The Journal of African Business Issue 8

The Journal of African Business is a unique guide to business and investment in Africa, published as a quarterly. Read or download your free digital copy here.

The Journal of African Business is a unique guide to business and investment in Africa, published as a quarterly. Read or download your free digital copy here.


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FEB / MAR / APR 2024<br />



An expansion project in Togo has<br />

broken ground<br />



<strong>The</strong> EU’s newest carbon tax could<br />

harm <strong>African</strong> trade<br />



<strong>The</strong> Shoprite Group is investing heavily<br />

in fighting climate change<br />




Vodacom’s CTO outlines the group’s<br />

ambitious vision<br />


PINAGARE MOGODI, CEO <strong>of</strong> the Matsapa-A-Botshelo Group, reflects on his company’s<br />

growing role in the coal export market and the expansion <strong>of</strong> MAB GROUP



As Africa looks to wean itself <strong>of</strong> fossil fuels, South Africa’s regulator and promoter<br />

<strong>of</strong> the oil and gas sector is leading the way in encouraging exploration in vital gases.<br />

Credit: APO Group<br />

<strong>The</strong> International Energy Association (IEA) has published a report, “Africa Energy<br />

Outlook 2022”, which tackles the supposed conflict between Africa’s developmental<br />

needs and the urgent imperative to move away from fossil fuels.<br />

Both can be achieved, according to the report. A key factor in allowing Africa<br />

to continue to industrialise will be an uptick in the discovery and use <strong>of</strong> gas. If<br />

all the gas so far discovered in and <strong>of</strong>f Africa was used, the continent’s share <strong>of</strong><br />

global emissions would rise by 0.5% to 3.5%. Petroleum Agency South Africa<br />

(PASA) has welcomed the report as confirmation <strong>of</strong> its own findings. PASA has<br />

consistently argued that South Africa’s road to net zero emissions will be via gas.<br />

As the Agency has noted in the context <strong>of</strong> major discoveries <strong>of</strong> oil condensate<br />

<strong>of</strong>f the southern coast, gas can be a bridge to a lower-carbon future in South<br />

Africa and Africa.<br />

<strong>The</strong> distribution <strong>of</strong> licences in the oil and gas sector is <strong>of</strong> vital importance to<br />

a national economy and this is one <strong>of</strong> the key functions <strong>of</strong> PASA. <strong>The</strong> progress<br />

being made on a gas project in the northern part <strong>of</strong> the Free State province, about<br />

300km south <strong>of</strong> Johannesburg, is illustrative <strong>of</strong> the progress being made in the<br />

South <strong>African</strong> oil and gas sector. <strong>The</strong> triangle made up <strong>of</strong> the towns <strong>of</strong> Virginia,<br />

Welkom and <strong>The</strong>unissen used to be rich in gold mines, but for many years<br />

yields declined and the area’s economy struggled with job losses rising steadily.<br />

A fortuitous discovery <strong>of</strong> methane gas on a farm in Virginia in 1998 led to the<br />

creation <strong>of</strong> a company and to some entrepreneurs requesting licences to explore.<br />

Which is where Petroleum Agency South Africa comes in. PASA is responsible<br />

for evaluating, promoting and regulating oil and gas exploration and production<br />

activities in South Africa and archives all relevant geotechnical data. <strong>The</strong> Agency<br />

acts as an advisor to the government and carries out special projects at the request<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Minister <strong>of</strong> Mineral Resources and Energy.<br />

“As the country’s first onshore commercial project, the Virginia gas project is<br />

exciting,” says Sibabalwenathi Magida, PASA’s Executive Manager: Communications<br />

and Stakeholder Relations. “We are looking forward to seeing some <strong>of</strong> the<br />

opportunities the industry can provide to the country being realised through the<br />

project,” she adds. Currently, natural gas supplies just 3% <strong>of</strong> South Africa’s primary<br />

energy. Opportunities for gas lie in the realisation <strong>of</strong> South Africa’s National<br />

Development Plan (NDP) and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).<br />

Virginia project<br />

In 2007 exploration rights to the Virginia area were granted to a company which<br />

later became Tetra4, a wholly-owned subsidiary <strong>of</strong> Renergen. In 2012 a full<br />

onshore petroleum production right was awarded and a full Environmental Impact<br />

Assessment was completed in 2017.<br />

As custodian, Petroleum Agency SA ensures that companies applying for gas<br />

rights are vetted to make sure they are financially qualified and technically capable,<br />

as well having a good environmental track record. Oil and gas exploration requires<br />

enormous capital outlay and can represent a risk to workers, communities and<br />

the environment. Applicants are therefore required to prove their capabilities and<br />

safety record and must carry insurance for environmental rehabilitation. <strong>The</strong> Tetra4<br />

Virginia Gas Project is the only holder <strong>of</strong> an onshore petroleum production licence<br />

issued by the Department <strong>of</strong> Mineral Resources and Energy through PASA.<br />

In the years since the first rights were issued, the project leaders have rolled out<br />

various aspects <strong>of</strong> the project, particularly related to contracts with manufacturers<br />

and transport companies for the use <strong>of</strong> liquified natural gas (LNG). But helium<br />

production was also on line. In October 2022, the commercial operation <strong>of</strong> the LNG<br />

plant came on stream and in January 2023, helium started being produced. To put

this into perspective, with the January announcement South Africa became one <strong>of</strong><br />

only eight countries in the world to become a helium producer. <strong>The</strong>re are now just<br />

16 places on the planet where this valuable liquid is produced.<br />

Renergen states that the economic (NPV) valuation for proved and probable<br />

reserves as <strong>of</strong> 2019 was R8.9-billion. Subsequent tests have suggested that the<br />

resource is even more plentiful than first thought. Helium is used in rocket<br />

launches and microchips and about 85 tons <strong>of</strong> it are used every day. <strong>The</strong> potential<br />

economic spin<strong>of</strong>fs for South Africa – and the effect that the availability <strong>of</strong> LNG<br />

could have on making the country’s transport industry less reliant on imported<br />

fuels – will be enormous. And PASA has played a vital role in bringing this about,<br />

by issuing licences in a responsible manner. <strong>The</strong>re is growing interest in South<br />

Africa as an investment proposition. Notes Magida, “We are observing a growing<br />

interest and positive support for the sustainable development <strong>of</strong> upstream oil and<br />

gas in South Africa.”<br />

Transitioning to gas<br />

<strong>The</strong> transition to cleaner fuels and renewables is inevitable if the world is to<br />

reduce the negative impact <strong>of</strong> climate change. South Africa is a signatory to the<br />

Paris Agreement and has committed to a “Peak-Plateau-Decline” carbon emission<br />

trajectory. <strong>The</strong> government’s policy is to diversify the country’s energy mix which is<br />

currently coal-dominated to a lower-carbon future by introducing proportionately<br />

higher renewable-energy resources such as wind and solar, into the energy mix as<br />

well as gas-to-power. Gas is estimated to burn less than half the CO2 emissions from<br />

coal and additionally has no SOx emissions.<br />

Gas is therefore a suitable transition fuel towards a lower-carbon economy for<br />

South Africa especially since gas-to-power technologies are flexible and would<br />

therefore complement the intermittent renewable energy being added to the<br />

national grid. South Africa’s energy mix is changing to include more gas through<br />

importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), using shale gas if reserves prove commercial<br />

and developing infrastructure for the import <strong>of</strong> LNG. Petroleum Agency SA plays<br />

an important role in developing South Africa’s gas market by attracting qualified<br />

and competent companies to explore for gas. Another major focus is increasing<br />

the inclusion <strong>of</strong> historically disadvantaged South <strong>African</strong>-owned entities in the<br />

upstream industry.<br />

New PASA leadership<br />

In 2023, PASA appointed an Acting CEO. Dr Tshepo Mokoka will serve<br />

as acting CEO until the PASA board concludes a recruitment process to<br />

identify a permanent CEO. Outgoing CEO Dr Phindile Masangane has<br />

moved on to a position in the private sector. Mokoka is eminently qualified<br />

for this important position. He has a PhD in Economics, an MCom in<br />

Economics and Honours degrees Economic Science and Science. In<br />

addition, Dr Mokoka has many years <strong>of</strong> relevant experience as a key<br />

member <strong>of</strong> the Central Energy Fund (CEF), the body that has oversight<br />

over PASA. On his appointment, Dr Mokoka said, “I am committed to<br />

leveraging my experience and expertise to steer the organisation through<br />

this transitional period. With the unwavering support <strong>of</strong> the leadership<br />

team, we will maintain our focus on achieving our goals and upholding<br />

the values that define us. Together, we will build upon Pasa’s legacy <strong>of</strong><br />

excellence and ensure its continued growth and success.”<br />

PASA acting CEO Dr Tshepo Mokoka attended the<br />

Southern Africa Oil and Gas Conference 2023.<br />

Credit: Renergen


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>African</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

A unique guide to business and investment in Africa.<br />

Welcome to <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>African</strong> <strong>Business</strong>. Since the inaugural issue was published<br />

as an annual in 2020, the quarterly format has been adopted, giving our team more<br />

opportunities to bring to readers up-to-date information and opinions and <strong>of</strong>fering<br />

our clients increased exposure at specific times <strong>of</strong> the year.<br />

We cover a broad range <strong>of</strong> topics, ranging from energy and mining to tourism and<br />

skills development. In the news section <strong>of</strong> this issue, a significant first corporate deal<br />

by Investec in Rwanda is noted, something that may have an impact on the volume<br />

<strong>of</strong> manufacturing in the region. Other news that has a regional impact is contained in<br />

the report on Engen and Vivo Energy combining their <strong>African</strong> businesses. This will<br />

create an entity with nearly 4 000 service<br />

stations and huge storage capability<br />

across 27 <strong>African</strong> nations.<br />

Progressive rehabilitation is at the<br />

core <strong>of</strong> plans to protect biodiversity at<br />

Glencore’s two mines in the Democratic<br />

Republic <strong>of</strong> the Congo and we carry a<br />

report on the goals <strong>of</strong> this programme<br />

and the progress being made, in<br />

collaboration with a local university.<br />

Solar power is coming to every part<br />

<strong>of</strong> Africa, and Togo is the latest country<br />

to expand its programme. AMEA Power<br />

has broken ground on phase 3 <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Solar<br />

Power Plant. Once the expansion project in Togo is completed, the solar plant will be<br />

the largest <strong>of</strong> its kind in West Africa.<br />

With COP28 behind us, Sandra Villars, Partner, Financial Services at Oliver Wyman,<br />

examines the concept <strong>of</strong> nature-related risk and stresses the need for financing<br />

for climate adaptation that is relevant to the <strong>African</strong> context. She argues that the<br />

continent’s regulators also need to play a role in making sure that solutions are found<br />

that resonate with local conditions.<br />

<strong>The</strong> EU’s newest carbon tax could significantly harm <strong>African</strong> trade, according to<br />

<strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina. Speaking at<br />

the Sustainable Trade Africa Conference held at the UAE Trade Centre in Dubai, the<br />

bank president put the negative figure at $25-billion annually and warned that several<br />

classes <strong>of</strong> trade and commodities could be affected.<br />

A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on<br />

how important Africa is set to become in global supply chains is the basis for an<br />

article by Times 3 Technologies (T3T) on how important technology will be in taking<br />

advantage <strong>of</strong> that position.<br />

One <strong>of</strong>ten hears references to “Africa” as though it is one place with one set <strong>of</strong><br />

conditions. Bernard van der Walt Roy Nkandau <strong>of</strong> BDO set out to change that<br />

mindset to one that looks at autonomous and independent markets that are worthy<br />

<strong>of</strong> research in themselves.<br />

Global <strong>African</strong> Network is a proudly <strong>African</strong> company which has been producing<br />

region-specific business and investment guides since 2004, including South <strong>African</strong><br />

<strong>Business</strong> and Nigerian <strong>Business</strong>, in addition to its online investment promotion<br />

platform www.globalafricanetwork.com.<br />


Editor, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>African</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

