Even before this exogenous shock, the continent’s champions were already struggling. This is what the latest edition of the The Africa Report’s Top 500 African companies shows. This exclusive ranking is marked by a further decline (-1.05%) in the total turnover of companies, expressed in dollars. This follows a drop of 1.6% in the previous ranking. Taking investors on a decade-long roller-coaster ride, the overall turnover of the Top 500 has grown by just 5.4% since 2009. The peak was in 2012 ($736.8bn), and it could be years, perhaps a decade, before it is matched.
The new underperformance of the top 500 is all the more worrying given that the continent’s economies had been growing rather robustly. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), continental GDP grew by 3.3% in 2019, with 3% for sub-Saharan Africa alone.