The Rise of Africa
31 May 2012
This year’s BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands includes something remarkable: the first African brand. South African mobile operator MTN comes in at No 88 and a brand value of $9.3bn.
Of course, MTN isn’t the first emerging market brand to debut in the top 100. But after years when marketers, multinationals and the media have been focused on growth opportunities in the BRICs, it highlights a new growth opportunity.
This year the growth of the emerging markets brands has been dampened by the poor global economic performance, but over the last six years the ranking has shifted from just two to 20 brands from emerging markets.
Africa, with its wealth of natural resources and anticipated adoption of new technologies, is poised to make great economic strides. Over the past decade six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing countries were African.
Despite the turbulent global economic environment, in 2011, growth in sub-Saharan Africa remained robust, a 5.9% increase in total GDP making it one of the fastest growing regions in the world.
MTN’s presence in the top 100 highlights the fact that this is a continent that will jump key steps in technology adoption and will also develop practices that will be exported.
Half of the continent’s one billion population own a mobile phone (it’s the fastest growing mobile market in the world after Asia), but their use extends far beyond just telephony. The power of the mobile is forging a new enterprise culture in Africa from banking, to agriculture and healthcare.
It’s no surprise that the first African brand to enter the Top 100 is a telecoms provider. This is the continent that pioneered mobile banking, after all.
But it’s not just African brands that are doing well in Africa. Around 40% of Guinness’ sales now come from Africa while Airtel’s third quarter results showed a staggering 16% increase in revenue in Africa.
Similarly, Orange enjoyed rapid growth in Africa during 2011 while the world’s No. 1 retail brand Walmart has also seen the region’s potential, entering the South African market with the acquisition of Massmart.
It’s not just marketers that are looking at Africa as an opportunity. Research from the recent Festival of Media Global in Switzerland highlighted that the continent was a key area of interest for most agencies. Sixty per cent are planning to increase the priority they give the region and 33% of advertisers are doing likewise.
Compare this to the 46% of agencies planning to decrease focus on Europe and you get an indication of the way the world is moving.
Nick Cooper, managing director, Millward Brown Optimor