Do you do business with the wealthiest African nation? (Part 1)

Do you do business with the wealthiest African nation? (Part 1)

__Case study: See opportunity at home and across the world.

What would you say if I told you that there is a bigger African nation in terms of GDP than Nigeria?! Before I tell you the name of this nation, here are its own economic statistics: GDP est @ $650bn with population est at around 60m. Unemployment amongst this nation group is low, est less than 3%. Most are educated, and they speak many different languages. So who are these people?

It is the @AfricanDiaspora! In this post, I am talking about the Africans, mostly first generation, now living and working outside their home countries. In this case study today, I am including those who work within Africa, and excluding US African Americans whose own cumulative income is $1.6Tn+!

These guys in the @AfricanDiaspora send home about $82bn a year (AfDB 2018). Nigerians alone, as the second largest group after Egypt ($29bn), send home around $26bn a year!

Whilst many of our citizens who decide to leave home often struggle greatly to build a new life (especially at first) the @DiasporaNation is actually the single largest source of foreign exchange into Africa, sending money home that we generally call “Remittances”. These Remittances (money transferred to family and friends in home countries) dwarf the amount coming from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

__FDI into Africa was about $46bn in 2018 but @DiasporaNation is by far Africa’s largest investor!

The Diaspora Nations’ members are amongst the richest Africans in the world, and they have amongst the highest disposable incomes…

As an entrepreneur have you ever considered doing business with @DiasporaNation?

If you research African nations in terms of their economic size by GDP (in today’s prices), here are the top 10 economies. There are different measures at different times as currencies fluctuate, but I’m just giving you the IMF stats today.

1. Nigeria – $494.83bn

2. South Africa – $369.85bn

3. Egypt – $353bn

4. Algeria – $178.64bn

5. Morocco – $124.54bn

6. Kenya – $109.13bn

7. Ethiopia – $103.61bn

8. Angola – $88.98bn

9. Ghana – $69.76bn

10. Tanzania – $67.24bn

(Source: IMF DataMapper World Economic Outlook)

Increasingly, many innovative African entrepreneurs are now consciously developing and marketing products to @DiasporaNation. With the emergence of digital marketplaces and eCommerce, it is easier than ever to reach them!

For those of you who watched the judging of the $1m Africa Netpreneur Prize competition which I did with Jack Ma last November, you should remember the presentation by a talented entrepreneur from Mali, Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO of Afrikrea ( who studied in Paris then set up his business in AfricanNation-Côte d’Ivoire. He sells beautiful Africa-inspired fashion products to @DiasporaNation! Check them out.

In this series, I want to focus attention on #Afripreneurs who are into business between AfricanNations and @DiasporaNation. If you live in any African Nation and have a business that sells products to @DiasporaNation, I want to know about it, and vice versa!

Yes, you can be an entrepreneur sitting in the US and your business is into Africa, or an #Afripreneur at home on the continent, scaling your markets to @DiasporaNation abroad. Tell us about it! This is your chance to shine.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an ENTREPRENEUR sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. (Paraphrased from Winston Churchill)

To be continued. . .

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.

22 Replies to “Do you do business with the wealthiest African nation? (Part 1)”

  1. Afterthought 2.

    “Remittances in 2018 represented more than 10 percent of GDP in Lesotho, Gambia, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Comoros, and Egypt”. Take a look at the 2020 annual economic outlook report by the African Development Bank. This isn’t just for the #SeniorClass! All serious entrepreneurs must stay on top of trends that will impact both your #entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges.

  2. #Sasai Update.
    The number of African languages on Sasai/Profile/Languages has increased dramatically this last week! Please check your own language, and help us with comments on how it can be improved, or if see any translation mistakes.

    If your language is not yet there, don’t worry; it could be in the next batch. Every African country will have its most commonly used African language(s). We will add any language where there is popular demand, so please recruit friends and family to give us feedback. If you haven’t already explore the all-in-one Sasai app this weekend, and tell us what you like most. What else are you looking for?

  3. #Reminder to Agripreneurs!

