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News Africa - A Progressive Outlook

  • Sasol announces new R21bn empowerment deal, with Inzalo under water as it nears its end

    BY ALLAN SECCOMBE AND CHARLOTTE  Sasol, the coal-to-liquid fuel maker, unveiled a fresh R21bn empowerment scheme for its South African assets, after the first scheme was under water as it approached the end of its vesting period. In an enormously complicated transaction, Sasol is terminating its Inzalo empowerment scheme and replacing it with the Khanyisa transaction, which will result in at least 25% black ownership of Sasol’s wholly owned subsidiary, Sasol South Africa, for 10 years from 2018. Sasol shareholders need to approve the transaction, which includes an employee share ownership scheme, public investment in the company’s shares, 54 selected customers, suppliers, franchisees and nongovernmental organisations as well as a foundation. Read More
  • EOH reports big jump in full year earnings and profit

    By Staff Writer Listed IT service company EOH has published its final results for the year ended July 2017. The company reported that annual revenue increased by 21% to R15.5 billion (from R12.8 billion previously) while gross profit grew to R5.1 billion (2016: R4.1 billion). Operating profit before interest and share of equity-accounted profits rose to R1.8 billion (2016: R1.4 billion), while profit attributable to owners jumped to R1.2 billion (2016: R0.9 billion). Headline earnings per share were higher at 832 cents per share (2016: 719 cents per share). Read More
  • Start-up snapshot: Invest in Nigerian agriculture from anywhere in the world

    by Justin Probyn  Farmcrowdy is a Nigerian online platform which allows users (sponsors) to invest in the country’s agricultural sector. Sponsors can choose what kind of farms (and crops) they want to invest in. Farmcrowdy then uses the investment to: secure land; engage and train the farmer in best agricultural practices; plant the seeds; insure the farmers and crops; complete the full farming cycle; sell the harvest; and then pay the farm sponsor a return on their investment. Sponsors are able to keep track of the full cycle through updates in text, pictures and videos. Farmcrowdy founder, Onyeka Akumah, tells us about the risks facing the business and his most exciting entrepreneurial moment. Read More
  • Emerging Markets Streaming Video Company Iflix Launches In Ghana

    Malaysian subscription streaming video service iflix, which is focused on emerging markets, has officially launched its services in Ghana as part of the company’s expansion into Africa. Customers in Ghana will now be able to sign up for the video-on-demand services from the Netflix competitor, which is focused on the lower end of the streaming market, launching its operations with mobile networks as partners. A single month of unlimited access to Iflix TV content, which includes series and movies will cost $2.4, and a discounted annual subscription will cost $19.4 per year, according to ITNewsAfrica. Read More
  • Research: Unpacking Nigeria’s agriculture opportunities

    by Adefolake Adeyeye Growth in the urban population of Africa can potentially lead to a US$1tn regional market for African producers by 2030. Agriculture and food processing are vital for creating this $1tn industry. Food processing is any intentional change in food occurring before consumption. Changing consumer demographics related to lifestyle changes, urbanisation, and tourism is resulting in an increased demand for convenience and processed foods. However, Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness industry is underperforming, providing opportunities for investors to benefit from this huge market. Read More
  • How Walvis Bay is positioning itself to become the trade hub for Southern Africa

    by Confidence Musariri  It was in the late-nineties when former Namibian President, Sam Nujoma, began discussions around the initial plans for the US$618m twin projects at the port town of Walvis Bay. Fast-forward two decades, to July 2017, and there is a sense of anxiety as Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) CEO Bisey Uirab and port engineer Elzevir Gelderbloem, wait to receive their guest. At 88, the visitor to the port still looks sharp, a bit shorter than he did during the liberation struggle as he led the country towards independence in 1990. What is still the same is his signature infectious smile, broad and welcoming. You would mistake him to be the host. Nujoma is in town to visit the sites of the new container terminal and oil storage facility at the Port of Walvis Bay. Read More
  • Linda Makatiani, a Kenyan entrepreneur on a mission to support all those who are left-handed in her country

    Have you ever wondered about the challenges experienced by those who are left-handed? Some of the things e take for granted each day, such as the implements we use, can be a real problem for those who use their left hand as their primary task hand. But Kenyan entrepreneur, Linda Makatiani, founder of Lefty Kenya, is on a mission to change all that. Read More
  • ENTREPRENEUR: Founder of Zenzele Fitness Itumeleng Phake

