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Rising Africa Series: Thought Leaders Africa



A celebration of thought leaders, innovators, thinkers, problem solvers, and drivers of growth and development.


Sports have been recognized as a positive force in promoting education, health, development, and peace as acknowledged by the United Nations and reflected in its agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. 

Additionally, the economic impact of a vibrant sporting industry is significant.  In well-established markets throughout North America and Europe, sports have come to represent a billion-dollar business, generating tens of thousands of jobs, and tax revenues for local governments.  

The sports industry in Africa continues to grow and thrive.  The diversity of sports offerings range from football, rugby, and cricket to cycling, wrestling and basketball. Many of the continent’s professional athletes are quickly grabbing attention on the international stage.

AFA SPORTS Store, Lagos. Picture:Supplied

Mohamed Salah, Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, Dikembe Mutombo, Julius Yego, Daniel Teklehaimanot, and Merhawi Kudus have become well-known within their respective sports both within Africa and globally.

Nigerian-born Ugo Udezue, former successful NBA agent working in the US returned home to Nigeria to lend his experience and talents to Africa’s sports industry.  He was instrumental in creating the 10-team Continental Basketball League (CBL), which provided Udezue with a unique business opportunity in sports merchandising. 

AFA Sports, which means “Africa for Africa” stepped in to address the need Africa’s professional sports teams had for sports apparel and shoes.  

AFA Sports entered an arena dominated by global players such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok. 

However, AFA Sports did not shy away from the challenge and focused on creating a unique value proposition, one of creating sports apparel and shoes made in Africa, by Africans, for Africans while tapping into a growing African conscious market, as well as consumer associations outside Africa.

AFA SPORTS Store, Lagos. Picture:Supplied

AFA Sports is positioning its brand to be the premier sports brand company in Africa but has made it clear its ambitions do not stop there.  The company hopes to develop a global brand that appeals to mainstream sporting institutions in Europe, Asia, and North America.

AFA Sports products are currently sold through its flagship store in Victoria Island, Lagos and its website.  The company plans to open two additional stores in the near future. It also remains focused on promoting the continued development of various sports programs throughout Africa.


President Nana Akufo-Addo was peacefully elected and assumed office in 2017, and under his leadership, the Ghanaian government has taken steps to reduce corruption at the national level by appointing a special prosecutor, centralizing all government accounts into a single account with the central bank, and promising additional reform legislation.

Ghana’s GDP grew 8.5% in 2017, compared to 3.7% in the previous year.  While the services industry is a strong pillar of the country’s $43-billion economy, the oil and gas sector has driven recent growth.  The oil and gas sector, which represents over a quarter of the economy, increased 80% boosting the industry sector significantly. 

Akufo-Addo who has adopted the slogan “Ghana Beyond Aid,” is anxious to move Ghana from aid-dependency to trade to fuel the country’s economic growth.  Ghana is looking to build sustainable relationships of mutual benefit, and this approach appears to be working.  In 2017, GIPC set a target to attract US $5 billion in FDI inflows and by December had $4.91 billion.

Rex Danquah. Picture: Supplied


Rex Danquah, Country Manager Betway Ghana

Betway has achieved tremendous heights in the sports betting industry with an overwhelming success rate, while focusing on sports development in Ghana. Betway has revolutionized the sports betting sector by digitalizing the process with solely online sports betting platforms. 

Betway aspires to be a household brand in sport betting providing a safe and secure online sports betting platform with the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that transactions are protected using the finest digital encryption technology.

As part of Betway’s continuous efforts to develop sports in Ghana, Betway currently sponsors four clubs with great history and performance in the Ghana Premier League.

As part of their goal to give back to society, many communities and individuals have benefitted from the Betway CSR Initiative, such as  Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital in Accra, Tanoso Health Clinic in Brong Ahafo and Himan Health Center in Prestea.


Nimed Capital  Ltd is an investment banking firm with a core focus on asset management services. We specialize in delivering fund management and advisory services that meet the needs of retail, institutional and high networth clients. Our investment decisions are backed by our strong knowledge and expertise in the domestic market.

Abena Bigridi, CEO Nimed Capital. Picture: Supplied

How do you see the investment landscape in Ghana?

