The African Consulting Industry 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

June 6, 2022

For centuries, the global consulting sector has evolved in diverse ways. And despite the consulting industry originating way back in the 1880s, the African consulting industry hadn’t really taken off in the continent until probably the early parts of the 21st century.

Today, the African market has significant potential for expansion, particularly as the continent faces huge economic and social problems, including a move to a more diversified economy focused on both industry and knowledge.

The Evolution of the African Consulting Industry

The introduction of strategy and management consultancies in Africa was a defining moment for the continent. Although the African market represents roughly 2% of the global 100 billion US dollar market, the advisory industry’s growth potential is remarkable, and its influence is quite significant.

Currently, the African consulting industry is estimated to be worth over $2 billion and is growing at a rate of around 5-7% per year. This growth is being driven by several factors, including the increasing demand for consulting services from African businesses, the rise in the middle-class population in Africa, and the rise of African multinationals.

In addition, governments of many African countries are increasingly turning to consultants to help them with their development goals. As a result of all these factors, the African consulting industry is expected to grow significantly in the next few years. This will also help African businesses to become more competitive and boost the continent’s profile in the global economy.

Knowing the African Consulting Market

Presently, the African consulting industry or market is pretty substantial and is already regarded as a significant market because of its steady growth over the years.

In fact, the African consulting industry is actually bigger than many of the European markets such as that of Spain and Italy.

Consulting services are available in well over 30 African countries with South Africa, Nigeria, and Morocco taking up the top three places on the list.

When you talk about the market as per region wise, then it’s not surprising that Southern Africa alone accounts for around two-thirds of the whole consulting market in Africa.

With double-digit growth in West Africa, particularly in Nigeria, and East Africa, benefiting from the lessened appeal of Asian countries, Africa continues to position itself as an attractive region.

As a result of the fast-expanding economy and the government’s push for innovation, it is anticipated that the African market as a whole will continue to expand significantly. Of course, there are hazards for consulting businesses in the region, including political instability and troubles of getting paid. Even, despite these factors, the market has enormous potential.

African consulting industry (the market)

The African Industry 2023 – How Africa Is Transforming Itself!

Africa has a lot of resources, a lot of different cultures, and a very young population. It has all the tools it needs to grow economically at a good rate, as long as it has good leadership and more political stability.

Management consulting can be an important way for companies and organizations in the region that want to grow and improve to get the help they need. Moreover, the region’s economy is growing at a pretty good rate, and it is also an interesting market for consulting.

However, it still is a difficult market, and the pace of its growth has changed a lot in the past few years. The good news is, the African consulting industry is surely transforming itself and how!

Africa is predicted to develop at a rate of roughly 3%, owing to the robust performance of the region’s two major economies, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as stronger growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s growth will be primarily reliant on natural resources, both in terms of oil and gas and mining.

Agriculture and government-sponsored infrastructure investments will power the economic engines of countries lacking natural resources. They are also actively leading economic reforms in order to attract international investments.

According to the IMF, Ethiopia and Western Sub-Saharan countries should have the fastest growing economies, with growth rates above 7%. Ethiopia is pursuing an export-oriented strategy of infrastructural development and industrialization. Senegal, Ghana, and Ivory Coast rely on agriculture and energy in tandem.

African economies, according to McKinsey Global Institutes, could profit from new technology while avoiding the liabilities of existing infrastructure. Mobile technologies, cellular, the Internet of Things, as well as digital marketplaces, are predicted to rise by 25% in the coming years.

To support regional growth, several sectors must need to develop rapidly in the near future.

  • Financial Services Sector: The majority of countries are still reforming and adapting their tax and customs systems. Additionally, they aim to facilitate `access to banking and capital markets.
  • Energy Sector: Energy and utility access, notably electricity, are necessary for corporate success.
  • Education: By making education more accessible to a greater population, the region can better prepare its workforce with the necessary skills.

Company Landscape In The African Consulting Industry

On a global scale, the African consulting industry has been doing pretty well and one of the main reasons for that is the dominating effect by foreign companies.

According to data collected by ConPulse, a CQ Global directory, around about 29% of consulting businesses in Africa are large consulting firms (with 1,000 or more employees). This percentage is much greater than the anticipated global average of 10%, indicating that large global consulting firms are over-represented in Africa compared to the rest of the globe.

