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RISING WOMAN: A Celebration Of Women

Advertorial BY STRATEGY BUSINESS GROUP

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A celebration of women, thought leaders, innovators, thinkers, problem solvers, and drivers of growth and development who are contributing to the Rising Africa Story.


ABENA BRIGIDI

CEO Nimed Capital, Ghana

Nimed Capital’s Managing Director and CEO demonstrated a flair for finance early in her professional career. She quickly rose through the ranks at Zenith Bank from a customer service advisor to a relationship manager and head of customer service. Her expertise in corporate finance, funds and investment management, as well as investment research, has effectively paired with her entrepreneurial drive to create one of Ghana’s leading investment banks. Today, the investment analyst, author, and speaker is a passionate advocate for empowering women through recognition and promotion of the efforts and successes of women in various industries.

Brigidi herself was recognized as one of the Woman Rising’s 100 Most Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana in 2017 and adjudged the Emerging Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.


YOADAN TILAHUN

CEO Flawless Events, Ethiopia

Running seamless, perfect – flawless – events was a vision of Ethiopian-born Yoadan Tilahun.

Initially launched in Washington, DC and transplanted to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Flawless Events has worked tirelessly to earn its well-deserved reputation for innovation and creativity. As a result, it has achieved substantial growth in its 15 years of operation.

Tilahun is known for instituting exceptionally high work standards and always doing business with integrity and honesty.

Tilahun is also an enthusiastic advocate for professionalizing the MICE industry in East Africa and is an active member of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA). In 2018, she was named Seasoned Entrepreneur of the Year by Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).


MICHELLE TAKON

Founder Narnia Events, Nigeria

What advice would you give young women entrepreneurs?

Firstly, young women entrepreneurs need to understand the business they’d like to go into; the business environment, target market, and then ensure that their business ideas will solve a problem before they embark on their entrepreneurial journey.

I would also tell them to make sure that whatever they choose to do, should be borne out of passion and not based on what other people are doing or how much money others are making.


DR. IBILOLA AMAO

STEM Specialist & CEO Lonadek, Nigeria

Dr. Amao established Lonadek with a greater purpose than just providing technical consultancy to ensure that local and indigenous companies utilized established systems, processes and procedures to deliver quality goods and services. She envisioned a company that could continually develop the capacity of young Africans in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Dr. Amao also mentors young professionals and engages with Junior Engineers, Technicians, and Scientists (JETS) clubs. Over the last 25 years, Lonadek has successfully trained over 5,000 certified engineers, designers, and cost consultants in the utilization of engineering software and information technology.


QUEEN OHAMARA

Founder, Qmara Vie Planners, Nigeria

Qmara Vie Planners is a boutique events management company based in Abuja, Nigeria and founded by Queen Ohamara. The company emphasizes adding luxury and sophistication to their client’s event while maintaining a sense of modernity.

Qmara Vie Planner is comprised of a young, vibrant team that is constantly innovating and pushing themselves to creatively turning dreams into reality. The company prides itself on curating unique once in a lifetime experiences. That is why her company bears all the stress of planning an event so clients can enjoy their special day.


ADAMA AMANDA NDIAYE

Adama Paris, Senegal

Adama Amanda Ndiay is a Senegalese fashion designer born in Kinshasa, Zaire. She epitomizes the multicultural fashion designer of the new millennium.

Adama is also the founder and producer of many fashion events such as Dakar Fashion Week, the Afrika Fashion Awards, also known as the Trophies of African Fashion (TMA), and the Black Fashion Week in Prague, Paris, Bahia, and Montreal since 2010. Adama and her team also launched the first Fashion Africa Channel in 2014. She is a passionate advocate for the promotion of women entrepreneurship throughout Africa.


TANG SAU MUOI

CEO of ILCI Business School & IESIG Management School, France

As I ran from war and emigrated to France, I never had the chance to finish my education. I was certain that the only way to succeed was to be well-educated. The benefit of a good education was exemplified by my children; all five attained Master’s degrees and have good jobs.

I wanted to give the same chance to children from abroad, to benefit from a good education. I established the IESIG School and ILCI Business School with the main focus of offering programs that align with future employment needs.

