Global Missions

The Growth of Business in Africa

By Tommy Lee

Over one thousand business executives from around the world were asked the question:  "How many companies in Africa earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more?" Most respondents guessed  there were 50 or fewer such companies. What would your guess be?

We often think of Africa as an unattractive market for business. But in reality, Africa is experiencing rapid modernization—the same economic shift we saw in Europe and North America during the 19th century and in Asia in the 20th century. While the rest of the world's population growth is slowing down, Africa's population, currently at 1.2 billion, is projected to double during the next 30 years. More than 80 percent of this population growth will occur in cities. Africa already equals North America in its number of cities with more than one million inhabitants.

The disposable income of Africans is also increasing. This is allowing more people in Africa to adopt the latest technology. While the continent has historically lagged in this area, smart phone connections in Africa are expected to double from the existing 315 million in 2015 to 636 million by 2022, nearly equaling that of Europe, and reaching twice what is projected for North America.

It is time for us to change our perceptions about business capabilities in Africa. There are now 50 companies in Africa earning revenues of $1 billion or more but 400 companies in Africa earning revenues of $1 billion or more, and nearly 700 companies that have revenue greater than $500 million!

The companies that are succeeding in Africa claim that success does not come easy. The geographic complexity, infrastructure gaps, and relative economic and political volatility make business on the continent challenging. However,  for leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit, it is well worth the effort. Tidjane Thiam, the Ivorian-born CEO of Credit Suisse and former head of Prudential, knows firsthand what can happen when a company develops the right strategy and gets into an emerging market early. When building Prudential's business in Asia, one $50 million investment multiplied to $4 billion in a little over 15 years. Looking at African markets today, Thiam sees a similar opportunity. "You've got the demographic boom combined with GDP growth rates of 6, 7, or 8 percent," says Thiam. "There is an element of breaking ground, but the long-term rewards will be very high."

Executives around the world concur with Thiam's view of the market. The nearly 700 companies in Africa with revenue greater than $500 million have both grown faster than their peers in the rest of the world in local currency terms and have become more profitable than their global peers in most sectors. The income per capita of people in Africa's cities is currently more than double that of the continental average. Yet, when one thousand executives were surveyed, the majority predict that within the next 20 years, most of African households will be a part of the “consumer” class. As this happens, demand for certain products and services will grow. There are dozens of entrepreneurs who have already launched startups aimed specifically to address Africa's vast unmet needs and unfulfilled demands.  Yet, there is still room for more competition.

So, what business strategies in Africa yield the greatest success? Companies that are able to piggyback on strong industry trends or use innovation to serve underserved markets increase their odds of outperforming other businesses. If you own a diaper company, for example, it would be worth your while to know that Nigerian women give birth to more babies every year than all the women in Western Europe combined. Gaining exposure in high-growth cities, countries, and regions is just as important as knowing where market opportunities exist. Twenty-four million Africans are moving to cities each year. Successful companies know which cities to focus their efforts on. Nurturing vocational and managerial skills among African workers is another great step toward ensuring success. Half of Africans are currently younger than 19. In 6,000 days, the continent will have the largest working population, even larger than China. Creating internal training processes will also ensure that there will be a new pool of talent, grown and groomed from within.

Resource Global is committed to discipling and mentoring these young marketplace leaders in Africa as well as different global cities around the world.  We do this by resourcing mentors to come alongside key local city leaders. We believe that these leaders can be the catalysts to Gospel growth in their cities.  We will see this impact in their work, homes, church, and cities.

For more information on Africa please go to:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/17/africa/business-trends-shaping-africa-in-2019-and-beyond/

Thanksgiving, Hospitality, and Opportunity

By Felicia Hanito

Thanksgiving became one of my favorite holidays back when I was a student in the States: not only is it an occasion to share delicious food and quality moments with loved ones, but it helps us take a step back from our busy everyday routines in order to remember and cherish the simple gifts of life—including the people around us. 

