This is reflected in Brand Africa's 2016/17 list of Most Admired Brands in Africa
. Only 16 African brands made the latest list, compared to 23 in 2015. And only two are in the top 20.
Brand Africa, which has annually ranked brands that consumers admire since 2011, has compiled the list from more than 11,000 brand mentions on a mobile survey conducted in 19 countries. This collectively represents 74 percent of the continent's population.
Ranked at number nine, South Africa based telecom MTN is the only African brand in the top 10. Just last year it was ranked number one, but Brand Africa attributes legal challenges for its fall.
"The halo around MTN in the last two, three years, are the challenges that it had in Nigeria both in terms of not disconnecting consumers, some who were not active anymore," says the founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng.
"Also challenges about moving their profits around the continent, around importing them.
"So all those challenges really had a massive impact on the perception on the brand.
"And of course it also had some leadership challenges and leadership changes."
In contrast, despite the crisis behind Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, the South Korean giant has emerged as the number one most admired brand in Africa.
The company grew its brand value by 13 percent. This progress can be credited to Samsung's expedient recall and customer service solutions.
"The most important thing that they did is how responsive they were when the crisis hit them, says Ikalafeng.
"They were available, they were responsive, and they gave no excuses."
Following Samsung, Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Apple, LG, Nokia and Toyota ranked the highest among the most-admired brands in Africa.
French apparel company Lacoste was the most resurgent brand, reaching the 42nd position from 94th in 2015, followed by Mirinda that jumped to 41st from the 88th spot.
According to Brand Africa, despite vibrant political and social movements, as well as entrepreneurial energy on the continent, Africans are behind at creating brands fast enough to face global brands.
In fact, Europe has 42 brands in the Top 100, 25 from US and 17 in Asia, with Africa in last place with only 16 brands that made it to the list.
According to Ikalafeng, governments on the continent are not creating enabling policies adequately to help businesses thrive.
Brand Africa reports that Africa has an estimated 0.6 percent share of trademarks filed globally and invests less than one percent of GDP in research.
"If you're not researching, how are you going to find out the needs? How are you going to create new solutions and new products?" Ikalafeng said.
"If you look at the big countries, the Chinas, the Americas, and all those, they really invest a lot in trade, in building their trademarks. Now if you don't own your trademark, somebody else will own it."
Brand Africa reports that without investment in research and owning trademarks, international companies will top the brand leadership and dictate the trends.
And therefore, right now is more crucial than ever for Africans to rise and build Made in Africa brands.