Email: john.young@gan.co.za<br />

Editor: John Young<br />

Publishing director: Chris Whales<br />

Managing director: Clive During<br />

Online editor: Christ<strong>of</strong>f Scholtz<br />

Design: Salmah Brown. Production:<br />

Sharon Angus-Leppan<br />

Ad sales: Venesia Fowler, Tennyson Naidoo,<br />

Sam Oliver, Tahlia Wyngaard, Gavin van<br />

der Merwe, Graeme February, Shiko Diala,<br />

Gabriel Venter and Vanessa Wallace<br />

Administration & accounts: Charlene Steynberg,<br />

Kathy Wootton, Sharon Angus-Leppan<br />

Distribution & circulation manager:<br />

Edward MacDonald<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>African</strong> <strong>Business</strong> is<br />

published by Global Africa Network Media (Pty) Ltd<br />

Company Registration No: 2004/004982/07<br />

Directors: Clive During, Chris Whales<br />

Physical address: 28 Main Road, Rondebosch 7700<br />

Postal: PO Box 292, Newlands 7701<br />

Tel: +27 21 657 6200 | Email: info@gan.co.za<br />

Website: www.globalafricanetwork.com<br />

No portion <strong>of</strong> this book may be reproduced<br />

without written consent <strong>of</strong> the copyright owner.<br />

<strong>The</strong> opinions expressed are not necessarily those<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>African</strong> <strong>Business</strong> magazine, nor<br />

the publisher, none <strong>of</strong> whom accept liability <strong>of</strong><br />

any nature arising out <strong>of</strong>, or in connection with,<br />

the contents <strong>of</strong> this publication. <strong>The</strong> publishers<br />

would like to express thanks to those who support<br />

this publication by their submission <strong>of</strong> articles<br />

and with their advertising. All rights reserved.<br />

Printing: FA Print<br />

Member <strong>of</strong> the Audit Bureau <strong>of</strong> Circulations<br />



Contents<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>African</strong> <strong>Business</strong><br />

2<br />

4<br />

6<br />

12<br />

14<br />

18<br />

20<br />

22<br />

26<br />

28<br />

30<br />

32<br />


From the editor’s desk.<br />


Recent investments, expansions and milestones.<br />


Matsapa-A-Botshelo Group (MAB GROUP) is making a big impact on the coal industry and MAB<br />

Construction is building communities and creating jobs across a wide variety <strong>of</strong> projects.<br />


Progressive rehabilitation is at the core <strong>of</strong> plans to protect biodiversity at<br />

Glencore’s two mines in the Democratic Republic <strong>of</strong> the Congo.<br />


AMEA Power has broken ground on phase 3 <strong>of</strong> the Sheikh<br />

Mohammed Bin Zayed Solar Power Plant in Togo.<br />


Sandra Villars, Partner, Financial Services at Oliver Wyman,<br />

examines the concept <strong>of</strong> nature-related risk.<br />


<strong>The</strong> EU’s newest carbon tax could significantly harm <strong>African</strong> trade, according<br />

to <strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.<br />


Vodacom Group’s Chief Techology Officer, Dejan Kastelic, outlines<br />

the group’s ambitious plans for the continent.<br />


Imagemakers is celebrating more than 40 years <strong>of</strong> producing highquality<br />

products with expansion into Africa.<br />


Africa’s economies may become major players in global supply chains, according<br />

to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report.<br />


To become a global leader in telecommunications, Africa must first shift some fundamental<br />

misconceptions about the continent, writes Bernard van der Walt and Roy Nkandau <strong>of</strong> BDO.<br />


Democratic Republic <strong>of</strong> the Congo and Malawi.<br />



Recent investments, expansions and milestones.<br />


Master Steel, one <strong>of</strong> the largest manufacturing companies in Rwanda, has entered into a transaction<br />

agreement with Investec, which acted as co-mandated lead arranger in a facility worth $25-million.<br />

<strong>The</strong> funds raised will be used to enhance Master Steel’s financial capacity to import more raw<br />

materials to satisfy demand, both locally and regionally. Rwanda’s manufacturing output for 2022<br />

was $1.3-billion, a 29.9% increase from 2021 and considering the ambitious plans that are in place<br />

for industrial and social development, this is likely to increase. Rwanda is <strong>of</strong>ten regarded as one <strong>of</strong><br />

Africa’s economic and development success stories, an achievement underpinned by several factors.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re has been political stability for almost two decades and a range <strong>of</strong> economic and structural<br />

reforms have been enacted, including a strong emphasis on public sector investment. Furthermore,<br />

despite the global challenges <strong>of</strong> high inflation and the knock-on effects <strong>of</strong> the war in Ukraine, the<br />

country has rebounded strongly since Covid-19, growing by 8.2% in 2022. According to the World<br />

Bank, Rwanda is also now aspiring to middle-income country status by 2035 and high-income country<br />

status by 2050. Despite this, the country is still highly dependent on public sector investment,<br />

which has meant high fiscal deficits and public sector debt (estimated at 71% <strong>of</strong> GDP). “To achieve<br />

these ambitious goals, Rwanda will have to tackle many challenges, including reducing poverty even<br />

further and encouraging greater private sector and international investment,” says Nonkululeko<br />

Dlamini, a consultant in structured finance solutions at Investec Bank, and a member <strong>of</strong> Investec’s<br />

<strong>African</strong> Structured Debt Solutions team. “We believe that Rwanda’s business-friendly environment<br />

will ensure that the country remains an attractive destination for foreign investment, as it further<br />

diversifies its economy and develops trade in the region. Over the medium term, Rwanda is also likely<br />

to remain amongst the economic outperformers in Sub-Saharan Africa and we are encouraged by<br />

Master Steel’s building capacity now and for future growth.”<br />

“In addition to growing its domestic market, Master Steel aims to contribute to trade with key<br />

neighbouring countries,” says Teddy Ndayambaje, General Manager <strong>of</strong> Master Steel. “Increasing<br />

the export sales in neighbouring countries is one <strong>of</strong> our key strategies to increasing sales, in hard<br />

currency, while reducing any challenges related to foreign currencies while importing raw materials.”<br />

Master Steel is just one example <strong>of</strong> the fruits <strong>of</strong> investment facilitation in Rwanda that can help it<br />

grow its gross fixed capital formation (GFCF). “This is Investec’s first corporate deal in Rwanda, and<br />

we are proud to have been able to support one <strong>of</strong> Rwanda’s largest manufacturers in its growth by<br />

arranging this facility alongside Etihad Cap Africa and I&M Bank Rwanda. This deal aligns with our<br />

strategy <strong>of</strong> exploring new markets in Africa while partnering with trusted partners on the ground,”<br />

concludes Rowan King, Head <strong>of</strong> <strong>Business</strong> Development and Origination in Africa at Investec.<br />


NEWS<br />


Engen and Vivo Energy have announced a combination <strong>of</strong><br />

their <strong>African</strong> businesses to create one <strong>of</strong> Africa’s largest<br />

energy distribution companies. <strong>The</strong> combined group will<br />

have over 3 900 service stations and more than two-billion<br />

litres <strong>of</strong> storage capacity across 27 <strong>African</strong> countries.<br />

Engen is the clear market leader in South Africa and<br />

has around 1 300 service stations across seven <strong>African</strong><br />

countries. Vivo Energy is a major pan-<strong>African</strong> retailer and<br />

distributor <strong>of</strong> fuels and lubricants to retail and commercial<br />

customers, with over 2 600 service stations across 23<br />

<strong>African</strong> countries, using the Engen and Shell brands.<br />

PETRONAS will sell its 74% shareholding in Engen to Vivo<br />

Energy at completion. <strong>The</strong> Phembani Group, PETRONAS’ longstanding<br />

partner in Africa and Engen’s B-BBEE shareholder,<br />

is continuing its strong association with Engen and will<br />

remain invested as a 21% shareholder in the South <strong>African</strong><br />

business. <strong>The</strong> transaction will further benefit employees<br />

<strong>of</strong> Engen through a newly implemented 5% employee share<br />

ownership programme, resulting in Engen South Africa<br />

being 26% owned by previously disadvantaged parties. Stan<br />

Mittelman, CEO <strong>of</strong> Vivo Energy said, “Vivo Energy’s focus has<br />

been to invest to grow our business, and I am proud that we<br />

have more than doubled the size <strong>of</strong> our network since our<br />

formation in 2011. Four years ago, we acquired the Engen<br />

business in nine <strong>African</strong> markets, and have since worked<br />

to enhance and develop these. Vitol’s acquisition <strong>of</strong> 100% <strong>of</strong><br />

Vivo Energy last year brings more opportunity to grow even<br />

faster.” <strong>The</strong> transaction is pending regulatory approvals<br />

and fulfilment <strong>of</strong> certain conditions. Rand Merchant Bank<br />

(a division <strong>of</strong> FirstRand Bank Limited) and Standard Bank<br />

advised Vivo Energy. Morgan Stanley and Rothschild and<br />

Co are advisors to PETRONAS on this transaction.<br />


Improving transport infrastructure between Cairo and<br />

Johannesburg will greatly improve trade within the <strong>African</strong><br />

continent. This is according to Egypt’s Ambassador to Kenya,<br />

Wael Nasr Eldin Attiya, who says the road infrastructure within<br />

the continent is 70% complete. Various countries such as Egypt<br />

have completed their sections <strong>of</strong> important routes, which<br />

will consequently see increased volumes <strong>of</strong> trade. “We are<br />

sure that trade within our two countries and the continent in<br />

general will improve once the ongoing infrastructure projects<br />

are complete. By this we mean that both roads and railways are<br />

crucial in facilitating movement <strong>of</strong> goods,” said Ambassador<br />

Attiya, who was speaking on the sidelines <strong>of</strong> the Kenya-Egypt<br />

trade mission in Nairobi in January 2024. <strong>The</strong> ambassador<br />

noted that problems have been encountered in countries that<br />

have conflict, but expressed confidence that once those issues<br />

were resolved, “we believe it will be complete in no time.” <strong>The</strong><br />

ambassador added that countries must also work to eliminate<br />

various non-tariff and tariff barriers as they continue to stifle<br />

trade within the continent. <strong>The</strong> port <strong>of</strong> Mombasa continues to<br />

be a pivotal point in facilitating trade between Egypt and Kenya<br />

with the proximity between the two countries also working to<br />

the advantage <strong>of</strong> exporters and importers. Furthermore, the<br />

imbalance in trade between Kenya and Egypt is due to Mombasa<br />

being as a gateway to East and Central Africa. Trade volumes<br />

between the two countries continues to increase thanks to<br />

improved relations. “Transport by ship from Cairo to Mombasa<br />

currently takes about 14 days which is quite fast. Thus, we are<br />

encouraging companies from both Kenya and Egypt to explore<br />

this route as we wait for the completion <strong>of</strong> other logistics<br />

infrastructure,” the ambassador added. <strong>The</strong> ambassador also<br />

praised the entry <strong>of</strong> an Egyptian bank, Commercial International<br />

Bank (CIB), into the Kenyan market saying it will enable trade<br />

between both countries. CIB, which has assets <strong>of</strong> $24-billion,<br />

opened its first branch in Nairobi in 2023. Speaking at the<br />

same event, CIB Kenya CEO Daphne Maina said the bank will<br />

enable facilitate trade between the two COMESA nations. <strong>The</strong><br />

Kenya-Egypt trade mission is organised by the Egyptian Food<br />

Export Council and consists <strong>of</strong> a series <strong>of</strong> visits by Egyptian<br />

companies to wholesale market areas and supermarket<br />

chains in Nairobi. <strong>The</strong> Kenyan companies will also have an<br />

opportunity to have meetings with the 26 visiting companies<br />

during the two-day event.<br />


<strong>The</strong> Board <strong>of</strong> Directors <strong>of</strong> the <strong>African</strong> Development Fund,<br />

the <strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group’s concessional<br />

window, has approved a €38.8-million loan to Benin to help<br />

implement the initial phase <strong>of</strong> the Economic Governance<br />

and Private Sector Development Support Programme. This<br />

programme will increase the private sector’s contribution to<br />

economic growth by enhancing the overall business climate,<br />

developing the agri-food sector and strengthening climate<br />

action. “<strong>The</strong> aim <strong>of</strong> the Economic Governance and Private<br />

Sector Development Support Programme is to assist the<br />

Beninese government in its efforts to accelerate, develop<br />

and implement the structural reforms that are fundamental<br />

to boosting wealth creation,” said Robert Masumbuko,<br />

the Bank’s Country Manager for Benin. <strong>The</strong> programme<br />

provides for the establishment <strong>of</strong> a technical committee<br />

to finalise the national e-commerce strategy, which will<br />

define the regulatory framework for online commerce<br />

and facilitate financial transactions. It will also result in an<br />

update <strong>of</strong> the communication plan for the National Gender<br />

Strategy for the agricultural sector. Finally, the initiative will<br />

support a project to set up an electronic window to facilitate<br />

investment and exports in Benin.<br />






Pinagare Mogodi, CEO <strong>of</strong> the Matsapa-A-Botshelo Group<br />

(MAB GROUP), reflects on the coal industry, where his<br />

company is increasingly making a big impact, and notes the<br />

remarkable strides being made by MAB Construction in building<br />

communities and creating jobs across a wide variety <strong>of</strong> projects.<br />



In the global environment where fossil-fuels are under pressure,<br />

how do you see the future <strong>of</strong> coal for South Africa and Africa?<br />

