INSPIRE AFRIKA Magazine # 9 April / May
Swaady Martin - Leke
FASHION & ART
King Leoâ€™s Adventures DALEKH
Gastronomy within easy reach !
Meet Freshness & Intelligence
EDITORâ€™S NOTE By Joan.Y
Creativity is the essential quality of every good entrepreneur. Yes, indeed to innovate you need to imagine. However, there is a common belief that being creative is innate. I believe this is false! Being creative is not a gift; it is a state of mind. Look around you, observe the world, create your creativity, think outside the box, OPEN UP! A great entrepreneur is one that is open minded enough to see what everybody else sees but imagines what nobody else has imagined. Our guests this month are creative, not in the basic sense of the word (donâ€™t expect artists), but they have the capacity to transform what they see into valuables and the capacity to transform visions into reality. Are you ready to be inspired?
Coup de Cœur King Léo
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The Nakande’s Project
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Yswara / Swaady Martin-Leke
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Inspir’Eco Ariès Investissement
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4Questions ABC Innovation
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INSPIRE AFRIKA APRIL / MAY
Editor-in-chief Joan Murielle Yombo
contributors CAMEROUN / Elisabeth Nkono
Operations Manager Chrys Eve Nyetam
Public Relations Opemipo Akisanya, Ivan Nyetam
Assistant Editor Amma O. Aburam
Graphism and Illustration Guillaume Lebreton
Writers Joan Murielle Yombo, Chrys Eve Nyetam, Amma O. Aburam, Anita Bakal, Ivan Nyetam
Tout droits de reproduction réservés pour tout pays. Reproduction interdite pour tous les articles sauf accord écrit de la Rédaction.
01 / Ismael Nzouetom will never cease to surprise us. The campaign for SARA has been launched in Cameroon. The CEO of the I-Dispo just announced that in a few weeks , SARA will be available for RENAULT cars !
02 / « At the Heart of Me » is the title of Paul Sika’s new book. Discover the backstage of the photoshoot that went along with the new collection. Available on Amazon: http://goo.gl/az362
03 / Do you want to work for a growing company ? Discover the luxury industry ? Join YSWARA, creators of luxury teas. YSWARA is looking for fresh talents for it’s marketing, sales, design and product development departments.
Send CVs to : http://www.yswara.com/careers/
04 / I f you missed the Careers in Africa’s recrutement forum in Paris, you can still sign up for the Careers in Africa Forum in London. It will be taking place from the 17th to the 19th of May. http://www.careersinafrica.com/summit/london.
Piamm Technologies is offering individuals the opportunity to win 20% of a client’s purchase if they recommended the FINETA program to them. You can sign up to the sponsorship program here : http://blog.piamm.com/blog/2013/04/14/le-parrainage/.
Coup de coeur
KING LÉO THE ASCENDING
He is also Toupa Camaro, because Brandon is also a designer and owns a clothing line. Finally, he is the leopard, the quirky king who imprints its paws through humor and sarcasm in everyday life situations. Hi Toupa, why the need for three identities? It’s a sort of therapy, because I am all these people at once. I ask myself many questions every day. King Leo is a way to narrow down these questions, these ideas, and all this inspiration. It is through him that I stay balanced. When and how did the King Leo adventure begin?
uel What is this winged Leopard travelling from painting to painting and from t-shirt to hoodies? Some of you have certainly had the opportunity to visit an exposition or an art opening by KING LEO, the famous ascending leopard. No? Here’s a chance to catch up!
It began three years ago. I painted a lot at that time. Originally, I was trained as an illustrator and I had started applying for jobs in the art world but it didn’t work out as I wanted. I was very disappointed because the offers I got were not right for me. I told myself I would never be happy with that. King Leo was a joke at first, a distraction. I didn’t think I would get here with it. The Leopard is a feline that I really like, I like what it represents. So I started creating leopard visuals and told myself: « why not start with this character and do something more outlined, more elaborated? » That is how the adventure began.
King Leo has many faces. He is first and foremost, Brandon Kiabilula, a young illustrator turned painter.
King Leo is everywhere and is always represented in life situations on different backgrounds. Why did you choose this kind of world? I wanted to be in comic book illustrations at first because I had this desire to tell stories. However, I didn’t want to go with the classic display of squares with speech bubbles. I didn’t want to be limited. The canvas then became a comic book on which my leopard evolved and featured on different backgrounds. King Leo is my avatar, my twin. Just like me, he goes everywhere to meet people. How did you end up in fashion ? The world today is like a patchwork, everything kind of meshes. Art has no frontiers and we are no longer obliged to limit ourselves to what we are « specialized » in. I’ve always loved fashion, I find inspiration in street fashion and I draw inspiration from what I see while staying grounded in my time. My fashion sense is accessible. I am not a Galliano or a Lagerfeld: King Leo is first and foremost a state of mind. When you wear King Leo you are vibrant, free and confident. What inspires you? My inspiration comes from many things. Mainly, it comes from Africa. It is my motherland, I was born there and I am attached to Africa. It is an unshakable source of energy. Today, it has become a new contemporary Africa, moving with current times. I think King Leo represents this dynamic and I am proud to see it everywhere, it is a sign that people are following the movement. You know, I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the leopard is the symbol of our country. I wanted to represent my origins through this symbol while at the same time enabling King Leo to express a universal language. Whether you are from Japan, Mexico or Gabon, graphically, you can identify with the message King Leo is sending.
