The term millionaire has evolved into a title which is more than about money. Today’s modern African millionaires also want to solve the continent’s problems while making money. No longer are entrepreneurs looking to exploit the resources of the continent but rather solve longstanding issues that have crippled the continent preventing it from catching up with modernized nations. As such, the number of business opportunities within Africa have increased exponentially.
As more and more citizens migrate into the urban areas of the continent, transportation needs have skyrocketed. Ownership of vehicles remains low, about 5% of the population owns a vehicle making it the furthest developing region behind in regards to transportation. While big name automakers are already setting up factories in the continent, another idea is starting to take shape. “Made in Africa” vehicles are now being developed with the first released in Kenya. Other markets are emerging in Nigerian and Uganda. Along with increased use of motor vehicles, another potential for growth exists and that is developing infrastructure such as roads with only half of the roads paved.
Of course, for all of this development to take place, the continent’s financial service industry needs to expand as well. Traditional banking institutions simply are not practical to allow the continent’s financial services to grow at a rate needed. With more and more people on the continent owning mobile phones, this provides a huge potential for financial access. A variety of services can easily be fulfilled through mobile devices including bill payments, financial disbursements, merchant payments, money transfers, insurance and other services. Africa has been reliant on services such as Western Union and MoneyGram which levy significant fees amounting to over $1 billion annually. This is money that could remain in the continent.
One result of having a large population is also having a significant amount of waste with which to deal especially in urban areas. Sure, waste can be burned or buried but this doesn’t take care of the staggering amount generated. There lies potential in coming up with a use for this waste to solve not only environmental issues but to provide business opportunity as well. One company in South Africa is tackling this problem by converting the waste into animal feed. Maggots are grown from the waste which then can be processed into an animal supplement high in protein rather than using fish meal. Another solution is being tried in Ethiopia where the waste is converted into electricity which can supply 3 million homes with power.
With so much potential for growth in these sectors as well as many others, Africa appears to be an appealing place for business opportunities to not only create millionaires in terms of wealth but also the knowledge of doing good for the continent.