Following several lost decades of stagnant growth and bad governance after independence in the 1960s, African countries are now resurgent. Whether one looks at gross domestic product (GDP) growth, investment flows, trade, or the process of economic reform, there has been a sea change across much of the continent since 2000, mostly for the better.
In the last five years, only southeastern Asia has outpaced Africa’s 5 percent aggregate growth rate. In the future, the International Monetary Fund expects the trend to continue—although with 54 separate countries, of course, there will be a lot of variation around the mean. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is on a rising trajectory in most sectors, including oil, mining, infrastructure, telecommunications, and agriculture, where opportunities still abound despite the remarkable penetration of Chinese and other emerging-market firms. Korean firms are increasingly a part of this story, with a commercial footprint ranging from billion-dollar resource plays in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Angola to medium-sized investments in agriculture, infrastructure, and light manufacturing.