Today, 25 May, is Africa Day which celebrates the journey of our continent and the friendship of all its peoples. Africa Day is an opportunity to celebrate where we have come from, who we are as Africans, and what a great future we have ahead of us.
In the past, we were referred to as the ‘Dark Continent,’ but today Africa is known throughout the world as a continent of great opportunity and even greater prospects. Monday’s celebration provides us with the opportunity to showcase the richness and diversity of African Culture in song, dance, music, food, clothing and arts.
Join us today on our social media platforms to celebrate our purpose ‘Africa is our home, we drive her growth.’ Join the conversation using #AfricaDay and let’s carry on playing our part in Africa’s success story.
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Africa, a melting pot of languages, cultures and beliefs, offers a largely untapped market for foreign and local businesses alike. Multinational African brands and global brands alike are all hoping to participate in this land of new opportunity. Yellowwood recently published a report African Attitudes; marketing beyond the numbers. The report examined findings and learnings about connecting with people on the continent that goes beyond GDP, growth rates, market penetration and average income.
It seems that Africa is perfectly suited to welcome foreign investment and industry growth, and it is. However, Africa is often misunderstood and portrayed in the most simplistic ways. To heighten chances of success, investors need to discard common prejudices and falsehoods that may alienate consumers, leading to brand failure.
Below, a few commonly held misconceptions are shattered:
The African consumer – African consumers are as diverse and complex as consumers in any other region, and the contexts that shape them are significantly different. For example, Kenya’s biggest trading partners are the UK and China, not Tanzania or Ghana, and so their products and ideas don’t necessarily travel well across Africa.
It’s just not a volume game – Many corporate businesses treat consumers as target segments from which value can be extracted. This view is staid and ineffective. Brands should collaborate with their target markets to find out what their pressing needs are and invest in social innovation that makes them materially better off while cementing the brand in their lives.
Middle class does not mean the same thing to everyone – “Middle class” is a relative term within a country based on income, lifestyle and assets. Brands that enter Africa with products and services geared for a Western middle class will struggle to find relevance.
New money is not all bling – Emerging middle classes across Africa are not all motivated by status. Community-mindedness persists even amongst the newly middle class; they don’t just want to look good, they want to contribute to the success of their community and even their country.
The consumer isn’t ignorant – Urban African consumers have modern, sophisticated tastes and in many ways are no different from urban consumers elsewhere. Marketers, investors and businesses hoping to make it in any of Africa’s markets need to listen to the people on the ground and act on their suggestions and advice.
The “outside-in” approach
Knowing your country of interest and connecting with your consumer will increase your chances of succeeding in Africa, but these are not the only hurdles. Other challenges include infrastructure, corruption in most markets, cultural and linguistic barriers, low marketing budgets, and low disposable income.
The above challenges make doing business in Africa difficult, but if you commit to an “outside-in” approach, prosperity will be more likely.
First world consumers want customisation and personalisation, but consumers in Africa require products and services that meet their real needs and are relevant to their culture. Marketers need to start with the African consumer and work backwards to the products, services and marketing.
Africa is a continent rich in valuable natural resources and wonderfully diverse populations that are striving towards security and affluence. Clearly, these markets are ripe for investment, but business success can only be achieved if consumer populations are respected as varied and distinct. It is vital to understand the context, points of view and needs of African consumers; only brands that understand African attitudes and values will achieve success and longevity.
For more information on the report African Attitudes; marketing beyond the numbers, visit
Gerhard Reinecke, Yellowwood
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You don’t need to be competing in the IRONMAN triathlon series to benefit from Raynard Tissink’s advice. His guidance will help you to move forward and achieve your own personal fitness goals.
Here are Raynard’s tips on how to get bike ready:
The bike leg of any IRONMAN® race is essentially where the race is “won or lost”. Spend too much energy on the bike, and even the strongest runners will be reduced to walking on the marathon, so pace is critical. There are many other factors that can influence your cycle, here are a few tips to conserve energy on race day:
• The majority of your cycling training should be aerobically based, as this is where you will spend more than 90% of your ride. Some interval sessions or time trials that get the heart rate into the anaerobic zone for periods of 5 -20 minutes. This will further help your body cope with the strenuous swim to bike transition as this is where the heart rate is at its highest. If your body is able to cope with this higher than normal intensity for 20 minutes, it gives you enough time to settle down after the swim and bring your heart rate back down.
• Comfort on the bike is extremely important. Your setup can be as aerodynamic as you like, but if you can’t stay in that position for the majority of the 180km, it’s worthless. Try to do the majority of your cycling in the aero position, so that you get used to this position. My advice is to visit a reputable Tri-shop to help you with a more comfortable and more aerodynamic bike fit.
• Sticking to a slower, more controlled cadence can save a lot of energy and will keep your heart rate lower for the longest discipline of the race. Many people want to ride like cyclists at 100rpm, but remember, they don’t have to run afterwards, and they also spend countless more hours on their bikes refining this skill. As triathletes, you are better off trying to ride at a cadence that closely simulates your running cadence, for the average person that would be between 80 - 90rpm, and for stronger cyclists even lower. Having said that, your muscles need to be conditioned to pushing the bigger gears at a slower RPM, so the correct training and preparation comes into play again. Riding hills in a big gear and trying to improve your torque will help increase your power and ultimately your bike splits.
