Like most emerging and frontier markets around the world, Africa’s largest economies have been affected by the drop in commodity prices over the past 18 months.
Wealthy Nigerians used to travel abroad to get their fix of luxury goods. However these days, they can take a stroll around Victoria Island, an exclusive neighborhood in Lagos where brands like Porsche, Hugo Boss, and Ermenegildo Zegna line the streets.
Guests sashayed through the tent doors into a scene of surreal opulence. At the far end of the tent, engulfed by servants, courtiers, national politicians and guards with wires in their ears, the celebrant perched beside his wife on a throne covered with white faux fur, his every move broadcast on flat-screens arrayed around the tent walls.
The ‘Africa Rising’ narrative, driven primarily by the region’s high growth rates, has captured a great deal of attention from global businesses. High growth rates in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, have been fueling growth in the country’s luxury market.
Richard Vedelago is 29 years old and worth more millions than he’s prepared to tell. ‘Money talks, but wealth whispers,’ he says with a smile, sitting back in the bar at Claridge’s – his idea – and lazily sipping an elderflower juice.
The luxury sector has been adjusting to what some analysts call the “new normal”. After growing at 10-13 per cent a year in 2010, 2011 and 2012, rates were already slowing last year, and are forecast to settle at between 4 and 6 per cent.
Porsche AG, the luxury-car maker, opened a franchise in Kenya today to take advantage of an expanding economy and after securing a local partner to sell the vehicles.