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EDITOR’S NOTE Heads of Departments Managing Editor Alice Instone-Brewer Sales Director Alex Hilling-Smith Sales Manager Emlyn Freeman Head of Editorial Research Paul Bradley Project Manager Steven Weller Editorial Researcher James Lapping Editorial Researcher Will Girling Corporate Director Anthony Letchumaman Lead Designer Alina Sandu Publisher Stephen Warman Any enquiries or subscriptions can be sent to ENDEAVOUR MAGAZINE is published by Littlegate Publishing LTD which is a Registered Company in the United Kingdom. Company Registration: 07657236 VAT registration number: 116 776007 343 City Road Suite 10, Thorpe House London 79 Thorpe Road EC1 V1LR Norwich, NR1 1UA Littlegate Publishing Ltd does not accept responsibility for omissions or errors. The points


ince we published our first magazine

number of mature, multi-party democracies

5-years ago, Endeavour Magazine

has led to the widespread implantation of

has had the privilege to follow the

initiatives aimed at halting corruption and

changing fortunes of the African business

improving transparency – the foundations,

world. Suffice to say, this has given us a

in other words, upon which a compelling

great vantage point from which to observe

case has been made to keen but formerly

this remarkable continent’s transformation

skittish foreign investors to open their

in recent years.


Isn’t it wonderful that Africa is finally

What is there to say? Africa, with its

beginning to realise it’s almost limitless


potential? The change has been a sight to

markets, is the future. It has finally

behold, as lights turn on across every corner

succeeded in shedding its reputation in

of the continent. While the global economy

the eyes of the international community

has spluttered through a decade which has

as a place synonymous with poverty and

been characterised by stagnant growth


rates and stubbornly high unemployment, the African continent has undoubtedly been one of the world’s brightest economic hotspots. The business pages - ever a barometer of macroeconomic good health - have for the most part been running the same narrative for some time; namely one of expansion, exciting new start-ups, soaring economic

of view expressed in articles by attributing

growth and surging levels of foreign

writers and/or in advertisements included in this

investment. Stories of multi-million-dollar

magazine do not necessarily represent those of

airport, road and business hub expansion

the publisher. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Whilst

projects have become seemingly routine,

every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of

while colossal multi-billion infrastructure

the information contained within this magazine,

projects have long since ceased to be

no legal responsibility will be accepted by the publishers for loss arising from use of information published. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrievable system or transmitted in any form or




Of course, there is still work to do. Challenges and threats are never far away and will continue to emerge – particularly in light of the threat posed by populist revolts against free trade and globalisation in the developed world, and rising national debt levels closer to home. In order for the continent to maintain its upward trajectory, investment must continue. If this happens, job creation will continue, trade between nations will rise, and high growth rates will likely be maintained.


extraordinary. Granted, this isn’t to say pockets of volatility don’t remain in some areas of the

by any means without the prior written consent of

continent, but for the most part stability has

the publisher.

been achieved. The increasingly effective

Copyright © Littlegate Publishing Ltd 2018

governance on offer from the growing

Endeavour Magazine | 3




6 12 20 26 35 42 48

P.H. Heat Treatment The Metal Industry Is Heating Up Banking Association South Africa Bankable Results MM Intergrated Steel Mills Steeling The Show Kanu Equipment Hard Work Pays Off SPS - Sustainable Power Solutions Here Comes The Sun Chicken Xpress Trust The Flava Jindal Africa Digging Deeper


54 DLA Investments Granite Quarries Rock Solid 60 Konza Technopolis City A Smart Investment 68 TANESCO Lighting Up Your Life 74 Association of Citizen Contractors Tanzania Specialists In Safeguarding 80 Kanu Equipment Experience The Support 86 KETRACO Kenya’s Brightest Spark

60 KONZA TECHNOPOLIS CITY Endeavour Magazine | 5

P.H. HEAT TREATMENT WWW.PHHEAT.CO.ZA // 0027 11 822 2704

THE METAL INDUSTRY IS HEATING UP A company with serious heritage, P.H. Heat Treatment is a longstanding pillar of the South African commercial landscape. Having carved a niche as a heat treatment expert, Endeavour magazine was keen to speak with Cecil Zlotnick, one of the company’s Managing Directors, to find out how. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


Founded back in 1956, P.H. Heat Treatment (P.H.) is

enjoying the continued success and phenomenal reputation that only a company with a real legacy of excellence can.

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ow one of the oldest commercial metal heat treatment operations within South Africa, there’s nothing the team doesn’t know about both ferrous and non-ferrous treatments,

which has made for a terrific portfolio of services: “Processes offered by P.H. include gas carburising, carbonitriding and other case hardening processes, as well as neutral hardening and tempering, carbon restoration, normalising, etc. P.H. is also the only South African heat treatment organisation to offer certain copyrighted processes under licence to the U.K., such as Alpha, Alpha Plus, Beta, etc. which allow steels to withstand wear and corrosion.” This is impressive enough, but in order to really get a grasp on how P.H. has consistently superseded industry standards and requirements, we need to understand why these heat treatments





are so vital. We asked Cecil Zlotnick, one of the joint Managing Directors of P.H., to elaborate and explain: “The company is involved in the heat treatment of metal components, particularly steel. It is a service industry providing an essential service to manufacturers of steel products and components. The purpose of the heat treatment is to enhance the mechanical properties of components such as hardness, strength, wear and corrosion resistance, depending on the requirements and the application.”

Furnace Engineering & Equipment Ltd. would like to congratulate P.H. Heat Treatments on their continued success story as a leading, high quality heat treater in South Africa. We have supported the company over many years, supplying heat treatment plant, spares parts and technical support, over which time we have developed a strong and personal relationship. Furnace Engineering wish P.H. Heat Treatments every success in the future.

TEL: 01299 - 404631

Atmosphere Furnace Service . Equipment Sales . Installation . Repairs . Spares Endeavour Magazine | 9

P.H. HEAT TREATMENT In layman’s terms, if a client needs to guarantee the strength of metal tools and/or structures, P.H. is a go-to operation that can

influences and industry fluctuations will always be something to be mindful of:

complete the task. Just imagine the commercial implications of

“Unfortunately, the current state of the industry is struggling

this: every industry from mining through to automotive and even

and shrinking due to the high operating costs, difficulty for our

specialist engineering firms would be able to benefit from working

customers to compete against Chinese and Indian imports and also

with P.H., especially when you consider the levels of precision

due to political interference and low commodity prices affecting the

being maintained by Cecil and his team,

mining industry. In our niche market of component heat treatment

“In 1981, I purchased the company along with a partner, both

there are very few competitors - probably only six or seven in the

having 50% share and becoming joint Managing Directors. I have

country. However, many of them have small, inferior quality and

always believed in instilling a culture of customer focus and striving

antiquated plants and processes. Our plant is the largest of its kind

for perfection in all aspects of the business.”

in South Africa.”

This ground-up style of management is becoming increasingly

Whereas lesser companies might allow such outside factors to

rare, but by keeping a finger on the pulse of the business and

take their toll on the amount of work coming in, P.H. merely views

remaining not only financially but also personally invested in the

them as extra challenges that, once overcome, will simply cement

on-going success of it, Cecil is able to ensure that his desire for

the good name and enviable industry position that the team revels

perfection is seen through to fruition. After all, you don’t get to

in. Cecil explained that rising above industry difficulties and always

become a recognised industry giant by cutting corners or relying

striving to be better is what makes P.H. so unique:

on a previously well-maintained reputation. Having chosen to

“Our company prides itself on superior technical and

only operate nationally, mainly in the Gauteng region, Cecil and

metallurgical knowhow and experience, and always uses the most

his business partner can maintain a far firmer grip on operations.

advanced methods, plants and controls to produce the best quality.

However, despite exemplar management techniques, external

We are the only company in our field with extensive knowhow

10 | Endeavour Magazine

in steels, metallurgy of heat treatment and gas/metal chemical

our capacity by approximately 40% over the last ten years. We are

reactions, as well as furnace technology knowhow. Our service to

continually looking to diversify further in the heat treatment field –

customers is fast, as we are able to react very quickly to customers’

however, the major obstacles to this are the high cost of capital due


to our extremely weak Rand and the shrinking market.”

It’s not just a great attitude that Cecil can offer clients though,

He went on to explain; “Our main objective for the coming year

as there is a dedicated team of around 50 professionals fulfilling

is to expand our existing business by aggressive selling into the

the promises being made to existing and potential customers.

market, with emphasis on competing with our rivals. Secondly, we

With little scope for external training, P.H. takes ownership of

aim to improve efficiency by using our knowhow to cut costs to

making sure that every member of staff is given extensive in-

offset massive annual increases from our main suppliers. We are

house education and, for those that show particular aptitude, the

currently investigating the possibility of expanding into processes

potential for promotion is promising. This is great news, as P.H. is

such as austempering, vacuum heat treatment of tool steels and

resolutely not going anywhere.

nitriding of stainless steel.”

Having established excellent relationships with local banks for

With a plethora of expansion plans, a loyal customer base

continued funding, not to mention key suppliers, both locally and

and a sterling reputation already in place, P.H. is only going to get

internationally, P.H. has everything in place to enjoy countless more

stronger, and we look forward to reporting back on them in the

decades at the top of the industry. Let’s also not forget that there


is a roster of longstanding clients as well, all of which, combined, make for a positive future. Cecil was keen to divulge what P.H. has in store: “Over the years, we have concentrated on our core business and expanding it as much as possible. To this end, we have increased

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BANKABLE RESULTS Headed by Managing Director Cas Coovadia, the Banking Association South Africa seeks to maintain stability by embracing change. As the mandated representative of the banking sector, theirs are the shoulders upon which the country’s banking stands – an industry that, in turn, supports the country as a whole. Whilst a small group in terms of staff, the Banking Association South Africa’s reach and influence is vast, as is the responsibility of their role: Endeavour caught up with the association to take a closer look at how they handle their calling. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


The Banking Association South Africa (BASA) exists as a

go-between for South Africa’s government and its banks. However, in reality, there is also a third essential voice that they bring to the conversation: South Africa itself. Between politicians and stakeholders, one might expect BASA to advise these two power-groups without much thought to the impact on the South African people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s more than just business to you.


ith a focus on accessibility, inclusiveness and change, MD Cas Coovadia has taken BASA against the grain of what we expect from the banking world. The result? Amazingly,

more stable business for their members. That’s right – it seems that good banking pays. In its own words, BASA is “an industry body that aims to build a positive banking environment for consumers and banks. It addresses industry issues through advocacy; guiding transformation in the sector; acting as a catalyst for constructive and sustainable change;

That’s why we help.

and engaging with critical stakeholders.” It works closely with its

As a bank built by entrepreneurs, we understand that it’s more than just business to you. It’s more than just banking to us. That’s why we help.

government to make them aware of the bank’s needs. It also stays

members to advise on issues facing the sector, and to lobby the aware of how banking can impact the country in a positive way, as Cas elaborated: “BASA manages various committees that advise our executive on issues pertinent to the sector. For instance, we have affordable housing, agriculture, SMME, debtor financing and

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property finance committees among many more.” BASA is aware of the demands on its position and holds itself to the highest standards in order to meet them. This includes monitoring the quality of its staff, the efficiency of its communication systems and the way in which BASA represents itself and its members to South Africa as a whole. As it states on its website: “We are an organisation that exists to contribute to the enablement of a conducive banking environment. Part of this responsibility is to ensure that we participate at the highest-

a division of FirstRand Bank Limited. An authorised Financial Services and Credit Provider (NCRCP20).

