If You Want To Invest In Africa Right Now

One I get asked often, and perhaps the reason you are reading this blog, is to get a personal take on lucrative investment and business opportunities in Ghana at the moment. 

I am often presented with a number of exciting ideas by young Ghanaians in the U.S. and asked to evaluate them on feasibility. My short answer is always yes, that’s a great idea. The longer answer is this post which delves a bit into what I have observed and seen in the Ghanaian market. 

Traditional Businesses

Traditional businesses are still lucrative in Ghana and the continent at large. When I say traditional business, I mean long existing business areas one pursues not to innovate, but to reap existing profitability. Some of the faster moving opportunities I see in this area are in medicine (owning a hospital/pharmacy), real estate/construction, farming/agriculture, buy and sell (import/trade) and, services (events).

This is how I’ve seen people engage in these areas:

This works: A friend’s father, in his 60s, retired from the New York City MTA a few years ago. He decided to return to Ghana and specifically to his hometown of Seko in the Ashanti region to farm oranges. Agriculture, including export of not only fruits and vegetables, but peels and seeds, is big business in Africa right now.

This may not work: my father will return to Ghana a few years from now (he wishes it was yesterday, actually), and set up a company where he sells CAT parts. He thinks this is a highly lucrative business in the mining industry. I am a bit cautious; the timing may not be right. There is huge public outcry against 'galamsay' (ie. illegal mining) in Ghana right now and there are threats to shut down all mining activities and restructure the industry. This would have huge implications for someone starting out in this area.

This definitely doesn’t work: my aunt has a big store in Accra where she sells family size/whole sale consumer goods from the U.S (canned foods, toiletries, rice, etc). Though the store is big and fully stocked, she is not in a prime location and faces considerable losses daily. She is also facing increasing competition as supermarkets and big chain stores, such as ShopRite, with the same goods and cheaper prices, continue to grow and expand. 

Aside from starting a business in these existing industries, some existing companies I would invest in right now if I could are: VIP (transportation), Fan Milk (Yogurt/Food), Blue Skies (Juice/Food). I can elaborate more on why these companies if people are interested. 

Tech & Innovation

Perhaps some of the most exciting businesses on the continent are the ones using technology to add value or bring about innovative solutions which have not yet been seen in the country. These are just a few startups in Ghana I personally know of and believe in: 

A few: 

1. Buy Read Love

Buying books in Ghana is incredibly hard - books are hard to find and buying and shipping from outside the country is expensive and time consuming. This is a great business idea to conveniently bring books, including text books, to everyone who needs it. 

2. HostelMate

While many young Africans/Diasporians run into traditional real estate when they move, buying and selling land or property, these guys are using technology to do something different: help students book and find hostels. 

3. Crowdfrica.org

This platform allows anyone in the world to donate to health insurance and school supplies for identified African communities. 

A New Way To Invest

Another strong area for investment or business is to leverage the pro-Africa movement in the Diaspora right now. This means you don’t have to start your business on the continent but you create an African product or service for the Diaspora and lovers of the continent at large. Examples: build networks and platforms (movemeback.com), leverage (shopzuvaa.com), shipping (Envyl.com). Fashion, art, and food area some good areas to look into for the Diaspora.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts or observations in the comments.

Note: all claims in this post are personal thoughts and opinions and are not to be taken as investment advice. My sole purpose it to expose readers to my personal observations and reflections in the market.