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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

Healthy Nations Are Wealthy Nations




 We live in a world where even a pover­ty-stricken Ghanaian child can dream of solving Africa’s health problems. I believe that everything begins with a vision for a better future and a passion for one’s continent and people, with perseverance, no obstacle cannot be overcome. Perseverance conquers all difficulties.

While an individual cannot provide a solu­tion to all of Africa’s unmet health needs, any effort goes a long way. I was a Ghanaian child that dreamt of an Africa in which all citizens would have access to adequate and affordable healthcare.

Africa is the second most populous continent, and home to 16%of the world’s population. The continent receives just a mere 1% of global expenditure on healthcare, a fact which is not only morally reprehensible, but economically unsustainable for families and their entire countries, as evidenced by the high medical costs, often inaccurate diagnoses, med­ication errors, and inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities for those who cannot afford better.

How does Africa, with a public healthcare system that is largely under-resourced and underfunded, build healthier nations? I have a few ideas:

1. Africa’s healthcare gap is worse in low and middle-income countries where 10-15% of hospitalized patients can expect to acquire an infection during their stay, as compared to 5-7% in high-income countries. This is despite hospital-acquired infections being easily avoided through better hygiene, improved infection control practices and appropriate use of antimicrobials. Because of statistics such as these, I am committed to doing my part to bring quality healthcare to people in developing nations through my non-profit, R.E.S.T.O.R.E Worldwide Inc.

Through the R.E.S.T.O.R.E foundation, which is primarily focussed on reconstruc­tive surgery, not only do I donate my surgical skills, but also my vast knowledge in regard to sustainable healthcare and capacity building within the industry.

Individual efforts to better a community ultimately culminate into a nation built by individuals and this is the Africa we want to see. This is not as difficult as we think to implement in practical ways, for example; if ones passion point is education, one can gather a few of the young people in the area and conduct lessons.

2. I am privileged, not only to be able to pro­vide but also have access to quality healthcare. However, I realize that this is not universal. As I write this, my thoughts are with the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi who are affected by Cyclone Idai.

What the survivors of this tragedy have in common is their immediate need for resources, stability, comfort, and medical help, among many other things. As well all know, healthcare does not exist in a vacuum. Efforts also have to go towards improving education, skills, and resources, as well as creating strategic partner­ships among key stakeholders.

Public-private partnerships exist in all forms to lend a hand to all kinds of causes. Neighborhoods and local governments could team up for a cleaning exercise, professional associations and governing bodies can also team up to help a cause of their own, either as a short or long-term endeavour.

An estimated 60% of healthcare financing in Africa comes from private sources which is a testament to the fact that public-private partnerships are a sustainable and feasible way to grow any sector.

3. Africa is confronted by a heavy burden of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV – not to mention the disease of “inadequate surgical providers”. Studies show a gross lack of knowledge about the basics of how to diagnose and manage common diseases

Africa is definitely ready for relevant, reli­able healthcare dialogue. The top 30 innovators showcased at the recently concluded WHO Africa Health Forum in Cape Verde has given me and all other stakeholders immense hope. These 30 brilliant minds from across Africa and beyond have developed simple solutions to the complex and unmet health needs on the continent and these are the success stories that reinforce my belief in the future of a healthy Africa.

4. As healthcare stakeholders, it’s our re­sponsibility to develop new medicines to treat disease, but these medicines are useless if they can’t get to the patients who need them the most. We need to commit ourselves to work to­gether with all other healthcare players and to move away from simply donating aid, to build­ing sustainable infrastructure and capacity.

To answer my opening question on how a public healthcare system that is largely so under-resourced and underfunded can build healthier nations; I say this is one way that a little boy from Ghana or any part of the pover­ty-stricken parts of the developing world can solve health problems in his or her community and ultimately build healthier nations across the globe. This can be done through identifying their passion point, doing all they can in their power, seeking out other like-minded stake­holders to partner with and working to create better paths for the generations to come.

-For more information visit:

-Dr Michael K Obeng; Founder and CEO of RESTORE Worldwide, Inc. & Global Health Solution

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Brand Voice

HUGO BOSS Partners With Porsche To Bring Action-Packed Racing Experience Through Formula E



Brought to you by Hugo Boss

HUGO BOSS and Porsche have partnered to bring an action-packed racing experience to the streets of the world’s major cities through Formula E.

Formula E is known for its fascinating races globally. The partnership will have a strong focus on the future of motorsport. In doing so the races will host a unique series for the development of electric vehicle technology, refining the design, functionality and sustainability of electric cars while creating an exciting global entertainment brand.

HUGO BOSS which boasts a long tradition of motorsports sponsorship – has been successfully engaged in the electric-powered racing series since the end of 2017.

In this collaboration, HUGO BOSS brings its 35 years of experience and expertise in the motorsport arena to Formula E, as well as the dynamic style the fashion brand is renowned for.

Alejandro Agag (Formula E CEO) and Mark Langer (HUGO BOSS CEO)

Mark Langer HUGO BOSS, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) says that though they have been working successfully with motorsports over the years, he is exceptionally pleased that as a fashion brand they are taking the cooperation to new heights.

