Cape Town, South Africa.

Africa’s potential for robust and inclusive growth lies in harnessing its young population, vibrant cities, and innovative sectors to improve productivity and increase prosperity, benefiting not only the continent but the world.

Africa’s economic potential is immense, driven by its young and rapidly growing population, dynamic cities, and innovative advancements in various sectors such as fintech and clean energy. With its population projected to nearly double by 2050, the continent presents abundant opportunities for inclusive and robust growth that can benefit not only Africa but the world at large. Despite experiencing a slowdown in economic growth from 2010 to 2019, Africa’s diverse countries, cities, sectors, and companies have demonstrated pockets of success and innovation that can serve as models for revitalizing the continent’s economy.

One of the key challenges Africa faces is improving productivity across sectors. While the continent has undergone a significant shift toward the services sector, which now contributes the majority of economic output, productivity in African services remains the lowest compared to other regions. It is crucial to enhance productivity not only in services but also in the industrial and agricultural sectors, which still employ a significant portion of Africa’s workforce. By increasing productivity, Africa can create the necessary jobs to sustain its growing population and drive economic growth.

Africa’s potential is further amplified by its vast human capital and abundant resources. The continent has the opportunity to capitalize on its talented workforce and leverage digital tools and technologies to spark productivity-led growth in all sectors. Additionally, as Africa continues to urbanize at a rapid pace, investing in infrastructure and supporting businesses and workers in both primary and second cities is crucial to boosting productivity and economic growth.

Large companies play a significant role in Africa’s economic progress, contributing to growth, employment, innovation, and exports. Despite variations in performance, large companies in Africa have considerable untapped potential for growth. By adopting ambitious strategies to access new markets, strengthen productivity, and increase operational efficiency, these companies can collectively increase their revenues by over $550 billion by 2030.

Africa’s consumption potential is another area of opportunity. By achieving robust economic growth and empowering one billion Africans across the empowerment line, the continent can unlock $3 trillion in consumer spending. This presents an opportunity for businesses to offer affordable products and services, target growth hotspots, and innovate in local value chains.

To fully realize Africa’s potential and achieve sustainable growth, improving and increasing productivity across sectors is crucial. Digitization, talent development, regional collaboration, support for business champions, and the development of green businesses are among the strategies that can enhance productivity in Africa. A thriving Africa is not only essential for the continent itself but also for the global transition to net zero, mitigating the impact of demographic decline, and fostering global commerce and trade. By building a foundation of strong productivity, Africa can achieve resilience, well-being, and prosperity for its people while making significant contributions to the world.

Sourced from McKinsey