RENEW Strategies

Benchmarking the Potential of Eight African Countries

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Joshua Weissburg
| September 24, 2008

An interesting article entitled The Rise of Africa’s ‘Frontier’ Markets appeared recently in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) quarterly magazine, Finance and Development. In it author David Nellor singles out eight African countries (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) and benchmarks them against Asian countries that started to take off in 1980. The numbers (see table below) are pretty interesting. Nellor makes a strong, data-driven argument for why certain African countries are becoming “real” emerging markets.

Here’s how the IMF determine whether a country is “emerging”:

  • Has there been a takeoff in growth?
  • Is that growth led by the private sector, and has public policy embraced market-led growth?
  • Are there financial markets in which to invest?