Multinational companies and governments around the world are increasingly looking to Africa as a new business destination. Africa's economy has grown at a rate of around 5.3% per year over the last decade and six of the world's ten fastest growing economies are located here. These countries have a fast-growing middle class that contributes to rapid urbanization that is increasing faster than their cities' infrastructure can keep up. It is a common misconception that many economies in Africa are heavily dependent on energy production. In reality, the oil and gas sector accounted for only 11% of Nigeria's GDP in 2014, while the construction sector accounted for 20%.
When considering doing business in Africa, it is not a matter of choosing just one country or all 54; A regional approach makes more sense. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, refers to sub-Saharan countries such as Angola, Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. Many companies already doing business in Africa are separating their businesses in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa due to the stark economic, linguistic and cultural differences between the two regions. Here are our top 5 African countries for doing business:
Mauritius is known for offering an extremely favorable business environment for investment and business growth. The process of incorporating a company and starting new business activities in Mauritius is believed to be straightforward and relatively easy. Mauritius' economy is mainly based on textiles, tourism, sugar and financial services, although recently other sectors such as renewable energy and information technology are expanding rapidly. The World Bank ranked Mauritius 49th in its Doing Business 2017 ranking, largely due to its pro-business approach to dealing with building permits, enforcing contracts and protecting minority investors. Another ranking of African countries places Mauritius first based on factors such as law and security, economy, human development and human rights.
Despite nearly a decade of Rwanda's civil war, the country's leaders and citizens alike have worked to achieve a healthy business climate and a strong overall economy. According to the World Bank, Rwanda is the second easiest place to do business in Africa and ranks 56th in the Doing Business ranking. This is because the procedures for registering a property, obtaining credit and trading across borders have been greatly simplified. Tourism is currently the fastest growing sector in Rwanda. According to our research, businesses can be incorporated and operating in as little as three days.
Since gaining independence, Botswana has had one of the fastest per capita economic growth rates in the world. As the government works to diversify the country's profitable industries, the mining of diamonds and other precious metals is currently the main contributor to the country's economy. Recently, Botswana has managed to reduce the time it takes for various processes including import and export and business formation procedures. In addition, technological upgrades have reduced the average court length for commercial disputes to 625 days (from 987 days in 2008). Thanks to these improvements, Botswana ranks 71st in the World Bank's Doing Business 2017 ranking.
South Africa's key industries are automobile manufacturing, tourism, mining and information and communication technologies. South Africa has managed to simplify its import and export procedures, resulting in less time and fewer documents being required. In addition, the South African authorities have simplified tax legislation, reducing the number of hours required to prepare tax reports. The World Bank ranked South Africa 74th for ease of doing business in 2017.
Another country to keep an eye on is Kenya, which is currently making huge investments in sectors like telecom, transport and energy. With a tech-savvy workforce and high-speed internet, Kenya stands out as one of the top countries in Africa for tech startups, while its diversified economy, strong ownership rights, excellent tourism sector and improving infrastructure make it a great location for general start a new company. If you have further questions about company formation or banking in Africa. Please contact us now.