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ISSUE 3, 2017


– Africa Competitive on a global Scale SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


– Curro Making The Waves



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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Randgold Resources is committed to the principle that the countries and communities in which we operate should benefit from our activities. We not only contribute substantially to our host governments’ revenues, but also create jobs and develop skills, open up economic opportunities, build infrastructure and improve the quality of life there.

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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


CONTENTS 7 Editors Letter 8 The Education Of Curro In Low-Fee 18 Boom Private Schools Skills Training in 26 Southern Africa:



Crisis or Opportunity Positive 30 Enabling Work Experience Reltions: 36 China-Africa Musings from the Belt and Road initiative Agriculture in Africa: 42 Potential versus Reality

56 62

Company Profile: Aviation

Are Urbanization And Economic Revitalisation A Boom For African Economics

36 62

Zest WEG Group’s 68 commitment to Africa is not just about money


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



From the



orruption, maladministration, poor governance and weak capacity seem to be the order of the day each time Africa is discussed. Can anything good come out of Africa? The World Economic Forum on Africa held in Durban seems to suggest a lot of optimism on the back drop of their detailed technical report on Africa, titled The Africa Competitiveness Report 2017. The report, based on research by the World Bank Group, The African Development Bank and The World Economic Forum, presents factual information on the state of affairs from business to politics in Africa. Africa in Union, sister publication to SADC Top Companies Review Magazine, will publish the report in greater detail. Africa continues to face challenges of governance, weak institutions, corruption and all sorts of vice, but the reason for optimism remains. The continent is endowed with natural resources such as gold and iron, not to mention platinum and its own oil and gas. Maybe this is the time for African leaders to take stock and make those difficult decisions that will propel the continent forward in all spheres of business, governance and all. A clear affirmative action policy for “democracies” in transition across the continent will help give investors a reason to keep their focus on Africa. One issue standing out from the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 is the issue of human capital. Gone are the days when statements like “The first … to hold a Doctorate” would make headlines for days. Africa is blessed with an upwardly mobile young population, architect of a progressive middle class in any economy. Businesses realise this advantage and it is no surprise that skills training and transfer are key to the success and growth of any organisation. This issue looks at training from institutions as well as business. My favourite author, the late Arthur Ashe, sums it all up beautifully when he says, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome” . This edition looks at education and training. Find out more about the success story of Curro Holdings and other brands from Southern Africa. Our next edition will feature other success stories and exciting brands from the region. Until next time, happy reading.



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EDITOR Grivin Ngongula

CONTRIBUTORS David Fair Lisa Steyne Adefolake Adeyeye Otavio Veras

ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVES: Matshona Tshabalala William Lambert Crishelda Peters

DESIGN & LAYOUT Pixel Resolution

SADC Top Companies Review is a publication by Prime Media Africa Publishing Group (PTY) Ltd {Incorporated in South Africa}. Although persons and companies mentioned herein are believed to be reputable, neither Prime Media Africa Publishing Group (PTY) Ltd (2015/01235/07), nor any of its employees, advertising sales executives or contributors accept any responsibility whatsoever for such persons’ and companies’ activities. While every effort has been made to ensure that information is correct at the time of going to print, Prime Media Africa Publishing Group (PTY) Ltd cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication. The publishers or authors do not give any warranty for the completeness or accuracy for this publication’s content, explanation or opinion. It is advisable that prospective investors consult their attorney/s and/or financial investor/s prior to following pursuing any business opportunity or entering into any investments. Nothing in this publication should be taken as a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or trade any listed securities, or other financial instrument or asset. No part of this publication and/or website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing. © Prime Media Africa Publishing Group (PTY) Ltd. All rights reserved.

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017




SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



urro Holdings has a lot to teach about the education business. Founded by Chris van der Merwe in 1998, Curro began as group of 28 learners in a Durbanville NG Kerk hall and has since grown to 117 schools with over 48,000 enrolments. In 20 years the business has diversified and become tremendously profitable, driven by a powerful and ever-growing demand for quality education.

Room to grow The education market has enormous untapped potential. Of an estimated 13 million learners in South Africa, 18% can afford private education in some form, according the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA). However only 4% of this potential market is currently attending a private school. By global standards, where private school enrolments average 14%, that is remarkably low and clear evidence that the market is underserviced. South Africa has an added push factor in that public-sector education quality is typically very poor. Additionally, post-school tertiary education is currently underfunded and prone to chaotic student protests that interfere with educational delivery. More good news for Curro is the rapid emergence of the black middle class. Cape Town’s Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing reckons that 65% of this demographic sends their children to private or model C schools.

Lifelong learning Curro recognises the opportunities for profit and impact in this


South Africa has an added push factor in that public-sector education quality is typically very poor. Additionally, post-school tertiary education is currently underfunded and prone to chaotic student protests that interfere with educational delivery. space. Consider that the lifespan of a learner stretches from three months well into adulthood – an alluringly long customer lifecycle to capture. Hence Curro’s current success and future strategy is based on a vertically integrated offering which sees the business divided into several brands potentially capable of delivering 20 years of education to a single customer: Curro Schools, their premium private school offering, accommodates learners from age three to grade 12. Class sizes are limited to 25 learners, and teacher-student ratio is around 12 – over half that of the public-sector schools. Curro Schools are co-ed, dual medium, and follow the IED curriculum. Campuses support a range of arts and sports activities for a student body of up to 2000 learners. Many of these campuses are only accommodating half of the potential student body as forward-thinking infrastructural investment catches up with local enrolment. Fees average around R3300 per month, and can exceed R90 000 per annum for selected schools in this range. SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



Key topics to be discussed: Standardising PPP Frameworks Best practice international case studies Project updates from the 2016 featured African PPP units Project preparation as a vital tool for unlocking the development of PPPs Closing the funding gap – Finance Mechanisms Africa PPP unit bankable project showcase


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Meridian Schools and Academy Schools are intended to be more affordable options for students aged 5 to grade 12. Following the NSC curriculum of the public sector, these schools offer class sizes up to 35 learners, larger campuses, and hostel accommodation to target learners in outlying areas seeking a higher quality education. Fees are set to be affordable at around R2000 per month. Curro Select Schools is a portfolio of independent schools added through acquisitive growth. These schools retain their identity and unique culture, and are typically more expensive.


Curro Castles are nursery schools for ages 3 months to 5 years, while Embury is a tertiary institute offering full-time teacher education. Acquired in 2013, the institute provides an ideal pipeline for Curro’s teacher supply and a means of continually educating their current staff.

Tertiary growth accelerates Uncertainty around public-sector tertiary education has created a perfect opportunity for Curro to offer affordable, safe tertiary education, conferring market-relevant degrees and diplomas. SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

“Demand for private education will continue to grow and Curro has demonstrated an ability to execute very well in exploiting this demand.” Shozi sees long-term value in the stock. “Their growth clearly has a number of years to run. Schools take time to fill and mature so our valuation takes a longer-term view.” Port Elizabeth. Curro has also recently announced a majority stake in Southern Business School (SBS), which operates in South Africa and Namibia. There is a clearly a strategy to grow beyond South Africa’s borders in recognition of an unmet demand for quality tertiary education that exists throughout Africa. Plans for future growth are intriguing, and include more than simply targeted acquisitions. At the recent Curro AGM Van der Merwe spoke creating a substantial, diversified "multiversity" with centralised functions across the institution.

Rapid growth

To focus on this, Curro has listed its tertiary-education business as Stadio Holdings, headed by former Curro CEO and founder Chris van der Merwe. The plan is to develop tertiary campuses and grow through acquisitions. A medium-term target of 35,000 pupils and a longer-term goal of 65,000 have been mooted. In addition to Embury, Curro now holds a 50% stake in Botswana’s BA Isago University, and in 2017 acquired the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA). Rated the top film school in Africa, AFDA has over 2000 students across campuses in Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban and SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Curro’s growth is astonishing. From its initial listing on the JSE in 2011, Curro now has 127 schools and 54 campuses in its portfolio with around 48 000 enrolments. By 2020 the commitment is 200 schools with 80 000 learners, and a vision of 500 schools by 2030. If you were an early investor, your shares would have grown around 700% over this time. The market is clearly a fan. Siphamandla Shozi, analyst at Coronation Fund Managers, believes the shares will deliver long-term value. “Demand for private education will continue to grow and Curro has demonstrated an ability to execute very well in exploiting this demand.” Shozi sees long-term value in the stock. “Their growth clearly has a number of years to run. Schools take time to fill and mature so our valuation takes a longer-term view.” He notes that the tertiary space is interesting for investors with cash to deploy. “While public sector education has expanded access, they are still not keeping up with demand and there are significant infrastructural problems. In terms of private institutions, it is currently very fragmented and individual players find it hard to operate in isolation. The market is ripe for a focused player like Curro with financial disciplines and the economies of scale of a diverse portfolio.”

Modern ethos, traditional culture Curro schools are driven by a Christian ethos, coupled with a pedagogical emphasis on motivation and metacognition which they see as key 21st century skills. The culture finds favour with the educators, evidenced by low staff turnover and high morale. Veteran journalist Ed Herbst, writing in BizNews, describes his encounter with a Curro teacher during a visit to the school: “She had previously worked at a government school, she said, but


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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

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Curro Select Schools is a portfolio of independent schools added through acquisitive growth. These schools retain their identity and unique culture, and are typically more expensive. at this school she had never felt so fulfilled, so happy. The pay was better, the curriculum was outstanding, the children were disciplined and a joy to work with and their parents involved themselves in school activities in a constructive way. But, most important of all, her input was not only valued but acted upon.� Despite stepping aside as Curro CEO Chris van der Merwe’s passion and belief infuse the entire organisation. Curro employs 5,000 staff members, of which 2,700 are educators, and 38% of those are black. It also assists the state in the professional development of teachers.

sector, and all enrolments in this space take pressure off state schools. In the future, Curro envisages a voucher system, where government outsources education of selected communities or learners to private education that is better enabled to deliver quality education. They also see benefits in the sale of educationally zoned state land to independent operators, and the selling or leasing of state schools that require upgrading. Another option is the selling or leasing of under-utilised state buildings for repurposing as schools or even universities. Such thinking demonstrates how profit for shareholders and positive impact on people and society are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is possible to deliver long-term benefit for society, by educating the next generation, thereby creating value for stakeholders in government, private sector and the country as a whole.

