On 16th January 2019, London Stock Exchange Group launched the second edition of its ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report, identifying and celebrating some of Africa’s most dynamic growth businesses. Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, was a guest speaker at the high profile event in London, invited to showcase some of Africa’s most inspirational women-led growth businesses who were included in this year’s report.
The Companies to Inspire Africa launch event commenced in energetic style with a Market Open Ceremony on the balcony of the London Stock Exchange Group attended by invited dignitaries, guest speakers and entrepreneurs. The event commenced in earnest with the opening address given by David Schwimmer, CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group. He was followed by UK International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt who gave the official UK government welcome to guests attending the event. A capacity audience included 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.
The first panel discussion of the morning looked at themes emerging from the Companies to Inspire Africa report, including: The Success of the Consumer Services Sector; Regional Themes and Divides; and the Broader Role of Growth Companies in African economies. Moderated by Deanne Chatterton, CEO of Instinctif Africa, the panel included Charbel Antoun, Chairman of Eat ’N’ Go; Judith Karl, Executive Secretary of the UN Capital Development Fund; and Rob Withagen, CEO and Co-Founder of Asoko Insight.
The next discussion was a Fireside Chat taking a 360 degree perspective on Investing in High Growth Companies. Moderator Lanre Akinola, editor of Nurmara hosted the discussion, which included: Assessing the size of Africa’s high growth sector and key drivers; Features unique to investment in Africa; hurdles faced by both investors and entrepreneurs; and the role of the company and investor in de-risking investment. Speakers included Tom Greenwood, Group CFO of Helios Towers; Warwick Hunt, Managing Partner and COO of PwC UK; and Nick O Donohoe, CEO of CDC Group.
Panel Discussion 2 was a real highlight of the event for women entrepreneurs as it focused on the topic of Women Leaders in Africa. Moderated by Manji Cheto, Business Development Manager, Africa-Primary Markets at the London Stock Exchange Group, the discussion tackled such issues as Access to Capital for Female Entrepreneurs; the Global Context of Progress in Africa; Sectoral Divides and Further Steps. Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, was one of the guest panelists talking about the impact that supporting the growth and development of Africa’s women entrepreneurs can have on the continent’s economic future. Other panelists included powerhouse women entrepreneurs Dr Amy Jadesimi, CEO of LADOL, and Toyin Odulate, founder of Olori Cosmetics. The final panelist was Emma Wade-Smith OBE, HM Trade Commissioner for Africa, and a leading supporter of economic development through entrepreneurship and business investment.
The final panel discussion of the morning addressed the challenge of how companies need to best prepare for the next stages in their growth. The session, which looked at hurdles to accessing capital, the role of corporate governance, and key best practices which need to be implemented, was moderated by Umerah Akram, Head of ELITE UK and International, London Stock Exchange Group.
The Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 report identifies a new cohort of fast growing and dynamic private businesses across Africa. 360 companies were 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.
Lionesses of Africa saw a number of its most inspirational, nominated companies from across the African continent making it into the final publication. These included Adele Dejak Ltd (Kenya); Melvin’s Marsh International (Kenya); PMS Group (Kenya); Selfina (Tanzania); Delight Uganda (Uganda); Securico (Zimbabwe); Wonderbag (South Africa); and Secure ID (Nigeria). Consumer Services was the most represented sector with 79 companies – reflecting the growing middle class and the increasing importance of consumer products and services in African economies.
Melanie Hawken, Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo said: “The importance of women-built, high growth companies in Africa cannot be overstated. These outstanding women entrepreneurs who are featured in the Companies to Inspire Africa 2019 report, and the many thousands of others who are making such an impact on the continent are amazing engines for economic growth. They are also a powerful force for equitably distributing that growth.”
The 2019 Companies to Inspire Africa 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 chapter introduction on Empowering Women Across the Continent was written by Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of 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.
International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said:
“I am particularly pleased that nearly a quarter of the companies in this year’s report are led by women, almost double that of the report published in 2017.
And we know that globally companies with greater levels of gender equality also do better in terms of income, growth and competitiveness. And today I have had the pleasure of meeting many of the inspirational female business leaders named in the report. Companies like Lioness of Africa, which aims to support 1 million African women entrepreneurs to achieve success. As female leaders you are role models that can make change happen. I applaud and admire you all.” (link to Penny Mordaunt’s full speech)
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."
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.”
A comprehensive searchable database of the report, along with a downloadable PDF of the publication is available at www.lseg.com/inspireafrica
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.