Africa's collective GDP, at $1.6 trillion in 2008, is now roughly equal to Brazil's or Russia's. Economic growth has accelerated, making the continent the third-fastest growing region in the world.
Africa's growth acceleration was widespread, including 27 of its 30 largest economies. All sectors contributed, including resources, finance, retail, agriculture, transportation and telecommunications. Natural resources directly accounted for just 24 percent of the continent's GDP growth in recent years. Key to Africa's growth surge were improved political and macroeconomic stability and microeconomic reforms.
Future economic growth will be supported by Africa's increasing ties to the global economy. Rising demand for commodities is driving buyers around the world to pay dearly for Africa's natural riches and to forge new types of partnerships with producers. And Africa is gaining greater access to international capital; total foreign capital flows into Africa rose from $15 billion in 2000 to a peak of $87 billion in 2007.
The rise of the African urban consumer also will fuel long-term growth. Today, 40 percent of Africans live in urban areas, a portion close to China's and continuing to expand. The number of households with discretionary income is projected to rise by 50 percent over the next 10 years, reaching 128 million. By 2030, the continent’s top 18 cities could have a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion.
Africa's economic growth is creating substantial new business opportunities that are often overlooked by global companies. MGI projects that at least four groups of industries-consumer-facing industries, agriculture, resources, and infrastructure-together could generate as much as $2.6 trillion in revenue annually by 2020, or $1 trillion more than today.