Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Saran Kaba Jones: A Young African Woman And Her Water Legacy

Saran Kaba Jones
Saran Kaba Jones
Africa’s got a lot of beautiful, remarkable women. Saran Kaba Jones is one of them.
A Liberian national, Jones, now 29, fled her country at the age of 8 with her family in the wake of a devastating civil war which lasted well over a decade. Returning home in 2008– nearly 20 years later, she came face to face with the harsh economic realities of a post-conflict Liberia. “The long and devastating civil war had left Liberia’s infrastructure in ruins – roads, buildings, health clinics, schools, farms and factories were almost totally destroyed,” she says. “There was no electricity, no running water or sewage system, and an inadequate education system.” Liberia was broken.
Saran is not one to whine about inadequacies, but rather the type who finds audacious and creative solutions to them. In order to address the problems of contaminated water, she founded Face Africa (, a non-profit organization that provides access to clean and safe drinking water for rural communities in Liberia, using an innovative social enterprise model to fund water projects. Today Face Africa provides clean drinking water to tens of thousands of Liberians. I caught up with this remarkable Liberian lady via email, where she recounted her journey, professed her undying love for her people, and hinted on her quest for legacy.

The Senegalese Entrepreneur Selling African Recipes To Americans

Magatte Wade
Magatte Wade
Magatte Wade is one of the most notable female entrepreneurs to emerge from Africa.  Born in Senegal and educated in France, she is the original founder of Adina World Beat Beverages, a San Franciscobeverage company that manufactures coffee, tea and fruit juices based on indigenous traditional beverage recipes from across the world, using organic ingredients sourced from small-scale farmers across Africa and Asia.
Wade started the company in 2004 and within five years had raised $30 million in venture capital. That was great news but had drawbacks. Other parties became increasingly influential regarding the styling, positioning, and content of the brand.  Wade did not like the direction, so she stepped down as Adina’s CEO in 2009, but held onto a stake.
Wade then went on to start Tiossan,  a company that produces luxury organic skin-care products based on traditional Senegalese skin care recipes, in New York.  The name is a play on “Thiosane” a Wolof (Senegalese) word which means “origins.”
I spoke with Wade recently to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey, her current business venture and lessons she learned along the way.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in doing business?
The negative perception that most Americans have about Africa.  Either they believe that it is a disaster and thus I can’t possibly build a business based on producing goods in Africa, or they believe that it is a disaster and want me to build a “pity-based” brand where Americans buy the products because they feel sorry for Africans.  The notion that Africans can be capable, hard-working, successful professionals creating world-class products and services is largely alien to the American mindset.  The media and, sadly, the NGOs, are largely responsible for this perception of Africa. But because I believe in “Criticize By Creating”, I created Tiossan as a fun and value-creation oriented way to positively change the perception that the world has of Africa.

30 Under 30: Africa's Best Young Entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs are changing the face of Africa. I set out to produce a list of the 30 Africans under 30 years old who are making the most dramatic impact across the continent. To do so, in November  I enlisted an outside panel of 12 judges from across Africa to help identify this group of outstanding entrepreneurs and innovators under the age of 30.
Rapelang Rabana, Founder, Yeigo Communications
Rapelang Rabana, Founder, Yeigo Communications
Cut across Real Estate, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Media, Tech, Green tech, Healthcare, Agriculture and Fashion, the 30 young African entrepreneurs, disruptors and innovators featured on this list are impatient to change Africa. Together, they represent the entrepreneurial, innovative and intellectual best of their generation.
They’re solving problems like healthcare and electricity shortages, proffering innovative solutions to waste management, building virtual and physical communities and creating lots of jobs. A few of them are manufacturing the foods we love, designing exquisite clothing for our women and some are developing some cool apps for mobile phones across Africa.
Of course, this list is by no means official or exhaustive, but this is the closest you’ll get to a definitive list.
A round of applause for Africa’s 30 Under 30 – the continent’s best young entrepreneurs, today’s disruptors and tomorrow’s brightest stars:

The Young African Millionaire Lighting Up Tanzania

It’s 1:15 pm on a blistering hot Wednesday afternoon in Dar Es Salaam. Patrick Ngowi is seated in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, patiently waiting for me to keep up with our lunch appointment. We had planned to meet for 12:30, but I had lost track of time.
Patrick Ngowi, CEO, Helvetic Solar
Patrick Ngowi, CEO, Helvetic Solar
“You are finally here, my brother,” Ngowi smiles as he rises from his chair to welcome me as I approach him.
For a 28 year-old Tanzanian who has built an $8 million (revenues) solar energy company, Ngowi certainly looks the part. He is impeccably dressed in a black suit, with the tip of Mont Blanc pen hanging out of his suit pocket. And he’s got a Mont Blanc watch adorning his left wrist and Brioni shoes to match.
Ngowi has a remarkable story.  He is the CEO ofHelvetic Solar Contractors – a Tanzanian company that supplies, installs and maintains solar systems throughout the northern circuit of Tanzania. The company sells everything solar from photovoltaic (a.k.a. “solar”) panels and water heaters to battery banks, generators and back-up units.

