New African literature is disrupting what Western presses prize
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
African literature is the object of immense international interest across both academic and popular registers. Far from the field’s earlier, post-colonial association with marginality, a handful of star “Afropolitan” names are at the forefront of global trade publishing.
Books like Chimamanda Adichie’s “Americanah” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”, Teju Cole’s “Open City”, Taiye Selasi’s “Ghana Must Go” and Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing” have confounded neat divisions between Western and African literary traditions. The Cameroonian novelist Imbolo Mbue captured a million-dollar contract for her first book, “Behold the Dreamers”. That’s even before it joined the Oprah’s Book Club pantheon this year.
Such commercial prominence, though, has attracted considerable and unsurprising push back from Western and Africa-based critics alike. Far from advancing narratives with deep roots in local African realities, such critics fear, many of Africa’s most “successful” writers hawk a superficial, overly diasporic, or even Western-focused vision of the continent.
The most visible of these critiques has been directed at the Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo’s “We Need New Names” (2013). The Nigerian novelist Helon Habila worried in a review in the London Guardian that it was “poverty-porn”. The popular Nigerian critic Ikhide Ikheloa (“Pa Ikhide”) frequently makes a similar point. Fellow Nigerian writer Adaobi Nwaubani critiqued the West’s hold on Africa’s book industry in a much-circulated New York Times piece called “African Books for Western Eyes”.
Such debates about African writing could, and likely will, go on forever. Questions about Africa’s place in the current global literary marketplace broaden some of the most urgent queries of the postcolonial era. Who gets to document African realities? Who are the “gatekeepers” of African publishing traditions?
It goes on: To what sort of audience does African writing cater? What is the role – and what should it be, if any – of Western institutions in brokering cultural prestige?
All these issues merit concern.
Between the default poles
Too often, though, African writing ends up volleyed between two default poles of “corporate global” and “activist local”. Some onlookers, as in a recent essay by the Canadian scholar Sarah Brouillette, go as far as to name the biases of even Africa-based print outlets. Kenya’s Kwani Trust is exposed as “Western-facing” due to a web of donor relations. “West” here is code for neoliberal. “Western-facing” is for complicity with a market that skews toward British and American interests.
Faced with a “world system” argument like Brouillette’s, African literature would seem trapped between a rock and a hard place.
But, in fact, this tells only a small part of the story of how African writing now makes its way through the world. It is incomplete to the point of being outdated, given the boom over the past five years in new, globally conscious small US literary presses collaborating with African writers.
A “West subsuming Africa” brand of critique works fine for scholars with no real skin in the game of literary publishing. It also denies real agency to a lot of African writers and other literary professionals. On the ground the literary field is far more forward-thinking and diverse.
There is an entire new body of African writing that escapes this closed circuit of damning truisms. A wave of new or recently galvanised independent literary presses in the US and the UK are working in tandem with some of Africa’s most generative outlets. Together they are publishing and promoting work by young and adventurous African writers.
Labours of love
Books published originally by presses like Umuzi (South Africa), amaBooks (Zimbabwe) and Kwani (Kenya) find second lives with international publishers working to defy the constraints of profitability. They’re mostly labours of love with skeleton staffs that speak to a transcontinental commitment to innovative African writing.
Here are a few key examples of African texts published by independent American outlets – “independent” here refers to presses beyond the “Big Five” US trade publishers (Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon and Schuster.
These include Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Ugandan epic “Kintu”which was originally launched by Kwani. It was the first Anglophone novel put out by the brand-new Transit Books based in Oakland, California. The press seeks maximum visibility for translated fiction alongside texts originally written in English. They advocate for more ethical legal and financial dealings with translators, as well as international writers.
A number of similarly tiny, ambitious ventures have published some of the most acclaimed recent African writing in translation. Deep Vellum Publishing was behind the English translation of Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Etisalat Prize-winning “Tram 83”.
Also dedicated exclusively to works in translation, LA-based Phoneme Media in 2016 published the first ever Burundian novel in English, Roland Rugero’s deeply contemplative “Baho!”. Phoneme’s tagline, fittingly, is “curious books for curious people”.
In a similar vein, Brooklyn’s Restless Books was founded to combat “parochial, inward-looking, and homogenised trends in American publishing”. Among their forthcoming titles, translated from the French is Naivo’s “Beyond the Rice Fields”. It’s the first novel from Madagascar to see its way to English.
Every one of these throws a wrench in a clear, cynical sense of what kind of novel Western presses prize. That is not to mention the many African writers, publishers, and editors working in concert to promote these same texts.
Small, focused channels
It applies to the Anglosphere too. Books that offer a decidedly more locally textured experience than those of the “Afropolitan” rock stars have made their way abroad through small, focused channels.
These works might include Tendai Huchu’s “The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician” (published originally by amaBooks, and in the US by Ohio University Press); Imraan Coovadia’s “Tales of the Metric System” (from Umuzi, and again by Ohio University Press); and Masande Ntshanga’s “The Reactive” (also Umuzi; in the US by family-run Two Dollar Radio.
Clearly, this collection just scratches the surface. But what these works have in common is an investment in stylistic and structural experimentation that confounds rather than caters to an international taste for “digestible” fiction, or to mostly Western points of cultural and institutional reference.
