A Myriad of opportunities for Entrepreneurs in Jack Ma Foundation Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Entrepreneurs in Africa have a few more weeks to apply for the 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes competition, the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program that identifies, supports, and inspires African entrepreneurs.
Speaking to Nigeria’s Channels TV, Zahra Baitie-Boateng, the Head of Partnerships and Programs with the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition, highlighted the many opportunities that the initiative offers, saying that every entrepreneur who successfully submits their application can benefit from the competition even if they do not make it to the finale and win their share of the USD 1.5M prize.
According to her, the application process is designed to encourage candidates to conduct a thorough analysis and review of the fundamentals of their business. When testing the candidates, judges provide insights and guidance on strengthening their businesses and improving their pitches as they advance, said Zahra.
Participants also have the opportunity to access exclusive mentorship and learning, through a number of multi-disciplinary bootcamps and training sessions and connect to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
The Top 10 finalists take home grant funds ranging from USD 100,000 to USD 300,000, increase their public exposure by featuring in the Africa’s Business Heroes show, and have the opportunity to pitch to international business legends at the Grand Finale.
“There are many benefits one can gain depending on where you end in competition,” said Zahra Boateng.
She narrated how the competition has changed lives and businesses in the continent, noting that many heroes have used the grants and the publicity they achieved to make tremendous progress. In particular, she mentioned Nigerian Temie Giwa-Tubuson, the founder and CEO of LifeBank. The ABH Grand Prize winner in 2019, Temie has secured further investments and recently expanded her operations in Kenya and helped tackle Covid-19 by delivering medical oxygen and facilitating testing.
“This is just one example. Several other finalists have gone on to expand their footprint geographically and established collaborations among them,” she added.
She further disclosed that over ten years, the program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate grant funding, training programs, and support for the broader Africa entrepreneur ecosystem.
They will also be launching an Africa’s Business Heroes virtual community in the future.
Applications for the ABH third edition officially launched on March 30, 2021, and it will remain open until June 7, 2021. Candidates from all African countries, all sectors, and all ages can submit their applications in French and English here before 7th June.
The applicants must be of African descent, founders/co-founders of the businesses, and their businesses must be registered and operated in Africa. The business must have revenues and have been in existence for at least three years.
Cameroon-based fintech, Maviance PLC, closes its Seed round to fund its expansion within the Central African Economic Region (CEMAC)
May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments
Douala, Cameroon – 11 May 2021 – Maviance PLC , a Cameroon-based fintech, announced today that it has closed its Seed investment round of USD 3 million from the pan-African digital payments hub MFS Africa, which comes on board as a strategic investor. Maviance will be using the new funding to increase its footprint in its Cameroon and to expand into other countries in the central African economic region (CEMAC).
Maviance chose MFS Africa as an investor to leverage on its pan-African infrastructure and its vast product offering and partnerships to deliver new digital financial products in the CEMAC region.
In Cameroon, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) employ over 90% of the workforce and contribute around 36% of GDP. However, many MSMEs lack access to digital financial services to grow their businesses. Maviance, which serves over 500,000 unique customers a month, has connected key service providers, payment providers, financial institutions and mobile money operators to its Smobilpay digital financial services platform. Smobilpay’s digital financial services help businesses improve their sales by encouraging their customers to move away from cash-based transactions to digital.
Smobilpay empowers underserved MSMEs, agents, banks and financial institutions’ customers within the CEMAC region with more accessible digital financial services solutions. Maviance’s growing network of agents and MSME partners offer their customers a wide array of digital financial services.
Jerry Cheambe, the founder of Maviance, who led the negotiations for Maviance, said: “We are very excited about Maviance’s product pipeline and expansion. The opportunities within central Africa are huge, and the demand has been massively accelerated in the last 12 months with the advent of Covid-19 as businesses of all sizes adopt digital financial services. Moreover, the shift in the mindset of regulators towards progressive regulations as well as regulatory alignment, enable us to deliver seamless services across multiple geographies and customer segments.”
