Nielsen’s “Africa’s Prospects: Macro Environment, Business, Consumer and Retail Outlook Indicators” of February 2016 rank orders sub-Saharan Africa’s nine leading markets. The list represents 71% of the region’s GDP, and half of its population. Ivory Coast is ranked first, Kenya second, Tanzania third, and Nigeria is fourth. It ranks Zambia as fifth, Cameroon as sixth, South Africa as seventh, Uganda as eighth, and Ghana brings up the rear.
Nielsen cites Ivory Coast’s growing economy and political stability. Nigeria, ranked first in 2015, declined because of “deteriorating macroeconomic indicators” and declining consumer confidence. A recent report from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics notes that the inflow of capital into the economy stood at $9.6 billion, a 53 percent drop from the previous year. Nigeria has been hard hit by declining oil and gas prices, while Ivory Coast’s primary export commodity, cocoa, has not declined.
Nigeria faces the challenge of the Boko Haram insurrection that has resulted in some three million internally displaced persons. It remains to be seen whether the March 13 al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attack at an Ivorian resort signals that Abidjan will face a sustained terrorist threat that could have an impact on investor confidence.
Nielsen is a S&P 500 company. It provides a wide range of measurement services that are highly respected. Nielsen’s “Africa Prospects,” some twenty-six pages in length, includes a wide range of economic and consumer data. For example, it compares the price of a basket of commonly consumed items in various countries. Such a basket costs $34 in Angola, $27 in Ghana, but only $15.33 in South Africa. Nigerians—alongside Angolans and Ghanians—are facing rising prices due to inflationary pressures.