Disruption is often a catalyst for new growth.

And there is no greater disruption than a global flu pandemic - affecting billions of people and shifting the power structures in economies.

Regular readers of Cherryflava will know [BTW if you are not a subscriber - please do yourself a favour and subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter right now] that as futurists we are very interested in how trends could potentially play out and in what future business opportunities they might unlock.

With this lens firmly in place, a recent document published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is certainly worth further investigation if you are on the same page as us. [The report was discovered via a tweet courtesy of Jonathan Said]

It outlines the massive opportunity that is currently being presented to local African manufacturing as a direct result of severely disrupted global supply chains.

Production around the world has taken a knock
Production around the world has taken a knock

The continent of Africa imports US$ 330 billion worth of manufactured goods every year.

Increasingly, many of the products that are imported are being successfully manufactured locally, which now means that there is a very good opportunity to ramp up the continent's reliance on locally produced manufactured goods rather than simply defaulting to global suppliers as is traditionally the case.

Sectors that offer the most opportunity to African manufacturers
Sectors that offer the most opportunity to African manufacturers

Opportunities for smaller manufacturer sub-sectors and exporters focusing on intra-African trade, include:

One of the greatest barriers standing in the way of these manufacturers and the imminent opportunity that clearly lies before them, is a serious focus on developing an export-orientated product line and value chain and a willingness to develop an exportable brand rather than just shipping commodities to China.

There are still a lot of assumptions made when it comes to doing business with Africa, which need to be urgently addressed if this strategy proposed by Tony Blair's think tank is to be leveraged as intended.

Optimistic? You bet

At this time, we're often asked if we are optimistic about the future considering all that's going on.

I think you would be a fool not to see that there are a lot of reasons as to why somebody would be worried about their future all things considered, but at the same time there are also lots and lots of new jobs that need to be done, and lots and lots of needs that can be catered for.

By 2050 Africa is projected to have a population of 4.5 billion people - if that size market doesn't offer you some optimism that there is at least a big potential market out there to cater to, then you're possibly thinking a bit too small.

Related:

What is the 'localisation' of the South African economy all about? - Cherryflava

South Africa has a major opportunity in high-value agriculture - Cherryflava

The benefit of building a startup in Africa - Cherryflava

Why you really should be building a brand in South Africa right now - Cherryflava