The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz announced the artist line-up for the 20 th instalment which takes place from 28 to 30 September at the Sandton Convention Centre.
It’s arguably the strongest offering in the festival’s recent history. Central to the selection’s underlying discourse is the importance of honouring our evergreen jazz heritage. Consider that Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, as it celebrates its 20 th anniversary edition, is a flag bearer for more than just an annual musical gathering, but it is a co-custodian of a larger jazz culture in our country.
The musicians on offer all stack up to point festival goers to the living roots of modern South African jazz too. This is a narrative that involves curating a list that highlights our place on the African continent, and our perennial dialogue with the creative musical tradition of the trans-atlantic experience. By this we refer to a thoroughly modern culture that connects African, Caribbean, American, and European creative exchanges that result from voyages across that big mass of water. The artists who will ascend the festival’s four stages over the three days this September, seem to have been selected with deeper ideals than just musical entertainment. This is a line-up for the ages.
Think about the importance Salif Keita’s place in the pan African pool of musical genius. Often referred to as the "golden voice of Mali," Keita will share the Conga Stage with a number of continentally focused musicians. Lesotho’s Tshepo Tshola, the now American based singer and songwriter of Rwandan and Ugandan descent, Somi; our own guitar wizard, Selaelo Selota who straddles musical vernaculars of the Limpopo region with an internationalist thrust will give meaning to that stage too.
Then there is Abdullah Ibrahim, who is considered the true heir to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk thanks to his ability to “invent singable melodies out of quirky note choices and off-kilter rhythms, as a composer and improviser”, to quote Geoffrey Himes of Downbeat. Now when you consider that Ibrahim, Hugh Masekela, and Jonas Gwangwa are all on the bill. Together they represent the remaining members of the Jazz Epistles. The band that produced South Africa’s first Bee-Bop record titled, Jazz Epistle, Verse 1 in 1960. This was also the first album by a black South African band ever recorded. The other living member of the band is Makhaya Ntshoko who now lives in Europe. Kieppie Moeketsi, Early Mabuza and Johnny Gertze have all since passed away.
Now if you rearrange that combination as Masekela, Gwangwa and adding Caiphus Semenya who will be on the Mbira stage, we have another historic piece of South African jazz represented: Hugh Masekela and The Union of South Africa. The band mastered an inspired melange of soul, highlife, and straight jazz.
For enthusiasts of post-bop and straight ahead jazz, bass genius Christian Macbride, reedmen Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman along with the Clayton Brothers represent a rare treat. Their presence on Dinaledi Stage is a nod to the jazz police and purist. Marsalis and Redman are two composer reed-men who came along at an important time in the story of jazz music. They were part of a generation of musicians who forged a revival in popular interest for jazz music at the time when the music was going through a wane. Along with Marsalis’ trumpeter brother, Wynton and a handful of others were considered keepers of the lofty values of the tradition.
To an undiscerning eye, this line up may seem to be lacking youthful fervour in the form of contemporary young lions from our shores. However, they may have to check the quality of the personnel on the Mabida Bay Jazz Orchestra featuring inter alia, rising sax-man Sisonke Xonti and vocalist, Phinda Matlala, along with the 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Benjamin Jephta or the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band.
As if to register the attendant celebration at play in this year’s jamboree, Standard Bank has worked in some discounts for ticket buyers.
All Standard Bank debit or cheque card holders get a 10% discount, and a 15% discount if using a Standard Bank credit card. The offer is limited to two tickets per person, and only on usage of a valid Standard Bank debit and/or credit card. This offer is subject to availability and will end on 31 August 2017.
Tickets can be bought at Computicket.
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China ranks seventh in terms of project numbers in Africa, but it created the most jobs, which is unexpected by many people.
Most jobs come from China's "greenfield investment" by private sector, possibly attributed to the job creation levels to China's investment strategy as well as its willingness to hire local people.
On the one hand, Chinese investment in Africa is mainly in labor-intensive industry; on the other hand, most African countries see employment as their top priority, which Chinese companies are willing to co-operate with.
Take Kenya for example. According to a policy research working paper released by the World Bank Group in March 2016, China ranked as the fifth biggest job creator between 2003 and 2015 as a result of its foreign direct investment in Kenya.
Contrary to the popular belief that Chinese companies only hire Chinese workers, 93% of companies report hiring Kenyan employees.
The paper also mentioned that Chinese companies have a higher number of jobs per project because they have fewer projects in Kenya. Between 2003 and 2015, FDI from China created 166.92 jobs on average per project. This was compared to 100 jobs generated per project by total FDI in Kenya, according to the paper.
It also said that 60% of Chinese companies offered formal training programmes on skills, safety, and hygiene for local staff, compared to 64% on the part of all foreign firms in Kenya.
Read more about our partnership with ICBC, one of the biggest banks in China.
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On 25 April, the world will unite in support of World Malaria Day.
For most people in Africa, World Malaria Day 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.
We are a partner of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (http://www.theglobalfund.org) and are engaged in pro-bono projects in a number of African countries where the Global Fund guarantees are provided with financial and administrative training.
In 2015 and 2016, a number of our country teams played a role in helping reduce the number of new malaria infections. Here are some of their initiatives:
Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe donated malaria repellent kits to StAlbert’s Mission hospital in Centenary, a safe to Nzeve Deaf Children’s Home in Mutare.
Our Standard Bank Namibia team donated 200 chemically treated mosquito nets which were distributed to malaria-infected areas.
Stanbic IBTC distributed treated mosquito nets to school children in the Makoko, Yaba area of Lagos State, helping to stem the malaria scorch and in the process contribute to the health and wellbeing of children and other community members in the Makoko area.
World Malaria Day was instituted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Member States in 2007, when a goal was set to reduce the number of deaths caused by malaria by 75% by 2015.
These are some of WHO’s current malaria facts:
Nearly half of the world's population is at risk of malaria.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
In 2015, there were 212 million cases of malaria worldwide.
There was a global decrease in malaria incidences between 2010 and 2015.
For more information on Standard Bank Groups sustainability projects, visit sustainability.standardbank.com
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Victoria Kalima, the Zambia's Minister of Gender, was guest of honour at a conference held to bring together Stanbic Bank Zambia employees from across the country, to promote mentoring, networking and dealing with the challenges women face within the bank. The conference attracted a range of speakers tasked to encourage and motivate bankers, with the aim of supporting and improving the performance of women in Stanbic Bank Zambia, to secure continued growth of the company.
The Zambia government is looking at reducing the gap between men and women inequality, and are working towards ensuring they catch up in promoting leadership roles and governance for the general development of women.
Stanbic Bank employs 800 people in Zambia, of which 40 percent are women- about 45 percent of our senior executives are women. We support diversity; not only diversity from the point of view of culture, or religion, but also gender diversity, appreciating and valuing the role that women play.
Stanbic Bank Zambia was also recently recognised by the African Women's Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) Pan-Africa for supporting women entrepreneurs in Zambia. The central thrust of the AWEP Pan Africa Award is to enable African women and men to participate in the American market, using regional linkages, policies and strategies.
For more information about our presence in Zambia, visit Stanbic Bank Zambia here.
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S&P Global Ratings has downgraded South Africa’s long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to BB+ from BBB- and its long-term local currency rating to BBB- from BBB.
Given the negative market reaction to the executive changes in Cabinet last week, this action was not entirely unexpected, although the timing has been swift.
This announcement is disappointing given the meaningful strides that South Africa has made. Over the past 18 months there has been much closer collaboration between government, business, labour and other organs of civil society to return our economy to a faster and more inclusive growth path and to promote a growth-friendly environment.
