AFRICA – Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecommunications company, has climbed 4 positions to finish 10th in the ranking of Africa’s top 250 companies.

Although Kenya lost three entries in the list and their combined market capitalisation went down from $21bn to $16bn, Safaricom remained resilient, entering the top 10 list for the first time in history.

Tanzania Breweries, Equity group Holdings, East Africa Breweries, KCB Group, and Vodacom Tanzania accompanied the telco giant in the top 100 list of Africa’s top 250 companies by market capitalization.

This year’s top 250 companies continue to be dominated by South Africa which delivered 100 out of the 250 companies in the list.

Prosus from South Africa led the pack of Africa’s largest companies by market capitalization with a total market capitalization of 119 billion.

The top five list was also comprised of South African companies which included Naspers, Financière Richemont, Anglo American, and Anglo-American Platinum.

The Africa’s top 250 companies survey ranks African or Africa-focused companies listed on public securities exchanges according to their market valuation, also known as “market capitalisation”.

Total value for all 250 firms on the list this year is $597.7bn, down 20% from last year’s total of $748.2bn.

But last year had seen a 16% fall compared to total market capitalisation of $887.1bn in March 2018 and this year’s total value is 37% below peak value of $948.3bn in 2015.

The 20% drop in market capitalization has been blamed on the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic which caused investors to pull out their finances from Africa’s most capitalized companies.

According to an IMF report, “Investors have pulled out over $90bn from emerging markets since the beginning of the crisis, the largest capital outflow on record.”

The global oil rice shock also significantly affects African particularly those that are heavily reliant on oil.

There is however a ray of hope for Africa capital markets as governments across the continent have started to experiment with steps to emerge from lockdowns and restart economic activity.

One of the most positive long-term business prospects for many companies on the list could be more cross-border trading and investment through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Looking a year ahead, the IMF forecasts that if African governments and businesses take the right steps now and there is support from the international community, Africa can hope for a strong recovery.

In April the IMF revised the forecast for 2021 up 0.3 percentage points compared to the forecast published in October, and now anticipates 4% economic growth in 2021.

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