This counter-current of transnational African literary life complicates the equation of culture, geopolitics and economics in more useful ways than stale materialist critiques.
As such titles and presses continue to gain acclaim and recognition by an international readership that is aware of and hostile to shallow representations of Africa – and who crave engagement with challenging fiction, regardless of its origin – critics will need to rethink some of their orthodoxies.
There is more to both African literature and Western publishing than meets an eye too practised in its suspicion. If literature is doomed only to echo the failings of globalisation, then why bother? On the contrary, a new generation of writers and publishers deserve our awareness of the “global literary marketplace” as a meaningfully multidimensional space.
African Innovation Foundation – Call for Applications: Innovation Prize for Africa 2018 Awards
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
“Investing In Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems”
A pan-African open call inviting submissions for the seventh edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards from 10 October 2017 to 10 January 2018
Grand share prize of US$ 185 000 to be awarded to top ten African innovators who demonstratescalable, impactful, market-oriented, and outstanding innovations solving African challenges
African women innovators especially encouraged to participate, following a record number of entries in the previous edition.
Accra, Ghana | Tuesday, 10 October 2017: The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced the seventh edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) themed “investing in inclusive innovation ecosystems” thereby inviting submissions to reward the best home-grown innovations on the continent. The annual Award seeks to celebrate outstanding breakthroughs that deliver practical, and commercially viable African solutions that are innovative and sustainable.
Affirming AIF’s purpose to catalyse the innovation spirit in Africa, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, the IPA Director commented, “We are pleased to launch IPA 2018 and are confident that this edition will prove bigger and better in terms of participation and quality of submissions. With each edition, IPA has gone from strength to strength attracting innovators across disciplines and with outstanding solutions to African challenges. For this seventh edition, we also look forward to expanding our ever-growing network of innovators, enablers and partners in order to join hands and build stronger, more sustainable innovation ecosystems that will propel the continent forward.”
IPA Awards timeline and eligibility
The call for entries will run for three months starting from 10 October 2017 with a submission deadline of 10 January 2018 at 23:59pm GMT. IPA’s goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems by supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges. Specifically, IPA honours and encourages pioneering achievements that contribute towards developing new products, increasing efficiency and/or saving cost in Africa. Applications will be accepted from all Africans including those living in the diaspora.
This edition encourages greater participation from women innovators who are increasingly playing a key role in driving African economies forward through business and entrepreneurship.
The submissions will be judged on the backdrop of IPA’s themes supporting social and economic innovation in the following five categories: manufacturing and service industry; health and well-being; agriculture and agri-business; environment, energy and water; and ICT showcasing ground-breaking innovations.
IPA 2018 winners will be announced at an annual ceremony in July 2018 (exact dates and country to be confirmed). The Award is the leading innovation event on the African calendar, bringing together some of Africa’s most inspiring innovators and entrepreneurs, leaders of hubs and accelerators, angel and venture capital investors, development institutions, government leaders, media practitioners and other game changers.
Creating an enabling environment for local innovators
This year’s theme ‘Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems’ calls for African governments and innovation stakeholders to invest in building bridges for more inclusive ecosystems that will accelerate and scale African innovation at all levels of society. The aim is to increase access to innovative financing and know-how and to enhance collaboration between African nations to enable local innovators to access higher value markets for their solutions at a faster rate.
“IPA is a platform to showcase the inherent ingenuity that exists in Africa,” said Walter Fust, Chairman of the AIF Board. “Each year, several hundred participants submit their entries with new solutions to overcome African-specific challenges. This year we want to drive greater pan-African synergies across our network of enablers and partners to create inclusive opportunities for local innovators and together disrupt business models, empower people and drive positive social impact across the continent.”
Register NOW for IPA 2018
Last year saw over 2 500 applications from across the continent, with the highest number of women applicants (482 representing 19%). This year promises to be even bigger. To date, IPA has attracted more than 7 500 innovators spanning 52 countries featuring 55 of the continent’s top innovators and 400+ innovation enablers making it a truly a pan-African initiative. Previously AIF has supported past winners and nominees with over US$ 1 million to move their innovations forward. Due to the exposure received via IPA, past winners have gone on to secure over US$ 30 million in investments to grow and scale their businesses.
In addition to the lucrative share prize of US$ 185 000 cash, selected innovators are offered many opportunities including access to the AIF networks via its platform, ZuaHub, where AIF connects innovators with resources and help them grow.
AIF has contributed to building African innovation ecosystems and has witnessed increased opportunities for African innovators in comparison to 2011 when IPA was launched.
The selection process will be led by an expert panel based on their knowledge and experience within the aforementioned IPA five key sectors as well as their influence and contributions to the tech and business industry on the African continent.
Get involved and sponsor IPA 2018
In the last six years, the IPA has recognized numerous Africans for their innovative solutions aimed at improving the lives of people across the continent. The IPA Awards celebrate African ingenuity by showcasing and rewarding the very best African innovators solving African challenges and creating new opportunities which lead to inclusive growth across the continent.
