African Business Review - March 2016

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6 ways to attract & retain

BUSINESS

LEADERS IN AFRICA

March 2016

VAULTING

Nigeria’s Funding Gap

IOT providing

Africa with a connected future

Britam is celebrating its Golden Jubilee with an impressive technological overhaul



EDITOR’S COMMENT

Doing business in Africa H E L L O A N D W E L C O M E T O the

March issue of African Business Review, This month we feature a contribution from Jonty Levin, Partner at bespoke financial services provider Alkebulan, who explains why capital intensive companies should make a special effort to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Stephen Stewart, Regional Director for Africa at Eseye, explores the profound effect that the increasing uptake of Internet of Things (IOT) technology is having on the continent. Last but not least, we look at the six ways that talent managers across the continent can use to attract and retain the best talent, with insights provided by Simon Kingston, Head of the Global Development Practice at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. We hope you enjoy the read; feel free to share your thoughts on Twitter @AfricaBizReview

Enjoy the issue! Nye Longman Editor nye.longman@bizclikmedia.com

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CONTENTS

Features

TECHNOLOGY

IoT - providing Africa with a connected future

FINANCE

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Vaulting the funding gap in Nigeria

March 2016

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6

TOP 6

6 ways to attract and retain Business leaders in Africa


Company Profiles TECHNOLOGY 28 Britam Holdings Limited 40 RenMoney 50 Telekom Networks Malawi 62 Workonline Communications (Pty) Ltd

MINING 72 Mineral Deposits (GCO)

CONSTRUCTION 82 Palm Hills Development

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28

Brtiam Holdings Limited RenMoney

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Mineral Deposits (GCO)

Palm Hills Development

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62

Workonline Communications (Pty) Ltd


TECHNOLOGY

IOT - providing Africa w

Stephen Stewart, Regional Director for Afric across the continent and how these solutions Written by: Stephen Stewart, Regional Director


with a connected future

ca at Eseye, takes a look at the uptake of IoT s are helping Africans do business differently for Africa at Eseye Edited by: Nye Longman

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TECHNOLOGY THE FIRST WAVE of connectivity to serve the African continent was mobile communications; in fact more than double the population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has mobile phone access compared with access to paved roads. The penetration and development of mobile communications is providing opportunities that are changing the landscape of Africa, enabling its population to do business in a secure and efficient way. In 2014, mobile technology made up 5.4 per cent of GDP in SSA; McKinsey estimates this could grow to even greater levels, with predictions of a 10 percent share by 2025. The second wave of the ‘digital revolution’ currently taking place in SSA is the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). With the growing adoption of mobile technology and the infrastructure that goes with it, IoT applications are now being implemented across the continent. Connectivity is the key to this; reliable mobile connectivity provides the basis for other technologies to flourish, bringing with it more efficient use of resources and money. However, there is one fundamental 8

March 2016

‘2014, mobile technology made up 5.4 per cent of GDP in SSA; McKinsey estimates this could grow to even greater levels, with predictions of a 10 per cent share by 2025’ difference to the importance of IoT in Africa compared to Europe. The growing importance of IoT in Africa The key difference between IoT projects in Africa and Western countries is that the projects being rolled out in Africa are truly changing peoples’ lives. Projects enabling solar lighting for those off the grid that would otherwise be in darkness come sun down, and those providing realtime weather updates to assist crop farmers, are just a couple of examples of IoT projects making a life-changing difference. More importantly, these types of projects are unique to Africa. Another prime example of IoT assisting living in SSA is developments


IOT - PROVIDING AFRICA WITH A CONNECTED FUTURE

in electronic and mobile banking. Only 5 – 10 percent of the population has direct access to a bank account, whereas the rest work in cash, which brings about its own security risks. The development and implementation of IoT applications has allowed mobile banking and payments to become a real and affordable prospect, enabling its users to access critical financial services and information.

The deployment of the application itself however, is a big issue. In Europe, where you can simply call one of hundreds of shipping companies who will deliver the hardware the next day, this simply isn’t an option in Africa. The challenge of logistics is one which has to be addressed when carrying out a 9


TECHNOLOGY project. Deploying a piece of hardware is just one aspect of the project; it is also about creating a solution suitable to the problem and its environment. An example of this is M-Kopa; a project which provides lighting with mobile payment capabilities to people who simply don’t have access to it otherwise. One of the reasons it has been so successful is it has a functional logistics channel in place, a strong supply chain and customer service levels. Any company, anywhere in the world that uses these building blocks as the foundation of its business will be successful. Ultimately, the greatest importance for IoT within Africa is to provide critical information to its users, enabling them to make informed decisions and in a lot of cases save lives. This is where the value in IoT comes from and why people are investing in these solutions. In the western world IoT technology, while still providing incredible initiatives, has an altogether different type of value. While people are strapping GPS trackers and heart rate monitors to themselves to help with their fitness, many in Africa are relying on this technology to provide food for their families. 10

March 2016


IOT - PROVIDING AFRICA WITH A CONNECTED FUTURE

‘Ultimately it is down to Africa to embrace IoT businesses that do so will reap the rewards it brings and gain a significant edge over competitors and become pioneers in their region’ The future for IoT Africa, like Europe, faces a wide range of hurdles which must be overcome in order to realise the benefits that can come from mass adoption of IoT. For example, the vast majority of external funding going into Africa is placed into vital utilities. Water, power and healthcare are areas which generate a lot of interest, due to the lack of them. Another potential stumbling block for the widespread adoption of IoT is government hesitation. African governments are aware of IoT and the benefits it can bring, but approach the subject with a degree of trepidation, due to the financial outlay which often has to be made. However, the pressure points for IoT in Africa are the same as the government’s concerns. The key challenge which must be addressed in order for IoT to succeed in benefiting the masses is establishing a reliable source of power. The power supply in Africa

is inconsistent and of low quality. Overcoming the issue of power is therefore essential; reliable and consistent power sources led by universal metering and solar installations will be what moves Africa forward as a continent. The availability and reliability of power has proven to be vital all over the world, when this becomes commonplace in Africa, it will kick start a lot of other activity. Without a continuous and reliable source of power the continent will struggle. Address the problem and lives will change. Ultimately it is down to Africa to embrace IoT - businesses that do so will reap the rewards it brings and gain a significant edge over competitors and become pioneers in their region. As the awareness grows, so will IoT, and we can expect it to play a huge role in the further development of the continent for years to come. 11



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FINANCE GIVEN NIGERIA’S SIGNIFICANT growth since the end of military rule, and the increasing diversification of its economy away from oil and gas, it is understandable that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) is frustrated with the absence of new listings, and a lack of sector diversity. One would have indeed expected the number of listed companies on the NSE to approach if not surpass the 400 or so in South Africa, previously Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy, rather than currently languishing at approximately half that number. Ways to address this was a key topic at the recent Nigeria Capital

