“Gabon has the potential to pilot real innovation and redefine how governments and the private sector collaborate to create sustainable growth. We want to create the long-term potential for our people to innovate, to allow them to compete, not just with each other or with their neighbours on the African continent, but globally. I firmly believe that these ideas are the bedrock of a development model for the third millennium, a model that the entire world recognises as necessary.” His Excellency President Ali Bongo Ondimba
Gabon is one of the top ten oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa. With current production rates hovering around 200,000 bpd, the hydrocarbon sector has been a pillar of the country’s economy for over five decades, and remains an unparalleled driver of growth. However, since 2009, Gabon has been diligently focused upon modernising, transforming and diversifying its economy through its implementation of its Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon (PSGE), which, powered by significant public and private investments, has seen strategic infrastructure put into place. Recently, a US$350 million debt finance from the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) was secured to develop new deep-sea facilities at the Owendo port in the outskirts of Libreville. This will boost the terminal’s general cargo capacity, doubling the port’s current capacity. Furthermore, works are underway for the construction of a new international airport in Libreville, with completion scheduled for 2022 and aims at serving as a major regional hub, connecting Gabon and surrounding countries with the whole continent, as well as UAE, China, India and the Americas.
The PSGE relies upon three major pillars to enhance diversification: Industrial Gabon, Green Gabon, and Services Gabon.“We have embarked on a significant effort to modernise and diversify the economy through the PSGE,” states Prime Minister Julien NkogheBekale. “We intend to put Gabon on a sustainable path with the establishment of these foundations for sustainable development.”
Industrial Gabon strives to diversify through local processing of the country’s resources such as wood, mining and agriculture. Gabon has also established an open investment climate for investors through the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) that have been established in the country, such as the one in Nkok. The zone’s main function is to develop various industries, most notably the wood processing industry, to promote investment. SEZs offer a unique fiscal status providing a stable and competitive economic climate for foreign investors and prospective companies.“We have a one-stop shop here,” says Gabriel Ntougou, CEO of ANPI. “It is the right time, the grounds are there. Gabon is a land of opportunity.” The expansive acreage, modern port and tax breaks are attractive to foreign investors and create favourable circumstances across all sectors.
In terms of mining, Gabon is seeing impressive growth as well. As the country focuses on the plentiful resources of manganese and other minerals, there are opportunities for mining support companies to provide heavy equipment to aid in mining processes. Firms have also obtained exploration licenses for iron ore, copper, gold and even diamonds. Gabon has also invested in the construction of a hydroelectric barrier designed for supplying energy in two transformation factories of manganese which generate 10% of the annual production. Moreover, Gabon has reinforced the governance of its mining sectors, namely by the revision of the Mining Code in order to change the business sector to attract more investors.
The forestry industry especially is seeing huge industrial growth. Minister of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Prof. Lee White, says, “The fact that we banned the export of raw wood means that all timber has to be transformed. We shifted from an exporting industry to a transformation industry.” As a result, new opportunities are born for timber processing companies.
With forests covering 87% of Gabon’s area, placing conservation efforts is also at the forefront of the PSGE’s goals. The country is attempting to increase the revenue of the forestry sector while keeping practices environmentally sustainable and avoiding species destruction. The sector creates 17,000 jobs and more than 60% of output–excluding oil. Hon. Prof. Lee White says, “The vision is to increase the contribution of the forestry sector to the Gabonese economy, yet preserving the forests. We have made a commitment with the Paris agreement to reduce our CO2 emissions, and forests play a critical role as an absorber of CO2. To achieve that ambition, we have to give value to the forests.”
Gabon is building on the digital revolution as it becomes a high value-added services centre. In the realm of the digital financial economy, Gabon utilises technology to maintain one of the best rankings of financial inclusion in the region. Nicholas Achiri Asangwe, Managing Director of Ecobank Gabon, explains, “The widespread use of mobile phones means that Ecobank is empowering the Gabonese to conduct their banking transactions from their mobiles wherever and whenever they want. We are making banking accessible, convenient and affordable to everyone in Gabon.”
