The African economy has changed its engine. After raw materials, it is the rise of the middle class and the digital revolution that are boosting the continent. Half of the fastest growing countries in the world are African.
"In the medium term, ignoring Africa is at your own risk." The advice comes from South African billionaire Christo Wiese. The emblematic CEO of the retail chain ShopRite, present in 15 countries on the continent, is neither Afro-optimist nor Afro-pessimist. Rather afro-realistic.
The latest Africa Wealth Report by New World Wealth reveals that there are now just over 160,000 millionaires in Africa and that Africa is expected to welcome 30,000 more millionaires by 2025.
In recent years, most "new millionaires" have been the young entrepreneurs and investors who have created promising businesses and invested in lucrative sectors of Africa's rapidly growing economies. This year many new millionaires will join the club.
Africa has many riches, some of which are just waiting to be exploited. Particularly spoiled by Mother Nature, fascinating and dynamic cultures, the continent offers many investment opportunities.
Here, for you dear readers, the top 5 of the most profitable sectors this year of the continent more precisely in West Africa:
Agribusiness is Africa's untapped gold mine, and a potential source of millionaires in 2016. According to a World Bank report, Africa's agri-food industry is worth $ 1 billion in 2030.
Even if Africa decides to ignore export markets, a billion inhabitants of the continent offers a huge market ready for agribusiness. Yet each year, African countries import more than 70% of the wheat consumed, more than 300,000 tonnes of chicken and spend more than $ 10 billion on imported grains, especially rice.
With the impacts of the crude oil price collapse in 2016, one of the agribusiness giants of Nigeria is putting a strong emphasis on agribusiness as a way to diversify its economy. This means that the government of this country is now more open and supports agrifood initiatives.
This sector is growing and the continent could become one of the world's largest food exporters. Labor in abundance, more than 60% of the fertile and cultivable lands extend for thousands of kilometers, especially in West Africa.
Solar energy is one of Africa's most abundant natural resources. Most parts of sub-Saharan Africa enjoy more than 300 God-given days of free sunshine each year.
Access to electricity is one of the main obstacles to development in many African countries. However, all the conditions are met to be able to exploit renewable energies. Africa has vast expanses of untapped land where the establishment of solar panel fields and wind turbines would be an excellent initiative.
Yet over 600 million people on the continent, especially in rural areas, lack access to reliable electricity. In most cities, blackouts are a daily occurrence and people often rely on gasoline or diesel engines.
Solar energy is free, absolutely clean, and plentiful. And it offers the best alternative for people in remote parts of Africa who are beyond the reach of power grids.
Note, however, that some smart entrepreneurs are taking up the challenge of lighting in Africa through solar energy, and are very likely to join the millionaires' club in 2016.
Africa is currently the second strongest market. growth for mobile phones, after Asia. However, the first wave of the mobile phone revolution in Africa is almost over.
These days, African consumers are looking to ditch the 'first generation' phone for smartphones. It is therefore not surprising that the growth of technology and fashion on the continent now presents a multibillion dollar market for smartphones.
However, most "new generation" smartphone devices like the iPhone, Blackberry, and Samsung are quite expensive for the average African. This has created a huge opportunity for low cost smartphones.
The market in Africa is worth several billion dollars.
No wonder tech giants like Google and Facebook are fighting to improve Internet access for millions of Africans. Google's Project Loon and Facebook's Free Basics are just two of many bold initiatives to connect Africa.
Access to the internet and telecommunications is still insufficient in Africa to meet the needs of the entire population. Existing providers face little competition and charge relatively high prices.
However, some smart African entrepreneurs are already making impressive moves to conquer the internet access market. One example is BRCK, a start-up company in Kenya that has created a rugged internet modem device that is designed for harsh environments with limited internet connection and electricity. The modem can juggle Ethernet, WiFi, 3G, and 4G, and comes with eight hours of battery life.
This African-inspired invention has already sold thousands of units in 54 countries, even in faraway countries like India. Their main clients are schools.
Africa's real estate market is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, and many new millionaires will be building their fortunes in this market.
In almost every corner of the continent, real estate projects are emerging. The biggest attractions are high-rise hotels and office buildings, residences and apartments, and shopping malls In Nigeria alone, there is a shortfall of 17 million housing units, with a requirement financing of $ 363 billion.
The main real estate markets are Angola, Nigeria, Egypt, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya. All of these countries are experiencing a real estate boom like never before in history. Africa's large and young population, a growing middle class, increasing urbanization, the influx of expatriates and multinational companies are the main drivers of demand for both commercial and residential real estate.
The African continent has vast tracts of exploitable land in order to create new modern cities. With tourism occupying a predominant place in the economy of African countries, the establishment of hotel infrastructure and new housing on the outskirts of existing cities is a godsend.