yassmin Abdel-Magied image
Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Writer, engineer and broadcaster


EYQ is EY’s think tank


Episode 13

Duration 30m 15s

In this series

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