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A first in Africa: AfrAsia Bank launches a pioneering rewards program, ‘XtraMiles’, offering a world of possibilities to its MasterCard cardholders
February 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

XtraMiles is a new currency that clients can collect not only on everyday spending, but also on bank deposits and investments held with the Bank 021014_1420_afirstinafr1AfrAsia Bank (http://www.afrasiabank.com) introduces Africa’s first rewards program offering real time booking on over 450 airlines and at 200,000 hotels to its World and Titanium MasterCard cardholders. In collaboration with Infinia Services & Solutions and MasterCard, this rewards program enables cardholders to earn XtraMiles whenever they swipe their World or Titanium MasterCard credit cards. This innovative product underpins further the bank’s unremitting commitment to creating value for its niche market and differentiating itself through unique products with priceless privileges. XtraMiles is a new currency that clients can collect not only on everyday spending, but also on bank deposits and investments held with the Bank. With a secure, convenient and reliable live platform, customers can complete an entire transaction with just a few clicks of the mouse, searching for fares, choosing a trip itinerary, booking a flight or hotel, and pay using their XtraMiles. Besides a complete accrual engine attached with Customer Relationship Management and communication capabilities, there is no manual processing of rewards as the platform will be accessed by clients for automatic redemption. Cardholders have access to an extensive range of benefits including exclusive lifestyle experiences, local rewards and online merchandise among others. “At AfrAsia Bank, we believe that it is important to anticipate our customers’ needs and wants, and tailor the most rewarding experiences for them. We are thrilled to be the first bank not only in Mauritius but in the African territory to introduce this revolutionary rewards program and living up to the strides we have taken to become our clients’ financial partner of choice. The collaboration with MasterCard and Infinia to introduce the XtraMiles rewards program cements our position as the best private bank in Mauritius, which is also in line with our strategy to serve our valued clients locally and globally,” says James Benoit, CEO of AfrAsia Bank. “MasterCard and AfrAsia Bank have collaborated for more than six years to bring customers innovative products that complement their local and international lifestyles,” commented Daniel Monehin, Division President, sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard. “We are thrilled that the bank has selected two premium MasterCard payment cards to introduce the first air miles rewards program in Mauritius.” [caption id="attachment_8469" align="alignright" width="300"](From left to right)- Didier Perrier – Manager at Scomat, Marie Agnes Legoff – Procurement Manager at MSM, Christophe Quevauvilliers – Finance Manager at UBP and Suneeta Motala, Head of Marketing and Public Relations at AfrAsia Bank) (From left to right)- Didier Perrier – Manager at Scomat, Marie Agnes Legoff – Procurement Manager at MSM, Christophe Quevauvilliers – Finance Manager at UBP and Suneeta Motala, Head of Marketing and Public Relations at AfrAsia Bank)[/caption] Prashant Khattar, Managing Director of Infinia Services and Solutions said, “At Infinia we put our customer’s customer at the forefront of our platform, offering them not only a wide range of products and services to choose from, but also a knowledge base to document behavioural spending.” On a concluding note, General Manager and Executive Director AfrAsia Private Banking Thierry Vallet pointed out that as a financial service’s market leader in Mauritius, AfrAsia Bank tailors innovative banking solutions for customers, and partners with like-minded organizations. He pointed out that partnerships with MasterCard and Infinia, two organizations able to share global insight and experience, allows the bank to meet the demands of its affluent customers. To learn more about XtraMiles, please log on: http://xtramiles.afrasiabank.com Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of AfrAsia Bank Limited. For media contact: Nthabiseng Magengenene Marketing Manager, Africa Tel: +2711 268 5780 Nthabiseng.Magengenene@afrasiabank.com About AfrAsia Bank Limited Headquartered in the Mauritius International Financial Centre, AfrAsia Bank Limited (http://www.afrasiabank.com) is a boutique private and corporate bank, with the ability to tailor innovative banking solutions for both the local and international markets focusing on: –    Corporate and Investment Banking –    Private Banking and Wealth Management –    International Banking Solutions In addition to Mauritian shareholder, GML, other strong strategic partners include PROPARCO (subsidiary of the AgenceFrançaise de Développement), Intrasia Capital and Asiabridge. The Bank’s core banking and transactional capabilities are bank representative offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg, its asset management arm, AfrAsia Capital Management and its investment banking arm, AfrAsia Corporate Finance as well as its banking holding company, AfrAsia Bank (Zimbabwe) Limited. *Source AfrAsia Bank Limited/APO]]>