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Markets Forum in London. The NSE has set itself the goal of persuading telecommunications companies and previously privatised companies to seek listings, and is lobbying for advantageous tax treatment to be provided to listed companies in order to incentivise businesses to come to the market. Persuading successful companies to list, though, assumes that their shareholders wish to divest. Nigerian telecommunication company shareholders, however, are unlikely to be sellers given the excellent returns such businesses have generated and continue to generate, and consequently are unlikely to agitate for them to list. While it is true that tax


V A U LT I N G T H E F U N D I N G G A P I N N I G E R I A

incentives have played an important role in driving the development of the likes of the Toronto Stock Exchange (which offers shareholders flow-through tax deductibility for losses incurred by companies), the experience of other countries such as Kenya, which levies concessional tax rates for newly listed companies, suggests that the offer of lower tax rates for listed companies is not a significant enough motivator to prompt listings. Perhaps the focus of efforts in Nigeria should change. Not discussed at the Forum, and perhaps not widely appreciated in Nigeria and internationally, is the extent to which the NSE could represent a

means of accessing capital for capitalintensive companies, as opposed to representing an important exit means for investors. In Nigeria, there is a tremendous need for capital by homegrown oil and gas companies, and both electricity generation companies (“Gencos”) and distribution companies (“Discos”).

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FINANCE The NSE has been commendably proactive in pursuing measures to improve corporate governance and to widen the appeal of the market. But it could perhaps do more to activate the potential the market has to support further economic growth and diversification. If successful, this would also facilitate greater participation by Nigerian investors in key sectors. A greater appreciation of the capital raising powers of the market is needed. In particular, the NSE should draw attention to the existing flexibility of its rules which accommodate the capital intensive nature of certain industries, and allows for companies to list in the absence of a track record of profits. The NSE does, for example, allow oil and gas companies without threeyear operating histories to list if they are able to produce appropriate competent persons reports which evidence the viability of the fields. Notwithstanding this flexibility, Nigerian oil and gas companies have listed abroad, or have been dependent on the backing of significantly rich individuals and international investors, possibly as a 16

March 2016

‘The NSE has bee improve corporat it could perhaps d further economic facilitate greater


V A U LT I N G T H E F U N D I N G G A P I N N I G E R I A

en commendably proactive in pursuing measures to te governance and to widen the appeal of the market. But do more to activate the potential the market has to support c growth and diversification. If successful, this would also participation by Nigerian investors in key sectors. ‘ 17


FINANCE result of insufficient awareness of the exchange’s accommodative rules. Many oil and gas consortiums which acquired Shell’s oil blocks in recent years are now in need of fresh capital in order to reduce their gearing, raised at a time of high oil prices, to more sustainable levels. It is now opportune for their attention to be drawn to the possibility of listing on the NSE. Similarly, the scale of the funding challenge facing the Gencos and Discos after they were privatised in 2013 means that some may require a greater level of equity for debt funders to be sufficiently comfortable to provide the funds needed. In this instance, the NSE’s rules allow companies without the requisite

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March 2016

three-year performance to seek a listing if key shareholders have the right credentials. This would allow for those consortiums with proven partners to tap Nigeria’s equity market now. Nigeria’s pension funds, which have meaningful funds under management, are more easily able to invest in asset classes – be they equity or debt – that are tradable. To benefit fully


V A U LT I N G T H E F U N D I N G G A P I N N I G E R I A

from the capital-raising powers of the NSE, though, it would be desirable for the Pensions Commission to revisit its requirements restricting pension funds to investing in companies with three-year profit histories. Those capital-intensive companies that are able to take advantage of the accommodative nature of the NSE listings requirements would better position themselves to access pools of pension fund capital. This would

allow them to achieve their objectives, while at the same time offering pension funds the opportunity to enjoy strong risk adjusted returns for their stakeholders. By encouraging companies operating in these capital hungry sectors to list, the NSE will drive the diversification of its profile of listed companies, and so will foster infrastructure investments in Nigeria. Doing so will, it is hoped and believed, enhance Nigeria’s growth prospects and enable the country to achieve its objective of becoming Africa’s first global top 20 economy by 2030. 19


6 ways to attract and retain Busine leaders in Africa While a shortage of talent has become a common reality for organisations operating in the region, companies that address the talent challenge using these innovative and cost-effective talent development approaches will be best prepared to capitalise on the region’s growing market opportunities. Written by Simon Kingston, Head of the Global Development Practice at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates Edited by Nye Longman


TOP 6

ess a

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TOP 6

AFRICA HAS SEEN significant economic growth in recent years and is now one of the most swiftly developing regions in the world. Unsurprisingly, this dynamic business environment also presents an important challenge for companies operating in the region: a shortage of senior leadership talent. Russell Reynolds Associates’ recent research into leadership talent in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, ‘Attracting and Retaining Executive Talent in Africa’, confirmed the increasing importance of scarcity of talent in all three countries. The widening talent gap is very much on the mind of all corporations operating in the region. Therefore, attracting and retaining high-performing executives will be at the core of any company’s long-term success in the region. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are a number of ways in which companies can develop a stronger talent pipeline

01

TAP INTO THE DIASPORA

Perhaps unsurprisingly, executives who have left the region in pursuit of work or further education are an important source of potential talent. Promisingly, business leaders agree that it is easier to recruit the diaspora today than it was 10 to 15 years ago. However, the perceived willingness of executives living outside of the region to return to their home country varies decidedly 22

March 2016

across markets: business leaders in Kenya and Nigeria are significantly more optimistic than executives in South Africa, where the gap between the importance of the diaspora and their perceived willingness to return is particularly wide (Exhibit 1). Organisations that develop a detailed understanding of where members of the diaspora sit and what will motivate them to return to their home country will be more successful at capitalising on leadership opportunities.


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TOP 6

02

CREATE EMPOWERING ORGANISATIONS

As competition for senior talent increases, the ability to attract and retain such talent grows in importance, requiring more than just attractive compensation packages. Leadership talent, particularly in Kenya, seeks empowering organisations that allow it to assume significant decision-making authority, take responsibilities and advance their careers rapidly (Exhibit 2).

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March 2016

While talent often turns to local companies when seeking rapid career growth opportunities – a fact that cannot only be observed in Africa but also in other emerging markets, such as China and India – multinational corporations attract talent looking more for high professional standards and a strong company brand.