to consider each of them. Things are slowly moving forward. What is the message you wish to send through your brand? I want to reach the youth. I want to tell them to never stop believing, no matter what domain or sector you are in, invest in the projects you cherish and fight until you get there! It is never too late to do what you love! Just like King Leo we are all Kings in our own ways, so believe in yourself, believe in your dreams and grow wings! By Joan. Y
Do you make a living from your art ? The project has gained structure in the past two years. I am still trying to find a profitable outlet, you might say. I do other things apart from King Leo but I am not in a rush. I get a lot of offers and take my time
RYPE INITIATIVE TRAINING FUTURE LEADERS
ounded in 2010, RYPE Initiative is an after school youth development program designed to educate, engage and empower high school leavers. Its founder, Grace Ihejiamaizu is a 22 years old who grew up in Calabar, the city where this program is implemented. Inspired by her own life, Grace has decided to contribute to the development of her community by giving them the opportunities she didn’t have when she was younger. Discover the inside of this young, yet very mature girl. Inspire Afrika : How did the idea to create RYPE Initiative come to you? Grace Ihejiamaizu : I was inspired to start RYPE after a chocking study I came across during my research. This study identified young people; especially school leavers are more vulnerable to social vices and to a highest rate of unemployment than other people. This is when the need to help young people started to grow in me. RYPE exists to educate and to engage. We focus on high school leavers and we want them to become successful leaders and entrepreneurs by preparing them
to higher institution and to the world of work. We try to make the most of the time they would have spent at home before going to the university. RYPE teaches them life values, puts them into internships and tries to develop some skills. They need to have some work experience so we teach them about volunteering and we expose them to the various opportunities available to them. Don’t you think it is a little bit early to target high school leavers? Why don’t you take them when they are in the university? I thought about that and this is
what makes RYPE very interesting. For me it is about developing the right skills and exposing them to the right tools at an early age. Use myself as an example. I don’t think I had the kind of opportunity I am offering to my students. I had to learn some things the hard way. I even had to struggle to learn those things. I believe that if you can catch people at a very early age and start to build them up, by the time they go to the university we will not have issue with unemployment. A lot of graduates are unemployable or do not have direction because they did not have the right foundation, and therefore, they cannot properly
evolve as professionals. There is no real platform dedicated to learn new things or to be creative. Young people do not often have the chance to experience different things and to learn from those experiences. I believe that starting from that level will go a long way to help them to become more successful. In your opinion, why is leadership important at this young age? Look at Africa as a whole, and now focus on my country Nigeria. There is really nothing we can do about the leadership structure or the politics as the way it is done in the country. Nobody wants to learn, nobody is teachable. If you look back at the life of those who are leading us, it all started from when they were teenagers. They probably didn’t have the opportunity to learn and to understand what it means to lead people or what it means to lead themselves. As a consequence, when they reach to the level where they are today, they don’t know how to handle things properly. Leadership is very important at a young age because it helps to prepare young people to the task ahead. It changes their mindset for good, and they develop positive thinking toward themselves, their families and the society at large. Leadership is important in
every area and every sector in the society as a whole. Young people should learn how to lead properly. They need to be focused as well. This is what RYPE is trying to do: Form young leaders. Does your program only focus on lucrative skills? We don’t focus just on lucrative skills. We have various other skills such as live skills and different other skills they can learn. The more we are working with young people, the more we realize that it is not enough to just bring them together and teach them about leadership, ethics and entrepreneurship without mixing it with some practical experience. Most of the time when we organize training for young people, they go back home and within a week they become very bored and they forget some of the things we have taught them. To fill this gap, we started to identify very important skills that our society needs. I live in Calabar, and I have seen how people here like fashion. If these people need to develop new ideas, these ideas will not come from the moon but from what they see every day. In Calabar, they can learn about photography, fashion, backing, and designing.
It is a three to four months program that we usually organize for our participants. The idea here is to expose them to the world of work. We want them to learn by doing and to experience before they have the opportunity to start a full time job or to go back to school. The internship is a mean allowing them to learn some skills in a much more professional way. We identified companies that already have the skills set and decided to focus on them. First of all they must have interest in such areas. We don’t try to force skills on people.
We focus on high school leavers and we want them to become successful leaders and entrepreneurs by preparing them to higher institution and to the world of work
Nous We have a variety of skills and we place them on the table and our students have to choose which skills they want. We then attach a group of three to four participants to each company. However we believe that everybody should have ICT so they have to attend an ICT program for a month, before enrolling to the Internship program. The peer mentoring program is a program we have with other young people who are a step
ahead and who are usually young professionals. Those young professionals mentor our young people on a weekly basis. There is no perfect structure for the mentor program yet. However, we are trying to put of a perfect structure for it. The mentor is there to assist in any issue and to answer to any questions the students may have. Another Branch of RYPE is the business competition. We usually have a business grant competition opened to par-
ticipants of the current year. They have to talk about their business ideas and the winner has a small grant of about 500 dollars. It is a very small grant to start up a business, but it is something. We also help them to launch and to sustain the business. You have been honored by the U.S Department of State as the State Alumni member of the month in September 2012. How does that make you feel?
By the time they become graduates, I am sure these people will find employment because they will know what they really want, and they will be ready I was very excited because for me the state alumni member of the month is a prestigious award that only goes to people who are really accomplished. When this month of September came, I got a call telling me I was nominated by a staff of the embassy. I was really surprised and very excited because I didn’t believe I would be the one so soon. I was contacted, then I was interviewed, and finally it came. I got calls from people from all over the world. People wanted to talk to me, to know what I do, where I stay, and how they can be part of my project. It is a major lip for me because it gave exposure to my work with RYPE and I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of people. I am really grateful for the opportunity and I am humbled by the fact that my work is recognized. It’s little, I am not doing so much, but I am very proud of it. I am glad that someone else out there also appreciates what I do. It’s a motivation for me to do more. I am working very hard to ensure that I make a difference by contributing to a positive change in my community. How do you get other people involved in your program? By the grace of God I have a very good network of young people. I have attended a few youth conferences or programs as well as exchange programs where I met with other young people
who are contributing to the change of their communities. So I work with them. In my local community, I also work with young people who I somehow inspire. In addition, I am going to give credits to social media because my presence on Facebook has also allowed me to interact with a lot of people. If my interest aligned with their interest, we get together, we partner, and work on a project. I also work with students in universities. Can you share the story of one of your students with us? I have this student named Utibe Akwan. He came in to my program in 2009. He had nothing, he knew nothing and he was very scared of other people. Both of his parents were not with him and were not able to support him through school. He had tried passing a post university examination without success. His encounter with my program changed his life. He discovered himself and his abilities. He has this public speaking gift, but there was really no platform to develop it. Some of our trainers recognized his talents and helped him develop them. After our program, he received a lot of awards. He became better out of it. He is now invited everywhere, he talks in and for our programs to our subsequent trainees. He gave his examination another try and with the confidence that he
can do it. He chose a major that aligns with his passion: communication and English. Initially, his guardians wanted him to study something else and it gave him many problems. I guess this is why he didn’t get the admission the first time. But because we grounded him to understand that his passion has to align with whatever he wants to study in school, he agreed with us and passed the exam. He is now developing himself as a public speaker. He comes to our program all the time and wants to give back. Utibe’s life for me is a success story because every time I think about him I feel a sense of fulfillment in this sense that I changed the mindset of a young person. I have helped somebody get some direction and it makes me very happy. Getting young people to change the way they feel and think, and to take courses that align with their passion is an achievement for us. By the time they become graduates, I am sure these people will find employment because they will know what they really want, and they will be ready for it. Chrys. N RDV on http://rypeinitiative.org
THE NAKANDE’S PROJECT
FROM INTENTION TO ACTION
he Nakande’s project is far from being feminist but fights for the stance of women. The objective is to contribute fervently to the self-worth, independence, education of young African women in rural areas or poor areas in big cities. This is a summary of the objectives the association has set for itself. In 2009, two Cameroonians, Sophie Tankou and Olivia Ngou found inspiration in the noble character of a historical figure of the city of Douala and decided to name the association after her. Nakande is a Princess, daughter of the King Akwa of Douala and very much loved by her subjects. Gifted with grace and kindness, she wanted the voice of the women of her village to be heard and respected. The Nakande’s project is in homage to this maternal spirit; calm and reserved but at the same determinated and intelligent
It is a non-profit organization that has brought together a group of young volunteers with diverse cultural and academic profiles. United by a passion for solidarity and sharing, the association is able to pull itself to the forefront on the African scene and meet the needs of young African girls in difficulty on the African continent, all from the office based in New York.
