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Nov / Dec 2015 · No. 2

Committed To Promoting African Synergy





Ismail Ahmed, CEO & Founder, WorldRemit

Running One of the World’s Most Groundbreaking Money Transfer Services








Cogeneration and Distributed Power in Africa

Ismail Ahmed

By: Alexander Marshall

CEO & Founder, WorldRemit

20 IT

Cloud Computing in Africa

By: Dr Shiyghan Navti




The Great Kenyan Oil Discovery Pt. II By: Andrew Thompson

An exclusive with Alex Budden, Vice President, External Relations, Africa Oil.



Artists Corner Creative Corner


News in Brief




Upcoming Events


4 Contents







An exclusive with Managing Director, Bulent Karatas, on bringing European quality furniture to Kenya.

Revolutionising the Money Transfer Industry. Global online money transfer service and one of the UK’s leading financial technology firms.








African Promise, an exclusive with Director, Manuel Duggal.

Rising stars of Real Estate.

Kigali, Rwanda, 5 - 6 Nov. Event Preview

Lagos, Nigeria, 24 - 25 Nov. Event Preview






WAPIC 2015

Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015


Editor’s Note


ello and welcome to the second edition of Aspire Africa. Here we are once again, asking the important questions of Africa’s great innovators, men and women committed to pushing this beautiful continent into the productive future it is heading towards as a developing power in the world economy.

At the top of this list of innovators is the man gracing this month’s cover, Somali entrepreneur Ismail Ahmed. It was with particular pleasure that we met with Mr Ahmed at his London offices last month, gaining an insight into what it takes to achieve such resounding success. Elsewhere in this edition we will take a closer look at the company that has propelled Mr Ahmed to prominence, WorldRemit, to discuss the differences being made for money remittance into Africa. As usual, we will provide a round up of the most significant stories from across the continent, as well as paying some attention to those people climbing the ladder in their respective fields and continuing to do great work. The sectors of energy, IT, manufacturing and real estate all get the Aspire Africa treatment, as we continue to search far and wide in the hope of bringing to light the next great African projects and innovations. In addition to the new pieces, we return to the oil & gas industry to conclude our Q&A with Alex Budden of Africa Oil, a company making great strides to find oil in Kenya. Finally, we will take a look at global events particularly relevant to Africa taking place in the coming months, including the WAPIC in Nigeria and the iPAD Rwanda forum.

Publisher Sam Khan

Media Director Tabrez Khokhar

Associate Editor Sales Director Nicholas Paul Griffin Yasser Khokhar Editorial Contributors Andrew Thompson Alexander Marshall Dr. Shiyghan Navti

Publication Layout Zahir Malik Web Production Raizwan Butt

UK Office 145-157 St. John Street, London, EC1V 4PW, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0)20 7193 9001 Kenya Office Office C7, Elite View, Githunguri Road, Kileleshwa, Nairobi. Tel: +254 (0) 704 927 737 Subscription: Feedback: Our Digital Presence >

As Associate Editor of this publication, this is the first of what I hope will be many opening notes I will commit to these pages. The team at Aspire Africa is dedicated to meeting with the people making a positive difference across this inspirational continent, absorbing their knowledge and celebrating their achievements with you. On a personal note, I hope you will enjoy reading this edition, and remember that we are here in no small part because of you, with the aim of keeping you informed on the issues shaping progress not just in Africa, but all across the global community. If you have any suggestions, comments or would just like to get in touch and let us know what you think of our work, then please don’t hesitate to visit our website and communicate with us via one of our many available methods. Nicholas Paul Griffin Associate Editor

6 Editor’s Note

© Aspire Africa 2015. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in the Aspire Africa publication are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome but cannot be returned without a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editor is not responsible for material submitted for consideration.

Creative Corner

‘My Muse’ Nairobi CBD

Asif R. Khan is a Kenyan based photographer, working with brands across the world. @asayf Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015


#Fact China is Africa’s top trade partner, with Sino-African trade volumes now nearing $200 billion per year.


Choiseul 100 Fetes Centum Group CEO, James Mworia business leaders based on potential and leadership, influence and networks, background and skill and reputation.

Image: Centum

Centum Investment Group CEO Mr. James Mworia is among 9 Kenyans feted by the Choiseul Institute as African Economic Leaders of Tomorrow. The Choiseul 100 is an annual report carried out by the Choiseul Institute with the intent of giving global recognition to young Africans whose leadership sets the foundations for Africa’s future growth. LEADERSHIP

The report recognized 100 business leaders from across the continent. Those chosen had to be African citizens below 40 years old and actively contributing to the African economy. The institute recognized

During Mr. Mworia’s tenure at Centum, the company has implemented various projects with the ability to change the face of business in the region. For instance, through Amu Power and Akiira power plants, Centum has a pipeline of approx. 1190 MW that, once complete, will provide up to 33% of the power generation capacity in Kenya. In real estate, Centum is developing Two Rivers Development, whose anchor project is a 65,500 SQM mall, one of the largest in Africa. Mr. Mworia has received other awards this year for business leadership including AABLA’s East Africa Business Person of the Year Award and Financial Monthly’s CEO award 2015. Choiseul Institute president, Dr. Pascal Lorot, noted that Africa’s economy is now a

major driver of global economic growth with the continent shifting away from primarily exporting raw materials to a more diverse economy driven by investment in high-end value addition. More international capital is flowing into Africa as a result, reaching $80 billion in 2014 and expected to hit $100 billion in 2015. Dr. Lorot attributed this to young leaders who are well trained, open-minded and in touch with developments in the global economy. The other eight Kenyans include KEPSA CEO, Carole Kariuki, Coca-Cola East Africa GM, Peter Njonjo, KCB CEO, Joshua Oigara, Cellulant CEO and founder, Ken Njoroge, Craft Silicon CEO, Kamal Budhabhatti. Michael Macharia CEO and founder, Seven Seas Technology and East Africa Trade Hub’s Alfred K’ombudo are also featured on the list.

Kwanji, the online forex portal, now available in Kenya, the online foreign exchange and payments platform, that provides businesses with fast, easy and unrestricted access to the very best foreign exchange rates, has selected Kenya as the first African country to roll out its unique suite of services. FINANCE

8 News in Brief

Headquartered in the UK, the company’s goal is to level the playing field on international trade and payments by bridging the gap between emerging and traditional markets. Kwanji is working in partnership with leading UK foreign currency specialists including VFX and

local Kenyan banks including Equity Banking Group. The company is regulated by the Financial Services Authority as an Authorised Payment Institution and is licenced to operate across Europe and East Africa; under the regulation of CBK and CMA in Kenya for example.

#Fact Over 55% of Africa’s labour force work in food production with vast areas of arable and pastoral lands supporting agricultural economies.

AfDB approves US $90 million loan to promote science and tech in Angola The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on October 21, 2015, a loan of US $90 million for the Republic of Angola to finance a Science and Technology Development project to contribute to the diversification of the economy through research and development in agroindustry, biotechnology and health, energy, information and communication technologies, nanotechnology and mechatronics.

the future Bara do Dande Harbour and the Special Economic Zone between Luanda and Bengo, will greatly contribute to industrial development, competitiveness, innovation, and job creation,” said Sunita Pitamber, AfDB’s Acting Director for Human Development.

In addition to building and equipping a world-class science and technology park in Mabubas, the project will also: provide 155 scholarships to train researchers, of which 55% will be given to women scholars; fund 40 research projects to support Angolan researchers with innovative project ideas; support the participation of women in science; develop skills in science and technology within secondary schools to both students and teachers; as well as build the capacity of intellectual property system in Angola.

Given the importance of public funds allocated to the development of science, technology and innovation (STI), the project places special emphasis on value for money. As such, an information system to assess the results of public programs in STI will be put in place to determine their impact on enterprise and job creation.


“Mabubas Science and Technology Park, strategically located near

The park is expected to serve the needs of young Angolan entrepreneurs and businesses alike through training and research and development within industrial incubators.

This project is part of the implementation of Angola’s National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation and is aligned with the National Development Plan. It is also fully aligned with the AfDB’s Strategy 20132022, on skills, human capital and gender.

News Segun Agbaje wins West Africa’s Business Leader of the Year

Image: GT Bank LEADERSHIP Foremost African financial institution, GT Bank, has reaffirmed its position as a leading global brand with the recent recognition of its MD/CEO, Segun Agbaje, as West Africa’s Business Leader of the Year during the 2015 All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA). The All Africa Business Leaders Awards recognizes individuals who have made a profound impact in their respective areas by demonstrating innovation, integrity, accountability and adherence to global standards.

Under Mr. Agbage, the bank has maintained its dominance of the industry by continually recording significant financial and non-financial performance. His profundity and vivid understanding of diverse financial landscapes has been critical in ensuring the bank’s successful foray into various financial markets across West & East Africa while maintaining a presence in EU through its UK subsidiary. In due recognition of his visionary leadership. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015




The African continent has the largest reserves of precious metals with over 40% of the gold reserves, over 60% of the cobalt, and 90% of the platinum reserves.

flydubai arrives in Asmara, Eritrea Business Class passengers have access to business lounges across the network and a 24-hour Business team to assist with bookings and attend to enquires throughout their journey. Image: flydubai

flydubai’s inaugural flight FZ665 has landed in the capital city of Eritrea, Asmara. LOGISTICS

As it landed, senior Eritrean officials including Tesfaslassie Berhane, Minister of Transportation and Communication, Askalu Menkorios, Minister of Tourism and Paulos Kahsai, Director General Civil Aviation Authority, welcomed the flydubai delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial (GCC, Subcontinent, Africa)

and members of the airline’s senior management team. Asmara is the 18th destination flydubai announced this year and the airline has recently launched operations to Burundi, Rwanda, Somaliland, Tanzania and Uganda. Business Class passengers can enjoy a comfortable, spacious seat, a choice of meals from an internationally-inspired menu, a generous checked baggage allowance and fast track through immigration and security.

Passengers travelling in Economy Class can enjoy the inflight entertainment system equipped with more than 1,300 hours of content, including movies, games and newspapers. The Boeing Sky Interior minimises jetlag and increases overhead locker space to ensure the best possible onboard experience. Economy Class passengers have access to a variety of hot and cold meals, available for purchase on board and on a pre-order basis.

Erin Energy discovers oil offshore Ghana OIL & GAS Erin Energy Corporation (Erin Energy or the Company) (NYSE MKT:ERN) (JSE:ERN) have announced that the resource volume assessment of the three previously discovered fields (Tano North, Tano West, and Tano South) has been completed in the Expanded Shallow Water Tano (ESWT) block, located offshore Ghana. The ESWT block is operated by its subsidiary company, Camac Energy Ghana Ltd.

10 News in Brief

Erin Energy believes this evaluation is an important step in determining the commerciality of the development of the West, North, and South Tano fields, and is currently working with the joint venture partners and relevant government entities on further optimization studies towards declaration of commerciality, which is expected within the next few months. “We are very encouraged by the results of the evaluation

of resources and believe this asset holds significant potential for Erin Energy,” said Segun Omidele, Chief Operating Officer. “We are continuing to work with our partners and the government of Ghana to be able to declare commerciality of field development. The commencement of commercial oil production from Ghana would provide significant value to our stakeholders.”

#Fact There are fewer people with internet connections in Africa than there are in just New York City.