6 W AY S T O AT T R A C T A N D R E TA I N B U S I N E S S L E A D E R S

03

DEVELOP AN INTEGRATED CAREER DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ADJUSTED TO LOCAL MARKET NEEDS In an environment of scarce talent and leadership competencies, career development constitutes a vital part of any successful talent strategy. The survey reveals that executives, in particular in

Nigeria, tend to assign a high value to formalised in-house coaching and mentoring, often in combination with customised career development plans and ‘stretch’ roles (Exhibit 3). Although coaching is still quite a new concept in these markets, organisations that make significant efforts to develop the culture and required skills for sustained, valuable coaching and mentoring are better positioned to overcome existing leadership skill gaps. 25


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TOP 6

04 ESTABLISH INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS FOR DEVELOPING TALENT Given the challenges of scale and cost effectiveness of talent development programmes, companies should explore establishing partnerships with other organisations such as regional universities, corporations or other stakeholders to pool talent and achieve scale. In particular executive leadership programs structured as online programs are increasingly important.

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March 2016

ENCO TALE

In an environment of sc competencies, career d part of any successful t reveals that executives, assign a high value to fo mentoring, often in com development plans and coaching is still quite a organisations that make culture an valuable bet


6 W AY S T O AT T R A C T A N D R E TA I N B U S I N E S S L E A D E R S

OURAGE GREATER ENT MOBILITY

carce talent and leadership development constitutes a vital talent strategy. The survey , in particular in Nigeria, tend to formalised in-house coaching and mbination with customised career d ‘stretch’ roles (Exhibit 3). Although new concept in these markets, e significant efforts to develop the nd required skills for sustained, e coaching and mentoring are tter positioned to overcome existing leadership skill gaps.

06 DEMONSTRATE STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY Local executives want to feel that corporations, in particular multinational ones, make decisions aligned with the regional context, adapt solutions to the local market and involve local leaders in setting regional strategies. Therefore, as obvious as it might sound, companies are differentiated by the strength of their commitment to ‘localised’ approaches. Those who do this well find it easier to attract talent. 27


TOWERING SUCCESS Written by Nell Walker Produced by Mariana Lee


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B R I TA M H O L D I N G S L I M I T E D

Having supplied diversified financial services to Eastern Africa for the last 50 years, Britam is celebrating its Golden Jubilee in style with a technological overhaul which will coincide with the completion of Britam Tower

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March 2016

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ith offices spread across East and Southern Africa, Britam is a successful and highly diversified financial group which aims to become the most trusted in its industry by gaining a reputation as a provider of quality. The company is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, and offers a huge range of financial services in insurance, asset management, banking, and property. Established in Kenya in 1965, Britam began offering home service life insurance. Since then, the business has grown into a leader in its sector, with an ever-expanding geographical footprint that now extends past Kenya and into Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Mozambique, and Malawi. Britam’s Chief Information Officer, Jack Maina, is proud of how far the business has come, and further describes its extensive product list: “We now offer life, health, and


TECHNOLOGY

general insurance, pensions, unit trusts, investment planning, wealth management, offshore investments, retirement planning, discretionary portfolio management, property development, and private equity.” Britam invests heavily in recruitment to ensure the business is properly represented by the right people, Maina explains: “Britam rigorously applies the Balanced Scorecard, a management tool that measures and tracks employee performance. Last year, Britam became the first company in Africa to be inducted into the Palladium Hall of Fame for its work in executing strategy. The Hall of Fame honours organisations that have achieved outstanding performance using the Balanced Scorecard, as the framework for it was created by Palladium founders Drs Robert Kaplan and David Norton.” This human element of Britam is the most important part of a company which is always making huge technological strides, according to Maina: “At Britam, we see the success of the group as highly dependent on the quality of the human resource we have,” he says. “Our people are a powerful and important resource. We identify, recruit, retain, and invest in the best talent in the world. Our culture of high performance, innovation, and creativity is enhanced by our organisational structure that promotes the free flow of ideas and communication that cuts across the

950

Number of jobs supported by Britam Holdings Limited

Mr Jack Maina, Britam’s CIO displays the CIO of the Year Award.

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B R I TA M H O L D I N G S L I M I T E D


TECHNOLOGY

‘Each individual has a key role to play towards our group mission and vision’

level. Each individual has a key role to play towards our group mission and vision.” Britam also cares deeply for the needs of the customer, constantly coming up with new products and services based on the heavilyresearched needs of the industry: “We only launch our products once we are satisfied they meet the demands of the market. We acquire new business based on the strategic objectives of the company, the value the business will bring to our shareholders, the growing needs of the market, and research.”

Miles Software is a financial services technology leader in the Wealth & Asset management industry globally. Miles Software empowers more than 300 financial service clients across 17 countries. The solutions help their clients innovate products quickly and efficiently to reach a global audience. Its PMS product was launched in 2002. MoneyWare™, is the flagship product under which the company offers scalable, robust solutions to the financial services industry. Once the company was awarded private equity funding in 2007, Miles Software went from strength to strength, galloping ahead of its rivals. Milan Ganatra, CEO, founded Miles Software and ensures that the company keeps ahead of the curve with constant technological advancements. He believes that new developments in this sector will continue to affect the industry for the better: “Robo-advisory was a concept in the western world and is evolving

in the emerging markets, but is now being seen as a real, implementable solution,” he explains. “This is a key development. We also expect multichannel development in the future. We’ve started offering multimodal options in our own products, where people can buy funds by just speaking or typing. Systems will become increasingly intelligent and increasingly automated, so that they are able to think and do things without any human input.” One of Miles Software’s larger customers is financial giant Britam. Ganatra explains what Miles Software has done for the company: “We provide a complete life cycle of their business, from Investor management to their front to back office Asset management business and beyond”. A single system that has the ability to support unit trusts and discretionary portfolio management. The system services the customer, right from getting the initial request across multiple channels allowing them to take the orders or subscriptions. The channel

could be offline where a customer walks into a branch and wants to invest in Britam, or by using an internet portal or digital channel. We also offer Britam fund management and fund accounting. The envisaged system will replace multiple disparate systems and some of the cumbersome process that are currently being followed. The system is scalable and helps Britam to offer new products to the market. Miles Software’s track record is unmatched, with a vastly experienced team and fearless ability to execute large-scale projects.

Milan Ganatra - CEO, Miles Software

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TECHNOLOGY

The company is in the process of developing a customer service charter that will provide a framework for defining service delivery standards, the rights of the customers, and the handling of complaints, in order to make the company experience better and more fluid for all involved. The company prides itself on scrupulousness in all of its relationships, and considers itself ahead of the curve with regards to its affirmative attitude. “We’re building on honest and open working environments with those we deal with both internally and externally. We have done this by maintaining our positive integrity which enables us to assess the impact of our strategy and decisions that goes beyond increasing the shareholder value,” Maina says. “Management spearheads the initiatives that are always a reflection of professionalism, excellence, and a positive attitude. This flows down to all our employees.” Britam’s key priority is its relationship with customers, employees, partners, and suppliers, and advanced technology goes hand-in-hand with that: “Britam is continuously developing new policies which offer optimum solutions to guide the implementation of new technology, corporate governance, and ethical standards in line with how we interact with our clients and business partners,” says Maina. The company has introduced a new system to deal with its many insurance services; an w w w. b r i t a m . c o . k e

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B R I TA M H O L D I N G S L I M I T E D ERP system powered by Oracle e-business suite. “The Oracle enterprise resource planning system has integrated finance, HR, property procurement, and inventory functions,” Maina explains. “It has developed a dynamic, robust management and regulatory reporting platform. It has also enhanced internal controls, improved operational efficiency, and ensured a productive and engaged workforce.” Britam has now introduced a worldclass line of business applications to manage operations of the insurance, pensions, and asset management businesses. It has also implemented

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TECHNOLOGY

an electronic document management system to support the line of business’s back-end operations, and self-service portals for its financial advisors, customers, and partners to use in executing their functions. The customer experience is further enhanced by an enterprise architecture framework: “This incorporates a serviceorientated layer that provides efficient system integration capabilities,” Maina explains. “The EA framework provides a structured way of linking the technology and the business strategies. Adaptation of this has helped provide a customer-centric approach to the business. We are now capable of providing a single view of customers and suppliers, efficient processes through endto-end integration from line of business to financial reporting, business intelligence and analytics, data quality, and integrity.” The company’s integration is aided across both technology and business layers with state-of-the-art servers hosted in a secure tier IV data centre: “The branches and regions are connected through a robust wide area network platform with a builtin redundancy,” Maida explains. “At the business layer, we have implemented an ERP and we’ve also

Image left: Mr Stephen Wandera, Director Insurance Business Britam. Image below: Dr Benson I. Wairegi, Britam Group Managing Director

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B R I TA M H O L D I N G S L I M I T E D

‘We only launch our products once we are satisfied they meet the demands of the market’

1965

The year Britam Holdings Limited was founded

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March 2016

acquired a world-class line of business systems to support operations.” Currently under construction is Britam Tower, which is being built in Nairobi’s financial hub, Upper Hill. It’s a commercial investment by Britam Holdings Limited: “Britam Tower is set to be completed mid2016, and is a 31-storey building which acts as a flagship project for Britam’s property portfolio. It’s projected to be the most prominent building in the Nairobi skyline, and the third tallest building in Africa.” The tower is the pinnacle of the


TECHNOLOGY

company’s technological transformation, and will well and truly turn Britam into an icon within its industry. The business is now focussed on increasing its footprint in the region to become a fully Pan-African company, driven by its brand mantra – ‘One Company, One Brand’ – and its commitment to provide clients with great service and competent financial expertise. “We strive for excellence in our business, guided by our values of respect, integrity, continuous innovation, and passion,” Maina concludes. Britam has been in the Kenyan market for 50 years, and as it celebrates its Golden Jubilee throughout 2016, the business looks ahead to a fruitful and ever-evolving future.

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Financin

Written by Lucy Dixon Pr


ngNigeria

roduced by Mariana Lee

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RENMONEY

Providing ordinary Nigerian consumers with access to finance is the primary focus of RenMoney, as African Business Review reports

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R

enMoney opened with a single branch in Ikoyi, Lagos, back in 2012, offering fast and easy-to-use unsecured loans and investment accounts. “Our journey so far has been an interesting one,” says CEO Graham Lee. “We began with a focus on the unmet financial needs of the ordinary Nigerian consumer. This understanding led to the development of our simple money solutions, which have seen excellent growth in demand. We have opened six additional branches - two in Ikeja, and one each in Surulere, Lagos Island, Apapa, and Ikota. And since the beginning of 2015 we have had more of a focus on non-branch channels, including agency banking, a stateof-the art call center, internet, and social media applications, as well as channel partnerships.” RenMoney’s primary focus is its unsecured loan product, says Lee, but there is a need to balance


TECHNOLOGY

loan book growth by raising funding in the form of its Fixed Term investment product. He says: “RenMoney has some of the best risk-adjusted rates in Nigeria, accompanied by flexible terms designed specifically for each investor.” Its clients are both employed and self-employed individuals who are underserviced by commercial banks. “This means that we cater for a large spectrum of Nigerian society. Our products are developed to be accessible to the mass market, but with a quality of service and pricing that makes them attractive to higher middle class salary earners,” says Lee. To build RenMoney’s brand from nothing, and to get its message out to ordinary Nigerians, the company had to develop an integrated marketing strategy. Lee explains: “We developed a message and use traditional, digital and alternate media platforms to consistently get that message into the minds of

336

Number of jobs supported by RenMoney

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RENMONEY

‘I think that, with the excitement surrounding FinTech, people have got carried away with the software and see the technology as an end in itself’

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our target audience. We find that we can tailor these channels to reach our desired market better as we come to understand what they want to achieve with their personal finances. “When we came into Nigeria, it was important that we partnered with an established Credit Bureau with extensive coverage of our target market. And that naturally was CreditRegistry Services (CR Services) Plc.” “CR Services operational strategy was clearly in alignment with ours. Especially in automating credit processes for large-scale consumer lending, data quality, speed, reliability, and ease of use. We have, in my own opinion, made the best choice.” “We have been able to consolidate our hold on the market through superior support, service and products like the SMARTScores (Nigeria’s first bureau credit score) designed and delivered by CR Services.” Through a multi-channel approach, RenMoney has managed to grow quickly but sustainably, increasing its loan sales by more than 100 percent while halving its loss rates. Technology plays a central role in RenMoney’s operations and it was the first organisation in Nigeria to use a cloud core banking solution. Lee adds: “The appropriate use of technology makes us more efficient and agile than our competitors, which is a very important aspect of our business model. Technology is a vital enabler of RenMoney’s strategy, but it is not, in itself, our strategy. Technology (and cloud technology specifically) is at the nexus


TECHNOLOGY

between strategy and execution, control and flexibility and, ultimately, success and failure.� Lee emphasises that meeting the needs of the ordinary Nigerian consumer is the ultimate goal of RenMoney and cautions against overstating the importance of technology. He says: “I think that, with the excitement surrounding FinTech, people have got carried away with the software and see the technology as an end in itself; this is a mistake. RenMoney is a FinTech company in the sense that execution of our strategy is dependent on the appropriate use of state-ofthe art technology, integration and innovation to outperform our competitors and the incumbent banks. Therefore we have become excellent integrators and innovators, leveraging the platform provided by Mambu and GDS (our cloud-based software-as-a-service providers). This improves w w w. r e n m o n e y n g . c o m

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TECHNOLOGY

risk management through better collection and data management, better analytics, increased operational efficiencies and reduced marginal costs. It enables price and service leadership to bring our offerings to those previously excluded or underserviced by the financial system.” Mambu and GDS, RenMoney’s key technology services, are cloud-based, allowing it to operate a low-cost but high-volume business that is truly scalable. Lee adds: “It frees us from the distractions of maintaining physical server infrastructure, daily backups, and worrying about disaster recovery. In addition it allows for fast project execution and delivery, which was an important requirement of ours. It enables our technology team focus on innovation, process automation and building great customer experience rather than worrying about the underlying infrastructure, security, scalability or performance. We are also supported by an excellent credit bureau, CR Services, which provides us with fullyintegrated, high-quality data services. ”

RenMoney is headquartered in Lagos

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RENMONEY Clearly it is crucial for RenMoney and its customers that any technology it uses is a sturdy solution. Lee says: “The process of ensuring that our systems are robust begins with our IT Steering committee, which was established to continually review our technology capabilities and ensure that we have the right technology in place to meet Graham Lee CEO Graham Lee is an experienced executive in retail banking and consumer finance in emerging markets with 20 years’ experience. He has extensive knowledge of the economic, trade, technology and social factors at play across the continent and beyond – having lived and worked in South Africa, Zimbabwe, the UK and Australia in addition to now being based in Nigeria. Lee began his career at First Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe from where he moved to Morgan Stanley International Limited. He also gained international experience at HSBC, Sakura Bank and AMP Australia. In January 2003 he joined Capitec Bank, South Africa. From the early growth phase of Capitec Bank, Graham contributed in many areas, including finance, IT and credit risk management. In February 2009 he was elected to the Executive Management Committee of Capitec Bank as a development member. Prior to joining RenMoney in January 2015, Lee held the position of Head of Credit Monitoring & Operations at Capitec Bank. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants (CIMA) and a member of the Institute of Directors (Nigeria) He has an MBA from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, graduating Cum Laude. He received the Old Mutual award for exceptional academic performance, and received the top student award for five of the six major subject groupings, being Financial Management, Marketing Management, Operations Management, Information Systems, and Strategic Management. A passionate educator, Lee lectured Financial Management for three years at the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s part-time MBA programme in South Africa. His initial degree was the prestigious four-year Bachelor of Business Science (Hons) from the University of Cape Town.

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both the strategic and operational needs. The next step is the periodic reviews and stress tests conducted on both Mambu and GDS, as well as our own integration hub. In addition, we regularly engage external auditors to review our technology platforms and make recommendations in line with industry best practices. Internally, our Operational Risk team carries out an annual IT risk assessment, which more than likely will identify gaps that need to be addressed. We have also adopted international best practices in technology change management. This ensures that no change to a production system is made without a formal User Acceptance test (UAT) which must be signed off by appropriate stakeholders.” RenMoney currently employs over 300 people and is hoping to add another 100 or so to this. But, says Lee, 2016 will be a very difficult year for business in Nigeria. He adds: “We have an optimistic long-term view. Our business strategy for 2016 is to remain focused on the four key pillars of our strategy.” These pillars are: world class risk management (including both risk analytics and collections); innovative and costeffective technology that allows for processing high volumes at a low marginal costs; price leadership and strategic partnerships. Lee believes that strategic partnerships will drive growth in the year ahead. He concludes: “We have a number of channel partnerships that we are developing that will see RenMoney offering accessible consumer finance at the place

‘We have a number of channel partnerships that we are developing that will see RenMoney offering accessible consumer finance at the place and point in time that our clients need it’

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Local success story Written by Lucy Dixon Produced by Mariana Lee

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T E L E K O M N E T W O R K S M A L AW I ( T N M )

Innovation, national pride and listening to what its customers need are all key to the rise of Telekom Networks Malawi, as African Business Review reports

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aving celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, Telekom Networks Malawi is described by CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson as ‘a truly Malawian network that’s owned entirely by Malawians’. Craigie Stevenson started in the role as CEO around six months ago and says his move from a big multinational offers a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to be involved with a fast-growing local operation, which is a strong contender to telcos in the region. He says: “TNM is a solid operator on the ground. The service and quality are as good as any network operating in a highly challenging environment. So, that has been part of the allure for me to come into this venture.” He has been touring the country and getting aquainted with it, talking to people, developing relationships and understanding the market it operates in. “And I’m going out of my way to build confidence in my management team reminding them that they are world class,” he adds. The challenging environment that Craigie


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Stevenson refers to includes the economic climate in Malawi, as he explains: “You’ve had a persistent problem with the exchange rate. I mean the exchange rate a year ago was 460 Kwacha to the dollar. It’s now 740 Kwacha to the dollar. Malawi is a small country, with a population of around 17 million. It is primarily an agribased economy which has created a number of challenges given the fact the commodity market has been hit hard over the last few years.” The economic fluctuation is not the only issue facing TNM, there are also huge differences within the country when it comes to infrastructure. Craigie Stevenson says: “There is a very sophisticated environment in Lilongwe and 20 to 50 kilometres from here you transition into

1995 The year Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) was founded

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a rural, poverty stricken area that is agro based. The challenge is to strike a balance in these contrasting environments and to ensure we have products that talk to all market segments. It is important to understand the contrasts because this creates different capital expenditure demands – everyone wants 4G LTE but we can’t do that over the whole country. This means that to get a village onto the grid, we need to listen to the customers in that particular area and provide the appropriate technology. In the past telecom networks have been exceptionally prescriptive in what they offer their customers and how it must work. The approach of listening more to what customers need is going to enhance our growth. Our solutions have to be based on a number of different segments in the market and we have to cater to all of those.” These conditions have certainly made Craigie Stevenson’s job more difficult, when it comes to maintaining margins, but TNM is thriving and has enjoyed incredible success in the past few years – with 42 percent growth from 2013 to 2014. He adds: “How do you continue a growth trend? It is a big concern. There is a persistently high inflation rate in the mid-20s and the cost of borrowing is in excess of 30 percent. The depreciation on the currency is well over 25 percent a year. It’s heavy going here, but we continue to adapt and thrive.” It does seem an extraordinary result set against such a complex backdrop and Craigie Stevenson is keen to highlight the many accomplishments of the company. “The success is attributable to a number of reasons, not least progressive thinking. w w w. t n m . c o . m w

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“I think the most exciting aspect of our story is the fact we are an operator that is both successful and locally owned. It’s what makes that work. You can’t underestimate the value of a local management team”

