Given its 1.1 billion people that make up 15% of the world’s population, we decided it’s time to take a look at the top African countries for business in 2017. Many African countries were once exclusively dependent on agriculture and tourism, but a growing interest in technology and renewable energy has led to new business opportunities in the region. As a result, we broke down the top five countries that offer expansion opportunities to help you make a decision about taking operations in Africa.
Exploring the Top African Countries for Business
When expanding overseas, it’s important to consider markets that show positive economic growth, but also, markets that are not solely reliant on commodities. Many African countries rely on agriculture to sustain the economy, but we found five countries that are expanding through innovation and lowering stringent requirements to encourage new business development.
Mauritius is one of the top African countries for business in 2017 because of its focus on improving resources for the expansion of information technology (IT) and renewable energy sectors.
Historically, the region thrived on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services, but thanks to the shifting focus, entrepreneurs in these growing sectors have plenty of opportunities to grow in the developing country.
According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, Mauritius ranks 49th overall and first in Africa. Thanks to its focus on improving its business platform, the country transformed from low-income, agricultural-based economy into a diversified, upper-middle-class economy with thriving opportunities for a diverse group of business owners.
2. South Africa
South Africa is another growing economy and ranks as one of the best countries for business on the continent. The country still faces issues with unemployment, poverty, and inequalities, but it thrives in investor protection and property rights.
The region benefits from a middle-income market that continues to grow thanks to its well-developed financial, legal, energy, communications, and transportation business sectors. In addition, South Africa’s stock exchange is the largest in the continent and ranks among the top 20 in the world.
The best areas of investment for entrepreneurs moving into South Africa include education, manufacturing, and tourism.
Rwanda is the second-best place to do business in Africa according to the World Bank’s report, and is 56th overall in the world. The region suffered for many years during its civil war but now, citizens and leaders stay committed to reform and continue focusing on improving the economy and business climate.
Entrepreneurs starting a business in Rwanda can expect to be up and running in just three days, according to reports. Plus, registration fees are minimal.
The most lucrative sectors for business in Rwanda include:
- Information Technology
- Real Estate
After successfully acquiring its independence, Botswana has one of the fastest growing economy rates per capita in the world. Traditionally, it has had the largest success in the areas of diamond and precious metal mining, but the government continues to push resources to different industries to diversify its economy.
For example, Botswana increased its ranking on the Ease of Doing Business report by making the importing and exporting process faster by shortening the process by one week. In addition, the country ranks well in the areas of Corruption and Property Rights, making it a top African country for business.
Kenya rounds out our list of top African countries for business in 2017 because of its large investments in transportation, telecommunications, and energy.
For example, Google recently invested $700 million in a wind power and grid infrastructure project to improve renewable energy in the African country. A Google spokesperson said that it’s making investments in clean energy projects to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in in Africa.
Kenya also benefits businesses with availability to high-speed internet, a knowledgeable workforce, and a time zone compatible with Europe and Asia. It’s a great region for startups.
In addition, Kenya reduced its time to comply with tax obligations from the previous 405 hours to just over 196 hours to help investors. Also, according to the Ease of Doing Business report, companies have an easier time starting operations in-country thanks to eliminated stamp duty fees, along with reducing the requirements to sign the compliance declaration before a commissioner of oaths.
Expand into Africa On Your Terms with an Experienced Global Expansion Partner
Africa offers unique global expansion opportunities—but breaking into some African countries can be challenging. If you’re eying Africa as part of your global expansion, consider working with Velocity Global. Our International PEO (Professional Employer Organization) solution can have you operating in nearly any African country in as few as 48 hours. As your Employer of Record, we can hire on your behalf so you can focus on what matters most: running your business. Have big plans for your Africa expansion? We’re all ears.