Ghana is open for business and investments. The economy slowed down recently with the country recording a paltry GDP growth of 3.5% in 2016 due to several factors such as power shortages, high NPL’s of commercial banks etc. However, the turnaround has been very impressive with GDP rebounding to 7.9% in 2017 after resolving the challenges mentioned earlier.

What are the market opportunities and challenges and how is NIMED redefining the private wealth space?

Ghana has one of the lowest savings rate in the region, the country’s savings to GDP ratio is at 7.9% compared to 14.9% and 15.4% for Nigeria and Kenya in 2017. Ghanaians are entering into the prestigious HNWI class (High NetWorth Individuals), with the country recording a total of 2,900 HNWI’s in 2017 according to the Knight Frank Wealth Report. This provides enormous need for private wealth management services and collective investment scheme products (Mutual Funds & Unit Trust).  

The main challenge confronting the industry is the huge appetite for high returns without a commensurate ability to bear associated risk. This negatively influences our competitors to take risk that contradicts their clients Investment Policy Statement (IPS).

What makes us different is our strict adherence to our clients’ IPS risk return objectives. Where clients’ desire outstrips his/her ability to bear risk, we advise the client accordingly.  Our safety first approach to wealth management has paid off handsomely. Since inception NIMED Capital has outperformed all benchmarks for its private investment portfolios and have never lost money.



Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018, there has been a whirlwind of positive change. In the business realm, internet usage is spiking, digital currency is gaining traction and foreign direct investment rising. Greater agricultural productivity and strong industrial growth has boosted GDP.  A trend that the World Bank is projecting to continue through 2020 with an annual growth rate of 9 percent. 

Abiy Ahmed. Picture: Supplied

Peace with Eritrea has added access to Eritrea’s ports, that in addition to Djibouti’s is boosting imports. The rollout of the visa on arrival program also brings us closer to achieving full regional integration.  Couple this with the election of our first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, and the prime minister’s efforts to promote equal representation in his cabinet by appointing women to half of those positions, there is no doubt about progress.

There is still much work to do to achieve lasting peace as ethnic tensions and clashes remain, but we remain optimistic that Ethiopia will heal, and economic growth will continue to benefit all.


Medtech is on a mission “to heal the ill” by providing quality affordable pharmaceutical and medical supplies.  Born of a frustration at the shortage of pharmaceutical products in Ethiopia, founder and CEO Dr Mohammed Nuri turned his attention to pioneering the relatively unexplored pharmaceutical industry in the country. 

Dr Nuri’s drive and commitment to innovation within the sector led to the company’s meteoric rise. 

Dr Mohammed Nuri, board chairman & CEO Medtech Ethiopia. Picture: Supplied

Medtech began its journey as a pharmaceutical trader importing a limited roster of products, but in less than two decades has transformed itself into a manufacturer operating two major factories, Julphar Ethiopia and Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Factory.

And according to Dr. Nuri, the government of Ethiopia must be acknowledged as well when it comes to supporting the sector by “giving land with low prices, priority in foreign currency and by different tax subsidies”.

Medtech sees the growth potential both the pharmaceutical sector and the Ethiopian market offers.  Such opportunities will likely support the company’s goals of becoming one of the three leading pharmaceutical companies in Africa by 2020 as well as one of the best three business groups in Ethiopia by 2025.


ETTA Solutions is an Ethiopian tech company independently owned, financed and managed by two childhood friends, Temesgen Gebrehiwot & Ambaye Michael Tesfay. Temesgen, the developer, always dreamt of building a company to provide tech solutions for everyday problems in his country. In 2016, he brought onboard Tesfay as a business partner and they began their journey.

Their first product and first in Ethiopia is ETTA (Ethiopia Taxi), a call center and app-based taxi hailing service that operates 24/7 across the capital, while providing services for thousands of people daily. ETTA is also the leading corporate transport provider, offering prepaid and postpaid services to several large organizations. 

Etta co-founders Temesgen Gebrehiwot and Ambaye Michael Tesfay. Picture: Supplied


Sunshine Investment Group has been a pioneering business leader in Ethiopia for over three decades. 