MFS Africa’s founder and CEO, Dare Okoudjou, who led the deal said:
“The rapid development of digital financial services that we have seen in Cameroon over the past few years is poised to spread across the CEMAC region. This will further accelerate the demand for domestic and cross-border payment from MSMEs, social enterprises and corporates in the region. Maviance, as a key infrastructure provider with its set of highly relevant products, is well-positioned to benefit from this growing demand. That is why we are thrilled to be partnering with the company, as we continue to broaden and deepen the reach of the MFS Africa Hub across Africa.”
Nkwenti Azong-Wara, CEO of Maviance, adds: “With MFS Africa, Maviance has gained not just a funding partner, but more importantly a strategic investor who will provide valuable impetus to enable us to extnd our service portfolio and network as well as to expand into the other five countries within the CEMAC region, via the GIMACPAY switch.”
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Maviance has experienced increasing demand from businesses to digitise their payment processes and transition away from cash. The joint forces of Maviance and MFS Africa will open up opportunities for MSMEs to easily digitise their processes, enabling them to benefit from the ecosystem of mobile money providers and other financial institutions providing seamless payment for services irrespective of channel.
Orange leads solar panel deployment across Africa and the Middle East
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
|To avoid using generators that run on fuel (fossil energy that emits CO2), Orange is putting in place several initiatives such as solar panels|
Orange is accelerating its solar projects in Africa and the Middle East to reduce its carbon footprint to zero by 2040. Across the entire region, many sites are not connected to the electricity grid and when they are, the quality of the grid often requires alternative backup solutions. To avoid using generators that run on fuel (fossil energy that emits CO2), Orange is putting in place several initiatives such as solar panels.
In several of its subsidiaries, Orange is deploying innovative solar solutions and the latest generation batteries with partners specializing in energy. To reduce its environmental footprint, the Group is positioning itself in these countries as the biggest deployer of solar panels, with a renewable energy use rate already at over 50% for Orange Guinea, 41% for Orange Madagascar and 40% for Orange Sierra Leone.
These solar panel solutions have also been or will soon be deployed in other African and Middle Eastern countries where Orange is present, like Liberia, for instance, where 75% of Orange’s telecom sites are equipped with solar panels. In total, Orange has installed solar panels at 5,400 of its telecom sites (some 100% solar, others hybrid) saving 55 million liters of fuel each year.
Furthermore, in Jordan, Orange has launched three solar farms to switch to clean and renewable energy helping to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2020, these solar farm projects covered over 65% of Orange Jordan’s energy needs. Since 2018, the company has successfully reduced its CO2 emissions by 45 kilotons thanks to this solar infrastructure.
Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa says: “We are proud to be the first company by number of solar panels in 5 countries in Africa and the Middle East. As a stakeholder in the energy transition, Orange has included in its Engage 2025 strategic plan the objective of meeting 50% of the Group’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2025. We are aiming for net zero carbon by 2040.”
Orange is present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East and has around 130 million customers as at March 31, 2021. With €5.8 billion in turnover in 2020, Orange MEA is the Group’s main growth region. Orange Money, with its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 50 million customers. Orange, a multi-service operator, benchmark partner of the digital transformation, provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42.3 billion euros in 2020 and 140,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2021, including 80,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 262 million customers worldwide at 31 March 2021, including 217 million mobile customers and 22 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries.
Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.
Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
Emirates to showcase its Premium Economy Seats for the first time at ATM
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments
Visitors will also personally view enhanced signature onboard products
Dubai, UAE: 10 May 2021 – Emirates will be showcasing its Premium Economy seats for the first time at Arabian Travel Market 2021 (ATM). The region’s leading travel and tourism exhibition will run from 16-19 May, and will be the first in-person travel industry event to take place since the onset of the pandemic.
The Emirates stand will offer travel industry visitors from over 60 countries a chance to experience the airline’s signature products and recently introduced service enhancements across every cabin class onboard its iconic A380 aircraft, and is a reminder of the elevated onboard experiences in store for travellers once they get back to the skies.
The highly-anticipated Emirates premium economy seat will be on display for visitors to experience. The seat boasts an abundant pitch of up to 40-inches, and visitors trying out Emirates’ premium economy seat will also notice its generous width of 19.5 inches and ability to recline into a comfortable cradle position with ample room to stretch out.
