African Business: What is the present and the future status?

Koffi Anan, influential member of APP

The status of African business can be monitored through the detailed African Progress Panel Report.


The release of the Africa Progress Panel Report tells it all. Led by notables like Kofi Annan (former Secretary-General of U.N), Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), Robert Rubin (former secretary of the United States Treasury) and Olusegun Obasanjo (former President of Nigeria)

The Panel was set up six years ago to monitor advances or retreats made by Africa in terms of the Millennium Development Goals which world leaders signed up to 10 years sago. The report takes stock of Africa's progress since 2005.

It is difficult to solve problem without finding out the cause.What is required is for minds to engage and produce effective, workable solutions

Kofi Annan said during the launch ceremony,

"This landmark Report argues that Africa's future is in its own hands, but that success in managing its own affairs depends on supportive global policies and agreements."

This year, the Africa Progress Report is dedicated to the transformative power of partnerships. While the idea of pooling a range of actors and their energy, creativity and resources around specific development challenges is hardly new, too few success stories are replicated or brought to scale to effect lasting structural change.

Against this backdrop, this year’s report identifies partnership models that have already proven their transformative potential and assesses how to create the policy framework and incentive structure needed to spur further collaboration for progress. The report argues that all actors, including governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society, can do more to facilitate the spread of successful models across sectors and countries, and that doing so is in their self-interest.

It also argues that much work remains to be done to convince all sides of the inherent benefits of partnering for progress. This is the main purpose of this report.

For concrete analysis of African business click the links below



Getting to know the richest man in Africa

African Business: Getting to know the richest man in Africa

There are a lot of great stories coming out of Africa. Aliko Dangote a very successful business man, he sits down and shares his experience with young, ambitious African entrepreneurs.

Meets Africa's Richest Man: Aliko Dangote

Key notes

1. Work hard in your industry, and be determined to reach the top. Block the negative input from the doubters as you seek your goal.

2. Make sure you enjoy what your doing, take it as a hobby.

3. Be focused and dedicated on what your doing. Do not jump from one project to another when facing a challenge. Find a way to overcome the challenge by seeking advise.

4. Be a good leader by listening and be a team player. Unity is important in a business setting.

5. Have a mindset that nothing is impossible, and be a person of integrity.

How to Get Funding for Your Africa-Focused Tech Start-Up

African Business, having a suitable environment for an Africa-Focused Tech Start-Up

1. Make sure you are ready.

2. Create a clean and short deck and put start-up on Angel List and VC4Africa.

3. Identify a short list of relevant investors - key criteria for Africa.

4. Connect and educate with potential investors.

5. Practice the pitch and work up to your favorite investor(s).

6. Scoring an anchor and influential investor can significantly boost your chances but be careful who this is.

7. Be wary of terms and make sure you have a clean cap table - but don't overly negotiate.

Bonus Video: The role of technology and social media in Africa

How Africa tweets, a visual.

How Africa tweets?

South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco lead Tweeting on the continent

Twitter can be a useful tool for business. As I have become more acquainted with the social networking site, these are a couple of advantages I can think of:

Uses of twitter to an African entrepreneur/business man

1. Can easily make new business connections in your industry, these connections can even lead to joint ventures.

2. Get the current news in your industry to stay up to date with your competitors.

3. Build a following for your website. This following is important because such people are specifically interested in your industry.

4. You can use twitter to connect with face book to increase your following or traffic [for your website]

5. Your presence increases in the search engines, which increases your Google and Alexa ranking. This implies the website for your African business will be easier to find by search engines, hence more traffic.

These points can be vital for a small business in Africa. It can help the business grow gradually, as it builds a presence. I think twitter should be widespread in Africa to help rising entrepreneurs grow.

Twitter is dominated by Africa's richest country: South Africa sent twice as many Tweets (5,030,226) as the next most active Kenya (2,476,800). Nigeria (1,646,212), Egypt (1,214,062) and Morocco (745,620) make up the remainder of the top five most active countries. According to Portland, 68% of those polled said that they use Twitter to monitor news. They've produced this neat visualisation to show the distribution of tweets.