Sub-investment grade status has serious implications for all South Africans, especially the poor. It will affect people’s ability to save and invest. Policy rules may preclude hedge funds, pension funds and asset managers from investing in non-investment grade countries. The resulting economic shock may impact bond and equity markets, and consumers’ disposable incomes could also be eroded by higher inflation, interest rates and taxes. Lower disposable income means consumers have less to save and invest.
Various work streams have been set up to breathe new life into our economy to stimulate faster growth and create new jobs, and these are starting to yield positive results.
In addition, we have stable institutions that are robust in ensuring political and societal accountability.
South Africa still requires much structural reform and investment to buoy economic growth. We need growth that yields a shared prosperity, eliminates inequalities, addresses unemployment and promotes social cohesion.
Social justice and transformation are critical so that South Africa truly becomes a country that belongs to all who live in it.
In line with the rule that South African entities cannot be rated higher than their sovereign, we expect that the rating agency will shortly take the same action on the South African banks.
It is important to note that South African banks remain financially sound and are well positioned to withstand the downgrade. We have one of the most robust banking systems in the world and were ranked second in the 2016-2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index in terms of financial soundness.
We are committed to the shared future that we intend to create for our clients, our stakeholders and our people. The Group is well capitalised, has a strong liquidity position and has a sound balance sheet. As at 31 December 2016, we had total contingent liquidity amounting to R336 billion and a common equity tier 1 ratio of 13.9%; above both the minimum regulatory requirement and our internal target of 11% – 12.5% for 2017.
As Africa’s largest bank by assets, we see South Africa and Africa as its home and we are committed to driving her growth.
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According to the Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report 2016, 40% of the 10.4 million people who get sick with TB, and 80% of the 580,000 people suffering from drug-resistant TB, are missed by health systems every year. Many are unaware that they even have it. TB can lay dormant in the body for years, the immune system merely restraining and not destroying it.
The first step to beating this disease is through awareness and education, the second being proper treatment. TB doesn’t have to be fatal. By educating communities, prevention becomes possible; and with proper treatment, TB becomes curable.
Standard Bank Group has partnered with many organisations in the fight against TB, HIV and Malaria. In 2015 we made a direct contribution of USD 2million to the Global Fund for the implementation of programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa. We have also collaborated in consumer finance initiatives which align the purpose of the Global Fund and Standard Bank, and in doing so, have raised a further USD 2million in funding.
A range of employee community involvement initiatives provide our people with opportunities to give back and actively participate in making a difference in the communities in which they work and live.
For more information on Standard Bank Groups sustainability projects, visit sustainability.standardbank.com. Read more about the Global Fund here ww.theglobalfund.org.
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A group of young postgraduates from across the African continent, have recently embark on their Masters degrees at the most prestigious universities in the UK, facilitated by the Standard Bank Africa Derek Cooper Scholarship.
The Scholarship marks the culmination of over thirty years of direction, vision and action attributed to Derek Cooper, a true South African business leader and former Chairman of the Standard Bank Group.
Our Fellowship is offered across three top tier UK Universities: Cambridge, Oxford and London School of Economics and Political Science. It’s focused on unique academic specialism by institution, and aims to offer both educational enrichment and international exposure to highly talented African scholars wishing to pursue a post-graduate Masters degree abroad. These universities have famously high entrance requirements, including a distinction level pass just to be able to apply.
This year’s students represent the best and brightest Africa has to offer and their areas of discipline are wide-ranging, including: history of science, medicine and technology, computer sciences, engineering for sustainable development, African development and education.
The scholarship also intends to create a network of African leaders that will stay connected and committed to each other and support each other, no matter where they find themselves globally. They will be forming a community of people who share inspiration for Africa- the continent we call home.
Click here for more information or to apply for our 2018 Derek Cooper Scholarship:
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Our Africa focused strategy is proving to be the right one as we continue to grow our businesses across Africa despite the elevated levels of macro, political and policy uncertainty experienced in many of the markets in which we operate.
During the past financial year our Africa regions franchise contributed 30% to the group’s total income and 25% to the group’s headline earnings.
Our headline earnings were up 4% to R23 009 million, while headline earnings per share also grew 4% to 1 440 cents. Our cost-to-income ratio decreased slightly to 56.3% from 56.5%.
2016 was a tumultuous year. Globally, the ambiguity in the run-up to the UK's "Brexit" vote and the US election, as well as the contrarian outcomes, drove uncertainty and volatility. During the year, China’s policy stimulus continued and growth stabilised, providing some support to commodity prices, while OPEC's decision to trim output helped to lift oil prices.
In sub-Saharan Africa, widespread drought in east, central and southern Africa continued, which placed strain on food supply and drove inflation. Oil-export reliant countries remained constrained on the back of low prices, and many countries tightened monetary policy in an attempt to control inflation. Despite these headwinds, the more diversified oil-importing east African countries continued to offer better macro prospects, attract investment and outperform.
In South Africa, the threat of a sovereign downgrade by rating agencies to sub-investment grade persisted throughout the year. This in turn negatively impacted the already weak business and consumer confidence and further delayed much needed domestic investment and job creation opportunities. Inflationary pressures brought about by the drought and the weak exchange rate placed additional pressure on already constrained consumers.
Global trade activity should pick up on the back of policy stimulus and a gradual normalisation of large economies, such as Brazil and Russia. However, uncertainty surrounding US policy direction under the new administration, Brexit negotiations and the broader European macro outlook may pose downside risks to global growth prospects.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP growth is expected to be 2.8%, buoyed by global trade, resource demand and improved economic prospects generally. South Africa’s forecast growth above 1% is an improvement, but remains subject to event risks, such as rating agency and political decision points during the year.
With these dynamics in mind, we look to our clients, to the challenges and opportunities they may face, and seek ways to partner with them on their journeys in 2017 and beyond. As we focus on delivering market-leading client experiences, we continue to invest in our client-facing digital capabilities to enable our clients to transact independently and safely anytime anywhere.
As we look to the year ahead, we remain steadfast in our commitment to doing the right business the right way. In this context, we continue to embed a culture of responsible business practices. We remain committed to delivering through-the-cycle headline earnings growth and ROE within our target range of 15% - 18% over the medium term. In order to do so, we recognise the need to balance prudent capital management with appropriate return-based resource allocation and leverage.
Banks play an important role in society which is broader than creating shareholder value. We seek to create value for all our stakeholders - clients, employees, shareholders, government and communities alike. In doing so, we continue to contribute meaningfully to the social, economic and environmental prosperity and wellbeing in the markets in which we operate.
For a look at our full 2016 Group Annual Results reporting.standardbank.com.
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Though currently going through a tough phase in its development, China is applying clever tactics to fire up its economic engine. As a critical trading partner, Africa would do well to consider these tactics, but also remain aware of how it needs to adapt to succeed in the future.
Karl Gotte, Head of Commercial Banking Personal and Business Banking South Africa. In China, productivity gains are becoming the main engine of living-standard improvements. This subsequently calls for the encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship to grow its main industries; a strong focus on education; and targeted policies aimed at industrial and business sectors that need advancement.
Yet, this large-scale infrastructure spending will only partly make up for slowing business investment in China, as overcapacity is being worked off in several industries. Furthermore, real estate investment is also declining, with talk of a potential housing bubble. Fortunately, China’s lowered barriers to entry have spurred entrepreneurial activity, and policies are shifting towards supply-side reforms that champion sustainable development. The country’s continuing reallocation of labour from agriculture to industry and services is also seen as a major driver of inclusive productivity growth.
Though the above developments are thanks to market reforms initiated as far back as 1978, the country still remains a developing one, with 70.17 million poor people in rural areas in 2014. However, the World Bank reports that China’s GDP growth has averaged nearly 10 percent a year—the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history—and has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty.
