Investing is Africa has long seemed like a promising, if perilous, bet. But its potential always fizzled, due to its wars, political instability and corruption. Now, though, we may be on the verge of when it makes sense to try out the continent, with a landmass three times the size of the U.S., albeit in a cautious way.
Last year’s Ebola epidemic in West Africa and ongoing terrorism in Nigeria dominate headlines – and overshadow the economic prospects of the globe’s second-largest continent and its more than one billion people. Business leaders in developed economies consistently express strong interest in African assets. Foreign investments hit a record $80 billion in 2014, with emerging market countries continuing to show a strong interest in African assets.
Investors from the U.S., the United Kingdom and France hold the biggest share of African investments: $178 billion in 2012, the latest data available. Chinese investors held nearly $28 billion in assets, a trend likely to continue as Chinese labor gets more expensive for manufacturers; investors from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa also hold large portions of the foreign-investment total.
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