Africa Inc. magazine

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Welcome to Zambia & SADC region’s Construction, Infrastructure & Renewable Energy Expo








Exhibitors Join over 5,000 investors and managers from Zambia and sorrounding SADC countries from across the construction, infrastructure and renewable energy industries at the region’s must-attend event. Meet, network and source your requirements from over 200 leading regional and international suppliers to the industry; attend high impact conferences on the latest technologies and trends and network with leading investors, property developers and leaders from Government and private sector in the SADC region.

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12 Listing of major events in Africa BUSINESS UPDATES


14 Latest happenings in Africa and the World PICTORIALS

20 Africa in Pictures COMPANY FEATURES

34 34

SOKONI AFRICA LTD Uganda’s leading integrated ranching & retail operator


FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Francis Juma EDITORIAL Clement Muriuki I Ronald Onsare ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION Jonah Sambai | Hellen Mucheru CONTRIBUTORS Virginia Nyoro | Ronald Onsare DESIGN & LAYOUT Frank Bett

AFRICA LOGISTICS PROPERTIES 42 Changing Nairobi’s warehousing & logistics landscape CAPWELL INDUSTRIES LTD 48 Celebrating 20 years journey to a food and beverage company EXECUTIVE INTERVIEWS

SUNNY VERGHESE - OLAM INTERNATIONAL 56 Nigerian-origin commodity trader makes it big internationally




PATRICIA OBOZUWA - GE AFRICA How the GE Lagos Garage will build Nigeria’s manufacturing

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RELATED PUBLICATIONS SUBSCRIPTION Contact: Africa Inc is published 6 times a year by FoodWorld Media Ltd. The magazine is distributed into a number of sectors of the industry in Africa. The magazine is available




SWARTZ - UNILEVER SOUTH AFRICA The Rise of the Corporate Woman in Africa

in the industry, including suppliers to the sector. Postage is paid at Nairobi, Kenya. Send address changes to FoodWorld Media Ltd by phone or email. Copyright 2019. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written


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66 How 5G technology will redefine businesses in the age of fourth industrial revolution



through subscription for the other stakeholders

67 Waste-to-energy technology

All information is published in good faith. While care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of any action taken on the basis of information published.


DATE: OCTOBER 15-16, 2020




Welcome to Africa’s business transformation and innovation conference and expo At Africa Business Summit conference sessions, some of the notable thinkers and doers from across Africa and the World will share best practices, experiences and opportunities that can be harnessed to make businesses in the region more agile, competitive, profitable and sustainable.

The Africa Business Summit is the premier annual forum that brings together passionate key decision makers to discuss the latest economic trends, technologies, regulations, market trends and opportunities in subSaharan Africa. Held in Nairobi, Kenya, the Summit is the region's largest meeting place for industry leaders, investors and innovators; Government regulators and policy makers and other stakeholders, with a focus on the fast growing and changing entrepreneurship landscape in Africa.

To complement the Summit will be an Expo Hall with a collection of local, regional and international suppliers of various products and services to Africa's business, Government and development community - and where the Summit delegates shall discover the latest technologies and solutions aimed at the growing investment space in Africa.

The event is structured in panel discussions and plenary sessions, with each session focused on a particular sector of the economy or issue of concern to the stakeholders.

Register today to attend Africa's meeting place of winners.

Sign up today opportunities to Sponsor, Exhibit, Speak and participate at Panel Discussions at Africa’s premier business conference and Expo. INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES


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Apply to be among the select enterprises that will be feted at the Africa Inc.’s Most Innovative Companies Awards during the Africa Business Summit. The Awards recognise organisations that are at the cutting edge of transforming the industry, the economy and the society in Africa. Be they large conglomerates or young start-ups, the Awards provide the opportunity to be recognised as a leader in your field, while your team’s efforts are validated - boosting team morale. Apply today and stand a chance of being crowned one of Africa’s most innovative companies.






The 2020 edition of the Awards is seeking entries in the following categories from Africa: Food - Food products and technologies of delivery, processing and availing food that change what we eat and how we eat sustainably Beauty - Cosmetics products and technologies that change the game in the way we take care of our skin, face and hair Healthcare - Applications, devices and technologies redefining healthcare delivery and patient care. Fitness & Wellness - Outlets and technologies redefining the delivery of fitness and wellness to individuals and corporates Social Media - New technologies and platforms that are changing the way people interact with each other online Agriculture - Products and technologies that are changing the way agriculture and agribusiness is done, improving yields, reducing disease and improving sustainability Education - Products and technologies that are changing the way learning is carried out, boosting learner outcomes Television - Media companies redefining the way content reaches audiences using new technologies and concepts Fashion & Style - Companies that are defining the future of fashion and dressing in our times Real Estate - Companies redefining the future of urban leaving with sustainability and access in mind Financial Services - Products and technologies that are changing the way wealth is created and managed and financial services reach more people Travel - Companies that are redfining the future of traveling Hospitality - Companies that are redfining the future of business and leisure hospitality

HOW TO APPLY Log onto and apply online. Submission of Entries open March 1, 2020

EDITORIAL By Francis Juma, Publisher

African countries must plant more trees to avert climate disaster


ust when we all thought that we are living in doomsday times, good news came our way that planting trees can actually save the planet from climate change! A new study that appeared on the journal Science in July revealed that planting trees on 900 million hectares of land around the World could trap about two-thirds the amount of carbon released by human activities since the start of the Industrial Revolution, without clearing urban settlements and cities or taking over farms or natural grasslands. The study adds that planting trees in this huge area could add up to new tree cover totaling just about the area of the US. “We all knew restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we had no scientific understanding of what impact this could make. Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today. But we must act quickly, as new forests will take decades to mature and achieve their full potential as a source of natural carbon storage,” the study’s senior author Thomas Crowther, an assistant professor of ecology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH Zurich), said in a statement. “This would represent a greater than 25% increase in forested area, including more than 500 billion trees and more than 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon at maturity. Such a change has the potential to cut the atmospheric carbon pool by about 25%,” says the authors of the report – bringing down carbon in the atmosphere to levels not seen for nearly 100 years, the scientists added. This is a significant study, which has the earth shaking effect of bringing tree planting to the top priorities of some of the things humans must do to avert climate disaster around the World – and which thrusts Africa into the limelight, since tree planting is actually one area that Africa can contribute significantly to the climate change agenda.

Any of us can contribute

I do love trees. I have probably planted or worked with people in my community to plant more than 10,000 trees in the last ten years – and the results are truly



astounding to say the least, as the surrounding area has become cooler and greener. And am planning to double this number in a year or two, God willing. We truly have a magical wand when it comes to making a better environment for the future of our kids. I know that we all wish our governments can do their parts with our tax money. However, this is part of the solution. An initiative like the one that the Ethiopian government undertook this year to plant over 350 million trees in 12 hours give much hope to the possibilities of what Africa can do to make its environment better and greener in future. Also commended are such efforts to plant trees in Rwanda. For sure, government policies can have a huge effect on increasing the resources and tree planting activities cross Africa. However, actions each of us can take individually, when put together, can be greater than what governments can do – and can jolt the government into action once the authorities see all of us take the lead. We look forward to a future Africa that is greener, smarter and cleaner. Fortunately, tree planting can become one activity where all of us can make our contribution.

In this issue

In this issue, we are excited to share with you impactful interviews with the top management at Capwell Industries Ltd, a leading food company that is expanding its scope into the wheat milling and beverage sector; Sokoni Africa, Uganda’s ranching and hospitality player; and Kenya’s Africa Logistics Properties, a builder of warehousing facilities that is seeking to change the future of logistics in Africa. We also have an interview with Patricia, the head of PR and Communications at GE Africa on the We are glad to bring to you this edition of Africa Inc. magazine after a break of 3 years since we produced the first edition. With a new name and a different design, Africa Inc. provides us with the unique opportunity to zero in on African businesses and business leaders through company profiles and interviews that will showcase Africa’s private, public and NGOs sectors in warm, inspirational light. We are glad you have joined us in this journey of discovering Africa through our magazine. We which you a good and informative read



JUNE 18-19, 2020 | NAIROBI, KENYA

Discover the future of the Dairy, Soft & Alcoholic Beverage Industries at Africa's Premier Innovations Conference

Packaged, Fermented & Value-added Milk

Cheese, Butter & Ice Cream

Beer, Wines, Spirits & Ciders

Plant-, Cereal-based & Dairy Blends

Juice, Carbonated, Still & Energy drinks

Hot & Cold Beverages, Cocktails & Drinks

Sign up to attend the first Africa-wide premier dairy and beverage industries innovations conference, where cutting-edge processing, packaging, engineering and automation technologies will be showcased by some of world’s leading suppliers. Discover new insights on new products development and formulation expertise plus sustainable ways to utilise locally available raw materials at the high quality conference, addressed by leading consultants and thought leaders. You can not miss this. Sign up today!! Sign up today to Sponsor, Exhibit or Attend:

+260 969 983 931 - AGATHA; +254 725 343 932 - VIRGINIA.



Sector: Hospitality Date(s): Monday, September 23, 2019 –

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 Location: Sheraton Addis, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Website: LAGOS FASHION FAIR 2019

Sector: Fashion Date(s): Wednesday, September 25, 2019 –

Friday, September 27, 2019 Location: Eko Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria Website:


Website: AFRICA OIL & POWER 2019

Sector: Oil, Gas & Power Date(s): Wednesday, October 09, 2019 – Friday, October 11, 2019 Location: Cape Town, South Africa Website: event/aop-2019 AFMASS FOODTECH SOUTHERN AFRICA ZAMBIA EDITION

Location: Landmark Centre, Lagos,



Sector: Education Date(s): Wednesday, October 23, 2019 –

Friday, October 25, 2019

Location: Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire,

Côte d’Ivoire


Sector: Food, Beverage and Milling Date(s): Wednesday, October 09, 2019 –

Sector: Oil, Gas & Power Date(s): Monday, October 28, 2019 –


Location: Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka,

Location: Crown Hotel, Juba, South

Sector: Oil & Gas Date(s): Wednesday, September 25, 2019 –




Thursday, September 26, 2019

Friday, October 11, 2019


Location: Hotel Serena, Kampala, Uganda Website:

Sector: Real Estate Date(s): Thursday, October 10, 2019 –


Location: KICC, Nairobi, Kenya Website:

Sector: ICT Date(s): Thursday, September 26, 2019 Location: Movenpick Ambassador Hotel,


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Accra, Ghana

Sector: Ports & Rail Date(s): Tuesday, October 15, 2019 –


Location: Durban, South Africa Website:


Sector: Power & Renewables Date(s): Wednesday, October 2, 2019 –

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Location: Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel,


Sector: Healthcare Date(s): Monday, October 7, 2019 –


Sector: Women Empowerment Date(s): Tuesday, October 29, 2019 –

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 Location: Cape Town International Convention Centre 2 (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa Website:

Sector: Power Date(s): Tuesday, October 29, 2019 –

Sector: Agribusiness Date(s): Tuesday, October 15, 2019 –

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Location: Landmark Centre, Lagos, Nigeria Website:



Conference Centre, Cape Town, South




Wednesday, October 09, 2019



Sector: Property & Real Estate Date(s): Friday, October 18, 2019 –

Location: Cape Town International


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Location: Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Website:

Sector: Wind Energy Date(s): Tuesday, October 08, 2019 –

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa Website: THE NIGERIAN FOOD EVENT

Sector: Food & Beverage Date(s): Tuesday, October 22, 2019 –

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019 Location: Cape Town, South Africa Website:


Sector: Building & Construction Date(s): Tuesday, October 29, 2019 –

Thursday, October 31, 2019 Location: Eka Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria Website: E-COMMERCE EAST AFRICA

Sector: ICT Date(s): Thursday, October 31, 2019 –

Friday, November 1, 2019

Location: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi,



AFMASS FOODTECH SOUTHERN AFRICA ZAMBIA EDITION DATE: OCTOBER 9-11, 2019 Sign up to attend AFMASS FoodTech Southern Africa Zambia edition which will be heldat the magnificent Radisson Blu Hotel. Discover the latest opportunities and market trends in the bustling food, beverage and milling industry in Zambia and the SADC region at two days of conference sessions and an Expo Hall full of latest technologies.


Sector: E-commerce Date(s): Thursday, October 31, 2019 –

Friday, November 01, 2019

Location: Radisson Blu, Nairobi, Kenya Website: BIG 5 CONSTRUCT KENYA

Sector: Construction Date(s): Tuesday, November 5, 2019 –

Thursday, November 7, 2019 Location: KICC, Nairobi, Kenya Website: THE HOTEL SHOW ZAMBIA

Sector: Hospitality Date(s): Wednesday, November 5, 2019 –

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Location: Taj Pamodzi Hotel, Lusaka,


Sector: Oil & Gas Date(s): Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Location: Malabo, Equatorial Guinea Website:

event/gecf-ministerial-meeting-andconference 3RD AFRICA FOOD INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Sector: Food, Beverage and Milling


Date(s): Friday, November 29, 2019 Location: Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi,




Sector: Power, Oil & Gas Date(s): Wednesday, December 04, 2019 –

Sector: Retail Date(s): Tuesday, November 12, 2019 –

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Location: The Convention Center, Federal

Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria


Sector: Gaming Date(s): Thursday, December 05, 2019 –

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Location: Castle of Good Hope, Cape

Town, South Africa


Sector: Technology Date(s): Friday, December 13, 2019 Location: Accra International Convention

Centre, Accra, Ghana



Website: www.awards.foodbusinessafrica.




Friday, December 06, 2019

Location: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic

of Congo Website:

HOSTING AN EVENT IN AFRICA? We provide events listing services to event organisers in Africa. You can list your event here and on the website by contacting us on +254 725 34 39 32 or email: info@ SEPTEMBER 2019




Africa Harvest and AfricaRice join forces to boost East Africa’s rice productivity

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 gets US$30m funding round for African expansion NIGERIA – Nigeria’s digital logistics company Kobo360 has received a US$20 million funding from a number of investors including Goldman Sachs as it plans to move into new territories in Africa and change the game in the logistics space in Africa. Kobo360 aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients achieve an efficient supply chain framework, with current operations in Ghana, Kenya and Togo. According to its co-Founder Obi Ozor, since launching, the company has moved over 500 million kg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and serviced over thousands of SMEs and 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge. In its biggest investment so far, the company has secured funding from Goldman Sachs with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y combinator, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). It also secured an additional US$10 million in local currency working capital financing from Nigerian commercial banks. “This capital enables us to do more by building out our driver workforce, develop our technology offering, accelerate supply growth and scale quickly, to power the recently launched Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement [AfCFTA] that is expected to catalyse intra-African trade,” says Ozor. The startup plans to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months and is also planning to significantly broaden its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020.

KENYA - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and the Africa Harvest have launched a project in partnership with national programs to enhance the performance of the local rice value chains in Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar, based on innovative institutional approaches and knowledge products. Titled ‘Strengthening the rice sector in East Africa for improved productivity and competitiveness of domestic rice’ (EARiSS), the 3-year project will adapt appropriate rice technologies and innovations to address emerging rice value chain constraints, strengthen functional linkages among key rice stakeholders using multi-stakeholder innovation platforms, and improve capacity of farmers and other rice value chain actors, including input dealers, millers and marketers. About 18,000 stakeholders, including rice farmers, seed producers, extension service providers, processors and national research staff in Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar are expected to benefit directly from this project. The outputs of the project will be relevant for at least 100,000 rice-farming households in East Africa, where the import bill has risen sharply to about US$500 million per year in East Africa, driven by rising urbanization and changing consumer habits that have made rice a staple in many households. The project will also contribute to the improvement of food and nutrition security, sustainable agricultural development, creation of rural employment for women and youth, reduction in the rice import bill and economic development in the project countries.


Norwegian financial institutions take 14% IFC stake in Ecobank Transnational TOGO - Norwegian Investment Fund, Norfund, and the Netherlands Development Finance Company, FMO, have completed the acquisition of a 14.1% stake in pan African bank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) for an undisclosed value. The transaction, made through Arise BV, a leading equity investor in financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa owned by FMO, Norfund, and Rabobank has taken the stake from IFC and the funds managed by the IFC Asset Management Company. IFC originally invested US$100 million in Ecobank in 2009, and 12 SEPTEMBER 2019

stemmed from a US$100 million convertible loan the IFC, the World Bank’s private sector arm, granted Ecobank in July 2008, according to Reuters. “IFC invested in Ecobank for more than ten years and our investment has helped to increase access to credit for entrepreneurs and SMEs in Sub Saharan African Countries (including in IDA countries) in which the bank operates, achieving the development impact we sought when we made the investment,” said, Paolo Martelli, Senior Advisor at IFC.



TAFADZWA MSARARA Chairman, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe.




CEO & Founder, Java Foods


OCTOBER 9-11, 2019 RADISSON BLU HOTEL Great East Road



GAURAV VIJAYVARGIYA Director – Strategy Seba Foods



MD Slyvia Food Solutions



MD - Meraki Cakebar & Cafe


ANDREW CHINTALA President, Millers Association of Zambia


Director, Yalelo Ltd

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Zambia & SADC region’s Food, Beverage & Milling Industry Conference & Expo





Regional Brewing & Quality Manager Zambia,Botswana,Namibia - AB InBev


World’s population is projected to nearly stop growing by the end of 2100 WORLD – The World’s population is expected to virtually stop growing by the end of this century, due in large part to falling global fertility rates. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the UN, by 2100, the world’s population is projected to reach approximately 10.9 billion, with annual growth of less than 0.1% – a steep decline from the current rate, ending a surge in numbers that has continued for centuries. Between 1950 and 2019, the world’s population grew between 1% and 2% each year, with the number of people rising from 2.5 billion to more than 7.7 billion. Global fertility rate is expected to slow to 1.9 births per woman by 2100, down from 2.5 today, falling below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman by 2070. Further, the world’s median age is expected to increase to 42 in 2100, up from the current 31 – and from 24 in 1950. Between 2020 and 2100, the number of people ages 80 and older is expected to increase from 146 million to 881 million. Starting in 2073, there are projected to

be more people ages 65 and older than under age 15 – the first time this will be the case. Contributing factors to the rise in the median age are the increase in life expectancy and falling fertility rates. Africa is the only world region projected to have strong population growth for the rest of this century. Between 2020 and 2100, Africa’s population is expected to increase from 1.3 billion to 4.3 billion. Projections show these gains will come mostly in subSaharan Africa, which is expected to more than triple in population by 2100. The global population is expected to grow by about 3.1 billion people between 2020 and 2100, with six countries projected to account for more than half of the world’s population growth through the end of this century, five in Africa. Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Angola, along with one non-African country Pakistan will account for more than half of the increase.

Five African countries are projected to be in the world’s top 10 countries by population by 2100 (see Table 1). 1950



554 China


159 USA


Russia Japan

Germany India

Brazil UK


376 India

103 Indonesia 83 Pakistan 70 Brazil

70 Nigeria

54 Bangladesh 51 Russia

47 Mexico

India is projected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2027. Meanwhile, Nigeria will surpass the U.S. as the third-largest country in the world in 2047, according to the projections. Meanwhile, roughly a third of the world’s babies are projected to be born in Asia by the end of this century, down from about half today and from a peak of 65% in the 1965-70 period.

2100 1439 India


1380 China


331 Nigeria


274 USA


221 Pakistan


213 DRC


206 Indonesia


165 Ethiopia


146 Tanzania


129 Egypt


50% of babies born worldwide are expected to be born in Africa by 2100, up from 30% today. Nigeria is expected to have 864 million new borns between 2020 and 2100, the most of any African country. The number of births in Nigeria is projected to exceed those in China by 2070.