What’s often left out in discussions about China’s outlook is the crucial role that education and up-skilling the workforce play in achieving success; the vital part that the financial and banking sectors play in facilitating the efficient sourcing of funds; and the need for collaboration: Chinese state-owned enterprises are viewed as strategic levers that encourage deeper levels of growth, improving essential access to markets and infrastructure, and, so, encourage growth in targeted areas.
Perhaps Africa could realise its immense potential by heeding these lessons of improved focus on education and ensuring money is placed where it will aid economic development. However, this cannot be done in isolation, that’s why South Africa’s CEO initiative - which includes Standard Bank as a key partner - commits to facilitating economic progress by driving change and social development together with government and labour.
As the largest bank by assets on the continent, we take our role as a growth facilitator seriously, because when Africa wins, we win. For Africa, the success stories of China are important to scrutinise. But, Africa has its own unique economic environment - an environment that we at Standard Bank understand and can altruistically exploit by helping key stakeholders build and adopt a strategy that will grow the continent’s commercial hubs so all may benefit.
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What matters in your time? It is what you do in your time that makes a big impact in the moment or what you do in your time that lasts even after you’ve gone?
For Brenda Niehaus, our Group Chief Information Officer at Standard Bank Group, is it about remembering that during this era, IT at Standard Bank became a true partner to the business and re-established itself as an engineering discipline.
Josef Langerman, Head of IT Transformation at Standard Bank sat down with Niehaus to discuss her time at the Bank. Brenda Niehaus, Group Chief Information Officer at Standard Bank Group.
Some of the most important lessons that Niehaus has learnt during her time as CIO at Standard Bank is to never sweat the small stuff. Focus on the bigger picture that you are trying to achieve, she says.
Something that Niehaus learnt while in her role, was actually asking people to voice their opinions.
“Actually asking people for input was a learnt behaviour it wasn’t something that came natural to me and that’s been an important piece of who we are as an IT exco team,” says Niehaus.
Langerman adds that having guts to speak up moves the bank forward.
While many people refer to the corporate world as a corporate ladder that you are expected to climb as fast and as high as you can. Niehaus begs to differ, saying that, it’s not about your next step on the ladder, it’s about your next step on the jungle gym.
She adds, “Focus on what you are doing now and your next job with follow.”
When asked about the one skill that has defined her, she explains that it would have to be the ability to integrate things, or as she puts it connecting the dots by seeing the bigger picture, breaking it down and integrating it across other things.
If you thinking about applying for a position in Niehaus’ department, you’d better mind you Ps and QS, “I hire for attitude any day above hiring for skill, people can get skill, you’ve got to have the right attitude!” she exclaims.
And when asked if she only had 2 hours in the day at the bank every day what she would use them on, she said to come in and sit with groups of people asking the right questions.
While Niehaus does think it is important to talk to others, she also thinks it is just as important to talk to yourself, “I always have a talk with myself on the way home, car radio goes off on the way and I talk about what went well, what can I change tomorrow and I reset my start for tomorrow.”
The one thing Niehaus knows for sure is that change is constant and she advises that in today’s fast changing world we must embrace change and ensure we are resilient to change if we don’t want to struggle.
Listen to the full podcast here.
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We would like to congratulate Yinka Sanni, who has been named the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC. He takes over from Sola David-Borha, former Chief Executive, who has been appointed Chief Executive, Rest of Africa, Standard Bank Group effective immediately.
Yinka Sanni was until his latest appointment, the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC. Yinka joined Stanbic IBTC Bank in 1990 and rose through the ranks, holding several senior management positions within the organization including that of Co-Head, Corporate and Investment Banking. He also held the position of Executive Director & Head, Corporate and Investment Banking. He was the pioneer Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited and the pioneer Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited. He has a wealth of experience in banking and financial services covering Banking, Stockbroking, Pension, and Asset Management spanning over 26 years.
As CE of the Group, Yinka Sanni is expected to drive the next phase of growth and execution of its strategy of being Nigeria’s leading end-to-end financial services provider. Mr. Sanni holds an MBA from the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, having also undertaken the Harvard Business School, Boston’s Advanced Management Programme. He is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; with Bachelors in Agricultural Economics. Mr. Sanni is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria.
Similarly, Dr. Demola Sogunle has been appointed Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC. Dr. Sogunle was until recently the Deputy Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief Executive, of the bank, he was the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, a position he held from August 19, 2011 to December 2015. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC’s Pension subsidiary, he was Stanbic IBTC Bank’s Head of Risk as well as its Chief Compliance Officer. He was also formerly the Head of Treasury and Financial Services for Stanbic IBTC Bank, a position he held for over seven years.
For more information about Stanbic IBTC, visit stanbicibtcbank.com.
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No one would disagree that Paralympic athletes are truly remarkable individuals; they overcome physical hardships to achieve their ambitions, regularly pushing their bodies passed the point of average endurance, and accomplishing feats that the able-bodied mostly cannot and will not.
When it comes to athletics, Africa is blessed. Our people are gifted with natural sporting abilities that are obvious and lauded in every continental and inter-continental event, and our Paralympians are often the epitome this physical grace. Namibian Ananias Shikongo is one such Paralympian. Namibian Paralympian, Ananias Shikongo with the Standard Bank Namibia team.
Born in a small rural village in northern Namibia almost 31 years ago, Ananias tragically lost his eyesight when he was a small child; first the left eye in a bow-and-arrow accident at the age of three, then, three years later, the right eye after being kicked by a donkey. Despite this, the young sprinter’s courage, perseverance and natural talent saw him become one of his country’s greatest sportsmen, competing and excelling in events all over the world and eventually being declared the Namibian champion (2010), the African champion (2015) and last year’s Rio Paralympic Record Holder.
Early this year, the African sprinting champion added yet another honour to his ever-growing list of achievements: on 13 January, Ananias was announced as the ambassador for Standard Bank Namibia’s Buy-a-Brick initiative , a community-based project that raised funds from both the public and private sectors to enable residents of low-income households to build decent dwellings for themselves and their families.
To date, our Namibian subsidiary has raised a total of R1.4 million to build 40 new houses. So far, 17 houses have been built, and the remaining are expected to be completed by March.
“I am really grateful and would like to thank Standard Bank for realising that athletes living with a disability can also make a change in society, and that is what I plan to do for the duration of this partnership,” shares Ananias. “[Buy-a-Brick is a] great project that aims to house as many Namibians as possible and I would like to join that effort, along with Standard Bank.”
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Receiving 3 600 hours of sunshine per year, Kenya’s Lodwar is one of the sunniest places on earth. It’s also one of the most unexplored in the region, so I made it my quest to get to know this seemingly modest town, situated in an area rich in history.
Located north-west of Nairobi, Lodwar is the capital of Turkana County. Some of the most significant archaeological findings of pre- and early man were made there, and many claim that this is the place where the human species originated.
My bus journey to Lodwar from Nairobi’s capital was a tiring, though uneventful one, save for an overly excited elderly man who occasionally danced in the aisle. However, Kenya is a land of abundance both in nature and culture, so what better way to experience them than traversing through 700 kilometres of countryside?
We made a rest stop in Kainuk, a border town between the Pokot and Turkana communities. The first thing I noticed about Kainuk was the heavy police presence. I found out later that this was due to the decade-long conflict between the two communities.
After our break, we continued our tortoise-like pace toward Lodwar. Eventually, our bus creeped into the town near midnight. Like my fellow passengers, I was exhausted from the journey. After finding a guest house, I gratefully fell into bed.
Hearing of the magnificent sunrise in the region, I woke early the next day to experience it. Lodwar has a hot desert climate and I could already feel the heat rising at dawn. Soon after the sunrise, I met my guide and driver, Joseph, to plan the day.
Our first visit was to the detention houses in which Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was imprisoned during the colonial period. Later, I visited Lodwar’s basket market. Here, elegantly woven products are sold alongside other cultural artefacts. The market was abuzz with activity, and colourfully adorned women sang as they weaved. I made a quick round and then set off to Kalokol, a few kilometres from Lodwar, where I was scheduled to interview some schoolchildren.