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Grindrod and Northwest Rail Company partner to develop the Copper Railway in Zambia
February 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Copperbelt straddles the border of Northern Zambia and the Southern DRC and is amongst the richest under developed geological regions in Africa 140204Grindrod Limited (http://www.grindrod.co.za), the JSE listed freight and logistics service provider, through its wholly owned subsidiary Grindrod Mauritius, today announced the opportunity to work with Northwest Rail Company Limited (“NWR”), to build, operate and maintain a new 590km cape gauge railway from Chingola in the heart of the old Zambian Copperbelt to the Angolan border. These exclusive rights were granted to NWR, a Zambian company, by the Government of Zambia in July 2006. The agreement signed today will enable the parties to conclude the bankable feasibility study which is currently underway. The railway is to be built in two phases – Phase I extending from Chingola to the Kansanshi, Lumwana and Kalumbila mines (290 km of track), and Phase II to connect with the Benguela line on the Zambian-Angola border near Jimbe. Phase I is intended to service existing ore and finished copper traffic, and Phase II is intended to open up a direct corridor to Lobito which would allow landlocked Zambia to import oil directly from Angola, and to stimulate further mining activity in the Western Copperbelt region. The estimated capital cost of Phase 1 is US$ 489 million while Phase 2 of the NWR project is estimated to cost US$500 million. KPMG’s Infrastructure and Major Projects team have successfully developed the project with NWR over the last twelve months and have facilitated the closure of the deal. Subject to the conclusion of the Phase 1 bankability feasibility study, construction is expected to commence during 2014. “I have been developing this project for a number of years and the synergies with Grindrod’s Rail businesses, makes Grindrod an ideal partner in the joint venture and means we will be able to bring this project to being in the shortest possible time”, said Honourable Enoch Kavindele, a former Vice-President of Zambia and founder/owner of NWR. Grindrod’s Rail division operates railways and builds, refurbishes and maintains locomotives and wagons provides rail signaling systems and constructs and maintains track infrastructure. Said James Holley, Grindrod Rail, Divisional Chief Executive, “We have spent the last few years developing our rail capabilities and growing our capacity to participate in the growth in the Africa rail sector. It has meant we are perfectly placed to take up opportunities like this on the African continent”. Said Dave Rennie, CEO Grindrod Freight Services –Ports & Rail, “This investment will enable Grindrod to extract synergies from our existing investments in the North South rail corridor and our port operations in Maputo, Richards Bay and Durban. We also see great potential in creating an Atlantic gateway to Central Africa through Lobito and look forward to playing our part in making this a reality with the development of Phase II”. The Copperbelt straddles the border of Northern Zambia and the Southern DRC and is amongst the richest under developed geological regions in Africa. Current production of copper in this area accounts for around 8% of the world’s production, and BMI International forecasts sustained growth in the Zambian copper industry at 5% per annum over the next decade. Said Dave Rennie, “We like the economic fundamentals of the copper market. We have previously been highly focused on the coal and iron ore markets so this gives us a good opportunity to diversify our bulk commodity mix”. grinrodExisting copper mines are located in the Eastern Copperbelt and are serviced by smelters located near to Chingola (Zambia) and Lubumbashi (DRC). New mine developments have started, and more are planned, in the Central and Western Copperbelt area of Zambia which need to transport ore up to 300kms for processing. Road infrastructure is poor, and the cost of road transport is becoming prohibitive. An alternative rail transport solution will be both more economic for the North Western province of Zambia and much less damaging to the local environmental. Said Enoch Kavindele, “Grindrod has proven itself to be a good custodian of state assets elsewhere in Africa and I believe that as Zambians, we can be pleased to have them as our partners in this important project which will create thousands of jobs in the country in accordance with government policy. *In partnership with APO]]>

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Transcorp, GE partner to improve power generation in Nigeria
February 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

Agreements will dramatically increase capacity at the Ughelli power plant in 2014 tony-elumeluTranscorp Ughelli Power Ltd (TUPL), the power subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), and General Electric (GE) have signed an agreement to expand the capacity of TUPL’s Ughelli power plant by1000MW over the next 3 to 5 years. Both parties have also signed a separate agreement to rehabilitate the damaged GT 15 turbine at the Ughelli plant, which will add 115MW to the plant’s output. Currently, the Transcorp Ughelli power plant generates 360MW of electricity, up from 160MW on November 1, when Transcorp took ownership of the plant. With the additional 115MW, as well as other rehabilitation works planned at the plant, output at Ughelli will increase to 700MW by December 2014. The Ughelli power plant is Nigeria’s largest gas-fired electricity generation asset.  Purchased by Transcorp during the 2013power privatization programme, the $300 million plant is part of the $2.5 billion investment pledge made by the Chairman of Transcorp and Heirs Holdings (http://www.heirsholdings.com), Tony O. Elumelu, CON, to deliver affordable, accessible power to Africa under the Power Africa Initiative. Heirs Holdings, Elumelu’s pan-African proprietary investment company, is Power Africa’s largest private sector investor and a major investor in Transcorp. The agreements were signed at a closed door meeting between executives of both companies, led by Elumelu and the Global Chairman of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt. They follow a cooperation agreement executed by Transcorp and GE in 2013. Commenting, Elumelu said, “We are very pleased to work with GE, a proven world leader in power technology development, on the Ughelli plant expansion project.  With this, we’ve taken a bold step in fulfilling our promise to Transcorp’s stakeholders and the people of Nigeria. In a very short period of time, we have achieved significant impact – power production has more than doubled, and with this agreement, we will see increased output before the end of this year. We are confident that this partnership with GE will further accelerate the achievement of our goals in the power sector.” Immelt said,” GE fully appreciates the confidence expressed by Transcorp. We are happy to bring the considerable resources of GE to support Transcorp’s audacious vision for Nigeria’s Power industry. This partnership with Transcorp underlines GE’s deep commitment to developing the Nigerian power sector.” A publicly listed conglomerate with strategic investments in the power, hospitality, business and energy sectors, Transcorp, through TUPL, is committed to transform and bring the plant to profitability by increasing its generating capacity to impact positively on the socio-economic development of Nigeria. GE, one of the world’s most reputable companies is the global leader in the design, manufacture, supply, installation and maintenance of technology and services for the Power, Aviation, Oil & Gas, Healthcare and Transportation sectors. About Transcorp Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) is a publicly quoted conglomerate with a diversified shareholder base of over 300,000 investors, the most prominent of which is Heirs Holdings Limited, a pan-African proprietary investment company. The Transcorp portfolio comprises strategic investments in the power, hospitality, agribusiness and energy sectors. Our notable businesses include Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja; Transcorp Hotels, Calabar; Teragro Commodities Limited, operator of Teragro Benfruit plant – Nigeria’s first-of-its-kind juice concentrate plant; Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited and Transcorp Energy Limited, operator of OPL 281. For more information about Transcorp, please visithttp://www.transcorpnigeria.com About Heirs Holdings Limited Heirs Holdings (http://www.heirsholdings.com) is a pan-African proprietary investment company driving Africa’s development. We are active long-term investors who specialise in building businesses and corporate turnaround. We aim to transform the companies in which we invest and grow them into businesses that last. We invest in Africa to create value for our shareholders and partners, and to create economic prosperity and social wealth for the continent.  Our investments in power, financial services, oil and gas, real estate and hospitality, agri-business and healthcare are helping to build economies, create jobs, drive prosperity and ultimately transform the lives of ordinary Africans in Africa. For more information about Heirs Heirs Holdings, please visithttp://www.heirsholdings.com About GE GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter, using the best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges, finding solutions in energy, health and home, transport and finance, building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at http://www.ge.com. SOURCE Heirs Holdings/APO]]>