In the short term (five-10 years), the demand for coal may remain relatively<br />

stable, especially in regions where coal is a significant part <strong>of</strong> the energy<br />

mix. However, as more countries and industries shift towards cleaner energy<br />

sources, the demand for coal is expected to decrease. In terms <strong>of</strong> economic<br />

impact, the coal industry is likely to continue contributing to the economy<br />

through employment and revenue. However, there might be a need for<br />

diversification to mitigate the economic impact as the global demand for<br />

coal diminishes. Environmental pressures could increase from international<br />

entities and environmental organisations to reduce coal usage due to its<br />

contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. This may lead<br />

to stricter regulations and scrutiny.<br />

Pinagare Mogodi, MAB GROUP CEO, right<br />

Medium-term future (10-20 years):<br />

• Diversification: It becomes crucial for South Africa and Africa to diversify<br />

their energy mix. Investing in and adopting renewable energy sources such as<br />

solar, wind and hydroelectric power will be essential for energy security and<br />

sustainability.<br />

• Infrastructure development: Countries might need to invest in new infrastructure<br />

for renewable energy production and transmission. This could create new job<br />

opportunities and stimulate economic growth.<br />

• Global market dynamics: <strong>The</strong> global market for coal may continue to shrink,<br />

affecting export revenues for countries heavily reliant on coal exports. This<br />

emphasises the importance <strong>of</strong> transitioning to alternative energy sources and<br />

finding new economic opportunities.<br />

• Environmental regulations: Stricter environmental regulations may be<br />

implemented globally, further incentivising the transition away from coal. This<br />

could lead to the phasing out <strong>of</strong> coal-fired power plants and a decrease in coal<br />

mining activities.<br />

• Technology: Advances in clean-coal technologies or carbon capture and storage<br />

(CCS) could influence the medium-term outlook. If these technologies become<br />

economically viable and widely adopted, they could potentially extend the<br />

lifespan <strong>of</strong> the coal industry, albeit with reduced environmental impact.<br />

Do you supply the domestic and export markets?<br />

As MAB GROUP, our primary focus is on exporting high-grade coal to international<br />

markets, including countries such as India and China. Our coal portfolio consists <strong>of</strong><br />

various grades, including RB1, RB2 and RB3. Recognising the significant demand<br />

in these markets, we are in the process <strong>of</strong> expanding our operations by opening<br />

<strong>of</strong>fices in India. This strategic move aims to strengthen our presence and better<br />

serve our clients in one <strong>of</strong> our key markets.<br />

Simultaneously, we understand the importance <strong>of</strong> maintaining a strong<br />

presence in the domestic market. To contribute to local energy needs, we<br />

are actively exploring partnerships with local power utilities such as Eskom<br />


and Kelvin Power Station. By becoming a reliable<br />

coal supplier to these entities, we aim to support<br />

the domestic energy sector. Furthermore, MAB<br />

GROUP is committed to continuous growth and<br />

diversification. We have plans for expanding our<br />

operations, including acquiring new mines. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

acquisitions are part <strong>of</strong> our long-term strategy to<br />

ensure a sustainable and resilient position in the everevolving<br />

coal industry.<br />

Our approach encompasses both global and local<br />

markets, reflecting our commitment to meeting the<br />

diverse needs <strong>of</strong> our clients and contributing to the energy<br />

landscape on a broader scale.<br />

People, communities and the environment<br />

• More than 9 000 community members have benefitted from<br />

MAB’s expenditure <strong>of</strong> more than R72-million on corporate social<br />

responsibility projects.<br />

• A total <strong>of</strong> R89-million was spent with historically disadvantaged South<br />

<strong>African</strong>s (HDSA) suppliers over a seven-year period, including youth.<br />

• MAB’s involvement as a construction partner in RDP housing projects<br />

hasbrought many employment opportunities to communities.<br />

• <strong>The</strong> majority <strong>of</strong> water and land rehabilitation targets have been met.<br />

• Between 2016 and 2022, a total <strong>of</strong> R239-million has been returned<br />

to shareholders.<br />

Transnet has been in the news lately regarding<br />

roads and ports: has transporting product to port<br />

been a problem for MAB, or is most <strong>of</strong> your coal<br />

transported by your own Trucking Department?<br />

In the dynamic world <strong>of</strong> transportation and logistics, it’s not<br />

uncommon for challenges to arise, and Transnet, as a key<br />

player, is no exception. While recent headlines may suggest<br />

turbulence within the organisation, it’s essential to provide a<br />

balanced perspective to our potential clients and stakeholders.<br />

<strong>The</strong> truth is, despite the internal challenges that Transnet is<br />

working diligently to address, operations continue to run<br />

efficiently. Coal, one <strong>of</strong> the cornerstones <strong>of</strong> South Africa’s<br />

economy, is still being moved seamlessly, as are countless other<br />

commodities.<br />

<strong>The</strong> media, with its penchant for sensationalism, can<br />

sometimes amplify issues beyond proportion. This undue<br />

sensationalism may inadvertently create unnecessary panic<br />

among potential clients who rely on Transnet’s services.<br />

It’s important to separate fact from fiction. While Transnet<br />

acknowledges and is actively addressing internal issues, this<br />

should not overshadow the organisation’s overall capability<br />

to deliver on its commitments. Challenges are not unique<br />

to Transnet; they are part and parcel <strong>of</strong> any government<br />

parastatal or state-owned enterprise. What sets Transnet apart<br />

is its determination to resolve these challenges and emerge even<br />

stronger. <strong>The</strong> dedication to improving efficiency, reliability and<br />

transparency is an ongoing process and clients can expect to see<br />

positive developments in the near future. At MAB, we have not<br />

encountered significant challenges in transporting our coal to<br />

ports. While we utilise various transportation methods, including<br />

our own Trucking Department, we also engage with Transnet for<br />

certain logistics needs.<br />

It’s important to note that we have not experienced any<br />

significant disruptions in our operations due to their services.<br />

We acknowledge that, like any organisation, Transnet has its<br />

challenges, but we also recognize the positive aspects <strong>of</strong> its<br />

operations, including new expansions, government budget<br />

allocations, and efforts to repair and enhance infrastructure. We<br />



believe in a balanced perspective, understanding that challenges are part <strong>of</strong> the<br />

process <strong>of</strong> improvement and growth. As a company, our primary focus is on<br />

ensuring the efficient and reliable transportation <strong>of</strong> our coal products. We have<br />

found viable solutions, including utilising our own transportation resources, to<br />

navigate any potential challenges. Our commitment to delivering high-quality<br />

products to our customers remains unwavering and we remain optimistic<br />

about the improvements and developments within the transportation sector,<br />

including those led by entities like Transnet.<br />

Please tell us about your Trucking Department,<br />

its scope and ambitions.<br />

MAB Trucking, a reliable arm <strong>of</strong> our operations, handles short-distance<br />

transportation from mine to plant and onward to the railway siding. This is where<br />

our meticulous rail logistics come into play, orchestrating the journey <strong>of</strong> our coal to<br />

its final destination, which is the ports. We do long distance to Richards Bay where<br />

we have sub-contracting trucks under us, and where we create job opportunities<br />

for everyone.<br />

What sort <strong>of</strong> work does MAB Construction do?<br />

MAB GROUP has experienced remarkable growth in the construction field,<br />

starting from humble beginnings and expanding due to our commitment to<br />

quality assurance in the construction industry. Our construction department has<br />

successfully completed a diverse range <strong>of</strong> projects, including city development,<br />

human-settlement initiatives, mega-housing projects and government<br />

infrastructure undertakings. <strong>The</strong>se projects have not only contributed to<br />

the physical development <strong>of</strong> various areas but have also played a crucial role<br />

in job creation, reflecting our commitment to both quality construction and<br />

socioeconomic impact.<br />

Values<br />

• <strong>The</strong> company is driven and inspired by these values:<br />

• Quality service<br />

• Creative innovation<br />

• Reliability<br />

• Economic development and sustainability<br />

• Integrity and honesty<br />

• Customer orientation<br />

• Commitment<br />

• Accountability<br />

• Transparency<br />

• Accuracy<br />



Matsapa-A-Botshelo is a general construction and mining<br />

group committed to building a stronger South Africa<br />

through a commitment to reliability and high standards.<br />

MMatsapa-A-Botshelo has two main divisions covering coal (domestic supply and<br />

export) and construction and trucking. MAB is a close corporation company<br />

which started as construction company and then added to its portfolio mining<br />

and trucking departments in 2016. What started as a humble building block,<br />

has now become a powerful brand that has created several milestones in its<br />

areas <strong>of</strong> operation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> MAB Group CEO and Executive Head <strong>of</strong> Coal Operations is Pinagare<br />

Mogodi. <strong>The</strong> Executive Chairman is Setene Ketlele, who brings to the<br />

company considerable knowledge <strong>of</strong> the property management environment<br />

as a property manager and investor, with experience in arranging financing<br />

and administration.<br />

Skills training<br />

It has been a MAB goal from the beginning to continually improve in the wider<br />

construction arena and transfer skills to people, especially the unskilled and<br />

unemployed. More than 5% <strong>of</strong> the company’s payroll is paid on skills training<br />

and people development. We have inclusive programmes designed to upskill<br />

and develop our workforce.<br />



MAB Coal<br />

MAB supplies coal to Eskom (on medium-term contracts) and to Kelvin Power<br />

Station (a privately operated facility in Johannesburg) and is one <strong>of</strong> South Africa’s<br />

largest emerging exporters <strong>of</strong> thermal coal.<br />

<strong>The</strong> company’s goal is to produce 36-million tons by 2028. <strong>The</strong> biggest proportion<br />

<strong>of</strong> MAB’s current saleable mix is local power-station coal (36-mpta), followed by<br />

export thermal coal (eight-mpta) and semi-s<strong>of</strong>t coking coal (1.2-mpta). Products<br />

include duff, peas, small nuts and semi-coke. MAB Coal is strategically positioned<br />

for both domestic and export coal markets, currently exporting to countries such<br />

as India, China, Hong Kong and Israel. <strong>The</strong> company is exploring opening <strong>of</strong>fices in<br />

India in support <strong>of</strong> its export operations. We are the most diversified multiproduct<br />

producer in terms <strong>of</strong> sized product at mine/DMS Wash plant level and export<br />

product mix at Richards Bay Multi-Purpose Terminal (MPT) and Richards Bay<br />

Coal Terminal (RBCT). Our newest largest contract is a five-year coal export<br />

contract for 150 000 tons with three different clients. Our strategic partners is<br />

Clarksons, one <strong>of</strong> the world’s biggest shipping services providers. Clarksons <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

strategic maritime consultancy and shipping solutions in 23 countries.<br />

MAB is in the process <strong>of</strong> optimising its product mix to supply higher-value<br />

segments and to customers. Investments reflecting this diversification include<br />

taking significant stakes in manganese, iron ore, lithium and chrome assets.<br />

MAB Construction and Trucking<br />

Established in April 2010 with its main priority being to curb the high rate <strong>of</strong><br />

unemployment in the metropolitan region <strong>of</strong> the city <strong>of</strong> Tshwane, Matsapa-<br />

A-Botshelo is the original building block <strong>of</strong> the company and continues to be<br />

committed to providing a reliable service in projects, construction and quality<br />

management. MAB has since grown to become one <strong>of</strong> the largest black-empowered<br />

and diversified construction and mining companies in South Africa. <strong>The</strong> company<br />

operates facilities and <strong>of</strong>fices in South Africa and has made mining acquisitions<br />

in other <strong>African</strong> countries. MAB’s <strong>of</strong>fering spans engineering and construction<br />

activities throughout the built environment. <strong>The</strong> trucking division works with<br />

a mix <strong>of</strong> sub-contractors and trucks working directly under the company.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are 688 trucks who are working to deliver goods as sub-contractors<br />

while 150 leased vehicles are the sole responsibility <strong>of</strong> MAB. Our construction<br />

capabilities span a broad range <strong>of</strong> industries: building; concrete structure; road<br />

and rail; environmental; heavy industry; mining; water reticulation; housing/<br />

township development; infrastructure and other related projects. Clients<br />

include governments, parastatals and local authorities, major mining houses,<br />

leading industrial and other corporations, financial institutions and property<br />

developers. Among MAB’s clients are the Rustenburg Local Municipality, the<br />

Kruger National Park and the Moses Kotane District Municipality. Since 2010,<br />

projects to the value <strong>of</strong> R2.5-billion have been dealt with efficiently by MAB.<br />