UNCTAD and AU set up new tool to remove barriers to in intra-African trade AFRICA - An innovative online tool by UNCTAD and the African Union (AU) is set to help African countries navigate nontariff barriers (NTBs), as the continent opens its free trade area. NTBs, which are a range of restrictive regulations and procedures, other than tariffs, make trade difficult and/or costly and are one of the main roadblocks to trade in Africa. They include customs clearance delays, restrictive licensing processes, certification challenges and rules of origin. The online mechanism is designed to improve intra-African trade by offering a site for reporting and resolving non-tariff barriers experienced by businesses, particularly small ones, and those owned by women and youth. Niger’s president, Issoufou Mahamadou, and Dr. Kituyi 14 SEPTEMBER 2019

presented the new platform to the African Union at the 12thAfrican Union Extraordinary Summit in Niamey, Niger in 7 July. “The time and costs of moving goods in Africa will be reduced if there is political willingness to fight nontariff barriers,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “Looking at the map of Africa, one has a sad feeling of facing a broken mirror. Our generation has the historic responsibility of breaking these borders,” Mahamadou added. A recent UNCTAD report shows that African countries could gain US$20 billion each year by tackling the trade-distorting effects of non-tariff measures at the continental level – way more than they could pick up by eliminating tariffs.




Send Sponsorship and attendance queries to: TEL: +254 725 343 932; INFO@FOODWORLDMEDIA.NET SPONSORS




Utilities provider BBOXX closes US$50 million series D funding round led by Mitsubishi

Namibia launches US $268m Walvis Bay terminal to tap into regional demand NAMIBIA - The Namibia Port Authority (Namport) has opened a new US$268m container terminal and cruise facility at Walvis Bay, Namibia to tap into growing import and export volumes in the SADC region. The new container terminal is set to double the port’s container handling capacity from the current 350,000 to more than 750,000 containers. It is aimed at the movement of goods and services through Walvis Bay, a strategically located logistics hub in the Southern African region. The new container terminal was constructed on 40 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd. According to Namport Director, Nangula Hamunyela, the terminal not only increases Namport’s assets to US$7.6bn, but also launches the company’s goal to become a logistics hub for the southern African region. The development is government’s single biggest investment to date and is part of its vision to transform the country into a super logistics hub due to its strategic position and its ability to allow landlocked countries access to international markets via the Atlantic Ocean. ICT

UK – Renewable energy solutions provider BBOXX has successfully closed a $50 million Series D funding round led by Mitsubishi Corporation, a global integrated business enterprise headquartered in Japan. According to the company, the cash injection will further enable the company’s international expansion and fuel its mission to use technology to unlock potential and transform millions of lives worldwide. The investment from Mitsubishi Corporation will help drive BBOXX’s growth across Africa, where it currently operates in 12 countries, as well as in Asia. The company says it has impacted nearly one million people to date through access to pay-as-you-go solar energy using mobile money and has installed 200,000 solar home systems which are remotely monitored through a digital platform that harnesses Internet of Things technology and data to provide utilities at a large scale. It has replicated this model to provide clean cooking solutions using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) with ambitions to deliver other utilities and products in new markets. The investment follows a string of deals and strategic partnerships including the US$31 million investment from Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers in January 2019. Last year EDF, the world’s leading electricity company, became a joint shareholder in BBOXX Togo with a 50% stake. In May, it secured an US$$8 million local currency loan to roll-out of solar home systems across Rwanda, its largest market.In July, it unveiled a new initiative which marked a major stride towards tackling the global clean cooking crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by introducing BBOXX Cook, that provides clean cooking services for both urban and rural areas through LPG and biogas solutions. AV I AT I O N

USTDA Announces U.S. Industry Partners for Access Africa Initiative IVORY COAST – The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has announced its U.S. industry partners for Access Africa, its new initiative to support the development of quality ICT infrastructure and services across Sub-Saharan Africa. The partners, which include Palo Alto Networks, Inc., the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., General Electric Company, Symantec Corporation, and Adaptrum, Inc., will work with the agency to deliver on Access Africa’s mission to support Prosper Africa, a U.S. government initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. “The commitment by these private sector leaders to partner with USTDA on Access Africa is a clear illustration of the interest and presence of U.S. industry in Africa’s ICT sector,” said Abrajano. “As our Access Africa partner list grows, so will America’s role as Africa’s most important ICT sector partner.” Working with public and private sectors across the continent, Access Africa brings together critical stakeholders and designs targeted programming to advance inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity. 16 SEPTEMBER 2019

Kuwait Airways to spend US$2.5bln on new aircraft to meet rising demand KUWAIT - Kuwait Airways plans to spend about US$2.5 billion on 28 new aircraft due to be delivered by 2026, Kuwait Airways Chairman Yousef A. M. J. Alsaqer has said. The planes will be financed with bank debt, the airline’s own capital and through the sale and re-leasing of the carrier’s planes, Alsaqer said. “So far we don’t have an agreement with a particular bank or a certain funding body, but everything is planned,” Alsaqer said, adding that Kuwait Airways has already paid installments for the purchase of the aircraft. The plane is the first of 28 the airline will receive by 2026, including 15 of the A320neo jets at US$60 million each, eight A330-800 aircraft at US$100 million each and five A350-900 planes, each priced between US$130 million and US$150 million, Alsaqer said. He added that the company hopes to carry 5 million passengers this year, up from 4.1 million passengers in 2017.









Africa's Food & Drug Safety, Regulatory, Quality & Laboratory Management Conference & Expo Food and drug safety challenges weigh heavily on consumer health in Africa, be they outbreaks of cholera, listeriosis, food and drugs poisoning or even Aflatoxins. Poor quality products also adversely affect local, regional and international trade in Africa. The Africa Food Safety & Quality Summit is the Continent's only annual forum that brings together the agriculture, food and pharma industry; Government ministries and agencies; HORECA and hospitals; NGOs and development organisations from Africa and the World to find solutions to Africa's food safety, quality, laboratory and conformity challenges.





Equatorial Guinea to build West Africa’s first Liquefied Natural Gas storage and regas plant

New discovery confirms South Sudan’s immense oil potential as Congo boosts its reserves INDIA - A consortium has made a 300 million barrels of recoverable oil discovery in South Sudan’s northeastern Upper Nile state as new discoveries open new opportunities for oil exploration in Africa. Operated by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company, the consortium is led by CNPC and includes Petronas, Nilepet, Sinopec and Tri-Ocean Energy. In early 2019, South Sudan signed an exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) with South Africa’s Strategic Fuel Fund for the highly prospective Block B2, part of the country’s strategy to diversify its basket of investors and encourage further exploration. The country sits on over 3.5 billion of proven oil reserves, the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, but 70% of its territory remains under-explored. It will be launching a new and much-awaited petroleum licensing round in October 2019. Meanwhile, the Republic of Congo has made a significant new oil find that can produce up to 359 million barrels of oil at its onshore discovery at the Delta de la Cuvette. Led by SARPD Oil and PEPA, a Congolese consortium working as operators on the Block, the discovery could quadruple Congo’s production. When fully exploited, the license could propel Congo as Africa’s third largest oil producer, ahead of Algeria and Libya. “This is our first onshore discovery and it gives us a lot of hope that we shall make more discoveries especially now that we are to award more blocks for oil exploration in the ongoing oil licensing round,” said the Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo. “This is in effect one of the largest African oil discovery in decades,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “Africa has been an exploration hotspot where major oil & gas discoveries have been made in recent years by international explorers. The Oyo discovery in Congo, however, is the result of indigenous efforts made by Congolese companies. It speaks volumes to the value that local content development can create when local companies and entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to contribute to their industry. I want to urge the government to work with the industry to expedite the approvals for the necessary field development efforts. This is a win for Congo and for Africa.” The discovery is also a game changer for Congo’s energy scenario, with most oil & gas production currently coming from offshore fields. The country has been pushing for years to open up energy access to its central and northern provinces, notably through the planned 1,200km pipeline between Pointe Noire and Ouesso. 18 SEPTEMBER 2019

EQUATORIAL GUINEA - Equatorial Guinea is set to construct the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant in West Africa, advancing efforts to monetize gas resources through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure. Located at the Port of Akonikien on the country’s mainland, the plant will enable the transportation and storage of LNG from the EG LNG plant at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, to Akonikien on the southern border of the mainland. It will then be fed into the regasification plant to be distributed to smaller-scale power plants and LNG power stations throughout the country, as well as exported to neighboring countries. The project forms part of Equatorial Guinea’s regional LNG2Africa initiative which seeks to facilitate the production and trade of LNG through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure and intra-African LNG industry. The project is the first gas-to-power development in the initiative that was launched by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2018. The plant will have a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic meters with 12 bullet tanks. The tanks are currently the largest factorybuilt cryogenic bullet tanks in the world with a capacity of 1,228 cubic meters and dimensions of 31 meters by 9.3 meters by 8.8 meters. FINANCE

India merges several state banks to create super banks to consolidate sector INDIA - India’s Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the merger of six public sector banks with four better performing anchor banks as Narendra Modi’s government seeks to realign the banking sector in the country. In the reforms, four new lenders that result from the series of state-bank mergers will hold business worth 55.8 trillion rupees (US$781 billion), or about 56% of the Indian banking industry, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, according to Bloomberg. The government will inject a combined 552.5 billion rupees (US$7.65 billion) of capital into the new entities. According to the Minister, the Oriental Bank of Commerce and the United Bank of India have been merged into the Punjab National Bank (PNB), becoming the second largest public sector bank after the State Bank of India, which had previously merged with all its associates from 2008 to 2017. The Syndicate Bank has been merged with the Canara Bank while the Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will be merged with the Union Bank of India. Further, the Allahabad Bank will merge into the Indian Bank, making it the seventh largest state-owned bank in India. Dena Bank and the Vijaya Bank were earlier this year merged with the Bank of Baroda. The moves bring down the total number of public sector banks to 12 from 27, before the merger process began in 2017. The Finance Minister has that the objective of making the banks into global-sized banks and will facilitate their consolidation and improve that national presence and global reach. “Banks with strong national presence and global reach is what we want. Scaling up will only allow them to have lot more resources and therefore the lending cost can come down,” the Minister said.


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Jio and Microsoft announce alliance to accelerate digital transformation in India

New Basketball Africa League names Vice President & Head of Strategy and Operations SOUTH AFRICA - The Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin play in March 2020, has named NBA Africa Head of Business Operations and Ghana-native John Manyo-Plange as BAL Vice President & Head of Strategy and Operations. He will to report to BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. Manyo has more than 20 years of experience in the NBA’s global operations and management and had been working in his previous role since May 2010 when he helped launch the NBA Africa office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then he has led many aspects of the NBA’s continued growth in Africa by helping secure marketing, media and consumer products partnerships and leading the operations around the three sold-out NBA Africa Games and the launch of The NBA Academy Africa in Senegal. He spent 14 years at the NBA office in New York City, holding management positions across multiple departments, including international business operations, events and marketing. He graduated from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, specializing in International Economic Development and Management. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University. In July, the BAL announced Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and either Monastir or Tunis (Tunisia) as the host cities where the inaugural BAL regular season will take place and Kigali (Rwanda) as the host city for the first-ever BAL Final Four and BAL Final. NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive outfitter of the new professional league. The BAL marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America. 20 SEPTEMBER 2019

INDIA — Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited ( Jio), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, and Microsoft Corp. are embarking on a strategic relationship aimed at accelerating the digital transformation of the Indian economy and society. The 10-year commitment combines the world-class capabilities of both companies to offer a detailed set of solutions comprising connectivity, computing, storage solutions, and other technology services and applications essential for Indian businesses. The partnership will span the broad Reliance Industries ecosystem including its existing and new businesses. The deal aims to enhance the adoption of leading technologies like data analytics, AI, cognitive services, blockchain, Internet of Things, and edge computing among small and medium enterprises to make them ready to compete and grow, while helping accelerate technology-led GDP growth in India and driving adoption of next-gen technology solutions at scale. As part of the agreement, Jio will provide its internal workforce with cloudbased productivity and collaboration tools available, promote the adoption of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform within its

growing ecosystem of startups and set up datacenters across India, with the initial being set up in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra by 2020. Meanwhile, in the US, AT&T Communications and Microsoft Corp. have announced a strategic multi-year alliance where the two companies will apply technologies, including cloud, AI, and 5G, to improve how people live and work today and in the future. In the deal, Microsoft will be the preferred cloud provider for nonnetwork applications, as part of AT&T’s broader public cloud first strategy, and will support AT&T as it consolidates its data center infrastructure and operations. The initiative will allow AT&T to focus on core network capabilities, accelerate innovation for its customers, and empower its workforce while optimizing costs as it targets becoming a “public cloud first” company by migrating most non-network workloads to the public cloud by 2024.


Toyota invests US$600m in Chinese taxi app provider, creates JV for smart fleet management CHINA – Chinese taxi app provider Didi Chuxing, the world’s leading multi-modal transportation platform, has announced the conclusion of an agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation to expand collaboration in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in China, continuing their recent collaboration moves. As part of the agreement, Toyota will invest a total of US$600 million in DiDi and the formation of a joint venture in which the two companies will provide vehicle-related services for ride-hailing drivers on DiDi’s network. The partnership is an extension of DiDi’s mobility + automotive industry alliance strategy (D-Alliance). In April 2018, DiDi initiated a cross-sector alliance with top Chinese and international carmakers and industry players, including FAW, Dongfeng, BAIC, SAIC, GAC, Geely, BYD, Toyota, Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to create an open platform for automobile solutions in a future transportation ecosystem defined by new energy, AI technology and shared mobility. According to Stephen Zhu, Senior Vice President of DiDi, the investment by Toyota will push further their collaboration expertise in AI-based large-scale mobility operations and Toyota’s connected vehicle technology to build a next-generation intelligent transportation framework for sustainable cities. On January 2018 the two companies announced collaboration on e-Palette and have piloted vehicle-related services for DiDi ride-hailing drivers, utilizing Toyota’s intelligent analysis capabilities through to provide drivers with quality automobile maintenance support and safe driving guidance. Meanwhile, DiDi recently announced that it is acceleratong its robo-taxi project, where passengers will be able to hail self-driving vehicles from its app in a pilot service in Shanghai, China and upgraded its autonomous driving unit into an independent company that will focus on R&D, product application, and business development related to autonomous driving technologies.

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Japan and AfDB announce US$3.5 billion in support of Africa’s private sector development

New company to launch electrical vehicle plant in Egypt EGYPT - Revolta Egypt, a developer of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and related projects, is planning to launch the first EV manufacturing factory and maintenance centre in the country. Revolta has tied up with Ukrainian firm Eco Factory to set up the factory by end of 2019, Ezz El Din Ibrahim, board member and Head of Business Development at Revolta Egypt, told Zawya. Eco Factory is an engineering company that specialises in manufacturing commercial vehicles as well as storage devices and control systems for EVs. “The factory will be launched by the end of 2019 in a facility that covers more than 10,000 square metres in 6th of October [a city in Giza]. It will manufacture all the charging station accessories needed for EVs,” Ibrahim said. Revolta is also looking for funding for a solar plant to power its solutions for the country’s transportation sector. “Revolta plans to install a 5 MW solar plant in Egypt’s Ain Sokhna, in cooperation with a Chinese company,” Ibrahim said. “The company seeks to get the EGP 100 million funding from EFG Hermes, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international financial institutions that are interested in green energy projects. To date, we have established 25 charging points in Shell-authorized retailers and distribution centers, and we plan to reach 50 charging points by 2019-end,” Ibrahim added. Source: Zawya

JAPAN - Japan and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have announced a joint target of US$3.5 billion to enhance the fourth phase of the EPSA program to spur private-sector-led sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa. Under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative (EPSA4), announced during the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), both Japan and the Bank have set a target of US$1.75 billion each, from 20202022. Electricity, transportation, and health will be key priorities under EPSA4. “Building on the successful achievements so far, Japan and the Bank have decided to upgrade EPSA in both quality and quantity to meet financial needs for infrastructure development as well as for the private sector development in Africa,” Japan’s State Minister of Finance Keisuke Suzuki said. “I wish that the new EPSA initiative will lead to business, investment promotion, and job creation in Africa,” he added. During EPSA1 (2005-2011), Japan set the target of providing US$1 billion in loans and US$2 billion under the second phase (2012-2016). In the ongoing EPSA3 (2017-2019), Japan and the AfDB are cooperating closely to provide the targeted joint amount of US$3 billion.


Ghana Tourism Authority declares September, month of Tourism GHANA - The Ghana Tourism Authority under the auspices of the Ministry of

Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, has declared September a Month of Tourism geared towards promoting domestic tourism and whipping up public interest, reports GNA. Ghana’s celebration, as a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), is to highlight the importance of the tourism sector to the economy and to mark the ‘Year of Return’, as the Government was pursues an agenda of quality, internationally-competitive tourism development that is suited to Ghana’s social values and environmental setting. The GTA has initiated a national theme dubbed: “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana,” an innovative marketing strategy to enable Ghanaians to appreciate their tourism, culture and creative arts potentials and engender cross-culture exchanges as well as a culture of travel.






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MAMA SILAGE BAGS The demand for innovative packaging has increased in the recent times. This is due to the growing inclination of consumers towards specialised packaging of products coupled with cost effective recyclable solutions and enhanced consumer appeal. The primary focus for every dairy farmer is on how to match right feeds to individual animal’s requirement. Being able to manage this throughout the year means having an uninterruptible feed source. Growing climatic change has adversely affected forage availability with emphasis now being shifted to forage conservation. Multiple conservation schemes have been developed and tailored to deliver the same results at the end. The only problem comes when we want to establish the quality of the resulting product.

The bag can stretch with intense compaction, giving more room for extra fodder. Its standard dimensions of 2.5m length by 1.4m wide provide an ideal size for handling at farm level. Once the bag has been filled, it occupies a relatively small area on the farm meaning economization on space. The huge diameter provides a stable base once ensiling starts so that the bag can stand on its own without toppling. The bag is uniquely designed for small scale farmers (1-5cows) who make up more than 80% of the total dairy farmers in Kenya. Its capacity of up to 600kg of silage is ideal for these farms where land is a big problem. Most of these farms are located in highlands where land fragmentation is a characteristic feature and also in peri-urban areas where there is no room for expansion.

Silage making has been the most widely practiced forage preservation method. With this regard, mama silage bags were innovated to bring a new lifeline to this practice. Concerns from poor quality fermentation to silage spoilage during storage as well as being able to have the right amount of silage at any given time drove the need to develop mama silage bag. From the preexisting methods of making silage, a farmer ought to make a choice on what direction to take that would deliver results within their production line. The choice is majorly based on: i) The quality of resulting silage ii) Ease of making the silage (labor) iii) Quantity per unit area/volume iv) Forage available for ensiling

The Mama silage tubes substitute as an alternative to different silage storage systems such as bunkers and piles among others that require high investment COST and are unsuitable for storing silage for longer durations due to the penetration of air into the fodder through the polythene sheet used in covering the produce.

The Mama silage bags are designed to defend silage by stopping the oxygen transpiration, the mail cause of silage spoilage, giving a perfectly anaerobic condition for fermentation and further reducing the deterioration of the nutritional quality of the fodder. It is a durable storage tube composed of multiple layers with a special oxygen barrier produced with high quality raw materials. Thanks to the innovation, the mama silage bags provide the user with a strong high mechanical performance bag that allows for maximum compaction while resisting damage and tears in the compacting process. They also have an excellent aroma barrier that helps in maintaining the smell of the preserved fodder and making it more palatable. The surface heating of the bag is reduced by the white reflective surface, while the inside of the bag is made black to allow heat preservation generated during the fermentation process.