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Sanlam & NASASA Launch NASASA Financial Services For Stokvels

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Sanlam and the National Stokvel Association of South Africa (NASASA) have launched NASASA Financial Services (Pty) Ltd; a brokerage catering to the financial services needs of the South African stokvel market. NASASA is a self-regulatory organisation with a database of 125 000 stokvel groups, reaching about 2.5 million individuals. The new entity will foster greater financial inclusion for all members.


Jacqui Rickson, Chief Executive: Group Benefits at Sanlam Developing Markets Limited and Board member of NASASA Financial Services says, “For South African stokvels this is an opportunity to formalise their existence without having to forego their traditions. The peace-of-mind that each member of a stokvel will be protected in their time of need is invaluable.”

“Stokvels are powerful financial services providers in their own right,” says NASASA Financial Services CEO, Mizi Mtshali “and have the potential to help grow South Africa’s economy once they enter the more formalised sector through appropriate product offerings”. Currently, there are over 800 000 stokvels in the country, aggregating an estimated R50-billion pa. They are, however, quite exposed, especially to liquidity issues that may render them unable to discharge benefits to their members, as well as scams that promise to resolve such issues. This results from a lack of accessible, relevant products that meet the needs of a more informal savings sector. 

As a result, some burial stokvels may not pay enough to cover funeral expenses in their entirety. By offering broad-based financial services to members, NASASA Financial Services will empower stokvels through greater socio-economic inclusion and security.

Jacqui Rickson says, “This venture supports our client-centric focus by allowing financial inclusion to be extended to South Africans who are on the edge of the formalised insurance structures.  Through this, we can help families recover financially following difficult, unexpected events.”

NASASA Financial Services is currently licensed as a Juristic Representative of Sanlam Developing Markets, with a long-term plan to become a Financial Services Provider (FSP).  NASASA Financial Services will distribute tailor-made products nationally via its distribution force. Sanlam as underwriter, through NASASA Financial Services, will initially offer group-based funeral benefits, tailored to each individual type of stokvel.

Products are competitively priced and start at R15 per person. Once the stokvel has selected its option, the stokvel will pay one premium for the whole group. For burial stokvels, Sanlam has designed a full product, covering up to nine family members and all products have been created in partnership with NASASA.

Currently, the product offering includes:

  • A Principal Member Only Funeral Benefit
  • An Immediate Family Funeral Benefit
  • A Principal Member Plus Up To 9 Dependents Funeral Benefit
  • Grocery and Airtime Cash Benefits

NASASA is about educating their members about wealth and more appropriately, financial health, which includes saving on the expense of premiums through aggregation and paying group rates rather than more expensive individualised rates. We’ve designed products as an extension of this; as a tangible, affordable, non-intrusive offering that seamlessly blends the required formal structures with community-based traditional structures.

Mizi Mtshali, NASASA CEO, adds, “The research conducted during the build-up of our product launch saw the solution being entirely built by participating stovels. As a result, we deliver unmatched value by buiding a solution briefed in by our constituency. Amongst the majority of South Africans, funeral insurance fulfils an unmistakable need. While many are excluded from the formal financial system, those who do interface with the sector largely feel inadequately serviced. Burial Societies are formed as providers of such services and have developed systems around the real needs of their members. There are roughly 200 000 active Burial Societies in South Africa, with the majority being self-underwritten.

Because such groups rely on their collective savings to discharge their benefit to members, they often face liquidity problems that may lead to their disbandment. This brings about the need for an underwriter who will take on the risk on behalf of the group, as well as offer a set of products and services built around the group’s needs. NASASA is tasked by its members to solve this problem, and we have identified Sanlam as the most suitable partner in this regard.”

Mtshali says this venture will also facilitate job creation, which is key to socioeconomic inclusion, “For South Africans, this opportunity provides meaningful employment particularly in the township economy. Not only is this a step towards financial inclusion, but a giant leap towards societal transformation”

Down the line, NASASA Financial Services is aiming to extend its offering to include life cover as well as short-term products like household insurance and is investigating the potential of integrating other banking products.