Services<br />

Our company <strong>of</strong>fers the finest quality design, site preparation, cost estimates,<br />

construction, repair and alteration to clients needing large-scale construction<br />

services, whether it is <strong>of</strong>fice buildings, warehouses, large apartment complexes<br />

or public works.<br />

• Earth works<br />

• Civil works<br />

• Refurbishment<br />

• Water systems<br />

Contact details<br />

Harrogate Park, 1237 Pretorius St, Hatfield, Pretoria 0028<br />

Tel: (010) 447 3799<br />

Emails: info@m-a-b.co.za<br />

enquiry@m-a-b.co.za<br />


Pinagare Mogodi (“Pina”) is co-founder and Managing<br />

Director <strong>of</strong> MAB. He comes from a family with a long<br />

history <strong>of</strong> construction, mining and trucking projects in<br />

the North West. He expanded this into a well-established<br />

mining and construction company which now boasts a<br />

management team with over 60 years’ collective experience<br />

in the industry. Pina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting<br />

and Management from Eduvos (Institute), has completed<br />

a Project Management and Pastel Accounting short<br />

course and has a certificate in Tactics: Strategic Planning<br />

and Management. His dream began when he started the<br />

company during his second year <strong>of</strong> university.<br />





GProgressive rehabilitation is at the core <strong>of</strong><br />

plans to protect biodiversity at Glencore’s two<br />

mines in the Democratic Republic <strong>of</strong> the Congo.<br />

value to future generations.<br />

Glencore, a globally diversified natural resource company and producer<br />

<strong>of</strong> copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic <strong>of</strong> the Congo (DRC),<br />

has announced a new biodiversity management plan for its DRC assets.<br />

Aligning itself with various UN initiatives on biodiversity, the<br />

company’s stated goal is to minimise and manage its impacts and,<br />

upon completion <strong>of</strong> its activities in the DRC, return the land to<br />

sustainable use. In presenting its new plan, Glencore noted that it<br />

appreciates that biological diversity is a global asset <strong>of</strong> enormous<br />

“We recognise the increasing focus in the area <strong>of</strong> biological diversity<br />

and the main outcomes <strong>of</strong> the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference, known<br />

as COP15, that took place in December 2022. <strong>The</strong> theme for the UN<br />

International Day for Biological Diversity in 2023 ‒ “From Agreement to<br />

Action: Build Back Biodiversity” – not only coincides with the adoption<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15,<br />

it also aligns with our renewed progressive rehabilitation intent and<br />

biodiversity management plan for our DRC assets,” said Clint Donkin,<br />

Head <strong>of</strong> Glencore Copper Africa.<br />

“Some <strong>of</strong> Glencore’s industrial sites in the DRC date back decades,<br />

and as such, the company has in some instances inherited a significantly<br />

altered environment. Regardless <strong>of</strong> the legacy, for each site we work<br />

to understand the impact <strong>of</strong> each <strong>of</strong> our mining activities on different<br />

aspects <strong>of</strong> the environment and to compile a robust biodiversity<br />

management plan that specifies risk and mitigation strategies. We then<br />

draw on ongoing and detailed baseline studies on terrestrial and aquatic<br />

fauna and flora to improve our performance and project outcomes.”<br />

Progressive rehabilitation is a proactive rather than reactive activity<br />

that brings to life rehabilitation measures at the same time as mining,<br />

way before mine closure.<br />

Donkin adds, “Our DRC operations continually review and update our<br />

biodiversity management plans to incorporate new data and suggestions.<br />

For instance, the Miombo reforestation project comprising more than a<br />

dozen species <strong>of</strong> seedlings, will also include species for medicinal use and<br />

wild fruit after consultation with local communities. <strong>The</strong> environment<br />

also lends itself to growing a species <strong>of</strong> mushroom that is a local delicacy<br />

and presents a business opportunity for the community.”<br />

Likewise, the research and development partnership with the<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Lubumbashi to create an artificial wetland includes trials<br />

and sampling pilots.<br />



Glencore projects in the DRC include<br />

progressive rehabilitation and sitelevel<br />

biodiversity plans to drive<br />

progress.<br />

• Artificial wetland research<br />

and development project<br />

partnership with the University<br />

<strong>of</strong> Lubumbashi: enhancing local<br />

ecological infrastructure and<br />

treating stormwater using native<br />

aquatic flora species.<br />

• Reforestation <strong>of</strong> Miombo<br />

woodland which populates a large<br />

portion <strong>of</strong> the Kolwezi region.<br />

• Project to plant up to 100 000<br />

seedlings each year in allocated<br />

area surrounding KCC’s<br />

operations, for five years.<br />

• Progressive site rehabilitation<br />

at MUMI, including planting <strong>of</strong><br />

up to 600 seedlings per hectare,<br />

and three hectares per annum<br />

including more than 20 species.<br />

According to Pr<strong>of</strong> Mylor Ngoy Shutcha, Dean <strong>of</strong> the Faculty <strong>of</strong><br />

Agronomic Sciences at the institution, “We greatly appreciate the<br />

collaboration with KCC and the focus on biodiversity restoration<br />

within its site. In particular, we appreciate the vision <strong>of</strong> sustainability<br />

based on the use <strong>of</strong> native species <strong>of</strong> the region and the development<br />

<strong>of</strong> a green infrastructure to improve the living environment <strong>of</strong> our<br />

workforce and communities.”<br />

Donkin concludes, “We are hopeful that together, we can find workable<br />

solutions for surface water management as well as for enhancing and<br />

protecting the ecological infrastructure for generations to come. When<br />

all stakeholders work as a collective, the opportunity exists to put the local<br />

economy, the development and wellbeing <strong>of</strong> people and the stewardship<br />

<strong>of</strong> the environment at the centre <strong>of</strong> decision-making.”<br />

Clint Donkin, Head <strong>of</strong><br />

Glencore Copper Africa<br />

About Glencore in the DRC<br />

Glencore has been present in the DRC since 2008. Glencore Copper<br />

Africa operates two industrial copper and cobalt operations: Copper<br />

Company SA (KCC), a partnership with Gécamines and Mutanda<br />

Mining SARL (MUMI), <strong>of</strong> which the DRC Government holds a 5%<br />

stake. Both operations are located in Kolwezi in the Lualaba province.<br />

Across both operations Glencore has over 8 700 employees and more<br />

than 7 100 contractors.<br />




<strong>The</strong> Togolese Republic has embarked on an ambitious renewable energy programme.<br />

AMEA Power has broken ground on phase 3 <strong>of</strong> the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed<br />

Solar Power Plant in Togo. Once the expansion project in Togo is completed by the<br />

end <strong>of</strong> 2023, the solar plant will be the largest <strong>of</strong> its kind in West Africa.<br />

Located in the village <strong>of</strong> Blitta, the solar plant will be extended from 50MW to<br />

70MW and will include a Battery Energy Storage System to prolong the availability<br />

<strong>of</strong> clean energy to the electricity network at night. <strong>The</strong> project will power more<br />

than 222 000 households and is supporting Togo’s National Development Plan,<br />

which has set out a goal to provide universal access to electricity across the<br />

country by 2030. AMEA Power is one <strong>of</strong> the fastest-growing renewable energy<br />

companies in the Middle East. Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman <strong>of</strong> AMEA Power,<br />

said: “<strong>The</strong> solar plant is providing a project blueprint that AMEA Power is using<br />

to deploy renewable energy across other parts <strong>of</strong> Africa. With the integration <strong>of</strong><br />

battery storage, the plant can extend its power production to provide Togolese<br />

communities with clean energy at night.<br />

“This project would not be possible without the ongoing support <strong>of</strong> the Togolese<br />

government, which continues to demonstrate its commitment to renewable energy<br />

and delivering energy access to the people <strong>of</strong> Togo.”<br />

Phases 1 and 2 <strong>of</strong> the project were fully developed by AMEA Power during the<br />

Covid-19 pandemic, and took less than 18 months to complete from their initial<br />

inception. Both project phases became fully operational in June 2021, with AMEA<br />

Technical Services currently responsible for the operations and maintenance <strong>of</strong><br />

the solar plant.<br />

To finance the development <strong>of</strong> the third phase <strong>of</strong> the project, Abu Dhabi<br />

Exports Office (ADEX) has provided the Togolese Ministry <strong>of</strong> Economy and<br />

Finance with a loan <strong>of</strong> $25-million. <strong>The</strong> project will be constructed by AMEA<br />

Technical Services, a subsidiary <strong>of</strong> AMEA Power. ADEX also participated in the<br />

financing <strong>of</strong> the construction <strong>of</strong> the project’s second phase, with an envelope <strong>of</strong><br />

$10-million <strong>of</strong> debt.<br />

<strong>The</strong> President <strong>of</strong> the Togolese Republic, Faure Gnassingbé, attended the groundbreaking<br />

ceremony for the third phase <strong>of</strong> the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Solar Power Plant.<br />



<strong>The</strong> Kael and Kahone solar plants, the first financed and tendered under the Scaling Solar programme<br />

in Senegal, became operational in 2021. Credit: Kahone Solaire SA<br />

To support the economic and social<br />

development <strong>of</strong> Togo, AMEA Power’s<br />

investment in the region has also<br />

involved a range <strong>of</strong> initiatives to support<br />

the local community. <strong>The</strong>se initiatives<br />

have comprised the construction and<br />

renovation <strong>of</strong> primary schools and the<br />

construction <strong>of</strong> a medical clinic with<br />

maternity support facilities. AMEA<br />

Power has also established an internship<br />

programme for engineering students<br />

from various technical institutions across<br />

Togo to gain practical experience at the<br />

solar plant.<br />

About AMEA Power<br />

Headquartered in Dubai, AMEA Power<br />

is a developer, owner and operator <strong>of</strong><br />

renewable energy projects. As one <strong>of</strong><br />

the fastest-growing renewable energy<br />

companies in the region, the company<br />

is rapidly expanding its investments in<br />

wind, solar, energy storage and green<br />

hydrogen, demonstrating its longterm<br />

commitment to the global energy<br />

transition. AMEA Power has assembled<br />

a world-class team <strong>of</strong> industry experts to<br />

deliver projects across Africa, the Middle<br />

East and other emerging markets.<br />

<strong>The</strong> International Finance Corporation and <strong>African</strong> solar power<br />

<strong>The</strong> International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member <strong>of</strong> the World Bank Group, has developed a<br />

programme called Scaling Solar in Africa.<br />

Solar power has enormous potential as an energy source in Africa. At the same time, the cost <strong>of</strong><br />

solar photovoltaic technology has fallen – solar PV can now deliver power less expensively and with<br />

more long-term price certainty, than fossil-fuel-based power. Many countries have struggled to develop<br />

utility-scale solar power plants due to challenges that include limited institutional capacity, lack <strong>of</strong> scale,<br />

lack <strong>of</strong> competition, high transaction costs and high perceived risk. To address these obstacles, Scaling<br />

Solar combines World Bank Group services under a single engagement aimed at creating viable markets<br />

for solar power in each client country. Scaling Solar can help speed up procurement and development<br />

<strong>of</strong> privately funded and operated grid-connected solar projects at competitive tariffs. <strong>The</strong> package<br />

includes advice on the size and location <strong>of</strong> the plants, simple and rapid tendering to encourage highquality<br />

investor participation, fully developed templates <strong>of</strong> bankable project documents to eliminate<br />

negotiation, an IFC financing term sheet attached to the tender and available to all bidders to accelerate<br />

financial close, and World Bank Group credit enhancement products – such as Partial Risk Guarantees<br />

from the International Development Association (IDA), Liquidity Support Guarantees from the IDA<br />

Private Sector Window's Risk Management Facility (RMF) and Political Risk Insurance (PRI) from<br />

MIGA – to lower financing costs and thereby deliver lower tariffs. IFC helped deliver 167MWp <strong>of</strong><br />

operating solar capacity through Scaling Solar in Sub-Saharan Africa. Two Scaling Solar engagements<br />

have been completed on the continent. In Zambia, home <strong>of</strong> the first Scaling Solar deployment, two<br />

plants with cumulative capacity <strong>of</strong> 88MWp started producing clean electricity at flat tariffs <strong>of</strong> US¢6.02/<br />

kWh and US¢7.84/kWh in 2019. Two years later, in Senegal, two plants with cumulative capacity <strong>of</strong><br />

79MWp came online, with initial tariffs <strong>of</strong> EUR¢3.80/ kWh and EUR¢3.98/kWh, subject to indexation.<br />

Meanwhile, IFC currently has active engagements totalling about 425MWp in five countries and is in<br />

early discussions with several others.<br />

For more information contact: scalingsolar@ifc.org<br />


Steinmüller Africa’s induction bending machine at work, bending thick-walled piping.<br />

Steinmüller Africa’s specialised<br />

induction bending solutions benefit<br />

industries across South Africa<br />

Steinmüller Africa, a specialist in the engineering and fabrication<br />

<strong>of</strong> high-pressure components, <strong>of</strong>fers exclusive induction bending<br />

solutions to the South <strong>African</strong> market.<br />

Steinmüller Africa’s pride – Cojafex PB 850 Bending Machine<br />

Steinmüller has manufacturing capacity for two-million productive hours a year at its Pretoria facility and has<br />

60 engineers on hand to develop, manufacture, install or retr<strong>of</strong>it components. Its manufacturing facility contains<br />

specialised pieces <strong>of</strong> equipment, including a R100-million specialised induction bending machine called Cojafex<br />

PB 850, capable <strong>of</strong> bending pipes between 48.3 mm (outside diameter) and 850 mm (outside diameter) with a<br />

wall thickness up to 100 mm.

