After African companies failed to appear on Forbe’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, Forbes carried out an analysis of companies on the continent, and came up with a list of ten most innovative companies.
The companies cut across different sections of the economy, from media and telecommunications to retail and restaurants and food and beverages.
The selected companies appeared on the list for continually reinventing ideas and innovation, to build lucrative businesses.
Kenya’s mobile operator, Safaricom emerged as number one in telecommunications industry, with its money transfer service, M-Pesa, hailed as the most innovative idea in the recent past in sub-Saharan Africa. Merely 5 years since launch of the service, M-Pesa currently has 14 million registered users as of March 2012.
South Africa’s Nandos was also on the list, and praised for having over a thousand locations in over 30 countries on five continents. Its marketing skills made Nandos appear in Advertising Age magazine as one of the world’s top 30 hottest marketing brands.
Nation Media Group, East Africa’s largest media group was praised for transforming itself into an Internet and financial services powerhouse, with services like N-Soko, Twende Twende and most recent Nation Hela, the company’s money transfer service.
MTN Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator appeared on the list for its Mi-Life insurance, which provides money in the event of death of the subscriber or the next of kin, and the premiums deducted from the subscriber’s MTN Mobile Money monthly.
Econet, the dominant mobile company in Zimbabwe, with its solar power solution, was also on the list. Dubbed Econet Power Station, the service will allow families across Africa access cheaper solar power solutions.
Iroko TV, the world largest distributor of African movies, was termed as the ‘Netflix of Africa’, with a catalogue of over 5000 films and over 500, 000 registered users.
South Africa’s Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Famous Brands were also in the list, making the country have the dominant number of companies in the list (four out of ten) most Innovative companies in Africa.
East African Breweries, Kenya’s largest brewer was also in the list, with a wide-range of alcoholic drinks, sold in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The list was however not arrived at following a comprehensive study of African countries as it was based on Mfonobong Nsehe’s (a writer at Forbes) personal opinion.