Lessons from the California Gold Rush
On January 24, 1848, James Marshall struck gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, CA. The ensuing Gold Rush recorded in our history books attracted over 300,000 prospectors and investors to California from the rest of the United States and as far away as Europe, Latin America, and Australia. While the Gold Rush is considered to have ended in 1855, the ripple effects propelled California to statehood in 1850, led to the apparent overnight creation of towns and supporting businesses and infrastructure, catalyzed technological innovations and industrialization, and effectively created an investment network to finance the explosion of activity in the region.
Perhaps we would have wished to have been there on the ground floor of the Gold Rush, but history shows that these opportunities repeat themselves. A similar economic phenomenon is taking over Africa today.
The 21st Century African Gold Rush
Savvy investors with an eye on global trends will have noticed increasing interest and movement in Africa.
To appreciate what exactly is changing to make Africa a uniquely attractive market now, we only need to look at the numbers:
- Africa had the highest annual urban growth rate of 3.3% from 2000 through 2015, now reaching over 40% urbanization for its over 1.3 billion people. (World Bank)
- As of 2019, Africa has over 55 cities with a population of at least 1 million people, and 4 megacities with a population of at least 10 million people.
- The 55 countries that make up Africa are coordinating to create an efficient pan-African market, including the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area in 2020.
- While growth is slowing elsewhere, Africa is still in the early phases of rapid industrialization, modernization, and the emergence of a huge middle class and domestic economy.
Africa today is attracting global competing economic powerhouses including the United States, the European Union, China, and Russia. The clear conclusion they have come to is that securing a place in Africa’s expansion is an opportunity they cannot miss.
Africa is the Next Big Thing
At SIMBA Global Startups, our networks and partnerships lend us strategic insight into key investment areas in sub-Saharan Africa and the dynamics of regional markets. This provides us an advantage in leveraging opportunities that are scalable across the larger continent and globally. The right startups will expand quickly in this untapped market. Join us today or contact us for more information.