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A general view of the headquarters of South Africa's MTN Group
Reuters/Mike Hutchings
Number one.

African brands are losing their appeal across the continent in favor of global players

By Yomi Kazeem

The most admired brands among consumers in Africa are not African.

That’s not entirely surprising given the wide reach of established global brands which typically have far more financial and human capital and have built brand equity spanning several decades. The more worrying thing though is that African brands appear to be becoming less admired by consumers across the continent.

In the latest Brand Africa 100 index of the 100 most admired brands on the continent, only 14 African brands are listed—a culmination of a steady decline from 2014 when brands from the continent accounted for a quarter of the rankings. The rankings, compiled by African Business Magazine, are based on a survey conducted in 25 of Africa’s largest countries—and markets—which account for an estimated 80% of the continent’s population and GDP.

Listed at eighth, MTN, Africa’s largest telecoms operator, is the highest ranked African brand on the list and also the only African brand in the top ten. Perhaps mirroring the impact that mobile connectivity has had in transforming lives, businesses and economies on the continent, telecoms operators account for three of the continent’s five highest ranked brands. Nike, Adidas and Samsung are the top three ranked brands on the index with Tecno, the ubiquitous smartphone brand produced by China’s Transsion Holdings, makers of the continent’s best-selling phones, ranked 7th.

Africa’s highest ranked brands

BrandCountryCategoryRanking
MTNSouth AfricaTelecoms8
AnbessaEthiopiaApparel12
DangoteNigeriaConsumer goods25
GlobacomNigeriaTelecoms30
EconetZimbabweTelecoms31
Mukwano ProductsUgandaConsumer goods41
DStvSouth AfricaMedia45
Tiger BrandsSouth AfricaConsumer goods47
ShopriteSouth AfricaRetail52
Star BeerNigeriaAlcoholic beverages54

South Africa, Africa’s most advanced economy, is home to the highest number of admired indigenous brands listed on the index, including Shoprite, the retail giant with over 2,500 outlets across the continent. DStv, the pay TV giant, is also listed even though its sheer dominance of the pay TV market has been widely criticized by everyone from users to government agencies and officials.

Compared to last year, only two new African brands featured as entrants on the rankings with Pick n Pay, the South African retailer, ranked 84 and Jumia, Africa’s largest e-commerce company, ranked at 74. Admiration for Jumia was likely boosted following its historic listing on the New York Stock Exchange. While the survey was conducted between January and April, news of Jumia’s IPO first surfaced last September and was confirmed in March. Despite the debate over Jumia’s African identity, Brand Africa 100 lists it as Nigerian, where it first launched.

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