100 ideas to Start a Profitable Business in Africa

business-ideas-africaFrom today, we are starting a series of posts focused on ideas to start a profitable business in Africa . We will present them segment by segment. Here are 10 ideas to start a business targeting expatriates in your country.

Overall, our purpose is to simulate your mind, and encourage you to start your next business in Africa.

1. International Aid and investment segment opportunities

The international aid for Africa is a $40-billion-a-year industry. Most of this, is easy money to take, mostly for corruption and overpaid expatriates; however smart startups would be wise to explore the needs of this huge international organizations full of the laziest people in the planet always in search of someone to do their job for them or make their life easier. Here is a list of 10 ideas to create customized services or application for their use:

#1: Personal Service provider for local expatriate

More and more foreign people are heading to Africa, the last frontier of economical opportunities. Additional to the foreign aid employees, there are also more and more expatriates coming to Africa with the $48 billion-a-year foreign investment in Africa Business.

In some cities like Nairobi, Luanda, Dakar, Accra, Addis-Ababa these expatriates are thousands. They are rich, noisy, visible. They have very specific needs compared to local people.

Any smart company that would successfully create a set of services (travel, visas, registration, residency status, dual nationality questions, legal issues of marriage and divorce, visa runs) for this community in any given country, could easily expand the same concierge service to other countries. There is lot of money here waiting for smart and opportunist entrepreneurs.

#2 First-world quality Internet, mobile services or application customized for local environment

These guys have money. They are used to some first-world internet and mobile service they won’t have locally. It’s important to study their daily life in your city, survey them about their needs, and find out about things that might be very helpful for them to survive in Africa jungle. They will thank with their easily earned dollars and smiles.

#3 Food delivery for infrastructure/construction workers

It’s the easiest and quickest way to become rich. Design a mobile food service specialized in construction sites. You move your restaurant to serve breakfast, lunch, snacks, sandwich and casual drink close to the workers. You move and follow the sites. You are the first to know all new construction sites where will be hundreds of workers and expatriates. Deliver good food, cheap, and fast with a friendly touch.

There are hundreds of construction sites in many countries, financed by foreign aid or investment.

#4 Online expat forums

There are many expatriates forums online, but very little cover African countries, with ground information and assistance.

This forum could started with very little effort in connection with local expatriates. You might first start by creating a local association for expats in your city/country with social gatherings and activities, then move on to have an online version focused on providing useful and relevant information.

2 girls and one guy could start this on their free time, and finally make it a profitable business with add-ons services.

One advise: focus your forum on one country, yours.

#5 Controlled origin vegetables and meat delivery service

Most of the vegetables, and meat in the local market in big cities in Africa are not trusted by expatriates.

There is a huge opportunity in putting in place a good logistic to identify and deliver to urban market a controlled origin food that these expatriated population can trust. They are ready to pay 10 times local prices.

#6 Create a full-service job agency

One of the biggest issue you have when you start a business in Africa is how to find good employees, with required competencies, work ethics and good health.

Most of the international organizations, corporations in Africa spend countless hours on their hiring process, but to find out that they have failed to hire the right people. Employees turnover is huge.

There are very few professional head hunters, and very few job agencies with specialized skills. This is one of the best opportunity to pursue at this present time in Africa.

#7 Field Data collection & statistics

Independent projects monitoring and postmortem data collection is one of the fields where international organizations in Africa needs help. They need this data for their report and spend huge amount of money for that.

Currently this job is done by hiring huge consulting firm in London, which in turn subcontract to some small consulting firms in Europe which organize data collection teams on the ground. The teams are disband at the end of each project.

A local company which will specialize in field data collection will fill the gap for the international organizations, but also be a good service provider for local government which in most case doesn’t have any reliable statistics institute.

These kind of company could be started by a group sociologists and statisticians with the support of a networks of niche experts.

#8 Local investment opportunities / banking services

Africa is currently perceived as a new land of opportunity by the whole world. Old colonial powers and Chinese are in fight to have access to the emerging opportunities. Expatriates living in Africa are now better off investing their money in African banks or companies’ stocks than into their failing banks and economies. That create a huge opportunity for investment advisers and personal finance planners to create tools and services for this community.

This opportunity could be explored as a confidential investment newsletter, investment boutique, index fund or index tracker agency.

#9 Procurement services for international projects

This is a huge opportunity for young business administration graduates who have deep passion for international commerce, procurement, and have the discipline to manage large scale logistic projects.

Many African countries still lack reliable and large scale Procurement outsourcing services providers in front a huge and growing demand either by local entrepreneurs, and administration or by international organizations.

#10 Expat newspapers, magazine, Classified

Expatriates communities classified paper and online magazine is a profitable niche business to explore in big African cities where there are thousands of expats.

