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.

 

South African students win R50,000 in the Universities Business Challenge

The Overlings from Mangosuthu University of Technology are the 2018 winners of Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE). The winning team of four students are walking away with R50,000 to turn their business idea into reality.

 

Launched in July this year, the UBC has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition designed to develop entrepreneurship skills.

When the competition launched, all teams were challenged to form virtual companies and to virtually manufacture and sell bicycles.

 

The final 10 teams were from the University of Limpopo, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal and North-West University.

 

During the two-day final, the teams played six rounds of simulations. Each simulation gave the teams a chance to re-evaluate their progress and better certain areas that needed improving. The winning team realised during one of their simulations that in order to maximize profits they would need to introduce two new products and market it differently from their initial product. They paid special attention to their customer’s needs. 

 

The aim of the UBC was designed to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018.

 

Nkosinathi Sokhulu from the winning team said, “Even though we didn’t have a great presentation we made the most profit. This experience taught us a lot about ourselves and business. Most of the decisions that we made came from serious debates. We learnt that market research is crucial when starting a business. We learnt that marketing starts and ends with the customer.”

 

“Based on this market research information we realised that it was important for us to introduce two new products and this, in addition to the main product we were selling, helped us to maximize profits. We saw an opportunity to add more products and it paid off” said Mbali Tshozi.

 

Tope Toogun, development advisor and CEO of Cognity Advisory said, “All the teams showed tremendous promise and I was very impressed by their levels of engagement with one another and their tenacity.”

 

“We really want to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to not only start a business but to run it effectively. While we have selected one winner, our hope is that each team has benefitted by having learned the skills needed in the workplace.”

 

“The competition is designed to develop the ‘soft skills’ that are important for those wanting to set up their own business or simply be successful at work. With rising unemployment and ongoing talent shortages, having these skills is crucial for those wanting to get a job.”

 

The UBC, now in its second year in South Africa, will continue into its third year in 2019 and will run as the Africa Enterprise Challenge (AEC).

21 Chinese companies eye investment opportunities

A thirty member business delegation from China arrived in Kampala on Monday afternoon on a mission to scout for investment opportunities and get local companies to appreciate the diversity their companies bring into the business space.
Days after this Uganda-China investment and trade forum, Mr Basil Ajer, acting executive director Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), said the forum is expected to spur more investments from China.

Areas
“They mentioned areas of interest in agricultural value addition, information communication technology (ICT) and tourism. As UIA, we mobilise counterparts in those sectors so we expect more inflow of foreign direct investment and more cooperation between Ugandans and their Chinese counterparts,” Mr Ajer said.
Progressively, China has been among the top two sources for foreign direct investment for the last six years, and this is expected to grow in future.

“Since 2011, we have licensed investments from China now worth USD1.2b and this is projected to create at least 45,000 jobs in Uganda,” Mr Ajer said.

Most of these investments are in agricultural value addition according to UIA. Mr Lyu Xinhua, leader of the delegation and acting chairman Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation (CPSSC), said the companies’ investments would tackle Uganda’s high import bill. “Like many developing countries, for its day-to-day products, Uganda relies on imports. If the local manufacturing companies can be established in Uganda, their products will not only be able to reduce Uganda’s import bill but also meet specific local needs,” Mr Xinhua said.
The companies were satisfied with Uganda’s investment climate and expect it to improve with the current incentives in place.
“I think your legal infrastructure is very comprehensive and you have very affordable labour. I heard of the tax holidays and profit repatriation, I think these measures will indeed be attractive for investors,” he said.

However, he hinted on private ownership of land, high cost of credit and high cost of manufacturing caused by absence of infrastructure as some of the things that could hinder investment.
CPSSC and UIA will now be cooperating to visit Uganda for detailed information on ongoing projects.

UIA expressed hope for joint ventures with local companies. Mr Xinhua’s thinking was that although working with local companies turns a profit because of their understanding of the business environment, the idea must be well analysed first.

Mr Michael Galabuzi, country director East African Entrepreneurs Association, said they are pushing for modalities through which joint ventures can come to life for Chinese investments to be more meaning to the economy.

Economic Spotlight on Southern African Entrepreneurs in Industry 4.0

International industry experts are in attendance at the First Africa Tech Conference, hosted by the Southern Africa Business and Technology Incubation Association (SABTIA) in partnership with the City of Ekurhuleni and Monash SA. The two-day conference, held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, is focusing on innovation in business incubation and acceleration, repositioning the sector to prepare and sustain the entrepreneurship ecosystem for the future.

Speaking at the event, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, highlighted the critical need to reduce the crippling effects of government bureaucracy on small business growth.

“Africa is no longer playing catch up with the rest of the world, we are competing with it. And we are competing in a digital economy with a rate of change faster than the world has seen for the last 300 years. Through SEDA and initiatives like the SABTIA Tech Conference, we can unlock the economic potential of South African Entrepreneurs, enabling them to access high quality and innovative business support. We also have to ensure that we are driven by local realities and ensure that our support mechanisms are relevant to the South African realities of rural and township economies.”

Other key debates coming out of the conference include:
The launch of the South Africa Business Incubation Conference in November.
Integrating the new skills sets, required for Industry 4.0 and the knowledge era, into our education institutions.
Ensuring the implementation of cross-departmental (transversal) agreements inside Government (i.e agreements between DSB and DST) which will support inclusive innovation and development.
How to localise critical global content and best practice

“Incubators, traditionally designed as support systems, are developing into growth acceleration mechanisms, critical to the improvement of the SMME success rate. SABTIA aims to build a more inclusive incubation and acceleration system which will better serve small businesses and start-ups, including those in the informal sector – a sector that has largely been ignored by incubation programmes in the past,” says SABTIA Chairperson, Zaid Mohidin.

Southern Africa Business and Technology Incubation Association (SABTIA) is an independent and private association formed to promote and coordinate business incubation in Southern Africa. SABTIA was set up to serve as the industry standard practitioner and members association, by providing the dissemination of knowledge, skills, training and expertise to the ecosystem nationally, continentally and internationally through partnerships with SEDA, DSBN, EBN as well as INBIA.

With the industry entering a new cycle we see more and more countries not only consolidating their ecosystems but more importantly also ensuring that appropriate local models are developed in alignment with global standards. The push to cross-pollinate and to collaborate to develop effective ecosystems – with best practices and standards – is fast becoming a priority. SABTIA has been reformed to address this priority.

Africa Investment Forum will help de-risk investment and catalyze private sector

The African Development Bank is working with leading global development finance institutions to set up a mutualized co-guarantee platform to de-risk investments and facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent under the Africa Investment Forum (AIF).

Over the last decade, and despite impressive growth rates in most of the continent, Africa’s infrastructure needs remain huge with annual financing gap between USD 130 and USD 170 billion annually.

To close this gap, the Bank is positioning the AIF, scheduled for South Africa, 7-9 November 2018, as a platform to improve the ease of doing business in Africa by advancing and promoting investment friendly regulations. AIF will also champion ethical business practices in Africa.

Speaking at a roadshow on the AIF held in Abuja, Folarin Ayalande the special advisor to the Nigerian president and coordinator of the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Unit, assured that Nigeria was ready for investment but lack of affordable and long-term finance remain a major constraint.

He described the lending de-risking component of AIF as a game changer and assured of the support of the Nigerian Government. New approaches are required to deliver on the country’s development targets, with a focus on private sector-led growth, he added.

“Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan requires billions of dollars of investment to deliver on its growth and job-creation targets. We will collaborate with the private sector and the AIF by targeting opportunity-driven entrepreneurs by upgrading skills, developing business clusters and economic corridors. These are critical factors to developing a buoyant and productive industrial sector in Nigeria,” he said.

“I am particularly delighted to learn that the AIF will not be another talk show but a platform with convening power to bring different players together to explore investment opportunities for the transformation of the African continent. We have talked enough and must now start to act,” he said.

Ebrima Faal, senior director for Nigeria country office of the AfDB stressed the critical need to change the current funding mix and create partnerships to finance infrastructure and other projects in Africa.

“Nigeria’s infrastructure cumulative financing needs are estimated to reach USD 3 trillion by 2044 or about USD 100 billion annually. This is all happening at a time when public sector finances are extremely pressured,” Faal said.

“As an African optimist, therefore, I dare say that there has never been a better time to invest in Africa’s infrastructure asset class, while ensuring a diverse source of resources, water-tight project preparation and a strong business case. The Africa Investment Forum has been designed to meet the needs of African stakeholders looking to capitalize on the increasing potential of multi-staker partners and the growing investment appetite in Africa.”

The AIF as a marketplace will bring together the Bank and other multilateral financial institutions to de-risk investments at scale,” said Stella Kilonzo, AIF senior director.

“AIF will work closely with investors and project sponsors to enable them increase trade and investment in local and global markets, ensuring that projects are able to secure adequate and appropriate finance.”

Working with multilateral institutions, the private sector, and Governments, the Bank is helping Nigeria and other African countries to fine-tune investment-ready projects for investors, fund managers and others managing substantial assets ahead of the AIF in November.

The Abuja roadshow included a briefing session, interaction with key private players, and presentations from Nigeria’s senior Government officials on the country’s development priorities and project pipeline that could benefit from the AIF partnership.

President Macron to Attend Business Forum in Lagos, Powered by TEF

The Tony Elumelu Foundation a leading Non-Governmental Organization empowering Africans will host President Emmanuel Macron of France and 2,000 young entrepreneurs, tomorrow Wednesday July 04, 2018 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos as part of the French leader’s visit to the country.

It will also witness a gathering of notable business leaders, technocrats, scholars, leaders of thought, financial market players, industrialists, tech gurus and media moguls in the nation.

President Macron will be accompanied by Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.

The event will be an opportunity for President Macron to interact and exchange ideas with the business community and exploring ways of forging a stronger Nigeria-French alliance.

Founder of the TEF Mr Tony O. Elumelu, CON is a billionaire and philanthropist committed to empowering young Africans entrepreneurs.

TEF in 2015 developed the biggest investment in African entrepreneurs with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP), which has seen 3,000 entrepreneurs benefit from the USD5,000 fund each.

The Empowerment program has USD100million voted to it and will last for a decade (2015-2025), with the goal of achieving the empowerment of 10,000 entrepreneurs.

This will be President Macron’s first official visit to Nigeria, since he was elected as the youngest democratically elected leader of the French Republic.

Macron since his emergence has become one of the outspoken and influential leaders in Europe, engaging and reaching out to several global leaders  on the issues around trade, immigration, climate change amongst others.

Paxful Announces Expansion into Africa With New Startup Incubator

Paxful has scheduled the incubator hub’s launch for fall 2018, and has appointed Chuta Chimezie to lead the hub as the company’s regional director of Africa.

The company said Chimezie is an experienced member of the blockchain community, having founded the advocacy group Blockchain Nigeria User Group. The new regional director has also written a reference text for African regulators titled, Seizing Opportunities in Blockchain and Digital Currency Revolution.

As the regional director of Africa, Chimezie will lead the charge in building the incubation hub, as well as raising brand awareness and creation educational content for Paxful.

Part of the reason the company chose Nigeria to build this incubator has to do with its demographics. According to a press release, Nigeria commands the highest number of Paxful users in Africa.

“Paxful’s initiatives have not only helped those in great need here,” Chimezie told press, “but are also helping African entrepreneurs achieve their full potential.”

Regarding the hub, Chimezie said: “the incubator is simply a starting point to help driven entrepreneurs in an industry that has shattered boundaries all over the world.”

Recently, Bitsonline interviewed the company’s co-founder, Artur Schaback. In addition to being a founding member of Paxful, Schaback boasts a record of successful bitcoin investing, claiming the cryptocurrency has made him a millionaire.

Using Schaback’s knowledge and experience in succeeding with bitcoin investment, the incubator will work to help other would-be investors get the information and experience they need to make education decisions regarding investing in bitcoin and starting blockchain-based companies.

In his interview with Bitsonline, Schaback said regarding the popularity of peer-to-peer bitcoin services:

“Peer-to-peer marketplaces provide a cryptocurrency escrow service that allows people to buy bitcoin directly from other people with any payment method imaginable.”

Regarding the Nigerian project, Schaback said he wants to help blockchain businesses become successful while the industry is still on the ground floor.

“The real wave of bitcoin entrepreneurs and revolutionary blockchain projects has yet to emerge,” Schaback said.

“Paxful will do everything we can to empower the Africa Cheetah generation.”

With that ethos in mind, Schaback’s company now marches into Africa, led by Chimezie, with the goal of fostering innovation and success in the blockchain space.