a group of young volunteers with diverse cultural and academic profiles.
In 2012, the association united women entrepreneurs through the organization of multiple events at different events and presentations worldwide. These women’s main desire was to share advice as well as their experiences.
In Paris, the Association was given the opportunity to present during an event organized at the Pierre Coubertin stadium by another association called Giving Back. In Canada, the association organized donations of clothes and books for the young orphans of the Hope Home of Mvolyé in Yaoundé. The kids received these gifts the 22nd of December last year. It is a heartfelt initiative that happens every year in tune with the Christmas spirit. The idea to create a « mobile library » has been launched in order to allow young girls to revel in the pleasure of discovering, gaining knowledge and confidence through reading. The Association’s actions are adaptive to its beneficiaries and to the state of their resources. Through the Club of leadership initiative, young girls are able to acquire leadership and become sources of information (opinion leaders) in their respective communities. The initiative centers on activities to prepare young girls for end of year exams. Recently, ten girls were selected among the 50 presented during the leadership seminary that was held the 15th and 16th of September 2012 in Yaoundé. These ten girls received scholarships as well as individual support classes.
The Association is extremely active. It is the home of a large network of motivated and involved young women. In Cameroon, Alexandra Ondoua-Ayong, Nabila Abdoulaye, Jacqueline Nyeki Bella and Naéma Biwolé make the team. The team in France is led by Nina Yinda, Sara Yinda, Judith Michel, Hyacinthe Issombo, Aurelia Tsague and Gérardine Mahoro.
The idea to create a « mobile library » has been launched in order to allow young girls to revel in the pleasure of discovering, gaining knowledge and confidence through reading
In Canada Laure Gwet is the voice of the association whereas in the USA the voice belongs to Ida Afana Ndjomo and Ines Abega. In the future, the association will have locations in every pan African country. The heart and value of the association are found in its diversity; each woman shares her story, her vision and her knowledge. Each brings her grain of salt and it is by each bringing a piece of the puzzle for the masterpiece that the association is able to support the emergence of women. Elisabeth NKONO
WHEN LUXURY MEETS AFRICAN HERITAGE
YSWARA Luxury is not fashion. It is an industry where you need to “sell a dream” to attract customers. This is exactly what Swaady Martin-Leke, a former General Electric Executive, has done by turning her passion for tea to a successful business, YSWARA, a curator of precious African teas. Inspired by the myth of the Ty Wara, a tribe from western Africa, YSWARA (understand the Ty Wara heritage living in Swaady) is “a journey through Africa’s culture and identity”. The packaging, the quality of her products, the standing of her events is setting a difference in a continent where quality and consistency needs to coexist permanently. Inspire Afrika: Bonjour Mme Martin-Leke. Vous êtes ancienne directrice
Inspire Afrika: Hello Miss Martin-Leke. You are a former Regional Director of General Electricity. Why have you decided to quit your job? Swaady Martin-Leke: I decided to leave my job in 2011. I wanted to shift to something different - something very different. I had the desire to engage in something that promotes our African resources, culture and identity. It was my dream to capture true African luxury, change the world’s perception of Africa and produce a luxury brand that is truly African in origin, nature and tradition. I had reached a point in my career where I wanted to “call all the shots”. I had the necessary skills and a network big enough to launch my own venture and realize my dream. Thus, YSWARA was created. I chose the luxury industry because it is an industry that conveys culture and identity. It is a country’s or continent’s image presented to the world. Africa is too often viewed as a place of low quality goods and lack of refinement. Our thousands of years of culture, history, know-how and heritage demonstrates that we can do more than producing “crafts” and “ethnic” goods. The luxury industry is also a great growth driver and export champion. It generates activities in a large variety of areas, including publishing, tourism, real estate, culture and education. YSWARA has taken on the challenge to create the missing link between craftsmanship and luxury in Africa. With the rising affluence levels, increased disposable incomes and reverse brain drain, the African luxury market is set-up to grow at a fast pace in the coming years. There are still too few African luxury brands or brands which are not set-up to take advantage of this opportunity. Hence, the need for more global African luxury brands exists. So you founded YSWARA, a curator of luxury tea. How did you get the idea to turn your passion to a successful business?
