AFRICA – Africa’s gross domestic product may expand by 50 percent to $3.7 trillion by 2019, boosted by an emerging middle class and increased household demand, according to Deloitte, reports Bloomberg.

“Rising consumer demand, aligned with annual growth of around 8 percent is likely to add around $1.1 trillion to African GDP by 2019, with Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique among the fastest expanding markets,” the auditing company said in an e-mailed report.

Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to grow five percent this year, driven by infrastructure investment, a buoyant services sector and strong agriculture production, the International Monetary Fund said last month.

Middle-class households in 11 leading economies in the region are set expand to about 40 million by 2030, with the biggest growth seen in Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, according to a report by Standard Bank Group Ltd.

While growth in demand for consumer products, including luxury items and smartphones offered opportunities, different regulations in individual markets were hurdles to set up businesses and companies need long-term strategies for investment in Africa, Deloitte said.

“Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities to innovate,” it said. “Given the potential for growth the continent offers, the business opportunities in Africa could outweigh the risks.”

Mobile-phone penetration is set to rise to 97 percent by 2017 from 72 percent, with about 334 million smartphone subscribers, the company said.

November 24, 2014;