    The GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize will open up applications for the 2020 competition again in April. The competition is open to young African entrepreneurs who have founded all different kinds of agri-food businesses; growers, agrifood and agritech innovators (and innovators of all kinds), food scientists, unique agribusiness models. Have you founded or co-founded an agribusiness? Is your company already registered?

    Are you solving a farming challenge in a new, sustainable and environmentally healthy way? Great! You have about a month left to get prepared to win.

    Here’s a 3m video from the panel discussion last month in Davos that I told you about a few weeks ago:

  4. #Urgent Note: Coronavirus is spreading quickly!

    At the beginning of February I wrote a Post on the threat posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. There were some people who thought I was being alarmist.

    Global leaders are finally coming to terms with the fact that this is potentially one of the most dangerous disease outbreaks since the outbreak of HIV/AIDS which has killed over 40m people. As I said before, “Flu-type”outbreaks are airborne, and therefore travel faster than something like HIV/AIDS or Ebola. This new virus affects your respiratory system (ability to breathe).

    This week, global markets lost more than $1Tn [remember the African economy is $2,5Tn]. There is now a sense of crisis everywhere.

    Listen to me carefully: In my own businesses, I have long ordered that every single employee must be given proper information about how to protect themselves, their families, and their colleagues.

    Those who are in Customer-Facing type jobs, including shops, must take particular precaution to protect themselves and all our customers.

    We no longer allow travel on company business. Please, please, don’t be careless or foolhardy. Money can wait.
    Avoid crowded places. Don’t shake hands or hug people. WASH YOUR HANDS very well and very often, with soap or hygienic sanitizer. Share this information with everyone you know.

    Be wise in all your dealings going forward. If you feel you have been exposed to the virus by a traveler or someone who has the virus already, stay home, isolate yourself, and call your health clinic for next steps.

    “A wise person sees trouble coming, and hides themselves”. Proverbs

  5. Garvin-Ruach Osa writes,

    Strive Masiyiwa the Sasai App is the AfricanNation online. This work is huge sir and I recently downloaded the app and I’ve been going through carefully. I see that the Pidgin English is yet to be there sir.

    I run a language school where I teach African languages to Africans wherever they are. I teach them the Nigerian Pidgin English, Ghanaian Twi, Swahili, Yoruba, even the ancient Bini language in Nigeria. and I’m currently writing the Bible and it’s commentary in the Nigerian Pidgin English

    My reply,
    I understand that Pidgin English (Nigeria) will be on the App in a matter of days.

  6. #Pause:

    Doing business with @DiasporaNation:

    The Chairman of a huge Chinese company wanted to enter the American market. So the first thing he did was to get data on people of Chinese descent in the US.
    “This is our point of entry into the world’s richest market”, he declared.

    If you know what you are doing you can enter any global market through @DiasporaNation!

  7. #Pause:

    @DiasporaNation is the biggest investor into Africa. It’s “citizens” like me invest more than $82bn per year in Africa!

    Every time you send money home to your family, even if it is just $10, it driving the economy of the country.

    The amount of money sent home to Zimbabwe by @DiasporaNation/Zimbabwe [for instance] is worth more than any export commodity of the country including platinum, gold, diamonds, tobacco—PUT TOGETHER!

    The amount of money sent home by @DiasporaNation/Kenya is bigger than its tourist revenues!

    The amount of money sent home by @DiasporaNation/Nigeria 40% of the oil revenues. And enjoyed by more people!

    @DiasporaNation Africa, finances more agricultural production each year than any government program!

    BIG THANK YOU TO @DiasporaNation Africa!

  8. Masego Keleadile writes,

    There goes my father again . im in Botswana and into hospitality and ive been studying Rwanda for a long time including research on the tourism industry . so this year i decided i will silence all the voices saying “no” and just do it. im visiting Kigali in March and im excited to be an #Afripreneur. Look out for my urban Kigali Brand😉inspired by a great thinker Father Strive Masiyiwa. ill send an update together with website and facebook page etc. we cant be students forever without practising . so here is to my first out of home country experience

    My reply,
    If you get lost or run into trouble just go to the Liquid office, and ask for the Chairman. Tell him you are one of my followers from Botswana.
    Welcome to Rwanda!