On the way, we stopped at Namoratunga, an archaeo-astronomical site situated on the west side of Lake Turkana. Made up of basalt pillars that are aligned with star systems, the site is believed to have been built thousands of years ago by early communities for ceremonial purposes.
Arriving in Kalokol, I headed straight to the shores of Lake Turkana, the only permanent desert lake in the world, to carry out my interviews. The security situation in the area was unpredictable, so I swiftly completed my work and left for Lodwar.
That night, I stayed in a different guest house, Nawoitorong. Owned by local women, it offers a variety of meals from international food, such as pizzas, to local cuisine, such as roasted goat. I settled for nyir nyir, a local delicacy of deep-fried meat. I felt that the tasty, traditional meal was the best way to end an enlightening two-day visit.
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When traveling to another country, some of the things you'd probably want to see are the famous sites and landmarks that tell the story and origins of that country. These may include: iconic buildings, natural wonders, museums, and of course, art galleries. There are many galleries in Africa that are dedicated to promoting contemporary African art. We’ve selected just a few that might be worth a visit if you feel like acquainting yourself with some extraordinary artworks by African artists.
OMENKA GALLERY, NIGERIA
Omenka Gallery houses impressive collections of contemporary art by a string of artists with unique and diverse styles. Representing a selection of emerging and prominent Nigerian and international artists, the gallery is a vital cog in the machine that is Nigeria’s contemporary art scene.
As one of the top galleries in the country, Omenka is home to an extensive collection of artworks by celebrated Nigerian painter and sculptor, Ben Enwounwu. It also houses the works of several African artists like Cedric Nunn (South Africa), Owusu-Ankomah (Ghana), and El Loko (Togo). Additionally, Omenka participates in major art events both on the continent and abroad, including the Art Dubai, the Joburg Art Fair, the Docks Art Fair in France, and Cologne Paper Art in Germany.
AFRIART GALLERY, UGANDA
One of the major art galleries playing an integral role in promoting African art on an international scale, the Afriart Gallery is home to an outstanding collection of Ugandan and East African art. Founded in 2002, Afriart Gallery has exhibited hundreds of African artists whose work has been showcased on international stages. Some of these artists include Eria Nsubuga Sane, Daudi Karungi, and Edison Mugalu, who are all at the heart of Uganda’s burgeoning art scene.
In addition to exhibitions, Afriart offers impressive art consultancy and education programmes, and also runs an art shop that sells art books, statues, ceramics, recycle glassware, and traditional fabrics.
BANANA HILL ART GALLERY, KENYA
Located on the fringes of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Banana Hill Art Gallery’s primary purpose is to showcase some of East Africa’s most spectacular paintings and sculptures, having exhibited countless artists from the region.
The gallery calls itself “The pearl among the art galleries in Nairobi,” and a trip to this Kenyan art heaven reveals why. The art pieces found here tell part of the story of Africa, seen through the eyes of African artists. You’ll find artworks that beautifully explore a range of topics such as daily life in Kenya’s urban and rural settings, its rich wildlife, and cultural traditions. Apart from exhibitions, the gallery offers an online shop where you can get artworks by some of the continent’s top artists.
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With demand for chocolate at an all time high, the industry is booming and is now valued at over US $100 billion. Leading manufacturers post impressive profits each year as appetite for the sweet treat grows. But have you ever wondered where the finished product starts its journey before it finds its way into your mouth?
Keeping the global confectionery business thriving and the world’s sweet tooth satisfied are four West African nations: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon, who are the world’s largest producers and exporters of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. More than 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from the region, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana jointly supplying 60% of the global total.
Cocoa production continues to be an important economic driver for the West African countries, with cocoa beans remaining the chief agricultural export for countries like Ghana and Nigeria.
The cocoa plant is a small tree that grows in deep tropical regions where the climate is warm, and the soil is fertile and well-drained. Farmers use machetes to harvest, cutting off ripe pods from the trees. The lack of machinery means everything from planting to harvesting is done manually.
After the pods are cut from the trees, they are split open, and the seeds are taken out. The seeds go through a two-step process before they become proper cocoa beans. First, they are piled and covered with tree leaves before being left to ferment for four to five days. After that, they are dried for about a week. From there, the beans are ready to be sold or exported, with the majority of them ending up in Europe and the US. The increasing number of consumers in China, Brazil, and India is also creating the demand for the beans.
In all of Africa’s cocoa-producing countries, small-scale farmers are responsible for the production of the unique plant. In Ghana, they comprise nearly 85% of the industry, with the majority of them living in small villages across the country. The cocoa sector contributes about 15% of Ghana’s GDP. In a country of about 28 million people, nearly 25 to 30 percent of the population relies on the sector for employment.
As the world’s second largest cocoa exporter, Ghana produces nearly a million tonnes every year, with 2015’s output sitting at more than 800,000. If you want to understand further how valued the country’s second-most-important commodity after gold is, just look at the Ghanaian money, and you’ll see cocoa pods displayed as a symbol of national pride.
In Nigeria, many farmers gave up on the trade in the 1980s after commodity prices plummeted. The agricultural industry was further destabilised by a lack of investment as government prioritised spending on the country’s booming oil sector. But now, as Nigeria continues to grapple with high unemployment levels and a struggling economy, the government has been focusing more on cocoa production in an attempt to create jobs and boost the economy. There are more than 300,000 cocoa farmers in the country, most of whom live in the rural areas.
Nigeria’s goal is to increase production to 1 million tonnes a year by 2018, and ultimately be the largest cocoa producer on the continent by 2020. It’s an ambitious target. To achieve it, the Nigerian government has been training farmers, supplying them with cocoa trees, and distributing disease-resistant seeds, fertilisers, and other chemicals at low prices. The ministry of agriculture also plans to plant 2 million cocoa trees by 2019.
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Here on the dusty south-western shores of Lake Turkana, amid the sand and stones, stand large basalt pillars arranged in a circular pattern, the Dancing Stones of Namoratunga; megalithic structures that point to a grand design and purpose by an ancient people from thousands of years ago that most of the world didn’t even know existed.
When archaeologists started examining the Kalokol Pillar site, the basalt pillars reminded them of something else… the entire spectacle had a touch of Stonehenge about it and it led to an incredible theory that pointed to ancient African astronomy; archeoastronomy and an archaic Borana calendar that was thousands of years older and more accurate than any discovered previously in Europe and which seemed to reveal a mathematical ingenuity of the middle-Holocene period of African history that was previously unknown.
For decades astronomers and archaeologists (and the occasional conspiracy theorist) studied the formations at Namoratunga for its astronomical significance, which was further bolstered by similar discoveries across the continent indicating even more ancient calendars with grand purpose. At the time, during the 1970s, archaeologists weren’t in possession of the same carbon dating tools they use today, so Namoratunga was thought to be a few thousand years old – line that up with star constellations at the project time of construction and it appeared as though an astronomical chart or calendar emerged. The problem was that it’s now clear that Namoratunga is much, much older – almost five thousand years in fact – which makes the previous projection moot and irrelevant, alas.
Today the archaeoastronomical aspects of the pillars have been largely debunked, but the fuss around the Turkana stones and the Borana calendar has had an interesting knock-on effect… it’s drawn attention to a deeper investigation of the people who could have created these basalt megaliths and here we’ve discovered something even more fascinating about the genius of our ancient ancestors.