The seats are covered in cream-coloured anti-stain leather with automobile inspired stitching details and a wood panel finishing similar to Business Class, all designed to provide optimal comfort and support with 6-way adjustable headrests, calf rests and footrests. Customers will also find other meticulous details including easily accessible in-seat charging points, a wide dining table and side cocktail table, as well as a storage area.
Emirates will also showcase its Boeing 777-300ER game-changer First Class fully enclosed private suites exhibit, Boeing 777 Business Class seat, the newly refreshed A380 OnBoard lounge, along with other iconic products such the First Class Shower Spa and the latest version of the game-changer Economy Class seats. Across both the Emirates A380 and 777 Gamechanger products, visitors will notice new interior finishes and design details featuring the Ghaf tree motif, as well as an updated champagne colour palette.
Visitors to the Emirates product exhibits will be able to try out all of the products on the stand, and all seats and surfaces will be cleaned and sanitised after each use. In keeping with ATM’s stringent health and safety protocols, the Emirates stand will operate at limited capacity at all times to ensure proper social distancing of visitors as they explore the products.
Visitors can also try out their Emirates knowledge through an interactive 60 second challenge played on a touch screen at the stand.
The Emirates stand is located in Hall 3 stand number ME3310 at ATM.
The Emirates story started in 1985 when we launched operations with just two aircraft. Today, we fly the world’s biggest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, offering our customers the comforts of the latest and most efficient wide-body aircraft in the skies.
We inspire travelers around the world with our growing network of worldwide destinations, industry leading inflight entertainment, regionally inspired cuisine, and world-class service.
Ghana:Over 250 benefit from PC and Tullow training on business ethics
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Maxwell Nkansah.
Over 250 individual local suppliers in the oil and gas industry have undergone a one-day virtual training in business ethics and compliance hosted by the National Upstream Petroleum business Academy of the Petroleum Commission.
The training was organized by the Petroleum Commission in collaboration with Tullow Ghana limited, to give indigenous suppliers, an in-depth understanding of the ethical requirements for conducting business in the industry.
Topics including the importance of ethics and compliance, principles of compliance, key anti-corruption controls, sanctions, trade restrictions, human rights and labour conditions were delivered by industry experts from Tullow Ghana with practical examples and country-specific context to give participants a better appreciation of the subjects and their correlation with business practices and the expectation of the industry.
Speaking on the need for local capacity development and knowledge transfer, Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Mr. Egbert Faibille underscored the importance of good corporate governance, ethics and transparency in the upstream sector and the promotion of shared prosperity. Mr. Faibille said factors such as poor corporate governance and lack of capacity building constitute some of the significant barriers that still hinder indigenous Ghanaian companies from participating in the country’s upstream petroleum industry. He was however grateful to Tullow Ghana for the collaboration with the National Upstream Petroleum business Academy of the Petroleum Commission for the delivery of this workshop which aims at addressing critical knowledge gaps and information asymmetry that limit the competitiveness of indigenous Ghanaian companies.
Mr. Faibille said “This workshop as I mentioned earlier is being organized in collaboration with Tullow Ghana. Such collaboration will be extended to other companies in future workshops to attain maximum outcome.”
In his opening remarks, the Managing Director for Tullow Ghana, Wissam Al-Monthiry underscored the importance of the training saying, “indeed, these development initiatives have become even more important as Tullow Ghana business focuses on delivering maximum value from the Jubilee and TEN fields under the Ghana Value Maximization Plan”.
Under the plan, Tullow will invest a further $4billion over the next ten (10) years to deliver increased production in the Ghanaian fields. Mr. Al-Monthiry said, Tullow is committed to partnerships with industry stakeholders to share knowledge and help develop the capacity of local businesses to enable their participation in contracts. He reiterated Tullow’s alignment with the national local content development agenda through consistent training programmes for local suppliers and increasing local supplier participation in Tullow operations under the Value Maximization Plan.
Following the training, participants are expected to gain industry knowledge that will improve their preparedness for bids and make them more competitive in the oil and gas industry globally. Beyond satisfying bid requirements, the training was designed to help local suppliers incorporate global best practices in good governance into their operations.
