Rwanda Tops First African Retail Development Index

Ground breaking Report Sheds Light on Retail in Africa
Source: A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd
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Rwanda Tops First African Retail Development Index

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, March 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ --

A.T. Kearney Study provides global retailers with direction on entering specific African countries

A new study designed to help large, organized retailers determine where and how to best enter Sub-Saharan Africa's rapidly growing retail sector is published by A.T. Kearney (, a leading global strategy consultancy firm, today.


Download the report - PDF (2Mo):

Download the ranking table:


Rwanda, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Gabon occupy the top five places of the inaugural A.T. Kearney African Retail Development Index (ARDI). South Africa ranks seventh due to the developed nature of its retail market.

The ARDI is a useful framework for retailers because it not only identifies the markets in Africa most attractive for retail expansion today, but those that offer the most potential for the future.

Africa is brimming with opportunities, not only for local and regional players, but also for large global brands and retailers.

South African brands and retailers have been at the forefront of African expansion but may soon see global competition coming in. For South African players to keep their competitive advantage, sound strategies and investment plans will be required.

With a billion people and growing economies, seven of the top 10 ARDI countries are among the 10 fastest growing ecomomies in the world.

“Formal” retail, which takes place in malls, shopping centres, and other defined trade areas, remains in the early stages in most Sub-Saharan Africa countries, with the exception of South Africa, and is limited primarily to a handful of urban areas.

Low rates of formal retail coupled with increasing urbanization and the relative stability of many African economies represent massive room for retail growth.

Mirko Warschun, A.T. Kearney partner and ARDI co-author says, “The top 10 countries in the Index are diverse in terms of scale and growth potential.”

“It is essential that retailers understand where African countries are in the evolution of the retail landscape and the stages of market development to craft their expansion strategies for Africa.”

ARDI Results

The ARDI is based on four elements: Market Size, Market Saturation, Country Risk and Time

Pressure and ranks the potential and urgency of moving into each country accordingly. The top 10 markets in the Index are segmented into three high level approaches: Start with the Basics, Move Quickly and Differentiate.

Start with the Basics: The vast majority of Africa, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Gabon and Ethiopia, has limited market saturation, but also low maturity. While these markets are promising because of favorable demographics and recent growth trends, the major retail markets remain small, scattered and informal. The largest opportunities available in these markets revolve around offering basic consumer packaged products at low prices.

Move Quickly: The countries in this group - currently only Nigeria and Gabon from the Top 10 - have rapidly evolving retail dynamics and demographics, with some established retail players and many other global retailers planning entries. According to A.T. Kearney, there is no time to spare entering these markets before these first movers gain an advantage as they establish their brands early and secure loyal customer bases.

Differentiate: These markets, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, have Africa's most advanced retail sectors as well as an existing presence of international retailers. These markets offer opportunities for retailers that can offer differentiated products or formats that are hard to find and appeal to a growing middle class and globally minded citizens.

Bart van Dijk, A.T. Kearney partner and ARDI co-author says, “There are wide differences in infrastructure and supply chain development across African countries. Understanding the opportunities and limitations from country to country is a critical element of the retail expansion decision.”

By 2020, nearly half of all Africans will be living in cities. As disposable incomes rise, consumer spending will grow to almost $1 trillion. Even with the challenges of entering and succeeding in Africa, the opportunity is impossible to ignore.

“Although there are many challenges, Africa has reached a point in its economic development where global retailers must evaluate the significant potential for growth in this market,” says A.T. Kearney partner and ARDI co-author Mike Moriarty.

The 2014 Africa Retail Development Index Ranking and Recommended Approach (

Index Rank: 1


How to approach: Start with the basics

Index Rank: 2


How to approach: Move quickly

Index Rank: 3


How to approach: Differentiate

Index Rank: 4


How to approach: Start with the basics

Index Rank: 5


How to approach: Move quickly

Index Rank: 6


How to approach: Start with the basics

Index Rank: 7

South Africa

How to approach: Differentiate

Index Rank: 8


How to approach: Differentiate

Index Rank: 9


How to approach: Start with the basics

Index Rank: 10


How to approach: Start with the basics

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd.

To read the full 2014 Africa Retail Development Index, please go to:

Issued by HWB Communications on behalf of: A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd

Press Contacts: Katie Horne / Olivia Whittaker

Tel: 021 421 0430 / Cell: 084 311 0197 / 074 114 7103

Authors A.T. Kearney (Pty) Ltd

Bart van Dijk Partner, Johannesburg

Marieke Witjes Consultant, Johannesburg

Patience Kikoni Consultant, Johannesburg

Mike Moriarty Partner, Chicago

Mirko Warschun Partner, Munich

Matti Rucker Principal, Munich

About the Study

The Africa Retail Development Index ranks Sub-Saharan Africa countries on a 0-to-100 point scale: the higher the ranking, the higher the potential and urgency to enter the country. The countries considered for the rankings were pre-selected based on three criteria – a country risk of 35 or higher in the Euro money country-risk score, population size greater than 1.5 million, GDP PPP per capita of more than $1,000. The ARDI scores are based on Country and Business Risk (25 percent), Market Size (25 percent), Market Saturation 25 percent), and Time Pressure (25 percent).

About A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney ( is a global team of forward-thinking partners that delivers immediate impact and growing advantage for its clients. They are passionate problem solvers who excel in collaborating across borders to co-create and realise elegantly simple, practical and sustainable results. Since 1926, they have been trusted advisors on the most mission-critical issues to the world's leading organisations across all major industries and service sectors. A.T. Kearney has 58 offices located in major business centres across 40 countries.

About the A.T. Kearney Global Consumer Institute

The A.T. Kearney Global Consumer Institute is a worldwide network of professionals and executives. The Institute combines proprietary and public data resources with local knowledge to deliver strategic and operational insights to executives in consumer-facing industries seeking long-term growth and competitive advantage. For more information, please contact [email protected]