7th Anniversary of THE TIMES OF AFRICA

Grab the Prodigious Packages on the 7th Anniversary of THE TIMES OF AFRICA!!

The Building Boom

Infrastructure is more vital and potentially transformational in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nature at its Best

Welcome to South Africa, a country so rich in beauty that we want to share them all with you.

Face of African Fashion

It's an exhilarating time for investors to invest in the African fashion Industry.

Unearthing Opportunities

Digging deep the mines for favourable results.

Cultivating Future

The road to diminish poverty and undernourishment in Africa.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Telecom, Media and Tech leaders meet for regional investment event

The event gathers Africa’s top telecom, media and technology giants, plus their leading investors, financiers and advisers, to discuss future strategies for investment and regional growth.
Cape Town, South Africa will play host to the TMT Finance Africa event for the first time, which will see more than 200 regional and international telecom, media and technology leaders, investment bankers, investors, advisers and government representatives meet for a series of panel debates, visionary keynote speeches, structured networking sessions and private breakout discussions.
Around 70 speakers will be announced, with CxOs from leading operators confirmed from Vodacom, MTN, Econet Wireless, Safaricom, Millicom, Intelsat and 9Mobile; and financiers and investors including Standard Bank, Convergence Partners, Rand Merchant Bank, IFC, Absa Capital, Citi, Credit Suisse, Ethos Capital, Investec Asset Management, and Mamor Capital; plus tech and media companies including: Econet Media, Primedia, Letshego, iROKO, Uber, MainOne and WorldRemit, with around 30 more speakers to be announced www.TMTfinance.com/capetown/speakers
“Due to hugely popular demand from our global network, we are delighted to be bringing the TMT Finance franchise to Cape Town in order to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure and services in Africa’s flourishing TMT sector,” said Ben Nice, Managing Editor, TMT Finance. “South Africa is a critical hub for investment, M&A and innovation, and we are very excited to have already announced many of the region’s most influential people and leading companies for the event, which we envisage will now become a regular fixture in the TMT Finance global events calendar,” he added.
Key session themes announced include: Telecom Leadership Africa; Broadband Infrastructure Investment; Digital Africa; Mobile Tower Strategies; Mergers and Acquisitions; Private Equity Africa; Spectrum sharing; Regulation and Policy; Financing TMT; Investing in Mobile Data and Services; Mobile Payments and Banking, Fintech and M-Health; and Media and Convergence.
Source APO

Saturday, 13 January 2018

East Africa Islamic Economy Summit 2018 returns to Nairobi, Kenya

‘East Africa’s fairly developed infrastructure and communication sector, a young educated tech savvy population and their ability to capitalise on technology development provides a great opportunity for the region to lead in the Islamic Finance digital economy’ – Agnes Gitau, GBS Africa elaborating the theme of the 3rd edition of the East Africa Islamic Economy Summit.
The East Africa’s Islamic Economy Summit 2018 which takes place in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi on the 24th & 25th is therefore themed around Fintech as a driver for Islamic Economy in East Africa as well as Financial inclusion in the region.
Five years back, with the support of key institutions in East Africa, GBS Africa started a conversation around Islamic Finance, Islamic Economy and East Africa’s economic development. This conversation has grown to become an annual gathering for the region where significant players in East Africa’s economy meet to set the way forward for the development of the sector, aligning deliberations to East Africa’s economic development agenda. This year’s program which has had great input from leading experts in the Islamic Economy will therefore cover Islamic Economy to define its role within the Financial sector, the emergence of Fintech, opportunities for East Africa in the Islamic digital economy which according to Ernst &Young has the potential of 150 million new customers by 2021.
Kenya, renowned not only for its Athletic might but also as the country that pioneered the mobile money technology through MPESA, continues to make efforts towards its vision to become Africa’s Financial hub. The East Africa nation which will host this year’s event joined the Islamic Financial Board last year and has indicated plans for a Sukuk Bond to finance both national and regional infrastructure projects.
The conference will look at key factors that will impact the development of Islamic Economy in the region and call on all stakeholders to play their role in advancing Financial Inclusion in East Africa.
Source: APO

Friday, 12 January 2018

Egypt’s Startup reactor is seeking out Startups!

