Lucrative Business Ideas in Africa for 2019 and Beyond

POSTED Jun 20, 2019 BY Jane Sandwood

When freelance writer and our guest blogger for this blog, Jane Watson, contacted us with the idea to write a blog about lucrative business ideas in Africa for 2019 and beyond, we were enthusiastic right away. We feel this article is a great follow up to our blog Sub-Saharan Africa economic outlook for 2019 from earlier this year. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Sub-Saharan Africa is currently home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Quartz Africa reports. In 2019, the continent's aggregate growth has risen to 5.7% with 20 economies expanding at an average rate of 5% or higher over the next five years (faster than the 3.6% rate for the global economy). One reason for the booming economic growth is the increasing number of people creating new and innovative products and services across the continent. In turn, both local and international investors are pouring millions of dollars into these promising ideas.


Fashion industry in Africa

Africa’s local fashion industry is set to reach $15.5 billion in the next five years. Increasing labor costs in China and Southeast Asia are forcing factories to relocate to Africa. H&M and Primark, for example, are now sourcing from Africa, while Huajian, a massive Chinese shoe manufacturer, is expanding in Ethiopia and East Africa. As a result, local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to tap into the local production chain work with the farmers growing natural clothing fibres and other supporting industries. For example, Definition Africa is a successful t-shirt retailer which celebrates Ugandan style and manufactures all clothing locally. This brand paves the way for other entrepreneurs looking to launch t-shirt lines, which pay special consideration to materials used and ensure all are sourced locally. Additionally, designers and entrepreneurs can make the most of Africa’s growing fashion industry in a variety of ways, including partnering with big fashion brands, designing artisanal African clothing, and managing distribution or e-Commerce.


Food for export

Africa regularly exports raw cocoa and coffee beans to North America and Europe where they get turned into gourmet coffee and chocolate — only to then be imported back here. Financially, this wastes billions of dollars each year. As such, locally-made African coffee and chocolate is becoming a lucrative niche. For example, FairAfric produces organic chocolate bars harvested and processed in Ghana. In 2018, they made and exported over 250,000 chocolate bars to Europe and raised €50,000 from investors. And coffee brand, Garden of Coffee, has begun supplying Ethiopian coffee to over twenty countries. Since Africa produces over 70% of the world’s cacao and roughly 11% of coffee beans, there’s plenty of opportunity to create unique, premium products for a global market.


Real estate in Africa

The rise of the “apartment hotel” real estate niche — also referred to as “serviced” apartments or “long-stay hotels” — is primarily fuelled by the rise in global business travel, a sector worth over $1.2 trillion annually. Apartment hotels combine the privacy of furnished apartments with the convenience of hotel services. Over the past few years, the number of serviced apartments in Africa has increased by 7.6%, making it a lucrative area for investors and entrepreneurs. Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, and Cape Town are areas of high demand by business professionals. Marriott's Residence Inn in Accra and Lagos and Best Western’s Executive Residency in Nairobi are two prominent examples of new developments in this sector.

All in all, Africa is home to a wealth of untapped opportunity. The smart and innovative businessman or businesswoman can venture into any one of these niches to boost wealth and create jobs. By filling significant gaps in the market with creative services and products, you can help create a better future for Africa.


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