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From The Ashes Of Conflict

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Like the fabled phoenix rising, Côte d’Ivoire has risen from the proverbial ashes quickly gaining a reputation for undertaking one of the fastest economic recoveries following a protracted civil war. In just seven short years, Côte d’Ivoire has become a significant regional economic hub in West Africa. The country has enjoyed greater political stability, which has contributed to strong economic recovery.

Since 2012, Côte d’Ivoire has continued to average an annual GDP growth rate of between 8-9%. The country’s continued strong growth can be attributed to its National Development Plan (2012-2016) that supports the objective of sustained private sector and inclusive growth. Given that economic growth is projected to continue around 8% for the next three years, largely driven by increased domestic demand and higher investment levels, it is of little surprise that Côte d’Ivoire is ranked as one of the five fastest growing economies in the world.

It, therefore, gives me great pleasure to welcome readers to our Forbes Africa’s second edition of Rising Cote d’Ivoire 2017/2018 Country Focus. This issue highlights the country’s continued economic progress and showcases its push for greater economic diversification. Also highlighted in the Thought Leaders series are several of the successful women executives at the helm of businesses in Côte d’Ivoire who are making a difference.

We are excited to bring you this update on the country’s progress and expect to be hearing more from one of Africa’s hidden jewels in the future. Bienvenue en Côte d’Ivoire!

READ FULL REPORT HERE

For more information visit http://globalgroupmedia.com or email [email protected]

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Brand Voice

FOCUS ON Madagascar: Emerging Into The Investment Landscape

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With an immense wealth of natural resources, Madagascar is poised for prosperity and ready its investment opportunities to be discovered.

The world is looking at us with a different perception. Madagascar has regained its notoriety on the international stage because we have a company project, we have a vision, we have dynamic and determined leaders

H.E. Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, making it larger than Spain, Thailand, Sweden and Germany, with a population of 26.2 million–more than Australia, the Netherlands and Greece. Thanks to its largely undisturbed ecosystems, Madagascar is also one of only 17 countries that is considered “megadiverse” by Conservation International. Overwhelming with natural beauty, flora and fauna, as well as natural resources, Madagascar is quickly coming onto the scene as an investment paradise.

 Madagascar is poised to penetrate the investment landscape even further with the implementation of the Initiative for the Emergence of Madagascar (IEM). His Excellency President Andry Rajoelina has ignited a nationwide plan to improve 13 crucial sectors that will usher Madagascar into even more economic prosperity. Among the plan’s specifics are specialised attention to the island’s main industries, mining, tourism and agriculture, as well as measures to aid in the facilitation of foreign investment and job creation.

With all the unique biodiversity that the island has to offer, it is no surprise that tourism is a major industry in Madagascar. Not only does the country rank number one in Africa with 90% in biodiversity but Madagascar also boasts over 5,000 kilometres of maritime coasts and healthy oceans and registers about 280,000 annual tourists. As this number is steadily increasing, President Rajoelina and his administration have focused more attention to the tourism industry to spur the economy and create jobs. The annual tourism growth is 20% and offers over 640,000 jobs, about 11% of total employment and 13% of overall GDP. Madagascar’s natural beauty is an alluring asset to the economy.

            The abundant natural resources in Madagascar make it a haven for many industries, especially the mining sector, offering great investment opportunities. Mining is an important economic sector, where small-scale and artisanal mining alone generates 1.5 million full-time and seasonal jobs for locals in the country, proving that the communities are one of the mining industry’s greatest assets. Conservation of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity is a top priority in the mining sector, as well. As a diversity hotspot, the sector works with local communities to define sustainable ways to make a living and harvest natural resources.

The Initiative for the Emergence of Madagascar also closely focuses on the energy sector as it moves forward. The IEM places new energy policies at the forefront of the administration as they seek an electricity access rate of 70% and further implement renewable energy resources through hydro, solar and wind power. The potential of Madagascar in terms of renewable energy has been detailed: it is immense. The future is headed toward an energy transition through a hybridisation strategy based on the locally and naturally available potential and a financially viable “pay as you go” system to overcome the difficulties in the short and medium-term.