The future is private Curro has resolved to be a game changer in the educational space. Regardless of whether driven by profit, higher purpose, or some hybrid of the two, South Africa could certainly use any positive shift in educational outcomes, at all levels of its underperforming system. The Curro reasoning is as follows: the South African constitution inspires the development of the independent education


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017





SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


t the Spark school in the Johannesburg suburb of Bramley, the pupils wear neat khaki shorts and skirts and navy golf shirts but they come from very different backgrounds. Some arrive by minibus taxi from Alexandra and those who live in Melrose are dropped off by luxury cars like Range Rovers. Quality independent schooling such as Spark, priced at R19 100 a year, means families with widely different incomes can afford to, or simply choose to, send their children to low-fee schools. The government pumps large sums of money into the basic education system — it is the largest item in the budget — but it struggles to keep up with the growing need for quality education. In Gauteng, a burgeoning population puts increasing pressure on public services, including public schools, and stepping into the gap with gusto is the private sector. Such has been the growth of private low-fee schools that they make up one in four of all schools in the province, although they are often housed in unconventional accommodation, including in former office blocks and other commercial properties. This is taking place despite the fact that the government has been rolling out on average 14 public schools a year in Gauteng in recent years. According to 2013 statistics from the department of basic education, 10% of pupils in Gauteng attend independent schools, which is substantially higher than the national figure of 4%. These schools typically charge between R1 500 and R2 000 a month, the second amount being similar to what former model C state schools charged in relatively affluent areas. Lebogang Montjane, the executive director of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa, the largest independent school organisation in the region, said, among the association’s membership, the growth was primarily in Gauteng. He said he suspected low-fee or affordable schools were “the new gold rush”. “Every other day I am hearing about yet another group entering the market.” Independent schools such as Spark Schools are growing rapidly. Spark Schools launched its first school in Johannesburg’s Ferndale in January 2013, where it enrolled 160 pupils. In 2017, it will educate 4 800 at 10 primary schools in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape. Spark School’s mission is to provide high quality education at an affordable cost. “We benchmark our total cot to educate against government’s total cost to educate a child,” said Stacey Brewer, the chief executive and a cofounder of Spark Schools. In 2017, Spark Schools fees will be R19 100 a year, Brewer said, which compares favourably with JSE-listed education companies such as Curro and ADvTech, which can cost more than R25 000 a year. Montjane said state school fees could be as much, and even more.

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


Research on affordable schooling by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) shows there is a global move in both the developed and developing world to address gaps in the education sector. In South Africa, private schools for low-income people are becoming an increasingly important part of what is known as the independent schooling sector. But the CDE’s research has criticised these schools for not catering for the poorest South Africans, and suggests that, to be truly low-fee, the cost for a pupil should be less than R7 500 a year. Montjane agreed and said these affordable schools — with affordable being a relative term — appeared to be catering for lower-middle-class families. The rapid growth of the black middle class was spurring on the growth of independent education. A 2013 study produced by the University of Cape Town’s Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing found the black middle class, which doubled in eight years, was investing has heavily in education, with 65% sending their children to former model C public schools or private schools. At a recent conference, Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore presented statistics showing that the black middle class is now larger than the entire white population in SA. Spark Schools has indicated that the majority of its pupils are black and the affordable schooling group Curro has reported that 64% of its pupils are black. Pupils are enrolled in low-fee independent schools not just for reasons of cost but for quality too. Spark Schools does not screen children but Brewer said their


Spark Schools has indicated that the majority of its pupils are black and the affordable schooling group Curro has reported that 64% of its pupils are black. pupils outperform those of public schools by at least one grade level — in other words, a pupil in grade two at a Spark school is outperforming a pupil in grade three at a neighbouring public school. “When our kids go to through to other schools, they find they are advanced,” she said. Curro, which is South Africa’s largest private sector schools operator, has declined to give media interviews but its 2015 annual report shows that its pupils on average get at least one A grade. Brewer said Spark Schools uses a blended learning model, which involves direct instruction and technology-based learning. The curriculum is aligned with government’s National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. The Spark Schools staff complement was 280 in 2016, with 50% of those being academic personnel. Though the teachers can join unions, this has not yet presented itself as a major force at Spark Schools. Many critics claim that the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union has a stranglehold on the public schooling sector and has caused pupils to lose out on many school days because of SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

strikes. Brewer said Spark Schools staff members who are not up to the challenge don’t last long. “If, for example, there is a wrong hire, we find people tend to remove themselves. There is a strong sense of accountability and service to our children and their families. People are attracted to Spark as there are opportunities for growth.” Brewer said Spark Schools aims to open more schools in transition areas, which the group has termed “Goldilocks zones”. These are ideally located between affluent and less well-serviced areas — Bramley is midway between Melrose and Alexandra — although land availability restricts these ambitions. Spark Schools is not drawing pupils from government schools in the areas in which it sets up. Instead, it has found its pupils move from other private schools. But equally, Montjane said, he observed a migration back out of low-fee schools. “When big for-profit players enter the market, it does sometimes create disruption where parents move over for what they see as more value for money. “But we do also see return migration, when some come to realise the sacrifices they were making for what they perceived as more value were in fact not worth it.” He said he is sceptical about the perceived growth potential in the market. “I’m taking a wait-and-see approach. I have a real feeling low- to mid-fee independent schools are the new gold rush. I think we could see a lot of consolidation in the medium to long term.” Curro, on the other hand, projects a strong demand and potential for its services, citing the government’s significant backlog in the provision of schooling as a reason for the independent school sector to grow further. The backlog in rural and underdeveloped areas, where a greater need exists, means the public sector cannot serve newly developed middle- and upper-income residential areas. This in turn puts pressure on existing schools and offers an opportunity for the private sector to move in.

Burgeoning Gauteng gets the lion’s share The growth in private sector schools is concentrated in Gauteng, which comprises the largest share of the South African population — about 13.5-million people, or 24% of the population. In the past five years, migrants to the province were tallied at 1.2-million, according to Statistics South Africa, putting increasing pressure on public services. According to the department of education’s statistics, between 2010 and 2013, 41 new public schools were established in Gauteng. In the same period, although coming off a significantly lower base, 123 independent schools were established. The largest independent schooling group in the country, Curro, has a footprint in all nine provinces but the highest number of its schools are in Gauteng. According to Curro’s interim report, in 2016, nine new campuses, worth R950-million, are under construction. All but one — in the Western Cape — are in Gauteng. Also planned is a R500-million expansion of existing campuses and R360-million SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

for “land banking” (the acquisition of land for the development of schools) in the next 12 months. Lebogang Montjane, the executive director of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa, said the association was facing a serious strategic consideration — how it can increase its members in the inner city of Johannesburg. “Previously a commercial centre, the CBD [central business district] itself is increasing in population density,” said Montjane. Office buildings have been renovated to provide affordable housing but there are not enough schools to cater for these new residents. “As a result, independent players have entered to meet the needs of children. “Just the other day I saw across from Park Station, where there used to be a nightclub and office, is a school. The kids were playing in what was commercial space.” — Lisa Steyn

There’s a big opportunity for growth Of the 12.9-million pupils in South Africa, it is estimated that 2.3-million (18.3%) can afford some form of private schooling, according to Curro’s interim report, which draws on data from the department of basic education in 2015.

“Just the other day I saw across from Park Station, where there used to be a nightclub and office, is a school. The kids were playing in what was commercial space.” — Lisa Steyn Currently, 4% of the national total are in private schools but the market potential is estimated to be 12%. Lebogang Montjane, the executive director of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (Isasa), said low- and mid-fee schools were working increasingly with the developers of mid-priced housing projects to service them whereas the government was largely servicing the needs of existing residential areas. The Centre for Development and Enterprise found the tuition fees of low-fee schools are high compared with those in India and Kenya, probably reflecting comparatively high input costs and low subsidies. In 2016, Isasa members’ fees ranged from zero to R250 000 a year, with only 30 of its members receiving state subsidies. To qualify for a subsidy, a school cannot charge a fee of 2.5 times more than a public school’s spend per pupil. It must also be a nonprofit operation. Montjane said the subsidy demonstrated that the rise of affordable independent schooling did not disrupt the public schooling system but complemented it. “The national government of South Africa takes a view that the education of all South African children is its responsibility,” he said. But, he said, cost was only one part of the consideration when parents select a school, with proximity and ethos sometimes being more important. — Lisa Steyn


National Skills Training Authority 1. In brief can you explain the vision, mission and objectives of the National Skills Training Authority (NSA). The National Skills Authority (NSA) is a statutory advisory body established in 1999 in terms of Chapter 2 of the Skills Development Act (SDA) of (Act 97 of 1998). The primary function of NSA is to advice the Minister of Higher Education and Training on matters of skills development in accordance with section 5 of the SDA. Vision NSA – Leading skills development Mission To provide strategic advice towards an improved National Skills Development system.

Values The following are the institution’s core business values of National Skills Authority: • Committed – motivated, diligent, passionate and disciplined in our approach. • Decisive – assertive towards our cause. • Integrity – acting in an honest, ethical, transparent, loyal, trustworthy and reliable manner. • Proactive – being forward thinking, visionary, adaptive and innovative in our approach. • Result driven – being client focused, goal orientated, performance orientated, responsive, exemplary, punctual and productive. • Inclusive – collaborate, participate and consult to provide altruism and team spirit with stakeholders. Objectives as tabled below were approved as strategic areas of focus • Align the role of the NSA with SDA and White Paper for –Post School Education and Training mandate. • Strengthen the capacity of the NSA and Secretariat. • Provide advice on the National Skills Development Policies to the Minister and make inputs /participate in other DHET related policy development process. • Review Skills development legislative framework to support integration of education and training and the national priorities of government (inclusive of the NSF framework. • Research, develop and innovate to promote beneficiation and business enterprise development opportunities. • Monitor and evaluate the work of the SETAs and the implementation of the NSDS III. • Promote and communicate skills development. • Support post school education and training to realise national priorities.

Dr Thabo Mashongoane Director NSA


2. NSA initiatives and programs that supports skills development, strengthen legislative framework for the integration of education and training and the national priorities of government The NSA embarked on commissioning a number of researches to support skills development and strengthen legislative framework. The NSDS Review evaluation study has been commissioned and in progress. The study is aimed at amongst others evaluating: the impact on the 7 developmental and transformation imperatives, evaluating the impact of the 8 NSDS goals, uptake of the NSDS by stakeholders (labour, business, community, providers and government departments, rate of participation by SADC SADCTop TopCompanies CompaniesReview, Review Issue Issue 3, 2 2017

SETAs and employee relationship, rate of participation by public universities and colleges and rate of participation by private providers. Secondly, the NSA commissioned a research on the feasibility of an establishment of the centre for skills development which is aimed at improving capacity of skills development implementers across the SADC regions to execute their functions and ensure skills delivery. The NSA also conducted research on Work Integrated Learning /Workplace Based Learning. The study was aimed at investigating the scope, size, structure and capacity of WIL/WPBL., the modes of operations of WIL/WPBL, funding of WIL/WPBL, role of employers, business, labour and government in WPBL. Furthermore, the NSA partnered with SSACI to conduct research on the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) to examine the experiences of young people on leaving TVET colleges and during their attempts to enter the labour market; investigate the employment/workplace opportunities accessed by the youth following the various pathways; Investigate the kinds of industries/sectors accessed by the youth following the various pathways; Investigate the income range of those that were employed and explore the role of the college in preparing the students to get jobs 3. SADC’s continued skills deficit is being compounded by a lack of technical skills, which is having a negative impact on employment of youth and women. Please elaborate on efforts by the NSA in the monitoring and evaluation of the the work of the SETAs and the implementation of the NSDS III. The NSA Board agreed to take forward the strengthening of the M&E processes in terms of SETA achievements, and concluded annual implementation reports for the duration of the NSDS III strategy as well as a 5 years analytical report. The report is based on the eight goals of the NSDS III, and overlaid by the seven developmental imperatives that guide the codes to promote specific key focus areas such as gender, rural development, geographical expansion of skills development, and the youth agenda, among others. 4. With unemployment in the SADC region remaining high, it is surprising that employers continue to have difficulties in filling up job positions. Can you elaborate on NSA’s efforts in supporting post-school education and training to realize national priorities? The eradication of unemployment is one of the South African government key priority area. Therefore, an inclusive, accessible and improved quality of post-school education is one of the sustainable way of tackling the roots of poverty, unemployment and impoverishment within the SADC region. According to White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, the designing of training systems, includes the curricula, requires close cooperation between education and training providers and employers – especially in those programmes providing vocational training to ensure a smooth transition from training SADC SADC Top Top Companies Companies Review, Review Issue Issue 23,2017 2017