Mr. Faibille and Mr. Al-Monthiry both entreated participants to provide feedback which will be crucial for the enhancement of the training initiatives of the Academy.
Galamsey is illegal, the fight against it cannot be based on illegality – Occupy Ghana
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Maxwell Nkansah
Pressure group, occupy Ghana has called on government to desist from the illegality it is perpetuating through its current mode of tackling illegal mining in the country.
According to the group, there are clear laws enshrined in the constitution laying down sanctions and punishments for people engaged in the illegal act, thus, government should enforce those laws.
The comment comes in reaction to photos and videos circulating in the media showing military personnel setting mining equipment and excavators ablaze on site.
Occupy Ghana says that act is an illegality and government should desist from it immediately.
It said, “Occupy Ghana is shocked to see pictures and films in which equipment allegedly being used in Galamsey operations and apparently seized by security officials, have been set on fire. While this dramatic optics might have the support of some, we think that it is brazen illegality that will only exacerbate the situation and not help in the fight against galamsey.”
It stated that the use of such guerilla tactics in the fight against galamsey only undermines the rule of law and gives way for further breaches.
“When Aisha Huang was first arrested, she was charged with some ludicrous, risible and insignificant administrative breaches of immigration regulations. It took a protest and a petition by Occupy Ghana on 16th May 2017 for her to be charged with the proper offences under the Minerals and Mining Act, which, as we will show, provides for serious punishment for illegal mining.
According to them they believe that her quiet and hurried deportation by government was to avoid subjecting her to the full rigors of the law. We insist that that unfortunate truncation of the judicial process sounded the death knell to the Galamsey fight. It added that, “the law in the Minerals and Mining Act is clear. There is a fine and imprisonment between 15 and 25 years for each of the following crimes: buying or selling minerals without a license or authority; mining in breach of the law; abetting any breach of the mining law; contracting a non-Ghanaian to provide mining support services; abetting the breach of the mining laws by a foreigner; fabricating or manufacturing floating platforms or other equipment to be used for mining in our water bodies; and providing an excavator for an illegal mining operation.
The Act further provides that a non-Ghanaian who illegally mines or abets illegal mining attracts a large fine and imprisonment between 20 and 25 years, and shall be deported AFTER serving the sentence. This is what should have been applied to Aisha Huang.
It further explained that the law clearly states what should become of equipment confiscated from illegal miners in the event of a swoop.
The legal provision that equipment used in any of these offences is required to be first seized and kept in police custody. Then, when the person using the equipment for the illegal mining activity is convicted, the court will order the forfeiture of the equipment the state.
Then the Minister has 60 days within which to allocate the equipment to a state institution. There is absolutely no legal room for simply torching the equipment. It is illegal and must stop forthwith.
Occupy Ghana says should this illegality continue to be perpetrated by state apparatus; all efforts to end illegal mining in the country will not achieve anything. “If the security agencies make arrests and the law is not applied, it weakens their resolve and says to all that we are not serious about ending this menace. And the judiciary should need no encouragement to try cases with dispatch so that Ghanaians can see results in real time. It cannot be business as usual, APPLY THE LAW…” it concluded
Liquid Telecom unveils its new identity, Liquid Intelligent Technologies in Zambia as it establishes itself as the digital service partner of choice for African businesses
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
This rebrand highlights the organisation’s expansion of its Cloud business, Cyber Security services, and other technologies added to its existing telecoms and connectivity capability
Liquid Intelligent Technologies Zambia, part of the Liquid Intelligent Technologies group (www.Liquid.Tech), a pan-African technology company, unveils its new brand identity. This rebrand reflects the organisation’s extensive business transformation from being a telecommunications and digital services provider to a full one-stop-shop technology group for local businesses.
Over the last two decades, Liquid has firmly established itself as the leading pan-African digital infrastructure provider. This rebrand to Liquid Intelligent Technologies highlights the organisation’s expansion of its Cloud business, Cyber Security services, and other technologies added to its existing telecoms and connectivity capability.
