Investour on safe travel, resilience, digital transformation and innovation

More than 20 tourism ministers from various African countries attended INVESTOUR, the Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa, now a well-established event celebrating its tenth edition. Organized jointly by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Casa África and FITUR, INVESTOUR promotes sustainable development in Africa and facilitates meetings on investment and business opportunities in the continent.

The tenth edition of INVESTOUR consisted of two round tables and a session of business-to-business meetings. This strategic platform is held every year within the framework of the FITUR tourism fair in Madrid, and puts African entities with tourism projects in direct contact with potential international partners.

The sessions covered topics such as safety and security challenges and their impact on the development of the tourism sector, as well as the issues of crime, health hazards, natural disasters, violence and political instability, which affect the image of a destination. Participants also discussed the promotion of tourism through innovation and digital transformation and diversification through niche tourism products.

As a new feature in this year’s edition, the UNWTO launched the Tourism Startup Competition for Africa devoted to identifying emerging companies that will lead the transformation of the tourism sector in the region. The objective of this initiative is to challenge young African entrepreneurs to design new innovative companies that contribute positively to the facilitation of travel and tourism in their respective countries or in the region in general. The five winners gave presentations to pitch their ideas.

Strive Masiyiwa Elected to National Geographic Society Board of Trustees

“We are delighted to welcome Strive to the National Geographic Society board of trustees,” said Case. “An impact-driven nonprofit like the Society requires leadership that reflects the complex interdependent world in which we live. With his significant international business, entrepreneurial and philanthropic experience, Strive will provide the global perspective and expertise we need to achieve our mission.”

 

Masiyiwa currently serves on the board of Unilever, the transnational consumer goods company, as well as the global advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. In 2013, the United Nations and the World Bank named him to the advisory board of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. In addition, he is a trustee of the Asia Society; a member of the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; and was part of the Founders Circle of the Carbon War Room, an initiative created by Sir Richard Branson to promote market-based, low-carbon energy solutions to combat climate change.

Masiyiwa has also built a legacy of extensive philanthropic work across Africa. He is chairman of the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which is working to improve food security and income levels for 30 million farming households by 2021.

Committed to the next generation of African entrepreneurs, Masiyiwa mentors young people from across the continent on his Facebook page, reaching more than 3.5 million followers. He and his wife, Tsitsi, also founded the Higher Life Foundation, which has supported the education of more than 250,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa over the past two decades.

“Strive’s profound knowledge of Africa will be extremely valuable as we partner with local scientists, conservation professionals and government officials to safeguard some of the Earth’s last wild places such as Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, the sub-Saharan Okavango River Basin and Benin’s Pendjari National Park,” said Wolstencroft. “As the National Geographic Society looks toward helping to conserve 30 percent of the planet by 2030, Strive’s insights will be critical to our success.”

By signing the Giving Pledge, Masiyiwa and his wife have publicly declared that they will donate at least half of their assets to charitable causes. In recognition of the global reach of Masiyiwa’s work, Fortune magazine named him to i

ts list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” in 2014 and 2017.

About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is an impact-driven global nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas to increase understanding of our world and generate solutions for a healthy, more sustainable future for generations to come. Our ultimate vision: a planet in balance. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.

 

Young Ghanaian business executive to speak at Harvard Business School

With the growth of African cities, especially within the urban centers, demand for high-quality commercial and residential real estate in both West and East Africa is also rising.

On the back of this, a business executive who runs a multi-million dollar business in the real estate industry in Ghana, Emmanuel Kojo Jones, CEO of Empire Domus and managing director of Empire Concrete has been invited by the world’s premier university, Harvard Business School (HBS) to share his success formula in the real estate terrain in Africa at a conference of over 1,500 attendees from all over the world.

This year’s conference which is themed: Africa Forward; Forging New Alliances For The Future, however, promises to celebrate and promote awareness of existing innovative solutions that have been deployed in Africa, in addition to motivating attendees to create more innovative solutions to overcome the challenges in Africa.

On 15 and 16 February, the 21st edition of the conference among other things seeks to leverage on the experiences of African Entrepreneurs to share their wealth of knowledge and experience as well as address questions regarding the role African Entrepreneurs play in future development and the challenges African property developers currently face.

Jones comes from a strong lineage of business entrepreneurs. He acknowledged that “business DNA flows through his blood”.

With an educational background mostly from UK universities, Jones holds an LLB from London Metropolitan University (LMU), Business diploma from LMU and also holds an MBA in oil and gas management.

He is also a qualified civil and commercial mediator.

Jones drive and passion for creating employment and opportunities for people landed him in business. After studying in the UK, he joined New Generation Construction in 2012 where he worked as a business development manager. He later started building luxury homes in the UK for sale.

Sierra Leone: New Ecowas project seeks to empower female entrepreneurs

50MAWS is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is providing the funding, in partnership with the regional blocs ECOWAS, the East and Southern Africa Common Market (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).

It aims to improve women’s ability to access financial and non-financial information, to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and access to business financing opportunities.

Through this initiative, women will also be able to build networks and establish partnership relationships with people and structures that can help them grow and support their businesses.

According to officials, the project was conceptualised and designed following a pilot study conducted by AfDB, which identified challenges impeding women from growing their businesses.

Mrs Bio was speaking at the launch of the Sierra Leone Country Team of the 50MAWS.

