The Brand Africa 100 rankings are based on a survey among a representative sample of respondents 18 years and older, conducted in 25 countries across Africa. Covering all African economic regions, collectively these countries account for an estimated 80% of the continent’s population and 75% of the GDP.

Nike retains the overall #1 brand in Africa. South African telecoms brand MTN is the #1 African brand, while Ethiopian brand Anbessa Shoes, at #2, swapped positions with Dangote, which is the #3 most admired brand of African of origin. However, when consumers are prompted to recall the most admired African brand, Dangote retains the #1 position.

Overall, African brands faltered to a 14% share of the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa. Faced with a focus on the African opportunity and investment by non-African brands, Africa’s share of the most admired brands has been declining over the past three years from a high of 25% in 2013/4 to lows of 16% in 2015/6, 16% in 2016/7 and 17% in 2017/8.

Non-African brands have entrenched their positions in Africa, with North American brands, dominated exclusively by US brands (28%), leading with a growth of 17% versus 2017/8.

The strength of US brands was boosted by the entry and/or re-entry of American brands such as #71 Levi’s, #91 Chevrolet and Pepsi’s Miranda at #80, which are all among the 20 new entrants. European brands (41%) are up by 2.5% and Asian brands (17%) down by 10%, round up the continental spread of brands Africans admire.

In a reconfigured category listing where technology and electronics and telecoms categories were separated, and new categories of luxury and personal care were introduced or re-introduced, the Top 100 is dominated by technology and electronic brands (18%) and telecoms (7%), consumer (non-cyclical) (16%), auto manufacturers (11%), luxury (10%), automobile (11%), apparel (8%), retail (7%), food (4%), non-alcoholic beverages (5%), personal care (4%), sports & fitness (4%) and media (1%) categories are the top categories.

Overall, the 2018/19 Brand Africa 100 list, which is calculated from 15 000 brand mentions, aims to illustrate a diversified range of brands in Africa and shows year-on-year consistency with 80% of the Top 100 brands having been in the Top 100 Most Admired Brands in previous years.

The highest gains are dominated by apparel and luxury brands Vans (+65), FILA (+50) and Levi’s (+29). The sports category, led by Nike (#1), remains a strong performer, due to strategic repositioning or expansion in their positioning towards lifestyle high profile endorsements, and partnerships, which have freshened and broadened the brand's appeal, particularly to youthful consumers.

The biggest faller was Peak Milk, dropping from 33 to 98. According to Brand Africa, this is possibly due to the dairy industry globally seeing a significant drop in sales of cows’ milk as alternatives are becoming more and more popular amongst consumers. Victoria’s Secret and Indomie dropped 36 and 33 spots respectively.

Because of the transformational and catalytic impact of media and financial services in Africa, Brand Africa has a separate promoted question of the Most Admired Financial Services Brands and Most Admired Media Brands.

In the media sub-survey, DStv (incorporating GoTV, Multichoice and Supersport) has welcomed the SABC onto the Top 10 media list. The media list is led by BBC, which has history and coverage of Africa through its BBC Worldservice radio and specific African programming.

The media list is dominated by Europe (40%), North America (20%) and Asia (20%). A deeper analysis of the media category shows high levels of fragmentation, with local and regional players. Thus, in general, global players with extensive African reach and resources dominate the top of the list.

In the Most Admired Financial Services Brands category, Ecobank has ascended to the #1 position as the Most Admired Financial Services Brand, and Safaricom Mpesa retains its pole position among mobile money brands — 60% of them are made in Africa.

The presence of multiple mobile money brands on the list, including Safaricom Mpesa (#13), Orange Money (#18), MTN Mobile Money (#19) and Tigo (#23), underscores the impact of not only Mpesa as the catalyst, but mobile as a key enabler for financial access. The Top 25 Most Admired Financial Services Brands list is dominated by South Africa (6), Nigeria (5) and Kenya (2).

"It is disappointing that, despite its vibrant entrepreneurial environment, Africa is not creating new competitive brands to meet the needs of its growing consumer market," says Thebe Ikalafeng, founder and chairperson of Brand Africa and Brand Leadership.

"These rankings are an important metric of and challenge for creating home-grown competitive African brands that will transform the African promise and change its narrative and image as a competitive continent. African brands have an important role in helping to build the African brand," Ikalafeng adds.

Brand Africa 100 was developed by pan-African branding and reputation advisory firm Brand Leadership Group and is supported by GeoPoll, a leader in mobile-based market research throughout Africa, and strategic analysis and insights by Kantar TNS, a leading data, insights and consulting company.

GeoPoll used its mobile survey platform to identify the most admired brands in Africa among a representative sample of African consumers in 25 African countries.

"The scope of the Brand Africa study across such a diverse sample and geographic spread would be impossible to achieve using traditional research methodologies," says Nicholas Becker, GeoPoll CEO.

"Using GeoPoll's mobile-based research platform and large panel of respondents, we were able to quickly gather more than 15 000 brand mentions from 25 countries in Africa, providing brands with valuable data that will inform their growth. GeoPoll was pleased to partner with Brand Africa once again to gather this vital research across Africa," Becker adds. 

"The key to success for building sustainable brands, irrespective of origins or domicile, is to establish an emotional connection, creating intimacy and being more present in consumers everyday lives. This survey, a complex analysis of diverse data and countries to arrive at a representative ranking, is an important metric of the brands that play that are doing a better job and playing a vital role in Africa," says Karin Du Chenne, chief growth officer, Africa Middle East. 

This year, Brand Africa introduced a category to recognise the highest listed brands on African bourses among the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa. Although Vodacom Group’s market capitalisation is higher than MTN on the JSE, MTN is the #1 mentioned South African brand across Africa, because the group brand on the Top 100 list, Vodafone, is not listed on the JSE.

All South African brands (Standard Bank, MTN, Absa, Shoprite, Tiger Brands) on the Top 100 list are listed on the JSE. MTN (South Africa), Dangote (Nigeria) and Safaricom (Kenya) are the most admired highest listed brands on sub-Sahara’s leading bourses, the JSE, Nigeria Stock Exchange and Nairobi Securities Exchange respectively.

"The JSE is a platform of African and global companies alike to raise capital and grow their businesses and brands. It is our continuous aim that, as an exchange, we continue to provide a world-class platform that enables growth through innovative products to meet the needs of our clients and grow the African continent from strength to strength," concludes Zanele Morrison, director of marketing, retail development and corporate affairs at the JSE.

The Brand Africa 100 results will be published in African Business on sale globally from Saturday, 25 May and will be available online to subscribers on and www.brandafrica.

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