appeals to all our senses and is grounded on African community values of sharing and caring. Our mission is to unlock Africa’s potential to produce superior quality products while achieving societal impact. We share within Africa and the rest of the world Africa’s finest and most diverse range of teas and herbal teas: high-end quality products that are conceptualized and mostly produced in Africa and sought after by connoisseurs worldwide. As the world’s premier brand for gourmet African teas & herbal teas, we aim to offer the most exclusive, luxurious and delightful African tea time experience to our customers. It is difficult to be boasted a luxury brand. What makes your brand so unique? YSWARA’s motto is “so we were fin a wosankofa a yenkyi”, from an Akan proverb meaning, “it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten”. In other words, the past illuminates the present and
I had the desire to engage in something that promotes our African resources, culture and identity
YSWARA’s African Art of Tea is a poetic convergence of nature, spirituality, community and craftsmanship. It celebrates our African traditions, heritage and authentic relationship with nature. It
with recipes. In addition to the excellence of their service, I also picked the one with whom I had the best connection. What techniques did you use to attract your customers?
the righteousness of the quest for knowledge finds its origins in the past. YSWARA is born from the desire to preserve, safeguard, enhance and promote the extremely diverse and rich African culture and history beyond its often trivialized image (e.g. widespread corruption, instability and poverty). Indeed, we believe that the luxury aspect of YSWARA best conveys the continents heritage and identity by preserving its traditions and craftsmanship with the utmost quality. Each of our teas celebrates an aspect of African history. The opportunity to shine a brighter light on Africa reminds us of the aims of the study and knowledge of history itself. It allows us to understand the way the past shapes the future as well as the change and evolution in societies. In turn, this change shapes our view of the present and, most importantly, shapes us as people.
We are still at the beginning of the journey (smile). YSWARA’s products are in the luxury space and therefore appeal to the emotions of the target customers in order to offer them a dream. The products’ functionality - quenching thirst, warming the body - justifies the purchase. YSWARA is a showcase of African refinement which can be found in our culture and arts. This is expressed in our monogram (the styled Ty Wara & its legend), our canvas (the YSWARA Ankara) and our packaging (designed by talented African artists). Sharing our story widely is also one of the key elements of YSWARA’s growth strategy, especially as we are aiming at expanding our footprint rapidly. Creating an entirely new category of luxury brand in Africa takes both an intense understanding of the luxury brand space- not only in South Africa but also globally – as well as a high level of creativity and determination.
I assume that at the beginning you were not a certified expert in tea. So, on what criteria did you chose the people you wanted to work with? I was already very knowledgeable about tea as I have loved it since a young age. Then, when I decided to create YSWARA, I went on a formal tea training. I approached the tea blenders of the top luxury tea houses and I chose the one who would allow me to create my own teas and experiment
Why have you choosen to base your company in South Africa since you are from Cote d’ivoire? I first visited South Africa in 2001 and immediately fell in love with the country’s vibe, weather and artwork-like landscapes. At the time, I was living in Paris and always thought of finding an opportunity (and the right time) to relocate to South Africa. When General Electric offered me a position based in Johannesburg in 2009, I jumped on the opportunity and relocated in December 2009. I also met my husband in South Africa and we both decided to settle here. I couldn’t live anywhere else than Africa in the long term so my city of choice had to be African. I have lived in 12 different cities and Johannesburg is my favourite. I love a cosmopolitan green city with space and a blue sky. Johannesburg has all that: lots of trees and flowers, big spaces (compared to a city like Paris), skies like paintings, a great weather all year round, daily connections to most African & international cities and a very cosmopolitan population. You can find almost any activity and sport in Johannesburg. Work-wise, it is very connected to the rest of Africa and has a large consumer market, fast-growing middle and upper classes making it an ideal place for YSWARA to be based. What challenges do you face in this particular industry? Building a luxury brand fully African-made presents tremendous challenges which my team and I are still overcoming every day. The first challenge is to ensure that you can manufacture a product of high quality in a consistent manner while staying globally competitive. Secondly, you need to overcome the issues related to the export of the products manufactured in Africa. Today, our product is about 90% made in Africa and we have a target to reach 100% by end of next year. At this stage you need to deliver undamaged product on time. A lot of our customers are writing to us and tell us “We love your products but the shipment is just too expensive”. It is true that the cost of export outside of Africa is still too high. The main challenge is that our Africa industrial fabric is not made for high-quality goods produced at a competitive cost relative to China or India. As a result we are now setting up a platform in Europe in order to be able to ship out to our international market from Europe and not from Africa anymore. Despite all these setbacks, we are persevering and most of
them turned out to be unexpected sources of strength. As I was sharing those challenges with a wise mentor, he advised that “everything that is too easy is also easily replicable”. Do you have an advice for the African Youth in general and for young entrepreneurs? My advice is to find your passion and pursue it passionately. A name is built through integrity, perseverance, confidence and a lot of hard work, not glitz and glamour. Get your hands dirty, that is where you find the diamonds. Just remember that your networks are keys to business survival - you can’t do it alone. I am a product of General Electric as I spent most of my career in this great company so most of the professional skills I have today, I owe them to my exposure to great GE leaders as well as the world-class leadership training I was given. If I had to single-out, the top 3 critical skills I have acquired are: a) a relentless ability to execute, b) a strong ability to solve problems and c) the ability to energize and excite teams. To be allowed to “play” in the corporate game, you need to have a positive track-record of performance which can only be achieved through hard work, relentless execution and commitment to growing your organization with unyielding integrity. This will help build credibility with the leadership. Once you are “in the game”, you need to continuously seek opportunities in order to explore radically new ways of thinking.
