With more and more black people taking their seats at the boardroom table, let’s look at the top five most common jobs within this emerging and thriving set of businesspeople:
The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and thriving in Africa, as innovation and a surge in technological inventions prove to be a driving force behind job creation. More and more millionaires are being created so it’s not hard to see that entrepreneurship, when it’s done right, has become a popular choice in career path. Joel Mwale didn’t finish school but went on to create, and later sell, Skydrop Enterprises, a rainwater filtration and bottling company that produces low-cost purified drinking water, milk and other dairy products in Kenya. Launching his second startup, Gigavia, Joel has turned his attention towards combining social media with education.
While it may seem like the plush seats in CEO world are mostly occupied by white men, the landscapes of the business world are quickly transforming.
As the African continent has opened up to the world, the tourism boom that many countries are experiencing has created multiple opportunities for black people to thrive and succeed. Putting Sol Kerzner’s Sun International story aside, African tourism operators and the industry as a whole are being taken seriously on a global scale. Kenya is set to host the Africa Travel Association Congress and the SKAL International Congress during 2015, both of which will attract tourism leaders from across the globe.
Ask just about industry pundit and they’ll tell you that mobile technologies have made their biggest impact in Africa. In South Africa, and according to that country’s latest Census results, more citizens have access to a mobile phone than they do to running water. It’s no surprise that mobile technologies have wielded great power over the continent, with Nigeria being Africa’s largest mobile market. Mobile technologies have given rise to a significant boom in business interest in the country, as more and more mobile-focused companies step up to play in the global fields. One such startup, SlimTrader, created by Femi Akinde when he became frustrated with trying to book an aeroplane ticket, has actively enabled citizens to effortlessly transact and make travel bookings using technologies that include USSD short codes and SMS.
Media and Fashion
The mobile revolution brought with it a new trend of emerging media and public relations companies, as they cropped up across the continent, or were snapped up larger global conglomerates who sniffed out the potential opportunities that emanate from having an African base. Nigeria’s IrokoTV is the world’s largest distributor of African movies, using an on-demand television platform that’s been likened to Netflix. And as for the fashion industry, Africa Fashion Week now takes place every year in London, with designers flocking to find out what’s hot on the continent’s streets. Even the fabled Forbes lists have begun to notice this trend, listing Nigerian businesswoman, Folorunsho Alakija as the 96th most powerful woman in the world. Having replaced Isabel Dos Santos as the richest woman of Africa, Folorunsho is a business tycoon involved in the fashion, oil and printing industries.
Engineering and Infrastructure
As it’s still regarded as a developing continent, the keen need for infrastructure and engineering in Africa is evident. As developing countries require a quick upscale in infrastructure and have a definitive need to expand upon their current resources, the field of engineering has given birth to a wealth of construction and engineering tycoons in Africa. The continent’s wealthiest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, sits at the helm of a diverse group of companies, the Dangote Group – a company with an operations portfolio that spans everything from sugar to steel manufacturing.
As industries expand and mature across the continent, it’s not hard to see that Africa is fast becoming a place of extreme opportunity.