CEO Business Africa June 2022

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IN THIS ISSUE: TRAVEL: EGYPT BEYOND PYRAMIDS | SUSTAINABILITY: GREEN HYDROGEN IN AFRICA| COUNTRY FOCUS: NAMIBIA

TETRIS: INSPIRATIONAL AND SUSTAINABLE REAL ESTATE VAAKENYA: DIGNIFYING AFRICAN FEET BASIGO: CHANGING THE GAME IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT LIQUID INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGIES: DIGITALLY TRANSFORMING AFRICA NOMBA: STARTING AND GROWING A FINTECH BUSINESS IN NIGERIA HUSK POWER: BRIDGING ELECTRICITY ACCESS GAP IN NIGERIA AND REST OF AFRICA

TIM STEEL COPIA’S JOURNEY TO REINVENT E-COMMERCE IN EAST AFRICA

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YEAR 5 ISSUE 2. NO. 7


AFRICA

Dairy &

Beverage SUMMIT

MARCH 8-10, 2023 HYBRID SUMMIT: LIVE FROM NAIROBI, KENYA & VIRTUALLY FROM AFRICA & THE WORLD

THE SUSTAINABILIT Y & INNOVATIONS SUMMIT FOR AFRICA’ S DAIRY, SOFT & ALCOHOLIC DRINK INDUSTRY REGISTER TO SPONSOR, EXHIBIT & ATTEND

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EDITORIAL

Two years into the pandemic, companies turn to technology to keep the wheel turning

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s we continue to find ways of how to live with the ongoing pandemic, technology is turning out to be a key enabler of businesses. For some, technology is the main reason for their survival two years on. One of the businesses that is really thriving in this pandemic era is Copia, one of the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in Kenya and Uganda. Read their story on page 24 and discover how the company has managed to thrive in East Africa’s rural settings and now has plans of expanding into other African countries in the coming months. On page 14 we feature Tetris, a design and build business that focuses on real estate and is uniquely positioned to help international and national businesses adapt their projects to local cultures and needs. We also give an in-depth coverage of Vaa Kenya on page 18, a Kenyan startup on a mission to dignify African feet with shoes that fit Recently, Kenya got its first electric buses from Basigo. In our Sustainability insert on page 34, we give you the story WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

of an early-stage start-up that is daring to revolutionize Africa’s public transport sector starting with the green city under the sun, Nairobi. Also in this insert on pg. we highlight the story of Husk Power, the leading rural energy services company in weak-grid and off-grid communities in Africa and Asia. On Page 30 we have an analysis of how green hydrogen is emerging as one of the leading renewable energy source with potential to transform Africa from an energy deficient continent into a

world energy powerhouse In our Fintech insert on Page 44, we focus on Liquid Intelligent Technologies, reflecting on its transformation from being a telecommunications and digital services provider to a one-stopshop technology group offering cloud business, cybersecurity services and other technologies in addition to its existing telecoms and connectivity capabilities. Also look out for CEO of Nomba's take on what it takes to start and grow a fintech business in Africa on Page 48. Our country focus on this edition is the driest country in Southern Africa, Namibia. Get to read about what drives it economy despite being largely covered by desert. We have listed the top ten mining companies in Africa based on market capitalization on Page 64, read on to find who drives the continent’s most lucrative sector. For our travel enthusiasts, ever thought that Egypt could have many types of tourism except the usual wonder of the world? On Page 54 get to know of the tourism in a country with a civilization spanning more than 5000 years. We wish you a good read.

Francis Juma Publisher

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CONTENTS 1 6

JUNE | YEAR 5 ISSUE 2. NO. 7

EDITORIAL EVENTS CALENDAR

COMPANY FEATURES

24 2

TIM STEEL: CEO, COPIA

Breaking the barriers of technology to bring e-commerce to rural Africa

CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

JUNE 2022

14

EMMA LUYT: CEO, TETRIS

18

NJERI MBOTE: CEO, VAAKENYA

Helping clients realize work environments that are beautiful, functional, inspirational and sustainable

Leveraging local shoe manufacturing in quest to dignify African feet WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA

30

DIGITAL TECH AFRICA

MANOJ SINHA: CEO, HUSK POWER Harnessing solar to bridge electricity access gap in Nigeria and rest of Africa

44

54

TRAVEL: EGYPT

62

TOP 10 MINING COMPANIES IN AFRICA

64

COUNTRY FOCUS: NAMIBIA

A destination that is so much more than the world renowned pyramids of Giza

ADIL EL YOUSSEFI: CBIO, CASSAVA TECHNOLOGIES Leaving no African behind in a digitally transforming World

FINTECH AFRICA

34

JIT BHATTACHARYA: CEO, BASIGO Driving public transport sector in Kenya towards sustainability

39

GREEN HYDROGEN Africa warms up to green hydrogen as a critical driver of clean energy transition

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48

NOMBA Yinka Adewale, the co-founder and CEO of Nomba, on starting and growing a fintech business in Nigeria

Covered by desert but rich in minerals

MARCH 2022

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AFRICA

CEO SUMMIT

September 20-22, 2023

Nairobi, Kenya

START-UP INVESTORS FORUM | SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT | LEADERSHIP SUMMIT | AWARDS

Meet Leading Investors & Leaders at Africa’s Most Influential Leadership & Sustainability Summit www.summit.ceobusinessafrica.com

DISCOVER . NETWORK . DO BUSINESS REGISTER

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CO-LOCATED WITH

Sustainable Africa Connecting Africa

Digitizing Africa

Feeding Africa

KEY AGENDAS

Healthier Africa

Investing In Africa Powering Africa

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Industrialising Africa

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EVENTS CALENDAR

AGRICULTURE & FOOD

AUTO & AUTOMOTIVE

AGRIKEXPO & ALL FARMERS CONFERENCES 07 - 09 Sep 2022 Abuja, Nigeria /www.agrikexpo.com/

AUTOSHOW AFRICA 09 - 11 Sep 2022 Nairobi, Kenya www.mxmexhibitions.com/autoshowafrica

East Africa International Trade Exhibition 22 – Sep 2022 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania www.expogr.com/tanzania/general/

Africa Aerospace & Defence Expo 21 - 25 Sep 2022 Centurion, South Africa www.aadexpo.co.za

Naivasha Horticultural Fair 23 – 24 Sep 2022 Nairobi, Kenya www.naivashahortifair.com/

Arusha Automotive Show 05 - 06 Sep 2022 Arusha, Tanzania www.arushaautoshow.com/

EDUCATION & TRAINING

Equip Auto Algeria 02 - 05 Jul 2022 Algiers, Algeria www.equipauto-algeria.net/ presentation/

ELECTRIC AND ELECTRICALS

Ethiopia Build Expo 24 - 27 Sep 2022 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia www.inexpo.ae/pages/ehtiopiatrade. php#eth6 HVAC R Expo Nigeria 27 - 29 Sep 2022 Lagos, Nigeria www.thebig5constructnigeria.com/ specialised-events/hvacr-expo-nigeria/ Electrex Africa 09 - 11 Sep 2022 Nairob, Kenya www.mxmexhibitions.com/electrex_africa/ Power & Electricity World Africa 23 - 24 Aug 2022 Johannesburg, South Africa www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/powerelectricity-world-africa/index.stm

ENVIRONMENTAL AND WASTE

BANKING AND FINANCE Training Course on Gender-Based Violence 27 Jun - 01 Jul 2022 Nairobi, Kenya https://datastatresearch.org/

International Conference on Environment and Natural Science 12 - 13 Aug 2022 Cairo, Egypt www.iserd.co/Conference2022/ Egypt/2/ICENS/

Ghana International Book Fair 25 - 28 Aug 2022 Accra, Ghana www.ghanabookfair.com/ Seamless North Africa 20 - 21 Sep 2022 Cairo, Egypt www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/

International Society for Microbial Ecology 21 - 26 Aug 2022 Cape Town, South Africa www.isme-microbes.org/isme18

Annual Conference Of The International Society For Academics In Research 25 - 27 Jul 2022 Zanzibar Town, Tanzania www.isfar.org/conference

International Conference Management, Accounting, Banking, Economics and Business Research 29 Aug 2022 Bulawayo, Zimbabwe www.researchfoundation.net/event/ index.php?id=1588440

International Conference on Natural Science and Environment 14 - 15 Aug 2022 Lagos, Nigeria www.theiier.org/Conference2022/ Nigeria/1/ICNSE/

International Conference on Science, Engineering & Technology 25 - 26 Sep 2022 Kempton Park, South Africa www.researchfora.com/Conference2022/ SouthAfrica/2/ICSET/

The AmCham Business Summit 28 - 30 Jun 2022 Ruaka Town, Kenya www.amchamke.glueup.com/event/ amcham-business-summit-2022-48972/

International Conference on Environment and Natural Science 12 - 13 Aug 2022 Cairo, Egypt www.iserd.co/Conference2022/ Egypt/2/ICENS/

KragDag Expo 11 - 13 Aug 2022 Rayton, South Africa www.kragdag.co.za/webtuiste/ekspo

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HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM

Africa's Big 7 19 - 21 Jun 2022 Johannesburg, South Africa www.africabig7.com/ Hotel Expo Nigeria 14 - 15 Jul 2022 Lagos, Nigeria www.hotelexponigeria.com/ Food- Beverages & Kitchen East Africa 02 - 04 Sep 2022 Nairobi, Kenya www.mxmexhibitions.com/foodbev_ kenya/index.html

MINING

Nigeria Mining Week 11 - 13 Oct 2022 Abuja, Nigeria www.nigeriaminingweek.com Electra Mining Africa 05 - 09 Sep 2022 Johannesburg, South Africa www.electramining.co.za

POWER AND ENERGY

Medic West Africa 07 - 09 Sep 2022 Lagos, Nigeria www.medicwestafrica.com/en/home. html International Conference on Medical & Health Science 24 - 25 Jun 2022 Cape Town, South Africa www.researchfora.com/Conference2022/ SouthAfrica/1/ICMHS/ Pharmatech East Africa 30 Aug - 01 Sep 2022 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania www.eastafricapharmed.com/ International Conference on Medical & Health Science 12 - 13 Aug 2022 Rabat, Morocco www.researchfora.com/Conference2022/ Morocco/2/ICMHS/

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International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Computing and Data Communication Systems 04 - 05 Aug 2022 Durban, South Africa www.icabcd.org/2022/ ICTEL Expo 31 Aug - 01 Sep 2022 Lagos, Nigeria www.ictelexpo.com.ng/ International Telecommunications Conference 26 - 28 Jul 2022 At Tarh, Egypt www.itc-egypt-adc.org/

MEDICAL & PHARMA

IUSTI World Congress 04 - 07 Sep 2022 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe www.iusti.org/events/

TELECOMMUNICATION

Electrex Africa 09 - 11 Sep 2022 Nairobi, Kenya www.mxmexhibitions.com/ electrex_africa/

Mobile Data Collection for M&E using ODK and Kobo Toolbox 25 - 29 Jul 2022 Nairobi, Kenya www.fineresultsresearch.org/training/

BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION

Power & Electricity World Africa 23 - 24 Aug 2022 Johannesburg, South Africa www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/ power-electricity-world-africa/index. stm Power-to-X 22 - 24 Jun 2022 Marrakesh, Morocco www.worldptxsummit.com/ Nigeria Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition 04 - 07 Jul 2022 Abuja, Nigeria www.nogevent.com/ International Exhibition for LED technology and Electronic Components 26 - 28 Aug 2022 Cairo, Egypt www.ledmiddleeast-expo.com/

African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo 07 - 09 Jun 2022 Johannesburg, South Africa www.africanconstructionexpo.com Ceramica West Africa 07 - 09 Jun 2022 Lagos, Nigeria www.10times.com/nigeria-buildexpo The Big 5 Construct Egypt 25 - 27 Jun 2022 Cairo, Egypt www.thebig5constructegypt.com

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EDITORIAL

OUR PUBLICATIONS WE PUBLISH AFRICA'S LEADING MAGAZINES, INCLUDING:

Year 5 Issue 2. No.7 WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

CEO

BUSINESS AFRICA

FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Francis Juma

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EDITORIAL Jackie Muinde I Elly Akoko | Alphonce Okoth ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION Virginia Nyoro | Elly Akoko DESIGN & LAYOUT Clare Ngode PUBLISHED BY: FW Africa P.O. Box 1874-00621, Nairobi Kenya Tel: +254 20 8155022, +254725 343932 Email: info@fwafrica.net Company Website: www.fwafrica.net

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FOOD SAFETY

AFRICA

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HealthCare AFRICA

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CEO Business Africa is published 6 times a year by FW Africa. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission from the editor is prohibited. 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.

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Packag ng AFRICA

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MAR 30-APRIL 1, 2023 Sarit Expo Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

THE BIGGEST HEALTHCARE & PHARMA EXPO IN EASTERN AFRICA

WHAT’S ON SHOW AT THE EVENT Africa

Africa

Medical Hospitals Why the Kenya Nutrition, Health & Devices & Care Expo Expo

Wellness Exhibitions Africa

Africa The KenyaMedilab Nutrition, Health & Wellness Exhibitions are Nutrition a range of&weekend consumer expos andHealth seminarsWellness that Diagnostics & Expo Expo are targeted at creating and improving the consumer awareness on healthy living and general well being. The expos are held over the weekend to ensure the Africa Africa Health attendance of the entire family.

Animal

Supply Chain &

Health & Care The goalsExpo of the Kenya Nutrition, Health Logistics & Wellness Expo

Exhibitions are: • Provide a forum for food and beverage processors, Africa Africa Health distributors and importers to interact directly with & of informing the consumers Financing consumers, with a goal Expo of theInsurance unique features and benefits of their Expoproducts in relation to healthy eating and living; Africa of health, personal • Provide a forum for providers and home hygiene products to T interact Health ech directly with consumers Expo • Bring together medical, nutritional, healthcare and wellness experts and practitioners face to face with consumers to discuss disease management, info@fwafrica.net lifestyle choices, diet management, wellness goals and practices with a view to imparting the right +254 725 343932 knowledge to the consumers; www.expo.healthcareafrica.info • Provide a platform for a number of industry associations and corporates to interact with

Pharma


Afmass FOOD EXPO The Future of Food in Africa

www.afmass.com June 15-17, 2023 Sarit Expo Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

EASTERN AFRICA'S MOST INFLUENTIAL FOOD PRODUCTS & NEW TECHNOLOGIES TRADE SHOW 10 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

JUNE 2022

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FOUR PAVILLIONS THAT COVER THE FOOD INDUSTRY FROM A-Z

FOOD

INGREDIENTS EXPO AFRICA

DISCOVER

AFMASS

FOOD DRINKS MARKET

Packaging AFRICA EXPO

NETWORK

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INSPIRATIONAL AFRICAN CEO INSIGHTS & COMPANY PROFILES

Your business has a unique story. Work with us to showcase your organisation to our readers in Africa and across the World. CEO Business Africa magazine is read by some of the most important business owners, C-suite managers and other key decision makers from the private sector, Government, NGOs, embassies, consulates, development organisations and other sectors across the breadth of Africa and the World. Full of inspirational and impactful interviews with CEOs and other leaders, the magazine, available in print and digital formats, is the voice of business in Africa. We tell African business stories better than any other publication. CEO Business Africa magazine tracks, reports

and celebrates the huge strides that are made by organisations in the Continent - from well established multinationals, to young enterprises that are inching their way to greatness in the future - thereby catalysing the next wave of enterpreneurs and investors in the world’s remaining growth engine. Having your organisation featured in this magazine provides your organisation and brands with the best opportunity to stand out in the crowded marketplace and for your story and impact to reach key decision makers across the Continent and beyond. In case you would like to have your story told here, please contact our Editorial team on +254 725 34 39 32 or info@fwafrica.net to discuss how we can work together to deliver an impactful story for your organisation.