  9. #Pause:

    I entered the South African market through services to @DiasporaNation:

    When I got to SA in 2000 I started a small business called @Call Home, which was a way for me to enter the highly competitive South Africa telecoms market. After a few years I grew it, and got investors. Soon I was serving South Africans.

    That business today is Liquid Telecom South Africa, which is valued at more than R10bn.

    “Never despise small and humble beginnings”.

  10. #Pause:

    As an entrepreneur, you should know where are your nation’s @DiasporaNation citizens.

    And I said “entrepreneur”.

    No one knows about @DiasporaNation Africa, as an “entrepreneur” than my Organisation~period!

    An African leader [who shall remain nameless] once joked that I’m the only person who has the statistics of @Africa’s Diaspora!
    “President, I’m just a Data guy. I have this information to grow my business, and I don’t share it with anyone, including governments!”
    I replied [laughing but not joking!]

  11. #Quiz:

    For Sasai App users only!

    Can you name at least two services on the App which were designed with the @DiasporaNation in mind?


    I will put the correct answers into a hat, and choose a winner, then I will call you and listen to what you are doing for 20 minutes!

  12. #DiasporaNation can pay!

    DiasporaNation citizens are the richest Africans in terms of disposable incomes. Most of them earn dollars, Euros, pounds, and Rands.
    They usually have credit and debit cards, which means they can buy Online.
    Also when you sell to @DiasporaNation, there is none of this tender stuff, and you don’t have to pay bribes to anyone!


    #1. You must have a Product Innovation which is good, because where they are, they have more choices of quality goods.
    #2. You need to master digital marketing techniques. This is where you apply those techniques you picked up on those Google and Facebook courses,

    When selling to DiasporaNation, try not to be a “tribal clansman” in your approach. This will limit your market size. This is not the time to be “Yoruba man” or “Kikuyu man”!
    Be “AfricaMan”; better for business!

  13. This is a real #ShoutOut!

    Valentine T. Kembo-Maruma

    Strive Masiyiwa sir this is why we built and continue to improve it each day.

    We also enable @AfricanDiaspora to buy goods for their families back home through our e-commerce marketplace. Each year we enable thousands of Zimbabweans outside of Zimbabwe to buy over 2000+ products including groceries and medication that will be delivered to their families in Zimbabwe. Just a few weeks ago we delivered medication in Harare to a relative of one of our customer’s based in Johannesburg, who is critically ill. Had we delivered the medication a few hours later the story would have been different, as my partner arrived whilst they were wheelchairing the patient to the hospital as he had gotten worse due to lack of that particular medication that they couldn’t find in Zimbabwe. We are also starting to get Zambians, BaSotho’s and BaTswana’s using our platform to buy goods for their families back home.

    Next week Friday, we will actually be announcing an initiative called #FeedAZimbabwean challenge where we will challenge Zimbabweans in the diaspora to join us help feed families in Zimbabwe that do not have food. Whereby we will donate, a certain percentage of whatever they spend on our platform, in food hampers to a family of their choice that does not have food to eat, given the current scarcity of maize meal caused in part by the drought that affected farmers. I had to do something when I read a report published by UN that 4.1 million Zimbabweans were in need of food. And this is our little contribution from a little company of 10 people.

    My reply,
    I like what you are doing.

  14. Big #ShoutOut!

    John Mshapa Mndau writes,

    Shhh ….

    I sell past exam paper booklets to DiasporaNation /Zim in South Africa.

    Their children learn in Zim. The parent pays me from RSA. I deliver the booklets in Zim.

    80% of my clients NOW pay via Ecocash Remit, unlike before. I got curious and asked one of them why? She cited MUCH lower costs.

    You remember Eng. Strive Masiyiwa saying he was not happy about the high remittance service charges? Each time a lion roars, the best thing antelopes can do is to take cover!

    Enter Sasai and I see real “danger” ahead. Watch this space.

    My reply,
    I love this!
    Through Innovation you will be able to develop products for other DiasporaNation countries.
    You also need to develop an eCommerce platform to reach other countries.
    There are also Products you can develop to support the children themselves.