Liquid Intelligent Technologies will expand its Managed Services offerings to drive and ensure successful adoption of tools to re-imagine their customers’ businesses and how they work and connect. Whether they are focused on enabling collaboration or utilising the most advanced cloud applications.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Liquid Intelligent Technologies is redefining Network, Cloud and Cyber Security offerings through strategic partnerships with leading global players, bringing innovative business applications, intelligent cloud services and world-class security to the African continent.
With the future of network security-driven from the cloud, Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ recently launched its Cyber Security business unit, which uniquely delivers security at its core, protecting your business’s data throughout its lifecycle.
Over the last decade, the Government in Zambia has been working with businesses in the private sector to realise their vision of a Smart Zambia. Core to this vision is digital inclusion where no one in the country is left behind. At Liquid Zambia we have been partnering with the government to help them accelerate their digital transformation agenda and our rebrand serves as a reaffirmation to this continuous partnership. Our extensive and reliable backbone infrastructure in the country has ensured that our customers in the business and retail sectors identify us as a premier connectivity provider, now we will be layering our existing offering with our digital products and services like cybersecurity and cloud services showcasing our commitment to transforming our great nation into a digitally led economy,” concludes Mark Townsend, CEO Liquid Intelligent Technologies Zambia.
About Liquid Intelligent Technologies:
Liquid Intelligent Technologies is a pan-African technology group with capabilities across 14 countries, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. Established in 2005, Liquid has firmly established itself as the leading pan-African digital infrastructure provider. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is redefining Network, Cloud and Cyber Security offerings through strategic partnerships with leading global players, innovative business applications, intelligent cloud services and world-class security to the African continent. Under its new brand identity, Liquid Intelligent Technologies has eight business units, namely: Liquid Networks, Liquid Business, Liquid Sea, Liquid Cloud, Liquid Cyber Security, Liquid Home, Liquid Innovation and Liquid Satellite. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is now a full one-stop-shop technology group that provides tailor-made digital solutions to businesses in the public and private sectors across the continent. The Group also operates state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Harare and Kigali, with a combined potential 19,000 square metres of rack space and 78 MW of power.
*SOURCE Liquid Intelligent Technologies
US-based Outsource Monetic™, 1st Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) to operate in West and Central Africa (UEMOA and CEMAC
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
|Local remote teams will be established in each of the 14 countries to supervise, operate and service the network of ATMs rolled out by the startup|
Outsource Monetic™ , an Atlanta GA based startup, officially started its commercial and technical operations in West and Central Africa region on March 15th 2021.
Outsource Monetic™ is the 1st Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) to operate in the 8 countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) and the 6 countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon).
“We are thrilled and excited to start our company’s journey in Africa” said Mika DIOL, Founder & CEO of Outsource Monetic™, former Microsoft and Oracle Manager with more than 21 years of experience. “Thanks to the mindset, skills, and capabilities of the team ; we have the foundation of success in our mission to innovate and reshape the ATM channel in the 14 African countries we operate in. We are bringing users new ways of interaction by modernizing and adding up valued-added services to the ATMs.”
With Headquarters in Atlanta GA (USA), Outsource Monetic™ will run its Africa operations from the office in Dakar (Senegal) as the hub for Africa West activities and from Lomé (Togo) office as the hub for Africa Central operations. Local remote teams will be established in each of the 14 countries to supervise, operate and service the network of ATMs rolled out by the startup.
About Outsource Monetic™:
Outsource Monetic™ is an Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) providing ATM outsourcing and ATM as a Service in West and Central Africa. Outsource Monetic™ is headquartered in Atlanta, with offices and operations in 14 West & Central African countries of UEMOA and CEMAC region.
*SOURCE Outsource Monetic™
FQM SPENDS US$1.65 BILLION IN ZAMBIA IN 2020
May 1, 2021 | 0 Comments
More than 2,500 locally registered companies benefit from mine procurement
|SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – Zambia’s largest mining company, First Quantum Minerals (FQM), is forging ahead in its quest to engage more local people in its supply chain to strengthen Zambian-owned businesses and boost the local economy.|
The company procured US$1.65 billion (K36.3 billion) of goods and services from companies registered in Zambia in 2020, representing 85 percent of the total spending by its two mines: Kansanshi in Solwezi and Sentinel in Kalumbila.Last year’s figures – which include local procurement of fuel, electricity and equipment from local agents – bring to US$4.49 billion the total spent locally in the last three years, with the proportion disbursed locally growing steadily from 81 percent in 2018.