Hospitality & Tourism

Agribusiness & Biotech Aviation, Transport & Logistics

Health Care & Personal Care

Manufacturing & Retail

Construction & Real Estate

Government/NGO Services

Energy, Oil & Gas

Financial Services

Telecom, ICT & Media

Mining

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Education & Training

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COMPANY FEATURE

Emma Luyt COMPANY: Tetris SECTOR:

Built Environment

COUNTRY: South Africa WEBSITE:

www.tetris-db.com

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TETRIS HELPING CLIENTS REALIZE WORK ENVIRONMENTS THAT ARE BEAUTIFUL, FUNCTIONAL, INSPIRATIONAL AND SUSTAINABLE

F

ounded in 2003 in France, Tetris is a company on a mission to help build a better tomorrow through great design. It was acquired by Chicago, United States based fortune 500 real estate firm JLL in 2007 and has since grown into a global business with a network of offices spanning 35 cities in 18 countries. Having developed a global team with deep local expertise, Tetris is today uniquely positioned to help international and national businesses adapt their projects to local cultures and needs. In sub-Saharan Africa, the design and build company operates from South Africa where it has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Emma Luyt, Co-CEO Sub-Saharan Africa is the force behind Tétris growth strategy in the region, including the growth of the local team and the development of strategy to expand locally and in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Tetris has been in Africa for 9 years and is a design and build business that focuses on real estate,” says Emma as she introduces herself to the CEO Business Africa team. For one to produce a great design project, one has to listen to a client’s wishes. One client would desire a unique experience with his staff, another would need a space where people feel welcomed, and yet another client’s only wish is for a space where people feel safe. To deliver quality, Emma

tells us her team’s work is mainly “to put hand to paper and make something that will change and impact people’s lives.” Project realization involves a lot of bringing many pieces together just like playing the Tetris game, and Emma confesses this is the most exciting part of the job, its why she is with Tetris in the first place. “It is about creating experience for people and putting all the pieces together that make a home for somebody away from home and that’s what led me to Tetris,” says Emma.

By Elly Akoko

DELIVERING ON DREAMS

Emma tells us that delivering on a dream workspace has a lot to do with collaboration between his team and the client. You can deliver the best-in-class office, shop, or hotel but without the owner’s input, the project could still be considered not up to standard. “When a customer comes, the first thing Tetris does is to look at the offices, see what they have and discuss ways they can work going into the future,” Emma says. “Do you want it to be activity based, or do you prefer agile working, or a more traditional office set up?” This part is very critical in the design process as it provides Tetris with a blueprint on which a concept for the dream workspace can be developed and later realized. “We believe people are at their best when they are comfortable, challenged and encouraged to express themselves. Just as businesses thrive in spaces that project their brand, culture and ideals to the world,” Emma points out. Working with JUNE 2022

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COMPANY FEATURE: TETRIS

TETRIS MANAGEMENT TEAM

“WE BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE AT THEIR BEST WHEN THEY ARE COMFORTABLE, CHALLENGED AND ENCOURAGED TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES.” clients also helps Tetris deliver custom-made projects, perfectly tailored to unique needs of each client. “Our clients get what they want, we don’t do copycats, we listen to what our clients want,” Emma stresses. When it comes to project development, Tetris walks with the client all the way. “We do all the technical documentations, all the hard things including electrical and mechanical systems, so that the actual building can get built,” Emma says. As a customer-centric business, Tetris even goes as far as helping their client settle into their new environment. “We do the clients experience or employee experience where we move in and do some change management, help them into their new environment and go as far as moving their boxes and making a special opening for the 16 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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business. It is a tunkey offering from the very beginning to the very end of that office,” explains Emma. When working on projects of various kinds, Emma has found technology to be a reliable partner. “We have a program called metaport which we use to scan the building into 3Ds before developing a drawing package. It saves a lot of time with regards to actually going to search and doing surveys.” Using technology has also helped Tetris to closely work even with clients who are not always available on site to track progress and make timely recommendations. “The most amazing thing now is that you can align progress report for clients like Amazon, Coca Cola who are not on the ground and need to have feedback,” She explains. As the world embraces the new metaverse concept, Emma sees it as an opportunity to that can be leveraged particularly in helping clients make informed decisions before committing to projects. “You can experience the space without even being there,” she says. “So its showing the person that before you spend millions of dollars, this is what it could look like.”

EVERY PROJECT HAS ONE OR TWO CHALLENGES

Emma points out that despite their successful business operations, they have had to contend

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with some challenges. “Every project has one or two challenges. Some more because we are working with and rely on lots of sub-contractors,” Emma reveals. There is simply no way out of it apart from getting the basic supply chain right. “A project requires different packages from ceilings to walls. You have a lot of people that you rely on to get the project done. The biggest challenge is to get the correct supply chain so that we get the project finished on time.” When dealing with such a diverse group of contractors, Emma advises honest communication with clients. “The one thing one needs to do is communication with your client. Never promise and under deliver because you are only as good as your last project.” Delivering a clients dream also has a lot to do with being conscious of the environment where they would operate in. For Tetris, building green workspaces is part of its responsibility to influence the way spaces are reimagined for a better tomorrow. “Tetris has its own sustainable code which guides every project we do,” Emma says. “We do internal rating and even If the client doesn’t want the building to be rated, we make sure Tetris chooses a sustainable option. It’s not an option anymore, you have to be sustainable.”

BUILDING A TRULY AFRICAN BRAND

Looking back over the nine years Tetris has been in business, Emma says they have been able to build a strong, profitable and stable business. “The first thing is that we’ve created a very stable and profitable business. Nine years ago, we started with 3 people in Africa but we are now a team of 55 people in South Africa and 20 people

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in Casablanca in Morocco. We have had year on year growth. “Even with the pandemic, we never had to let people go or compromise on our key goals. We kept moving slowly and methodically to get where we wanted to be and our vision is to be a truly African and global design and built business,” she adds. “I cannot believe how far ahead the Moroccan and South African businesses are in terms of processes, project delivery and client service, we are streets ahead of Europe in some of those aspects so African geography is slightly tougher but the growth story in Africa will not stop.” Emma however acknowledges that that an expansion into the rest of the continent is necessary to drive growth. Tetris has already started the groundwork for future inroads into the continent. “We work a lot in Ivory Coast, Senegal and some neighboring countries in South Africa such as Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” Emma reveals. She however believes that building a truly African brand will require having a firm footprint in more markets than just South Africa and Morocco. Emma reveals that an entry into East Africa in the future is something that the company would consider when the time is right. Even in its expansion, Emma says that what separates Tetris from the rest of multinational companies is “that we are not dictated to by global precedence.” She therefore observes that before they go into other markets, Tetris would first need to understand the culture of where they are going to be able to come up solutions that are uniquely tailored to meet local needs of their clients CBA

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IN NUMBERS

9

THE NUMBER OF YEARS THAT TETRIS HAS BEEN IN AFRICA

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COMPANY

Njeri Mbote

COMPANY: VaaKenya

SECTOR: Manufacturing

COUNTRY: Kenya

We realized a big gap existed in African footwear after getting numerous customization requests from clients. No one is making shoes for Africans.

VAAKENYA LEVERAGING LOCAL MANUFACTURING IN ITS QUEST TO DIGNIFY AFRICAN FEET

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COMPANY FEATURE: VAAKENYA

By Alphonce Okoth

20 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

W

hen Njeri Mbote and her friend Daisy Rono started Vaa Kenya in 2017, Kenya had a local footwear manufacturing capacity of 4 million pairs against an annual demand of 37 million pairs. The idea was simple, bridge this gap by selling shoes from artisans in Kariokor market, one of the informal markets in Kenya’s capital, on the internet. A few months in, the duo realized that the supply of shoes was not the only problem. “We realized a big gap existed in African footwear after getting numerous customization requests from clients,” Njeri tells CEO Business Africa magazine. “No one is making shoes for Africans.” Quickly the company’s mission changed to availing shoes for the African feet. “Our slogan is “dignifying African feet,” as they have been robbed of dignity by the lack of standards for African footwear,” Njeri reveals. The next two years were spent in learning the industry. Kariokor market where the business operated proved to be a perfect training ground. According to Njeri, it is the biggest informal footwear market JUNE 2022

in Kenya producing 2 million pairs annually. In their study, they found that the industry lacked enough artisans to produce quality to required standards. The informal sector was also highly fragmented, meaning a lot of capacity was mostly underutilized. Training of the artisans and equipping them with skills to meet market requirements was one of the things that Vaa Kenya embarked on. The company has so far trained 20 shoe making artisans and partnered with 20 other micro manufacturers to avail shoes that are perfectly suited for the African man and woman. “We are ensuring that every African can get a well-fitting shoe, regardless of their shoe size, and making sure they fit our climate.” Vaa Kenya may be in the shoe business but it’s not a direct manufacturer itself. “VaaKenya is a tech startup leveraging the informal sector and internet technology to go to market,” Njeri explains. “We are aggregating the fragmented manufacturers in cluster markets and leading them towards the same goal of revolutionizing made in Kenya products and filling up the gap we have in local capacity.” By bringing together micro manufacturers into one platform, Vaa Kenya is removing competition and encouraging WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


6 years stays with me to date,” Njeri shares. This situation and others have been solved by the company’s consistent learning of the industry to find new approaches and ideas of making shoes that will not damage their feet.

“WE ARE ENSURING THAT EVERY AFRICAN CAN GET A WELL-FITTING SHOE, REGARDLESS OF THEIR SHOE SIZE, AND MAKING SURE THEY FIT OUR CLIMATE.”

cooperation among the shoemakers. “All this is to ensure that we go to the market with quality and competitive products as we enable people to discover made-in Kenya and enjoy the quality and competitive products.”

LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY TO REACH THE MODERN CONSUMER

Moreover, the company plans to introduce automated machines to scale the production. “We are looking to equip all our partner manufacturers with modern automated machines to increase their capacity and productivity,” Njeri explains. With automation, the artisans can greatly improve and simplify their work, manage products that are very different from each other by category and design, and offer high performance shoes in terms of quality. The company, being an e-commerce startup uses social media platforms to market their products and reach new clients. “We have continuously invested in our social media platform to build our brand and onboard more people to be part of made in Kenya,” Njeri tells CEO Business Africa magazine. With the popularity of social media platforms in Kenya today, using e-commerce as a route to customers has helped the brand “build a community of

“Being a tech company, we aim to always stay on top of any new innovations in technology and adapt them for the growth of our company,” Njeri discloses. We have built our e-commerce to give Kenyans and Africans a smooth shopping experience from whichever part of the world they are in. According to Njeri, VAAKENYA.COM, the company’s e-commerce platform currently holds the biggest online collection of made in Kenya shoes, sandals, and kiondo. The company is also focusing on new innovations and ideas to ensure that the targeted customers are always up to date with latest trends in the fashion industry. The idea of customizing shoes for the clients, who for a long time have been restricted to limited designs or even just a pair, gives the company a unique position in the industry. “A case of a banker who is a size 48 who had worn one pair to work for the last

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COMPANY FEATURE: VAAKENYA

VAAKENYA PARTNERSHIP

made in Kenya.” In turn “we get free marketers and influencers of our brand from our genuine lovers of made in Kenya. This has enabled our brand awareness to heighten,” Njeri elaborates.

MAKING SUSTAINABILITY THE CORE OF SHOE PRODUCTION

IN NUMBERS

2M

NUMBER OF PAIRS IT PRODUCES ANNUALLY

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“Fashion comes at an astonishing environmental and social cost. While the impacts of the fashion industry in terms of pollution, water use, carbon emissions, human rights, and gender inequality are increasing, the need for a shift to sustainable fashion is evident,” Njeri says. Her company however chose to change the narrative by relying on innovative ways that makes it sustainable from the beginning. “I have always been very conscious of how best to innovate in a way that makes us sustainable and in Kenya that is not even that hard,” says Njeri. “I started tapping into my ‘Africanness’ and Africans are caretakers by heart.” Vaa Kenya utilises leather offcuts through creative designs; small offcuts are used to make JUNE 2022

shoe counters and tongues while the bigger ones are used to make shoe parts such as wingtips and bag patches. The company provides training and educational models to the manufacturers on material management to optimize the use of raw materials and avoid waste. Designing fashionable shoes requires different raw materials other than leather, “We use second-hand jeans from the market in our shoes and some bags,” explains Njeri. This way the Vaa Kenya helps recycle the clothes which would otherwise be treated as waste. The company also has waste management program in Kariokor market. “We have waste managers who come to pick up our waste and turn them into soles and we also take tires and use them as soles.” Njeri reveals that the company uses airplane tires that are pure rubber to make high quality shoes. “It is a lot of work to make them but all the hard work makes it all worth it. Good things come to those willing to do the work, right?” Recycling waste into making other products not only conserves the environment but also ensures that less capital is used to acquire raw materials. In addition, Vaa Kenya partners obtain leather from tanneries with elaborate sustainable plans. These tanneries “not only empower communities directly but their waste is well managed completely with trees to filter the waste before its released,” disclose Njeri. She believes that working with other players that are already deploying sustainable and green plans lays the foundation for conservation practices along the value chain. Fashion also brings along deadstock problems, but the Vaa Kenya model helps to reduce this to the minimum. “The company and its partners alike work on a made-to-order basis, meaning that only minimum viable stock is held at every point in our process,” Njeri elaborates.

FUNDING PROVIDES IMPETUS FOR GROWTH

Having started the company with privately sourced capital, Njeri and her partner knew just how difficult it is to access capital for businesses, particularly those in the informal sector. When the company finally received a US$20,000 grant from The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) in 2020, Njeri knew where she needed to channel the funds. With the funding, VaaKenya was able set up “Vaacredit”, a loan for informal sector manufacturers. “Microloans and asset-based loans to informal sector manufacturers are vital for their growth,” Njeri explains. “This industry is led by informal manufacturers, who are the most financially excluded, significantly limiting WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


their growth.” With access to financing, these micro manufactures can now invest in additional capacity which in turns benefits Vaa Kenya in terms of additional products to meet the everincreasing demand. So far, Njeri reveals that the funding has enabled her company to finance 15 micro manufacturers. “As a result, we have been able to enjoy a bigger churn rate of products and improve the quality of these products.” With the grant, Njeri reveals that VaaKenya was also able to bolster its e-commerce capabilities. “The platform has placed us in a place of higher regard by our clients due to the professionalism that comes with it. We have been able to attract more clients and list more products.” The desire to grow further has also seen the startup venture into African-themed bags. “These bags are African-inspired art encompassing sisal weaving, Ankara prints, and leather. They speak for themselves and tell African stories.”

FUTURE GROWTH PROSPECTS

In 2021 Vaa Kenya made some new corporate friends, expanding the company’s horizons when it comes to the type of clientele that it was able to attract. “We also learned that the government is not only a possible partner but a lucrative client. So, basically, VaaKenya is on the path to not only doing good but making money doing it.” In spirit of growth Vaa Kenya is looking forward to increasing its portfolio of investors. “We are looking to raise Ksh100 million in our seed round and do our series A in 2023,” says Njeri. The financing will be important for the company’s expansion plans in terms of sales and production.