For this edition, the IPA will bring together select stakeholders comprising of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders of innovation hubs and technology parks, policy makers as well cutting-edge African training institutions. It is an opportunity for companies to forge important partnerships, synergies and collaborations with innovation enablers from across the continent to strengthen Africa’s investment climate through innovation.
Organizations can register their interest in supporting African innovation by contacting AIF for more details on the IPA sponsorship opportunities available.
African Innovation Foundation (AIF) works to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa.
Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a landmark initiative of the AIF. Its goal is to strengthen African innovation ecosystems through supporting a culture of innovation and competitiveness, whilst spurring growth of innovative, market-driven African solutions to African challenges.
Previous IPA editions were held in Ghana (2017), Botswana (2016), Morocco (2015), Nigeria (2014), South Africa (2013) and Ethiopia (2012). IPA was endorsed at its inaugural edition in Addis Ababa in 2012 where African ministers at the joint Africa Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to support AIF to promote innovation-based societies across the continent.
Besides a host of exciting side events and brand new initiatives for Africa by Africans, IPA 2018 will offer the following prizes and incentives to winners and nominees:
√ Grand prize of US$100 000
√ Second Prize of US$25 000
√ Special Prize for Social Impact US$25 000
√ A voucher for each of the seven IPA nominees of US$5 000
√ Additional incentives include investment opportunities, training and access to a vibrant network of innovation enablers, ongoing PR support and media coverage, and invitation to join ZuaHub.
IGD Fall Frontier 100 Forum to Drive Action on Unlocking Greater U.S. investment in Africa
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
- Top U.S. officials will be speakers for a Fireside Chat on greater engagement of Africa’s private sector in the continent’s economic transformation. A Policy Roundtable will focus on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy.
- African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank (Afeximbank) will serve as Collaborating Partners for the IGD Fall Forum.
- Forum to host the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable.
The Initiative for Global Development will hold its Fall Frontier 100 Forum on October 11-12, 2017, in Washington, DC, where African and global business leaders will convene to drive action on unlocking greater U.S. investment in Africa and African mid-sized companies for sustainable development and inclusive growth.
Under the theme “Growing the ‘Middle’: Investing in African Companies for the Continent’s Economic Transformation”, the Fall Frontier 100 Forum will offer insight and scalable solutions on spurring investment opportunities to grow African companies and forge stronger business relationships between investors and African private sector leaders.
The Frontier 100 Forum is an exclusive, invitation-only gathering of CEOs and senior executives and high-level officials from the IGD Frontier Leader Network.
WHEN / WHERE:
October 11, 2017
Rotunda room, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC
October 12, 2017
Covington, One CityCenter, 850 10th St NW, Washington, DC
WHAT: Sessions that are open for media coverage.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 11, 2017
4:30PM Fireside Chat
Mr. Robert A. Mosbacher, Jr., Chairman, Mosbacher Energy Company & Former President & CEO, OPIC
- Administrator Mark Green, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
- Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
- Mr. Jonathan Nash, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation
5:15PM Policy Roundtable: “Shaping U.S.-Africa Trade and Economic Policy to Improve Africa’s Investment Environment”
- Mr. Gregory Simpkins, Majority Staff Director, House Subcommittee on Africa
- Mr. Scott Eisner, Vice President, Africa Business Initiative, US Chamber of Commerce
- Mr. Merin Rajadurai, Chairman, Secretary of State Open Forum, US State Department
- Ms. Algene Sajery, Professional Staff Director, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
6:15PM Reception, sponsored by the Africa Development Bank
- Mr. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President, African Development Bank
THURSDAY, OCT. 12, 2017
9:00AM Opening Remarks
- Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, President & CEO, Initiative for Global Development
- Dr. Witney Schneidman, Senior International Advisor for Africa, Covington & Burling LLP
9:10AM INVESTMENT DIALOGUE: Growing Africa’s ‘Missing Middle’: Investing in Dynamic African Companies
- Mr. Kenroy Dowers, Head of Corporate Development, Atlas Mara Ltd.
- Mr. Bunmi Akinyemiju, CEO and Managing Director, Venture Garden Group
- Mr. Hurley Doddy, Managing Director, Founding Partner, and Co-CEO, Emerging Capital Partners
2:00PM Africa Investor’s Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable on Africa
The Africa investor (Ai) leaders roundtable will feature an institutional investor public partnership’s (IIPP) dialogue, led by Ministers of Finance, institutional investors and Development Finance leaders, on the products, policies and roles Development Finance Institutions (DFI’s) and policy makers can play, to facilitate greater institutional allocations to public and private markets in Africa and African infrastructure as an investable asset class.
- Mr. Hubert Danso, CEO & Vice Chairman, Africa Investor
- Mr. Nic Firzili, Director-General, World Pensions Council
- Mr. John Espinosa, Managing Director, TIAA Investments
- Mr. Chuck Burbridge, Executive Director, Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund
- Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head, Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division, NEPAD
- Hon. Sfiso Buthelezi, Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of South Africa
- Mr. Joshua Franzel, President and CEO, Center for State and Local Government Excellence
- Mr. Gavin Wilson, CEO, IFC Asset Management Company
3:45PM Keynote: African Diaspora as a Market – Insights and Strategic Implications
- Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, President and Chairman, Afreximbank
5:30PM Africa Investment Rising Celebration Reception
The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through strategic business investment. For more information, visit www.igdleaders.org.