Check out the full analysis by Portland Communications.

The first Twitter map of Africa shows the social network is forging links between smartphone users from Cape Town to Cairo while, with a few exceptions, political and business leaders are yet to get the hang of tweeting.
Read more

I envision tweeter and other social networking sites becoming more dominant as small African businesses develop, especially if these networks are incorporated more in the telecommunication sector.

Business Networking Tips from Africa

Making African business easier

Dave Crenshaw gives great tips on business networking. His visit to Africa [Ghana] birthed these great tips. I think these tips are universal, and If your going to start businesses in the new bed of opportunity, Africa, it is necessary to know these tips:

1. Give first

2. Use their name

3. Focus on them

4. Maintain contact

African business: Africa’s deepening financial sector

Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle recently produced a series of five research papers on the trends powering Africa’s economic growth. Below is a brief analysis of the financial sector of African business.

Although Africa’s financial services industry has experienced strong growth in recent years, the majority of the population remains locked-out of the formal financial system.

Even in Sub-Saharan Africa’s more developed countries, a large percentage of the population remains excluded from all financial services.

For example, in Zambia, only 25% of the population has access to banking or other formal financial services, while in Nigeria, 80% of the population access finance through informal means, or not at all. Even in South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, one-quarter of the population lack access to financial services.

Supported by rising incomes, urbanization and the innovative use of technology, the financial services industry is, however, likely to expand in the coming years.

“Considering the pace at which much of Africa’s middle class is accumulating wealth, it is clear that this will provide the most fundamental pretext for banking growth across the continent. Clearly, as Africa’s middle class population rises, so too will demand for more sophisticated banking services – providing tremendous support for the development of retail banking operations on the continent,” says Freemantle.

Africa’s rapid urbanization is also expected to bring more people in contact with financial services products. It is estimated that about 60% of the continent’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Freemantle notes that although various innovative products, largely through mobile phones, have been launched to give rural populations access to financial services, the majority of users are still based in urban areas. Urban workers often have higher incomes, while banks and financial services firms normally have a stronger presence in cities.

Technological innovation, such as mobile money solutions, has played a major role in giving Africans access to banking and financial services. This trend is likely to continue. “The manner in which rapid technological changes are reducing transaction costs, bridging geographical strains, expanding markets, and inspiring investment from large financial institutions is undoubtedly altering Africa commercial terrain,” says Freemantle.

Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money transfer service has given more than 70% of the country’s adults access to financial services, up from less than 5% in 2006. According to Juniper Research, Africa’s mobile banking industry could be worth as much as US$22 billion by 2015.

“As a result of these trends, as well as generally supportive macroeconomic and policy environments, the pace at which Africa’s banking sector has grown in recent years is unlikely to abate. Indeed, an acceleration is plausible. Should growth remain at a similar clip between 2010 and 2020 as between 2005 and 2020, for instance, Africa’s financial services sector could make up around 20% of the continent’s collective GDP within the next decade, compared to just over 10% today,” says Freemantle.

He adds that, “The deepening of Africa’s financial sector is both a result of, and a driver of, the strong macroeconomic gains reflected across several of the continent’s core markets over the course of the past decade. That said, room for growth and improvement exists in abundance.”

The futue of African business, read more

IBM boosts commitment to Africa

IBM Africa

IBM has been doing a great job in propelling African business. They have realized an opportunity, and an area that can help the world as a whole. I found a great article on their work in Africa.

“The world is discovering Africa’s potential, and IBM is uniquely poised to help the region meet its growing demands. IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program helps lay the groundwork with communities by strengthening relationships with government officials and local partners, while providing IBM employees with a unique leadership development experience,” said Bruno Di Leo, General Manager, IBM Growth Markets Unit.

“As IBM targets more growth and emerging markets, leadership programs such as the Corporate Service Corps are vital to help train our employees on growth market environments and development opportunities.”

IBM is surely propelling African business.

IBM commits to Africa, full article.

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