It could be done as an extension to a large circulation magazine or an independent endeavor

That’s all for today. During the next days, this series on Business opportunities in Africa will continue to cover the following areas:

2. e-government or mobile-government

How to empower African administration to server their citizen with internet and mobile technology. You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

3. Physical Security and data encryption and protection

Security is a huge issue in many African countries. Opportunities for business are endless here: from physical security to helping African governments protect their data from hackers and spies, You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

4. Servers farms for local e-commerce

Currently most of African websites are hosted in Europe or United States. As the continent Internet and mobile applications usage grows, there will be a huge need for reliable servers farms and hosting companies in Africa. You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

5. E-libraries and affordable e-books readers for students

Africa will by-pass the area of huge physical libraries and go directly to digital libraries where students and citizens could access millions of books and materials through tablets. This digital revolution is a huge opportunities for education in Africa, but will need smart entrepreneurs to negotiate the deals, clear the patch of adoption and build the necessary platforms that will support that revolution. You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

6. Housing

Africa is young and buoyant, but has a huge housing problem in all its urban areas. Government and private investors in this area will need the support of edgy and ambitious entrepreneurs. You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

7. IP and patents protection

As the African economy will continue to grow, business will start slowly caring about their brand and IP (Intellectual Properties) protection and will need companies to help them in doing the ground work of monitoring, identifying breaches and taking actions.

Young lawyers in search of business opportunities will receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

8. Review & Rating

Trust is important in any economy, and for new and growing capitalist economies like in Africa, good and independent Review and rating agencies and services providers will be well positioned to take on this lucrative market. You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

9. Energy and Transportation

Everything in this segment is to be done. From the smallest village to the biggest cities, Africa needs the most courageous, the most pragmatic, and the most compassionate entrepreneurs to succeed here. You’ll receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

10. e-commerce

E-commerce in Africa is only in its very early stages, however there are lot of opportunities to seize. A good positioning, and a well rounded branding and customers service will help any well funded startup in this segment to make fortunes. You’ll also receive 10 ideas to start a business in this segment.

Related Post


About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at mk@linkcrafter.com.

65 Responses to “100 ideas to Start a Profitable Business in Africa”

  1. oramandate

    the list and the info contained in it is really wonderful.keep up the good work bro.

  2. Louis

    Great ideas. Can you support implementation? I am particularly interested in the IT based ideas

  3. Sunil

    Great article Mawuna! I’m looking forward to you releasing the remaining lists. I’m from the states but would like to learn more about the final frontier and the many opportunities awaiting.

  4. JKD

    Great ideas. I am much interested in the #1,#3,#5 ideas.I cant wait to read the rest. Africa need great minds and men like you, Keep it up. I will send you an email to seek for business advice and learning more about your ventures and other projects. Thanks

  5. Rafiek Saib

    Thank you for a tremendous site,with plenty of insight!
    I really am amazed with the range of opportunities to entrepreneurs offered to work with.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. Rafiek Saib

    Thank you for a tremendous site,with plenty of insight!
    I really am amazed with the range of opportunities to entrepreneurs offered to work with.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. Pat E

    Very interesting! Great article with lots of insights that really give you accurate report with facts! Well done Mawuna and thank you!

  8. jama

    Thank you for the articlé and great insight. when are you releasing the remaining ideas

  9. myron yoder

    I am from the usa am especially interested in #6 houseing doing it with renewable energy.Already doing it in the states would be a great fit for the african housing.Just wondering about the market.are there any buyers.

    • Ms Precious

      there are,, esp in zimbabwe. you just need to know how to go about it…gated communities is a gold mine,, we only have one

  10. Sid

    If know of people who have or plan to start a business in Africa or in the U.S. Make sure they register their business with Blackbuying.com. We specialize in promoting your business to people who want to do business with you.

  11. Dan Mashoto

    Najmul Hassan, i run a small business based on selling building material like cement, steel, painting colors i need an advice on how to improve sales.

  12. emmanuel

    I am from Tanzania am especially interested in #6 housing idea,#8 Local investment opportunities / banking services and 2. e-government or mobile-government .Already doing it in the states would be a great fit for the African Specifically Tanzania.Also housing have a huge market.are there any one to invest in these area?.

    • George Selestine

      I am from Tanzania, I am interested in doing microfinance activities especially in Tanzania, but I lack experience. I would be interested if you will be able to share experience with me.

    • Khaleel Gonzalez

      Hello Richard,

      I am particularly interested in exploring Food and Beverage opportunities Africa. I have a degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing, Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Design from a top business school in the US. I have over 5 years of combined startup, business ownership, and corporate experience in the Food/Bev industry inclusive of two years of international experience with the world’s top food brand, McDonald’s. I love that you are making bread and finding ways to be entrepreneurial. If you are also a good cook, I would love to speak with you about opportunity 1) #3. I also have experience in corporate level recruitment, business operations, the adult novelty sector, and an array of other areas – for anyone who may be interested in future partnerships. This world is ours, and it is about time that we do something to boldly claim our territory.


