GSK and Others Invest in African Manufacturing

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According to a recent report by Reuters, “Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline plans to invest up to 130 million pounds ($216 million) in Africa over the next five years as chronic diseases become more common among the continent’s swelling urban middle classes.”

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The investment is good news for African factories, as well as the state of future manufacturing within the continent. GSK already has factories in several locations across Africa; however, the latest plans point to a long-term investment in Africa’s economy and business. The pending deal is slated to benefit factories in Rwanda, Ghana, and Ethiopia.

“[…] if you want to build relationships for the long term, then I think Africa is becoming very interesting because it is going through an inflection point in terms of growth,” GSK CEO Andrew Witty told Reuters in a phone interview.

GSK’s commitment is a dual remedy for Africa – economically and socially. The drugmaker plans to not only infuse the economy with 500 jobs, but also bring important health and drug research that connects to citizens who regularly suffer from common medical conditions.

GSK isn’t the only company to see the potential in Africa’s growing manufacturing market. The Economist notes, “A quiet boom in manufacturing in Africa is already taking place. Farming and services are still dominant, backed by the export of commodities, but new industries are emerging in a lot of African countries.”

Among those emerging industries are components manufacturers, such as Buffalo Bicycles, and textile giants, such as Swedish clothier H&M.

In an April 6 report Market Watch notes that, despite the manufacturing developments for up-and-coming smaller countries, Nigeria has a clear lead: “Nigeria’s nominal gross domestic product measured $510 billion in 2013, 89% larger than previously thought, and $190 billion bigger than South Africa’s GDP.”

The manufacturing growth in Nigeria highlights why GSK and other companies are investing in not only Nigeria, but Africa as well. [/show_to]

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