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Oxford Professor Identifies Africa as a New Investment Hot Spot

Ian Goldin, the Oxford University professor and former economic adviser to Nelson Mandela has named Africa as a new investment hot spot

(Nairobi, Kenia – September 05, 2012) Speaking ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) this September 25-26 in Nairobi, where he will be describing the economic outlook for Africa in the coming decade, Professor Goldin has made six predictions that paint a promising picture of the continent from a commercial and investment point of view.

He forecasts that in the period from now to 2020:

  • Africa will be the fastest growing continent
  • It will experience the most rapid growth in the consumption of consumer goods
  • It will have the greatest improvements in investment climate
  • Africa’s population will grow to double that of Europe
  • Africa will have the world’s youngest labour force and in the following decades its size will overtake China’s and India’s
  • Inequality within Africa will reduce while in the rest of the world it will increase

Professor Goldin said: “The changes taking place in Africa are truly dramatic. For example, in the early 1980s, over 30 countries were ruled by autocrats and there were few democracies; by the late 1990s, that statistic was reversed. In the period 1999 – 2009, the S&P 500 fell by 0.8% year on year however; by comparison, the S&P Africa grew by over 23%”.

The management consulting firm, McKinsey, is similarly up-beat. It reports that African consumer spending has risen from $860 billion in 2008 to almost $1trillion now, and will reach $1.4trillion in 2020.

Prof. Goldin continued: “Africa is now the fastest-growing technology market in the world and new IT businesses are appearing at such a rate that there are stories about a shortage of suitable office accommodation in Nairobi, which is the centre of the emerging IT industry.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, the company organising AHIF, said: “GDP growth in Africa is around 6%/ year, which is well in excess of most developed Western economies but one wonders how long that can continue. Professor Goldin will help us look in to the future and extrapolate useful implications from the major trends for the hotel sector. For example, with a rapidly growing labour force, will there be strong growth in intra-regional travel and hence a higher demand for hotel accommodation and, if so, by how much? What will happen to property prices and interest rates and what will cause the current explosion in hotel development to slow?”

These and many more questions will be answered at AHIF, which is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers. It will be held at the InterContinental Hotel, Nairobi on 25-26th September, where the agenda will focus on how to capitalise long-term on the opportunities presented by Africa and strategies to overcome the challenges.