More than 2,500 locally registered businesses benefited from mine contracts in 2020 alone.”FQM is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs as they strive to get a foothold in the highly competitive mining value chain,” said FQM Government Affairs Specialist Dr Godwin Beene.“Our vision is sustainable and responsible local procurement that positively contributes to a complex supply chain and by extension the economic and social development of the communities in which we operate.”
“We have always prioritised local suppliers wherever possible. In instances where the skills, goods, and standards we need are not available locally, we work with local entrepreneurs operating in that sector to develop that capacity. This in turn culminates in them being our preferred suppliers over foreign-owned companies once standards are sufficiently raised.”
“Admittedly there are limits to how far we can build the capacity of local suppliers. No Zambian company currently manufactures heavy-duty mining equipment, which makes buying it locally impractical as the local supplier would only act as a middleman and still end up importing the machinery from the manufacturer and sell it to us at a higher price – which is not sustainable.
Our capacity building initiative is therefore focused on services that Zambians can provide without raising our operational costs too much.”The goal of FQM’s pro-Zambian approach is to build capacity and stimulate sustainable growth for local businesses around its Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi and Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila, and the country at large.
First Quantum’s commitment to operationalise its local procurement policy is aimed at maximising the mine’s long-term business sustainability goals along with creating synergy with other sector players.Studies on procurement policies in the extractive sector have shown that effective local procurement practices can contribute to job creation, skills development, and improve efficiency in the supply chain by lowering costs in logistics, while also facilitating secure access to critical goods and services.-Ends-
|About First Quantum Minerals Ltd|
First Quantum Minerals Ltd is a global metals and mining company producing mainly copper, gold and zinc. The company’s assets are in Zambia, Spain, Mauritania, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru.
In 2020, First Quantum globally produced 779,000 tonnes of copper, 265,000 ounces of gold and 13,000 tonnes of nickel.
In Zambia it operates the Kansanshi mine – the largest copper mine in Africa by production – and smelter and the Sentinel mine in Kalumbila.
The company is listed on the Lusaka and Toronto stock exchanges.
Nkafu Debate: Experts Underscore Need to Adjust Cameroon’s Regulatory Framework on Businesses
April 29, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Cameroon has taken several reforms to improve its business environment and to attract investors. However, there are many bottlenecks to enhancing the business environment in Cameroon, one of which is the regulatory framework.
To contribute to the improvement of Cameroon’s ranking of the Doing Business Index (DBI), the Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation organized a public debate on April 27 at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, in Yaounde with the main question being “Should the government relax regulatory norms to facilitate the profitability and growth of new business in Cameroon?”
According to the Doing Business Index, Cameroon is ranked 167th out of 190 countries. This means that there are still a lot of worries (taxes, building permits, business creation). This is because the regulatory framework is not suited to our context,” Dr Jean Cedric Kouam, Senior Economic Policy Analyst at the Nkafu Policy Institute stated.
“Be it the government or the civil society or even young entrepreneurs, we are all guilty of the difficult situation small businesses find themselves in. This is because we do not submit our complaints to the right people. For example, there exist a Chamber of Commerce and one of Agriculture that can help influence reforms in the said domains but we do not make use of them,” said Dr Ahanda Sosthene, Director, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, SBEC.
“We have to respect the rules and regulations given by the government to thrive as an SME. SBEC Is a worthy incubator for small and medium-sized enterprises.”
With all the problems associated it seems like that the regulatory framework is a discouraging factor to entrepreneurs in Cameroon, considering it is extremely difficult for some to meet up with these standards or certifications in terms of cost. “This situation could also partially explain why 80% of businesses die before 5 years in the country, the Nkafu Policy Institute stated.”
The Nkafu Debates seek to provide a platform for Cameroonian and African high-level experts to objectively address the conditions required to succeed in investing in Cameroon.
