But there is also fresh interest in the technology sector, a development that is arguably epitomised by the interest being shown in the continent and its technology companies by the strategic investment arm of Silicon Valley chipmaker Intel.
Known as Intel Capital, the entity invests in start-ups and technology companies worldwide and it is seeing significant new opportunity in Africa’s technology value chain, in areas as diverse as infrastructure and content creation.
Intel Capital Africa regional director Sam Mensah says the prospectivity of the continent has also increased as local business adopts global best practices and introduces competent corporate governance structures.
In addition, the potential for growth in the technology value chain is material, given that Africa has about 15% of the world’s population, but only represents about 2% of personal computer users.
“The reason Intel Capital continues to invest in technological innovation outside our core business is because, in the long run, it is beneficial for Intel if a country has a vibrant technology ecosystem,” he adds.
“From the perspective of the companies in which we invest, the strategic value that a large Silicon Valley technology firm, with a global network, can bring to a local company looking to expand is significant and goes beyond the value of the investment,” he explains.