    BY STAFFORD THOMAS Great entrepreneurial ideas can come out of the blue. For Itumeleng Phake, founder and owner of Zenzele Fitness, his came while working with wealthy clients at RMB Private Bank. "RMB was looking to upgrade its inhouse gym," says Phake. "It got me thinking about the potential of a business that would relieve corporates of the complexities involved in setting up and operating a gym." He had hit on the makings of a thriving venture. "I realised it was a business that could easily be scaled up," he says. "There is also very little competition in the market." He had the idea but not the considerable financial resources needed to turn it into a reality. Equipment for a single gym runs to as much as R3m. Read More
  • Zambian CEO on his new satellite town, and which sectors not to invest in

    by Kate Douglas  “If you build it, they will come,” says Mwiya Musokotwane, the 28-year-old CEO behind Zambia-based investment firm, Thebe Investment Management. “Part of the challenge here in Zambia is that there is a huge deficit of residences – something between 1.5 – 3 million homes.” While the country’s demand for housing is strong across all income groups, he believes middle-class residential investments to be a particularly lucrative opportunity. Urban areas like Lusaka (the capital) and Kitwe (Zambia’s second largest city) are expanding so quickly that municipalities simply can’t keep up. As a result, Musokotwane says it is not surprising to find middle-class neighbourhoods without access to paved roads, water or sanitation – and residents relying on septic tanks and boreholes. Read More
  • Renewable Energy Company Plans To Invest $800 Million On Solar-Powered Telecom Towers Across Africa

    By Staff GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting into productivity and growth. Read More
  • South African Eating-Out App Raises $175K In Funding From Silicon Valley

    By Staff Feastfox, an eating out App from Cape Town, South Africa, has revealed that it has successfully closed its Angel fundraising round, raising $175,000 (R2.3 million) primarily from Silicon Valley-based Angels and VC firms. The mobile startup, which originates out of Stanford University, has a presence in Silicon Valley, Cape Town and Budapest. Feastfox approaches dining experiences from a new perspective, focusing on spontaneous eating out with its “book now, eat now” concept. The venture’s co-founder, Cape Town local, Stuart Murless explains “by raising Angel funding from exceptional, California-based venture capital firms and Angel investors, we proved that it is possible to get early-stage, Silicon Valley financing for a mobile startup in South Africa.” Read More
  • Stirring up e-commerce in South Africa

    by Investec  One of South Africa’s top e-commerce companies and most-loved brands continues to set the standard for online businesses as recognised by uAfrica’s eCommerce Awards. Investec’s blog recently featured an interview with Andrew Smith, co-founder and CEO of Yuppiechef, where he shares his views on how to forge ahead and be remarkable when it comes to delivering online. What is your take on the South African e-commerce landscape? E-commerce in South Africa is growing fast and certainly getting a lot more attention than it did a few years ago but it is still a tiny fraction of all retail – around 1% of South Africa’s R500bn (US$38bn) total. For the last two decades, e-commerce was mostly about the pure-play pioneers such as Kalahari and Netflorist, and more recently Takealot, Zando and ourselves. The exciting movement now is by the traditional retailers like Woolworths who are starting to invest properly in their omni-channel offerings. Read More
  • How to realistically start a business in Africa with little or no capital

    by Emmanuel Soroba  The last decade has seen a tremendous rise in the number of young Africans venturing into business. Although that can be attributed to several factors, advancements in areas such as information and technology have certainly played a major role. The internet has helped facilitate for an easier execution of tasks which were highly complicated not too long ago. For instance, anyone today can start an online business without any coding expertise or having to hire expensive developers; such a task can be easily accomplished using platforms like WordPress and Shopify. Read More
  • Moving Africa’s property industry beyond the ‘pioneering’ phase

    by Selwyn Blieden Property pioneers have already taken the first steps in shaping Africa’s urban landscapes, constructing landmark malls, hotels and office blocks that could be called iconic. This is just the start. Modern, fully functioning cities require a well-oiled system of residential, commercial and industrial development and civil infrastructure, with the real estate skills and services to match. The question is: Who will design, build, manage, maintain – and of course fund – the many different commercial developments that Africa’s cities demand? The short answer is that a local property ecosystem must emerge to take over from where the big-ticket, mostly-foreign, private equity-funded pioneers have left off. Read More
  • Francophone Africa’s construction industry: Seizing the opportunities

    The economic growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2.6% in 2017, following a net deceleration in 2016. According to the World Bank, the upturn in economic activity is expected to continue in 2018 and 2019, reflecting improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and more supportive domestic conditions. In order to fuel the growth, the region is continuously improving the quality and quantity of public infrastructure that remains weak in many sub-regions and countries. With an average GDP growth of 9% over 2012-2015, Côte d’Ivoire is working hard to restore its status as an economic engine of West Africa, with robust public infrastructure as a pillar, to become an emerging economy by 2020. Similarly, in the other French-speaking countries of Senegal and Cameroon, the construction industry is boiling and large-scale projects are currently being launched locally. Read More
  • Tunisia Looks For Foreign Investment In Organics

    By Staff The role of Tunisia’s Agricultural Investments Promotion Agency (APIA), to promote investment in Tunisian agriculture, is perhaps more crucial now than ever. Neighboring Libya’s descent into unruly chaos has resulted in a marked decline in overall exports from Tunisia, according to the ministry of agriculture. Exports fell by 25 per cent during the 2016/17 season compared with the year before, although revenues still managed to increase by 13 per cent to US$75m. “We aim to drive foreign direct investment into the sector,” confirms Rachid Belanes of APIA, “as well as into technology and trade. “In Tunisia, we produce a wide variety of produce, including dates, olive oil, tomatoes, artichokes, apricots, pomegranates, citrus and potatoes.” Read More
  • Why East Africa Is Leading The World In Drone Delivery

    By Staff The cutting edge of drone delivery isn’t one of the usual technology hotspots, such as Singapore or the United States. The honor belongs to East Africa. A second East African nation announced  it will launch a fully automated drone delivery program. The drones will fly themselves, far from the view of humans a move that’s not yet legal in the U.S. While plenty of countries have dabbled in drone delivery, no program has matched the scale and impact of what’s unfolding in Rwanda and now, Tanzania. Read More
  • Brother’s A3 Business Smart Multi-Function Centre series delivers business class performance

    Brother International, a leader in home and business IT peripherals that focuses on the ‘Customer-First’ approach, has introduced an all-new Full A3 Multi-Function Centre Series for small and medium-sized businesses. The 2 models in the series, the MFC-J3930DW and the MFC-J3530DW support high print volumes with excellent total cost of ownership. “Brother’s new Multi-Function Centre Series has been engineered for business use. Both models in the series are versatile, reliable and robust, which is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses with large print volume requirements,” says Dale de Villiers, Marketing Manager at Brother South Africa. Read More
  • The value in investing in Nigeria

    by Nick Ndiritu Active managers in Africa and frontier markets have to counter the perceived higher risk of investing in volatile markets prone to political and economic uncertainty. In response, most investors gravitate to growth strategies, pursuing markets or sectors with attractive GDP growth prospects and predictable policy makers. Inevitably, when investors flock to the preferred country or sector, the top-rated companies command a premium valuation, often justified as buying ‘growth at a reasonable price’. Read More
  • Senegal To Launch Internet Exchange Point End Of August

    By Staff Two years after it was announced, the Senegal Internet Exchange Point (SENIX) is scheduled for official launch on 29 August, according to Cheikh Bakhoum, Chairman of the Board of Directors at SENIX and Director General of Senegal’s State Information Technology Agency (ADIE). Bakhoum said the exchange point would be launched in the country’s capital city of Dakar and would bring about a revolution in the country’s telecoms ecosystem. SENIX is the result of collaboration between 23 partners including the industry regulator, ISPs, telecom operators, and tech companies. Read More
  • World Bank Announces Agritech Challenge Aimed At Inspiring Innovation In Kenya

    By Peter Pedroncelli The World Bank and venture capital firm Nest have announced a call for applications for the AgriTech Challenge 2017 in Kenya. The initiative is the first open innovation program of its kind in Kenya, and it is aimed at connecting promising startups and innovators with one of the region’s leading agribusiness corporates. The AgriTech Challenge, which is sponsored by the World Bank, aims to spur collaborative innovation within the agricultural sector in Kenya. It forms part of a program to test open innovation mechanisms in the country for a potential future scale up by the government of Kenya, according to KenyaNews. Starting in August this year, high-calibre teams of innovators and entrepreneurs will work closely with agribusiness industry veterans to conceptualise and co-develop solutions around some of the most pressing challenges in the local value chains. Read More
  • Tunisia, Kenya And Egypt On The Right Track In Bid To Reignite Tourism

    By Kurt Davis Jr.  Terrorism and political turmoil have slashed tourism revenue in some North African countries, with governments and businesses desperate to reignite interest following the reputational damage and dwindling numbers. Three countries, in particular, manifest the grave penalties paid for the outbreak of violence at home and the battle to overcome bad reputations. Having said that, Tunisia, Kenya, and Egypt may be the three most likely candidates to educate other countries on the ills of conflict, the financial repercussions and the efforts necessary to regain one’s footing in the international marketplace for tourists. Read More
  • Africa's ability to adapt is driving huge global innovations

    MyBucks last week launched our Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FWB), pleasingly fully subscribed and indeed at a particularly intriguing moment in European and no doubt world history.  Germany, long the financial steward of the European Union, faces a challenge in assisting in the transition process for Great Britain’s departure from the EU, while holding the tiller from any socioeconomic squall that may rear from ‘Brexit’. Yet while confidence behind European ‘interconnectedness’ may at times such as these damper and no doubt only briefly, globalisation in practice has never been more effervescent. And while we may have become the first African-focused financial technology company to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange to exemplify this, it is African ‘fintech’, now reaching Germany and the world, which truly symbolizes globalisation at its core; for the dynamic, malleable and importantly, sustainable development boons driven by FinTech in Africa will be connecting our citizenries, creating jobs, empowering the next generation to achieve a confidence and independence they have never experienced before and will be ushering in a new era of opportunity on the continent and throughout a shifting marketplace in the world to come.  Read More
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