NSA Chairperson Ms Lulama Nare institutions to workplaces. Therefore, re-establishing a good artisan training system is an urgent priority; in this regard, the current target is for the country to produce at least 30 000 artisans a year by 2030 to meet the economic needs of the country. It is also important to expand other forms of on-the-job training, including learnerships, apprenticeships and internships in non-artisan fields. Therefore, SETAs have a crucial role to play in facilitating such workplace learning partnerships between employers and educational institutions. The SETAs focus will be narrowed to engaging with stakeholders in the workplace, establishing their needs, and ensuring that providers have the capacity to deliver against these. Some of the achievements on the NSDS implementation 2011-2016 are as follows: • During the 5 years implementation of the NSDS 67 528 artisans were trained. • All SETAs signed SLAs with the DHET which include the requirement for work-based integrated learning for public TVETs and universities of technology students. • A National Student Work Readiness Programme to enhance learners’ employability was developed and implemented at 12 selected TVET colleges. • SETAs supported a total of 3738 cooperatives. • SETAs supported a total of 58 979 small businesses • SETAs provided career guidance and the total number of learners reached was 167 156.


NSA roundtable with stakeholders during conference • Learnership enrolment increased steadily; growing from a base of 27 679 unemployed learners enrolled in 2011/12 to a total of 67 864 in 2015/16. Furthermore, the NSA successfully convened provincial public hearings aimed at informing NSA advice to the Minister regarding the NSDS and the SETA landscape-beyond-2018 proposal, and provided the NSA and its constituencies with the opportunity to consult and engage on matters that will ultimately inform the vision of the NSDS and SETA landscape within the context of an integrated and differentiated post school education and training system beyond 2018. The public hearings were hosted in partnership with the PSDFs across nine provinces, to ensure the mobilisation of business, government, community and labour to take full ownership of the NSDS (NSDS) and SETA landscape.

The NSA composes of the stakeholders; Chairperson appointed by the Minister, 5 members from Organised Labour, 5 members from Organised Business, 5 members from Community (Civic) organisations, 5 State representatives, 4 Skills Development Providers, and 5 Ministerial discretionary appointments. The Board of the NSA is its main decision-making body while the Executive Committee takes decisions in the periods between Board meetings. Enquiries: Mrs Sally Mangubewa Management of Projects, Administration & Coordination Tel: 012312 5666 Email : Issued by the NSA For more information, please visit the National Skills Authority website:

The National Skills Authority (NSA), together with the Minister of Higher Education and Training convened a National Skills Conference which was attended by the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, delegates who represented amongst others government, organised business, organised labour, community, training providers, Human Resource Development Council South Africa, Quality Council, Sector Education and Training Authorities, Universities, Provincial Skills Development Forums and Technical and Vocational Education and Training. The NSA also hosted skills awards s to celebrate excellence by recognising best skills development practices across all skills development implementers and National Skills Funded Projects in various categories.. 5. What is the role of leadership at NSA in achieving your set goals and objectives? Briefly share with us leadership at the institution. The NSA day-to-day administration is implemented by a Secretariat headed by an Executive Officer.


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


SKILLS TRAINING In Southern Africa: crisis or opportunity


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


outhern Africa has long been renowned for its abundant natural resources with extraction of these riches historically key to the economies of the region. The future prosperity of these countries, however, lies elsewhere, above ground and sea, in the human resources that will power the economies of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in the 21st century. Success depends on the capability of this workforce, and specifically whether they acquire the relevant skills needed to thrive in the modern economy. The stakes couldn’t be higher: at the heart of any country’s well-being is the ability of its citizens to add value to the economy through their labour and to enjoy a meaningful role in society.

Labour and market mismatch There is a paradox though, one that is familiar to both job seekers and employers: while unemployment in sub-Saharan Africa reaches 50% in some demographics, there are enormous numbers of vacancies in all sectors. The main roles that remain unfilled? Skilled trades, IT engineers and sales staff. This labour-market mismatch falls into three main types: demand mismatch, educational-supply mismatch and qualifications-job mismatch. ManpowerGroup’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey Overall reveals that employers cite lack of suitable candidates and hard skills deficits as the main reason for not hiring, while candidates complain of lack access to relevant, affordable good quality education. “More than anything, the results highlight the increased need for skilled individuals but also the number of employers who are focusing on training and development in order to fill open positions, which has increased globally,” said Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of Manpower South Africa. Solving this labour market mismatch is critical – and the solution is the provision of relevant skills, affordably provided, SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


in partnership with government, industry, and education and training providers.

practice public-private partnership to address skills shortages.

Soft skills, hard results

A more mature large-scale solution is South Africa’s Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas). Currently 21 Setas operate, each designed to “influence the effective operation of the labour market, through effective skills, to ensure the appropriate supply of competent labour necessary to compare in the global economy,” according to the Skills Development Act. A key example is Fasset, representing the Finance and Accounting Services Sector. Their mission is to facilitate the achievement of world-class finance and accountancy skills – critical high-value functions in the modern economy. A gap they’ve identified and successfully addressed is the difficult transition from tertiary education into work. Fasset CEO Cheryl James explains: “We have funded work readiness programmes for unemployed graduates and achieved placement rates of around 73%. This confirms that once equipped with some of the softer skills needed in the workplace, unemployed graduates are transformed into value-adding employees, who are able to meet skills gaps within the organisation.” Across all of sub-Saharan Africa there is a chronic under-sup-

The Department of Higher Education and Training of South Africa concedes that “The education level and skill base of the labour force is lower than that of many other productive economies.” In South Africa, the familiar failings of the school system produce matriculants with few skills and little to offer an employment market that is rapidly increasing in sophistication. The days of routine, low-cognitive jobs are over. Even entry-level customer service roles require a range of soft skills and work readiness attributes such as self-discipline that the school system seldom cultivates. One solution is provided by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. Working with employers they bridge the skills gap between entry-level employees and a range of retail and hospitality businesses through work readiness training programs that impart relevant skills for people to get, and keep, the job, and to progress through the organisation. Funded by National Government’s Jobs Fund, participating employer contributions and social investors, the Harambee approach represents a best


Setas deliver mixed results

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

if it was better coordinated among providers through a comprehensive training strategy. Gill Connellan, chairperson of the Association for Skills Development in South Africa feels that Botswana is due credit for their forward thinking: “Government, although extremely poor, placed huge resources into education and the result is that it is possible to receive a high quality, free education from grade one to the end of university.” Both countries have addressed this skills shortage with a nationwide programme to promote in-service training and apprenticeships. This model was historically the overwhelming and highly successful source of artisan and technical skills, mostly through the former parastatals in South Africa. It is the breakdown of the apprenticeship system in sub-Saharan Africa, coupled with a growing perception that such jobs are “blue-collar” and thus unattractive, that has contributed to the crippling shortage of these crucial skills.

Private sector picking up the slack

ply of engineering technicians, and professional in the building and construction, metal, machinery, electronic and electrical and related trades. Addressing this gap is the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Seta (Merseta). A key target of their training initiatives is to boost the availability of appropriately skilled artisans in line with the National Development Plan’s (NDP) goal of producing 30 000 artisans a year by 2030. There is plenty of work to be done: only 8 194 artisans completed their programmes in 2015/16, resulting in shortages for key projects such as Medupi power plant where welders have had to be in-sourced from Europe. The resulting outcry in this case lead to the formation of the Eskom Academy of Learning (EAL) welding school of excellence, part of Eskom’s investment of over R1bn a year, representing over 6% of the wage bill, in the training and development of staff.

A common issue shared across borders Botswana faces similar challenges to South Africa. The 2013 Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) showed that a key limitation for business growth is a shortage of specific or technical skills. Similarly, in Zimbabwe, a World Bank study showed that in-service training would yield powerful dividends SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

A key provider of skills training is South Africa’s Higher Education and Training Institutions (HEIs) which includes both the traditional universities, with over 1 million students, and the burgeoning private tertiary education sector with around 140 000 students – growing 20% year on year. Overall, the challenge of regional skills shortages and inadequate educational opportunities has created a significant opportunity for the private sector. If education is a commodity in the digital age why not profit from its efficient supply? Businesses such as Curro Holdings and Advtech with their various college brands, and more recent entrants such as Cranefield College, exemplify a thriving for-profit sector that mostly offer courses that require minimal infrastructure investment and are cheaper to deliver. The learning environment is highly outcomes focussed, with few extra-curricular offerings to distract the overt goal of gaining a meaningful qualification. With teaching staff from industry and training content designed with the employment market in mind, graduates often have greater confidence in acquiring relevant skills that business needs. Online skills training also holds great promise. Distance education provider Unisa remains the largest university in Africa in terms of enrolment, while new business models such as UCT’s GetSmarter offer targeted courses for remote certification in high-demand skill sets. With the efficiencies of scale offered by mass participation, and increasingly good internet access, courses can be delivered cheaply across borders.

