African Brands are losing attractiveness in the eyes of their consumers who have developed a strong liking for global brands. In Brand Africa 100’s 2019 ranking of the top 100 Most Admired Brands in Africa, the number of African brands declined by 18%.
In the rankings, compiled by African Business Magazine, only 14 African Brands made it to the 100 most admired brands on the continent, a steady decline from last year when brands from Africa, accounted for a quarter of the rankings. Five South Africa brands and four Nigeria brands made it to the list. Narrowing it to East Africa, only Kenya and Uganda met the threshold, with Kenya’s Tusker Brand coming in at position 69 and Uganda’s Mukwano products at position 41.
Among the top 25 most admired African Brands, South Africa topped the list with six entries. Four of Kenya’s brands, Safaricom, Tusker, Kenya Airways and Bidco were listed respectively and Tanzania’s Azam represented the East African region. For the Top 25 most admired financial services brands, KCB and Safaricom’s Mpesa stood out in the listing.
Brands are both an asset and a catalyst for the image, reputation, value and competitiveness of companies and ultimately their countries of origin. Despite optimism for Africa’s economic recovery and with GDP growth projected at 4% in 2019 by the African Development Bank, the continent has a long stretch to gain significant influence globally. While South Africa and Nigeria seem to be the face of African brands, East Africa is tailing behind with just a handful of influential brands.
A new finding in the report identified a growing middle class across many African markets led by South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya in sub-Saharan Africa has created a market segment with an aspiration for luxury goods. There is an increasing demand for both authentic luxury brands and a thriving counterfeit marketplace
The Non-African countries especially North American brands, dominated exclusively by the USA led in numbers with technology, consumer and auto manufacturers among the most popular categories.
Portfolio diversification, strategic trade policies, reduced costs of doing business, good transport and communication networks, among other factors in the African continent could really help with the numbers.