With all these combined benefits, a farmer will not only benefit from increased production but also attaining sustainability in their pursuit for success. Mama silage bag defends silage from any kind of deterioration and ensures high quality silage at the end. This being the key to high production, any farmer using this bag will have a competitive edge in the already competitive dairy industry. Quality silage results to good health in cows, high productivity and fertility. It is indeed the right step to increased productivity at farm level.


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MAMA SILAGE BAGS Oxygen barrier bags with multilayer films to protect and preserve your silage.

Mama silage bags’ aim to defend your silage by stopping the oxygen transpiration, the main cause of silage spoilage. These bags are composed of multilayer films with oxygen barrier produced with high quality raw materials making them very durable with high mechanical properties and allow resistance from damage and tears during compaction. They also have an excellent aroma barrier which helps in maintaining the smell of preserved fodder hence making it more palatable.


01 Nadume Road, off Sekondi / Lunga Lunga Road, Industrial Area P.O. Box 48811 - 00100, Nairobi, Kenya E-mail: | Website: Mobile: +254 722 206 966 / 700 745 745 / 701 745 745





Dubai Halts Mega-Airport Project as Gulf Economies Stumble

Dubai Airports installs largest solar energy system in an airport as it goes green UAE - Dubai Airports and Etihad Energy Services Company, a leading energy service company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), have announced the successful installation of a solar energy system comprising 15,000 photovoltaic panels at Dubai International’s Terminal 2 – the largest at any airport in the region. With a capacity of 5MWp, the solar project will generate 7,483,500 kWh energy annually for Dubai Airports, resulting in savings of nearly US$1 million. The project will reduce existing Terminal 2 load by approximately 29%, while also slashing annual CO2 emissions by 3,243 metric tonnes - equivalent to 53,617 tree seedlings grown for 10 years or 688 passenger vehicles driven for one year. The project is part of Shams Dubai, DEWA’s first smart initiative that aims to promote the use of clean renewable energy sources, which encourages the installation of solar panels on rooftops to generate electricity from solar power and connecting it to DEWA’s grid to transfer surplus generation. According to Michael Ibbitson, Executive Vice President, Infrastructure and Business Technology, Dubai Airports, the airport has undertaken a variety of green initiatives over the past several years to limit its carbon footprint and ro support Dubai’s goal for a 30% reduction in the city’s energy consumption by 2030. These include the use of energy efficient fittings, the optimisation of cooling systems, the installation of energy efficient LED bulbs and many others. The government of Dubai envisions the city to be one of the smartest cities in the world. Etihad ESCO aims to retrofit 30,000 buildings by 2030 and is currently preparing to implement an AED 400 million worth of projects, expanding beyond building retrofits to include industrial retrofits and solar projects. Meanwhile, as it seeks to up the ante on enhancing the customer experience at Dubai International (DXB), operator Dubai Airports has launched a high-tech system that monitors airport operations in real-time and visualises traffic flows to support consistently smooth operations at the world’s busiest airport. realtimeDXB, a bespoke cloud-based platform, gathers data generated by more than 50 operational systems, including those of Dubai Airports and its service partners and uses this information to keep all operational teams involved aware of not only the current scenarios but also developing situations anywhere from airfield to kerbside to anticipate challenges more accurately, facilitate greater collaboration between service partners, and quick decision-making. 26 SEPTEMBER 2019

UAE - Work on Dubai’s Al Maktoum airport, designed to be one of the world’s biggest with an annual capacity of more than 250 million passengers, is on hold as Gulf Arab economies falter, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Construction activity has been halted and finances for expansion frozen until further notice, according to the people, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic. The completion date for the first phase of the airport, envisaged as a $36 billion super-hub allowing locally based airline Emirates to consolidate its position as the world’s No. 1 long-haul carrier, had already been pushed back five years to 2030 in October. In a statement to Bloomberg, Dubai Airports said it’s reviewing the long-term master plan and that “exact timelines and details of next steps are not as yet finalized.” It said it aims to ensure development takes full advantage of emerging technologies, responds to consumer trends and preferences, and optimizes investment. Dubai’s economy grew at the slowest pace since 2010 last year as the Gulf ’s chief commercial center grappled with fallout from geopolitical tensions and a low oil price. Tourism has been stagnant since 2017, while Emirates remains based at the original Dubai International hub as it mulls how best to develop its strategy of carrying passengers between all corners of the globe. The company is finding it tougher to add profitable new routes, and its reworking its fleet plans with the cancellation of the Airbus SE A380 super-jumbo. The newer airport, also known as Dubai World Central, opened in 2013 but serves only 11 passenger airlines, according to its website. While annual capacity increased five-fold to 26.5 million last year following work on the passenger terminal, the number of actual customers was just 900,000. Capacity was due to increase to 130 million passengers on completion of the first phase of expansion. The design ultimately calls for the hub to handle 260 million, based on prior statements, more than twice the customer total at the world’s busiest airports today. Source: Bloomberg ENERGY

World Bank signs deal to support landmark wind farm on Egypt’s Gulf of Suez EGYPT — The World Bank Group has signed an agreement to support the development of a 252-megawatt wind farm in Egypt’s Red Sea governorate. Through its subsidiaries, IFC and MIGA, the wind farm, West Bakr Wind, is located in the Gulf of Suez and is expected to produce over 1,000 gigawatt hours per year, at a tariff well below the average cost of generation in Egypt, powering more than 350,000 homes and avoiding more than 550,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. In the deal, IFC will provide US$84 million in financing while MIGA will offer US$122 million in financial guarantees, helping to bolster the production of clean energy, lower generation costs, and diversify the country’s energy mix. Egypt plans to generate 20% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2022 to help reduce the country’s reliance on natural gas.



Microsoft Appoints Lawal As Head Of African Development Center NIGERIA – Microsoft has appointed Gafar Lawal as the Managing Director of its Africa Development Centre in Nigeria. The African Development Centre was inaugurated by Microsoft in May this year, recruiting world-class Nigerian talent to create innovative solutions for global impact. The premier centre of engineering, according to Mike Fortin, corporate vice president at Microsoft, is unlike any other existing investment on the continent. Mike Fortin said that the ADC enabled Microsoft “to better listen to our customers, develop locally and scale for global impact – in the grand scheme of things.” He further added that the premier centre of engineering gave Microsoft “a strategic opportunity to comprehend a continent that is rapidly adopting cloud technology and massive innovation at the intelligent edge.” Lawal has an impressive working history with more than 20 years of experience in various business functions. He returns to Microsoft from Morgan Stanley where he served as Managing Director and Global Chief Technology Architect for the Wealth Management Division. Prior to his time at Morgan Stanley, Lawal spent over six years working at Microsoft’s US headquarters in Redmond, WA as Partner Architect in the Windows server group and Windows phone services division. He also spent ten years as First Vice President and Chief Technology Architect at Merrill Lynch. In his inaugural speech Lawal said that he was looking forward to embarking on this incredible new journey with the Microsoft team. He further said that he was looking forward to effectively playing his part in bringing digital transformation to the continent at large. “I hope that as we continue to not only identify and nurture talent but also bring about unprecedented change, that we will continue to aid every individual involved to achieve more,” Lawal concluded. The African Development Centre was inaugurated by Microsoft in May this year, recruiting world-class Nigerian talent to create innovative solutions for global impact. ADC engineers are already working with local partners and customers on key issues for Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world.

Kenya’s Quickmart Supermarket merges with Tumaini Self Service KENYA – Mauritius-based private equity firm Adenia Partners has concluded a deal to acquire majority stake at the emerging retailer Quickmart Supermarket through its special purpose vehicle Sokoni Retail Kenya, at an undisclosed amount. Sokoni Retail Kenya holds the controlling stake in Tumaini Self Service. The transaction will see Sokoni merge the operations of Quickmart and Tumaini Self to form a single retail operation under Quickmart brand name. The process has already been approved by industry regulator Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), giving the investor a stronger footing in Kenya’s competitive formal retail space. Quick Mart Supermarkets has 11

branches while Tumaini has 13 branches across Kenya. Through the merger, the company is set to create a network of 30 stores by the end of 2019, all located in the urban and peri-urban residential areas. The retail industry in Kenya is undergoing a major realignment following the near demise of Nakumatt and Uchumi Supermarkets over the last few years, which remain a shell of their glory days. Regional retail giant Shoprite and French international supermarket chain Carrefour are jostling to take the mantle of the country’s largest retail chain, with Carrefour leading the way after taking over most of the premium locations that were exited by Nakumatt.


Zambian agribusiness firm to invest US$200m in a palm oil project ZAMBIA – Consolidated Farming Limited, a subsidiary of Sable group, will be investing US$200 million in setting up a large -scale palm oil processing industry in Luapula Province, Zambia. The investment will also cover a 10,000 hectares anchor farm and an outgrower scheme, reports Lusaka Times. The company’s director Essof Alloo said that upon completion of the project, the company will be producing palm oil as edible oil for both the local and Great Lakes markets. Consolidated Farming will initially set up a 100 hectares oil palm nursery in Mbereshi area before the 2019/20 rainy season Mr. Alloo said. This will be followed by planting of 2,000 hectares every year for the next five years to create 10,000 hectares. The company is confident that the project will succeed owing to the favourable climatic conditions that

supports the growth of oil palms citing the Luapula River valley as the best place that will support the plantation. The Sable group is a diversified investment firm in Zambia with businesses in sugar production and milling, commercial farming of maize, soya beans, and wheat, and cattle farming. The company’s sugar operations are run through its Subsidiary, Kafue Sugar, under the management of Consolidated Farming Limited. Established in 2003 Kafue Sugar manages a 9,000 hectare estate with a processing mill along the banks of the Kafue River. The sugar plant currently employs approximately 1,500 people and controls about 30% of Zambia’s sugar industry, with the remainder being held by its biggest competitor, Ilovo Sugar. In total the Sable group operates about 18,400 hectares of farm land in Lusaka and Sinda. The investment in the oil palm industry will further support its diversification strategy. SEPTEMBER 2019



Cargill plans US$120.5m investment in expanding Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa grinding plant CÔTE D’IVOIRE – Multinational

agribusiness company Cargill has unveiled plans of investing US$120.5million in expanding its cocoa grinding plant in Micao, Côte d’Ivoire, reports Ecofin. The investment will see the company increase the facility’s annual capacity from the current 110,000 to 170,000 tonnes. The expansion will be carried out in two phases, the first phase will be completed in April 2020 and the second in April 2021. This initiative is part of Cargill’s strategy to increase its annual beans processing activity. Cargill is one of the leading cocoa grinding companies in the country and is among 12 other active firms including Barry Callebaut, BARN.S and Olam. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s top cocoa producer and competes with The Netherlands for as the top grinding countries by volume. According to a Reuters report, the West African country has a total grinding capacity of 712,000 tonnes but ground only 505,000 tonnes of beans in the 2018 season. M A N U FA CT U R I N G

JICA to finance establishment of a tyre retreading plant in Ethiopia ETHIOPIA – The Japan International Cooperation Agency has approved a project proposal that aims at establishing a tyre retreading plant in Ethiopia. The Japanese development agency accepted the project proposal that was submitted by Fukunaga Engineering Co., Ltd, a Japanese firm, to set up a tyre retreading plant on the premises of one of Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise’s locations. The plant will be built inside the Enterprise’s Qality Branch, , where the Qality Customs Branch Office is located. At that location, thousands of old and used tyres have been dumped. Estimated to cost up to $1.3million, the plant will have a capacity of putting a new rubber surface on the outer part of a worn tyre on 50 tyres a day. For the implementation of the project, Fukunaga, the Enterprise, the Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ethiopian, Chemical & Construction Inputs Industry Development Institute signed an MOU in April 2018. The pilot phase of the project is set to begin in January or February of 2020. 28 SEPTEMBER 2019


Rwandan seeks investors as it plans to privatize three agribusiness firms RWANDA – The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the government’s investment institution has put three government owned companies up for sale, calling for expression of interest by private players. The government said that it will be selling its stakes in in Burera Dairy Limited, Nyabuhi Potato Company and Rutsiro Honey Limited, in its efforts of promoting efficiencies in the agribusiness companies. On the planned divestments, the government plans to offload up to 98.03% of its shares in dairy products producer, Burera Dairy, 98% of its shares in Nyabihu Potato Company and its 60% stake in Rutsiro Honey Ltd Burera dairy, which was established in 2015, has encountered various challenges

which have led to the company halting its operations, and government efforts to turnaround its fortunes failed. Nyabihu Potato Company is valued at over US$1m and has an installed capacity to process about six tonnes of potato per day. It produces potato crisps, processed French fries, among other products. Started in January 2018, it has faced operational challenges and has failed to optimise its productivity. Sunny Ntayombya, RDB’s Head of Communications and Marketing noted that the through privatizing the companies, the government will bring on board the private sector to improve efficiency, capacity and operational management.


Amazon inaugurates its first owned and world’s largest campus building in India INDIA – Leading e-commerce technologies provider Amazon has inaugurated a new office complex in Hyderabad, India as it invests to tap into India’s rising e-commerce potential. largest campus building anywhere worldwide, in what it says is a reaffirmation of how India continues to be a key market as well as talent hub for Amazon. According to a recent report by Deloitte India and Retailers Association of India, the e-commerce marketplace in the country is worth US$200 billion, rising to a whooping US$1.2 trillion by 2021, and will be the engine of the next level of Indian consumer growth in 2019, going forward. Amazon’s investment adds to the retailers already strong focus on India, where it has been present since 2004, with 62,000 employee in the country. Nearly 25% of its staff will be housed in the new facility. The only Amazon-owned campus outside the US has 15,000 work points across 1.8 million square feet in office space, built on 3 million square feet of construction area and is the company’s single largest building in the world in terms of total area. The infrastructure has been developed in adherence to Amazon’s exacting standards, designed to facilitate inclusion of employees with special needs and support its diverse workforce, adds the company. Amazon currently has 30 office spaces in India, 50 Fulfilment Centers in 13

states as well as hundreds of delivery stations and sort centres and has created nearly 200,000 jobs in the country, said Amit Agarwal, SVP & Country Manager, Amazon India. The facility features casual, collaborative workspaces, as well as private areas, interfaith prayer rooms, mothers’ room, quiet rooms, showers, helipad, and an all-day open cafeteria designed to facilitate inclusion and diversity. Sustainability is at the core of this building which has more than 300 trees dotting its grounds with three trees aged over 200 years and has a 850,000-litre water recycling plant. Meanwhile, there are reports that the company is set to start its food delivery service in October, and is luring restaurants with commissions 40% of what rivals Swiggy and Zomato charge, a move set to spark intense competition in the thriving food delivery business across the country. It is also in the final stages of acquiring Foodpanda’s infrastructure from Ola, according to reports.



Market capitalisation of Global Top 100 companies at record US$21 trillion

Labat Africa enters cannabis market as it secures trading licence in Lesotho

WORLD - The market capitalisation of the world’s 100 largest

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s investment group Labat

public companies rose slower in 2018, increasing by 5% or US$1,040 billion in 12 months, according to PwC’s Global Top 100 ranking. The rise lower than the 15% increase reported in 2018, reflecting more challenging market conditions, as the US-China trade tensions begin to affect even some of the largest companies. Growth in market capitalisation in the past year has been primarily driven by US companies, on the back of a robust economic environment, while both Greater China and Europe registered a decrease 0f 4% and 5% respectively, reversing last year’s gains. The US accounts for more than half (54%) of the Top 100 by number of companies with growth of 9%, while US companies represented 63% of the total market capitalisation, up from 61% last year. Greater China is the second largest component by market capitalisation, but declining 4% decline in the past 12 months following trade uncertainties, from the 57% increase in 2018. Geopolitical challenges including uncertainty on Brexit are likely to have impacted European based companies in the ranking in the past year while trends for companies from the Rest of the World, including Africa, are more positive, with their market capitalisation increasing by 22%. Overall, the best performing country in the ranking in relative terms was India. The technology sector continues to dominate, while healthcare, consumer services and telecommunications sectors also performed strongly as well. The technology sector continues to be the largest component of market capitalisation within the Global Top 100, ahead of the financials sector, with healthcare in third place. Growth in the healthcare, consumer services and telecommunications sectors of 15% outpaced technology’s growth of 6%, which experienced volatility in late 2018. Financials was the weakest performing sector with a 3% decline in market capitalisation. The global top ten continues to be dominated by the technology and e-commerce companies – Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet – followed by Facebook in sixth position and Alibaba and Tencent as numbers seven and eight, respectively. The value of the top 100 unicorns grew by 6% to US$815 billion at 31 March 2019, with nearly half (48%) of the top 100 unicorns from the US. Greater China contributed a significant 30% of unicorns in both number and value terms, which is a much higher proportion than for the Global Top 100. POWER

Windlab and Eurus Energy to invest $150m in hybrid power plant in Kenya KENYA – The Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) and the Government has signed and deal with global renewable energy developers Windlab and Eurus Energy to build the first hybrid power plant in Africa. The project, to be situated in Meru county, Central Kenya, is expected to earn the county revenue and also benefit the local community, The Standard reported. The large-scale facility combines wind, solar PV and battery storage project with construction expected to start in 2021. The plant will provide up to 80 megawatts (MW) of clean, sustainable renewable energy, consisting of up to 20 wind turbines and more than 40,000 solar panels. It is expected to power over 200,000 households.

