Sub-Saharan Africa comprises 46 countries and over 960 million people. The region has the world’s largest untapped natural resources and considerable capacity to provide a stable food supply globally. It is also predicted to have the world’s youngest population by 2050.

In the past 20 years, Sub-Saharan Africa has benefited from improved communication and globalisation, resulting in enhanced leadership and governance.


Despite a recent slowdown due to the sharp decline in global commodity prices, regional economic growth is forecast to pick up to 3.8% in 2019 according to the IMF.

There has been substantial progress in financial development, including mobile payments technology and the emergence of Pan-African banks. The IMF forecast that this financial development could add a further 1.5% to regional economic growth. The improved business environment in specific countries and favourable demographics can support growth drivers in the medium term.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s long-term growth will be driven by a combination of mineral, oil and gas and land resources and its unique demography.


The region offers significant long-term opportunities for Queensland agribusiness.

For example, the East African coastal food bowl has access to abundant supplies of fresh water, and, if overlaid on to Australia, would cover an area stretching from Townsville to Melbourne and Mount Isa to Adelaide.

Increasing international concerns over global food security are driving the development of African arable land and investment in agricultural infrastructure and associated industries, with significant investment from sovereign wealth funds via the Gulf Arab states.

Akosombo Hydroelectric Power Station on the Volta River supplies with energy almost whole Ghana and half of Togo, West Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa opportunities



  • Mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS)
  • Agribusiness technology and services
  • Vocational education
  • Tertiary education


  • Education and training
  • Innovative technology
  • Infrastructure and construction – particularly power, ports and rail


  • Agricultural services
  • Renewable energy
  • Oil and gas equipment, technology and services

Sector opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa


The pipeline of mining investment across targeted Sub-Saharan African markets is in the billions.

Common issues include:

  • lack of suitable infrastructure
  • water scarcity
  • high energy and operational costs
  • sustainability
  • safety.

Companies with advanced technology and services that can offer solutions to these challenges should consider export opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Food and agribusiness

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to vast arable land and well placed to further scale up agricultural production and trade with appropriate infrastructure, regulations and water management.

There are opportunities for companies offering solutions for efficient use of water and other resources, and sustainable growth of agricultural and food production.1

1African Development Bank (2017).

Education and training

More than 1 in 3 Africans have entered the middle class in the past decade.2

Sub-Saharan Africa’s increasing youth and increasingly wealthy population will increase demand for access to quality education. This will create major challenges domestically for school education and for VET and higher education.

There is a strong demand for Sub-Saharan African companies and governments to provide industry with a highly trained workforce.

Sub-Saharan Africa is looking for innovative and efficient techniques to bridge skills gaps to increase productivity levels, safety standards and efficiency.3

2, 3African Development Bank (2014).