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Top African Brands Could Lose up to US$6 Billion from COVID-19

16 October 2020
This article is more than 3 years old.
  • Top 150 most valuable African brands from inaugural Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 ranking stand to lose up to US$6 billion of cumulative brand value following devastating COVID-19 pandemic
  • MTN is Africa’s most valuable brand, brand value US$3.3 billion
  • South African brands dominate ranking, claiming 87 spots and accounting for 76% of total brand value
  • 19 African countries represented, including 16 Nigerian brands and 9 Moroccan brands
  • Banking, telecoms and insurance sectors most valuable across continent
  • Kenya’s Senator Lager is Africa’s fastest growing brand, up impressive 88%
  • Vodacom is continent’s strongest brand, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 89.5 out of 100

View the full Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 report here

Top African brands could lose US$6 billion from COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy, Africa’s top 150 most valuable brands could lose up to 14% of brand value cumulatively, a drop of US$6 billion compared to the original valuation date of 1st January 2020, according to the latest Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 report.

Looking beyond Africa, the value of the 500 most valuable brands in the world, ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 league table, could fall by an estimated US$1 trillion as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Brand Finance has assessed the impact of COVID-19 based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. Based on this impact on enterprise value, Brand Finance estimated the likely impact on brand value for each sector. The industries have been classified into three categories – limited impact (minimal brand value loss or potential brand value growth), moderate impact (up to 10% brand value loss), and heavy impact (up to 20% brand value loss) – based on the level of brand value loss observed for each sector in the first quarter of 2020.

Declan Ahern, Valuation Director, Brand Finance London, commented:

“No truly Pan-African brands exist, with even the highest performing brands in the ranking often only operating out of their home countries and therefore finding themselves a complete unknown across the continent and globally. It is no surprise that South Africa is by far the most represented economy in the ranking, with 87 brands featuring, which account for 76% of the total brand value.”

Jeremy Sampson, Managing Director, Brand Finance Africa, commented:

“There is no denying that the African market remains immature and fragmented in comparison to its global counterparts. The lack of connectedness between nations across the continent means that brands’ growth is being stifled and they are unable to flourish beyond their home markets. This does pose, however, a great opportunity for African brands to develop in a market ripe for consolidation and M&A.”

MTN crowned Africa’s most valuable  

For the first time, Brand Finance has launched the Africa 150 ranking – a ranking of Africa’s top 150 most valuable and strongest brands.

South Africa’s telco giant MTN has been crowned as the continent’s most valuable brand, despite recording a 1% brand value loss to US$3.3 billion. Over the last year, Africa’s largest mobile operator has celebrated solid profits and impressive subscriber growth, which currently stands at over 250 million across 23 countries.

As with all big telcos globally, MTN is being squeezed from all sides as OTT messaging apps like WhatsApp are impacting voice and SMS revenue, and challenger brands offer comparable data services at below-market rates, leading to fierce price competition and decreasing margins. However, COVID-19 may be an opportunity for telecoms brands to reverse their fortunes, as Brand Finance predicts a limited overall impact to the sector and even potential for growth as demand surges.

South Africa dominates

MTN is leading the way for South African dominance in the ranking. The entire top 10 are South African brands, and a total of 87 brands feature with a cumulative brand value of US$34.6 billion, equating to 76% of the total brand value in the ranking.

Vodacom (brand value down 8% to US$2.1 billion), First National Bank (down 6% to US$1.6 billion), Absa (down 3% to US$1.5 billion) and Old Mutual (up 16% to US$1.4 billion) complete the top 5.

Only 19 out of the 54 African countries are represented in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 ranking. Behind South Africa, Nigeria’s 16 brands account for 7% of the total brand value in the ranking (cumulative brand value US$3.2 billion) and Morocco’s 9 brands account for 5% (cumulative brand value US$2.2 billion).

Banking, telecoms and insurance take podium

When assessing the ranking at a sector level, banking, telecoms and insurance brands are the most valuable with these brands amassing a total value of US$12.5 billion, US$10.4 billion and US$3.8 billion respectively.

South African brands once again dominate the banking sector, five of which are placed within the top 10. The highest ranked bank outside of the nation is Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank (down 1% to US$459 million). Despite recording a slight drop in brand value, Morocco’s leading bank has continued to report steady earnings in the face of mixed macroeconomic trends across the nation. The bank has been negotiating a difficult transition, however, in the Egyptian market following its acquisition of Barclays' Egypt subsidiary in 2017.

Telecoms brands MTN and Vodacom claim the first and second spot in the overall ranking. The third most valuable telecoms brand – and 12th most valuable in the ranking – is Kenya’s Safaricom with a brand value of US$970 million.

There are nine insurance brands in the ranking, all of which hail from South Africa. Old Mutualis Africa’s most valuable insurance brand with a brand value of US$1.4 billion.

Kenya’s Senator Lager is fastest growing

Senator Lager’s band value has grown an impressive 88% to US$132 million, making the beer brand the fastest growing brand in this year’s ranking by some way.

The beer brand was established by alcohol giant Diageo in 2012 when emerging economies posed a real opportunity for growth and developed economies were becoming saturated. Since its inception, Senator Lager has become popular amongst workers – some of whom have switched to the brand from homemade alternatives - due to its very low prices. Brewed by East African Breweries, the brewer has benefitted from a more stable business environment over the last year, as well as an increase in production capacity. Sales of Senator rose by a third over the previous year, which has helped to offset some of the difficulties that both Diageo and East African Breweries are encountering as a result of higher taxes in Kenya.

Vodacom is continent’s strongest

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, Vodacom (down 8% to US$2.1 billion) is the strongest brand in Africa, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.5 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.

Brand Finance’s global brand monitor study showcased a clear improvement in Vodacom’s brand investment metrics – place, price, products and promotion. All of which were considerably stronger than main rival MTN. Vodacom has committed to a 34% price cut its in-data services following an agreement with the Competition Commission, after criticism that it was exploiting its market dominance. This price cut is no doubt going to bolster the brand’s already burgeoning subscriber base, which is currently growing on average by a staggering 67,000 a day. 

Vodacom is currently working with the nation’s health department to send COVID-19 alerts to its 44 million customers. Furthermore, the brand is providing subscribers with free access to premium health and education websites.

View the full Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 report here

Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 150 most valuable African brands are included in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 report.   

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 report. 

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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