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We make sure things work and therefore offer a quality network. Also, having good, solid staff on the ground. We have a very well run local network that’s owned by Malawians that can be as proud as any network in the world – we offer a level of service that you would get from any of the big four telcos here and that’s the thing that’s the trend breaker.” Craigie Stevenson points out how crucial telecommunication is for Africa, its role in boosting the economy and providing development opportunities. “I think the most exciting part of this whole thing is the fact we are an operator that is successful and locally owned. It’s what makes that work. You can’t underestimate the value of a local management team. I’m an architect. I’m not a builder. I’m responsible for


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making an environment that’s conducive. That’s the most important thing.” The importance of his local management team and staff is a theme that comes up again and again from Craigie Stevenson, and he talks about how TNM retains its key employees. “The biggest poachers of your staff will always be the sectors that are the most profitable, so banks are the biggest problem for us. But, our staff feel a lot of pride in where they work. As an ex-pat, I make sure I’m here to understand the operating environment and to empower people and it’s a very clichéd thing to say but people are our best assets. Local staff at senior and junior levels will always know more about what’s going on on the ground than I do so it’s important to trust and let people try, fail and support them. Our local staff w w w. t n m . c o . m w

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understand the culture, and the environment we operate in. I can’t walk into a country and understand its politics, its culture or anything like that. So, the chief commercial officer, internal audit and regulatory function, legal team, they’re all local people. And they understand the market, they understand the legislature, they understand what needs to be done. And more importantly, they understand the landscape they operate in. Now if I were going to walk in here and put no value on that, I’d be asking to fail.” TNM currently employs around 730 people, from call centre staff to engineers and, in fact, the call centre has just been voted the best in the country by the Chartered Institute of Management. Craigie Stevenson says: “That was no mean feat; it was an independent evaluation of the call centre. I think we’ve got call centre agents that really care and that’s been a big thing as well as, of course, understanding and speaking the local languages. As much as this is an English speaking country there are other local languages and we need to be able to communicate and address issues properly with our customers.” So, back to the impressive growth figures, that Craigie Stevenson is confident are going to be continued for the next few years. Challenging the bigger players has really helped TNM to raise its game, he says. “We had to accept that we needed to adjust in order to operate at

Douglas Craigie Stevenson - CEO

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the right level. Customers are not going to in any way give concessions because we’re a local network, and we wouldn’t want them to. So we went on an extensive capital investment program over the last two years. That was not on my watch. That was the previous MD who was very visionary in terms of understanding what we needed to be able to operate at the right level. Then we had to empower our processes, systems and people to be able to operate at a world-class level. The next thing was to get the relationships right with various stakeholders - suppliers, customers, investors, even competitors.” 60

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Getting all this right was swiftly followed by communicating the message to the potential customers, a message of having pride in a world-class, locally run network. “We needed to make the customer understand that we have significant presence, that we are as good as anyone else. So if you land at Lilongwe airport, you will see that TNM is on par with Airtel because we are the only two big operators in that regard,” says Craigie Stevenson. “And then we can’t be arrogant. We have to acknowledge where our flaws are and fix them. And we have to acknowledge our opportunities and pursue them relentlessly. So things like retail presence, brand presence, customer care development, product development. All of those things were imperative, along with rolling out the 3G network, moving into the 4G space. Those were the kind of things that we had to make sure we were at an adequate level. Our customers are not going to be forgiving if we can’t do that.” Going forwards, Craigie Stevenson says, the focus is going to be on ensuring the network quality is right and that innovation continues. “We are offering not just a voice call, but a number of other products moving into the ICT space. That’s going to be the place where we differentiate ourselves. Yes, Airtel, Vodacom and MTN are all going that route as well but the truth of the matter is we know the playing area better than them in some respects. We can exploit that to push for this growth.”

“We are offering not just a voice call, but a number of other products moving into the ICT space. That’s going to be the place where we differentiate ourselves”

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Keeping Written by Nell Walker


g Africa connected Produced by Danielle Harris 63


W O R K O N L I N E C O M M U N I C AT I O N S ( P T Y ) LT D

Founded in South Africa in 2006, Workonline Communications is a privately owned global Network Service Provider

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ince 2006, privately-owned Workonline Communications has worked tirelessly to provide Africa with high-quality IP transit and connectivity services, achieving acclaim as the Southern African network with the highest number of directly interconnected global tier 1 transits. Some of the largest international telecommunication companies make use of Workonline’s technologically advanced services, as its network has proven stable, resilient, and reliable. According to Workonline’s Director of Business Development, Edward Lawrence, the company’s structure and products are far simpler than they appear: “We basically provide two services: IP transit and various forms thereof, and connectivity or transport services. Within those two categories we have hundreds of moving parts we use to design each individual service; we don’t have a fixed price list; all the services we provide are tailor-made to the requirements of our clients. We don’t deviate from what we do, meaning we can be very flexible within the bounds of what we do, and deliver the services we focus on at scale.” Group input The direction of the company, and each individual project it undertakes from conception onwards, is group effort: “We have a very flat organisational structure designed to maximize collaboration,” Lawrence says. “Everyone has the chance to contribute towards the

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A large degree of growth still needs to take place in places like Kenya.

direction of the company. We achieve this by increasing interpersonal communication as much as possible between everyone regardless of seniority, and working together to agree on direction to achieve the goals we set for ourselves and the company as a whole.” Workonline’s liberal company structure allows all members of the business to feel a part of its operations; impressively, it has lost only one employee since the company began. “We don’t enforce office hours so everybody can work when they want. We manage productivity through a goal-based system,” Lawrence explains. “We try to bring the passion out of people. If you’re very good at what you do, the chances are that you’re

20 Number of staff working at Workonline Communications

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Workonline is dedicated to developing the network across Africa, in places like Kenya and

passionate about it, so how can we enable and support that passion? By giving our employees the tools to play with to discover themselves and what they can achieve, and by supporting them in any direction they wish to grow in. We actually implement that, rather than just saying it.�

Zambia, for example

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Prestigious partnerships As it has grown, the business has forged bilateral partnerships with the largest global players such as TeliaSonera, NTT, and Level 3 Communications, and according to Lawrence, “forming these relationships has proven to be very fruitful for all parties involved. Essentially the cornerstone of our relationships with our partners is the technical aspect. Their engineers feel comfortable and confident in dealing with


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us because of the level of skill that we have on board and our knowledge of the African market. Vice versa, we look to them for their knowledge depending on the markets in which they are strongest of have the most experience.” Falling in line with its growth and expectations from its prestigious client base, Workonline decided to improve the brand awareness of the company. To this end, Workonline recently decided to refresh its logo to show an identity which reflects its modernity. The basics of the business remain, but its image has developed alongside its blossoming reputation. What sets Workonline apart is the determination to stay ahead of the curve, Lawrence says: “We’re often the first to come up with and implement either technical or commercial models in the subSaharan African market. That’s what attracts the partnerships that we have in place, and ensures that they remain in place over the years to come.”

