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FOCUS ON NIGERIA: The Next Level For Africa

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“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.

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The fight against COVID-19 – how Africans are embodying the true meaning of Africa month

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Since its establishment almost 60 years ago, the African Union has dedicated a day, and a month, to the importance of unity amongst its nations. As we approach Africa day, let us all take a moment to appreciate the legacy created by our forebears and carry their hopes into the future.

By Sello Hatang

If you have ever wondered why you feel such a strong sense of responsibility for the people in your community with the COVID-19 crisis upon us, just know that the spirit of unity was forged in our continent through centuries of struggle against colonisation and enslavement. The qualities of Ubuntu are deeply rooted in Africa and its people. The month of May should be a testament to this.

Africa Month is a celebration of a moment in time where leaders came together to create an organization on the 25th of May in 1963. It was the first-of-its-kind, aimed at uniting the hopes and goals of African leaders in over 30 countries. This organization grew into what we now know as the African Union, and it continues to uphold the charter values: to promote the unity of solidarity of African states and to coordinate effort towards a better life for the people of Africa. The AU was officially launched in July 2002, right here in South Africa, with former president Thabo Mbeki at the head as Chairperson.

18 years after Thabo Mbeki’s Chairship, another South African leader is at the helm, and we able to look back and measure how much has been achieved towards the goals promised to its nations on Africa Day. In 2020 more African children are going to school than ever before. Technological advancement on the continent has seen the growing use of renewable energies and the invention of digital wallet products to narrow the financial access gap for the most underprivileged communities. Many of our economies are growing faster than anywhere else on the planet. We have been commended by the International Monetary Fund for creating an entirely new development path, which has solidified the place of countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Benin, Kenya, Uganda, and Burkina Faso in the top ten consistently performing economies worldwide.

None of this would have been achieved without the concerted efforts of togetherness shown by Africa and its leaders even in the most trying times. Today, we are faced with another history-defining moment which will test our ability to rally together. The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the lives of Africans, and placing significant pressure on health systems and economies. The World Bank estimates economic and social impacts worth tens of billions of dollars in estimated output losses this year.

In light of this and other developing impacts on the continent, the African Union inaugurated a COVID-19 Diagnostic Laboratory at its Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre, AU-PANVAC, office in Debre-Zeit, Ethiopia on the 8th of May. The PANVAC laboratories, which were initially designed to test the quality of vaccines, were recently mandated to commence research into developing a new vaccine to fight the deadly pandemic. This is the first African Union specialized laboratory to be given such a mandate. While our leaders quickly work on developing a vaccine, we must remember what we are fighting for.

This makes this year’s Africa Day more important than we could ever imagine. It is now that we need the strongest sense of togetherness to overcome this crisis. The values entrenched by a group of hopeful founders so many years ago, are what will define how well we are able to respond today. It is our devotion to each other as Africans, at the best and worst of times that will strengthen our resolve.  As South Africans we aspire to be known for our generosity and practice of Ubuntu. This is the time for us to show these qualities. Not only must we be crisis-management leaders in the time of COVID-19, mounting the technical and logistical challenges, but we must also show leadership in meeting the needs of all who live in our country, especially our most vulnerable populations.

The Nelson Mandela, Kolisi and Imbumba Foundations have had the privilege of experiencing the spirit of Ubuntu as we have been travelling in South Africa providing much needed relief to families across the country. One such example was when we visited a community in Mpumalanga. The community got its resources together to build a house for an old woman whose house was damaged by a storm. This simple act restored her dignity. This bears testimony to what we are as a people.

 Our country has become a global example for the fight against COVID-19. We have managed to keep our numbers down, with active social distancing and an aggressive testing response in a way that our European and American counterparts have not. Emergency relief work has seen the best of South Africa, with generosity and resilience to the fore. All that the African Union has called for on Africa Day is what we have seen exemplified every day during the crisis thus far. Of course, all has not been rosy. We have seen the deep divides of inequality play out in disturbing ways. Mistakes have been made. The challenge is huge.

But we have much to celebrate in Africa Month. We have experienced in recent months a quality of national leadership which is reassuring. We see robust inter-sectoral endeavour in face of national disaster. And we have seen demonstrated both the importance and the capacity of government to play a critical transformative role.