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Africa: DHL’s deliveries just got stranger…
January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

Strangest African deliveries of 2013 DHL Express (http://www.dhl.com) recently released its annual list of quirky, strange and speedy delivery requests for 2013 which ranged from delivering nine gorillas across two continents, to transporting the Webb Ellis trophy and a specific heart internal defibrillator. In addition to these global shipments, a few more interesting packages which were delivered closer to home have come to light and are worth mentioning. According to Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Marketing for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), within the SSA region there has been an increase in strange food delivery requests with each passing year. He says that it is now becoming an increasingly interesting exercise to pin-point which deliveries stand out above the rest. “One unique shipment to mention is a 32kg consignment of Haggis which was moved from the UK to Tanzania for an event. The Scottish delicacy was swiftly transported through customs and delivered in time for the prestigious event.” Rahavendra says that in Kenya, live human eyes are transported on a regular basis. ”Understandably, the corneas have an extremely short life span and are therefore highly perishable, which possess a significant challenge to us. “What adds to the complexity is the fact that the recipient is booked and prepped for surgery while the cornea is in transit. The successes of these deliveries rely on prior customs releases, dedicated delivery vehicles and a passionate team of certified international specialists on the ground. When there is no margin for error and the result could affect another person’s opportunity for sight, every stop is pulled out from pick-up to delivery.” Another unusual personal delivery was for a customer who shipped his laundry from the United Kingdom to a Southern African country….for dry cleaning. For many people, a wedding is one of the most important and special days of their life, and the price of one’s happiness on ‘the big day’ is immeasurable, says Rahavendra. “In light of this, 1.7 tons of fresh flowers were sent from Johannesburg to Douala in Cameroon for such an occasion. This personal request came from a customer whose two sons were getting married on the same day. Fast forward a few short hours, and a splendor of colour was delivered to the event in time for the all important nuptials.” He says that on the conservation front, an interesting delivery in Kenya included the transport of butterfly larvae. “Any delay in the transport process would result in the premature hatching of the butterflies, from which they would not have survived. Following a similar operational process as the transport of the corneas previously mentioned, another successful, yet another unique delivery was completed. [caption id="attachment_8229" align="alignright" width="189"]Sumesh Rahavendra: Sumesh Rahavendra:[/caption] “From election ballots to presidential documents, DHL Express is trusted to pick up and deliver shipments as fast as possible around the world on a scheduled Express Network. The customer is at the center of everything we do and it is this customer centricity that drives us to deliver two million packages across the globe on a daily basis, no matter how unique the package might be. Although sometimes challenging and stressful, such requests certainly help bring a smile to our faces on a busy day”, concludes Rahavendra. DHL – The Logistics company for the world DHL (http://www.dhl.com)  is the global market leader in the logistics industry and “The Logistics Company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and about 285,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education. DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenue of more than 55 billion Euros in 2012. *In Partnership with APO    ]]>

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UN WOMEN AND MARA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO SUPPORT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

 Announced during the Africa Union Summit in Ethiopia, the partnership will see the two entities working side-by-side to provide mentoring, training and business tools designed to meet the individual needs of women entrepreneurs around the world. One such tool, ‘Mara Mentor’, has been developed by Mara Online to help young entrepreneurs connect with their industry peers, as well as gainaccess to valuable business advice, online networking opportunities and training materials. ‘Mara Mentor’ can be accessed via a website (mentor.mara.com), and a recently launched app which helps users connect, anytime, anywhere. UN Women’s Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment (www.empowerwomen.org), is a global community set up to share resources and tools for women’s economic empowerment, crowd-source feedback on innovative ideas and to connect women entrepreneurs and workers with experts, peers, networks and potential partners.   Combining the strengths of the Mara Mentor online platform and app and UN Women’s EmpowerWomen.org, as well as its network of over 80 country offices around the world, women entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to better connect with policymakers, researchers, teachers, students, civil society activists, investors, social change-makers; access resources and training for the development of business skills; and develop an understanding of how to overcome specific challenges to gender equality. Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder of Mara Foundation, said: “Having founded my own business at the age of 15, I understand all too well the challenges that face entrepreneurs setting up a business. These challenges are even greater for women who continue to lag behind men when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. “I hope that through the combined efforts of UN Women and Mara Foundation, we can create a level playing field for women entrepreneurs and a solid network of women business leaders who will continue to inspire other women in Africa for generations to come.” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “Women’s economic empowerment is essential to ending poverty and advancing gender equality and we are pleased to partner with the Mara Foundation to make greater progress.” “Women have a right to equal opportunities and equal access to resources and training. When women are empowered and barriers removed, the benefits ripple outward to many others, making economies more inclusive and stronger. Through this partnership, we hope to accelerate gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Africa and beyond.” Over the next 12 months, UN Women and Mara Foundation will jointly host a series of debates on women’s economic empowerment across both platforms. Experts from around the globe will be invited to facilitate discussions and engage members of Mara Mentor and EmpowerWomen.org in order to better understand the barriers faced by women in business in Africa and globally. It is expected that this will further drive innovative approaches to women’s economic empowerment. UN Women and Mara Foundation will be participating in a number of other joint activities and events to raise awareness of the issues women face in business and further strengthen the support provided to them by both the private and public sector. About UN Women UN Women is the global champion for women and girls, dedicated to upholding the rights of half the world’s people. Its 2010 formation, applauded around the globe, offers an historic opportunity to unleash progress for women and for societies. UN Women acts on the fundamental premise that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty and discrimination, and that gender equality is central to achieving development. UN Women stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, but pursues a handful of elements proven to unlock rapid transformation, including ending violence against women; increasing women’s participation and leadership, and enhancing women’s economic empowerment. About Mara Foundation Mara Foundation is part of Mara Group, a pan-African multi-sector business with extensive operating experience in both African and international markets. Established in 2009, Mara Foundation focuses on fostering entrepreneurialism in Africa through a myriad of programmes designed to address the complete life-cycle of an entrepreneur’s business idea. The Foundation works to create sustainable economic and business development opportunities for young entrepreneurs via Mara Women, Mara Mentor, Mara Launchpad and the Mara Ad-Venture Capital Fund. Mara Mentor’s online platform and mobile app have been developed by Mara Online – Mara’s online and mobile technology business. The Foundation is active in a number of countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria. For more information, visit www.mara-foundation.org.  ]]>