• Have a nutrition plan that you can stick to. The bike leg is the only time you’ll be able to get real nutrition in, as it’s a lot harder to “eat” anything on the run. Have some solid foods with you, but try to consume them in the first 120km. The longer the race goes on, the less you’ll feel like eating, as the heart is pumping all the blood to your working limbs. Eating solid foods requires the stomach to draw blood to the stomach, so digestion becomes difficult, and that’s when gels become crucial.
I hope these tips are beneficial for your training and prepare you for the Standard Bank IRONMAN® triathlons; and remember to Never Stop Moving Forward in your training.
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Most athletes have been enjoying some rest and recovery since the Standard Bank IRONMAN event but the new triathlon season is fast approaching with the new Durban 70.3 event less than 3 months away on August 2 nd . The 5150 at Bela-Bela follows shortly afterwards on August 22 nd , so now is the time to get back onto a structured and consistent training program.
There are also many newbies out there who are desperate to get involved in the sport but starting off in the triathlon world can be quite intimidating. If you are a beginner and have had some experience in swimming, cycling or running, the appeal of the multi-disciplined triathlon event is a natural progression and easily achievable.
You just need to take that first step.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so once you’ve plucked up the courage to race a triathlon, your first step should be to determine your goals and decide which triathlon distance you would like to train for.
With the 5150 events, you can start by taking part in a relay event – so just do the swim, the bike or the run leg. This is a great introduction to the sport as it is easily achievable. You can then progress to a Sprint distance (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), and then onto the full 5150 distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run).
Once you’ve completed a 5150 distance event, you can consider the Standard Bank 70.3 Durban or East London event (1900m swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run) and ultimately the iconic IRONMAN South Africa event (3800m swim, 180km bike, 42.2krun).
Leading up to race day make sure that you are sufficiently prepared for your first event so that you finish excited and wanting more. But be realistic from the outset about how much time you have to devote to your training. Consider your family and work commitments. Think about the logistics (distances and extra time taken travelling to and from the pool, gym, track, races etc.) as well as the added expenses (equipment, race entries).
You also need to assess your current fitness levels and your experience in each of the specific disciplines. Your training programme should contain sessions that are evenly spaced out and aim to gradually build your endurance, and later on speed, in all 3 disciplines. The cumulative effect of consistent training over time is how progress is made whether you’re a beginner or an elite level athlete. There is no short cut to getting fitter or faster. Be sure to follow your programme consistently as this is the key to successful training.
It’s always easy starting out on the programme – as you have new goals, high energy levels and good intentions but as the weeks pass fatigue will set in and your enthusiasm will wane. Training for a triathlon is hard - harder than any single disciplined sport because of the time needed to train for all 3 disciplines. Expect a roller coaster ride with periods of feeling strong and periods of exhaustion.
Try convince a friend to join you as a training partner or find a group to train with. It’s always easier to stay motivated if you know other athletes are joining you. Group camaraderie and encouragement also helps with motivation and once you have completed one event, and cheered your friends over the line, you will be addicted to the sport.
Crossing that finish line in your first triathlon will be one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life and one that will keep you Moving Forward to the next exciting event.
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Over the past ten years Standard Bank Group has accelerated the process of transformation through its BEE scheme, Tutuwa. The scheme has added more than R10.7 billion in wealth to participating individuals, small businesses, communities and strategic partners.
Standard Bank Group believes that the Tutuwa scheme proactively supports economic transformation, making a real difference to the lives of historically disadvantaged people.,
In 2004 when the scheme was implemented, Tutuwa was worth R4.2bn with funding of just over R4bn. Upon maturity of the scheme, more than R10.7 billion of wealth has been created for participants in the scheme, allowing them to reinvest this value into the future of their families, their businesses and the economy of South Africa.
Beneficiaries of the scheme comprise more than 6 100 current and past Standard Bank Group employees, two broad-based strategic partners, 261 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and a community foundation.
The beneficiaries of the Tutuwa Managers' Trusts have received cash distributions of R900 million over the life of the scheme; their shares were worth R3.1 billion after debt as at 31 December 2014.
In 2006, 8.9 million ordinary Standard Bank shares were conditionally transferred to 250 qualifying black SMMEs. A number of additional SMMEs have been incorporated into the scheme since then, taking the total to 261. Collectively, these firms have received cash distributions of R260 million during their participation in the scheme, providing these firms with a buffer against the economic volatility experienced in recent times. This component of the scheme is worth nearly R1.1 billion after debt and the SMMEs have the option of retaining their shares or receiving cash, after debt.
While Standard Bank Group will continue its transformation journey both in terms of the other pillars of the financial sector scorecard and more generally, we believe we have achieved the objective of transferring real wealth and income to black hands.
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Art remains a strong thread of the African culture and is an expression of African stories and narrative.
Supporting the arts, acts as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of locally managed and sustainable contemporary art expressions in Africa.
One example is the recent East African Encounters exhibition, sponsored by Kenya’s CfC Stanbic Bank, featuring over 50 pieces of work from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Artists Maina Mbuthia garnered particularly praise for her contribution to the exhibition: inspired cave paintings at Kakapel at Mt Elgon, Kenya. Other notable pieces forming part of the exhibition were Vita Malulu’s plastic and wire sculpture that depicted the irony of corruption in Africa.