Moroccan confectionery producer taps into solar power with EBRD’s support The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a loan of up to 50 million Moroccan Dirham (equivalent of up to €4.6 million) to Maghreb Industries S.A., a leading Moroccan producer of chewing gum and confectionery. RENEWABLE ENERGY

The loan will finance the construction and operation of a new facility in Casablanca powered by a 1.4 megawatt solar plant on its rooftop. The energy efficiency and renewable energy measures

Image: Shutterstock

will be supported by the first grant in Morocco under the EBRD’s FINTECC (Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change) programme. FINTECC helps companies put in place innovative energy, water and materials efficiency technologies and renewable energy systems, providing grants, technical

assistance and advice from consultants in parallel with EBRD loans. In addition, the EBRD is supporting the company through its Advice for Agribusiness programme by engaging two senior industry experts to advise on issues ranging from improving corporate governance to innovative marketing. The EBRD started investing in Morocco in 2012. To date, the bank has invested more than €400 million in 20 projects across the country, in addition to €130 million of trade facilitation credit lines with local banks.

MTN retains spot as Africa’s Most Admired Brand respectively. The number of non-African countries of origin has steadily diversified from 17 in 2013 to 19 in 2014 to 21 in 2015.

MTN has emerged as the Most Admired and the Most Valuable African Brand, valued at US$ 4,672m, its second award in two years. TELECOMS

Two thirds (64%) of the Brand Africa 100 list is evenly spread between electronics (16%), apparel (14%), auto manufacturers (13%), telecommunications (11%) and alcoholic beverages (10%).

Brand Africa announced at their 4th Annual Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands gala event, that MTN is the overall best brand on the continent and reclaims the #1 spot as the Most Admired Brand in Africa. The Brand Africa 100 shows that established brands in Africa have held their ground. Non-African brands are a dominant 77% of the top 100

brands, while African brands have remained relatively stable at 24%, 25% and 23% in 2013, 2014 and 2015

MTN is the most pan-African brand among the Top 100 Most Admired Brands in Africa, operating in 17 countries and among the top 10 admired in 7 African countries. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 11



Africa has the most extensive biomass burning in the world, yet only emits about 4% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

Mondelez invests $50 Million in new Nigeria plant Mondelez International announced that it has invested more than $50 million in a state-of-the-art local production facility to meet surging demand for Cadbury Bournvita, Nigeria’s favorite cocoa drink. The investment supports the company’s global growth strategy by expanding the availability of regional power brands like Cadbury Bournvita in key markets and creating a more efficient supply-chain footprint.

installation of new equipment. In addition to increased capacity, this new plant will enhance the quality of the company’s products and improve competitiveness in the Nigerian marketplace by reducing operating costs.


“Our new Lagos plant is the latest example of our

global effort to build a worldclass supply chain,” said Daniel Myers, Executive Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain.

For 50 years, Cadbury Bournvita has been a leading brand in Nigeria, delivering a great-tasting cocoa beverage fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.

The new Lagos plant is fully automated and replaces an older facility that could not support necessary expansion plans, including the

Recently, the Nutrition Society of Nigeria re-endorsed Cadbury Bournvita after a clear and extensive evaluation process.

Viettel expands mobile, internet services To Tanzania Viettel has announced the launch of mobile and internet services in Tanzania, under the brand name of Halotel, to reflect the company’s expansion in its tenth market, and to the second biggest economy in East Africa.

can cover up to 81 per cent of Tanzania’s population. 1,500 villages are now connected for the first time.


Viettel affirmed that beside 2G services, the company’s offerings in this market will bring competitively-priced 3G connectivity to the most remote areas of the country, empowering not just urban but rural areas through connectivity, and offering mobile services as a basic commodity. With an initial investment 12 News in Brief

of USD 736 million, after constructing and installing network infrastructure in just one year, Viettel’s operations have enabled services to all 26 provinces in the country, across rural and urban areas, while creating more than 2,000 direct and 20,000 indirect jobs. With a strong infrastructure comprising 18,000 km of optical cable and more than 3,000 base transceivers, Viettel’s services

The company said it will also provide free internet connectivity to 450 public schools over the next three years. In addition, Viettel has provided optical cable to 150 committees, 150 public hospitals, 150 police stations and 65 post offices within the first half of the year. Viettel’s new investment in Africa follows the rollout of services in Burundi and Cameroon through Lumitel and Nexttel earlier this year, and in Mozambique through Movitel in 2014.

#Fact Tanzania is the world’s second largest producer of sisal, after Brazil.


Google to invest Sh4 billion in Lake Turkana Wind Power Project

Unilever opens its first ice-cream factory in Africa Multinational goods firm Unilever SA continues to benefit from the Department of Trade and Industry’s multibillionrand tax allowance incentive scheme, as the company recently opened the doors of its first icecream factory on African soil. The company has pumped R600m into the venture, situated in Midrand’s Lords View Industrial Park — a sprawling, five-phase industrial and logistics park billed as one of the country’s most environmentally friendly developments. FOOD & DRINK

Image: Shutterstock

Google has said it will invest up to Sh4 billion in a wind power project, expected to generate 310MW of clean energy, at Loiyangalani, Marsabit county. RENEWABLE ENERGY

The company will partner with investors including Overseas Private Investment Corporation, US government’s development finance institution and Vestas in the Lake Turkana Wind Power project. Vestas is supplying turbines for the wind farm, Google noted in a statement. “We are making a commitment to invest because it makes financial sense and has the potential to have a massive impact on Kenya’s energy grid,” said Joseph Mucheru, Google Energy Lead for Africa. “[This will help] accelerate the deployment of renewable

energy in one of the world’s fastest growing countries.” OPIC’s chief executive Elizabeth Littlefield said the “landmark” project will improve lives through reliable clean power delivery. She said it also underscores the company’s contribution to the progress of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. Google now supports the largest wind farm and solar projects in Africa; in 2014, Google invested in South Africa’s Sh1.2 billion, 96MW, Jasper Power Project. Once complete, the Lake Turkana project will be the largest by Google, which has committed more than Sh204 billion to 22 clean energy projects.

The first phase of the park has kicked into gear, with the four others pegged for development in line with demand and industry needs. The latest addition brings to 40 the total number of ice-cream factories Unilever has, most of which are dotted across the globe. Since 2011, the department has incentivised Unilever projects to the tune of R1.9bn under the scheme, which favours both greenfield (new) and brownfield (upgrades or expansions) projects.

Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 13

Appointments Dr. Sipho Moyo appointed Director of the Cabinet & Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, AfDB African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, has appointed Dr. Sipho Moyo as Director of the Cabinet and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President. Dr. Moyo graduated with a Masters in Development Economics in 1989 and a PhD in Financial Economics in 1994, both from Howard University, Washington DC, USA. She has had an illustrious career in international development spanning over 22 years.

Until her appointment, Dr. Moyo worked as the Executive Director of the ONE Campaign, an international civil society organization. Prior to joining the ONE Campaign, Dr. Moyo worked at the African Development Bank for twelve years from 1998-2010, where she worked variously as Resident Representative and Country Manager for Nigeria and Tanzania country offices,

Image: AfDB

Principal Country Economist and Senior Economist. From 1992-1994 she worked as Economist and Financial Analyst of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, and at the World Bank. Dr. Moyo will assume office on November 1, 2015.

AfDB President Adesina appointed Chair of Africa50 Boards of Directors The boards of directors of Africa50 Project Development and Project Finance met on October 6, 2015 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The boards approved the appointment of Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, as the new Chairperson of both Boards. Members expressed great satisfaction about the enthusiastic acceptance by Adesina of this important role and the continued strong support of the African Development Bank. In his opening remarks, Adesina expressed great appreciation for the strong foundation laid by Donald Kaberuka, the first chairperson of Africa50, who voluntarily stepped down as Image: AfDB chairperson of the Boards of Directors at the end of his term as President of the African Development Bank on August 31, 2015. Adesina pledged to continue to strengthen “the complementary relationship between Africa50 and the African Development Bank in the delivery of much-needed infrastructure in Africa, particularly in addressing the most binding constraint, which is the development of bankable projects.” The boards discussed the upcoming second financial close for Africa50, which is expected to increase the number of subscribed countries from the current twenty (20) and bring the total subscribed capital to the near-term target of USD 1 billion. The boards also discussed the status of ratification of the protocol accords by the member countries and the recruitment of the senior management team. 14 Appointments

Appointments Omnia Holdings appoint Joseph Keenan as new managing director of Bulk Mining Explosives

Image: SBPR

The board of directors of Omnia announced the appointment of Joseph Keenan (“Joseph”) as the new managing director of its explosives division, Bulk Mining Explosives, which is the leading supplier of explosives and services to the African mining, quarrying and construction industries, with operations in 14 countries across Africa.

Joseph has a BSc (geology) from Laurentian University (Canada), an MBA from the Edinburgh Business School (United Kingdom) and has completed post-graduate programmes at Insead Business School (Singapore) and Harvard Business School (USA). Joseph brings a wealth of experience from recent roles at the Columbine Group in the USA, Pacific Hydro in Australia and Orica in Chile.

Barclays Africa appoints Nomkhita Nqweni as CEO of Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance Barclays Africa Group Limited announces the appointment of Nomkhita Nqweni as Chief Executive of Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance (WIMI). Nomkhita, who will replace Willie Lategan, was previously Barclays Africa Chief Executive of Wealth and Investment Management, responsible for circa R268 billion of assets under management. In her new role, Nomkhita will

be responsible for the Absa Life, short-term insurance, fiduciary and distribution businesses in addition to her current portfolio, which includes wealth advisory, stockbroking and asset management. Nomkhita has been a member of the Barclays Africa executive committee since 2013 and chairs the group’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. She will report to

Image: Courtesy of LinkedIn

Maria Ramos, Barclays Africa Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Barclays Africa in 2010, Nomkhita was Managing Director of Alexander Forbes Financial Services Holdings Ltd (Africa).

Eskom appoints company secretary Eskom is pleased to confirm the appointment of Ms Suzanne Daniels as Company Secretary. Before this, Ms Daniels had been working as a senior manager in the Office of the Eskom Chairman. Being an attorney/conveyancer by profession, Ms Daniels joined Eskom in 2006 armed with extensive operations and project management experience within the public and development sector. “Eskom has full confidence in her strategic and tactical skills as well as her regulatory background as she begins her new role and we assure her of our full support.” Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 15

From The Blog


ith the focus on ensuring stable supplies of power in many African countries, the benefits of maximising fuel efficiency are often overlooked. Fuel costs have increased over recent decades, and the need to maximise scarce resources means cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) technology is now getting the recognition it deserves.

Cogeneration maximises the energy in a fuel by utilising not only the electricity that is produced by the generator but also the surplus heat for localised use. About 45% of the energy in the fuel is converted to electricity, with 45% being converted to heat – either in the form of hot water, steam, or hot air for drying. If both heat and electricity are fully recovered the total fuel efficiency is about 90% meaning fuel,

18 Cogeneration and Distributed Power in Africa by A. Marshall

Cogeneration maximises the energy in a fuel by utilising not only the electricity that is produced by the generator but also the surplus heat for localised use.


cost and carbon savings for the end user. This technology can be developed further. If some of the heat is used to create cooling water, through absorption chiller technology, then a trigeneration system is created – also called combined cooling and power. This cooling can be deployed in refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

Jenbacher gas engine cogeneration systems into Tunisia, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa.

CHP is also a form of distributed power generation. Many developed countries outside the African continent have historically relied on large centralised power plants that rely on significant investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure.

can use their energy source more efficiently if it is used in a cogeneration unit rather than a boiler. A gas supply of 80,000GJ per annum could provide 1MW of electricity and 1MW of heat for onsite use.

