African cleavages

New to Sub-Saharan Africa but bitten by the private equity bug that says invest to capture its growth? Visualising SSA as one monolithic entity and having difficulty in breaking it into digestable parts? Here are a few cleavages to consider to get you going.

  • Distinguish consumer markets with a lot of growth potential (economic growth rate, population size, political stability) from those that don’t
  • Distinguish promising PPP partners for large infrastructure projects (political stability, foreign reserves, track-record for relations with infrastructure investors, BITs)
  • Political stability:
    • Read political histories of particular countries by reading books
    • Follow Al Jazeera, Jeune Afrique/The Africa Report, Foreign Policy, BBC, as well as FT
  • Culture of East vs vibrant West
  • Governance:
    • Francophone vs Anglophone (how did French/Belgian colonisation contrast with British?)
    • Oil and mineral rich countries
    • Quasi-democratic governments (Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda) vs full fledged democracies vs dictatorships vs anarchies
  • Track oil and mineral discoveries happening across Africa
  • Relatively mature markets: Nigeria, Kenya, lesser degree Ghana
  • Hubs of finance: Mauritius, Botswana

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