Founded by Samuel Tafese, a local contractor and business tycoon, the investment group has been involved in multiple ventures in the road construction, real estate, and hospitality sectors. 

Under the umbrella of the investment group is Sunshine Business Group headed by Tafese’s daughter, Selamawit Samuel, who serves as the chairwoman and executive vice president. 

Sunshine Investment Group, Selamawit Samuel, Chairwoman and EVP. Picture: Supplied

Recent initiatives led by Samuel include the establishment of the first bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Ethiopia. The Haredo Chocolate Company built in the Tatek Special Industrial Zone in West Shewa, Oromia of Ethiopia.  The factory which has a 3,000-ton annual production capacity is expected to create over 350 direct and indirect jobs.

The Haredo Chocolate Factory is not the only successful initiative under the leadership of Samuel.  She has also taken a hands-on role in opening the first Marriott branded hotel in Sub-Saharan Africa through a partnership between Marriott International Group and the Sunshine Business Group. 

The Sunshine Business Group has also partnered with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to develop the 30,000 square meter Hilton Awassa Resort & Spa, slated to open in 2020.  

Samuel’s long-term focus for the company is to further diversify the Sunshine Business Group’s portfolio of businesses expanding into the FMCG and service sectors.  Given this focus, additional business initiatives in other sectors are likely on the horizon.

Aziz Ahmed. Picture: Supplied


The focus of your photography is on the treasures of Ethiopia’s wildlife and landscape. Why?

My father used to take me hunting as a young boy, but as I grew into a teen, I started to understand the need to preserve wildlife. I sold my car when I was 24 years old to buy my first camera. I felt it was my calling to change the minds of Ethiopians through the images I captured about the wildlife and hidden treasure our country held.

I believe I have a responsibility to ensure the remaining wildlife and habitat is passed on to the next generation. That is exactly why I focus on the wildlife and landscape of Ethiopia. Our country has a lot to offer but many Ethiopians don’t have that knowledge. While this may have started as a hobby, I have now dedicated my life to preserving these treasures.

Chef Yohanis. Picture: Supplied

Chef Yohanis

We want to globally promote the taste and health benefits of African cuisine and find ways to make it available to everyone. I believe Africa has yet to share her wide heritage-based knowledge to improve the lives of many around the world. With just the right interest and research into our own cultures I believe Africa can solve her own challenges regarding food disparity, but also serve as a model for different societies around the globe.

Amadou Daffe, CEO and co-founder, Gebeya Inc. Picture: Supplied


Gebeya is a self-sustainable ecosystem that combines an original practical training model that shapes the next generation of talented African software developers for global job opportunities and entrepreneurship to build innovative startups in Africa. The Gebeya ecosystem is composed of: A practical project based training model, an online marketplace for on demand IT talent and an incubation/acceleration that nurtures, scales and exits African startups.

– Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-Founder, gebeya inc

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Brand Voice

Nigeria’s Manufacturing Power Couple On The Future Of Manufacturing In Nigeria




Chief Razak Okoya: Chairman Eleganza Group And Rao Property Investment Company

Chief Razak Okoya is an industrialist who has managed to transform a small trading company into one of the largest conglomerates and indigenous manufacturers of household products in Nigeria.

As founder of Eleganza Group and leading property investment company RAO Property, he employs about 5000 people across Nigeria. In his interview with Forbes Africa, he discusses the trends that will influence the competitive Nigerian Manufacturing sector in the next decade.

Chief Folashade Noimat Okoya: Managing Director, Eleganza Industrial City

Chief Mrs. Folashade Okoya has been at the helm of affairs of the Eleganza Group and RAO Property Investment for the past decade using her strong entrepreneurial drive to further strengthen the goodwill of both organizations and its corporate positioning in Nigeria.

Under her watch, Eleganza Group has risen to new heights strengthening its position as a leading indigenous brand in Nigeria as well as one of the benchmark manufacturing companies in the country.

She talks about the stigma of women in manufacturing and the need for greater automation in the manufacturing process in Nigeria.


