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Spices and Seasonings in 2024: Africa's top business ideas and opportunities

With global demand for spices and seasonings projected to reach $25 billion by the end of the decade, this guide explores Africa's most lucrative opportunities in both domestic and export markets.

Africa is an emerging player with a lot of growth potential in the global spice trade. Photo by Tamanna Rumee

Spices and seasonings are important ingredients used to enhance the flavour, aroma, and colour of food, beverages, and fragrance products. They are typically derived from various plant parts, particularly seeds, leaves, roots, flowers, bark, fruits, and buds.

For centuries, spices have played a significant role in the economic, political, and cultural history of humans, and they remain high-value commodities that still trade for huge amounts of money.

References to spices appear in several ancient writings, and archaeologists have found spices in Egyptian tombs dating back to 3,000 years before Christ (3000 BC).

Highly prized for their flavour, fragrance, and medicinal value, the world’s insatiable appetite for spices created vast international trade routes and intense competition that brought power, wealth, and prosperity, but also led to bloodshed, conflict, and colonial conquests.

Once considered rare and mostly sourced from China, India, and the Indonesian Islands, spices are now ubiquitous, and many countries trade in a wide variety of spices today.

African spices and seasonings, many of which are yet to enter the global mainstream and remain undiscovered by the rest of the world, present a huge business opportunity.

The global trade in spices and seasonings is projected to grow from $18.47 billion (in 2022) at an average annual growth rate of 4.67%, to more than $25 billion by the end of the decade, driven by several interesting factors.

This guide explores four major spices that present attractive opportunities for businesses and investors in Africa and the key factors behind the growing global demand for spices.

We also showcase some inspiring stories of successful African spice businesses and share important tips on business ideas and red flags to watch for before entering the spice industry.

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