Doing business in Africa

'Africa rising', as the second largest continent in the world, Africa has 90 per cent mobile phone penetration and a place where according to the World Bank 80 per cent of the world mobile payments occur. With a growing population, increased focus on reducing business bureaucracy, entrepreneurship, e-commerce alone is expected to reach $300 billion by 2025. 

African markets are becoming increasingly integrated with the adoption of innovative technology. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to liberalise trade within a market of $2.5 trillion and 1.3 billion people. It is the world’s largest free trade zone by number of participating countries and focuses on five pillars:

  1. trade in goods;
  2. trade in services;
  3. intellectual property rights;
  4. competition policy; and 
  5. investment.

The historical focus on extraction industries is changing. Africa is rapidly seeing growth in the areas of Fintech, Infrastructure, Agriculture, Finance, Green Economy, Telecoms and the digital economy. A growing middle class is fuelling the customer focused Fast Moving Consumer Goods market.

With Nigeria vying with South Africa for the largest economy and Ethiopia and Kenya seeing good growth, in 2018 of the 438 businesses with, in excess of $1 billion of annual sales, 25 per cent are subsidiary group companies of foreign domicile multinationals whilst 50 per cent have a local origin. Alongside this 40 per cent were publicly listed, and 60 per cent privately owned. 

Like every continent Africa has its issues. Poverty levels remain stubbornly high, education, health, governance and tax systems are still developing. But the opportunities to support and guide businesses are significant. 

From investors and start-ups, governments and aid agencies to multinationals corporations, RSM can guide businesses through managing the risks associated with business in the region, providing administration, tax and regulatory compliance support, undertaking due diligence or auditing operations.

RSM in Africa

We operate in 22 countries across our Africa region, through nine RSM member firms and a number of trusted partner firms. In total, we’re represented by more than 900 people across these countries.

  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • Zambia
  • Botswana
  • South Africa
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Angola
  • Ghana
  • Ethiopia
  • Malawi
  • Zimbabwe
  • Nigeria
  • Namibia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Lesotho
  • Rwanda
  • Burundi
  • Madagascar
  • The Seychelles

For information on our presence elsewhere in Africa, see our page on Doing business in the Middle East and North Africa.

Who to contact

Our Africa desk is run by Richard Smith, our Head of Risk Assurance and a partner with more than 25 years’ experience in the risk management field.

Richard is supported by Mark Sullivan, a director who specialises in internal audit, compliance, risk assurance and investigations in developing nations.

Richard Smith Richard Smith

Partner, Head of Risk Assurance

Mark Sullivan Mark Sullivan