Africa’s largest banks, in terms of annual revenue, are concentrated in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, and to a lesser extent, Morocco.

Not surprisingly, this maps quite well with the largest economies on the continent — South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt lead the way in terms of annual GDP, and Morocco is fifth, just behind Algeria.

The financial services sector as a whole—banks, insurance operators, asset managers, and other financial services players—accounts for ~20% of the 600 or so companies across the continent with annual revenues over $500M; it’s the leading sector among Africa’s top revenue-generating companies.

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that fintech leads all venture capital funding on the continent.

  • For one, financial services has one of the continent’s largest market sizes as evidenced by Africa’s largest companies by revenue.
  • Secondly, fintech is foundational infrastructure for Africa’s emerging digital economies — digital services can’t proliferate without reliable & accessible means to pay for them, for example.
  • Thirdly, financial services regulations across the continent are heavily fragmented so it’s difficult for truly pan-African winners to emerge, leading investors to repeatedly back potential local/regional champions.

And with large swathes of the population unbanked, underbanked, and underserved, there still remain myriad opportunities for banks and fintechs across Africa to collaborate and/or compete to broaden & deepen financial inclusion across the continent.

Interested in going deeper? Strategic intelligence & advisory firm Africreate can help you understand, identify, and take advantage of opportunities related to financial services & fintech on the continent.

By Emeka Ajene

Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Emeka is the Founder & Publisher of Afridigest and leads Africreate, a strategic advisory firm that helps global senior executives, corporates, and investors take advantage of opportunities in African markets. He also connects global capital to promising Africa Tech investment opportunities via investment firm Africapital. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.