14 | Endeavour Magazine

level of decision making in the country. To this end, The Banking

Association South Africa has structured and organised itself to ensure effective participation in cabinet and its executive through the calibre of people and leadership that interact with Government at various levels.” When it was initially established in 1992, BASA was a different animal. In fact, it was four animals: The Association of Mortgage Lenders, The Merchant Bankers Association, The Clearing Bankers Association and The Association of General Banks. These four separate associations worked cooperatively under the name ‘the Council of South African Banks’ (COSAB), but they did not become one official entity until 1998. When merged, the new association was named The Banking Council South Africa, until 2005 brought a complete re-structuring, re-naming and new leadership. That new MD was Cas Coovadia, and the entity was the beginning of BASA as it stands today.


With a pressing need for professionalism, BASA needed quality in every member of staff, and a clear head at the helm. Coovadia was a natural choice – having previously worked closely with his

predecessor, he was able to bring a fresh approach to leadership whilst building organically from the foundation of BASA’s past. He

seized the opportunity to re-invent how the association worked: as a sector, banking has a reputation for being resistant to change,


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Endeavour Magazine | 15

BANKING ASSOCIATION SOUTH AFRICA but in order to keep up with South Africa’s evolving needs and best

within state-owned enterprises. We look forward to working with

support its members in responding to them, the new MD ruled that

government in helping to shape an exciting period of clear, growth-

stagnancy and complacency were not an option. Going further still,

friendly policies that boosts confidence in South Africa even further

he made sure that BASA’s focus was not simply on its members, but

and helps drive development in the interests of all South Africans,

on their customers, helping one by protecting the other:

particularly the poorest of the poor. We see inclusive growth as

“We work with government and other stakeholders to ensure

the key to overcoming poverty, inequality and unemployment and

inclusion in banking, so that as many people as possible in our

we see a new political environment taking shape where that can

country have access to some form of banking service.”


It seems a simple aim, but it is one that banks can, in honesty,

Globally, banking hit a crisis in 2008 and 2009. However, thanks

overlook, but Coovadia is on a mission to prove that fair and

in part to the support and advice of the association, a proactive

successful banking can work hand in hand. He was no stranger to

and efficient regulator and relatively conservative banking practice,

working towards change before his position as MD, either; “I have

South Africa’s banks faired surprisingly well: “SA boasts the second

a lifelong commitment to civic issues, including as an activist within

most sound banking sector in the world. Our banks are well

the United Democratic Front during the anti-apartheid struggle

capitalised and amongst the best in the world. This is borne out by

and as a founder member of the SA National Civics Organisation.”

the fact that our banks weathered the 2008/9 financial crisis and

It is an attitude that has seen him through 12 successful years as

not a single bank experienced any liquidity or capital problems.”

BASA’s MD, and they have been successful for South Africa, too.

This statement in itself suggests a link between inclusive

“With banks being so closely integrated into the economy, the

banking and stability. Whatever the cause, it’s inarguably an

interests of our members are aligned to the economic fortunes of the

impressive boast! “The South African banking sector, despite

country,” Cas explains. “Following recent political developments, we

being a concentrated sector, is still competitive and continues

are extremely positive about policy indications and appointments

to diversify its products and broaden its services according to

VBS Mutual Bank is a true South African success story. Founded in 1982 in rural South Africa as a building society the bank continues to deliver value to it’s stakeholders with tailored and innovative products. The bank is focussed on providing it’s clients with access to banking products to which it did not have access to in the past. We have 99.93% black ownership and are a BEE level 1 company. We aim to be South Africa’s leading provider of innovative banking solutions to our chosen SME and Retail markets. In additional to services to our retail clients we provide innovative working capital funding solutions to both SME’s and specialized entrepreneurs focused on: • Fuel and commodity financing • Contract Financing and Guarantees • Black Industrialists Funding We are Regulated by the South African Reserve Bank. We are a registered credit provider with the National Credit Regulator and an authorised services provider regulated by the Financial Services Board.

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beyond a bank

2018/02/07 11:47 AM

Endeavour Magazine | 17

BANKING ASSOCIATION SOUTH AFRICA international best practice. Currently the South African banking

their staff learning and promotion opportunities is essential to

sector is comprised of 17 registered banks, two mutual banks, 14

the MD; to encourage an attitude of offering inclusiveness and

local branches of foreign banks, two co-operative banks and 43

opportunity to the bankers of South Africa, he must offer the

foreign banks with approved local representative offices.” This isn’t

same to his staff. “BASA strives to be a caring organisation. We

to say that economics in South Africa are problem free. Like most

encourage staff development and, as far as our budget permits, we

of the world, the truth is far from it, and this is bound to have an

contribute towards training and studies of staff, provided this is of

impact on banks, however stable: “The current economic issues

relevance to the position. Staff get a maximum of 10 days’ study

we have in South Africa don’t provide a conducive environment

leave per annum for graduate qualifications and 13 days for post-

for banks, because the volumes of bank business are limited by the

graduate qualifications. “

pedestrian economic growth and lack of investment, which in turn

Coovadia is no fool – by valuing the idea of brand and corporate

is constrained by a poor environment for investment. However,

vision, mingled with a personal and genuine investment in his

even in this difficult environment, our banks remain sound, stable

staff, he has created an entity where employees can be proud to

and solid, and ensure the safety of depositor funds.”

work, and will pass that positivity and zeal on to their members.

Instigating change in an industry must happen on many fronts

When asked his philosophy regarding leadership, he responded

– as well as influencing his 35 - member banks and lobbying the

with “Humility, morality, ethics and servant leadership” - it isn’t a

government, Coovadia needed to create change at home. He knew

common answer, but it one that has served him and South Africa

that to keep ideas fresh, he could not ignore the potential of young

well. As always, he has a slate of plans moving forwards to improve

employees: “Always try to encourage young talent and develop

awareness and communication between the groups BASA interact

it. We take in interns every year and expose young people to the

with, and with every step, to continue the mission he began 12

industry. We also try to promote from within wherever possible,

years ago. It’s a breath of fresh air to see, and an attitude that we

bearing in mind that we have a relatively flat structure.” Offering

hope will catch on!



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18 | Endeavour Magazine

19280 NB CIB Endeavour Mag 138X188.indd 1

2018/01/19 2:07 PM


STEELING THE SHOW In a year that began with immense challenges for the African steel industry, MM Integrated Steel Uganda remains one of the fastest expanding manufacturers of cold rolling sheets, galvanized roofing sheets and structural steel products in the country, as well as being one of the overall market leaders. With a production capacity of approximately 50,000 tons per year, a strong multinational presence and new ‘Aluzinc’ coating capabilities developing, it looks like whatever gauntlet the industry might throw MM in 2018 will be met with similarly resounding success - but how has the company reached these distinguished heights? WRITTEN BY WILL GIRLING


With its origins dating to approximately 18th BC in what

is now modern-day Turkey, steel has been a mainstay of civilisation for practically all recorded history. Forged by smelting mined iron ore in blast furnaces - thus removing its impurities – and adding carbon to form an alloy, the result is a high-tensile metal that is stronger, lighter and less prone to corrosion than its base iron.


rom this basic recipe, many historical variants have been

which possessed a notable industrial heritage that began to wane

developed: Wootz steel, Crucible steel, and Damascus steel

in the late 20th Century, an economic upswing has struck the

– the latter of which we still cannot produce using modern

region since the 2000’s. With $600 million invested over a period

techniques. Just as diverse are the myriad applications that steel

of five years from 2013, MM Steel Uganda certainly appears to be

has been utilized for: construction, transportation, agriculture,

at the epicentre of that change.

weaponry, tools and machinery, to name just a few. Now, in the

The impact of the Ugandan mill can’t just be measured through

post-industrial era, steel remains an important, low-cost material

finances, however; it provides employment for over 1,800 people,

that is in high demand for consumers all around the world; it would

all sourced from local areas and trained to stand amongst the best

seem that steel has been our loyal companion for millennia, is a

in the field. With inevitable expansion for the MM Steel brand,

relationship that will continue to evolve and flourish with us.

Jinja looks set for making a remarkable come-back to Africa’s

Stepping into this rich tradition is MM Integrated Steel Mills

manufacturing spotlight. To generate its output, the Ugandan

Ltd, a subsidiary of the Motisun Group. The first MM steel mill in

factory is a colossal operation: it consumes up to five megawatts

Tanzania was established by Motisun in 1995, with a production

of electricity at a rate of Shs210 million per month, which must be

capacity of 35,000 tons per year. The seed that was planted in

supplied by a direct link to the national grid. For water, at the time

Tanzania didn’t take long to go forth and multiply; at the time of

of the mill’s opening, its three-kilometre line to the National Water

writing, there are now four MM steel mills in Tanzania, Zambia,

and Sewerage Corporation was non-existent, so MMI connected it

Uganda and Mozambique, the newest of which opened in 2014.

themselves. Upon touring the Ugandan mill, Amerlia Kyambade –

With this growth, the company estimates an aggregate production

Minister for Trade – congratulated the management staff for their

capacity of 350,000 tons per annum and is proud to now be

much-needed efforts and “contribution towards the economic

considered “a respected brand [that] is the preferred choice within

development of our country”, pledging that her department would

the building and construction industry”. Upon opening in 2013,

push through further legislation to “help local industries grow”.

MM Integrated Steel Uganda represented the first of its kind in

The services provided by the factory include cold rolling mills,

the country: a steel manufacturer that could produce all its own

galvanising lines, colour coating lines and tube mills, a portfolio of

materials, as opposed to relying on imports. Based in Jinja, a town

capabilities that is certain to lengthen across their four established

22 | Endeavour Magazine

MM INTERGRATED STEEL MILLS mills going forward. ‘Cold rolling’ is a method by which a metal sheet

is where innovation and new industry technology play their parts,

– in this case steel – is passed through a set of rollers at room-

and MM Steel have shown no hesitation in keeping their company

temperature, wherein it is squeezed and compressed, with the level

fully on-trend. Among the newest developments has been the

of strain determining the end product’s properties and hardness.

introduction of ‘Aluzinc’ coating capabilities at the Tanzania mill.