A name is built through integrity, perseverance, confidence and a lot of hard work, not glitz and glamour
‘‘ Staying current with the latest thinking, keeping a genuine edge and always being one step ahead, are key to business survival and relevance in an ever-changing, fast-paced and highly competitive environment. Some would say that today’s world is “fluid”. Companies have to constantly reinvent themselves, stay ahead of competition, adapt to new technologies and changing customer needs. Consequently, to remain on top of the game, continuous learning and personal growth is vital. The status quo or comfort zones are the best way to become
obsolete and irrelevant. As a leader, it is not only the right thing to do but also a duty to be exposed to different ways of thinking, to stretch the learning bar, and to broaden/upgrade skills and knowledge. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to create a compelling vision, to passionately own the vision, to define the roadmap to execution, and to bring together and relentlessly drive the energies, the talents and the values necessary to ensure success. You need to become an execution machine. Building a venture from scratch is not for the faint hearted, you need to be courageous, tenacious, perseverant and resilient. Never take no for an answer and be solution-oriented, constantly. I love this quote from journalist Eric T. Wagner who wrote “True entrepreneurs never, never, never quit. Never. Like a bull-dog latched onto a bone. Like a mountain lion with its jaws around the neck of a deer. You’re not prying any of this loose. And the same goes for trying to hold a good entrepreneur down. Not going to happen.” Chrys.N www.yswara.com
A few elements of our brand which I believe make us a luxury indulgence? 1. African Heritage & Culture The YSWARA universe is: African Art (poetry, fine arts, performing arts, etc.) & Spirituality 2. Refined ingredients: Fine teas & ingredients (flowers, spices, herbs & fruits) The YSWARA ingredients are: all fine, natural and organic when possible, African. Teas are coming from all African producing countries: East Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda), Central Africa (Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo) and Southern Africa (Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Zimbabwe) 3. Unique know-how: Ancient Secrets & Knowledge of African Herbalists Africa has a long-standing tradition and unique expertise of blending herbs, flowers and spices. YSWARA is drawing on this heritage and ancestral know-how to create unique blends. In addition, tea has been cultivated in Africa since the 17th century. Despite an industry focused mainly on the mass markets, there are some beautiful tea gardens all over Africa harvesting some of the most precious teas which are longing to be revealed to Africans & the world. Africa is home to the Rooibos or “red tea”. YSWARA’s signature teas are a collection of luxury and unique flavored rooibos teas. The YSWARA heritage is: Africa’s herbs blending tradition & expertise 4. The packaging is a key element of the teas. YSWARA’s packaging uses artwork directly from Africa. Our colors and packaging materials reflect the natural beauty of Africa as well as the richness and brightness of its art and culture.
JEAN GABRIEL KUOH FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL TO NUMERICAL MARKETING AND MORE
Who hasn’t fantasized about being in Tombouctou and being able to eat a plate of Ndole or to enjoy a plate of Alloco in Amsterdam? Everywhere we go, we take our culinary culture with us. No matter where we may be, we crave just as much some Tiep Bou Dien, brassed fish or Yassa chicken. This is why our guest today is set on a mission to make African food known and available across the world. Jean Gabriel Jemea Kuoh is behind Dalekh. He has the intention of making his passion for African cuisine a top quality franchise. The young man has no limits. In 2011 already, he launched MyBuzz365, a numerical marketing company. Let’s meet a food lover turned entrepreneur.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your background? Hello, my name is Jean-Gabriel Jemea Kuoh, and I am from Douala, Cameroon. I am an Internet Entrepreneur and the founder of MyBuzz365 Agency and recently, Dalekh.com. When did you realize that you had to leave medical school to become a full time entrepreneur? It took me some time but I’m grateful I was finally able to comprehend the importance of purpose! Since my childhood, I’ve always wanted to work in an industry in which I could play a constructive role in improving the lives of many around me. Medicine was a great fit because of my social skills and the curiosity I had in regards to human behaviors, the human body etc. I had made the decision to become a doctor without the proper wisdom and understanding of what my true purpose was. I did work very hard to obtain the excellent opportunities I had in that field. I spent many years working hard, studying, volunteering and interning, to name a few. It wasn’t meant to be because it wasn’t part of my purpose; however, through science, I have acquired many great skills that I apply in the business world today. I will still be indirectly involved in the healthcare industry down the road, but on a much larger and more flexible scale. I have no regrets. I’ve learnt amazing things and made amazing friends. I also know how my skills can be used later on for a more sustainable healthcare industry on my continent. The Entrepreneurial spirit within
me, and my great love for Marketing and Technology finally conquered my mind and with the Grace of God, I am happy doing what I do and I am able to perform well in this arena while still learning a whole lot. Could you please introduce Dalekh.com? Dalekh.com is the first Afro-ethnic digital restaurant listing, menu and recipe guide worldwide. In other words, our website is a digital platform that meets the needs of Afro-Ethnic foodies from around the world. Our goal is to promote the wonders of the African gastronomy through the use of technology, social media and mobile applications. We are working hard for the respect and exposure of African chefs and restaurants that deserve to be known. Our food is rich, organic and delicious; and every day, Dalekh invites the world to join us for lunch and dinner at amazing Afro-Ethnic restaurants near them. To conclude, I am very proud of my African heritage- and to be able to come to work daily in order to promote our culture using recipes, food stories and restaurants is a blessing. We have done it very well with sports, music, Nollywood. I believe we can do the same for our amazing food! How does it work? How many offices do you have and what are you trying to achieve? I will describe the operations offline and online. Team Dalekh is growing everyday: we have one office in Boston, and we may have another in London by the end of this year. Our team is made of skilled programmers,
graphic designers, digital marketing experts, blog contributors, culinary photographers and sales associates. The team is slowly growing, and we have partners in many countries in the world. When visitors log onto the site, they can check out local listings of African, Caribbean and Soul food restaurants. They can rate and share them with their peers. There’s also a Recipes Section where a huge variety of Afro-ethnic dishes are found. Main dishes, Appetizers, or African Deserts can be located there, and we invite our readers to share them with family and friends. What drove you into starting a business based on African food? In this competitive world, it is very important for us to have an enormous passion for what we do for work. I have been named “The Ultimate African Foodie” by my high school and college friends because every time we were supposed to go out to eat, I was bringing them to that same African restaurant in Philadelphia. Growing up in Cameroon and moving to the United States at the age of 15 was very difficult for me. My biggest challenge wasn’t the language barrier; it was simply me missing my Beignets-Haricots, Poisson Braises, Poulet DG, Suya and many more. These meals are my part of the best memories of my childhood and I’ve always remained loyal to them. When I travel, it doesn’t matter where I am in the world, African or Caribbean food is what I want to eat. After many trips in Europe and many American cities, I realized the exposure African restaurants was lacking. I was very upset but at the same
time very proud of their owners who were brave enough to not let anything hold them back. I went to Montreal, Paris, London, NYC, Washington DC and Boston where I conducted surveys with over 50 owners, members of the diaspora who gave me enough data to complete my market research. Let me tell you that there is a great demand out there for Top Quality African Food. There are new generations of up and Coming African chefs looking for better ways to be exposed. The world is more and more interested in Africa in general and in particular with its food and wine. All of these elements have been enough for me to take the risk to invest in this venture and so far I am not disappointed about that initiative. So, can any restaurant appear on Dalekh or is there a criterion for a restaurant to be recommended by your website? We are here to really build a sustainable bridge between the diaspora, international foodies and the restaurants, but at the same time we keep high standards. We have constructive ways to screen the profiles of potential restaurants in our network, and certainly don’t accept just anyone. If we reject an application, we have valid reasons to decline having them listed on our site. Dalekh has the visitors’ best interests at heart, and we would
like to give them access to the best spots for the best food with an outstanding overall experience. I do invite readers to suggest restaurants to us and to be more engaged through reviews. We have amazing new features coming out soon. Stay tuned! How do you see Dalekh.com evolving in the next say, 5 years? I would like to see an increase in popularity of Afro-ethnic Cuisine: I would like Fufu to be as popular as Sushi, and Ndole, Egusi or Attieke to be as popular as Indian curry. We have it all at our disposal, and we just need to devise smarter ways to make this dream a reality. In order for these specialties, recipes, and restaurants to be extremely popular, it would be nice to have the support of the diaspora as well. We should invite our friends, colleagues, classmates, and family members to try more and more African, Caribbean and Soul Food restaurants. Word of mouth will always be the buzz out there. What is MYBuzz365.com about? MyBuzz365.com is a digital marketing agency supporting small businesses with quality services such as online branding, positioning and marketing.
