The future of business in Africa and the role of the CMO


We often hear about the economic superpowers of China, the USA and Europe. We hear about how the rapid pace technology is changing is impacting the way we work, and the benefits that these new technologies are presenting businesses and individuals. However, while these markets continue to be very important, it seems the big revolution is set to take place in Africa.

It may sound like a radical concept. The common perception of Africa revolves around the vast poverty of the majority of the population. Not to mention the inadequate health systems, the underdeveloped infrastructure, and the rampant unemployment. Nonetheless, there are two powerful elements that are driving the future of business in Africa: the people, and the resources.

Power of two

  1. People

the adjustments to our workforce and our collective economic future that is caused by this change in demographics. By contrast, the population in Africa is very young and growing fast.

For example, looking at Uganda, an enormous 50% of the population is aged 14 years and under. As a result, over the next few years over 21 million young Ugandans will be looking for both education and employment.

Look at Uganda’s neighbours in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and South Sudan. These countries have a combined 65 million people under the age of 14. This is a wealth of people who are going to be joining the job market in the near or immediate future.

Furthermore, as communications improve, so does the market potential for many businesses. With East Africa and Nigeria offering a reach of around 125 million internet users. With that reach comes a year-on-year average growth of 5%.

Africa is an untapped market that a savvy CMO will be able to expand into and see massive marketing opportunities. Making Africa a cornerstone of your international expansion plan allows your marketing strategy to take new steps. Not to mention access to a whole continent's worth of new customers.

  1. Resources

Alongside the abundant manpower, Africa is also rich in natural resources, including viable agricultural land for food production, oil and minerals.

While the political climate is still rather fragile, especially compared to other parts of the world, in recent years it has been gaining stability. With that growing stability comes investment, jobs, professionalisation and economic growth. All of which lead to the demand for quality education at all levels. As well as  greater prosperity within the region and a need for expert skills. Especially skills in corporate strategy, marketing and business development.

It’s a matter that is already extremely evident in a culture that is constantly looking to grow and move forward. As well as a group of nations looking to compete on the global stage. Having worked closely with business in Africa, we have seen a high demand for a range of expertise.


A rising hub for international business

The sticking point for many businesses at this point, however, is a lack of relevant skills. Businesses are searching for C-suite skills such as CMOs. Rather than finding people with these skills they are met with a limited number of marketing experts, especially ones who can work as an interim marketing director or part time marketing director. 

Bridging that gap in skill sets has become fundamental to driving businesses forward. In our own research we have found that many people consider the frustrating lack of these skills limits a company's success. The lack of these expert skills has even caused some businesses in the region to fail.

The region is bustling with opportunities for people with the relevant experience to swoop in. Marketing talent on demand from the likes of a part time CMO, interim CMO, marketing consultant or some other form of marketing whisperer is sorely needed.

At one point the possibility of growth within the region seemed unrealistic. However, today Africa seems to have all the elements needed for new marketing opportunities. The region has people, resources, and increasingly good communications. The challenge is to provide the right c-suite expertise to optimise those opportunities in the right way.

Mikki Hall, our own Fractional CMO whose own experience driving transformational change in developing economies says: “There is so much opportunity in Africa and working on projects across the region at the moment in both higher education and industry, I find myself alongside bright and determined individuals focused on delivering commercial success. It is a great pleasure to help bring in the right skills to help reinforce and realise those goals with relevant, commercial, market and brand strategies.”

Contact gigCMO today to find a fractional chief marketing officer who can help with your business's expansion into new regions.