There are many reasons why our work is focused on the African continent...
For over twenty years, Founder and Executive Director, Lydia-Claire Halliday has supported corporations and advised business leaders by carefully analysing economic, geopolitical and social trends and predicting their consequences.
Our relationships with influential international networks of media, analysts, investors and associates exist and thrive due to a foundation and commonality in governance and professionalism.
Lydia-Claire Halliday Consultancy (LCH Consultancy & Associates) was founded in 2012 to counsel and represent international organisations invested in Africa.
Let’s start with the basics. Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent, second only to Asia. At about 30.3 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and accounts for one-fifth of its land. Paradoxically, the coastline of Africa (30,500 km) in length, is shorter than that of Europe, because there are few inlets and few large bays or gulfs.
A lively mix
The potential to
become a global
New ways of doing
tech and financial mechanisms
Meanwhile, with a population of 1.4 billion people as of 2022 (and rising sharply), it is already home to 17% of the world's human population.
By 2050, the populations of more than half of Africa’s 54 nations will double, bringing the total number of people in Africa close to 2.5 billion, or around 25% of the global population. 40% of all Africans are children under the age of 14 and the average age of an African is 19 years old, whereas a European’s is 44 years old.
In tandem with this exponential population growth is a rate of urbanisation, unmatched across the rest of the world. Africa’s urban population is expected to nearly triple by 2050, to 1.34 billion. The continent has a high rate of urban primacy (whereby one city is multiple times bigger than the next nearest) and a high number of mega-cities; this puts enormous stress upon the physical, political, economic and societal infrastructure.
600 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity. That’s 8% of the global population.
However, the African Union has committed to universal access by 2030; this will mean tripling the number of people gaining access per year from 2 million per year to 6 million per year in order to meet this target. The IEA believes the continent can achieve this with only 50% more energy, driven by the shift we see towards greater efficiencies and modern energy sources such as renewables and natural gas.
The world is facing challenging times, starting with Covid-19, which has claimed millions of lives and continues to impact countries around the world. The pandemic triggered a global economic crisis. Africa’s GDP contracted 1.6% in 2020, the continent’s first recession in half a century.
Africa’s gross domestic product has recovered strongly, but the lingering effects of the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war could pose considerable challenges in the medium term.
The African Development Bank, in its African Economic Outlook 2022, reports that Africa’s gross domestic product grew by an estimated 6.9% in 2021. Rising oil prices and global demand have helped improve Africa’s macroeconomic fundamentals. But growth could decelerate to 4.1% in 2022, and remain there in 2023, because of the lingering pandemic and inflationary pressures.
Rising food and energy prices are impacting the region’s most vulnerable, and public debt and inflation are at levels not seen in decades. Within this challenging environment, policymakers must confront immediate socioeconomic crises as they arise, while also endeavouring to reduce vulnerabilities to future shocks, building resilience. Ultimately, however, the region’s safety and prosperity will require high-quality growth and the implementation of policies that will set the stage for a sustainable recovery, helping countries move away from the edge.
However, the continents’ growth will continue, driven by several key industries, not least agriculture which is currently experiencing a bounce from rising commodity prices. Meanwhile, other sectors are subject to major investment, interest and innovation including banking, energy, mining, transport, telecoms and construction/infrastructure, the latter especially critical if the region is to ably accommodate its growing population and workforce.
Industrialisation, manufacturing and intra-trade are critical components in Africa’s economic transformation, job creation and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Historically, Africa’s manufacturing has had the lowest share of GDP globally, however, the region is undergoing a rapid transformation, demonstrating a growth rate in manufacturing of 7.5% per annum since 2000.
There are a range of regional industrialisation strategies including the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and Southern African Development Community (SADC). Individual countries also have their own domestic policies to increase and diversify industry, powered by the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution or digitalisation. Advanced technologies – such as 3D printing and robotics – will accelerate the regions’ industrialisation.
The transformative African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, implemented on the 1st January 2021, will contribute additional stability to growth in the region. It will be the largest free-trade zone in the world. The agreement is designed to accelerate intra-Africa trade and boost the regions trading position and ‘share of voice’ in the global market.
New technologies are transforming how businesses and societies operate. Mobile connectivity, for example, is an essential means for consumers to interact with the commercial world and access vital services, especially in rural areas where more than half of Africa’s people still reside. Businesses are already making moves in the realm of 5G, with the number of 5G subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa set to increase from 2.59 million in 2021 to almost 105 million by 2027[i].
Technologies such as this, in combination with new financial mechanisms, are opening up unique opportunities for investors and businesses to thrive in Africa and drive transformational socio-economic development.
And these investors are not just after Africa’s natural resources. Recent years have seen global investors come to Africa because of its people’s talents.
Indeed, the combination of a surplus of workers, technology, and improving regional stability and business conditions are key factors as to why Africa is becoming a bigger player in the global economy.
ESG is a massive investment driver in Africa. It is no longer viewed as simple ‘the right thing to do’ – rather, understanding and delivering on key environmental, social and governance factors is a business imperative that is here to stay.
The least emitter of climate forcing emissions, Africa is disproportionately affected by climate change. The continent loses between 5% and 15% of GDP to climate change. Collectively, African countries received only $18.3 billion in climate finance between 2016 and 2019. This leaves a climate finance gap of up to $127.2 billion annually from 2020 to 2030.
This year, COP 27, also known as the “African COP,” will be hosted by Egypt in November. It will be the first time in five years that the United Nations climate conference will be held in Africa, and it comes as the continent faces an alarming increase in climate-related disasters.