  15. Big #ShoutOut for Phronesis Foods!

    Chichi Eriobu writes,

    Thank you for this opportunity to shine, Chief Strive Masiyiwa

    Ukwa Spot is a Nigerian food processing, packaging and export company. We are packaging one of Nigeria’s best local foods, Ukwa (African Breadfruit), and we recently began to create new food product lines like Poundo, Cereal, Ukwa snack, and Ukwa flour for bakers. Ukwa is rich in protein, and contains Fibre. It is helps to regulate blood pressure, and also recommended for diabetic patients.

    Between late 2018 and late 2019 we have scaled our export to more abroad markets. This is because we discovered a market of Nigerians and other Africans and even the whites who are hungry for local foods from Nigeria, and the demand keeps increasing. Currently, 80% of our market is abroad. Daily, we have Nigerians who live in different countries abroad approach us for distributorship. And just this past January we signed our biggest Distributor in Australia. We also have a presence in Boston, Scotland and London.

    We realized that beyond their crave for local foods, there is also a desire for healthy foods, and so we began to leverage the nutritional values in our products to create other food product lines from existing local foods.

    I have tagged our Facebook page @Ukwa Spot and you are welcomed to check out our website

    Chief, we’re looking forward to have you have a taste of Ukwa. It is assumed to be premium food, but a part of why we’re in Ukwa business is to ensure that people leverage the nutritional benefits to stay healthy.

    My reply,
    I love it, and looking forward to try this!
    The key for you is to continue to Innovate around eCommerce, and effective delivery to your customers.
    This has legs!

  16. Tafumanei Marizhe writes,

    Mr Masiyiwa cn u clarify for me here had bn arguing with friends. do u have shares in Cell C or its a joint venture u dd with Cell C

    My reply,
    I’m always happy to answer a question like this, particularly if it helps you understand business models:

    #1. We do not have shares in SA’s operator Cell C.
    What we have is a strategic Distribution partnership known in our industry as a Mobile Virtual Network [MVNO]:
    They give us SimCards, which have our brand, and it allows our customers to use their network. We share the revenue.
    #2. The Econet brand was well known to Zimbabweans who had migrated to SA, so we knew we had a captive [DiasporaNation] market.
    #3. Once our initial Product [@Call Home] was established amongst Zimbabweans, we used #Innovation to quickly create other #Products for DiasporaNation citizens from Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho etc.,

    #4. Once we were making money, we were able to slowly enter the Mainstream SA market. After 20 years we are one of the biggest players in SA.
    Liquid SA, which now controls the original #Products, is much, much bigger than Cell C!

    #5. There are still guys at Liquid SA, who worked in the original business of selling @Call Home Simcards, only now they are part of a business that employs over 2000 people.

    It is not how small you start, but your ability to #Scale. This is why I advocate for you to listen to Podcasts like #Masters of Scale, or Interviews of entrepreneurs on #How I Built This!
    And of course my favorite:
    #Business Wars!

  17. #African Americans could be a huge part of @DiasporaNation!

    There used to be a very passionate African American giant called Rev Dr Leon Sullivan [please look him up on Wikipedia]. I was introduced to him by Ambassador Andrew Young, and we worked together for several years before Rev Sullivan went home to be with the Lord.
    Yes! I actually worked with him, would you believe!!!
    His contribution to the fight against Apartheid was absolutely immense.

    But he had another passion:

    His vision was that Africans and African Americans needed to work together to pull each other out of poverty:
    He wanted to create an economic bridge.

    I believe it is possible:

    Africa has a GDP of $2,5Tn, and Diaspora Nation/USA has about $1,6Tn [they are bigger than Russia!]


    “China is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.”

    And I say:
    “Africa is waking up, and soon all her children will rise up to shake the world.”

  18. Zeal Dada writes,

    And welcome to South Sudan, Liquid Telecom. I can see lots of marketing activities going on in the streets of Juba.

    My reply,
    Soon you will have high speed broadband in businesses, offices, homes, colleges, and hospitals.
    We will introduce our free EduZones at university and colleges.
    Shops and hotels will have WiFi.
    Services like YouTube, and Netflix which require a lot of data will be more affordable.

    I plan in visit in the next few weeks to get you all started.
    Just need to find a date.

Leave a Reply to Strive Masiyiwa Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *