Meropa Communications has been named the 2019 Africa Consultancy of the Year by influential industry watchdog, The Holmes Report.

The accolade comes off the back of Meropa’s ranking – for the eighth consecutive year – as one of the Top 250 global PR firms. It is the top, and one of only two South African or African agencies to make the list.

It is the first time that Meropa has been recognised as the Africa Consultancy of the Year, the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 200 submissions and face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The announcement was made at the 2019 EMEA SABRE Awards in London.

The Holmes Report noted that “Meropa has built a reputation for client quality” and a “longstanding commitment to clients…powered as much by a vibrant staff culture as by its ability to build long-lasting, profitable relationships”.

It noted that “the firm employs 90 people across wholly-owned offices in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, supported by its own pioneering AfricaOne affiliate network, which spans 18, mainly sub-Saharan, markets”.

Although Meropa does not enter awards, The Holmes Report recognised “notable issues-management work” and the appointment of new head for Meropa Digital, Jacques Kichenbrand as contributors to being the best in Africa.

Meropa Chief Executive Patrick Gearing said: “We are naturally delighted. We have been in business for 30 years, so it has been a long wait! We are especially pleased, as a proudly independent South African company, to have beaten all the big international agencies who were the other finalists.

“We are equally delighted, once again, to be ranked in the Top 250 – even though the weak Rand saw us continue our fall when measured in US $, from 220 last year to 231 this year. We are number 1 in both South Africa and Africa, with our only competitor just scraping into the list at 248.

“This empirical recognition, and that of our peers, is important. Meropa doesn’t believe in getting between its clients and the footlights. Our clients are the heroes so we don’t seek awards for the work we do for them. These accolades are empirically based on the growth and success of our business. They would not be possible without the support of our clients — and we thank them for their support over the 30 years we have been in business.

“It’s also a testament to our staff, to their hard work and the quality of the service they deliver to our clients. We are all very proud.”