Allowing for greater dimensional accuracy in the manufacturing

Consisting of cold-rolled steel that is subsequently galvanised with

process, and thus also increasing its resistance to surface damage,

coating consisting of aluminium (58%), zinc (43.4%) and a dash

cold-rolling has the added benefit of increasing the strength of

of silicon (1.6%), Aluzinc provides a far greater defence against

steel up to 20%. In terms of manufacturing, it doesn’t stop there:

corrosion than traditional galvanisation methods. Amazingly, this

the aforementioned tube mill uses state-of-the-art machinery that

superior protection doesn’t compromise on the steel’s acceptance

rounds steel sheets into high-quality tubes. Once the metal has

of paint coatings & finishes, weld acceptance or forming ability.

been forged and shaped, the factory can offer additional services

This results in a product that has a broad variety of domestic and

for the new product, such as ‘galvanising’, wherein a protective

industrial purposes wherever damp atmospheric conditions are

coating of zinc is added to the steel for further protection from

the enemy. With these capabilities almost certain to spread to

corrosion. In addition to this facility, MM Steel is also able to apply

the other three factories, and further innovations such as ‘duplex

a range of cosmetic (as well as protective) coatings to their metal

steel’ gaining traction worldwide, it is safe to say that MM Steel’s

as per the desired specification. Sold in both domestic and export

development will closely parallel the steel industry’s.

markets under the brand-name ‘KIBOKO’ for a competitive price,

Although 2017 was beset by great challenges for the steel

MM Steel’s products maintain an international standard, which in

industry in Africa - most notably in terms of expansion and export

turn maintains the company’s standing as a market leader.

growth - as the months progressed it became easier to feel

However, with the brand swiftly developing into a notable multi-

optimistic. With positive gains in supply and demand steadily rising

national presence, MM Steel need to maintain their reputation. This

across the board, MM Steel Uganda’s attitude of choosing to invest

24 | Endeavour Magazine

in the future is both commendable and wise. The company should serve as an example to others that; when the going gets tough, you must not only maintain your standards but try to surpass them. In today’s market, it is no longer good enough to simply have industry-leading products and an established name; consumers want to see a clear vision and a strong ethical message - something the Motisun Group are very conscientious of. “MMI Steel,” the company says, “is dedicated to conducting business in a professional and ethical manner.” They are achieving this not only by providing a superior product at a fair price, but also through ecological measures such as improving and expanding their acid regeneration plant capacities. With sights set to firmly on establishing a better tomorrow, not just for Uganda but the entire industry, MM Integrated Steel Mills Ltd is sure to continue developing into a company that is as diverse as steel itself.

Kubach & Sambrook (Metals) Ltd

 0208 951 6500, +44 208 951 6500 

It has been a pleasure and source of satisfaction to have a customer like MMI

Endeavour Magazine | 25


HARD WORK PAYS OFF When a business rents, leases or purchases equipment, it is really trying to solve a problem with that equipment. Equipment downtime due to mechanical breakdowns result in additional cost to operations and frustration on the work site. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Support is the catalyst of service operation and

discipline and this is what places Kanu Equipment in a league of it`s own. In equipment rental, effective service and maintenance of machinery guarantees a satisfied customer experience yet in Africa it has been sorely missed within the industry. Masterfully, Kanu Equipment has filled this gap securing their path to success. Kanu is all about optimally functioning equipment…. all of the time. We caught up with company founder and CEO Stephen Smithyman, to find out about Kanu’s latest developments, and what is continually placing this company ahead of the opposition.


or a young company, Kanu Equipment already has an impressive

that the equipment is working optimally and downtime is kept to

reputation. In essence, Kanu Equipment realised that the key

a minimum.

differentiator between them and the opposition was service

“Our mission is to reduce our customers’ cost of doing

excellence. Through this devotion to service, the five-year-old

business. In part, that’s through the support we provide. Our slogan

company quickly carved out a space for itself in the equipment

is ‘Experience the Support”, as we differentiate ourselves by being a

rental field for Africa’s key heavy industries, including agriculture,

support organization to our customers in the hard areas where they

forestry, mining, earthmoving, construction and road construction.

do business”, states Stephen Smithyman.

When working in some of Africa’s more remote locations, this

The ability to have access to spare parts on site can mean the

support can literally be operation-saving, and the loyalty this has

difference between a minor hiccup and a costly delay. This is true

won Kanu, speaks for itself.

anywhere, but particularly in some of the more remote and far-

Kanu understands that good customer experience leads

reaching locations where Kanu’s African clients do business. “We

to brand loyalty. This brand association is ultimately what

have a very strong mutually beneficial relationship with all our

manufacturers are after. Excelling at customer service leads to

OEMs and have maintained this relationship because we provide

manufacturer preference for agents that are able to provide the

good service on the ground. Previously, African customers would

ultimate level of support, to sell and distribute their brands. Kanu

accept the fact that in these countries, they needed to provide their

Equipment has forged strong working relationships with several

own support.” Many African markets still operate with this model

large equipment manufacturers: Bell, Liebherr and Wirtgen, who

focused on selling rather than on customer service. Once the

focus mainly on the construction and mining industries, and Case

equipment is sold the problem becomes the customers’. “What has

Agriculture, providers of top-of-the-range farming and forestry

fundamentally changed now is that the world has become a smaller

equipment. Kanu’s entrenched relationships afford them the ability

place and customers require first-world support. Companies need

to keep world-class equipment available for their customers, as

to adapt to that or they will lose relevancy.”

well as a generous supply of related spare parts.

The company started out in Congo, followed by rapid expansion

This allows them to provide a maintenance support service of

into West Africa, Botswana and now East Africa. “We basically

their own, and consignment stock on the ground in order to ensure

started out in the hardest countries and then worked our way

28 | Endeavour Magazine

KANU EQUIPMENT around.” The idea for the company came to Smithyman when he

challenges eventually emerging wiser and more resilient. It is the

encountered his own difficulties in hiring equipment for a mining

story of how ‘hard work pays off’ and it is the ethos that is felt

exploration project. “We were trying to find a bulldozer to rent. We

throughout the company from their operational decisions and

couldn’t find one, and then when we eventually did, the rental rate

expansion plans right down to the daily choices of their employees.

was really high.”

Kanu’s dedication has pushed them to heroic acts of service:

“What inspired me to start the company initially was that I

whilst expanding its operations, Kanu moved into several areas that

saw there was a real lack of support for people who are running

were in the throes of dealing with the Ebola virus crisis. Instead of

machines in some of the markets. I was optimistic about the

leaving their customers unsupported, they stayed firm. Truly going

business opportunity – I knew that if we could provide exceptional

above and beyond the call of duty, Kanu proved that it values its

support and service to our customers, we would succeed. What

customers as family and that its promise to provide support will

inspires me now is that we employ over 570 members of staff across

hold true no matter how challenging the conditions. “We have

14 countries, who very often work in adverse circumstances. These

shown our customers that we were prepared to support them even

are the people that drive me to continue to grow this business so

in the middle of a crisis. Many of our staff put their lives at risk to

that their lives and that of their families can be improved. They keep

provide that support.”

equipment humming under trying conditions to make a difference

Despite stormy waters, Kanu’s loyalty to their customers has

to our customers and this, I believe, will grow mechanisation

led to their success in every market they move into. “Some markets

in Africa.”

are very new to us, whilst other markets like Botswana have more

Smithyman’s praise of his employees is well-deserved. The

established customers. We’ve been very successful in a variety of

Kanu name is inspired and derived from an old African tale ‘Kanthu

countries all for different reasons but with one common focus, that

N’khama’, a story about a small but brave and resourceful bird

we represent quality brands and we provide exceptional customer

that flies into a dark and formidable forest, where it overcomes

service”. As well as spreading their on-the-ground support

30 | Endeavour Magazine

throughout Africa, the company also has a physical presence in Europe, to reach the decision makers of larger industrial groups. Many companies that operate in Africa have decision-makers based in Europe, so our sales-arm in Switzerland meets with these key customers who wish to work in areas where we don’t currently have an active presence.” This face-to-face contact is important, and Kanu is constantly branching out to increase this physical in-market presence even further. Kanu continues with expansion into Africa. “In Tanzania, we’ll be very successful – we have a very strong customer support base there. Kenya is also a very exciting market for us, because there is a lot of machine demand every year, so we’re hoping to gain market share there.” Another exciting expansion plan is currently Namibia. “We are now the largest independent Liebherr Mining dealer in Africa as we represent Liebherr Mining in Namibia and Botswana. We’ve got a number of customers currently operating Liebherr Mining machines in Namibia. We believe there’s a lot of strong growth potential for mining in this region, especially now that mineral resource prices have increased. These customers have not been supported as well as they should have been in terms of stock, spares or on-the-

Endeavour Magazine | 31

KANU EQUIPMENT ground service. We are going to introduce a level of sophistication

set up to finance local entrepreneurs. We will buy a container and

around our IT system, and the support we can offer. We will also

give them training and IT support, allowing them to open up their

store a wide range of spares. We believe it will be a win-win for us

own spare parts business in areas where heavy equipment is used.

and the market. Everybody’s really excited about the launch.”

We’ll give all the technical backing, knowledge and spares to them,

Of course, not even Kanu can expand indefinitely. “Next year

and they will operate like a distribution centre for us. Through

will be a year of consolidation. The year thereafter, we will look

Project Hummingbird, we believe we could create about 1000

at expanding further, but only if we get the support we need to

entrepreneurs throughout the continent.”

ensure top-class customer service. Largely we would look at going

“Training is a very important part of our service offering. It’s

further into Africa – it is where we are mostly based, and where our

arguably one of the key drivers of our expanding business. Making

customers want us to be. Over the next few years, we aim to be in

sure that local staff are trained well means we have an opportunity

18 different countries, and then we’ll look at listing the business

to grow.” This development project not only contributes to Kanu’s

on the stock exchange. We want to double revenue every year –

operations and the increasing number of customers their support

that’s our plan.”

services can reach, but also creates jobs and serves as a boost

It’s an ambitious plan, but given the loyalty Kanu enjoys from

to local economies. They are running feasibility studies on the

their markets and suppliers, it’s a goal that is well within their

proposition, and are hoping to receive government backing to

grasp. True to their mantra, however, their own growth isn’t the

supplement their own contributions. If successful, the project will

only one that interests Kanu. Project Hummingbird, taking its name

be a fantastic boon to Kanu, but it will also be a life-changing one

from Kanu’s inspired logo, is a proposed initiative that will allow

to the entrepreneurs empowered by the programme. Once again,

Kanu Equipment to empower and establish a network of small and

this dynamic organization will not only achieve success for itself,

medium sized entrepreneurs that will serve as independent spare

but will ease and enable the industries and business around it, truly

parts suppliers for their products. “Project Hummingbird has been

allowing Africa to ‘Experience the Support’ like never before.

