BY ONOME AMUGE
Twenty-one companies based in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy by gross domestic product (GDP) and its most populous, have been listed in a ranking of a 75-strong group by the Financial Times (FT) as fastest growing companies in Africa.
The rankings of Africa’s fastest growing companies marks the first time the UK’s most credible financial newspaper would rank top performing companies in the world’s second largest continent by land mass, having previously done rankings for Europe, the UK, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
Covering the period between 2017 and 2020, while taking the Covid-19 pandemic into consideration and highlighting the companies which successfully adapted to the resultant challenges, the FT ranking features African companies with the strongest revenue growth in the period under review. The selected companies also encompassed various sectors of the continent’s growing economy, including agriculture, financial services, energy, support services, health, telecoms, retail, fintech, insurance, construction, restaurants, technology, automobiles and food and beverage.
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Wasoko, a last mile distribution technology company based in Kenya, topped the inaugural FT annual ranking of Africa’s fastest growing companies. The startup, founded in 2016, recorded an absolute growth rate of 8782.6 percent, compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 346.2 percent, generating $27.4 million revenue in 2020, compared to $300,000 generated in 2017, to emerge the best performing company in the continent.
Flocash Ltd, a Kenyan Fintech company was placed second in the list. The country’s leading provider of payment services generated $6.4 million in 2020 from $100,000 in 2017, recording an absolute growth rate of 5160.6 percent and a CAGR of 274.7 percent.
Nigeria’s AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd., occupied the third spot among the continent’s fastest growing companies. AFEX recorded the strongest growth figures among Africa’s commodities market players, amassing an absolute growth rate of 4289.8 percent and CAGR of 252.8 percent as its revenue jumped from $800,000 in 2017 to $31.7 million in 2020.
South Africa had the highest representation in the ranking, with a total of 24 companies, followed by Nigeria, with 21 companies; Kenya, with nine, while Egypt had six of its companies listed in the ranking.
According to Financial Times, the countries with the highest representations are also the markets that have attracted the most venture capital and where unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion+) and would-be unicorns have proliferated.
Akinbo Akin-Olugbade, the managing director of Kawai Technologies, one of the Nigerian support services companies ranked in the list, who gave insights on how his company made the list, said: “We aim to be the best-in-class. Not best-in-class in Nigeria; best-in-class full stop. Not compromising on quality in terms of staff management, office administration, corporate communications and client service delivery over the years has helped us reach this point.”
The 21 Nigerian companies listed include; AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd, Zedcrest Capital Ltd, Starsight Power Utility Ltd., Kawai Technologies,West African Soy Industries Ltd, Comercio Partners Ltd., Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Ltd., WACOT Rice Ltd, Field Intelligence Inc., Tripple Gee & Co. Plc, IHS Nigeria, FoodCo Nigeria Ltd, Global Accelerex Ltd., Prestige Assurance Co. Plc, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Genesis Food Nigeria Ltd, Courteville Business Solutions Plc, RT Briscoe Plc, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, United Capital Plc, and Northern Nigeria Flour Mills Plc.