This year, I had the privilege to spend one of my best Thanksgiving dinners yet with a group of new friends from three West Jakarta universities. Our belated celebration, held on Friday, November 30th, was co-sponsored by Resource Global and hosted by a small community of Christ-following working adults who share a common vision of investing holistically in university students through our platform of “Next Generation Professionals”.  

Over the past few months, we had met and befriended students of myriad backgrounds and faiths through hosting a series of free professional development workshops and English conversation classes in partnership with their English Clubs. Through our Thanksgiving dinner gathering, we hoped to connect on a deeper, more personal level with our new friends and demonstrate our continued commitment to love, serve, and equip them and their campuses.

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In total, we were blessed with twenty-one attendees who pretty much filled up every corner of my co-leader’s apartment! The menu comprised of a unique fusion of Indonesian-American Thanksgiving offerings: roast chicken and mashed potatoes paired with chocolate pudding, es buah (Indonesian iced fruit cocktail), and martabak (Indonesian sweet pancakes). As excited as our guests were about the food, the true highlight of the night was the camaraderie built through laughter-inducing games and personal sharing about the things we were most grateful for that year. Several students expressed their gratitude for the new, genuine friends they had made through English Club and the “Next Generation Professionals” community—especially for those who had just moved to a new city and/or were going through hard times.

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Following this dinner, my community co-leaders and I look forward to continue engaging these and their campuses in workshops and hangouts and are also considering the option of offering a tailored personal mentorship program for a smaller, committed group of students. Our dream is that we can eventually know these students not just as our dear friends but also spiritual brothers and sisters, and co-laborers in the God’s mission to catalyze gospel transformation in all nations.

Felecia Hanito is the Education Program Manager at the Djarum Foundation and has a heart to reach college students across cultures and faith journeys. She was in Resource Global’s 2nd year cohort and we are excited to see what God is doing in her and through her.

The Other Side

By Oscar Muriu

In this blog post I am going to be reflecting on Luke 8:26-39. I recommend reading this passage of scripture so you can better follow along with my message.

A common belief that Christians have, is that miracles are the key to people being saved, but this is not true. Miracles are not the final proof of who Jesus is, but they may point to Him when they are accompanied by Truth. Some believe because of miracles, while others deny and reject because of miracles; miracles can harden the hearts who see them, just as they did to the pharisees. Miracles are not the key to salvation, they can also be found in other religions. So do not follow a miracle alone, because that is insufficient, but it is the truth of scripture that is the proof of God.

In Luke 28-39, Jesus took initiative and went to the other side to heal a man. What does this mean? He crossed cultural barriers, spending time with people that were unlike Him. He went intentionally back and forth between His people and the gentiles. Jesus told His disciples to come, and go with Him to the other side. The other side is somewhere you may not want to go, and interact with people you may not want to be around. It may include not just people of a different culture, but people from a different status. The other side may include orphans, street children, the poor, the rejects, the mentally challenged, the oppressed, etc. It doesn’t matter who they are, Jesus loves them, and went to the cross to die on their behalf too. He calls us to love those He died for. We too must cross cultural and social barriers, and go to the other side.

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When crossing barriers and entering a new culture, there is something to be aware of, known as the Cultural Shock Curve. This curve has four phases within it. The first step is when you enter the culture, everything about about it has a wow factor. You love the food, the colors, the buildings, clothes, languages, etc. But after three months, the second part of the curve begins and issues arise. You begin to see problems, inconsistencies, and injustices. Reality checks in and the shine on the culture begins to fade. The third phase is about six months later, and you acquire resentment towards the culture. You don’t like anything; you want to leave and never come back. But you must not leave just yet. You must stay in the culture until you work through the fourth phase, resolution. You realize that the culture has both good and bad things, but so does home, they are just different.

Let’s go my friends, to the other side, and be disciples of Jesus.

Oscar Muriu is the Senior Pastor of Nairobi Chapel in Nairobi, Kenya and a dear friend to Resource Global.