However, things are changing. Notwithstanding the considerable presence of multinational enterprises in the region, 57% of consulting firms are established solely in Africa. Moreover, nearly half of these organizations have less than 50 employees. This indicates that specialist local businesses are on the increase.

A Market With a Small Number of Countries and Clients

The consulting industry is worth an estimated $10 billion. It is strongly skewed toward larger countries such as Nigeria and South Africa, with growth slightly above those economies’ gross domestic product (GDP) of 5%.

Nigeria: Financial services are the primary source of consulting demand in Nigeria. Demand for support is also being fuelled by new rules in the mobile and telecommunications sectors.

South Africa: The most important industries in South Africa would be financial services, retail, and consumer goods.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia is a leader in terms of growth and demand in Eastern Africa, with projects aimed at developing the country’s infrastructure and industrialization.

Morocco: Morocco is positioning itself as a hub for European business in North Africa. The country is establishing specific economic zones north of Casablanca, attracting a large number of consulting projects in the process.

The SMART Africa initiative, which has been endorsed by all 53 heads of state and governments present at the African Union Assembly, is anticipated to use ICTs to help Africa expand economically and create jobs. As a result, Digital Projects are thriving all throughout Africa.

Africa is a challenging environment for consulting due to commodity volatility, political instability, and continued reliance on foreign investment. Western Consultancies continue to provide the majority of consulting services.

While they earn the right to adjust to local demands, they continue to prioritize major clients and governments. The African consulting industry needs more local consultancies that private sector entities can leverage!

An Industry Focused on Strategy and Human Capital

As per ConPulse, a Global Directory platform, the African consulting industry has its capabilities fixated on these three main capabilities: strategy, human capital, and operations. And technology, which is perhaps the most prevalent capability among major organizations (with 1000+ employees), is the region’s fourth-largest capability, despite being ranked just sixth globally.

Moving on, a total of 2.5 capabilities are covered on an average in the African consulting industry. Surprisingly, about a quarter of all consulting businesses in Africa specialize in just one competency. On the other hand, the number of niche, local, and small consulting firms is increasing.

Consulting market in Africa

Market Structure Driven By Large Companies

As per ConPulse, a CQ Global Directory, the African consulting industry is a market that is driven by large companies. The top three industries served by the African consulting industry are: Financial Services, Health & Life Sciences, and Energy & Environment.

Surprisingly, the consultancy offering does not represent the demands of the local community, which are mostly focused on agriculture, natural resources, and financial services.

Furthermore, almost 14% of consulting firms in Africa specialize in a single industry, despite the fact that the average number of industries covered is 6.3. This data supports our earlier observation that large global consulting firms are over-represented in the region as compared to the rest of the world.

The Top Consulting Firms in Africa

Africa’s consulting sector is worth billions of dollars and is comprised of hundreds of consulting firms. It includes a major, mid-sized, boutique, and specialty consultancies that provide services to clients across all industries and segments and specialize in every imaginable area of expertise.

However, only a select bunch of consulting companies may claim to be leaders in the African consulting industry or major players in their respective niches. Especially because Africa’s consulting business is very competitive.

To have a closer look at the top consulting firms in Africa, we’ll break down the top players across different dimensions, namely:

  1. a) by area of expertise
  2. b) by industry expertise.

#A. Top Consulting Firms In Africa By Area Of Expertise

The African consulting industry specializes in well over 40+ areas of expertise. The below table will give you a better understanding.

