AFEX, Moniepoint On Top: Startups Dominate Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies List

By  |  May 2, 2023

For the second year running and in keeping with the inaugural list, startups dominate the Financial Times (FT) ranking of Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies in 2023; comprising the innovative, modern and fast-growing African companies that are the driving force of the international economy in the 21st century.

Africa’s prominent commodities market player, AFEX, topped this year’s list, leading the pack and forming an all-Nigerian top two that includes fast-rising business banking firm Moniepoint.

Since it first appeared on the inaugural list last year, Abuja-based AFEX says it has doubled in revenue and expanded operations into East Africa, having financed over 450,000 farmers and traded 526,850 metric tonnes of commodities in Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

Ayodeji Balogun, Group CEO at AFEX, said, “We’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far and will continue to help farmers access markets directly. We also know that efficient warehousing is crucial for efficient food security, and technology will play a vital role in developing the agriculture industry in Africa. Our unique position enables us to contribute to Africa’s food security while promoting sustainable development for future generations. By 2025, we aim to impact 1 million food producers while driving 1 million MT in trade volumes. We’re incredibly proud to be building such a global business.”

Last year, AFEX ranked third on the overall FT Africa list while emerging as the fastest-growing in Nigeria and first in Africa’s Agriculture & Commodities category. The FT collaborates with Statista, a data research company, to produce similar rankings for companies in Europe, Asia, and America. Like the ranking for other markets, the Africa list ranks African companies by their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2018 and 2021. AFEX says it has grown by 505.3 percent over the past 3 years, clinching first place as Africa’s fastest-growing company in 2023.

Moniepoint, a Lagos-based company that offers banking for small businesses, is rated second, just ahead of Kenya’s Wasoko, which topped the list in the previous year. Nairobi-based Wasoko has established itself as an e-commerce company helping small traders to access inventory through more efficient supply chains in seven African countries.

The Top 10 Fastest-growing African Companies in 2023
Source: FT

The list of 100, which is now in its second year, demonstrates how businesses in a variety of industries, including agriculture, renewable energy, healthcare, commodities, and fintech, were able to expand their operations despite the global economic downturn, the FT reports.

Similar to the first year of the list, Covid seems to have sped up the shift online, with businesses offering digital services in finance, payments, trade facilitation, and healthcare all making strides. Investors from Silicon Valley, Asia, and Europe also appear to have upped their interests in the African startup environment at this time, particularly in the tech hubs of Lagos, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Cairo.
Although startups dominate this year’s Africa’s fastest-growing companies ranking as in the debut list, the top 100 also features more established companies in metals and mining, telecoms and construction.

It is worth noting that many fast-growing companies are privately held and do not publicly disclose detailed financial data. A ranking such as this is, thus, ultimately an approximation and not definitive, as FT reiterates.

Nevertheless, given FT’s stated methodology requires senior company executives to endorse figures submitted by their companies, it is hoped means that the ranking offers useful insight into the companies and industries of interest.

Featured Image Credits: Cloudways

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