Pierre Guislain

Pierre Guislain

"The full potential of Africa’s SMEs needs to be unleashed and an environment created that supports enterprise growth"

Sponsor foreword by Pierre Guislain, Vice President, Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, African Development Bank Group

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa will require a significant increase in economic growth rates across the continent. The full potential of Africa’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) needs to be unleashed and an environment created that supports enterprise growth. It is against this background that the African Development Bank partnered with London Stock Exchange Group in 2017 on the inaugural publication of the Companies to Inspire Africa report. In 2019, we are pleased to expand the publication to showcase more inspirational SMEs from across our continent.

Fast-growing SMEs are essential to Africa’s transformation and the achievement of our priorities in agriculture, regional integration, energy and industrialisation, and to improve living standards across the continent. Realising the full potential of these enterprises requires strong partnerships with multiple stakeholders to address the constraints they face. This year, the Bank partnered with the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), which serves the eight member countries of the West African Monetary Union, to launch ELITE Lounge BRVM. This will build the capacity of fast-growing SMEs and prepare them for potential capital market financing.

This year’s Companies to Inspire Africa report profiles companies in more than 10 African countries, operating in important sectors for growth including agriculture, financial services, technology, healthcare and consumer services. A growing number of companies, including some showcased in this publication, are expanding their reach into new markets and countries within the continent, emerging as regional champions.

With 54 national markets, many of which are small, Africa needs to accelerate its regional integration, opening markets to trade and investments, and catalysing the financing that supports these regional champions. In this context, the Bank just launched the first Africa-to-Africa Investment Report, which highlights the realities African companies face when investing across borders, the emerging trends in intra-African investment and the steps African policymakers can take to accelerate intra-African investment.

Through this partnership around Companies to Inspire Africa, we are joining efforts to showcase and 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.