Asia, India, Brazil and Africa have come up lately as the future of business. The first three have been well explored but Africa has not seen as many enquiries. But sometimes being away from the spotlight can be a good thing in a certain way. For one thing, as long only a few people know of an opportunity, there will be less competition in that market, all other things being equal.
Make no mistake, I have not made a million dollars for myself yet, but if you are looking for business opportunities in Africa, these money-making ideas could make you a millionaire.
This is where to invest in Africa now, consumer electronics is the hot cake. The biggest dealers in urban areas get so much demand that they can’t fulfill all their orders. Laptops and desktops have sold well in the recent past but digital television sets are about to stage a takeover. This is largely due to the impending switch to digital television broadcasting which many African countries plan to complete by 2015. The President of Ghana announced in the state of the nation address that Ghana will switch to digital broadcasting in 2014. This product will continue to sell because if you factor in the fact that there are more than 50 countries in Africa, and Ghana and Guinea are two of the early adopters of this digital technology switch, you will see why there is more where that comes from.
It is interesting to know that for high-end products, electronics retailers who get good deals from manufacturers are able to rake in huge profit margins. For the same specifications, the iPad 2 that goes for around 400 USD in the US, UK and even in India was selling for 764 USD in Accra just last week. This almost doubling of price in consumer electronics is very commonplace in African cities and is one reason the business is so lucrative to foreign investors. Who won’t like to double their money on every sale?
Education / Training.
A foreign education has always been a huge asset in Africa. It boosts people’s careers and changes their social class. Foreign educated African professionals always have fond memories of the schools they attended. There is always very high demand for foreign education in Africa, especially in English-speaking parts of the continent.
The opportunity here is to set up private schools to cater for the huge number of students that cannot be absorbed into the public school system. Heads up – the brand has to be highly differentiated, and offer curriculum or qualifications from a foreign university. This is an instant hit, though not really new. But who says your idea must be novel to work ?
Leadership and coaching
The business of leadership, mentoring and coaching is a more recent boom in Africa today. The appetite for the popular coaches and speakers in many places in Africa is huge. Celebrated coach and business consultant, Dr. Myles Munroe was in Ghana last month and tickets to all his events sold out to the top-notch politicians and business people.
This is good business which may be easy to start because many of the local coaches and speakers will be happy to collaborate with the more successful and popular foreign speakers. Since they enjoy a decent following, the local players can also help in market entry.
Considering the Chinese competition?
Well the Chinese were quick to see opportunity in Africa and have flooded the market with products ranging from mobile phones through roofing materials to office furniture – all at giveaway prices. The only problem is that the focus was so much on achieving lowest cost that quality suffered heavy cuts.
Today many of those products have become so notorious for being of such a low quality that the word ‘Chinese’ when applied to qualify any product is bluntly a synonym for ‘inferior’. So china phone, china wardrobe, and china shoes are all slang for inferior items that many informed consumers avoid .
Among the many informed customers, one way to compete with the Chinese products is to sell quality and sell on affordability, not on price. There you have it, that’s how to make a million dollars in Africa. Now who wants to be a millionaire ?