Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Africa's Top 500 Companies

Nicholas Norbrook reporting for The Africa Report, a glossy bi-monthly publication, states that "in a context of heightened global demand for African commodities from oil to copper, it is easy to forget that one of the few industrial drivers of the day on the continent is its countries own domestic consumption. Apart from being a small consolation in these uncertain economic times, the growth of the internal market has created new opportunities for local non-commodity companies to spread their wings. Governments can do a lot to stimulate the rate of consumption, but in every country the private sector now plays a role of growing importance".

The list which ranks the companies by turnover on the basis of a questionnaire sent to 9000 companies registered in Africa mentions the following in the top 10:

Sonatrach (hydrocarbons), Old Mutual (insurance), The Bidvest Group (retail), Sanlam (Insurance), Sasol (Chemicals), Imperial Holdings (diversified), Telkom (telecoms), MTN Group (telecoms), De Beers Consolidated Mines (mines) and Barloworld (diversified).

The growing importance of the private sector will not come as a surprise to those on the continent who deal with theses companies every day but it may to many outside the continent who still see Africa only as source of raw materials, cheap labour and commodities.

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