“The developments we’ve made are about constantly researching and putting in place new and more efficient ways of doing things” – Edward Lawrence, Director of Business Development

Technology Workonline is a tech-heavy company with a very strong engineering team, and it has the accolades to support its notable status. Its transport services are MEF compliant, and one of the company’s directors, Ben Maddison, was the first ever person to achieve 100 percent on the MEF certification w w w. w o r k o n l i n e . c o . z a

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‘We have a very flat organisational structure designed to maximize collaboration. Everyone has the chance to contribute towards the direction of the company’

globally. “Out of thousands of engineers around the world, Ben was the first and the only one thus far to get full marks,” Lawrence comments. “We have a very high level of technical skill on board, which we constantly strive to improve. The developments we’ve made are about constantly researching and putting in place new and more efficient ways of doing things.” Part of staying ahead is rigorously planning the future, Lawrence says. “The year is pretty much mapped out already. We’re looking at where to build in 2017. The focus is on expansion of the network into a few new key markets. We’re investing heavily in the expansion and

The leader in Provider Grade Network Management Systems IRIS Network Systems is a provider of uniquely scalable, lightweight and robust Network Management Software. Designed to present your network information in an easy to understand, comprehensive visual format, IRIS gives you simple and effective control over your environment. Because we believe in supporting your business and not only our software, we also offer on-demand training resources and technical assistance to all our clients. With over 20 years’ experience in networking and telecoms, our team is made up of industry experts who are passionate about the work they do. To find out more about us, please get in touch at irisns.com/contact or call us on +27 21 418 4840 Email: team@irisns.com

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uptake of Internet Protocol version 6 – or IPv6 – and we’re somewhere in the top double digits of IPv6 networks in the world by size. We’ve tried to encourage uptake by offering a free 100 Megabits per second of IPv6 transit to any AfriNIC LIR. We’re very involved in sponsoring training of the use of IPv6 and helping networks to make that transition.”

The new cable system being

Workonline’s future As is common in the technological sector, outside forces have the potential to alter a company’s plans. An example of this is a new cable system which is being

planned between Brazil and Africa will present new opportunities for the company

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We see a huge amount of growth potential in Africa as the world focuses on connecting the next billion people to the Internet

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planned between Brazil and the west coast of Africa could present new opportunities for Workonline. “Typically there’s been no need for us to have infrastructure in North America because all of the paths between Africa and North America either go through Asia-Pac or Europe. The topology of the global cable system network will change if this project progresses, and in doing so it would open up the possibility of us building a PoP in North America. That’s far from being confirmed, but it’s a potential development.” Bandwidth in Africa is commoditising fast, which has been an advantage to Workonline. The business was designed around a foresighted belief that this would occur, and Lawrence says “we have been fortunate in that the current trend has played into our hands. A


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couple of the developing market’s currencies struggling has impacted our clients, but on the whole the recent economic situations in Africa haven’t had much impact on us at all. We have some very good advisers who saw this coming. We still see a huge amount of growth potential in Africa as the world focuses on connecting the next billion people to the internet.” Regardless of how plans may change, Workonline will continue to develop the network across Africa. “While South Africa is a little more developed than many others, there are plenty of countries where there is a lot of work to be done,” Lawrence concludes. “A lot of growth still needs to happen in places like Kenya and Zambia. When I visit them, I can’t help but wonder why people aren’t seeing the opportunities.”

‘We’re often the first to come up with and implement either technical or commercial models in the subSaharan African market. That’s what attracts the partnerships that we have in place’

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EXTRACTING V Written by:Nye Longman Produced by: A. Munatswa


VALUE


MINERALS DEPOSITS

How Mineral Deposits Limited is using its scale for good while maintaining an efficient, profitable mineral sands operation in Senegal

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espite only being operational since the middle of 2014, Mineral Deposits’ Grand Côte Operations (GCO) in Senegal has already proved to the industry that a mining outfit can operate a profitable and productive business while making a positive impact in a developing country. In recognition of its formidable achievements thus far, GCO received an exclusive invitation to accompany the Senegalese government to last year’s COP21 conference – a well-deserved honour, as we shall explore. Operations Listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, Mineral Deposits Limited (MDL) is specialised in mining, integrating, and transforming mineral sands. In partnership with French company Eramet, MDL owns 50 percent of the TiZir joint venture, which consists of the Grande Côte

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operation in Senegal, supported by a titanium and iron ilmenite upgrading facility (TTI) in Norway, enabling the extraction and subsequent smelting of mineral sands in a single operation. Senegal’s Grand Cote Operations span over 445 square kilometres; the orebody present in this region is primarily made up of zircon and ilmenite, but also contains some high value co-products in the form of rutile and leucoxene. With an expected lifetime of just under 30 years (not counting some additional resources), the mine is set to be profitable for all involved if the correct strategy is adopted. GCO CEO Daniel Marini explains: “The operation covers a very large area, however due to the nature of the deposit we need to maintain a very elevated throughput; this achievement owes a lot to operating the largest dredge in the world.” A series of unique pumps supports this

800 Number of jobs to be supported by Minerals Deposits

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Unearth a productivity gold mine without having to dig deep.

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MINING

exceptional piece of equipment that moves the extracted ore to a floating wet concentrator plant which separates the mineral deposits from the surrounding sand. The resulting product is then driven to a dedicated mineral separation plant – once fully processed at the mineral sand process plant, the mineral sand travels via rail to GCO’s dedicated dock at the Port of Dakar. Marini explains how a range of control measures certify that the minerals GCO ships are of the highest quality: “We have a laboratory operated by a technician with a Masters in Chemistry who takes hundreds of samples every single day. This ensures our product is free from pollutants and is up to international standards.” Strategy GCO’s scientific approach goes far beyond geology, hydrogeology, and metallurgy involved in mineral grading – every aspect of its operations is calculated to deliver the most value - from shareholders to the surrounding communities. Even Marini’s appointment as CEO just over a year ago was a decision based on his broad professional experience and technical capabilities. He says: “I earned a PhD in Geology and in Mining. I worked for the UN DP in Djibouti as a geologist and hydrogeologist. I also worked on a World Bank project in North Cameroon surveying over 400 villages for water, as well as in several executive roles ( as

The Senegalese government is keen to help those looking to develop industrial operations in the country they want to have a mining industry and are prepared to make mining into a profitable business” – Daniel Marini, CEO

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MINERALS DEPOSITS geologist, mining engineer and metallurgist) for mining companies part of Eramet Group. Operating a successful business in Africa does not come without its challenges but, as Marini explains, the government of Senegal (which owns a 10 percent stake in GCO) has proved to be a strong asset to its operations: “The Senegalese government is keen to help to those looking to develop industrial operations in the country - they want to have a mining industry and are prepared to make mining into a profitable business. “When we needed to speak to a government official, their doors were always open – perhaps

