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The Millionaire Princess

Valentina da Luz Guebuza, daughter of the president of the Republic of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, is a major player in the growing Mozambican economy. At just 32, she heads the family company, Focus 21, representing the new rising class of entrepreneurs: young, professional and wealthy.

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In 2006, the Mozambican president’s youngest daughter took the leadership of the family’s company—Focus 21 Management and Development, Ltd (Gestão e Desenvolvimento, Lda). The company, which focuses on business consulting, engineering, logistics and the mining sector, is currently valued at more than $5 million.

“There is an ongoing specialized financial reassessment of assets such as buildings, land, interests in diverse areas such as agribusiness, ICT and logistics in Mozambique,” says Guebuza.

Guebuza’s involvement in the company dates back to 2001 when her father changed the company’s shareholder structure. Both her brothers, Armando Ndambi Guebuza and Mussumbuluko Armando Guebuza, also joined Focus 21.

The Guebuza family business was born almost two decades ago. In recent years, it has established partnerships with companies such as Star Times, targeting the market for cable television, and Cervejas de Moçambique (Beers of Mozambique).

At Star Times Media, in which Focus 21 holds a 15% interest, Valentina Guebuza serves as the chief executive officer. The company was launched a year ago in Mozambique with the majority shareholder being the Chinese Star Times International. With an investment of more than $88 million, the joint venture aims to become the market leader in cable television in Mozambique, a country that faces the challenge of migrating from analogue to digital by 2015.

The national and foreign press also highlights business partnerships established between Focus 21 and Mozambican state-owned enterprises, such as the Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (Ports and Railways of Mozambique).

The professional profile of the three young entrepreneurs and their relationship with the heads of state of Mozambique and Angola must help.

During her childhood, Guebuza liked “to play with dolls and play ball” with other kids in Maputo, where she grew up. She adds that she had an education based on the principle of responsibility and helped the family with household chores, such as washing dishes and cooking. For Guebuza, the education she received from her parents was important in the development of her personality. In her interview with FORBES AFRICA she appeared to be an extremely modest person.

“Today, I understand what my parents always told us, that the family is the foundation of our stability; emotionally and professionally,” she says, adding that she always had a “very good” relationship with all her family members.

When she graduated in civil engineering, Guebuza had no idea that she would play an active role in the business world.

“I always wanted to be independent and I fought for it. In 2001, I started working in a restaurant. I also did secretarial work and when I was in my last year of university I started an internship at a consulting firm in civil engineering, where I gained practical experience in my field,” she says.

With her ingression into the leadership of Focus 21, Guebuza had to put on hold the Masters degree she was doing as she says the family business takes up all her time. She says she works “24/7”.

“I do not know if I am an enterprising person, but surely I have to bring in results to the group I manage. So I must split myself in two, losing nights thinking about solutions and projects that add value to our market and also to bring positive results for the company,” she says.

Being the youngest daughter of the president, Guebuza is a symbol of success in a society mostly made up of young people. She was born during the period in which Mozambique was no longer under Portuguese colonial rule, yet had plunged into civil war. The 1980s were particularly striking in the life of the entrepreneur, who still remembers the trips around the country under military escort as well as the numerous power outages.

Given her youth, Guebuza has been associating with organizations that attempt to promote entrepreneurship and employment among young Mozambicans. In the social field, this is one of the major topics to which she has dedicated herself. Low-cost housing for families is another one of her passions.

“I think we are a privileged generation in a way. We did not live in the time when we were oppressed. Some of us lived throughout part of the civil war period, others have no idea what those moments were all about,” she says.

In 2010, she became involved in the Business Fair, held in Maputo. The initiative’s main objective is to promote “a space where young entrepreneurs can exchange ideas and experiences”.

That same year, Guebuza received an invitation to join the New Leaders for Tomorrow forum, held by the Swiss organization Crans-Montana. From the relationships established with the organization, she joined the Africa Foundation 2.0 in 2011, which connects young African leaders from 40 nations to design strategies for integrated social development for the continent.