This Cojafex PB 850 induction bending machine is one<br />

<strong>of</strong> only two induction bending machines on the <strong>African</strong><br />

continent, enabling paper and pulp, power, petrochemical<br />

and mining plants to source custom bends locally, as well<br />

as large radius, multiple or complex bends – all with quick<br />

turnaround times.<br />

Induction bending is the process whereby a straight pipe<br />

is precision-bent by a specially-engineered machine.<br />

<strong>The</strong> front <strong>of</strong> the pipe protrudes through an induction<br />

coil and is clamped into position. <strong>The</strong> induction coil is<br />

heated to a specified temperature and then the arm <strong>of</strong><br />

the machine moves in a predetermined radius, pushing<br />

the pipe through the coil. “This is programmed into the<br />

machine upfront and is an automated process,” explains<br />

Lee Chapman, Divisional Manager – Piping, Steinmüller<br />

Africa. <strong>The</strong> automation and machine control renders a<br />

precise and top-quality pipe bend. “Our Cojafex machine<br />

is capable <strong>of</strong> bending pipes between 48.3 OD and 850 OD<br />

with a wall thickness up to 100 mm. It can create bends<br />

up to 180 degrees,” adds Chapman.<br />

Induction bending is ideal “when standard size bends<br />

are not available and custom or large radius bends are<br />

required,” states Chapman. Since it can create complex<br />

(multiple) bends without the need for welding, induction<br />

bending guarantees pipe system integrity and a reduced<br />

maintenance requirement, making it especially wellsuited<br />

to high pressure (HP) piping, steam piping and<br />

industrial piping systems. This also means it delivers a<br />

relatively low cost <strong>of</strong> ownership. In addition, if multiple<br />

bends are done at once then there is a cost saving during<br />

the erection and ongoing maintenance phases <strong>of</strong> a plant’s<br />

operation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> benefit <strong>of</strong> partnering with Steinmüller is that it <strong>of</strong>fers<br />

complementary services in addition to induction bending.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re is no need to move the component between<br />

Our Cojafex machine is capable<br />

<strong>of</strong> bending pipes between 48.3 OD<br />

and 850 OD with a wall thickness<br />

up to 100 mm. It can create bends<br />

up to 180 degrees.<br />

different suppliers as we are able to do all the necessary<br />

bending, welding and heat treatment in-house,” says<br />

Chapman. Using its Schlager gas furnace, Steinmüller<br />

conducts post bend heat treatment (PBHT), which ensures<br />

the pipe’s mechanical properties are restored following<br />

the bending process. In addition, Steinmüller specialises<br />

in various welding processes, enabling custom welding<br />

onto pipes.<br />

A commitment to safety and quality, backed by<br />

international expertise, has made Steinmüller Africa the<br />

fabricator <strong>of</strong> choice for some <strong>of</strong> South Africa’s largest<br />

Power, Paper and Petrochemical companies. “Steinmüller<br />

has been carrying out induction bending for over ten years<br />

at its facility in Pretoria and has a number <strong>of</strong> qualified<br />

bending procedures to both EN and ASME standards for<br />

safety and quality. Our in-house quality management<br />

system ensures that our products meet all the necessary<br />

international standards,” adds Chapman.<br />

Steinmüller Africa is a Bilfinger Power Africa company,<br />

and is a BBEE Level 1 company. For over six decades,<br />

Steinmüller has provided comprehensive solutions<br />

for steam generating plants, from design through to<br />

commissioning and after-service maintenance.<br />

For more information, contact Jaco Gerber – Specialist:<br />

Outage Execution at Steinmüller Africa:<br />

Tel: +27 (0)87 759 0849<br />

Email: jaco.gerber@bilfinger.com<br />

Your trusted partner in<br />

Engineering Excellence!<br />






Sandra Villars, Partner, Financial Services at Oliver Wyman, examines the concept <strong>of</strong> nature-related<br />

risk and stresses the need for financing for climate adaptation that is relevant to the <strong>African</strong> context.<br />

<strong>The</strong> COP28 Summit, which ran from 30 November to 13 December 2023, resulted<br />

in a variety <strong>of</strong> new climate-related financial, nature and infrastructure pledges<br />

from global leaders. While much <strong>of</strong> the focus was on the agreements to transition<br />

away from fossil fuels and triple global renewable-energy capacity by 2030, other<br />

resolutions will significantly impact Africa’s climate and financial future.<br />

<strong>The</strong> launch <strong>of</strong> a Loss and Damage Fund, for example, is something the lowincome<br />

countries most affected by climate change have long wanted. <strong>The</strong> idea<br />

behind the fund is to help these countries better cope with losses that result<br />

from extreme climate events. Despite fears that the technical details might not be<br />

ironed out in time, an agreement was reached and several countries immediately<br />

announced commitments to the fund. <strong>The</strong>re are, however, several unresolved<br />

issues that emerged from the summit. <strong>The</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> financing for climate adaptation<br />

and resilience on the continent is <strong>of</strong> particular concern. Another area where more<br />

movement is urgently needed is within global financing networks. Resolving those<br />

issues will be key to securing Africa’s financial future.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>African</strong> challenge<br />

<strong>The</strong> lack <strong>of</strong> available financing for climate adaptation is particularly concerning.<br />

This financing is desperately needed to accelerate Africa’s climate change<br />

adaptability. In part, that’s because Africa is widely recognised as the continent<br />

most vulnerable to climate change. But it’s also because many <strong>of</strong> the legislative<br />

changes adopted by high-income countries and regional bodies could do<br />

serious harm to <strong>African</strong> growth and development. Take the European Union<br />

(EU)’s Carbon Border Tax Adjustment Mechanism, for example. <strong>The</strong> wellintended<br />

legislation aims to equalise the price <strong>of</strong> carbon between domestic<br />

products and imports. <strong>The</strong> primary aim <strong>of</strong> the mechanism is to prevent<br />

European companies from moving their operations <strong>of</strong>fshore to countries with<br />

more lax carbon protections. Still, it has pr<strong>of</strong>ound potential implications for<br />

the <strong>African</strong> continent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> mechanism could place significant constraints on the continent’s ability<br />

to export materials such as fertilisers, iron, cement, steel and aluminium to EU<br />

countries. Given that the bloc is one <strong>of</strong> Africa’s largest trading partners, that<br />

would force many <strong>African</strong> countries to revert to exporting raw commodities, a<br />

significant step backwards. Considering that the continent produces just 4% <strong>of</strong><br />

global emissions, it also doesn’t seem particularly fair.<br />

But with the right funding and incentives, that needn’t be the case. <strong>African</strong><br />

countries will be able to successfully transition and even become leaders in<br />

sustainable business. Unfortunately, that funding has been thin on the ground<br />

despite years <strong>of</strong> pledges.<br />

<strong>The</strong> $100-billion promised to developed countries in 2009 at the COP15 in<br />

Copenhagen, for instance, remains largely unfulfilled. Even the much-vaunted<br />

loss and damage fund will require billions <strong>of</strong> dollars more than the $700-million<br />

pledged at COP28 if it’s to have any impact on climate losses that low-income<br />

countries in Africa and other parts <strong>of</strong> the world will encounter in the coming years.<br />

After all, Nigeria’s 2022 floods alone caused more than $4.2-billion in damages.<br />

<strong>The</strong> World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s <strong>The</strong> State <strong>of</strong> the Climate<br />

in Africa 2022 report, meanwhile, shows weather and climate-related damage<br />

amounted to $8.5-billion in that year. Given that a report from Carbon Brief shows<br />

these extreme climate events are becoming more common and more deadly, it’s<br />

clear that more funding will be needed.<br />

Rural entrepreneurs and farmers need protection from extreme climate events. <strong>The</strong> <strong>African</strong><br />

Risk Capacity Group, an agency <strong>of</strong> the <strong>African</strong> Union, is trying to build resilience so that<br />

farmers can thrive, even in dry conditions. An improved response to climate-related food<br />

security emergencies includes providing insurance for extreme weather events. Credit: ARC<br />

<strong>African</strong> regulators have a role to play<br />

While it’s obviously important that high-income countries play their part when<br />

it comes to funding, it’s also critical that <strong>African</strong> regulators provide the kind <strong>of</strong><br />

environment that encourages funding and investment. In doing so, they must<br />

ensure that any regulations protect the continent’s natural assets while safeguarding<br />

against nature-related risks. Here, transparency and continuous engagement with<br />

the financial institutions they oversee as well as with state ministries is critical. This<br />

not only means that these bodies get a better understanding <strong>of</strong> why regulations are<br />

being implemented but also that regulators better understand the realities <strong>of</strong> the<br />

industries they oversee.<br />



Sandra Villars, Partner, Financial<br />

Services at Oliver Wyman.<br />

<strong>African</strong> regulators can further<br />

enhance their causes by ensuring that they regularly<br />

engage with environmental and nature-focused networks, such as the Sustainable<br />

Insurance Forum (SIF), the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS),<br />

the <strong>African</strong> Natural Capital Alliance (ANCA) and the Task Force on Nature-<br />

Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). <strong>The</strong>se networks not only provide the kind<br />

<strong>of</strong> frameworks that can easily be adapted for regulatory purposes but can also guide<br />

regulators, helping them develop regulations that mitigate nature and climaterelated<br />

financial risks.<br />

Push for funding, but focus on self-sufficiency<br />

Ultimately, while there were announcements at COP28 that deserve to be<br />

celebrated, it’s clear that Africa still has much work to do when it comes to<br />

securing both its climate and financial futures. Pushing for increased funding<br />

from high-income countries will, <strong>of</strong> course, be important in this regard.<br />

Perhaps even more important, however, will be regulators ensuring that the<br />

regulations they develop and enforce don’t just help build climate resilience<br />

but also the kind <strong>of</strong> innovation that allows <strong>African</strong> countries to demonstrate<br />

ever-greater degrees <strong>of</strong> self-sufficiency in this regard.<br />

About Sandra Villars<br />

Sandra is a senior pr<strong>of</strong>essional with over 20 years’ experience with global top-tier<br />

financial-services institutions. She has worked with over 20 financial institutions<br />

in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her areas <strong>of</strong> focus in Finance and<br />

Risk include ESG, treasury and prudential regulation.<br />

About Oliver Wyman<br />

Oliver Wyman is a leading international management consulting firm that<br />

combines deep industry knowledge and expertise to create breakthroughs for<br />

clients across industries.<br />

<strong>African</strong> regulators must provide an environment that<br />

encourages funding and investment so that business<br />

and trade can thrive. Darkshade Photos, Pexels.<br />



<strong>The</strong> EU’s newest carbon tax could significantly harm <strong>African</strong> trade,<br />

according to <strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.<br />

<strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina has warned<br />

that a new EU carbon-border tax could significantly constrain Africa’s trade and<br />

industrialisation progress by penalising value-added exports including steel,<br />

cement, iron, aluminium and fertilisers. Speaking at the Sustainable Trade Africa<br />

Conference held at the UAE Trade Centre in Dubai, Adesina said, “With Africa’s<br />

energy deficit and reliance mainly on fossil fuels, especially diesel, the implication<br />

is that Africa will be forced to export raw commodities again into Europe, which<br />

will further cause de-industrialisation <strong>of</strong> Africa.<br />

“Africa could lose up to $25-billion per annum as a direct result <strong>of</strong> the EU<br />

Carbon Border Tax Adjustment Mechanism,” the bank president told delegates.<br />

“Africa has been short-changed by climate change; now it will be short-changed<br />

in global trade,” added Adesina.<br />

“Because <strong>of</strong> weak integration into global value chains, Africa’s best trade<br />

opportunity lies in intra-regional exchanges, with the new Africa Continental Free<br />

Trade Area estimated to increase intra-Africa exports over 80% by 2035.”<br />

Adesina stressed that Africa was already being overlooked in the global energy<br />

transition, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency.<br />

“Africa received just $60-billion or 2% <strong>of</strong> the $3-trillion <strong>of</strong> global investments in<br />

renewable energy in the past two decades, a trend that will now impact negatively<br />

on its ability to export competitively into Europe,” said Adesina as he called for<br />

what he termed the Just Trade-for-Energy Transition (JTET) policies, which would<br />

enable Africa’s renewable ambitions without restricting its trade prospects.<br />