Facebook gets behind African entrepreneurs in a ‘celebration of tech’ week as part of its sponsorship of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The event will see entrepreneurs and developers compete across three categories: social good; productivity and utility; and gaming and entertainment|
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 9, 2017/ — Showcasing Facebook’s (www.Facebook.com) passion for investing in creative, diverse talent across Africa, and nurturing the tech and startup ecosystem, Facebook announces a week-long celebration of activities as part of its sponsorship of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2017 (http://APO.af/wJeqkQ).
In the first event of its kind on the continent, TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2017, will search for the best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs in Sub Saharan Africa. The event will see entrepreneurs and developers compete across three categories: social good; productivity and utility; and gaming and entertainment. It will tell the founders’ stories, uncovering the next wave of disruptive innovations and putting African invention under the global spotlight.
Ned Desmond, COO, TechCrunch adds, “We’re really pleased to be able to bring the first Startup Battlefield to Africa. This is an exciting event, with opportunities to discover the creativity, talent and imagination of startups from across the continent. TechCrunch has held events across the world, and being able to hold Battlefield Africa is a natural progression. We can’t wait to see the results.
Commenting on the partnership, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Partnerships said: “Our partnership with TechCrunch on Africa’s first ever Startup Battlefield event is a natural fit. We’re big believers in supporting and developing young, creative, diverse talent, and we also have a passion for supporting small businesses and startups as they grow, and nowhere is this more exciting than in the rich, diverse continent that is Africa.”
The Facebook team will be in Nairobi, Kenya from 9-12 October to take part in and host a number of events aimed at connecting, listening and learning from the startup and wider tech community:
“With more than a billion people in Africa, we want to do more to enable businesses in the region to connect with people,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for Middle East & Africa. “We are excited to be part of a showcase of how African developers and tech entrepreneurs are empowering people and growing the economy.”
SITA to provide 100% bag tracking for airlines at Istanbul new Airport from day one
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
|SITA technology will allow airlines at one of the world’s biggest airports to track bags at every step|
|ISTANBUL, Turkey, October 9, 2017/ — İGA, contractor and designated operator of Istanbul New Airport, has appointed SITA (www.SITA.aero) to implement its innovative baggage tracking solution at what will be one of the world’s largest airports, allowing airlines to meet IATA Resolution 753’s baggage tracking requirements from day one.
The airport, due to open in 2018, will have capacity to accommodate 90 million passengers a year. Upon completion of all four phases, the passenger capacity will reach over 200 million passengers annually and will be required to track more than 750000 bags an hour. The potential for bags to be mishandled in such a busy environment will be significantly reduced with SITA’s baggage solution by providing information on where every single bag is on its route through the airport.
SITA’s baggage solutıon (http://APO.af/QvebHa) provides the IT infrastructure that makes it possible for airlines to track bags at key points in the journey, including check-in, transfer and arrival. Airlines will also be able to receive updates on where their baggage is at each step of the journey, allowing them to comply with IATA Resolution 753.
Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of İGA Airports Construction said: “We fully understand that having the right technology will be essential to the successful operation of the new airport and future-proofing it for decades to come. It is also critical to ensuring our passengers fully benefit from our new, world-class facilities by providing innovative systems that make the journey through the airport enjoyable and effortless. We are confident that we will conclude this cooperation successfully.”
Ersin İnankul, CIO of İGA Airports Construction said: “In building a new facility, we have the opportunity to implement technology or capacity to accommodate new technologies. One of the technologies that will become a must-have is baggage tracking to meet the June 2018 deadline of Resolution 753. As a service to our airlines, we have partnered with SITA to implement the technology to meet the requirements from day one of operation.”
Jihad Boueri, SITA Vice President Airports for Middle East, India and Africa said: “Baggage is one key area where technology is improving the passenger experience. Increasingly airlines and airports are helping to relieve the anxiety of waiting for bags to arrive by providing real-time information on the status of their bags to passengers. At the same time, by understanding where a bag is at any point in its journey, airlines will be able to act proactively to ensure that a bag is correctly allocated to a flight, ensuring it arrives with the passenger at its destination.”
SITA’s Baggage Report 2017 showed that baggage management by airlines globally improved again in 2016 as the industry focuses on technology investments. According to the report, the rate of mishandled bags was 5.73 bags per thousand passengers in 2016, down 12.25% from the previous year and the lowest ever recorded.
SITA (www.SITA.aero) is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation.
Asoko Welcomes Submissions for Africa 2017 Forum Deal Room with COMESA
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Deal Room will connect some of Africa’s most enterprising SMEs and fast growth companies with investors to help them scale up their businesses.
London, 09 October 2017: Asoko Insight (Asoko), Africa’s largest repository of privately-held company information, will facilitate their second Deal Room at the forthcoming Africa 2017 Forum, to be held in Sharm El Sheikh between the 7th and 9th December.
Africa 2017 is the biggest B2B and B2G forum to take place in Africa this year, bringing together government delegations from over 30 countries and over 1,000 business leaders from across the continent.