Lagos Chamber of Commerce celebrates CNBC Africa as ‘Best Business Television’

The award which aims to acknowledge the very best of business journalism comes in recognition of the network’s efforts to highlight the narrative of Africa’s growth and the opportunities present in the continent

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) has presented CNBC Africa the 2018 award for “Best Business Television”. The award, which aims to acknowledge the very best of business journalism, comes in recognition of the network’s efforts to highlight the narrative of Africa’s growth and the opportunities present on the continent.

“The objective of the annual awards is to recognise, celebrate and promote private and public institutions that have exhibited the core values of best business practices, growth through innovations, business sustainability and have positively impacted the society. This award is the outcome of a painstaking selection process from numerous entries received for this award category and backed by feedback from industry/market intelligence,” Vincent Nwani, the chambers director of advocacy & research, said.

He added that the distinct blend of pan African and international content and keen focus on economic news led CNBC Africa to emerge as the undisputed winner of this award.

CNBC Africa commenced its African journey in 2007- and has since then, grown to be a dependable network for actionable business and financial information. The detailed coverage provided by the channel across markets and sectors, makes it a reliable source of information to the African business community.

With a viewership crossing 23 million households on DSTV, Startimes Nigeria, Canal Plus and Kwese TV, across 48 African countries- CNBC Africa bridges the gap between CEO’s, entrepreneurs, government, the business community and the average man. The channel has state-of-the-art infrastructure and studios in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kigali and Johannesburg, and imbibes a PAN African spirit unique to itself.

Frederic Vandevyver, executive director for West Africa, collected the award on behalf of CNBC Africa and expressed his gratitude for the honour.

Vandevyver noted that CNBC Africa remains committed to creating value and empowering people by accurately and passionately telling Africa’s business story first.

“To get an award in Lagos, which in my opinion is one of the most vibrant economic and business cities in Africa, means a lot. I want to dedicate this award to the team working here in West Africa. They work 24 hours, 7 days a week to ensure that we cover all the business news in the best way possible. This award goes to them.”

The network aims to be Africa’s business channel of choice across the continent – focused on aggressively growing its viewership by making the channel more accessible to the average African, this award does provide more momentum and encouragement to channel to achieve its dream.

African policy and regulatory issues impeding innovations – Tony Elumelu

WASHINGTON, DC – During the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, DC, African philanthropist and entrepreneur Tony O. Elumelu insisted that prioritizing Africa’s youth by fixing the policy and regulatory issues impeding their innovations would also help attract foreign investors.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Founder spoke alongside World Bank President Jim Kim and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner in a fireside chat on advancing the digital economy in Africa. During the discussion, he sent a strong message on the importance of leveraging entrepreneurship to enable Africa to leapfrog traditional development paths.

“I speak as someone who has supported young African entrepreneurs. I see enthusiasm, intellect, I determination, drive and discipline – you invest $5,000 and indeed they apply this to their purpose,” Elumelu said. “So why don’t we harness all of these people? Why doesn’t government replicate this model?”

When asked about the technological advancements of today, which will be responsible for shifting African development into overdrive, Elumelu was emphatic.

“It is our young people – the 60 percent of [African] people under the age of 30 who will come up with innovations that might help to pull Africa out of where it is today. We need to prioritize them, to give them support by removing the stifling policies holding them back. If we remove those, we will unleash their creativity onto the world.”

While moderating the discussion, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, said policy makers in Nigeria and other African countries are ill-prepared to compete in the digital technology space. Elumelu conceded that without critical infrastructure, driving technological advancement would be difficult.

“You can’t talk about a digital economy in Africa without fixing critical infrastructure. Digital connectivity is a major issue in Africa and you can’t fix it if you don’t have reliable access to electricity,” Elumelu said. “So, if we want to truly address the issue of a digital economy in Africa, these challenges have to be fixed.”

Elumelu, who is also Chairman of the United Bank for Africa Group, also highlighted regulation, intellectual property and the need to incentivise investors, as other factors that would help drive the digital economy on the continent.

“Let’s fix policy issues and all these issues I have identified and investors will come to Africa,” Elumelu added.

Nominations for 200 Young South Africans 2018

Each year the Mail & Guardian profiles interesting young people who have stood out from the pack and who show us what to look forward to in the country’s future. These under-35s are talented and have shown themselves to be leaders. They are the ones to watch.

Do you know (or are you) an exceptional under-35? Complete the form below.

Entries close on April 30.

You can see the 2017 M&G 200 Young South Africans here.