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Africa’s Private Sector

What's Wrong with the Business Environment and What to Do About It

By Vijaya Ramachandran, Alan Gelb, and Manju Kedia Shah

Why is business performance lagging in Africa? To provide answers, this volume focuses on the day-to-day problems that private sector managers and entrepreneurs there encounter. Through enterprise surveys conducted in several African countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, these businesspeople identify poor infrastructure—particularly the lack of a reliable source of power—as a huge constraint on private sector activity.

Politics also plays a key role in limiting the success of African businesses. Many countries there have private sectors that are ethnically segmented or dominated by ethnic minorities or both. Segmented networks in already sparse economic environments limit competition, encourage an ambivalent attitude toward facilitating a good business environment, and constrain the growth of firms outside the dominant network. Consequently, Africa has yet to see the emergence of a broad-based business class.

Africa’s Private Sector identifies several solutions to address both the infrastructure and political economy constraints hampering business growth in Africa.

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