32 | Endeavour Magazine


HERE COMES THE SUN Through government legislation and private investment, nations around the globe have been making a choice – whether they will be frontrunners in renewable energy, or whether they will stick to the familiar past. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


When we talk about green and renewable energy, certain

parts of the world spring to mind, particularly Europe and China. However, as technology develops, and renewable solutions become more practically and financially feasible, the possibilities they open are making a difference everywhere. We spoke with Axel Scholle, Managing Director of Sustainable Power Solutions Ltd (SPS), on the changes this spreading technology can and is making for the African continent.


eneration for generations”: SPS’s company slogan encompasses the concept of sustainable energy. It shows a focus not only on current profits or benefits for

their stakeholders, but a focus on providing solutions that have guaranteed profits and benefits for the future. For Axel Scholle, company Managing Director, sustainability is an issue close to his heart: “I was inspired to start my career in the renewable energy industry because I can actively make a positive difference to sustainable living. We want to ensure that our projects are a sustainable solution for our clients and the environment. The sun is a renewable energy source that gives us an opportunity to positively utilize with no environmental harm as opposed to nonrenewable sources such as fossil fuels which are currently being capitalized on.” Axel is the Founder and Managing Director for SPS since it


began pioneering solar PV solutions in 2010, for grid connected

/ Interested? Visit

“We design, construct and commission the system, and we’re

solar technologies. Today, SPS cover multiple angles in the solar energy field and a have strong partnership with a company providing flexible funding; SPS is an EPC (Engineering Design, Procurement & Construction) and O&M (Operations & Maintenance) company, providing both on and off grid solar solutions to clients that include the industrial, commercial, agriculture, mining and tourism sectors. typically involved in the maintenance and operation of the plant - which is a key element for ensuring a healthy ROI for clients. We like to view our clients as partners and enable them through

36 | Endeavour Magazine

SPS - SUSTAINABLE POWER SOLUTIONS training of their local operators, while we conduct the monitoring

by battery storage. That was obviously a significant change for

activities at our Head Office in Cape Town.

that lodge, not only in the use of fossil fuels, but also their carbon

In addition to their on-grid and off-grid technology services,

footprint reduction, energy savings and reduced noise pollution for

they also provide hybrid and energy storage options, allowing

the lodge and surrounds. The lodge consume between 1,400 to

them to tailor their renewable energy services to best meet the

1,700 units of energy a day, and the solar generates about 75%

practical needs of their clients’ varying situations. With offices

of that energy. This obviously leads to a significant reduction in

in South Africa, Kenya and Namibia, and customers spanning

generator running time.

sub-Saharan Africa and the surrounding African islands, these

SPS’s current pipeline has plenty more work lined up in in the

varying conditions often include geographical challenges such as

sub-Saharan region. By second quarter 2018, they expect to have

reaching remote locations, climate conditions, economic changes

constructed an additional 5MWp and 2.5 MWh in projects. Working

or sometimes, navigating political or regulatory complications. To

in this region, and in particular, in hard-to-reach towns, villages and

date, SPS have successfully completed multiple projects across

tourism locations, is a rewarding experience for Scholle, and a large

South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Saint Helena Island, constructing

part of why he founded SPS. “Back when I was still in Namibia, it

over 20MWp of solar projects and 1MWh of battery storage. Out

was satisfying to install solar at communities, there would be no

of these, one of their most interesting projects using cutting-edge

lights when you arrived and there was light when you left. That

solar technologies was the installation of Kenya’s largest solar

significant change was always very fulfilling for me.

tracker, off-grid and battery storage system, commissioned in June this year.

However, as life-changing and economic as renewable energy can be, it is still facing challenges, critics and resistance around the

“The project was implemented at a tourism location – on one

world, and Africa is no exception. “It’s an ongoing debate. I’m always

of the largest National Parks in Kenya. The client was completely

baffled about how the information around nuclear energy can be so

relying on diesel generators for 14 hours a day, so we designed

different, seeing that it is a scientific subject. It’s the same with

an off-grid system that operates largely off solar, which is backed

renewables.” We asked Scholle what he felt companies’ resistance

38 | Endeavour Magazine

SPS - SUSTAINABLE POWER SOLUTIONS to renewable energy stemmed from: “It’s a regime change, in the

“The other site is a commercial battery storage system, so

sense that if you move from centralized to de-centralized, there’s a

it’s a more commercial scale operation. We used this site to test

lot less control. I think the utility sector is used to centralized large

technologies that we have now deployed into our off-grid solutions

scale power generation plant, so a decentralized renewable energy

in East Africa and the Indian ocean territories. To do this, we took

doesn’t fit very well into that model.”

the smallest iteration of that technology and used it here.”

This resistance is particularly an issue when it comes to grid-

This push in East Africa and into the Indian ocean islands is

connected solutions. Off-grid technology relies on the development

the focus of the next two years for SPS. “There are markets there

of off-grid technologies and energy storage for efficiency and

that are just becoming ready and mature now. Our aim over the

lowering costs, but on-grid also relies on cooperation from utility

next two years is to establish a solid presence in those countries

companies. This can vary from country to country, depending

where we clearly see a need for these technologies.”. Focusing on

on regulations and laws, political attitude, and the nature of the

bringing sustainable power solutions to the areas that need it most,

national utility sectors. “The regulatory issue of whether we can

SPS’s long-term dream is to drive quality off-grid energy storage

connect to a grid – that is still something that is largely a grey area

solutions, along with on-grid storage for utility services across sub-

in Africa, and there are areas where we may see a regulatory change

Saharan Africa. “The sun’s the biggest resource that we have and

coming through with additional requirements. That gives a rickety

it’s a no brainer that it’s become an increasingly important part in

feeling and some uncertainly for investors, when the regulatory

the energy mix of countries.” It’s a dream that could mean great

environment is not clear.”

things both for the future of Africa, and our planet as a whole – it’s

“The political climate of Africa is a bit shaky. You see what’s happening in Zimbabwe, and in Kenya we’re having election uncertainty. That will all have an impact on investment, and renewable energy is an upfront investment technology. The operational cost of it is very low, but someone still has to make that upfront investment.” However, for solar energy to continue growing and benefitting people in a range of situations, Scholle feels that both avenues are necessary. “Renewable energy really benefited when it started to be used in grid connected configuration. It increased the scale of renewable energy much more than we ever did in the off-grid sector 20 years back. When the grid-connected program started in the ‘90s, it catapulted commercialization of the solar industry which lead to significant price decreases over the last two decades. Solar has become unstoppable; the numbers just make sense. “In the storage development, we would expect a price reduction over the next 10 years, and this will allow us to reach communities, in particular, those in Africa, that we could not reach with grid electricity simply because it was too costly. This will open the gate to drive access to energy even further than to what has been achieved in the last 10 years. Striving for the best is not just an attitude or mantra – it needs to be put into practice through practical means. In a field where technology is constantly developing, SPS ensure they use manufacturers and methods that lead to the best results. Testament to their progressive nature, SPS has invested in two testing facilities at their Lourensford Wine Estate offices. “One is basically a solar module test site, where we installed a small range of different module types that we either have used in projects, or have bought directly to do a longer-term performance test between different manufacturers and technologies. It’s a long-term site - it’s generating some electricity for the wine farm where it is based, and together with the research institutes, we can analyse the data and see how these different technologies compare .” 40 | Endeavour Magazine

a comfort to know that a company like SPS is working tirelessly to see it happen.


TRUST THE FLAVA Chicken Xpress are a South African company with a South African taste. In fact, this patriotic “Flava” is central to everything they are, from their fresh take on chicken to the energy of their staff and the colourful design of their quick service restaurants. Since we last spoke with Chicken Xpress, they have been preparing to tell us about their journey through the most exciting time in a company’s life – a total rebranding, just in time for their wide-scale expansion, both at home and abroad. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Chicken Xpress (CX) opened their first store in 2011, in

Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal. A well-loved local fast food brand, they bring a distinctly South African feel to what they do, and they do it well. In the company’s own words: “Chicken Xpress is on an inspired mission to become the people’s champion in each new community we enter.”

Their love and enthusiasm for their work has been rewarded with ever-growing success, which in turn has led to an exciting

Large Format Brand stores, kiosks, and food trucks to deliver their food out to the people.

period of change. Not only have CX been expanding their store

With the consistent and speedy growth of the Chicken Xpress

numbers at an incredible rate, but they have also been redesigning

franchise, the company may be focusing on thinking globally, but

their branding, developing their plans for charitable works, throwing

they are still acting locally. As a proud South African company that

opening parties and events across Africa and India, and have even

puts patriotism high on their agender, from the sourcing of local

had a change of COO.

employment to the use of only “proudly South African” products,

From owning 23 stores across South Africa, as well as

Chicken Xpress are working to reflect and contribute to their

locations in Botswana, the chain has recently undergone a massive

communities through everything from charitable works to their

expansion into India. Given that they began life in KwaZulu-

interior design.

Natal, the coastal South African province home to Indian-inspired

In particular, CX are representing this South African pride

Durban, the brand’s overseas expansion to this country is a logical

through their new branding. “We have evolved our branding to

one. Remarkably, however, their push into India will far outweigh

something more fun and exciting, just like the African culture,”

their current numbers in Africa, with an initial roll out of 120 stores,

enthuses Biton. “We introduced colors and patterns that bring out

and a view to growing this up to 400 stores over the next five to

the unique Flava in our brand, and that have a modern, African feel

ten years. We spoke with Delon Biton, CX’s Marketing Manager,

to them.”

about their plans: “We are currently finalizing a full market growth

“When we say, “Trust the Flava”, we are not only talking about

strategy for India, Bangladesh and Nepal. This will be our first entry

the unique Chicken Xpress South African taste, but also the Flava

into Asia, where we see CX growing across the entire continent as

within you that makes you stand out from the rest. Be confident in

it is currently doing across Africa.”

your Flava - Trust the Flava.”

India isn’t the only place seeing exciting change for Chicken

“We also focus on the Flava within the community that a store is

Xpress, with their new stores both abroad and at home the front

situated in. We are focusing more on individualizing and localizing

line for the company’s innovations. One such innovation has been

our stores; for example, through interior design, certain parts of

the introduction of 24-hour Drive-Thrus, which were opened to

our stores will abstractly tell a story about the area they are in. We

the public at the end of March this year, thus making the brand

are also adapting our stores to reflect our local customers’ taste

accessible to all potential customers. The Drive-Thrus join CX’s

preferences. For example, some of our stores have a hotter “SHISA”

family of service formats, including their traditional QSR stores,

Flava than others, due to the area’s customer preferences. We also

44 | Endeavour Magazine




9:46 AM









Endeavour Magazine | 45

CHICKEN XPRESS offer our franchisees unique local store specials and marketing

their businesses over time. “We believe that franchising provides

advice to suit the area that they are in.”

a structured and sustainable platform for entrepreneurs to grow

Well aware that first impressions are everything, Chicken Xpress have been pouring the majority of their attention into their

and enhance their business skills, while providing job creation and economic growth.”

new stores, from their smooth set-up, to their unique local designs,

This will be CX’s first store in Uganda, and from here, they

to throwing spectacular, crowd-drawing openings to welcome the

look to not only grow throughout Uganda, but also across the East

location into the community. The festivities usually involve live DJs,

African region. “While other western, off-continent brands have

‘Spin ‘n Wins’ giving away deals and prizes, and specials offers that

come into the region, our brand is one that is truly built for Africa.

allow everyone attending the opportunity to enjoy their menus.

We combine smaller format stores, with a localised approach to our

“We have focused a lot in our store openings - to make the biggest and best first impression and to maintain that standard

menu offerings, branding and community development across the continent.”

throughout. We show the customers our Flava - we have the Flava

The vibrancy of CX’s store openings reflects the attitude

and we are the Flava. We make sure everyone around our store is

and energy that has seen Chicken Xpress win the hearts of their

having a good time, from adults to young kids. We make the area

customers and cement themselves as one of the nation’s most

around us buzz.”

loved QSR brands. They have also achieved this through their

It sounds like a party! One of these many planned openings

community outreach: as well as promoting growth through

will be Chicken Xpress’ first store in Kampala, Uganda, in February

employment and the sourcing of local ingredients, CX supports

2018. The site will be situated next to a busy Shell Petrol Station, in

young sportspeople throughout the country via the sponsorship of

one of the busiest parts of the city, and used as an entry point into

soccer kits and other items for schools and clubs. On top of this,

the Ugandan market. Uganda was recently voted one of the most

they are also involved in community initiatives such as charitable

entrepreneurial countries in the world, but it is still an emerging

work with ‘Feed A Child Feed A Nation’, through whom CX feed

economy, and entrepreneurs still need assistance in growing

underprivileged school children once a month. Recently, they also


46 | Endeavour Magazine

teamed up with Mpact Recycling for a Mandela Day initiative, in

continued. “I also enjoy the company ethos, which allows quick

which they provided over 1000 meals for Troyeville Primary School.

decisions that enhance and grow the brand.”