The future begins today Skills training is a complex and diverse issue, but certain clear themes emerge. Best practice involves integrating stakeholders to ensure that training is market relevant, industry specific and supported by employers. It’s also apparent that skills acquisition is only half the solution: without soft skills to accompany the technical competencies candidates may get jobs but fail to keep them. The robust response of the private sector to the skills crisis and willingness to innovate on the part of government gives cause for optimism that meaningful solutions are emerging in time to address the ticking time bomb of unemployment and tragedy of human resource exclusion.




ncreasingly, more people are choosing where and when to work and what to look for in those chosen workspaces. As a result, facilities managers have a role to play in enabling positive work experiences, and at the same time, adopting facilities strategies that enhance performance. Richard Flame, Director for Facilities Management (FM) at Broll Property Group, says: “Smart organisations understand that their primary goal is to enhance the performance of their people. Not surprisingly, well thought through workplace designs can be powerful tools to supporting performance.� He explains that, at Broll Facilities Management, the focus is the co-ordination of and functionality of the client’s workspace, thus allowing the client to focus on their business. However, as the industry changes and clients become more savvy when it comes to choosing what kind of space they want to occupy, it has become important that facilities managers have strategies in place that enhance organisational performance, health, wellness and enable positive experiences. A recent CBRE report entitled Top trends in facilities management reveals how society, demographics and technology


are changing the world of FM. Of the 10 key trends noted, collaboration, the smart workplace, and the multi-generational workplace are becoming increasingly important for many organisations globally. According to the report, by 2020, Gen Y will make up half of the global work force; as a result, organisations will have to balance the needs of different generations of employees. Smart technology influences the way people work and where they choose to work, and this has an impact on real estate and FM sectors. There is a greater opportunity to enhance the end-user experience with convenient tailored services. The smart workplace provides facilities managers a chance to gain insights, in order to drive operational efficiencies and manage costs. The CBRE report shows that 25 billion connected things will be in use by 2020, up from 4.9 billion in 2015. Smart buildings with lights, sensors, windows, HVAC units, doors and CCTV integrated into a network will be increasingly common. These facilities strategies ultimately contribute to enabling positive experiences, says Flame. Workspaces should provide informal spaces and pause areas that accommodate work and SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

“Life stage is a more important driver of demand for factors such as flexibility workspace designs, and leading employers are recognising the need to take a holistic approach to when, where and how their employees work.” casual communication, while fostering informal collaboration and innovation. Providing technology that allows workers to connect and collaborate more effectively in person and virtually, will include tools such as a mix of teleconference, video conference, web conference, instant messaging, social media and other tools to enable different teams to communicate in the way they work most easily. The inclusion of pause areas also encourages employees to SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

interact on a regular basis, as they can continue with their work if needed, wherever they may be within the building, as long as there are technology tools enabling them to do so. “Life stage is a more important driver of demand for factors such as flexibility workspace designs, and leading employers are recognising the need to take a holistic approach to when, where and how their employees work.” Flame says whatever the generation, when it comes to delivering new workplace strategy, organisations need to do it well if they want it to succeed, and even then, leadership and change management is critical. The role of FM has evolved as the needs of clients change, with an increase in the development and use of technology and changing attitudes to the workplace. “In future, the role of facilities managers will include among others having facilities managers who are both strategic thinkers and innovators, if they are to successfully incorporate facilities strategies that enhance performance, health, and wellness, as well as enabling positive experiences within an organisation,” adds Flame.



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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017




SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


n 2013, China proposed the joint building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the Belt and Road. The Belt and Road is a proposal for economic cooperation along key routes similar to the ancient Silk Road. The ancient Silk Road developed over time and was used to transport goods and ideas over land and maritime trade routes from Asia to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It promoted trade and cultural exchanges, leading to prosperity and development for countries along the Belt and Road. Of particular significance to Africa is the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which can pave the way for greater transport connectivity, regional cooperation, trade and development. In March 2015, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), ministries of foreign affairs and commerce unveiled the blueprint action plan for the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative. The plan called for policy coordination, facilities connectivity, trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonding. Whilst the initiative covers the area of the ancient Silk Road, it is not only limited to these areas. Rather, it is open for cooperation with all countries, international and regional organisations. Primarily, the initiative will be funded by Chinese policy banks, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. According to a translation of a 2015 speech given by Ou Xiaoli, Counsel for the NDRC Department of Western Region at the Post’s China Conference, implementation of the blueprint action plan will focus on two aspects. Firstly, it will focus on building six economic cooperation corridors and key maritime pivot points, and secondly, on strengthening cooperation in

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

areas including infrastructure connection, trade and investment, resource exploration and finance. The belt relates to the six economic corridors, namely, Eurasian land bridge; China-Mongolia-Russia; China-Central Asia-West Asia; the China-Indochina peninsula; China-Pakistan; and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar. The road relates to the maritime route. There are plans to build transport routes connecting major sea ports along the Belt and Road. These routes will establish Asia-Europe-Africa connectivity. Africa is reflected in the initiative, with Kenya identified as a key maritime pivot point. The maritime route also involves ports along the eastern coast of Africa, horn of Africa and North Africa. With the initiative, a number of routes for transferring goods to Africa and within Africa would open up. For instance, the Gwadar port in Pakistan, a maritime pivot point, has opened a new trade route for exporting goods to the Middle East and Africa. Chinese goods for export were transported from Xianjing to Gwadar, using routes upgraded and developed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This was done amidst tight security, calling into question future use of the route by commercial cargoes. Within Africa, benefits of the Belt and Road initiative can be seen in the transport and other infrastructure connectivity built by the Chinese, particularly in East Africa. For example, Kenya and Djibouti have had infrastructure projects carried out by Chinese companies, heavily financed by China’s Export-Import (Exim) Bank. Kenya’s US$3.8bn standard gauge railway (SGR) project, the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR, is expected to be completed ahead of schedule later this year. The 609km railway project is being developed by China Road and Bridge Corporation. China Exim Bank provided 90% of the funding, with


the remaining 10% provided by the Kenyan government. Other phases of the SGR will seek to connect Mombasa to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, fuelling the potential for increased economic growth and development for all countries involved. China is also involved in the Lamu port project in Kenya being built by the China Communications Construction Company. The Chinese company has invested almost $480m in the construction of three berths. Upon completion, the new port, part of the Lamu Port South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor, is expected to benefit the region. Djibouti, a small lower middle income country with a 900,000 population, located in the Horn of Africa, is of strategic importance to China. In 2016, Djibouti signed an agreement with China to be used as a Chinese naval port. Djibouti has received increasing access to Chinese funds, which may prove beneficial in reducing its 41.9% extreme poverty (2012 estimate). Chinese infrastructure projects in the country include a new port and airports, as well as the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway projects. The 752.7 km Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway Line Modernisation Project involved total investments of $4bn. The Ethiopian section cost $3.4bn. It was built by two Chinese companies, China Railway Group and China Civil Engineering Construction, 70% financed by China’s Exim Bank and 30% financed by the Ethiopian government. Djibouti contributed $878m for the project. Djibouti is Ethiopia’s main import and export route. It is also

Djibouti, a small lower middle income country with a 900,000 population, located in the Horn of Africa, is of strategic importance to China. a key trade hub for export and import to and from Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa. The infrastructure connection will benefit both countries, currently part of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. It will provide Ethiopia easy access to the port of Djibouti and open up Ethiopia’s emerging market of 95 million people to Djibouti. Ultimately, Ethiopia hopes to build a 5,000km rail network that would connect Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan. Djibouti hopes for a trans-Africa rail network that would link the Red Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Tanzania is another east African country with prospective benefits from the Belt and Road Initiative. It is unclear whether construction of the Bagomoyo port project in Tanzania, scheduled to begin in July 2016, has started. Negotiations between China Merchant Holdings International and the Oman State Government Reserve Fund were expected to have been concluded in March 2016. If the construction of the port goes ahead, it is expected to become one of the biggest ports in Africa, with links to rail networks and roads connecting the Belt and Road with other east African countries. With benefits seen in East Africa, the need for countries beyond the Belt and Road route to engage and co-operate with China becomes apparent. What prospects does the Belt and Road initiative hold for other parts of sub-Saharan Africa? Inter-


estingly, of the 65 countries identified along the Belt and Road, none are in sub-Saharan Africa. The Fung Business Intelligence Centre (FBIC) has also identified a further 48 countries that have participated or shown interest in the Belt and Road Initiative. Such countries were chosen because of their cooperation with China in areas including transport infrastructure collaboration and membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Of the 48 countries cited, 20 are based in sub-Saharan Africa, including Djibouti, which is listed under North Africa in the report. Mauritania and Guinea are the only West African countries on the list. Apart from the African countries identified in the FBIC report, interest in the Belt and Road initiative appears to be spreading to more areas in West and Central Africa. According to a 2016 report in the Mail & Guardian Africa, Togo, a small country in West Africa, is seeking to strengthen bilateral relations with China with the hope of becoming China’s staging point in West Africa. Similar to the other countries, China has been active in Togo’s transport infrastructure. Cameroon in Central Africa is also reported to be pitching itself as the gateway to West and Central Africa. It has also had Chinese cooperation in its transport infrastructure, notably the new deep water Kribi port built by Chinese companies. In other parts of West Africa, development of deep water ports connected with the Belt and Road initiative have been canvassed. These include Libreville, Gabon; Tema, Ghana; and Dakar, Senegal. Arguably, other countries in West Africa, such as Nigeria, seeking loans from China’s Exim Bank for transport infrastructure, could also be considered interested in the Belt and Road initiative. Examples of such infrastructure projects include the coastal railway project from Calabar to Lagos and the Nigerian railway modernisation project from Lagos to Kano. In 2014, the Nigerian government and China Civil Engineering Construction signed an agreement for the $12bn coastal railway project to link all 10 coastal cities in Nigeria. Unfortunately, this did not materialise and a new deal was signed in 2016. Should West African countries’ engagement in the Belt and Road initiative increase, it is important for these countries to find joint ways to increase intra-regional transport connectivity as is emerging in East Africa. Finally, based on the examples of China’s expanding cooperation with Africa, particularly with regards to transport infrastructure and the Belt and Road initiative, it is no surprise that many worry about China’s influence, economic or otherwise, on African countries. However, with Africa’s transport infrastructure deficit impacting regional integration, competitiveness in regional and global trade and development, any attempt to improve the status quo should be welcomed. Africa on its part must ensure that the investments are favourable to its interests, properly negotiated, and must work together to find sustainable ways to increase its transport infrastructure and connectivity. Granted, this is easier said than done. The author, Dr Adefolake Adeyeye, is a Research Fellow of the NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies, a trilateral platform for government, business and academia to promote knowledge and expertise on Africa, established by Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Business Federation. Dr Adeyeye can be reached at SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



Potential versus reality BY OTAVIO VERAS


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


ith more than 60% of its 1.166 billion people living in rural areas, Africa’s economy is inherently dependent on agriculture. More than 32% of the continent’s gross domestic product comes from this sector. However, agricultural productivity still remains far from the standards of the developed world. Over 90% of agriculture depends on rainfall, with no artificial irrigation aid. The techniques used to cultivate the soil are still far behind what has been adopted in Asia and the Americas, lacking not only irrigation, but also fertilisers, pesticides and access to high-yield seeds. Agriculture in Africa also experiences basic infrastructural problems such as access to markets and financing. Singapore is proving to be an engaged ally in the process of changing this reality. Some big players in the agricultural sector, with their headquarters in Singapore, are investing heavily in Africa. Technology and skills are being transferred to smallholder farmers and the large-scale producers are cooperating, playing a fair game that will help develop the sector and make it more sustainable.