East Africa has extraordinary talent and exhibitions play an important role in bringing them to light. CfC Stanbic Bank, a member of Standard Bank Group, is honoured to be a part of this unique celebration of East African art.
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For most people in Africa, World Malaria Day on 25 April is a day to remind the world of the impact that this killer disease has on this continent. The aim of the day is to boost awareness and curb the spread of the mosquito-borne infectious disease, which causes fever, headaches and, in severe cases, can lead to coma or death.
On World Malaria Day 2015, the World Health Organization is calling for high-level commitment to the vision of a world free of malaria. The vision is to reduce malaria cases and deaths by 90% by 2030 from current levels. Four countries have been certified free of malaria in the last decade and the post-2015 strategy sets the goal of eliminating the disease from a further 35 countries by 2030.
In 2013, there were 198-million cases, and 584 000 deaths from malaria
3.2-billion (half of the world population) are at risk
In 2014, 97 countries had on-going malaria transmission
The global malaria mortality rate was reduced by 47% in 2000 - 13, and an estimated 4.2-million lives were saved as a result of a scale-up of malaria interventions
US$5.1-billion is needed every year, double the funding available
Malaria costs US$12-billion per year in direct losses
Economic cost - lost 1.3% of GDP per year for Africa.
Get more information about the fight against malaria go to http://www.who.int/malaria/en/ .
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World Book Day on 23 April is a symbolic date for world literature, encouraging more people to benefit from literacy and helping to build a better future through education.
Over the last hundred years African writers have shared their lives, experiences, culture, history and myth with the world.
To celebrate the achievements of African writers on World Book Day, we put together a list (in no particular order) of a few books by some of the many great African authors from the past century that every person passionate about Africa should read.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)
Set in Nigeria at the turn of the 19th century, this is a heart-breaking Modern Greek tragedy in which a flawed hero finds himself at odds with the rapidly changing world, a classic modern African novel.
Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz (1981)
Originally serialised in a Cairo newspaper, Children of Gebelawi is an allegory for the religious history of the Jews, the Muslims and the Christians set in an alleyway in Cairo. It earned Mahfouz the Nobel Prize and an assassination attempt.
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih (1966)
Beautifully rendered in lush poetic language, Salih’s story of a man returning to his Sudanese village from England is a bleak meditation on cross-cultural misunderstandings, as well as the confusions and contradictions within the human heart.
Disgrace by JM Coetzee (1999)
Winner of the Booker Prize and later awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Coetzee’s novel follows a disgraced university lecturer, David Lurie, who is forced out of his post after an affair who is beginning to come to terms with his powerlessness. Bleak and powerful, with just a hint of the possibility of redemption.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)
Another Nigerian modern classic, set before and during the Biafran War in the late 1960s. Adichie’s novel won the Orange Prize for fiction in 2007. It describes the impact of a civil war on ordinary people and in its moral seriousness – it acts almost as a bookend to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
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Are you inquisitive and often find yourself wondering why people do certain things or choose certain products over others? Can you easily adapt to different situations and cultures and have a keen eye for detail? Then a career in market research at Standard Bank Group could be the right job for you.
At Standard Bank Group, our market researchers are responsible for bringing the voice of the customer in all our markets into the organisation. You will help the business get a good understanding of who our clients are and their needs and get insight into our market and how it’s changing and evolving.
You will be at the cutting edge of research in the exciting world of finance to help the bank during the product conceptualisation and development phase. With our footprint across Africa, you will have the opportunity to explore various countries and cultures as you delve further into what makes our customers tick and how we can improve our products and services for them.
If this sounds like your dream job, visit our careers site at http://bit.ly/1G6LJna to apply.
Alternatively, to find out more about what we do, please visit www.standardbank.com/careers.
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Maya Angelou, author and poet, said: “Any book that helps a child form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continued needs, is good for him”.
With this in mind, Standard Bank Group donated “edutainers” to five schools in different parts of South Africa. This week we visited Masifunde Day Care Centre in Diphini Location in Mooiplaas, Eastern Cape provine, to hand over one of the edutainers
Edutainers, which is what containers repurposed as classrooms are being called, are fulfilling a vital part in many areas of South Africa where facilities are lacking. For many learners edutainers have moved the classroom from under a shed or tree into a more comfortable environment.
The creation of these much-needed learning facilities are an expression of Standard Bank Group’s commitment to the development of future talent in South Africa.
There are 45 children at Masifunde Day Care Centre who will reap the benefits of the edutainer. The centre’s governing body expressed hope that the edutainer would be a stepping stone in the journey of education for the children of the area and that one day it would allow them the opportunity to go to university.
The other edutainers donated by Standard Bank Group went to: Masifunde Day Care Centre in Diphini Location in Mooiplaas, Eastern Cape province; Monde Day Care Centre in Nxarhuni, Eastern Cape province; and Nowaka ECD Centre in AmaJingqi, near Willowvale in Eastern Cape province. The fifth is to be used as a library at the Three2Six School in Observatory, Johannesburg, Gauteng province.