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Nigeria’s Biggest Corporations: A Pan-Nigerian View To The World





At the beginning of the Japanese Economic Miracle, were the likes of
Akio Morita – Co-founder of Sony. In setting a Mission for Sony, Morita had
resolved to set for Sony Corporations the Mission to make Japan known for quality at a time the country was known for cheap-copycat product. It is indeed in this vision, that True Nigerian Experience was founded with a mission to showcase the Best of Nigeria.

According to the International Monetary Fund in 2018, Nigeria is regarded as the biggest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of about $400 Billion Dollars – Leading the entire 54 African Economies both in Population of over 180 Million people and GDP.

The Nigerian Economy is ranked the 30th largest Economy in the World. To mention a few, Nigeria’s Nominal GDP is bigger than the Republic of Ireland (US $373 Billion), Israel (US $370 Billion), Hong Kong (US $363 Billion), Singapore (US $361 Billion), Malaysia (US $354 Billion), Denmark (US $351 Billion), Colombia (US $333 Billion), Philippines (US $331 Billion), Chile (US $298 Billion), Finland (US $275 Billion), Czech Republic (US $242 Billion), Romania (US $ 240 Billion), Portugal (US $239 Billion, Peru (US $225 Billion), Greece (US $219 Billion), New Zealand (US $203 Billion) and over a hundred other countries’ economies in the World.


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Franchise’s newest target: the flexible workspace revolution

In the midst of what many are calling the flexible workspace revolution, franchisees are looking towards the serviced office market for lucrative new opportunities.





In the midst of what many are calling the flexible workspace revolution, franchisees are looking towards the serviced office market for lucrative new opportunities. Projections show that three in ten buildings on every high street could offer a new franchise opportunity, with flexible working, or coworking as it’s often called, emerging as a booming industry.

A booming industry
With businesses and individuals increasingly using flexible working spaces, the co-working industry is estimated to be growing by 24% each year. A recent study of 18,000 business leaders in 96 countries by IWG, the parent company of leading workspace providers including Regus and Spaces, revealed that the majority of business leaders (89%) believe flexible working is helping their businesses to grow and stay competitive. In addition, 80% felt that adopting co-working, and enabling their employees to work anywhere, has helped them recruit and retain top talent.

Likewise, with a huge 50% of workers predicted to be working remotely for most of their working week, by 2022, forecasts suggest that the global mobile workforce will reach 1.87 billion people. This presents a unique opportunity for those in the franchise industry to jump on what is a rapidly growing trend.

Partnering with IWG gives business owners the ability to participate in this growth story and take advantage of the huge demand for flexible, contemporary workspaces – one of the most exciting growth markets in the country.

Mo Nanabhay, Franchising Director – Africa

As more people look to work flexibly, the demand for places for them to do so is growing; and as the corporate real estate market continues to grow, global real estate giant JLL estimates that up to 30% of corporate real estate could be flexible workspace by 2030.

The growing franchise opportunity
This makes the serviced office market one of the most exciting growth markets in the world. Simply put, it is the next franchise frontier. And the industry founder, IWG, with its thirty years of experience in the, serviced office market and brands to match every requirement and style like Regus and Spaces, is now offering people a chance to get involved.
In September 2018, the company announced they would be leading the UK’s first serviced office franchise partnership with franchising experts, ACCA Office Ltd. Since then, four more businesses have partnered with IWG, including Kash Office Limited, AMA Workspaces, SME Properties Limited, and Q-Boid Limited. These franchise partnerships will see sites opened across the country over the next couple of years. In Asia, the company has agreed to sell its Japanese business to Tokyo-based TKP Corporation for the whole of Japan.

IWG is present in almost 3,300 locations, 120 countries and 1,100 town and cities across the world – and it’s this experience that makes IWG the ideal franchise partner for those wanting to take advantage of the booming demand for serviced offices worldwide.

“Our years of experience in the industry and our well-established global network has taught us that building a quality flexible workspace offering requires trust and support. We work closely with our franchisees to ensure that they have a framework to find the right location and design, backed by the strength of our operational and marketing support and the best customer service that IWG is known for.”

Mo Nanabhay, Franchising Director – Africa

To find out how you can take advantage of the workspace revolution, contact IWG’s franchise team via [email protected] or visit

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