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Kenya's Wasoko, Quickmart among Africa's fastest growing firms

10 Kenyan startups are in the list of 75 fastest growing companies in Africa.

In Summary

• Kenya is the third most represented country with nine companies behind South Africa with 24, Nigeria 20 and Egypt is number four with six companies.

•According to the report many of the fastest-growing companies, especially in fintech sector, are those seeking to tap Africa’s unbanked population, or markets that have previously been underserved or ignored.

The trademark grocery tuk tuk inside the branch
The trademark grocery tuk tuk inside the branch
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO

Wasoko, a local startup has topped the Financial Times Africa's fastest growing companies annual ranking thrusting Kenya onto the global map.

Overall, nine Kenyan companies have made it to the list placing the country third behind South Africa which tops with 24 firms followed by Nigeria with 20 companies while Egypt is ranked fourth with six companies.

Wasoko seeks to cut the cost of doing business in the informal commerce sector by helping deliver goods to traders more efficiently.

It achieved the highest compound annual growth in revenues between 2017 and 2020 and, in March, raised $125 million (Sh14.5 billion) in a Series B funding round.

The company grew by 8782.6 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's fastest growing company. Its revenues grew from Sh34.7 million in 2017 to Sh3.17 billion in 2020.

Founded in 2016, it supplies fast moving goods to shops and kiosks to thousands of shopkeepers in East Africa.

Flocash Kenya grew by 5160.6 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is the second fastest growing company in Africa.

Its revenue grew  from from Sh11.6 million in 2017 to Sh742 million in 2020. Founded in 2013, it enables cross-border payments across 60 countries in Middle East and Africa.

Lori Systems Kenya grew by 762.3 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's seventh fastest growing company.

Its revenues grew from Sh336 million to Sh2.89 billion. Founded in 2017, It provides long-haul transport solutions in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.

Quick Mart Kenya grew by 311per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 11th fastest growing company.

Its revenues grew from Sh4.68 billion to Sh18.79 billion. Founded in 2006, Quick Mart is a top supermarket chain in Kenya.

Africa’s Talking Kenya grew by 296.2 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 13th fastest growing company.

Its revenues grew from Sh394 million to Sh1.54 billion. Founded in 2010, It provides a variety of communication and payments API products to over 25,000 developers in Africa.

Copia Kenya grew by 243 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 20th fastest growing company.

Its revenues grew from Sh707 million to Sh2.36 billion. Founded in 2013, it allows Kenyans to shop and send goods upcountry affordably and conveniently to over 30,000 collection points.

ASA microfinance grew by 127.4 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 32nd fastest growing company. Its revenues grew from Sh278 million to Sh602.9 million. Founded in 2012, it provides low-income female business owners small loans to start or grow businesses.

East African Business Company grew by 87 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 41st fastest growing company. Its revenues grew from Sh185 million to Sh347 million. Founded in 2011 but started operating in 2015, it provides farmers with pesticides and agricultural equipment.

M-KOPA grew by 63.8 per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 51st fastest growing company. Its revenues grew from Sh6.2 billion to Sh10.2 billion. Founded in 2011,it has enabled one million customers to access solar lighting, televisions and fridges, smartphones and cash loans.

Impax grew by 41.5per cent between 2017 and 2020 and is Africa's 67th fastest growing company. Its revenues grew from Sh173 million to Sh243 million. Founded in 2003,it provides consultancy services in financial and accounting systems, business process automation and mobile apps.

According to the report many of the fastest-growing companies, especially in fintech sector, are those seeking to tap Africa’s unbanked population, or markets that have previously been underserved or ignored.

These are markets that have attracted the most venture capital and where unicorns (companies valued at $ 1 bn+) and would-be unicorns have proliferated.

The report also indicates that there are approximately 6,700 multi-millionaires living in Africa-those whose net-worth is $10 million or more.

The wealthy Africans, made up of multi-millionaires, billionaires, millionaires, and centi-millionaires, had private wealth, made up of equities, cash property and business interests, reaching a total of $ 2.1 trillion in 2021.

This is compared to 21 billionaires living in Africa, each with net assets of $1 billion (Sh116 billion)or more.

According to the report approximately 136,000 millionaires are living in Africa, each with net assets of $1 million (Sh116 million)

There are also an estimated 305 centi-millionaires residing in Africa, each with net assets of $100 million (Sh11.6 billion) or more.

The enormous wealth markets in Africa are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Kenya- these five nations account for more than 50 per cent of Africa’s total wealth.

The wealthy report lists Mauritius, Rwanda, and Uganda as the strongest performing wealth markets in Africa. Also expected to register strong growth in Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique and Zambia.

Africa’s wealthiest cities are Johannesburg with a total private wealth estimated at more than $239 billion, Cape Town in second place, with a total private wealth of $131 billion.

Cairo $ 128 billion, Lagos $97 billion, Durban $ 60 billion and Nairobi $48 billion.

South Africa is also the leading largest luxury market in Africa by revenue, followed by Kenya and then Morocco.

This includes luxury hotels and lodges, cars, clothing and accessories, watches, private jets and yachts.

According to the Africa Wealthy Report 2022, South Africa is still home to more than twice as many millionaires as any other African country despite a challenging decade to date.

By this measure, South Africa ranks 28th in the world, ahead of major economies such as Turkey, Argentina, Malaysia, and Thailand.