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

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

  • Landmark report identifies fastest-growing and most dynamic private businesses across Africa
  • Report demonstrates breadth and diversity of African business with 42 countries across 7 major sectors represented
  • Data shows robust average annual compound growth rate of company revenues of 16% over three year period 2013-2015
  • Highlights strong company performances and the potential for these firms to become the next corporate champions powering Africa’s future economic and social  development
  • UK Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP, joins company CEOs to open trading in London
  • Coincides with London Stock Exchange signing a Memorandum of Understanding with UK government backed GuarantCo to encourage the development of frontier and emerging debt capital markets and to facilitate the listing of bonds on London Stock Exchange’s markets

The report in numbers:

  • The report identifies 343 companies from 42 African countries as the continent’s most exciting and dynamic small businesses
  • Companies delivered impressive average compound annual growth rate (revenue) of 16% over a three year period 2013-2015
  • Fast-growing companies appear in all regions of Africa. Highest concentration of companies from West Africa with 31 per cent of companies, closely followed by East Africa with 26% and Southern Africa with 22%
  • South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are the countries with the most companies in the publication, each represented by over 50 companies
  • Fast-growing companies are present across a wide range of sectors
  • There is strong representation from innovative industries, with 22 companies in renewable energy and 40 in technology & telecoms
  • Industry, which covers areas such as oil and gas, construction, manufacturing and chemicals, is the biggest sector, with 23% of companies in the report, followed by Financial Services which includes mobile banking, micro-credit, disruptive technology and Fintech, with 16%, indicating that the continent has great promise for both traditional and more recent economic success stories
  • The 47 consumer services companies corroborate the trend of burgeoning consumer demand and growth of the middle-class across the entire continent
  • Report highlights the important role of female entrepreneurship;12% of the companies in the report are led by female CEOs, three times the average for companies across Africa

Today, company CEOs featured in the report were welcomed to London Stock Exchange Group by the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP and Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group at a special launch event to celebrate African companies’ success, ambition and uniquely African entrepreneurial spirit. They were also joined by a broad range of Africa-focused investors, as well as senior representatives of African Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC, all partners on the report.

International Development Secretary, Priti Patel said:
“London Stock Exchange’s first-ever ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report is proof of the dynamism and vision of the City of London in supporting Africa’s growing economies.

“Now is the time for UK businesses to seize the opportunities offered by Africa, and the UK Government is supporting the City of London to become the global financial centre for the developing world.

“This will help Africa industrialise faster, trade more and create millions of jobs, driving the continent forward to a future of prosperity, and helping some of the world’s poorest countries stand on their own two feet.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said:

“We are delighted to release the first edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report, which follows the success of our research focused on the UK and European SMEs. For the first time ever, we have identified hundreds of Africa’s most inspirational and dynamic private companies. The report demonstrates the huge role that small and medium sized enterprises are playing as the driving force behind African economies: developing skills, creating high quality jobs and delivering growth.

"London Stock Exchange has made it our mission for over 300 years to support access to growth capital for small and large companies in all parts of the world. We are proud to play our part in this great economic journey by shining a light on Africa’s success stories. We are also continuing to work in partnership with African stock exchanges to help develop robust, efficient and transparent capital markets to raise finance for companies like the ones listed in this report and thousands of others to realise their potential.”

LSEG’s “Companies to Inspire Africa” report includes contributions from government, including from the UK Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP;  Vice-President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen; the Maltese Minister of Finance, Prof Edward Scicluna; and Lord Boateng, former UK High Commissioner to South Africa.

Also today, London Stock Exchange plc signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GuarantCo Ltd, a Private Infrastructure Development Group company, which provides credit guarantees to eligible infrastructure developers in emerging and frontier markets to enable access to local currency debt financing. Following the MoU, the two parties will collaborate to explore opportunities to support and encourage the development of emerging debt capital markets and to facilitate new debt listings on London Stock Exchange’s markets.

A full searchable database of all of the companies along with a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at

The report was produced in partnership with African Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC who contributed their expertise to the report, and is sponsored by Citi, Diamond Bank and FTI Consulting.

London Stock Exchange Group has a long history of supporting the development of African capital markets and investment in African companies.

  • There are currently 9 African sovereign bonds listed in London, from Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia
  • There are 107 African companies listed or trading on London Stock Exchange – more than on any other international stock exchange.
  • These companies have a total market capitalization of over US$155 billion, and in the last 10 years have raised more than $26 billion on our markets.
  • Seplat was the first Nigerian company to simultaneously dual list equity shares in London and Nigeria in April 2014
  • In November 2014, London Stock Exchange Group and The Nigerian Stock Exchange signed a capital markets agreement to support African companies seeking dual listings in London and Lagos. The agreement followed the implementation earlier in 2014 of a unique new cross-border settlement process between the UK and Nigeria
  • In March 2016, LSEG established an Africa Advisory Group, bringing together 12 distinguished business leaders, policymakers and investors from across Africa, to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the development of the continent’s capital markets.
  • In June 2014, LSEG signed a strategic agreement with Casablanca Stock Exchange to share its expertise on the full exchange business chain, from listing to trading, and from clearing to settlement and custody with a commitment to position Casablanca’s capital markets and financial infrastructure as a regional hub.
  • LSEG market infrastructure technology is deployed in more 12 African markets, including Botswana Stock Exchange, Casablanca Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Companies to Inspire Africa is part of LSEG’s broader support campaign for ambitious SMEs which includes ELITE, the innovative programme now counting almost 500 international businesses. LSEG is planning further regional events in major African cities throughout April and May 2017, as follows:

  • 26 April, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
  • 27 April, Lagos, Nigeria
  • 9 May, Casablanca, Morocco
  • 12 May, Nairobi, Kenya  
  • 29 May, Johannesburg, South Africa

To find out more about these events, please visit

About the Companies to Inspire Africa report:

Stand-out regions:

  • 124 companies from Western Africa
  • 103 from Eastern Africa
  • 90 from Southern Africa
  • 61 from Northern Africa
  • 18 from Central Africa

Stand-out countries:

  • 58 companies from Nigeria
  • 54 from South Africa
  • 50 from Kenya
  • 32 from Morocco
  • 31 from Ghana
  • 21 from Uganda
  • 18 from Côte d’Ivoire
  • 16 from Tanzania
  • 16 from Namibia
  • 14 from Tunisia
  • 12 from Senegal
  • 11 from Madagascar

To build the list of companies in the report, London Stock Exchange Group collated nominations for companies identified as high-growth businesses by PwC, CDC Group and African Development Bank Group as well as development finance institutions, venture capitalists, private equity firms and impact investors. London Stock Exchange Group then combined financial data with other status indicators to establish the list.

Companies must be active and privately held, with headquarters or their primary operations being run out of Africa. 

Companies must have demonstrated growth over the past three years. Growth was evaluated in terms of revenues, numbers of employees, operational output or geographic expansion.

Independent company or consolidated group annual revenues must not exceed $1 billion, for the years 2012 – 2015.  Revenues are based on the company’s audited financial accounts.

Companies’ financial accounts must be audited and accredited by a ‘Big Four’ firm or a local affiliate.