Donna Noble, Communications Manager for Mpact Recycling, said

On top of the developments we’ve already looked out, Cook

of the initiative: “We chose Troyeville Primary School specifically

plans to make ongoing improvements in CX’s supply chain,

because we wanted to brighten the lives of children in one of

distribution and operational systems to enhance their profitability.

Johannesburg’s disadvantaged areas.” According to Delon, this

As he joked, “This is very tongue in cheek, but unless you are

collaboration was the first of many new charitable efforts for

the lead dog, the view never changes!” They are certainly choice

Chicken Xpress: “We have massive plans to increase our charity

words, but ones that reflect Cook’s playfulness as well as his

initiatives and community participations for the years to come.”

serious ambition for the company – traits that suit CX’s fun-loving

As a modern and dynamic brand, Chicken Xpress know the

professionalism perfectly. On a more serious note, Cook added, “I

importance of staying fresh and moving forwards. Even so, this

like Richard Branson’s words - ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they

has been an impressive period of change for the company, with

are too small.’” We couldn’t put it better ourselves. Chicken Xpress

developments occurring across the board. In part, this has been

are definitely dreaming big, but the six-year-old company are in the

prompted by their change in COO. Chris Cook had over 20 years of

perfect position to use the foundation they have built and launch

experience in QSR top brands before coming to Chicken Xpress. He

themselves to the next level. With a passionate new COO at the

left a 100-store KFC franchise group in order to join CX, leaving the

helm, there’s no holding back.

corporate structure in favour of a smaller, vibrant, up and coming brand with huge potential. “I have been very impressed with the sheer volume of interest in the brand,” Cook noted; whilst CX has nowhere near KFC’s scale, they are well-loved in every area they reach. “CX is very well placed to return investment in a competitive QSR environment with significantly lower investment costs,” Cook

Endeavour Magazine | 47


DIGGING DEEPER Last month, we spoke with Jindal Africa to learn about their plans for Jindal’s freshest African frontiers. This month, we got to know the new CEO of Jindal Africa, to see how these operations fit into a bigger, booming picture for the Jindal Group. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER

JINDAL AFRICA An offshoot of the India-based Jindal Group, Jindal Africa

predominantly focuses its efforts on mining. Headquartered in South Africa, with operations in some of Africa’s most resource-rich countries, the company sources and mines coal for both its parent company and the global market. As we touched on last month, Jindal Africa has several budding new ventures, including developing assets in Namibia and Cameroon and a potential power plant planned for Mozambique and Botswana. However, their two main areas of focus are its operations in South Africa and Mozambique.


e returned to Jindal to speak with Jona Pillay, company CEO, to talk about these larger-scale sites:

Given the competitive nature of the sector, Jindal Africa has a challenge on its hands in setting itself apart from its rivals. “It’s all

“We have two main operations – one in South Africa,

down to being cost effective. We’ve been doing a lot of initiatives

where we’re specifically mining for anthracite coal, and in the Tete

in terms of keeping costs down – upscaling our people, refusing

province of Mozambique, where we are mining for coking coal and

unnecessary expenditure. Once your costs are driven to the right

thermal coal. Our coking coal supplies our parent company in India,

efficiencies, you can compete in the market on price.

whilst the thermal coal is sold on the global market. Output from the South African mine is sold both locally and internationally.”

Initiatives such as the new projects in Mozambique play an essential role in keeping Jindal Africa efficient, cost effective and at

Mozambique, in particular, is the focus of several development

the top of their game. Between competition and a market with an

initiatives for Jindal. One project is the expansion of the area’s

unstable recent history, one would expect Jona to have concerns.

downstream mining activities, such as their coal washeries, which is

However, an experienced hand at the field, he knows how to read

predicted to double in capacity by the first quarter 2018 and bring

his market, and he isn’t worried; “I think prices are relatively stable.

about great cost advantages.

They are obviously volatile from time to time, but currently we find

This would be impressive enough, but it is not even the

that, specifically for thermal coal, they are at a very stable level.”

company’s most ambitious project in the country. Jona divulged:

For coking coal, it is a different story, as the market has been

“We’re in discussions with the government of Mozambique about

far from steady. “On the coking coal side, we’ve seen two phases

setting up a 150 MW power plant. From the coal we actually mine

where the impact of China drove prices all the way up to $300 per

out, 70% is ‘discard coal’ – coal we have no use for. However, it is

ton, and then it came down as fast as it went up. So, before we

good coal for power plant consumption.” The new plant would both

could even reap the benefits of the very high price, the price was

improve profits for Jindal Africa and would greatly reduce waste, as

coming down. The same thing happened a few months later, when

well as providing much needed power and employment in the area.

Australia had the flooding and the coking coal prices increased

“The economics for the power plant are favourable – especially in a

exponentially, but it also came down just as fast.” Again, this lack

country like Mozambique, which has a power deficit. It will play well

of stability doesn’t have Jona worried – he knows that a skilled

into the power pool.” It is a win-win situation. In fact, Jona believes

company creates its own. Between their coking coal largely being

that both projects will be a boon to the country’s economics, as

consumed by the Jindal Group, and this coal type being a hard-to-

well as Jindal Africa’s efficiency and profit margins.

come-by resource in Africa, these problematic conditions have had

50 | Endeavour Magazine

JINDAL AFRICA a minimal effect on sales. Meanwhile, Jindal Africa’s thermal coal

business and will soon reap the rewards on our top and bottom line.

and Anthracite coal are well sought-after, so it’s highly acceptable

With such fast results, Jona is clearly doing something right.

in the market. “Overall, we have a good bouquet of products that

Good leadership from a CEO calls for experience in the field and

is well received.”

shrewd business sense, but it also requires the right approach with

Being part of the larger Jindal family puts Jindal Africa in an

staff. “My philosophy is to empower, but to also hold accountable.

ideal position, providing them with security without smothering

I normally give free reign to the team to do what’s right for the

their operational freedom. Jindal Africa’s relationship with its

business. Obviously, I set directions and goals, and set priorities

parent company is close but separate. As the main purchaser of

so they’re not cluttered with 20 different things, but once that is

their Mozambique mine’s coking coal, there is naturally a great

established, I let them go. Then, I look at the results. I look at the

deal of back and forth over order placement, delivery, commercial

scoreboard all the time – the scoreboard matters. When dealing

terms and similar. In most other areas, the Indian parent entrusts

with his subordinates he believes in “tough love”.

Jindal Africa’s operations to its staff. “On any given day, we operate

Whilst tough love is an excellent strategy for encouraging and

independently. Decisions are taken here in Africa – we deal with

developing staff, Jindal Africa is not holding back on the love when

the local communities, local stakeholders, local customers.” Matters

it comes to developing their local communities. The Matafuleni

such as HR and PR are run past India for guidance and company

Early Childhood Development Centre, inaugurated by Jona in

cohesion, but the Indian company has the wisdom to know that

September, was the latest in many community improvement

local matters are best left to local minds that have the insight and

projects funded and organised by Jindal Africa. The company

feet on the ground to make those calls.

works to improve the quality of life in the areas around their mines:

Heading up those calls is Jona; before he was recruited for

“These very remote villages. We provide soccer fields for the kids,

Jindal, the CEO worked in coal-to-liquid operations for 16 years,

some fencing at schools, medical camps regarding HIV and cancer

leaving him more than qualified for the position. Although this

– we keep engaging in many activities.” In the case of the Early

experience was mostly in India, the South African local didn’t take long to re-acquaint himself with his home market. Jona was hired by the parent company between 2010 and 2017 to help with their most ambitious project at the time - India’s very first coal gasification plant. The plan for the plant was an ambitious, first-ofits-kind process that would turn the coal into gas, and the gas was used in its Steel producing plant as a reduction gas. The plant was

IMVUKUZANE CONSTRUCTION CC Construction Of Residential And Non-Residential Buildings

designed to run on India’s indigenous coal for energy security, and it was intended to be the first of many in the country. Jona spent four and a half years on the project, which came to completion in end 2014. Prompted by the project’s success, Jona was appointed as Executive Director for Steel Projects where he was involved in the company’s most ambitious 6 million ton per annum integrated Steel plant in Orissa Angul - India where the company constructed India’s largest Blast Furnace. “By qualification, I’m a chemical engineer, so it’s a very diverse portfolio from petrochemical to steel to mining. When I went to India, that was quite challenging – it was a new country – but coming back to South Africa, because it’s home, you settle in easier.

Proud to be working with Jindal Africa

I got on top of things quite quickly.” Jona hasn’t wasted time – he has only held the position for a few months, but his progress as CEO is already measurable. “We went through a very rigid exercise of minimising costs, streamlining the business, improving efficiencies and improving the overall morale levels of our workforce and key stakeholders. In the last four months, we’ve already seen a sudden increase in production stability: much higher volumes, better outputs, better efficiencies. We’ve made big changes all around the 52 | Endeavour Magazine

102 Kenton Close, 4091 Durban - Wiggins KwaZulu-Natal - South Africa 031 562 3133

Childhood Development Centre, Jindal Africa saw a nursery in one of the areas neighbouring their mines that was in desperate need of a new building – so they bought some land and constructed it for them. “The local community had a nursery school for 50 kids. They were basically operating from a rough tin construction, so we decided to buy them a portion of land and built them a nice brick building that could accommodate 50 kids. We got it all kitted out, then invited the community and handed over the keys to the local

Empowering Local Women

leadership there. The kids were extremely happy with it.” Jona has only recently arrived at Jindal Africa’s helm, but already the results are showing both for the company and the community at large. Given the efficiency and savings achieved in so short a time, the future for Jindal’s African operations are more than promising. If they can continue to streamline and cut out unnecessary costs, their secure place in the market could turn into a highly competitive position. Who knows which giants they may be taking on in the future? We look forward to catching up with them again to find out!