The inability to use all of the energy in the fuel at source, along with transmission losses, means that many countries are moving towards distributed power generation. The African continent has the opportunity to develop its power generation network in a different manner with a more distributed power generation system in order to give more efficient, reliable electricity supplies. Cogeneration technology is now being deployed across the African continent. As a company Clarke Energy has supplied GE’s

Applications have included power plants for leading drinks brands, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and food companies. Businesses that have access to supplies of gas, or have a current long-term allocation,

With growing availability of gas on the continent, coupled with unstable domestic power supplies, the market for cogeneration technology is on the up in Africa. ASPIRE

Alexander Marshall Alex has the lead international role for marketing and compliance for Clarke Energy. Clarke Energy specializes in the supply, engineering, delivery and maintenance of enginebased power plants.

Aspire Africa ¡ Nov/Dec 2015 19

From The Blog


here are many stories that demonstrate Africa’s leadership in implementing innovative solutions that leverage the mobile platform to enable the delivery of services to citizens in remote communities. 20 Cloud Computing in Africa by Dr Shiyghan Navti

This creates the perfect backdrop for the next wave of innovation, where IT services are instantly available to end users on request. Over the last few years, significant investment has gone into improving Internet connectivity thorough investment in fibre optics networks.

Cloud computing enables the delivery of applications and services over wireless Internet networks.


This presents a significant opportunity for African governments, businesses and technology entrepreneurs to join the digital economy. Local businesses and governments will no longer be constrained by the lack of locally available skills or the need for significant upfront investment in infrastructure. Services can be made accessible to users anytime, wherever they are. Cloud computing enables the delivery of applications and services over wireless Internet networks. Payment terms are very flexible, and in many instances, there is no longterm lock-in. Users only pay for the services they consume. We at Tech Equity believe that the cloud computing business model is ideal for delivering affordable services cost effectively to citizens in urban areas and rural communities. Cloud computing optimizes the use of scarce resources. It consolidates and pools resources, enabling service providers to more efficiently allocate them to end users based on their immediate needs. There are significant economies of scale to be realized from such an approach to IT service delivery. It enables African governments and the private sector institutions to harness the power of Information Technology, even where skill and infrastructure resources are limited. A large segment of African Internet users have adopted public cloud email services from providers such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Many government officials use this medium to communicate on sensitive official matters. Cloud is therefore a business critical medium for communication in Africa today. A 2014 report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Business Agility in the Cloud”, conducted a survey that found that 70% of organizations were using cloud services. Following are the benefits of cloud computing as highlighted by participants.

These benefits are not limited to mature market economies. African governments and businesses can also realize these benefits by adapting and aligning the business model to their unique requirements and priorities. The convergence between mobile and cloud is of particular interest. A majority of African citizens accessing Internet services are using mobile devices. The African cloud strategy has to be mobile enabled. This enables the delivery of accessible and affordable services to every citizen. Just as the fixed line communication infrastructure gap led to the rapid adoption of wireless mobile services in Africa, cloud computing can be accelerated by leveraging the wireless mobile ecosystem. Over the next few years, as broadband penetration continues to improve across Africa, cloud computing will take center stage as Africa’s technological innovation platform of the twenty-first century. ASPIRE

Dr Shiyghan Navti Dr Navti is the founder and CEO of Tech Equity Ltd, a managed cloud services provider that partners with local Africa based technology service providers to deliver innovative cloud and mobile payment services.

Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 21

Q&A: Oil & Gas

The Great Kenyan

Oil Discovery Part II

An exclusive with Alex Budden, Vice President - External Relations, Africa Oil By: Andrew Thompson


ince the announcement of Kenya’s first major oil discovery by joint partners Tullow and Africa Oil caught the world’s attention in 2012, there has been considerable hype surrounding the frontier region’s potential. Of the 1.3 billion barrel estimated in the South Lokichar Basin in North West Kenya’s Turkana County, 600 million barrels have been confirmed. The discovery in Turkana province now sits at an estimated 600 million barrels. Tullow and Africa Oil are now working towards its development and commercial viability. 22 The Great Kenyan Oil Discovery - Pt.II: Alex Budden

There are a host of other companies now carrying out exploration work in Kenya across the highly prospective East Africa region, including Eni, Total, Anadarko and the BG Group. The Kenyan government is in the process of enacting a wave of regulatory reforms and legislations to ensure it capitalises locally on the developing industry. However, the process has not been smooth sailing, with uncertain regulations, benefit sharing arrangements, political disputes and local community tensions, security issues and a falling oil price, ensuring that the road from discovery to production will need to be navigated carefully.

Africa Oil Corp. is a Canadian oil and gas company with assets in Kenya and Ethiopia, and an equity interest in Africa Energy Corp.

In this final part of a two part interview, Andrew Thompson speaks to Alex Budden. Alex is in charge of External Relations for Africa Oil and has been working with local communities and the Kenyan Government to develop the company’s projects in North Western Kenya.

Q&A: Oil & Gas A lot of work needs to be put in to say, well actually we are in the very early stages of exploration, it could be several years before it even moves into the production phase, therefore what you think you’re getting out of this has to be put within context. When expectations are high and delivery is at the early stage that can lead to frustration. Two-way communication is really the way to get through this. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, but you’ve got to keep discussing these issues.

AT: The operation had an issue last year, where drilling had to be suspended due to security concerns, after local residents held protests demanding more jobs at the sites. How difficult was this to deal with? AB: A lot of the trouble we’ve seen recently Alex Budden, Vice President External Relations, Africa Oil Andrew Thompson: How difficult has it been balancing community expectations with business imperatives?

in Turkana is not just around the oil and gas industry, it’s around the local community’s concern about general insecurity. They know that often the only way their voices are heard by the National Government is to blockade roads or demonstrate or agitate in a very physical way.

Alex Budden: It’s been expectations across the board. The expectations of central and county governments are just as important here; but when you do look at the communities we are operating in, these are traditionally rural and pastoral communities. They have not had much involvement with modern day industrial activity before, so there is an awarenessraising element to what we have to do. Kenya as a country has never been involved in the oil and gas industry in a serious way, so as soon as you mention there’s been a discovery, the expectation for a lot of people is that oil will be flowing the next day.

What we are trying to do is move the communities away from that and say, there will be times of disagreement. There will be times when you feel you’re not getting a fair share and we need to talk about it, but there will also be times when perhaps your expectations are too high for the reality on the ground. But rather than having a demonstration or blockading a road, let’s put in place a more communicative process, where you truly feel your grievances are being looked at. That’s actually going to take a bit of time to get up and running. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 23

Our Joint Venture is investing approximately $1 million a day into oil exploration in Kenya� Alex Budden

Oil worker at a water plant AT: The Kenyan government is in the process of bringing in a wave of regulatory reforms to ensure it maximises local benefits, is there a danger if they are too stringent it could scare off potential investors? AB: Certainly when you look at oil and gas companies in Kenya we have production sharing agreements, which are our legal contracts with the Kenyan government. We would like to see those contracts honoured. Contract stability is a key part of attracting foreign investment. If the discussions are around how the amount of money going to the Kenyan government is going to be split between the national, county and local authorities, we think that is an important area that needs to be debated. What we would say is that legislation trying to bring in additional costs to the industry suddenly changes the economic models that are being used to determine how we invest. 24 The Great Kenyan Oil Discovery - Pt.II: Alex Budden

A lot of Kenyans don’t realise this, but all of the investment going into oil and gas in Kenya is coming from the international capital markets. Our Joint Venture is investing approximately $1 million a day into oil exploration in Kenya and all of that has to be raised on the international markets, which given the present state of global oil prices is a real challenge. There is no Kenyan government money going into this at all. Kenya therefore is in competition with every other exploration phase country in the world. If Kenya wants companies to invest and try and find oil, which in the long term will provide large levels of revenue for their economy, then they need to remain competitive. New legislation or regulation that erodes this competitiveness could risk future investment in the country.

Q&A: Oil & Gas AT: What is the time frame for first production? AB: We are aiming to submit a Final Development Plan to the Kenyan government at the end of 2015. We would then hope to be able to make a Final Investment Decision approximately a year later, which will take into account all of the above issues.




It will then take obviously a couple of years for a pipeline and the infrastructure to be put in place. I think a lot of it depends on how quickly those things can proceed in terms of financial security. People are not going to invest in the industry and they are not going to invest in pipelines, if they believe there is a high chance their investment will be eroded. Security is certainly also going to be an element on people’s minds, as to whether a large-scale oil and gas infrastructure development will be secured properly. There are also issues around land access and local community. I think we all hope that by 2018/19 we would be seeing first production, but I think at the moment it’s too early to say what that will actually look like. ASPIRE

Andrew Thompson Andrew is a journalist, formerly with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, now focusing on the mining and resources sectors in east Africa.


Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 25


Cover Feature

Seizing the Mobile Money Opportunity


Hailing from the beautiful city of Hargeisa in Somaliland, WorldRemit founder and CEO Ismail Ahmed’s rise to running one of the world’s up-and-coming, most groundbreaking money transfer services is nothing short of impressive. By: Nicholas Paul Griffin

Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 27

Ismail Ahmed, CEO & Founder, WorldRemit


ailing from the beautiful city of Hargeisa in Somaliland, WorldRemit founder and CEO Ismail Ahmed’s rise to running one of the world’s up-and-coming, most groundbreaking money transfer services is nothing short of impressive. WorldRemit allows users to transfer money internationally via its online and mobile platform, rather than having to endure the long-winded and expensive methods of the past, and is kicking up a storm in the Fintech community with its vision for ‘mobile money.’ On a warm day in September, the Aspire Africa team visits Mr. Ahmed at WorldRemit’s London offices, hoping to find out a little more about the man behind the company and what it takes to become a successful African entrepreneur.

Migration Mr. Ahmed’s involvement in the financial sector began when he started working for a World Bank project in Hargeisa, which resulted in him earning a scholarship for postgraduate study in the UK, where he achieved both an MSc and PhD. After completing his studies, Mr. Ahmed began working for the United Nations Development Programme, helping money transfer companies meet the stringent security rules introduced in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Boasting over two decades of experience in 28 Ismail Ahmed · CEO & Founder, WorldRemit

Cover Feature the money transfer industry, it was a natural step for Mr. Ahmed to extend this experience by founding his own company, and it wasn’t long before the spark of inspiration hit and WorldRemit was born. “I think [the inspiration] was my experience as a migrant,” Mr. Ahmed explains, “who used to send money regularly back home. It was the very high cost of sending money and the inconvenience I used to experience when I was living in Kent.” The nearest location for migrants in Kent looking to send money overseas was in London, meaning a long and expensive journey was required in order to achieve what Mr. Ahmed believes should have been a relatively simple and accessible task. “Secondly, it was my experience while I was at the U.N. as a compliance professional, where I saw the challenges traditional money transfer businesses faced in terms of complying with anti-money laundering and counterterrorism regulations.”

Building the Business Five years later WorldRemit is continuing to grow at an impressive rate, and as with any expanding business the importance of getting the right individuals to join the team is paramount to its ongoing success.

