Skip to main content
The text on this page may have been translated automatically with Google Translate.
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Demography is Destiny: Why U.S. Institutional Investors are Looking to Africa

Delegates visiting the Nigerian stock exchange

Demography is destiny.

That’s the biggest takeaway for a delegation of institutional investors that recently visited Nigeria. The trip was made possible with support from the United States government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Nigeria and U.S. government Prosper Africa and Power Africa initiatives.

“One of the main things we saw on the trip was how fast the country is growing and how young the country was. That’s going to require a lot of infrastructure – from power and energy to roads and water,” says Mohamed Balla, Chief Financial Officer for the City of Atlanta.

Nigeria has the largest population and economy in Africa, with a population of 218 million and a GDP of $477 billion in 2022. Seventy percent of Nigerians are under the age of 30, with a median age of 18.1 years. The country is on track to become one of the world’s top ten economies by 2050 and boasts a broad and diversified economy.

The recent trip to Nigeria, from October 9-13, was part of a series of U.S. institutional investor delegations to Africa, many of which were organized under the Prosper Africa initiative. Other destinations in 2023 include South Africa, Egypt, and Botswana.

Given an estimated $3 trillion in infrastructure investment required by 2050 in Nigeria alone, this investor trip focused on the tremendous opportunities in the infrastructure sector. Infrastructure can be an important multiplier, creating the foundation for investment in other sectors. Infrastructure investments enhance accessibility and facilitate trade, improve mobility, generate greater employment opportunities, and boost overall economic productivity. “The highest multipliers are found in Africa, because providing electricity or internet to those who have never had it has an exponential impact on productivity,” said Bolaji Bolagun, CEO of Chapel Hill Denham, who helped organize the trip.

Ten executives from leading U.S. pension funds – from New York to Atlanta to Oakland – and financial services providers visited Nigerian companies and fund managers during the October visit. They met with companies such as IHS, a telecoms operator that’s the largest Africa-focused company on the New York Stock Exchange; Axxela, a gas and power portfolio company operating across the natural gas value chain; and Dangote Industries, the largest privately held business in Nigeria, with cement, food and agriculture, and oil and gas operations.

During the trip, executives from U.S.-based FuelCell Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria-based Oando Clean Energy to collaborate in developing a 5-15 megawatt power plant, which will increase electricity access in Africa via low-carbon renewable energy sources. The companies were introduced at a matchmaking session during a previous delegation trip.

“We’re all fiduciaries and have the obligation to explore every avenue possible to get the best returns. It’s clear that the opportunity is here, and it’s imperative that we invest,” said Donald Nesbit, Co-Chair of the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). “This trip changed my perspective on the risk of investing here,” he continued. “It’s really the risk of not investing in Africa.”

By Natalie Alm, USAID INVEST Communications Advisor