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Endeavour Magazine | 53


ROCK SOLID South Africa is a hub for many mining operations, and yet granite isn’t one we often discuss. DLA Investments are changing this, providing a persistent and dependable supply of product, of surprisingly homogeneous quality. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Mining for granite and marble is considered one of the

oldest industries in our history, with the organised, large-scale practise dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. The materials are still mined today, now sought the world over, with granite exporters found in China, Italy, India, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Spain, the United States and, of course, Africa.


ncient Egypt utilised its granite to build vast and world-famous monuments that survived the sands of time: some of the most notable include Menkaure’s Pyramid, circa 26th century

BC, which combined granite and limestone, the Great Pyramid of Giza’s famous sarcophagus fashioned of Red Aswan granite, and the granite capstone to Amenemhat III’s Black Pyramid, now found in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. These examples were just some of the many uses of granite, which was mined using slave labour and carved to create columns, door lintels, window sills, wall and floor veneers and many other details adorning Ancient Egyptian architecture. Whilst they undertook the oldest practise of this scale, Egypt was not the only country to heavily feature granite in early construction. The material became an integral part of Ancient Roman architecture, and even when their reserves thinned, they began to recycle and re-use the stone, implementing it for statues, houses of status, public buildings and temples. However, the world’s first entirely granite temple was construction in South India in the 11th Century AD, under the rule of the Chola Dynasty’s Rajaraja Chola I. The Brihadeeswarar Temple, built in Tanjore in 1010, was dedicated to Lord Shiva and was the tallest temple standing in South India at the time. The Gopuram alone – an ornate upper section to the temple’s shrine – is estimated to weight around 81 tonnes! Whilst we no longer use granite so excessively, it still has a place in modern architecture. Its resilience and impressive appearance

56 | Endeavour Magazine

DLA INVESTMENTS GRANITE QUARRIES has kept the stone a popular choice for monuments and memorials,

quarry is designed to provide a constant supply of granite. We

and also as a decorative tile and dimension stone for public and

have plentiful reserves to sustain long term future delivery. We are

commercial buildings. However, its uses aren’t purely for pomp;

also committed to operating within an environmentally sustainable

granite is an extremely hardy stone, and as such, a highly practical

framework by adopting responsible environmental care principles

one. Its weight and cost has seen modern materials replace it in

throughout the life cycle of our activities, including rehabilitation of

some contexts, but it is still a popular choice for engineers when it

the land.” This after-care for the land reflects a responsible attitude

comes to purchasing reliable surface plates. Used as a platform for

that extends to all areas of the company’s operations. Not only

precision work, it is essential for surface plates to be solid, resilient

protecting their product and the environment, DLA are also careful

and perfectly smooth, the flat surface needing to be accurate up to

to protect their workforce, stating that “management is active in

0.00001 inches. This is why granite remains a popular choice.

ensuring a safe, healthy and financially secure environment for all

This is also where DLA Investments Granite Quarries (DLA)

of our employees.”

comes in. South Africa, and Africa as a continent, are well known for

DLA’s conscientiousness does not stop there, but instead

their mining, including but not limited to world-famous diamonds,

extends beyond their work practises and the consequences

gold and coal. However, since Egypt’s early claim to fame, Africa

entirely, to include generous and empowering care for the local

is not well known for granite. Whilst this may be the case, the

community. Working particularly closely with the people of

continent certainly has granite to mine; DLA, based in South Africa

Sonop, the site of DLA’s first quarry, the company has sponsored

and affiliated with Afrika National Granite Ltd, claim that their

and been involved in many initiatives seeking to further the

own supplies are plentiful. On top of this, they are currently the

education of local children. For example, in partnership with non-

only quarry in South Africa that can produce blocks suitable for

profit organization The Better Living Foundation, DLA sponsored

manufacturing into surface plates. They are able to provide first

educational seminars on drug awareness for the students at Sonop

grade materials to surface plate manufacturers in blocks up to 15m

Primary School. Additionally, in partnership with the One Book One

in length, with a maximum of 70 tons per block. Whilst their granite

Learner project, DLA delivered workshops to both the teachers and

is sold and exported for all purposes, this ability to manufacture industry-ready surface plates that is putting DLA on the granite map. Granite is a natural material, and as such, is subject to variations in colour and properties. Even so DLA are remarkably confident in their material’s consistency, boasting that it is extremely steady throughout. This makes their mines a desirable source, as the fewer variables in a supplier’s product, the easier it is for their clients to plan and work efficiently. In this case, the apparently unvarying stone is an “unfractured medium grained dark grey rock, consisting of phenocryst of grey and black minerals”, according to DLA’s official description. The company can provide this stone to its clients as gangsaw blocks of raw material cut to any size and dimension up to 10m. DLA’s granite is sold both locally and on the export market. In fact, the division is pretty equally split, with around 50% of DLA’s market found within South Africa and the other 50% arranged through agents in Taiwan, North America and Eastern Europe. Today, DLA is run by Director Greta Del Sal, who took over the company in 2014. DLA currently has five quarries in operation, a remarkable four of which were opened since Greta took over leadership three years ago. The impact of this vast and gutsy expansion is already clear: production has doubled, with an even higher return likely in the years to come. To make the most of their new resources, DLA also recently invested heavily in new equipment from Barloworld. In particular, this equipment was intended for two of their four new mines, both of which only opened within the last year. DLA are thinking ahead, considering the sustainability not only of their operations and delivery for their clients, but also the ongoing environmental sustainability of the land they mine. “Our 58 | Endeavour Magazine

primary school students at the school after they became aware that many students were struggling with learning maths. The company had this to say about the initiative: “This unique project has yielded great results across South Africa. Students are now taught that maths is a language like any other, and they were shown how to use their personal maths dictionaries so that they can understand all the concepts and terminology they need in order to do well.” The workshops were an incredible success, not only on the day, but in the ongoing benefits they yielded for students: “For the Grade 7 learners, 92% improved their results by an average of 26%, which is exceptional.” The results show a genuine difference made in the lives of these children – in other words, the future employees and entrepreneurs of the area. “We wanted to contribute to our local community and give the children all the gains possible. Through education, we are doing our part to revitalize our nation by empowering our youth with knowledge.” This support not only contributes to a more secure future for these children, but by extension, the country and continent as a whole. As DLA continues to mine its reliable product, they will continue to do their part in supporting the Africa of tomorrow, in the hopes it can that it can someday soon be as solid and consistent as the granite they export.

Harlen Quarry Supplies are a consumables supplier to the dimension stone and construction industries in Southern Africa.

We carry a full range of consumables which includes: • Diamond Wire • Rock Breaking Chemical “Nex-Pand” • AXT crown, reaming shells and rods • 100% Carburized drill steels • A full range of Knock off drill bits and Directional drill bits • DTH Hammers and bits • Hydro bags • Granitex and fuses (2.0m and 3.5m) • Wet and Dry Hava Rock drills

Building P5200, Gate 1 Necsa Industrial Estate Pelindaba, Broederstroom 0240, South Africa Tel: 012-305-5237 Mobile: +27 83-616-0523 - Dustin Endeavour Magazine | 59


A SMART INVESTMENT The Information Technology sector is exploding, with not only the future of business but the very systems by which we run our lives to play for. As data becomes the new currency, it is a sector that any economy looking for a boost, and Kenya has now intention of missing out on the opportunity. We took a look at their long-term plans for the country, and in particular, their plans for Konza City. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Konza Technology City is designed to be a sustainable,

world-class technology hub and a major economic driver for Kenya. When complete, the ultra-modern city will house a vibrant mix of businesses, residences, and urban amenities, in the aims to create a smart city that workers from around Kenya and the wider world will be desperate to work and live in.


he project is the brain-child of the Kenya Government and

a strong technologies industry in Nairobi, which places Kenya in a

the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA). The

good position to explore this opportunity and change the state of

city not only designed to join the wave of smart technology

play for its economy and its place in the global trading world.

cities cropping up and raising living standards around the world,

Looking far ahead, the Government of Kenya hired the

most notably in India and the Middle East, but it is also intended to

International Finance Corporation in 2009 to advise on the

form a global technology hub. This hub will focus on four economic

development of a smart city that could grow this and other

sectors that the Kenya Government feel will boost technological

technology industries in Kenya. Following these consultations,

growth for the country: education, life sciences, telecoms, and

the Government then commissioned feasibility studies that

Business Processing Outsourcing and Information Technology

demonstrated the viability of this plan, the focus on BPO/ITES,

Enabled Services (BPO/ITES).

and its potential contributions to local economic development. The

Konza City will be located in Makueni County, 60 kilometres

initial feasibility and concept master plan was prepared by Deloitte

from Nairobi on 5,000 acres of land formerly known as Malili Ranch.

and Pell Frischmann, a United Kingdom based consultancy. Finally,

This ambitious development was proposed in 2009 as part of the

still in 2009, the Konza Technology City project was initiated.

Kenya Vision 2030 push. As a flagship project for the initiative,

So what is a ‘smart city’? The latest global movement in urban

it is believed that its completion will contribute towards making

planning, ‘smart cities’ are built with an integrated information and

Kenya a more competitive and prosperous nation, and towards the

communication technology network that supports the delivery of

Vision’s economic aim of attaining Kenya a middle-income status

connected urban services and allows for efficient management of

by 2030. This ‘Economic Pillar’ of the Vision intends to achieve this

those services on a large scale. Specifically, a smart city framework

goal by encouraging an average economic growth rate of 10 per

will integrate the following four key city services: Infrastructure

cent per annum until this year, and is just one of three prongs to

services such as transportation, utilities, environmental and public

the country’s total goals (the other two being social and political).

safety services; citizen services such as access and participation;

As part of this vision, Konza will be a sustainable, world class

city services such as city information, planning and development;

technology hub and major economic driver for Kenya. Konza

and finally, business services that will support the operations of the

was initially conceived to capture the growing global Business

industry and commerce hub.

Processing Outsourcing and Information Technology Enabled

How will it work, though? Konza will gather data from smart

Services (BPO/ITES) sectors in Kenya. BPO/ITES business produced

devices and sensors embedded around the city, such as on

US$110 billion in revenues in 2010, and these revenues had tripled

roadways and in buildings. This data will then be shared via a smart

by 2015. Currently, Africa attracts only 1% of the total revenues

communications system and be analyzed by software that delivers

from this growing, highly profitable industry – a fact that Kenya

valuable information and digitally enhanced services to Konza’s

plans to change. To date, only a few countries in Africa are actively

population. For example, roadway sensors will be able to monitor

working to develop their BPO/ITES businesses, including South

pedestrian and automobile traffic, and adjust traffic light timing

Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana and Mauritius. However, there is

accordingly to optimize traffic flows.

62 | Endeavour Magazine

Formed in 1921, the ICM Group are a family of leading industrial companies. Mainly operating in the construction sector, our reputation is known throughout in Italy and abroad. Each of our companies draw on a heritage of professional experience and innovative technologies, so that as a whole, we represent your best guarantee of operational efficiency. Under the ICM umbrella, every company has honed its own realm of expertise, and each one belongs to a prestigious local or international association or body. ICM’s strength as a Group comes from a series of factors: we value and utilize our human resources, providing accurate professional training; we constantly deepen and expand our armoury of specialisations, meaning we have your every need covered; we operate with great flexibility, and our relationships with our customers are based on efficiency, punctuality and quality. The ICM Group are constantly engaged in large works of civil, industrial and infrastructure engineering. On top of that, we also operate in environmental problems resolution, real estate and the financial field. In Italy, we are one of the leading fifteen General Italian companies and two hundred international companies in terms of sales, employee numbers and portfolio of orders.

Konza Techno City, Kenya The Company, with their innovative to the region technical proposals, has been awarded the Engineering, procurement, Construction including Finance of Infrastructure Development for Phase 1 of Konza Techno City, teaming up with the Konza Tehhnopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) in developing an Smart City. The project is valued at EUR 391 million and is of 42 months’ duration with a delivery of the works by January 2021. The project includes the design and implementation of all public infrastructure, including earthworks and road works, water and electricity networks, waste collection system and sorting facility, fire and police station, bus transit hub, security facilities. ICM are proud to be part in the start up of the Konza Techno City’s development, and to share our expertise in Quality, Health, Safety and Enviroment management in the construction industry with KoTDA and the local Government and its various Agencies.

