Telecommunications and Banking: Fast-Growing Industries to Keep an Eye on
By Jackie Edwards
Although agriculture remains the biggest industry in the region, with over 60 percent of the continent employed in agriculture-related jobs according to Economy Watch, Africa is seeing a fast increase in the services industry. In recent years, this business has seen major progress and has been put on many “markets to watch” lists. In particular, the banking and telecommunications sectors have become the fastest-growing service industries and are expected to grow substantially in the next couple of years.
Banking: Recent financial reforms have alleviated the previously corrupted and stable market and lenders are lining up to do business with the continent. Many sources cite Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa as having the potential to become one of the most exciting banking markets in the world. The majority of the top 25 largest companies in Africa are banking or finance-related companies. These companies include:
· FirstRand: South Africa’s biggest bank, FirstRand has a total revenue of $18.6B and employs over 42,000 people. It sits at number five on the Africa Ranking list.
· Standard Bank Group: Number seven on the list, Standard Bank Group is active in 20 countries across Africa and the world. Founded over 154 years ago, the bank has a revenue of $16.2B and currently employs over 69,000 employees.
· Guaranty Trust Bank: Founded in 1990 in Nigeria, number 22 on the list was the first sub-Saharan bank listed on the London and German stock exchanges. It is also one of the partners for Eko Atlantic City, a man-made island that will host the new financial district in Lagos.
· FBN Holdings: Known as the holding company for the First Bank of Nigeria, FBN Holdings ends the list at number 25. With over 10 million active customers in Nigeria and 7,000 employees in 750 locations across the continent, it was named the best bank brand five years in a row. It is also known as one of the most innovative banks in Africa.
Telecommunications: Africa is predicted to have a strong future in telecomms. With the increasing rate of mobile connectivity on the continent, Africa is set to become the number one region of growth for the telecoms sector. Reports state that the industry is expected to jump from $49B in 2013 to more than $65B by 2018. Two African companies have already made the Africa Ranking’s Top 25 Biggest Companies list.
· MTN Group: At number four on the list, MTN Group is a South African telecommunications provider. Founded in 1994, it is currently one of the biggest broadband, internet and mobile phone providers in Africa. Despite its high sales revenue of $18.9B, the company only has 22,000 employees.
· Vodacom: A subsidiary of the telecom giant Vodafone, Vodacom sits at number six on the list. With over 55 million customers, they provide services in over 40 countries across Africa. With a sales revenue of $14.6B, the company employs just under 8,000 employees.