Africa is set to diversify into the booming multi-billion dollar cannabis industry after it acquired a trading license to cultivate, manufacture, supply, hold, import, export and transit cannabis in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The company which has been operating for over 25 years as a technology and logistics holding company has also acquired two local companies - Knuckle Genetics and Pac-con Pharmaceuticals - to enhance its capacity to process cannabis at a total cost of US$950,000 (R14 million). Knuckle genetics produces highquality cannabis flower, oils and concentrates with a very high (more than 20%) THC content for the export market, while Paccon manufactures and packages liquids, tablets, capsules, creams and gels. Demand for cannabis and its products has been on the rise particularly due to its legalization in several states in the world, the United States and Canada being the most notable ones. Estimates from the Green Fund show that the global cannabis market is worth US$150 billion and a forecast by Barclays expects the sector to be worth US$272 billion by 2028. Cannabis use is still criminalized in many African states including South Africa where Labat Africa is based. Some states in the continent have however, made great strides towards legalization and licensing so that they can have a share of this lucrative market. Lesotho, where Labat Africa has acquired a license to grow and process, was the pioneer nation in Africa to legalize cannabis use. Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Uganda are the other countries which are at varying stages of rolling out their licensing regimes to attract investment. OIL & GAS

Prudent Energy expands capacity with a new 6,000 tonnes LPG plant NIGERIA – Prudent Energy and Services Limited, the leading indigenous oil trading firm, has completed the construction of a 6,000-metric tonne liquefied petroleum gas plant (LPG) in Delta State, Nigeria. The oil company which has its core area of specialization in the downstream sector of the oil Industry has been making significant investments over the past few years, the new LPG facility being the latest. The Chief Executive Officer, Prudent Energy, Mr Abdulwasiu Sowami, said that the construction of the LPG plant was in line with the current government policy of making cooking gas the primary source of heat in the country. Only 25 percent of Nigeria’s 200 million people have access to LPG. The government has however been promoting the uptake of cooking gas by discouraging the distribution of kerosene which is currently widely used as the primary source of energy in many households, with its consumption greatly reducing for the past four years due to restrictions on its importation by government. Meanwhile, through its subsidiary, Ignite Investments and Commodities Limited, the company has also recently acquired a controlling stake in Forte Oil Plc. Forte Oil has about 450 retail outlets, and 40-50% of them can take the LPG. The acquisition of Forte will give prudent energy capacity to provide retail services to cooking gas consumers, adding to its bulk services to large scale LPG consumers. SEPTEMBER 2019



Chinese firm Kingdom Linen Plc opens new US$70m textile factory in Ethiopia ETHIOPIA – Kingdom (Ethiopia) Linen Plc, one of Chinese firms operating in Ethiopia has opened a new factory worth US$70 million in Adama, Oromia Regional State. The yarn factory is expected to start with trial operations within the next two months before embarking on full operations. Once fully operational, the factory is expected to process 5,000 tonnes of linen yearn annually, generating an estimated US$45 million dollars in revenue. The factory is part of an integrated textile processing plant which Kingdom (Ethiopia) Linen Plc plans to complete in three phases. Completion of the other two phases would cost the Chinese textile producer an additional US$130 million, increasing the total production capacity from the initial 5,000 tonnes to 20,0000 tonnes annually. The company will also employ an estimated 4,5000 people. Kingdom Ethiopia will join the 1,345 textile, apparel, garment and leather industry projects registered by the Ethiopian Investment Commission and the regional investment bureaus in the country. MOTORING

Toyota expands operations into Ghana, plans new assembly plant


Ride hailing firm SWVL to invest US$15m in its Kenyan operations

KENYA – Egyptian ride hailing firm, SWVL has unveiled plans of investing US$15 million in improving its current operations and scaling up the business into new routes across Kenya. The firm which entered the country in January this year with four routes on a pilot basis, has so far built a network of 150 buses running along 55 routes with numerous pick-up and drop-off points. The move to increase their investment and the routes they operate in is seen as a step further to consolidating its presence in the market ahead of other rivals in the sector including Uber and Little Cab. SWVL co-founder and CEO, Mostafa Kandil said that there is a big opportunity in Nairobi to create a mass transit system for the middle class, adding that the US$15 million investment will go into setting up the infrastructure and networks. The company has been operating in the city on pilot basis for six months. SWVL recently closed its US$42 million Series B-2 funding led by BECO Capital and Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures. This makes it among the best funded start-ups in the region. FINANCE

Australian impact investor plans US$40m investment fund in Africa AFRICA – Palladium, an Australian based advisory and

GHANA – Toyota Tsusho Corporation, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world by volume, is set to start a new car assembly plant in Ghana, adding to its operations in Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt The company has signed a deal with the Ghanaian government allowing it to establish an assembly plant in the country. The deal was signed in Yokohama, Japan, in the presence of Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo. According to Toyota Tsusho’s President and CEO, Ichiro Kashitani, the automobile multinational will establish a Toyota and Suzuki assembly plant in the West African nation. President Nana Akufo-Addo said that the deal with Toyota Tsusho was in line with his government’s vision of making Ghana an automotive hub for West Africa and the larger African market. Kashitani revealed that the assembly plant would be ready to begin operations in August 2020. The company plans to assemble the famous Toyota Hilux at the new plant in Ghana and will also introduce small passenger cars and two Suzuki brands at a later date. 30 SEPTEMBER 2019

management group, has rolled out a new impact fund that is expected to raise US$40 million for investment in agribusinesses across Africa. According to the firm, the Palladium Impact Fund I marks its first fund following two recent successful direct investments. It aims to make its first close of the new fund later this year. The investment will also focus on small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets off-grid clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The fund will also apply a “gender lens”, which prioritizes benefits to women through economic empowerment and opportunities. Palladium Impact Fund I investors will include foundations, family offices, pension funds, and institutional investors. The impact investor will manage the fund, anchored by a US$5 million investment of its own capital. The new fund will make debt and mezzanine investments of between US$250,000 and US$2 million into small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The fund will aim to alleviate poverty and economically empower over 500,000 rural households, as well as create at least 3,500 fulltime jobs – 60% of which will be for women. The group has over 75 offices across the globe including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia and Egypt in Africa.



Kenyan Agri-Tech Startup Taimba gets US$100K funding from coLABS

PepsiCo offers to acquire South Africa’s Pioneer Foods for US$1.7 billion

KENYA – GMC coLABS, the gender lens portfolio US based impact investor Gray Matters Capital has announced a US$100,000 funding to Taimba, a Nairobi based B2B agri-tech start-up. Dominique Kavuisya, Co-Founder and CEO, Taimba, which runs a mobile-based cashless platform connecting rural small scale farmers to urban retailers, said they will use the funding to strengthen its infrastructure and increase delivery logistics to cater to 6 new markets in Nairobi. Taimba sources agricultural products directly from the rural small-scale farmers and delivers directly to informal green grocers, schools, hospitals and restaurants within Kenya’s capital. The startup currently has over 2,000 farmers in its portfolio and engages with 15 farmer Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) selling produce such as potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages and carrots. The company also has also on-boarded 310 customers on its platform comprising informal green grocers (85%), restaurants and cafés (10%) and Schools and hospitals (5%) based out in Nairobi. By piloting open contracts with Kenyan farmers, Taimba offers 20-30% higher prices as compared to middlemen, helping generate better revenues along with direct linkage to urban markets. The firm has also partnered with Technoserve, the international nonprofit organization that promotes business solutions to poverty, as its farmer outreach partner. The start-up is also planning to pilot in Mombasa and Kisumu city by next year and will also look at introducing new products such as fruits, nuts and eggs as part of its farm product catalogue. The funding marks the fourth investment by the impact investor in Africa after Rwanda based ARED, Ghana based Redbird Health Tech, and Nigeria based Sonocare.

SOUTH AFRICA – The world’s leading food and beverage


company PepsiCo has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all the outstanding shares of South African food and beverage company Pioneer Foods Group for about US$1.7 billion. The deal, which will be PepsiCo’s biggest outside of the US market to date, forms part of the New York-based food and beverages giant plan to expand into the African market. The deal will contribute meaningfully to the growth of the South African economy under its newly elected leadership and could spur more foreign direct investment, PepsiCo said, adding that it forms an important part of PepsiCo’s strategy to expand in South Africa and Africa as a whole. The acquisition of Pioneer Foods, which produces such brands as Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko, and White Star will complement PepsiCo’s current lineup as it marks strong positions in cereals, juices, and other African nutritional food staples. Pioneer said it will gain access to leading research and development and brand expertise, along with global scale and distribution. This transaction creates a leading food and beverage company in Africa, led from South Africa, with a commitment to supporting sustainability and local suppliers and will see PepsiCo create a new operating sector for Sub-Saharan Africa, named PepsiCo SSA.


Kevian Kenya invests US$3.37m in subsidiary recycling plant

GABF announces funding commitment to invest in German-African energy startups AFRICA – The Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) in collaboration with private partners from the energy industry has announced a multi-million Euro funding commitment to invest in German energy startups that focus on Africa. The funding commitment, which pledges funds to German startups with exposure to African energy projects, will be the first such intra-regional initiative. “Our initial goal is to support the investment in German companies and to start with funding allocations by the end of this year”, said Sebastian Wagner, co-founder of the GABF. “Through our partners, we will immediately get involved in investing in solutions-driven German startups with pragmatic business models to solve Africa’s energy challenges through the provision of German technology and innovation”, he added. GABF brings together Africa’s foremost executives with German companies, investors and innovators with the aim of driving change and strengthening investment ties between Germany and Africa. Founded in 2017 as a “private for privates”, the GABF encourages German investors to consider the African continent as a profitable and important investment destination. It draws together African business and political leaders with Germany’s preeminent innovators to develop fresh investment concepts that shape German and African business ties, as well as economic thought.

KENYA – Kevian Kenya, the Peek N’ Peel and Afia juice owner, has invested KSH 350 million (US$ 3.5 million) in establishing a new recycling plant, Ramani Recylers in Thika, Central Kenya. Ramani Recylers, which will operate as a subsidiary of the company has an installed daily production capacity of 1,500 tonnes, with the company expecting to scale up the production capacity in the future. “This is just the first phase of our project and we project that by the time we reach the second phase we will be manufacturing a wide range of products from the recycled waste.,” said Mr. Kimani Rugendo, Kevian Managing Director. The juice producer says the plant will recycle waste packaging papers to make ceiling boards, pallets for industrial use, doors, dustbins, roofing materials, seedling bins and furniture. To facilitate the operation, the firm has already signed a collection partnership deal with several companies, including national carrier Kenya Airways, Brookside Dairy and Tetra Pak. Collection centers will be distributed in Nairobi and its environs. SEPTEMBER 2019



Two Uganda Airlines planes sit on the tarmac. Uganda has become the latest country to introduce a national carrier as African airline companies seek to grab a larger share of the expected boom in flying passengers across the Continent

Containers piled up at a yard in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where demand for imported goods is expected to continue rising

Pots of spices at a Carrefour supermarket outlet in Kenya. Intense competition is expected in Kenya’s retail sector

A sign announces the office of Acacia Mining in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The firm’s troubles with the Tanzanian government remains unresolved a few years down the line. 32 SEPTEMBER 2019

The Skylight Hotel, located at the Bole area in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, stands majestically to welcome visitors. Ethiopia is looking at such investments to boost its leisure and conference tourism to drive its economy.

Leather goods on sale in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopia has one of the best organised leather industries in Africa.

A shelf is sagging with dairy products at a Pick n Pay outlet in Lusaka, Zambia as the dairy industry takes off in the country

A street in the centre of Kigali, Rwanda. Rwanda has focused on its tourism potential and good reputation to attract business and leisure tourists.




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ormer British Prime Minister Winston Churchill christened Uganda as the ‘Pearl of Africa’ in his 1908 book, “My African Journey” after his trip to the country in 1907, speaking in glowing terms about the country that remains one of the best endowed with nature in Africa and one of the world’s most biodiverse nations. Endowed with fertile soils, abundant rainfall and tropical weather almost all year round, the agriculture sector in Uganda offers huge potential to drive the economy forward. Connected to agriculture are the vast opportunities that are rising across the country, including tourism, hospitality and retail sector that have seen recent growth, as new entrants take a keen look at Uganda as the next frontier for these business sectors. One company that has taken advantage of this scenario is Sokoni Africa Ltd, a Kampala based enterprise that has ventured into the ranching, meat packaging hospitality and retail sectors, creating a vertically integrated business across the value chain. Sokoni Africa Ltd owns and runs the Quality Hill Mall, a boutique mall at Ggaba road in Kampala and Seven Hills Ranch, which is nestled in the hills of Kasanda in Mubende, Central Uganda. In late July the Africa Inc. team took a trip into the lively city patched on several hills and sought to hear and see the Sokoni Africa Ltd story from their citadel at the enchanting and enthralling Quality Hill Mall, located next to the American Embassy, Kampala. We were privileged to meet Leah Wanjiku, General Manager, Seven Hills Ranch and Yannick Duyck, Marketing Manager at the Quality Hill Mall.



Ranch in breathtaking scenery

The one and a half hour journey from Kampala to the ranch took us through scenic topography that must have enchanted the former British Prime Minister – and which continues to dazzle both explorers, tourists and nature lovers to Uganda, with luxuriant and diverse tropical vegetation along the way. Our morning drive ushers us into the extensive ranch. The ranch, located in Kasanda district near Mubende, Central Uganda focuses mainly on livestock farming, organic horticulture and apiary with plans to venture into organic coffee and free-range poultry rearing. The entire ranch sits on seven hills of fertile soils and lush vegetation well maintained by organic farming practices. As we enter the farm, Leah points to some section down in a valley where we can see some vegetables growing and across a dam, a forest of tall trees that she indicates is the apiary - just a sneak preview of what awaits us. Ahead to the left we drive up a gentle slope into the headquarters of the ranch set atop one of the hills, where we find the team eagerly waiting to receive us. Leah introduces the group – Lory, a Kenya-born South African national who has been brought in to offer his expertise in extensive ranching, Moses Mwangi, the Farm Manager, Felix Nyangkori, the resident vet and a number of farm employees. After the initializations we drive further ahead and halt at the main farmhouse consisting of a four-bedroom house with an annexed guest wing and staff quarters. “The ranch has a series of staff quarters all round linked to the several kraals that dot the land. As we will later move around you will see the dams, feedlots, paddocks and other developments that we have done on the journey to get the facility to a reputable modern ranch,” Leah opens up as she beckons her team to get ready for the couple of interviews we are to carry out. Once we prop ourselves next to a set of feedlots, one with the mother-herd, we set off our interlocution with Moses. He states their goal from the onset. “Our objective is to provide quality meats that have clear traceability to the consumers. We want to 38 SEPTEMBER 2019

Yannick Duyck, Marketing Manager, Quality Hill Mall above and a room at the Le Petit Village boutique hotel that has a touch of rustic elegance.


Leah Wanjiku, General Manager, Seven Hills Ranch. Right top and bottom; different views of the high-end Le Chateau restaurant. give safe food with a known origin.” The built-up area of the ranch consists of 5 kraals, each with staff quarters including basic amenities like latrines, washing bays and some having feed stores. The ranch which has a wellmaintained road network across the entire farm has many other developments to buttress the extensive ranching investment. These include paddocks across the farm for grazing management, strategically placed water tanks numbering 9 and 11 valley dams. To augment the natural flora and fauna a deliberate effort has been made to plant 14 acres of pine trees and a 3-acre plantation of eucalyptus trees. All these coupled with the undulating topography gives the viewer a very spectacular and picturesque outlook of the rich land. “Our ranch is quite expansive at 7 square miles and we aren’t using all of it for animal production; a huge chunk approximately 3 square miles in not used for any animal related activities. We have managed to create a sustainable relationship with the surrounding communities. We give them land to farm - by doing so they get produce for their upkeep whereas they clear the land where we can plant grass for the cattle and other animals,” Moses. explains on the sustainable relationship they have with communities surrounding the ranch. According to Moses., the demand for Seven Hills Ranch meat is high because the consumer has become aware of their practices that deliver quality natural products. With the expansive land, competent people in meat production and animal husbandry, there are solid plans to increase the number of paddocks to bring a substantive portion of the land into productivity to meet consumer expectations. The program will see its completion by 2021, anticipates the trained agronomist with an air of futuristic optimism. “We plan to buy selected stock from proximal farmers and fatten them with our ration. Land is not limiting here, and the climate is favorable, tropical African climate. So, we can raise

animals in their natural environment other than intensive feeding with natural grass. Our feed formula ensures that within 3-4 months the animal has gained weight by 100 kg.” When asked to give an overview of the ranching and the meat industry in Uganda, Moses reported that there is a very huge potential in Uganda for animal production because of the climate. For those starting up, there is need to empower them through training on good farming practices and startup capital. The markets could be more accessible, particularly in the cities, he advices. Small farmers should look at farming groups/cooperatives to pool resources, train and penetrate markets. Another cog in the Seven Hills Ranch wheel and agenda of providing organically and safely grown products is Felix, who looks at the health of the animals so that the ranch can deliver standard animals for slaughter, production and consumption. “My role basically entails what animal I get into the farm and what animal I get out the farm. I select the best animals and ensure they are given the best care in the way of vaccinations against diseases and other practices in animal production such that by the time they get to the feedlots they are all healthy,” he informs our team. Animals from outside have to pass the set requirements and a criterion exists that selects them. He looks at their physical and health conditions. They should not have any deformity or history of disease. On the other hand, Lory has been roped in to empower the team by building their capacity in extensive ranching as an expert straddling several markets and with immense experience in the sector of beef farming. “To finish your cattle, you got to have them in the feedlots, and this is where I am helping Seven Hills. We are SEPTEMBER 2019


A herd at the ranch in one of the severl kraals.

“SEVEN HILLS RANCH WAS INCORPORATED IN 2013. WE HAVE 1000 HECTARES OF LAND AND DECIDED TO START KEEPING THE ANIMALS TO HAVE CONTROL OF THE VALUE CHAIN RIGHT FROM THE FARM. WE SPECIALIZE IN CATTLE KEEPING, LAMB AND GOAT” L E A H WA N J I K U also getting ourselves involved in breeding because the market we intend to target is the upper echelons, meaning our breeding and genetic quality has to be geared to meet the market requirements,” he explains his role while giving a snippet of the direction the establishment is headed. “Uganda is an incredibly fertile country. If you can manage your grasses properly, the grass is going to look after your cattle and your cattle will look after your pocket. Unless you have your grass right, your basic ingredient, you are going to struggle. You get your grass management right, your feeding right, your breeding; really it is a combination of all these things.” Lory agrees with James in terms of the potential in Uganda’s animal sector. “There is an awful lot to do here but the beauty is that you have a blank canvas to start painting on. With the natural advantages in Uganda, fertility and climate, things will improve very quickly. Uganda is very similar to countries like Colombia, Brazil and generally South America. So, there is no reason apart from the skill set, why it can’t be done in Uganda,” he quips optimistically believing that in 2-3 years, Seven Hills will be leading in supplying the niche market in Uganda through great breeds and technology. “We will definitely have sufficient animals to supply; it will be an 40 SEPTEMBER 2019

issue of market demand pushing us,” the lively expat declares. Lory lists lack of the requisite skill set as one of the challenges beleaguering the takeoff and growth of beef farming in Uganda. He bemoans that there is a lot of teaching people on what to do purely because they haven’t had the exposure on the basic factors influencing beef production like grass, water, hay; before getting into the more technical feedlot handling and other feed ingredients issues. In his closing remarks he advises that anyone who wants to get into the same business should keep their eyes and ears open and that they should welcome suggestions. “No one knows it all and no farmer can farm as an island in isolation; they must work with other farmers. We need an open mind that does not confine to traditional ways and ideas.”

Organic farming practices and traceability

According to Leah, the General Manager, the venture was backed by a dream to bear a trend of healthy eating and soil enhancement, biological diversity and spreading integrated farming systems that prohibit synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and growth hormones. The objective is the organic way of serving the evergrowing community of ‘gastronomists’ and organic food enthusiasts with adequate produce. “I have been in business for quite some while. Earlier on I started from the travel industry from which I graduated to the business world in training and consulting for different firms,” she begins in earnest. “Seven Hills Ranch was incorporated in 2013. We have 1000 hectares of land and decided to start keeping the animals to have control of the value chain right from the farm. We specialize in cattle keeping, lamb and goat. It was very critical by the market that our value chain began from the farm due to problems we foresaw way back. The biggest challenge was on procuring raw materials; traceability of the carcass origin was absent. And so, the



“OUR RANCH IS QUITE EXPANSIVE AT 7 SQUARE MILES AND WE AREN’T USING ALL OF IT FOR ANIMAL PRODUCTION; A HUGE CHUNK APPROXIMATELY 3 SQUARE MILES IN NOT USED FOR ANY ANIMAL RELATED ACTIVITIES.” M O S E S M WA N G I best way to commence the business was to have our own farm and control that function of supply and value chain. Later own, we decided to go a step further and have a production plant - state-ofthe-art – where we do different cuts for our varied clientele. Our strategy is to farm, produce and distribute,” Leah expounds further. Leah stresses the emerging demands from consumers, especially the market demand to know where the raw materials are coming from, mainly the big restaurants and hotels. Therefore, Seven Hills Ranch decided to give their customers a peace of mind by letting them know and assured that whatever products they get come from a legitimate farm with solid traceability, which begins right from breeding, birthing, rearing, feeding, slaughtering, production and distribution - good quality products with a trusted origin. By 2018, the ranch had more than 1,000 heads of cattle of the Boran family, Boran Fresian and Boran-Ankole crossbreeds, steadily rising to more than 1,400 heads in January 2019, 80% being of the Boran breed. The animals are grazed from birth till 12 months then zerograzed for four months whilst being fed on natural feeds and toxin and antibiotic-free ration rich in mineral salts. The exceptional practice yields beef that is tender and great-tasting from the animals slaughtered when full size at about 400kg. Other animals grown on

the ranch include Boer-goats and sheep numbering approximately 400 and 50 respectively. “Our current customers are the big hotels – Sheraton, Serena, etc. They have supported us immensely. We have other restaurants that we work together with and the catering companies serving camps in the rural areas. The general public is also our market, where we partner with selected distributors who sell to the end consumer after we supply them,” says Leah adding that they have plans to go a step further and explore the export market. As she puts it, there is a need for Uganda as a country to venture into such markets to boost foreign exchange for the country. To align themselves and ease their entry to markets beyond the Ugandan frontiers, the company has started the journey of acquiring relevant certifications and are at advanced stages of ISO certification process by the end of 2019.

