Business, Economics and Jobs

Brightest Africa lures investors


Africa is attracting investment. Here Kenyan dancers perform at the 8th Forum of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in Nairobi. The AGOA is a forum of some 40 African states that enjoy trade preferences in the giant U.S. market on the condition they uphold free elections and markets.


Roberto Schmidt

Who says Africa is the dark continent?

Not investors. They say Africa offers some of the world's best investment prospects.

As emerging markets grow ever more important, there is new interest in Africa. China has led the way, drawn by the continent's rich resources and investment opportunities. Now western investors are catching on.

Africa's fast growing middle class is part of the good economic news, as it helps economic growth and boosts the continent's consumer market.

Africa's oil-producing giant Nigeria is a top pick by some of the most influential figures in emerging markets finance who spoke to the Reuters Emerging Markets Summit in Sao Paulo last week.

Africa withstood the financial crisis better than many predicted, and the region's economic growth is forecast at 4.75 percent in 2010. Next year, half of the world's 10 fastest growing economies are expected to be in Africa. The continent is attracting more than just the most intrepid investors.

"The latent interest in Africa is enormous," said Stephen Jennings, chief executive of Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, speaking to the Reuters meeting by video link from Moscow.

"Before the crisis there were probably 40 people or groups establishing Africa funds. In 3-4 years you'll have 100 Africa funds and the biggest one won't be $2 billion, it'll be $20 billion."