The technology sectors of Madagascar are also expanding at an incredible rate. Madagascar now boasts the second-fastest internet service in Africa, which is a great asset for telecommunications companies such as NextHope. Tsilavo Ranarison, CEO of the company, speaks of Africa’s success and potential in the telecom sector: “The growth of Africa on the technological level is unavoidable. We will not stop innovating, just like any other company, so that we can be the best. We think that in the future we want to be a skill centre for the whole continent. We want to be a skill centre for IT expertise.”

In other sectors such as agriculture, Madagascar is the world leader and largest exporter of vanilla, and the sector holds immense opportunity for the potential investor. The agriculture sector represents 40% of GDP and 80% of jobs in the active population. The country is also leading in cocoa production, where Malagasy cocoa is considered to be of exceptional quality. The fertile landscape contains over 36,000,000 hectares of arable land and the favourable climate creates various agricultural and farming opportunities. In an effort to create jobs, nurture the agriculture industry and guarantee food security, the administration is focusing on a modernisation of the sector that uses innovative techniques while respecting the environment. This transformation of agriculture will only be possible with the professionalisation of the sector.

Not to mention, Madagascar exhibits incredible opportunity in the oil sector, as well, with the development of the Tsimiroro field. Madagascar Oil is dedicated to an expansion project which will contribute 100,000 barrels per day of oil production, increasing revenues by roughly US$2 billion per year. Russell Kelly, CEO of Madagascar Oil, says, “This will have a huge impact on the economy. Tsimiroro is one of the world’s largest oil developments at the current time. Future is looking very good. The resources are there. It’s only about getting them out of the ground and into the market. I see this emerging East Africa economy developing, and it makes sense for us to develop it and get our oil into East Africa, which is a huge market.”

            Madagascar is a haven of investment opportunities with ample resources, strong sectors and a predominantly young population where 70% of the population is under the age of 25. Matthieu Mace, CEO of MVola, says, “Madagascar is a young country. Our human resources are good; Malagasy people are very resilient. We speak very good French, and people are very well educated. Under the guidance of President H.E Andry Rajoelina and the Initiative for the Emergence of Madagascar, the country is creating an attractive business environment. Various regulatory reforms and public investments in infrastructure, as well as significant public and private investments in infrastructure, such as roads, ports, airports, telecommunication and energy, have reduced the costs of doing business. Access to many markets and strategically located to facilitate trade agreements and the exportation of goods and services through international business. With the current extension of the port of Toamasina in the East and the construction of Port d’Ehoala in the South, Madagascar provides world-class facilities for transportation of goods. As a peaceful and stable country, Madagascar is welcoming to investors to energise an inclusive and sustainable economic transformation.

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Brand Voice

VIVO CEO IS A DYNAMIC LEADER FOR THIS INNOVATIVE GLOBAL BRAND

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May 2020 — Six months ago the vision for vivo in South Africa was just beginning to roll out. Launched in December 2019, the innovative mobile technology brand entered the market with two easy to handle, high spec, well priced phones, the Y11 and Y91C.

The decision to enter, however, has been a long time coming. It made sense for vivo, the world’s fourth largest cell phone brand with over 300million users globally, to enter the local market, where currently it’s already estimated half the population use smartphones.

“vivo plans to provide South African consumers with a user experience beyond expectations through technology and innovative, trendsetting products,” says Jeff Cao, vivo SA CEO. “Within three years,  the company plans to sit in the top tier segment of cell phone brands in SA.”

Jeff Cao, vivo SA CEO

Cao, a young, dynamic businessman is deeply invested in the vivo brand, having joined the company as an intern when it launched in 2011.

“My career started with vivo,” he says. “I witnessed the changes in the industry and the growth of vivo as a brand.”

Launching in South Africa brings a whole new set of challenges and Cao is motivated by this, saying: “The biggest challenge for me is to learn the culture and the  consumer demand of the South African market from scratch. I believe that as long as we adhere to the concept of “More Local and More Global”,  all challenges are only a matter of time.

“I believe in changingwhat is changeable, accepting what is mutable, and using wisdom to tell the difference”.

In his time at vivo Cao managed the Thailand launch and ran that office for more than five years, ensuring he has an innate knowledge to ensure the vivo brand becomes more localized and in line with the prefereces of the South African consumer, while maintaining the core values of technology and innovation.

Globally vivo has nine R&D centers around the world, five production bases and a total 80% of staff engaged in R&D work. “This level of commitment to innovation ensures the vivo experience keeps evolving,” explains Cao.

Cao believes in immersing the brand into South African society by fulfilling corporate social responsibilities through the #VIVOCARES initiative, proving that vivo is not just a smartphone brand but also a brand that invests in its community: “vivo came with the dream of building an international first-class brand for South Africans- and we will pursue that dream.

An insatiable demand for 5G on a global scale has seen vivo emerge as the leader in this area, being one of the only companies with a mid-range 5G smartphone on offer. This product is set to launch in South Africa in the second half of 2020.

“We envisage that by 2023 when young people in South Africa think of mobile phones they think of vivo.”

For more information and interview requests please contact [email protected]

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Brand Voice

Africa’s people-led approach to combat COVID-19 shows signs of progress and leadership

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Writes Thandi Tobias

In its fight against the spread of COVID-19, our continent faces a massive challenge that requires unprecedented levels of unity and coordinated action. To prevail, we have to grasp without hesitation what the World Health Organization (WHO) has described as a ‘window of opportunity’ while it remains open for us to do so.

While our continent is home to many of the world’s fastest developing nations, it is also home to some of the most vulnerable. It is a known fact that the high prevalence of malnutrition, anaemia, malaria, HIV/AIDs, and tuberculosis among our people, puts our continent in an unfortunate position; one in which high death rates happen easily. That is why the country’s leadership had to act swiftly and decisively.

As Africans, itis essential that we focus on coordinated efforts in our shared battle against COVID-19.  Africa spans both hemispheres and consists of 55 member states. Our combined efforts and determination can and will see us through this challenging period. The second and follow-up virtual meeting of the ‘AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government’, held in April 2020, ended with solid plans for a more unified African response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to presentations by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr John Nkengasong, Director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Bureau was also addressed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

All the heads of state in attendance expressed a shared apprehension over the unknown impact this virus stands to have on the health of citizens of Africa, as well as the unforeseeable economic impact it will have. The Heads of States and Governments discussed three broad themes and agreed to proceed to pursue several key solutions:

1.    Stronger inter-continental links for greater African solidarity

There was unanimous agreement on the urgent need to establish better humanitarian and trade corridors among countries; something they also agreed would require cohesive efforts from all participants.  All decisions would be in the best interest of the continent and its people.  This will also enable Africa to speak with one voice on Africa’s priorities. African leaders also agreed on the need for an immediate lifting of all economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Sudan, as no African state would be left alone to fight against the spread of COVID-19. It was resolved that without the burden of sanctions, Zimbabwe and Sudan would be better positioned to save lives.

2.    An aggressive medical response

Africa requires the production of medical supplies and equipment. The heads of states and governments called for international cooperation, support towards up-scaling local production of needed Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), medical supplies such as masks, gowns, ventilators, and other support devices, all of which are greatly needed in the continent.

Furthermore, the AU commended rapid action initiatives such as the ones coordinated by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Jack Ma Foundation. Working with the World Food Programme and Africa CDC, they mobilised and distributed over one million diagnostic tests, six million masks, and 600,000 PPE items to all African Union member states in less than a week.

3.    Fundraising efforts

The AU is taking a multi-stakeholder approach towards raising needed financial and other forms of international support to strengthen the fight to flatten COVID-19 growth in Africa. The gathered Heads of States and Governments also noted the progress made in operationalising the African Union’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which was established on in March 2020. Members pledged the sum of US$12.5 million and an additional US$4.5million to the Africa CDC.

Africa’s Call

To win the battle against COVID-19, protect its citizens and, by extension, citizens of the world, the AU calls for the support pledged by the G20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be delivered without further delay. It also calls for these institutions to review their disbursement policies to unlock higher levels of flexibility, speed, and Africa’s access to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). In addition, the AU also supports the call for a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa and the immediate suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external public and private debt. Such measures would benefit all Africans, as greater fiscal space would be created to resource the battle against COVID-19.

In conclusion, allow me to remind you all, of our South African concept of Ubuntu – I am because you are – which also rings true in the hearts of all Africans and, I hope, inspires people around the world. It is in the spirit of this shared humanity that Africa’s call is made for the global support of our resilient, yet fragile continent.

Thandi Tobias is the Chairperson of Brand South Africa; the official marketing agency of South Africa with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation and to improve its global competitiveness.

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