Ismail Ahmed, CEO & Founder, WorldRemit

The company’s London offices are home to over 150 staff members, most of whom are assigned work based in a specific country. WorldRemit is currently available to moneysenders in over 50 countries, with over 60 more able to receive funds. When asked about what makes a good WorldRemit employee, Mr. Ahmed’s answer is a simple one: “We look for people who are Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 29

There is no formula for success in entrepreneurship, but you definitely need passion for whatever you’re doing.” Ismail Ahmed

Hargeisa, Somaliland by Tristam Sparks Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

really very passionate about the product,” he says, “the money transfer business. We look for people who show great interest for the work we are doing here.” Mr. Ahmed admits that a large part of his motivation is derived from the team of staff he works alongside, and the difference WorldRemit is making for its customers, many of whom rely exclusively on the service to help support their family back home. The chance to provide a new level of safety and convenience to migrants who have faced significant challenges in transferring money is one of Mr. Ahmed’s biggest motivators, but he is happy to admit that he could have done things differently. “I think my biggest mistake was not starting my company earlier,“ Mr. Ahmed admits. 30 Ismail Ahmed · CEO & Founder, WorldRemit

“Perhaps another mistake was that I spent a bit more time in academia than in business.” This leads to the question of what advice he would give to his younger self, and once again the answer is a simple one. Mr. Ahmed would encourage himself to travel more, to explore the world and recognise what other cultures are trying to achieve. “Probably thirty years ago it was difficult for someone to go and experience what really inspires people elsewhere, but today it is a lot easier to do that. The younger me would have travelled much more extensively.”

Global Market As a successful entrepreneur, Mr. Ahmed would seem well-placed to recognise the

Ismail has published widely-cited research on the effect of remittances in Somaliland following the country’s civil war

Cover Feature

formula for entrepreneurial success and how it can be applied by others wishing to achieve something special, but he insists it is not nearly as simple as all that.

businesses in order to best manage and improve his own. When asked if there is one company in particular that he admires, he doesn’t hesitate in his response:

“There is no formula for success in entrepreneurship,” he says, “but you definitely need passion for whatever you’re doing. You need persistence, so that you don’t give up at the earliest challenges you face. So of course you need certain traits to succeed.”

“I like Apple,” he replies, “and I particularly like the customer/consumer-centric approach they take, where you can see everything they do is for their consumers. I don’t think many companies have succeeded, or done as much as Apple has done, in terms of being truly customer-centric.”

The fact is that there is no one way to go about achieving entrepreneurial success, and like all walks of life hard work, passion and commitment are essential qualities. So what advice would Mr. Ahmed give to young African entrepreneurs just starting out? “I think the advice I would give would be: be ambitious, particularly in Africa, look outside your main city, your country, there is a huge market for a lot of new businesses and services in Africa now.” For those entrepreneurs wishing to establish a truly global business, Africa is now offering significant opportunities to achieve that goal. Mr. Ahmed believes African entrepreneurs must embrace the ambition to grow beyond the continent. Like all successful businessmen, Mr. Ahmed keeps an eye on other companies and

Our interview is brief but thorough, as we are told that Mr. Ahmed’s schedule is particularly busy, with overseas travel forming the bulk of his work hours. In this modern climate of global commerce, WorldRemit more than most typifies an international approach. Considering his position at the head of this rapidly growing global brand, Mr. Ahmed comes across as a truly humble and genuine man, a man who loves what he does and greatly respects the people he does it alongside. To have grown a business in such a way is a testament to the passion and ingenuity that migrants can bring to overseas commerce. It is clear to see he is a man unwilling to rest on his laurels, continuing to work hard to make a difference to the lives of his customers.

Click To Watch Our Exclusive Interview With Ismail Ahmed

Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 31

Two Rivers Development

3D Render of The Two Rivers Development 32

Project Focus

Two Rivers Development

By: Nicholas Paul Griffin


he city of Nairobi is soon to find itself spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping, leisure, residential and many more modern lifestyle benefits.

Currently in progress is the construction of the largest lifestyle centre within Sub Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa, located within a much sought after residential neighbourhood in Nairobi. The Two Rivers Development, inspired by Centum Investment and delivered by Athena Properties Ltd as a hub of business and leisure activity, promises to be the region’s destination centre of choice.

Chris Ochieng, MD Athena Properties

Centum Group Two Rivers was conceived as the result of an elaborate strategy from the Centum Group, one of East Africa’s leading investment companies, to expand its real estate and infrastructure portfolio. This strategy will see the creation of a worldclass, mixed-use development that will greatly benefit visitors, businesses operating within the development, residents and property owners, while at the same time contributing to the country’s economic growth. To achieve this, Centum acquired 100 acres of prime, undeveloped land in 2010, located in the diplomatic blue zone of Gigiri. Not far behind this acquisition was the beginning of infrastructure and mall development processes. The team behind Two Rivers is Athena Properties Ltd (www.athena-properties. com), a wholly owned subsidiary of Centum Investment Company and a leading East Africa real estate development firm with a special focus on large scale, mixed-use developments. Athena offers a complete suite of end34 Two Rivers Development · Kenya

to-end solutions in large-scale property developments, providing services that include master-planning, urban planning, project management, construction management, development management, leasing, sales, project finance modelling and consulting. Athena has been the driving force behind some high profile, large-scale, master-plan projects, the likes of which have no precedent in East Africa. The team oversees major master-plan development projects all the way from inception to completion and handover. The company has played a vital role in the implementation of Two Rivers’ strategic plan, leading from the front with an able and determined workforce firmly committed to delivering great results through a strong team spirit. Athena’s influence has helped coordinate processes from master-planning, securing statutory approvals, fundraising and budget checks, to professional team appointment and management, project reporting, risk management and branding, along with several other of the project’s key aspects.

Two Rivers Development is essentially a new city under construction, and is all set to become a financial hub for Kenya.


Kenyan Benefits Two Rivers Development is essentially a new city under construction, and is all set to become a financial hub for Kenya, as well as providing a business, entertainment and residential location of choice. The development is driven by the market and will integrate retail, entertainment and lifestyle facilities, modern office parks, residential apartments, hotels, civic, recreational, healthcare and public amenities. These facilities will be supported by a high quality, centrally managed infrastructure, with roughly 30% allocated to the preservation of green areas. The Two Rivers Development will be constructed in phases and when complete will have an estimated build up area of 851,000m2.

Two Rivers will demonstrate how impressive mixed-use developments can be when land and infrastructure are put to efficient use. Kenya, especially Nairobi, has huge potential for such developments, owing to its strategic location as the primary commercial and transport hub for Africa. As a result many multinationals are setting up their bases in the city, which is currently experiencing rapid urbanisation, with more than 250,000 people estimated to be moving into the city every year. This urbanisation and population growth presents a challenge, especially due to limited resources and lack of infrastructure to support the swelling population, meaning particularly keen developers have begun to recognise an opportunity.

Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 35

Two Rivers will play a vital role in the decentralisation of Nairobi CBD

36 Two Rivers Development 路 Kenya

80% of the water used at Two Rivers will be recycled

Two Rivers Development will be the largest lifestyle centre within Sub Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa

Through its distinct vision, Two Rivers is set to address these challenges, fusing retail, offices, hotels and residential developments to achieve synergy where assets will be functionally integrated. The development will play a vital role in the decentralisation of Nairobi CBD, as the pleasures of shopping, dining, working, leisure and hospitality will all be accessible within a pedestrian-friendly environment.


amenities and recreational areas, including outdoor waterfront, water sports and entertainment areas. Directly adjacent to the three food and beverage levels, the riverfront occupies over three acres of land, carving out an interactive open space for the public, a space that will regularly host exciting activities.


The local river will be a key attraction. Fountains will dominate the scene, and sculptural elements will be merged with the landscape.

At Two Rivers, visitors and residents will experience an attractive and secure urban environment, with a high proportion of urban

All restaurants overlook the riverfront, offering diners an amazing view as they enjoy a meal on the terrace.




Congratulations to Centum for Two Rivers - a team effort of note

#designingabetter tomorrow w w w.booger tmanandpar

Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 37

Two Rivers will have a 3 and 5 star hotel to accommodate business or leisure stay

Over 30% of Two-Rivers development will be set aside for parks & natural spaces

Carrefour Group signs up at the Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre This urban realm will interconnect the public space with the retail centre. Within the space will be a children’s play area, exhibition space and other activities which will create a buzz, not just in Nairobi, but in other East African cities as well. The area’s public parks will provide adequate furniture and relaxation facilities for the whole family, with a particular focus on entertainment areas for children. Sports services following the beautiful ebb and flow of the natural terrain will add to aesthetic appeal. Practical features such as state-of-the-art landscaping, road paving, intersections, pedestrian prioritised roadways, on-grade parking and all-paved areas will add to the accessibility of Two Rivers, making it available to everyone. 38 Two Rivers Development · Kenya

The riparian reserve and public areas will be landscaped into a lush green space with indigenous trees, grass and flowers to enhance the unique environment. There will be water features at various strategic points throughout the development.

Two Rivers Mall The Two Rivers Development is anchored by Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre Ltd, the largest retail mall in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa, which is set to open its doors in March 2016. With over 220 outlets, the Two Rivers Lifestyle Centre will have an exciting mix of tenants, with approximately 50% local and 50% international brands. The centre offers for let 67,000 m2 and 20,000 m2 of office space.

Two Rivers Development will offer an impressive mix of medium and high density serviced apartments


Construction underway at the Two Rivers site

Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 39

Solar panels on the rooftop parking at Two Rivers With a distinctive and eclectic mix of tenants, the Lifestyle Centre will offer a wide range of fashion labels, fascinating culinary flavour selections for every palate, and a food lover’s market to cater for every shopping list. Carrefour will be the Hypermarket anchor tenant of the mall complementing the entertainment and lifestyle anchors. The centre will have everything from everyday essentials to gourmet bites, tailored furniture and lifestyle furnishings, the finest technology, scenic arts and crafts, ultra-modern fitness centre, financial service providers, jewellery, sports equipment and apparel, car showrooms and fantastic entertainment for the whole family. The Lifestyle Centre will also capture and 40 Two Rivers Development · Kenya

present the natural elements via the majestic riverfront, offering outstanding outdoor entertainment throughout the day that will make it hard for any visitor to leave. Plans are also underway for the construction of luxury apartments at Two Rivers, offering tenants the chance to indulge in and enjoy rich, comfortable living. This will be followed by a modern health facility, which will be among other advanced establishments tailormade for the consumer and informed by the times. The Two Rivers Development promises to be a ground breaking initiative, putting Nairobi at the forefront of the lifestyle industry and setting a high standard for the rest of East Africa to follow. ASPIRE

Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 41

Newline Limited

Diamond Trust Bank Project by Newline Ltd.

42 Newline Limited 路 Kenya


Bringing European Quality Furniture to Kenya

NEWLINE An exclusive with Newline Managing Director, Bulent Karatas By: Nicholas Paul Griffin

Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 43

Office Furniture & Kitchens

Bulent Karatas Managing Director Newline Ltd.


enya’s Newline Limited was established in Nairobi in 1998, and specializes in the supply of office furniture.

In 2008 the company began manufacturing its products locally to help push forward the business. Managing Director Bulent Karatas recently gave Aspire Africa an insight into the company’s operations. 44 Newline Limited · Kenya

European Furniture “Our first premises were located at Ngong Road,” Mr. Bulent says, “with only 8 employees. We used to sell household furniture and consumables from Turkey. Our objective was to be the main office furniture supplier in the Kenyan market.” Newline was the first company to begin selling European furniture in Kenya, introducing the

Newline’s primary goal is to be the largest furniture manufacturer in the East and Central African regions


new concept of supplying modular furniture without compromising on quality.

delivered products reach the customer in good condition.”

The thinking behind the idea was to provide increased customer involvement, allowing people to assemble the furniture themselves and thus have a more hands-on connection to the product.

Newline’s primary goal is to be the largest furniture manufacturer in the East and Central African regions, and the company is currently working towards being recognized as a wellknown brand in the region of East Africa.