The latest deliveries have brought the number of The Bright Kid Foundation edutainers throughout South Africa to a massive 244 classrooms – enough to accommodate over 6 000 children. The transformation of the containers to edutainers is done to a very high standard: they are insulated against heat and cold, have electric light and plug points, have fire extinguishers, and come complete with enough educational toys, furniture and equipment to accommodate 25 young learners at a time.
The edutainers were installed at the schools in partnership with The Bright Kid Foundation, a South African non-profit organisation that specialises in transforming containers into bright, airy, safe, and exciting places of learning.
This donation formed part of Standard Bank Group’s celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa.
For more on Standard Bank Group’s work in communities, see www.standardbank.com/sustainability. See www.brightkidfoundation.co.za for more on these edutainers.
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The Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon is making its way to Durban for the first time ever on 2 August 2015 and it’s creating quite a stir on the local triathlon scene. With entries fast approaching a sell-out, the official race route has been a well-guarded secret – until now.
The 1.9km swim, 90.1km bike and 21.1km run will showcase the best elements of the East Coast City allowing athletes to take in the sights of the breath-taking Durban coastline while on a course that is considered fast and highly competitive.
We will be fully involved in taking this 70.3 Durban event to new heights and supporting IRONMAN® as well as its athletes and supporters. We aim to Never Stop Moving Forward.
For more information about our sponsorship of IRONMAN please visit www.standardbank.co.za/ironman.
For more information on the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 Durban race please visit www.ironman.com/durban70.3 .
For more information on the route please visit http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/emea/ironman-70.3/durban/course.aspx#axzz3XGbaKqcl .
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Peter Schlebusch, Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank Group, is excited about the future of banking and how banks are needing to change to meet the expectations of their customers.
Retail banking is both a scale and an information business, which are ingredients that successful technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple possess in abundance.
The business models of e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba also give them unique insights into the behaviour of their global customer bases, which elevates them potentially into the rather unexpected role of financial service providers.
Consider this example: when Alibaba launched its Yu'e Bao money market fund in 2013, it attracted more than $87-billion in deposits in its first nine months of existence. Remarkably, this catapulted it to the position of the fourth-largest money market fund in the world.
Fellow Chinese tech behemoths Tencent and Baidu have followed Alibaba's lead by launching their own money market funds, offering interest rates of between 6% and 8% - way higher than the roughly 3.4% offered by most Chinese banks. Alibaba allows instant access to funds, circumventing the liquidity bugbear often associated with money market offerings.
Simply put, they are offering customers the financial solutions they want in a highly accessible format.
Then there is the risk from Mark Zuckerberg's phenomenally successful Facebook. Last year, Facebook applied for a banking licence in Ireland, a move that could give it the ability to process payments and money transfers across Europe. In March, Facebook enabled a person-to-person remittance on its platform for US-based customers.
This makes sense: the unique insight that Facebook has into the personal lives of its 1.4billion global users makes it a potentially massive rival to banks, which continue to rely on traditional customer service models.
Many tech giants and retailers are already leveraging the power of their enormous customer databases in providing mobile wallets and integrated payment services to rival those of banks. Their insight into customer behaviour is likely to prove invaluable when making risk-based decisions.
Already, Starbucks conducts 16% of its US transactions through its mobile payment app. This makes it the most used digital payment platform in the US, with more than sixmillion mobile payment transactions per week through its own app.
Apple Pay is another mobile payment systems that is fast gaining traction and Google is seeking to similarly be involved in payments.
Do not forget the old stalwart PayPal or, closer to home, M-Pesa, which has revolutionised Kenya's payment system.
It is no surprise, then, that technology researcher Gartner Inc believes that global mobile payments will reach $721.4-billion by 2017 - a huge potential market.
Transacting is going mobile and if banks do not keep pace with this tsunami of change, they will be left behind. The world is already littered with the names of companies that have been consigned to the scrapheap of history because they failed to keep pace with changing customer expectations.
Only about a quarter of the top 100 firms from 1920 are still in existence. Today, three of the four largest firms in the world by market capitalisation are tech firms: Apple, Google and Microsoft.
The challenge for the banks is that the likes of Starbucks and Alibaba have been quicker to adapt to customer expectations than the vast majority of banks.
The good news, though, is that it has never been more exciting to be in the banking industry. The rate and scale of innovation sweeping the sector is simply breathtaking and, fortunately, it provides as much opportunity as it does challenges for banks.
At Standard Bank, we have invested heavily in developing more customer-friendly user interfaces and online banking platforms.
In places such as Angola and Nigeria, we believe this will give us a distinct advantage, considering we have relatively low penetration in those countries, of around 1% and 4%.
Technology, we believe, will set us apart from our competitors in these markets. These technology platforms must be easy to use, they must provide instant access, and they should allow customers to use them anywhere, any time, in real time.
This fits into the global trend towards remote payments, rather than people using physical cash.
In the UK, 71% of people prefer using credit cards to cash - half of the people polled said they would rather swipe their credit card than walk more than 100m to an ATM. A quarter of Britons refuse to buy from businesses that are unable to process card transactions.
In Sweden, a MasterCard study showed that only 3% of transactions involve cash. In fact, many Swedish banks no longer handle any cash.
In South Africa, we see this shift to a cashless society too, so we are introducing payment solutions to cater for this.
The message is clear: the future of banking is digital - and the future has already arrived.
The article was first published in Sunday Times in South Africa on 12 April 2015.