It comes at the end of a two-day stakeholders’ engagement on Thursday.

The Sierra Leonean First Lady, who presided over the launching, said the initiative would bring more respect to women and give them a voice in the development process.

“I want to encourage every Sierra Leonean woman who is already [an] entrepreneur, who wants to be one and has vision, but do not know where to start,” Mrs Bio said in a statement on Friday.

She added: “This is an opportunity for you to be part of a network that is beyond the borders of this country. This is an opportunity for you people to market your products beyond Sierra Leone. This is an opportunity Ecowas is brining for us women in Sierra Leone.”

Sierra Leone becomes the tenth country to launch and officially commit to the implementation of the initiative.

Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Benin and Cape Verde have all already launched it.

Sierra Leone is also billed to host a continental launch of the initiative.

ECOWAS Vice-President, Sierra Leonean Mrs Finda Koroma, represented the regional bloc at the event in Freetown.

She said the project is in line with the ECOWAS Gender Program that is fully aligned with the ECOWAS Gender Policy adopted in 2004.

“This project if successful will take many women out of poverty and it will bring more respect to the women,” she said.

Masiyiwa family philanthropic efforts get thumbs-up

YOUTH economic pressure group Zimbabwe Entrepreneurs Youth Action (Zeya) had urged local youths to emulate the philanthropic efforts of of global telecommunications group Econet Wireless founder and Chairman Strive Masiyiwa’s family whose timely intervention has helped to curb the recent cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe and saved thousands of lives.

Zeya president James Pande said Masiyiwa was not only a role model to young African entrepreneurs, but those in the rest of the world and urged youths leaders in the country to embrace him.

“We want more Masiyiwas in our country, he is not only the young people’s business role model in Zimbabwe, but the rest of the world, that is why in 1998 he was named by the World Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the 10 most outstanding young leaders of the world,”he said.

The Zeya leader reiterated his call for Masiyiwa to break the current post-election political impasse between Zanu-PF and the MDC Alliance by bringing to the table their two leaders President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa respectively.

“After Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin described Masiyiwa as one of Africa’s most influential figures whose good counsel was sought after by world leaders, the youths are saying why can’t we engage him broker talks with between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

“Broke businessmen and failed political leaders, the likes of Jonathan Moyo, who during their prime time as government ministers failed to build even a creche from their own funds, must leave the Masiyiwas alone.

“They are busy attacking them, but they have not done anything to uplift the lives of the young people,” Pande said.

Masiyiwa has received considerable international recognition for his business expertise and is considered one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians.

In 2014 he was ranked among the top 50 greatest world leaders by CNN’s Fortune magazine.

The Roman Catholic leader Pope Francis was leading the pack of the world’s greatest leaders.

In a citation CNN Fortune lauded Masiyiwa as “a persuasive advocate for development opportunities and the creation of strong government institutions.”

Last year British Prime Minister Theresa May awarded Strive and his wife, Tsitsi with the Points of Light award for their exceptional voluntary service providing education to underprivileged children in Zimbabwe.

May praised the Masiyiwas, who are the founders of the Higherlife Foundation, for their philanthropic endeavours in a private letter.

In responding to the letter, the Masiyiwas thanked the incredible work done by the Higherlife Foundation team and all their partners for their apart in helping over 250 000 Africans.

According to their website, the Higherlife Foundation “is a social impact organisation that invests in human capital to build thriving individuals, communities and sustainable livelihoods. Founded by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa in 1996 out of their personal convictions, heartfelt compassion as well as their personal experiences of orphanhood, we are contemporary Africans moving the African continent forward through opportunities.”

RemitFund Launches Social Venture Diaspora Fund for Investment into African Businesses

RemitFund, a non-profit organization has launched an investment fund called African Diaspora Investment Fund (ADIF). ADIF aims to transform international remittances into social impact funds to power businesses and other social projects.

RemitFund aims to leverage these financial flows for greater social impact on the continent,” says Grace Camara, Founder and Executive Director of Remitfund.

“Remittances in the traditional sense are a form of diaspora-driven development and provide a huge safety net for many families,” said RemitFund’s founder and executive director Grace Camara.

ADIF is powered by donations from Africans abroad, allowing them donate a certain percentage of their remittances to the fund.

The initiative will provide funding for African and African-diaspora led business. In particular, the fund targets businesses advancing critical areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include businesses in the agricultural sector and renewable energy businesses.

Originally launched in June 2018, the ADIF fund is expected to make its first investment in 2019. Like regular venture funds, ADIF will pursue deals in the form of equity and or debt financing.

But beyond the ADIF fund, RemitFund has its eyes set on further ambitions in 2019. RemitFund is looking to launch a crowd funding platform in 2019. It also plans to launch an African Fellowship for startups. Leveraging a network of tech hubs across Africa, the fellowship is scheduled for launch in later in the year.

Why is RemitFund Targeting Remittances?

Remittances is hugely important financial activity in Africa and across the globe. In 2016, USD601 billion was transferred by over 250 million global migrants to their home countries. Sub Saharan Africa accounted for $39 billion of this sum, with Nigeria receiving over two-thirds of this sum.

Remittance equally serves as an important lifeline for Africans as it helps to support families’ livelihoods and businesses.

However, due to the high levels of unemployment, many families are increasing reliant on these remittances.

How RemitFund will transform and identify businesses worth investing will go a long way to redefine impact investing on the continent.