The furniture Newline supplied was double the quality of the existing furniture on the market, yet the price matched that of existing brands. This meant the company received valuable support and help from its clients in becoming market leaders. “Over the years, we have expanded our operations by offering our clients a 5-year warranty and a 5-year back-up service on the purchased products, whereby in case of manufacturing defects we can exchange or repair the furniture at no extra cost.” After the 2008 economic crisis, the cost of importing furniture from Europe rose, encouraging Newline to start manufacturing furniture locally by investing in hi-tech machinery so its customers didn’t suffer from the increase. The company now works out of a much larger factory off Mombasa Road in Nairobi, accommodating a technical team of over 100 staff. In Nairobi’s CBD, the Newline showroom offers the customer the chance to view the product before purchasing. “The customer can test the item,” Mr. Bulent explains, “and also have a sit down with our in-house design team so as to come up with the best plan or design for their office or home.” “We also package our products with high quality branded packaging materials that are manufactured locally. This ensures that our

Newline has since come to be associated with terms like ‘high quality’, ‘durability’ and ‘functionality’, and the company is working towards achieving the same standards set by the European market in terms of manufacturing and quality. “We plan to build our own factory in Nairobi,” Mr. Bulent goes on to add, “that will increase our staff and machinery so as to be the superior furniture manufacturers in east and central Africa.” By offering after-sale services like a back-up service, free delivery and movement around Nairobi, Newline is able to cater to customer needs, and promises to deliver high quality products that are manufactured to last for many years. Currently, Newline has started a brand new homes product department, focussing its attentions on home furniture, flooring, doors and windows.

Kenyan Market “We started off as office furniture suppliers,” Mr. Bulent says, “whereby we used to supply pre-manufactured furniture that only required assembly at the customer’s site.” In time, more furniture suppliers began to emerge on the market in Kenya, but the quality of furniture they supplied was very low, meaning Newline already had a significant advantage over the competition. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 45

Newline Factory “Despite the economic crisis in 2008,” Mr. Bulent tells us, “we changed the direction of the company when we invested in hitech machinery so as to start manufacturing furniture locally.” By switching to local manufacturing, the company was able to give customers high quality products and still maintain competitive market prices, and succeeded in quickly expanding its client base. Newline prides itself on having the biggest factory in East Africa, which sets it apart from other companies in the market, helping it offer affordable prices for high quality and durable products, and lowering the production and delivery time. “In 2010 we set out to produce a wider range of furniture products so as to target the furniture market as a whole. Currently, we are 46 Newline Limited · Kenya

producing kitchen and bedroom furniture both for commercial purposes and for individuals.” Positive customer feedback has allowed Newline to approach the interior design section in real estate, by including more products like doors, windows and aluminium balconies, adding to the design and structure of a customer’s home. “The main challenges that we are working to overcome,” Mr. Bulent explains, “are insecurities in the country, lack of skilled labour and lack of a good road infrastructure, which can cause delays due to heavy traffic jams.” If these challenges are overcome, the company will be well on its way to producing more products, reaching more customers, and cutting delivery time in half.

We have expanded our market to the East African region and the property market.” Bulent Karatas


Newline concentrates on the top-end of the Kenyan market, where it recognizes an opportunity for faster growth. Under the new government, its aim is to be the biggest supplier to all counties in Kenya.

In response to this steady growth, Newline has set about implementing a vigorous advertising campaign, utilizing both billboards and magazines, and have already seen an impressive boost in sales.

“By targeting this market, we are able to achieve a high goal in sales, since most of these organizations are opening different branches in different regions due to high demand.”

“Our main clientele target includes International Aid Organizations, government and private bodies in different regions in Kenya,” Mr. Bulent explains.

The biggest seller in the company’s range is office furniture, due in the most part to upcoming organizations and the opening of these new branches in different counties. Likewise, the home products range is starting to gain ground.

“We have also expanded our market to the East African region and the property market due to the increment of office and apartment buildings.” In the office furniture section, major projects include Nation Media Group, United Nations,

Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 47

Newline’s furniture products are aimed at improving functionality in the office and at home

The key ranges offered in terms of office furniture are the executive, mid-executive and standard office desks and chairs. The executive desks are much larger and longer than the standard desks. The desk panels are made of 30mm thick Grade E1 melamine faced chipboard, with shock resistant 2mm PVC lipping. This is unlike any product on the market, as table legs usually have a thickness of 18mm-25mm. The desks are given a high-pressure, melamine or laminate finish. Scratchproof lamination means there is no need to varnish or polish desks or any other Newline wood product, a significant benefit for the customer.

Newline Showroom Showcase Equity Bank, Old Mutual, Kenya Commercial Bank, International Finance Corporation, Commercial Bank of Africa, Chase Bank (K) Ltd, Family Bank, Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Scanad Kenya and many more. In the kitchen and wardrobes section, the company has completed many projects. Some of these projects include Phenom Estates at Langata Road, The Loft in Kilimani, Lavington Creek Villas and Almasi Town Houses at Ridgeways.

Product Range Newline’s furniture products are aimed at improving functionality in the office and at home, combining both classic and modern styles. The company offers various colors and designs to choose from, depending on the customer’s taste. 48 Newline Limited · Kenya

Some additional features offered by the company for its desk products include an integrated cable management system, as well as the choice of either wooden leg panels or metal legs. The company also offers a variety of chairs, including executive and mid-executive chairs, secretarial and cashier chairs, visitor chairs, reception chairs, sofa seats, restaurant seats, auditorium seats and lounge seats. Most chairs come as high back, medium back or low back. Their sturdy cushioning allows sustained usage, and there is a choice of fabric or synthetic seat covers for the same cost; genuine leather chairs are also available. The chairs are mostly made of polyurethane injected sponge, which is capable of retaining its density for a lifetime. The chairs are molded to meet ergonomic requirements, including different tilt and swivel mechanisms that include synchronized tilt locking and pneumatic height adjustments, armrest positioning and backrest changes Further into the range sees the introduction


Chase Bank Project of cabinets and pedestals, partitions and conference furniture. Cabinets are available in five different heights: 80cm, 120cm, 160cm and 190cm or custom. The cabinets can be fully opened, half covered or fully covered, with wooden doors, clear glass or frost glass doors. Likewise the company offers screens and partitioning for workstations, desks and general office partitioning, including full melamine board screen, full fabric screen, fabric and board screen, and Perspex screen.

to satisfy client needs. European-themed kitchens are customized and fitted according to client taste and space without compromising on aesthetic, quality or efficiency. The integrated drawers and shelves in kitchen, wardrobes and bathroom units are created to allow for maximum storage space using boards that are 18mm thick Grade E1 melamine board with shock resistant 2mm PVC lipping/edge band.

Each screen is also available with aluminium framing and 8mm board. Newline offers various options for conference tables and chairs that suit both executive and standard boardrooms, and even training rooms.

This is convenient in the management of space constraints of a modern kitchen. The kitchens are installed with different components that add to the beauty of the work area, such as sleek metallic handles and granite kitchen counter tops.

The newly introduced kitchen cabinets and bedroom wardrobes range is guaranteed

Newline finishes off that modern feel to kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, and comes Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 49

in a wide range of colors that capture the eye. The company also manufactures hotel room furniture, including beds and TV wall units.

Expansion “Currently we are broadening our product range,” Mr. Bulent says, “by introducing new raw materials and products for our home range of products.” The company now uses high-gloss acrylic boards, vacuum-pressed (foil) doors that will make any kitchen design stand out, and sliding doors to make bedrooms more functional, unlike ordinary wardrobes. “We are also introducing living room and

50 Newline Limited · Kenya

bedroom furniture for residential houses and commercial apartments.” To improve the production process and supply to a growing list of customers, Newline has invested in a larger factory, making room for bigger machinery, as well as accommodating the technical team and still allowing the storage of raw materials. The company has also introduced more options under the home products section, including uPVC windows, foldable windows, aluminium rail systems, doors and laminated floor panels. “We use the highest quality of materials,” Mr. Bulent says, “to produce uPVC windows

Manufacturing that last long in the Kenyan climate and are customized to suit our customers’ requirements in color, design and dimensions.” The raw materials that come from Turkey offer a great foundation for manufacturing the products, allowing the company to supply its customers with low maintenance, color-fast and durable products. “By combining the benefits of PVC and CRP in our windows, we not only protect customers from the harshness of elements but also offer beautifully crafted windows with a high level of resistance to corrosion, rot, chipping, fading, insect assault and discoloration.” Newline has recently introduced a new concept, foldable windows, an innovative design system providing a durable, enhanced mechanism, without compromising on scenery. It offers both sliding windows and fixed windows, with or without shutters. “We can also provide products that can supplement the window systems and are stand-alone,” Mr. Bulent adds. “These include aluminium railing systems. These systems can be used for balconies, shower cubicles and stairs.” The company also supplies various designs of MDF and wood composite doors, produced with the most advanced technology and best quality service available. These doors have a laminate finish, with various color options.

The flooring is hygienic, and unlike carpets does not cause allergies, as well as being very easy to clean. Newline offers a good selection of matching skirting solutions to enhance the laminate floor installation. The laminate floors, which are manufactured in Turkey under the highest European standards, do not require adhesive due to their interlocking system, making them incredibly easy to install. “Our customers voted for us as one of East Africa’s strong brands,” Mr. Bulent tells us, “and thus we were awarded with the ‘Superbrands’ 2012-2014 Award.” This award has created awareness of the brand in East Africa, as well as opening the doors to venture into new markets, helping Newline grow its client base significantly in the last year. In 2015, the company was again the recipient of the ‘Superbrands’ award, and in addition was named as one of Kenya’s ‘Top 100 MidSized Companies’, which Mr. Bulent describes as “a great honor.” “With these awards,” he adds, “we shall strive to keep our customers satisfied, by continuing to supply high quality products and finding new ways to improve all areas of the production process.”

With MDF as the raw material the company is able to manufacture a more stable and durable door than wood doors, and are able to do so at a significantly lower price.

Currently, Newline is working on improving the accessibility of its furniture products online, and is doing this by opening an online home furniture shopping line, located at

Newline is also in the position to offer laminated wooden floors that have beautiful color which blends in well with most furniture colors and is sufficient for both hot and cold weather conditions.

This will be the first online furniture store of its kind in Kenya, with secured payment options. It will feature Kenyan made furniture catering for the middle and lower end market. ASPIRE Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 51


WORLD 52 WorldRemit 路 Global


DREMIT Revolutionising the Money Transfer Industry

Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 53


orldRemit is a global online money transfer service and one of the UK’s leading financial technology firms. As the world’s premier mobile-first money transfer service, the company assists migrants and expats from developing countries working in developed countries in sending money home to their families and friends. WorldRemit’s CEO and Founder, Ismail Ahmed, started the business in 2010 after experiencing firsthand the challenges in sending money home to Africa while studying for his MBA in London. Prior to WorldRemit, Ismail worked as a Compliance Advisor for the UN East Africa Remittance Programme.