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Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank, recentlly sat down with Jeremy Maggs from the Redzone Channel to chat about our involvement in IRONMAN. She talks about what the event means to us and explains how the sponsorship has progressed thus far.
To find out more about IRONMAN visit www.standardbank.co.za/ironman
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In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of digital marketing, where the world keeps getting smaller and digital platforms are a dominant source of communication and information, Standard Bank Group is a competitive and dynamic player at the forefront of new technologies.
Our digital marketing team is passionate about people with inquisitive and curious minds, and grow its people within a hands-on learning environment that continually invests in new technologies. We encourage bold ideas and are inspired by daring individuals that are immersed in innovation, creativity and forward thinking.
Whether your interests lie in online and mobile marketing, social media and content management, or you’re excited by the challenge of web development or data analytics, policy making and keeping up with digital trends, join us and move your career forward at a company that constantly revolutionises banking.
We live in exciting times, with everything at your fingertips with the click of the button. There has never been a more exciting time to be in banking, especially at Standard Bank Group.
Visit our careers site at www.standardbank.com/careers to browse for jobs and upload your CV or to find out more about what we do.
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Standard Bank Group has been in Mozambique for a very memorable 120 years. We helped the country build from almost nothing, and have been by her people’s side for many milestones ever since.
Watch this clip and take a walk down memory lane with us.
Read more about our personal and business banking offering at http://www.standardbank.co.mz/en.
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What does Africa know about moving forward? More than anyone else in the world. There is an energy, a driving force, that is moving the continent forward.
And what does Standard Bank Group know about moving Africa forward? More than anyone else in the world. We see 60% of the
earth’s arable land, ready to sow; the potential in having the largest youth population in the world by 2050; and the phenominal increase in middle-class households due to a rising GDP.
Watch this clip to get an insight into Standard Bank Group’s vision for Africa.
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At Standard Bank Group we take pride in our company’s role in the growth of Africa for over 152 years. We currently operate in 20 countries on the continent.
While you’ll also find us in 12 countries outside of Africa, we are committed to this continent and her people.
Watch this clip to get an insight to Standard Bank Group’s legacy and where we’re heading.
You may also read more bout us at www.standardbank.com .
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We don’t stop at just banking, because you don’t stop at just dreaming.
At Standard Bank Group we take pride in our company’s role in the growth of Africa for over 152 years.
We continue to enable businesses, empower young minds, and make dreams reality: from business partnerships and banking solutions that enhance your lifestyle; to payment methods that suit your needs.
We are moving Africa forward by driving her growth.
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Standard Bank Group is an Africa-based financial service provider with a history spanning more than 152 years. We currently operate in 20 countries on the African continent, including South Africa, as well as in other selected emerging markets. You will also find Standard Bank Group in 12 countries outside of Africa. In some countries we operate under the name Stanbic Bank.
Africa is our home and we are committed to driving her growth. We aim to be the leading financial services organisation in, for and across Africa, delivering exceptional client experiences and superior value.
At Standard Bank Group we focus on connecting other selected emerging markets to Africa and to each other, applying our sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, globally. Our key differentiator is people who are passionate about our strategy, wherever in the world they are based.
Our clients (be they individuals, small business, corporates or governments) benefit from our knowledge and expertise in emerging markets, coupled with our global outlook.
With our passion for economics, finance, risk management, investments, emerging markets, savings, business trends and offshore investments, Standard Bank Group is determined to help you reach your potential as you move towards excellence, growth and happiness.
We will help you make the right connections, while moving you from ordinary to extraordinary.
Meanwhile, browse our other blogs where we share snippets relating to things that matter in Africa and its people. You'll also get a glimpse into how we are contributing to moving Africa forward. For more about what we offer our clients and shareholders, go to www.standardbank.com.
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The Stanbic Ghana Jazz Festival in Accra was headlined by the legendary guitarist and Grammy Award winner Earl Klugh. Jazz is one of the select sponsorships that Standard Bank Group is involved in in Africa.
We also host jazz events in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia. This was the first jazz event we hosted in Ghana under the auspices of Stanbic Bank in Ghana.
Stanbic Bank Ghana is a member of Standard Bank Group: http://www.stanbicbank.com.gh .
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As part of its commitment to supporting innovation that drives entrepreneurship in Africa, Standard Bank sponsored the Festival of Entrepreneurship held during Global Entrepreneurship Week (16-21 November) in the Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg. Here are the highlights from the start-up celebration themed ‘Collaboration is the New Innovation’.
1. Getting to grips with Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP)
Day one introduced entrepreneurs to the GEP. Founded in 2005, its mandate from Government is to provide financial support, technical support and skills development to Gauteng-based SMMEs. GEPs Nomonde Zulu expanded on their growth finance programme, giving new hope to budding entrepreneurs in need of funding.
2. Google Hangout with the Youth Enterprising People (YEP) from the UK
On day two of the Festival, participants were able to connect with YEP – the UK’s version of hosts The Hookup Dinner, which targets young people between four and 19 years old – because you’re never too young to start a business. One of YEP’s most inspiring ventures is their fully-functional Youth Bank, which they run and fund themselves. Through a youth board, they are accountable to shareholders and are able to give loans to start-ups.