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Vaa Kenya also aims to build a resource centre to serve as an avenue to acquire skills aimed at innovating new products and design and looking into new production methods. The centre will also provide a point of interaction between clients and artisans. The idea is to have a focal point that allows clients to learn and understand the entire production process as well showcase the finished products. To empower local manufacturers, the company intends to “build an app for its loans and open it up to the public to contribute to the fund with the goal of investing in Kenyan manufacturers,” Njeri says. The company also banks on the high percentage of young Kenyans who are its biggest resources. “We are inviting young people to come on board as artisans, designers, creatives, sellers, and content creators,” to help the company achieve its goal of revolutionizing the made-in Kenya supply chain and bringing forth industrialization in Kenya. The end goal according to the Vaa Kenya CEO is to “aggregate all cluster markets in Kenya and maximize their capacity as a whole.” The informal sector has a potential of increasing the production capacity of footwear a notch up from the 4 million pairs of shoes that it currently produces annually. The combined capacity will in turn enable the company to push for increased use of Kenyan made products. “We want to be able to convert at least 60% of Kenyans into consumers of made in Kenya footwear,” Njeri declares CBA

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To empower local manufacturers, the company intends to “build an app for its loans and open it up to the public to contribute to the fund with the goal of investing in Kenyan manufacturers

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COMPANY FEATURE

Tim Steel COMPANY: Copia SECTOR: Supply Chain & Logistics

COUNTRY: Kenya WEBSITE: www.copia.co.ke

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COPIA BREAKING THE BARRIERS OF TECHNOLOGY TO BRING E-COMMERCE TO RURAL AFRICA

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ounded in 2013 by Silicon Valley veterans Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis, Copia, which means "abundance" in Latin, had a vision to bring the power of mobile commerce to low-income earners in African, transforming this historically underserved market into empowered global consumers. Starting in Kenya, where Tracey previously lived, the two envisioned mobile interfaces where there is no internet, commerce where there are no large wallets, quality customer service where trust is low, deliveries where there are no paved roads or addresses, and empowered people where the world sees none. Spearheading the Copia team is Tim Steele, a logistics and distribution expert who has spent 30 years of his career leading diverse teams in Africa and the Middle East to deliver quality service amid rapid growth. Tim Steele says that when he first came to Kenya, he worked in a voluntary role for the Salvation Army which allowed him to see and understand at close quarters the real issues which their customers face on a day-to-day basis. His experience has enabled Copia to crack last mile distribution in Africa where no one else has. So far, Copia has served over 1.9 million unique customers in Kenya and Uganda and fulfilled more than 13 million orders to date. As Copia's CEO, Tim is focused on solving the real pain points that Copia's customers face while ensuring that the company remains the preferred

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e-commercial solution for millions of consumers across multiple African markets. Tim adds that he believes that success in leadership is based on building outstanding teams who have total clarity and alignment of mission, purpose and execution steps. This, according to the Copia CEO, is only achieved through discipline and hard work and needs to be underpinned by genuine passion in the leader creating the shared vision and communicating it regularly and personally.

By Elly Akoko

STANDING HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE PEERS

Copia’s e-commerce platform is designed to meet the specific needs of Africa's growing middle- to low-income consumers, saving them time and money. The company’s main market is rural consumers who struggle to access the same goods and services in terms of choice, price value and reliability that similar consumers in urban areas or of higher income levels can access. “Our value proposition is providing goods such as building materials or medicine that are not generally available in proximity to the average rural consumers. To access these goods, Copia reveals to CEO Business Africa magazine that customers would typically travel to the nearest city or send a relative to get them. “On average, rural Kenyans spend over an hour and US$4 per commute to buy such goods,” says the Copia. To develop root in Africa’s rural landscape, Copia recruits small business owners who have already established some level of familiarity JUNE 2022

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COMPANY FEATURE: COPIA

COPIA TEAM MANAGEMENT

“PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS CAN STILL MAKE PURCHASES THROUGH OUR DIGITALLY ENABLED AGENTS AND OUR FREQUENTLY UPDATED PRINT PRODUCT CATALOGUES.” and trust with customers. The company then trains them to become agents. “These agents help promote Copia to individual customers within their communities, eventually get them to make their first transaction on the e-commerce store. The agents also play a second role as aggregated delivery points. For instance, 30 customers within a particular location can make various orders, we aggregate and the deliver them to our agents whose shops and stores are close to customers in that location. This way, customers can pick up their orders whenever they want,” Copia says. “We also facilitate deliveries to customers’ homes upon request.” Using this model, the company is building a sustainable business that involves a three-way relationship with customers and agents. So far it has bult a network of over 30,000 agents in different communities across Kenya and Uganda.

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BRINGING E-COMMERCE TO RURAL AFRICA

“We provide access to a previously underserved market of middle to low-income African consumers. People who do not have internet access can still make purchases through our digitally enabled agents and our frequently updated print product catalogues,” says the firm. According to Copia, its technology allows agents and customers to make orders through their mobile phones; make payments through mobile money and maintain real-time communication which alerts both agents and customers about order confirmations and delivery information. Some of Copia’s Specific Product Sectors include Mobile & E-commerce where it leverages cutting-edge technology that links middle and low-income consumers to a variety of quality products that are delivered at their convenience. Consumers can now access life-enhancing products at affordable prices, saving them from travelling to urban retail centers or from simply not having access to them. Copia is also big on logistics and avails to its stakeholders (Agents, manufactures, and customers), a logistical ecosystem that allows for an efficient, seamless, and end-to-end linkage across the supply chain. This ecosystem is also linked to global manufacturers and is bringing highWWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


quality products at the lowest possible cost to the customer. Its Data & Analytics capabilities also provide brands and stakeholders with critical information about the market landscape and consumption behaviors.

QUALITY TEAM MEMBERS DRIVE GROWTH

There’s a proverb of uncertain origin that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Fast is fun for a while. It’s great to cover a lot of ground, but then you get weary and worn. Going far simply can’t be done without people to support you. Tim is lucky to have a team by his side that has been critical in realizing the Copia dream. “I love the power of the high performing team and I believe that collectively we are far more intelligent than any one of us individually, so I always try to harness the knowledge of the team at all levels in the organization,” he adds. Crispin Murira, the Chief Commercial Officer who is also the founding CEO, is one of the key people in Tim’s team that is helping Copia cover a lot of ground. Based in the United States, Crispin is currently focused on ideating and testing high-value revenue streams that leverage Copia’s distribution network, as well as determining how to migrate the business model to other countries. Catherine Mudachi, a seasoned Marketing

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professional, is another major player in Copia’s team. She is responsible for creating, shaping, and executing Copia’s marketing strategy. Her plan is to spearhead the growth of the Copia brand into a globally renowned life-transforming, caring brand that provides underserved customers in Kenya and future markets, with access to quality and convenient retail shopping experience through Copia’s Agent network and e-Commerce platform. Serving as Chief Digital Officer, Bryan Kariuki is responsible for influencing the Digitization of Copia’s market, for rolling out of Digital Financial Services, and for working with the Global Head of Product to build Customer Experience led Product offerings. With the success achieved so far with the current team, Tim aspires to onboard even more great talent to sustain the company’s growth. “Staying on a 45-degree growth curve can be a bumpy ride which requires us to continue to bring in top quality professional team members, to constantly innovate and to above all else retain a laser focus on the customer experience we offer,” Tim says.

Staying on a 45-degree growth curve can be a bumpy ride which requires us to continue to bring in top quality professional team members,

BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

As the world seeks more sustainable ways of doing business, Copia is not being left behind. “We are focusing more and more on our impact on the environment and have recently appointed

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COMPANY FEATURE: COPIA

there is more that could be done to further improve its impact on the environment. “We are constantly monitoring the opportunity to use more environmentally friendly energy options although there are not yet any commercially viable options,” the firm adds. A sustainable business is also one that positively benefits community where it operates. Copia is doing this by increasing income levels of its partners to enable them focus on creating income-generating opportunities and jobs. “Our very business model does this by paying Agents a commission on the goods they sell. On average, our Agents increase their income by 37% when they partner with us and they use this to pay school fees, buy livestock, expand their businesses and other activities that drive more income into the community. We also, for formal jobs, recruit from the areas where we operate and have created direct jobs outside the Nairobi metropolitan area - mostly in areas where formal employment opportunities are very low. In addition, we lease our delivery vehicles from small local providers in the community and they in turn employ delivery teams contributing to additional indirect jobs.”

SPREADING BEYOND UGANDA AND KENYA

IN NUMBERS

1.9M NUMBER OF UNIQUE CUSTOMERS THAT COPIA HAS SERVED

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an ESG Manager and Board Committee to oversee our efforts in this area,” says Copia. As an e-commerce company, the company uses copious amounts of packaging for last mile delivery. This is the area it has particularly focused on as it seeks to have as minimum impact on the environment as possible. “We only use woven bags, not plastic bags - even in those markets where plastic bags are legal and even though plastic bags are cheaper. We have also fully evaluated our packaging practices to reduce the amount of plastic we use in wrapping.” Transport is another source of environmental pollution that the company is working round the clock to manage. “We are conscious of our use of fuel. We reduce miles driven by placing Depots in strategic locations to minimize the distance driven.” Aggregation of deliveries is also another key are that the company pursues to reduce its carbon footprint. “With aggregation we are able to deliver several orders to the same location rather than having to drive to every individual customer.” Although what the company has done so far is commendable, it is aware that JUNE 2022

Currently serving customers in Kenya and Uganda, Copia intends to grow its model across East Africa, mainly Kenya, Uganda and in the future, Rwanda and Tanzania. “We are also considering other African markets and, depending on what socioeconomic and political macroeconomic conditions dictate, might expand into Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi.” Even as the company plans to scale, Copia notes that the biggest challenge in their industry lies in effectively solving for last mile distribution in a cost-effective manner. The company is however confident that its technology capabilities will help it continue scaling new heights in a sustainable manner. “Our proprietary technology enabled logistics system proffers a tremendous advantage in enabling us to thrive in geographic areas that other large businesses struggle to operate in profitably.” The company plans to further invest in these capabilities that have proved to be a reliable partner thus far. “As we continue our growth both in consumer offerings and geographic footprint, focus is to invest in building supply chain and logistics capabilities in our future geographic areas of operation, building human resource capacity in these new markets as well as introducing financial services to enhance our ecommerce offering.” CBA

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Sustainability

Africa

“Africa is rich in renewable energy sources including hydro, solar, wind, geothermal and others and the time is right for action to ensure right energy mix.” International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

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Manoj Sinha

Jit Bhattacharya

Green Hydrogen

CEO, Husk Power Systems

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CEO, Basigo

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SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA

Manoj Sinha COMPANY: Husk Power Systems SECTOR: Energy

COUNTRY: Nigeria WEBSITE: www.huskpowersystems.com

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HUSK POWER A HARNESSING SOLAR TO BRIDGE ELECTRICITY ACCESS GAP IN NIGERIA AND REST OF AFRICA By Elly Akoko

s the largest economy and most populous country in subSaharan Africa (SSA), Nigeria represents one of the largest off-grid energy markets in the world. According to the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) about 85 million people, for 43 percent of the country’s rural population, did not have access to grid electricity as at 2021. REA believes that that off-grid alternatives have the greatest potential to connect millions of Nigerians to clean and affordable electricity. It further notes that these energy solutions have a potential market opportunity of US$9.2 billion annually. At the forefront to bring light to as many Nigerian homes as possible is Husk Power, the leading rural energy services company in weakgrid and off-grid communities in Africa and Asia. Husk Power established its presence in Nigeria in early 2020 and in November 2021, it launched six solar hybrid mini grids in Nigeria’s Nasarawa State, becoming the first to roll out multiple mini grids at one time under the Nigerian Electrification Project (NEP), an initiative funded by the World Bank and the African Development Bank and implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

(REA). “The mini-grid industry is starting to scale and is demonstrating significant socioeconomic impact, but we still have a long way to go to reach our full potential,” Manoj Sinha, the CEO of Husk Power Systems tells CEO Business Africa.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT KEY IN SOLAR DEPLOYMENT

Launching six solar hybrid mini grids at one time is no mean feat. Husk Power Chief Marketing Officer for Nigeria William Brent tells CEO business Africa that its success has a lot to do with the support it is receiving from the government. “Nigeria has the one of the best legal frameworks that supports the adoption of solar energy in the continent and there is

THE MINI-GRID INDUSTRY IS STARTING TO SCALE AND IS DEMONSTRATING SIGNIFICANT SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACT, BUT WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO TO REACH OUR FULL POTENTIAL

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SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA: HUSK POWER

Although shy of achieving its goal, the company has achieved impressive results since it received the funding from its consortium of investors.

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political goodwill from the government for these kinds of investments.” The six solar hybrid mini grids were the first of the 7 renewable electricity projects funded by a performance-based grant provided by the Nigerian Electrification Project (NEP). The seventh site is expected to come online in 2022. The newly launched mini grids are already having an impact in Nasarawa state and at full utilization, they are expected to provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity to about 5,000 households and 500 businesses in Doma and Lafia Local Government Areas (LGAs). Besides providing electricity, the mini grids are also supporting the economy of the area by powering local agricultural activities such as milling, cold chain and irrigation. Co-founder and CEO Manoj Sinha is happy about the support that his company is receiving from the government. He is confident that the partnership with REA will enable Husk Nigeria, “under our strong local leadership team, to scale rapidly and achieve our ambition of catalyzing socio-economic development in rural communities across the country.” Olu Aruike, Husk Power’s Country Lead in Nigeria is also confident that with support from the government, the company can actually meet its electrification goals. “Husk Power’s mission is to rapidly scale the electrification of rural communities and continuously spur economic growth for medium, small, micro enterprises in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa,” Aruike said. “We are grateful for the leadership and support provided by the REA and look forward to a long-term partnership in delivering power to all Nigerians.”