I wish all who live in South Africa a happy Africa day. May we regard ourselves as citizens of a continent of over a billion people and understand that our national interests are interwoven with those of the continent as a whole. May we do more than talk the talk about Ubuntu. And may we keep striving for excellence as we confront multiple challenges.

Sello Hatang is the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a Brand South Africa partner and long-term stakeholder. Brand South Africa, the official marketing agency mandated with managing the image and reputation of South Africa for global competitiveness.

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FOCUS ON Madagascar: Emerging Into The Investment Landscape

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With an immense wealth of natural resources, Madagascar is poised for prosperity and ready its investment opportunities to be discovered.

The world is looking at us with a different perception. Madagascar has regained its notoriety on the international stage because we have a company project, we have a vision, we have dynamic and determined leaders

H.E. Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, making it larger than Spain, Thailand, Sweden and Germany, with a population of 26.2 million–more than Australia, the Netherlands and Greece. Thanks to its largely undisturbed ecosystems, Madagascar is also one of only 17 countries that is considered “megadiverse” by Conservation International. Overwhelming with natural beauty, flora and fauna, as well as natural resources, Madagascar is quickly coming onto the scene as an investment paradise.

 Madagascar is poised to penetrate the investment landscape even further with the implementation of the Initiative for the Emergence of Madagascar (IEM). His Excellency President Andry Rajoelina has ignited a nationwide plan to improve 13 crucial sectors that will usher Madagascar into even more economic prosperity. Among the plan’s specifics are specialised attention to the island’s main industries, mining, tourism and agriculture, as well as measures to aid in the facilitation of foreign investment and job creation.

With all the unique biodiversity that the island has to offer, it is no surprise that tourism is a major industry in Madagascar. Not only does the country rank number one in Africa with 90% in biodiversity but Madagascar also boasts over 5,000 kilometres of maritime coasts and healthy oceans and registers about 280,000 annual tourists. As this number is steadily increasing, President Rajoelina and his administration have focused more attention to the tourism industry to spur the economy and create jobs. The annual tourism growth is 20% and offers over 640,000 jobs, about 11% of total employment and 13% of overall GDP. Madagascar’s natural beauty is an alluring asset to the economy.

            The abundant natural resources in Madagascar make it a haven for many industries, especially the mining sector, offering great investment opportunities. Mining is an important economic sector, where small-scale and artisanal mining alone generates 1.5 million full-time and seasonal jobs for locals in the country, proving that the communities are one of the mining industry’s greatest assets. Conservation of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity is a top priority in the mining sector, as well. As a diversity hotspot, the sector works with local communities to define sustainable ways to make a living and harvest natural resources.

The Initiative for the Emergence of Madagascar also closely focuses on the energy sector as it moves forward. The IEM places new energy policies at the forefront of the administration as they seek an electricity access rate of 70% and further implement renewable energy resources through hydro, solar and wind power. The potential of Madagascar in terms of renewable energy has been detailed: it is immense. The future is headed toward an energy transition through a hybridisation strategy based on the locally and naturally available potential and a financially viable “pay as you go” system to overcome the difficulties in the short and medium-term.

The technology sectors of Madagascar are also expanding at an incredible rate. Madagascar now boasts the second-fastest internet service in Africa, which is a great asset for telecommunications companies such as NextHope. Tsilavo Ranarison, CEO of the company, speaks of Africa’s success and potential in the telecom sector: “The growth of Africa on the technological level is unavoidable. We will not stop innovating, just like any other company, so that we can be the best. We think that in the future we want to be a skill centre for the whole continent. We want to be a skill centre for IT expertise.”

In other sectors such as agriculture, Madagascar is the world leader and largest exporter of vanilla, and the sector holds immense opportunity for the potential investor. The agriculture sector represents 40% of GDP and 80% of jobs in the active population. The country is also leading in cocoa production, where Malagasy cocoa is considered to be of exceptional quality. The fertile landscape contains over 36,000,000 hectares of arable land and the favourable climate creates various agricultural and farming opportunities. In an effort to create jobs, nurture the agriculture industry and guarantee food security, the administration is focusing on a modernisation of the sector that uses innovative techniques while respecting the environment. This transformation of agriculture will only be possible with the professionalisation of the sector.