Ten African Internet Millionaires To Watch

Africa may not yet have an Internet billionaire, but there are a handful of savvy African entrepreneurs who’ve built 7- and 8-figure fortunes by identifying and taking advantage of the opportunities on the continent’s web space.
The Young African Millionaire Lighting Up Tanzania
Here’s a basic truth: In the next five to seven years, there’ll be an unprecedented explosion of Internet millionaires. A billionaire or two may even crop up. You never know. The signs are there. Massive broadband fiber optic cables are being laid everywhere from the West cost to the East, North and the South. Hungry techies everywhere from Nigeria to Ghana, Kenya and South Africa are building web-based companies providing simple solutions for some of our most daunting challenges and inconveniences.  Some of the world’s most important investors are taking notice, and making huge bets. New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management, Swedish investment firm Kinnevik and Australia’s have each made multi-million dollar investments in the continent’s Internet space, reinforcing the notion that the next gold mine could be Africa’s tech space.
A few people have gotten an early jumpstart on this, and they’ve made millions in the process. Here are ten people you should watch closely:
Abasiama IdaresitNigerian
Source: digital marketing
Abasiama Idaresit, Founder, Wild Fusion
Abasiama Idaresit, Founder, Wild Fusion
Idaresit, a Nigerian-born digital marketing expert, is the founder and CEO of Wild Fusion, one of Africa’s leading digital marketing agencies. Idaresit foundedWild Fusion in 2010 with no external funding and with a bootstrapped budget, transforming the company into a $6 million (annual revenues) digital marketing firm offering Internet marketing and digital strategy solutions to some of the largest international corporations operating in in sub-Saharan Africa. Wild Fusion’s clients include Visa V -0.89%Vodafone VOD -0.26%, Samsung and Unilever UN -0.86% as well as several large Pan-African corporations. Wild Fusion, which is on track to make $10 million in revenues this year, also has operations in Kenya and Ghana. Wild Fusion was also Google’s first Adwords certified partner in West Africa. Idaresit, who has just completed an MBA from the Manchester Business School, is the company’s sole shareholder.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Transforming Nigeria into an international financial centre

One of the fundamental objectives of the Financial System Strategy 2020 is to make Nigeria Africa’s financial hub by transforming the country into an international financial centre. The FSS 2020 which is a strategic plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is expected to synchronise and integrate with the ongoing economic reforms and harness the gains to ensure that Nigeria becomes Africa’s financial hub and joins the league of top 20 world largest economies by 2020.
An international financial centre is a place where financial institutions from many different jurisdictions come together to carry out financial intermediation of an international dimension. The goal of CBN is geared towards developing a more resilient, competitive and dynamic financial system with best practices. It should be one that supports and contributes positively to the growth of the economy through the economic cycle, and has a core of strong and forward looking domestic financial institutions that are more technology driven and ready to face the challenges of liberalisation and globalisation.

N200 billion agricultural development fund: New ingredient for the economy

Putting some things right, the Nigerian economy can begin to exhibit some form of green shoots

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources recently confirmed that the Federal Government has released N100 billion of the N200 billion agricultural development fund. The Central Bank of Nigeria is to disburse N75 billion of the amount to United Bank for Africa (UBA) while First Bank would receive N25 billion. Under the guideline, 20 per cent of the fund (N40 billion) was earmarked for the smallholder farmers, while 80 per cent would be dedicated to agro-processing development or large agricultural enterprises. To ensure accountability, the government has also involved the EFCC and ICPC as part of the tracking system, adding that the list of beneficiaries would be published monthly to create a transparent process.
The former approach of government disbursing directly to individuals does not always work as people just queue to collect such supposed loans and treat as their own share of the national cake without any efforts of repayment. The approach of government appointing two banks-First Bank of Nigeria Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc (with prospects of appointing more banks) – to further select large commercial enterprises to whom this proposed loan is given to, makes sense. State Governments including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) can also access the special fund up to twenty per cent of the N200billion through specialized agencies or secretariats established for the purpose of on-lending such funds to Co-operative Unions, Co-operative Societies, Self-Help Groups and Agricultural Commodities Associations in their respective states.

New rules, products lay groundwork for Nigeria Islamic finance sector

* Largely untapped market of over 80 million Muslims
* Use of Islamic banking windows set to increase
* Much of regulatory framework now established
* First sukuk may come soon
* Short-term liquidity management products under development
By Chijioke Ohuocha and Bernardo Vizcaino
LAGOS/SYDNEY, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Nigeria is gradually opening up to Islamic finance, a move that could bring non-interest banking to over 80 million Muslims and develop one of Africa's fastest-growing consumer and corporate banking sectors.
Home to the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is trying to establish itself as the African hub for Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling.
In recent months, a string of regulatory initiatives have set the groundwork for products such as Islamic bonds (sukuk), insurance (takaful) and interbank lending products, although there is still only a small number of local market participants.