Ten most admired brands in East and Central Africa

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 10:00 |
A view of the Safaricom headquarters in Westlands, Nairobi. Photo/PD/FILE

Kenyan companies were named in the list of Africa’s top 100 brands in 2020, stamping their dominance closer home in an annual GeoPoll survey commissioned by African Business magazine. Kenya was first with four brands, Ethiopia came second with two, while Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe were represented by one company each. While the survey indicated that Africans still love foreign brands, here are the top local brands in the region:

1. Safaricom

The telco is Kenya’s leading telecommunication’s company with the widest and strongest coverage.

It has a subscriber base in excess of 36 million, and leverages voice, SMS, mobile broadband and fibre data for its revenues.

The Communication Authority of Kenya statistics shows that in March 2020, voice calls contributed Sh94.5 billion while mobile broadband data at Sh40.7 billion while SMS services declined 12.3 per cent to contribute Sh17.9 billion to the bottom line.

In a GeoPoll survey, however, Safaricom lost ground, ranking 12th in the telecommunication sector from the 6th position it held in 2019.

2. Anbessa Apparels

The Ethiopian State-owned shoe factory has over 37 outlets. It serves both the domestic and export market, contributing significantly to boost Ethiopia’s foreign currency through export of trendy shoes that serves a multitude of purposes to markets in the USA, European Union, Middle East, Asia, and the African continent. It has a production capacity of 4,500 pairs per day.

It came in at number four in the list of most admired brands in Africa this year, one position lower than the 2019 rankings.

Anbessa ranked 26th in the top 100 admired brands last year, compared to the 12th in 2019.

3. Mpesa

The Mpesa services have been important not only in Kenya, but the world in general, helping to improve financial inclusivity.

It contributes heavily towards diaspora remittance for Kenya’s foreign exchange income and economic development as witnessed by remittances which in 2020, hit a record high $3.094 billion (Sh340 billion) from $2.796 billion (Sh307 billion) in 2019.

The service has an active monthly customer base of 24.9 million people. In the GeoPoll survey, it lost groundcoming in 17th in the financial category, from position 13th it held in 2019.

4. Ethiopian Airlines

This is the national flag carrier of Ethiopia, and Africa’s most profitable airline. Founded in 1945, the wholly owned government carrier employs over 13,000 people.

Ethiopian is Africa’s largest airline and coomes 4th in the world in terms of passengers carried, destinations served, fleet size, and revenue.

It flies to 125 passenger destinations, 20 of them domestic, with 44 freighter destinations. It employs 13,942 people and had revenues in excess of $4.2 billion (Sh462.6 billion) in 2019. It was the 7th most admired African brands improving by 14 slots from the 21st position it held in 2019.

5. Tusker

Tusker is a beer brand owned by East African Breweries, with over 700,000 hectolitres being sold in Kenya annually.

It is also the largest African beer brand in the Diageo group. It is sold in Keg and Wiget Cans and bottles, and comes in a variety of forms, including Premium and Lte lager, as well as Cider.

It held the 73rd position in Africa’s top brands last year, down from 69 in 2019.

6. Azam Media

Azam Media Limited is one of the fastest growing in the East and Central African region.

AML was launched in December 2013 in Dar Es Salaam by the Bakhresa Group, a leading Industrial Houses in Tanzania.

It was ranked 9th overall in a list of 25 top media houses, dominated by international groups, led by the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. Only seven of Africa’s top 25 originate from Africa.

Azam media holds a pride of place as holding the live broadcasting rights for Tanzania’s Vodacom Premier league since 2013.

7. KCB Group

Kenya’s biggest bank by assets was ranked 8th overall in the list of 25 most admired financial brands by GeoPoll in 2020, four places down the pecking order of 8th achieved in 2019.

The bank operates branches in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan, with a representative office in Ethiopia, and recently Last year, the bank agreed a Sh40.3 billion deal with London-listed financial services firm Atlas Mara Limited to buy 62.06 per cent stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc and a 100 per cent stake in African Banking Corporation Tanzania.

8. Equity Group.

Equity is the largest bank by market capitalisation in East and Central Africa, and recently crossed the Sh1 trillion, balance sheet mark.

The bank has a strong global network of correspondent banks and development finance institutions, with branches in Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and DRC, where it has also received regulatory approval to merge with Banque Commercial du Congo to form a new entity called EquityBCDC.

This was the lender’s first participation in the GeoPoll survey, attaining position 11th overall out of the continent’s 25 most admired banks.

The NSE listed bank is also one of the biggest financial groups by customer base in the region, with 14.2 million customers, and an asset base of over $10 billion (Sh1.1 billion).

It has a footprint of 335 branches, 52,742 agents and 35,386 merchants and 720 automated teller machines (ATMs).

9. Econet

Zimbabwe’s Econet Global Ltd, is a diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offering products and services in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, satellite, optical fiber networks and mobile payment.

The group’s subsidiaries include Econet Mobile Networks Group, Liquid Telecom, Cassava SmarTech, Distributed Power Africa, Vaya Africa and Technites 10. 

10. Azam Consumer non-cyclical

The Tanzanian brand has a presence across Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it supplies both food and beverage consumables to the mass consumer markets.

The Bakhresa group boasts an impressive $300+ million turnover, with its consumer products contributing an overall $219.6 million (Sh24billion) as of 2009.

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