What was the hardest part about starting MyBuzz365.com as a new tech startup entrepreneur? Getting the right team together was a challenge but with time, I was able to have a dream team and we are making tons of clients very proud. How did you go about building your client base and your reputation as a marketing expert in the field? In terms of my client base, I was networking hard in expos, conferences and chambers of commerce, to name a few. I did partner with bigger agencies and was willing to do minor work for them. Most of my clients came from referrals as well. Reputation isn’t built overnight; it takes tremendous amount of quality of service for clients. It is important to keep your customers happy and satisfied as they will share their experiences with colleagues in their industry. The one word that binds both Dalekh and MyBuzz365 is Excellence. It is something that I do instill in my employees, partners and clients. We won’t stop working on it until we meet the high expectations. We also go back to our craft to see if there’s anything to add, change or edit. Being a perfectionist, it has been fun for me going over projects over and over again and I believe this played a role in
my small success. I am far from being a marketing expert or guru, but I love marketing and working in it is a pleasure! When you do things you love with ease, you tend to do well in them.
assist small businesses in their transition to this new digital era!
Why is it important nowadays for an entrepreneur to have a digital marketing expert in his company?
I have enough on my plate and the goal isn’t to launch tons of businesses. My main goal is to be an active member of society by being involved in constructive projects. Just like any business person, I am a risk taker and whenever I smell opportunity, I am on it; however, I do pray about my decision and choices so wherever God leads me to, I will go and try hard to succeed in it. As of now, Dalekh is taking most of my time and it will keep me very busy for a while. I am always open to ideas but a key to success is to remain disciplined and focused. Dalekh is my second venture and until African food isn’t as popular as Coca-Cola, I won’t jump into anything else.
The world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and companies that have not yet recognized this in their marketing strategies need to adapt fast. While older generations will no doubt lament the demise of paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods, and traditional TV and radio broadcasts, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones as a God-given right are already embracing the brave new world of digital consumption. The facts are that digital methods of communication and marketing are faster, more versatile, practical and streamlined, so it is perhaps unsurprising that once the technology became available, we began quickly moving into the digital age. The good news is that digital offers just as much potential to marketers as it does to consumers. MyBuzz365 is here to
With two businesses under your belt, do you plan on starting other businesses any time soon?
www.dalekh.com / www.mybuzz365.com / Please Like Us : http://ow.ly/jHKwD / Please Follow us on Twitter @dalekhworld Entrevue réalisée par Mireille Ngo Bakal
Fight or Flight
It came to our attention that young Africans living out of the continent do not know when it is the good time to go back to Africa. They don’t even know if going back to Africa is worth the shot. Mazuba Kapambwe, an Afrosocialite (Afropolitan socialite) who has lived on the continent at a very young age also lived this conflict that she named the “fight of flight conflict”. She decided to go back to Zambia, and has accepted to share her experience with us.
The first half of 2012 was a great year for me. In February, my country Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations and I wrote a tribute article to the team which caught the attention of one of my favorite writer’s Binyavanga Wainana who then shared it with his Facebook friends. In March, I was named ‘Personality of the Month’ by Addicted to Africa and the Caribbean magazine. In May I graduated from University and secured a job as Community Manager of an online African-Inspired designer retail site. In that same month, I was named one of the ’30 under 30’ Young People in International African Affairs Media section and was keynote speaker at a fundraiser for ‘Empower Zambia’. I was also featured in an episode of the MTV Base Meets where I interviewed legendary super model Alek Wek. If my life at the time could be described in a song it would be ‘Empire State of Mind’, particularly the lyrics “In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh There’s nothing you can’t do; now you’re in New York.” So with a bright future ahead, why did I pack up in October 2012 and moved back to Zambia? This is where my ‘Fight or Flight’ response comes into the picture. I use it to describe my relationship with my home country Zambia, which has been home again for the past four months. I lived in my home country for the first time in 1996 when my family returned from Germany. Four years later, in 2003, we had to leave for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I guess my whole life has been a series of ‘flights’: from Washington DC where I was born to Germany, to Lusaka, Zambia, to Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia, to New York, USA, then back to Lusaka, Zambia. The notions of ‘Flight’ came six months before graduation when my parents moved back to Lusaka, Zambia. My sisters and I stayed until I graduated in May, and left a month later to go back home. I chose to stay in New York because I had a job, I was doing what I loved, and I felt that in some ways, it would be a waste for me to pack up and leave without using the numerous contacts I had worked hard to gain since I started working in the Afrocreative scene in 2008. In September, 3 months after graduation, I called my parents telling them I was moving back home. It took all my strength not to break down and cry. I felt like I had failed. The reality was that
even though I loved my job, I was not getting paid enough to stay and I missed my family so much as I had no family members in New York, though I had great family friends who let me live with them. I have been so used to live in one country for a few years, that the 5 years I had lived in New York begun to feel like 10. I think the moment I decided to move back to Zambia was when I was at a party and realized that I knew almost everyone in the building, from the DJ, to the person throwing the event, to the models, the designers etc. I wanted a fresh start, to meet new people and cultivate new experiences. Being back in Lusaka was great for the first month, but soon enough, I was ready for ‘flight’ again. I was facing some realities linked to our continent: waking up to a random power cut, walking into an office for a meeting that ends up starting 45 minutes to an hour late, getting bad customer service somewhere. This need of “flight” was even more present when I get told “You think too American”, or “that can’t happen in Zambia”, or when the internet is very slow despite it being expensive. On good days, I have the ‘fight’ urge to stay and ‘make it work’. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I also believe in the power of destiny. It so happens that when I was in the process of moving back to Zambia, my friend based in Australia had the idea of starting a Social Media consulting firm and based on my experience and the friendship we shared, she asked me to come on board to set up in Lusaka and manage the company there. So once I landed in Lusaka, I quickly started to work on that and managed to secure a client a month after being here. I was also interviewed on a popular radio station where I spoke about Social Media. I would be lying if I said it’s been smooth sailing so far. The social media industry is still in its infancy here, but I think there are huge opportunities and I am capitalizing on them. I get the ‘fight’ urge when I realize that I am not in this alone. There are countless other Zambian creatives - or Zedcreatives as I call them - who are making a success of themselves in various fields and who are willing to offer their advice. I am also motivated by the will to create a legacy or ‘to make a difference in my country. A lot of people think the only way one can make a difference in Africa is by building a school, clinic or road. It may be true, but I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference by bringing new or innovative ideas and by showing young people that there are other careers beyond being a doctor or a lawyer. For example, I studied African studies in university, and people here are always baffled by why I went all the way to America to study African culture when I could have done it here. But the benefit of doing that was it showed me that it seems more non Africans value African culture than Africans themselves. Ask Africans in Africa how many times they have been to a museum and most of them will say never. While in the US, I learnt how institutions of culture market themselves and I believe I can use that knowledge here. With that said, I can’t say which one urge I feel the most. It is a constant battle as sometimes the ‘Flight’ outweighs the ‘Fight’ and vice versa. I realize that it will be like this for a while, and that’s fine. However for now, I’m all about the ‘Fight’. After all, home is where the heart is and my heart is here, in Zambia. Now, I only have to apply what JF Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. Mazuba Kapambwe http://c1rca1964.com http://afrosocialiting.wordpress.com
etween electricity shortage and privatization of public enterprises, some African countries are now experiencing more and more problems related to the management of those companies. Why do we get there? Are states making the right choices? To address these critical issues, the Inspire Afrika Team met for you, Mr Loic Mackosso, a legal advisor and Founder of Aries Investment in Congo, Brazzaville. Snatches of conversation… Hi Mr Mackosso. You are a legal advisor, but you are also an entrepreneur. Can you please introduce to us your structure, Aries Investment? Created in 2011 ARIES Investment is a project financing consultancy firm. Our project is to support our clients – essentially Small and Medium Enterprises looking for financial investments. The advices we give to these companies are aims to increase their eligibility for all kinds of funding. We have offices in the two main cities of Congo: Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville. How do you select the project you follow up? We are in relation and work with a certain amount of entrepreneurs in the fields of woodworks, diverse service providers and in industrial works. Regarding the selection criteria, it is clear that the profitability of the project once implemented is appreciated. Apart from this test, we select socially useful projects which are at the same time environment friendly. ARIES’ projects must have an interesting “story” in order to attract investors we invite on the table. The last criteria but not the least is the quality and the reliability of the entrepreneur. This is an important criterion because Small and Medium Enterprises are often worn by a person. It is therefore important that his personality as well as his skills is reassuring. Aries Investment is basically a bridge between companies and financial institutions. We make sure that the projects we present meet the investment or funding requirements of our partners. Right now, our most important project is an industrial woodwork firm and a woodworks training center. Our work is to audit its structure in order to see in what ways it is eligible for a loan in a financial institution. Let’s talk about Africa. Today, most of our countries are facing electricity shortage. Why is it occurring now? For about 20 years our countries have not invested in the infrastructures sector. This is why many of those infrastructures are old and are no longer able to meet the demand for electricity mostly due to the increase of the population. This is then a structural problem. However some efforts are being made to rectify these problems. For example, the judicial sector is helping the energy sector to increase its production. Concretely, it is taking the form of the liberalization of the private sector. That way, a private investor will be able to work closely with public companies while producing and selling electricity.
Is it possible for African countries to finance each other projects? Why do they always involve foreign funds? It is important to note that in big infrastructural projects, states call out to what we call multilateral donors. However, due to the huge amount of resources needed, they can make the choice to work with multilateral donor. Such as The African Development Bank (ADB), the West African Bank for Development, the Development Bank of Central African states. They are the ones that usually intervene in such projects in Africa. It is not excluded to call in other investors or multilateral donors. These projects initially help them to make more money. In that case, the origin of the funding is not important; the reward is the most important part of the investment. Doesnâ€™t the financing of these projects increase our debt towards foreign States? These projects are set up as public/private partnerships where a project directing institution is created to bring this project to success. This institution will play the role of securing the financing of the project. This is how most projects are executed in Africa. The goal of this process is to avoid the State to incur a debt.
INNOVATION = ENTREPREN WHY NOT ?
To put it all in a nutshell we could say that the African Business Clubâ€™s (ABC) goal is to unite tomorrowâ€™s African Elite through networking. However, the association has multiple aims and more than one thing going for it. Created in 2003 through the initiatives of students from ESCP Europe Business School, its purpose is to promote entrepreneurship and investment in Africa. Every year you organize an event called ABC Innovation. What is the criteria for the projects? ABC innovation is a chance for all those with projects for Africa to submit their ideas or ambitions to a jury of professionals in entrepreneurship, picked out specifically for the event. There is a specific evaluation grid that takes the following points into account: -the coherence of the project with the identified need -the pertinence of the given solution -the longevity of the project (adequacy of the solution, its implementation, the financial capacity) -the innovative power of the solution in terms of its concept and implementation This innovation does not necessarily have to be technological but has to be first and foremost conducive to the autonomy of the beneficiaries. The projects are then evaluated according to these points. We select 5 finalists to conclude the competition and give out prices on the 14th of June at the ESCP campus Europe in Paris. The top two candidates will be awarded.