Area of ExpertiseTop Consulting Firms in Africa
AgileMcKinsey, KPMG, Bain & Company
Business IntelligenceAccenture, Ernst & Young, BCG
Change ManagementKPMG, McKinsey, BCG
Cloud ComputingAccenture, Deloitte, KPMG
Corporate FinanceKPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte
Corporate GovernanceMercer, Strategy&, Deloitte
Customer Relationship ManagementAccenture, Deloitte, KPMG
Cyber SecurityErnst & Young, Accenture, Deloitte
Data ScienceKPMG, Accenture, Ernst & Young
DigitalDeloitte, Accenture, KPMG
eCommerceBain & Company, Deloitte, BCG
EngineeringAccenture, KPMG
ERP SystemsAccenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
FinanceKPMG, Accenture, Deloitte
Forensic & LitigationAlvarez & Marsal, Deloitte, KPMG
Human ResourcesMercer, Deloitte, KPMG
InnovationAccenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
IT ArchitectureAccenture, Deloitte, Analysys Mason
IT StrategyAccenture, McKinsey, Deloitte
Lean & SixSigmaCordence Worldwide, KPMG
ManagementKPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte
MarketingAccenture, Deloitte, McKinsey
Mergers & AcquisitionsKPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte
Mobile & AppsErnst & Young, Deloitte, Accenture
OutsourcingKPMG, Accenture, BCG
PaymentsErnst & Young, Accenture, BCG
Performance ManagementBain & Company, KPMG, Deloitte
PricingBain & Company, Deloitte, BCG
Process ManagementKPMG, Accenture, Ernst & Young
ProcurementBCG, GEP, Bain & Company
Project ManagementDeloitte, BCG, Accenture
Property ManagementDeloitte, Bain & Company, KPMG
Public ServicesBCG, McKinsey, Mercer
RecruitmentDeloitte, Accenture, Ernst & Young
RestructuringBCG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
Risk & ComplianceKPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
SalesMcKinsey, Deloitte, Accenture
Shared ServicesAccenture, Bain & Company, Deloitte
Social MediaErnst & Young, KPMG, McKinsey
SoftwareAccenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
StrategyBCG, McKinsey, Bain & Company
Supply ChainBCG, Deloitte, Accenture
SustainabilityDeloitte, Ernst & Young, McKinsey

#B. Top Consulting Firms In Africa By Industry Expertise

Now, let us look at the top consulting firms in Africa as per industry expertise. The below table will give you a better understanding.

Industry ExpertiseTop Consulting Firms in Africa
AccountingErnst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte
AerospaceDeloitte, KPMG, Bain & Company
AgricultureDeloitte, Bain & Company, Accenture
Arts & CultureDeloitte, Ernst & Young, BCG
AutomotiveDeloitte, BCG, McKinsey
AviationBCG, Bain & Company, Deloitte
BankingKPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte
ChemicalsBCG, Deloitte, DuPont Sustainable Solutions
ConstructionBCG, Deloitte, KPMG
EducationMcKinsey, Deloitte, KPMG
EnergyDeloitte, Ernst & Young, Accenture
Family BusinessKPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
Financial ServicesMcKinsey, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
Food & BeveragesAccenture, Deloitte, KPMG
FootballKPMG, Deloitte, BCG
GovernmentBCG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
HealthcareErnst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG
Hospitality & TravelDeloitte, Accenture, McKinsey
Housing CorporationsKPMG
ICTAccenture, Deloitte, KPMG
InsuranceErnst & Young, McKinsey, KPMG
LegalKPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
Local GovernmentErnst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG
Luxury ProductsBain & Company, BCG, Ernst & Young
ManufacturingMcKinsey, BCG, KPMG
MaritimeBCG, McKinsey, Accenture
MediaErnst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG
MiningErnst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte
Non-ProfitAccenture, BCG, McKinsey
Oil & GasAccenture, BCG, Deloitte
OnlineErnst & Young, BCG, Deloitte
PensionMercer, KPMG, Deloitte
Pharma & Life SciencesMcKinsey, Deloitte, BCG
Private EquityBCG, Deloitte, McKinsey
Public SafetyAccenture, KPMG, Deloitte
Public SectorBCG, Ernst & Young, KPMG
Public TransportDeloitte, BCG, Ernst & Young
Real EstateKPMG, Deloitte, Alvarez & Marsal
RetailBCG, Deloitte, KPMG
SMEKPMG, Deloitte, Analysys Mason
SportKPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young
TechnologyKPMG, Accenture, Deloitte
TelecomAnalysys Mason, Deloitte, Accenture
Transport & LogisticsKPMG, BCG, Deloitte
UtilitiesDeloitte, Ernst & Young, Accenture

A Quick Round-up

Over the years, the African consulting industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Moreover, the sector was severely harmed by a number of obstacles during the pandemic.

But, as is customary in Africa, the opportunities are equal to, if not greater than, the obstacles. Clients, in particular, want to deal with consulting firms that can demonstrate that they provide superior solutions—and they’re willing to pay more for it.

Africa’s future looks bright, and hopefully, it will continue to progress on the right path.

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Helene Laffitte

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting. To find out more, visit the blog or contact her directly.

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