(Quora) Which countries’ economies will grow the most by 2066?


'Laolu Samuel-Biyi
(Quora) Which countries’ economies...

My answer here: 

There are 1.2 billion people in Africa. There will be 2.4 billion by 2050 and that’ll be a quarter of the world’s population. Over the next few decades, not many features will separate the Continent from the rest of the world, but right now, the supply of everything significantly outweighs the demand. The breadth of products and services consumed in Africa is slim, and this presents so many opportunities for the bold ones.

For example, we don’t use nuts for half the things we could use them for. Same with cocoa, dairy, rubber, everything; we mostly export everything raw. Malls are springing up everywhere. People want to travel and pay for IMAX. We’re eventually going to start eating more microwaveable pizza (although I didn’t even grow up eating pizza at all). A few million people are going to develop a taste for more broccoli, and we’re going to need more yogurt varieties. Kids will want their pasta shaped as alphabets, more people will desire fake boobs and Africans will realize that they can actually have allergies. Someone will realize that they can create a bicycle, skateboard or rollerblade manufacturing empire locally. A few million people are going to develop the healthy lifestyle and ask for more soy and wheat in their cereal, more people will realize that their kids need therapists, and we’ll need a Comedy Central with jokes most people can understand.

Growing up in Nigeria in the early 1990s and even into the early 2000s, most of the things that I consider staples now didn’t even exist. When you ask why for most things, the simple answer will be “because no one ever did it”. For me, the question in 2014 was “why can’t I buy a gift card in Lagos?”, and today, you can. Note that gift cards constitute almost 3% of the entire retail sector in the US, and it’s not a cultural thing. People are people, they suck at giving gifts, and they will buy gift cards everywhere.

You can literally activate supply for a million things with latent demand out there right now and just wait it out a few years for people to get used to it. Millions will. Doctors that are traditionally general practitioners will start earning more by specializing in things like plastic surgeries and allergies, and some smart Psychology students will stop working as cashiers in banks and learn to become therapists, mostly because half the bank branches would have disappeared. Somebody has to be Africa’s largest supplier of VR headsets in 2025 too, and somebody will realize that the science behind the guitar is not that complex, and they’ll create a local brand.

With retail consumption in Africa hitting $2.1 trillion in about 10 years and growing at a rate faster than anywhere else, there’s a lot to create to satisfy all that inevitable appetite. Pick a big country. Take a few years to get comfortable, maybe working as an expatriate for an international organization to get the really tough skin required to thrive in Africa, then flourish.

The problem is that most people are very fixated on the bottom of the pyramid in Africa. The poverty and the less-than-a-Dollar-a-day narrative is so sexy, it’s hard not to get infatuated. But, guys, it’s 1.2 billion people. It doesn’t actually make sense for that to be the only picture.

I vote Nigeria.

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  • Ezechukwu

    Reading this, I see lots of opportunities. Sadly it appears majority of us have not (are yet to) discover the gold hidden in plain site – our growing population.

    Whole discussing Agro exportation with a senior friend, a big time farmer, his response was simple, “we don’t even have enough for our population yet” and that made me start rethinking the whole exportation idea.

    Using one of your examples, the guiter. I remember vividly how we made complete set of musical instruments from locally sourced material. The bass and lead guiter inclusive. We built these things as kids growing up in Benin City and used them for inter-street musical contests/concerts. Questions is, why didn’t any of us think about building a business ouf of this? My best guess will be, we think we are not good enough.

    With your permission, I’ll love to share this on my time line.

    On the flipside, kudos to you and the other guys working on SureRemit. I’ve followed the development since pre-ico and the progress so far is quite impressive.

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    • ‘Laolu Samuel-Biyi

      Thank you for your comment. Please feel free to share.

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