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FUNDING: A CRITICAL GROWTH DRIVER

In 2021, Husk Power was recognized in the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report as the first mini-grid company to achieve significant scale, by surpassing 100 solar hybrid community mini-grids and 5,000 small business customers. Such scale has only been made possible by capital injections from its diverse crop of investors. In 2018, 10 years after launch, Husk announced a US$20 million equity investment by Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedish development finance institution Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, ENGIE group’s impact investment fund. With the funding, Husk put itself on a new growth trajectory. Part of its goal during the funding round was to add over 300 mini-grids in India and Tanzania by 2022. If realized, Husk would have by the end of this year deployed 15 MW of 100 percent renewable power plant assets that would eliminate 150,000 tons of CO2 per year (equivalent to eliminating 56 million liters of diesel per year). Although shy of achieving its goal, the company has achieved impressive results since it received the funding from its consortium of investors. In 2020, for instance, the mini-grid operator ended the financial year with a 300% revenue growth over its Financial Year 2019. It had also connected over 5,000 small business customers to its min-grids. For 2021, the company forecasted to double this number to more than 12,500 but managed to connect 6,100 customers engaged in retail, financial services, agriculture, manufacturing and other industries. At the end of 2021, Husk was also boasting of an expanded fleet of 215 microgrids (140 community-based and 75 captive) with a 12MW generation capacity. WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


To scale up its services and reach more customers, Husk announced the successful close of an INR 310 million (US$4.2 million) debt financing from the India Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) Ltd. The new India debt will be used to finance 140 microgrids in the India states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, accelerating the company’s goal to achieve 300 mini grids by 2022. “The IREDA financing demonstrates the Government of India’s vision in making microgrids an integral part of its net-zero goal put forward at COP26,” said Husk CEO and Co-Founder Manoj Sinha. “This is a huge validation of Husk Power’s leadership in being the first company to achieve commercial scale. The IREDA funding will give Husk a much-needed boost to achieve our target of expanding our microgrid fleet 10x by 2025.” To support its projects outside India, Husk expects to raise an additional US$18 million in debt in 2022 and also plans to kick off fundraising for a Series D equity round. For its clean energy efforts in Africa and Asia, Husk was awarded two 2021 Asian Power Awards: Smart Grid Project of the Year – India, and a Silver Award for Best Dual Fuel Power Plant of the Year. “We are deeply honored to receive not one, but two awards for our work in India,” said Husk Power Systems India Country Director Saugata Datta. “The recognition is testament to the fact that decentralized renewable energy solutions, such as mini-grids, are on the forefront of power sector innovation, and we share this award with the rural communities, businesses and households that we serve.”

mini-grid operators are “largely free of permit requirements for either standalone off-grid minigrids or interconnected mini-grids.” In Nigeria where it has already made tremendous progress, the company is working to have a fleet of more than 100 minigrids within the next 24 months. It also plans to expand to several other Nigeria states before the end of 2023 and eventually growing its fleet to 500 minigrids by 2026. Husk Power’s voluntary commitment with the United Nations to grow its energy market in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia is another driver for the company’s foray into the African market. The company has pledged to deploy 5,000 mini-grids across Africa and Asia by 2030 to help improve access to electricity to some 11 million people in the region. “Our compact with the UN is intended to put forward a more ambitious vision not only for Husk but the entire mini-grid industry and by doing so, to mobilize a much higher level of climate finance and more supportive government regulation and policy,” says Manoj Sinha, the CEO of Husk Power Systems. “We are committed to wiping out the need for diesel generators, bolstering last-mile electrification in partnership with governments, and benefiting millions of people and hundreds of thousands of small businesses, including smallholder farmers.” CBA

IN NUMBERS

5000 MINI-GRIDS THAT HUSK POWER HAS PLEDGED TO DEPLOY ACROSS AFRICA BY 2030

SCALING FOR EVEN GREATER HEIGHTS

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 75% of the world’s population with no access to renewable energy solutions and electricity. “Without additional policy action, around 670 million people would still be without access in 2030, almost all of them in Africa,” a Data and Projections report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated. Countries like South Sudan, Burundi, Chad, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Tanzania are among some of the least electrified countries in the world and could particularly benefit from clean energy from solar or wind. Husk is positioning itself to be one of the firms helping address Africa’s electricity challenges. The firm has already set base in Tanzania and is now exploring growth opportunities in the western, southern and eastern regions of Africa. In its African expansion drive, Husk is prioritizing countries that have a “supportive regulatory environment” like Nigeria where WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

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BASIGO DRIVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT SECTOR IN KENYA TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY

By Alphonce Okoth

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n East Africa, an early-stage start-up is daring to revolutionise Africa’s public transport sector which is still dominated by diesel driven engine buses. Starting with 2 state-of-the-art electric buses, the startup led by founder and CEO Jit Bhattacharya is on a mission to make e-mobility the preferred public mode of transportation in African cities, starting with the green city under the sun, Nairobi. “We are in business to have massive and rapid impact on climate change and on-air quality here in East Africa,” Jit tells CEO Business African team. “If this can work, we can take this to other cities and other commercial vehicles.”

C CLEARER SKIES VALIDATE BUSINESS MODEL

The original idea to establish BasiGo came from the fact that East Africa has some of the cleanest and most affordable electricity in the world. Kenya produces over 70% of its electricity from renewable energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind. Jit explains that electrifying more parts of the economy would thus have more impact here than anywhere else on the planet where renewable energy still accounts for a small portion of total electricity produced. Starting out in Nairobi also had a strong business case since over 40% of commuters in the city with over 4 million inhabitants relied on public transport. With oil prices sky rocketing, an electric bus would also cost owners less to operate when compared to diesel engines. Nairobi may have presented a strong business for Jit, a serial entrepreneur with over 12 years in clean energy, but the early days of the pandemic put into clearer focus why Jit and his partner 34 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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Jonathan Green were willing to invest their time and money into the business. “During the very first few days of the pandemic, an interesting thing happened in Nairobi where for a period of days, public transport was stopped and in a matter of days, the air quality had improved. The sky became so clear that on a good morning you could see Mount Kenya and a glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro which is hundreds of kilometres away from the city. This gave us a preview of what would happen if we finally get a handle of the problem.”

QUALITY BUSES COMFORT BOTH PASSENGERS AND ENVIRONMENT

Apart from being emission free BasiGo buses offer commuters a level of comfort that they have never experienced when using traditional diesel-powered buses which have been the hall mark of the Matatu industry for decades. “This is a modern state of the art electric bus that is really beyond just being electric: it represents the future of what commuting and public transit should be like,” Jit boasts. To make the bus a reality, BasiGo partnered with BYD, the largest manufacturer of electric busses in the world. “They are an incredible partner. Their buses are currently operating in 50 countries spread across 300 cities around the world,” Jit says. “We are bringing this state of the technology here to East Africa. But tailoring it to make sure it can work on our roads and in our use conditions.” He tells us that many people who have had the chance to board the bus have always been taken aback by the level of quality they are met with. Can I afford this? Do I deserve this? Are some of the first questions that passengers boarding the BasiGo electric bus first ask themselves. To WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA

Jit Bhattacharya COMPANY: Basigo SECTOR:

Supply Chain & Logistics

COUNTRY: Kenya WEBSITE:

www.basi-go.com

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SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA: BASIGO

BASIGO MANAGEMENT TEAM

WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO DO THROUGH THIS MODEL IS WE ACTUALLY SELL AN ELECTRIC BUS FOR THE SAME UPFRONT COST AS A DIESEL BUS.

the surprise of many, the fare is always similar to what they normally would pay in a diesel bus, only this time they get to enjoy their ride and cut down their impact on the environment. Making the buses affordable for the lower and middle income earners was deliberate. Jit tells us that for the BasiGo technology to work and to have the impact that they envision on reducing climate emissions and solving our air pollution problem, it has to be accessible for everybody, “Buses are currently the most affordable and accessible form of transport here in the city. We cant come in and create a luxury product that’s only for the wealthy in the nice parts of the city,”

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Jit explains. “This has to work for everybody, and that has been part of our mission from day number one.”

UNIQUE APPROACH TO VEHICLE FINANCING

The upfront cost of acquiring a new electric bus is more expensive than a diesel bus. This alone would dissuade many interested buyers from acquiring the units regardless of the fact that in the long-term, the cost of having an electric unit is significantly cheaper than that of a diesel bus. Having worked in the pay as you go solar home system sector, Jit and his partner Green, had just the right solution to make the bus affordable; a Pay As You Drive financing model. “What we are able to do through this model is we actually sell an electric bus for the same upfront cost as a diesel bus,” Jit explains. “And then what we do is we charge them a subscription per kilometer that they drive every single day.” Clients under the Pay As You Drive model get access to the battery, free charging, and free service and maintenance from BasiGo’s expert service and maintenance personnel. “It removes all the risk of this new technology, essentially from the owners,” Jit says. “All they have to do is drive. In this way we can actually make that subscription cost less than what they are currently paying for diesel and maintenance.”

BUILDING FROM SCRATCH

BasiGo, being an early adopter of electric buses in

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East Africa, has had its hands full especially when it comes to deploying the technology. Charging infrastructure was the first priority to ensure bus operators could easily charge their batteries before the start of each working day. “They are running a business,” Jit explains. “We need to make sure that we are enabling and ideally improving their business. That means making charging very available and very convenient.” Partnership with electricity distributor Kenya Power was critical in the roll out of the charging units, according to Jit. “We needed to work with Kenya power from day number one to ensure that we are deploying in the right place, that they are prepared with the necessary infrastructure to support us growing as one of these very large high power electricity consumers.” Jit sees the partnership is one that is of benefit to both partners. He is confident that when it finally gets to scale, BasiGo can become the largest consumer of off-peak electricity (i.e electricity used between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.) for Kenya Power. Given that electric buses were new in the country, BasiGo also had to create a team of electric vehicle service engineers for this brandnew technology. “This was necessary to make sure that should anything ever happen to any of these vehicles, they can be back on the road almost immediately,” Jit explains. Getting the right people was however not a walk in the park as the industry was still in its early days of development. “You cant go out and say, oh, well, I want somebody whose been working in the industry for ten years. That doesnt exist here in Africa,” Jim tells CEO Business Magazine. To build its team, the company chose to go for the talented individuals who have been working within the renewable energy space or those working in automotive industry and training them on electric bus technology. “I am so proud of the team that we have pulled together who only a handful of them have actually had direct electric vehicle experience,” Jim says of his team. “And now they are one of the strongest e-mobility technology teams here in the continent.”

from a number of existing and new Silicon Valley investors, including Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital and Third Derivative. BasiGo plans to use the new funding to set up an assembly plant in Nairobi and launch the sales and delivery of its electric buses. Jim tells us that BasiGo had a relatively easy time raising funds because of the environmental aspects of the business. “There is a strong focus now on anything that can have climate impact so there is a lot of investment support,” Jim reveals. Moxie Ventures, one of the startup’s backers, has a strong climate focus, meaning it has funds to support these kind of business ideas. He further notes that previous experience, especially on the fundraising front, helped the duo in getting to convince investors to pump their money into the business. It also goes without saying that the entrepreneurs had extensive experience in the field if electric mobility. Over the course of his career, Jit has served as the CEO of Mission Motors in Silicon Valley and was also a Senior manager at Project Titan — the secret electric car project by Apple Inc. More recently, he served as the Chief Technology Officer of Fenix International, an offgrid solar home system company acquired by the French multinational electric utility company ENGIE in 2018. His partner, Jonathan Green, has over the past 15 years helped companies deliver renewable energy technologies to users in Africa. More recently, he held the role of Strategy

IN NUMBERS

US$

5.3M

THE FUNDING IT HAS RAISED SO FAR IN SEED ROUND

EARLY STAGE INVESTORS BUY IN

The first external investment into BasiGo came in November 2021 when the EV startup raised US$1 million from Climate Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Third Derivative, an accelerator focused on climate-technology. The funding provided support for the laying of the groundwork necessary to launch the innovative electric bus technology. In February this year, a few months before going to market, BasiGo raised another US$4.3 million in a seed funding led by Novastar Ventures, with participation WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

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SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA: BASIGO

in place for over a hundred years,” Jit confesses adding that their small size puts them at a great disadvantage. “It will take us some time to get the scale, to get that number of vehicles every single year sold to get to local manufacturing,” Jit says. Not to be cowered by the odds, Jit has a plan in place for his ambitious startup. For him, a local assembly built with partners here in Kenya might be the silver bullet when it comes to dealing with competition head on. “We want to make Kenya a hub for local manufacturing. All of that takes time. And yet we're in a hurry, yet the climate cannot wait. Our air quality here in Nairobi cannot wait.”

NATIONAL EV POLICY, A GAME CHANGER IN ELECTRIC TRANSPORT

It's not just about buses, it is about transforming transportation to be more sustainable. That's where we ultimately want this to go

38 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

and Operations Director at Fenix International, where he led the delivery of more than 500,000 pay as you use solar systems to customers across six markets in Africa. A climate enthusiast by nature, Jit tells any entrepreneur desiring to set up in Africa to go the green way. “Look for big impact that can help places like Africa now adapt and be resilient to the impacts of climate change,” Jit advises. He expresses confidence that startups with environmental impact will almost always attract the necessary funding to either set up or expand. “That's what investors want to see. And if you aim big and you have a strong business model behind you, even if there's a lot that needs to be proven, people are willing to give you that chance.”

NEXT STOP: 1,000 ELECTRIC BUSES

Having already proved that the EV concept is viable, BasiGo has its eyes on a bigger goal: to have over 1000 electric busses operating in Nairobi in the next five years. Jit however recognizes that scaling up will not be an easy ride. “We are competing against an industry that has been JUNE 2022

According to Jit, the success of their company so far, can be attributed to the level of enthusiasm and support that it has received from the community in the entire transport ecosystem. The government has been particularly friendly and through the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) worked closely with BasiGo to ensure that the new buses are safe for use on Kenyan roads. Jit adds that the creation of the National EV Policy is one of the biggest support that the government could ever give the nascent industry. “It's exactly what the industry needs. It creates the enabling ecosystem for EV vehicles.” He believes that the policy is going to be a game changer for the automotive industry at large. “This is going to be a massive transformation in the region, a massive transformation on the continent,” he says with confidence. Kenya’s policy around local vehicle assembly is also something Jit believes aligns well with BasiGo’s ambitions. “We want to move to complete local assembly of these vehicles, and it's something that our partners also support. And so we're very eager to move in that direction, and we're happy that the Kenyan government has already created an enabling environment,” Jit says. Once BasiGo asserts itself in the 25 and 36-seater capacities, where it is currently operating, the company plans to venture into other bus sizes and other commercial vehicle types that are not necessarily buses. The company is also looking at the possibility of taking the technology to other cities across East Africa. “That's what we actually need to achieve,” Jit says. “ It's not just about buses, it is about transforming transportation to be more sustainable. That's where we ultimately want this to go, and that's where we're investing our time and energy" CBA

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AFRICA WARMS UP TO GREEN HYDROGEN AS A CRITICAL DRIVER OF CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION

T

oday, 600 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity and 900 million lack access to clean cooking facilities, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The situation is expected to worsen further as Africa’s overall population exceeds the 2 billion in 2040. Based on current policies and plans, IEA projects that Africa will need to produce 60% more energy than it does today to adequately meet the need of the future generations. As the continent prepares itself for one of largest process of urbanisation the world has ever seen, clean energy transition is an opportunity for many African countries to providing affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all its citizens. WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

When it comes to clean energy sources, Africa’s energy potential is second to none. According to statistics provided by the African Development Bank in 2017, Africa’s untapped renewable energy potential is estimated at 350 GW for hydroelectric energy, 110 GW for wind energy, 15 GW for geothermal energy and 1,000 GW for solar. Green hydrogen, produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity, is emerging as one of the leading options for storing energy from renewables. West Africa alone has generating potential of up to 165,000 terawatt-hours (Twh) of green hydrogen per year, according to estimates from the German federal research ministry. This is an immense potential given that current estimates show that primary energy demand in sub-Saharan Africa would reach nearly 14,000TWh by 2050 and the global consumption would rise to 300,000TWh. African countries have started warming up JUNE 2022

By Alphonce Okoth

CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

39


SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA: GREEN HYDROGEN

Morocco’s national demand for the green hydrogen and its derivatives is expected to reach 4TWh in 2030 and require 2GW in renewable energy sources

40 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

to this technology given its potential to equitably distribute renewable energy and even harness more for export. From Northern Cape in South Africa to Rabat in Morocco, green hydrogen projects are springing up and may potentially change the course of Africa’s clean energy transition.

