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Eswatini: A Global Fortress of Innovation and Tradition

“The Kingdom of Eswatini continues to use its resources and capabilities to expand investment opportunities for both foreign and local business, as part of our national strategy for socio-economic growth. We spare no effort in our drive to access and secure international markets for our products as we see this to be a crucial link to the global economy.” His Majesty King Mswati III

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“The Kingdom of Eswatini continues to use its resources and capabilities to expand investment opportunities for both foreign and local business, as part of our national strategy for socio-economic growth. We spare no effort in our drive to access and secure international markets for our products as we see this to be a crucial link to the global economy.” His Majesty King Mswati III

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On April 19, 2018, Eswatini celebrated its golden jubilee since independence, and King Mswati III’s 50th birthday, with the King’s announcement that the nation would be adopting its pre-colonial name. In doing so, he confirmed the nation’s commitment to a new beginning; a mission previously kick-started by his 2017-2022 Vision focusing on making Eswatini a first world nation by driving ICT, tourism, agri-processing, manufacturing, energy and mining sectors. In alignment with the spirit of the Vision and in an unprecedented fashion, a new prime minister was then appointed a few months later, via a three-day People’s Parliament, Sibaya. Prime Minister, Ambrose Dlamini’s private sector mindset has been key in providing the appropriate shift required by the NDP and in putting together a new cabinet whose policies and reforms are driven by the provision of an innovative enabling business environment for investors and SMEs. “The private sector prioritises efficiency. Fifty percent of the assets under our supervision are going to provide the environment to attract FDI,” states Sandile Dlamini, CEO of Financial Services Regulator Authority (FSRA).  New legislations have since been set up to ensure rapid company registration and trading licences through e-platforms. “We have the basic economic infrastructure needed to attract international investment,” elaborates Dumisani J. Msibi, Group Managing Director of Fincorp.

Initiatives to spur the growth of ICT have been crucial in leading the way to rapid economic growth. “We need to invest in ICT, because it is going to be the engine for social-economic growth and key to growing national GDP,” explains Petrus Dlamini, MD of EPTC. The banking sector has partnered with fintechs to upgrade expertise and innovation. “The banking sector is a catalyst and big contributor to the GDP,” adds Fikele Nkosi, Nedbank’s MD.

Eswatini’s E240 million Royal Science and Technology Park was conceived and launched with the aim of providing a location for governments, universities and private companies to collaborate in advancing innovation, development and commercialisation of technology through a one stop facility. “Using technology to enable people to do business is the future of the industry,” asserts CEO of Standard Bank, Mvuseleo Fakudze.

Opportunities abound within Eswatini, with trade and touristical routes literally pushing Eswatini’s boundaries via railway tracks, the King Mswati III International Airport and new highways. Hon. Ndwandwe, Minister of Public Works and Transport elaborates: “Considering Eswatini’s land-locked status and strategic location between Mozambique and South Africa, the transport sector plays a pivotal role in ensuring accessibility and efficient movement of goods and services within the region, strengthening a regional logistics-hub position for the country.” Huge investments have been made to connect Eswatini to Mozambique and South Africa. “Geographically, we have an advantage, because to the south of this country you have one of the biggest cargo ports in Africa,” explains Stephenson Ngubane, CEO of Eswatini Railways.  On the other hand, major construction company, Inyatsi, is currently building a strategic highway connecting South Africa through to Mozambique via Eswatini’s airport. “Infrastructure drives the growth in any country and Eswatini has always been on the forefront of road development,” declares Group CEO of Inyatsi, Tommy Strydom.

Also crucial to national growth and development is the government’s prioritisation of its energy sector, aiming to be power sufficient by 2034 by harnessing the nation’s vast resources for renewable  energy, such as biomass, bagasse, hydropower, solar and wind. CEO of Eswatini’s Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA), Vusumizi N. Mkhumane confirms: “We want to improve our power producer base, having a more cost-effective power delivery.”

As the nation’s largest industry and fourth-largest sugar producer on the continent, sugar cane grew 735,000 tonnes of sugar in 2017/18 alone. In order to support and sustain its sugar belt, and other crops, the government has implemented climate adaptive initiatives: Komati Downstream Development Project (KDDP), Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP), as well as LUSIP II which will enlarge available irrigated farmland for local smallholders. Samson Sithole, CEO of ESWADE states: “We have the opportunity at ESWADE to move people from traditional agriculture to commercial agriculture; we want them to produce and to feed the world.”

