The inaugural FT annual ranking of Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies provides a snapshot of corporate landscape in a continent where technology, fintech and support-service businesses have had to adapt to a radically altered environment. Chief among the recent challenges has been operating within the tough restrictions introduced by many African governments to combat Covid-19. In the end, outside of South Africa and parts of north Africa, the health impact has been less severe than many feared. But the economic consequences of lockdown — especially in crowded urban settings where many live hand to mouth — have been devastating. A possible silver lining is that the pandemic has accelerated business trends already under way. From banks to education providers, and from start-ups to established businesses, companies have shifted further online and sought fresh solutions for customers and societies as a whole. Wasoko, formerly Sokowatch, which heads the ranking, is one of several on the continent seeking to cut the cost of doing business in the massive informal commerce sector, by helping to deliver goods to traders more efficiently. The Kenyan company achieved the highest compound annual growth in revenues between 2017 and 2020 and, in March, raised $125mn in a Series B funding round. Kenya is the third most represented country in the ranking, with nine companies, behind South Africa (24) and Nigeria (20), and ahead of Egypt (six). These are also the markets that have attracted the most venture capital and where unicorns (companies valued at $1bn+) and would-be unicorns have proliferated.