Mobile Money WorldRemit has experienced significant growth in the past few years, as more and more people are coming online to search for better money transfer solutions than the high-street agent models that have typically represented the industry up until now. For many years, people have suffered from inefficiencies, extortionate fees and a lack of transparency in the money transfer sector. Remarkably, despite the rapid rise in mobile connectivity across Africa and the developing world, more than 90% of remittances are still sent and received offline, in cash at local agent kiosks. In an effort to overcome this significant problem, WorldRemit is pioneering mobile-tomobile remittances. With the WorldRemit app, people can send money anytime, anywhere, doing so quickly and at a low cost. 54 WorldRemit · Global

Money can be received via bank deposit, cash collection, airtime top-up and, crucially, via Mobile Money, a service rapidly growing in popularity all around the world as a simple alternative to bank accounts. Mobile Money is an electronic wallet service that lets users send money to another person, buy things in shops or online, pay bills and school fees, and top-up mobile airtime. It works on any type of mobile phone, not just smartphones. WorldRemit has sought to address the shortcomings of traditional money transfer operators by putting people first, using innovative technology to align the way people send money with the way they communicate from mobile to mobile. It is this ease of use and the synergy between technology and communication that makes the Mobile Money service so enticing to customers. WorldRemit has made sending money as easy as sending an instant message. The company’s technology also makes remittances cheaper, enabling customers living in developed nations to send smaller sums of money home more frequently, rather than having to make the most of each money transfer transaction. In enabling more frequent and flexible engagement of users, and greater integration of Mobile Money services, WorldRemit makes international transfers seamless, to the benefit of both migrants and their families. Already, after just five years of existence, the majority of transactions on WorldRemit are now sent using a smartphone or tablet, and over 30% of the company’s transfers out of Europe and North America go to a Mobile Money wallet.

WorldRemit has sought to address the shortcomings of traditional money transfer operators by putting people first.


Ismail Ahmed CEO & Founder WorldRemit

By digitising the process of sending remittances, WorldRemit is addressing the pervasive Know Your Customer (KYC) and compliance challenges in the money transfer industry. An online model allows for vital technological innovation, such as ID verification, customer scoring and identifying sources of finance several levels deep. At the same time there is increased convenience for both diaspora members and their recipients.

Global Aspirations Since its inception in early 2010, WorldRemit has continued to expand the regions and geographies in which its service is available to customers who want to send money home. The company has undergone rapid expansion over the past year beyond Europe into new territories, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 55

WorldRemit partnered with Econet’s EcoCash mobile wallet in Zimbabwe which led to transaction volumes growing to 20,000 per month within 12 months.

the largest African diaspora communities live, meaning customers can now send money or airtime from more than 50 countries to over 125 around the world. The company’s move into the United States earlier this year marks its most significant expansion to date. US residents send more than $50 billion annually to friends and family living overseas, making it the world’s largest sender of remittances. WorldRemit is already connected to more Mobile Money services than any other company in the remittances industry, working closely with major Telecom Groups, including Tigo Millicom, Econet, and MTN, who operate in multiple countries and serve millions of customers across Africa.

Transfers to Mobile Money via WorldRemit now represent over 50% of all of the company’s money transfers going to Africa, demonstrating the life-changing impact the service is having on Africans both at home and in the diaspora. When WorldRemit partnered with Econet’s EcoCash mobile wallet in Zimbabwe, transaction volumes grew to 20,000 per month within 12 months, swiftly overtaking all other WorldRemit receive options to Zimbabwe. This same phenomenon is now taking place across many other countries in Africa, including Uganda, Kenya, Somaliland and Tanzania. In Tanzania, over 80% of WorldRemit’s transfers now go to one of three Mobile Money services.

The company’s most recent launches of Mobile Money pay-out offerings include Sri Lanka, the Pacific Islands and Armenia, among many others. According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa experiences the highest fees and most anti-competitive practices in the world. The Africa Progress Panel called this a “remittance Super Tax” in 2014, but since then little has changed to make remittances affordable and safe for those who most depend on them. Adapting remittances to an online model helps significantly reduce the costs of sending money internationally, as recipients no longer need to wait days before payments are processed or make long journeys to their nearest city to collect funds. In years gone by it was not unheard of for a customer to experience having to spend as much as $20 to collect as little as $100 when using traditional money transfer services. Thanks to Mobile Money, such costs are no longer necessary. 56 WorldRemit · Global

Catherine Wines COO, WorldRemit


WorldRemit Customer Service

The Future of Money Transfer WorldRemit believes that Mobile Money is a key driver for financial inclusion. There are currently 2 billion ‘unbanked’ people in the world, with at least half of this number having access to a mobile phone. For many people, a mobile phone will offer the only means of accessing financial services. The World Bank reported in 2014 that Mobile Money has helped to increase financial inclusion across the developing world, especially in East Africa. In countries like Kenya and Tanzania, over 40% of the adult population are active users of Mobile Money, and in these countries the service is already more prevalent than the use of bank accounts. Enabling remittance payments to the world’s ‘unbanked’ via Mobile Money fills an important humanitarian need and is having a huge impact on the daily lives of Africans.

With minimum fees of just £0.95, mobileto-mobile remittances enable users to send smaller amounts more often, and recipients have the comfort of knowing their funds are safe and accessible at any time of day or night. The World Bank estimates that lowering the costs of remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa could save Africans over $2 billion every year. WorldRemit’s service is helping to reduce costs in the industry while providing safer, quicker money transfers. Until recently, it was impossible to send remittances internationally to Mobile Money wallets. The majority of Mobile Money deployments had no underlying infrastructure for money transfers internationally across continents. WorldRemit connects these disparate systems, enabling seamless money transfers from abroad directly into Mobile Money wallets. In this way, the company is excited to bring an important source of business to its partners. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 57

The GSMA noted that the average international remittance transaction to a Mobile Money wallet is three to four times the size of the average local Mobile Money transaction, and that international remittances are now the fastest growing service offering for Mobile Money providers.

International Recognition WorldRemit has been the proud winner of many international awards over the past five years, having made a significant impact on the money transfer industry since its beginnings.

In this respect, WorldRemit is excited to continue growing its service and reaching new milestones. The company already facilitates over 300,000 transactions each month, with that number expected to continue growing over the coming years.

Earlier this year the company was honoured by the United Nations IFAD agency with the 2015 private-sector award for Best Practice in Remittances for Development, ahead of fourteen other nominees.

Based on the GSMA’s global estimates for Mobile Money transaction volumes, WorldRemit facilitated 20% of all international remittance transfers to Mobile Money accounts globally in the month of December 2014.

The United Kingdom’s industry body for the financial technology sector, Innovate Finance, named WorldRemit the 2015 FinTech Global Champion, for “pioneering mobile-to-mobile remittances and helping to foster financial inclusion.” The UK’s African Diaspora Awards named WorldRemit Business of the Year in 2013 for the company’s “positive contribution to the lives of migrants in the United Kingdom.” In addition to this recognition in the form of awards, WorldRemit has raised $140M in Venture Capital funding from Accel Partners and TCV—early investors in Facebook, Spotify and Dropbox. WorldRemit is excited to continue expanding its service to offer improved options to its customers. The recent expansion to the US allows the company to serve customers sending to Africa, Asia and Latin America with quick, simple, low cost transfers.

WorldRemit Office

58 WorldRemit · Global

The WorldRemit team is likewise looking forward to continuing to build partnerships with banks and Mobile Money services around the world, particularly those that are helping to increase financial inclusion among the world’s ‘unbanked’. ASPIRE

The International Resource Forum provides a wholistic, in-depth view of the global resources sector.


MCD Energy


PROMISE An Exclusive With MCD Energy Director, Manuel Duggal By: Nicholas Paul Griffin 60

Energy & Renewables


CD International Energy Solutions is an energy consultancy with over 20 years’ operating experience in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, working to transform the way in which organisations across the globe think about and utilise power. Aspire Africa recently secured an exclusive interview with the company’s Managing Director, Manuel Duggal, to discuss MCD’s African success story to date, and the direction it will take going forward.

Strong Relationships MCD recognises that organisations operating in remote locations are not just large consumers of power, but also the driving force behind new capacity instalments, with the potential to push innovative, cost-efficient and sustainable power solutions. “MCD fully understands the power requirements of utilities,” Mr. Duggal says, “oil and gas companies and mines in remote locations in Africa and the Middle East, where we have worked extensively over the last 15 years.” Mr. Duggal himself offers valuable expertise in the power and environmental engineering sectors having worked in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and with both private and public listed companies. The concept for MCD International Energy Solutions was established several years ago, when the opportunity arose for substantial power work on a project for Nevsun Resources in Eritrea.

Entrance - New Luika Mine Processing plant from HFO Fuel Storage Facility

Manuel Duggal, Director MCD International Energy Nevsun, a Canadian listed, junior miner, was looking for ways to build a 20MW power plant without the capital outlay, which would allow the company to make regular OPEX payments for the power it uses and guarantee the power for its mine. The solution was a turnkey, third partyoperated power plant, which heralded the beginnings of MCD as a company and was quickly followed by more high profile work in the region. MCD has been working with Shanta Gold, an emerging gold producer located in Tanzania, since early 2013, and undertook extensive work for the company following a detailed economic assessment. MCD advised Shanta Gold to change the existing power plant from diesel to heavy fuel oil, adding a 450,000 -litre fuel storage facility Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 61

At MCD we believe that building strong relationships between the supplier and their clients is key.” Manuel Duggal

and a hybrid solar PV farm, reducing the cost of power per kWh by 35%. For Hummingbird Resources in Liberia and Mali, MCD has assisted with high-level power trade-off studies on conventional and renewable energy and tendered the power plant and fuel storage facility on behalf of the client. The studies examined diverse power options, including biomass, gas and solar, as well as assessing the stability of the grid. The power evaluation will be integral to the upcoming pre-feasibility study for the Dugbe Shear Zone project and for the commissioning stage of Yanfolila in Mali. “At MCD we believe that building strong relationships between the supplier and their clients is key,” Mr. Duggal explains. “We advise our clients on the best options available in the market and examine the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.” This focussed approach results in recommendations for the procurement of the best technical and most cost-effective power solutions for the project, a solution that operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, whilst maximising savings on fuel. MCD works closely with a group of associates who have key skills in engineering, commercial management and business development. The team has in depth experience of remote power plants and power technologies. Using its combined experience of working on projects in remote locations, MCD analyses each individual project to create the most economically, technically and logistically robust solution for its clients. “We base our plants’ recommendations on power plants that we know have a proven track 62 MCD International Energy

record,” Mr. Duggal says, “and then combine these with innovative new technologies. The key to our success is to focus on the project goals and to deliver the results we recommend in our initial trade-off study.”

Africa Having worked on the continent for the last 15 years, Africa remains a major focus for MCD, with the company recognising future continental growth in terms of power infrastructure development. MCD’s expertise is therefore key to the success of its clients, especially in Africa, where the company works with mines, utilities, industrial consumers and International Oil Companies (IOCs). “There is no single region on the continent where we operate,” Mr. Duggal explains, “but as we see an ever-increasing demand for reliable power, the trend is moving towards decentralized power solutions and micro grids.” MCD therefore identifies projects as they arise, offering its expertise wherever it is required. Mr. Duggal believes most African countries will eventually be managed using decentralized power plants rather than more conventional centralized solutions. This decentralized model could be for use in a remote mine in East Africa, or equally for an industrial consumer looking to secure supply of a key utility, like a water pumping station in Namibia or Ghana.


“What is fascinating about this business is that no two projects are the same and each Managing Director, new opportunity presents a new and different challenge for us toRed resolve a suitable Capwith Investments power solution.”

Energy & Renewables

5MW power plant and HFO FSF This diversity of project and environment means the company must work hard to tailor its services and strategies to a particular client, meaning each project must be meticulously planned. “First we try to understand what the proposed solution for a project is or what is physically installed,” Mr. Duggal says. “Then we analyse the electrical consumers and their demand profile.” “This gives us the overall size of the power plant that we need. Once we understand the demand, we review the overall project, the different fuel costs and availability of supply.” The company will also look at alternative technologies that are technically and economically viable for the project like solar, wind, hydroelectricity (HEP), battery storage and even hydrogen fuel cells. After evaluating all the options, MCD makes its recommendations to the client, before

going on to compose, issue and evaluate the tenders for the client. The scope might include the power plant, fuel supply and fuel storage contracts. Finally, MCD will offer to perform the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) of the installation and commissioning of the plant once it is completed.

