London Stock Exchange Group launches ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019’ report

  • 2019 report identifies a new cohort of fast growing and dynamic private businesses across Africa
  • 360 companies selected from 32 countries
  • Nigeria and Kenya lead the way as the countries with the most companies featured in the report
  • Exceptional growth rates reflected in featured companies’ CAGR of 46% revenue CAGR and average employee CAGR of 25%, over three years
  • 23% of the companies are led by women, almost double the proportion reported in 2017
  • Consumer Services is the most represented sector with 79 companies – reflecting the growing middle class and the increasing importance of consumer products and services in African economies

Today, London Stock Exchange Group launches the second edition of its ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report, identifying and celebrating some of Africa’s most dynamic growth businesses. David Schwimmer, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group was joined by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt to welcome guests including the CEOs of featured companies, African government representatives, Africa-focused investors and trade groups to the Group’s London headquarters. Also in attendance were official partners to the report, the African Development Bank, Asoko Insight, CDC Group and PwC, together with sponsors Instinctif Partners and Stephenson Harwood.

International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said:

"Africa is going through a period of enormous change. Five of the world’s fasting-growing economies are African and by 2050 a quarter of the world’s population will live there. This growth presents unique opportunities for us all.

"The Companies to Inspire Africa report highlights the leading private companies operating in Africa, which have the most inspiring stories and the strongest growth potential.

"By combining African-led ambition with British expertise we can unlock investment and create more jobs for Africa and the UK. This is a win for Africa and a win for the UK."

David Schwimmer, CEO, LSEG, said:

"London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report showcases inspirational and entrepreneurial businesses from across the African continent, representing a wide variety of industries and countries. It is particularly encouraging to see the increasing influence of women in leadership roles in these fast-growing companies, playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of African business.

These high growth companies have the potential to transform the African economy and become tomorrow’s job creators. At LSEG, we are committed to helping companies realise that potential and we are pleased to highlight and celebrate the company success stories behind one of the world’s fastest growing markets."

Pierre Guislain, Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, African Development Bank Group said:

"Through this partnership around Companies to Inspire Africa, we are joining efforts to build an information base to showcase African growth SMEs to a global investor audience. We also hope to encourage African enterprises to trade and invest with one another, create stronger value chains and expand into new markets. On behalf of the African Development Bank, I extend my congratulations to all the companies featured in this edition, along with our thanks to London Stock Exchange Group for the excellent collaboration on this important initiative."

Rob Withagen, CEO and Co-Founder Asoko Insight, said:

"Access to Africa's growth markets is increasingly a strategic priority for investors, multinationals and governments. However, aligning available investor capital to Africa’s private sector - particularly the wider middle market of growth companies - remains a challenge.

The ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report makes an essential contribution to closing this "middle market" gap. As a partner in the initiative, we have witnessed the enthusiasm among thousands of local corporates to set aside their reservations and share detailed insights into their promising businesses. Their participation sets the benchmark for transparency and performance in Africa’s corporate ecosystem, and will undoubtedly support accelerated investment into these exciting markets."

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer, CDC Group, said:

"CDC Group has more than 70 years’ experience investing for growth in Africa so it’s a privilege to champion more than 360 high performing businesses recognised in today’s publication. These companies are led by some of the continent’s most dynamic management teams who are shaping the future of their industries.

CDC plays a large role in backing Africa’s most ambitious businesses. We were proud to invest $180 million in the continent’s largest independent fibre and cloud provider, Liquid Telecom, who will deliver broadband connectivity to support SMEs from Cairo to Cape Town.

With a further £3.5 billion to invest across Africa over the next three years, we plan to partner with many more strong management teams to help drive growth and prosperity through socially responsible business. We are thrilled to support the London Stock Exchange Group in highlighting the breadth of commercial talent and tenacity from Africa’s thriving business community.” 

David Simonson, Managing Partner, Instinctif Partners, said:

"Working with the Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 is truly inspiring - they reflect the entrepreneurial energy and skills present across the African continent and across all sectors. Instinctif is proud of its long-standing role in advising African businesses on their positioning and communications with stakeholders in their home markets and internationally, and we are looking forward to supporting this year's cohort of companies in CTIA 2019 as they build on their business success."

Uyi Akpata, West Africa Regional Senior Partner, PwC, said:

"We are extremely honored to partner again with London Stock Exchange Group for the second ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report. At PwC, we view private businesses as a critical catalyst to job creation, economic growth, and innovation. Initiatives such as this help expose these companies to a global audience, and we hope will lead to further collaboration across border with London-based investors and strategic partners. It is also great to see the public sector represented here. It is an important testament to their commitment to supporting the private sector and continuing to drive improvements in ease of doing business.

We are also looking forward to hosting the Lagos launch, especially given Nigeria has the single largest representation with 97 of the 360 companies. We at PwC are committed to supporting private businesses, and applaud London Stock Exchange Group for this initiative."

Tony Edwards, Partner and Head of Africa, Stephenson Harwood, said:

"The quality and diversity of the companies identified in this excellent report is striking and gives a great snapshot of the evolution of African business. As a leading international law firm, with a wealth of experience advising companies, entrepreneurs, banks and Governments in Africa and international businesses investing there, we are incredibly pleased to be a part of this initiative. It provides an opportunity both to recognise the achievements of African companies and entrepreneurs and to help them and others on the next stage of their journey."

The 2019 report in numbers:

  • The 2019 report identifies 360 companies from 32 countries across the African Continent with 7 major sectors represented.
  • Revealing exceptional rates of growth amongst this year’s cohort, with average revenue Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) at 46% and average employee CAGR at 25%, over three years, the report highlights the entrepreneurial and dynamic landscape of the African private sector.
  • Companies featured include small entrepreneurial businesses through to well-established corporations
  • 23% of the companies are led by women, almost double the proportion in the 2017 report: Standout sectors where senior female executives are having a big impact are Healthcare & Education and Financial Services, with 39% and 31% are led by women CEOs; In Ghana, 10 out of the 20 companies featured are led by women
  • The fastest growing sectors are Financial Services and Renewable Energy with revenue growth rates of 70% and 66% respectively
  • Consumer Services is the most represented sector with 79 companies from 20 countries this year, reflecting the growth of sub-sectors such as Consumer Goods, Food & Beverages, Leisure & Tourism, Media and Retail, and the growing middle class in Africa
  • Agriculture remains an important sector for the continent with 53 companies, almost 15% of those featured
  • Nigeria (97) and Kenya (66) led the countries represented in the report this year
  • Nigeria further built on its leading position established in the 2017 Report with strong representation from the Industry and Technology & Telecom sectors
  • The East-West African axis dominates this year’s Report with 130 companies from Western Africa and 147 from Eastern Africa
  • The companies in this year’s report are creating significant employment opportunities across Africa with each company employing an average of 363 people

‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019’ includes contributions from government including the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May; the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta; and Lord Boateng, former UK High Commissioner to South Africa.

The report was produced in partnership with African Development Bank Group, CDC Group, PwC and Asoko Insight who contributed their insight and expertise to select the featured companies, and the report is sponsored by Instinctif Partners and Stephenson Harwood.

A comprehensive searchable database of the report, along with a downloadable PDF of the publication is available at

London Stock Exchange Group has a long history of supporting the development of African capital markets and investment in African companies. To learn more, click here.

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