The Africa Index shows strong economic performance throughout the continent

Africa Uncategorized

The Africa Index is by far the most up to date assessment of economic activity in Africa, and provides the only monthly data covering all sectors of the African economy. The Headline Sales Managers’ Index (see chart below) shows that over the past year, economic growth in the African continent has been very vigorous.  

  • May data reflects rapid economic growth
  • The Confidence Index remains very high
  • Jobs growth continues to mirror market expansion

Of the individual component Indexes that go to make up the headline Africa Index, the key Confidence in Future Business Conditions Index shows that sales managers continue to be remarkably optimistic. A Future Confidence Index value of 72.9 was recorded in May, and suggests that a large majority of African business people continue to believe conditions in the coming months are likely to remain extremely favourable for economic and business development.  

The Market Growth Index, (reflecting respondent’s views on the markets they are selling into) saw a May index reading of 61.4, indicating very rapid growth.

The all-market Product Sales Index (reflecting respondent’s views on the performance of their own company rather than the market in which they work) registered 55.0, again indicating rapid growth.

The Africa Staffing Index registered a level of 56.3, indicating that managers are expanding payrolls to meet new demand from the expanding marketplace.

Overall the Sales Managers Indices for May continue to confirm Africa as one of the few current economic success stories of the world, with growth rates continuing at high but not out-of-control levels in many parts of the continent.

Note: An Index level of 50 reflections a static economy neither growing or declining. A level of 60 indicates rapid economic growth


The Sales Managers’ Index is produced by World Economics and is based on original survey data collected from a panel of African Sales managers in all sectors of the African economy except those controlled by the Government. The Africa Sales Managers’ Index is released on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 9am GMT.

The Sales Managers’ Index results are calculated by taking the percentage of respondents that report that the activity has risen (“Increasing”) and adding it to one-half of the percentage that report the activity has not changed (“Unchanged”). Using half of the “Unchanged” percentage effectively measures the bias toward a positive (above 50 points) or negative (below 50 points) index. An  example of how to calculate a diffusion index: if the response is 40% “Increasing,” 40% “Unchanged,” and 20% “Reducing,” the Diffusion Index would be 60 points (40% + [0.50 x 40%]). A value of 50 indicates “no change” from the previous month.

The more distant the index is from the amount that would indicate “no change” (50 points), the greater the rate of change indicated. Therefore, an index value of 58 indicates a faster rate of increase than an index value of 53, and an index value of 40 indicates a faster rate of decrease than an index value of 45. A value of 100 indicates all respondents are reporting increased activity while 0 indicates that all respondents report decreased activity. 

The Sales Managers’ Indexes are a series of new products available for Africa, Asia and the Americas, designed to raise the voice and profile of sales people throughout the world. The Sales Managers’ Indexes provide the earliest indication each and every month of the direction of economic activity, and the speed at which its markets are growing. 

Sales Managers are unique as an occupational group in being really at the front line of economic activity. The Sales Manager is ideally placed to feel the first few whispers of caution in the market or to see the new green shoots of economic recovery. 

The Sales Managers’ Index brings together the collective wisdom of Sales Managers and consequently produces the best and earliest source of understanding about what’s really happening in the African economy. 

The Sales Managers’ Index has been developed by World Economics, a leading edge provider of original economic data. Sister products include the World Economics Journal, the World Price Index, the Global Marketing Index, as well as the China, India and Eurozone Growth Monitors. 

World Economics is an organisation dedicated to producing analysis, insight and data relating to questions of importance in understanding the world economy. 

Currently our primary research objective is to encourage and assist the development of better and faster measures of economic activity. In cases where we believe we can contribute directly, as opposed to through highlighting the work of others, we are producing our own measures of economic activity. 

Our work is mainly of interest to investors, organisations and individuals in the financial sector and to significant corporations with global operations, as well as governments and academic economists.