“Many young people get into entrepreneurship without really trying to get the right information on documentation, procedures and costs. The role of incubators is not only to train but also to transmit the right information,” Dr David Tsunayo, Researcher and Deputy Coordinator of the Cameroonian National Committee for Technology Development said.
“Young people need support more than access to funding,” Christelle Youmbi, CEO of AM Group and Vice President of Cameroon’s Youth Economic Forum said.
“Today, we have embarked on a journey on the same boat that leads us to Cameroon’s emergence. So, all the stakeholders need to come together and ameliorate the situation that we find ourselves in.”
Certifications and standardization norms which are among some of the regulatory policies needed in every formal economy for the protection of consumers, seem to affect the profitability and survival of new businesses in Cameroon. Many businesses owners report being handicapped by the standards imposed on them. The survival and profitability of businesses in Cameroon are plagued by the requirement to obtain authorization or homologation before any innovations and marketing which is a form of closure of the market and public space.
According to a release by the Nkafu Policy Institute, a young entrepreneur who invents a simple oximeter to allow patients to measure their blood pressure independently must submit his product to the authorization of the Ministry in charge of public health. To transform seasonal fruit into organic fruit juice, you must undergo a series of costly certifications. Also, the Tanty brand, one of the few growing companies in the food industry, had preferred to close its peanut oil production line rather than invest in standardization.
Kenya Airways and Congo Airways Sign MOU for Strategic Cooperation
April 23, 2021 | 0 Comments
The cooperation between Kenya airways and Congo Airways will cover technical capacity building,
commercial cooperation, and human resource training.
Nairobi, April 22nd, 2021 — Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways PLC, has signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Congo Airways to collaborate, strengthen, and
bolster aviation ties between Kenya and The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The signing of the strategic cooperation was witnessed by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and
his Congolese host H.E. President Félix Tshisekedi on the last day of President Kenyatta’s
three-day State visit of DR Congo. The partnership agreement was signed by Kenya Airways
Group CEO Allan Kilavuka and his Congo Airways counterpart Désiré Balazire Bantu in
Mr. Kilavuka highlighted the importance of the strategic cooperation between the two
national carriers and their role in enhancing trade exchange between the two countries and
the importance of collaboration on expertise that benefit the aviation sector, especially as
the aviation sector recovers from the devastating impact of COVID-19.
“The cooperation between Kenya Airways and Congo Airways will cover technical capacity
building, commercial cooperation and human resource training. Part of this will cover costeffective aircraft maintenance and technical expertise, particularly on the Embraer E-Jet fleet
training in engineering, flight deck and crew, route codeshare opportunities and other
synergies,” said Mr. Kilavuka.
“The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures aimed
at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus disrupted the aviation sector, with most markets
operating at reduced capacity and some fully shutting down. As the global economies
continue to rebound steadily, this commitment provides an opportunity to leverage on the
strengths of the industry players in the future,” added Mr. Kilavuka.
Kenya is looking to leverage the DRC market by diversifying its export destinations,
particularly when the COVID 19 induced disruption has brought into visibility the need for
deeper inter-regional trade. Kenya’s exports to the DRC were valued at 133M US in 2019. The
signing of the MOU comes two months after the 21st EAC Heads of State summit directed the
community’s council to expedite the verification mission following the application by DRC to
join the trading bloc. President Uhuru Kenyatta is in the DRC to strengthen bilateral ties.
Strengthened bilateral between the two countries will boost the National Carrier and Congo
Airways strengthen passenger and cargo transport businesses between the two markets and
the international network.
“Congo Airways is very excited about this agreement with Kenya Airways. This partnership
will contribute to the promotion and the development of both companies. The air transport
sector has been very impacted by the pandemic with COVID-19. Together we will provide
better solutions and innovations. In the future our companies will be able to face the single
air transport market as decided by the African Union,” stated Mr. Balazire Bantu.
KQ currently operates an Embraer maintenance service centre – through its Technical
Department – having flown the e-jets since 2008. Its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
(MRO) has two state-of-the-art hangers, mechanical and avionics workshops, and expansive
warehousing capable of handling line and base maintenance of several aircraft models,
including B737s E-Jets, and B787.