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IMF and Mozambique to Host Regional Conference Africa Rising on Economic Successes and Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa
January 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Government of Mozambique will co-host a conference on May 29-30, 2014, in Maputo to take stock of Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong economic performance and the ongoing challenges in the region. The Africa Rising conferencewill also explore how to strengthen the partnership between the IMF and its African member countries. The conference will bring together policymakers from Africa and beyond, and leaders from the private sector, civil society, and academia with the goal of exploring avenues to sustain the region’s current growth performance and sharing the benefits more widely among all the populations. “The Mozambique Conference will provide a unique opportunity to address Africa’s achievements and the road ahead. We are very much looking forward to listening to all our partners in Africa,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “The Fund has a very constructive dialogue with African policymakers that we believe has assisted the region in a reform effort that has paid off significantly. So this event will broaden the policy discussion at this crucial juncture, bringing together all those committed to Africa’s continuing success.” An increasing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have achieved strong growth in recent years. This performance has increased standards of living and reduced poverty in many countries. It has also made many economies stronger and more resilient, as demonstrated during the global financial crisis. But many challenges remain. Poverty remains high in many countries. For those that have been doing well, the key challenge now is to maintain high growth, while boosting job creation and accelerating structural transformation. For others, notably those that recently have emerged from conflict, the first priority remains to establish political and economic stability to provide the basis for a strong economy. Discussion at the conference will focus on these key issues, along with others that are central to Africa’s efforts to move up the development ladder: fostering inclusion and job creation; harnessing natural resources wealth for the benefit of current and future generations; financing infrastructure; creating deeper and broader financial markets; and overcoming fragility. *Source IMF.For further information, please refer to the Africa Rising website at http://www.africa-rising.org. Courtesy of APO]]>

