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10 Business Ideas for Expats or Foreigners in Africa for 2021

According to New World Wealth, millionaires in Africa has increased by 145%, the worldwide progress rate is just 73%. This shows just how profitable and lucrative setting up or investing in a business could be in Africa

  • According to New World Wealth, millionaires in Africa has increased by 145%, the worldwide progress rate is just 73%. This shows just how profitable and lucrative setting up or investing in a business could be in Africa
  • Agribusiness will be valued above 1 Trillion dollars by the year 2030. Africa is abundant with cheap labour and fertile soil, making it a top-rated food producer and exporter worldwide
  • Internet companies worldwide such as “BRCK” are designing modem devices that offer Wifi, Ethernet, 3G and 4G. These work properly in severe environments such as in the Sahara desert or Congo forests
  • Many countries, like Tanzania and Kenya, have introduced mobile-based payment and money transfer services such as M-Pesa or M-Pawa
  • African art is valued all over the world. In 2014, a collection of antique art sold at US$41 million

According to New World Wealth, millionaires in Africa has increased by 145%. Millionaires are defined as having US$1million (£645,000) in net assets. It is more shocking that the worldwide progress rate is just 73%. The emerging millionaires are investors and entrepreneurs who have invested their resources in various profitable markets. This shows just how profitable and lucrative setting up or investing in a business could be in Africa. Here are 10 Business Ideas for expats or foreigners in Africa where they can use their savings or income to make a lot of money:

1. Agribusiness

It is an untouched goldmine that will be valued above 1 Trillion dollars by the year 2030. Africa is abundant with cheap labour and fertile soil, making it a top-rated food producer and exporter worldwide. This will only increase as more developed countries begin running out of agricultural landmass by building cities. There are many options for entering this market ranging from a farmer, land renter, market seller, producer or manufacturer, packager, or exporter of vegetables or meat in mass or niche quantities.  

2. Use of Smartphones

Africa is now the second-largest smartphone market as more and more people, especially the young generation, are beginning to use smartphones. There is a significant trend towards purchasing Samsung, iPhone and Blackberry phones as a status symbol. Entrepreneurs and investors can sell or repair phones and their software or choose to create apps or other software to sell on smartphones. The potential for growth in this market is neverending. 

3. Internet Industry

As the trend to use smartphones is getting more substantial, so is the use of the internet to access content, media, products or services through smartphones. Students are the biggest users of the internet. Internet companies worldwide such as “BRCK” are designing modem devices that offer Wifi, Ethernet, 3G and 4G with hours of long battery life to use. These work properly in severe environments such as in the Sahara desert or Congo forests in Africa. Selling similar products or creating businesses that offer internet services will be profitable for foreigners and expats.

4. Online Services

Nowadays, most people worldwide have reach to computers and smartphones which provide access to the internet. It allows users to get or purchase online business services. Users can shop for goods or groceries, book hotels, apartments, bus or plane tickets, watch films, order food, and use a host of other online services to meet their requirements. Many online services in developed European, American or Asian countries are not available in some less developed African countries yet. Any entrepreneur or investor who successfully delivers some of these services while the market is still young will become one of the industry’s biggest providers.    

5. Best Payment Method

Though Africa is progressing by day and night, people in some countries still generally make cash transactions. Many countries, like Tanzania and Kenya, have introduced mobile-based payment and money transfer services such as M-Pesa or M-Pawa. More customers are using these services because they provide a safe, quick, and easy way to pay and transfer money. It’s a growing market that foreigners and expats can exploit.

6. Pharmaceutical Company

A pharmaceutical company will be very profitable for money spinners. Acquiring a license is the most challenging part of setting up as this can require a lot of legal and medical checks. Africa has a lot of cheap labour and a massive demand for good, affordable, and accessible healthcare services. 

7. Jewellery Production

Africa is renowned for quality and expensive metals. Foreigners or expats can import delicate jewellery in Africa or export traditional ivory, beads, carved stones, amber, glass and seashells jewellery. Getting international trading licenses and paying tariffs will be the most difficult barrier. Still, the opportunity to make large profits is endless. Global demand for African jewellery for customers, businesses, or fashion industries is vast.

8. Introduce New Coffee, Tea, or Confectionary Food Brand

Introduce your product by using a sticky label and attractive packaging. Sell these packets to hotels, coffee shops or restaurants. Many entrepreneurs use a similar strategy to create products in cheap labour countries such as China, and repackage these with their branding to sell online or in-store. It is a sustainable business model that can mean foreigners or expats make consistent revenue over a long time.

9. African Art

African art is valued all over the world. In 2014, a collection of antique art sold at US$41 million. This included copper and aluminium sculptures which sold for US$767,000. It is a fact that contemporary and antique African artwork get high prices in the global market. Collectors and investors are paying more and more for introducing these remarkable pieces of art to the rest of the world. A foreigner with a love of art and a good eye can set up a business to buy artwork in African and sell these internationally.

10. Fashion Designing 

Fashion designing is one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide. Expats or foreigners can introduce Western designs to African customers or export traditional African fashion to internationally. This doesn’t have to be high-class fashion either. It could be everyday clothes or shoes that are good quality and rare in Africa or internationally. Nike shoes are often sold in East African markets but are fake. African leather goods or ones ethically made from rare animal skins sell in foreign markets, but again are fakes. Demand for genuine, high-quality fashion goods will always remain.

Amin Bilal is a business consultant, founder of CompanyHand.com, and content creator. He specialises in advising SMEs and large multinational corporations solve finance, operational, and technological problems.

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