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Africa’s top 150 brands stand to lose US$60 billion from Covid-19 outbreak

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Africa’s most valuable 150 brands that help drive the agenda of the economies on the continent have not been spared the brute force of the novel coronavirus. The top 150 Africa’s most valuable brands stand to lose up to 12% of brand value cumulatively, a drop of $60 billion compared to the original valuation as of 1st January 2020, the latest Brand Finance Africa report said.

Jeremy Sampson, Managing Director at Brand Finance Africa said the 150 Africa’s most valuable brands are made up largely of Telecommunications companies, Banks, and Insurance companies. These brands amass a total value of US$10.4 billion, US$ 12.5 billion and US$3.8 billion respectively. MTN leads the chart as Africa’s most valuable brand followed by Vodacom and FNB (First National Bank).

The Impact of COVID-19

Brand Finance a UK-based independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy that specializes in brand valuation and the valuation of intangible assets came up with the figure based on the assessment of the impact COVID-19 has had on enterprise value, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020.

Analyzing the impact on enterprise value, Brand Finance estimated the likely impact on brand value for each sector. The industries have been classified into three categories, which are,
• limited impact (minimal brand value loss or potential brand value growth),
• moderate impact (up to 10% brand value loss), and
• heavy impact (up to 20% brand value loss) which is based on the level of brand value loss observed for each sector in the first quarter of 2020.

In a release sighted by Ghana Talks Business, Jeremy Sampson said despite the loss, Telecommunication companies “are in a very good position to benefit from COVID,” since “people are staying at homes, they are on their computers and smartphones.”
“The areas that are losing out by a long, long way are the airlines, and tourism, and hotels.” Jeremy Sampson further said.
According to Jeremy Sampson, the continent is still heavily unbranded given that of the 150 Africa’s most valuable brand, South Africa makes up 87 of those brands.

Africa Unbranded

Declan Ahern, Valuation Director at Brand Finance said “No truly Pan-African brands exist, with even the highest-performing brands in the ranking often only operating out of their home countries and therefore finding themselves a complete unknown across the continent and globally. It is no surprise that South Africa is by far the most represented economy in the ranking, with 87 brands featuring, which account for 76% of the total brand value.”

ALSO READ: THE FASTEST GROWING AFRICAN BRANDS

“There is no denying that the African market remains immature and fragmented in comparison to its global counterparts. The lack of connectedness between nations across the continent means that brands’ growth is being stifled and they are unable to flourish beyond their home markets. This does pose, however, a great opportunity for African brands to develop in a market ripe for consolidation and M&A,” Jeremy Sampson also said.

Beyond Africa

According to Brand Finance Global 500 2020 league table, the value of the 500 most valuable brands in the world could fall by an estimated US$1 trillion as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. Amazon takes the lead and makes its history as the first brand in Brand Finance Global 500 to exceed US$200 billion in value and holds its title as the world’s most valuable brand for the third consecutive year.

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MTN is Africa’s most valuable brand – Brand Finance

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Brand Finance, an independent brand valuation consultancy firm, has for the first time ranked Africa’s top 150 most valuable and strongest brands. South Africa’s Telecommunication giant, Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) took the number one spot as Africa’s most valuable brand (MVB) with a brand value of US3.3 billion despite recording a 1% loss in brand value.

With a dominant presence across 23 countries and a subscriber growth of over 250 million, it is without question that MTN has emerged as Africa’s most valuable brand. Brand Finance came up with its Telecoms 150 report, earlier in the year in which MTN took the number one spot as the leading telecommunication brand in Africa.

“MTN is to be commended for its performance in its home market as well as further afield. They are increasingly recognized throughout Africa by their customers as providing high-quality service because their brand image is deeply rooted in more than just marketing campaigns.”

David Haigh, Brand Finance CEO

MTN’s Dominance and Controversy

According to MTN’s 2019 five-year review document published in April, out of the 21 countries where it operates mobile networks in Africa and the Middle East, it has the biggest market share in 13 countries. This impressive feat hasn’t come without scrutiny and cost. In Ghana, for instance, the National Communications Authority (NCA) took cognizance of MTN Ghana’s dominance in the country and sought to control said dominance. MTN Ghana is said to currently control close to 70% of the country’s data subscriptions market share and just under 60% of voice. MTN Ghana also owns the leading mobile money platform by far, outstripping other telecommunication brands like Vodafone and AirtelTigo and even banks.

ALSO READ: MTN SET TO RULE AFRICA

In 2017, MTN faced an $8.5 million fine by Rwanda’s regulatory authority for hosting its IT services outside the country, (reportedly in Uganda), which Rwanda believed compromised its national security. Also in Uganda last year, three of MTN’s top executives were deported on January 19, 21 and 22 by authorities sighting “involvement in activities that comprise state security.” In 2018, MTN settled a long-running dispute which it had with the Central Bank of Nigeria over tax and dividend payouts totalling $8.1 billion.

Despite the controversies and suits, MTN continues to exact its dominance and continues to grow in strength.

