#AfricaNow #2: How to thrive in Africa, advice from Georges Desvaux and Marc Rennard

Tackling the African market and leveraging tech on the continent can be hard but very successful if done effectively. Our Africa Now event, had the pleasure of welcoming Georges Desvaux, Senior Partner at McKinsey, who shared his opinions and expertise on “how to win your business strategy in Africa”. He was followed by Marc Rennard, CEO of Orange Digital Ventures, who added his “keys to success” and important mistakes to avoid when investing in Africa.

How to win your business strategy in Africa — Keynote by Georges Desvaux, Senior Partner at McKinsey

Georges Desvaux speaking at Africa Now

Before anything, we have to reset our mental map of the world.

Firstly, regarding scale. How big is Africa compared to the rest of the world? To put it into context, the African continent is larger than the US, China, Japan, India, and all of Europe combined. And with scale, you have power.

Secondly, growth. Out of the 10 fasting growing economies, 6 of them are in Africa (2018).

Next, the notion of reformers. How many of the top ten reformers on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index this year are in Africa? 5 out of the top 10, a sign that there is a real wave of trying to lift the continent towards a better competitive arena.

Lastly, economy. How important is Africa as an economy base for international companies? How many earn more than $1 billion in annual revenues? A staggering 438 business. The majority of them are African as well with only about 70 of them being multinationals.

In short, Africa is a healthy place to do business if you know what you are doing. The continent is a place where things are happening and will continue to happen. It’s important to have this mental map, an overview of the scale, the reforming nature and the already significant making of a powerhouse for businesses.

So what’s the investment thesis?

I see it as the big 5.

Why is it so difficult, how do you win?

We interviewed over 40 CEOs, senior executives and development leaders to answer this question: what does it take to be successful on the continent? It’s not rocket science but requires good execution.

Conclusively, do well by doing good. You need to bring purpose, people want to make a difference on the continent. This was what stood out among those we interviewed: If you bring life and vibrancy to the continent, you’re much more likely to win.

Marc Rennard, Chairman and CEO Orange Digital Ventures

Marc Rennard at Africa Now

The percentage of the population connected to the internet will move to roughly 90% in 2025, creating around 2% growth in GDP per year.

This transition to a totally connected world is indicated by 3 clear signals:

Keys to success

You can’t make a mistake when you decide to invest in Africa. It’s all about execution, more than ever due to the increasing maturity of the ecosystem. Stick to the customer needs, invest in local talents and focus on innovation.


Check out our other wrap-ups of the #AfricaNow event:


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