3. Jayshree Naidoo talks ‘Innovation Incubation for Entrepreneurs’ Innovation thought leader and champion Jayshree Naidoo, who sits on Standard Bank South Africa's Innovation Capability Team, unleashed her passion for innovation and incubation, reminding entrepreneurs that they must bring more than ideas to funders – they must use creativity to stand out from the crowd. And her insights did not disappoint: ‘An incubator is not just a physical space. It's a way of thinking,’ she proclaimed.http://bit.ly/1puG73X
4. How to spot an entrepreneur
‘The world doesn’t need any more good ideas – the world needs people who take action,’ said Paul Steenkamp – Head of Innovation Capability at Standard Bank. His no-nonsense guide to being and indeed spotting an entrepreneur hushed any excuse one might have for pursing the rocky road of entrepreneurship: ‘As Afrikaners say: “a boer maak a plan”, everything that you have, is everything that you need.’
5. Finding synergies between franchise development and enterprise development
If anyone knows the challenges of starting a small business, it’s Simone Cooper, Head of Enterprise Development and Franchising at Standard Bank. Among the reasons so many fail, she said in her presentation on day five of the Festival, are starting a business to get rich, ignoring changes in market environment, poor financial management and ineffective sales and marketing. Franchisees are able skip many of these hurdles thanks to the assistance, training, proven business models and joint advertising and promotion. Simone’s parting shot was to make sure you choose your franchise concept wisely and receive ongoing support.
6. Entrepreneurs get pitch perfect.
More than a networking event, the Festival of Entrepreneurship provided a real platform for entrepreneurs and SMEs to connect with corporates and investors and learn how to take their start-ups to the next level. One of the best illustrations of this was the daily Just Pitch 180 competition. Entrants had just 180 seconds to make their pitch to live panel of experts made up of Jayshree Naidoo, Philisiwe Twala (Gauteng Enterprise Propeller CEO), Lumko Mhlahlo (GIBS Enterprise Development Manager), Polo Radebe (Dragon Investor & IDF Managers co-founder) and Mojalefe Mohoto (Deputy Director General Department of Small Business Development). Receiving instant feedback from the judges may have been priceless but that doesn’t mean the winners walked away empty handed. In first place chef Sbu Xaba from Babooshka Hospitality won a design voucher from Standard Bank to the value of R40 000.00 and a Standard Bank Business account with R10 000.00 cash. Shermina Motlhasedi from Sher1 Accessories & Gifts came in second, and was awarded a free business development assessment from the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller. And Val Ezeani fromRadiovybe.com was awarded third place and exclusive GIBS Networking sessions.
The Festival of Entrepreneurship – powered by Standard Bank was jam packed with innovation, insights and inspiration not only for entrepreneurs but for the organisations looking to invest in them.
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The National Arts Festival has passed the halfway mark. Yes, this means that Festival goers still have another four days to immerse themselves in and absorb art of the highest echelons of South Africa’s artistic capacity. On the jazz side of things, however, this specific point in the Arts Festival is a significant landmark, as it signals the completion of yet another highly successful Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival.
Although we are still eagerly awaiting the appearances of South African jazz giants Hugh Masekela and Lira, as well as the Kyle Shepherd (Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2014) Trio, the journey has ended for the young stars of the National Youth Jazz Festival. The conclusion of their career inspiring five days in Grahamstown did not arrive without a climatic bang.
We need only cast our minds back to day one of the National Youth Jazz Festival to recall that more than 300 young jazz musicians auditioned to try gain a spot in one of two elite youth bands, namely the National Schools’ Big Band and the National Youth Jazz Band. Only four days later these very bands would perform concerts resembling those of experienced, professional bands – not bands where the conductor has to think twice before announcing the name of a player.
How did they manage to pull of such a feat? Well, apart from the fact that the musicians in these two bands are simply brilliant for their age, intensive rehearsing took place in the four days leading up to their performances - and what makes this particular jazz festival unique, is that much of this preparation was facilitated and driven by current jazz stars.
Almost sixty professional musicians were involved with the teaching and lecturing of specific electives at the National Youth Jazz Festival. Some of these electives included ‘Intro to Jazz Sax’ with Buddy Wells, ‘Piano Workshop’ with Afrika Mkhize, ‘Jazz Choir’ with Babalwa Mpulu and ‘Hip Hop for Social Change’ with South African hip hop artist Jitsvinger. With such expert facilitation it is no surprise that the National Schools’ Big Band and National Youth Jazz Band wowed their audiences at the Diocesan School for Girls on Monday night.
It is with no doubt that this year’s National Youth Jazz Festival was a roaring success. Its biggest achievement was not that it necessarily taught the students new things, but that it inspired in them a motivation to work hard towards achieving a desired level. Being able to walk and talk with jazz giants has allowed these young artists to see themselves in those very positions in years to come – positions that are not out of reach, but very much attainable.
Written by Denzil de Klerk Follow him on Twitter: @DenzDK
For more information about Standard Bank Arts, click here.
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On July 11th, Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2012 Bailey Snyman and Standard Bank Ovation Award 2011 winner Nicola Haskins present: If These Bodies Could Speak - a multi award winning matchbox dance theatre piece. Exploring the struggles of a relationship through instinctual elements, If These Bodies Could Speak is an elegantly and emotionally choreographed piece about a couple, any couple, who argue, fight, lose themselves and each other but eventually, regain the love they once had for each other.