The Forum, which will take place on the 8th and 9th December in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, will be preceded by a Young Entrepreneurs Day, on the 7th December aimed to connect tomorrow’s future business leaders, with like-minded entrepreneurs and help them, through a series of workshops and discussions, take their businesses to the next level.
The Deal Room is a platform that connects high investment potential African companies with angel investors, venture capital and private equity companies with the aim to help them raise capital and accelerate their growth. Asoko will facilitate the identification of these companies, support their preparation to pitch and use its network amongst the investor community to match capital to proven business models with great potential.
Speaking on the partnership, Asoko CEO and co-founder, Rob Withagen, said “We are delighted and excited to be an official knowledge partner at the Africa 2017 Forum. African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, but the challenge of positioning themselves in front of institutional investors and global corporates, remains. Being part of initiatives such as this, designed to enhance private sector cooperation and drive investment in sectors of strategic interest within Africa, is at the core of our vision at Asoko”.
The Deal Room at Africa 2017 will focus on companies from 3 sectors: i) agri/agribusiness;; ii) transport and logistics; and iii) light manufacturing. Each of these industry sectors align with the theme of Africa 2017 to promote inclusive growth and cross border trade in the African region.
The selection process will be completed by the end of October. Companies who meet the criteria can apply for consideration by submitting their company details through the following link by the 20th October:
Asoko Insight (Asoko) is Africa’s largest online repository of privately-held company information. Our objective is to facilitate instant access to reliable information on Africa’s most dynamic companies, at scale. With support of research teams based in Addis Ababa, Accra, Lagos and Nairobi, we have captured in-depth profiles on more than 10,000 mid to large cap corporates thus far and are rapidly adding to that number. We work with investors, corporates and governments worldwide who are looking for business partners and investment opportunities.
Africa 2017 Forum is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2017 edition builds on the success of the inaugural Africa 2016, which saw participation of 6 Heads of State and more than 1,000 delegates from 45 countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with exclusive Presidential Roundtables with African leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.
Africa 2017 remains the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa. More information available here www.businessforafricaforum.com
Conferencing in Africa reaches for the stars
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
African conferencing facilities are becoming more than just venues for local gatherings and are now attracting major international events. The continent’s breath-taking natural beauty, rapidly developing infrastructure and vibrant multi-cultural people offer an increasingly attractive destination for some of the biggest global strategic events. Elzaan van Rhyn, Groups and Convention Manager at Peermont discusses the growing sophistication of conferencing facilities in Africa and how they can benefit companies and local communities.
With the global economy expected to grow by just 2.7% in 2017 and the African economy by 2.9%, live events have maintained their relevance in a time of cost-cutting. This is despite the potential challenge from teleconferencing technology, which is delivering a much higher image and sound quality than ever before. While the global village is relying more and more on technology to connect people, nothing beats a live event where people can interact with each other for longer periods of time and in genuine ways.
Long-term relationships and contacts can be built without the worry of losing Internet connection or electricity, and nothing could ever replace the subtle nuances of face-to-face contact that are lost even through the most advanced digital contact. Along with a vibrant grass-roots economy, the continent’s unique cultural and tourism experiences mean the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry in Africa is starting to boom, despite budget cuts.
In fact, while companies and government departments might cut marketing, advertising and promotion costs, budgets are being diverted to conferences and exhibitions, as the measurable return on investment is more substantial and impactful. Increasingly, conference organisers are looking for fresh locations that leave attendees inspired and energised – especially where team building, sales, strategy and creativity are critical elements to the event process.
Global conference organisers also want to host their events at the best locations, where their delegates won’t be distracted by the hustle and bustle of big city life. The growing trend towards ‘bleisure’ hospitality, where companies seek to combine ‘business’ and ‘leisure’ elements, is serving to create memorable, informative experiences in stress-free environments.
Developers are picking up on this trend and leading leisure properties are being renovated to include world-class conference centres to cater for business and industry events, along with entertainment. In this way, visitors to African destinations are offered the benefit of sophisticated corporate facilities along with the natural beauty and excitement of the African continent.
There’s no better time than now for owners of traditionally leisure-focused assets to boost their conferencing capabilities. While upgrade costs might be daunting, the long-term benefits are immeasurable. Owners benefit from referrals and marketing their properties while the surrounding economy is stimulated through job creation and new supply chains.
The Grand Palm in Botswana and the Umodzi Park in Malawi are two exciting properties that are attracting people who might otherwise have not even visited the continent.
In 2016, The Grand Palm Resort, located in Gaborone, erected a new multi-purpose marquee to add versatility to the resort, especially for large scale events. Since then it was picked as host to the widely televised World’s Strongest Man contest, performances by musician Monique Bingham and the Royal Moscow Ballet, among others.
In 2017, The Grand Palm’s four-star Walmont hotel began upgrades to create a world-class aesthetic quality, including a complete revamp of its Okavango and Moremi conference rooms. With new interior design and a full refurbishment of the main conference hall and breakaway rooms, the Conference Centre received a modern facelift that rivals leading venues abroad. With the casino also being completely overhauled, delegates will experience the same standard of excellence across the entire resort.
