Over 155 companies from Singapore doing business in Africa
In 2018, only 60 Singaporean companies operated in Africa. Now, more than 155 companies are doing business on the continent.
In a sign of this deepening connection, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong embarked on a symbolic journey to Africa in May this year. His visit, marked by substantial agreements and tangible demonstrations of commitment, testified to the burgeoning ties between the city-state he governs and Africa.
This growing liaison, with Singapore standing as a top-ten investor in Africa, has sparked a charm offensive that seeks to demystify perceived risks associated with Africa’s markets.
Africa, a continent marked by its youthful dynamism and promise, has captivated the strategic interest of Singapore. Prime minister Lee has called for businesses to venture into uncharted territories and explore new markets against a backdrop of a challenging global environment.
Yet Singapore is no stranger to transforming challenges into opportunities. In the 1970s, Singapore was a city with a solitary skyscraper and scarce infrastructure. Today, it boasts one of the world’s most recognisable skylines, a testament to its remarkable journey from a struggling former British colony to a global leader in various industries.
This success story resonates powerfully in Africa, a continent with vast untapped potential and a common desire for transformative growth. Singapore’s claim to issue the “world’s most powerful passport” is a manifestation of possibilities when risk is decoded and opportunities seized.
In the face of Africa’s promising markets, G. Jayakrishnan, executive director for South Asia, Middle East and Africa at Enterprise Singapore (ESG), advocates for a westward shift in focus for city-state firms: “Singapore is a small place. We’re just 715 square kilometres and 6m people in size.
So, for the companies in Singapore to grow to any kind of significant scale, they have to grow outside of Singapore, they have to go out and they have to internationalise,” Jayakrishnan says.
“The allure of Africa lies in its demographic dividend, rich natural resources, and vibrant private sector. Its robust entrepreneurial base makes it an attractive market. With developmental needs in infrastructure, education, and manufacturing come challenges. However, these challenges signify opportunities and business prospects,” says Jayakrishnan.
Trade relations between Africa and Singapore have seen a steady increase, with the exchange amounting to $14.38bn in 2022, and Singapore’s foreign direct investments into Africa totalling an estimated $21bn by the end of 2020, according to ESG data.
Read full article at African Business