Key to the nation’s ability to fulfil its vision is its highly educated population, and its commitment to progress and ancient customs. But ultimately, according to Prime Minister Dlamini, “peace and stability is the main glue that holds us together as a nation and has allowed business to flourish.”

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Investing In The Future: Tanzania’s Blueprint To Become A Middle Income Nation

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Under the guidance of President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, Tanzania is scheduled to become a middle income nation by 2025. The Development Vision 2025 is focused on creating peace and stability, freedom from corruption, investment in the education of the Tanzanian people and a competitive and sustainable economy. The key to Magufuli’s Vision is industrialisation. “There is no economy in the world that can thrive without industrialisation and we are just beginning,” states Mr Subhash Patel, Chairman of the Motisun Group. Magufuli’s Vision of an industrialised nation is well underway.

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The construction of Tanzania’s US$14.2 billion Standard Gauge Railway, stretching 2,561 kilometres connecting Dar es Salaam port to its land-locked neighbours, is an infrastructure project that will enhance trade opportunities for Tanzania. “Projects such as the SGR could help lower transport costs and improve economic activity from a reduction of production and operational costs, lower cost of consumer goods and increased transit of goods passing through Tanzania to landlocked countries,” says Faraj Abri, director of ASAS. This will increase relationships with East African countries and strengthen all economies of the region.

“As a country, our vision is clear. My administration is determined to make sure that Tanzania achieves its development aspiration of being a middle-income country by 2025 as stated in the National Development Vision. I insist to my government officials and the people that our Vision can be achieved with close collaboration of the public and private sector. As you have seen, I am pioneering the undertaking of major reforms to create more favorable investment environment to ensure that private sector drives our future growth.”

H. E. President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli

The Tanzania Port Authority is working toward this same agenda with the construction of the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP), which “will support the financing of crucial investments in the Port with the aim of improving its effectiveness and efficiency for the benefit of the public and private stakeholders,” says Eng. Deusdedit C.V Kakoko, Director General of TPA. In conjunction with the DMGP, TICTS is working to expand the additional capacity that will be needed at Tanzania’s ports. Chief Executive Officer, Jared Zerbe, states: “The assistance and cooperation received from the government of Tanzania, TPA and our customers using the port have been the source of growth.”

In addition to opening new doors for local and international trade, Tanzania has signed a groundbreaking contract with Egypt to build a new 2,115 MW hydroelectric power station. In an effort to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, the Rufiji Hydro Plant will be the largest in East Africa and is invaluable to Tanzania’s transformation. “The national target for the energy sector is to make sure that we reach 5,000 MW by 2020 and at least 10,000 by 2025. Construction on the 2,115 MW Rufiji Hydro Power Plant Project has just begun and this will greatly help us meet our target,” says, Hon. Medard Kalemani, Tanzania’s Minister of Energy.

            Accessible and reliable energy sources will aid the Finance and ICT sectors in their dedication to the Vision 2025 to create financial inclusion and reliable communication services for the Tanzanian people. As the economy of Tanzania inevitably improves, a system must be in place for its people to benefit from it. Abdulmajid Mussa Nsekela, Managing Director of CRDB Bank states, “In line with the financial inclusion framework, we have developed a digitalisation strategy roadmap, which is aimed at ensuring all Tanzanians and residents have proximity to affordable superior financial services.” Other banking entities such as Stanbic approach inclusivity in a way that allows ease of use and convenience. Kenrick Cockerill, CEO of Stanbic Bank Tanzania says, “We have an ecosystem approach to our clients, which means we like to bank entire communities and not just individual clients, which enables us to offer more seamless transactability across all the players in the ecosystems and value chains that we are supporting.“

            Financial inclusion is made even more possible through mobile money transactions, which rely upon a stable telecom sector in order to function effectively. TCRA works to ensure access to reliable, affordable and secure communication services for Tanzanians and foreign investors alike. “Ninety-four percent of the population is now covered by mobile networks,” says Eng. Kilaba. These coverage and technological goals are shared with Tigo, the fastest growing telecom company in Tanzania. Managing Director Simon Karikari says, “We pride ourselves in being committed to Tanzania as a country. We have been here for 25 years and our determination is for long term growth and potential of this country. We continue to invest in the latest technology such as 4G+ because we believe data is the future.”