Exquisite mall in the City

Back to the city, we venture into the Quality Hill Mall, we sample the unique offering and memorable consumer experience provided by the varied offering in the middle of the bustling city of Kampala. The city has seen the emergence of a number of malls, as consumers SEPTEMBER 2019


Shelves in the the exequsite Le Gourment Delicatessen, which is the latest addition in the offering at the Quality Hill Mall.

“THE OBJECTIVE OF THE BOUTIQUE MALL WAS TO PROVIDE A WHOLE CONSUMER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE; AFTER YOU EAT OR HAVE COFFEE YOU CAN SHOP AROUND FROM OUR OTHER OFFERINGS FOR A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE” seek new experiences and the convenience brought by malls – and a merging mall culture that the company is riding on. Yannick, the Marketing Manager of the Mall informs us that he handles the relationship between their customers and products under all aspects in the Quality Hill Mall stable, adding that he focuses on the main trends emerging in the market to meet customer expectations. The boutique mall is made up of leading attractions including Le Chateau restaurant, Le Patisserie, Le Gourmet Delicatessen, Le Petit Village hotel and the M-Maison. Le Chateau, the restaurant, is an exquisite eatery that oozes style and class, an ambience that exudes both Western and African tastes and style in décor and furnishings. It’s a high-end joint. “The restaurant caters for middle-class to high-class families both Ugandans and foreigners and has particularly catered to the needs of the American Embassy next door,” Yannick confirms our speculations, indicating that they as well tap on businesspeople coming in for short trips or expats coming in for holidays. The latest kid under the Quality Hill Mall roof is Le Gourmet, a high-class supermarket featuring local products as well as imported goods with a focus on providing variety to the eclectic expat clientele. Evidently as you walk into and around Le Gourmet, you clearly notice that it exceeds anything offered by conventional natural food stores; from the wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, freshly prepared unprocessed juice, a wide selection of cheese and cold cuts, a coffee section that boasts the highest quality of coffee blends and a host of selected superior quality groceries one is spoiled for choice with premium brands that you can trust. It also has the organic section that consists of a flavored coffee bar, juicing bar and the Le Gourmet café; the prime butchery that parades prime beef and pork; a florist section and sit-in restaurant. A first of this kind in Uganda. 42 SEPTEMBER 2019

If you’re at the Mall and want some good coffee, then the Le Patisserie is your go-to corner. Yannick modestly tells us that it’s a small pastry shop where people can come for breakfast and any coffee needs. Even with his down to earth musing you can’t avoid noticing and smelling the evident sophistication in the ‘simple’ pastry shop. M-Maison showcases high-class furniture and interior décor in a mix of different influences, Asian, Nordic and Africa clearly indicating and denoting the signature clientele that patronize it and the entire Quality Hill Mall establishment. You cannot finish talking about the Quality Boutique Mall’s multiple offerings without a mention of what most have referred to as an oasis in the center of Kampala, the Le Petit Village, a thatchroofed hotel with rustic elegance that permeates everything in a perfect place to relax and understand luxury. According to one such satisfied customer, it is a very relaxing boutique hotel with very peaceful gardens, a great choice of very good food at the restaurants and bakery with wonderful staff; very friendly and helpful. “The objective of the boutique mall was to provide a whole consumer shopping experience; after you eat or have coffee you can shop around from our other offerings for a memorable experience,” Yannick shares the vision. He indicates that hospitality and customer service industry is ever changing; it’s a fast-paced industry. Trends come out of nowhere, be it Western or local influences. “We strive to keep on top of these trends and make sure that we accommodate every other person in the country. The current trends have gravitated towards sustainable living, shifting towards healthier lifestyles and these are things we have had to take into consideration. With our latest addition, Le Gourmet, we have a variety of products geared towards these trends; we actually added a juicing bar where people can come in and take care of their bodies”.

Lacking local skill sets

Irrespective of the aggressive nature of the market with competition creeping in, among other factors, Yannick believes, with their vision they are squarely equipped to ride the tide, while nonetheless bemoaning the lack of skilled work force. “The main challenges we have in Uganda is the workforce; to find the right people – skilled labor – for our kind of operations is rare. We spend a lot of time and money to train and get the people to get up to where we need them to be - the high-class standards. Some come in with

SOKONI AFRICA LTD perfect experience, but we pride ourselves as offering a high-class consumer experience, so we have to converge them to our practices and ideals,” he reiterates. “Integrity of different employees is another headache. When you put someone into a position of power and responsibility, we find that sometimes that could be abused. Uganda is still a developing country and mistakes are inevitable along the way; corruption is a big factor when it comes to putting regulations in place by the government. Nonetheless these are issues we take head on and do the best we can,” Yannick delves further while reinforcing that their main focus will be sustainable living and healthier eating in the short-term and mid-term. They also want to be active in CSR with all the stake holders including the surrounding communities and anybody who have a direct stake in their business.

Competitive environment challenges

In a country where local demand for beef is still unsatisfied, ranching subsystems have opportunities for growth and Seven Hills is taking its rightfully place in that space. Amidst this opportunity Leah laments about the uneven competitive ground from informal operators. “The biggest challenge we face is competition from household basket companies. We have people doing what we are doing either in their homes or small outlets wherever they are located. They infringe on our market by penetrating our niche without investing in systems and structures that such a segment demand. It’s not a level playing ground; quite unfavorable. Their quality cannot be guaranteed; this is the biggest threat,” she decries. However, she’s quick to thank the government and regulatory bodies who have strongly come out to support mainstream organizations like themselves and also curtail some of the players in the background who are not very easy to find. “UNBS has worked closely with us to ensure that we get all the support we need to further our business by getting requisite certifications to trade locally, regionally and internationally. There is a lot of positivity along that,” she offers. The other challenge facing the rancher, and as equally alluded by Yannick earlier, is deficiency of the right skills set to run the operation. “I would like to urge the government to have more institutions that can have the young people in the country get proper training. We have a lot of unskilled labor that cannot be easily tapped into some special areas of the sector. We don’t need to import skilled labor,” Leah invites. Nonetheless, to get skilled workforce they want, the company does a headhunt in certain positions because it’s difficult to just put vacancies out there. The establishment also uses HR consultancy firms to get the right people. After getting the skilled team, it doesn’t end there, as a company they have their own values that keep them together. They offer more company training to be able to see the fruits they desire, using experts either internally or outsourced across all business functions. According to Leah, their next focus is to get value for money by having a dedicated and elaborate staff retention plan.

A sustainable future, with expansion plans

Beyond the animal rearing, production and distribution, the Seven Hills Ranch produces natural and organic fruits, vegetables and herbs to reinforce its organic farming systems credentials. All the products are hand-picked from seeds to maturity with restrained use of any synthetic materials and chemicals. Some of these produce that is sold off from Le Gourmet and enjoyed in the other eateries are broccoli, eggplants, chilies, red cabbage, red corn, jalapeno, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and Irish potatoes that stretch on 5 acres or so at the ranch. There is some 10 acres under bananas too. Seven Hills has cleared and tilled more than 50 acres of land for planting Robusta coffee and plans are in the pipeline to

introduce Arabica coffee blends and as per tradition, they will be A view of the expansive Seven Hills Ranch from one of the hills overlooking a dam and the vast grassland. mostly natural and free from synthetic materials. “We have worked very closely with our neighboring communities. Our farm being expansive, we need clearing for farming which is quite lengthy and tedious. On this front we engage the local farmers by giving them a couple of acres for free. They till the land, put on their crops which could be maize or legumes (beans) which add value to the soil. In the proceeding season we plant grass in these areas that we use to feed the animals. Upon harvesting the farmers keep the proceeds and only give back to us a sack of maize per acre farmed, and not money. Through this initiative, we have forged a win-win situation where they can take care of their families and improve their livelihoods while we get cleared areas to plant grass to feed the animals,” Leah elaborates. “Our priority now is to have our own abattoir in the farm. At the moment we bring the animals to a national abattoir where they are slaughtered, and the carcasses ferried to our production facility. Having our own abattoir in the firm will ensure we have and control the entire value chain – raising, slaughter, production and distribution. Only production will happen off the farm in the city. Uganda is an emerging market and there are very many things that are lucrative, farming being one of them. Seven Hills Ranch is looking forward to becoming a leader in meat processing and distribution. We are looking further into exports and help contribute to the country’s objective of exporting more,” Leah concludes, as she looks into the future








frica Logistics Properties is leading the charge to a more efficient, cost-effective and quality warehousing industry in Kenya, seeking to change a sector that has had its fair share of challenges, despite rising opportunities. The Africa Inc. team had discussion with the CEO, Richard Hough, at their Tatu City facility to discuss the future of logistics and warehousing in Kenya and the region. For a market that has for a long time suffered from small, poor quality warehousing units that are unfit to support the kind of modern logistics operations needed by regional and international firms in East Africa, a new dawn has emerged with Africa Logistics Properties (ALP) entry into the sophisticated logistics property space. The company has set its sight to revolutionize industrial and logistics properties in the region to world class standards in a region where the cost of moving goods is estimated to be up to two or three times - higher than in developed markets - and where transport costs can account for nearly 50-75% of the retail price of goods. ALP, a specialist integrated property investment company, is developing class-A industrial logistics properties in major cities across Africa. Nairobi has not been left out as the firm has embarked on developing Nairobi’s first international grade-A logistics warehousing parks with some phases already complete and occupied. We get to understand that more companies are moving away from Nairobi’s old and congested industrial area into ALP’s modern and efficient warehousing units that save cost, time and enable growth. The cost of land coupled with poor infrastructure has seen Nairobi’s industrial hub lose its allure and appeal as a preferred manufacturing center in the country. The game changing facility, ALP North Nairobi, offers a total floor space of 50,000 square metres in three units, making it the largest in Kenya that is built to international standards and available to the rental market. The company says that its distribution and logistics center at Tatu Industrial Park offers international standard modern facilities for the rental market, with plans to roll out similar world-class developments across key African capital cities. Its vision is to fundamentally improve supply chain infrastructure




A view of ALP 1 from outside at the Tatu City Industrial Park

“MODERN LOGISTICS BUILDINGS FORM AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN THAT IS EFFICIENT AND COST EFFECTIVE. OUR BUILDINGS ARE ABOUT BEING EFFICIENT AND COST EFFECTIVE” across Africa and disrupt the current status quo of poor quality ‘go-down’ warehousing. The multi-tenant facilities allow not just international large companies to enjoy grade-A logistics and light industry warehousing, but importantly give regional SMEs access to international standard warehousing for the first time. “ALP company is about 2 years old and was founded to provide to Kenya and the rest of East Africa modern logistics buildings that support growth of the consumer market,” starts Richard, as we settle at the first floor office space in one section of the ultramodern multi-tenant facility. “I worked in Russia in a company called Raven Russia that had the same business model for 10 years where we went into emerging markets, identified their needs for modern logistics building and provided the services. We entered into long term relationships with clients who took up the space and used the buildings. This is exactly the business model we bring here into Nairobi and the region”. The firm, which is headquartered at Nairobi’s Karen suburb, came to fore in 2017 when CDC committed to invest up to US$25 million in the firm, as part of a US$60 million fundraising. Other investors include Maris Capital, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mbuyu Capital and DOB Equity. The investment was geared for ALP’s developments to address the lack of quality warehousing space that has constrained business growth in the East Africa’s trading hub, Nairobi. “ALP has very long-term shareholders. People who have invested for the very long term. We’re not a property developer who puts up a building and sells it in 18 months. The biggest 46 SEPTEMBER 2019

shareholder is CDC, the British government and similar longterm institutional shareholders. They are happy to invest in this kind of facilities and receive rent on long term basis. We’re happy to own the structures and that’s why we take very high care when we build them; we’re interested in having long-term relationships with tenants that go beyond renting the building”. With this support from a range of global institutional shareholders ALP envisages that the investment will create more, quality direct job opportunities in the city, and more within its supply chain partners and tenants.

Tatu City advantage

Why locate the warehouse at Tatu City? “Tatu City is a sort of trend that has emerged in Nairobi. There is an orbital network of roads available and being built. It’s inevitable that distribution and storage for the city will move to the outskirts of the city. I understand that the traditional industrial area in Nairobi is there but congested, very expensive and difficult to move around. Destinations such as Tatu City, which are close to good road links in and out of Nairobi into the West of the country are a natural choice for logistics centers and are also good places for living; many people are coming here,” justifies Richard appealingly. As if to vindicate his basis, Tatu City has been dubbed one of the largest urban land developments in Africa with residential developments, commercial space, technology park, hospitals and health facilities, light industrial and warehousing facilities, school sites and elaborate parks, playgrounds and open spaces. It is mooted that this development will be a large new city that would massively reduce congestion in central Nairobi and reverse traffic flows between the center and Kiambu County. This is the appeal that informed ALP’s choice among others like Chandaria Industries, Coopers Kenya Brands Ltd, Dormans, Kim-Fay, Gallagher, Hunkar Gas, Monwalk Investments, Maxam among other to settle at the scheme. Nova Pioneer Academy and South Africa’s Crawford International College are already operational with major roads and important infrastructure already


Racks in the 12-meter clear height for high density storage that lowers cost per item stored. done within the development.

World-class facility

As we are taken round by Richard and Emma Siobhan, the Marketing Manager who works closely with the Karen office on leasing and business development activities for ALP and has been with the team since the ALP was formed, we can clearly see the alluded attributes inside and around the expansive facility. “Modern logistics buildings form an important part of the supply chain that is efficient and cost effective. Our buildings are about being efficient and cost effective. It is not because they are better, higher, shinier or newer, it’s the fact that they drive down costs and make logistics more efficient. By having such distribution facilities that are an important link in East African logistics pushes the overall cost of goods down and in the end the consumer pays less for goods”. “Our objective to provide class-A building storage space is here. It meets international standards. When experts from international companies come to this country, they will easily recognize ALP as a facility that is good quality and meets their expectations just like those in Europe, North America, Japan or India. The height of the building is a very special feature; you get 12 meters clear height which means you can get a high density of storage which then translates into lower costs per item stored compared to traditional warehouses in Kenya now. For every 3000 sqm space there is one loading dock which enables one to use mechanical handling equipment to load and offload from the building. The buildings

A view of a hydraulic loading dock from the inside.

THE 12-METER OPERATING HEIGHTS ALLOW PALLETS TO BE RACKED 7 HIGH PER SQUARE METER ACCRUING TO ABOUT 40% CHEAPER COSTS COMPARED TO TRADITIONAL KENYAN GO-DOWNS. are fitted with modern LED lighting and solar energy to ensure costs are lower amidst the provision of adequate natural lighting from the roof. The floor is the most important part of a warehouse; it is a proper performance-based concrete floor, hardened and sealed without dead ends at the end of panels making it very easy to use without much difficulties. This well-designed floor increases productivity and reduces maintenance of the building while equally increasing the life of the equipment using the floor,” Richard highlights the features and benefits. Inside the units, the floors are laser-levelled high-load bearing. The 12-meter operating heights allow pallets to be racked 7 high per square meter accruing to about 40% cheaper costs compared to traditional Kenyan go-downs. The other feature reducing operational costs at the facility are the docks and the hydraulic levelers. “Trucks from our tenants maximize truck turn around efficiencies by using the docks with hydraulic levelers,” explains Richard as we are demonstrated to how it works. The costs are further driven down by environmental features such as solar

Inside the warehouse, with adequate natural lighting all day SEPTEMBER 2019


The team that is driving ALP to greater heights is all smiles after the official opening of the warehousing facility

THE COMPANY IS DEVELOPING ANOTHER GRADE-A INDUSTRIAL PARK ON A 49-ACRE LAND SITUATED 25 KM WEST OF NAIROBI WITH ACCESS TO THE MAIN NAIROBI-NAKURU HIGHWAY powered electricity from solar panels on the units’ roofs to power occupiers’ businesses. ALP gives freedom to their clients to select the location that is ideal for their businesses in the multi-tenant units which comprise of warehouse and office space, divided into optimal modules for the tenant to freely combine and plan out. All buildings are equipped with modern technical solutions to boot. The lease offers are flexible with a possibility to adjust the leased space in size, design, lighting and much more to suit individual needs. Future expansions and optimizations are equally considered and accommodated.

Meeting unique customer needs

So, are the customers pleased? “Our customers are pleased with the quality of the building,” says Richard. “The single most important aspect that is pleasing the customers is the money savings. We know that if they use this building properly the cost per product will be much lower. The turnaround time is also an aspect that they are happy about. There are lower shrinkage ratios both from damages and lost goods than they would have had in other premises”. One such happy customer is Copia Kenya, a firm that brings 48 SEPTEMBER 2019

the power of e-commerce to the middle and base of the economic pyramid and who have been using the ALP facilities since its completion. According to their CEO Tim Steel, they have discovered other important advantages to the facility beyond the low cost per unit of storage that has equally drawn other companies to these high-bay warehouses. “When we moved to ALP our stock shrinkage fell to world-class standards, the saving from this alone covered the higher rent leaving all the other improvements from the building as a bonus for Copia business”. ALP signed a long-term lease with the fast-growing e-commerce FMCG distributor that specializes in supplying rural Kenya. Copia believes that by operating from ALP’s 12-meter-high warehousing they will benefit from the highest pallet densities in the market and therefore the lowest pallet storage costs per square meter. They will be able to run thousands of deliveries a day from this new central distribution center to its agents across the region, a perfect mix for the fast-growing business model serving the rural regions in Kenya. This gives Copia considerable competitive advantage, a benefit ALP is more than pleased to see accruing to its customers. “We try to build to meet as many needs as possible. Our customers certainly include logistics operations, internet-based distributors, food providers and more. For food providers – frozen and chilled – who require specialized storage and handling we provide advice and support for such special needs,” reassures Richard. As Richard elaborates further, they are very happy to provide space as there is need for it. However, beyond space provision, if customers want other things, they facilitate. This could be cold storage, racking, offices and more including the entire cold chain if that is what it will demand. He believes there is no point in

AFRICA LOGISTICS PROPERTIES having a fleet of refrigerated trucks if you don’t have proper operating cold storage to take the products to. “We are happy to do extra investment for our partners who may require. The benefits will then be included in their rent. This way the partner does not lock up money in buildings that they would rather otherwise use as working capital. Our model is good for the business and good for the development of infrastructure in the country,” he declares, clearly reinforcing the benefits of quality warehousing in improving operational efficiencies by reducing wastage from poor storage, increasing the speed of product delivery and improving product security. Indeed, access to quality logistics by global and local companies will make it easier to ramp up businesses in the areas they operate.

