African economic growth lions roar!

FT story citing Boston Consulting Group report:  Africa’s top 40 firms are beginning to compete successfully on the global stage, helping trigger national growth rates that rival those of the BRICs.

Africa’s top 40 companies are emerging as competitors on the global stage, propelled by economies whose performance now rivals the Bric nations, according to new research by the Boston Consulting Group.

According to the study, to be published on Tuesday, 500 African companies have been growing at more than 8 per cent a year since 1998. The report selects the top 40 among them, ranging in size from $350m (€285m, £240m) to $80bn, and argues that these companies, already regional players in mining, consumer industries and services, are now well positioned to “spread their wings and look beyond the continent”.

Export growth has helped power this expansion, surging from 3 per cent annually during the 1990s to 18 per cent since 2000. “This is similar to rates in China, India and Russia and is greater than Brazil,” the report says.

The companies are drawn from eight countries which together represent 70 per cent of Africa’s GDP. Most are based in South Africa, Egypt and Morocco, with nine spread across Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, Togo and Tunisia.

The report also identifies a group of fast-growing nations which it describes as the “African Lions” – Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia. Their collective per capita GDP, at $10,000, is already higher than the average for the Brics.

Patrick Dupoux, one of the authors based in Morocco, says the research should wake up western companies and BCG clients both to the potential of Africa’s market of 1bn people and the emergence of potential partners and rivals from the continent.

“We always talked about Asian tigers. There is another group we call the Africa lions. These are the countries that will drive the continent, become the locomotive,” he said.

“There is also group starting from much lower position like Ghana and Nigeria but that is starting to pick up, and of course there are others too like Ivory Coast that have stagnated.”

A hypothetical $100 investment in the top 40 companies over the past 10 years would have been worth more than $900 by November 2009.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Thats what we’re seeing broad boat-lifting on the poorest continent in the world—right on the heels of the worst financial/trade crisis ever endured by the modern global economy!

This is china pace economic growth that hasn’t been noticed much by western firms or governments, only to asian counterparts seem to have taken note.  So the old Asian tigers are now being matched by the African lions.

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