Africa will need to use natural gas as a transition fuel to reduce the<br />

variability <strong>of</strong> renewable energy and stabilise its energy systems in support <strong>of</strong> its<br />

industrialisation, Adesina said.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Chief Executive Officer <strong>of</strong> the UAE Trade Centre, Walid Mohammed Hareb<br />

Alfalahi, said that Africa is the new frontier for investment, contrary to widespread<br />

perceptions that the continent is a dangerous and difficult place to do business.<br />

“What you hear about Africa is not the reality. I see the potential in Africa. I see<br />

the possibilities to do more,” said Alfalahi, as he recounted his positive experience<br />

<strong>of</strong> investing in a number <strong>of</strong> projects on the continent.<br />

Adesina said a report by Moody’s Analytics showed that Africa had the least<br />

default rate on investment in infrastructure compared to other parts <strong>of</strong> the world.<br />

According to the report, Africa’s default rate stands at 5.5%, compared to Latin<br />

America’s 12.9%, followed by Asia at 8.8%, Eastern Europe 8.6%, North America<br />

7.6% and Western Europe 5.9%.<br />

Adesina also highlighted some <strong>of</strong> the mega-projects that had attracted investor<br />

interest through the Africa Investment Forum that was created by the <strong>African</strong><br />

Development Bank and seven other founding partners. <strong>The</strong> projects include<br />

Mozambique’s $24-billion liquefied gas project, the $15.2-billion Abidjan-to-<br />

Lagos Highway corridor covering five countries and the $3.6-billion Tanzania-to-<br />

Burundi and DR Congo railway line.<br />

“I’m talking about a different Africa. <strong>The</strong>re is no project that as partners, we<br />

cannot handle,” said Adesina.<br />

<strong>The</strong> conference, moderated by the <strong>African</strong> Development Bank President’s Senior<br />

Adviser for Communication, Dr Victor Oladokun, was also addressed by the<br />

President <strong>of</strong> the <strong>African</strong> Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Pr<strong>of</strong>essor Benedict<br />

Oramah. He warned, “Preliminary results <strong>of</strong> a study recently commissioned by<br />

Afreximbank reveal that rapid decarbonisation by fossil fuel-exporting countries<br />

in Africa could cut merchandise exports by $150-billion.”<br />

About the <strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>African</strong> Development Bank Group (AfDB) is the premier<br />

multilateral financing institution dedicated to Africa’s<br />

development. It comprises three distinct entities: the <strong>African</strong><br />

Development Bank (AfDB), the <strong>African</strong> Development Fund<br />

(ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NSF). <strong>The</strong> AfDB has a<br />

field presence in 41 <strong>African</strong> countries with an external <strong>of</strong>fice<br />

in Japan, and contributes to the economic development and<br />

social progress <strong>of</strong> its 54 regional member states.<br />

For more information: www.AfDB.org<br />



Two <strong>of</strong> Africa’s most consequential financial <strong>of</strong>fice-holders<br />

spoke at the Sustainable Trade Africa Conference, which<br />

was held in Dubai. Pictured with the Chief Executive<br />

Officer <strong>of</strong> the UAE Trade Centre, Walid Hareb Al Falahi,<br />

left, and Mahmood Albastaki, the Chief Operating<br />

Officer, Digital Trade Solutions at DP World, right,<br />

are Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President <strong>of</strong> the <strong>African</strong><br />

Development Bank Group, centre left, and Pr<strong>of</strong> Benedict<br />

Oramah, President <strong>of</strong> the <strong>African</strong> Export-Import Bank<br />

(Afreximbank), centre right.<br />



Vodacom Group Chief Technlogy Officer, Dejan Kastelic, outlines the group’s ambitious<br />

vision for Africa and notes how satellite technology is set to revolutionise a range <strong>of</strong> sectors.<br />

What is Vodacom’s current footprint in Africa?<br />

Vodacom Group is a leading and purpose-led <strong>African</strong> connectivity, digital and<br />

financial services company. <strong>The</strong> Group, including Safaricom, serves a combined<br />

196.2-million customers across the continent, with operations in South Africa,<br />

Tanzania, the DRC, Mozambique, Lesotho, Egypt and partners in Safaricom<br />

Kenya and Safaricom Ethiopia. Our population reach across our markets exceeds<br />

500-million people. Through Vodacom <strong>Business</strong> Africa (VBA), we <strong>of</strong>fer businessmanaged<br />

services to enterprises in over 45 countries on the continent.<br />

What is Vodacom’s vision for Africa?<br />

Our purpose as a company is to connect for a better future and our vision is<br />

connected to our purpose. At the core <strong>of</strong> our strategy is our vision to be the leading<br />

connectivity, digital and financial services company on the continent, connecting<br />

the next 100-million <strong>African</strong>s.<br />

Is the company positive about the continent as a place to do business?<br />

Yes, and testament to this is our acquisition <strong>of</strong> a 55% shareholding in Vodafone<br />

Egypt. We are excited by the opportunities for further synergies that our<br />

strengthened footprint from Cape to Cairo presents given our ambition to create a<br />

digital society and drive inclusion for all. Core to this is our ongoing investment in<br />

Fintech, which includes M-Pesa and VodaPay. <strong>The</strong> impact <strong>of</strong> fintech on the <strong>African</strong><br />

continent is extensive, with the potential to improve more lives significantly and<br />

we’ve been able to use our expertise to enable the launch <strong>of</strong> M-Pesa in Africa’s<br />

second most populous country, Ethiopia. Offering fintech platforms on the<br />

continent opens up the potential <strong>of</strong><br />

financial services to a largely unbanked population through the power <strong>of</strong> mobile<br />

technology. We look forward to being part <strong>of</strong> the fintech developments in Africa,<br />

which have the potential to create a game-changing impact on the continent.<br />

What are some <strong>of</strong> the challenges presented by the <strong>African</strong> market?<br />

Reducing the cost <strong>of</strong> deploying and operating rural networks to ensure that more<br />

people are connected remains a challenge in the context <strong>of</strong> exchange rates and<br />

having to source goods in hard currencies. Beyond mobile connectivity, access, 4G<br />

smartphone penetration and device affordability is another challenge, but bridging<br />

the digital divide on the continent remains a priority for us. Our footprint across<br />

Africa provides us with the opportunity to play a significant role in the continent’s<br />

socio-economic development by creating a digital society and driving inclusion for<br />

all. Vodacom’s pledge to democratise Internet access for over 500-million people<br />

across our markets is one we are tackling by focusing on accessibility <strong>of</strong> devices,<br />

including smart-feature phones.<br />

Is the Rural Coverage Acceleration Programme<br />

only in South Africa or also in the rest <strong>of</strong> Africa?<br />

This is available in all countries. <strong>The</strong> Group’s Rural Coverage Acceleration<br />

Programme is aimed at expanding network coverage to people who live in deep<br />

rural areas. So far, we have rolled out close to 9 000 sites in some <strong>of</strong> our markets,<br />

covering both 4G and 3G. We intend expanding this through strategic partnerships<br />

that will help achieve the goal <strong>of</strong> building low-cost sites and making 4G devices<br />

accessible. Partnerships have already helped launch low-cost 3G- or 4G-enabled<br />

smart-feature phones in Tanzania where Vodacom partnered with KaiOS<br />

Technologies to launch the 4G-enabled Smart Kitochi.<br />

Nearly 9 000 sites have been reached as part <strong>of</strong> the Rural<br />

Coverage Acceleration Programme. Credit: Vodacom<br />

Vodacom has partnered with KaiOS Technologies to launch<br />

the 4G-enabled Smart Kitochi in Tanzania. Credit: Vodacom<br />



Dejan Kastelic, Vodacom Group<br />

Chief Technology Officer<br />

Connecting Africa is a priority. Credit: Vodacom<br />

<strong>The</strong> adoption <strong>of</strong> smart-feature phones among Tanzania’s mobile-Internet<br />

users is estimated at 10%, slower than in other <strong>African</strong> markets, but<br />

progressing, nonetheless.<br />

Is Vodacom upbeat about fintech and its partnerships in Africa?<br />

Yes, our financial services business is integral to our purpose-led business model,<br />

the largest component <strong>of</strong> our new services revenue and a clear strategic priority.<br />

<strong>The</strong> VodaPay and M-Pesa SuperApps, strategic partnerships and <strong>African</strong> expansion<br />

are key enablers to scaling our financial services and building a pan-<strong>African</strong> fintech<br />

ecosystem that supports e-commerce, banking and financial services that <strong>of</strong>fer a<br />

single customer experience.<br />

Our landmark partnership with technology leader Alipay provided an excellent<br />

opportunity to reinvent the mobile fintech ecosystem for consumers and merchants.<br />

Through this partnership, we could leverage the world-class technology <strong>of</strong> Alipay<br />

to develop the VodaPay super-app and promote greater financial inclusion for all<br />

South <strong>African</strong>s.<br />

Bridging the digital divide on the continent<br />

remains a priority for us<br />

We have also entered into a strategic partnership with Visa to introduce virtual<br />

cards linked to VodaPay and M-Pesa across our markets to accelerate the merchant<br />

payments ecosystem. This includes the enablement and adoption <strong>of</strong> our SuperApp<br />

in all markets where M-Pesa is available.<br />

Please explain how satellite could be a<br />

game-changer in terms <strong>of</strong> <strong>African</strong> telecoms?<br />

Satellite technology <strong>of</strong>fers a versatile and scalable solution for enhancing<br />

connectivity on a global scale. <strong>The</strong> ability <strong>of</strong> satellites to cover vast areas,<br />

provide rapid deployment and support various applications makes them a<br />

game-changer in addressing connectivity challenges, particularly in remote<br />

and underserved regions. LEO satellites in particular have the potential<br />

to revolutionise the satellite industry by addressing key challenges such as<br />

latency, data throughput, global coverage and cost-effectiveness. LEO satellites<br />

operate at altitudes ranging from approximately 160km to 2 000km above the<br />

earth’s surface. This proximity results in significantly lower signal-travel times,<br />

leading to lower latency compared to higher-altitude satellite orbits. <strong>The</strong> closer<br />

proximity to earth also allows for more efficient use <strong>of</strong> available frequency<br />

bands, enabling faster data-transfer rates. This is particularly important for<br />

applications like real-time communications, online gaming, bandwidthintensive<br />

applications and video conferencing. As technology continues<br />

to advance and more LEO satellite constellations become operational, they<br />

are likely to play a significant role in shaping the future <strong>of</strong> satellite-based<br />

communications and services.<br />

How far advanced is Vodacom in talks with<br />

satellite providers? How long before it becomes a reality?<br />

Vodacom is continuing to work with Vodafone and AST SpaceMobile to<br />

develop the first space-based mobile network to connect directly to consumer<br />

4G and 5G smartphones without specialised hardware. In September 2023,<br />

Vodafone and AST SpaceMobile successfully completed the world’s first spacebased<br />

5G voice call using an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone<br />

and AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite. In a separate test, AST<br />

SpaceMobile, supported by Vodafone, also broke its previous space-based<br />

cellular broadband data session record by achieving a download rate <strong>of</strong> nearly<br />

14Mbps. With its ability to provide mobile broadband connectivity to standard,<br />

unmodified mobile devices across the continent, this new technology has the<br />

potential to connect millions <strong>of</strong> people in the remotest regions to the Internet<br />

for the first time.<br />

Vodacom, in collaboration with Vodafone and Amazon, also plans to use<br />

Project Kuiper’s network to extend the reach <strong>of</strong> 4G and 5G services to more<br />

customers in Africa.<br />


Mezzanine is active in developing e-vouchers for traders. Credit: Vodacom<br />

What role is Mezzanine playing in the Vodacom <strong>African</strong> story?<br />

Mezzanine, a subsidiary <strong>of</strong> Vodacom, is a technology company that co-creates fitfor-purpose<br />

digital solutions to empower productive societies across Africa.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> the solutions include in the health space with Vodacom’s Stock<br />

Visibility Solution (with over 3 400 healthcare facilities registered) and more<br />

recently, the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) that enabled South<br />

Africa’s Covid-19 national vaccine rollout.<br />

<strong>The</strong> latter supported the provision <strong>of</strong> 39-million vaccine doses to 22.8-million<br />

citizens over the course <strong>of</strong> the pandemic.<br />

In agriculture, initiatives like eVuna – Connected Farmer, provide a digital<br />

platform that connects over four-million smallholder farmers to enterprise<br />

services across widely dispersed areas and provides them with, inter alia,<br />

access to financial services, information and markets. This is available in the<br />

Connected Farmer packages currently being used in Kenya, South Africa,<br />

Zambia and Tanzania. In the commercial agriculture space, MYFARMWEB<br />

enables farmers to collate precision agriculture sensor (IoT) datasets and<br />

overlay data layers in relation to each other to support day-to-day decisionmaking.<br />