The future of logistics in Africa

Compelled by the same dictum, ALP is developing another modern grade-A Industrial park on a 49-acre land situated at Tilisi Logistics Park, 25 km west of Nairobi’s CBD with direct access to the main Nairobi-Nakuru highway, which is currently being upgraded to 6 lanes. “Tilisi is a location that we are all very excited about,” Richard reveals exuberantly about their next project. “It’s just outside Nairobi on the road to Naivasha. We see this road being very important; it’s being improved, and it links the western part of Kenya, which is important in the agri-space and growing rapidly economically with most cities and towns growing faster than Nairobi”. Benefitting from very good roads into the more retail intensive part of Nairobi, the western half of the city, makes the location rank as the best in Nairobi and probably the best link in East Africa for a logistics hub, according to Richard. Meanwhile, as the company’s first two projects in Kenya are getting onstream, ALP is already building a pipeline of future projects across Sub-Saharan Africa and North African cities to create the continent’s future industrial hubs

A view of a hydraulic loading dock from the outside.

The drivers’ waiting lounge at the facility

A view of a ALP 3 from outside the facility









wenty years of operation is an important milestone for Capwell Industries Ltd. The Thika, Kenya-based family owned business has over the last two decades carved a niche in the milling sector in Kenya with its main brand Soko and other brands that transcend the milled maize, rice, pasta and pulses businesses. The company is proud of the series of breakthroughs that has seen it position itself well in the competitive milling industry, increasing its investments, innovating new products and packaging and breaking barriers in its quest to be one of the most important players in the country. “We started with maize flour – Soko – with a small capacity plant then later moved into other products that were informed by the opportunities that presented themselves. We got into rice, porridges and pulses. This is the humble way we began 20 years ago,” starts Mr. Shah. Initially, his father was in a bigger family-owned business bakery, Broadway Group. “My father decided to move away and through his encouragement, we, my brother and myself, were enticed into maize flour milling. We started at a time when financing from banks was daunting for a new company.

However, a financier listened to us and we managed to takeoff from the modest early stages. As time went by and because we were successful in the venture, we managed to convince and impress on our bankers that we were capable of doing even better and bigger than the promising progress.” Over the time, Capwell Industries Ltd (CIL) has transformed itself from a family outfit to a professional run entity that prides itself of several firsts and momentous milestones that include capacity expansions, certifications, new plants, expanded product range and novel products. Rajan attributed the transition to the growth the company experienced. “When you’re running as a family business, you’re a little bit nimble and agile. You can make decisions quickly over a dinner table because you don’t have to refer to many people. But as we moved on, the organization got bigger and bigger and there was need to professionalize - we are no longer a family business; we are a professional outfit with functional departments. The family now sits more at the board level making more strategic decisions while the team makes operational ones. We have a reasonably good team who make these decisions,” explains Rajan.



The CEO (second left, front row) and the Founder and Chairman (third left, front row) with some of the top management team members from across the organisation.

Cereal milling foundation

Capwell Industries is one of the most diversified food processing enterprises in Kenya. The company has been a trendsetter in the Kenyan market and is setting its eyes on new products and new markets in the near future. However, it’s worth mentioning that their bedrock has been in cereals milling and processing from the beginning. Through hard work and focus through the entire spectrum of CIL operation, food industry veteran, Dalichand Shah, who is the Chairman of the company, started the company, which is privately owned back in 1999. The Chairman’s family has roots in Kenya running back over 100 years, after his father moved from India to Kenya in 1911. The 72-year-old patriarch of the Capwell group started his career in the industry in 1962 when he joined his brothers in the bakery industry where he remained until 1996 before starting the Capwell group in 1999, headquartered in the industrial town of Thika, about 45 km from Nairobi. CIL started off with maize milling in 1999, installing a 240 tonnes per day (TPD) plant to start off and four years down the line expanded the business into rice milling in 2003 and next were porridge flour and pulses product lines in 2007. The Soko maize flour manufacturer bought out a rival miller for more than Sh200 million as it sought to expand its market share in the competitive packaged food business in 2014. The deal underlined increased interest in the local packaged food business, especially in the maize and wheat milling segment. “Over the years we have grown our capacity to nearly 400 tonnes per day (TPD) of installed maize milling capacity. Our milling capacity of rice is presently 100 TPD, for porridge flours is 60 TPD, while the pulses range has 100 TPD capacity,” Rajan Shah explains. The company operates two maize milling plants, a 270 52 SEPTEMBER 2019

CIL STARTED OFF WITH MAIZE MILLING IN 1999, INSTALLING A 240 TONNES PER DAY (TPD) PLANT TO START OFF AND FOUR YEARS DOWN THE LINE EXPANDED THE BUSINESS INTO RICE MILLING IN 2003 AND NEXT WERE PORRIDGE FLOUR AND PULSES PRODUCT LINES IN 2007. TPD plant and a 120 TPD plant that was the acquisition from a neighboring miller. It has invested heavily in modern and technologically advanced milling systems and superior packaging machines for its products portfolio. Last year 2018, the firm that specializes in high quality flour, rice, pulses and porridges invested US$10 million in a wheat flour plant as part of its expansion strategy into the market. The new plant, equipped with pre-cleaning equipment and a storage silo with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes has a daily tonnage of 250 TPD. “We are now 1 year in wheat milling; before we were contract manufacturing then selling under our brand. Wheat is the second most consumed staple in the country, hence it would have been unfair if it wasn’t part of our product portfolio, because we wanted a whole range of staples. It is a tough segment because of the excess capacity/overcapacity in the wheat milling industry. Demand is growing but not at the same rate as the capacity. One year on, we have introduced our wheat flour under the Soko brand and because we have a very strong brand promise under Soko, we will continue to fulfill that brand promise, a reason we are equally

CAPWELL INDUSTRIES LTD doing well with the Soko home baking flour,” Rajan speaks on their entry into wheat milling.

Cautious horizontal integration

Rajan doesn’t really see their expansions in facility and product range as diversification but rather a horizontal integration of the company’s portfolio. “The objective of the company is to make sure that every meal that our consumers have has a component of Capwell products in it. When we started with maize meal, then rice and pulses, there was obviously a gap in that there were other staples that were not in there and it was a natural progression that we expand our portfolio to be present in all meals at the table,” he explains. The firm has always taken a measured approach towards the integration and consolidation. Mr. Shah explains, “We are a riskaverse company. We don’t expand senselessly; we look at where we are, what the market needs are, what market potential exists and cautiously look at expanding. We also make sure that we are not over geared as a company to curb financial difficulties from overborrowing. Our strong team has contributed largely to this cautious approach towards building the business.”

Innovation has been key with many firsts

“Innovation is one of our key values as a company and is one of our critical success factors,” says Rajan Shah. “Our focus on innovation is not only in terms of the product, but in terms of the people and processes as well.” Capwell Industries was the first company to start producing fortified maize meal in the region in 2001 via the company’s Pendana fortified maize meal, which was a differentiated product from the rest in the market. This was a time when it was not

mandatory for millers to fortify maize meal, but the trend-setter, felt that there was a proven need to boost the nutritional profile of the flour, and that of our consumers. Fortification of milled grains was made mandatory in Kenya, many years since CIL introduced the concept. They were also the first to introduce the 5kg and 10kg family packs in 2001 through their Soko maize meal brand that has a commanding share in many regions of Kenya. Capwell Industries was also the first miller to introduce white outer packaging in the maize flour market, packaging its Pendana brand in white packaging, when all the brands in the market were still using brown packaging. “In the rice area, we were the first to introduce laminated packaging that is more attractive and more functional; delivering a product with superior shelf life to our customers. Before that rice processors were using polyethylene packaging. Alongside this, from the realization that locally sold rice had a lot of foreign matter that wasted time in sorting before cooking, they introduced new cleaning equipment that did away with sorting by the user before cooking the rice, saving the customers valuable time, and delivering a safer, more convenient product. “Our innovations have also enabled us to make our processes more efficient and to deliver better food safety, including improving testing methodologies that reduce aflatoxins and other contaminants,” the CEO added. Through some of these actions that Capwell Industries has initiated over the years after listening to the customer, they have continued to have a good standing with the customers who have been vital to the success they enjoy currently. In remaining on song with their innovations, the firm they launched ‘Amaize’, a premium fine quality maize flour in 2018. The flour has a steadily growing presence and space in the Kenyan

The company started off as a miller of maize meal, later expanding into the rice, pulses and porridge flour processing. The recent entry into wheat milling has enabled it to capture new markets and consumers.



The company has recently invested in a new state-of-the-art wheat milling plant to expand beyond the maize and porridge flours it has been making. Rajan says that the customers are excited by the Soko brand wheat flour, which also has a whole meal variant. retail shelves. “The reason why we got into Amaize was because we saw a gap in the market. We wanted to begin from a very clean slate, we didn’t want to copy a competitor. There was a market segment for premium finer quality flour, which was not quite being fulfilled,” justifies Rajan. “We invested in technology towards ensuring that we got the right product. For us it is a segment that is niche and not as big as the regular maize meal market. Nonetheless, there is a lot of positive feedback from consumers and the numbers can vindicate that and we’re positive it is a brand that is going to grow. Any brand we roll out, we always make sure that we give our full support and ensure that the consumer is getting a value preposition out of the brands.” The latest buzz in the progressive firm’s innovation drive is ‘Yola’, a cereal milk drink officially launched recently, on the way making Kenya join the cadre of African nations that have embraced cereal milk drinks that are quite popular in the Southern African regions. This is the first time the company has ventured into a completely new beverage category and by so doing they have now become a fully-fledged food and beverage company, illustrating Capwell Industries confidence in the Kenyan market. Rajan had this to say on this latest introduction. “You could be wondering why we got into beverages. If you look at our vision and mission, we want to be the preferred food and beverage company. It is not by accident that we have come up with this product Yola. Two years of research and development have gone into developing this product through internal and external R&D, which involved the consumers to make sure we rolled out what the market is demanding. It is a very unique product; the first in the country. “It is made from maize flour, cultured milk and other nutritious components, thus offering a nutrition, energy and affordability prepositions. Those are the three premises we wanted the lower end of the pyramid to enjoy. It is a meal on-the-go effectively. As 54 SEPTEMBER 2019

we even anticipate that the product will take care of the lower end of the pyramid, it is interestingly appealing to the middle-pack of the pyramid and we are very excited and positive about this development.” The quarter of a billion-shilling new product category investment is a strategic growth move that the firm has taken to expand the line of products they offer in response to an evolving Kenyan food culture, according to the CEO.

Expanding markets and products

The company has over the years managed to provide its products to the majority of locations in Kenya, with the product available in major supermarkets, medium level supermarkets and kiosks. With strong partnerships with leading distributors all over the country, the company appreciates the great contribution its distribution partners have played in its success. The company’s products are also to be found in neighboring countries in East Africa, especially in certain outlets in Uganda and Rwanda even though trade barriers have hindered their penetration into some of the regional markets. “Part of our strategy is to grow regionally into neighboring countries. Our rice used to go across the borders but because of tariff issues we are not able to export our rice into Uganda and Tanzania. The duty imposed made it uncompetitive. As a company, regional markets are part of our growth agenda; we want a presence in the regional markets as well,” says Rajan. Capwell Industries is the leading producer of maize meal in the Central Kenya and Nairobi region. With their Soko brand having a strong lead in this particular region, driven by the focus on this area though the brand also has strong brand awareness across the country. This with the premium Amaize maize flour brand has given the firm a steady footprint in the Kenyan maize flour market. In the rice product category, the company has a number of rice

CAPWELL INDUSTRIES LTD varieties and brands: Pearl Kenya Pishori Rice, the flagship Pishori brand, has gained over the years popularity in Kenyan homes, credited with delivering the brand promise and commanding a leadership position in the Pishori segment. The company is proud of its leadership position in the Pishori rice category in Kenya. The company’s CIL Long Grain rice and the Ranee Family rice range (Ranee Premium Basmati, Ranee Classic, Ranee Chef Special Basmati, Ranee Every Day and Ranee Biryani Long Grain rice) offer great cooking presentation properties. The rice products are available in white and brown options, and various packaging sizes, from 1kg, 2kg, 5kg and 10kg offering choice and variety to consumers The company also has an extension line to spaghetti and pasta products under Ranee brand packaged in 400gram packs. The company also has a growing list of packaged pulses packaged in 500g and 1kg packs. These pulses include green grams, locally known as Ndengu, masoor dal (Kamande), cowpeas, black beans (Njahi), red beans, pigeon peas, popcorns among others under the Pearl Brand. During processing, the pulses are sorted and cleaned through the latest SORTEX technology that delivers clean, wholesome and nutritious grains that meet rising consumer needs in the region. The porridge line consists of two varieties, Pure Wimbi and Wimbi Mix under the Soko brand name, offering wholesome nutrition & goodness to the whole family anytime. Yola, that comes in four tantalizing flavors – vanilla, banana, strawberry and mango is targeted and suitable for the young and the old. “Yola cereal milk drink is a first-to-market, leading-edge trend to quench both hunger and thirst at the same time,” said Mr. Shah at its official launch recently. The drink comes in two sizes – the 250ml and 450ml that cost Kshs 40.00 and Kshs 60.00 respectively. Buoyed by population expansion in the peri and urban areas, where a major portion of the firm’s growth came from, rising incomes and a more aware consumer, Mr. Shah believed this will continue to be the core market for Yola and spilling into rural areas due to its long shelf life.

The CEO is all smiles at the company’s new beverage plant. The introduction of Yola cereal beverage has thrown the miller into the liquid beverages business.

The company continues to recruit technical and commercial teams to ensure it can run professionally to meet rising demand and market requirements.

Human capital focus

The company presently employs over 400 people, a feat that the company is very proud of, impacting a total of 2,000 people through its supply chain, from the farmers from whom it sources the raw materials to the factory employees, to those involved in the distribution of its products.

The production team is busy at work at the state-of-the-art beverages plant that was installed and commissioned recently. SEPTEMBER 2019


“Our Chairman, who has been “WE ARE AMONG THE FEW IN THE take up university graduates working in the food industry since who come and take internship 1956, started the company and has INDUSTRY TO HAVE A FULLY-FLEDGED programs and can hone their been vital to its growth. Over the skills through their R&D. R&D FUNCTION WHICH WE HAVE years, we have made great strides TAKEN AS A CORE FUNCTION. IF YOU They absorb some of them as in growing the company, and are full employees. LOOK AT THE CORE VALUES OF OUR very proud of our most important “We are among the few asset: the people we work with COMPANY, INNOVATION IS ONE OF in the industry to have a here. However, we have recently fully-fledged R&D function THEM” made moves to professionalize the which we have taken as a core level, we have middle level, line management management of the company,” Mr. Shah and supervisory staff. The team lead by function. If you look at the core values of informs us. Head of Business runs the operations and our company, innovation is one of them. “We have a Head of Business and below report to the executive Board, improving It is important because the world over there is the senior management team that the management strength of the company.” the pace of technology change is fast; the heads various functions: Human Resources, Mr Shah believes the R&D function evolution of the digital era is rapid. This Finance, Production & Manufacturing and creates a platform where innovation means you’ve to be apace with emerging Sales and Marketing. At the operational flourishes in the organization. They do trends to manage consumer expectations.”

Wheat flour packaging line and storage warehouse that meet stringent hygiene requirements.



The company’s products include packaged maize flour, rice, pulses, spaghetti, porridge flours, wheat flour and cereal drinks The CEO says that they are looking at opportunities to train the under-privileged members of the society to find jobs. Further, they are looking at working together with other partners to start an apprentice program that will enable new employees to improve their skills, sorting out the mismatch of skill sets in the industry.

The future and changing consumer needs

“Disruptions globally, with the internet and information at people’s fingertips means consumers are more knowledgeable. They have better understanding and higher expectations. The regulatory environment is trying to catch up with these expectations. There are a lot of changes in regulations. Look at the plastic ban and fortification in flours. These are challenges that have impacted our industry,” offers Mr. Shah. “However, we have embraced the challenges positively. Food safety has become a very important thing – climate change has had a huge bearing on the issues around aflatoxins. As a company we have become more vigilant, we have invested in more testing internally to make sure we are securing the right quality raw materials to produce the right food products that are safe to the consumer. We are HACCP compliant and are moving towards

ISO 22000 certification.” The company is looking up to a bright future. “We are excited for the future, but we also cognizant of the fact that the consumers are more knowledgeable and asking for more. The consumers are asking more of manufacturers like us in terms of better, more convenient, safer, nutritious and healthier products. Of importance is that we need to be of a certain critical mass to list the company,” he says. The company, in line with its mission and vision, will continue to deliver wholesome, nutritious and convenient products. “We are looking at further value addition of our raw materials, where our present products serve as raw materials for extra value addition, by using better technologies to deliver better value to our customers. All our questions of the future will be answered by how the consumer needs will be addressed. Vitality, health and time are of essence to every consumer.” Capwell Industries is planning to be in the business for many more years to come and is willing to work with other stakeholders to improve the local community and the country, beyond meeting its corporate goals, concluded the CEO SEPTEMBER 2019








he first time I got to meet Sunny Verghese, the Co-Founder and Group CEO Olam International, I was surprised by his huge grasp of figures, and the ease with which he has a strong awareness of his company, despite its vastness and scale. His grasp of the Sustainable Development Goals figures and targets is hard to match – be it on poverty, agriculture, climate change or urbanisation. A staunch supporter and advocate for sustainable business practices, he says that he got his ‘road-to-Damascus’ moment when he was 45 years old, when his children asked him about what his company was doing to bequeath them a better future. He has since become the Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which brings together almost 200 of the world’s forward-thinking companies that work together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. It is a global, CEO-led organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world by making more sustainable business more successful, hence building a world where 9 billion people are living well and within the boundaries of the planet, by 2050. With an annual revenue of more than US$30,749 million in 2018, Olam International began its operations in Nigeria as a commodity trader, with a focus on the cashew nut, and has grown its footprint to be one of the leading agribusiness players with operations across the 6

continents. It is one example of the few businesses that started out in Africa and which have become international conglomerates and is still rooted in the Continent. Olam has a goal of re-imagining global agriculture and food systems to provide food, feed and fibre that’s better for the 4.8 million farmers in its extended supply chain, their communities and the planet. Olam International works with cotton, cocoa, coffee and grain farmers in Africa, almonds growers in Australia, plus over 200 processing plants across the World. With operations in 17 African countries, from Ethiopia to South Africa, Ghana to Tanzania and Uganda to Nigeria, Olam remains anchored in Africa, with agriculture, and increasingly, production facilities dotting the Continent and across the world, turning such commodities such as cocoa, tomato, spices, nuts, milk, coffee and fruits and vegetables to high value commodities. The company is currently in the midst of acquiring Dangote Flour Mills in Nigeria for US$331 million, adding to its already strong market leadership in the milling industry in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon. From Africa, the company operates the largest dairy farm in Russia, the largest almond farms in California, USA. Olam celebrates 30 years of operations at the end of 2019, while Sunny will be turning 60 years. For a company that started off in Africa, Olam International is a true inspiration to young businesses across Africa. SEPTEMBER 2019


Olam International has become the biggest wheat milling operator in West Africa, with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon.

How was the start and how important was it to start in Africa and particularly in Nigeria?