SOUTHERN AFRICA LEADS THE CHARGE TOWARDS GREEN HYDROGEN

Southern Africa stands out in the continent as the leading adopter of green hydrogen technology. South Africa, the regions largest economy, already has plans to produce about 500 kilotons of hydrogen annually by 2030. The rainbow nation has several unique advantages that make it uniquely placed to lead the charge towards green hydrogen in the continent. The country has deep expertise in the FischerTropsch process (which is used in the production of power fuels), an abundance of renewable energy sources, and is the world's largest producer of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), one of the key ingredients in the production of green hydrogen. The emergence of hydrogen technologies could allow the government to reverse the raw exports of PGMs by creating a more integrated domestic value chain. In fact, the Platinum Valley Initiative (PVI) is one of the four catalytic projects identified in the strategy document to kick-start the country’s hydrogen economy. A recent report by the National Business Initiative says that South Africa, leveraging its comparative advantage, could produce green hydrogen for US$1.60 per kg by 2030, one of the lowest costs worldwide. This could help the country reach its goal of doubling its current share of global hydrogen production by 2050— from 2 to 4 percent. Green hydrogen can also help South Africa decarbonize. Once it is stored, the hydrogen can be used in different applications such as fuel for cars, refining petroleum, treating metals, producing fertilizer, and processing

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foods. As the world’s 14th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, adoption of green hydrogen is of necessity and could help the country reach a net-zero economy by 2050. Namibia, also as endowed as South Africa in terms of renewable energy resources and PGMs, is also developing its first hydrogen megaproject, set to produce roughly 300,000 tons of green hydrogen per year. Located near Tsau Khaeb National Park, the site represents one of the most resource-rich locations globally for co-located onshore wind and solar resources. Hyphen Hydrogen Energy has been selected as the preferred bidder for the project and will complete its construction in phases. The first phase will produce 2GW of renewable electricity by 2026, to be used for green hydrogen production and carries an estimated cost of US$4.4 billion. Further expansion is expected to take place in the next few years, expanding renewable generation capacity to 5GW and creating 3GW of electrolyser capacity at a total estimated cost of US$9.4 billion. Given that Namibia’s Budget was US$12 billion in 2020, such an investment is steep, but Namibia is confident that it can attract the necessary funding to set the ball rolling. The country has already received expressions of interest from Germany which has already pledged €40 million towards the project. Belgium and the Netherlands have also expressed interest in the project. Angola, Namibia’s northern border, is also making concrete steps to exploit its considerable potential to produce green hydrogen. Angolan state-owned oil and gas company, Sonangol signed a preliminary agreement in 2021 with German engineering companies, Conjuncta WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


GmbH and Gauff GmbH & Co Engineering Kg, for the implementation of a factory to produce green hydrogen. The proposed plant is expected to produce around 280,000 tons of green ammonia for export starting in 2024.

NORTH AFRICA, THE NEXT GREEN HYDROGEN GROWTH FRONTIER

North Africa’ immense renewable energy sources make it an attractive hub for investments in green energy. IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap for Africa 2030 indicates a feasible expansion capacity of 70 GW of wind and 50 GW of concentrated solar power and PV in North Africa. The region’s proximity to Europe, which is looking to import 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen annually to replace fossil fuels in several industries and vehicles, makes investments in green hydrogen even more attractive. In the race to become Africa’s green hydrogen hubs, two countries- Morocco and Egypt, stand out for their ambitious renewable energy targets and concrete steps to enhance the hydrogen revolution. Morocco ranks among the top five countries with the potential to produce competitive green hydrogen alongside the United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Chile. The country has adopted a green hydrogen roadmap to accelerate the national transition to green hydrogen. According to the report, Morocco’s national demand for the green hydrogen and its derivatives is expected to reach 4TWh in 2030 and require 2GW in renewable energy sources — half of the kingdom’s already installed capacity. Projects currently underway in Morocco include Green H2 cluster, a 5 hectares R&D pilot platform dedicated to studying the potential WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

of green ammonia in Morocco. Launched in 2021, the project is being led by the solar and new energy research institute (IRESEN) and the University Mohamed VI of Benguerir. More recently, Moroccan phosphates and fertilizer producer OCP Group signed a partnership agreement with Shell Energy and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) to develop another pilot project assessing the feasibility of its own large-scale integrated production facility of green hydrogen and low-carbon ammonia. Egypt’s pipeline for green hydrogen projects stands at 11.62GW, equivalent to over 1.57 million tons of green hydrogen, ranking the country in the top three green hydrogen pipelines globally, after Australia and on par with Mauritania. The North African country has some favourable factors including geographic location, natural gas infrastructure, liquefaction facilities, bunkering market, and marine ports, as well as its high solar and wind potential that make it attractive to investors in green energy. Egypt has, so far, has signed several partnerships deals with Independent Power Producers and Memorandum of Understanding with foreign investors to boost its green hydrogen production capacities. French utility EDF and ZeroWaste signed an MoU with Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone to produce 350,000 tons of green fuel annually in the Ain Sokhna region for ships, vessels, and tankers crossing the Suez Canal. The US$3 billion project will produce 140,000 tons of green ammonia in phase 1 using close to 25,000 tons of green hydrogen from desalinated seawater and renewable energy as feedstock. Capacity will then gradually increase to 350,000 tons of green ammonia production per year. AMEA Power, a subsidiary of Al Nowais

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IN NUMBERS

350GW

ESTIMATED UNTAPPED RENEWABLE ENERGY POTENTIAL FROM HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY IN AFRICA

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SUSTAINABILITY AFRICA: GREEN HYDROGEN

The beautiful thing with africa is when a business opportunity dries up, another one springs up next to it.

Group, also inked an MoU with the Suez Canal Economic Zone to produce 390,000 tons of green ammonia per year in Ain Sokhna for export purposes. In addition, Norway’s Scatec announced plans to develop a US$5 billion green hydrogen and ammonia facility, which will also be in the Suez zone. Scatec’s project will be capable of producing 1 million tons of green ammonia annually and could potentially expand to 3 million tons. The green ammonia will mainly be exported to European and Asian markets, where demand for clean ammonia is increasing rapidly. Other projects in the country come from the Danish shipping company Maersk, Masdar, Demi, and Fortisky Future. In total, Egypt’s estimated investments in green hydrogen projects through 2030 amounts to US$41.5 billion dollars, with an expected investment volume of US$81.6 billion beyond that, according to official source cited by Energy News. Almost 80 percent of the announced green hydrogen projects in Egypt are planned for the Suez zone, a global logistics hub that connect Europe, Africa, and Asia through the Arabian Gulf and is responsible for 20 percent of the international container trade and 10 percent of the seaborne trade. Not to be left behind, Algeria is also exploring its own potential for green hydrogen. Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company recently signed an MoU with Italian energy major, Eni, which will see the companies collaborate on a green hydrogen pilot project aimed at decarbonizing operations. The proposed project will be located in Bir Rebaa North (BRN) in the Algerian desert and will support operations at the BRN gas plant – operated by the joint venture company, Sonatrach-Eni GSE.

REST OF AFRICA PLAYS CATCHUP

The enthusiasm for green energy is however not reverberating across the entire continent. 42 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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Countries in the east, central, and west of Africa have been rather slow in adopting green hydrogen. Mauritania, a country in the north western part of Africa is shining the light in this region with its US$3 billion green hydrogen project. Dubbed "Project Nour", the project spearheaded by London-listed Chariot Energy Group will have an installed capacity of 10 GW and could become one of the world’s largest green hydrogen projects by 2030. Even before completion, the project has already inked a deal with the Dutch Port of Rotterdam for the import of an estimated 600,000 tons of green hydrogen. Kenya, recognizing the potential of green hydrogen, joined South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Namibia, and Mauritania in founding the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance. The alliance targets to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels overreliance and shift to new energy technologies that open up access to clean, affordable energy supplies to all. Nigeria has also woken up to the reality of a green hydrogen future and recently partnered with Germany to set up a hydrogen office in the country’s capital Abuja. The office will expand the activities of the German-Nigerian energy partnership, create a platform where decision-makers, experts and companies from both countries can network, and to offer expert advice on the opportunities and challenges posed by the hydrogen economy.

A WORLD’S ENERGY POWERHOUSE

Green hydrogen has the potential to transform Africa from an energy deficient continent into a world energy powerhouse. Many African countries can produce green hydrogen precisely because of natural and readily available solar and wind energy potential. Another advantage that Africa possesses is the availability of large tracks of non-arable land that can be used for large scale renewable energy projects. As West Africa drags its feet despite its immense potential, countries like Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa are making tremendous steps towards a green hydrogen future. The billions of investments that have so far been committed to projects particularly in Egypt, Namibia and Mauritania show the viability of hydrogen as a source of green energy. More such investments are expected to flow into these countries and others that make sound renewable energy policies as economies, particularly those in Europe seek alternative sources of green energy. Slowly Green hydrogen is emerging as a major energy industry in Africa and its full exploitation could provide Africans with new access to cleaner energy sources, employment opportunities, public health benefits due to cleaner air, GDP creation and export revenues outside Africa CBA WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


DIGITAL TECH

AFRICA

“Africa’s internet economy is one of the largest overlooked investment opportunities available, with a potential to add US$180 billion to Africa’s GDP by 2025.” IFC and Google Report

P.44 Liquid Intelligent Technologies

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DIGITAL TECH AFRICA

Adil El Youssefi COMPANY: Liquid Intelligent Technologies SECTOR:

Telecommunications

COUNTRY: Pan- African WEBSITE:

www.liquid.tech

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LIQUID

INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGIES

BECAUSE AFRICA’S FUTURE IS AN INTELLIGENT ONE

I

n March 2021, Liquid Telecom, a business of Cassava Technologies, rebranded to Liquid Intelligent Technologies to reflect the company’s transformation from being a telecommunications and digital services provider to a one-stopshop technology group offering cloud business, cybersecurity services and other technologies in addition to its existing telecoms and connectivity capabilities. At the heart of the company’s transformation agenda is Adil El Youssefi the Chief Business & Integration Officer for Cassava Technologies. “We rebranded to convey to our customers and to the market that we are not only about networks, infrastructure but also about intelligent technologies,” El Youssefi tells CEO Business Africa magazine. Youssefi knows the business well having joined Liquid Telecom back in 2017 as Chief Executive Officer for Kenya before being promoted to Regional CEO of East Africa in 2018. April this year saw the tech executive with over 20 years in the information technology sector transition to his current role as Chief Business & Integration Officer for Cassava Technologies. “I recently transitioned into Cassava Technology as Business Integration Officer looking at all our 15 markets in the continent and working alongside my colleagues in different product segments to make sure we serve our customers on the continent and deliver our vision of leaving no African behind in this digitally transforming world,” says Adil. This vision has been part of Liquid Intelligent

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technologies since its founding back in 2005. Founder and Executive Chairman South African serial entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa. He envisioned his new business venture as a tool to transform the continent and help Africans unlock their economic potential. Today, the company is leveraging on technology to deliver on its founder’s vision. “The strategy is to deploy robust state of the art digital infrastructure to our networks, data centers and power solutions and to overlay state of the art digital services through our cloud cyber security, fintech and platform solutions so that we can consumers and businesses across the continent realize their economic potential,” Youssefi explains.

By Elly Akoko

LEVERAGING PARTNERSHIPS TO DELIVER TECHNOLOGY ACROSS AFRICA

Africa is a vast continent with more than 1.4 million people, more than 800 million mobile connections (477 million unique), and 26% mobile internet users. Although progress has been made in improving the continent’s digital infrastructure, still a lot needs to be done to bring the entire continent online. Embarking on such a project is a costly affair. The e Broadband Commission of the International Communication Union and UNESCO, estimate that connecting an additional 1.1 billion people online globally by 2030 and bridging the connectivity gap will cost US$100 billion, or about US$10 billion per year. Through acquisitions and partnerships, Liquid

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DIGITAL TECH AFRICA : LIQUID INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGIES

LIQUID INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGIES TANZANIA DURING THEIR NEW IDENTITY LAUNCH

We rebranded to convey to our customers and to the market that we are not only about networks, infrastructure but also about intelligent technologies,”

46 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

Intelligent Technologies has however found a way to affordably bring more Africans online. In March this year, Liquid acquired a fibre pair on the Google-owned Equiano subsea cable, allowing Liquid to transport traffic up to 12 Terabits, bringing a much-needed increase in international connectivity in Western and Southern Africa. A few months later, the company acquired Israeli-based technology company Telrad which dvelops innovative technology solutions across business areas including networking, cyber security, cloud infrastructure, data centres, information technology, geoinformatics, and education. “We are always looking at ways to improve our product portfolio, how we serve our customers and through the lenses to make sure we deliver and avail state of the art digital infrastructure and digital services, so the acquisitions of Equiano and Telrad are aligned to this strategy,” Youssefi says. Not long ago, a sub-marine cable was damaged affecting internet connectivity in South and West Africa for several days. Youssefi sees the Equiano deal as essential as businesses and consumers in this day and age cannot operate efficiently without internet connectivity. “We are pleased to be one of the largest partners in bringing that cable into the continent and availing more affordable, stable internet connectivity to the continent,” Adil boasts. Bringing Telrad on board is on the other

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hand expected to bolster Liquid’s innovation capabilities. “The acquisition of Telrad, a wellknown telecommunication company that has customers and products across the spectrum from hardware all the way to services will strengthen our Research & Development capability as well our infrastructure capabilities to offer digital infrastructure and digital services,” Adil explains. To bolster its capacity in Kenya, recently signed a partnership agreement with PEACE Cable Company for additional subsea capacity in Kenya. Liquid’s recent capacity expansion is coinciding with a renewed focus on the continent by multinational tech giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Twitter. Kenya, where Youssefi is based, has been particularly lucky with several big tech firms making moves to significantly increase their presence in the country. Microsoft launched one of two Africa Development Centre (ADC) sites in Nairobi in March this yar and is looking to hire at least 450 full-time employees. Google announced in April it was hiring over 100 employees for its upcoming Product Development Center in Nairobi, the company’s first such facility in Africa. Visa has just launched its Innovation Hub, one of six in the world and Amazon is also said to have plans to launch an Amazon Web Services (AWS) local zone in Nairobi. “We see their entry as complimenting what we do in the continent,” Youssefi notes. “We are partnering with them as our customers and at times partners to deliver services in our markets and are pleased with these partnerships.” For Yousseffi, the more tech companies in the continent, the merrier for consumers. “The more investment comes to the continent, the faster we can make the adoption curve move faster so that we can catch up with the rest of the world.” He further expresses confidence on the ability of Liquid to effectively deliver high quality digital services even to multinational companies like Alphabet. “When you see you the likes of Equiano talk to Cassava Technologies it is because they want to ride on existing reliable infrastructure to avail their services to the continent.”

THRIVING IN A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT

Being active in 15 African countries brings challenges of its own. Each country has its own regulatory landscape and business culture which if not adequately mastered can lead to business failure. Liquid has however found able colleagues across their footprints critical in enabling the business to thrive. “Creating such a business cannot be done without the support systems of all WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


the stakeholders and this is where the challenges lie and they are different from country to country and situation to situation,” Youseffi points out. “They could be challenges of introducing a new product to the market and trying to get demand beyond the early adopters, securing the right licenses, legal frameworks, securing the right funding for a particular venture.” What drives Youseffi and his team during challenging periods is the desire to solve problems their fellow citizens in Africa. “We are not out of the woods yet because they appear on daily basis but we have confidence in is the value, spirit and capabilities of our people in the company to transcend these challenges and make sure no African is left behind in this digitally connected world.” Covid-19 was a major test to the company’s but Youseffi reveals that the agility to adopt to new work setting displayed by his team enabled it to continue serving customers. Covid taught his team resilience, a confident Youseffi admits. “No one saw Covid-19 coming and no one will probably see the next big crisis coming but what we can control as business leaders and professionals in our companies is how resilient we can make our environment to the shocks to make sure the lights are always on for customers.”

