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Investment Guide

Nothing was Achieved by Being Idle

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Where would we be without globalization? What if media was restricted to reporting within its own national boundaries? What if we all lived in isolation? It’s a scary picture and one where humanity would have not progressed as broadly as it has.

To fellow African entrepreneurs, I want to say one thing: the more you are exposed to, the bigger you can dream.

Industrialization progressed by further developing what had been done before. Only after working with renowned inventor Thomas Edison, could Nikola Tesla go on to create his own inventions.

Andrew Carnegie worked under the leading businessman, Thomas A. Scott. This mentorship allowed Carnegie to define an era by starting a generation of industrialists, pioneering the philanthropic movement, and becoming an epitome of self-development.

The key word here is exposure.

There are countless occasions where entrepreneurs only discovered their flair by observing other entrepreneurs or studying companies that transformed industries. Some even became competitors of their former employers.

Adrian Gore, the Founder of Discovery Holdings, was exposed to the dealings of the insurance sector early in his career. He worked for Liberty Life but resigned to build his own insurance company. Today, Discovery is the leading medical insurance company in South Africa.

Isn’t it surprising that many companies were started by entrepreneurs who thought they could do it better? Deciding to improve something can shape your destiny. Decisions like these act as the force that pushes us on in our lives.

Look at the former employees of PayPal – today known as the PayPal Mafia. After leaving the famous tech company, these individuals went on to found and fund other mammoth companies like LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Tesla, SpaceX and they are not finished. At the moment, they are investing in Artificial Intelligence.

These gentlemen were exposed to a revolutionary business and they now all share a drive to change the world as we know it to a better world, one that they see in their minds.

Exposure can give you something other than experience, it can also get you through certain doors that were previously shut. Let’s look at two entrepreneurs; both are looking to seal separate deals. Entrepreneur X closes a $1.8 billion deal, while entrepreneur Y gets a $274,000 deal.

Both worked tirelessly to get these deals but the rewards are not the same. It is likely that entrepreneur X has been exposed to certain levels, while entrepreneur Y was operating independently. They might have both known about the $1.8 billion deal, but knowing about it does not mean you have access to it. You need to run in certain circles to get exposed to deals that involve other entrepreneurs in those circles.

What led Aliko Dangote to manufacturing? While trading commodities, he took note of the huge market in Nigeria and decided it was better to manufacture what he was importing.

Before founding Apple, a 12-year-old Steve Jobs landed a summer job at HP and the rest is history. It is this type of exposure that allows entrepreneurs to gravitate towards their destinies.

If you look at the rain, you will never plant. Get out there; attend conferences, travel to various countries, network with successful business leaders and read as much as you can. Whatever you are exposed to can only broaden your current view on the world around you.

By exposing yourself, you also expose your company to other markets and greater opportunities.

You can’t afford to stand idly by and wait for everything to fall in place. Business, and life, is a fight for territory – the moment you stop fighting for what you want, is the moment you will have lost.

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Economy

Cryptocurrency for Africans

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George Gordon is on a quest to revolutionize the financial system. The director of Africa Master Blockchain Company talks digital currencies, blind risks and board games.


What is this new African cryptocurrency you are offering?

Where the majority of current digital currencies are based on speculative models, AfriUnion Coin (AUC) and the AfriNational Tokens (ANT)are designed for a transactional purpose allowing international payments, remittances, foreign direct investment as well as day-to-day transactions at local retail stores and other outlets. While the option for speculative trade is available with AUC, the focus is not around that.

Each African country will have a specially-designed ANT which will allow users to pay for goods and services and bills easily through completely digital means without requiring any bank account. AUC and ANT will be fully interchangeable to one another and there will be no fees for the user.

It’s the natural next step for digital finance from mobile banking which most Africans are accustomed to. The ability to freely have the power to send and receive money locally and internationally will allow the freedom of choice and spending power many Africans don’t have currently.

What is your own investment philosophy?

I am a gambler! I believe in taking risks and putting things on the line. That being said, blind risk or whimsical guesses don’t get you very far. Always acquire enough information to understand to a reasonable level what the thing you are planning on investing is or how it works and then trust your instinct and gut feel.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs wanting to invest in blockchain?

First, do some research in terms of what the blockchain technology is being applied for or created in terms of its application to an industry or project. Thereafter, check the white paper for the design of the platform as well as its functionality and applicability to what it is trying to achieve. If it aligns with your personal investment rules, then go for it,however, remember that blockchain is continuously evolving and thus you need to explore outside the usual and standard.