KONZA TECHNOPOLIS CITY This technology will go both ways: Konza’s population will

phase and the city as a whole will be developed as a public private

also have access to certain parts of the collected data, which

partnership, in which the Government will take a minimal role, thus

may include traffic maps, emergency warnings and information of

leaving room for prosperous investment and job creation for the

efficient uses of power and utilities. By leveraging the smart city

private sector.

framework, Konza aims to be able to optimize its city services and

Long-term, Konza is expected to house 260,000 people. This

create a sustainable city that responds directly to the needs of its

will include Kenyan professionals, and business people from further

residents, workers, and visitors. This is a complex system to put in

afield, hopefully attracted by the developing technology and

place, but Konza plans to learn from the best, taking lessons from

opportunities made possible by this new hub. It is positive to see

existing smart city frameworks including those in Spain, Singapore,

such initiative and financial investment being poured into Kenya

The Netherlands and Brazil.

from its government, and with the private sector wielding such

Phase 1 of construction for Konza City is now beginning

control over the project, its progress will hopefully be unhindered

to get underway. The first step of this phase is an Engineering,

by the country’s recently political upheaval. As many countries

Procurement, Construction and Finance (EPCF) contract to cover

are realising, the private sector has a strong hand to play, both in

the essential infrastructure development for the area, thus preparing

community support and charitable efforts, and in injecting much-

the way for further building work. The design and supervision for

needed movement and innovation into economies yearning for a

the project will be carried out by engineering consultants Technital,

boost. In Konza Techno City, the Kenyan Government has given

with the financing carried out by Unicredit and the construction

their country’s businesses a platform from which to empower

work itself being handled by the ICM Group. Once complete, it is

themselves and create growth.

expected that Phase 1 will create over 20,000 direct and indirect

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day, but once Kenya’s first

jobs. The development will include mixed-income housing, retail,

smart city comes together, who knows how far the effects of this

a hotel, school, clinic, community centre, and police station. This

employment and investment will spread?

66 | Endeavour Magazine

TANESCO WWW.TANESCO.CO.TZ // 255 022 2451130

LIGHTING UP YOUR LIFE With the Tanzanian Government set to heavily reinvest in the energy sector over the coming years, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited is ready and able to handle the surge, just as it has done consistently since its inception in 1933. Endeavour Magazine decided to find out what all the buzz is about. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) came

about as a result of a complex and involved evolution process, but we’ll try to give you the condensed version. In 1931, two energy companies were brought into being: TANESCO and DARESCO. Each was focused on supplying energy to different regions and, as you’ve probably guessed, following a period of political change, the two were eventually merged under TANESCO.


he merger was completed in 1968, and as the Government of

energy companies, but in the case of TANESCO, they become

Tanzania already owned shares in both individual enterprises,

utterly unavoidable, as there are three essential core functions

it naturally took up position as the sole shareholder of the

being managed: generation, transmission and distribution.

newly evolved TANESCO. Taking the better known of the two

The generation of power at TANESCO is managed via hydro and

company names, the new entity embraced TANESCO’s existing

thermal technologies. Power is created at a number of National Grid

reputation, the familiar name offering reassurance to its customers

and off-grid stations, as well as independent producers that feed in

moving forwards.

to the pool. This network of energy production is critical in order

What followed was years of diversification, development and

to supply the transmission arm of TANESCO, which in turn supplies

service improvements, and while the directives carried out by the

residential and commercial customers. With 50 substations up and

team at TANESCO are far too numerous to name individually, it is

running, connected by 5817km of transmission lines, you might

worth noting that the views of the public have never been ignored.

think that the transmission elements are fully catered for already,

As a Government-owned operation, the company has a duty of

but expansion is on-going for this part of the organisation to ensure

care to the residents in the region. Therefore, when an issue with

that nobody goes without power. As residential areas expand, the

the services was highlighted, action was immediately taken:

demand for power will as well, so the need to develop the supply

“In 1999, the Government decided to unbundle and privatise

is constant.

TANESCO to promote efficiency, private sector participation and

The final sub-section of TANESCO is arguably the most

the introduction of competition in the electricity market. In 2002,

important, which the team absolutely acknowledges: “The

private consultancy Net Group Solutions of South Africa was given

marketing business unit stands at the customer end of the

a management services contract to run TANESCO. However,

electricity supply chain and is therefore TANESCO’s major interface

in 2006, the Tanzanian Government decided not to renew the

with customers. It deals with distribution of electricity, promotion

contract because of poor performance. Tanzania was dissatisfied

of services and all customer service matters. The unit is headed by a

with the quality of management provided by Net Group Solutions

General Manager who is assisted by two senior managers; a senior

and added that the Government was obliged to listen to the views

manager for marketing and customer service on the one hand, and

of the public following complaints about the quality of service

a senior manager for distribution on the other.”

being offered by TANESCO.” Of course, service expectations are critical when discussing 70 | Endeavour Magazine

Whilst offering the best in customer service is clearly a huge priority, it is interesting to note how the split between residential













Implementation of : 3,650 connections, 695 km of MV/LV lines, 185 MV/ LV substations & 10,000 prepayment meters.

Implementation of : 337 km of MV/LV lines & 41 MV/ LV substations. Supervision of construction works of 110 kV line & associated substation.

Supervision of construction works of a 60 MW diesel Power Plant & a 66/90 kV network. Repair of the 90 kV HV line connecting N’Djamena & Gassi substations.

TANESCO and industrial clients looks. You might think that the majority of

a number of tenders are currently being considered, which means

TANESCO’s revenue would come from domestic supply, but in

more transmission lines, extra sub-stations and improved service.

actual fact, it is Large Power Users (LPUs) that are bringing in the

In addition, some greener initiatives are also going to gain focussed

lion share: “It is estimated that over 80% of all the revenue is earned

attention - in particular, the use of environmentally friendly poles

from only 1,700 Large Power Users (LPUs) who form 0.24% of all

for their power lines in place of trees.

customers countrywide. LPUs are those customers that consume over 7,500kWh per month.”

Claiming to “light up your life” is a bold statement, but TANESCO is more than up to the challenge. A heady combination

When you understand this, it becomes even more impressive

of innovative leadership, a quality product, reliable distribution

that the management team, lead by the visionary Dr. Tito Mwinuka,

and dedicated customer satisfaction professionals all means that

seeks to maintain a focus on the satisfaction of every consumer,

Tanzania can rest easy. Whenever a switch is flicked, there will be

and not just those large users that generate the most profit.

power behind it, and in the unlikely event that there isn’t, there’s a

Then again, we are discussing a government-owned company

dedicated professional at the end of the phone or an email waiting

that runs in accordance with a mission to “generate, transmit

to help. If that’s not enough of a reason to understand the buzz

and supply electricity in the most effective, competitive and

surrounding TANESCO, then we don’t know what is.

sustainable manner possible”. More than that, TANESCO seeks to, “be an efficient and commercially focused utility supporting the development of Tanzania”. So, how will TANESCO move into 2018? The short answer is efficiently and with a good dose of energy, but looking at things in more detail, with a number of potential developments and expansions. Taking a look at the procurement list alone shows that

72 | Endeavour Magazine


SPECIALISTS IN SAFEGUARDING Evolving any region in the world takes infrastructure development and talented construction professionals, but who’s watching over these groups? In the case of Tanzania, it’s the Association of Citizen Contractors; Endeavour Magazine decided to look at the association a little closer, to see how they are supporting their country’s industry. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


It can be difficult to determine exactly what certain

associations do or who they have been set up to protect, but in the case of the Association of Citizen Contractors Tanzania (ACCT), the directives are exceptionally clear. Founded in February 2011, ACCT has come into being both to safeguard Tanzanian contractors and encourage exemplar professionalism from them as well.


hen you think about the complexities of modern

Ride Investment Co.Ltd Building & Civil Engineering Contractors & General Supplies







reassuring to know that respected associations are put

in place to oversee the levels of dedication and professionalism required. ACCT is very vocal in terms of what it hopes to achieve in this regard: “ACCT aims to be the leading construction industry representative body in Tanzania and east Africa. We want to promote the image of local contractors by enabling members to deliver a professional construction service and create a fair environment that is conducive to the profitable and efficient operation of contracting business, to the benefit of both members and their clients.” We know that trade associations tend to protect the interests of members only, but here, there is a genuine sense of stewardship towards clients as well as contractors. This responsibility is inspired by the associations’ core values, which run themes of trust, integrity, respect and quality workmanship through ACCT’s very core. Knowing what the association aims to do leads us to ask who can actually join. ACCT reveals that there are two different types of membership available: “There are two types of membership namely;

P.O.Box 866, Iringa, P.O.Box 15931 Dar es Salaam-Tanzania, Mob: 0753 430028 / 0784 442 292 / 0653 207755 Email: ride_incltd@yahoo.co_uk 76 | Endeavour Magazine

ordinary members and affiliate members. Ordinary members are all local contractors registered with the Contractor’s Registration Board (CRB). All categories and classes are eligible. Affiliate members are those who are construction materials and

ASSOCIATION OF CITIZEN CONTRACTORS TANZANIA (ACCT) equipment suppliers, construction materials manufacturers and

country to address current challenges facing contractors and have

financial institutions, i.e. banks and insurance companies.”

a round table dialogue with relevant Government bodies to discuss

Basically, if you are even remotely connected to the construction

how to solve them.”

industry, there is a membership waiting for you and if you choose

ACCT’s goals support the belief that communication, education

to join. This blanket approach is vital for creating a universally

and interaction are the building blocks of a better future - all of which

agreed set of best practice rules, whilst encouraging everyone to

is also supported by their long-term goals: “Our long-term goals are

take responsibility for his or her individual parts; each member is

to establish an association’s bank, to open a tailor-made vocational

bound by the same stringent standards and codes of practice as

training college for all construction trades, to establish commercial

everybody else.

investment to enable the sustainability of the association and to

Overseen by a diverse committee of construction industry

help citizen contractors to tender for work internationally.”

experts, ACCT has a number of realistic short-term goals in place,

Essentially, we read these goals much like a shopping list for

as well as long-term agendas that are always being worked towards.

guaranteed success, profit and satisfaction for everybody within

Each goal seems simplistic, but when you combine them all

and touched by the construction industry. There’s no downside,

together, you get an idea of exactly how the Tanzanian construction

other than the time it will take to see them through. In particular,

industry could work if everyone chipped in and committed to

it is beneficial to have round-table discussions in any industry,

doing their part. The name of the game is transparency, pride and

as communication and the sharing of ideas lead to the natural

accountability, both in the short and long-term;

evolution of bigger and better solutions. However, joining ACCT

“Our short-term goals are to prepare and organise tailored

also has a number of other fantastic benefits. For example, “When

training for members, to develop links with suppliers and

you become a member of ACCT you will easily access tender

manufacturers of construction materials and equipment, and to

information, industry intelligence, mediation services, contract

connect with other contractors’ associations within and outside the

downloads, cost reductions and credibility.”

78 | Endeavour Magazine

There are many more upsides to becoming an ACCT member, but these are some of the most important. It goes without saying that having a one-stop resource would be exceptionally useful in any industry, but given how fluid and ever-changing construction is, having that portal that allows you to download legislation and

Corporate and Commercial, Banking and Finance, Real Estate and Investment, Labour, Employment and Commercial, Tax and General Civil Litigations

even contract templates is immeasurably handy. It’s also true that companies naturally enjoy a higher profile and greater sense of credibility once a professional association membership has been granted. Project support is also offered in the sense of supplier discounts being leveraged. This is an invaluable helping hand for any fledgling or established construction professional, as is the ability to apply for working capital from banking institutions with the full support of a recognised trade association. With a constant need for new and improved infrastructure, affordable housing and commercial properties, Tanzania is not going to let up in terms of construction demands. Therefore, it is vital that there is a governing body of sorts, or at least a watchful eye that makes sure everyone is doing their bit to maintain the good name and reputation of the industry. ACCT is that watchful eye and it has seriously ambitious plans to help every one of its members. We can’t wait to see their plans come to fruition.



