Past Issues

June 14

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WITH MUCH OF the world’s attention currently focused on Nigeria and the violent outbursts of Boko Haram, the short-term and longer- term decision making of President Goodluck Jonathan and his closest advisors will be the toughest test administration has ever faced. The increased violence, which has left thou- sands dead, is serving as the primarily de-stabilizing force that is now directly impacting on the nation’s economy. For the most part, foreign investment is still in tact, but there are growing concerns that the violence must be stemmed and prevented from spreading, or some of that investment capital may soon leave the country.

Meanwhile, the new governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, recently unveiled his agenda on a five-year plan. Financial system stability, promoting sustainable development and implementing a gradual reduction in interest rates, top his list of priorities, as would be expected.

In South Africa, The Business Confidence Index declined by 3.7 index points from April to 88.9 in May. There still seems to be a lot of businesses concerned about the ANC’s policy plans despite a recent resounding victory in the national election. On a month-on-month basis in May, the municipal services, imports, exports and construction sub-indices showed gains. Vehicle sales, retail sales and real private sector borrowing however pulled back on a month on-month basis.

In this edition of TABJ we provide an insightful look into some extraordinarily successful enterprises, including: Econet Wire- less Zimbabwe; Hilti, one of South Africa’s largest construction and technical engineering companies; Namibia Construction; and Unipro of Kenya, capitalising on the potential oil boom.

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April 14

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THE ATTENTION OF South Africans is squarely focused on the upcoming national elections, which will define how the continent’s largest country moves forward into this new era, without Nelson Mandela as that calming, reassuring presence.

It has become quite apparent that the majority of citizens throughout the country have become extremely disenchanted with the direction the ruling ANC party has taken. A major concern for citizens remains the high unemployment rate. However, many would argue there still isn’t a legitimate alternative political party to take the reins at this point, so the government may still hold the majority of power, just not to the extend it has become accustomed to over the past 20 years.

In this edition of The African Business Journal, there is a strong theme centred on air travel, and specifically airport facilities and airlines with features on Air Zimbabwe, George Airport and Lanseria Airport.

We also have a one-on-one interview with the director at Emman Farming Enterprises, a hugely successful Zambian stock feed production company. The main facility is part of a US$20 million investment that includes state-of-the-art technology, which takes this type of farming to brand new, innovative levels not seen before.

There is all of that and much more in this edition of TABJ.

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March 14

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AGRICULTURE, HUMAN RESOURCES, industry and trade have long been the fundamental staples of the African economy – of course differing to some extent depending on the specific region. But in recent years we’ve seen a branching out of sorts, into other business sectors, and some countries and businesses are beginning to gain noticeable traction, which is exactly what is needed – a more diversified economic offering.

There are now about 1.1 billion people living on the continent, which still remains by far the poorest of any in the world. However, there is room for lots of optimism. Many of the 54 countries have a vast supply of untapped natural resources. Along with foreign investment, plans are in the works to better utilize exploration teams in an effort to reap the rewards just waiting to be harvested.

Growth in recent years has been impressive; so much so that the World Bank expects the majority of African countries will reach so-called middle-income by 2025. The World Bank defines middle class as attaining at least US$1,000 status per person each year. In fact, growth in Africa surpassed that of East Asia for much of the past decade, thanks in large part to increased exploration of natural resources and also increasing political stability, which often served to undermine any appreciable economic momentum in the past. Figures released by The World Bank revels the economy of Sub-Saharan African countries grew at rates that match or surpass global rates. An upswing in literacy and those attaining higher levels of education are also showing dividends.

In this month’s edition of TABJ, we have a number of successful enterprises highlighted, including the likes of a heart-warming feature on Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital and the outstanding care they provide; Aerosud, an established leader in the South African aviation industry; Prowalco – far and away the African leaders in fuel distribution services; and a closeup look at Buffalo City, located on the southern tip of Africa along the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

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February 14

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ASANTA SANA for the opportunity of a lifetime. While I’m excited for the future, I’m saddened to report that this is my last issue with TABJ. It’s been a dream come true for me to write about Africa and to play a small role in reshaping how the international community views the continent. I’ve learned so much and I’ve met so many incredible people. And I am forever grateful.

