Foreign Policy Blogs

Africa Rising: How the "New Global Challenge” Model Could Serve as a Road Map for Africa to Conquer the International Markets.

If you are a company from the overlooked continent, how do you penetrate the international market? For 40 emerging African Challengers, a new breed of ambitious African companies, the answer is to imitate a model based on multinationals from China, India, Brazil, and Russia, referred as “New Global Challengers”, who have recently taken advantage of globalization, and stormed the international market by surprise in their hopes to become global leaders on the international economic scene, a scene long been dominated by well established companies from the developed world.

A study (read more at by Boston Consulting Group, entitled “African Challengers: Global Competitors Emerge from the Overlooked Continent “, found that these African challengers are hungry for international customers, and they are ready to shake up the international market.

Thirty-five out of these 40 African contenders hail from Africa’s top economies-the continent’s lions- comprising of South Africa, Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Mauritius, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Having prevailed in their home markets, the list of company is impressive, and includes: Shoprite for distribution, Sappi for paper, MTN for telecom, Aspen for generic drugs, Standard Bank, the Egyptian Orascom (telephony and construction), El Sewedy Cables (one of the world leaders in production of copper cables), the Algerian Cevital (in the food sector), Attijariwafa Bank in Morocco. The conglomerate Dangote and Ecobank in Nigeria, and Banco Africano de Investimentos in Angola also made the list.

However, on continent where the economic structure in existence today excludes the vast majority of citizens, whether this breakthrough would facilitate a broad-based access for local entrepreneurs, marginalized, and disadvantaged communities on the continent to penetrate the international market still remains a question. A quick sample of the 40 companies suggests that they are predominantly racially and elite-owned by few individuals, including foreigners.



Ndumba J. Kamwanyah

Ndumba Jonnah Kamwanyah, a native of Namibia in Southern Africa, is an independent consultant providing trusted advice and capacity building through training, research, and social impact analysis to customers around the world. Mos recently Ndumba returned from a consulting assignment in Liberia in support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
In his recent previous life Ndumba taught (as an Adjunct Professor) traditional justice and indigenous African political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa at the Rhode Island College-Anthropology Department.

He is very passionate about democracy development and peace-building, and considers himself as a street researcher interested in the politics of everyday life.
Twitter: NdumbaKamwanyah