            With this level of investment in the infrastructure, communication, technology, energy, and finance sectors, the Vision 2025 is on schedule to become a reality, placing Tanzania on the map as a middle income country, and surely as the guiding light for other African nations to follow their example.

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Print In The Digital Age: Why Omni-Channel Marketing Should Be Your Go-to Strategy

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The internet is convenient and for the most part free, so it’s easy to assume that print marketing is dead. However, this assumption completely negates daily situations that proves printed material to be invaluable. Imagine – you have found the place you were looking for on the internet, but you have to leave your house or office to buy from them. When you finally get there, there is no sign outside the premises and you get lost. Without any print marketing, how would we navigate our daily lives?

Printed marketing materials allows your customers to see, touch and experience the quality of your products first-hand, which other marketing channels unfortunately cannot offer. Print advertising has also become the under-dog of the marketing world, with more and more businesses opting for a solely online strategy. This inadvertently creates a niche segment that could potentially grow your loyal customer base, and differentiate you from your competitors, especially if what you are providing is useful and reliable materials.

How does print fit into your marketing strategy?

Any savvy marketer should constantly be asking themselves: how do customers engage with brands these days? Is it via mono-channel marketing? Multi-channel? Or perhaps omni-channel? In order to reach your business goals, it simply makes sense to use every available resource to your advantage. This sentiment is shared by industry experts. Alexander Knieps, founder of Printulu – an online printing company in South Africa – had this to say about omni-channel marketing:

“We are not in a completely online world, and we are not in a completely offline world. It’s all about multi-channel.” – Alexander Knieps, Founder of Printulu, your online printer.

Printulu’s goal is to help SMEs grow their businesses in an omni-channel world. They are disrupting the printing industry with their innovative approach, and their belief is that in order to grow a business effectively in the digital age, you need to be using every channel available to you strategically. This means using each channel’s strengths to your advantage. It means to choose a channel that suits your business’ constraints so that you can utilise it effectively, and expand your marketing efforts towards other channels as your business grows.

Think about it this way – there are essentially 3 main objectives to any type of marketing strategy. These are market identification, positioning/differentiation, and brand loyalty. So how does including print in your strategy help you reach these objectives?

  • Market identification

In order to grow your business successfully, you will need to segment your target market correctly in order to precisely establish a viable customer base. If you are not catering to a target audience’s specific needs, all of your efforts will be in vain. Taking the time to target the exact market you have identified and using various channels to actively pursue your audience will serve the broader goal of increasing your revenue.

Believe it or not, not everyone is online. Some people (especially us hard-working individuals) simply do not have the time to check Facebook during the day. Forget about Instagram and Twitter! We go to the office, we work hard, and we go home to relax with family – be they of the human or animal variety.

If this sounds like your life, ask yourself: where do you see the most ads? Which brand did you take notice of lately in your busy day? The answer is most likely somewhere on your commute – a printed billboard or poster. Print marketing can reach your most targeted consumers in the same way, cutting through the noise of busy everyday life.

  • Positioning/Differentiation

To position your business means to determine how you want your products and services perceived. The way you market your business is telling to customers of the nature of the company. This is why you want to be giving your customers every opportunity to get to know you through well thought-out marketing campaigns. Using high quality printed materials will assist you in positioning your company as a high quality firm.

Do you think your prospects will be more impressed with an online ad that is placed right next to their neighbour’s latest Facebook status about how much they miss their ex – or with a shiny flyer placed conveniently at their favourite coffee shop?

  • Brand loyalty

If your business’ content marketing is consistent and useful, the potential for your company to be seen as a thought leader by customers is exponential. Creating this consumer preference for your brand is essential for a business’ long-term success.

This one isn’t rocket science. The more channels you’re using (and using well), the more consistent and useful your content will appear to prospects and customers.