Agriculture in Africa: An overview In Africa, agriculture accounts for two thirds of livelihoods and food accounts for two thirds of the household budgets of poor people. It makes up a very important part of the lives of African people, but in spite of it, it apparently receives very little attention from the governments. The low productivity levels of agriculture in Africa have resulted in a worrisome scenario: it does not meet the growing demand for food from urban centres. The region is increasingly dependent on food imports. For a continent with such a vast area, a booming young population and tropical climate, it is surprising that Africa is not a net exporter of agricultural products. In the 1970s, Africa provided 8% of the world’s total agricultural exports. Today this figure has dropped to a negligible 2%. Africa spent US$35bn on food imports (excluding fish) in 2011, only 5% of it related to trading within the continent. An increase in productivity, matched with the right set of policies and investment, could reverse this situation. Africa could replace these imports with their own produce, which would in turn reduce poverty, enhance food and nutrition security, and provide sustainable growth to the respective societies. A broader economic transformation is necessary to shift the current paradigm facing agriculture in Africa. In most of the cases, urbanization and economic growth have resulted in new opportunities for local agricultural producers. However, in Africa, this share of the market mainly belongs to foreign companies. Imports of food staples have been rising sharply, and domestic agriculture has so far failed to increase supply in response. Raising productivity in agriculture is vital to transformative growth, not just because it has the potential to expand markets by displacing imports, but also because agricultural growth is twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in non-agricultural sectors. SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


How does agricultural development trigger economic growth? Agricultural growth was the precursor to the industrial revolutions that spread across the temperate world, from England in the mid-18th century, to Japan in the late 19th century. At that time, a better understanding of the use of soil and techniques, such as irrigation, use of horsepower in the fields, and seed selection, improved crop yields. Consequently, livestock could be better fed during winter times, increasing the size of herds. These changes in agriculture made it possible to feed all the people attracted to the industrial centres as factory workers, triggering the industrial revolution and leading to higher economic growth. More recently, we see examples of economic transformation linking better agricultural productivity to industrial growth in countries such as China, India, and Vietnam. In the modern world, the cycle of economic growth resulting from agriculture development is somewhat more complex than what was observed at the beginning of the industrial revolution. First, as income grows, demand for non-food items grows while demand for most agricultural products decreases as a percentage of total consumer spending. Consumers start spending more money on non-essential products, while spending on food flattens. This imbalance increases the price of non-food items relative to food prices, causing resources like labour and capital to move from agriculture to more remunerative uses in other sectors.


As economic development unfolds, education levels grow across populations. The formal education and complex skills acquired through schooling are largely required in the non-agricultural sectors. With increasing education levels, an economy sees its working force in the fields being replaced by machines and a better use of the soil and resources. Large-scale corporate farms replace small-scale family farms. In the long run, the value of farm production typically grows more slowly than does aggregate income, or GDP. Over time, the agricultural sector gives up land to urban expansion, industrial and services sector use (including recreational and tourism activities), and increasingly also for purposes of environmental conservation. That is, in a nutshell, the history of Singapore. The lack of land, however, resulted in an extreme version of the scenario and basically all the output of the agricultural sector was replaced by imports. In larger countries, these shifts can reach a balance, with a highly productive agricultural sector that provides food to a thriving urban area.

Agricultural growth in Africa The reality of agricultural development in Africa is still far from ideal. In sub-Saharan Africa, the growth rate of agricultural GDP per capita was close to zero during the early 1970s, reaching negative figures in some years. This changed in the 1980s, when agricultural GDP growth reached 2.3% per year, increasing to 3.8% a year from 2000 to 2005. However, this increment was mainly due to an expansion in farm land, and not in agricultural SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


productivity. African farm yields are among the lowest in the world. However, some countries have experienced a strong GDP growth in agriculture, such as Zambia, Liberia, Mozambique and Ethiopia. Although there is a strong link between agricultural growth and decreases in poverty, the connection is not that simple. An example of this is Zambia, which experienced a vast increase in maize yields from 2006 to 2011, but did not see a reduction in poverty. Underlying inequalities and government policy explain the discrepancy. The gains in productivity in Zambia were


mainly attributed to large scale fertiliser subsidies to large farms. Small farms, with areas below one hectare, received only an average of 7% of the subsidy. On the positive side, there are two examples where agricultural growth did drive a decrease in poverty: Ethiopia and Rwanda. According to the World Bank, poverty in Ethiopia has dropped by 33% since 2000, with an agricultural GDP growth of near 10% per year being the main driver. Rwanda’s strategy was to focus its production on staple crops. While export crops typically have higher value, staple crops SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Source: AGRA (2013), African Agriculture Status Report

The gains in productivity in Zambia were mainly attributed to large scale fertiliser subsidies to large farms. Small farms, with areas below one hectare, received only an average of 7% of the subsidy. have a larger potential to replace imported food, which points to a promising avenue for growth that reduces poverty. How can African countries improve their agricultural sector and use it as an engine of economic growth? The strategy will depend on each individual country, but there are a few common measures that, when put together, certainly increase the chances of a country to ignite a virtuous circle of growth fuelled by agriculture.

Increasing productivity SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Agricultural productivity is related to a range of factors. The lack of irrigation is an obvious example. Only 5% of the cultivated land in Africa is irrigated, with most of the farmers depending on rainfall. In comparison in Asia, 38% of the arable land is under irrigation. Furthermore, soil health is a challenge. The average farmer in Ghana uses only 7.4kg of fertiliser per hectare, while in South Asia fertiliser use averages more than 100kg per hectare. Unsurprisingly, output per hectare in Africa falls far below the levels registered in other parts of the world. When farmers plant the same fields without using fertilisers, they literally mine the soil: an estimated eight million tonnes of nutrients are depleted annually in Africa. The cost of fertilisers is part of the problem. Farmers in Africa face some of the world’s highest fertiliser prices, and not just in landlocked countries where transport costs are higher, like Burundi and Uganda. Farmers in Nigeria and Senegal pay three times more than their counterparts in Brazil and India. Some countries, like Ghana and Malawi, have thrown money at fertiliser subsidies in flush years only to cut back when budgets tighten. Subsidised fertiliser intended for smallholders has often been resold at market rates with middlemen pocketing the profit. Nigeria’s system became so corrupt that in 2012, the agriculture minister, Akinwumi Adesina, estimated that as little as 11% of subsidised fertiliser was actually getting to small farmers at the subsidised price. Pesticides are another element that, if correctly used, can improve crop yield without environmental damage. This method has been increasingly adopted in the past decade across Africa in an indiscriminate fashion. The lack of education on which types and quantity of pesticide are the best for each crop, and the absence of government control, have led to its excessive use and consequent environmental contamination and human health problems. Access to quality seeds has also a long way to go in Africa. Experts at the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Africa seminar in Kenya pointed out that small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are unable to get full information and access



SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

to good seeds. The circulation of fake seeds is a major problem in Kenya, which hinders the transformation of the agricultural sector. Africa needs a well-functioning, market-driven seed system and research scientists working with small scale farmers to improve their seeds. The increasing degree of climate change also aggravates the situation. Aiming for improved seed varieties will help crops resist or withstand droughts and flooding, challenges that are becoming alarmingly common. Some significant improvements have been achieved by AGRA. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was founded in 2006 through a partnership between the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and has been helping millions of smallholder farmers in Africa. AGRA has supported more than 400 projects, including efforts to develop and deliver better seeds, increase farm yields, improve soil fertility, upgrade storage facilities, improve market information systems, strengthen farmers’ associations, expand access to credit for farmers and small suppliers, and advocate for national policies that benefit smallholder farmers. Today AGRA collaborates with more than 100 seed companies, representing about a third of the market. They produced about 125,000 tonnes of improved seed in 2015 – up from 26,000 tonnes in 2010. In Rwanda, the One Acre Fund charity provides its clients with high yield seeds, fertiliser, know-how and credit, which in many times is the deal-break point. The increased productivity of highyield seeds usually comes with a down side: the plants grown from them do not produce seeds of the same sort. Hence, small farmers frequently struggle to find financing to buy seeds for the next crop.

In Rwanda, the One Acre Fund charity provides its clients with high yield seeds, fertiliser, know-how and credit, which in many times is the deal-break point. SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017



Technology is ever evolving and as ZACL we strive to keep up with the latest technology regarding aviation security and oper­ational efficiency 52

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Management of ports and harbours present a boon to fledgling economies in the developing world, Africa is a case in point. Our editor, Grivin Ngongula spoke to Robinson Misitala – Managing Director of the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited.

Ports are an important component of the social, economic activities of any country, explain to what degree you view Zambia Airports Corporation Limited’s contribution to the country’s economic and social development?


Being a landlocked country, Zambia in large depends on air passage to courier both passengers and high volume cargo. The country has a sizeable number of individuals who operate in the informal sector as cross border and international markets to source their merchandise. Air transport remains this mode of transport of choice because of its quick turnaround times. On a larger national scale, the Government of Zambia has prioritised mining, agriculture and tourism as the three pillars of economic growth in its 2030 vision. Our international airports are playing a vital role in this as we are able to facilitate the movement of international tourists, the shipment of agriculture produce to markets further north of the globe and a platform under which the mining sector is able to conduct business by easy movement of its executives and quicker access to much needed spares.


Zambia is a landlocked country, how important is ZAC to the country’s location in relation to other countries in region in the SADC region?


We like to refer to Zambia as a land linked country as opposed to landlocked and we view this as a competitive advantage. We are surrounded by eight neighbouring countries which gives us a unique opportunity to not only connect our citizens to these nations and beyond, but also connect the citizens of those countries with Zambia and beyond. The fact that Zambia is situated where we are only enhances our desire to become the next regional hub; currently one has to travel to South Africa for example to catch a connecting flight to Mozambique which is actually our neighbour. Not only would we like this to change but need it to change if we are going to develop and play a more impactful role in the African aviation industry.


The success of any organisation is determined by its human resources; briefly give us an overview of the leadership and personnel working at the coalface of the Corporation.


Firstly, ZACL has made a concerted effort to ensure that’s its staff are at the cutting edge of the aviation skills spectrum and SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

competencies by ensuring that they are adequately trained and certified to meet the regulatory requirement of the jobs. In addition, the Corporation has implemented an educational policy aimed at according an opportunity for employees to improve their academic qualifications to meet the immediate and future requirements of the jobs. ZACL has embarked on a program to ensure that all its senior leadership attain highest certification courses relating to airport management like AMPAP which is jointly offered by ICAO and ACI World. As Managing Director, I endeavour to lead from the front by having obtained the AMPAP qualification.


Regional integration appears far off in the horizon, other views are that closer collaboration within SADC benefits the region better in the long run, at ZAC, how are you dealing with challenges and opportunities integration at regional and even Pan African level?


ZACL is a major proponent of open skies policies to an extent that we have vigorously championed all requests for fifth freedom rights when required by an airline. It is our belief that once airlines do well we in turn prosper from their undertakings. We note also the mushrooming of various fifth freedom traffic within the SADC area hence we perceive further integration on the horizon which can only benefit all players in this quest. Where challenges are met, they are only resolved through dialogue that espouses the benefits of integration that include the increased connectivity options that open up to the passengers.


Working in step with technological and other innovations pose a challenge especially in this day where we are exposed to cyber theft, terrorism etc. What confidence can the market and potential investors to Zambia draw from your initiatives and preparedness to these happening within your area of work?


