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156 DOING BUSINESS IN AFRICA


Many free, web-based resources can assist firms in mapping out a strategy for targeting countries of interest, given demand, supply, and competitive factors


Graham Mackay, chief executive at SABMiller. The brewing giant has interests in 30 African countries


McKinsey managing director Dominic Barton. Africa’s future is bright, the firm predicts


The number of Export Processing


Zones (EPZs) in Africa is also growing, including those being built by the Chinese. These zones are increasingly being viewed as proven incentive regimes for attracting export-oriented manufacturing investment.


Pre-investment planning The World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ rankings indicate the ease of doing business as measured in terms of regulations directly affecting businesses; they do not directly measure more general conditions, such as a nation’s proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure, inflation or crime. By the Bank’s index – based on an average of 10 sub-indices including, for instance, procedures involved in starting a business, employing workers, and enforcing contracts – many African nations rank among the


INVEST IN AFRICA 2011


worst in the world. Similarly, the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR), a yearly report comparing 133 major and emerging economies, published since 1979 by the World Economic Forum, ranks Africa at the low end of the scale. While such competitiveness indicators don’t tell the whole story about competitiveness, they are useful reminders that it’s important to engage in proper business planning before investing in African countries. Before spending money to retain


experts, firms should note that there are many free, web-based resources that are available to assist them in preliminarily mapping out a strategy for targeting countries of interest, given demand, supply, and competitive factors. For instance, the United States


Government’s Export.gov website (www.export.gov) includes ‘Country


Commercial Guides’ for many African countries, which offer a wealth of information about their respective overall economic and trading profiles. The Africa Portal of Export.gov (www.export.gov/africa) also provides useful market research and information about business opportunities. To identify business opportunities


associated with upcoming major development initiatives, companies should monitor the websites of the AfDB (www.afdb.org), the World Bank (www.worldbank.org/africa), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (www.ifc.org/africa), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (www.mcc.gov). Every African country also has a


wealth of internet-based information that explains its trade and investment regimes and identifies the investment incentives that are offered. n


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