These top 5 African companies embraced pan-Africanism ideals and became the best

Business magnate Aliko Dangote and African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina

Africa is facing a downward trend in foreign direct investment, which reached a high of $74 billion in 2013 and gradually fell to $41 billion in 2017. This spells doom for the continent’s Agenda 2063 that foresees a well-developed integrated Africa.

In its quest to help reverse the trend, the African Development Bank launched the first Africa-to-Africa (A2A) Investment Report last week ahead of the maiden Africa Investment Forum to be held in Johannesburg in November 2018 to help facilitate project development and financing.

The report identified intra-regional investments as the way forward to boost economic growth and competitiveness as stipulated by the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

It also identified some African companies that have attained the status of investment champions in the continent based on the fact that they believed in the long-term growth potential of Africa and invested outside their home countries.

“African companies that invest in Africa have clear confidence in her long-term growth potential; they are at the cutting edge of their industries and, moreover, are capitalizing on their African context to generate higher returns.

“The highlights, lessons and checklist solutions in this report signpost what it will take for other companies and policymakers to promote an ‘invest with impact’ approach in Africa,” says Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

According to the report, Africa has 700 companies with annual revenue of more than $500 million each and the total revenue of the 700 totals $1.4 trillion. 27% of the 700 companies are multinational corporations – the rest are large domestic companies.

400 African companies have revenue of more than $1 billion per year, and these companies are growing faster, and are more profitable than global peers, it added.

Here are the top 5 African companies that are leading the continent’s investment drive with a clear confidence in the region, cutting-edge track record and have capitalized on their African context.

Ethiopian Airlines – Ethiopia

Founded in 1945, Ethiopian Airlines’ vision was to capitalize on the huge untapped air transport potential and underserved markets in Africa and use its home base and African roots to do this.

With strong partnerships with other African airlines, Ethiopian Airlines has been able to grow rapidly and expand its Africa network to 38 countries. Its African network expands to 55 cities and over 100 international passenger and cargo destinations.

Its operating revenue is Birr 54.4 billion ($2 billion) and the total current asset is Birr 88.8 billion ($3.2 billion). The airline’s total equity is Birr 25.4 billion ($916 million) with over 13,942 employees.

Ecobank – Togo

Ecobank currently has a larger African footprint than any other bank with operations in 36 countries across the continent.

Its vision was to create a pan-African force in banking and take advantage of regional integration opportunities, at the same time driving financial inclusion across the continent.

It was incorporated in 1985 with an authorized capital of $100 million. The initial paid-up capital of $32 million was raised from over 1,500 individuals and institutions from West African countries.

Ecobank currently has a net revenue of $2.0 billion, total assets of $20.5 billion and total equity of $1.8 billion. It has 10 million customers, 17,343 employees, 1,265 branches and 2,829 ATMs.

Standard Group – South Africa

Standard Bank’s vision was to promote a strong and stable brand over time to build its reputation with clients, focusing on supporting growth and development across Africa.

It has footprints in 20 countries since the bank started building a franchise outside southern Africa in the early 1990’s.

Founded in 1862, the bank has total assets of R 1,954,290 million ($27 billion), total equity of R 179,359 million ($2.4 billion), headline earnings of R 23,009 million ($316 million) and 54,767 employees.

Attijariwafa Bank – Morocco

It has the largest distribution network in Morocco and the densest network in Africa with 4, 236 branches in 14 countries. The bank continues to focus on mobilizing its overall resources to support the African continent.

Attijariwafa Bank’s vision to expand across Africa was tied to its goal to support the continent’s socio-economic development, bringing together partnerships and exchanges, as in its International Africa Development Forum.

Founded in 1904, the bank has a net banking income of MAD 21.6 billion ($2.3 billion), operating income of MAD 9.5 billion ($4.8 billion), net income of MAD 6.6 billion ($701 million), net income group share of MAD 5.4 billion ($573 million), 9.1 million clients and 19, 754 employees.

Dangote Cement – Nigeria

Dangote Cement’s vision was to support African countries to become self-sufficient by producing one of the world’s most basic commodities and establishing efficient production facilities in strategic locations close to key markets. The company prioritized trading within West Africa, taking advantage of regional markets to offer a product free of import duties.

Founded in 1992 and part of the Dangote Group, which includes the sectors of food and beverages; port operations; cement; haulage; services, and packaging, the company has footprints in 10 African countries.

It has created nearly 2,000 jobs and currently has 16,272 employees.

This article written by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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