Bailey Snyman's dance solo speaks volumes as we engage with what overcoming darkness within a relationship is all about. This was perfectly demonstrated by Synman's tightly controlled but distorted movements on finding the light within yourself, and your own physiology. Nicola Haskins comes in with her own solo, a twirl of her body - a metaphor for the anguish that is within her body, an anguish that resonates in her relationship. Bailey and Haskins, accompanied by strong musical vocals, own the stage as they move as one, truly making magic on stage.
Later, multi-award winning South African vocalist, Lira took to stage in what was easily one of the best performances of the National Arts Festival. Returning to South Africa after her USA tour - just three days before she took to stage, Lira explains that she hadn't performed in Grahamstown in 7 years. That 7 years of waiting for her South African audiences was well worth the wait as Lira electrified the stage singing classics from her 2009 album, Soul In Mind.
Lira, who has come a long way as female vocalist in South African music trio Triple 9, really connected with the audience explaining for the first time what inspired songs Hamba and Believer. Lira, who says she has watched and learnt from the mistakes of those around says Hamba is about getting rid of the darkness we accumulate in our relationships, friendships and lives in general. Hamba was inspired by watching her two close friends stay in relationships that no longer served them. What came out of that, is one of the most moving songs.
One of the highlights of the night is when Lira describes growing up in an apartheid past - a past where music was the only escape for those who lived through those senseless times. This is when Lira's love for music was fostered. She learnt that music could be freeing, and now that she is free, from the chains of an apartheid past, she uses music to bring endless endless joy.
After an hour long set, Lira bowed to a full house on its feet. But, after one audience cried "Encore!", Lira came back to stage - performing classic tributes to the late Miriam Makeba and her own feel good songs for 45 minutes! This, despite her having a consecutive performance just 2 hours later. It's safe to say, Lira continues to rise again, as one of our best vocalists!
Written by Thembelihle Ngcai
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Embodying Standard Bank’s commitment to bring innovative solutions to market, is the PlayRoom – a 1927 sq. brand new creative hub in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Opening its doors in January 2015, the space boasts clean lines, bright colours and modern, playful design. The very opposite of a corporate environment, The PlayRoom was created to bring people together to solve real-life customer challenges through collaborative innovation.
The best ideas rarely come from behind a desk or an imposing meeting room. In fact, entrepreneurs often credit their ‘eureka moments’ to collaboration or being frustrated by problem that just won’t go away.
The innovation hub is a response to constant change and challenges, spurred by technology. Instead of a Brains Trust solving problems behind closed doors, Standard Bank customers, employees and start-ups are invited to brainstorm, research and test solutions together.
The PlayRoom consists of state-of-the-art testing facilities and free-thinking rooms that allow customers to trial new innovations and provide instant feedback. This has already been used to test Standard Bank South Africa’s new generation internet banking site, launching soon.
Twenty fourteen was a year of innovation for Standard Bank, which launched South African innovations SnapScan and MasterPass – both apps that take the hassle out of shopping – offline and online. The PlayRoom promises to unearth more life changing developments that use technology to make life simpler – not more complicated.
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As the fireworks celebrate yet another successful National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, what better time to reminisce about the 11 days of AMAZING the NAF has once again, produced?
I ended off my time at the NAF with a trip to the incredible - albeit expensive- flea market, Village Green, but first - a Jahmil X.T. Qubeka film.
Critically acclaimed 2010 film by young film director, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka titled A Small Town Called Descent screened at Olive Schreiner Hall on the 11 July. Based on true events relating to the 2008 South African xenophobic attacks, Jacob Zuma's rape allegations, national South African Police Service Commissioner Jackie Selebi's indictments and the disbandment of special crime unit, The Scorpions, this film was thought-provoking and troubling. Without director Qubeka, who was stuck in New York City at the time, to explain in detail what inspired him to speak about and against the 2008 events - the audience was at its own devices to take, and not take what they wanted to from the film.
Against the backdrop of media footage surrounding the allegations against Jacob Zuma, A Small Town Called Descent follows three Scorpion officers - the knights in shining suits, always ready to save the day - who have come to Descent to investigate the brutal murder of Zimbabwean Patrick Masiwiri. The lies and half-truths told by community members of this isolated town, soon unravel and we discover that the killing of Masiwiri is only the tip of the iceberg. What is even more shattering is that the three saviours, are not as innocent as they seem.
Debutant director Qubeka tackles the plagues to South Africa's prosperity - xenophobia, poverty, violence, corruption and rape. In as much as he doesn't succeed in exploring the cultural nuances that perpetuate the condition of South Africa in 2008, Qubeka does succeed in making South African audiences critical of our ignorance during a time of great tragedy.
The film centers around a young girl who the locals say was raped by two Zimbabwean men. As a consequence, the community took justice into their own hands and necklaced one of the men, while beating the other into a coma. The involvement of the South African Police Service is brought into question, not as perpetrators, but as silent accomplices to what really took place - unfortunately a reality in contemporary South Africa. The recent Marikana Massacre comes into mind, despite the film dating back to 2010.