Thermal Power Hybrid Working with Shanta Mining Company Ltd in Tanzania during 2013/14, MCD provided extensive consultancy on the alternative power sourcing and deployment options available to the company. A detailed economic assessment was carried out in 2013, taking into account the available fuel sources, traditional and renewable power generation technologies, the environment in which the company operates and other variables. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 63

Redavia Tanzania Reference Plant Following a tendering process for both power generation technology and the fuel supply, Shanta selected a Heavy Fuel Oil Power Plant with a Solar Hybrid PV power plant provided by Redavia Solar and a managed fuel facility.

has given MCD the impetus to develop its business further in this direction, which is driven forward by the huge potential offered in the East African region for further expansion.

MCD supervised the installation of the new power plant and the fuel storage facility, which was commissioned in early 2014. The addition of the Solar Hybrid PV power plant has allowed Shanta Gold to save an additional 0.02-0.03 USD per kWh on fuel.

“East Africa offers the ideal environment for renewables,” Mr. Duggal explains. “Located almost directly over the equator, it has one of the highest levels of solar irradiation in the world.”

Whilst this seems small in relation to the overall reduction in power cost, over the life of the mine the plant not only generates fuel savings for the mine but also reduces emissions and generates carbon credits. This reduction helps the mine meet stringent environmental requirements being imposed on mining operations worldwide, as well as offering the opportunity to sell any surplus electricity to the local community. The initial success of the Shanta project 64 MCD International Energy

Likewise, the region benefits from some of the fastest growing global economies, particularly those of Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. With economic prosperity now directly linked to accessibility of power, it is important for a combination of thermal plant and renewable power to be provided economically and with consideration for the environment. This is only the beginning however, and plants like the one at Shanta Mining Co Ltd are only

Energy & Renewables one of many opportunities in a region which has seen a dramatic growth in GDP over the last 5 years.

Looking to the Future “As a business based in Europe,” Mr. Duggal says, “we feel very privileged to be able to operate in and bring our expertise to countries in Africa. In every country we work in, we try to learn how to adapt to and appreciate the local customs and traditions.” Following several visits to Tanzania in 2013, MCD established links to the local sandal industry, which is based out of Arusha in Northern Tanzania. Through a local retailer the company started to bring leather handmade sandals back to the UK. “A series of coincidences lead us to learn that these sandals are not only quite fashionable, but are also excellently made and finished. Proceeds from the sale of these sandals were donated to a school local to our offices in the UK.” MCD aims to continue to develop its support for local Tanzanian communities, whilst also contributing to funding for UK schools and raising awareness amongst UK school children of African community issues.

450,000 litre fuel storage facility “Having already strengthened our team in 2014,” Mr. Duggal adds, “we will continue doing this over the next 12 months.” This expansion is especially important as the nature of operating in remote locations is changing rapidly. Miners, IOCs, industrial consumers and utilities are regularly being asked by their investors and sponsors to review their operations and reduce both CAPEX and OPEX in order to secure funding.

Through its innovative solutions, MCD has helped its clients to procure and install the best power plants for their projects, and continues to push the boundaries and challenge the norm of what is an acceptable power solution for a project.

“At MCD we believe that innovative solutions such as thermal/renewable hybrid power plants—that not only offer the client the opportunity to reduce emissions and offer the local community more accessibility to power, but also have a solid economic foundation— will become the norm over the next decade.”

In addition, MCD is always looking to add other proven technologies to its plants. “Whilst remote miners, utilities and industrial consumers are our main focus, we are exploring other sectors where continuous power is an essential part of their business.”

In this respect, MCD is well on its way to becoming a major player in the future of African energy. “MCD has put a stake in the ground,” Mr. Duggal concludes, “and we look forward to playing our part in making this happen.” ASPIRE Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 65

Lamudi Kenya

Rising Stars of Real Estate By: Nicholas Paul Griffin


amudi is an online real estate classifieds in 34 countries around the world, spread out through the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In Kenya, the website is reaching hundreds of thousands of people and making a strong impression on the country’s real estate market.

66 Lamudi Kenya - Kenya

Real Estate Lamudi has traffic of at least 150,000 visits per month

Dan Karua Managing Director

Lamudi Kenya

Rocket Internet Lamudi Kenya was launched in September 2013, with the aim of bridging the gap between the buyer and the seller and making the whole process of buying and renting property easier and more streamlined. By the following year the website was hitting the impressive heights of 75,000 unique visitors to its website, making it the most visited online real estate classifieds website in the country. Another year later and these positive numbers

continue to be achieved. In Kenya, Lamudi has traffic of at least 150,000 visits per month, where people can browse over 20,000 properties listed on its website. As part of the Rocket Internet family, Lamudi brings unrivaled expertise from launching hundreds of ventures around the globe, drawing upon the know-how of an international company combined with an acute understanding of the local market. The website was established to help people in the property market find their ideal home, land or commercial property. Of the properties Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 67

available to search via the webpage, there is an almost even split between those to rent and those to buy. Lamudi’s goal is to empower consumers with the most thorough information in the market and to put them in contact with the respective sellers, providing the customer with a comprehensive understanding of the property. The company’s aim to cater to all members of society ensures that the range of prices is competitive and fair, giving everybody in the country the chance to find the home they have been dreaming of.

In order to facilitate this process, Lamudi endeavours to place a “Trusted Seller” seal of approval on the person or company it is working with, giving an extra, unique recommendation to customers to ensure their satisfaction. With this seal of approval, Lamudi promises it can always be trusted to combat fraud and act in the best interests of the customer in their dealings on the real estate market. The website is 100% free, and includes high quality customer service and individual email updates. Another of Lamudi’s innovations is the use of the Lamudi Ambassador program, which involved recruiting informal real estate agents, who were sent into the field to secure a host of listings. Ambassadors were provided with smartphones and mobile internet bundles to facilitate the loading of real estate listings as they were secured, using the newly launched multiplatform Lamudi phone app.

Kenya The Kenyan property market has been experiencing an unprecedented boom in recent times, and with the number of for sale and to let real estate options growing it has never been easier for Kenyans to find their dream home. The range of listings coupled with the extraordinary geographical fecundity and excellent pricing makes Lamudi an almost unbeatable player in the market, with a significant advantage over its nearest competitors. All of this dedication to its business has helped Lamudi Kenya reach the position of the number one property portal in Kenya, a 68 Lamudi Kenya - Kenya

Customers can easily locate both affordable housing and high-end properties on Lamudi

Real Estate

Lamudi Kenya Website milestone that was achieved by bridging the pre-existing gap between buyer and seller. Kenyan buyers were in need of information in terms of property trends, opportunities and news. Lamudi provides not only the widest array of property listings but also relevant data around real estate locally and globally, ensuring it constantly remains relevant in such a dynamic market. With several new real estate portals starting up, the market competition is always growing. To provide the best service in the market Lamudi must keep abreast of the competition and ensure it is always a step ahead. The website has garnered huge demand for housing in Kenya, and being able to show this data to investors and developers will provide Lamudi with direction on how to meet the demand by supplying the right housing for house-hunters.

Even though it is still only early in its existence, Lamudi is already looking to change the Kenyan property sector, and it does this by providing properties that cut across the board, offering something for everybody. Customers can easily locate both affordable housing and high-end properties on Lamudi, aided by a user-friendly and convenient desktop platform, as well as the launch of its innovative iOS and Android apps. What sets Lamudi apart from competitors first and foremost is the diverse selection of properties on the portal. On launching the website, Lamudi set about networking with a large number of well-known real estate agencies in order to build its list. The benefits for agents, as they soon found out, is that Lamudi generates comprehensive data for the agents and developers, as well as information relevant to homeowners and investors. Aspire Africa 路 Nov/Dec 2015 69

Lamudi Kenya Team On Lamudi, real estate agents have the ability to use many different marketing products, helping them to gain a higher awareness of how their listings will perform than most other websites of Lamudi’s kind can offer. One of the downsides of the booming Kenyan property market is the high level of fraudulent transactions, something which Lamudi has gone to great lengths to combat, offering the most secure service for its customers. By retaining an in-house team of lawyers, Lamudi is able to ensure that its customers 70 Lamudi Kenya - Kenya

have first hand legal advice on the deals they are looking to make, another unique facet of Lamudi’s business which has helped propel the company so high. In short, the future looks bright for the still relatively young Lamudi. At the end of 2015 the company will launch its second annual report, focussing on the trends and driving factors of the industry, as well as new laws governing the property sector, and what it should be expecting to encounter in the real estate sector come 2016. ASPIRE

iPAD Rwanda

Delegates attending last year’s iPAD Rwanda Conference

Rwanda Power & Infrastructure Investment Forum (iPAD RWANDA) Kigali, Rwanda, 5 - 6 Nov, 2015 - Event Preview


PAD Rwanda Power & Infrastructure Investment Forum will provide a meeting platform for investors, project developers, finance houses and multilateral investors, construction and planning companies as well as technology providers from Rwanda, the region and from the rest of the world. The event will demonstrate the proactive nature of Rwanda to develop the sector efficiently and effectively. Project development opportunities will be highlighted in a transparent business climate provided with investment incentives that will hope 72

to encourage the progress of new partnerships for economic growth and sustainable development in the country. This forum has an important role in the transformation of Rwanda into a dynamic global hub for business, investment, and innovation. Rwanda Energy Group, in partnership with Spintelligent, sends an industrywide call for participation and welcomes all stakeholders in the power and infrastructure sectors to take into account the investment opportunities existent in the country.

Rwanda is the easiest place to do business in East Africa and is a portal to investing in the region.

Dean Ravel

Aspire Africa speaks to iPAD Rwanda Marketing Coordinator, Dean Ravel, to get an in-depth look at the upcoming event. ------- ---------

Aspire Africa: How did the iPAD Rwanda event first come about? Dean Ravell: iPAD Rwanda first came into being following positive discussions with the Rwandan utility at a previous edition of African Utility Week. It was decided that a Rwanda power and infrastructure investment forum be validated and created to facilitate foreign investment and to achieve national development targets. AA: What are the key objectives of iPAD Rwanda 2015? DR: To discuss and explore national infrastructure targets and how to achieve them, as well as to bring in foreign direct investment from countries looking to be a part of Rwanda’s growth. Furthermore, to facilitate discussions between the key stakeholders and project developers and solution providers. AA: Why is iPAD Rwanda an important event for the East African region? DR: Rwanda is the easiest place to do business in East Africa and is a portal to investing in the region. Rwanda, although a small market, is the gateway to the region. AA: What signs are there that Rwanda’s energy sector is advancing?

first ever solar field in East Africa was created and in 12 months became operational. The Nyaborango Hydropower dam also contributes towards the grid while the Lake Kivu Methane Gas power plant is fully operational as well. Alternative energy is ingrained in Rwanda’s power plans and there is more to come. AA: Why was Kigali chosen to host the event? DR: Kigali, aside from being the capital of Rwanda, is also a beautiful city with a rich history and is the ideal city to host iPAD Rwanda as it is the business hub. Tourism is also a major factor as the city provides wonderful sight-seeing opportunities. AA: What will be the key points and contributions to the iPAD Rwanda 2015 event? DR: Investment opportunities include: • • • • • •

Methane gas to power (Total potential for 350MW in 50 years). Geothermal (Total potential for 740MW). Peat to Power (total potential 700MW). Micro Hydropower (more than 333 sites identified). Solar (with an average of 4.9 peak hours per day). Many more potential projects and tenders to be explored at IPAD Rwanda.