The success of the PSGE and the diversification of the economy is a time of exciting transformation and transition for the country. “Few countries match so many favourable assets to investment,” claims Fabrice Bonatti, Director General of SOBRAGA.“We have a stable legal and fiscal framework, an efficient banking system, and a growing population with one of the highest GDP per capita on the continent.” These advantages, coupled with the PSGE initiatives, provide Gabon with the promise and the prospect of a prosperous and paradisiacal future.
Charmaine Mabuza Honoured With FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Social Impact Award
Brand Voice by Zamani Holdings and ITHUBA
Group CEO of Zamani Holdings, Charmaine Mabuza was honoured with the Social Impact Award at the 2020 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit held in Durban ICC recently.
This award recognizes Mabuza for her measurable philanthropy that has positively impacted the lives of many South Africans for the past 21 years.
At the top of her philanthropical projects is the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Scholarship Foundation which she founded with her husband, Advocate Eric Mabuza in 1999. The Scholarship Foundation started in Mpumalanga, where the Mabuza’s business hub is centered. Speaking to Ukhozi FM in an interview, Charmaine Mabuza said that together with her husband, they funded this foundation straight from their pockets. “Both my husband and I come from humble beginnings and we know what it’s like to not have means to study further, especially when you believe that education is your way out of poverty. So when we started making good profits from our small businesses at the time, we decided to dedicate a portion of our personal income to funding tertiary education fees of previously disadvantaged children”, said Mabuza.
Powered by Zamani Holdings, the Scholarship Foundation later expanded its reach to the rest of South Africa, supporting over 160 students countrywide, many of which have qualified as Doctors, Chartered Accountants, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and many more. The 2020 Scholarship Foundation programme launched on 13 January, with an intake of 21 students.
Zamani holdings has empowered the rest its group of companies to roll out CSI initiatives that truly transform the lives of ordinary South Africans. At the forefront of these initiatives is ITHUBA, the South African National Lottery Operator and Zamani’s flagship company.
In July 2017, ITHUBA launched the ITHUBA Female Retailer Development programme, specially designed to empower women who own spaza shops and informal supermarkets, who currently sell National Lottery products, from all around the country. This included women from previously marginalized communities in the rural outskirts.
In collaboration with reputable institutions such as Regenesys and the University of Johannesburg, this programme has upskilled over 100 women in retail business. The latest group of 14 women graduated in October 2019 at the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus, each being awarded a qualification in Advanced Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation.
Zamani’s Social Responsibility initiatives include:
- ITHUBA Graduate Programme: An annual skills development programme for graduates within the Marketing, Finance, IT, PR, HR and Logistics fields, with intake of 13 students in 2020.
- Youth Enterprise Development: Eradicating youth unemployment through developing upcoming entrepreneurs and helping them build sustainable, profit making business.
- Housing project: A project that builds houses for employees in the lower income brackets, who have been in the employment of the company for 10 years and more.
- A media campaign to condemn femicide and violence against women.
“I firmly believe that education is key to eradicating poverty and injustice. This is why all of our initiatives are based on imparting knowledge and skills. Through education we empower, through education we liberate” said Mabuza.
FOCUS ON NIGERIA: The Next Level For Africa
“Foreign companies, especially oil prospects and development companies, have been in Nigeria for about two generations – 40 years and above and so on. So, they know the environment. They stayed that long. They continue to invest because they know the potential Nigeria has in oil and gas and the capacity of the people to learn and work hard.” H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria
With the recent re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has secured an additional four years with an administration that is dedicated to the nation in its efforts to continue its path toward bringing Africa to the next level. With the largest population on the continent, domestic demand in Nigeria continues to rise while resources and favourable demographics are attracting the strong flow of FDI. As one of the leading markets in the continent, investment possibilities in the country cannot be overlooked. Improved macroeconomics, which are supported by recovering oil prices and production, has ensured that Nigeria maintains the title of the largest economy in Africa. This title is largely aided by Nigeria’s powerhouse of GDP generation: oil and gas.