A CLIMATE CONSCIOUS BUSINESS

It’s incredibly rare these days to find a company that does not have its strategy aligned to United Nations backed sustainable development goals (SDG). Liquid being a pan African brand has been at the fore front of driving the sustainability agenda. As climate change threatens human health and safety, food and water security and socio-economic development, Youseffi says that his company is keen to ensure it is not creating bigger problems while solving others. “As a company, we are very a live and conscious of our responsibility to make sure we not only take care of sustainability as a core business principle and tenet of our strategy but also set the example as a leading pan Africa technology company.” At the heart of Liquid’s sustainability agenda is its cloud service network. “When we are providing cloud services, we are actually reducing the footprints enterprises would have by replicating the same environment to their own premises,” Youseffi points out. “By moving to the cloud, they are not only benefiting from all the features cloud offers like security and lower costs and flexibility in terms in terms of usage but they also reduce their carbon footprints because they are using less power and buying less equipment” Liquid’s sustainability credentials are also boosted by its sister company, Distributed Power Africa. “Distributed Power Africa, a subsidiary

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of Cassava Technology, offers renewable energy solutions to businesses and homes across the continent and the intent is to make sure that businesses and homes access clean reliable energy because without energy.” He also points out that when customers use Cassava’s already deployed power network rather than replicating their own, they are reducing carbon footprints by using infrastructure that is already there. “These are the two main things that help us play our part in terms of sustainability.”

IN NUMBERS

18

NUMBER OF YEARS LIQUID HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS

A RELIABLE PARTNER IN THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY

COVID-19 forced businesses once resistant to digital transformation to embrace tech. Restaurants where more people now order food online, as well as the retail, logistics and education sectors, which in a bid to keep pace with demand, satisfy new expectations and retain customers, were all forced to adopt digital solutions. Having been in business for about 18 years now, Liquid has built one of the best networks in Africa in terms of reach and availability, according to Youseffi. This put the company in a unique position to offer the best in class technology solutions to companies regardless of their size and scale. As more business embrace digital technologies to support their day to day operations, Liquid Technologies promises to be with them every step of the way. “Our promise to our businesses customers and our consumers is that we are there to assist them in this digital transformation journey through our state of the art network, data centers, renewable and reliable energy and our digital services which are cloud cyber security, fintech services and digital platform services,” Youseffi concludes. CBA

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AFRICA DATA CENTRES A BUSINESS OF CASSVA TECHNOLOGIES

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GROW YOUR BUSINESS FASTER, MORE SUSTAINABLY ADVERTISE IN AFRICA’S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

WHY ADVERTISE IN CEO BUSINESS AFRICA MAGAZINE • • •

Reach the most important key decision makers across all the key sectors of the economy and markets in Africa’s private, public and non-profit sectors Available in both print and digital formats, the magazine provides advertisers with a pan-African and worldwide audience The magazine’s website www.ceobusinessafrica.com is one of the best read and visited news site in Africa.

AVAILABLE IN PRINT & FOR FREE ONLINE AT: WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM 48 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

JUNE 2022

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FINTECH AFRICA “Africa has a massive underbanked and unbanked population, but its growing middle class, increasing mobile penetration and improving communications infrastructure make it uniquely conducive to fintech innovation and mobile financial services” IFC and Google Report

P.50 NOMBA

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FINTECH AFRICA

Yinka Adewale COMPANY: Nomba SECTOR: Fintech

COUNTRY: Nigeria WEBSITE:

www.nomba.com

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NOMBA YINKA ADEWALE, THE CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF NOMBA, ON STARTING AND GROWING A FINTECH BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

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inka Adewale, the cofounder and CEO at Nomba, the Lagos-based leading fintech player in Nigeria has a mission: to improve financial inclusion in the country, and in extension, Africa to reduce the gap of the financially excluded in the region, where according to the World Bank, only 20% of the population has a bank account compared to 92 percent in advanced economies. Having lived and studied in Nigeria his whole life, Yinka represents a rare breed of fintech founders who are totally home-grown. Prior to going for his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, he had already spent several years writing computer software and at the age of 11, he had started building computer programs. “Building computer software has always been a passion for me because it allows me to do and process things faster,” says Yinka. “While at the university, I spent some time working with some of the big software companies like Google and Microsoft to help build the developer community on campus and in my 4th year in school, I took an internship in a financial service company in Nigeria, and this where I saw how payment processing worked for the first time. I saw how it could be automated and how it could solve reconciliation problems for businesses,” adds Yinka. At the time, the company was doing a lot of B2B payments for large enterprises in the business sector and Yinka’s role wasn't one of a software engineer but an entrepreneurial resident, which was much broader. He was coding at night, doing sales at daytime and working on financial models in the afternoon. This proved quite helpful for

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him in his career. When he went back to school in his final year, Yinka decided to start his own payments company. “I launched a pet project with a few friends in 2014 where we were issuing NFC cards to students and a mobile phone to merchants to accept payments. This was before point-of-sale (POS) terminals became mainstream in Nigeria. We had about 30,000 customers, 500 merchants and I enjoyed doing that for about three years and then I left.”

By Elly Akoko

SETTING ITSELF APART FROM THE REST

“We have been here for five years so we are not new players. In the last five years, we have been focusing on building technology and serving our customers. To date, we have processed US$6 billion annualized in payment volume. This indeed is a significant number, especially in emerging markets because while many of the players in the fintech space also process this same range of transactions, what sets Nomba apart is our approach to the markets we are in.” “Our main focus is offline-first payments, where we are equipping retailers with our POS technology to enable them accept in-store payments. Today, retail payments in Nigeria totals about US$81 billion but only a small fraction of that is actually digitized.” “We started first on the offline strategy where we were basically deploying our POS technology but evolved over the years to an omni-channel payment platform for merchants where whether the merchant wants to accept payment offline or online, Nomba is the go-to place to make that process seamless. This opens them up to all forms of payment channels: they can accept cards, bank transfers, cash payments, and even QR.” Nomba provides its users with a platform that JUNE 2022

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FINTECH AFRICA: NOMBA

company changed its name from Kudi to Nomba as well as announced a new lines of business, the CEO is super excited about the future of the company and believes that its people will make all the difference. “Right now we're building one of the best teams in Africa to solve and grow payment systems. This is something we do quite well. I can honestly say that it is the hard work and creativity of the team we have had over the last five years that has brought us here. I think the next couple of years will be a lot more interesting and we will move faster as a business.” “One of the things that we are trying to do is find talented individuals, especially at the executive level first, that are able to help us actualize our dreams.”

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACQUISITIONS AND GROWTH

NOMBA MANAGEMENT TEAM

essentially allows them to manage their financial operations, and to have visibility of their income and expenses. A one-stop shop for financial services for small or medium sized businesses, he reiterates.

FUNDRAISING IS KEY BUT NOT EVERYTHING

Our main focus is offline-first payments, where we are equipping retailers with our POS technology to enable them accept in-store payments.

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According to Yinka, to successfully grow a business people, capital and products are three key pillars, especially in the fintech space. “We have seen a lot of capital coming to the market. Over US$3 billion in venture capital came into Africa in 2021 - it's really fast growing. For us, over the years we have raised some initial funding. We got into the Y-Combinator batch of 2017 and raised a seed round of US$1 million, led by Khosla Ventures. We also raised US$5 million Series A funding in 2019,” says Yinka. “However, for us, it’s not just about raising so much venture capital since we are here to build a sustainable business. Don't get me wrong, having some amount of venture capital in the bank definitely helps to accelerate things, but being able to build a business that has the right unit economics is what allows you to grow.” “So while we do have an appetite for investors, we think that at the end of the day, the best place to actually get funding from is your customers. By providing value to our own users, we are able to generate enough cash flow to grow our business and this has been our differentiating approach to building our fintech in Nigeria,” he explains. Our team is the driving force behind our growth After a public rebrand effort where the JUNE 2022

According to the CEO, Nomba is always looking for growth opportunities, but one of the biggest barriers to moving into some new markets as a fintech is regulation: regulatory frameworks differ across climes and rightfully so. “One of the best ways to overcome this and expand into new markets is to make acquisitions. This way you get a team that is local and the best of both worlds. Our approach to international expansion is finding markets where we can do this ourselves, but also finding teams that can be instrumental to driving our business. We definitely have an appetite for businesses that we can partner with or that we can acquire in other markets, allowing us to grow into that space.” Yinka believes that growth is the real driver of sustainability. As long as a business can keep finding growth opportunities, it is going to keep the going, and that itself is probably the most exciting thing for an entrepreneur, he believes. He thinks that many markets also have very smart and talented individuals in the sense of what they have built and they might definitely find some of those in some countries they are looking to go into. “Our dream is to be able to put our technology in the hands of over 5 million businesses across the continent. By the end of 2022, we would be at around 350,000 business on the platforms. So obviously there's still a lot of work that we need to do.”

HEADWINDS STAND IN THE WAY BUT BANKS HELP

“Over the years, there's been a lot of progress from the regulators to enable digital players like us to get licenses and in scenarios where it takes a while to get those licenses, the banks have very WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


strong appetites for partnerships. This is one of the things that has helped the Nigerian fintech ecosystem grow. A lot of fintechs are actually built on the partnership with commercial banks.” “The biggest problem that I have seen in this market is finding great talent. Even in new markets we want to expand to, finding those people and retaining them, especially in a global world where you can work remotely, is becoming a serious challenge”. The CEO believes that it is important for any business to incorporate sustainable practices across its operations. And because Nomba is in the merchant payment space today, most payments are driven by point of sales devices so a lot of paper is used in processing those transactions. “There's a device we are launching for our merchants called Nomba Pro which issues electronic receipts to end users. It will benefit the merchants because they get to build a database of customers that allow them to track who’s coming to their business, and help improve their business processes. That's one of the projects I'm really passionate about because it solves sustainability problems from the paper standpoint, but it also helps the merchants keep track of returning footfall to their businesses.” He adds that one of the company’s other sustainability initiatives involve inspiring the next generation of software engineers, to ensure that the region has its fair share of engineers that will be required to deepen financial inclusion in the continent.

AMBITIOUS GOALS, GREAT IMPACT

Yinka reveals that when he set out to start Nomba, his big dream was to process US$1 billion in annual transaction volumes – a figure that has since been passed many times over. “Right now, we are at over US$6 billion transaction volumes a year. This has happened because of the people that we have as well as our products and customers. This is one of the very interesting milestones that we celebrate as a business.” “The other one is the executive hires that we are bringing on board as well. We have got our business to the point where many leaders in the industry are looking at us as one of the best places to work. They are also seeing an opportunity to actually take this further a lot faster than myself and my co-founder have done over the last couple of years.” He believes that as the business grows, his and the co-founder will be laser focused on some key areas of the business as they let others take the lead in others. Meanwhile, the service being WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

offered by his firm will enable business owners to focus on what their businesses are all about, instead of seeking to do everything themselves. “As business owners, we want you to focus on your business operations. If you are a restaurateur for example, we want to give you room to focus on giving your customers the best experience. A seamless payment experience is a key feature here but what about your whole financial operations? We can support all of that.” “We have mobile applications on a web dashboard that allows you to sign up in 5 minutes and get a digital account, which serves as a fullfledged bank account. This means that you can get paid and you can pay anyone without a bank account. The other thing is that we then offer you a point of sale terminal that allows you to accept cards, bank transfers and even cash payments. You can record all forms of payments that come into your business.” “Nomba also helps in managing many of the risks and fraud challenges that small businesses face when it comes to digital payments. We take all financial operations away from you such that you don't have to focus on hiring a lot of people to help you manage your money. We want to be the platform that essentially helps you manage all of your income and expenses by providing a simple technology for you in 5 minutes that allows you to set up digital payments as a small business.” Yinka believes that the automation of business operations is the future of African businesses, and that facilitating payments is at the core of this transformation across the Continent. “With these new tools, the actual work doesn't necessarily have to be done in front of the desk in an office building. I think that's one of the lessons that I have learned as a business owner.”

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IN NUMBERS

US$

6B

TRANSACTION VOLUMES A YEAR

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Travel:

EGYPT

A DESTINATION THAT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE WORLD RENOWNED PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

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TRAVEL: EGYPT

ABU SIMBLE

By Jackie Muinde

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mong Africa’s top tourist destinations, Egypt stands out for a number of reasons. The country boasts of magnificent history, a timeless civilization of more than 5000 years, and is home to an endless number of antiquities, artifacts, and monuments. With so much to see and do, Egypt is one destination in Africa that any serious tourist should never leave out of their travel itinerary. Although pyramids are the first things that come to mind when you think about Egypt, there are plenty of things to do for all types of travellers. Starting with the vast tracts of desert for 4WD adventures you certainly can never go wrong with this destination. The country’s Red Sea offers world-class coral reefs and wrecks for divers, while the famed Nile River is just the excellent spot for cruising. Beach lovers head to the Sinai or the Red Sea Coast to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor. Cairo is the megalopolis that can't be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow

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pace of the countryside.

MORE THAN JUST PYRAMIDS

Egypt’s cultural tourism is arguably second to none on the African continent. Ancient civilizations are seen in many sites in Egypt; especially, in Cairo, which has many hidden secrets waiting to be discovered by the curious traveller. Sitting on the banks of the Nile River, Cairo is the home to majestic 5000 year-civilization that boasts of very precious treasures and relics including the widely known three pyramids of Giza, which are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. These significantly structured pyramids built during the reign of the 4th dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom by Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure are located at Giza Plateau alongside the great massive statue of Sphinx and the Valley Temple. The Sphinx is a portrait of the god of the sun called Raa’. Its comprised of the body of a lion and the head of a human and it, to the old Egyptian, a symbolize of strength, wisdom and intelligence. Constructed during the ruling period of Pharaoh Djoser is another wonder of the world: the Saqqara Step Pyramid. If the pyramids are not enough architectural marvels, then this

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would do it for any tourist as it is the first step pyramid in the world. Nearby Memphis City is also a gem as it is the ancient capital of Egypt and full of the enchanting temples and tombs, some dating back seveal thousands of years. Cairo is also home to the Egyptian Museum, the center of the ancient Egyptian antiquities and relics. The museum houses the world's largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities including the marvelous collection of King Tutankhamen. Those desiring to get away with souvenirs, Cairo is also home to the biggest and oldest market in the Middle East which is mostly occupied by skillful craftsmen. Alexandria city on the Mediterranean Sea is a special destination with a priceless mixture of the Pharaonic and Roman monuments. In Alexandria also, is the Citadel of Qaitbey; remarkable edifice constructed in the 15th century to defend the city against the attacks of the Ottomans. Other sites include the Alexandria Library; the house of millions of books, the imposing Pompey’s Pillar, and the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. In Upper Egypt, there are two other eminent monumental destinations; Luxor and Aswan. In Luxor you get to marvel at some of the most fascinating temples and tombs of the ancient world including the renown Karnak Temple. POMPEY'S PILLAR

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AMR IBN AL-AAS MOSQUE

The Nubian city of Aswan also has magnificent architectural splendours of its own in which include Abu Simbel Temples of the great king Ramses II and his wife Queen Nefertari, the Aswan High Dam, Philae Temple as well as Edfu and Kom Ombo Temples are located around this area. We crown the ancient world journey with Aon City, also known as Ain Shams or Heliopolis. It is one of the most important archaeological areas and the oldest capitals in the ancient world situated in Ain Shams, a northeastern suburb of Cairo. Maybe the ancient world is not your cup of coffee or you desire to spice things up, Egypt has an inexhaustible supply of various recreational activities that would leave you relaxed and satiated. The country is home to fascinating beaches on the White and Red Sea that extend for about 3000 km. The Nile River which extends from south to north, and its many desert and mountainous areas also provide fun and adventure for safari tourists. If you desire to experience leisure in Egypt, just pop into one of the tourist cities along the red sea. Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Marsa Alam, El Gouna, Dahab, and Al Ain EL Sokhna not only impress with the beauty but also offer marvelous water activities such as Snorkeling and Scuba Diving. While in Egypt, you could also take a JUNE 2022

Egypt, as a destination for medical tourism, has been popular since ancient times because of its soil which contains many therapeutic elements.

