Chamber members up and down the country are more becoming more confident, this has certainly been replicated in the UK’s exporting performance. In a major international trade survey published by the BCC earlier this year, the share of businesses who are exporting has risen from 32% to 39%.
Africa is home to 6 of the top 10 fastest growing countries in the world. It is fast becoming more integrated in the world economy revealing unprecedented economic opportunities. The economy is growing more than twice its pace in the 1980s and ’90s.
Telecommunications, banking, and retail sectors are flourishing. Construction is booming and private-investment inflows are surging. Resources accounted for only about a third of the newfound growth. The rest resulted from internal structural changes that have spurred the domestic economy. There is also a significant boost in the spending power of Africans. According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s fast-emerging middle class has reached over 300 million people; this is estimated to pass the $1 trillion mark next year. Now is the time to step in and capture a share of Africa’s rising middle class. Some of the opportunities available for UK businesses include infrastructure and consumer goods. Investing in infrastructure is critical to Africa’s growth. While there have been significant improvements in the development and quality of infrastructure across the continent, there are opportunities for UK businesses to partner with African governments in the development of under-performing infrastructure, providing reliable power supply, water resources, building roads and railway systems. With Africa’s rapidly increasing middle class the consumer goods sector looks promising. There are growing opportunity for manufacturers and retailers of food, home care and personal care products. Poor government policies could halt or even reverse these gains in any individual country. But in the long term, internal and external trends indicate that Africa’s economic prospects are strong.
Chamber members up and down the country are more becoming more confident, this has certainly been replicated in the UK’s exporting performance. In a major international trade survey published by the BCC earlier this year, the share of businesses who are exporting has risen from 32% to 39%. More Chamber member exporters currently export to the Middle East and Africa (57%) than to North America (47%) and Australasia (40%). Only 40% of potential exporters would consider exporting to Asia - the slowdown in the region has diverted attention to Middle East & Africa (45%) which is experiencing faster growth.
The survey also shows that businesses need more support in order to take the leap and break into new international markets. We need a complete culture change when it comes to exporting, so that both businesses and government are always thinking global. Companies need help to forge new connections, and trade promotions and incentives will allow more to compete internationally. We have to do all we can to encourage more and more UK companies to ‘have a go’ and take advantage of new markets overseas. There is no better way to develop this potential than through business helping business. Those who really know what it means to do business supporting those to whom it really matters. And that means Chambers of Commerce, a brand recognised throughout the world.
Sukhdeep Dhillon is the BCC's Global Economic Advisor. For all the latest news from Sukhdeep, follow @SukiDil