Nigeria has seen strong and steady growth in the oil and gas sector over the past sixty years when petroleum was officially discovered. To bring the reality of the oil and gas industry into perspective, the first quarter of 2018 reported that sales of crude oil made up 76.3% of Nigeria’s export earnings, bringing in about US$11.7 billion. In the same time span, processed oil products (e.g. condensates and lubricants) earned an additional US$1.75 billion, which accounted for an additional 11.4% of the total export earnings. In regard to contributing to the immense success of the industry, Segun Adebutu, CEO of Petrolex says, “As integrated energy conglomerate with strategic investments across the energy value chain, we are committed to building communities, transforming lives and driving economic growth and development in Nigeria.”
Driving economic growth and development is ultimately the central goal of His Excellency President Buhari’s administration. H.E. President Buhari says, “The administration is committed to responsibly managing our oil wealth endowments.” The administration’s commitment is further brought to life through a focus on infrastructure development. Nigeria currently has several on-going and upcoming gas projects in the works for the rapid development of the country’s energy sector. One such project is the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline. The AKK pipeline is a continuation of infrastructure built for the domestic gas market. “The AKK pipeline is part of the Gas Master Plan,” says Emeka Okwuosa, CEO of Oilserv. “It is going to move 1.5 billion scf of gas a day and provide resources for power generation and other energy requirements. It is not only a development of the north; it is such for the entire country. So, this single project can transform the whole of Nigeria in terms of industrial capacity.”
The implementation of the AKK pipeline will only further Nigeria’s potential in the industry, specifically by monetising the incredible opportunity in the gas market. Focus on this type of infrastructure is testament to how the current administration is embracing the Gas Master Plan, which is poised to help Nigeria become the gas hub of West Africa while improving the socio-economic development of the nation. Recently, State Minister of Petroleum Resources, Hon. Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva has declared 2020 as “the Year of Gas”, and this proves to be true as the country makes moves to capitalise on gas and improve its local energy distribution. With an extensive roadmap in place, the gas revolution is on the right track to usher in Buhari’s vision for a next-level Nigeria.
Reflecting this dedication to the next level of the sector, Chief Tunde J. Afolabi, Chairman & CEO of Amni, speaks of the potential of gas in the country: “Given that Nigeria has three to four times more gas than oil, companies such as ours should focus more on gas; in our discovery of gas reserves we should look to harness and monetise the gas as we go along. The government is making a requirement that when looking for oil, companies must find a solution for the gas before they are allowed to produce oil.” This mentality will inevitably evolve the prosperous sector toward new avenues and make even greater use of the natural resource.
While the oil and gas industry continues to sustain further growth in forthcoming years, FDI remains crucial for the sector and new investments keep being launched to make sure it continues sustained growth and development. Tein T.S. Jack-Rich, Founder and President of Belemaoil, says “Nigeria has been pretty predominant in the oil business. Nigeria has great potential. We have the demographics to decide the right economic framework.” Investment opportunities range from upstream oil and gas production, such as deposits or drill wells, or in downstream production that focuses on the post-production of crude oil and natural gas activities, such as seen in refineries plant production, or sales. Within any level of exploration, extraction or production, the partnering opportunities are immense.
Under the guidance of H.E. President Buhari’s administration and the Gas Master Plan, the oil and gas sector is destined to spur economic growth and drive industrialisation with linkages to other key sectors such as construction, ICT, power, railways and agriculture. H.E. President Buhari is confident in the future of Nigeria, saying, “We have laid the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.” As such, the upcoming years are sure to prove that the “Year of Gas” is, in reality, a new era for the industry, which will further signal a new age for Nigerians by creating jobs, facilitating investment, and offering greater access to electricity. While it is known that oil is a constant, Nigeria is showing that gas will continue to play an increasingly important role to ensure that the nation progresses forward towards the next level.
Leadership In A Disrupted World
Even our thoughts about disruption are being disrupted. Is it radical change? Is it total displacement? Do we need entire new paradigms? Can we manage it? Is it avoidable? Is it permanent or temporary? Is it reversible? The common mistake we make is to minimize its effect and then “beat” it into a shape that we understand and manage it from there. The challenge is to lead inside a wave of disruption, the art is to initiate disruption to our own benefit. If we only respond to disruption, we have lost the game already.
