Go to any business conference in Africa and it will not be long before someone utters the words “Africa Rising”. The term – which was most memorably plastered on the cover of The Economist in 2011 – has become a catchall for the continent’s recent burst of economic growth. As a phrase, it is used in reference to everything from the continent’s expanding middle class, to the adoption of smartphones by farmers, to the increase in Chinese-built roads.
Long-time observers of African markets know that the devil is in the details.That the continent's biggest economies offer enormous potential to investors is no secret. In recent years, headlines have trumpeted the arrival of African economies on the global stage, backed by impressive macro indicators. GDP growth forecasts for the region in 2015 are high, surpassing 7% in countries like Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire, while domestic consumption rates are rising. Structural reforms are helping reduce current spending, devolve policy planning and improve fiscal sustainability from Cairo to Accra.
Major developments in recent years - including the fall in global oil prices and the floating of the naira - have catalysed renewed focus on strengthening the Nigerian economy. Including accelerating diversification efforts, capitalising on the country's large population and promoting growth in the private sector.