South Africa Is The Most Valuable Country Brand Within Africa, According To The BrandFinance® Nation Brands Index

BrandFinance, 25 May 2011

  • The African Nation Brands Index is an extract from the BrandFinance® Nation Brands Index; South Africa emerges as the most valuable country brand within Africa and 34th overall.
  • Spotlight on Africa: the positivity of hosting the World Cup has been countered by major political unrest in North Africa and ongoing conflicts across many parts of the continent
  • However, the successes of certain sectors – including telecoms and retail – and the resulting increase in overseas investment provides optimism for the future
  • The BrandFinance® Nation Brands Index is the world’s first index that ranks the value of country ‘brands’; it is calculated by applying the same methodology that is used to value intangible assets in a commercial context

A turbulent year

Once again, it has been a volatile 12 months for many African countries. From the highs of hosting the first ever FIFA world cup on African soil in June 2010, to the lows of systemic political unrest and social upheaval in early 2011, the African nations have experienced varying fortunes in both financial and perceptual terms. African economies have suffered from a drop in foreign direct investment in recent years but forecasts look brighter than in recent history with Africa moving up the agenda of many investment strategies.

Cross border mergers and acquisitions are becoming an increasingly important mode of entry for investors, underpinned by high profile acquisitions such as the Bharti-Airtel’s purchase of African telecommunications network Zain Africa. The potential takeover of South African Massmart by global retail giant Walmart shows that it is not just telecoms that provide appealing acquisition targets for international conglomerates.

Individual country profiles

South Africa

South Africa is the only African nation to be included in previous nation brand studies conducted by Brand Finance. In our 2010 study, it was again ranked in 34th place. In 2011, the county showed modest growth on the back of a successful hosting of the FIFA world cup and became one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. In a recent survey conducted by, respondents voted Cape Town as the number one tourist destination on the planet. Many expected a downturn in tourism that usually follows the hosting of a world event. Fortunately, due to the successful tourism campaign (’20 Experiences in 10 days’) launching in key international markets immediately as the world cup ended, tourism in South Africa has continued to flourish. However, although South Africa boasts the strongest economy in South Africa it also faces many problems, among them concerns over high crime rates, HIV/AIDS, poverty and unemployment which continues to significantly impede economic development.


Due to the sheer size of its economy and relative level of development of its institutions and infrastructure, Egypt is the 2nd most valuable brand in Africa. The current problems facing Egypt are not fully reflected in this year’s index due to the lag in input data. Clearly Egypt will have to address rebuilding international trust and its battered infrastructure in order to attract foreign investors and tourist who withdrew as a result of the uprisings. Egypt’s new travel and tourism campaign attempts to calm thoughts whilst still acknowledging the events with the theme of peaceful revolution.

Individual country snapshots


  • Suffering falling revenues due to dropping foreign investment
  • Key sectors: Oil & gas followed by communications
  • Violence marring elections caused additional economic disruption
  • International concerns of safety and security which prevent investment and tourism
  • Credibility over corruption


  • Working with Tui and Thomas Cook on attracting UK holiday makers to resorts
  • Bomb blast in Marakesh reduced tourist inflow
  • Aiming at UK residents, as a winter sun destination
  • Government needs to focus on developing infrastructure


  • National tourist infrastructure needs overhaul; minor progress made with business tourism
  • Politically tensions are expected over succession
  • Energy exports continue to dominate the economy


  • Rated as one of the most corrupt countries, causing major barrier to foreign investment and tourism
  • One of the most poorly rated brands in the study; poor scores for institutions, infrastructure, efficiency, and image
  • Market size and natural resources main driving force in its value


  • The Tunisian economy was hit hard by recent unrest
  • Decrease in foreign investment and thousands of jobs lost
  • “New Tunisia, New Opportunity” campaign aiming at attracting new business in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy


  • Investment from China in energy and resources
  • First sub-Saharan nation to be visited by Obama put country’s tourism offering in the spotlight


  • Famous as a travel and tourism destination
  • Large increase in local investment has helped cushion the fall of foreign investment due to civil unrest

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