In the mid-80s and late 1980s many of the African countries had the commodity trade controlled by government monopolies, the various commodity boards. Overtime, these boards had become very large and very bureaucratic with a lot of corruption and leakages and progressively the farmer was getting less and less fraction of the value. When these countries had economic difficulties in the mid to late 80s, that was occasioned by the oil prices collapse, they went to the IMF and World Bank for support. The IMF and World Bank put these countries in a structural adjustment program and the center piece of that was that they would deregulate and liberalize their commodity boards. When this happened, there was a big vacuum created by the exit of these commodity boards. When the boards were there, only government monopolies could go out there and procure these materials at the farm gate, so they had a license for a buying agent who they appointed. We saw an opportunity to fill the gap created by the exit of the boards by setting up a reliable supply chain procurement and origination infrastructure. We started with cashew nut because I was from India and a lot of the world’s cashew nuts were processed in India at that time; 30 years ago, it was the biggest processing center. I thought there was no sense in transporting these nuts all the way to India from Nigeria to process because the kernel was 25% the weight of the nut and 75% the shell. We were transporting all these and processing it in India while consumption was happening in Europe and all these other developed markets. So, at this point there was every justification to process it in Nigeria. Unfortunately, being a greenhorn then, I discovered that the value generated in Nigeria was relatively lower than what was generated in India; I had relied on a faulty analysis of my own. From my own enthusiasm I had taken the Nigeria facility on rent for two years. I realized I had made a huge mistake 60 SEPTEMBER 2019

and after 1 year, I shut down the facility and went to New York to sell off what we had produced. A product produced in Africa, Nigeria to be sold into USA stood no chance, it dawned on me! The American buyers had been buying from India which had been the major exporter for ages; because they had verified the facilities there in terms of hygiene, processing capability, etc - but from Nigeria, they wouldn’t buy from us! I couldn’t sell anything that we had processed and so for 2-3 years I gave it away as free gifts during festivals. After the missteps and getting over them, backed by the gap we had filled that had been left by the boards, we started exporting to India. We discovered that 20 countries around the world produced cashew nuts but only three countries accounted for 90% of the processing – India, Vietnam and Brazil. We consequently went to India, Vietnam and Brazil and set up processing facilities there but continued to source and originate in Africa then ship to these three places where there was high efficiency in processing. Ten years ago, we went back to Africa to process because we had learnt how processing happened in the other places. Today we have the single largest cashew nut processing facility in the world in Côte d'Ivoire at Buake and two other places. We also have cashew nuts processing presence in Nigeria and Mozambique.

How did you move into the other African countries?

Within the first 3 years in Nigeria, we had developed about 50% market share in sourcing Nigerian cashew nuts, but if we described ourselves as a Nigerian cashew company there was little headroom to grow. Relying on the capacities we had developed in sourcing and exporting Nigerian cashews, we started looking at the other neighboring countries. We first went into Benin then Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Tanzania. We looked at all cashew nut producing countries. We had the customer base and had developed the capacity and now we understood processing, we put all those


“WE STARTED OFF WHEN WE SAW THE OPPORTUNITY TO FILL THE GAP CREATED BY THE EXIT OF THE BOARDS BY SETTING UP A RELIABLE SUPPLY CHAIN, PROCUREMENT AND ORIGINATION INFRASTRUCTURE” pieces together and grew. Today we are the only cashew nut company in the world that is present in the 20 producing countries and in all key processing centers; we are now a very significant player in that business and we have a substantive market compared to our next competitor; 3 to 3.5 times bigger than the immediate competitor.

What other commodities did you get into?

After cashew we were looking at which other commodity the governments were going to deregulate; it was cocoa. It was done in Nigeria followed by Côte d'Ivoire, which produces 41% of the worlds cocoa and then Ghana was next - where it is not fully deregulated, though they allow Local Buying Companies (LBCs), although the exports are still with the government. So, we are a buyer from the government, but we can originate the beans by engaging our LBCs. We set up processing facilities in Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria where we could source, originate and process in the countries themselves the cocoa into liquor, butter, cake and powder for sale. Next on the line for deregulation was coffee and the same process ensued. We are not yet in Kenya because even today all commodities are controlled by boards e.g. sugar, tea, coffee etc. If it is regulated then the way of doing business is very different; in a regulated market, it is not about your business model or strategy but it is about the relationships with the government. We are in Uganda because coffee is fully liberalized there. In Tanzania the government is deregulating the coffee board and other boards, so we want to participate. We are now in 24 countries in Africa, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, with a few countries in North Africa – Egypt and Algeria.

Beyond the commodities, Olam is also in food processing and grain milling.

Yes. We first started with commodities in origination and trading then we integrated the value chain. In making our decisions, we usually look at the distribution of the profit in the different streams, e.g. in the cashew nut business, we looked at how much profit pool was upstream from the grower and the planter; how much was in the supply chain and how much was in the processing and manufacturing and in the downstream side in distribution. Because cashew nut is grown by many small holder farmers in their backyards in the 20 countries, it is not really commercial. The farmer has very little negotiating power, there is little profit pool upstream for the grower. While for something like almonds, which can only be grown in 3-4 countries in the world, 80% of it is grown in California and is very capital intensive with a long gestation period of 6-7 years, nearly 70% of the profit is with the grower. Today we are the largest almonds orchards owners in California and Australia, we have very large almonds orchards. So, we looked at the profit pool distribution and we are heavy upstream in terms of plantations in almonds. We are in almonds, cashew, walnut, coffee, cocoa, rubber, palm, black pepper plantations; all these are perennial tree crops. We are also in raw crop farming with rice in Nigeria, peanuts in Argentina, corn, soybeans, beet, flax seed and many other crops in Russia like tomatoes, onions, garlic. We have a big upstream piece including dairy farming. We also

have a manufacturing bit with 206 units and facilities around the world doing wheat milling, pasta manufacturing, sugar milling, sugar refining, cocoa processing, coffee processing, peanut paste manufacturing, dehydration of onions and garlic etc. - a sort of integration in the value chain.

Let’s talk about milling in West Africa. You went in and bought an existing plant and have really grown in the region. Recently you indicated your interest in buying Dangote Flour Mills.

Yes, we are a large wheat originator and wheat supply chain managers across the World - we originate wheat in Brazil, Argentina and other parts of the world like America, in the Black Sea parts in Russia, Ukraine, etc. One piece of our strategy is origination and trading; the other is milling and processing. Wheat milling in Africa is a growth opportunity and we decided to go into it first in Nigeria. It was new to us; we chose to get into it through an acquisition. We acquired Crown Flour Mills (CFM) and we developed a very strong set of millers and technical engineering team. Before buying the miller, they had a capacity utilization of 30-38%. The average utilization for all wheat millers is about 38%. By having a very good milling and technical engineering talent, we have been able to increase the utilization rates to about 87-88%. Then, the extraction efficiencies in the incumbent mills was also very poor with 75% as the average; we went up to 79.5% extraction efficiency. As a result of building this advantage, we leveraged that on top of our sourcing and logistics advantage. Everyone in Nigeria was using durum hard American wheat because the Nigerian consumer, though relatively poor, wanted high quality wheat flour. Because we had sourcing and origination operations in Russia, we were able to source the right quality of wheat in Russia as we controlled our origination operations. The wheat had similar properties to the USA durum wheat but was not that expensive, giving us a cost advantage. Wheat prices are very volatile, and you need very good risk management on how to hedge your exposures and very good currency management, because in Nigeria we are importing all the wheat and the currency is volatile. Because we have a large export operation, we have createa a synthetic hedge between our export and import arms of the operations. With all these advantages and developing good distribution – we distribute a lot of other staples – we had a total cost advantage. We also moved our product range from B2B to B2C. We milled wheat into flours – noodle flour, biscuit flour, bread flour, a lot of pasta flour – then we got into pasta and biscuit manufacturing. Therefore, we moved most of the business from B2B to B2C business, which is a better margin business and that’s how we grew. Then we decided to go into Ghana, where it was very difficult to acquire; we usually prefer to acquire an existing business because that preserves industry profitability to the market. If you add capacity it destroys



The company is one of the largest agriculture giants across the World including coffee, spices, dairy, vegetables and nuts industry profitability to the market before growth catches up with because it is a successful business for us, and we have a template the new capacity. There was no target available for us to acquire and model that seems to be working well. We will continue to in the country and so we decided to put up a greenfield facility in invest in the existing countries and expand capacities and look at Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon. We are now in these four markets opportunities elsewhere. and we continue to look to expand this footprint. These plants are doing both wheat milling and pasta production and in some cases Olam is re-imagining agriculture and food systems. How noodles. are you going about it? After CFM we acquired BUA We have an important Group’s milling business. After the CFM and responsibility as a “OUR TECHNICAL, MILLING AND role acquisition and having changed utilization company to try and catalyze LOGISTICS ADVANTAGE PUT efficiencies and other costs, we trebled the food and agricultural the capacity in the greenfield plants. We systems growth to become US IN A POSITION TO ACQUIRE decided to acquire BUA and consolidate more sustainable. The and integrate it into CFM and now we DANGOTE FLOUR MILLS. AFTER THIS current global state of food are in the process of acquiring Dangote ACQUISITION, WE SHOULD PROBABLY and agricultural production Flour Mills. BE THE LARGEST MILLER IN AFRICA” leaves a lot to be desired in terms of sustainability. What is the big plus for you with So, we are asking how as a company we can help to produce food, feed and fiber to the world these new acquisitions? populations with far much less resources and less greenhouse gas As I said, our technical, milling and logistics advantage, including emissions, and reduced water use intensity. We have now mapped risk management advantage and all these competencies put us what our carbon, water and energy intensity. We have given 5, 10, in a position to acquire Dangote Flour Mills that is operating at 15-year targets on how we will improve for every tonne of product 40% capacity. In 2-3 years, we will take it to 70-80% capacity. Its supplied. We measure and monitor every year then report against extraction efficiency is lower than us and we look to improve that as well. We will be able to get operating leverage. By the Dangote these targets and see whether we are doing better or worse than acquisition we shall double our capacity in Nigeria. planned. By having concrete programs and public targets backed by measurements and reporting, alongside third-party verification, How do you rate yourself with the rest of the industry in keeps us honest and allows us to try and change. We are in control terms of milling capacity per day in West Africa? of our direct operations, but we also have to take responsibility for I think after the Dangote acquisition and integration, we should our supply chains because we deal with 4.8 million farmers across be amongst the top and probably the largest miller across Africa. the globe. We want to make sure that what happens in their farms is also going to become sustainable. What we control directly Beyond West Africa, have you ever thought of venturing is called scope 1, scope 2 are our supplier and scope 3 are third into milling in other parts of Africa? parties like power suppliers and transport providers. Overtime, we will progressively find other growth opportunities 62 SEPTEMBER 2019



We believe that nothing much will be achieved if only one company changes. Even if we don’t have environmental intelligence, everyone can improve on their sensibility intelligence towards the environment by trying to understand how all these things are connected – how the land issues, climate issues impact agriculture. All companies have to change individually and then our sectors have to change by all of us coming together. We are one of the architects of Global Agribusiness Alliance (GAA), which tries to bring all the agribusiness sector players together. We need to collaborate with NGOs, civil societies, governments and other stakeholders; meaning that if you have to change the world, you have to change it at those 5-6 levels. Changing at only one level will not help us transition the world to a more sustainable future.

With your global presence, what has been some of the experiences as you expanded across the World?

The rule of our portfolio selection is that we make sure that we are in as many producing countries for the commodities we trade in. So, if cashew is in 20 countries we want to be in as many of those countries as possible and that is how we’ve built our geographical footprint. Because we also do farm gate sourcing, we need to have a presence at the points of origin. But for all these, you need a business model that is backed by a global talent pool; we have something called the Global Signing Talent Group. This is a cadre of 150 managers in several countries worldwide that we select and hire on a centralized basis, develop their career paths and deploy them on a decentralized basis. These people understand our culture, our business model and systems. So, when we want to start an operation in a new country, a critical mass of these guys who carry our DNA will be deployed. They will go there and globalize the operation into our values, culture and systems.

How could we get smaller businesses in Africa to adopt sustainable practices?

We have to start by drawing a link between sustainability and doing well. If companies fee l that sustainability is a cost, then they are not going to be encouraged to go down that journey. If they believe that sustainability is the right thing to do and that by being sustainable, they can make money and do better, they will take their time to adopt sustainable practices. If you just push it as just the right thing to do; most people won’t accept it, because they are in business to make money. So, we have to show the relationship between the right thing and the good thing with making money alongside these initiatives. We should draw clear direct links between long term sustainable value creation and doing right and doing good.

You brought in Temasek and later Mitsubishi Corporation as shareholders in Olam a few years back. How important is it for small businesses to bring in new investors?

It depends on what your ambition is; if you want to grow into a global business, into a large company, do you want to take advantage of the opportunities available? Then you have to bring

We have an important role and responsibility as a company to try and catalyze the food and agricultural systems growth to become more sustainable. The current global state of food and agricultural production leaves a lot to be desired in terms of sustainability.

“We have to start by drawing a link between sustainability and doing well. We have to draw the clear direct links between long term sustainable value creation and doing right and doing good.”

Sustainability has been a very Western idea, so we want more of the developing world and other continents to become members. I am trying to see that we get a more broad-based representation of companies, industries, economies and countries



“I DON’T USE SLIDES BECAUSE WHEN YOU HIDE BEHIND THOSE BULLET POINTS, YOU DON’T COME ACROSS AS BEING AUTHENTIC AND DRAMATICALLY YOU REDUCE YOUR ABILITY TO MOVE PEOPLE THROUGH YOUR WORDS AND IDEAS.” in outside capital. If you want to keep it small as a family business and you’re satisfied, there is no need for outside capital. On Olam’s case, we believe there are many opportunities for us to upscale and grow our business and we need additional capital to do that. Therefore, we brought these other entities into the fold. But as for the founders and shareholders, I am the only shareholder in the 30 years that has not sold a single share from inception – as they say, ‘I eat my cooking’. All my net worth is in this business; I have not diversified. However, I have been diluted by these capital inflows.

You are a firm believer in sustainable business and your grasp of SDGs and other figures is very deep. Why?

If you phrase the sustainability debate as an ideology or religion, then you will not get people to become sustainable. My strategy is always to frame this on findings-based evidence and substantiating them by data, to convince people that this is real and that they need to do something about it. Many people see the many elements of sustainability as very different focus areas and look at them on a side role basis. So, some people and experts will look at water as an issue, others at energy as an issue and others at food and 64 SEPTEMBER 2019

agriculture as an issue. But for me, energy security, water security, food security, sustainable growth and inclusive growth are all interconnected with interlocked causes. In my experience I found very few people bringing it all together and tracing how these are linked with interrelated causes. Data, evidence and signs bring in that integrated picture and then building a thread around it. That’s why I don’t use PowerPoint, I don’t use slides because the moment you start using them, you hide behind those bullet points. When you hide behind those bullet points, you don’t come across as being authentic and dramatically you reduce your ability to move people through your words and ideas. My burden is how do I move people into action and in order to move them through my words and ideas, I need to make sure that there is passion in the emotion but with hard evidence. With a compelling story and narrative I have more of a chance of inspiring them or moving them to action.

You’re the chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Is there more interest from companies to join?

We see more companies wanting to join, though most members are large companies. We would like more middle-sized, mediumsized and small companies to join us and I think over time that will happen. The heart and soul of WBCSD originated in Europe and Europe has a more developed sensibility on sustainability, but we want much of the rest of the world also to catch up. We’re focusing on more people from Asia to become members. Sustainability has been a very Western idea, so we want more of the developing world and other continents to become members. I am trying to see that we get a more broad-based representation of companies, industries, economies and countries

EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW: INNOVATION Patricia Obozuwa is the Director, Communications and Public Affairs, GE Africa

How the GE Lagos Garage will help build Nigeria’s manufacturing ecosystem How long has the GE Garage been on, and how many people have passed through this process?

The GE Garage Programme started in the US, and it was to invigorate people’s interest in manufacturing by using these advanced technologies versus traditional manufacturing. And the first time we took that programme outside of the US was to Nigeria in 2014. We had a pop-up show for three weeks. People came in and they used the equipment, interacted with their peers and it was totally different from what had happened in the U.S. What we found was that a lot of people were coming across this equipment for the first time. Typically, in the US, it was more like an activity that is a lot of fun for the maker community to come in and make things but, in Nigeria we felt this could be a big opportunity to grow these skills in people so that as the world gets into advanced manufacturing technology we can do it at same time in Nigeria. And if this works well, I mean not just with GE, but also with efforts from other people as well, we can completely leapfrog traditional industrial processes and go straight into the advanced manufacturing technology. And I say that because I am likening it to mobile phone use; we completely jumped the whole landline phase and went straight big time into mobile phone technology and that’s the vision. If GE can support it even in a small way by teaching these advanced manufacturing skills, we really see it as a contribution to the sustainable development of Nigeria. In terms of impact, we launched a permanent programme in December 2016. We run classes periodically and people come in, they experience the garage, they go through the programmes and come out with great business ideas. So far, we have graduated 250 people from the program. The GE garage has touched over 80 businesses that are contributing to the Nigerian economy. Hundreds of prototypes have been developed there at the garage and 14 people – alumni have received prestigious international awards for products that they’ve either developed or started the development at the GE Garage. So, it’s really great impact but it’s even more impressive in terms of the quality of the impact when you hear the stories like you’ve heard today from our alumni. From their stories, you will see what kind of impact made on specific businesses and what they take back and even expand further around them, basically building a community out of what they’ve learnt from the Garage. We launched the online portal, the e-learning portal of GE Lagos Garage, which remains a significant moment for us because it’s an important opportunity to expand the reach of the current programme. We are delighted to be able to expand this to cover even more people across wider geography in Nigeria.

How beneficial has the programme been?

Looking at the GE Garage programme in general, the whole idea behind it is to really help build the manufacturing ecosystem in Nigeria and support tech start-ups and entrepreneurs to grow their skills and encourage even more start-ups to use technology to take their businesses or their business ideas to the next level.

It’s a programme that teaches technical skills in the use of advanced manufacturing technology like 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC Mills, which are housed in the garage, but also teaches participants business development, marketing, branding, and other things that surround a business beyond the technical aspect. That way, when people go through a programme at the GE Garage, they came in with a product idea but they leave with a business model formed that they can then translate into a full and proper business going forward.

Is GE collaborating with any other group, or probably state governments in pushing this further? In terms of collaboration, the Lagos State government has been very supportive. We are looking at possibilities of what we can do together around the proposed ICT Hub cluster in Yaba. We’ve had a lot of conversation on how we can take it further. I am a member of the advisory council for that project so we’re contributing in kind also in terms of planning and bringing ideas and direction for the ICT Hub. We have collaborated with them through LASTVEB to do a training for 25 people. We’ve collaborated with the Ondo State Government as well to offer a Mini GE Garage Programme in Ondo State and we are open to working with other such partners. We’ve worked with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to train some of their entrepreneurs that are focused on manufacturing at the GE Lagos Garage. So, it’s something we would look at continuing where we find like-minded partners and opportunities for more impact.

For businesses that have emanated from the GE Garage, what is GE’s follow up mechanism?

First of all, what we do here is provide training. We also give the participants access to potential investors to get funding for their projects. So that intervention of getting from an idea into a business model, is the real contribution that we make but, because we have such a good relationship with the alumni from the Garage, they generally tend to keep coming back here. They have access to equipment and they talk to us directly. So, we see what is happening with them, they invite us to their business events and so on. So, it’s a very informal way of continuing the relationship but, our commitment is to light that flame, get it started, move it from an idea in the person’s mind into becoming a prototype of the product they want to make and a business solution to make it happen. The sustainability in itself comes first in selecting the people that come to the Garage. We go through a rigorous process, choosing 25 people out of a thousand plus applications who have strong ideas that they want to turn into businesses. So, we know that the participants we choose are already committed, and what we put in, in terms of training, exposure to potential investors, and collaboration with their peers, has the maximum impact that it could have. That’s very important to us. Some of them have gone on to join other accelerator programmes while some have met investors here at the Garage and SEPTEMBER 2019


then moved into setting up a business. GE may be the catalyst, but the real innovative thinking, the real ideas, the real solutions come from the people in this country that are solving the challenges. It is those brilliant minds that really take it forward and transform their community.

For start-ups, what do you consider as the greatest - funding or ideas?

