2016 was a year of upheaval and change the world over, with equivalent sways experienced across Sub-Saharan Africa. This resulted in ongoing shifts in country prospects across a range of dimensions. In the 4th edition of Nielsen Africa Prospects ranking, seven of the eight markets have moved position.

Average growth in Sub Saharan Africa is expected to have reached its lowest level of 1.5% in 2016, after slowing from 3% in 2015, buffeted by global turmoil. The slowdown in Africa, however, was not uniform. Oil and mining reliant economies were hurt by the global commodity price declines. South Africa and Nigeria, which together account for about half of SSA’s GDP, were both affected. In contrast, East Africa and oil-importing economies in Francophone West Africa, such as Cote d’Ivoire, managed robust growth rates. 

The long-term steadiness in East African countries is evident when following Kenya and Tanzania’s rankings. Tanzania has remained in third position on the APi for the past 18 months and Kenya has risen from third to first place in the current edition. Cote d’Ivoire has retained consecutive top positions ahead of some of its larger peers, while the prospects for South Africa, relative to other Sub Saharan countries, have improved but may well be short lived due to the more recent political and economic upheaval.

Whilst 2017 is likely to bring recovery to SSA there won’t be an immediate return to the higher growth rates as seen in previous years. Many SSA markets will, however, continue to present robust prospects and well ahead of other developed and emerging markets. To stay abreast of the rapidly developing movements in 2017, businesses will need to regularly adapt their short-term and long-term country strategies to remain relevant within fluctuating market cycles.   

The strength of the Africa Prospects Indicators is its unique ability to integrate business, consumer and retail prospects together with more speculative macro-economic factors.  This brings companies closer to consumer market realities, which means that investment can be optimally directed to achieve maximum impacts, based on the overall and relative source of potential.  

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