Ylias Akbaraly speaks about economic and social growth in a high potential continent: Africa.
Africa is currently growing rapidly, both economically and socially. What does the current scenario look like?
At the moment, we can observe: strong economic growth; galloping demography: in Africa, the population growth equals its economic growth; high fertility rate: 5 children per female, in the continent which remains one of the poorest in the world; promising level of urbanization (an urbanization rate of 50% is expected for 2030 in Sub-Saharan Africa); burgeoning middle class: over the last 30 years, the middle class has tripled. South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria are among the countries where the middle class is actively growing.
Why does Africa show the highest grow prospect out of any continent? What are the driving forces behind this growth?
This situation comes from the great potential of the African continent, which needs to be exploited in particular when it comes to natural resources (oil/mining), manufacturing sector, finance, infrastructures and transport, agriculture and more. Foreign investments are the driving forces behind this growth. For example, in 2010 foreign investments to Sub-Saharan Africa were equal to 37 billion $, compared with 57 billion $ invested in 2016. In 2017, the external financial flows to Africa should amount to nearly 180 billion $. Since 2002:
– 5,000 jobs have been supported or created thanks to investment funds
– 10,000 people got access to water and electricity
– 80% of enterprises supported by investment funds have offered health coverage to their employees
– 90% of enterprises supported by investment funds meet local needs.
What key areas of opportunity should we capitalize on in order to promote sustainable growth in Africa? How can this growth be sustainable in the future?
Education and entrepreneurship are imperative in order to favour the emergence of the middle class. In 18 african countries, we have identified a number of entrepreneurs who have created their companies in order to explore innovative opportunities. These entrepreneurs represent 11% of the working age population – higher than Latin America (8%) and Asia (5%). This potential needs to be developed with an adequate political strategy, aiming at training workers, creating special economic zones and industrial parks and enabling access to financing.
Which sectors are the most profitable?
It depends on the area of Africa. Generally, the more profitable sectors are Energy, Mining, Agro-business, Building or Tourism.
Can the whole continent progress as a whole or is this a phenomenon limited to a few countries?
Africa has a big problem with instability and corruption. At the same time, Africa is a land of opportunities when it comes to raw materials, low labour cost and the existence of a large potential market. The whole continent is progressing, but it’s the speed of the progression which is different. Actually, we can highlight 6 African countries among the top 10 fastest-growing economies: Angola, Niger, Ethiopia, Chad and Mozambique, as well as the peculiar case of South Africa, which represents one-third of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP.
Which are the most important values for African entrepreneurs?
African entrepreneurs need to be able to respond adequately to changing circumstances, relying especially on pragmatism, vision and innovation, perseverance and patience.
How did your company start and how did it manage to grow to its current size?
Sipromad Group was created in 1972 with industry as its core business. It started with a diversification of its industrial products (tobacco, ropes, soap…) before diversifying its activities on a conglomerate (tourism, aviation, renewable energy, technology, finance, real estate, hospitality…). This growth was based on:
1. Our core values: team spirit, quality, corporate social responsibiity, integrity, honesty, righteousness, keeping our word and excellency.
2. Our ability to be integrated in the African market, understanding the competitors, the current legislations and the local administration’s rules.
What are your goals in Africa and what is your vision for the future?
Our goal is to become the leader in broadcasting and media solutions and to represent a key player in the media industry throughout the 54 countries in Africa.