Not to mention, Madagascar exhibits incredible opportunity in the oil sector, as well, with the development of the Tsimiroro field. Madagascar Oil is dedicated to an expansion project which will contribute 100,000 barrels per day of oil production, increasing revenues by roughly US$2 billion per year. Russell Kelly, CEO of Madagascar Oil, says, “This will have a huge impact on the economy. Tsimiroro is one of the world’s largest oil developments at the current time. Future is looking very good. The resources are there. It’s only about getting them out of the ground and into the market. I see this emerging East Africa economy developing, and it makes sense for us to develop it and get our oil into East Africa, which is a huge market.”

            Madagascar is a haven of investment opportunities with ample resources, strong sectors and a predominantly young population where 70% of the population is under the age of 25. Matthieu Mace, CEO of MVola, says, “Madagascar is a young country. Our human resources are good; Malagasy people are very resilient. We speak very good French, and people are very well educated. Under the guidance of President H.E Andry Rajoelina and the Initiative for the Emergence of Madagascar, the country is creating an attractive business environment. Various regulatory reforms and public investments in infrastructure, as well as significant public and private investments in infrastructure, such as roads, ports, airports, telecommunication and energy, have reduced the costs of doing business. Access to many markets and strategically located to facilitate trade agreements and the exportation of goods and services through international business. With the current extension of the port of Toamasina in the East and the construction of Port d’Ehoala in the South, Madagascar provides world-class facilities for transportation of goods. As a peaceful and stable country, Madagascar is welcoming to investors to energise an inclusive and sustainable economic transformation.

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VIVO CEO IS A DYNAMIC LEADER FOR THIS INNOVATIVE GLOBAL BRAND

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May 2020 — Six months ago the vision for vivo in South Africa was just beginning to roll out. Launched in December 2019, the innovative mobile technology brand entered the market with two easy to handle, high spec, well priced phones, the Y11 and Y91C.

The decision to enter, however, has been a long time coming. It made sense for vivo, the world’s fourth largest cell phone brand with over 300million users globally, to enter the local market, where currently it’s already estimated half the population use smartphones.

“vivo plans to provide South African consumers with a user experience beyond expectations through technology and innovative, trendsetting products,” says Jeff Cao, vivo SA CEO. “Within three years,  the company plans to sit in the top tier segment of cell phone brands in SA.”

Jeff Cao, vivo SA CEO

Cao, a young, dynamic businessman is deeply invested in the vivo brand, having joined the company as an intern when it launched in 2011.

“My career started with vivo,” he says. “I witnessed the changes in the industry and the growth of vivo as a brand.”

Launching in South Africa brings a whole new set of challenges and Cao is motivated by this, saying: “The biggest challenge for me is to learn the culture and the  consumer demand of the South African market from scratch. I believe that as long as we adhere to the concept of “More Local and More Global”,  all challenges are only a matter of time.

“I believe in changingwhat is changeable, accepting what is mutable, and using wisdom to tell the difference”.

In his time at vivo Cao managed the Thailand launch and ran that office for more than five years, ensuring he has an innate knowledge to ensure the vivo brand becomes more localized and in line with the prefereces of the South African consumer, while maintaining the core values of technology and innovation.

Globally vivo has nine R&D centers around the world, five production bases and a total 80% of staff engaged in R&D work. “This level of commitment to innovation ensures the vivo experience keeps evolving,” explains Cao.

Cao believes in immersing the brand into South African society by fulfilling corporate social responsibilities through the #VIVOCARES initiative, proving that vivo is not just a smartphone brand but also a brand that invests in its community: “vivo came with the dream of building an international first-class brand for South Africans- and we will pursue that dream.

An insatiable demand for 5G on a global scale has seen vivo emerge as the leader in this area, being one of the only companies with a mid-range 5G smartphone on offer. This product is set to launch in South Africa in the second half of 2020.

“We envisage that by 2023 when young people in South Africa think of mobile phones they think of vivo.”

For more information and interview requests please contact [email protected]

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