      Best wishes,


  13. Michal

    I am from Poland, willing to invest about 10.000 USD.
    I am interested with International aid, full service job agency, servers farms, housing (building), and energy and transportation. Please let me know ASAP on mail 🙂

    • Naomi Mzimwa

      If you are still interested in what you said let me know. looking to start a business.

    • ROBERT

      Dear SIR,
      Iam from UK, I am interested to work with you in differents project in AFRICA. Iam ready as well to put on the table my investisment as well.
      I will be happy to met you for business talk any where ( Poland, UK or in Kinshasa /Africa).
      All the best


        • Anil

          Hi. lekoko i am anil from india if you have some business plan ..we.talk via email

      • Anil

        hi i am Anil from India if you have some business Plan..i will be happy to met you for business

  14. Malik Slyg

    Thanks for the big work u do on your website. But all your ideas are focused on expatriate clients. If i go back to my country, i dont ask for special services or special food, i was there before i left, so why shoud it be a different threatment for me. Just a thought.

  15. Abraham Moshe

    Hello Mawuna Remarque

    I live in Addis Ababa,Ethiopia.I am really captured by your transformational latest thinking-tapping one’s potential specially in Africa has a paramount significance for the overall development.

    Please give me your green light to be your friend.

    if you come across any sort of hand in Ethiopia,I am there for you

    I wish you could send me your 100 business ideas Article vial my email

    Kind regards

  16. Philip Muoki Nzangi

    Hello Sir honestly this has opened up my mindset on so many things and i hope to participate in any of the ventures listed and grow myself and the African society at large.

  17. Ftwi Abraha

    It is a great opportunity for most Africans ,
    I'm very great full to see such broad
    Opportunities this will open for Yong Africa's.
    Thank you God bless.

  18. Amanda R

    “If you have a brilliant business idea you must read this.

    The moment a startup embraces innovative technology, sustainability or societal change, the chance of it being recognized is increased manifold. African entrepreneurs are renowned for their resilience and ability to innovate and thrive in the face of adversity.

    The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) believes that ideas are critical for change, and Africa’s aspiring entrepreneurs are charged to come with ideas that can transform the continent. TEEP operates on the premise that entrepreneurship and business skills are teachable and learnable and has pledged $100 million to support 10,000 aspiring African entrepreneurs and startups with innovative and transformative ideas over the next decade, by
    providing them with training, mentoring, networking opportunities and much needed seed capital funding.

    YOUR IDEA CAN TRANSFORM AFRICA. To know more and register for TEEP visit http://bit.ly/1EqMxUX

  19. Gabriel Paye

    Great insights and ideas. It’s time for me to stop making poor excuses and create the life that I really want to live. There is no time left for over-preparation.

  20. Roy Maloney

    Muli bwanji Mawuna, I believe we met at North holiday inn in Mzuzu at breakfast. Great to read these pages as I am wanting to start a business in Mzuzu in September 2015, I have a few ideas, keep up the good work, mulungu akudalitseni, Roy M. (UK)

  21. Mark

    Am A GHanaian and with an acre of land any one ready to partner me to start a business is welcomed.

  22. Mamosa

    Hi all, I am in SA I would like to know how to get a mentor or some advises on how to start a business, I have no clue I need a green light please.thank you

  23. Lekoko Rabothiwa

    Hi… am in Botswana..i hv a registered construction company ready to run..all i need is an investor who i can partner with..plz contact me

  24. LEE

    Thanks a lot for this Post.i am More interested in expat/ Magazine Niche Sinne am Mom with two little Kids.could u Please provide mein with further advice. Thanks

  25. porshya

    Hi…I am a young female entrepreneur in Ghana n want an investor to partner with…

  26. Abdulsamad Mukhtar

    very insightful information. marvelous job. I am a Ghanaian living in USA. my goal is to introduce business opportunities and ideas in Ghana, connect you with the right partners and also facilitate the process. currently my website is under construction but still visible. my facebook page is African Diaspora Network LLC

  27. Cyrus H. Annan

    This is such a wonderful place for people like me to meet and chat with people in the same industry that could potentially help me find an investor. I have registered a ad only newspaper company in Ghana which will soon see publications but lack the capital to take off. I need a co-partner or an investor and i hope someone contacts me. The returns are tremendously good.
    Thank you

  28. smol

    Lets talk about Expat newspapers, magazine, Classified &
    E-libraries and affordable e-books readers for students

  29. Ibro

    Any one who want to make small business in Africa particularly in Ethiopia contact me(ibro_iobr@yahoo.com)

  30. Sylla

    Great web site, I have two business idea:
    *the first one is: creat a big big supermarket in Guinéa Conakry they don’t have that.

    *the second idea is: sell any car and Resell in another country it’s a unicorn idea which means a need billions dollars for that.

    What do you think?


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