In Malawi, construction on Umodzi Park commenced in 2009 and was completed in 2012 as a mixed-use facility. It is the ideal business getaway, featuring the 130-room President Walmont Hotel, the only five-star hotel in Malawi. Adjacent to this is the Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre, which has 15 different venues and the capacity to host 1,500 people in its main auditorium.
The Convention Centre was picked to host events such as the 2017 Miss Malawi pageant and the successful African Land Forces Summit, which received delegates from 44 countries in May, including the US, France, UK, Brazil and leaders from across Africa.
These properties are rare jewels in the African hospitality industry, and as more people enjoy their state-of-the-art features, they will continue to attract interest from global conferences, international musical performances and mega trade exhibitions.
Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote shares secret of backward integration with investors: “Produce the entire value chain”
October 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote shares secret of backward integration with investors: “Produce the entire value chain”|
LONDON, United Kingdom, October 9, 2017/ — At the Financial Times’ 4th annual Africa Summit (http://APO.af/qv2dZF) at Claridges in London, editor in chief Lionel Barber conducted an extraordinarily candid public conversation with Nigerian Aliko Dangote, Africa’s most successful business leader, in the presence of Nigerian vice-president Professor Yemi Osingajo, Congolese presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi, and about 300 business leaders.
Mastering detailed production statistics and highly-compelling demographics on promising sectors of the African economy, Dangote outlined the key to his success: self-sufficiency and backward integration, a manufacturing strategy that extracts value from entire processes. “We are not going to import anything any longer,” he said. “In Nigeria we are learning how to produce the entire value chain.” Once a heavy importer of fertilizer, Nigeria is now gearing up to produce 3M tonnes of locally manufactured fertilizer, transforming the nation into one of the largest fertilizer exporters in Africa.
In 2007 Nigeria was the second largest importer of cement after the US, Dangote reminded the audience of business elites. “Today, we have not only satisfied domestic needs; we have become a leading exporter of 6-7M tonnes of cement,” he added.
Diversifying into agriculture, Dangote has eyes on the dairy industry motivated by the fact that “98% of all milk consumed in Nigeria is imported.” Same for rice. Dangote Group has invested heavily in rice production by investing in local farmers and then offering to buy back the 1M tonnes at open market prices that they are growing. “Soon we will be able to feed not only Nigeria but the entire 320M large West African market.”
Dangote’s business accumen was on rare exhibition as FT editor Lionel Barber himself seemed impressed with the business mogul’s quick familiarity with the nuts and bolts of his businesses. “Are we going to continue to import everything?” Dangote asked. “Freight rates are now cheap but they will go up soon. A population of over 200M cannot continue to import basic needs on a daily basis,” he answered himself.
By 2100 Dangote stated Africa will represent 49% of the world’s population, up from 30% today. “If you don’t think big we won’t grow at all,” he said. “In Africa you have to play long-term.”
Aside from Nigeria, which African nations do you think are good growth opportunities? Barber asked Dangote. “Aside from Nigeria?” the business leader repeated and smiled. “I’d have to pick Nigeria. I am a big fan of Nigeria. We are only using 8% of our land.”
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS EXTENDS GROUP BOOKING PROMOTION
October 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
Get a complimentary* ticket when booking 10 or more passengers traveling to Africa
Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 09, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), the national flag carrier of South Africa and Africa’s most awarded airline, has extended its special group booking promotion of offering one free tour conductor ticket* (restrictions apply) for every 10 group passengers traveling on SAA.
This offer is valid for new group bookings made and deposits received by October 31, 2017, for travel from October 26 through December 9, 2017, and January 11 through March 31, 2018. Travel is applicable on SAA-operated flights from New York-JFK Airport or Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to any
SAA destination in Africa.
“We invite families, friends, coworkers and travel clubs to take advantage of SAA’s low group fares and this special tour conductor offer to explore and experience the wonders of Africa,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America for South African Airways. “With this tremendous value, your group can experience the vibe of Africa’s cosmopolitan cities, enjoy an exhilarating game safari to view the Big Five, indulge in amazing wine and culinary delights, or spend quality time together under the majestic African skies.”
South African Airways offers the most service from the U.S. to South Africa and an extensive route network throughout the African continent. SAA’s competitive group fares and its dedicated group sales specialists are available to assist with all your group’s travel needs, including complimentary seat assignments. We invite groups big or small to experience SAA’s award-winning in-flight service designed
for pure comfort for long-haul travel with a roomy economy class cabin, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and, generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies and music choices. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75
destinations across Southern Africa and Africa’s Indian Ocean islands.
To request your group quote, email GroupsNA@flysaa.com, or contact your local professional travel consultant. Visit www.flysaa.com to learn more about the exciting destinations we service.
South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango.
In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has
partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.
