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Is The World Economy Heading South?

Lord Malloch-Brown has held sway in the corridors of power in Westminster and at the United Nations now he is trying to persuade investors to put their money into Africa.

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Lord Malloch-Brown has been described as a rare statesman and a public intellectual. He is a man with a passion for Africa and is the former United Nations Deputy Secretary General and World Bank vice chairman, who has also held the office of Minister of State for Africa, Asia and was the British Prime Minister in Gordon Brown’s cabinet.

A former journalist for The Economist, Lord Malloch-Brown’s astute observations concerning international relations, macro-economics and the role of emerging markets were the platform for his keynote address at the Hasso Plattner Ventures Capital Africa Conference 2012, in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, a conference aimed at matching investment opportunities in Africa with venture capital.

When asked whether the global economy is heading south, Lord Malloch-Brown’s answer painted a realistic picture, with hope for emerging economies.

“Its going to be a year of troubled growth, emerging markets will continue to grow but less than they did last year, with advanced economies growing at 1.5%. The other understanding of the word ‘south’ is that the engine of the global economy is moving inextricably southwards. You see it in the growing share of GDP that emerging economies represent.”

Chinese growth figures in 1990 comprised 2% of global GDP; now it comprises 8% of global GDP, making it the largest economy in the world. In many ways the Chinese economy is the standard bearer for emerging economies.

For emerging economies, according to Lord Malloch-Brown, the future looks bright, especially in the medium to long-term, with a strong trend towards high rates of urbanization, growth in middle-class consumer spending and increased mechanization of agriculture.

But against this buoyant backdrop lies the reality that internally, social instability will remain a problem, with increased inequality and political unrest.

“You will see potential corruption around the controlling of resources, commercial land and also mineral and energy resources. Scarcity of resources will also play a big role, especially around water. These are some of the real challenges that emerging economies will need to face and address head on.”

With investors looking for increased opportunity in emerging markets, the question is, where is the smart money heading?

“Smart money is all over the place at the moment; assets in Asia are overpriced, in Europe prices are overvalued, coupled with economic instability in the Eurozone. Latin America is a strangely overlooked market, and then you have Africa which is a hugely attractive market. But the difficulty in Africa lies in acquisitions. You really need to buy or build a business that is Pan African. With the exception of South Africa and Nigeria, most African markets are not big enough to sustain a major foreign investment.”

Investing in Africa according to Lord Malloch-Brown is all about finding a sound business model that can work across the continent.

So far, investor interest in African assets has leant towards the financial services sector, telecoms and more recently, retail.  When it comes to investing in Africa, the devil is in the detail says Lord Malloch-Brown.

“When investing in Africa you need to ask yourself whether the asset is a well-valued, well-run business in its own market, and whether you can see the business rolling out into the continent more widely. These are the critical points to investing in emerging economies, especially in Africa.”

According to Lord Malloch-Brown, it’s all about operating and opening up capital to bigger African markets.

Lord Malloch-Brown’s career at the helm of some of the world’s leading international organizations, has given him a birds-eye view of development, matched with an  understanding of the challenges of grass roots implementation. He also believes fostering entrepreneurship in Africa is the only way to build the continent.

“I’m a big enthusiast of the continent; I chair a rice-growing and producing business in Ghana called GADCO which has very quickly positioned itself as the major rice producer in Ghana. The business follows a very clear triple bottom line. We make money, we create jobs and aim to be sustainable.”

Africa, according to Malloch-Brown, is an extraordinary growth story. In his current role as chairman of FTI Consulting, an international investment consultancy, Malloch-Brown aims to help channel private equity funds into the continent’s growth industries.

“Fostering entrepreneurship in Africa is not just about inculcating a culture of ‘win’,” states Lord Malloch-Brown. “It’s also important to note cultural differences that play a role in people’s ability and agility to pick up the skill of enterprise and risk taking.”

The prominence of the public sector as a major employer on the continent has had a dampening effect on the spark of entrepreneurship, but what has been an outstanding source of hope for the future of African entrepreneurs, is the quality and level of business school education found on the continent.

“What South Africa has in way of nurturing entrepreneurship are business schools and tertiary institutions that teach students to become enterprising—part entrepreneur, part social activists. That’s the beauty of entrepreneurs in Africa, you can’t be one without having a social conscience, and that’s where the real change for the continent lies.”

On whether one should be investing in Africa, Lord Malloch-Brown’s answer was a resounding yes.

“The short-term choice is financial services and communications, with the massive opportunity of the unbanked. In the medium-term there are going to be two revolutions across the continent, one in agricultural productivity and the other in increased urbanization. These two, will create astonishing medium-term opportunities.”

With strong investment returns, Africa continues to be a continent with immense potential and the smart money in the world appears to be heading south.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Entrepreneurs

Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

Watch below:

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