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African Brands Struggle to Compete with Global Giants for Admiration

When a survey of Africa’s most admired brands came out for the first time in 2010, things were looking optimistic for African brands, but since then their representation in the ranking has dropped by nearly two-thirds. Brand Africa founder Thebe Ikalafeng examines the results of the 2020 survey and reflects on what they tell us. Among the 27 countries surveyed, which account for over 85% of the continent’s population and GDP, only in Zimbabwe (through Econet), in Zambia (through Trade Kings) and in Tanzania (with Azam) do we have a local brand taking the country’s #1 spot. In Liberia, an African brand from another country, MTN, takes the #1 spot, but in all the other countries, it is a non-African brand: Nike (11 out of 27), Samsung (4/27), Coke (3/27) and Adidas (2/27) lead the way, with Tecno, Orange and Airtel each dominant in one country. Powerhouse African brands, such as Dangote in Nigeria, Safaricom in Kenya and MTN in South Africa, don’t even make the top spot in their domestic markets, and in North Africa, all the Top 10 most admired brands in Egypt and Morocco are non-African.