Opportunities in Africa and the 4 Ways to Capture Them

Highway in Africa connecting opportunities in Africa

Africa is the future and if your organization wants to stay plugged into global growth opportunities, then you have to prioritize exploration of opportunities in Africa.

Home to 1 billion inhabitants and the youngest population in the world, the potential opportunities across Africa are enormous once we take a broad look at the  combinatorial effects of infrastructural development, social advancement, and technological progress together.

“There’s an approach that requires some rethinking, courage, and long-term vision to set you and your organization to be part of this economic and cultural movement.”

Merging these three factors, coupled with the empowered creativity of the young minds across the continent – the growth opportunities are limitless.

Because there is a huge infrastructural, social, and technological gap, there is white space for organizations that have products and solutions to fill in those gaps.

This includes but is not limited to computer hardware, machinery, industrial automation solutions, medical devices, and a wide range of social inclusion solutions.

So as a global business developer, how do you tap into the opportunities of this vast 54-country continent without getting overwhelmed?

Don’t worry. There’s a tested 4-step approach that successful managers use to make an entry and grow sales in Africa.

They understand the lay of the land with a bird’s eye view.

Then they prioritize markets to focus on.

Afterwards, they build local strategies in each priority market.

Finally, they utilize the support of local on-ground resources to reach and service their customer base.

Let’s take a look at each step.

Bird’s eye view on the opportunities in Africa

Africa is a huge place. A huge landmass that can contain 54 countries. The continent is 3 times the size of the United States of America. The entire continent can contain the US, Europe, China, India, and Japan combined within its borders. See the picture below to get some context on the magnitude.

Africa can contain multiple countries within its borders!

It’s not only large, it’s also very diverse. 

There are 1000 – 2000 languages spoken across 3000 tribes over 54 countries.

The diversity presents a lot of opportunities for innovation but also presents a lot of challenges for business developers looking to expand across the continent. 

With varying levels of macro-economic, socio-political developments, and currencies, having a clear and coherent Pan-African strategy can be difficult. 

However, with clear goals, a long-term vision, and pragmatic approach, the African continent is the next frontier for most global organizations. 

That’s why the next step – prioritizing – is very important.


A major mistake that people trying to enter the African market make is that they want to be everywhere and anywhere at the same time.

With a diverse business culture across 54 countries, even the largest corporations with all the resources do not attempt getting into each market at the same time.


It’s tedious and a waste of time.

Rather, the successful businesses start by focusing on 1 to 3 countries, regions, or even cities that will give them the most ROI.

Then they follow up that success with expansion into adjacent countries within the region.

The factors that affect how markets are prioritized are dependent on each corporation.

The main things most corporations consider are size of economy, growth of economy, population size, availability of urban areas, and even languages spoken.

Get the 7 steps you need to prioritize your key markets in Africa

Narrow down the number of countries you want to expand to by prioritizing, then move on to the next step of understanding how to operate in your prioritized market.


Once you are clear on the markets you want to prioritize, you can now focus on building a solid plan to reach, develop, and service a customer base for your products and solutions.

Although your solutions may already be available in other parts of the world, you will have to understand the local needs of your customer base in the market so that you can build a sustainable local strategy to succeed. 

You can achieve this by performing some market intelligence to understand the addressable market, competitive landscape, pricing schemes, regulatory protocols and barriers, customer needs, key accounts to target (for B2B businesses), distribution landscape, and any other useful information that can guide your business to capture and grow market share in priority markets.

Use the insights from your research to develop a short and long-term plan for your business that your team can execute on. 

On-ground resources

Now that you’ve prioritized markets and developed a local strategic plan to reach your customer base, you need a team to implement your strategy.

The best way to achieve this is by working with competent resources in-country. You can do this by either hiring someone or working through partnerships with local resources

Dependent on the stage of your business, you might need different partners – consultants, distributors, business development reps, or sales agents.

These professionals will be the resources that will help with the boots-on-ground, constantly chasing down business and fostering relationships that bring in revenue for your business.

As your business matures within the market and you develop an extensive reach, you can build out your local team or even register a local entity to have more ownership of the relationship between your organization, your customers, and the community.

Business in Africa can be challenging but it does not have to be complex. 

With the right approach you and your business can begin building commercial relationships and making the right inroads to tap into Africa’s enormous growth potential because it is true – the time for Africa is now and into the future.

We're helping multinational clients adequately prepare to thrive in the African market. Backed by a suite of sophisticated services and solutions, KPA brings in-depth insights, diverse experiences, and genuine care to every client engagement to deliver the results you need to exceed your set business goals.