The DRC has a population of about 87 million. A GDP size of over USD82 billion presents a vast
market that members of the East African Community have been keen to tap into for years.
The International Air Transport Associations (IATA) estimates that African airlines saw a
combined loss of USD 2 billion due to reduced passenger travel in 2020. Kenya Airways
continues to diversify its services and operations in response to the ongoing impact of COVID19 on the aviation sector.
-About Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 41 destinations
worldwide, 34 of which are in Africa and carries over four million passengers annually. In 2020 KQ was
named Africa’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards. It continues to modernize its fleet with
its 32 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Kenya Airways services London, Amsterdam, Guangzhou, Sharjah, Mumbai and over 25 intra-Africa
routesin addition to its passenger network. The on-board service isrenowned and the lie-flat business
class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways
takes pride in being at the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through
its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
About Congo Airways
Congo Airways is a state-owned company formed on August 15th 2014 which commenced commercial
operations on October 20th 2015. As an IOSA certified company, it is full member of IATA, AFRAA and
ATAF. The company owns two A320 and two Dash 8 Q400 bought on equity. It expects to receive
delivery of four Embraer E2 (two E190-E2 and two E195-E2). It operates 15 routes within its domestic
market and resumed flights within its regional market, including Johannesburg, South Africa, in
December 2020. The airline anticipates reopening additional routes in the second half of 2021 and
adding capacity on long haul destinations for cargo and passenger operations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) circular on the trading of foreign securities by investment platforms in Nigeria
April 13, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Ibrahim Moshood*
The apex regulator of securities in Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has issued a circular, with respect to technology investment platforms providing the Nigerian public with access to foreign securities. The circular dated 8 April 2021, issues a strong warning to these investment platforms and Capital Market Operators (“CMOs”) in partnership with them to provide brokerage services. Both categories of players in the financial space were warned to desist from providing the Nigerian public, with access to foreign securities. This is pivoted on the grounds that these securities are neither registered with the SEC nor listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”).
From 2018, technology start-ups have pioneered major disruptions of the financial space in Nigeria. These disruptions have been lauded by Nigerians, particularly at a time when there has been a persistent devaluation of the Naira. Savvy and upwardly mobile Nigerians have then opted to use these technology platforms, to save in foreign currencies and also purchase foreign stocks that are being offered. Some of these technology investment platforms include Trove, RiseVest, Chaka and Bamboo etc. They typically partner with CMOs in Nigeria for their expertise and already-procured brokerage licence.
As a background, recall that in December 2019, the SEC had published a statement to notify the Nigerian public of its interim orders to restrain an investment platform called Chaka Technologies Limited (“Chaka”). This order came about as a result of the advertisement and sale of foreign securities of companies such as Google, Alibaba, Facebook, Tesla etc. in Nigeria by Chaka. The SEC had informed the Investment Securities Tribunal (“IST”) that Chaka had offered securities for sale “outside the regulatory purview of the Commission and without requisite registration as stipulated by the Investment and Securities Act (“ISA”).
Chaka responded to the allegations above by releasing a press statement, denying the wrongdoing entirely. However, in March, Chaka announced that it had obtained a newly created licence from the SEC which allows it to offer the services above i.e. advertising and sale of foreign securities to the Nigerian public.
Notwithstanding the development above, the SEC had kept quiet for months on this issue until this recent circular, which Nigerians have reacted to as a deliberate attempt to stifle innovation by the regulators, create a multiple licensing regime, an inordinate drive for revenue and a shoddy attempt at stabilizing exchange rate of the Naira.
Currently, two major questions should be addressed by the SEC.
- Is the sale of foreign securities by these platforms prohibited in Nigeria?
- Is there a licence issued by the SEC or some other regulatory agency that would allow these investment platforms carry on the business of selling foreign securities in Nigeria?
Hopefully, the SEC will release a more informative circular or press statement clarifying what investment firms should do to continue offering these foreign securities. In the meantime, investors and investment firms alike are enjoined to consult professionals for more clarity.
*Associate, Centurion Law Group,.