The Market Opportunity for Social Enterprise in Developing Nations: The Sub-Saharan Middle Class

The Market Opportunity for Social Enterprise in Developing Nations: The Sub-Saharan Middle Class

Paul Egan (UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing, South Africa) and James Lappeman (UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7859-8.ch006
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In this chapter, the authors explore the market opportunity for social enterprises by drawing on the sub-Saharan middle class. Specifically, they look at some key indicators of market size, potential, and diversity. By making use of a 10 city study on the sub-continent, a range of topics emerge that expose high levels of heterogeneity between markets. As the world's fastest growing continent (in population) as well as one of the poorest regions on earth, sub-Saharan Africa is a key target for social enterprises that seek to change lives while running sustainable profit-making organizations. As this chapter adds to the narrative around market sizing and potential, the discussion also points to the need for a sophisticated view of social enterprises as propagated in this book as a whole.
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The Market Opportunity In Sub Saharan Africa

Since the financial crisis of 2008 most developed consumer markets have been characterised by low growth (Iqani, 2017; Attwell, 2017). As a result, businesses and marketers across the globe have been forced to seek out new markets and many have turned their attention to Africa (Chikweche & Fletcher, 2014). There can be little doubt that sentiment towards the continent has changed significantly over recent years. Perhaps not surprising if you consider that over half of the world’s top ten performing economies between 2001 and 2010 were in Sub-Saharan Africa (Castellani & Parent, 2011). Countries like Ethiopia and Rwanda have consistently been growing at over 7% per annum (Bhorat, Naidoo & Pillay, 2016). Furthermore, as new mineral and gas discoveries filter through, and countries step up their own industrialisation, strong growth appears set to continue for many years to come. Some economists are predicting that by 2020, consumer spending on the continent will top USD 1 trillion. What’s more, according to the African Development Bank, the continent is now home to the world’s fastest growing middle class. Standard Bank estimates that the Sub-Saharan middle class has grown by over 240% in just over a decade and there are now 15 million households that the bank defines as being middle class (AfDB, 2011).

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