Following the successful conclusion of its 4th cycle with its last phase “Startup Nova – Entrepreneurship Explosion”, Startup Reactor is accepting applications for its 5th cycle!
Startup Reactor is a 6-month accelerator program designed to support innovative startups with high growth potential in Egypt. The program is a gateway to connecting entrepreneurs, investors and mentors. Investors and mentors that participate in the program receive an equity stake in the ventures which they choose to support.
40 startups will qualify for Ignition (Bootcamp stage) and will receive mentorship and training, with up to 15 startups proceeding to Plasma stage. Throughout Plasma, the startups will undergo an intensive training program on developing their business model, prototypes, brand identity and customer base. The qualifying startups receive the full program’s package, which includes access to office space and facilities, exclusive access to mentorship from a network of more than 200 business professionals, consultation services, legal registration and advice, and support services such as accounting, HR and marketing. In addition, the startups will receive equity funding up to 300,000 EGP, with the chance to participate in Startup Nova; a demo day infront of local and international investors where the top 3 startups receive cash prizes worth 15,000 Euros from VC4A, with further investment opportunities from Innoventures (http://Innoventures.me) and VC4A (https://VC4A.com) investor network.
Building off the success of the 2017 cycle, in addition to the main track open to startups from any industry, the program also includes several specialized tracks run in collaboration with industry partners:
Digital Media Track: Powered by The Planet, which covers analytics, advertising, content platform, content creation automation, e-commerce, talent management, and influencer management.
Design Track: Powered by Studio 49, covers smart appliances, lighting and lighting fixtures, design tools, consumer electronics, and smart furniture design.
Computing Track: Powered by IBM, covers cloud-based networks, software, IoT, chat-bots and AI technology.
These specialized tracks ensure tailored acceleration experience and provide more focused support to entrepreneurs in key emerging industries.
Interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend the “Spark” sessions and workshops that will be held around Egypt during December 2017/January 2018.
Interested media representatives are invited to attend the press conference on January 9th or contact Press@Innoventures.me for more information.
There’s no limit to what you can do, start today.
To apply to Startup Reactor, visit innoventures.me/reactor before the 20th of January, 2018!
Source: APO

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Wildlife transformation is transforming Malawi