P.O.Box 80223, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tel: (+255) 758833340 E-mail: Website:

Endeavour Magazine | 79


EXPERIENCE THE SUPPORT Heavy equipment goes handin-hand with both the mining and construction industry but it is the agricultural sector that demands machinery more extensively, to sustain the world’s food production. As one of the earliest industries to require the development of machinery, agriculture remains an essential and profitable component of the industry at large, the world-over. WRITTEN BY ALICE INSTONE-BREWER


Across the African continent, agriculture provides

livelihoods for many, most still with scattered small to medium sized enterprises that rely largely on the support of their associations to maximise their potential. Kanu Equipment has been well received within these markets with their readiness to provide this much-needed support for optimum output.


t didn’t take long for Kanu Equipment to get their core message

provides a wide range of replacement parts to minimise this risk.

across to their customers. Founded in 2012, the company has

They also offer skilled maintenance support with round-the-clock

built a firm reputation as a reliable organisation that cares, living

standby to ensure the machines are back in action as soon as

up to their ethos of service excellence. Kanu Equipment sells and

possible. This support system has won Kanu the loyalty of several

rents heavy equipment and related aftermarket replacement parts

world-class equipment brands, who are happy that their equipment

across Africa’s agricultural, forestry, mining, earthmoving and

is backed with the highest level of care. “We have longstanding,

construction sectors. They’ve taken their service offering to new

entrenched relationships with all of our OEM suppliers, but our

levels by providing exceptional customer service and maintenance

flagship equipment brands and companies include Liebherr, Bell,

that was sorely lacking in many regions.

Case and Terex-Finlay. We also work closely with Costex Tractor

We spoke with Stephen Smithyman, company founder and CEO,

Parts for aftermarket replacement parts, and Black Cat Wear Parts

about this after-sales care: “Our mission is to lower our customers’

as our ground engaging tools partner. These companies have all

cost of doing business. In part, that’s through the support that we

supported us tremendously since inception.”

provide. Our positioning statement is ‘Experience the Support”, as

Although Kanu is best known for its contribution to the

we have chosen to differentiate ourselves by being a service-with-

construction sector, their agricultural clients are just as prolific

support organization, adding value especially to our customers that

and it was in fact in this sector that the company began: “Our first

operate in the most challenging environment`s.

customer was in the sugar cane industry. We worked with Bell

For many agricultural operations, work is seasonally-dependant,

Equipment initially – they are one of the leading companies in

which means that there is a limited period where conditions are

terms of product range for this market sector. Most recently we’ve

favourable for operation. Machine downtime can be harvest-

expanded our equipment offering to include Case Agriculture

threatening and needs to be avoided at all costs. Fortunately Kanu

and we are now in the fortunate position to offer an array of

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KANU EQUIPMENT complimentary aftermarket spares to ensure that farmers and

but with our focus on service we have successfully navigated

Agribusinesses alike are fully supported”.

around these threats.”

The company started out in Congo, followed by expansion

One of the biggest obstacles Kanu has encountered, both in

into West Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Over an eight-month

terms of business and human endangerment, was the Ebola virus.

period, this was followed by a further push into Ghana, Liberia and

During an early period of expansion, Kanu found themselves

Sierra Leone “We basically started out in the hardest countries

immersed in a few territories that were struggling with this crisis,

to do business in, and then worked our way around.” The idea for

but rather than drawing back, they stood firm. Truly going above

the company came to Smithyman in Congo when he encountered

and beyond the call of duty, Kanu’s promise to its customers to

his own difficulties in hiring equipment for a mining exploration

provide support, no matter the conditions, prevailed. “We proved

project. “We were trying to find a bulldozer to rent. We couldn’t

that we were prepared to support or customers even in the midst

find one, and then when we eventually did, the rental rate was

of turmoil as many of our staff put their lives at risk to remain

really high.”


“What inspired me to start the company was that I saw a real

Whilst their mining and construction projects see them

lack of support for people who are running machines. The business

operating across the African continent, West and East Africa is by

opportunity presented itself as I realised that if we could simply

far their strongest market in terms of agriculture. With holdings

provide additional support and service to our customers, we

in sugar cane, cocoa, cotton and bananas, the Western territories

would succeed. We cover a variety of sectors, and the territorial

boast crops that attract investment and maintain the demand for

landscapes for each are dynamic. There can be no ‘one size fits all’

export. We have recently opened an office in San Pedro in Ivory

approach to tackle any obstacles. Africa as a whole is in a growth

Coast to support the growing Cocoa Business in that region.

phase, with threats to industry ranging from economic uncertainty to climate change to political instability. There is much competition

We have also commenced operations in Tanzania with Bell and Liebherr as we have seen great agricultural opportunity there.


The Puma tractor series is all about efficiency. With six models, ranging from 142 to 224 hp, Puma tractors provide the right amount of power for primary tillage, cultivation, planting and transport. Whether it’s spring or autumn work or pulling trailers, the Puma tractors’ outstanding power-to-weight ratio

84 | Endeavour Magazine

will deliver the precise output you need for top efficiency and fuel savings. The Puma range also features the revolutionary Continuously Variable Transmission. It is optionally available on the Puma 180 CVT, and as standard on the flagship Puma 225 CVT.

In an unpredictable market such as agriculture, it may seem unsurprising that Kanu are constantly expanding their reach. The ability to be on-the-ground with maintenance, supplies and support is key to what the company offers, and they are not afraid to take the necessary risks to uphold their promises. “I am driven to set goals and reach them,” Smithyman shares. “I am up early every morning ready to embrace new challenges. I don’t see a challenge as a threat, I see it as an opportunity to grow. Our staff are motivated and inspired to work for a company that is determined to make a positive impact on the continent’s development”. It is this passion that has been the driving force behind Kanu Equipment’s achievements this far, and will continue to carry them forward through whatever may come next. “Attitude is everything”, says Stephen, “With the right attitude, we have every reason to continue to soar”.

Endeavour Magazine | 85

KETRACO WWW.KETRACO.CO.KE // 00254 20 4956000

KENYA’S BRIGHTEST SPARK The result of a clever Kenyan Government mandate to simplify the electricity supply throughout the country, The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) was formed in 2004 and has been delivering reliable, cost-effective energy to the people ever since. Endeavour Magazine ignored all safety instructions and got down to the wire to find out more. WRITTEN BY AMY BUXTON


In no way does it sound simple to put an electricity

company in place, and the Kenyan Government had a real task on their hands when it came to superseding what was already in operation and splitting different composites of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) into specialist subsidiaries.


s they say, necessity is the mother of invention, “It was decided that a separate company wholly owned

by the government and funded by the exchequer be created

there is another driving force behind the inception - one with a far more socially responsible and personable element that befits any government that truly cares about the welfare of its people:

to construct future additional transmission lines. Unbundling KPLC

“Creation of the company also aimed to shield electricity

would have been challenging, owing to its status as a publicly

consumers from higher tariffs in future arising from construction

quoted company. The Government therefore registered The Kenya

of this expensive power transmission infrastructure. Projects

Electricity Transmission Company Limited in November 2008. Its

undertaken will be fully funded by the Government and no capital

core functions are to plan, design and construct, own, operate and

related expenses will be passed on to the consumer. Thus, the

maintain high-voltage electricity transmission lines and fiberoptic

transmission company will contribute to the improvement of power

cables. KPLC retained and continue to operate all previously

quality, supply and affordability.”

existing transmission systems.”

Now there’s a reason for the Kenyan people to get behind, and

In a bid to prevent an arduous task of breaking down and

how honest that it has been put forward alongside more commercial

reassigning previously managed projects, KETRACO was brought

rationale. Given that over 4,000km of high voltage transmission

in to look after new generation installations, which, naturally, will

infrastructure was just the first project for KETRACO, it seems

keep growing in number until they are the majority. The question

as though more reliable and affordable energy won’t simply be a

is, however, why did the need for this inspired solution come

pipe dream either; this WILL be a reality for Kenya and has all the

about at all?

makings of a fantastic bargaining chip for engaging in power trade

“The creation of KETRACO was necessitated by the desire of the

deals with neighbouring regions.

Government to transform power transmission into an open access

The Kenyan Government put a strict mandate in place for

system, to allow large electricity customers to purchase power from

KETRACO, in a bid to ensure that it would complete a number of

generators. With future interconnections of Kenya’s electricity

important functions as a matter of course. By taking ownership and

grid with Ethiopia, Tanzania and other Southern Africa Power Pool

responsibility for all aspects of high voltage electricity transmission

(SAPP) countries, and strengthening of the interconnection with

grids and regional power interconnectors, from planning through

Uganda through the Nile Equatorial Lakes Countries Electric Grids

to construction and maintenance, they are expected to form the

Interconnection Project (NELSAP), the Government views open

backbone of the National Transmission Grid: “In carrying out this

access as having potential to enhance market and supply options

mandate, the Company is expected to develop a new and robust

for both power generation and large consumers.”

grid system.”

This might all sound very corporate and profit-driven, but 88 | Endeavour Magazine

This expectations ties in beautifully with the strap line of the

KETRACO company, which reads: “building a world class national grid”, and

a process of thorough investigation to identify impacts they may

really gives rise to the elements that are most important as well.

have on the environment and social wellbeing, and formulate

Quality and reliability are top priorities, but so is the provision of

mitigation measures that are necessary to avoid, minimise or offset

electricity to those regions that have long been without it. It’s easy

predicted adverse impacts. Some tools used in this process include

to forget that there are still occupied areas in the world that go

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Environmental

without this most basic of energy need, but soon, that will all be a

Audits (EA), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Resettlement

distant memory for Kenya.

Action Plan (RAP) and Indigenous People Plan (IPP).”

So, what we have in KETRACO is an ingenious development

With this deep-rooted commitment to environmental concerns,

brought into being by the Kenyan Government, with a view to not

it will come as no surprise that KETRACO also seeks to protect

only improving the lives of countless people, but also opening up

its team members through an equally inclusive health and safety

potential trade channels and making energy infrastructure that

policy. People are the driving force of the industry, and the quality

much more efficient and effective. Whilst this all sounds exciting,

of their lives is all the motivation that’s needed. It might not sound

it doesn’t have the ring of an environmentally-friendly endeavour

like the secret to big business, but it is a necessary guiding principle

about it, but that’s just a deceptive façade, as KETRACO does have

for any responsible governing body.

a comprehensive green initiative in place:

We can’t wait to report back about all the developments that

“As a responsible organisation, KETRACO prides itself on

KETRACO puts in place for the people of Kenya, but for now, just

being committed to environmental protection and conservation.

the very promise of these people-centred initiatives are enough to

Borrowing from the principle of sustainable development and

keep us buzzing.

guided by the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) 1999, among other local and international legal legislations, KETRACO ensures that all its project activities undergo

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