Home grown African champions take on global players

Spur waitress Thotho Mavuka served patrons at a Spur Steakhouse in Soweto's Maponya Mall in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 21, 2010.

WSJ story.

Foreign consumer goods companies from the West have competed in Africa for decades without any real competition from local players.

That changes as Africa’s middle class grows.

Foreign consumer-goods companies including Coca-Cola Co., Nestlé SA and Unilever PLC have been in Africa for decades without much competition from local players. Now, home-grown companies are expanding aggressively across the continent, eager to accommodate a growing middle-class among the billion-person population.

Among the most prominent of these consumer upstarts: African retailers such as Nakumatt Holdings Ltd. of Kenya, the top supermarket chain in East Africa, MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest cellphone provider, and South African restaurant chain Spur Corp. Nakumatt has expanded into three neighboring countries while 348-restaurant chain Spur has opened in seven other African countries.

Highlighted is a Kenyan supermarket chain (Nakumatt Holdings), the continent’s largest mobile provider (MTN Group) and South Africa’s restaurant chain (Spur Corp), among others.

The supermarket chain modeled itself on Kmart, and the founder’s personal hero is Sam Walton.

Better to have trade and income than corruption and poverty – which means peace instead of war. Better all around.

The long term growth prospects and investment opportunities throughout much of continental Africa bear serious consideration by investors. Africa is not just a natural resource play.

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