Another sign of media recognition that Guebuza has gathered at the international level was her participation in the last G20 meeting, held in Paris in October. Only 15 African Foundation 2.0 members were invited.

With an annual growth of 7.5%, Mozambique seems to be one of the most promising economies in Africa. The enormous agricultural potential, in parallel with natural resources such as gas or coal, have placed the watchful eyes of investors on the young African economy.

“Over the next 10 years, I see my country being given more weight in terms of decisions to be taken globally,” she says.

As a “dissatisfied” person and one who likes to live each day in an “intense” way, Guebuza believes that these are times of “great enthusiasm” for Mozambique. She is proud of the importance that her nation is beginning to gather on an international level and expects that the country’s economic success will result in the improvement of Mozambique’s social indicators.

The Next Isabel dos Santos?
Often, journalists compare Guebuza to the Angolan entrepreneur, Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the president of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos. According to Forbes, she is worth at least $170 million and is considered to be the most powerful and richest woman in her country and among the richest in Africa. She was described by the Portuguese newspaper Público as: “…a good business woman, extremely dynamic and intelligent, also a professional and friendly.”
Since 2008, she has held interests in telecommunications, media, retail, finance and the energy industry, both in Angola and in Portugal. Her commercial interests include oil, diamonds and shares in the Angolan cement company, Nova Cimangola

Entrepreneurs

Leaving Airplane Middle Seats Empty Could Cut Coronavirus Risk Almost In Half, A Study Says

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A new research paper from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimates that blocking out the middle seat on airplanes could cause the likelihood of passengers being infected with coronavirus to drop by nearly half, just as some airlines are starting to book flights to capacity again.

KEY FACTS

  • According to the MIT paper (which has not been peer reviewed) the chances of catching coronavirus from a nearby passenger on a full airplane when all coach seats are filled is about 1 in 4,300.
  • However, those odds drop to 1 in 7,700 when all the middle seats on board are left empty, the paper states.
  • Taking into account a 1% mortality rate according to the statistical model, the likelihood of dying from a coronavirus case contracted on a plane is far more likely than dying in a plane crash, which has odds of about 1 in 34 million, the paper stated. 
  • In “Covid-19 Risk Among Airline Passengers: Should the Middle Seat Stay Empty?” the author of the study, Arnold Barnett, wrote that his analysis aims to be “a rough approximation” of the risks involved in flying during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • “The airlines are setting their own policies but the airlines and the public should know about the risk implications of their choices,” Barnett told ZDNet this week.
  • The paper comes just as more flight carriers, like American Airlines, begin booking flights to full capacity despite surges of the virus across the country. 

KEY BACKGROUND

The coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous for the travel industry, and has especially hurt airlines. Major American carriers including American, Delta and United have asked employees to take buyouts and early retirement, Forbes reported, in a bid to cut costs as the pandemic causes them to bleed cash. United Airlines warned this week that it could be forced to furlough 36,000 jobs, or nearly half of its American workers, starting in October if travel doesn’t pick up. In April, the airline estimated that in the first quarter it lost $2.1 billion pre-tax, Forbes reported, and was losing $100 million a day in the last half of March. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said in May he expects a major airline to go out of business in 2020 as a result of pandemic pressure.

NEWS PEG

American Airlines announced two weeks ago it would begin booking middle seats again starting in July, although the carrier will allow passengers to switch from a full flight without any extra cost, Forbes reported. United is also selling tickets for middle seats. American Airlines took flak earlier this month when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted a picture of his crowded flight

WHAT TO WATCH

If airlines continue to extend their policy of keeping middle seats blocked off or if they’ll be forced to book to capacity to turn a profit. Southwest and Delta have both committed to keeping their middle seats blocked off until at least the end of September, while JetBlue will do the same through July, according to the Washington Post.

Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff, Business

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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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Entertainment

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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