Are you fearing the challenges of doing business in Africa? Well sure enough, no one enjoys the prospect of corruption, conflict, and power cuts when planning to open a business. And it is natural to be worried about such risk factors.
But I believe too many Africans – in particular those residing in the Diaspora- are held back by worries when contemplating starting a business in Africa. For many of us, perceived risks often win over perceived opportunities.
Combat your fears by changing perspective
But let’s see things from a slightly different angle. I believe when we talk about ‘risks’ for our Africa business venture we need to change perspectives. Here are some thoughts:
Africa is an emerging market and such markets are volatile in nature. If Africa was as developed or easy to navigate as the West we would not be having the discussion about unrepresented business opportunities in the first place. The market would be fairly saturated and all that would be left for you would be a brave attempt to squeeze in. So perspective 1:… have you ever thought about the risks of doing business in a saturated market? You better have great innovation and marketing skills to stand out amidst the powerful competition. Africa on the contrary provides a rare opportunity to position yourself fairly fast and possibly even become a leader in your industry.
Thousands, if not millions, of Africans are running very successful businesses in Africa, and many Diasporans have shot rocket-high with their newly set up companies. They are extremely successful working in the same environment you may call too risky. So the benefit you have overall across the continent that your growth can happen pretty fast, if you use the right business model and market entry strategies.
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What is a ‘no-risk’ or ‘low-risk’ market anyway? When millions of business owners and employees lost their earnings and jobs in the West and across the globe during an unexpected financial meltdown just a few years ago, Africa’s economies and businesses continued to grow. In the end ‘risk’ is somewhat relative and can strike anywhere.
Of course, none of us can deny that there are countries in Africa where opening a business would be a very bad idea, because risk is high and business opportunities and dynamics are poor. But you have 54 countries to choose from! As I teach – go for low risk/high opportunity markets in Africa in order to get started, they do exist and will make your life so much easier.
I think, as so often in life, the issue of Africa being too risky for business comes down to our own viewpoint and attitude – a matter of the glass being half empty or half full, if you wish. So if the risks in Africa have been the main reason holding you back, I hope this article will allow you to challenge yourself to see things from various angles.
Leading a special life requires doing things differently
But here is another life fact that may serve us when we feel we are being held back. You see, most people choose the safe route in life: The little risk – little obstacle – great familiarity- route. And most times this route keeps you safe in the lap of world average. Security is everyone’s friend and fear our greatest challenger. Playing it safe and seeking contentment at best is what most people opt for. Nothing wrong with that at all, but you remain limited and often you will never be able to free yourself from the voice within that is asking and longing for more – in life.
What many of us do not realize is that there is also a world of abundance out there that is unknown to most of us, yet so accessible if we just know how to go for it: Living for a greater cause, making an impact on the life of thousands, building prosperity and a grand lifestyle for ourselves and our family, living life to the fullest, releasing and unleashing our individual potential and seeing how far we can get and what it is each one of us is truly capable to create in this world.
For me this is what doing business in Africa is all about. It’s about taking part in Africa’s exciting renaissance while growing personally towards greater horizons and living a grander version of life. The message I hope to spread among my African brothers and sisters is not about becoming your own boss just to be able to pay the monthly bills and being a slave in your business. But to create something meaningful, something you enjoy, and that you can expand beyond your wildest dreams allowing you to make a larger impact while enjoying the fruits of your wealth.
Yes, Africa faces a lot of challenges and will continue to do so for some time. But instead of becoming a victim of poor infrastructure and corruption you also have the opportunity to change things around: The lack of infrastructure or anything else for that matter allow you to offer solutions to Africa that pay you!
Your first step is to make the decision to strive for an extraordinary life – if you want that.
Many African markets overall continue to rise and our continent’s stories of chronic suffering are slowly but surely replaced by stories of increased success. It’s a process that will take a while with all its setbacks, and some countries are still seriously lacking behind. But nevertheless, here we are, and the process has very much started. In an emerging market risks will not suddenly vanish, but persist for some time. But exactly this is your window of opportunity!
Africa is regarded as the world’s last frontier and investments in all emerging markets come with much greater risk due to political instability, domestic infrastructure problems, currency volatility, increased corruption, and limited equity opportunities. But the reason why emerging markets are highly sought after is the rare prospect of high returns, because these markets usually experience less competition and much faster economic growth. Africa is a pool of opportunities and it is waiting for its children to dive in. This is a unique time that you should not miss. This is where you have the chance to create and build something impressive for Africa and yourself! The train is moving all the way from Alexandria to Cape Town. Get on board!
And today, I would like to leave you with this very true quote:
What are the biggest risks or challenges that may be holding YOU back from doing business in Africa? Do you think you would be able to change your perspective? Feel free to leave comments below.