Central Africa is the most underdeveloped region in Africa. It plays home to approximately 180 million people.
Unfortunately, the nine territories that makeup Central Africa lack infrastructure, housing, healthcare, education and other critical sectors to help them grow and develop.
Tropic diseases such as Ebola, and now COVID-19, had a devastating effect on the region. The World Health Organisation’s Africa media briefing held on 9 April 2020 discussed Africa’s “fragile economy” and how the virus is now spreading into the smaller towns and villages. These towns and villages struggle to access even the basic of needs, due to little or no transport infrastructure.
Investment opportunities exist in all aspects of the needs of everyday life. From electricity, education, transport, healthcare, mining, manufacturing, hospitality, telecommunications and ICT, to name but a few.
Let’s see how ABiQ forecasting impacts just a couple of these sectors:
Although the current Corona pandemic is not yet as severe as in other markets, this region has the potential to be hit hard. They are constantly battling other illnesses such as TB and malaria, so they have experience in dealing with such pandemics. However, even without a Corona outbreak, ABiQ predicts that Central Africa will need in excess of 1,500 new hospitals. In addition to these facilities, it would also require 43,000 physicians that need to be trained by 2030.
The region is water-rich with tropical rainforests and large bodies of water. Access to safe drinking water still remains low. We estimate that by 2030, an additional 15 billion cubic metres of potable water will be required every year. The supply network will require vast investment that will lead to employment opportunities. Not to be forgotton, the wastewater networks and processing plants will also need to be thought about.
A number of solar-driven mini-grids have been developed throughout the region over the last decade. Looking forward to 2030, we predict Central Africa will need more than 8 gigawatts of new power generating capacity. This is to main the current access levels, which we already know, are some of the lowest globally.
Many non-Government organisations (NGO’s) are already present and support a vast array of renewable energy programmes. Although mini-grids provide a quick short-term solution, they tend not to be very efficient in the long run.
Natural resources and mining opportunities
Central Africa is rich in natural resources and minerals, so there is a strong potential for people across a variety of sectors to tap into this market. Special focus should be given to processing these resources before exporting. This would further improve and contribute to the domestic economy. It will also raise the skill level and justify governments’ investment in tertiary training institutions.
There is an enormous difference in wealth in the region. Angola’s GDP is twice that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo followed by Cameroon in third. Angola’s wealth stems from rich offshore oil fields and onshore diamond fields generating foreign currency.
Many of the Central African countries lack the infrastructure to support exploration, development and processing of natural resources. The result is limited domestic growth opportunities. But this is changing fast with the development of mobile technology.
Overall, Central Africa needs to improve its investment environment and more needs to be done to eliminate corruption. The region needs to drive a different business culture that will attract and welcome investors and nurture the region’s development.
For more information on Central Africa and how you can support its growth, get in touch.