Source: Malawi tourism board
2017 was a truly exciting, ground-breaking year for Malawi’s tourism development and that looks well set to continue in to 2018. Check out below some of the highlights from last year and what’s to come this year.
For a long time, Malawi’s stunning beaches, beautiful and varied landscapes and fascinating and friendly cultural experiences have been some of the best that Africa has to offer. With the wildlife transformations currently underway courtesy of African Parks, Malawi’s safari experiences are now starting to match its other attractions as it emerges as one of the most complete destinations in Africa.
The ground-breaking #500Elephants project completed in 2017 was the largest elephant translocation in human history and received a phenomenal amount of positive international media coverage. Nkhotakota Reserve has also received hundreds of other animals in an effort to re-stock it to former glories. Liwonde National Park received the country’s first cheetah in decades (with more coming in 2018) and will be home to a pride of five new lions from South Africa in February. Over the last decade Majete Wildlife Reserve has gone from just a handful of animals to a Big 5 reserve that’s now home to over 12,000 animals. Its lions are breeding well and more will be introduced in 2018.
With new lodges opening in these Parks & Reserves, a continuing programme of animal introductions and wildlife protection, the future for Malawi’s safaris is VERY bright.
New Camps
Further evidence of Malawi’s tourism emergence is the opening of two brand new camps. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, with its ever-growing wildlife, welcomed a new, affordable camp in 2017, while Liwonde, Malawi’s premier park is to see the opening of a new Robin Pope Safaris camp in April 2018.
Kachenga Camp in Nkhotakota comes from the same team behind the nearby (and award-winning) Tongole Wilderness Lodge. As well as offering a more affordable, mid-range option (self-catering, B&B, half and full board available and overland groups can be accommodated) Kachenga provides greater flexibility, accommodating guests who are or wish to be more actively involved with the community programmes supported through the Tongole Foundation. Both Kachenga and Tongole are planned to be incorporated into the fenced sanctuary area of the Reserve when it is expanded in 2018.
Kuthengo, meaning ‘wilderness’ in the local language, truly depicts the setting of this camp, located on a large open plain alongside the Shire River in Liwonde, quietly nestled amongst fever trees and baobabs. The camp has just four safari tents; all en-suite, each with double basins, a bathtub and an outdoor shower. With all the usual comforts of a Robin Pope Safaris camp, Kuthengo maintains a rustic charm, complemented by stunning views, which are best appreciated from your private deck with a cold sundowner in hand.
Not to be completely out-done Majete Wildlife Reserve also saw a change in lodge this year. Not a brand new one, but the established Thawale Lodge is now set to grow and flourish under the management of Malawi’s largest tourism company, Sunbird.
New Members
The Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium consists of those members of Malawi’s tourist industry that are focussed on the international markets – Malawi’s key lodges hotels, tour operators and transport providers. We’re very pleased to welcome a number of new members this year that fall in to this category:
Kande Horse – is a well-established operation on the northern shores of Lake Malawi. Now under new ownership, as well as offering horse riding for all levels and ages, they have a beautiful guest house that’s now focussed on welcoming international guests.
Zomba Forest Lodge – is a cosy and intimate guest house nestled in 20 acres of mixed woodland on the flanks of Zomba Plateau – indigenous rainforest in the valley by the stream, pine on the Plateau slopes & giant eucalyptus trees overhanging the garden. This is the perfect place to sit back and relax – or go walking on one of the many trails around the lodge and Plateau.
Serendib Hotels – is Malawi’s second largest hotel group and now has 5 varied properties in Blantyre, Limbe, Senga Bay and the Mangochi Lakeshore. Having grown rapidly since launching in 2014, Serendib now have a great set of properties, each designed to be unique and original, and provide an authentic and memorable stay.
Warm Heart Adventures – is a new small adventure tours company based in Cape Maclear specialising in tailor-made tours. It is owned and operated by a Malawian lady with an intimate knowledge of the country and many years of experience in its tourist industry. They also run a charming mid-range beach lodge at Cape Maclear/Lake Malawi National Park.
Hill Springs Lodge – is a new lodge located just outside Zomba town. Catering for individuals and groups, it provides a great base to explore the historic colonial capital and the stunning Zomba Plateau that towers above it.
Central African Wilderness Safaris
Malawi’s best known and longest established operator, Central African Wilderness Safaris are never ones to sit on their laurels. Mvuu Camp & Lodge in Liwonde National Park have been extensively upgraded, including a new lounge area and new dining deck for the lodge, and an amazing new Star Bed on the southern floodplains. They have also developed exciting new trails in Liwonde and Nyika.
Kayak Africa
Kayak Africa, who run Mumbo and Domwe Island Camps in the Lake Malawi National Park, celebrated a renewal of their concession for another 10 years! All their buildings and furnishings are created according to green practices and so use local materials and craftsmen from the local community. So all the cushions on Mumbo were re-vamped in February by the local village tailor! The wooden island ‘ferries’ have been upgraded and work is nearly complete on a wooden catamaran which will be used for sunset cruises.
Kiboko Safaris
Kiboko Safaris is another Malawi company that never stands still, Last year they have added Mercedes-Benz sprinter buses to their fleet, launched online platforms for all their accommodation and opened a cottage at Senga Bay. 2018 will see a new website launched, plus a new booking office and a new safari camp in Zambia’s South Luangwa.
Malawian Style
Dynamic local operator Malawian Style has been expanding again in all areas, with a growing sales team, new managers at their lakeshore lodge and new buses (resulting in an increase in group trips). With ever more FAM trips and a mammoth 3 month marketing tour of the USA, 2017 was a great year. With new Green Season specials and a new guest house in Lilongwe on the horizon, 2018 seems sure to carry on in the same vein!
Robin Pope Safaris
Not content with opening a brand new Lodge in Liwonde (see above), Robin Pope Safaris have also managed some exciting developments at their existing properties. Mkulumadzi has seen the launch of a new Star Bed that offers breath-taking views of the starry night skies and a 360 degree view of Majete Wildlife Reserve. And Pumulani now has a brand new infinity swimming pool, with an elevated view of the Lake. RPS are also launching a number of Special Offers for 2018.
The Responsible Safaris Company
Pioneers and innovators, The Responsible Safari Company continues to launch exciting new itineraries for visitors who want much more than a ‘laze and gaze’ holiday. These include: Women’s Entrepreneurship Expeditions; UN Global Development Goals Workshops; and Global Citizenship & Malawi Triathlon Scheduled Departures. 2018 will also see them acquire a new fleet of vehicles.
Ulisa Bay Lodge
Ulisa Bay Lodge on Likoma Island has made lots of site improvements in 2017, including new paths and shades, a beach shelter and improved solar powered lighting backup. Most exciting is the launch of Ulisa Bay Pottery, with Maria, a local traditional potter and grandmother teaching guests the ancient craft of hand-making traditional pots. Improvements will continue in 2018 along with the development of the pottery.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

