Walmart has made a cash offer of R16.5bn (£1.48bn) to buy a controlling 51% of South Africa’s Massmart Holdings, its first foray into the growing retail market in sub-Saharan Africa. Massmart will remain listed in Johannesburg if the deal is completed, it said. “The more we learn about South Africa and the surrounding countries the more we are convinced that this is an important region with attractive growth characteristics,” said Walmart International president and chief executive Doug McMillon. “This combination fits perfectly with our strategy to enter high growth markets in which we can apply our global expertise and generate strong returns.”