Complimentary Tour Conductor tickets are subject to applicable taxes & surcharges. Complimentary Tour Conductor ticket is awarded after a group of 10 or more paying passengers. Special is valid for new bookings only. Valid for ad-hoc groups only (no
series producers). Valid for travel 10/26/2017 – 12/9/2017 & 1/11/2018 – 3/31/2018. Valid for travel from New York (JFK) or Washington
Dulles (IAD) to Africa. Entire group (including tour conductor) must travel together. Valid on SAA-operated flights only. Groups must be booked and deposited by 9/30/2017. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights. Change & cancellation penalties apply, per applicable group reservation and fare rules. Baggage and optional service fees may apply. Reservations made 7 days or more prior to scheduled departure may be canceled without penalty up to 24 hours after the reservation is made
Hilton Launches Africa Growth Initiative
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Initiative expected to add 100 properties to its portfolio over the next five years|
MCLEAN, United States of America, October 5, 2017/ — Hilton has committed a total of $50 million over the next five years towards the Hilton Africa Growth Initiative to support the continued expansion of its Sub-Saharan African portfolio.
These funds are intended to support the conversion of around 100 hotels (roughly 20,000 rooms) in multiple African markets into Hilton branded properties, namely into its flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand, the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton and the recently launched Curio Collection by Hilton.
Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton said: “Hilton remains committed to growth in Africa having been present on the continent for more than 50 years. The model of converting existing hotels into Hilton branded properties has proved highly successful in a variety of markets and we expect to see great opportunities to convert hotels to Hilton brands through this initiative.”
“It enables us to rapidly grow our portfolio and delivers returns for owners by increasing exposure of their business to more international, inter-regional and domestic travellers, and specifically to our 65 million-plus Hilton Honors members, who look to stay with us in our suite of industry-leading brands. We see huge potential here in key cities and airports, as well as allowing us to develop our offering in resorts and safari lodges.”
These hotels will receive all the benefits associated with Hilton’s industry-leading brand proposition and world-class commercial platforms. Guests will also be able to take advantage of Hilton’s innovative technology platforms such as online check-in and the ability to choose individual rooms when booking via the Hilton Honors App.
Fitzgibbon added: “The range of brands we have at our disposal allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property. We have already deployed this initiative in the signing of two hotels: our first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Kenya, and our first hotel in Rwanda, and expect to be able to announce further additions before the end of this year.”
DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham
The first hotel to benefit from this initiative is the 109 guest room Amber Hotel on Nairobi’s Ngong Road, which will re-launch under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The hotel, which opened in 2016, is currently undergoing a series of renovations and will join the brand by the end of the year. Following the refurbishment, the hotel will be known as DoubleTree by Hilton Nairobi Hurlingham and will continue to be operated by the owner under a franchise agreement through the leadership of its current General Manager, Elisha Katam.
DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre
The 153 room Ubumwe Grande Hotel in the Kigali central business district will trade under the upscale DoubleTree by Hilton brand when it fully converts in 2018. This franchised property – with 134 guest rooms and 19 apartments – opened in September 2016. The hotel will undergo some changes in order to rebrand and will be Hilton’s first property in Rwanda. Once rebranded, the hotel will trade as the DoubleTree by Hilton Kigali City Centre.
Hilton currently operates 19 hotels in the Sub Saharan Africa region with a further 29 in its pipeline. It has held a presence on the African continent for over 50 years.
Hilton is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,000 properties with more than 825,000 rooms in 103 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by HiltonTM, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by HiltonTM, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.
The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi.
Off-grid Solar set to triple in Africa
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel|
|LAGOS, Nigeria, October 6, 2017/ —
A new report has confirmed that Solar is now the fastest growing energy source in the world, and is making a major impact in Africa. The International Energy Agency’s 2017 report on renewables forecasts that off-grid solar capacity in Africa is set to almost triple in the next five years, saying that it will “bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub Saharan Africa”.
The IEA has found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50%, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel. The report specifically highlights off-grid solar as a ‘dynamic’ sector set to accelerate this growth.
Lumos (www.Lumos-Global.com), a company that offers one of the fastest growing off-grid solar services in Africa, is at the forefront of this expansion. Lumos launched its Mobile Electricity Service and the Y’ello Box in partnership with MTN in Nigeria earlier this year. The device transforms the sun’s energy into electricity and is paid for via your mobile phone.
According to the IEA, off-grid capacity in Africa and Asia is set to reach “over 3000 MW in 2022.” CEO of Lumos Nigeria, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, said: “This is the latest evidence that off-grid solar is providing the answer to growing energy demand in Africa. There is no other option available that can provide energy that is as affordable, reliable, and clean.”
“We are changing the way people access electricity, and this is only the beginning. Mobile phones improved millions of lives, and now we are seeing the same thing with mobile electricity.”
Lumos Mobile Electricity Service is available at MTN stores across Nigeria. By subscribing to the service, customers get one of the revolutionary Y’ello Box systems that converts solar energy into electricity for the home, paid for by phone credit and a simple text message. It’s reliable, affordable and powerful.
The IEA report projects that over the next five years, services like Lumos will be the catalysts and drivers of innovative payment solutions that can allow low-income populations access to electricity.
Lumos (Lumos-Global.com) brings affordable, modern and clean electricity to communities that have been living off-grid.
Taking an intelligent approach to Africa’s promising mobility revolution
October 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 5, 2017/ —
Despite the continent’s transport infrastructure lagging behind global standards for decades, Africa is bracing itself for a transport revolution as more countries embrace the onset of new technology.
