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Africa Rising: How 900 Million African Consumers Offer More Than You Think 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0132339421
ISBN-10: 0132339420
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Africa, like many emerging markets, has been long overlooked, but is poised for explosive growth and opportunity, says author Mahajan (The 86 Percent Solution) in this must-read for investors, executives and anyone with an interest in global business. He argues that Africa "is richer than you think" and presents "as big an opportunity as China and India." The author describes a burgeoning middle class, referred to as "Africa Two," and illustrates how successful companies are organizing the marketplace, creating infrastructure, advertising, and even customizing packaging. In a continent where many countries lack basic resources and transportation, Mahajan admits it would be easy for investors or corporations to discount prospects for profitability, but he describes how creative entrepreneurs have identified these problems as opportunities: the Coca-Cola Company uses trucks, bicycles and handcarts to transport its product into rural villages and is building its own ice plant to keep drinks cool during power outages. This compelling and captivating overview of the market with its colorful anecdotes provides a tremendous insight into Africa's wealth, which Mahajan calls a "different type of oil and diamonds."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"a revealing primer for businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the continent. Part travelogue, part textbook, part who's who of global businesses operating on the continenet..." - This is Africa (readership 100,000)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall; 1 edition (September 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132339420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132339421
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter G. Keen on October 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The strength of this book, which is my reason for giving it four stars, is that provides a positive perspective on Africa that stresses just how much innovation is underway there, a valuable counterbalance to the general bleak evalations of its economic growth, and that it adds to a major and, for me, vital shift in thinking about development and aid. It has a lot of weaknesses when it moves beyond its largely consumer market focus, however.

This is a marketing expert's book, written by someone with first-rate knowledge and a wealth of experience and corporate contacts. It challneges the old development community assumtions about the population in the undeveloped world being largely helpless, ignorant and adrift. That community mostly views its own capabilities as being wiser, knowing better and being more qualified to define plans and investments than they. Its priorities have been grand schemes, infrastructure projects and close collaborations with governemt and international agencies. I strongly recommend Easterley's demolition of this perspective in his book The Whte Man's Burden. Like Africa Rising, he argues for a bottom-up focus on giving local entrepreneurs the tools and limied help they need and will quickly exploit. There is a huge pool of entrepreneurial energy among small business owners, farmers, taxi drivers, entertainment providers and many others. Far from being lazy or ignorant, they are street-smart and energetic. Africa Rising shows plenty of instances, and also points to such multinationals as Unilver and Coca-Cola in stimulating demand and meeting widespread needs. The exammples are interesting and often striking. Nollywood, the rapidly expanding Nigeria-based (hence the "N")is a major producer of films, for instance, and the equal of Bollywood as a social force.
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Others have gushed over this book's enthusiastic take on the "African" market. It seems to me that the pendulum has swung to the other end of its arc on whether Africa is a disaster needing charity or the biggest business opportunity for the 21st century. The real answer depends on a) where you are in Africa's 54 countries, b) whether you are urban or rural, c) what kind and size of business you are running, d) your expected time horizon, and e) what kind of risk you can assume. One size does not fit all, and if there is an underlying weakness to the book, it may be that it uses the lens of big Western corporate business to appraise Africans. Risk though mentioned is hardly balanced with opportunity in this book. Failed states, corruption and lack of basic civic infrastructure in many places are real problems that won't disappear for some time, no matter how many consumers are generated by exposure to Western (or Chinese) goods.
I think a great deal more care and nuance needs to be taken in approaching market development there if some of the more negative consequences of our consumer society are to be avoided. For example, Mahajan is excited about the segment of the potential market represented by Tier 3 consumers--those who are employees of the very rich. These people see the conspicuous consumption of their employers and aspire to the same gadgets though they cannot afford them. Advances in the banking system aim to create a consumer lending (debt) market. By leapfrogging the development process instead of allowing time for proper wealth accumulation structures in this Tier, he essentially advocates slavery to American-style consumer debt as the basis for market exploitation.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Vijay Mahajan, author of The 86 Percent Solution: How to Succeed in the Biggest Market Opportunity of the 21st Century, and eight other titles brings us a wonderfully balanced view of Africa.

Decades ago, Mahajan, a US marketing professor from India predicted his home country's future success that we see today. Now, he does the same with "Africa Rising."

The author discusses how much of the world views Africa as a charity case, rather than a market opportunity with more than 900 million consumers. Various market segments are explored in this text, including: food, clothing, medicine, shelter, cell phones, bicycles, automobiles, education, water, and more. Colorful photos are also included. Such areas like the media, advertising, and entertainment [and Nigeria's booming film industry, termed, "Nollywood"] were also outlined with detailed examples of growth sectors.

This book is highly recommended for Africanists, Marketers, Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, Students, and more. Some large firms, such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Guinness, have already taken full advantage of the African arena, with not only their products, but with clever advertising systems for repeat business and culturization.

As a Master of Business, I found this text to be truly enlightening, and hope that others will take part in the growth and sustainability of Africa's economy.
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"Africa Rising: How 900 Million African Consumers Offer More Than You Think" was a finalist for the American Marketing Association's Berry-AMA Book Prize for the Best Book in Marketing in 2010. The book reveals why many analysts recommend that companies make investments in the continent. The author points out that even though there currently are some challenges to doing business in Africa, there are also many opportunities for businesses to make money by targeting the many consumers who are not yet wealthy, but are striving to make a better life for themselves. I now want to read some of the other books that have been written by the author.
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