Finnish companies eye business opportunities in Africa

The majority of electricity in the Kenyan comes from renewable energy sources. Image: EPA

The International Monetary Fund has predicted Africa’s economic growth will average 5.1 per cent by 2019, with growth for the eurozone for the same year pegged at only 1.6 per cent.

African private sector investor and expert Jyrki Koskelo, who has managed the World Bank’s private-sector investments on the continent, says that many parts of Africa are growing much more quickly than China. And Africa’s middle class is growing faster than that of India.

One Finnish company is looking to Kenya to invest in a prime business opportunity that will at the same time help boost local economic activity.

Eco-friendly power generation

In Kenya’s countryside, the power grid can be unreliable. This is a hassle for residents, but it can also bring business to a standstill.

Lahti-based Nocart, a clean tech company, is currently working on two eco-friendly power generation projects in the country of 44 million people.

Within a few years Nocart’s power plants will produce enough electricity for Nakuru County, which is about 200 kilometres from the capital, Nairobi.

Opportunities in IT sector

Koskelo says there are also many opportunities for industries including the IT sector, as a lot of financial transactions take place via mobile phone.

In many developing coutries the mobile phone has take the place of laptop or desktop computers commonly used in the developed world. In fact, half of the world’s financing transactions carried out by mobile phone take place in Kenya.

As many parts of Africa still lack adequate infrastructure, there’s huge demand for a broad range of IT applications, Koskelo adds.

The investment industry veteran stresses that while there’s much talk about development aid for African countries, private and public assets for new investments are equally important.