The most successful companies in Africa are spread across the continent, from north to south, and east to west, though of the largest 25, more than half are based in South Africa.
Nigeria has the second highest number of large companies, followed by Morocco and Egypt.
In many cases, more traditional companies have been overtaken in size and turnover by telecommunications and internet providers.
Cape Town is home to the headquarters of Naspers, founded in 1915, now a multinational public company with 24,000 employees worth $60 billion. It offers internet and communication services, video entertainment and print media.
MTN was founded in 1994 and has quickly become one of the largest broadband, internet and mobile phone providers in Africa, making over $11.5 billion of sales and employing 22,000 people.
Vodacom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, has 40m customers across southern Africa.
Steinhoff International, the second largest company in Africa, is based in South Africa, and retails household goods and furniture. 60% of its revenue comes from Europe, where it has recently bought the UK discount chain Poundland.
Africa’s largest food retailer, Shoprite Holdings, is also based in South Africa.
Financial institutions are the most numerous and widespread of the larger African companies: FirstRand, South Africa’s largest bank, is worth $18.5 billion and employs 42,000 people to serve individuals, companies and the government; Standard Bank Group, one of the older banks, is active in 20 countries.
Morocco has three large banks – Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Centrale Populaire and BMCE – as has Nigeria: Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank and FBN Holdings.
Sanlam, based in Cape Town, provides life and health insurance across the continent, as well as in the UK, India and Australia. South Africa also has several holdings companies.
Two conglomerates are in the top twelve companies in Africa: Remgro Ltd, which invests in many areas including food, banks, healthcare, sport and media; and Bidvest, based in Johannesburg, which also has interests in food and financial services, as well as freight, travel, catering and leisure, and employs an astonishing 141,000 people.
Industrial chemicals manufacturer Sasol, whose headquarters are in Johannesburg, employs 31,000 people and is worth $20 billion.
Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, owns Dangote Cement, worth $13 billion, formed in Nigeria in 1992 and now trading in 15 countries.
Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, the pharmaceuticals company based in Durban, and the gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti, show the range of large companies in Africa.