12 of Africa’s fastest-growing companies are in the technology sector

Godfrey Elimian
*According to FT, because many fast-growing companies are privately held and do not publicly disclose detailed financial data, a ranking such as this can never claim to be complete

The inaugural Financial Times (FT) annual ranking of Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies released today, ranks 12 tech companies among top 75 fastest growing companies in Africa.

The ranking according to FT, offers a view of the corporate landscape on a continent where technology, finance, and support-service companies have had to adjust to a drastically changed environment.

With the economic consequences of the lockdown — especially in crowded urban settings where many live hand to mouth — coupled with tight and stringent policies enacted by African governments to tackle the pandemic in recent years, companies have shifted further online and sought fresh solutions for customers and societies as a whole.

This then puts in acceleration a trend of businesses looking to maximise and transform the ways of providing customers service and meeting targets in a dynamic fashion that has seen them rise above the devastating circumstances of their environment.

According to the list, the first four African countries represented are South Africa with 24 companies, followed by Nigeria (20); Kenya is the third most represented country in the ranking, with nine companies, and is ahead of Egypt with 6.

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.

Financial Times

FT noted that many of these fastest-growing businesses, particularly in the fintech sector, are attempting to reach Africa’s unbanked population or underserved or ignored sectors. The health and education sectors, for example, are among those with the biggest room for expansion, thanks to unmet needs and rising aspirations.

The inaugural FT list was compiled with Statista, a research company, and ranks African companies by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue, between 2017 and 2020.

The tech companies on Africa’s fastest growing companies list

Wasoko – formerly Sokowatch, which heads the ranking, seeks to cut the cost of doing business in the 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 $125 million in a Series B funding round.

Africa's fastest growing companies
PHOTO: Financial Times

The company achieved an absolute growth rate of 8782.6% with revenue in 2020 amounting to $27.4 million from about $0.3 million in 2017.

Africa’s Talking – Founded in 2010, Africa’s Talking has grown to be a company fuelled by the need to empower developers building for Africa and over the years, worked on creating a platform that supports growing communities of over 25,000 developers, spread across the continent and beyond.

The Kenyan company made an absolute growth rate of 296.2%, grossing a revenue of $13.3 million in 2020 from $3.4 million in 2017.

Read also: AFEX tops Financial Times’ ranking of Africa’s fastest-growing companies

ITCONSORTIUM – The software building company in Ghana has successfully penetrated the financial services technology space to provide solutions to financial institutions and the education sector.

The fintech grew in absolute rate by 271.4%, which marks an increase in revenue from $1.6 million in 2017 to $4.6m in 2020.

Yoco – Yoco is an African technology company that creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to get paid and be more successful through its many card machines.

The South African fintech grew by an absolute rate of 267.4%, and garnered revenue amounting to $13.9 million in 2020 from what it was in 2017, $4.7 million.

Global Accelerex – is a Nigerian fintech accelerating e-payment and financial technology services in Africa. The fintech had an absolute growth rate of 121.0%, grossing over $16.5 million in revenues in 2020, from $8.9 million that obtained in 2017.

Opennetworks – has over 20 years experience in ICT, using expertise to make sure that your business transitions and functions effectively in the cloud computing and collaboration space. 

The South Africa firm grew by 71.9% in absolute growth rate and recorded revenue amounting to $6.1 million in 2020 from $4.4m in 2017.

HearX Group – argues to be “a vision-led, value-driven company chasing impact. Our core values are people-first, quality innovation and trust.”

The South Africa tech firm recorded over 70% in its absolute growth rate, and achieved %1.5 million in revenues in 2020, from $0.9m in 2017.

M-Kopa – The Kenya fintech which was launched in 2013, recorded an absolute growth rate of 63.8% to earn it 51st position on the overall list. The fintech made revenues amounting to $88.0 million from $53.4m in 2017

Courteville – is a foremost Nigerian e-business solutions and advisory company and the first in its sector to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The Nigerian firm recorded over 50% in absolute growth and posted a revenue of $4.7 million in 2020 from $3.7 million in 2017.

Cognition – is a unified messaging system that integrates and delivers a suite of messaging services through a single hosted platform.

The South African company recorded an absolute growth rate of 46%. It also emerged as the 59th fastest growing company in Africa after it recorded revenue in 2020 amounting to $14 million from $11.9 million in 2017.

Micro Data S.A. – is a Morocco-based company that provides information technology (IT) services and consulting. It specialises in the integration of network, system and software infrastructure and related services. 

Micro Data S.A recorded an absolute growth rate of 43.9%, increasing revenue from $48.6 million in 2017, to $71.4 million in 2020.

Impax Business Solutions Ltd – is an information systems consultancy company based in Nairobi, Kenya, with operations across Africa. Impax provides consultancy services in the areas of financial and accounting systems, business process automation and mobile applications. 

The company recorded a growth rate of 41.5%, making an increased revenue of $2.1 million in 2020, from $1.5 million in 2017.

According to FT, because many fast-growing companies are privately held and do not publicly disclose detailed financial data, a ranking such as this can never claim to be complete.

But, the rigorous screening process, which also requires senior executives to sign off on the figures submitted by their companies, means the ranking can offer a meaningful insight into the health of these private businesses.


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