Don’t get us wrong – we’re not saying online marketing is bad. Quite the opposite. For one thing, if you’re using online tools right, your ads should be showing up right when and where they should be. However, you might be missing out on quite a few huge opportunities by limiting your marketing efforts to just that.

The rule of 7 works better with an integrated marketing approach

The rule of seven should also not be disregarded. If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a quick explanation. The rule of seven states that someone needs to come across your brand or offer at least seven times before it really sinks in and they take action.

The rule of seven shows why it is essential that your business does not rely solely on one channel as it grows. No one marketing channel has infinite capabilities, and whilst using one extensively if you have limited resources is a good method to follow, the same strategy should not be used for growing businesses. Adding print marketing to your strategy means that you can target your ads to where your customers will definitely be physically, with the added benefit that they can’t click away. If your product or service is in any way tangible, using tangible marketing is also especially useful.

Can’t fit printed collateral into your budget? Printulu can help you jumpstart your marketing efforts. Click this link to fill in the form and score 25% off your first business card order with Printulu.

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A Business Case For Cloud And Why Finance Needs A Seat At The Table

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Most businesses are by now already at one or another stage of the enterprise cloud transformation journey and a staggering 93 percent of business executives who participated in Deloitte’s 2018 global outsourcing survey, confirmed that their organisations were adopting – or at least considering adopting – cloud.

Deloitte South Africa Finance and Enterprise Performance Management Leader Phillip Hechter says that, “Cloud is not just here, but here to stay. With the potential for significant cost savings and enhanced strategic value, cloud represents a fundamental shift in how technology solutions are developed and in how they are delivered”.

However, a migration to cloud is not without its challenges and the bigger the organisation’s ambitions, the bigger those challenges.

Finance

In the latest iteration of its ‘Crunch time’ series, ‘Crunch Time 8: The CFO Guide to Cloud,’ Deloitte highlights the need for the CFO to take an active role in navigating the challenges that emerge during this process; as well as in making strategic decisions that leverage the technology’s full potential.

The lowered costs on offer with cloud, are one of its biggest drawcards. Broadly speaking, the operational costs are less expensive than those associated with on-site technology and there exists the prospect for massive returns on a cloud investment when what might be ‘unfamiliar’ cost categories – like operating model optimisation, speed-to-market and innovation – are taken into account, alongside more traditional ones.

New core finance platforms

“Cloud solutions should be the default starting point for new core finance platforms and some major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) providers only offer cloud-native options now. The rest are at the very least, punting cloud-optimised versions of their software. Certain components may need to remain on-site for now and ERP providers will most probably continue to support on-site technology for at least the next decade; but it is unlikely that this will continue in the long run and the industry is now focusing its investments in innovation, in cloud services”, says Hechter.

Financial treatment

The accounting for traditional computing investments is based on established capitalisation principles, which are clearly set out in accounting regulations. In contrast, when it comes to cloud investments the regulatory framework is still evolving to reflect the fact that more and more organisations – across the board – are turning to cloud-based offerings, in order to satisfy their computing requirements.

As a result, the process of determining the appropriate financial treatment for cloud investments is a somewhat subjective one at the moment and each case – along with its unique facts and circumstances – needs to be carefully considered.

In terms of tax, a move to the cloud might impact an organisation’s current tax structures and allowable tax treatments vary in accordance with a number of different factors.

Negotiating contracts

Hechter adds that, “It is important that the approach taken in negotiations is a holistic one and that all deals take into account the costs, benefits and impacts for all parts of the business. Thus, it is crucial that Finance works together with Legal, Procurement and IT. External advisors can also prove valuable, especially in organisations that lack experience in cloud contracting”.

Cloud vendors typically build their services and pricing models and – more often than not – their contracts, around standardisation. This means that they are likely to push back against any major changes to standard agreements. Cloud providers are competing for market share, though, and so there exists the opportunity to negotiate for extra benefits and service capabilities – which could be a key source of competitive differentiation.

Cloud brings with it a range of opportunities for real innovation including reduced time-to-market, scalability and a way to drive agility and innovation. There are a host of examples of companies that are using cloud to transform their service and product offerings, improve efficiency, increase customer engagement and ultimately reap significant rewards as a result. It can be done but at the end of the day, what you get out of it depends on what you put in.

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