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“Project Atlantis will contribute in making Lagos look like Dubai”-Dr Gerhard Staats of The Nigerian Business Club
January 28, 2014 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L German and married to a Nigerian, investing in Nigeria is almost like an obsession when you talk to Dr Gerhard Staats. He is so passionate about Nigeria, fascinated by the dynamic people he sees each time he visits Nigeria but equally disappointed at the corruption, administrative bottle necks and the negative label imputed on the country by scammers that have give Nigeria a bad name. It has been challenging to set up shop in Nigeria but Dr Staats and his Team are willing to keeping pushing on with plans underway to set up a permanent office in Nigeria. Already involved in sending cars to Nigeria, Staats is scouting for serious partners to launch a housing project in Lagos. The plan designed by his Atlantis firm, has plans for building a city that will host about one million inhabitants and a vibrant economic hub. While consultations are own going with credible partners in Nigeria, Dr Staats believes that the projects he has in mind will be of profound benefits to the people and authorities should take a second  look at the revolutionary housing projects that he and his partners are offering. Dr Gerhard Staats you are German but we see you very involved in formulating projects across Nigeria and Africa before we get into specific projects, why are you so interested in Africa? The question you should ask me is why should I not be interested in Africa and Nigeria? Africa is a fascinating continent, it is a huge market with big investment potentials and the everyday people you see in the continent are very dynamic. Although I love Africa and will be working towards investing in different parts of the continent like Ghana where my friend Mike Baffour hails from, Nigeria is my first interest. Besides the potential there, I have been married for six years to a Nigerian and have been there a couple times and came back with very interesting experiences. I intend to use my expertise in Real Estate, Transport, Logistics, Mining, industry and Religion to see how far my plans for big investments in Nigeria can go. Lets discuss some of your projects and the motives or intended outcomes, the Nigerian Business Club you created has a membership of almost thirty thousand now on social media, how does this membership translate into concrete results that impact on business in Nigeria? Yes NBC is a project what we started on XING (German Business Network) and later on Facebook.  Our goal was to create a business platform where all kinds of international business can meet, share perspectives, opportunities, network, and build mutually beneficial partnerships for more investments in Africa. The Nigerian Business Club now has a membership of about thirty thousand on social media and we will soon open an office in Lagos, Nigeria to better play a consulting role. The Nigerian Business Club has highlighted opportunities from big machines, to trucks, used cars, fashion, food, solar industry, and more, hopefully the office in Lagos will be able to offer better coordination so that all these opportunities and services can have better prospects been translated into concrete results in a way that a more positive impact is felt on the overall economy of Nigeria. May we know about your project company Atlantis and the Lagos Lagoon Project? The Project Atlantis is something similar to the Eko Atlantic City in Lagos. When one sees the efforts made by the Governor of Lagos Babatunde Fashola to draw investors and when one sees the potential available, it was hard to remain indifferent. The Lagoon has the space to build a new metropolis that is safe, clean, fun and booming with business. With the German know how that I and my partners can bring in, this is very feasible. A town for one million people can be created with independent water, electricity, garbage system, fast and affordable internet and telephone, a palm tree garden, hotels, shops and more. When do you actually start the implementation phase of the project? We have been trying to make our plans public and holding discussions with potential partners. One of our partners was asked about the prospects of 12.000 low cost houses and it is an idea we are looking at. This entails a lot especially with the absence of viable partners on the ground but we are working towards the creation of a permanent presence in Nigeria and hopefully once this is done, things will speed up. You have to know first that all Africa Experts in Germany work alone and there is no network what I can use for myself to talk with business partners in Africa for projects. There is no chance to meet real partners from Africa (Investors) in internet why they are afraid for scammers and 419 industries. All of this make a start in many projects very difficult and expensive. Like I mentioned earlier, we are very close to establishing a permanent presence in Nigeria for final talks with partners and investors. In 2013 alone, we sent over 1000 used cars and trucks to Nigeria and that is just a small indication of how huge the market is. For the used car sector we have trustful partners in Nigeria and they became rich in only 2 years. So that’s why I am optimistically for the project Atlantis, our homes which are standard, and low cost will have a big market. What are some of the challenges that you have faced so far as you conceive these projects, and based on the realities in Nigeria, do you think the projects can actually be implemented? [caption id="attachment_8164" align="alignright" width="219"]Dr Gerhard Staats Dr Gerhard Staats[/caption] With its size, its might, its resources and very hard working people, Nigeria should be the envy of everyone; Nigeria should virtually be the Eldorado of Africa. Unfortunately this is not the case right now. Doing business in Nigeria or attempting to get a foothold is very challenging and very complex. You get people especially some who should be custodians of the public trust thinking about themselves first before the people there are suppose to serve. This has earned Nigeria a bit of a bad reputation with international partners who are skeptical about who there deal with in the country. Should the corruption and challenging business climate be enough to make me back off? Not yet, it is my intention to push ahead. As mentioned earlier, my wonderful wife is not only Nigerian but I have been there myself and continue to believe in its incredible potential. Many look at Dubai today and wonder in amazement how wonderful it is, but we tend to forget that about 40 years ago, Dubai was barely more than a little fishing village. Imagine what Lagos can be like in the next 25 years with the right planning, with the right vision, with people thinking about the common good of the people and not just themselves. With all its human and natural resources, many are disappointed with the way things are evolving in Nigeria , you have been there, you have an idea about how things, from the perspective of an outsider interested in investment that will help the economy, what recommendations do you have for the government, what can be done to facilitate investment initiatives like yours? I agree with you about the human and natural resources that Nigeria has and I believed I have mentioned that in the course of this interview. When you compare the potential that Nigeria has to the realities of today, there are like day and night. There are a number of problems from security, to corruption and the negative image that these and the activity of scammers have labeled on the country. The country needs to  be more friendly and welcoming to foreign investors, do more to crack down on corruption and also do more to clean its image. I understand the policies of Europe in Africa have sometimes not been very helpful and full of the double standards that makes people doubtful of the kind of opinions I  am sharing now, but I share them with all the love and interest I have in that country. If Nigeria gets its act right, it will be a power to reckon with not just in Africa but on the global stage. The resources are there, the human potential is there with the best of Doctors, Engineers, Musicians, global business players like Dangote and others. There is no excuse for Nigeria to remain the way it is and I hope the leaders will come together, put Nigeria first before partisan politics, shun and eradicate corruption by showing the right example and punishing culprits and putting to shame all those who indulge in any forms of practices that tarnish the image of Nigeria. Do you have plans to invest in other parts of Africa or you are limited to Nigeria? I would say investing in other parts of Africa is a real possibility. The potentials are not limited to Nigeria and while that country has a special place in my heart and forms the corner stone of our investment plans, the challenges there are big and we will see how things go. There have be overtures from other West African countries like Ghana and a number of countries in East Africa. While we pursue our investment objectives in Nigeria, we will eventually be open to investing in other African countries as well. [caption id="attachment_8165" align="alignleft" width="300"]Dr Gerhard Staats with a truck destined for Nigeria Dr Gerhard Staats with a truck destined for Nigeria[/caption] And I should also add that we are professionals in designing projects and there is one we have in mind that can be set up in any country called the   International Music Hotel. The plan we have comprise up to 11 floors with different kinds of music and  about 340 rooms that are for 340 different stars of music. We have a digital music studio and a stage for events. We have a music university and a Kindergarten. We have private flats for VIP buyers. We need 23.000 m² of land for this and about $ 300-500 million for such a project. Who knows, this is something we may eventually set up in Nigeria or another African country. So back to your question, while Nigeria is our focus now, we will eventually get to other African countries.    ]]>

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He started in his teens with just $14. Now he's a 21-year-old paper bag king
January 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

