When most people look at Africa, there are two very strong but opposite images that emerge:
Some see a continent where there are too many challenges and others see a land of vast opportunities. The interesting thing is, Africa’s biggest business opportunities look like scary difficulties. That’s why most people miss them.
This article looks at five opportunities entrepreneurs can explore to create significant impact on the continent.
The United Nations estimates that Africa’s agribusiness sector could be worth $1 trillion by 2030, and there are several lucrative opportunities for entrepreneurs who start businesses, no matter how small, that help to solve the food shortage problem in Africa.
The opportunities in Africa’s agribusiness space is massive. The continent has 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, a conducive climate for agriculture, and an overwhelmingly young population that guarantees a vast labour pool. These agribusiness opportunities include vegetable farming, cassava farming, livestock farming (fish, chicken, pigs, ostrich, snails).
On the surface, it looks like there aren’t enough jobs in Africa. When you look closely, you find there’s a structural gap in Africa’s job market: employers of labour are having a hard time finding suitably qualified candidates to fill vacancies.
What if there was a quicker, more effective and affordable way to match open job positions with the best candidates?
Several smart African entrepreneurs are already rising to the challenge.
In Nigeria, Jobberman.com, which was started by three university undergrads in 2009, has become Nigeria’s Number One job search and recruitment portal. To date, it has helped to match more than 40,000 people with jobs.
3) Health and Well-being
The size of the continent’s pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $65 billion by the year 2020.
To meet the demand for health services, the continent needs a consistent supply of medicines and doctors. However, at the moment, most medicines consumed in Africa are produced overseas. What Africa needs is a strong base of drug manufacturing companies that are based in Africa, and entrepreneurs like Uganda’s Emmanuel Katongole are already taking advantage of this huge opportunity.
Inadequate access to quality education at all levels is a nagging problem across the continent. With many public schools falling below the mark, there is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to provide affordable quality education.
Some entrepreneurs on the continent are already taking a swing at the problem. Omega Schools, based in Ghana, is a chain of low-cost private schools that offers basic primary education to children from poor families at an incredibly low and affordable fee (less than $1 a day per student). Bridge International Schoolsin Kenya uses a similar low-cost model to provide affordable education to thousands of children in East Africa for less than $5 per month per student.
As Africa’s population and economic strength grows and the continent becomes more urbanised, the demand for transportation will grow exponentially, especially in towns and cities. And governments alone cannot meet this demand.
Yes, entrepreneurs cannot build roads and public transport systems, but they can create solutions that can help people get to their destinations quickly and more efficiently.
City transport services like Nigeria’s OgaTaxi, a social ride-pooling app, have joined global players such as Uber and Taxify which have entered the African transport market to crack the continent’s transport problems and harvest the opportunities in this emerging market.
Do you still see problems instead of opportunities?
It’s the same with everything in life. This article is intended to open your eyes to the possibilities around you.
Have you noticed a serious problem or suffering in your environment? What will you do about it?