Africa’s Best Brands Unaffected By Pandemic

Top 10 Most Admired Brands in Africa
  • Nike, Dangote, MTN, DSTV and GTBank ranked the most admired brands in Africa.
  • WHO and MTN top list of brands recognized as most helpful during the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • African brands retain 13% share of the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa
  • Top 10 largely same as previous years despite pandemic and much wider sample sizes

London, 25 May 2021:  African Business today released its June cover story featuring its exclusive ranking of Africa’s Best Brands. This year’s ranking was released during a virtual event from Uganda organised by Brand Africa, founders of the Brand Africa 100:  Africa’s Best Brands. A full schedule of events is taking place during Africa Day to release not only the continental ranking but country and regional rankings.

During a year defined by the pandemic which brought the world to a halt, as markets having to adapt to a new reality, African brands retained their 13% share of the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa.

Despite an increase in sample size and countries, the Top 10 Most Admired Brands show little change from previous years.  MTN, consistently the only African brand among the Top 10 brands overall, dropped to #11 for the first time in a decade.  American sports and fitness giant, Nike retains the top spot for the fourth year in a row.  MTN and Dangote retain their status as the most admired African brands recalled spontaneously and when prompted, respectively. Nigeria’s GTBank retains its position as the most admired financial services brand in Africa.

With Covid limiting entertainment options beyond the house, while many businesses struggled, many digital businesses such as streaming services thrived. This undoubtedly explains South Africa’s DSTV becoming the most admired media brand In Africa, knocking off BBC from its long held position.

Most Admired African Brands

Top 100 brands in Africa continue to be dominated by European brands which have held their share at 41% (-1), North America (+1), Asia (no change), and Africa retaining its 13% share of the most admired brands in the world.  Similarly, the leading African countries that dominate the rankings largely retained their positions with Nigeria (-1) and South Africa (-) with 5 brands each, Ethiopia (+1) and Kenya (-) accounting for the 13 brands among the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa.

Computer/electronics (17%)(+3), consumer (non-cyclical) (14%)(+6), luxury (8%)(-2), auto manufacturers (13%)(+3), and apparel (8%)(-) make up the top 5 categories.

Most helpful brands during Covid-19

Top 10 Most Admired Brands Perceived as helpful during the Pandemic

The shifts in the rankings this year’s rankings are bound by a common theme – the Covid-19 pandemic.  Given its impact on lives and livelihoods, this year Brand Africa survey sought to understand which brands were perceived to have been helpful during the pandemic.  Predictably, given its global omini-presence during the pandemic, the WHO emerged as the #1 most admired global brand perceived to have been most helpful during the pandemic.  MTN, which donated over 7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to 9 African countries, is the leading African and private sector brand at #2, in private sector list where all multinational mobile operators in Africa –

Vodafone Group (#3), Orange (#4), Airtel (#6) – and media brands, Facebook (#10) and DSTV (#24) made the list of the Top 25.  They were instrumental in communicating about the pandemic and in keeping people connected. Underlying the role the private sector is playing during the pandemic, the list is 80% dominated by diverse private sector brands and 20% governmental and non-governmental agencies such as the Red Cross (#5), multi-lateral agencies such as WHO and Unicef (#7), government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (#16) and USAID (#19). Unsurprisingly, the leading pharmaceutical groups, Johnson & Johnson (#12) and Astrazeneca (#25) rounded off the list.  Nigeria’s Dangote (#8) is the only industrial brand in the list.

Ethiopian Airways, the only African airline to have seemingly thrived during the pandemic, the first of the continent’s airlines to resume service and converting passenger planes into cargo planes to transport critical PPE’s around the world and the continent during the pandemic’s depths, spectacularly broke into the Top 100 most admired brands in Africa, the only airline, at #51.

With loconomies a central pivot during the pandemic, upstart South African brand, Bathu, muscled its way into a Top 25 at #10 among the most admired African brands list dominated by the stalwart brands, Dangote (#1), MTN (#2) and DSTV (#3), which retained their top respective rankings.

Most Admired Media Brands

Out of all the 28 countries surveyed, only 5 (18%) have an African as the #1 most admired brand in the country.

Now in its 11th year, every year on or around Africa Day, 25 May, Brand Africa releases the results of the survey on the most admired brands in Africa.

The announcement of the pan-African list, kicks of marathon series of announcements for the day, which started with morning with a virtual event at 05h45 GMT in Uganda with the most Africa-wide, East African and Uganda’s most admired brands; which will be followed by the announcement of the most admired brands in Southern Africa, featuring Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia, then West African and Nigeria; then North African Morocco, and will close with a live announcement of the Francophone Africa and Ivory Coast list hosted by Opinion & Public at 18h00 GMT at Royal Work Club, Le Plateau in Abjidjan, Ivory Coast.
The Brand Africa 100 results are published in the June issue of African Business magazine which will be on newsstands globally from 31 May 2020 and is available online to subscribers on

The Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands events are organised by IC Events, Brand Leadership and africapractice, and supported by Africa Media Agency and BCW in communication and the Africa Brand Leadership Academy as the academic partner.

Established in 2011, the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands rankings are the most authoritative survey and analysis on brands and underlying businesses in Africa, based on a study by Geopoll across 28 countries spanning all the five economic regions and analysis and ranking by Kantar and Brand Leadership. Collectively they account for over 80% of the population and over 80% of the GDP of Africa.  An analysis of the data over the past 10 years, has established that on average, only 20% of the brands admired by Africans are made in Africa.

The 2021 survey was conducted between March and April 2021 and yielded over 80,000 brand mentions and over 3,500 unique brands.

Top 10 Most Admired Brands in Africa

“There is no doubt the pandemic, that continues to cost lives and livelihoods, and coincided with the launch of the implementation phase of the AfCFTA which aims to accelerate intra-Africa trade from 18% to 50% in 2030, is becoming a catalyst for loconomies with nations having to look internally for sustainability.  The internal shifts in the rankings in particular the African brands,   Africa can and will need to grow its own brands to meet the needs of its growing consumer market,” says Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa and Brand Leadership. “African brands will continue to play a dual role of being globally competitive but most importantly of transforming the continent’s promise into a real change.”

“While mobile has always been an expedient and effective tool to provide us reach and accessibility across the continent, it became more important during the pandemic as virtually the only way to reach respondents across the continent, providing us vital and timeous results at a critical time,” said Caitlin van Niekerk, Global Client Development Manager, GeoPoll.

Karin Du Chenne, Chief Growth Officer Africa Middle East for Kantar, which has been the insight lead for Brand Africa since inception in 2010 says, “Despite the increase in the sample size and countries surveyed – and more than 80,000 in brand mentions, the survey continues to yield a very consistent picture of a steadily transforming continental brand landscape and the brands that will drive the African transformation.”

For Information on Brand Africa or the Brand Africa 100:  Africa’s Best Brands Rankings visit or contact Thebe Ikalafeng, or whatsapp +27 78 393 0248

Follow the results on #BrandAfrica100. #AfricasBestBrands2021


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