This is a special feature on conducting business in one of the world’s top business frontiers from the November 2014 Black Enterprise magazine issue, written by Richard Spiropoulous and Derek T. Dingle.
Where the money is
There are a number of hot sectors for intrepid entrepreneurs. TiguidankÃ© Camara, a former fashion model turned mining magnate, recommends real estate, as many African countries are scrambling to develop hotels and commercial centers. She also favors the mining and energy sectors. “These are the most lucrative fields that I would recommend. The governments are always willing to work with the right kinds of investors, especially the ones bringing in technology or simple know-how,” she says. “If you can help bring more electricity to Africa, you’ve already made your pitch.”
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Derrick Williams III is bullish on the agricultural sector, advising entrepreneurs to establish food refineries, processing facilities, and manufacturing plants as well as infrastructure and technology tied to the industry. He ticks off highly coveted areas of agricultural innovation that include greenhouse agricultural systems, solar-paneled agricultural systems, salination technology, and mobile irrigation systems.
At the African CEO Summit, Gilman Kasiga, co-founder and CEO of Tanzania-based EA-Power, an alternative energy firm, says investment and partnership are welcome throughout the continent. Those companies that will be highly sought after, however, will be those that employ innovation to solve problems and improve lives. He offered a bit of advice that all entrepreneurs should remember: “The difference between a stepping-stone and a stumbling block is how you step on the rock.”