Content provided by Sanlam

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FOCUS ON KENYA: A Chain Reaction Of Investment And Economic Growth

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“Kenya has the largest, most diverse economy in East and Central Africa, serving as the regional hub for logistics and air transportation, financial services, ICT innovations, and international media coverage. We have a clear vision for economic development. Our focus is on implementing more business-friendly policies and reforms to reduce investment costs and enhance the sector’s global competitiveness.” – President Kenyatta

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Kenya is known as one of the most innovative countries in Africa with the strongest and most reliable internet connectivity in the continent thanks to the undersea cables that connect Kenyans to the world wide web. The country has shown exceptional economic progress in recent years, even jumping ahead an incredible 56 positions on the ease of doing business index in 2018, placing them at number 61. The Kenyan people are strong, dedicated, and eager to use their talents and assets to create a new future as a middle-income country. This goal has been spearheaded by the plans established by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration. The Vision 2030 Plan and Big Four Agenda are the keys to propelling Kenya forward for years to come. The Big Four Agenda, which is focused on four major pillars of economic development: Food Security, Affordable Housing, Manufacturing and Universal Healthcare, is the secret weapon to developing key sectors and causing a ripple effect through the entire economy. Through the implementation of this plan, Kenya will soon be a world leader in numerous sectors, as evident from their current success in utilising their ICT advantage in developing existing industries to create a better life for all.

            The administration is dedicated to capitalising on Kenya’s diverse economy in order to develop the economy. President Kenyatta says, “Kenya has the largest, most diverse economy in East and Central Africa, serving as the regional hub for logistics and air transportation, financial services, ICT innovations, and international media coverage. We have a clear vision for economic development. Our focus is on implementing more business-friendly policies and reforms to reduce investment costs and enhance the sector’s global competitiveness.” Paving the way for foreign direct investment is another key factor to facilitate the country’s growth. FDI in the past has been positive, especially with the amount of inclusivity and the influx of Internet start-ups that Kenya has seen in recent years.

            SEACOM has established an economically viable and reliable fibre broadband access, which has given life to many sectors so that they may grow, expand and modernise. Access to stable Internet has been a crucial addition for Kenya and many East African businesses. Tonny Tugee, Managing Director of SEACOM, says, “Our ambition was always to better equip African companies with high-performance Internet so that they can harness its potential for growth, with positive effects for local economies.”

The greatest asset of strong and reliable Internet access is the connectivity and inclusivity it brings to users across the country. This tool has already been embraced by companies such as Absa Group member Barclays Bank of Kenya. Jeremy Awori, Managing Director and CEO of Barclay’s Bank, states, “Technology allows you to meet customer needs and improve customer experience more efficiently and cost-effectively. It enhances your control and provides you with data that enables you to take more efficient decisions.” These decisions have been made to ensure financial inclusion for all Kenyan citizens as the country goes fiercely in the direction of its inevitable bright future.

            The growth of the economy opens the door for other sectors to enjoy Kenya’s achievements as well, just as public-private partnerships in the country are helping to develop sectors such as energy, education, healthcare, transport and infrastructure. Judith Nyakawa, Director of Public-Private Partnerships Unit, says, “We are enablers in the President’s Big Four Agenda. We contribute to improvements in the road, health, and infrastructure sectors. As a unit, we are continuously looking for alternative ways to raise funds so that government development budget can be used to meet other needs.” These initiatives are creating a closer and more inclusive sense of community among Kenyas, connecting them and providing better access to roads, transportation, healthcare and insurance, among other needs.

            The fulfilment of these needs will lead to a successful and driven population, but also to more opportunities in other sectors such as agri-business; manufacturing; financial services; ICT; tourism; and transport and logistics. To foster the rapid and favourable growth of these sectors, Afreximbank has invested in Kenya and developed plans to support its companies. Afreximbank is the most prominent pan-African multinational financial institution committed to financing and advancing intra- and extra-African trade. The heart of their plan lies in the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) which will provide seed capital to African companies to help them expand and grow in the thriving economy. In a briefing, Afreximbank said, “The bank’s location in Nairobi will create more job opportunities for the youth and generate business opportunities for entrepreneurs to venture into. Afreximbank has already become a significant player in Kenya’s economy, having financed deals close to 300 million U.S. dollars.”

            The progress that Kenya is continuing to enjoy is a chain reaction of dedication from its people, administration and sectors who see a bright future in store for the country. The Vision 2030 has brought successful results since its implementation in 2008 and the momentum is not stopping anytime soon. The country’s sectors are energised and ready to expand through the improvement of public infrastructure, even stronger ICT, and financial inclusion for all. The Big Four Agenda will use the country’s strengths and tools to ensure Food Security, create more Affordable Housing, enhance Manufacturing and provide Universal Healthcare for all, skyrocketing Kenya into a middle-income country.