“As a fashion brand, we are always looking at innovative approaches to design and sustainability. When we first encountered Formula E, we immediately saw its potential and we are pleased to be the first apparel partner to support this exciting new motorsport series,” he says.

The fashion group is also the official outfitter to the entire Porsche motorsports team worldwide.

The fascination with perfect design and innovation, along with the Porshe and Hugo Boss shared passion for racing, inspired Hugo Boss to produce the Porsche x Boss capsule collection.

Its standout features include premium leather and wool materials presented in the Porsche and HUGO BOSS colors of silver, black and red.

Porsche x BOSS: introducing a new collaboration | BOSS

Since March, a range of menswear styles from the debut capsule collection is available online and at selected BOSS stores. In South Africa the first pieces of the capsule will come as a part of the FW 19 collection.

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Formula E says he is confident that the racers will put their best foot forward on the racecourse.

“This new partnership will see the team on the ground at each race dressed with a winning mindset and ready to deliver a spectacular event in cities across the world. As the first Official Apparel Partner of the series, we look forward to seeing the dynamic style and innovation on show that BOSS is renowned for,” says Agag.

Hugo Boss x Porsche  

Oliver Blume CEO of Porsche AG says Formula E is an exceptionally attractive racing series for motorsport vehicles to develop.

“It offers us the perfect environment to strategically evolve our vehicles in terms of efficiency and sustainability. We’re looking forward to being on board in the 2019/2020 season. In this context, the renowned fashion group HUGO BOSS represents the perfect partner to outfit our team.”

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Brand Voice

The Anzisha Summit – Towards A Future Driven By Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs




April 15, 2019 will hopefully mark the day a new phrase enters popular discourse about how our economic futures could play out. The term “4th Industrial Revolution” has come to embody the conversation around the supply-side of the jobs debate -skills and education.

We hope to drive new research, discussion and policy around the demand-side of employment by deeply exploring entrepreneurship as a career – particularly for students of high potential.

What if skilled students with options chose an entrepreneurship path and hired their friends and peers along the way? What does Africa’s youth employment situation look like if this happens?

The Anzisha Scenario campaign concept was born after heated discussions and exchanges internally in response to a research paper that was released in 2018, and the resulting coverage it got in the media. The research took a position that older founders in the US have been more successful as entrepreneurs generally, and, particularly, when it comes to scale and job creation. The ensuing media and social media coverage seemed to quickly extrapolate this to an insight that applied globally. Emails quickly circulated across the entrepreneurship and education ecosystems, echoing the sentiments of the research and its impact for programming.

I had a particularly strong reaction to the report. It’s not that the research is wrong (it isn’t), it’s that it:

  • Is pretty obvious. Prior work, life and management experience should make you a better entrepreneur when you’re older, in the same way it should make you a more successful manager or leader within an existing business.
  • Inadvertently positions the problem of youth unemployment as largely unsolvable by young people themselves. But with not enough job opportunities to start with, if only people with 15+ years’ experience can create other jobs, we’re in a heap of trouble.
  • Is quickly supported by those who have followed traditional education and career pathways, crowding out other experience pathways as less legitimate. Anyone who got a great degree, and then worked for a great company, is immediately validated and pre-qualified as a better scale entrepreneur through formal training. Few have that opportunity.

Having had this research kick off some of our own thinking, we started to look at our own evidence and work. And this then became the next driver of investing in a campaign as a pan-African, inclusive, multi-stakeholder scenario planning exercise.

We have seen, time and again, young entrepreneurs start out from the very youngest of ages, and slowly build careers –in the same way any other career professional would. Those that are well supported throughout tend to be more successful, just as a well-supported professional would be on their path to senior management. We will be presenting these stories in a Hall of Fame campaign later in the year.

We also have seen clear evidence that managers hire from their peer group in terms of age. Older entrepreneurs hire older professionals. Young entrepreneurs hire young. The only people really willing to hire 19 year olds without question are 23 year old entrepreneurs (or thereabouts).

We have seen young people of high potential and with options – they are actively recruited by universities and employers – choose entrepreneurship.

The combination of this and many other thoughts is part of the discussion we want to have. Is the Anzisha Scenario possible? What are the drivers, barriers and opportunities? What are the roles of parents, teachers, students, policy-makers and other stakeholders in making the choice of “entrepreneurship as a career” desirable and supported, with appropriate income as you grow? The Anzisha Scenario as a conversation on campus has already begun to influence our own curriculum planning as our faculty think about their role in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship as a career path.

We’ve already had two stakeholder workshops with cross-sector representatives from South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana. (Thanks to ALA, ALU, ALX, Harambee, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Driven Entrepreneurs, E-squared, Imagine Scholar, McKinsey, Nova Pioneer, RLabs, and Startup Academy).

On April 15, during the inaugural Very Young Entrepreneur Education and Acceleration Summit, we’ll host our first experts’ panel and launch the draft position paper. Please follow or contribute to the conversation using the hashtag #AnzishaScenario. Make sure to also watch highlights from the Summit at Let’s see if we as a community can put young people at the center of solving the employment challenges we collectively face.

– Josh Adler

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