First cash-less, now card-less. What is the future of online banking?

If we are looking into what is currently science fiction, I would say the future is digital contact lenses that will be able to connect you to all your social media accounts, internet, news as well as make payments by just looking at QR codes or specialized barcodes to approve and accept payments.

Now, realistically we are not far off from such innovation and technology, but for the time being, I think the next step is scanning of QR codes at retailers and having the transaction automated from your wallet to the retailers digitally.

What is your most prized investment and why?

My mind. I believe that the work I have put into developing my mind, and continue to do so every day, is the number one investment that I have ever done. It allows me to look at things in a unique perspective as well as provides me with the tools to push boundaries and create new opportunities.

Money, success, fame? Which is most important to you?

I would have to say success… because it is most likely going to bring the other two as well, right? But success in the form of starting something and letting it grow and succeed and knowing that something new exists because of your efforts.

What do you spend your money on mostly?

Board games. I love board games and believe it’s a fantastic way to expand your mind as well as have fun with friends.

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Investment Guide

King Price CEO On Why He Invested On Insurance

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King Price Insurance’s CEO Gideon Galloway, who built an insurance company in South Africa worth over $226 million in six years, talks investments, industry trends and how self-driving cars will change the entire car insurance landscape.

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Economy

Offering The American Dream

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Gar Lippincott and Daniel Ryan of Atlantic American Partners were in South Africa recently looking for high-net-worth individuals wanting to invest in the US.

It’s a warm spring day in September, and Gar Lippincott and Daniel Ryan have just arrived in South Africa. It is Lippincott’s first time in the country, and he is jet-lagged.

A little over two months ago, he was booked to fly here from the United States (US) but was turned back at immigration.

“At Atlanta airport, the lady looked at Daniel’s visa and let him through and she looked at my visa and she said ‘I am afraid you can’t get on the plane because you have to have a blank page on your passport’. I said ‘I have three blank pages’ and she said ‘no, it’s supposed to be the one that says visa on it’. She said it’s the rules in South Africa so I had to sadly go back home… now when I was coming, I was told that’s not an issue anymore so I am happy they have made traveling into the country easier,” says Lippincott.

With a brand-new passport, he’s here with Ryan looking for people who want to invest in the US in exchange for a green card.

Lippincott, the Managing Partner of Atlantic American Partners, says he has always been keen on South Africa for its growth opportunities and prospects.

“From what I understand, the things that are causing short-term decline in the economy in South Africa are set up to provide long-term growth and hopefully people will understand this,” he says. Ryan, the company’s Managing Director of Emerging Markets – Africa, agrees: “I lived in Malawi for 12 years and South Africa is still considered the shining one throughout the continent. Even with all the problems, everyone still wants to come here because of the opportunities.”

According to an AfrAsia Bank report, South Africa comes second to Mauritius in boasting the highest number of high-net-worth individuals.

These are the kind of people Ryan and Lippincott target through their work at Atlantic American Partners. The company has real estate investors and professional private equity fund managers that manage money for banks, insurance companies, and pension funds. In addition, they help people get US green cards and ultimately US citizenship through the US government’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program.

“Basically we look for people who want to move to the United States and we help them do so legally by investing and the nice thing is, with our program, they are also able to get a nice return on investment,” he says.

According to Lippincott, for a $500,000 investment that creates 10 jobs for American workers, you could get a green card in about two years and be a US citizen in about six or seven years. “Twenty seven countries have an investor visa program but with most of them, it’s essentially a fee you pay, or you need to be actively engaged in the day-to-day operation of a business. For example, you invest $1.5 million in Australia, but you need to hire employees and generate a certain amount of revenue. One of the biggest advantages with our program is you actually invest the $500,000 into a fund. We act as a trustee of that money and within five to seven years, they get that money back with a bit of return on investment and you are a permanent citizen in the US.”

Atlantic American Partners invests the money in real estate developments like hotels, apartments and student accommodation.

“What’s nice about the program is it doesn’t only cover the investor; it covers the spouse and children under 21. Our biggest family was a Hungarian family with seven children so they got nine green cards for $500,000,” says Lippincott.

The company says it has had positive response in South Africa. “Two months ago, we were here and we had scheduled six presentations for 100 people and we ended up speaking to 450 people. Most were business people, people worried about the economy, people worried about the political future of South Africa and people concerned about the education future of their children,” says Ryan.

According to Lippincott, despite the news of the clampdown on immigration, the US economy is booming and will perish without immigration. In the era of Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant views, that’s heartening news indeed.

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