South Africa still dominates Africa’s Top 250 Companies table

Although Southern Africa's overall share of market capitalisation is down in this year's survey, regional firms still account for 133 of Africa’s Top 250 Companies, up from 120 last year.


Image : Rich T Photo/

For over 16 years African Business has been running an annual ranking of Africa’s 250 Top Companies, taking the top listed companies from national and regional stock exchanges across Africa. In this article we focus on the top 20 companies from Southern African countries in the 2022 ranking.

The Southern African region continued to gain heavily compared to other parts of the continent. Although the region’s overall percentage of the Top 250 Companies’ market capitalisation is down, from $526.2bn (74.1% of the total) in 2021 to $519bn (74%), this is heavily affected by the $54.6bn decline in the market capitalisation of one company, Naspers.

Southern African companies made up 133 of Africa’s Top 250, up from 120 last year. Although economic growth is forecast to be anaemic in South Africa, at 1.9% in 2022 and 1.4% in 2023, South African firms make up the top 11 places in the survey and 15 of the top 20 African companies.  

The number of Zimbabwean companies rose from seven in the top ranking in 2021 to 11 in 2022. The astronomic growth is driven partly by continued distortions in the exchange rate used to work out market capitalisation in US dollars. However, tribute is also due to excellent performance from dynamic firms.

Data centre and fibre provider Econet soared from #131 to #47 on the ranking as market capitalisation grew nearly fourfold to $3.5bn. Ecocash Holdings (Cassava in previous rankings) was up from #186 to #100 after its market value tripled to $1.3bn.  

Mauritius scored impressive growth, reflected by the 36.9% climb in the SEMDEX index which brought several companies into the top rankings despite a decline in the value of the Mauritian rupee against the US dollar. In 2021 Mauritius provided three companies with total market capitalisation of $2.3bn which has doubled in 2022 to six top companies, with total market capitalisation of $7.7bn.  

Metal-trading company Crytel Mauritius Ltd, which listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius in November 2021, joins the list at #147. It has headquarters in London, subsidiaries in the Seychelles and Marshall Islands, and African and global mining and trading ambitions. Coal trading and brokerage firm Arindo Holdings (Mauritius) joins at #245 after its share price climbed back strongly from the 2020 slump as energy prices rose.  

Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange returned to the top 250 after a year’s absence with two companies. Copperbelt Energy Corporation (#236) has seen its market capitalisation more than triple from $93m to $310m. Zambia Sugar (#237) is 75% owned by Illovo Sugar Africa Group and is the largest single mill cane sugar producer in Africa. Its share price has soared from ZMK2.56 ($14.6) to ZMK17.65 pushing up market capitalisation from $37m to $308m.

The soaring market capitalisations may reflect growing investor confidence following last year’s change of government and prospects of better economic management and governance. 

Namibia scored six in the Top 250 thanks to the arrival of Mobile Telecommunications (also known as MTC Namibia) at #204, with market capitalisation of $411m, and Deep Yellow Ltd at #246, with market capitalisation of $298m.

© Data provided by Emerging Markets Investment Management Limited and also in-house research. Data as at 31/03/2022. Data relates to listed companies only. Listed companies with less than 50% of their revenues in Africa and companies that are not listed or dual-listed on an African exchange were excluded. 

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