Tenbite Ermias

  • "If ever there were a time to celebrate and encourage high-growth companies in Africa, it is now"

Sponsor foreword by Tenbite Ermias, Managing Director, Africa, CDC Group

In the next two years, there will be 122 million new entrants to the African labour market, and by 2050, Africa will be home to a quarter of the world’s population. If ever there were a time to celebrate and encourage high-growth companies in Africa, it is now.

This level of population growth inevitably brings challenges.  Infrastructure, health and education all require serious attention.

However, it also brings opportunity.

We’re proud that the Companies to Inspire Africa report casts a spotlight on some of that opportunity by showcasing the individual success stories across this diverse continent.

As the UK’s development finance institution, we’ve been investing in African businesses since we were founded 70 years ago. We have backed successful mobile phone companies in Kenya, financial institutions in Nigeria, pharmaceutical companies in Egypt and large agribusinesses in Tanzania. While there have been ups and downs, we’ve consistently achieved positive returns.

Today, we have a £2bn portfolio of 715 companies in Africa. Our ethos is to bring more than just capital to investment. We bring our expertise to improve environmental and social standards, deliver training and nurture local talent. This ensures that the businesses we invest in are not only responsible corporate citizens but are attractive to potential clients, partners and investors.

Of course, nurturing business growth is not just about individual success stories. African countries need to be viewed as attractive investment destinations, too. We are seeing some change in that area, with countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda using the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings as a yardstick by which to measure and improve their performance.

And it seems to be working. The number of success stories from those countries places them in the top 10 nations represented in this report.

While risks remain and need to be managed, this report shows that these companies and countries are deserving of a much greater level of attention from our investment community.

This report shows that it’s time to look again at Africa.