In this issue of The African Business Journal, we focus on the conflict in South Sudan which the United Nations has called “a humanitarian and human rights disaster”. Since mid-December, over 400,000 civilians have fled their homes and some 10,000 killed in fighting that seems to be drawn along ethnic lines. Aid agencies have condemned the fighting on both sides and the UN is calling for an independent commission to investigate what the agency calls “an internal armed conflict”.

As the international community calls for a ceasefire in South Sudan, TABJ remembers a man of peace, Nelson Mandela. Dr. Sean Rogers at Know Africa writes how Mandela’s death signifies the end of the period of transition from South Africa’s past of apartheid to its current state of democratic rule for which Mandela sacrificed so much. And Phumlani Dube writes about the legacy of the Great Man and why Madiba will
continue to live on.

In our BIA section, we feature McCormick Property Development, leaders in creating BEE initiatives in South Africa, and Juliet Langton interviews the major Diamond players in Southern Africa.

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January 14

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Happy New Year, I hope you had a wonderful holiday. This year promises to be a defining one for the continent of Africa. The IMF has predicted that the growth rate for sub-Saharan Africa will rise to 6 per cent up from 5 per cent in 2013. Improved global conditions will also increase the number of middle class Africans to more than 200 million and in the process generating a backdrop for an increase of activity in all sectors. In addition, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa, an auspicious event that the world will be celebrating. As we welcome in the new year we look forward to highlighting the best in business on the continent and featuring the continent’s biggest and most influential personalities.

This month The African Business Journal had the opportunity to speak to Nicky Newton- King, the CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. An accomplished lawyer and a phenomenal leader, Newton-King exemplifies what we all aspire to: work hard and anything is possible. As our leader of the year, TABJ spoke to Newton-King about her many accomplish- ments, the possibility of a pan-African exchange and what the JSE’s top rankings by the WEF mean for South Africa’s economy.

In this issue, Eki Maria explores ways of finding inspiration in life and work; Sean Rogers of Know Africa, examines what ‘Africa Rising’ means for business and what needs to be done to change the perception of the continent.

In addition, we sit down with Tamara Dawit, a young filmmaker for this month’s Q&A and Christopher McKee writes about what Nigeria’s unstable political situation means for the country’s economic growth.

As always, many thanks to the TABJ team for their hard work.

We’re curious about business and we’re curious about you. Please get in touch if you have a story to tell or would like to be considered for a profile.

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December 13

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IN EARLY NOVEMBER, I co-hosted the 10th Anniversary of the Planet Africa awards in Toronto, Canada with MC Bonde, an award winning radio DJ. The keynote speaker was Dr. Bernice King, who accepted the Legend award for her father, the civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her speech left me in tears but it also reminded me that I live in a time where I have the tools and above all the freedom to accomplish anything I set my mind to.

Planet Africa was created by the husband and wife team, Moses and Patricia Bebia-Mawa, who wanted to highlight deserving individuals and businesses that make a difference in the lives of people of African heritage around the world. And they have done just that through their media group which extends into television and publishing.

The award show also honoured Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, who began his career in the airline’s cargo department in 1985 and has led the airline to become a multiaward winning carrier that has been named “Best Airline in Africa” and “Best Staff Service in Africa”. Joel Dikgole, the CEO of South Africa’s Wholesale & Retail Sector Education & Training Authority was also honoured. He was given the leadership award for his work with the agency and for the role he played in implementing the International Leadership Development Program. Doctors Without Borders was awarded a humanitarian award for the group’s medical relief work.