Teo Kermeliotis and Jessica Ellis* [caption id="attachment_8132" align="alignleft" width="300"]Andrew Mupuya is the founder of Uganda's first registered paper bag company. Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI) is supplying restaurants, supermarkets and medical centers in Kampala Andrew Mupuya is the founder of Uganda’s first registered paper bag company. Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI) is supplying restaurants, supermarkets and medical centers in Kampala[/caption] Award-winning entrepreneur Andrew Mupuya was just 16 years old when he decided to take on the world.That was back in 2008, when both of Mupuya’s parents had lost their jobs and could only afford to cover his school fees. “I had to get to meet my basic needs by myself,” remembers the Ugandan businessman. “I decided to face the world alone.” Inadvertently, the government of Uganda came to Mupuya’s aid. At the time, officials in the country announced that they were considering a ban on plastic bags to curb environmental damage. Mupuya, who was still in secondary school, immediately saw this as an opportunity to launch a paper bag production company. “I conducted a feasibility study, market research around retail shops, kiosks, supermarkets around Kampala and discovered there is need and potential market for paper bags.” To start out his small operation, Mupuya figured out he needed a capital of 36,000 Ugandan shillings ($14). He raised the first $11 from selling 70 kilos of used plastic bottles he’d collected over one week. Mupuya then borrowed the remaining $3 from his school teacher and embarked on his entrepreneurial journey producing paper bags on a small scale. Since then, the business has grown extensively and today, at the age of 21, Mupuya is the owner of Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI), the first registered Ugandan company to make paper bags. The young entrepreneur employs 16 people who produce up to 20,000 paper bags each week. His long list of clients includes restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, medical centers, as well as multinational companies like Samsung — YELI has made about 1,000 niche bags for the local stores of the electronics company.‎ “Right now I have 72 clients,” says Mupuya. “Ninety per cent of our clients always come back.” Green impact Mupuya’s remarkable achievements and shrewd business skills have been recognized with a number of accolades in recent years. In 2012, Mupuya was the winner of the $30,000 Anzisha Prize, a major award given to young African entrepreneurial leaders who take the initiative to address critical needs in their communities. “The awards I have won give me courage to push on with my business,” says the young entrepreneur. “It shows to me how I am doing the right thing and it helps me define the impact am creating.” Uganda has attempted to ban plastic bags in a bid to deal with its acute waste management problem and promote environmental conservation. Yet, they are still used in Kampala and often block drainage systems or collect in heaps on the side of the road. [caption id="attachment_8133" align="alignright" width="300"]Mupuya employs 16 staff who produce up to 20,000 bags a week from inside a small workshop near the bustling center of Kampala. Mupuya employs 16 staff who produce up to 20,000 bags a week from inside a small workshop near the bustling center of Kampala.[/caption] Mupuya, however, believes Ugandans will eventually choose paper over plastic and he even plans to build a recycling operation. “A paper bag is eco-friendly, it can easily decompose,” he says. “But plastic bags take too long, so that is the difference.” ‘Just the start’ For now, Mupuya sources his paper from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. His business is housed in Kasokoso, a slum just outside Kampala’s bustling city center. Here, everything is done by hand and with precision. YELI employees turn out thousands of bags daily, cutting the paper manually and then folding it and gluing it appropriately. But this takes time, and as customer numbers grow, the team cannot keep up with the increasing orders. Mupuya says one of the biggest challenges for his startup right now is supply and demand. “It needs time to produce the right quality and quantity to all clients, because it’s run manually,” he says. “(It’s) quite hard to catch up with some clients who are used to cheap plastic bags,” adds Mupuya. “My next step is to get a machine because I am only able to supply 5% of the demands I have.” Yet Mupuya says that this is a problem that most clients understand, pushing him to keep thinking big and press ahead with his plans to promote environmental conservation. “My vision is to have a cleaner Africa by eradicating use of plastic bags and emphasis on paper recycling,” he says. “I dream of having a big plant where I am able to supply paper bags all over Africa,” adds Mupuya, “putting emphasis on sensitizing about environmental conservation.” “So I believe this is just the start.” *Source CNN]]>

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From Maasai market to facebook success
January 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

Imbuhira Lamba: Owner of Facebook page Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Imbuhira Lamba: Owner of Facebook page Willing Buyer, Willing Seller[/caption] Local markets are known to be crowded, noisy and sometimes mucky. To avoid all this, young generations have founded their markets.  All they need is Internet and a mobile phone, and they sell their products to the world. Welcome to the world of virtual markets.  With the escalating costs of rent, exorbitant goodwill and many business licences, young people are skipping all the bureaucracy to sell their wares online, get paid through M-Pesa, and deliver the goods at the home or office of the buyer. Imbuhira Lamba, a young businesswoman in her mid-20s set up Willing Buyer, Willing Seller page on Facebook, and within weeks, the page had attracted thousands of members and now receives more than 2,000 views per day. “It is basically a market. If you have anything to sell, or you want to buy anything, you post it online and the interested parties will contact you,” says Lamba. She says most young people, fresh from universities have brilliant business ideas but are held back due to lack of capital. With the virtual market, a business owner can now skip the exorbitant costs of setting up business but work from home, and sell their wares online. “It has made it very easy for young people, when you are fresh from college, you don’t have to step a foot into anybody’s office, but work from your bedroom, and sell whatever product you have online,” says Lamba. A beneficiary of virtual markets, Shish Maya, 23, is still in college, and uses her spare time making bangles, and necklaces. “I have been in business for the past one year. I used to go sell my products at Maasai Market but then I realized, there was a lot of competition and sometimes I would spend a whole day and make minimal sales,” says Shish. She set up a Facebook profile, and sells her handmade jewellery. All she does is post pictures of her products and how much each costs. “It also helps because a buyer will also decide if I can custom make a necklace or bangle to their specification.” Shish delivers her products to her clients and is paid upon delivery or via M-Pesa. Wiling Buyer, Wiling Seller founder Imbuhira Lamba says the biggest challenge in hosting a virtual market is trust. “Most Kenyans, especially senior citizens would want to know where your shop is. If you tell them you work from home, they will dismiss you and think you are just another struggling young person,” says Lamba. *Source –The Standard]]>

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Kenya may adopt ‘free market’ airline policy
January 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

By YVONE KAWIRA A new tourism committee will look into the establishment of an open skies policy as one of its goals as it works on a recovery plan for the struggling sector.

