Bryan Leith: Growth has slowed in line with the global economy, but in relative terms there is still significant growth—even Nigeria, which halved its rate of growth from the peaks of few years ago, is still expected to expand in 2016 and 2017 around 4.2%. The Continent is huge and very diverse.
GF: What factors drive that growth?
Leith: Africa is the size of China, India, the United States and most of Europe put together, and it has a fast-growing, young population. Africa also has a growing middle class with plenty of people moving from the countryside into major urban centers. Clearly, from a business perspective the opportunity is there, but it is not easy because there are lots of risks.
GF: Tell us about the risks.
Leith: Risks are sometimes more perceived than real. Everybody asks me about corruption. Corruption is not unique to Africa, although it is a significant issue. But in a number of countries, policies and governance are improving. Look at Nigeria. Only ten years ago it would have been impossible to imagine democratic elections and uncontested results.