“The construction of the various [pillar sites] around Turkana coincided chronologically with some other significant events,” says Elisabeth Hildebrand, Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University and Director of the LPWT team that has been excavating the Turkana sites over the past several years. “One of these was a major climate change in the region that lowered Turkana’s lake levels substantially over a 500 year period, likely affecting fishing... the second major event that happened around this time was the introduction of livestock into the Lake Turkana Basin. Up until 5,000 years ago, everyone around Lake Turkana was a fisher-hunter-gatherer, eating only wild foods… Our dates place the pillar site construction during a transitional period when herding just would have been getting started around the lake.”
It’s a series of discoveries that eclipse the almost prosaic concept of an ancient astrological calendar. It’s an utterly new discovery that defines an idea about the nature of collaboration in ancient Africa – despite massive turmoil, lack of food and climate change our ancestors didn’t resort to violence, instead they found ways to connect and build community.
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HERIETH PAUL KHOUDIA DIOP CARMEN SOLOMONS
It has been a phenomenally successful year for Tanzanian model Herieth Paul. In February, she was named as a new global spokesmodel for large cosmetics brand Maybelline, and just last month she made her debut as a Victoria’s Secret angel at their spectacular annual fashion show in Paris.
Herieth moved to Canada with her diplomat mother when she was still a teen. There, she was discovered during an agency open call. Often compared to the likes of supermodel Naomi Campbell, she has appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia and Elle, has featured in campaigns for Tom Ford, and has walked the runway for Armani, Cavalli and Diane von Fürstenberg, among others.
com / Shutterstock.com
Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com
Nicknamed “Daughter of the Night,” 19-year-old Senegalese model Khoudia Diop was bullied throughout her childhood because of her dusky skin tone.
The self-dubbed “Melanin Goddess” grew up in France, and is now based in New York.
Within just a few months of starting her Instagram account, she has already garnered thousands of followers praising her flawless skin. #melaninpoppin
@melaniin.goddess / Instagram
@melaniin.goddess / Instagram
Fiery red hair and a flawless freckled face are what give Carmen Solomons her standout look. Represented by Boss Models, the Cape Town-born model’s unique features have propelled her into the international spotlight and caught the eye of bookers throughout the globe.
Carmen was recently booked to shoot a campaign for the popular Kendall & Kylie clothing line, and was later called back to star as one of the faces of Kylie Jenner's new cosmetic range.
Teri Robberts / Boss Models
BETTY ADEWOLE ANAIS MALI
A self-described tomboy, Betty Adewole has already graced the pages of British Vogue, walked the runways for some of fashion’s biggest names, including Tom Ford and Givenchy, and has featured in Beyoncé’s Ivy Park athletic range campaign.
Born to Nigerian parents, the London-based model was scouted while out shopping with her mother when she was just 15 years old.
Tom Ford campaign
A natural beauty born to Chadian and Polish parents, Anais has graced the runways in the world’s most prestigious fashion capitals while walking for notable fashion houses like Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs Carolina Herrera and Vivienne Westwood.
The face of Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics and a Victoria’s Secret angel, Mali moved to New York when she was just 18, and has since appeared in numerous editorials, including for Vogue and Allure magazines. While she grew up in France, Anais is now based in New York and has long been outspoken about the lack of representation of black models in the fashion industry.
Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com
Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com
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The African fashion scene has captured the attention of the world through its unique designs and its trend towards environmentally sustainable fashion that provides stable employment for local artisans, while also preserving African culture.
Here’s a look at five fashion-forward African designers who are taking over the international fashion scene with their fresh looks.
Kibonen NY Marhaw Fashion ChizÓ Designs by Chisoma Lombe
Kibonen NYKibonen NY is a fashion brand owned by Cameroonian designer Kibonen Nfi. A certified image consultant with a Master’s Degree in International Trade and Marketing from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Nfi began her design career as the co-founder of KiRette Couture, which gained popularity in the West African fashion industry. In 2011, she branched off as a solo designer, establishing Kibonen NY.
Made from ethically sourced fabrics and crafted by Cameroonian artisans, Kibonen garments infuse traditional African fabrics and prints with contemporary designs to create an authentic African design. Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o was recently spotted wearing a handwoven A-line dress from the latest Kibonen NY collection at the premiere of her latest film Queen of Katwe.
Marhaw is an African brand that creates uniquely designed handbags using the best raw materials that are ethically sourced from throughout the continent. The bags are made with high-quality leather from Ethiopia and hand-woven fabrics from Ghana, with women employed from both countries to manufacture the goods. Giving job opportunities to locals is part of Marhaw’s efforts to keep the traditional batik-making, leather creation and weaving industries alive.
Founders Elsa Adane from Ethiopia and Ghanaian Edith Uyovbukheri describe the handbags as proudly African with a global appeal. Their ultimate goal as designers and entrepreneurs is to support African artisans, and showcase their work to the world as proof that Africa is a fashion hub to be reckoned with.
ChizÓ Designs by Chisoma LombeChisoma Lombe is a Zambian designer and founder of ChizÓ Designs. A qualified Chartered Accountant, Chisoma left her cosy finance job in 2014 to pursue her fashion and design passion. She made her debut at Zambia Fashion Week that same year, and her signature colourful embroidery, bold shapes and bright colours have since gone on to feature on other runways in some of Africa’s major cities.
Chisoma has been appointed as the Textile Ambassador to Zambia by the African Union and, being an activist at heart, she hopes to use the platform to bring real developmental change to Africa.
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There has been substantial positive technological development in recent years that has improved our lives in one way or another. However, as we celebrate these contributions, we are faced with a subsequent problem: What do we do with our old or obsolete electronics?
Our homes and offices are filled with an assortment of electronics. This might be because we hope that one day they might be revived, or we consider it a treasure that we cannot let go of given the amount of money we paid for it.
While many wonder what to do with the technological waste at our disposal, a group of young Kenyan innovators have started a venture that uses it as raw material to make useful and sought-after products.
Started by two ambitious innovators in a home garage in 2013, E-Lab is a start-up with a mission to clean up the environment, as well as offer job opportunities to the growing number of unemployed youth in Kenya. University students and art-lovers Alex Mativo and Simon Mumo say they were inspired to start the venture by the availability of so much obsolete electronics in their homes.
Electronic waste is now Kenya’s fastest growing waste component. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), over 17 000 tons of electronic waste is generated in the east African country every year. This includes personal computers, refrigerators and mobile phones.
The duo and their team collect electronic waste from households and electronic shops in Athi River, a growing urban centre a few kilometres from the capital, Nairobi. After collection, the electronics are taken to their warehouse where they are cleaned and sorted. What’s left is then transformed into various art pieces as per their clients’ needs, including jewellery and sculptures.
Joan Wanjiru, designer of E-lab’s fashion products, says they use everything from capacitors, to transistors and copper wire, incorporating colourful beads to give them a touch of diversity. According to Joan, they sell their creations to various models, corporates who promote conservation of the environment, as well as individual ladies who want to look good.
Their efforts have been gaining recognition. Earlier this year, Alex was among 21 young Africans to receive the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award for his role in working to solve the electronic waste problem while creating jobs for young people. Soon, E-Lab aims to expand their operations:
“We see ourselves as the company that will absolve all that e-waste, and also create employment opportunities for people in Nairobi and all over Africa,” says Alex.
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Africa is experiencing a new wave of interest in agriculture as many now venture into the sector - not only for the sake of food production, but also for economic purposes. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), cultivatable lands in Africa (excluding forest areas) are three times larger than that currently being cultivated. This offers great potential and many young Africans have seized the opportunity to not only generate income, but to enhance food security, reduce poverty and boost employment levels.
It’s six in the morning and chilly outside, but Emmanuel Muniu is already in his greenhouse spraying tomatoes. Not your typical farmer, the 27-year-old quit his banking job last year to venture into agribusiness. He teamed up with a friend and leased half an acre of land in Kiambu, a town only a few minutes’ drive from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. After leaving their city jobs, the two learned the art of farming by visiting other farmers, as well as interacting with their customers in a local market.