As we close the chapter on another year, it was a privilege to be a part of an event that honoured those in the community who have accomplished so much on behalf of so many. In this issue of TABJ, we travel to Kenya and speak to James Mworia, one of the youngest leaders on the continent, who just in his mid-30s is a lawyer, an accountant and a CFA. Mworia is also the chief executive officer of Centum Investments, which we also feature in our business in action section. Mworia was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 youngest power men in Africa yet he is remarkably approachable and extremely humble. Rex Taylor writes about a corner of Kenya which has captured his heart and Sean Rogers writes about the aftermath of the Westgate terrorist attack. Staying in Kenya, we spotlight the country’s economic and social initiative, Kenya Vision 2030.

I hope you enjoy this issue and as always thank you to the TABJ team for their hard work. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you a safe and joyful time with your friends and family and wish you a 2014 full of adventure and happiness.

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November 13

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Karibu. Like you I watched in horror as the devastating terrorist attack at Westgate Mall unfolded on television and online. The four-day-long siege began on September 21st and claimed the lives of
at least 67 people.

The last time I was at Westgate Mall was in 2009. I was there on my honeymoon and having grown up in Kenya, I am still in disbelief with what happened. My friends are I were talking about how
when something this monumental happens, and please excuse the cliché; it becomes easy to draw conclusions and to paint a picture with one brush. There’s a sense that the attack will have bigger implications for Kenya’s economy and in turn it would affect the livelihoods of its people. Tourism numbers have already dropped since the attack.

Hopefully we won’t forget about what makes this country a wonderful place. Kenya continues to be one of the key countries that accept refugees in the East African region. And shortly before the attack,
two huge under water wells were discovered in the drought-plagued Turkana County in North Kenya. This is an astounding find that will change the lives of many. Scientists used satellite and geological
technology to find the wells and this water source could meet the country’s water needs for the next 70 years. How jaw-dropping is that?

In this issue of The African Business Journal, Rex Taylor writes a compelling first-piece account defending Kenya’s position and noted Industrialist and Philanthropist, Ivor Ichikowitz writes that in order for Africa to move forward, it needs innovation not trade or aid.

Our focus this month is on Durban, the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Sean Rogers at Know Africa tells us about the role of Durban as a port city and we connect with
the team at #ilovedurban to bring you a comprehensive list which includes ‘where to buy property’, ‘where to eat’ and ‘what to do’ when in Durban.

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October 13

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Karibu. It’s been called the perfect speech. This past August 28 marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Five decades later, while the world celebrated the power of Dr. King’s words, we also said silent prayers for Nelson Mandela. After spending three months in hospital, Tata Mandela is now resting at his home in Johannesburg. I call him Tata because I see him as a father figure. Tata will continue to receive treatment from his team of doctors and his house has been reconfigured to allow him to receive intensive care there. It’s said that his condition remains critical and is “at times unstable”.

Along with so many others, my heart aches at the thought of losing him, a person whom I’ve never met. As the civil unrest rages in Egypt and the US argues for war against Syria’s government, I can’t help to think that both Dr. King and Tata Mandela affected change through the power of their words. They were always advocating for dialogue and non-violence.

In this issue of TABJ, Nicola J. Dawson writes a moving tribute to Mandela. We also look back at the Toronto International Film Festival where the biopic, ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ premiered in September.

This month our cover story is on the thriving region of East Africa. I had the opportunity to speak to General Electric’s President and CEO, Jay Ireland, on GE’s expansion in Africa. Charity Kabango tells us why Rwanda is rising and Larry Seruma gives us an exceptional analysis on the East African economy. If, like me, you’ve ever been confused about the many regions of the continent, Sean Rogers gives us a crash course on the continent’s regional divisions and why East Africa has it all. Plus Marc Mcilhone at AfricanBrains tells us about an innovative company which is providing economical and energy solutions to communities in Uganda.

I hope you enjoy this issue of TABJ and many thanks to the team for their hard work. As always we’re curious about business and we’re also curious about you. Please get in touch if you have a story idea or would like to be featured.