Technology is ever evolving and as ZACL we strive to keep up with the latest technology regarding aviation security and operational efficiency. Several advanced software applications have been implemented at our airports including the baggage handling system, the Common User Terminal Equipment (CUTE) which is used when checking passengers in, the Common User Self Service (CUSS) which are the self-check-in kiosks provided to passengers, the Flight Information Display (FIDS) and the Public Address System. These platforms have given us greater control of our operations as we aim to continuously improve business results. We have also installed CCTV and upgraded



our security screening equipment. Being responsible for the lives of everyone that passes through our airports is a responsibility we do not take for granted. We also strive to provide safe, efficient, reliable and expeditious air navigational services to airlines and aircraft flying within the Zambian airspace. We invested US$20 million in our surveillance radar system which involved the implementation of positive Radar control in the Zambian Airspace.



Reports last year indicate that there has been growth in the number of passengers who passed through the four international airports namely Kenneth Kaunda, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Mfuwe International Airports. Are there any construction and infrastructure upgrades in the coming year or two which you would like to elaborate on?


Zambia Airports has embarked on several upgrade projects at our four international airports located in Lusaka, Livingstone, Ndola and Mfuwe. The Corporation has invested over US$1 billion in these projects in our quest to provide world class standards and services while establishing ourselves as the newest hub in Southern Africa. While Lusaka and Livingstone are seeing expansions in the current airports, Ndola will have a new greenfield airport meaning that we will be building it from the ground up as opposed to working on an already existing structure. The capacity for Ndola and Livingstone will be 1 million passengers per annum whereas Lusaka will have a capacity of 6 million passengers per annum. We are also expanding our non-aeronautical income through investments in more commercial entities. This includes the construction of hotels though we shall be seeking external management for the running of these hotels. We shall also be constructing a shopping mall and office complex as well as cargo facilities which we believe will vastly improve our business outlook.

On a larger national scale, the Government of Zambia has prioritised mining, agriculture and tourism as the three pillars of economic growth in its 2030 vision.



KENNETH KAUNDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LUSAKA The Airport Manager P.O. Box 30175 Lusaka Tel: +260 211 271 313 | Tel /Fax + 260 211 271 007 Email :

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Passenger Handling Ramp Handling Load Control Check-in & Gate Services Arrange Crew Accommodation Transportation VIP Handling & Transportation Aircraft Life Maintenance Aircraft Cleaning Facilitate Overflight & Landing Permits Flight Clearance Other Flight Support Services

FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT SIMON MWANSA KAPWEPWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NDOLA The Airport Manager P.O. Box 70095 Ndola Tel: +260 212 614 226 | +260 611 193-5 Fax: +260 212 612 635 Email:

HARRY MWANGA NKUMBULA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LIVINGSTONE The Airport Manager P.O. Box 60199 Livingstone Tel: +260 213 321 153 Fax: +260 213 324 235 Email:

MFUWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, MFUWE The Airport Manager P.O. Box 2 Mfuwe Tel: +260 216 245 006 Fax: +260 216 245 029 Email:



to grow within the aviation industry


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


outh Africa continues to play a significant role in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) activities with representation in most ICAO Panels. The most recent nomination being that of Jeoffrey Matshoba, the Executive responsible for Air Traffic Management and Infrastructure Planning at ATNS. He is a member of the Separation and Airspace Safety Panel (SASP). In this panel, experts develop ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices in an effort to improve Aviation safety and enhance Air Traffic Management.

REGIONAL COOPERATION BETWEEN ANSPS PROMOTED, ENHANCED AND SUSTAINED ATNS and Aireon have signed a Regional Commercialization Agreement to jointly develop the uses of space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data throughout the Southern part of Africa. The Regional Commercialization Agreement will establish the framework for facilitating the use of space-based ADS-B data in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The Agreement will leverage ATNS’s leadership role in the SADC as the operator of the regional VSAT network to distribute space-based ADS-B data to remote locations over satellite links, thereby extending the surveillance capabilities to regions where ground-based communications are prohibitive.

Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy ATNS is aware that as an Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), it also has an influence on carbon emissions from aircraft, impacts as a result of operational infrastructure and mainly relating to efficiency of the Air Traffic Management (ATM). ATNS is committed to assessing emissions and working collaboratively with aircraft operators to track efficiency and identify opportunities for emission reduction. Furthermore, the Company strives to contribute to the overall impact aviation has on the natural environment through integrating sustainability into all business operations. The Sustainability & Environmental Strategy responds to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change) and ICAO’s environmental outcomes, therefore, aims to drive the organisation towards addressing environmental issues SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


that are applicable to the nature of business ATNS operates. The Department of Transport’s Outcome 6 stipulates that the transport sector must address environmental sustainability and as a result, ATNS has performance areas that address carbon footprint reporting, sustainability and environmental awareness training and ATM environmental performance reporting. The sustainability and environmental awareness training programme forms part of the continuous communication and education of employees on environmental sustainability. For the year under review, the targeted 25% of employees to be trained has been achieved, but moving forward, the company has opted to implement an e-learning solution which will enhance awareness training and has a lower carbon footprint. The ATM environmental performance reporting is aligned to


the Company’s Performance-Based Navigation initiatives which seek to enhance operational efficiency as well environmental benefits, in terms of procedure designs and optimal use of airspace. Currently, an Emission Reporting Tool project is planned to be implemented which will address reporting on the actual emissions released from all phases of flight.

Infrastructure Development for Air Transport ATNS has unlocked the value chain in its CAPEX acquisition process. The Company continues to encourage partnerships between international Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and emerging local companies for skills transfer and enterprise development. The introduction of local enterprises into the CAPEX value chain will result in less reliance on international SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

NOTICE BOARD The Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) will be hosting the 7th International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations (IFATSEA) Africa Region meeting and Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP) workshop in August this year. IFATSEA is the authoritative voice on the competence of air traffic safety electronics personnel. Through their global network this organisation actively contributes to the improvement of air traffic safety performance around the world. Recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as an observer, IFATSEA maintains strong relationships with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and collaborates with various global federations for other Aviation Professional Staff. The conference will be taking place at Monte Casino, in Johannesburg, South Africa between 22 – 25 August 2017. Responsible for approximately 10% of the world’s airspace, ATNS is dedicated to ensuring safety in the skies and understands the importance of collaboration with other African countries to foster innovation and technological advances.

ATNS has invested in the acquisition of new and advanced technology for the management and control of the national airspace system. OEMs for the upkeep of our aviation infrastructure. ATNS has invested in the acquisition of new and advanced technology for the management and control of the national airspace system. The new ATM automation system is one of the largest single CAPEX investments that ATNS has ever embarked upon in the last decade, and is steered under the programme Collaborative Advanced Air Traffic System (CAATS). SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

This program together with all other dependent Communications and Surveillance projects will foresee ATNS entering an exciting era of technology advancement in its operations, for the benefit of the ATM community, alignment with the ICAO Aviation System Block Upgrade regulatory requirements and ensuring safer skies. ATNS also continues to improve its airspace surveillance infrastructure country-wide and as part of the 2016/2017 CAPEX Infrastructure Plan. Projects for the replacement of four (4) surveillance radar systems and the deployment of ground stations for a Wide Area Multi-lateration surveillance system to improve coverage in the northern borders of the country are currently underway. In support of ongoing national Performance Based Navigation (PBN) initiatives, ATNS is currently deploying a terminal DME-DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) network around six (6) major airports in the country. This network will ensure high accuracy terminal aircraft navigation and will improve ATNS’ capability to offer airlines efficient routes for faster and shorter trajectories, lower fuel consumption, and reduced carbon emissions. The network further provides a fall back terrestrial navigation capability in the event of outages of or interference with space based navigation services. ATNS continues to provide ground-to-ground communication infrastructure in 15 Southern African countries SADC Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT II) and 13 North and East African Countries (NAFISAT) providing Air Traffic voice and data communications services. The project for the upgrade of these key communication networks has been completed.

Transport Safety and Security The organisation has embarked on new safety initiatives such as: ● Management training to enhance employee engagement; ● Significant increase in visible oversight of operations at our ATC centers and units; ● Focus on further building relationships with employees and customers; ● Re-organising airspace and procedures.


UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA INSTITUTE FOR FOOD, NUTRITION AND WELL-BEING Formative Years and Objectives Prior to 2011 the University of Pretoria set about streamlining the University’s research into food security issues to shift a diverse portfolio of scattered projects with little focus and social impact into a strong, focussed and coherent programme that could really make a difference. In line with this development internationally recognised researchers at the University were identified as lead persons for gathering teams of peers and postgraduates from multiple disciplines to tackle niche problems in which the University had a strategic advantage in terms of expertise, experience, equipment and facilities. Five years later, over 85 internationally recognised and emerging researchers are working together to change the world, thanks to work undertaken by the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being. The institute received a much required boost of seed funding from internal resources as well as support from the Institutional Research Theme on Food, helping the institute to set about identifying gaps in global and local knowledge on food security issues. These projects have led to many exciting solutions, products and partnerships now embedded in longer-term research programmes funded by external funding sources and that continue to attract postgraduate students and research fellows from South Africa, Africa and beyond. The purpose of the Institute is to identify complex problems related to food security and nutrition in South Africa and the African continent where we have the expertise, know-how, equipment, facilities and partners to find solutions. Due to the diverse range of Faculties and the numbers of top class researchers, the institute is now able to assemble teams of researchers to solve complex problems requiring multiple disciplines. The University of Pretoria has the only Veterinary Faculty in South Africa and is uniquely positioned with Agriculture, Health and Veterinary Science in one institution. As an institution, they work with African and international partners to ensure that our work is cutting edge yet relevant to our continent and its communities. On Community Involvement A look at some of the practical products from recent projects stands to illustrate the practical implications and social capital generated by researchers from the institute. These include: ● New food products using indigenous and locally available foods for babies and children, including a nutritious biscuit,

cereal based drink and ready to eat cereals as well as fat replacers for food products ● Edible food packaging ● A curriculum for primary school education, training children on sound nutrition and active lifestyles that is changing eating patterns at home ● A profile of the fatty acid content of South African animal products ● New information on the protective role of bioactive compounds (such as antioxidants form in your cup of rooibos tea) on human bone health ● Mapping of food contamination pathways ● Methods to improve the health of dairy cows ● Estimating the water foot print of commercial crops in South Africa ● Integration of food security and nutrition into a digital health monitoring system in Tshwane ● An app for rural communities to identify potential crops to grow and improve their diets in some of the country’s poorest rural areas diversity “We seek to work with governments, communities and schools to ensure that the research we do reaches the people whose lives we hope to improve. Therefore, many of our projects include policy makers and community members in the design, implementation and validation of our research, working on a partner model that typifies the transdisciplinary research approach we adopt” said Professor Sheryl Hendricks who is the Director of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being. She adds that “ trans-disciplinary science seeks to conduct research with rather than for society. Many of our projects build lasting capacity among policy makers, communities and schools”. Research by the institution has concluded that their food products created by scientists create better nutrition bearing in mind that communities are involved in the creation and taste testing of the products thereby involving and empowering community members in the production of the food. As an example research concluded that the food products created by scientists from the institute afforded better nutrition, bearing in mind that communities are involved in the creation and taste testing of the products thereby involving and empowering community members in the production of the food. This has worked really well with a project by one of the research leaders, Prof John Talyor, a renowned international cereal scientist, who trained community members to produce a sorghum-based nutritious biscuit for a school feeding programme. Research leader, Prof SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Private bag X20 Hatfield, 0028, South Africa, Room 3-30 IT Building,

