North Africa’s Top Companies in 2023: Morocco still on top

Egypt leads North Africa in the number of firms represented in our overall survey of Africa's Top 250 Companies, but Morocco accounts for more of the North African region's 20 biggest companies.


Image : КАРАОКЕ КЛУБ ТуЛуЛа / Adobe Stock

North Africa is the second most important region in our annual survey of Africa’s Top 250 Companies, contributing 70 entrants and 14.3% of total market value. This represents a rise of three places compared to our rankings last year; but a small 0.35 percentage point fall in their combined value.

Egypt leads the way in the number of companies represented in the continental table, with 33 entrants to Morocco’s 29. This means there are two more Egyptian companies and one fewer Moroccan than in last year’s figures. 

This slight change in the power balance is also reflected in the value of the companies listed. Moroccan companies are worth almost double their Egyptian counterparts, with 8.8% of the Top 250’s value, but this is a 0.4 percentage point fall on last year. The Egyptian firms ranked are now worth 5.7%, a 1.6 percentage point rise on 2022. However, these changes are too small as yet to suggest that they are part of a wider Egyptian recovery. 

More significant will be President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s plans to wholly or partially sell off dozens of state- and army-controlled companies, including those in the port, hotel, banking, power and gas sectors, with the aim of rebalancing the economy and massively increasing the size of the private sector from 30% to 65% by 2025. 

This target, set in 2022 and due in just three years, seems overly ambitious but does at least indicate a government desire to list more companies. Such pledges have, however, been made by Cairo in the past but have made limited progress. 

Despite Egypt’s lead in the continental ranking, Morocco boasts a higher proportion of the Top 20 Companies in North Africa, including the country’s big four banks – led by Attijariwafa Bank.

Commercial International Bank (CIB) is Egypt’s highest-ranked company, coming in at third in the regional table. Despite a very slight fall in value from $5bn last year to $4.9bn in this year’s rankings, it has climbed six positions to 27th in our pan-African rankings, taking advantage of greater falls in the market value of many other companies. 

In line with the general trend of cross-border banking sector investment, CIB opened its first branch in Kenya in April, following its full takeover three months earlier of Mayfair CIB by buying up the remaining 49% stake in the bank. CIB intends to use Kenya as a base for wider expansion in the region.

Read our other regional rankings

The regional Top 20 for North Africa

The African Business Top 250 Companies survey focuses on the biggest companies on Africa’s stock exchanges, with the ranking determined by the market capitalisation (total value of the listed shares) at 31 March 2023. Some of the African giants not in the Top 250 ranking are government-owned companies, including state-owned enterprises such as Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Sonangol in Angola.  

The Top 250 survey excludes companies that have African heritage and roots but no longer earn at least 50% of their revenues in Africa. Companies with more than 50% of their revenues from Africa are excluded if they are not listed on an African stock exchange. 

The table below lists the 20 top companies in our survey from the North African region along with their position in the overall ranking.

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Neil Ford

Neil is a journalist, writer, editor and consultant, specialising in international and African affairs.