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September 13

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KarIbu. Welcome to this month’s issue of TABJ where we focus on the great city of Cape Town. I am beyond excited to be joining the team at George Media. Everyone has been so kind to me, especially the design team who have patiently waited around while I put the last minute touches to the magazine. Thank you to Anastasia Tubanos for helping me with the transition. I’m sorry for clogging up your email and I hope to continue the wonderful work you’ve done here as Editor.

So who am I? The short story: I was born in Uganda but fled to Canada during the civil war that followed Idi Amin’s regime in the late 80s. Over the past 15 years, I’ve worked as a journalist across all platforms; in Television, Radio, Online and Print. I’ve been incredibly lucky and have done more than I ever imagined as a little girl, living in the refugee camp in Thika, Kenya.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a publication that’s centred around my biggest passion – of course after my two babies – Africa. I look forward to learning from the success stories that we feature and I am especially excited to collaborate with you, our readers. We are curious about business and we are curious about you, so please get in touch at [email protected]

I want to share something with you. I failed at starting a business once.

In 2008, I came up with an idea to do a TV show that would celebrate the faces and places of Africa. I wanted to do a show that focussed on the success stories coming out of the continent because I felt the media presented Africa as onesided. Africa has its problems but it is also filled with much beauty, hardworking people, highways and buildings. Yes, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I lived in a tree. Really.

So I shot a pilot called “T.I.A – This is Africa” but then after failing to raise money to fund it, I gave up. Just like that. Now I see other people doing exactly what I wanted to do all those years ago and I regret not having stuck with it. I guess that’s what business is all about. It’s hard and it’s frustrating. It’s competitive and it can be exhausting. But those who stick with it are the ones who are successful. And that’s what the people behind the profiles in this month’s issue have done.

In the past three weeks, I’ve had the chance to speak to a Physicist in Iceland, a South African freedom fighter who now runs her own construction company and a husband and wife team who run the continent’s largest flooring company. They all fought for what they love and their tenacity paid off. If you have a great idea, please see it through. After all, what do you have to lose?

I hope you enjoy the issue. Asante sana for the warm welcome.

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August 13

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KWAheri, sALA KAKuhLe,
GOOdBye.

It's with bittersweet excitement for me to announce that this is my last issue of The African Business Journal. Yes yes, it's true. The time has come for us to part ways. I have had an incredible journey getting to research, investigate and share stories about Africa's successes with you and I hope you've enjoyed the past year's issues as much as I have enjoyed producing them.

However, I'm excited to 'pass on the torch', as they say, to a very talented and wonderfully competent journalist with a plethora of experience in the region who will surely take TABJ to the next level, Nam Kiwanuka.

For my final issue, we decided to go Green and highlight some of the unique initiatives happening around the continent, starting with a massive development in Pretoria called Menlyn Maine, which is being dubbed as Africa's first green city.

We also chat with Jonni Katz, CEO and cofounder of ethical fashion brands Earthchild and Earthaddict. He talks about his company's leading role in inspiring a greener and more sustainable way of doing fashion, as well as his company's future goals of opening five more stores by the end of 2013. "I am passionate about proving that organic fashion can be successful in a wider market," he says.

Marc Mcilhone joins us this issue with his column African Brains, this time exploring a revolutionary idea from Rwanda called 'Charja Vuba,' which is not only offering locals a portable solarpowered charging station for cell phones, but it's also inspiring budding entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.

And Knowing Africa's Sean Rogers dives into the issue of protecting Africa's natural resources, whether gold and oil, or elephants and rhinos, to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for the booming continent for many generations to come.

As always, we invite you to engage with our conversations online on Twitter (@AfricanBJournal) or via email to our new editor Nam at [email protected]. If you know of an interesting initiative in Africa, a notable member of the business community we should highlight, or a company that deserves notice, please reach out. We want to tell your stories because knowledge shared is knowledge gained.