Tourism Secretary Phyllis Kandie said at the first meeting on Friday that the new Consultative Tourism Recovery Strategy Committee will work with the ministry of Transport to encourage more airlines fly into the country.
“They will ensure fast-tracking of the adoption of the open skies policy to allow more airlines to fly into Kenya, especially Mombasa, as well as ensure aggressive marketing of the destination that will lead to increased charters to Mombasa,” Ms Kandie said.
The open skies policy would liberalise the airline sector to create a free-market environment for the industry.
If adopted, the move will make it easier for airlines seeking direct scheduled flights to Moi International Airport, Mombasa. Applications from Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways are pending, and committee members believe opening the skies would increase the number of tourists arrivals. It is not clear why these applications have not been approved.
The nine-member committee includes Kenya Tourism Federation chairperson Lucy Karume, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers chairman JS Vohra, Kenya Association of Tour Operators chairman Adam Jilo and Kenya Tourism Board managing director Murithi Ndegwa.
Other members are Chris Modigell representing South Coast stakeholders, Roberto Marini representing Malindi stakeholders and Philemon Mwavala for Watamu stakeholders. Others members are Nairobi lawyers Donald Kipkorir and Cecil Miller who will represent non-tourism actors.
Insecurity has also been cited as a reason for the depressed numbers of tourists recently, and there are fears of job cuts due to dwindling revenue. *Source Daily Nation
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Senegal to host new company for Generic Drugs in Africa
January 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

Africa will soon have unbridled access to generic drugs for some of the most common ailments plaguing the continent with a daring move by some young Africans to set up a specialized company in Senegal. Led by Dr Ousmane Diouf, the project known as Sub-Saharan Generics intends to give Africans access to cheap and safe treatments for their most common ailments. Educated in some of the best Universities in Europe and with stints in prestigious pharmaceutical companies, the Team   is not just  out for business but also has the strong desire to give back to Africa. Herman Brodie. working as consultant for the project says it will manufacture “high-quality generic drugs locally to treat the five most common complaints – diabetes, tuberculosis, pain, malaria and hypertension – and sell them at ethical prices.” Brodie says the interview has already been registered with a management team in place  and there are expectations that with the right partners, production should start by 2015. First in your own word words can you give us a background into Sub-Saharan Generics? If you were a seasoned executive in the pharmaceutical industry and you wanted to give something back to your native Senegal, what would you do? If you had earned a Master’s Degree in Drug Design and a PhD in Organic & Medicinal Chemistry, what is the greatest contribution could you make, not only to your home country, but to the entire sub-Saharan region? Some might say support research towards a cure for HIV or some other cutting edge development, but Dr Ousmane Diouf would disagree. To help the maximum number of people using hard-to-come-by capital resources, it would be better to simply give Africans access to cheap and safe treatments for their most common ailments. The project Sub-Saharan Generics intends to do just that. It will manufacture high-quality generic drugs locally to treat the five most common complaints – diabetes, tuberculosis, pain, malaria and hypertension – and sell them at ethical prices. Why the focus on the five diseases you have in mind and how prevalent are they in Africa? Generic drugs exist for all of these ailments and they can be manufactured cheaply. In the developed world they are so readily available most people take them for granted. In sub-Saharan Africa however, the cost is sometimes so prohibitive the sick often have to make the choice between buying food and buying essential medicines. Even when they are able to pay, supply disruptions sometimes mean treatments have to be delayed or interrupted. Alternatively, people rely on drugs from informal distribution channels, many of which are counterfeit and potentially dangerous. In 2000 it was estimated that some 7.5 million adults between the ages of 20 and 79 suffered from diabetes. This figure is much higher now of course and is set to double over the next 25 years. The prevalence of hypertension is also growing rapidly because of changing lifestyles and diets on the African continent. In the case of malaria, it is estimated that 90 percent of the annual 300 million acute cases worldwide, and the more than one million deaths, occur in Africa. Malaria is also responsible for a fifth of all child deaths on the continent, and approximately 200,000 newborns die each year because of infection during pregnancy. Similarly shocking are the numbers on tuberculosis: a quarter of the almost 10 million cases globally occur in Africa. Finally, who in the developed world can imagine not having access to basic painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin? So at what stage is Sub Saharan Generics now? Have you started producing the requisite medical products and if not, when should people expect to start using your drugs? S2G was registered as a limited company in Senegal in July 2013 and has already assembled a management team led by Dr Diouf. It is still in the process of raising capital from would-be investors, but already enjoys the support and endorsement of some key strategic actors including the country’s sovereign wealth fund and the Senegalese government. It has also acquired a plot of land at new industrial development just outside Dakar and will shortly begin construction of the manufacturing installation. Drug production is expected to begin in 2015. How different are your drugs expected to be from the ones that are produced by western pharmaceutical companies? No different. This is precisely the point. S2G drugs will be manufactured to the same exacting standards as those sold and consumed in Europe and in the US with respect to the cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products, and the World Health Organisation. What has been the reaction of the public to your initiatives? So far, only potential investors and key regional actors have been exposed to the project. The response, however, has been universally enthusiastic. Even investors who for reasons of geographical or sectorial constraints have not been able to commit capital to the project, have recognized the necessity and the merit of S2G’s ambitions. About your team or the brains behind this initiative, may we have an idea about the expertise you have or that is there to help in the success of the project? The management team is composed of experienced pharmaceutical industry professionals in the functions of R&D, finance, logistics, market research and technical analysis. Each member brings more than 20 years of experience to their respective domain and has been recruited from senior management positions. Collectively, they have considerable experience of drug design and production, and of construction and management of a drug production facility. Dr. Ousmane Diouf, Director of the Steering Committee and future President of the structure. Boumy Mr Gueye, Head of Buildings Design in compliance with cGMP and Site Director, Conakry, Guinea Mr Abdou Diagne, Business Analyst, Recruitment Officer, Human Resources Director and Chief Financial Officer Mr Cheikh Ahmadou Tidiane Diouf, Director Key Accounts, Project Manager Dr. Moustapha Diawara, Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jerome Theobald, Director of Strategy and Development Dr. Pierre-Yves Leroy, Technical and Scientific Director Dr. Birane Ba, Director of Marketing and Communications Mr Mamadou Sow, Chairman of the Supervisory Board  In what way do you intend to strike a balance between the economic realities of the continent where many cannot afford drugs and profit incentives that drive business or at least to sustain your project? [caption id="attachment_8159" align="alignright" width="85"]Herman Brodie Herman Brodie[/caption] The ‘economic realities’ you mention include severe poverty. Millions of people in the region live on less than one US-dollar per day. And even though, the vast majority of S2G’s output will be sold to the public sector, healthcare budgets are stretched in Africa in the same way as they are elsewhere in the world. The key, therefore, is to produce essential drugs more cheaply. In the price of a generic drug imported from a developed economy, labor probably accounts for up 80 per cent of the manufacturing costs. In Africa these labor costs are far lower, allowing for profitable production even with much lower retail prices. Also, we believe pharmaceutical companies need to be more intelligent with the packaging when operating in sub-Saharan Africa in order keep costs low. One way is to make sure that the package contains no more of the drug than the patient actually needs to consume. As unfortunate as it is, many African governments trivialize health issues, from budgets, to infrastructure, training of Doctors and so on, what is the situation like in Senegal where the project is located, what has been the response of the government? We do not believe this statement applies to Senegal. The current government has made the implementation of universal healthcare a major political goal. For under-5s and over-65s this is already a reality. Similarly, out of concern for public health, some drugs, like those for the treatment of tuberculosis, are already purchased centrally and distributed freely to the population. On the education front, the Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar specializes in Pharmacology and is recognized in the West African region as a center of competence. Africa, well some parts of Africa are living through very exciting times and projects like yours are part of the reason people are growing increasingly confident, what does the continent need to get that break through, what needs to be to be done so that some of the genius of the Africans like you and others can be adequately put to the service of development? Africa simply needs more success stories. Who are some of the other partners that Sub Saharan Generics is working with? S2G already has the financial support of the sovereign wealth fund (FONSIS), the sovereign loan guarantee fund (FONGIP)   as well as a number of domestic institutional investors. Among these are ASKIA Assurance Senegal and CNART Assurances (Compagnie Nationale d’Assurance et de Réassurance des Transporteurs), both insurance companies; and CSTT-AO (Compagnie Sénégalaise de Transport Transatlantique – Afrique de l’Ouest), a transport and logistics company. LOCAFRIQUE, a company that specializes in financing agricultural equipment, will support the venture in kind through the favorable conditions for leasing some of the equipment. The future suppliers of active ingredients for S2G’s drugs will include Navasep Synthesis (France), Axyntis (France), and Amyris (USA).]]>

