African Countries To Invest In
14 September 2021
Smit & Van Wyk
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The African continent is a largely untapped market. With 54
countries and an estimated over 1.366 billion inhabitants (16.72%
of the world population), Africa presents a valuable target for small
businesses and large corporations alike.
The countries of Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa are currently considered the
largest markets in Africa. Nigeria has a population size of over
210 million. Egypt has a population of over 102 million and has
strong trade ties with Europe and Asia. South Africa has a
population of over 59 million and has a vastly diverse economy.
Mauritius, with a population of only 1.26 million, is also
regarded as a top-performing country, having been able to implement
major economic reforms to drive economic growth. In July 2020,
Mauritius became a “High-Income Economy”, as defined by
the World Bank. Reforms contributing to the growth in Mauritius
include the major reduction in the number of days needed to start a
business, improving data portals with other African countries, and
the rapid implementation of legislative reforms.
It is clear that African countries worth investing in are those
who have adopted market-friendly policies. Many countries have
privatized state-owned enterprises, lightened trade barriers,
reduced corporate taxes and strengthened regulatory and legal
systems. Nigeria, for example, privatized more than 116 enterprises
between 1999 and 2006. Morocco and Egypt now have free-trade
agreements with their main export partners. Rwanda has established
courts specifically to settle business disputes. These trends make
African countries appealing to foreign investment and business.
An effective way of protecting a company’s intellectual
property (IP) in the countries in the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) region, is by filing a regional application
through the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO). As of December 2020, this regional
application covers 20 member states: Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia,
Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique,
Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia,
Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
An effective way of protecting IP in the Francophone countries
is with a regional application through the African Intellectual
Property Organization (OAPI). The OAPI member states include Benin,
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the
Comoros, the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea,
Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Senegal
Smit & Van Wyk can assist with identifying
your market, determining an appropriate filing strategy and
obtaining intellectual property protection across the African
* Statistics according to Worldometer in April 2021
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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