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Leaders Need To Embrace, Not Fear, The Digitalized Future Of Work

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The machines are coming for our jobs. This is a dystopian vision of the future of work popularized by the media and perpetuated in boardrooms across the globe.

South Africa is not immune from this misperception and here it has created a climate of fear and paralysis.  Leaders, both civic and corporate, hesitate to encourage and incentivise the very digitalization needed to sustain and grow our economies out of a misguided fear of job losses and the ensuing civil backlash.

Ironically, the exact efforts to protect jobs from technology may end up being the biggest cause of job losses in the future. Because, without a shift to a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) mindset, businesses will progressively become less competitive against their global peers, eroding their economic relevance and the jobs they sustain.

Decision makers, therefore, need the courage to embrace the paradox that while jobs might be subsumed by technology, only technology will be able to create new ones.

Yes, automation and cognitive technologies will eliminate jobs; mostly in search of improved efficiencies and productivity, and to some extent to reduce reliance on expensive, rare and specialised skills. It is futile and economically reckless to think otherwise.

The good news is that these same technologies will create demand for new skills and new jobs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) conducted an extensive study, leveraging insights from business leaders cumulatively responsible for 15 million people across a variety of sectors, skills and seniority levels globally. The study concluded that for every job that is lost to 4IR popularized technologies, 1.7 jobs will be created.

The consequent economic knock-on effects of these new jobs, although not quantified, would undoubtedly be significant and further contribute to net employment.

Unfortunately, the net new jobs will mostly remain in the domain of the educated and available to those with the means to access and afford the cost of sourcing new 4IR-related skills.

Green shoots

There are, however, green shoots of positive developments, led by a new breed of digitally literate entrepreneurs. They have not “invented” the technology, but instead leverage technology platforms to create self-employment and economic sustainability. These digitally literate entrepreneurs, many of them running micro-businesses, are creating employment and economic activity in lower income level segments in the following key areas:

1. Distributed value chains

Distributed value chains involve a category of people who are generally unemployed or under-employed and are able to fulfil a last-mile service gap by trading in their skills or available time. These platforms link people with capacity and/or skills constraints to people with the time and skills needed. This is done in a way that is dignified, safe, peer-reviewed for quality of service, and enables higher wages compared to traditional constructs. These platforms have been effective at creating jobs in developed, low-unemployment economies. Their contribution to employment is proven, significant and immediately tangible.

2. Collaborative consumption

It is often impossible for small organisations or individuals to justify the ownership of an asset because of affordability, or the ability to use the full capacity of the asset. The converse applies in which access to the asset through a sharing mechanism enables the same benefit as asset ownership. For example, digital platforms, such as Nigerian start-up Hello Tractor, that provide access to key equipment on a pay-per-use basis allow companies and individuals to reap economic benefits from utilising technology without the associated costs of owning the equipment.

This in turn enhances efficiencies and competitiveness of small organizations and levels the playing field for them in relation to large ones. Collaborative consumption has many forms and different levels of sophistication. At the extremes of technology, companies like 3D Hubs enable the collaborative consumption of 3D printers, allowing the 3D printer to become a shareable asset within its community.

3. Digital economic catalysts

Digital platforms increase levels of transparency, which combined with the network effect of connecting communities and frictionless transaction flow, is reviving sectors that have lost their appeal due to a lack of transparency, reduced levels of trust and relevance to specific demographic groups, and tedious or complex manual processes. These sectors are being revived by digital platforms that economically empower micro-entrepreneurs – or allow them to further empower other micro-entrepreneurs. StokFella and Livestock Invest are good examples of platforms that have shaken up entrenched concepts.

Digital technologies present both risks and potential. The way forward is not fixed nor will it be easy, but with the right leaders, and a mindset of urgency, curiosity and a preparedness to challenge existing paradigms, we have a good chance of achieving an abundant future.

We also need citizens and entrepreneurs that see opportunity in this new era open to doing things that have never been done before – in ways not previously considered, leveraging technology never before available.

Valter Adão is the Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Deloitte Africa

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