Bankers, private equity groups and multinational companies stake their claims to new territory.
In private equity, Actis sold its 85% stake in Ghana's Accra Mall in May to South African property developers Atterbury and financial services group Sanlam.
UK-based Development Partners International purchased a 28.97% stake in Ghana's CAL Bank in May, with France's Proparco also picking up 6.86%.
Meanwhile, BNP Paribas put its Egyptian retail business up for sale in June and had interest from Morocco's Attijariwafa Bank and Dubai-based Emirates NBD.
It was a slow year for initial public offerings.
In Kenya, publisher Longhorn listed in May, followed by CIC Insurance Group in July.
When Uganda's power distributor Umeme listed on the Kampala bourse in November, however, its shares were 35% oversubscribed.
Zambia attracted $12bn in offers for its $750m eurobond in mid-September.
Angola and Nigeria launched resource-backed sovereign wealth funds in October.
In merger news, South African agribusiness Tiger Brands closed a $182m deal to buy a 63.4% stake in Nigeria's Dangote Flour Mills in September.
Aliko Dangote announced plans to list his cement business on the London Stock Ex- change in 2013.
In April, France Telecom paid $1.9bn to increase its stake in Egyptian telecoms operator Mobinil to 94%.
Thailand's state-owned oil PTT Exploration & Production won the bidding war in July for Cove Energy, which has a stake in Mozambique's gas-rich Rovuma Basin.
As the year ended, China's Sinopec was said to be in talks with French group Total to buy some of its assets in Nigeria, while both Indian and Chinese companies were interested in Maurel & Prom's Gabon licences●
Mali, America's new Afghanistan