Written by Wesley Cate on July 30, 2015
Consulting firms from McKinsey & Company to the Boston Consulting Group have touted sub-Saharan's investment opportunities, and now large companies from the West are following suit. Recent investment announcements are highlighted below.
Airbnb: The number of people staying in Airbnb homes in Africa has increased 257 percent, with Johannesburg and Cape Town as the most popular destinations. With an eye on expanding its market in the region, the company announced the rollout of its $1 million guarantee for hosts in Africa. It also hired a general manager for Middle East and Africa to drive the company's growth.
IBM: On July 27 IBM announced a $60 million investment over three years to develop tech talent in Africa. From its base in Kenya, the company will expand the Africa Technical Academy and its Africa University program to include 20 countries. According to IBM, "IT professionals across the continent are set to benefit with advanced skills in analytics, cloud and big data technologies which are crucial to the next phase of Africa's economic and social development."
Starbucks: Starbucks announced earlier in July that it would be opening its first stores in sub-Saharan Africa. The first store will be opened inJohannesburg in 2016 with plans for additional stores to follow. "The chain's expansion into southern Africa is a bit of a homecoming for the coffee beans it sells, a large portion of which hail from sub-Saharan Africa" the Fortune article says.
Facebook: Recognizing the massive untapped market opportunity in Africa’s 1 billion people, Facebook has decided to establish an office in South Africa. According to Bloomberg, there are only 120 million or just .12% of the African continent’s population on Facebook.