There is an effortless way in which Qubeka raises local issues in the film to a national level, by underpinning Jacob Zuma's corruption and rape charges against which the more complex and dramatic political dynamics unfold. A Small Town Called Descent ends with the death or imprisonment of the perpetrators involved in the heinous crime, but tragically also with the death of the surviving Zimbabwean. Starring Vusi Kunene, Hlubi Mboya, Fana Moekoena, Paul Buckby, and more extraordinary actors, A Small Town Called Descent, for it's analytical storytelling, melancholy and drama, is a film worth a few watches. If for nothing else, but to see just how terrifyingly indistinguishable the state of South Africa in 2008 is to our present times.
Written by Thembelihle Ngcai
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With the 40th annual National Arts Festival at an end, life in G-town is slowly returning to normal. As festival goers return home, they’ll no doubt still have plenty to brag about when it comes to their 11-day experience of one of the most iconic celebrations of the arts.
If you couldn't make it in 2014 and what with all the rave reviews of performances and exhibitions based at this year’s event, you’ll certainly want to make a plan for next year’s event. Here’s 6 memorable highlights from the 2014 National Arts Festival:
• Standard Bank National Jazz Festival which includes the National Youth Jazz Festival is a showcase of local and international jazz talents. International headliner and Grammy award winner Maria Schneider graced the festival stage for the first time to deafening applause. While our legendary Hugh Masakela, didn’t disappoint the jazz loving audiences. Let’s not forget big names like Louis Moholo-Moholo as well as the notable talents and Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners like Tutu Puoane (2004), Mark Fransman (2008), Shane Cooper (2013) and Kyle Shepherd (2014) who also wowed crowds with their skills.
• Lira, SA’s fave multi-platinum award winning singer delivered a thrilling performance to fans in her hour long set. This was her first performance at the festival in seven years. She even treated fans to an encore that lasted 45mins! The musical feast continued with the mesmerising and toe-tapping rendition by vocalists like Gloria Bosman, Melanie Scholtz and Zanne Stapelberg. The Village Green, the street market of the fest also played hosted to daily live band performances. One such band, worthy of mention was the Nomadic Orchestra with their mix of Balkan and jazz.
• Hassan and Husain Essop's art exhibition entitled Unrest won them the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art. Poignant photographs depicting the senselessness of violence and gangsterism in daily life was the theme of the exhibition hosted by the twin brothers from Cape Town. It made a powerful impact on audiences who were left questioning whether enough was being done in curbing such violence in society.
• Cargo: Precious, a theatrical dance piece detailing Saartjie Baartman’s sea voyage to Europe in the 19th Century, was well received at the festival. Saartjie was regarded as a “freak show” and put on exhibit in Europe because of her unusual physical characteristics. The performance used sheets as props (to depict the movement of the sea )along with music and sound effects to set the scene for this moving performance that got crowds up on their feet at the end. If These Bodies Could Speak, a piece exploring how bodies connect through dance, was a must-see at the festival. Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2012 Bailey Snyman and Standard Bank Ovation Award 2011 winner Nicola Haskins were the choreographers of this exceptional dance performance.
• Ubu and the Truth Commission offered a multimedia theatrical piece themed on accounts of the apartheid regime. The actors and puppets by the Handspring Puppet Company mixed well together to bring this piece to life exploring the violence and absurdities of SA’s apartheid past.
• The Standard Bank Tuk-Tuks were no doubt a godsend to festival goers trying to get from venue to venue. There was an added bonus to this service especially if you were a Standard Bank cardholder. Standard Bank cardholders got to ride for free!
From jazz, theatre, dance, performance art to visual art, the festival is a feast for the eyes, ears, if not the soul. It may be goodbye to the 2014 National Arts Festival but there is plenty excitement for the next one! See you in 2015.
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Standard Bank Group has finalised the sale of a controlling stake in our global markets business outside of Africa to our long-standing strategic partner, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC). This entails us having sold ICBC a 60% stake in Standard Bank Plc, which is a London-based operation.
The name of the joint venture will be changed to reflect its joint ownership after necessary approvals are obtained.
The new joint venture, with operations in London, New York, Singapore, Dubai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, will focus on the global markets business and provide trading services in commodities, foreign exchange, interest rates, credit and equities to clients worldwide.
Standard Bank Group’s Africa strategy will create increased flows for the Global Markets business as African corporates increasingly demand access to international markets and international corporates demand access to African opportunities.
The joint venture will continue to support all trading requirements of Standard Bank Group’s existing customers with full and uninterrupted access to all distribution channels as they partner with the group to finance growth and development on the African continent.
The proceeds of the transaction will be deployed in furthering Standard Bank Group's growth strategy in Africa.
Learn more about ICBC at http://www.icbc.com.cn.
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With World Water day taking place on 22 March and Earth Hour on 28 March, we have dedicated this month to sustainability.
Each year, World Water Day reminds people about how important water is and encourages them to be more aware of their water usage. According to the Institute of Security Studies, South Africans use 235 litres of water each day compared to the international average of 173 litres. If we continue at this rate, we will push the country into a water crisis.
Earth Hour is a global awareness campaign that encourages people, communities, households and businesses to turn off their lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to the planet. In 2014, Eskom said South Africans saved 575 megawatts during Earth Hour, which is enough to power over 260, 000 homes.
Sustainability is a very important part of our business. For more information on the different initiatives that Standard Bank Group supports, visit www.standardbank.com/sustainability
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