NEURSHIP = BUSINESS!
The Elitâ€™ Forum will be held the 27th of April. How can we participate? What is your target and what types of candidates are companies looking for? The Elitâ€™ Forum 2013 will be held on the 27th of April in Paris from 9pm to 6pm. This year we will have companies from various sectors. One of these companies is Bouygue from the energy and the construction field. From the finance sector, we will have IFC (World Bank Group) or Orabank. We will also have consultancy firms such as PWC and Performance Management Consulting. These employers will be there to recruit professionals of all nationalities and of diverse backgrounds: engineers from business schools or universities, generally with 2 to 3 years of experience in marketing, telecommunications, risk audit...etc This forum is for people interested in a career in Africa and who want a face to face opportunity with recruiters. In addition to the job fair, there will also be numerous activities, as well as conferences held by the participating companies. The novelty of this year is the advice pole. It will be focused on supporting candidates in going back to Africa. There will be workshops with coaches, as well as personalized interviews with HR consultancy offices. There will be a conference on Human capital to finish off the day; this is the central theme of the event this year. To participate just sign up on the website before the 27th of April at africabusinessclub.org
When will the ABC investment Forum take place? As recent analyses show, Africa is a continent in full bloom in various domains, socially and economically. In order to maintain this growth, ABC realized that it was more than necessary to uphold and encourage it. It is in this context that the idea for ABC Investment Forum was born, which as you can tell by the name aims at promoting investment in Africa. ABCIF is a new and unique forum because it is a meeting point for different economical actors as well as a place for thoughts on the problems linked to investment. It is a meeting platform for presenters of various countries, for companies and various organizations, as well as visitors who are entrepreneurs or future entrepreneurs from the African Diaspora or elsewhere. Letâ€™s not forget the investors as well! For some, the forum is a way to promote their economies and their knowledge in supporting the private initiatives of their countries, and offer their services. For others, it will be the much anticipated chance to get answers to many questions in terms of getting support as well as the financing that comes with implementing their projects in Africa. In the same way, they can project on ideas that are not necessarily expensive and that are sometimes highly profitable. Consequently, it is also a place to reflect on fundamental subjects such as social business, financial governance, distribution of natural resources, activity sectors and the countries in which it would be good to invest in at the moment. This project is a cornerstone in the realization of our objective which is to contribute fervently to the economic development of the African continent. The Forum will be held on the 28th September 2013 at the Park Floral.
Now, onto a bit of fun ! The gala will be held on the 15th of June. What can we expect? It will happen in a symbolic environment: the national circle of armies, in homage to 10 years of support for Africa. 150 guests will be welcomed with a cocktail, followed by a high class meal, and finally a party. The evening will honor the 10 years of ABC so far. The star of the night will be ABC, examined through a video « the workings of the ABC machine »: what ABC has been since its creation, what it is today and what it wants to be in the future. The award ceremony will honor various actors and actions that have built up the credibility of the association. This will all be framed in a prestigious context, with an orchestra and animations to captivate the guests.
Pour plus d’infos, retrouvez l’équipe de ABC INNOVATION sur http://www.africanbusinessclub.org
AZONTO FUN FACTS
Amma O. Aburam
AZONTO - we’ve all heard it, loved it, danced it or at least tried to dance it. We can all agree: Azonto is infectious! Once you hear that tune there’s nothing left to do but move to it. This is why it has caught on from local streets in Ghana to thousands of people all around the world. Think you know all there is to know about Azonto? Here are some more fun facts
) Azonto was born in the year 2000 in the South of Ghana. The dance went by the name « Apaazee Renetta Kojo », meaning « work ». The whole pint of the dance is to show people who are watching or who you are socializing with what you do for a living, so incorporating into the body movements a hammer if you are a carpenter, a camera if you are a photographer...you can get as creative as you want ! The dance gradually became more refined. Today the dance is mostly recognized by the rotating movement of the leg that dancers incorporate in every movement.
) AZONTO ! - The word is a reference to wayward girls! Ladies admit Azonto brings out the Diva in you!
) Azonto is the first social media phenomenon of Africa, popularized through video clips, tutorials.. etc found on Youtube. From the streets of Ghana to the international scene, the phenomenon is contagious and has hooked the planet. Recently, artists such as Chris Brown and Keri Hilson have been spotted busting some Azonto moves!
) Just like any viral craze, Azonto has its ambassadors. Firstly; Asamoha Gyan : everyone has seen the popular football player bust some Azonto moves on the field in the last World Cup. Then there are many artists in the new Ghanaian Hiplife wave: Sarkodie, Buk Bak, Donae’o, Gasmilla, E.L, Eduwuji and many more. With 9 million views on his music video, artist Fuse OFG is the proclaimed « King of AZonto ». So next time, make sure you set the dance floor on fire with these basic Azonto moves
http://ghanamagazine.com/lists/top-10-azonto-songs/#.UU2VFBzD_A8 Photos : fabmagazineonline
AFRIKonferences 2013 - #1
Conferences - Debates - Round tables
What urban planning in African cities? > ARCHITECTURE / SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND RENEWABLE ENERGIES Alain LIEBARD - Architect | President of the Renewable Energies Observatory | Professor at ENSA Paris La Villette > URBAN PLANNING / SANITATION - ROADS & UTILITY SERVICES André VAXELAIRE - Architect | Urban planner | Professor at ENSA Nancy > REAL ESTATE LAW Landry SIMO - Law and Political Sciences Graduate | PhD
> Presented by Emmanuel AMOUGOU Sociologist | Professor at ENSA Paris La Villette
Wednesday 15th May 2013 - 6:30pm Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette 144 Avenue de Flandre 75019 Paris - France
ECOLE NATIONALE SUPERIEURE D’ARCHITECTURE DE
PARIS LA VILLETTE
Information & Registration on :
Do not throw on public road - afrikarchi © 2013
> FINANCING AND REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT Lagassane OUATTARA - Finance and Strategy Graduate, IEP Paris | Financial Analyst
Discover how young Africans can be creative. Meet Swaady Martin-Leke, Grace ihejiamaizu or Jean Gabriel- Jemea Kuoh. Like us on facebook