According to Emmanuel, engaging fully in agriculture has generated positive results; he now understands his crops, the seasons and his market. He also asserts that farming is a good venture for young people to participate in as their main source of income.
Hundreds of kilometres away from Nairobi in Mogotio, we find another young farmer, Joyce Macharia. Realising that banana farmers in Kenya couldn’t rely solely on government institutions to provide them with banana seedlings exactly when they needed them, the mother of two decided to start a pilot project on a small farm, nurturing said seedlings. After it succeeded, she expanded and embarked on a mission to market her products to farmers who only thought they could get good seedlings from the government institute.
In the future, Joyce intends to start value additions like milling the bananas into flour to sell, and plans to form farming cooperatives to attract good market and bargaining power. She adds that there is great potential in agriculture and encourages the youth to venture into it, saying, “With agriculture you will never go wrong, because people need food.”
Emerging, ambitious entrepreneurs like Emmanuel and Joyce are why the Standard Bank Group has been committed to the agricultural sector for over 150 years. With us as a facilitator, we believe that the continent can be a bread basket to the world - capable of sustaining itself through successful development initiatives and uplifting communities throughout society.
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It’s been a fantastically busy year for Standard Bank. As always, we’ve stayed true to our ethos of driving Africa’s progress – not only through providing unsurpassed financial solutions, but also in meaningful ways that many don’t expect of a bank:
A key driver of growth in Africa will always be financial literacy. We believe sound financial practices are taught at home, which is why we developed the Kidz Banking App. Focusing on responsible money management, the app will create financially fit families ready to control their own financial future and contribute to Africa’s growth.
Caring about Africa’s People
The continent’s success relies on the health and happiness of its people. To this end, we have established and supported a number of humanitarian initiatives, such as Stanbic IBTC Nigeria’s Together 4 a Limb charity walk. We have also partnered with esteemed corporations to finance the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital , a facility that provides specialised healthcare to children in southern Africa.
Breaking New Ground
Innovation will help drive Africa’s prosperity. From WeChat and SnapScan , to Shyft and Business Online , our ground-breaking solutions allow retail and business customers to bank with ease and convenience, allowing time for the things that truly matter, like exploring the ideas that may power Africa’s next wave of progress.
Bringing People Together
More than just a financial institution focused on the bottom line, we like to get involved in the interests that bring our communities joy: A patron of the arts in the form of Joy of Jazz and Matisse Exhibition host, as well as the title sponsor of the Proteas and IRONMAN Africa series, it’s our mandate to support initiatives that encourage unity.
Partnering for Growth
We aim to be a catalyst for progress on the continent, financing both businesses and individuals to allow them to realise their growth potnential. Whether they’re fighting for a share of the retail market or want to develop across borders , our client-centricity and products and services help our customers move forward towards their goals.
Spotlight on Africa
Wherever we are in the world, we share Africa’s ‘good news’ story, attracting investors to our thriving markets and inspired people. Hosting the Africa Investor Conference in London and the US Africa Forum in New York affirm our commitment to the continent and forge partnerships that take advantage of its numerous growth opportunities.
A New Class of Leader
The Africa of tomorrow needs thinkers of tomorrow; men and women committed to a continent where prosperity is for all. Through our associations with the Young Presidents’ Organisation and Lionesses of Africa network , we will shape a new diverse, forward-thinking class of leaders – those who will drive a successful, inclusive Africa.
These are just some of the highlights of a whirlwind 2016. For more, visit our other blog sites, Arts & Culture and Group .
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With the launch of Stanbic Bank Ghana’s Wealth and Investment offering, the country’s growing population of High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) can take advantage of a tailored financial services proposition that focuses not only on the critical aspects of wealth creation and preservation, but on philanthropy and legacy building.
The 2016 Knight Frank Wealth Report revealed that the West African nation has experienced the fastest High-Net-Worth growth rates in Africa over the last 14 years, and this trend will continue with Ultra-High-Net-Worth market growth rate anticipated to increase by 85% over the coming 10 years. This market is largely represented by entrepreneurs, and the latest globally connected crop have a broad view of the kind of wealth creation tools needed to meet their lifestyle needs and fund the next wave of economic growth.
Speaking at the recent launch, Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana, reiterated the fact that Ghana will benefit from economic opportunities fuelled by its stable leadership and increasingly diverse economy. To get the most out of these benefits, investors require the right level of specialised, personalised financial support – exactly the type Stanbic Ghana’s new Wealth and Investment division will provide.
Ben Mensah, Head of Stanbic Bank Wealth and Investment, maintains that Ghana’s economic climate will profit Ghana’s HNWIs if they have more domestic investment opportunities and better access to holistic wealth solutions. This is especially relevant, as research shows that the country’s wealthy are increasingly concerned about not only creating wealth, but protecting it by managing risk, preserving wealth between generations, and leaving a social legacy through high-impact social causes.
Mr Mensah predicts that Ghana’s HNWIs and those who make up the diaspora will demand services that enable them to support their entrepreneurial aspirations, while allowing a platform to further grow their wealth through diversification in Ghana’s rapidly emerging investment opportunities. In addition to domestic investment, Stanbic Bank Ghana is uniquely positioned to leverage in-depth sector knowledge, expertise and established networks to link Ghanaian investors with opportunities across the continent.
The decision to launch Wealth and Investment in Ghana was an obvious one: Besides the fact that the country is booming, it also has a long and proud tradition of entrepreneurship and innovation, even under challenging circumstances. And Ghana is, of course, poised to grow even faster as the TEN oilfield comes on stream and the country gears up to become - in all probability - the fourth biggest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years.
As Ghana empowers itself to become one of the leading industrial nations in Africa, Stanbic Bank Ghana’s Wealth and Investment division undertakes to empower our clients to make the right financial decisions that will see them reach their financial goals and meet their lifestyle needs. For more information, please visit: http://www.wealthandinvestment.standardbank.com/
Click here to download the Knight Frank Wealth Report.
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In a much-anticipated opening that will bring hope and world-class healthcare to the children of southern Africa, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) opened its doors to The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital brings hope and world-class healthcare to the children of southern Africa. admit its first patients in early December. As its name implies, the hospital was one of the passion projects of the late Nelson Mandela, who firmly believed that there is no better revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Before the completion of the life-saving facility, there were only four specialised children’s hospitals on the African continent. Now serving the entire SADC region, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital will bring essential medical relief to an area flagged by the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) as having the highest risk of death in the first month of life.
Located on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the R1 billion, 200-bed facility was famous even before its opening as being child-centric in design; furniture and facilities are all child sized with wards containing a play area and family lounge. To make sure that it speaks the language of children, the hospital is colourful, including the medical equipment, with calming child-created art adorning the walls, hallways and gardens.
As well as featuring centres for excellence various medical disciplines, the hospital will also serve as a focal point for learning and medical practice in Africa: it’s staffed by 450 paediatric nurses who have undergone training for the past five years and 150 specialist doctors - some from renowned international hospitals - and will broadcast videos of operations, so medical practitioners in outlying areas throughout southern Africa can upskill.
The hospital is located on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. During a tour of the NMCH earlier this year, Joe Seoloane, Hospital Project Leader, said he is proud that he and others can officially say, ”Africa: here is a hospital for those conditions that you thought you needed to go to Europe for”.
Bringing such crucial healthcare to the youngest members of our society requires dedicated collaboration among partners who understand Africa’s needs and growth potential. According to David Munro, Chief Executive, Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank, a project like the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital will undoubtedly shape Africa’s future positively, that’s why the bank was delighted to partner with the Hospital Trust in the development of the medical facility. He further says that the bank is equally proud to have worked side-by-side with General Electric (GE) in this endeavour, an organisation that, too, is committed to the progress and prosperity of the continent we call home.