For one last time, thank you for your loyalty and feedback. I hope you enjoy this issue.

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July 13

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MurAhO!

To quote the interviewee of our cover story: “Africa will be the next birth place for innovation and the hub for world renowned tech companies.”

That was Claude Migisha, the general manager of kLab, a technology incubator for startups and entrepreneurs in Rwanda, and his statement embodies a sentiment that truly has been trending in Africa. Between international mobile giants like Orange and BlackBerry putting Africa near the top of their growth strategies; to the latest futuristic ICT hubs, like Kenya’s Konza Techno City and Ghana’s Hope City, emerging across the continent; to competitions like Orange African Social Venture Prize, DEMOAfrica and more increasingly encouraging Africans to create African solutions to African problems, Migisha isn’t alone in believing Africa has the potential to be a global leader in technology and innovation.

This month we look at Technology and Innovation on the continent and we truthfully just scratch the surface in this issue as there are so many inspiring stories to tell.

Our cover story comes from Justine Abigail Yu, a freelance writer and communications coordinator for Operation Groundswell, who was traveling through East Africa when she stopped by in kLabs to explore Kigali’s hottest tech hub.

And our TABJ Q&A profiles Jason J. Drew the co-founder of AgriProtein, which won top spot at the 2013 Innovation Prize for Africa. Now AgriProtein is REALLY an out-of-the-box concept, albeit a little stomach-turning. It uses waste organic matter and fly larvae to produce natural animal feed. The team received US $100,000 for its innovative approach to nutrient recycling and Drew took a moment to tell us, in his own words, why AgriProtein is an ideal and sustainable solution to boost much needed growth in Africa’s food industry.

As always, we invite you to engage with our conversations online on Twitter (@AfricanBJournal) or via email at [email protected] If you know of an interesting initiative in Africa, a notable member of the business community we should highlight, or a company that deserves notice, please reach out. We want to tell your stories because knowledge shared is knowledge gained.

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June 13

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HOWzit!

It seems as though it has become common rhetoric that Africa’s abundance of resources has been jump-starting the renewal of many other industries across the continent. Like a domino effect.

In our interview with Samantha Pickard for our exclusive feature on Terrapin’s 16th annual Africa Transport and Infrastructure Show coming up on June 24, she discussed a direct correlation between African governments realising “hmm, we have all these mineral resources that we should really capitalise on” and “oh wait, we need efficient transport systems to be able to do that. So…let’s prioritise that as a focus.”

As a result, in the last five years governments across the continent have been embarking on multi-billion dollar investments to upgrade their railways, ports and terminals. From South Africa’s US $12 billion rolling stock renewal and Transnet’s US $37.5 billion investment in its freight rail lines, to Kenya’s $23 billion port and oil refinery
project on its coastal Lamu region, Africa is now implementing some of the largest infrastructure plans in the world.

We caught up with Pickard to get a current pulse on the enthusiasm in the industry and a rundown of what’s expected at this year’s conference and exhibition.

And, our TABJ Q&A is back this issue and we dug into the psyche (at least a layer of it) of DEMO Africa’s executive producer, Harry Hare. If you aren’t familiar with the event, which would be shocking considering the buzz that came out of it last year from the likes of CNN, The Economist and other international media, it has quickly
become one of THE events to tap into Africa’s startup scene.

Last year, Hare and his team helped launch 40 startups, and a few of them have already raised more than US $8 million in investment and/or business deals. Note that the search is on for this year’s candidates, so if you know of any uniquely African startups, or you yourself are an entrepreneur, be sure to check it out.

As always, we invite you to engage with our conversations online on Twitter (@AfricanBJournal) or via email at [email protected] If you know of an interesting initiative in Africa, a notable member of the business community we should highlight, or a company that deserves notice, please reach out. We want to tell your stories because knowledge shared is knowledge gained.

View E-Mag | Africa in Action

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