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TRAVEL: EGYPT

CHURCH OF ST.GEORGE IN CAIRO

ALEXANDRIA LIBRARY

quad bike for a marvelous desert safari trip.

A CHANCE TO EXPLORES WORLD’S MOST IMPRESSIVE MOSQUES AND TEMPLES

Egypt also offers you a chance to visit some of the world’s most impressive mosques and temples. Those in a spiritual mood can also have a chance to walk on some of the sacred and and most religious places on this planet. A lot of Egypt’s religious tourism has to do with the country’s history as an Islamic country. Its great rulers made sure that they establish mesmerizing mosques with fascinating architectural designs backed up with a great narrative. Of the impressive mosques in this land, the Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo is arguably the most iconic. Built in A.D 972, the architectural masterpiece has had a number of changes but still stands out as one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Azhar Mosque also rises in prominence given its position as the centrepiece of the Islamic world's most prestigious university since A.D. 988. Mohamed Ali Mosque comes in second with its high Ottoman dome that exudes a sense of calm and space. Those who have been here can attest that the view across old Cairo from the courtyard is second to none. Mosque of Ibn Tulun, also in Cairo, has unique, Iraqi-style decorations which set this 9th-century mosque apart from others in the city. The enormous courtyard is a reminder that there was once a time when you could build a mosque big enough to hold every man in the surrounding area. Other impressive mosques include Amr ibn al-Aas Mosque, AlHussein Mosque, Sayyida Zainab, Mosque, Rifai 58 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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Mosque, Imam Ash-Shafie, Al Hakim Mosque and Mohammed Ali Mosque. Bab Zuweila, one of the original entrances to the Fatimid city of Qahira (Cairo) is also an imposing architectural masterpiece that reminds of the architectural and military prowess of the 11th-century rulers of Egypt. The Madrasa of Sultan Hassan, a massive example of Mamluke self-aggrandizement, casts a massive shadow over the rundown neighborhood that surrounds it. Yet, from inside, the 14th-century domes and courtyards are gracefully proportioned and somehow human in scale.

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Islam is not the only religion that you are bound to experience in this journey. Egypt is also home to some of the most impressive Coptic Churches we have. Their Coptic features which are second to none attract both Muslims and Christians. Church of St. George in Cairo is a small, domed, Greek Orthodox church built on top of the ruins of the Roman Fortress of Babylon. With the lights low and the lines of candles flickering beside the altar, this is one of the most atmospheric spots in all of Cairo. Monastery of St. Anthony in the Red Sea is in the middle of the magnificently stark scenery of the

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remote Red Sea coast, this ancient monastery was built on the site near Anthony's cave where his followers established a camp. The chapel where they buried him is decorated with some of the richest Coptic art in the world. Not far from the of St. Anthony is the Monastery of St. Paul; a high-walled compound that is still a functioning monastery. St. Paul is said to have been fed every day by a crow that brought him bread. Monastery of St. Simeon in Aswan is still massive and imposing despite having been abandoned for centuries. It stands like an abandoned fortress on the edge of the desert on the west bank of the Nile at Aswan. St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai is the oldest continually working Christian monastery in the world. By virtue of its age, the monastery is also rich in religious art. Egypt also has some historical sightseeing related to the Jewish history. The most notable ones of them include Ben Ezra Synagogue, Mount Sinai where Moses has received God’s Ten Commandments, and the Jewish Alley or as it’s called in Arabic “Haret AL Yahood” which gathered hundreds of the Jewish. Harat El-Yahood in Khan El-Khalili in Old Cairo and the Eliahu Hanavi Synagogue are other notable Jewish sites that could be worth a glance. Before leaving, you can also visit the Al Bagawat Cemetery in Kharga, one of the largest ancient Christian cemeteries in the world. The cemetery in the Western Desert is still comprised of more than 200 domed mausoleums, some of which contain exceptional wall paintings depicting biblical scenes.

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Egypt is also carving a name for itself as medical tourism hub. Compared to the UK, Europe, and North America, Egypt offers relatively affordable health care services.

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TRAVEL: EGYPT

SIWA OASIS

A LAND OF HEALING

Egypt, as a destination for medical tourism, has been popular since ancient times because of its soil which contains many therapeutic elements. Sulfur spring therapy and black sand therapy are some of the top healing therapies that people come to Egypt. The climate alone in various places in Egypt can also help certain conditions more than modern medicine can. These is especially true for respiratory diseases, kidney problems, digestive issues, rheumatism, arthritis, and joint pain. Some of the popular places for those seeking to relieve stress, aches and pain include Bahariya Oasis, a group of Egyptian oases located in the Western Desert. "Gabel Dakrour" is the popular spot here for healing as it contains about some of the highet levels of sulfur & mineral water. Kharga Oasis, located in South Assiut, contains deep wells such as Bulaq Wells and Nasser wells with lots of therapeutic benefits. According to laboratory analysis, it is proven that these wells contain mineralized water, which is beneficial to treat kidney stones, skin diseases, rheumatic 60 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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diseases, and digestive system disorders. Aswan City is another popular sport that one could consider visiting. The city's atmosphere is suitable for patients with kidney, respiratory systems, and rheumatic diseases. It has two sand and water treatment centers that are used for treating rheumatoid due to salt in seawater and UV rays beside the usage of natural black sand. Siwa Oasis with its natural 230 freshwater springs and natural flowing 1000 wells is another popular joint for tourists seeking to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of Egypt. Mount Dakrur, just on the southwest of Siwa, is a great site particularly for those suffering from rheumatic diseases. Still on the therapeutic journey is Pharaoh Bath which is a group of natural hot springs located on the Gulf of Suez, about 250Km from Cairo. Its sulphur rich water is not only good for your lungs and kidneys but also known to restore and rejuvenate the skin. Moses Pool in Tor Sinai and the Farafra Oasis in Fayoum are other scenic and also therapeutic places that one could visit. Moses Pool is particularly breath taking as it is surrounded by more than 2,000 old fruitful palm trees and analgesic herbs. Egypt is also carving a name for itself as medical tourism hub. Compared to the UK, Europe, and North America, Egypt offers relatively affordable health care services. For instance, a heart bypass surgery would cost US$123,000 in the US, while it costs US$26,000 in Egypt. Hip replacement cost would, on the other hand, cost you a quarter the amount charged in US hospitals. When it comes to quality of care, you can be rest assured that what is offered in Egypt is among the highest that is offered in the world. 11 of the country’s hospitals including Saudi German Hospital, Children Cancer Hospital Egypt, As-Salam International Hospital, and Dar Al Fouad Hospital are accredited by global hospital accreditation body JCI as proof of commitment to the highest standards of care. To make costs even more affordable, tourism companies in Egypt are allowed to offer health insurance plans to ensure potential tourists connect to the right healthcare facilities at subsidized prices. When it comes to medical tourism, what makes Egypt unique is not just the affordability, it’s the variety in accommodation from starred hotels with spas and wellness resorts, to wellness centers and budget hotels. Imagine receiving quality care and spending the evening watching the sun set over the pyramids of Giza or while relaxing in one of the many therapeutic wells and oases scattered across the country. If you ask me, no other form of nursing even comes close CBA

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TOP 10 TOP TEN MINING COMPANIES IN AFRICA By Market Capitalization WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

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TOP TEN: MINING COMPANIES IN AFRICA

01

ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM MAIN MINERAL: PLATINUM

At number one is Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest primary producer of platinum, accounting for about 38% of the world's annual supply. Based in South Africa, most of the group's operations are in Johannesburg. It also produces base metals, and gold. A majority of the company's operations take place in the Bushveld Igneous Complex, a large region that contains a range of mineral commodities including chromium, vanadium, titaniferous magnetite and platinum group metals. It has a market capitalization of US$24.56 billion.

02

KUMBA IRON ORE MAIN MINERAL: IRON ORE

Kumba Iron Ore is the fourth largest iron-ore producer in the world and the largest in Africa. Located in South Africa, the company has a market capitalization of US$10.01billion and reported revenues of US$6.64 billion in 2021. It owns 74% shares in Sishen Iron Ore Company, the owner of Thabazimbi, Sishen and Kolomela iron ore mines.

03

IMPALA PLATINUM HOLDING (IMPLATS) MAIN MINERAL: PLATINUM

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited or Implats is a South African holding company that owns several companies which operate mines that produce platinum and platinum group metals, as well as nickel, copper and cobalt. The Company also holds interest in Two Rivers Platinum Proprietary Limited (Two Rivers) and Mimosa Investments Limited (Mimosa). The Company's operations in South Africa include Impala, Marula and Two Rivers. The Company's operations in Zimbabwe include Zimplats and Mimosa. It has a market capitalization of US$9.33 billion.

04

GOLD FIELDS LIMITED MAIN MINERAL: GOLD

Gold Fields Limited is one of the world's largest gold mining firms. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, the company has a market capitalization of US$8.98 billion and reported revenues of US$4.195 billion in 2021. The company owns and operates mines in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru. In Africa, it operates the Tarkwa Gold Mine, Damang Gold Mine and Asanko Gold Mine, all in Ghana, and South Deep Gold Mine in South Africa.

05

SIBANYE STILLWATER MAIN MINERAL: PLATINUM, GOLD

Sibanye-Stillwater is one of the largest primary producers of platinum, second largest primary producer of palladium and third largest producer of gold. It has a diverse portfolio of platinum group metal (PGM) operations in the United States and Southern Africa, gold operations and projects in South Africa, and copper, gold and PGM exploration properties in North and South America. Its market capitalization is US$7.80 and reported revenues of US$10.83 billion in 2021.

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06

ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI MAIN MINERAL: GOLD

Headquartered in Johannesburg, AngloGold Ashanti has 21 operations in 10 countries on four continents, and several exploration programmes in the established and new gold producing regions of the world. Its operations comprise of open-pit and underground mines and surface metallurgical plants. 2021 revenues for the company amounted to US$4.029 billion while its market capitalization in 2022 stood at US$6.8 billion.

07

EXXARO RESOURCES MAIN MINERAL: COAL

Exxaro Resources is a large coal and heavy minerals mining company in South Africa. The company operates facilities and offices in Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. It has interest in coal, mineral sands, ferrous and energy markets. It operates the Mafube, Grootegeluk, Leeuwpan and Matla mines, Dorstfontein Complex, and Forzando Complex. Headquartered in Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa, the company has a market capitalization of US$4.4 billion. Revenues for 2021 amounted to US$2.04 billion.

08

NORTHAM PLATINUM MAIN MINERAL: PLATINUM

Northam Platinum is an independent, fully empowered, mid-tier, integrated Platinum Group Metals (PGM) producer with two primary operating assets, the Zondereinde and Booysendal mines in the South African Bushveld Complex. It is headquartered in Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa. Northam’s three main products mined are platinum, palladium and rhodium and has a market capitalization of US$4.3 billion. 2021 revenues stood at US$2.03 billion.

09

AFRICAN RAINBOW MINERALS MAIN MINERAL: PLATINUM, FERROUS

African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) is a leading South African diversified mining and minerals company with operations in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malaysia. It has interest in a wide range of mines, including platinum and platinum group metals, iron, coal, copper, and gold. It operates the Goedgevonden coalmine in Witbank. The company has a market capitalization of US$3.02 billion. And recorded revenues of US$810 million in 2021.

10

ROYAL BAFOKENG PLATINUM MAIN MINERAL: PLATINUM

Wrapping Africa largest mining company top 10 list is Royal Bafokeny Platinum, a South African based mining company. The mid-tier platinum group metals producer that mainly operates in the he North West province of South Africa. The company has a market capitalization of US$2.7 billion and reported revenues of US$1.02 billion in 2021.

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Covered by desert

BUT RICH IN MINERALS: A focus on

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COUNTRY FOCUS: NAMIBIA

NAMIBIA'S EXPORT OF PREPARED AND PRESERVED FISH, CRUSTACEANS, MOLLUSCS, AND AQUATIC INVERTEBRATES FOR QUARTER ONE OF 2021 STOOD AT US$180 MILLION

By Jackie Muinde

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erched between Angola and South Africa is Namibia, one of the least populated countries in the world. The country, which is in most part dry thanks to the expansive Namib and Kalahari deserts, is the 15th largest country in Africa by area. Propped up by thriving mining and tourism sectors, Namibia’s economy is currently the 32ed largest in Africa by nominal GDP terms, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The African Development bank (AfDB) expects Namibia’s economy to grow by 3.3% in 2022, on the back of a steady recovery in financial services, tourism, retail and wholesale

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trade, and the mining industries—combined with an improvement in the regional and global economic environment. AfDB however notes that the country’s economy faces substantial risks and challenges in the short to medium term which might hamper growth. Sluggish global economic growth would for instance hold down exports and foreign direct investment inflow while an ambitious economic recovery program of NAD 8.1 billion (US$0.5 billion), is expected to limit the fiscal space needed for infrastructure and human capital investment. In the long-term, the Namibia GDP Annual Growth Rate is projected to trend around 2.30 percent in 2023 and 2.10 percent in 2024, according to econometric models by data firm Trading Economics.

AGRICULTURE: THE BEST PROSPECT INDUSTRY SECTOR FOR NAMIBIA

Only 0.97171 % of the country’s land is arable, according to data from the World Bank. With little to no land to carry rainfed agriculture on, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) (excluding fishing) over the last five years has been just over four percent. Livestock production comprises approximately twothirds of agricultural production and is a major

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foreign exchange earner for Namibia. According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, livestock’s contribution to the nominal GDP rose to 3.5 percent in 2020, compared to 3 percent in 2019. Export of live animals (mostly cattle and sheep) has historically dominated exports but robust meat processing infrastructure is changing this narrative. Today, meat processing contributes about 0.2 - 0.4 percent of GDP. Namibia exports most of its meat to Europe and South Africa. In 2016, Namibia became the first and only African country eligible for beef export to the United States and currently has plans to make China a new market. Although Namibia’s livestock farming is thriving and arguably one of the best in the continent, a large percentage of Namibians do not directly benefit from it. Most Namibians are engaged in subsistence farming practices, mainly growing millet, sorghum, maize and peanuts. As subsistence farming is characterised by low crop yields, Namibia relies heavily on food imports to feed its population. In 2020 alone, data from Trade Economics show that food imports accounted for about 12.6% of the total goods imported into the country. Low incomes from agriculture also explains why most Namibians, particularly those in the rural areas are living below the national poverty line. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has over the years been working to improve local agricultural production to not only enhance food security but also as a way of uplifting many of citizens from poverty. The Green Scheme was launched in 2004 to encourage irrigation along perennial rivers, assist small scale farmers with financing for commercial crop production and also build necessary infrastructure such as storage facilities in strategic regions to store produce before sale. Although the targeted 27,000 hectares along the perennial rivers has not been achieved, its impact has resulted in an increase in crops, vegetables, fruits production in the country. Still Namibia is a net cereal importer and Cereal imports (mainly maize and wheat) forecast for 2020 was at 295 000 tonnes. Opportunities for further investment in crop production therefore exist if the nation is to achieve food sovereignty. The government is still aggressively pursuing this goal and has established policies to control the importation of certain grains, mainly maize, wheat and pearl millet This is aimed at protecting local producers from external competition, incentivizing them to produce even more crops. Under the NHDI, the government also aims to increase local production and facilitate the marketing of fruit, vegetables, livestock fodder,

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and other horticultural products. One element of the NHDI is an import substitution program dubbed the Namibian Market Share Promotion (NMSP). Under the NMSP, importers must purchase a designated percentage of their turnover within Namibia. As a result of the NHDI (and other initiatives), local horticulture production grew by 52 percent from 2004 to 2010 (from 37,823 tons to 57,809 tons) and by 2010 reached an import substitution level of over 22 percent, up from 7 percent before the initiative started. In further support of the NHDI, government has set up the Fresh Produce Hub in the northern regions with the aim to increase food production while preserving the freshness of food. To further support Agricultural productivity, Namibia secured 1 billion South African Rands (US$62.88 billion) from AfDB in 2017 to finance the country’s Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Project (NAMSIP). MWAF is implementing the project over a period of 5 years, in all 14 Administrative Regions of Namibia. According to AfDB, the project will directly benefit 294,500 crop farmers, and 10,000 livestock farmers. MWAF in partnership with German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also launched the Farming for Resilience (F4R) project to strengthen the resilience of the agrifood sector. The 4-year project will work towards diversification of agricultural production systems and adoption of climate-sensitive cultivation

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Although the country is still not self-reliant when it comes to food production, significant steps have been made towards achieving this goal.