Well, funding is a challenge for any start-up and tech start-ups in particular. The idea has never been the problem because we have brilliant minds in this country. So, it’s putting it all together, having the opportunity to work out how to develop a business out of this idea and how technology can help. So that’s the challenge that we at GE want to help tackle and, in most cases, help solve with the Lagos Garage. Funding of course is always a challenge for anybody starting any kind of venture. And we give the GE Lagos Garage participants exposure to potential investors, they follow up leads of course, but we try to provide the platform where they can meet people that are willing to invest in innovative ideas.

Now, on a large scale, what is your assessment of the programme thus far?

I am delighted when I hear the success stories that have come out of the programme. It is one of GE’s contributions to developing skills across Africa, and in Nigeria especially. It’s by no means the solution in itself. This is just one company taking steps to make sure that we can contribute to developing skills. So, we are very pleased with every single success story that we hear. From the start, we knew that we will have some impact, but each person’s story is unique and each person’s experience is changing not just themselves but the people around them. When you set up that business, you are contributing to the economy, employing people, selling a product, making a meaningful contribution. So, things like that make us believe that it’s a successful programme. Of course, there is so much more work to be done in Nigeria but, on this one, we are happy that we can make that contribution.

How long does it take for someone to graduate from the Garage programme? The traditional class is a four-week programme and instructors come in and teach people the different aspects and they start creating the prototypes. We also have one-week programmes as well where it’s a slightly smaller curriculum that’s more focused on the technical side 66 SEPTEMBER 2019

of things. That’s the model we’ve used with LASTVEB and with Ondo State, working with students. We have now introduced an online programme so that more people will access to that online programme, at least 500 per programme; in a year at least a thousand people would be able to access and learn. That would be enough for some people to go on and start what they need to start. Some people will need further work on developing their prototypes and then they will come in for a two-week programme. The online programme is six weeks and that can reach very widely. Participants don’t need to come to Lagos to have access to the Garage; they can access that online for six weeks. Then the most promising 50 out of each group of 500 will come into the GE Garage in two different sessions of 25 each and work on prototypes, refine products and ideas and work with their peers. But even among the 500, some people who want access to be able to come to the Garage and work with the machines will be granted access on a rewards basis. It’s an open space, so when people come in here and work as GE Garage cohorts they tend to just become part of the family. We don’t turn back our alumni from accessing the Garage after they graduate. With this new programme, it’s going to reach at least a thousand people every year. For perspective, in the past two years of the programme running, we reached 250 directly as graduates of the programme. With this new online element we would reach at least eight times our previous annual number.

Do you see this as a CSR programme?

Yes. At this point it is purely focused on developing skills and it’s free for all participants.

Apart from this, which other CSR initiative is GE involved in?

We have a programme called GE Kujenga, that’s the platform for Corporate Social Responsibility across Africa. Kujenga means build in Swahili and at GE we see ourselves as partners with African countries in building a sustainable future. This is something we do across the different countries in Africa, and it focuses on empowering people by building valuable skills, equipping communities with new tools and technologies, and elevating innovative ideas that help solve Africa’s challenges. In Nigeria, just like every other African country that we operate in, those are the three major areas that we focus on. One programme that I would like to highlight is the bio-medical engineering training

that we’ve done with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Even though it is in Lagos, we have had participants from across the country. We’ve partnered with the Ministry of Health and Engineering World Health. We’ve invested US$1.5 million in this programme over three years to train people. We sell GE equipment to hospitals across the country, and this equipment undergoes wear and tear. And sometimes the difference between having equipment to diagnose patients and not having it could be a minor fault that can be fixed. So through the GE Foundation, we set up a program to train people to be able to do the day-to-day maintenance and repair of these equipment. That has the biggest impact in a place where the investment in healthcare equipment has already been made. We launched this program in 2014 and so far we’ve had 18 four-week long modules with medical practitioners and 60 people have been trained across private and public healthcare institutions, which means that 60 people are now able to manage equipment and fix small to medium issues. And in August last year, the LUTH Bio-Medical School was completed. That’s a permanent infrastructure to continue building capacity. So that’s something significant we’ve done with the GE Foundation, in collaboration with Engineering World Health and the Ministry of Health.

Lastly, what qualifies one to be on the GE Garage Programme?

We have a whole list of specific criteria, but it’s really about the quality of the idea that you bring in. Our in-house faculty assesses each application to determine if the idea can benefit from the GE Garage and become a viable business model. We don’t want to take people on that the GE Garage can’t really help. For instance, it needs to be a manufacturing-based business because what the Garage is going to teach you is how to use advanced manufacturing equipment to build further on your prototype, transforming it into a viable business model. So, in essence there are specific criteria, but the most important thing is that, it must be a viable idea for a hardware-based business. We don’t look at educational qualifications. You don’t need to be a university graduate or have a Masters’ or PhD degree

WOMEN IN BUSINESS By Michelle Williams-Swartz - Factory Director, Unilever South Africa

Despite setbacks, the Corporate Woman rises in Africa


hile the world continues to evolve, so have the definitions and criteria of what it means to be a female fulfilling a role of leadership in the work place. For so long, women have determined career success by their ability to adjust to the maledominated culture and business processes in their field. I believe that my own achievements as a woman, holding a senior business position, stand for and support the changes that we continue to witness as the definitions around female entrepreneurship expand and shift.

My journey began as many other young and aspiring woman does; full of hope. I centred my work ethic, creativity for problem solving and ambition for leadership into my Science degree which readied the way into the corporate space. Over the last 20 years I have challenged and overcome the boundaries of a female in the business world; moving steadily up the corporate ladder, being promoted to campus EHS manager for South African manufacturing sites for Johnson & Johnson within 6 months, receiving Winner of the BWA Regional Business Woman of the Year award, to currently holding the position of Factory Director at Unilever, all while fulfilling the beautiful role as a wife and mother. We have arrived at an era where women are no longer hired or promoted based on a need for compliance but rather based on a genuine contribution and asset that they offer to the work force. And yet, despite progress in the rise of women at executive level, percentage-wise, we remain woefully under-represented. 2018 stats showed that out of South Africa’s top 40 companies, only 1% were female CEOs and from the total 374 executives in the top 40 companies, just 22% were women. Anecdotally, companies want to appoint more women in senior positions and there has been a shift in placements at executive level, but women remain absent when it comes to the most powerful position in the company. We need to challenge and redefine the image that comes to mind when we speak of CEOs. With women still pushing to reach the top, they are faced with a range of challenges that many of their male CEO counterparts do not understand. For example, men are seen as being more career-centric and want to maximise their financial return from work. Women, in contrast, tend to view work holistically, as a component of their overall life plan. They are self-reflective in their career and place value on factors such as meaning, purpose, connection with coworkers and work-life integration. Consequently, women define leadership differently to men and while this attitude surely equips them to be stronger, more-effective leaders, 60% of women said they feel they are leaders based solely on their participation in their business. While research has shown that majorities of both men and

women agree it is easier for men than women to get elected to high political offices or executive positions, it was women who were more likely to express this view. This mindset is reinforced by data from an internal hiring practice that found that men applied for jobs when they met 60% of the qualifications, while women only applied if they believed they met 100% of them. There is an unconscious belief that unless a woman meets the criteria exactly, she won’t be considered. Changing that belief starts with the individual women and her ability to challenge their own definitions and self-doubt. Other challenges that women face in the corporate workplace include: Being Treated Equally. Every workspace will have its unique challenges but advice for women is to utilise the necessary skills such as communication, leadership development, emotional intelligence and go for what you want. Lack of Female support. It can be challenging gaining support from other women, but we should be encouraging a culture of support and empowerment together in order to lay the foundation for female progress through our work. Confidence. A common thread found among women CEOs was risk-taking, resilience, agility and managing ambiguity. These leaders also embraced teamwork among their employees. Every successful entrepreneur or business leader did what they were afraid to do instead of allowing the fear to overcome their personal and professional lives. Family seen as an obstacle to success. Even though having a family is viewed as a potential barrier to achieving business success among women, it is certainly not an excuse. Women tend to make great leaders because of their ability to balance professional and personal life. These are a few of the many complex challenges faced by working women who are bumping their heads against the glass ceiling. It converges to a realisation that women are not always aware of how poised for success they are in leadership roles despite their potential and undeniable abilities. Women need to be reminded of their transformational and diverse significance in the work place in terms of empathy, their nature to nurture, their power of communication and leading by example and the worth of their emotional intelligence. The gender gap also reflects a remarkable economic impact. If women were to participate more equally to men in the workplace, it could drive US$28 trillion in growth. There would also be an 11% increase in global GDP if every country achieved the fastest rate of progress toward gender equality in its workplace. The big challenge is for women to be resilient and keep their perspectives top of mind in conversations at the corporate level, as well as among family and friends, so the mindset shift can happen SEPTEMBER 2019


ICT By Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nokia Corporation Source: The World Economic Forum.

How 5G will redefine businesses in the fourth industrial revolution


verybody knows what a farm looks like, don’t they? The same goes for a factory, a mine, a power station. Although the scale might have changed, they are all still recognizable from their forms of 50 or 100 years ago.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change that. It will melt the boundaries – and the limitations – of large, economy-defining industries, transforming how they look and what they produce. And it will do that because it will be powered by 5G. Why? Because 5G is more than just the next step up from 4G. It possesses unique characteristics that make it socially and economically transformative: low latency (in other words, almost imperceptible lag when carrying out remote orders); fast speeds (around 10 times faster than today’s networks); connection capability (enabling up to 1 million linked devices per square kilometre); and unparalleled reliability (allowing new precisionbased applications). This technology is already here. The world’s first 5G networks were rolled out in the US and Korea last year. China, Japan, Australia, Finland – and many other countries where governments have actively pushed 5G adoption – will soon follow. And the important thing is this: businesses and governments shouldn’t wait for 5G and the Fourth Industrial Revolution to come to them. Business models are already changing. If you want the early adopter advantage, this is the time to move. What do those changing business models look like? For one example, look at Nokia’s own “conscious factory” in Oulu, Finland. Ninety-nine percent of the factory is now automated. Its temperature and humidity automatically change to keep machines in prime condition. Parts are delivered using autonomous vehicles. Equipment carries indoor GPS, allowing managers to see exactly where it is, what it’s doing and whether it could be used or positioned more efficiently. All this makes the facility highly customizable. Everything apart from the walls, floor and ceiling can be moved around. And of course, there is ubiquitous connectivity between robots, workers’ tools, and the underpinning network. The bottom line is that the Oulu factory has leveraged connectivity to become one of the most flexible, versatile, and productive factories anywhere in the world.

Fourth industrial revolution beckons

Those three characteristics – flexibility, versatility and productivity – are at the crux of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and they are not just limited to manufacturing. As 5G gains traction, every business will be able to take advantage. Industries such as healthcare, agriculture and transport will be able to optimize processes and act on real-time data analytics, resulting in a huge boost in productivity. This breadth of applicability is particularly important. Previously, digitization has benefited a relatively narrow section of even the most developed economies. In the US, for example, just 30% of industries (such as financial services) have shared 70% 68 SEPTEMBER 2019

of the benefits of digitization. This has allowed them to increase their productivity growth rate nearly four times faster than other industries. The Fourth Industrial Revolution could make those gains far more equitable. Wider access to the cloud, for example, would allow all enterprises – regardless of size – to improve productivity and processes. That isn’t to say that the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will come easily. There is a reason why a bank is easier to digitize than, say a farm: it is because a farm, like a factory, an oil rig or any other physical industry, has a huge range of machinery, tools and systems, each of which requires a different form of optimization. The key to creating efficiencies is by controlling these physical assets using digital technologies. This is only possible if information technology and operations technology are combined, allowing companies to leverage their own data to analyse, optimize, and control their complex systems. In order to arrive at this new stage of digital transformation, there are three priorities. 1. Connect everything. A business needs to know the state of its assets and be able to control those assets in real time, regardless of their location. 2. Compute in the wild. The cloud is still too centralized. New developments such as autonomous drones need uninterrupted, zero-latency connectivity, delivered by so-called edge clouds, which push applications closer to assets and users. 3. Make data sweat. Currently around 90% of data available on a factory floor isn’t even gathered. But greater connectivity and edge cloud will give us a wealth of real-time information, which can be instantly analysed and acted on. As a result, trains could be preemptively rerouted during flooding, factory drones could automatically redirect parts to where they are needed most, and first responders could analyse the scene of accidents before arrival. 5G can help to unlock each of these three priorities. Particularly when businesses work with partners like Nokia who can provide seamless, trusted end-to-end products and services. I will say one more thing. We only have one chance to get it right. For too long the benefits of digitization have flowed disproportionately towards a small set of industries, leaving behind hospitals, farms, and other vital social assets. The world is waking up to this. Major players in the communications technology sector – including Nokia – have agreed to work with others to identify and overcome the various technical, regulatory and organizational challenges that currently block the path to 5G's broadest possible adoption. This is only a first step. More are necessary. Governments in particular need to step on the gas and prioritize 5G adoption. But if ever something was worth working for, it’s this. I firmly believe that the sooner governments, businesses and individuals have access to 5G, the sooner the Fourth Industrial Revolution can help people all over the world enjoy safer, happier, more productive lives



Ethiopia’s Reppie waste-to-energy plant is an example of how such investments can be part of waste management in Africa


hile the African continent is still largely rural, it is one of the fastest urbanizing regions around the world. The continent’s population stands at 1.3 billion at present with an estimated 43.4% of this residing in the urban areas. Currently, the continent has seven megacities, that is cities with populations over 10 million: Cairo, Kinshasa, Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg–Pretoria, Khartoum, and Nairobi. In 15 years, Luanda and Dar es Salaam will be added to this list.Africa's swift and unprecedented move into the 'urban age' has helped lift millions out of poverty but at the same time this rapid transformation has created a new problem of mountains of waste that is posing challenges on the “environmental sustainability”. According to the World Bank, around the world, waste generation rates are rising. In 2016, the worlds’ cities generated 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste, amounting to a footprint of 0.74 kilograms per person per day. With rapid population growth and urbanization, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from 2016 levels to 3.4 billion tonnes in 2050.

IN 2016, THE WORLDS’ CITIES GENERATED 2 BILLION TONNES OF SOLID WASTE. WITH RAPID POPULATION GROWTH AND URBANIZATION, ANNUAL WASTE GENERATION IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE BY 70% FROM 2016 LEVELS TO 3.4 BILLION TONNES IN 2050. Compared to those in developed nations, residents in developing countries like in Africa, especially the urban poor, are more severely impacted by unsustainably managed waste. In low-income countries, over 90% of waste is often disposed in unregulated dumps or openly burned. These practices create serious health, safety, and environmental consequences. Poorly managed waste serves as a breeding ground for disease vectors, contributes to global climate change through methane generation, and can even promote urban violence. SEPTEMBER 2019


Managing waste properly is essential for building sustainable and livable cities, but it remains a challenge for many developing countries and cities. Effective waste management is expensive, often comprising 20%–50% of municipal budgets. Operating this essential municipal service requires integrated systems that are efficient, sustainable, and socially supported.

Waste can be a resource

However, all is not bleak and one place where pollution is already being turned into energy and on the way turning trash into wealth is Addis Ababa. The Reppie Waste-to-Energy plant in Addis Ababa was inaugurated in August 19, 2018 and primed to process 1,400 tons of municipal waste per day, producing 185 GWHr of electricity annually that is then exported to the Ethiopian national grid - sufficient to power 25% of Addis Ababa's households. The plant has transformed the Koshe dump site at the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital where a landslide killed 114 people in early 2017. It has also revolutionized the entire city’s approach to dealing with waste, with potential to incinerate roughly 80% of it’s the city’s rubbish. Samuel Alemayehu, a Stanford engineer, former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader oversees the US$120 million project as a co-founder of Cambridge Industries, which together with its Chinese JV partner CNEEC, joined the Ethiopian government and a consortium of international companies to transform the city’s approach to waste. And the above approach is what all the other urban centers across the continent choking in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) should emulate. In any case many countries are using waste-toenergy to capture the energy in waste in the face of little open space for landfills and few energy resources and African cities and urban areas should not be left behind; they should swiftly start thinking of municipal solid waste as a mixture of rich fuels and not as a filthy nuisance.


Worldwide adoption of technology

The world’s largest waste-to-energy plant is set to open in the Chinese city of Shenzhen in early 2020, where it will handling 5,000 tonnes per day of waste, from the 15,000 tonnes generated by the city. The plant will be joining a growing list of such plants, which numbered more than 2,430 waste treatment plants with more than 4,500 incineration units worldwide, according to Ecoprog, a company that tracks such projects around the World. Waste incineration is already common in Europe, where nearly a quarter of waste is burnt. But in Africa, so far, the only ways to dispose of rubbish have been to pile it up, bury it or dump it in rivers and lagoons. The sites attract vermin and are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitos, contributing to the spread of diseases from malaria to yellow fever. Nonetheless, the Reppie plant, the very first in Africa, set precedence and direction on how to mitigate the solid waste headache in Africa’s mega cities, small towns and other 70 SEPTEMBER 2019

THE WORLD’S LARGEST WASTE-TOENERGY PLANT IS SET TO OPEN IN THE CHINESE CITY OF SHENZHEN IN EARLY 2020, WHERE IT WILL HANDLING 5,000 TONNES PER DAY OF WASTE, FROM THE 15,000 TONNES GENERATED BY THE CITY. cities. In South Africa, a US$28 million plant was opened in 2017, aiming to handle up to 10% of Cape Town’s daily waste. Waste-to-energy is a win-win endeavor for Africa cities waste management. Sustainably it will produce energy, create green jobs and mitigate the many problems posed by solid and liquid waste. Using waste to create energy is a viable option for most African cities. Waste can be incinerated to produce heat or electricity; and methane can be collected from landfills and be used to, again, generate heat or electricity. At the inauguration of the Reppie plant Alemayehu said in his speech that his company was carrying out the feasibility studies for the development of six additional facilities in five major African cities.

How it works

In reference to a US Energy Information Administration publication, waste-to-energy plants burn municipal solid waste (MSW), often called garbage or trash, to produce steam in a boiler that is used to generate electricity. There are different types of waste-to-energy systems or technologies. The most common type used in the United States is the mass-burn system, where unprocessed MSW is burned in a large incinerator with a boiler and a generator for producing electricity. Another, less common type of system processes MSW into fuel pellets that can be used in smaller power plants. The process of generating electricity in a mass-burn wasteto-energy plant has a number of stages, including dumping the waste in a combustion chamber, where the waste (fuel) is burned, releasing heat. The heat then turns water into steam in a boiler, as the high-pressure steam turns the blades of a turbine generator to produce electricity. An air pollution control system removes pollutants from the combustion gas before it is released through a smoke stack. Ash is then collected from the boiler and the air pollution control system. In the United States, for every 100 tonnes of MSW, more than 85 tonnes can be burned as fuel to generate electricity. Those fuels include paper, plastics, and yard waste. In 2016, one tonne of MSW burned in waste-to-energy plants in the United States generated about 474 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, the amount of electricity used by about 16 US households in one day. In a waste-to-energy plant, 2,000 pounds (one ton) of garbage is reduced to 300 pounds–600 pounds of ash. However, Africa’s waste stream has low calorific value and high moisture content, and hence very different to that found in more developed markets like Europe, parts of Asia and America. As reported elsewhere the development of Reppie represents Phase I of a wider rollout program to develop multiple waste-toenergy plants across sub-Saharan Africa’s major cities. This is very welcome for the continent. Producing electricity is only one reason to burn MSW. Burning waste also reduces the amount of material that would probably be buried in landfills, reducing the volume of waste by about 87%



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