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New Automotive Policy: Nigeria Will Soon Start Exporting Cars To Other Countries – Jonathan
January 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan has boasted that with the recent National Automotive Industry Policy put in place by his administration, Nigeria will soon begin the exportation of cars to other countries. He also stressed that the policy must come into effect as part of federal government’s industrialization policy. Speaking yesterday when a delegation of business community from Anambra State led by the state governor, Peter Obi visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan assured that his administration would continue to encourage industrialists in the country to grow their business. He added that the federal government was also focusing attention and resources to the power sector because of its pivotal role in industrialization. Noting that this has become necessary if Nigeria must reach its potentials as a great nation, he said, “If any country will be great, we must industrialize. If Nigeria must be a great country, we must industrialize. To this end, we will continue to encourage industrialists in Anambra. “I will refer all the issues you raised to the various departments of government. We are totally committed to creating jobs. Nigeria is a country with huge population of youths. If jobs are not created, there will be crisis. The housing, agriculture and power sectors are also receiving attention. In the next few years, Nigeria will begin to export cars to other countries. We are encouraging government to support local manufacturers”. The president assured that industrialists’ basic needs such as road, power and ports would be looked into appropriately. Also speaking, Vice President Namadi Sambo said the president had not long ago approved $3.7 billion to improve power transmission across the country. Speaking earlier, Governor Obi told the president that the enterprising and preserving nature of Anambra people make them well-positioned to assist him in the achievement of his administration’s transformation agenda. Declaring the support of people of Anambra State for Jonathan, Obi said, “You have excess credit in your political account that these people (members of the delegation) are ready to pay you when you need it”, adding that he led the delegation to express their support for the President and bring to his attention some of their collective needs which if addressed, will help in anchoring the growth and development of industries in the state. He listed some of the needs to include the completion of the 330/132/33KV power substation at Nnewi, provision of uninterrupted power supply in the Onitsha Harbour Industrial Area and Ozubulu Industrial Hub, completion of Nnamdi Azikwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi and the inclusion of Anambra State in the rail master plan. He also pleaded with the president to assist in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of federal roads within the state such as Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Section 1, Nnewi-Okija, start of Onitsha Second Niger Bridge, completion of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriageway and completion of Umueze-Anam Kogi Roads. Thanking the president for the inclusion of Nnewi in the National Automotive Industry Policy of the Federal Government, Obi noted that it would attract many ancillary industries especially with the coming on stream of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant in Kogi State. *Source Information Nigeria]]>

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