Our collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust and GE shows the critical role of private sector investors in achieving sustainable healthcare and facilitating long term growth in Africa.
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The rose business in Kenya has bloomed and is one of East Africa’s agricultural powerhouses. Estimated to be worth over 63 billion Kenyan shillings, it contributes 24% to the country’s GDP, affirming Kenya as a significant player in the global floral market. More than 500 000 people in the country depend on the trade, according to the Kenya Flower Council, with roughly half of the country's 127 flower farms concentrated around Lake Naivasha, which is situated about 90 kilometers northwest of Nairobi.
The flower industry is big business and the success of this export can be attributed to Kenya’s sunny climate, enabling high-quality blossoms to be grown year round without the need for expensive-to-run greenhouses. The country also boasts excellent transport links to Europe through Nairobi airport, which has a terminal dedicated to the transport of flowers. This means that delicate floral cargo can be carried from growers to consumers quickly and without damage or compromising freshness.
Kenya’s flower power is so strong that it accounts for 35% of all sales to the European market, with flights leaving for Holland three times a day to satisfy the European demand. Another 25% goes to the UK and some direct sales to consumers around the world. The domestic market isn’t left out; the East African country’s roses beautify hospitals, weddings, markets, funerals and corporations throughout Kenya, where they are sold in all urban centres by street vendors and in shopping centers.
Floral farming is not always a bed of roses; Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Rwanda are all chasing the same customers. However, many of Kenya’s growers are hoping to sustain their position by running highly sophisticated operations that are responsive to the unique demands of different markets.
To further leverage their position, the Kenyan industry is now exploring other markets such as Australia, Canada and Japan. Direct flights from Nairobi airport play a crucial role in helping the Kenyan flower business take off globally. Award-winning journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha recently visited one of Kenya’s flower markets as part of the #AfricaConnected campaign with Standard Bank. While there, she met with Jane Ngige, CEO of the Kenya Flower Council, who explained how Kenya’s thriving flower export market is also helping combat the country's high level of unemployment with the establishment of a board committee of young directors.
Stanbic Bank in Kenya is a driver of the country’s agriculture sector, supporting local producers by helping them turn their farms into a thriving export business.
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The Africa Connected series profiles emerging economies in Africa to highlight that the continent is open for business. This week, journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha flew into Mozambique to explore the investment and business opportunities on offer.
Journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha on the sands of Mozambique, with a ship and a hawker in the background. Two strands of the country’s economy.
Famous for its abundant natural resources, Mozambique emerged from a bitter civil war in 1992 that left little time for development. However, in the years that followed, it became one of the fastest growing countries in the world.
Unfortunately, earlier this year, the southern African country made the news for all the wrong reasons: evidence of secret government loans emerged, causing the IMF and Western governments to cut aid. Subsequently, the metical currency dropped by 40% and inflation soared into the double digits.
Interviewing Mhamud Charania, Chairman of Mozambique’s biggest fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) company ADC, Nikiwe found that the current economic crisis is hitting consumers hard due to fiscal policies aimed at controlling inflation. As a result, everyday Mozambicans don’t have disposable income, so the FMCG sector is struggling. Mr Charania also shared that transporting goods is almost prohibitively expensive due to the dire state of Mozambique’s infrastructure and logistics networks. Thus, the company imports 70% of its products from abroad.
Yet, there is growing hope: Fausio Mussa, Standard Bank Chief Economist in Mozambique, believes that the currency is showing signs of appreciating and stabilising, and the propects of natural gas development has improved investor sentiment. But, he stresses “tight” policies must be implemented before macroeconomic stability is achieved.
Until the next economic turnaround, social entrepreneurs are still exploiting lucrative areas of investment. Maputo-based UX Technologies, for example, jump-started the underdeveloped tech space with Biscate, a feature-phone accessible platform that connects the labour force with potential employers, thus providing some relief to the country’s current unemployment crisis.
Located in Maputo’s largest suburb of Matola, the Sunshine Nut Company has also successfully struck a balance between profits and community outreach. While on a tour of the cashew nut factory, Nikiwe learned that the global cashew exporter reinvests 90% of its proceeds towards transformation initiatives.
No economic exploration of Mozambique would be complete without looking at its tourism industry. Though one of the mainstays of the economy, Jerry Manussa, Marketing Manager of the Mozambique Tourism Authority, says the sector is not doing as well as it could, decreasing to 1.6 million visitors in 2016 from 2.2 million in 2012. He attributes this mostly to news of political instability. However, Mr Manussa assures potential visitors – and investors – that Mozambique is completely safe, with the conflict limited to isolated areas.
Like it’s thriving arts and culture sector (in which the government has enthusiastically invested), resource-rich Mozambique will prosper if the right steps are taken by its public and private sectors. Mandisi Mphalwa, SA High Commissioner to Mozambique, believes the country remains a viable place to do business, while Standard Bank, having operated in the country for 120 years, sees signals of resilience.
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Olumide Oresegun’s drawing and painting are inspired by his environment, mostly using water as the principal theme of his work.
Deeper insights on the connection between arts and business is on showcase in Lagos. Stanbic IBTC hosted its annual Fine Arts and The Acts event. The event, slated for Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, on November 23, 2016, featured an arts exhibition. The art exhibition also featured a wide range of art works from abstract art to photography
Contemporary artists such as Olumide Oresegun, D Okhai Ojeikere, Kainebi Osahenye and Muraina Oyelami were present. Others were Jumoke Sanwo, Angela Isiuwe, Gerald Chukwuma, Dipo Doherty and Olufemi Oyewole. The event was themed ‘Inspired by Nigeria’
“Our support for and collaboration with the arts community is designed to drive economic development, inspire creativity and innovation and create the background for the existence of a diverse group of people whose skills and expertise are instrumental in moving society forward,” stated Mrs. Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.
In the same manner that values, tastes, attitudes, social and cultural norms, as well as individual preferences are factors that shape the perspective on which fine art is conceived and created, David-Borha said the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, has in its 153 years of existence mastered the art of creating products and services designed to meet the needs of a diverse clientele.
Mrs. David-Borha said the forum will provide a platform for business people, bankers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, artists and art enthusiasts and investors to interact, while networking opportunities will be exploited to advance business interests, especially those supportive of the arts community. “By organizing this annual forum, we hope to unlock the opportunities that will help practitioners to build successful careers and create sustainable development of Nigeria’s arts and entertainment sectors,”
Last year’s edition featured paintings by renowned artists, Prof Bruce Onabrakpeya and Victor Ehikhamenor as well as the art collections of Fola Adeola and Adedotun Sulaiman. Celebrated comedians, including Nigeria’s Basketmouth, South Africa-based Ndumiso Lindi and Patrick Idringi, a.k.a Salvado, Uganda’s foremost humour merchant, joined by a rich parade of artistes, including fast-rising music act, The GirlZ Rule Band, and popular instrumentalists The String Quartet, enlivened the gala night with their astounding performances.
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Journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha embarks on the third segment of her #AfricaConnected quest to reveal the true, economically vibrant Africa. In this part of the journey, she travels to Mozambique.
For decades, Mozambique’s progress was hampered by the 15-year civil war (1977-1992) that followed the end of colonial rule. Though the economy has since developed, the former Portuguese colony remains one of the poorest nations in the world. However, foreign investment trickled in due to its abundant natural resources and government reforms. Indeed, the country offers numerous investment opportunities for those hoping to get in before the anticipated LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) boom:
Gas reserves: The recently discovery offshore LNG reserves could see Mozambique reach the status of a middle-income country by 2025. It’s thought the country will be transformed, with its current insufficient infrastructure improved to support this emerging industry.
Hydropower: Mozambique’s vast water resources are mostly untapped. Large rivers cross the country, their total energy capacity estimated to be 16 000MW, yet over 25% of the population has no access to formal power structures.
