When thinking of impoverished countries, the first image that comes to mind is typically not one of bustling commerce and stability. However, thinking deeper about these places reveals that they contain incredible opportunities for growth and prosperity for those that are willing to invest in them. Africa in particular is a main target for those companies that wish to take advantage of the large untapped consumer populations in emerging markets.
Procter & Gamble is specifically targeting those regions with the most stable economies, most importantly the South African market and countries like Kenya, Uganda, Angola, and Ethiopia. The company’s vice president, Dimitri Panayotopoulos, recently announced an investment of $170 million in South Africa in order to create a new manufacturing hub that in turn will create jobs and products, strengthening the local economy.
The company’s interest in Africa stems from the continent’s huge population that comes in at about 1 billion people – comparable to the populations of China and India. This major population remains largely untouched by American companies, and P&G believes that their investment could stand as “a further example of confidence by leading manufacturers in the future of South Africa”. Panayotopoulos adds that “This is where babies are being born, where more and more consumers are getting ready for our products.”
By investing in this huge untapped market of new consumers in Africa, Procter & Gamble may set the trend for expansion into impoverished areas and by doing so they will boost the economies of emerging markets. If other companies decide to follow suit, it is possible that these impoverished regions will begin to stabilize and develop in a way that allows them to live healthier and longer lives. Along with foreign aid, investments by major companies and donors are an important measure to ensure the end of global poverty.
– Sarah Rybak