This sets the scene for a new era of intelligent mobility in Africa, writes Kevin Pillay – Vice President for Mobility at Siemens Africa (Siemens.com).
Intelligent mobility involves the electrification, automation and digitalization of existing transport infrastructure, and gives every citizen access to safe, reliable and efficient modes of transport.
The need and demand for intelligent mobility in Africa has never been greater – World Economic Forum competitiveness data reveals that only three African countries feature in the top 50 globally for quality of roads, quality of rail and quality of ports infrastructure respectively.
World Bank data also indicates that the Sub-Saharan African railway network has declined to 59,634km today, down from 65,661km in 1980 with only about 70% of the railway network in operational state.
At face value, it seems as though the continent faces insurmountable transport challenges. But the reality is that we are already setting the wheels in motion to create interconnected, more modern and efficient African transport networks that keep economies on the move, rather than hindering them. This development will not happen overnight, and will be realised one step at a time.
Intelligent traffic systems
Many African cities have traffic infrastructure plagued by unreliable power supply. To the frustration of motorists, timing of traffic lights stays the same regardless of actual conditions, and many are faulty and take weeks to repair. This means that the road infrastructure can’t handle peak traffic, not because of technology but because of the lack of proper technological investment.
The challenge is partly that these traffic systems have grown in an unco-ordinated way, with lots of different suppliers and systems cobbled together. Speeding and traffic light violations are a problem, and there is limited technology deployed to support effective traffic law enforcement.
Concern of this situation has been expressed by officials and road users alike, who say congestion and accidents have reached alarming levels. Inefficiencies in these transport systems affect a country’s ability to attract and maintain investment.
So where do we begin?
The adoption of intelligent traffic systems (ITS) will keep Africa’s busiest cities as fast-moving investment destinations. ITS includes deployment of smart sensor systems with intelligent algorithms to automatically adapt to improve traffic flow.
Two-way communication can be enabled by running fibre between traffic junctions and a central control centre to gather information from intelligent networked systems, sensors and cameras at every junction. This allows traffic lights to be adjusted according to demand.
Nigeria’s Edo State government recently announced its intention to upgrade to a technologically-advanced ITS system that provides real-time traffic information in Benin City. As part of the integrated solution, motorists and commuters will be informed about travel times, weather conditions and traffic jams on radio or online.
With all traffic management systems automated and digitalized, technology like automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras can be utilised to efficiently enforce traffic rules.
Average speed over distance (ASOD) technology captures the time when a specific vehicle enters and exits the ASOD zone. The journey time is compared against the distance travelled and authorities are automatically notified if the prescribed speed limit was exceeded.
This improves the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. It also minimises the risk of corruption, while promoting best practice among traffic enforcement officers who are exposed to a new skillset when trained in operating these new systems.
Automated rail infrastructure
Another effective means of reducing congestion on overburdened and under maintained roads in Africa is through greater investment in upgrading passenger rail networks.
Some of the world’s cities with the most advanced transport networks feature fast, efficient, safe and clean rail mobility networks powered by Siemens, and African cities can benefit from expertise in centralised traffic management and automation systems, including train control systems with minimum line side equipment linked to modern control centres.
A clear case in point is the Gauteng Nerve Centre (GNC) in South Africa. The 3400 m2 state-of-the art control centre for centralised rail traffic management in South Africa’s economic hub of Gauteng accommodates 35 train control operators in one place, and constantly monitors Gauteng’s rail traffic where over 600 trains carry more than 500,000 commuters on a daily basis.
The GNC boasts world-class automation capabilities and can immediately respond to any operating failures, accidents and other incidents, thereby enabling greater efficiencies in rail operations and train safety, while offering a more reliable service through higher infrastructure utilisation.
Siemens’ proven railway capabilities are set be bolstered further, following the mobility business’ recent announcement of its intention to merge with French railway engineering specialist Alstom.
With a strong presence in, and dedicated commitment to Africa, this anticipated partnership will create an African champion in mobility.
Intelligent, integrated mobility ensures environmental sustainability
Transportation is the world’s second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. In 2015 motor vehicles, trains, ships, and planes emitted 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, accounting for almost a quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide.
Today transportation-related emissions are already about 60 percent higher than in 1990. One of the reasons for this is the dramatic increase in the number of vehicles in developing countries and emerging markets – of which Africa is home to many.
According to forecasts, transportation-related CO2 emissions will increase by another 67 percent between now and 2050. Clearly, in view of this, the global community must take decisive action to bring about a worldwide transition to sustainable transportation systems.
A well-integrated intelligent multi-modal transport network promotes a culture of eco-friendly travel and healthier living, as it reduces traffic congestion and CO2 emissions by transporting more people more safely and more comfortably, using newer and cleaner technology without relying on fossil fuels.
The time for intelligent mobility is now
If Africa truly wants to unleash its full potential, then sufficient funds must be responsibly invested in upgrading existing transport and logistics infrastructure like road, rail and ports, in addition to new concepts that include electric bus rapid transport and ferries, to name a few.
Intelligent and integrated traffic systems are part of the future of transport in the world’s advanced cities. If Africa seizes the opportunity, many of its cities will be on that list, and the continent’s citizens will reap the rewards. That is the way forward.