Economist: A continent goes shopping
Africa’s fast-growing middle class has money to spend
... Africa already has a $1.8 trillion economy and is forecast to have a population of 1.3 billion by 2020. “Lion” economies such as Ghana and Rwanda have grown faster than South Korea, Taiwan and other East Asian “tiger” economies in five of the past seven years, albeit from a low base.
Unilever is not the only consumer-goods giant moving in. Africa accounts for only 3% of group sales of Nestlé, the world’s biggest food firm, but the Swiss behemoth is betting big there too: its African investments will total SFr1 billion ($1 billion) in 2011 and 2012 against a total capital expenditure of SFr4.8 billion last year. It has 29 factories on the continent and wants to build more. SABMiller, the world’s second-largest beermaker, is planning to invest up to $2.5 billion in Africa over the next five years to build and revamp breweries. In the year to March 2012, the continent (excluding South Africa) was SABMiller’s fastest-growing region, with volumes up by 13%.
Africa’s attractions stem from its new middle class, loosely defined by the African Development Bank as anyone who spends between $2 and $20 a day in purchasing-power parity terms. The bank estimates that more than 34% of Africans (326m people) fit this description, up from 27% in 2000 (see chart). ...