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more so than in other African countries. There’s a level of respect, not solely from ministers, but from the people living near our operations as well. Senegal is a country with a culture of education and has a wealth of skilled individuals.� He adds that GCO recently hired an external auditor to examine the entirety of its supply chain operations in order to find savings and promote efficiency. While this is yet to be fully completed, it is increasingly likely that the company will be looking to simplify its logistics operations, enabling it to work with a smaller number of providers and therefore streamline many of its processes. Like many other mining companies faced by the fall in commodity prices, GCO has engaged in a process of optimising all of these costs. Positive impact Far from ignoring its role as a key employer in the Grande Cote region, GCO has made a

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MINERALS DEPOSITS number of commitments which will ensure its successful operations benefit both its employees – a mixture of locals and expatriates – and the communities touched by its work. Taking into account the relatively long life-span of the mine, the company has worked hard to make sure that its CSR work leaves a lasting, long-term impact. Marini expands: “We have the potential to make a huge impact – out of the 800 people we employ, 740 of them are locals; our operations, directly and indirectly, are responsible for employing a total of 2,000 people. Alongside the training we provide on-site, we also take the brightest local people and give them top professional training across numerous European institutions.” GCO also left a permanent mark on the area by constructing a resettlement village for the local people; where there were once temporary structures, now stand concrete buildings, supplied with running water and powered by solar panels. With these initiatives, the company seeks to develop local economies and prove to the entire industry that ethical extraction is very much within reach. By challenging itself to do as much as it possibly can for local communities, it is not only improving living standards but also playing a major role in fostering Senegal’s local extraction talent pool. Furthermore, GCO is showing that Senegal is a country with healthy business opportunities and an environment that is investment-friendly. 80

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Beyond and m

Written by: Alice Young Pr


d bricks mortar

roduced by: Richard Deane

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PA L M H I L L S D E V E L O P M E N T S

Sustainable, integrated projects are key to the success of Palm Hills Developments

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ounded in 2005, Palm Hills Developments quickly became one of Egypt’s leading real estate companies. CEO Engineer Mohamed Sultan says that the company’s ethos runs through every stage of its work, starting with land acquisition. “While keeping in mind that prospective clients have delegated us to fulfill their aspiration by developing their dream homes, not by just building houses. Such a philosophy sits in sync with our vision, which extends beyond bricks and mortar to creating a well-integrated livable experience,” he says. To realise Palm Hills Developments’ vision, the company carefully selects the best business partners and service providers. Sultan says: “On the construction front, we’ve always been joining forces with the blue-chips of


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the industry who clearly manifest profound understanding of the local market need gaps, and simultaneously project world-class standards.” Taking integrated development to a whole new level coloured by eco-friendliness and sustainability is equally important to Palm Hills Developments, as Sultan explains: “We are always seeking to apply the latest cutting edge technologies, methodologies and techniques across all business fronts. We’re currently in the process of exploring and piloting a new construction technique, which is meant to represent a quantum leap, providing innovative solutions that will further enhance final product neatness, aesthetics and speedy development and, moreover, will enable architects to have more room for design novelty. Most importantly,

1000+ Number of jobs to be supported by Palm Hills Development

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PA L M H I L L S D E V E L O P M E N T such new approaches are centric around green and sustainable development.� Palm Hills Developments has taken solid steps towards full Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and is working on several community projects focussed on developing integrated, self-sustaining communities. These will provide the infrastructure and resources needed to create a better standard of life for needy villages in Upper Egypt and the Delta region. Sultan

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explains: “We always develop in the context of our community, driven by representing a socially responsible corporate citizen. Our business supports 100 feeder industries, creating 200,000 job opportunities. We’ve also signed a joint cooperation agreement with the Industrial Training Council (ITC) of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Small and Medium Enterprises, to provide vocational training for youths with the aim of qualifying them to join

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PA L M H I L L S D E V E L O P M E N T S various productive sectors in the labour market.” Aside from its CSR activities, Sultan believes that the quality of its developments is what sets it apart from others. He adds: “Eleven projects from our portfolio have been delivered, inclusive of eight phases of Palm Hills October, Bamboo Extension, Hacienda White, and The Village. The company has currently 12 active projects - five in the East, five in the West, and two on the North Coast - all due for completion between 2016 and 2018.” Sharing its real estate knowledge and experience is the focus of a project that Palm Hills Developments has recently decided to get

Address: 35 Abou Bakr El-Sedeek St. Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt Web: www.redconcon.com Email: info@redconcon.com

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involved in. Sultan says: “Capitalising on our leadership within the real-estate sector, we’ve decided to export such expertise via partnering with the government and the private sector in a continuous attempt to support housing provision. We’ve partnered with NUCA (New Urban Communities Authority) to co-develop 500 feddans in New Cairo. The project sales are expected to take place towards the end of 2016. We’ve partnered with Madinet Nasr Housing to co-develop 100 feddans of Capital Gardens in New Cairo extension within Sarai development, along Cairo Suez road and within close proximity from the new administrative capital. Capital Gardens was launched last December and has achieved tremendous results - almost 100 percent of the first tranche was sold out during the first week of launch, reinstating demand in the Egyptian real-estate marketplace. Such a project is a clear testament to our dynamic and adaptive approach while casting our net wider targeting the upper middle income segment.”

‘A key pillar behind such stellar results is what we pride ourselves in: being the employer of choice in Egypt, deploying the best talent pool across all specialties, and keeping them constantly engaged’

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PA L M H I L L S D E V E L O P M E N T S Palm Hills Developments is actively exploring new markets, says Sultan. “We’re planning to expand our land bank by venturing into new markets behind the frontiers, specifically Africa where we’re still exploring and researching. In addition, we’ve just secured a new land plot to complement our second home projects portfolio of 135 feddans in Ras El Hekma. Via our flagship North Coast projects, we’re opting to support the government plan in transforming Egypt’s North Coast into a whole year-round destination.” It has certainly been a successful time for the

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March 2016


CONSTRUCTION

company, as the financial results highlight – it achieved record results in 2015, delivering 1,573 units with gross sales exceeding 6 billion Egyptian pounds. Sultan says: “A key pillar behind such stellar results is what we pride ourselves in: being the employer of choice in Egypt, deploying the best talent pool across all specialisties and keeping them constantly engaged.” Palm Hills Developments prides itself on its people, describing them as its ‘most vital resource’ and the ‘driving force’ that enables it to achieve its vision and turn it into a reality success story.

Palm Hills Development HQ is based in Cairo

w w w. p a l m h i l l s d e v e l o p m e n t s . c o m

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