Ronél Ferriera together with her team developed a curriculum for primary school education, training children on sound nutrition and active lifestyles that is changing eating patterns at home. This involved the active contribution from teachers in the design and assessment of the curriculum. Community members are now actively engaged in providing nutritious food for the school meal programme. Children are active and encourage their parents to provide healthy food for them. The decision to work in partnership with governments has helped with improved plans, policies and programmes for food security and nutrition. Initiatives in the documenting of the policy landscapes in South Africa and Malawi have fed directly into policy review and reform processes, benefiting the populations in these countries. On working with the members of the public, the Director said that they had embarked on a public engagement strategy to get their research into use in practical ways and sharing it with the widest possible range of stakeholders. Examples of the contribution to strengthening policies and improving programme design include: ● Documenting the food security and nutrition policy landscape and public programmes for food security in South Africa ● A framework for understanding food law and its role in ensuring food security ● Creation of a new tool for analysing what drives policy change in food security and nutrition ● A tool for determining if policies are gender-responsive ● Direct input into the forthcoming national food and nutrition security plan On Leadership The Institute is a virtual institute, operating through the goodwill of leading researchers with a passion for making a difference in society. Professor Hendriks said “Our passion reflects the University of Pretoria ethos and belief that “the solutions to change the world can be found in the research we do today. We are committed to research and innovation that improves lives and creates a lasting socio-economic impact”. This small team of passionate researchers are internationally re ognised for their exceptional work in their respective disciplines. Each leads, motivates and mentors a team of peers and postgraduate students working with partners drawn form their networks of local, African and international partners in government, private sector and civil society as appropriate. They acts as the contact points, linking prospective students to peers and opportunities and introducing potential partners to experts across the institution. Thoughts on The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program the AUC and NEPAD. The University of Pretoria has a MoU with NEPAD to provide strategic support to African Development Initiatives. Professor SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Sheryl Hendriks has been actively involved in CAADP since 2006, leading the food security elements of CAADP from 2006 – 2010. This included deign of the guidance to countries for designing their national investment plans as well as the process for reviewing the investment plans. She led the expert team in the review process of the Rwanda and West African regional and national plans in 2010. The Institute trained over 120 participants from across the SADC region in CAADP leadership processes through Africa Lead in 2012/3 and over 50 participants form across Africa through FAO in 2013 – 2015. Prof Hendriks led the consultations and drafting of the South African CAADP investment plan and compact in 2013 – 2015 and continues to provide support to the South African process. More recently Prof Hendriks and staff associated with the Institute have partnered with Michigan State University and the International Food Policy research Institute on a USAID Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy. This programme provides opportunities for direct support of the CAADP process. Prof Hendriks is also working with IFPRI to mentor and support expert support teams that will assist in the design of the second generation CAADP investment plans. These teams will draw on the expertise at the Institute. Prof Hendriks is a member of the Malabo-Montpellier Panel. The MaMo Panel is a group of leading African and European experts from the fields of agriculture, ecology, nutrition, public policy and global development. The core mission of the Panel is to support evidence-based dialogue at the highest level and guide policy choices to accelerate progress towards the ambitious goals under the Malabo Declaration and the global development agenda. The Panel works with African governments and civil society initiatives to provide support and evidence-based research that facilitates the identification and implementation of policies that enhance agriculture, food and nutrition security. The Malabo Montpellier Panel is the only Africa-based high-level panel of independent experts dedicated to solely work on agricultural development and food and nutrition security in Africa. On Food Security and fight against poverty in Africa This is the core work of our Institute! We are committed to serving the continent to solve food security and malnutrition. We are committed to applying our minds, research and efforts to improving the lives of people across the continent. We do this through our research, postgraduate capacity building and providing useful insights, products and tools.

Lynnwood Road, Hatfield, Pretoria | Tel: 012 4203811 |

Prof. Sheryl Hendriks


revitalisation a boom for African economics BY GRIVIN NGONGULA


SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


he World Economic Forum for Africa held in Durban, South Africa, presented interesting factual socioeconomic pointers on progress on the continent. The Africa Competitive Report 2017: Addressing Africa’s Demographic Dividend presented technical facts and evidence which seem to be positive for Africa’s future and also pointed out areas where most countries from the Southern Africa region of the continent can improve in terms of managing opportunities for growth. In their collective preface to the report, the leaders of the key international multilateral institutions mentioned something to think about. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, and the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, noted that “growth in several African countries has been subdued after more than a decade of solid expansion. The slowdown is largely due to the protracted low commodity prices as well as the reduced growth in emerging markets such as China, and in advanced economies”. They however, point out that this situation has also given impetus to reforms and economic diversification. The strong economic performance of a number of African countries demonstrates Africa’s resilience and brings optimism about Africa’s future growth prospects, they add in the report. The trio recognises the fact that Africa’s young and increasingly mobile population comes across as an unassailable opportunity to push for rapid development for the continent. “A growing labour force and a large and emerging consumer market hold the promise of significant growth opportunities”. Recognising the challenges and stepping out to take advantage of such potential across the continent presents gains, and chances to achieving greater shared prosperity remain. It is a fact that most economies in the region still need to promote more productive activities that generate quality employment opportunities for their growing populations and contribute to improving the livelihoods of African people. Africa can make this happen, and decisions and actions taken today will determine whether governments and the private sector in the region can meet the growing economic and social aspirations of its population, they warn in the report. Greater opportunities for African people, translating to better living conditions, hinge on how policies and regulations are effected to enhance and increase productivity. Consequently, the opportunities created as a result of people and development centred policies have a domino effect in the sense that businesses will become productive, resulting in more inflows into the fiscus for government to implement social and economic development centred initiatives. The downside is that, if unproductive and regressive policies are assumed as a guide, the net result is low productivity levels and stagnant competitiveness. It is sad to point out that unfortunately many African countries are caught in this situation. The private sector suffers and development and industrialisation is curtailed, resulting in underdevelopment and the inability to create jobs. The report coined a term and concept which will be found on many business roundtables: Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017


“Greater opportunities for African people, translating to better living conditions, hinge on how policies and regulations are effected to enhance and increase productivity” The concept of the 4IR acknowledges opportunities ushered in by embracing the digital revolution while acknowledging the downside at the same time. Africa stands at the cusp of a massive economic revolution by confronting the opportunities and threats presented by the digital era that continues with its hold on business, industry and institutions of learning. Challenges posed by urbanisation. Urbanisation continues to pose challenges in situations where things have been left without planning. It can present opportunities for African governments to follow up on and ignite economic activities for the benefit of the country. The challenges to infrastructure in African cities, brought about by urbanization , are immense. They reported that annual population growth between 1950 and 2015 witnessed an increase of about 2.53% and predict population growth to increase from 1.18 billion to 2.44 billion in 2050. Estimates suggest that about 50% of the African population will be living in cities. These trends present opportunities when this demographic transition translates into labour force living in cities, presenting a dividend and potential for economic growth and higher living standards. It can also be a source of social instability if governments adopt inappropriate policies. Graph Showing Distribution of cities by population size Urbanization trends There is a sharp reduction in the number of small cities concomitant with a strong increase in the number of large cities. Figure 1 shows that the number of small cities—those with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants—decreased from 31 in 2000 to 18 in 2016


and is expected to drop by half by 2030. To a lesser extent, the number of medium-size cities—those with between 0.5 and 1.0 million inhabitants—has also been diminishing, from 32 in 2000 to 28 in 2016, and is expected to decrease further to 23 by 2030. The decline in these two subgroups indicates that cities are becoming larger. The number of large cities, with populations between 1 and 5 million, continue to be the largest group, growing from 35 in 2000 to 48 in 2016, and is expected to increase by seven additional cities by 2030. However, the number of megacities with populations above 10 million inhabitants is still very small; it increased from one in 2000 (Cairo) to three in 2016 (Cairo, Kinshasa, and Lagos). By 2030 two other cities (Khartoum and Luanda) are expected to join this group. Analyzing cities’ population growth shows that, between 2000 and 2016, almost 30 percent of the cities in the sample increased their population by over 50 percent, while almost 17 percent doubled their population. Between 2000 and 2030, the populations of 24 out of 102 cities are expected to triple, while those of an equal number of cities are expected to double. These projections suggest that most cities need to find ways to provide infrastructure and jobs for a larger number of urban dwellers. Urban planning practices and strategies in many African cities rarely reflect the realities of urban Africa because they fail to take into account the social, political, economic, and environmental context of the continent’s urban development. The bulk of urban planning and building codes are a mix of often contradictory, complex, and outmoded colonial planning standards; customary practice; and unregulated regimes. Weak capacity and lack of strategic focus have resulted in cities being built from “back to front” because construction occurs prior to urban planning. BeSADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

sides being disconnected from the reality of urban experiences in many African cities, inherited planning practices and zoning rules have increased pressure on urban infrastructure such as water, sanitation, and road networks as well as exacerbated urban sprawl. Besides, poor urban planning lowers productivity because it leads to congestion, sprawl, and poor spatial connectivity, further eroding the competitiveness of firms and leading to environmental degradation. Poor planning also poses serious challenges for sustainable urban development and contributes to the high costs of real estate, and housing in particular, on the continent, thereby hindering the quality of life of city dwellers as well as firms’ and workers’ competitiveness. Add Box Productivity killer: The increasing costs of congestion in Nairobi Nairobi is a prime example of the difficulties of congestion facing fast-growing African cities, where traffic has become one of the biggest issues in terms of productivity. The Kenyan capital, whose economy grew by 6 percent in 2016, is one of the fastest-growing economies of the continent and has simultaneously seen rapid rates of urbanization. Although the population of Nairobi Metropolitan Area was around 6,658,000 in 2009, it is estimated that it will reach approximately 14 million by 2030. At the same time, car-based transportation more than doubled between 2012 and 2016, reaching 700,000, with estimates of up to 9 million car users by 2050. Combining this with low levels of infrastructure investment, an inherited colonial infrastructure, and a spatial-economic structure with an almost exclusive focus on the central business district have created a situation where most citizens spend at least two hours commuting each day, with a large impact on the city’s competitiveness. The consequences have been plentiful. Nairobi’s traffic problems cause increased costs, longer travel times, lower economic productivity, and a substantial negative impact on health and the environment. It is estimated that the congestion leads to an estimated US$578,000 a day of lost productivity in the city, and as many as 13,000 people killed in road accidents a year. Moreover, should the city keep adding cars at the current rate without expanding its infrastructure, the average speed of driving will be cut in half by 2030, to 20 kilometres an hour (so it will take twice as long to get anywhere). Another related problem is the deteriorating air quality in the city, where 30 percent more diesel is burned today than it was five years ago. The bad air quality also stems from the fact that few cars are new: the large majority of cars are old ones imported from Japan and Europe. Following this, respiratory diseases are now the number one type of disease in Kenya. To curb the massive congestion, several initiatives are needed, including the construction of new ring roads, re-engineering of the public transportation system and investing in rail services, developing multiple city centres, and using smart technology to control road traffic. Low access to basic infrastructure services Africa suffers from a severe infrastructure deficit. The continent’s infrastructure deficit is a major impediment to the continent’s growth because it hinders domestic private investments, deters foreign direct investment, impedes industrialization, reduces SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