This started in South Africa and has been introduced to several Sub-<br />

Saharan <strong>African</strong> countries.<br />

In addition, Mezzanine was also behind the development <strong>of</strong> the first virtualwheeling<br />

platform in South Africa. This enables enterprises with a distributed<br />

geographical footprint to access renewable energy and achieve decarbonisation<br />

targets while being reimbursed by Eskom.<br />

T<br />

Vodacom and Eskom sign first virtual-wheeling agreement<br />

In a first <strong>of</strong> its kind in South Africa, Vodacom signed a virtual-wheeling<br />

agreement with Eskom in August 2023 that will help accelerate efforts<br />

to solve the country’s energy crisis. In addition to adding capacity to the<br />

nation’s power grid, this agreement, a Vodacom innovation which has<br />

been co-developed with Eskom, will also play a significant role in moving<br />

Vodacom closer to its goal <strong>of</strong> sourcing 100% <strong>of</strong> its electricity demand<br />

from renewable energy sources by 2025.<br />

This agreement will now enable Vodacom to execute the next phase<br />

<strong>of</strong> this innovative solution, securing Independent Power Producers<br />

(IPPs) under the same terms and conditions which underpin its<br />

agreement with Eskom. Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said,<br />

“Vodacom’s partnership with Eskom is transformational in that our<br />

virtual-wheeling solution will enable South Africa’s private sector to<br />

participate in resolving the energy crisis which continues to impact<br />

the country’s economy. It also provides a blueprint for other South<br />

<strong>African</strong> corporates to adopt, as we pool our collective resources with<br />

the common objective <strong>of</strong> bringing an end to loadshedding. <strong>The</strong> virtualwheeling<br />

solution has the potential to be fast-tracked, depending on the<br />

available licensed capacity <strong>of</strong> IPPs.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> energy crisis in South Africa has been devastating for many<br />

businesses. Vodacom South Africa spent more than R4-billion on backup<br />

power solutions and R300-million in the past financial year alone on<br />

operational costs such as diesel for generators.<br />

Traditional wheeling typically involves a one-to-one relationship<br />

between an IPP and a buyer using the national grid to convey their<br />

energy. While the concept <strong>of</strong> traditional wheeling is fairly common<br />

practice globally, it has certain limitations for companies with complex<br />

operating environments. <strong>The</strong> virtual-wheeling solution addresses these<br />

challenges. After a successful pilot phase, which concluded in 2022, and<br />

following rigorous testing, the newly co-developed solution is accessible<br />

to the public and private sector on a larger scale. <strong>The</strong> blueprint provides<br />

an easy-to-follow roadmap for others in the private sector, effectively<br />

involving those who want to benefit from cost saving in the process <strong>of</strong><br />

stabilising South Africa’s grid and reducing overall emissions.<br />




<strong>The</strong> Shoprite Group, active in 10 <strong>African</strong> countries, is investing heavily in fighting climate change.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Shoprite Group has almost doubled the amount <strong>of</strong> renewable energy used in its<br />

operations to 103 234MWh. In the 2022 financial year, the figure was 54 138 MWh.<br />

<strong>The</strong> annual international conference which forces the world to think about<br />

carbon emissions, COP28, was held in December 2022 in Dubai. But the Shoprite<br />

Group’s CSI and Sustainability Manager Sanjeev Raghubir says that the world<br />

can’t wait before taking action: “Events like COP28 are absolutely crucial, but we<br />

– business, government, civil society, humankind in general – can’t and mustn’t<br />

wait for their decisions.<br />

“This is especially true in the <strong>African</strong> context. Despite contributing the least<br />

<strong>of</strong> any region to global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, the continent is being<br />

affected disproportionately by climate change.” It’s why, Raghubir adds, the Group<br />

invests heavily in reducing its carbon footprint across all aspects <strong>of</strong> its operations,<br />

with energy consumption a key priority.<br />

Shoprite’s doubling <strong>of</strong> its supply <strong>of</strong> clean energy was achieved by increasing<br />

the amount <strong>of</strong> renewable energy bought from landlords and other suppliers<br />

by 91%.<br />

“We have also reduced electricity consumption by 161-million kWh through our<br />

LED lamp replacement project, and our network <strong>of</strong> solar-panel installations now<br />

cover the equivalent <strong>of</strong> more than 26 soccer fields,” says Raghubir. <strong>The</strong> Group’s solar<br />

photovoltaic (PV) facilities now generate enough clean energy to power nearly 4 800<br />

homes for a year, and it is the only <strong>African</strong> company to have earned a place on the<br />

Carbon Disclosure Project’s Supplier Engagement Leaderboard, for taking action to<br />

measure and reduce climate risk within its supply chain in the 2022 financial year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> retailer’s three-pronged approach includes reducing consumption, expanding<br />

its installed capacity <strong>of</strong> renewables and purchasing electricity in collaboration with<br />

independent power producers (IPPs).<br />

“We’ve increased the amount <strong>of</strong> electricity we’re buying from landlords and<br />

other suppliers by 91%. That’s progress by any measure. <strong>The</strong> next step is wheeling,<br />

buying electricity from an IPP through the existing transmission network.”<br />

Achieving that would be a massive step forward, says Raghubir, but will require<br />

greater collaboration between various stakeholders to establish a national wheeling<br />

framework. “In the interim, we will continue to improve energy efficiency wherever<br />

we can, and to this end the Group has embarked on a refrigeration project. We’ll<br />

also continue to install solar wherever it’s viable, whether on ro<strong>of</strong>tops or carports.<br />

“Naturally we watched the negotiations at COP28 keenly, but at the Shoprite<br />

Group we’ve set and are pursuing science-based targets to reduce our carbon<br />

emissions throughout our operations – in stores, distribution centres and<br />

transportation – with a sense <strong>of</strong> urgency.”<br />

Solar panels at Shoprite’s Centurion facility.<br />





In the dynamic landscape <strong>of</strong> governance and management, pursuing postgraduate education is a pivotal gateway<br />

to capacitating the public and other sectors. As societies evolve and global challenges become increasingly<br />

complex, the need for well-equipped leaders in these fields becomes more evident. By Kemantha Govender<br />

<strong>The</strong> Wits School <strong>of</strong> Governance (WSG) <strong>of</strong>fers a Postgraduate Diploma in<br />

Management, Master <strong>of</strong> Management and PhD studies. Our students are taught<br />

by academics who <strong>of</strong>fer a diversity <strong>of</strong> experience and a broad range <strong>of</strong> sectoral<br />

focus including:<br />

• Health, social security, humanitarian assistance, higher education and<br />

governance<br />

• Socio-economic and development research<br />

• Anti-poverty, civic education and good governance programmes<br />

• Monitoring systems and programme evaluation<br />

• Unemployment, vulnerability, economic empowerment and the<br />

green economy<br />

• Public policy, <strong>African</strong> security, international relations, foreign and<br />

security policy<br />

Our students learn leadership development by honing essential skills such as critical<br />

thinking, strategic planning and effective decision- making. <strong>The</strong>y are exposed to realworld<br />

case studies, enabling them to analyse and synthesise information to create<br />

sustainable solutions. A Wits School <strong>of</strong> Governance (WSG) alumnus and current<br />

security student, Brigadier General Molefi Hlalele, said that he was taught by some<br />

WSG academics who have been in the field and understand operational challenges.<br />

WSG Academic Director, Associate Pr<strong>of</strong>essor Kambidima Wotela.<br />

“This makes learning robust and fascinating. We can also debate and explain to<br />

the academics who may not have been on the field the realities <strong>of</strong> our work so that<br />

there is a balance between academic knowledge and practicalities.<br />

“We grow our research skills and understand the importance <strong>of</strong> feasibility<br />

studies. We are used to working on an operation level but here at Wits we learn<br />

the other side <strong>of</strong> what we do, which puts us in a position to do consulting work,”<br />

added Hlalele. Our students also benefit from engaging with a diverse cohort<br />

<strong>of</strong> experienced pr<strong>of</strong>essionals.<br />

Collaborating with peers from different backgrounds and fields <strong>of</strong><br />

work fosters a rich exchange <strong>of</strong> ideas, experiences and perspectives. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

networks extend beyond the classroom, providing a foundation for future<br />

collaborations, partnerships and a global community <strong>of</strong> like-minded<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essionals. We host public events with dynamic speakers on current and<br />

pertinent issues. <strong>The</strong> governance and management landscape is continually<br />

evolving, influenced by technological advancements, geopolitical shifts and<br />

socio-economic changes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> WSG has the Tayarisha Initiative, which focuses on digital governance. It<br />

is a hub for teaching, research, policy dialogue and outreach on the challenges<br />

and opportunities presented by digitisation in the public sector, society and<br />

industry in Africa.<br />

Investing in postgraduate<br />

education is a societal<br />

imperative for progress and<br />

sustainable development<br />

In October 2024, the School and the National Department <strong>of</strong> Public Service<br />

and Administration will host the International Conference on <strong>The</strong>ory and<br />

Practice <strong>of</strong> Electronic Governance (ICEGOV), under the theme, “Trust and<br />

Ethical Digital Governance for the World We Want”. Investing in postgraduate<br />

education becomes not only a personal endeavour but a societal imperative<br />

for progress and sustainable development. “We produce internationally<br />

competitive and locally relevant scholarship on governance and related<br />

fields. You will leave Wits School feeling a bit tired but empowered and<br />

proud. You will get to know yourself better because our scholarship<br />

is a life-altering experience.<br />

As a student, you will gain and create new knowledge. Still,<br />

you will also need to develop s<strong>of</strong>t skills to work in groups and<br />

to manage time and yourself,” said WSG Academic Director,<br />

Associate Pr<strong>of</strong>essor Kambidima Wotela.<br />





Ready to solve real challenges in SA and Africa?<br />

Enhance your governance skills with expert-led programmes from the Wits<br />

School <strong>of</strong> Governance. Tackle complex issues, critical development and<br />

policy challenges and create positive change. Apply for programmes for<br />

every career stage.<br />

Apply now for our 2024 July intake for our academic programmes.<br />

• Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Public and Development Management)<br />

• Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Public and Development Sector<br />

Monitoring and Evaluation)<br />

• Master <strong>of</strong> Management (Research and Coursework)<br />

Closing date: 31 May 2024<br />

Contact<br />

Email: academicprogrammes.wsg@wits.ac.za<br />

Telephone: +27 (11) 717-3968<br />





Family-owned corporate wear manufacturer<br />

Imagemakers are celebrating more<br />

than 40 years <strong>of</strong> producing high-quality<br />

products with expansion into Africa.<br />

F<br />

Founded by Hubert Spaun in Cape Town in 1982 with<br />

just three employees, Imagemakers has grown to over 500<br />

employees, with its head <strong>of</strong>fice and factories located in Cape<br />

Town and showrooms and <strong>of</strong>fices in Johannesburg, Botswana<br />

and Namibia. In 2022, Imagemakers dressed employees at<br />

more than 4 000 companies from banks and financial services<br />

to hospitals, motor dealerships, educational facilities and<br />

the travel and tourism sector, among others. <strong>The</strong> client<br />

list reads like a “Who’s who” <strong>of</strong> South <strong>African</strong> business<br />

and Imagemakers itself is a proudly South <strong>African</strong><br />

company, run as it is by Hubert’s son, Anton. All<br />

garments are locally made in the company’s<br />

own factories. In a country which has<br />

one <strong>of</strong> the world’s most unequal<br />

distribution <strong>of</strong> wealth, uniforms<br />

are a great equaliser. “Employees<br />

can look the same whether<br />

they are earning R5<br />

000 or R100 000,<br />

and no-one has to<br />

spend money to<br />

keep up with what<br />

their colleagues are<br />

wearing,” Anton<br />

says.<br />

<strong>The</strong> factory floor at Imagemakers.<br />



Labels are applied to a garment before it is given a<br />

final quality check and is delivered to the customer.<br />

With the back-to-<strong>of</strong>fice movement gaining steam, Imagemakers’ sales have<br />

increased. “We have seen a pick-up in hospitality and travel industry uniforms<br />

specifically, which is positive for the economy.” In the face <strong>of</strong> Chinese imports, the<br />

company has remained focused on local manufacturing. “In the past 15 years we<br />

have moved from a corporate wear brand into a fashion brand for business and this<br />

has helped us to grow,” Anton reports. “We don’t distinguish between a company<br />

with three employees or one with 3 000 employees.”<br />

Anton and his team have dealt with many requests, including those from women<br />

who ask for their clothing labels to reflect three sizes smaller than the actual<br />

garment itself, “so that their colleagues don’t know what size they wear”.<br />

Modern flexibility<br />

Over the past four decades, workplace style has changed from being a set staff<br />

uniform to a more flexible, “mix and match” corporate wardrobe. “Today, instead<br />

