Imagine a continent with ravaging diseases, terrifying poverty, escalating corruption, never ending wars and downwardly progressing economies. A dark continent that appears inviting only to those in search of precious metals and hidden gems. Conversely, imagine a bustling landscape, rising levels of foreign investment, a marked increase in GDP year on year, a rising middle class, a clearly defined consumer and a continent that is transforming not just on the merit of its natural resources but sectors like technology and telecommunication. Both describe the same continent - Africa, a cluster of countries that has emerged from a stereotypical framework into a region that is described as next growth market.
The change the continent has witnessed over the last few decades has been remarkable. A gathering of 50 odd economies are making conscious efforts at instilling infrastructure and systems in place to encourage investors to take a second look at their economy. Governments are working hard to create a better, safer environment for businesses. There is a clear recognition of the potential that exists and the changes that need to be made in order to match up to the growth offered by some other nations.
Africa is not far behind. Although political battles have struck economies in the north, sub-Saharan Africa is considered the second fastest growing region after Asia. GDP forecast for 2012 is 5.8%*, while foreign direct investment has increased from $9 billion in 2000 to $88 billion 2008**. FDI from developing economies is known to be on a rising trend.