Incentives to private developers in the power sector: • •

• DR: Significant investment is a clear sign that targets are on the way to being achieved. The

Event Preview

Infrastructure support, road and transmission access. A variety of non-fiscal and fiscal incentives (tax exemption on importation of power equipment, investment allowance). Provision of key account managers to fasttrack the project in the implementation process. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 73

• • • •

Hon. Francis Gatare, CEO, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda. Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, CEO, Rwanda Energy Group Ltd, Rwanda. Stephen Ruzibiza, CEO , Private Sector Federation, Rwanda. Paul Hinks, CEO, Symbion Power, USA.

AA: What other reasons are there for investors/ministers/visitors to attend?

AA: What opportunities and other developments/progress has iPAD enabled? DR: iPAD Rwanda creates a platform for credible investors and key stakeholders to come together to engage in discussions regarding the latest developments in the country. AA: Who are some of the key sponsors of this year’s event? DR: With the host utility Rwanda Energy Group, Ltd., and official support of the Rwanda Development Board and MININFRA, iPAD Rwanda welcomes a sponsor line up that includes: Symbion Power, STEG-International Services, KCB Bank Rwanda, Conlog, Clarke Energy, Engen Rwanda , Oman Cables Industry (SAOG), Joh. Achelis and Söhne GmbH, Voith, just to name a few. AA: Who are some of the key Speakers at this year’s event? DR: Some key Speakers include: • Hon. James Musoni, Minister of Infrastructure, Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Rwanda. • Hon. Germaine Kamayirese, Minister of State in charge of Energy and Water, Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Rwanda. 74

DR: There are multiple reasons, to note a few: • The only B2B forum focused on Rwanda’s power & infrastructure (ICT & water) needs. • Director General of Rwanda Energy Group, Ntare Karitanyi, will participate to encourage development of IPPs and meet face-to-face with interested parties. • Exclusive networking opportunities with local, regional and international stakeholders, EPCs, private investors, financiers, technology, solution and service providers; all who share a common goal to partner invest into East Africa’s next emerging economy. • Provides access to network with primary decision makers from Rwanda’s power and infrastructure sectors. • Reveals experiences from within & valuable market insights regarding frameworks when doing business in Rwanda. • Demonstrates Rwanda’s proactive and friendly business climate with a low risk investment environment in an open dialogue with the Government of Rwanda. • Highlights new business ventures and partnerships from already existing power concessions in Rwanda (EAC). • Investor friendly climate: top global consistent reformer since 2008 (World Bank Doing Business Report). • Untapped investment opportunities: potential opportunities for investment to thrive in each economic sector.


5 – 6 November 2015, Kigali, Rwanda 7 November 2015: Site visit

Fast tracking investments into Rwanda’s emerging power and mining sectors.

Why attend iPAD Rwanda? • Only power event hosted and focused on Rwanda’s energy and infrastructure needs. • Engage with Rwanda’s key mining and power stakeholders during interactive roundtable discussions • Exclusive access to networking activities with primary decision makers

What’s new this year?








Aspire Africa readers get a 10% discount on their iPAD Rwanda conference registration pass by using the unique code: IPDRW

Official support:

Media partner

@iPAD_Rwanda iPAD Rwanda Power & Infrastructure Investment Forum

Republic of Rwanda

For more information, visit or contact Jean-Pierre de Carvalho | +27 76 163 8888 |

WAPIC 2015

Keynote address from previous WAPIC

Attendees networking at WAPIC 2014

West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) Lagos, Nigeria, 24 - 25 Nov, 2015 - Event Preview


he 2015 WAPIC comes at a time when the regional power industry is facing many challenges, and as a consequence aims to showcase solutions. It is quoted that doubters don’t 76 MBI 2014 Eastern Africa · Nairobi, Kenya

overcome challenges, but innovators and entrepreneurs find opportunities and solutions. WAPIC looks to seek out the solutions, whether they be best practice case studies, financiers looking to invest or the latest technology to save you time and money.

Sustainable development in Africa through access to electricity is a top priority.” Lida van Heerden

Aspire Africa speaks to WAPIC Marketing Manager, Lida van Heerden to get an in-depth look at the upcoming event. Lida van Heerden

------- ---------

Aspire Africa: How did the WAPIC event first come about? Lida van Heerden: It grew from a gap in the market first noted from WAPIC’s sister event, African Utility Industry, where it was noted that a regional approach and strategy was preferred. Being held closer to home in West Africa WAPIC could also secure the West African industry leaders. AA: What are the key objectives of WAPIC 2015? LvH: The 2015 WAPIC comes at a time when the regional power industry is facing many challenges, consequently it aims to showcase solutions. Doubters don’t overcome challenges, but innovators and entrepreneurs find opportunities and solutions. •

Hear solutions for innovation, best practices and entrepreneurial vision for the current power issues. Save time and money by linking with the full value chain (from gas to large power users) all in one place. Meet and do business with the most influential players for your company at the only regional conference and expo dedicated to power in West Africa. Connect with the elite at the awards evening and celebrate their successes and triumphs. With 12 years in the business you can build on our strong relationships with high

Event Preview ranking governments and stakeholders in the region.

AA: What makes power such an important industry for the West African region? LvH: Sustainable development in Africa through access to electricity is a top priority. AA: What signs are there that West Africa’s power industry is advancing? LvH: The level of investment and appetite witnessed in the West African power sector is promising. AA: Why was Lagos chosen to host the event? LvH: Lagos is a power hub, a headquarters for many Nigerian, regional and international businesses. It’s also an easily accessible meeting point in West Africa and boasts the largest venue to host the event. AA: What will be the key points and contributions to the WAPIC event? LvH: This year’s event will be opened by the Nigerian Ministry of Power and attract over 1,300 attendees from more than 30 countries and over 70 exhibitors. Drawing in investors, manufacturers, project managers and energy specialists from the West African subregion, and globally, it’s ideal for showcasing solutions. AA: What opportunities and other developments/progress has WAPIC enabled? LvH: Over the past 12 years WAPIC has facilitated many contract signings and deals, lobbied decision makers and shared ideas It’s the largest meeting point for the regional market. Aspire Africa · Nov/Dec 2015 77

Key sponsors of WAPIC 2015 Diamond Sponsor Huawei Technologies Platinum Sponsor Mojec International Eko Distribution Company Gold Sponsor Siemens Ltd

Silver Sponsors FLT Energy Systems Jubaili Bros Aggreko Abax Corporate Services Hexing Electrical Co. PowerPro Company Limited Conlog

Bronze Sponsors Elsewedy Electric OMICRON Lucy Electric Itron Metering Solutions CPCS Stag Engineering Nigeria SAP Nigeria SDMO

Key speakers at this year’s event SOLOMON ASAMOAH VP, Head, Energy & Natural Resources, AfDB, Cote d’Ivoire

ROBERT DICKERMAN MD/CEO Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Nigeria

CHRISTOPHER BROUGHTON Resident Country Director, Millennium Challenge Corp., Benin

MATTHEW BURTON Director, Office of Economic Growth & Environment, USAID/Nigeria, USA

DAUDU ABDUL-AZIZ, CEO, North South Power - Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Stn., Nigeria

EYO EKPO Team Lead, Presidential Task Force on Power, Nigeria


OLADELE AMODA MD/CEO Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Nigeria

MAME COUMBA NDIAYE Director of Planning and Studies, AEME, Senegal

ALEX OSEI General Manager, MIS, Electricity Company Of Ghana, Ghana

RUMUNDAKA WONODI CEO, Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, Nigeria

MUSTAPHA ZAKARIA-CISSÉ Project Coordinator, West African Power Pool (WAPP)

SAM AMADI Chairman & CEO, NERC, Nigeria


KOLA KARIM CEO, Shoreline Energy, Nigeria

BART NNAJI CEO, Geometric Power, Nigeria

IGALI, PS, Federal Ministry of Power, Nigeria JIBRIL AKU CEO, Ecobank, Nigeria

Exhibitors showcasing at WAPIC 2015 Abax Corporate Services ADC Energy CC ADROIT Metering Services Ltd African Human Logistics Aggreko Allbro Industries Biotherm Energy Clarke Energy Conlog Consolidated African Technologies (CAT) CPCS Daqo Group Co, Ltd Doble Engineering Africa EcoBank Eco Solar International Eko Disco Elsewedy Electric FLT Energy Systems General Cable Sub Sahara Africa Genus Power Infrastructure Ltd GIL Automations Limited Gupta Power Hakman Engineering Huawei Technologies Co. Nig.


Henan Seyuan Electric Co. Ltd Hexing Electrical Co. Ltd Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) Inspired Interfaces ISA-Advanced Test & Diagnostic Systems Itron Metering Solutions South Africa Jidong Putian Wire & Cable Co. JMG Jubaili Bros (Engineering) Ltd Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. Kalpa Electrikal Pvt Ltd Kamstrup South Africa Landis+Gyr Lucy Electric Lawson Fuses India Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH Megawatt Solutions Megger Limited Metpress Microelettrica Power (Pty) Ltd Mikano International Limited Mojec International NESP/GIZ

Ningbo Sanxing Electric Co Ltd Numeric Technologies Ltd Nuri Telecom OMICRON Phenix Technologies, Inc. PowerPro Company Limited Powertech Industries Preformed Line Products S.A Rethuseng Live Line & Services SAEEC SAP Nigeria SDMO SEIFEL SAS Shenzhen Hexcell Electronics Technology Shenzhen Star Instrument Co. SICAME GROUP Stag Engineering Nigeria Limited (STAG) Syntell (PTY) LTD Treated Timber Products Triveni Turbine Ltd. Vergnet Yamuna Power & Infrastructure Ltd

Quality always stands the test of time. CHOOSE THE ORIGINAL


THE ORIGINAL WEST AFRICAN POWER AND ENERGY EVENT WAPIC has been bringing the best quality of key industry players together for 12 years to change West Africa’s Power landscape. Join your fellow industry leaders at the largest West African power expo and conference.

Activate your free pass online today.

24 – 25 November 2015

Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria West African Power Industry Conven on

Upcoming Events November iPad Rwanda

5 - 6 Nov, 2015 Kigali, Rwanda

West Africa Property Investment Summit

18 - 19 Nov, 2015 Accra, Ghana


24 - 25 Nov, 2015 Lagos, Nigeria

December Global African Investment Forum

January LomĂŠ Conference

4 - 8 Jan, 2016 Johannesburg, South Africa

OffshoreWest Africa

26 - 28 Jan, 2016 Lagos, Nigeria

Powering Africa Summit

27 - 29 Jan, 2016 Washington DC, USA

February African Mining Indaba

1 - 2 Dec, 2015 London, UK

8 - 11 Feb, 2016 Cape Town, South Africa

SuperReturn Africa

Africa Energy Indaba

1 - 3 Dec, 2015 Accra, Ghana

World Sustainability

8 - 9 Dec, 2015 Port Louis, Mauritius


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16 - 17 Feb, 2016 Johannesburg, South Africa

Argus Africa Bitumen 2016

22 - 24 Feb, 2016 Cape Town, South Africa


Don’t miss the next issue!



Aspire Africa | Issue 2.  

Committed to Promoting African Synergy. Featuring Ismail Ahmed, CEO & Founder, WorldRemit.

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