A new ranking released by the Financial Times on Tuesday has revealed that the two fastest-growing companies in Africa are in Kenya, while five of the top ten are in Nigeria.
However, South Africa dominates the list numerically, with more entries than any other country but the first SA company features only at number 10, but were it not for SA’s precious metals, Nigeria would have claimed that title too.
The FT created the inaugural list with research company Statista, and it ranks companies on the continent based on their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2017 and 2020.
Some companies are missing from the list, the British paper says, for reasons that include private companies refusing to make public their revenue figures. The survey required a chief executive or similar senior figure to certify revenue numbers.
Companies with less than $100,000 in revenue in 2017, and less than $1.5 million by 2020, were excluded, as were subsidiaries and branches of other companies.
Every company had to have its headquarters in an African country, and its revenue growth had to be organic.
That made for a list of 75 companies that had grown between 8,800 per cent (Kenya’s Wasoko) and 26 per cent (Morocco’s Hightech Payment Systems) over the three-year period.
Of the 24 South African companies, seven are in the mining business, and four of those are in platinum: Northam Platinum, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum.
Another two mine gold, Harmony Gold, and Gold Fields.
Those mining companies, or their predecessors, are hardly modern startups, with roots going back more than a hundred years. Two other SA companies on the list are also of venerable years, Naspers (established in 1915) and Sea Harvest (established in 1964).
At number ten, Northam Platinum is South Africa’s highest entry, with growth of 331.7 per cent. That puts it behind Nigeria’s West African Soy Industries at nine and Kawai Technologies at eight, both with growth of more than 500 per cent.
However, Northam is the first company on the list that qualifies as a mass employer, with 18,288 staff ten times more than the total headcount for the nine companies ahead of it.
Nigeria is on the list 20 times, and Kenya has nine companies featured, compared to South Africa’s 24, added the report.