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COUNTRY FOCUS: NAMIBIA

methods and sustainable water management. Fisheries is another major agricultural activity contributing about 3 percent of GDP since 2007 and about 20 percent of export earnings. Hake fishing makes up the majority of the sector and directly employs more than 10,000 people. Namibia's export of prepared and preserved fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic invertebrates for quarter one of 2021 stood at N$2.7 billion (US$180 million). This category accounted for more than 90% of the total export of selected manufacturing commodities from agriculture, forestry, and fishing for the country, which stood at N$2,9 billion (US$190 million) in the first quarter. Due to its importance, the government has been making progress in promoting sustainable fishing practices to protect fish stocks which had in that past been decimated by overfishing by foreign fleets. In 2020, the Namibia hake trawl and longline fishery has become the first fishery in Namibia, and the second in Africa, to meet the globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Namibia sees this as an endorsement for its efforts in sustainable fishing. Government also provides incentives to fishing companies through the “Namibianize” program to increase Namibian participation: companies that employ more Namibians are generally afforded larger fishing quotas.

MANUFACTURING, THE DRIVER OF VISION 2030

The manufacturing sector in Namibia is dominated by fish processing, meat processing, other food and beverage industries. Other manufacturing includes basic non-ferrous metals, fabricated metals, diamond processing, leather and related products, non-metallic mineral products. Data from the National Planning Commission show that the sector contributed 11% to the country’s GDP and employed approximately 7% of all Namibia’s in active employment in 2016. Still Namibia sees manufacturing as the key driver of the country’s Vision 2030. Namibia envisions that the manufacturing and services sector combined should contribute about 80.0 percent of the country’s GDP by the year 2030 and that exports of processed goods should account for not less than 70.0 percent of the country’s total exports. The government has subsequently initiated efforts aimed at ensuring the achievement of the much-needed sustainable growth. Manufactures can, for instance, take advantage of tax and non-tax incentives through the Registered Manufacturers Scheme, which is basically an incentive package applicable to exporting enterprises who 68 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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manufacture their products within Namibia. They can also benefit from the Exporters Incentive Regime for locally manufactured goods which provides for an 80% tax deduction scheme for income derived from exports of manufactured goods, other than meat or fish. Finally, and by far the most comprehensive of the three regimes, is the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) regime, available for export processing firms. Under this regime, qualifying prospective manufacturers get to enjoy great tax incentives including zero corporate taxes for goods destined for markets outside SACU. Opportunities in manufacturing particularly exist in steel manufacturing and metal fabrication, automotive, fodder and pet food production, and chemical production. Potential exists in value addition projects of the leather, wool, pelts, silk and textiles industry through enhanced collection, processing, grading and cleaning of raw hides, skins, wool and natural silk. The government is also actively promoting small and medium enterprises in rural and urban areas through provision of direct subsidies and trade facilitation so as to enhance labour intensive light manufacturing activities in these areas. Issues of land, access to finance, utility costs, investment incentives, manufacturing status, unfair trade practices and skills shortages are the critical factors constraining the

The electric vehicles boom and clean energy supply technologies are expected to drive demand for minerals which the country has in significant amounts

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TOURISM STIRRING FROM COVID-19 LULL

manufacturing activities in Namibia, according to a study conducted by the National Planning commission. The study further found that the existing policies are playing a major role in boosting the performance of the manufacturing sector, they just need to be executed fully and faster.

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Namibia has a unique mix of wildlife, spectacular scenery, and diverse cultures that attracts hundreds of thousand visitors each year. Natural attractions include the Namib Desert, which is the oldest desert in the world; the Fish River Canyon, which is the second-largest canyon after the Grand Canyon; the world-famous sand dunes at Sossusvlei; the Skeleton Coast with its extraordinary landscapes; and Etosha National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Coupled with its natural beauty, Namibia’s good road infrastructure, potable water, and lower levels of crime than most of its neighboring countries make it an ideal destination for tourists. Namibia as a tourist destination has been growing in importance over the years and in 2019, the country received a total of 1.6 million tourists, according to data from the Namibia Tourism Board. In that year, travel and tourism contributed approximately 14.7 percent of GDP in Namibia, and 15.4 percent to total employment in 2019, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The Covid-19 pandemic however threatened to wipe away most of the gains that the country had been making for the past ten years. Tourist numbers plummeted to a record low of 192,000, resulting in the country losing about N$3.2 billion (US$208.33M) in export revenue and an average reduction of about 30 percent in employment numbers. The sector started to recover in 2021 with

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IN NUMBERS

5000

WHAT MANUFACTURING CONTRIBUTES TO THE COUNTRY’S GDP

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COUNTRY FOCUS: NAMIBIA

compared to 2020 levels but way below 2019 levels. Experts predict tourism industry recovery will be painful and slow with pre-COVID levels of visitors and revenue unlikely to return until 2024. Still niche tourism opportunities exist particularly in Wildlife safaris, Hunting tours, Cultural / Educational tours, and Adventure tours. As tourism stirs back to life, opportunities also exist in development and construction of new lodging in both urban and remote areas.

FINANCIAL SECTOR IS RELATIVELY WELL DEVELOPED

NAMIBIA STANDS OUT FOR THE HIGH PERCENTAGE OF BANKED INDIVIDUALS; 78.0 PERCENT OF NAMIBIAN ADULTS ARE FINANCIALLY INCLUDED tourist numbers rising to 354,508 in 2021 as movement restrictions started to ease. In 2022, the tourism ministry projects an increase in international arrivals to above the 500 000 international travellers, a record number 70 CEO BUSINESS AFRICA

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Namibia’s financial sector is relatively well developed. Banks are profitable, well capitalized and control an asset value of 75% of GDP. First National Bank Namibia, Bank Windhoek, Nedbank Namibia, and Standard Bank Namibia are the four biggest banks in the country. Together they control 99% of total assets in the banking sector. Namibia’s non-banking financial sector, with net assets at 138% of GDP, is solvent and well capitalized and is the main source of deposits for the banking sector. The law requires that 40% of all pension fund assets must be invested domestically widening the pool of investible funds. Financial inclusion for individuals has increased remarkably in recent years thanks in part to the removal of high fees and charges associated with maintaining a bank account. Today, Namibia stands out for the high percentage of banked individuals; 78.0 percent of Namibian adults are financially included, according to the last inclusion survey conducted in 2017. Modern infrastructure, such as online and cell phone banking have greatly contributed to financial inclusion of the unbanked. All commercial banks also run a microloan portfolio that gives small loans to individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), further encouraging uptake by Namibians. In addition to the commercial banks, Namibia has four other banking or specialized financial institutions (AgriculturalBank of Namibia (AgriBank), Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), Namibia Post Office Savings Bank (NPSB) and National Housing Enterprise (NHE) . These are thus autonomous government-owned entities provide a specific range of financial products to very specific target populations. The AgriBank specializes in financing the entire value chain from land acquisition, production inputs, harvesting, transporting, processing and marketing of products. The DBN provides SME finance (direct loans, working capital and credit lines) and SME contract-based finance (working capital for those awarded contracts or tenders) WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


while NHE specializes in provision of housing to low- and middle-income inhabitants of Namibia and financing of housing for such inhabitants. NPSB has the most extensive branch system of all financial institutions and the bank targets poor people in unbanked or under-banked regions and provides a wide range of banking services including tax-free interest rates. As the economy grows, there will be increased demand for finance from companies that are expanding. The Banking sector as it currently stands is well poised to support this growth but the financial sector will have to continue to be developed and deepened, through the introduction of new and specialised products in order to respond to the evolving needs of both corporate and individual consumers.

A MINERAL RICH COUNTRY

Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa and the world's fourth-largest producer of uranium. The country also produces diamond, lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. The country also extracts gold, silver, tin, vanadium, semiprecious gemstones, tantalite, phosphate, sulphur, and mines salt. Revenue from mining accounts for 12.5% of GDP (2018) and provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings. Mining in Namibia is regulated by the various acts. Diamond and Petroleum are two natural resources that are closely monitored by the Namibian Government. The Government has a royalty schedule that levies 3% of the market price of base precious and rare metals as well as non-nuclear mineral fuels. A 2 % levy was placed on nuclear mineral fuels and industrial minerals. In 2021, the government issued a directive that locals must keep 15% interest in of licences sold to foreigners. Diamond remains the country’s leading mining sub-sector. In 2020, Namibia exported US$750 million in Diamonds, making it the 15th largest exporter of Diamonds in the world. Namibia has the richest known marine diamond deposits in the world, estimated at more than 80 million carats. This mineral resource is expected to continue driving value for the country as demand remains robust driven by new appetite demand jewellery from Chinese millennials. According to Grand View Research, the global diamond market size valued at US$91.244 billion in 2020 is expected to record a CAGR of 3.0% during the 2020 to 2030 period to reach a market value of US$123.83 billion at the end of the forecast period. Uranium has in the recent years emerged as an important mineral to Namibia. Its importance in the nuclear industry continues to fuel the WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM

demand and Namibia, holding the 7th largest known deposits of the mineral, stands to reap huge benefits. Rössing Uranium and Swakop Uranium are Namibia’s most significant uranium mines which together provide 12% of the world’s uranium oxide output. In 2021, Rössing Uranium produced 5.1% of the world’s output. Total revenue from that mine alone amounted to N$4.26 billion (US$310 million). As the current Ukraine-Russia war further reduces the available supply of Uranium in the global market and forces Europe to bring nuclear power to the table, uranium prices are expected to even rally further. This would undoubtedly motivate Namibian miners increase exploration and reopen mines placed on care and maintenance. Langer Heinrich Uranium, which was placed on care and maintenance in 2018, has now secured funding and is scheduled to restart by 2023, with a LoM (Life of Mine) of 17 years. Orano's Trekkopje Mine, which was placed on care and maintenance in 2012 following the fall in uranium prices, is also being rehabilitated and is set to open soon. The mine is envisioned to be one of the largest in the world with a uranium output of 3000t/per annum and has a projected life of 11 years. Other uranium mining projects expected to come to market soon are Bannerman Resources' Etango project, and Norasa's Valencia Mine. Although a smaller producer of gold (the country produced 6,526kg of gold in 2019), Namibia also benefitted heavily from the gold price rally of 2020. As the preferred asset in times of uncertainty, the price of gold soared to US$2 067 per troy ounce in August 2020, reaching its highest level in recent history. To squeeze as much profit from the current price rally, Namibia's gold

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Namibia is the fourthlargest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa and the world's fourthlargest producer of uranium.

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TOTAL REVENUE CONTRIBUTED FROM MINING

mines are investing in mine expansion through the development of underground operations. Navachab Gold Mine is currently assessing the feasibility of developing underground mining operations, and increasing the capacity of its processing plant by 20%. B2Gold Corporation is also progressing ahead with the development of its underground Wolfshag deposit that will add significantly to output from the Otjikoto Mine. Canada’s Osino Resources is also seeking around US$250 million in 2022 to build a gold mine at its Twin Hills project in Namibia. Namibia is also a leading producer of zinc. There are two operational mines: Skorpion Zinc (operated by Vedanta Resources) and Rosh Pinah (owned by various shareholders, with Exxaro Base Metals owning the largest interest at 46 percent). Skorpion Zinc, which was placed on care and maintenance as a result of geotechnical instabilities in the main pit, is assessing options to mine the remaining ore body safely. Skorpion's owner, Vedanta, is also building a viable case to repurpose the plant to process oxides from external operations, and convert the refinery, which would produce Special HighGrade Zinc from zinc sulphides produced by the neighbouring Gamsberg Mine in South Africa. With record high copper prices there is growing incentive for the commencement of new copper projects in Namibia. Canadian mining exploration and development company Trigon Metals reopened the Kombat Mine in 2022 after 14 years of closure due to underground flooding. Once full commercial production starts at the expected time of March 2022, the Kombat Mine will have a 4,000t copper in concentrate production capacity which will be

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IN NUMBERS

US$

310M

further increased to 14,500t of copper in 2024. This will be followed by the start of higher-grade underground ore recovery and upgrades to crushing and milling. Namibia has until recently been largely overlooked by the oil majors. A spate of farm-in agreements over the last six months suggests that this is changing. International oil companies are keen to secure a stake in the southern African country’s oil boom, should one materialise. Austria’s OMV and Murphy Oil Corporation from Arkansas are the latest companies to make their first foray into the Namibian oil and gas sector, buying 25 and 40 per cent, respectively, of Cowan Petroleum’s licence to explore two blocks off the Namibian coast. The country also has potential to develop new mining projects for cobalt and lithium. Global lithium exploration and development company Lepidico is developing a lithium mine in western Namibia and is in discussion with multiple U.S. companies on possible off-take for its lithium and by-products cesium and rubidium.

MINING TO CONTINUE DOMINATING ECONOMY

Since gaining independence in 1990, Namibia has made progress in diversifying its economy away from mining. Noticeable efforts have been made in Agriculture, and although the country is still not self-reliant when it comes to food production, significant steps have been made towards achieving this goal. Attractive government incentives through various programs such as the NHDI and the Green Scheme coupled with investments from multilateral finance players such as the AfDB and GIZ are expected to edge Namibia close to food security. Namibia’s shift towards manufacturing is also a positive step towards achieving its 2030 industrialization goal. The various incentives provided by the government will further encourage investment in the sector, creating the necessary jobs that the country desperately needs, and helping further diversify the economy away from mining. Still, mining is expected to continue playing a major role in the country’s economy. Diamonds are still in plenty, particularly in offshore deposits, and investments are still flowing into gold, another high-net-worth mineral. The electric vehicles boom, and clean energy supply technologies coupled with significant infrastructure expenditures in China and the USA are expected to drive demand for minerals such as Uranium, lithium, cobalt, and copper which the country has in significant amounts. Namibia may not achieve its vision 2030 in its entirety, but it will certainly come close CBA WWW.CEOBUSINESSAFRICA.COM


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