productivity, and limits the provision of services. Consequently, this deficit hinders the improvement of the quality of life of Africans. The largest infrastructure deficit of the continent is in the power sector: over 570 million people, or about 54 percent of Africans, do not have access to energy. Power consumption in Africa remains very low, at 570 kilowatt hours per capita (181 kilowatts in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa). This represents only a fraction of power consumption in both developed and emerging economies. Similar problems plague the continent’s information and communication technology (ICT) network, water and sanitation, and transport network. All these constraints limit job creation and the economic opportunities needed to reap the demographic dividend. Africa’s infrastructure shortfall has been widely identified as a major bottleneck for doing business across the continent. It increases indirect costs of manufacturers, making them less competitive vis-a-vis their peers from other world regions. Regular power outages remain a major infrastructure bottleneck that plagues businesses. Moreover, lack of access to a reliable electricity supply increases the use of environmentally unfriendly alternatives such as diesel-powered generators. Deficit of adequate and affordable housing Africa’s rapid urbanization and population growth has led to a severe affordable housing shortage and a rise in informal settlements. Today, over 330 million Africans live in slum conditions. The housing backlog is estimated to be over 51 million affordable housing units, with 17 countries experiencing a housing backlog of over 1 million units. On one hand, countries such as Botswana, Mauritius, and Tunisia have no housing deficit, while Nigeria is estimated to have a housing shortage of at least 17 million units, the highest on the continent. The socioeconomic impact of the housing shortage is clear. It causes overcrowding, increases the incidence of diseases, and hinders the provision of basic social and public services such as water, sanitation, education, and physical safety. In such a situation, high population growth and a youth bulge tend to be liabilities rather than dividends. Urban planning to lay the foundations of competitive cities The adoption of comprehensive and up-to-date urban plans that reflect recent economic and demographic developments is crucial for laying the foundations of competitive cities better equipped to benefit from urbanization. UNECA (2017) highlights that urbanization and industrialization can be closely associated in a mutually beneficial manner. However, in Africa, industrialization requires better-functioning cities. Although some cities, such as Addis Ababa and Casablanca, have updated their urban plans, a number are still using master plans from the colonial era. These master plans do not include increased urban population or changes in economic structures. They also lack good transport networks to connect workers and employers. New urban plans need to pay special attention to the following issues: (1) Providing land for public infrastructure and green space; (2) Including informal settlements as integral parts of cities; (3) Increasing urban density; (4) Increasing connectivity between workers and firms.


The World Bank notes that urbanization strategies should depend on each country’s share of urban population and should focus on providing good land policies at early stages of urbanization and providing connective infrastructure for areas that are urbanizing fast. These strategies should then adopt targeted interventions to deal with slums for highly urbanized areas. 1. Providing land for public infrastructure and green space: UN-Habitat notes that the share of public space and roads in urban land in Africa is 15–20 percent, which is half the global average of 30–40 percent. The shortage of urban land earmarked for urban infrastructure increases the costs of building roads, airports, and other public infrastructure on previously settled land, because inhabitants are compensated for the destruction of their dwellings. This ultimately leads to a lower road network density. Moreover, the shortage of public spaces where urban dwellers can meet to socialize or undertake recreational activities lowers the quality of life in cities. It is not rare to see roads in several African cities transformed into soccer fields during the weekend. Urban planning that anticipates these needs ahead of time will not only allow for lower infrastructure cost, but also

“Besides, poor urban planning lowers productivity because it leads to congestion, sprawl, and poor spatial connectivity, further eroding the competitiveness of firms and leading to environmental degradation” provides a better quality of life for future residents. 2. Including informal settlements as integral parts of cities: Cities around the world have had varying responses to informal settlements, ranging from neglect to forced evictions. However, since the early 2000s, the concept of “Right to the Cities” has been adopted by different international organizations. Today, the World Charter for the Right to the City recognizes that all population subgroups, including the poor, women, youth, refugees, immigrant workers, and so on, have equal rights to benefits from urbanization. This implies that, instead of forced evictions of slum dwellers, governments must improve the living conditions in slums. This change in mentality has led many African governments to adopt slum upgrading programs that consist of providing urban infrastructure and land security. With their very high share of informal settlements, urban planning in African cities must seek ways to improve urban infrastructure without necessarily moving people out of their community. 3. Increasing urban density: As previously discussed, rapid urbanization and lack of planning have led to urban sprawl in many African cities. Agricultural land is being transformed into urban land at a very fast pace, while commute times and traffic jams are increasing. For instance, Bamako’s population growth between 2000 and 2013 was almost matched by the growth of its urban expansion, 5.7 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, implying a low increase in urban density. The averages for sub-Saharan Africa show that urban expansion is faster than


population growth, at 7.7 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, for the period 2003–15. This lowers the density in African cities, leading to high costs of urban infrastructure and lower benefits of urbanization through limited economies of scale. Yet, in several cities, large plots of land near the urban centre remain empty. For instance, Lall et al. report that more than 30 percent of land within 5 kilometres of the city centres of Harare (Zimbabwe) and Maputo (Mozambique) remains unbuilt. Urban planning should seek to increase urban density by reducing minimum plot sizes and infill, whereby housing developments occur in unbuilt areas in the city. However, for this to be effective, tax policies and land reforms may be necessary. For instance, governments can adopt high taxes for unbuilt land in urban centres, which can push land owners to develop their land or sell it to housing and commercial developers. 4. Increasing connectivity between workers and firms: Urban sprawl and lack of mass transit systems means that workers in many cities need long commute times each day between their places of work and residence. This not only decreases productivity but also increases pollution. For instance, residents of Kilamba and Zango, near Luanda, Angola, spend up to two hours each way to commute the 25 to 40 kilometres to reach their places of work in Luanda. This type of geographic divide between work places and workforce should be avoided for cities to become competitive. New satellite towns should provide land for mixed use, residential, and commercial purposes. Industrial corridors or SEZs need to provide places for residential housing or build mass transit systems between populated areas and SEZs. Better connectivity between workers and firms, and between producers and consumers, is necessary to reap benefits from economies of scale and agglomeration. Urban planning is an important starting point to achieve better connectivity. Leveraging residential housing construction Addressing the large urban infrastructure deficit, including the housing backlog, is an opportunity for African cities to tackle wider economic development issues. However, this opportunity will lead to benefits only if cities regularly update their urban plans to take into account new realities. Updated urban plans will lower costs of urban infrastructure and increase the

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

supply of urban land for housing. It will also allow for the introduction of mechanisms to generate more fiscal revenues for the provision of urban infrastructure, which should precede housing construction. In addition to providing shelter to a growing urban population, housing construction has large economic externalities. The impact of housing investment on economic development has been widely studied. All studies show a correlation between housing investment and economic growth. However, disagreement exists on the direction of causality and some evidence shows that causality in both directions. Neoclassical growth theory suggests that housing investment is a driver of economic growth through its impact on capital formation. Arku and Harris argue that housing investment affects economic development through its effects on employment, savings, total investment, and labour productivity.

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

Zest WEG Group’s commitment to Africa is not just about money


est WEG Group’s commitment to Africa is evident in its ongoing financial and infrastructural investment in local manufacturing operations. When companies invest in Africa by setting up production facilities here, they contribute far more than just finances, buildings and equipment; they offer their host countries a shortcut into the global mainstream, opening the doors to trade and development on an unprecedented scale. According to Louis Meiring, CEO of Zest WEG Group, by far the most important aspects of foreign investment are the access to global operations, the transfer of technology, and the ongoing training and skills improvement. “WEG initiated a programme to uplift the Zest WEG Group facilities to become world class,” says Meiring. “This puts our local manufacturing facilities onto an international platform, so our products can be considered for international markets, including the existing WEG network of operations worldwide.” WEG Transformers Africa's manufacturing facility. (Image: Zest


WEG Group) He says Zest WEG Group will also use the WEG world network as a source for enquiries, to create business opportunities, and bring much-needed international business to South Africa. “This is all perfectly feasible through technology transfer, as we have the resources to skill and train our people,” he says. “Once again, however, there is more to technology transfer than just training.” While technology transfer does include the improvement of people’s ability to design or engineer products, it is also about the benefit of lessons learnt in the process of research and development (R&D). “These lessons, which have been learnt by the WEG Group through decades of experience, will have an immeasurable impact on our local operations, due to the high levels of R&D already conducted,” says Meiring. “This technology is then transferred to the local operation without us having to incur the cost or the time to develop it.” WEG Transformers Africa's manufacturing facility. (Image: Zest SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

African countries, with the training officer regularly travelling across the continent to ensure that the relevant technology is shared wherever necessary. “As an African nation, we need to be able to access the necessary skills sets locally, so that we become less dependent on foreign nationals to provide critical skills,” says Meiring. “As a modern economy, we also need to maintain the costly capital equipment installed in many sectors of South African industry, and the lack of these skills can play havoc.” We conduct training not only for our own staff but for our customers too - Zest WEG CEO Louis Meiring

WEG Group) This process includes the vital aspect of how to produce the product using best practice methodologies, such as lean manufacturing, so special skills must be transferred and developed in South African industrial facilities. Zest WEG Group has long been an active player in skills improvement, with a reputation for the quality of its training centre and training programmes; all of which are accredited by the relevant authorities for the provision of continuous professional development (CPD) points. “We conduct training not only for our own staff but for our customers too,” Meiring says. “We see this as vital in addressing the skills void in various segments of the electric motor sector, created during the late nineties and early 2000s when the role of artisan was not considered to be a career of choice.” He says that, as a committed partner and the leading manufacturer of electric motors worldwide, WEG has continued the training ethos long established by Zest WEG Group. Its training interventions extend beyond South Africa to other SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

He emphasised the importance of skilled and regular maintenance to extend the life cycle of any equipment, arguing that industrial inefficiencies are, more often than not, the result of poor maintenance or no maintenance at all. “Part of the investment in skills is to educate those who operate and oversee equipment about the critical nature of proper maintenance,” says Meiring. “When this change in mindset occurs, we will know we are on the correct path to economic success.” The focus on skills is not only on the technical side of industry, but should also extend to management capacity; sound managerial skills are needed to ensure that high levels of technical ability are properly implemented in the work process, and that productivity is maintained. One of the most welcome benefits of economic investment is clearly the creation of jobs within the new manufacturing facilities created; it should be remembered, though, that jobs are also created indirectly. “This is the peripheral knock-on effect of investment, which is equally as important as the direct investment in the facility and the plant and equipment,” says Meiring. “To ensure that we harness the positive impact of indirect job creation, we also engage in supplier development activities to strengthen our downstream partners and provide access to the economy.”


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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

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SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017

SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017  
SADC Top Companies Review Issue 2 2017  

Southern Africa's premier business,trade and investment journal.