We are increasingly engulfed by a disrupted world. Our ways of work are irrevocably changed. Our futures will not be the same as where we come from and are presently. Disruption and the future go hand-in-hand. How do we prepare for disruption? By making sense of the future landscapes that we will navigate on. How do we lead others into coming revolutions, such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution that we experience at present?
What is disruption? Disruption is the interruption or disturbance of the accepted norm that becomes a force that changes the way things are done, values, societies and often beliefs. It is so abrupt and impactful that there is often not time to prepare for it. To thrive in disruption, we need to navigate landscapes of the future. When is this future? The future is at this moment, tomorrow and thereafter, often stretching beyond an era in time yet to realise, that lies outside the everyday planning, strategic management and intervention scope.
The future approaches at different speeds for different business environments. We can thus shape the future to create landscapes from our imagination. To thrive in the unknown, even the short-term unknown, we need leaders with the courage and skills to venture into and beyond the immediate future. Leaders shaped for disruption are at ease with fast evolution, revolution and the transitions which take place among eras of technology, business and economies. Although they cannot always anticipate disruptions, they are prepared to be thrown into them and guiding others through the turbulent and complex eras of change.
The Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM) of the University of Pretoria and the Team Building Institute (TBi) have joined forces to create a leadership development concept – Leadership in a Disrupted World. This is a learning and participative journey that puts future perspective to themes that leaders need to address to shape, influence and navigate disruptive landscapes that they will guide others on. The journey will unlock the combined knowledge of future aware leaders for being at ease with disruption and creating an environment where collaboration, teaming and personalisation are used to draw on experience and to lead towards future leadership qualities to deal with disruptions of many kinds. This experience is ideal for all leaders in a broad spectrum of industry where, especially engineering and technology management play a disruptive role, and change leads to complex environments evolving rapidly and need to be dealt with. Leaders that find that existing leadership theories fall short to assist them in handling current and future challenges should be seeking new ways of thinking about the future and to prepare themselves and their organisations for disruption.
The GSTM has graduated many Masters and PhDs in Engineering Management, Project Management, and Technology and Innovation Management students over its existence of more than 30 years. This has resulted in a common body of knowledge of engineering and technology management. Engineers that qualified through the GSTM are playing a leadership role in their industries, academia and government in Africa. With the speed of change brought about by technology, lifestyles and geo-political influences, these leaders have to remain resilient to future disruption. The GSTM has built future thinking into its courseware and research and now offers this understanding in the context of future leadership as a continued service to its alumni and other industry leaders through this workshop.
TBi supports a vision to improve self-understanding, intra- and interpersonal relationships in a social or team context. This unique value proposition (scientific method of training) distinguishes TBi from other service providers. TBI’s approach is to integrate inter- disciplinary concepts that are usually viewed as separate entities The TBi methodology also known as Adventure-related Experiential Learning (AEL), finds its roots in the disciplines of Psychology, Philosophy, Human Movement Sciences and Business. The AEL method of learning guarantees immersivity, novelty and engagement of participants in discovering new perspectives to facilitate change.
Dr Anthon Botha is a physicist, strategist and future thinker. He has more than 30 years of experience in the management of science, engineering, technology and innovation. He spends a lot of time imagining the future, creating mental images for leaders of what is to be. He developed novel ways for future thinking and has used this in both academia and consulting to assist leaders to think strategically about the future after painting future landscapes and making choices on their preferred futures. He currently provides extensive business consulting in the management and commercialisation of knowledge, technology and innovation and facilitates debates and events in the field of science, engineering and technology. He is a part-time academic at the GSTM
Dr Chris Heunis holds a DPhil from the University of Pretoria. He specialises in Organisational Development and has been consulting locally and internationally for the past 25 years. He co-founded TBi as a niche company that specialises in interpersonal and intrapersonal behavioural dynamics. He appeared on several radio and TV- programmes including Carte Blanche, Business Beat, Maatband, Take 5 and recently on Prontuit. He believes that the success of business leadership starts with being mindful of the needs of others.
Content provided by the University of Pretoria
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