Competition

With instant messaging services or online chat provided by apps like WhatsApp, MTN faces huge competition as such apps offer comparable data services below-market rates. Jeremy Simpson, Managing Director at Brand Finance is however of the view that COVID-19 offers a major opportunity for telecommunication brands such as MTN to increase growth as demand surges due to a lot more people working for home and spending time on their computers, and smartphones.

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Women in Ghana closing the gender gap in internet access – but still miss out on benefits of digital technology

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Women in Ghana closing the gender gap in internet access – but still miss out on benefits of digital technology

ACCRA, Ghana, October 12, 2020, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Almost as many women as men use the internet in Ghana, according to a new survey from the World Wide Web Foundation, which finds men are just 6% more likely to be online than women.

This is in sharp contrast to the large gender gap found globally where men are 21% more likely to be online than women, rising to 52% in the world’s least developed countries. In Uganda, which also featured in the study, men were 43% more likely to be online than women.

The survey shows that Ghana has made significant progress towards closing the gender gap in internet access, with 29% of women now online, up from fewer than 20% in 2016, according to a previous report from the Web Foundation and the Media Foundation for West Africa. 

However, the report warns that women using the internet in Ghana still experience a lower quality of connection to men, preventing them from fully benefiting from digital technology. Ghana has a 14% gender gap in ‘meaningful connectivity‘, a measure based on whether users have fast speeds, enough data, a suitable device and regular access to the internet.

Women surveyed were around half as likely as men to say they had internet speeds sufficient to meet their online needs. And, on average, they had smaller data bundles, with 75% of women limited to 1GB data or less per month, compared with just 58% of men.

Slow speeds and limited data severely constrain how people use the internet, particularly for high-bandwidth applications needed to work and learn from home which, during the COVID-19 crisis, have become more important than ever.

Chenai Chair, Web Foundation Research Manager for Gender and Digital Rights said: “Getting basic internet access is just the first step. To participate in digital society you need an affordable quality connection, you need the digital skills to use the internet and you need to feel safe online. While Ghana has seen important progress, it is still the case that women here – and around the world – face a multitude of barriers preventing them from realising the internet’s full benefits”.

A lack of digital skills presents a significant barrier to online participation. 43% of women living in urban areas who are not online said they do not use the internet because they do not know how, compared with just 27% of men in urban areas.

The report warns that exclusion of women from digital society is a threat to progress on gender equality and denies women opportunities to improve their lives: “The internet is one of the most empowering technologies the world has ever seen, but unless women are equally able to benefit from it, the gender divide risks driving further inequality.”

Full participation in the digital world is important not only for individual rights and empowerment, but also as a driver of economic growth and prosperity. By closing the digital divide, according to the report, governments can help bolster economic growth: “Inclusive economies are stronger economies, and inclusive digital development will be critical as countries look to bounce back from the Covid-19 crisis.”

The survey found fewer than 1-in-3 people in Ghana are online. As the government pushes forward with its digital inclusion agenda, in order for all citizens to contribute to the digital economy, it must target gender inequalities.

Vivian Affoah, Programme Manager for Freedom of Expression and Digital Rights at the Media Foundation for West Africa, which works to tackle digital gender inequalities in Ghana, said: “This digital gender divide doesn’t just hurt women, it’s a problem for everyone in Ghana. When women can fully participate, economies prosper, opportunities increase and we all benefit. If the government wants to build a vibrant digital economy where everyone can contribute, it must put in place measures that ensure women can use the internet effectively.”

The survey found that when women are online, they are less likely to engage in certain kinds of activities. Men, for example, are over 29% more likely to advertise or sell products and services online.

They are also almost 24% more likely to post comments about social, economic and political issues, suggesting women are less able to participate in online debate.

One research participant indicated that gender norms contribute as a barrier to this participation: “You being online and you being vocal about issues that are really important, and people think you shouldn’t be talking that way…So it’s the heckling and the insult and they will not insult the content but they will insult you as a person. Whereas if it was a man that made the same post, the approach would be totally different.”

This report calls for governments and companies to commit to tackling the digital gender divide in all its forms. This means investing in digital skills for women and girls, actively supporting women leaders in technology, and adopting targets to connect everyone to high-quality internet, with a specific focus on connecting women.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of World Wide Web Foundation.

Editors notes:

  1. For more information or to request an interview, email press@webfoundation.org
  2. The full report is available here.
  3. The global report is based on nationally representative surveys and interviews conducted in Uganda, Ghana, Colombia and Indonesia. 2300 respondents answered the survey in Ghana. Individual country reports will follow.
  4. The report is an initiative of the Women’s Rights Online network

About the World Wide Web Foundation
Established by web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Rosemary Leith, the Web Foundation fights for the web we want. Using world-class research, policy advocacy and campaigning, we’re working around the world for a web that is safe and empowering for everyone | www.webfoundation.org

About the Women’s Rights Online network
Women’s Rights Online (WRO) is a research and advocacy network that aims to drive women’s empowerment through the web. The network is an initiative of the Web Foundation, and currently comprises women’s rights and digital rights groups across 14 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, working to bridge the gender gap in technology, data, and policymaking.

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