Key findings from the 2024 edition of the Top 100 Business Opportunities in Africa to Watch, an annual selection of the continent’s most lucrative business ideas and investment opportunities curated by Activator HQ, have shown that the food sector and digital economy top the continent’s business opportunities to watch in 2024.
Other areas of interest are circular economy, energy value chain and financial services.
According to the report, Africa will be one of the fastest-growing regions in 2024 despite rising food and fuel costs, weakening currencies, climate change effects, security threats, political instability, rolling power cuts, infrastructure limitations, and several economic and social challenges.
“The new edition, which is the outcome of months of research and analyses that considered dozens of value propositions, market trends, demand-supply gaps, and business models across Africa, only consists of opportunities that have a minimum total addressable market value of $100 million,” said John-Paul T. Iwuoha, Founder and CEO of Activator HQ.
The Top 5 sectors:
- The food sector remains a multi-billion-dollar growth opportunity for the continent. The Africa Top 100 features several business ideas across the food value chain, from agricultural production to processing, marketing, and services in local and export markets.
- The digital economy presents a $180 billion opportunity for Africa by 2025. With the world’s youngest population, digital skills training and outsourcing is a strategic but underexplored market gap that brims with innovative ideas for new businesses and investments in Africa, particularly for high-demand skills like cybersecurity, data analytics, digital marketing, and software development.
- The circular economy: recycling of waste, such as generating electric power from landfill waste, recovering scrap metals for reuse, and processing municipal wastewater into potable freshwater, hold interesting business and investment opportunities that could, conservatively, inject an additional $8 billion into the African economy according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- The energy value chain is rich with opportunities for Africa. The combination of climate change effects, rising renewable energy penetration, and soaring energy prices precipitated by the Russia-Ukraine war has created market gaps and opportunities for more African gas supplies to Europe. There are also opportunities for local substitution of cooking fuels like firewood and charcoal with natural gas, and solar power applications for cold chain solutions.
- Financial services remain one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors in Africa to watch in 2024. While payments and consumer finance usually get most of the attention, niche opportunities like diaspora investment funds and female-focused finance are spotlighted in the latest Africa Top 100 guide.