2018: Year of acceleration of modernization of Gécamines SA

The 2017 financial year has just ended with the concrete materialization of an awaited commitment: the inauguration, on 22 December 2017, of the modernized registered office of Gécamines in Lubumbashi, in the presence of the highest State authorities and institutions, led by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Joseph Kabila Kabange.
This inauguration, a symbol of the transformation that Gécamines has been undergoing for some years under the auspices of its Board of Directors, presented the opportunity for its Chairman, Albert Yuma Mulimbi, to draw up an objective and uncompromising report on the activities of the company and to announce the major projects and challenges which await Gécamines for 2018.
 Benefits below what was promised
Finding that the overwhelming majority of partnerships which management has been entrusted to external partners by Gécamines present negative results, do not generate any dividends, and thus do not contribute to national development to the extent expected, Gécamines initiated, between 2015 and 2017, a series of audits of its partnerships with the help of leading international firms. The initial results of these audits reveal that they were managed at the expense of Gécamines, often through unacceptable accounting and management practices. Gécamines cannot content itself with such a situation for longer.
In 2018, Gécamines therefore intends to initiate a frank discussion with its partners and, as needed, demand a clarification of the agreements in place.
Furthermore, Gécamines is attentively following the discussions currently taking place in Parliament on the reform of the Mining Code of 2002, whose stated objective is to rebalance the sharing system of the mineral wealth of the DRC, one of the most advantageous in the world for investors. As a recent report of a financial backer in effect noted, the boom of the natural resources sector from 2007 benefited more to foreign investors than to the State and local producers, the choice to have recourse to multinationals operating in the formal sector thus not having generated the economic outcomes expected. It is now clear that the generous provisions of the Mining Code of 2002 do not allow the DRC to fully benefit from its abundant natural resources.
 Redesigned Mining Partnerships
In the future, Gécamines intends to break with past schemes that do not fulfill their initial objectives, contrary to the content of the studies produced at the time.
Gécamines has thus chosen to follow a subsidiarity principle. It will only form partnerships for the operations that require the contribution of third parties and that will allow it to maximize industrial or financial return. Two innovative partnership schemes are currently the subject of pilot projects with leading partners:
A time-limited partnership scheme (also called “BOOT”), based in particular on (i) the recovery of an operational and modern production tool at the end of a period agreed in advance, (ii) a more egalitarian distribution of shares, (iii) a real and increasing implication of Congolese executives in the steering of the project and (iv) an effective distribution of subcontracting in the best interest of the Congolese economic structure.
A mining production sharing scheme, inspired by the oil industry, thus allowing Gécamines to benefit directly from a part of the mining production, regardless of the financial results of the partnership, so as to guarantee to the Congolese that their wealth will effectively benefit them.
 A Necessary Modernization of Gecamines
The desired transformation will only be able to bear fruits if Gécamines itself plays its role in the modernization effort that has been initiated. Between 2015 and 2017, Gécamines commissioned from various international consultant firms an audit of its industrial apparatus as well as an organizational audit.
The initial results of these audits are unquestionable: (i) its production apparatus, due to a lack of necessary investment over various decades, has become obsolete, uncompetitive and, often, inefficient and (ii) its industrial and institutional structure is no longer adapted to the reality of a globalized industry. Here again, Gécamines has been resigning itself before the magnitude of the task to be completed for too long. This situation can no longer persist.
As such, Gécamines has taken various strong decisions, including (i) the closure of its obsolete and dangerous sites, (ii) in the short-term, the concentration of its activities on its most profitable sectors, (iii) the investment in the certification of its reserves to prepare the future, which had not taken place for 25 years and (iv) the completion of a bankable study for the creation of a new plant.
Finally, the work conditions and methods within Gécamines must be revisited. Gécamines thus decided to initiate (i) a progressive modernization of its facilities, of which the inauguration of its registered office in Lubumbashi is only the first step, (ii) an organizational transformation so as to convert Gécamines to the best standards of the international mining industry, (iii) a global personnel training plan on the latest technological, legal and financial developments, unprecedented in the recent history of the company.
Gécamines intends to reclaim its destiny. As the Chairman of Gécamines emphasized, in the name of the Board of Directors, only the reconstruction of a strong national mining actor will be able to transform the wealth of the Congolese soil into wealth for the Congolese people.
Source APO