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Top 5 Best Companies in Africa 2012


Sasol plant in South Africa
Sasol plant in South Africa

AFRICANGLOBE – After a wonderful year for businesses across Africa, an euphoria of  greater success is what every entrepreneur, CEO and businessman carries into 2013. We have been reporting on African entrepreneurs and businesses throughout 2012, and in this piece we have identified the Top 5 Best Companies in Africa. This list comprises mobile phone operators, banks and petrochemicals companies indicating the growth of these sectors across the continent.

The banking and mobile technology sectors are linked somehow. Advances in mobile-banking technology have made it possible to use cell phones for routine banking transactions, such as money transfers and deposits. This development –spurred by the rapid diffusion of inexpensive mobile networks in a continent with limited landlines — has sparked a revolution in retail banking from Nigeria to Kenya to Mozambique to South Africa.

While US and European banks suffer hangovers from the Great Recession and continued shock waves inside the Eurozone, Africa’s top lenders have never looked stronger or been more ambitious. A continent branded by outsiders as unstable and aid dependent, is now riding a banking boom characterized by aggressive pan-African expansion and swelling balance sheets.

Africa’s poor represent a vast reserve of untapped capital waiting to be channelled into consumer and small-businesses loans, and for infrastructure development. By some estimates, 95 percent of the nearly 500 million adults in Africa earning less than $10 a day have no access to bank accounts. If they did, the formal banking system could get its hands on as much as $59 billion in new deposits.

Lastly, Africa is a continent of 54 countries with an estimated one billion people. The upstream oil industry is key to the continent of Africa.

According to the 2012 BP Statistical Energy Survey, Africa has proved oil reserves of 132.438 billion barrels at the end of 2011, equivalent to 41.2 years of current production and 8.01 percent of the world’s reserves. Africa produced an average of 8804.4 thousand barrels of crude oil per day in 2011, 10.44 percent of the world and a change of -12.7 percent compared to 2010.

Five countries dominate Africa’s upstream oil production. Together they account for 85 percent of the continent’s oil production and are, in order of decreasing output, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. Other oil producing countries are Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cote d’Ivoire. Exploration is taking place in a number of other countries that aim to increase their output or become first time producers. Included in this list are Chad, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar while Mozambique and Tanzania are potential gas producers.

This selection is based on the companies’ expansion strategies and how well they are spread out in the continent. Remember the more companies make acquisitions and set up shop in many countries, the more their earnings are boosted.


The Egyptian mobile operator has grown from 200.000 subscribers in 1998 to over 83 million. Orascom Telecom (OTH) established itself as a global brand and is considered today to be one of the largest and most diversified telecom operators.

Orascom Telecom is operating GSM networks in high growth markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, having a total population under license of approximately 415 million with an average mobile telephony penetration of approximately 51 percent as of June this year.

Orascom Telecom operates GSM networks in Algeria (“Djezzy”), Pakistan (“Mobilink”), Bangladesh (“banglalink”), and has an indirect equity shareholding in Globalive Wireless Canada (“Wind Mobile”). In addition it has an indirect equity ownership in Telecel Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe) and through its subsidiary Telecel Globe, OTH also operates in Burundi and the Central African Republic.

In April 2011, Wind Telecom merged with Vimpelcom, creating the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider by number of subscribers with operations in 21 countries serving 186 million customers.

OTH witnessed success as Orascom Telecom Algeria SPA (OTA) or “Djezzy” was launched in February 2002. It grew to become the market leader in terms of both subscriber numbers as well as the quality of telecommunications services provided. OTA serves over 17.7 million subscribers on its network and has a 56.7 percent market share (as of June 2012).

Pakistan Mobile Communications (“Mobilink”) started its operations in Pakistan in 1994. In April 2001, OTH took over management control of the company. As the market leader, Mobilink has 30.1 percent market share and serves almost 36 million subscribers (as of June 2012).

In September 2004, OTH purchased 100 percent of Sheba Telecom in Bangladesh. OTH re-branded and launched its services as “banglalink” in February 2005. Immediately after the launch, OTH started its aggressive plans to develop banglalink into a leader in the mobile sector by rapidly expanding its GSM network to provide high quality communications services at affordable prices. Banglalink serves over 25.4 million subscribers with 27.2 percent market share (as of June 2012).

OTH has 65 percent indirect equity ownership in WIND Mobile which has officially been granted its spectrum license from Industry Canada in 2008. “WIND Mobile” commenced its operations in Canada in December 2009 becoming the first national wireless provider in over a decade in the country and offering state of the art all-IP 3G network.

WIND Mobile has launched its services in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver with over 200 retail locations nationally and has succeeded in exceeding 100.000 subscriptions by early July 2010, only two quarters after the inauguration of its services. Since launching, WIND Mobile’s presence in the market has worked to drive competition by cost reduction, the introduction of more handsets and more advanced technologies.

OTH is traded on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchange under the symbol (ORTE.CA, ORAT EY), and on the London Stock Exchange its GDR is traded under the symbol (ORTEq.L, OTLD LI).

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