• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Nigeria’s Omniretail tops fastest growing firms in Africa

Why e-commerce in Nigeria remains unregulated despite market growth

Omniretail, a Nigerian e-commerce firm has emerged as the fastest-growing company in Africa, according to the latest 2024 Africa’s fastest growing companies ranking by the Financial Times and Research Company Statista, for which BusinessDay is a cooperation partner in the research.

The ranking, now in its third year, comes against a background in which many economies are struggling to recover from the Covid pandemic. It lists 125 companies, ordered by the highest compound annual growth in revenues (CAGR) between 2019 and 2022.

“Again, it was a Nigerian company — this time Omniretail — that came top. As in previous years, the winning business is a B2B e-commerce platform that helps small retailers, kiosk owners, and market traders digitise their business”, FT said in the ranking report.

Further findings show that Omniretail, founded in 2019 posted a 66,294.9% increase in revenue from N89.3 million in 2019 to N59.3 billion in 2022.

Moniepoint, a digital banking platform for businesses, was ranked fourth in Africa; the firm’s revenue grew by 7,979.3% to N148.6 million from N1.84 million. Afex ranked fifth with a 5,733.1% growth in revenue to N176.1 billion from N3.01 billion. Mycredit Investments Limited, which ranked 12th recorded a 1,719.1% increase in revenue from N3.33 billion to N60.6 billion.

Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited’s revenue rose by 994.8% to N5.84 billion from N553.3 million.

Other Nigerian firms that made the list are Thrive Agric Limited, Bisedge Limited, The Seamless Company Limited, West African Soy Industries Limited, Sundry Markets Limited, Veritasi Homes and Properties Limited and Paga Group Limited.

The rest are United Capital Plc, Fidson Healthcare Plc, R.T Briscoe Plc, Tripple Gee & Company Plc, BUA Foods Plc, Black House Media Group Limited, Comercio Partners Limited, Wacot Rice Limited, John Holt Plc, Amel International Services Limited, Academy Press Plc, Cutix Plc and Transcorp Hotels Plc.

“Nigeria, one of the continent’s three biggest economies, spent 2023 in an economic crisis as prices spiralled upwards and the naira went into freefall. Nevertheless, it still had the second highest number of companies in our ranking of Africa’s fastest-growing, compiled in conjunction with research company Statista. South Africa, where growth has also been lacklustre, was home to the highest number,” the report said.

It said even generally more dynamic economies, such as Kenya — which, like many African countries, is labouring under high public debt — struggled to get out of the low-growth doldrums as inflation gnawed at disposable income and the government squeezed expenditure.

“This year, our ranking has a wider geographical spread of companies than before. The big newcomer is Morocco, with 12 companies in the top 125 against just three last time,” the report added.

FT noted that Mauritian-domiciled companies also did well with nine winners, against four in 2022 and South Africa had 42 companies in the list, followed by Nigeria’s 25, while Kenya tied third at 12.

Abebe Selassie, head of the IMF’s Africa department, acknowledged that Covid-19 set economies back. “I worry about the effect that the pandemic has had on poverty, particularly in the most fragile countries.”

Still, he pointed out that many businesses had managed to survive, and even prosper. “Much of the private sector, particularly the private sector that’s not directly reliant on government business, has shown incredible resilience,” he said.

Through research in company databases and other public sources, Statista identified thousands of companies in Africa as potential candidates for the FT ranking.

The companies were invited to participate in the research by post and email. The project was advertised online and in print, allowing all eligible companies to register via the websites created by Statista and the Financial Times.

The application phase ran from October 9, 2023, to February 29, 2024. The submitted revenue figures had to be certified by the chief financial officer, chief executive, or an executive committee of the company.

To be included in the list of Africa’s fastest-growing companies, a company had to meet the following criteria such as a revenue of at least $100,000 generated in 2019, revenue of at least $1.5 million generated in 2022, an independent company (not a subsidiary or branch office of any kind); headquartered in an African country and revenue growth between 2019 and 2022 that was primarily organic (ie “internally” stimulated).