Agriculture: Agriculture is the mainstay of Mozambique’s economy, employing 83% of the labour force. It has great potential for growth, owing to the country’s diverse soils and climatic conditions, fertile coastlines and abundance of water. Main cash crops include cashew nuts, tea and tobacco.
Mining: Like its neighbours, Mozambique offers a wealth of mineral resources, including gold. With the recent discovery of coal in the Tete Province, the country is set to become one of the world’s major exporters in this resource.
Tourism: This sector declined dramatically during the civil war, and it’s still performing below par despite attracting more foreign investment than any other sector. However, thanks to Mozambique’s unspoilt nature, ecotourism is now an area with great potential.
Entrepreneurs and corporations wanting to take advantage of these investment prospects will find an experienced partner in Standard Bank : With expertise in sectors critical to development combined with on-the-ground knowledge, we customise our banking capabilities to local demands. Further, our ability to connect clients to opportunities is strengthened by our strong relationships with key players in the countries in which we operate, allowing us to move Africa forward.
While Mozambique’s government is focusing on ecotourism to revive the potentially lucrative sector, the country’s numerous other draws shouldn’t be forgotten. As well as bringing attention to entrenched and emerging economic sectors, such as IT, Nikiwe will visit a number of Maputo’s hotspots, including the Maputo Railway Station and the Jardim Tunduru Botanical Gardens.
While these attractions were designed by European colonial-era architects, they now seamlessly merge with modern-day Maputo, offering visitors an authentic “city life” experience that acknowledges the past while embracing a bright, diverse present.
Follow Nikiwe’s journey.
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Africa, like the rest of the world, is embracing the era of clean energy. It’s true that the deepening state of climate change and decreasing non-renewable resources, such as coal and oil, leave us with little choice, but many countries on the continent are perfectly suited to take advantage of renewables, and South Africa is no exception.
In late 2015, the Kouga Wind Farm at Oyster Bay in the Eastern Cape was officially opened. The province’s windy weather offers endless opportunities for growth in the renewable energy sector, and the R2 billion wind farm is already adding about 300GWh to the national power grid annually, while also mitigating over 270 000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
Aside from the obvious environmental and economic benefits, the project’s developers also insist that Kouga uplifts the communities in which it is based:
During construction, more than 1 000 temporary jobs were created through the farm’s engineering, construction and procurement contractor. 15 local SMEs were also used.
To date, R.1.7 million has been invested in the surrounding towns of Sea Vista and Umzamowethu, with the focus on childcare, health, food security, education and infrastructure development.
At the time of Kouga Wind Farm’s opening, MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Sakhumzi Somyo said he was delighted to see that the farm is placing so much focus on development.
Standard Bank was one of three major investors to finance the Kouga Winda Farm, because, as the Bank that sees Africa as our home, we believe it is essential to relentlessly pursue growth in the renewable energy sector. This will help stimulate economic development, support and protect the environment for future generations and ensure long-term sustainable prosperity for all. In short, increased interest in clean energy that can move Africa forward.
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It doesn’t get much bigger than Lagos, the largest city in Africa’s most populous country. We take you on a 24-hour tour of the former capital that is now the business hub of Nigeria, and home to a vibrant array of entertainment and shopping offerings.
We start off in Ikeja with a tour of Alausa, where the state secretariat and Governor’s offices are located. The well-maintained area is also the location of the Ikeja City Mall, as much of a hang-out location as it is a shopping destination.
Hail a keke napep – a motorized rickshaw – to take you to Allen Avenue. Brisk business happens here, with boutiques, fast food joints and banks populating the area.
Next stop is Awolowo Road, where you can find all makes and models of telecommunication equipment, from the now-extinct Nokia 3310 to the latest iPhone 6. A careful search could even produce the yet-to-be manufactured iPhone 7, along with the Nigerian-produced version of each.
New purchases in hand, take a taxi to Ikeja GRA, home of old money. Pass through Isaac John Street where several restaurants boast tasty local dishes.
From here, jump on a yellow bus, popularly called danfo, which will take you across the lengthy third mainland bridge into Lagos Island.
About a quarter of the way into the journey, expect a preacher to stand up and lead passengers in song. You’ll often find a self-proclaimed alternative medicine pusher on board too, offering herbal concoctions or imported medication purported to cure several ailments, ranging from minor headaches to high blood pressure.
When you disembark, head to the famous Balogun market, where you can find anything from gold to goat meat. Be wary of the man asking your help to decide between two bags to buy for his wife, as you may end up buying both while the man buys none. It’s a well-known trick.
Leave the market and move on to Victoria Island, passing through Obalende, the semi-slum that borders Ikoyi, home of the fabulously rich. Victoria Island is home to head offices of all Nigerian major banks, world-class hotels, telecommunications companies and the who’s-who in town. Take a stroll down Awolowo Road for some window shopping.
If you wish to linger on the island, you’ll witness the rapid build-up of traffic from 5pm; streets quickly become choked with traffic and hawkers. If you’re feeling peckish, try a packet of plantain chips – peppered, sweet, even honeyed flavoured.
There’s a lot more to be explored after dark. Lagos nightlife rates as one of the best on the continent, with a range of choices from the lounge-style cocktail bars to nightclubs blasting popular local Nigerian tunes that will keep you on your feet till the next morning.
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Like all sub-Saharan countries, Mozambique is rich in natural resources, yet the young democratic nation is facing a number of economic hurdles: Its GDP growth rate has decelerated due to lower commodity prices and decreased foreign direct investment, rising food costs and the metical depreciation have fuelled inflation, and political instability is further driving away investors and established companies.
One solution to Mozambique’s economic challenges is entrepreneurship: The success of independent SMEs is critical to a country’s economic growth, according to the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI) . Without it, there can be little innovation, productivity and job creation.
But prosperous SMEs cannot exist in a vacuum; a country’s ‘entrepreneurship ecosystem’ (i.e. attitudes, resources and infrastructure) greatly influence start-up success. Unfortunately, the GEDI shows that Mozambique’s ‘ecosystem’ is also struggling: Currently, the coastal country is ranked 116 out of 132 countries on the Global Entrepreneurial Index.
It’s clear that governments and private institutions with an interest in Mozambique and sub-Saharan Africa need to stimulate entrepreneurial development. To do this, they must offer assistance in the following areas:
Funding: The Anzisha Entrepreneur Survey 2016 found that the biggest impediment to business growth is lack of funding, causing many to stagnate at the idea, product development or expansion stage.
Digitalisation: Pervasive digitalisation enabled by the Web 2.0 internet is a major driver of entrepreneurial opportunities. The global trend, says the GEDI , reduces the initial investment needed to start a business and the cost of experimentation. In Africa, aspirant entrepreneurs need access to the technology and infrastructure to take full advantage of this trend.
Mentoring: A 2011 Gallup survey that included 83 countries showed that access to mentor support can boost the rate of new business creation. This is likely because mentors help develop small businesses by sharing their experience, expertise and social capital.
Investor readiness: As Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Public Forum Institute, noted, a 2015 Omidyar Network survey highlighted the link between skills and capital: Entrepreneurs in Africa complain about the lack of funding, yet many investors believe many projects are not funding ready. Preparedness for funding requires ‘soft skills’ (such as adaptability to market change) that ultimately determine business success or failure.
With the ultimate goal of stimulating Africa’s economies and so bringing prosperity to all, many NGO- and company-lead business accelerators have been established on or are networking throughout the continent. One of the most notable is the Standard Bank Incubator. Barely a year old, it has provided more than 100 South African start-ups with support in the form of training, mentoring and access to technology etc.
Having gained international recognition, Standard Bank hopes to expand the Incubator programme into the rest of the continent.
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