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The Gulf closes in on Africa

The Gulf closes in on Africa

Africa may not be the easiest of places to do business, but with 900 million consumers it’s well worth the effort for GCC companies.

May 7, 2010 10:25 by

The third sector in need of investment is the health and pharmaceutical sector.

In June this year, the board of directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Tunis approved an investment of $14.7 million in the Investment Fund for Health in Africa (IFHA), which focuses on existing health insurance organisations, pharmaceutical production facilities and distribution chains.

Africa’s healthcare sector is severely underfinanced and will require yearly investments of some $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, half of it through the rapidly expanding private sector.

Global business consultant and author Vijay Mahajan, speaking at the Africa Rising conference in Dubai late last year, expects that multinationals won’t have a choice but to cater to developing nations.

“Between India, China and the whole of Africa, taking up half of the world’s population, companies will have to design for these nations, who have nowhere to go but up,” he said.

Mahajan conducted an exhaustive consumer and business survey of Africa, which resulted in a book called Africa Rising: How 900 Million African Consumers Offer More Than You Think.

The study looks extensively at the continent’s growing middle class and shows how successful companies are organising the marketplace, creating infrastructure, advertising and even custom packaging.

Finally, the biggest asset Africa has is its people, as the rate of economic growth is due to a rising share of working age people in a population – Africa’s demographic dividend.

- Gulf Marketing Review magazine.

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