<strong>of</strong> dictating a uniform, companies choose colour and their employees choose a<br />

style that suits their taste and figure. This also allows corporate wear to be a fit for<br />

any industry,” Anton said.<br />

“Having a uniform is a walking billboard for any company. It not only makes<br />

the person wearing it feel good, but it also enhances the company image,” Anton<br />

declares. While styles have changed over the years, the “power suit” remains a<br />

classic. “Every workwear wardrobe needs a classic suit, and we help corporates find<br />

the right <strong>of</strong>fice wear combination in the right fabric and style to suit their brand<br />

identity.” <strong>The</strong> garments are all machine-washable and can be worn with little to no<br />

ironing required.<br />

Imagemakers has a full design team including a Product Development Manager.<br />

“Our full-time designers and experienced pattern graders start the process that<br />

ultimately leads to a team’s smart, true-to-brand appearance.”<br />

More than 500 staff are employed in three factories in Salt River and<br />

Lansdowne, responsible for everything from design to pattern-making,<br />

grading, cutting, trimming, inspecting, finishing and packaging, using the latest<br />

machinery and technology.<br />

Much in-house training is done for young employees, before they become part<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Imagemakers family.<br />

“Everything is done in-house and this is key to our success. We have over 100<br />

staff in our administration department and pride ourselves on a seamless customer<br />

experience between production and sales.” Having a hands-on involvement in<br />

every step <strong>of</strong> the design process through to production, is the key.<br />

Imagemakers has been in business for more than 40 years.<br />




Africa’s economies may become major<br />

players in global supply chains, according<br />

to a United Nations Conference on Trade<br />

and Development (UNCTAD) report.<br />

Findings contained in a new report by the United Nations Conference<br />

on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) indicate that Africa’s<br />

economies have the potential to become major players in global<br />

supply chains. “<strong>The</strong> Economic Development in Africa” report, released<br />

in 2023, says that given the continent’s vast resources <strong>of</strong> materials<br />

needed by the technology sector, it is perfectly positioned to service<br />

demand. Minerals and metals like aluminium, cobalt, copper and<br />

manganese are essential components <strong>of</strong> the latest technologies. “Africa<br />

also <strong>of</strong>fers advantages such as shorter and simpler access to primary<br />

inputs, a younger, technology-aware and adaptable labour force, and<br />

a burgeoning middle class, known for its growing demand for more<br />

sophisticated goods and services,” UNCTAD adds.<br />

In light <strong>of</strong> this positive outlook, it has become vital for <strong>African</strong><br />

countries to optimise their supply chains to a global standard.<br />

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are playing a significant<br />

role in this process.<br />

Accurate data prevents supply-chain delays.<br />

Credit: Unsplash<br />

Re<br />

Cr<br />

Real-time insights<br />

ERP intelligence gives supply chain managers real-time insights<br />

into demand patterns, inventory, supplier performance and even<br />

distribution so that they can make the best possible decision for the<br />

company. Procurement pr<strong>of</strong>essionals also benefit, as this s<strong>of</strong>tware<br />

<strong>of</strong>fers tremendous visibility into aspects like raw-material availability<br />

and supplier delivery. It puts them in the enviable position <strong>of</strong> being<br />

able to improve sourcing strategies and negotiate the best terms with<br />

suppliers. It doesn’t end there either, says Stephen Howe, a director at<br />

South <strong>African</strong> Sage business s<strong>of</strong>tware and implementation specialist<br />

Times 3 Technologies (T3T).<br />

“<strong>The</strong> ERP system benefits everyone from production managers to<br />

quality control and inventory teams. By having greater insights, they<br />

can all optimise their performance to build an even stronger supply<br />

chain,” he says.<br />

<strong>The</strong> advanced analytics tools embedded in the ERP-solution<br />

process analyse real-time data, meaning that trends, patterns<br />

and any anomalies can be quickly identified and addressed. <strong>The</strong><br />

intelligence also tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) such<br />

as lead times, on-time delivery rates and inventory turnover.<br />

Dashboards and reports visualise these metrics, enabling quick<br />

assessment <strong>of</strong> performance.<br />

A UN report says that Africa, with its ample resources,<br />

could become a major player in global supply chains.<br />

Credit: Rob Lambert, Unsplash<br />



al-time insights into demand allow for more effective distribution.<br />

edit: Arno Senoner, Unsplash<br />

Demand forecasting<br />

Howe believes the solution’s demand forecasting capability will be particularly<br />

useful to <strong>African</strong> countries as they play a greater role in global supply chains.<br />

“This solution helps organisations anticipate fluctuations in demand and adjust<br />

production and procurement accordingly,” he says.<br />

An ERP solution like Sage X3 is geared towards supply-chain management<br />

aspects like purchasing, inventory and warehousing, sales and customer service<br />

as well as financial functionality. In other words, almost every aspect <strong>of</strong> the supply<br />

chain. T3T, a Platinum <strong>Business</strong> Partner for Sage in South Africa, has also produced<br />

a series <strong>of</strong> Sage X3 add-ons to <strong>of</strong>fer <strong>African</strong> – and international – companies even<br />

greater functionality. One worth noting is T3T’s Sales Budgeting Module. This<br />

add-on <strong>of</strong>fers an intuitive, creative way to budget by period and attributes such as<br />

Product and Customer. Explains Howard, “Sales projections, forecasts or estimates<br />

<strong>of</strong> total sales volumes and values are automatically calculated based on current<br />

actual values and then projected forward.<br />

“This can be filtered by region, sales representative, product, customer and more.<br />

Projected volumes and values can be manipulated based on weighted days allowing<br />

for fluctuations based on seasonality or known events or trends.”<br />

Once a forecast is created, a growth expectation is generated, facilitating the<br />

finalisation <strong>of</strong> an accurate, achievable sales budget for the following year at both a<br />

volume and value level.<br />

“Being able to integrate data from various stages <strong>of</strong> the supply chain to create a<br />

holistic view <strong>of</strong> the entire process is making a huge difference to companies, and<br />

we certainly expect to see more <strong>African</strong> firms making use <strong>of</strong> this technology as they<br />

gain a greater foothold in the global market,” Howe says.<br />

About Times 3 Technologies (T3T)<br />

Times 3 Technologies (T3T) is an established South <strong>African</strong> Sage business partner,<br />

provider <strong>of</strong> Sage business s<strong>of</strong>tware and implementation services. Sage, established<br />

in 1981 in the UK, is the third-largest s<strong>of</strong>tware company in the world.<br />

T3T, a leading Sage partner, resells Sage Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and<br />

Payroll and HR s<strong>of</strong>tware, customising its implementation to clients’ specific needs<br />

through the following main products and services: Sage X3 (formerly known as<br />

Sage Enterprise Management), Sage Intacct, Sage 300 People, Strategic Customised<br />

Developments and Implementation Service and Support. <strong>The</strong> subscription cloudbased<br />

financial-management applications and services enable businesses to tailor a<br />

solution covering finance, procurement, distribution, inventory management and<br />

manufacturing, as well as facilitate payroll and HR functions. <strong>The</strong> T3T team has<br />

in-depth experience in providing and fine-tuning solutions that suit a business’s<br />

needs and enhance its growth.<br />

T3T holds Sage’s highest-ranking, platinum status, with 30 years <strong>of</strong> implementing<br />

business solutions successfully across numerous industries and sectors throughout<br />

Africa. Sage has recognised T3T’s ongoing commitment to providing the best<br />

solutions by awarding the company dozens <strong>of</strong> accolades over the years, including<br />

Partner <strong>of</strong> the Year, Top Implementation Partner and Highest Customer Retention<br />

in AMEA (Africa and Middle East).<br />





To become a global leader in telecommunications, Africa must first shift some fundamental<br />

misconceptions about the continent, writes Bernard van der Walt, Audit Partner and TMT Sector Lead<br />

at BDO South Africa, and Roy Kinoti Nkandau, Director <strong>of</strong> Audit and Assurance in BDO Rwanda.<br />

Every country is different and conditions and regulations vary.<br />

<strong>The</strong> spread <strong>of</strong> mobile phones has boosted the market for electric<br />

motorbikes and ride-hailing services. Credit: Zembo<br />

Africa, with some <strong>of</strong> the world’s fastest-growing economies and a rapidly expanding<br />

population, has the potential to become a global leader in telecommunications.<br />

However, some basic misconceptions about Africa have to be corrected.<br />

We must move away from the belief that Africa is a unified market. It is not.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sheer size <strong>of</strong> the continent is massive, with the ability to accommodate China,<br />

Europe, the continental United States and a significant portion <strong>of</strong> India within its<br />

borders. This expansiveness is not just geographical, but cultural too. It is home to<br />

more than 1.2-billion people, not far shy <strong>of</strong> China’s populace. Upwards <strong>of</strong> 2 000<br />

languages are spoken on the continent. By comparison, Europe houses a little over<br />

200 argots and dialects.<br />

<strong>The</strong> truth to be told here is simple: Africa is a region, not a market. It is crucial<br />

for us to understand that Africa is not a homogeneous entity but a diverse continent<br />

consisting <strong>of</strong> 54 markets, each with distinct political dynamics and economic<br />

climates; our Africa <strong>of</strong> today and the future is a region <strong>of</strong> diverse nations. As such,<br />

the argument stands firmly that we cannot logically “invest in Africa” because it<br />

is not one country with a single currency, government and regulatory framework,<br />

social system or business ecosystem.<br />

From a business point <strong>of</strong> view, companies do not operate “across Africa”. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

instead have the opportunity to win share in specific national markets. Without a<br />

doubt, over-generalisation cannot win in the region as operating in our context<br />

requires a tailored approach for each specific national market, and trying to<br />

extrapolate trends for consumer app adoption generically will only produce an<br />

inaccurate and dangerous conflation <strong>of</strong> no value.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s wisdom in the opportunity <strong>of</strong> complexity<br />

<strong>The</strong> technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industry serves as a prime<br />

example <strong>of</strong> the intricate dynamics that make it challenging to adopt a one-sizefits-all<br />

approach to doing business in the region. As providers <strong>of</strong> connectivity and<br />



essential services, telcos play a significant role in building trust among consumers as they enable<br />

them to connect with others anywhere in the world and make and receive payments. Looking at<br />

the sector, even from a basic perspective, we realise the depth <strong>of</strong> variations and nuances in market<br />

dynamics as there are extensive and innovative ecosystems.<br />

In East Africa alone, consider some <strong>of</strong> the giants in digital payments and mobile money<br />

solutions: Safaricom’s M-Pesa in Kenya, MTN Network’s Mobile Money in Rwanda and Uganda<br />

and Airtel Money in various countries. Within renewable energy and green technology spaces,<br />

there are companies such as M-KOPA Solar, BBOXX and Powerhive which <strong>of</strong>fer affordable and<br />

clean renewable energy solutions using solar power and battery storage, leveraging the Internet <strong>of</strong><br />

Things (IoT) and cloud technology for monitoring and management. Artificial Intelligence (AI)<br />

is also leaping ahead with the likes <strong>of</strong> Twiga Foods, Shield and Flare utilising AI and machine<br />

learning algorithms to optimise supply chain logistics, combat financial fraud and optimise<br />

emergency response systems.<br />

In terms <strong>of</strong> mobile technology, East Africa has witnessed remarkable mobile penetration, with<br />

this technology becoming the primary means <strong>of</strong> communication and Internet access. Mobile<br />

money services and mobile applications are now widely adopted, with efforts being made to<br />

expand broadband coverage deploying 4G and 5G networks. Network infrastructure is also<br />

progressive with significant investments made in submarine and national fibre-optic cables,<br />

improving international connectivity and broadband coverage – and this is just a glance at the<br />

full picture <strong>of</strong> the advances taking place.<br />

Roy Kinoti Nkandau<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s no x-factor in entrepreneurship<br />

Another common misconception is the belief that all <strong>African</strong> startups can be categorised as “X for<br />

Africa”. In reality, the startup ecosystem <strong>of</strong> the region has evolved in three waves. Initially, these<br />

businesses emulated e-commerce models like Amazon, followed by drawing inspiration from<br />

Asian counterparts. A third wave emerged with them adapting to the realities and requirements<br />

<strong>of</strong> local environments. This showcases the distinct entrepreneurial spirit and solutions originating<br />

from within the <strong>African</strong> ecosystem.<br />

Assuming that global values apply to startups on the continent is another fallacy. In reality,<br />

valuations in <strong>African</strong> countries differ significantly, challenging preconceived notions <strong>of</strong> Western<br />

investors. <strong>African</strong> deals are now valued at all-time highs, reflecting the growing confidence and<br />

willingness <strong>of</strong> investors to support these fast-growing businesses. Importantly, this discrepancy<br />

necessitates a more detailed method <strong>of</strong> appraisal, considering the factors at play in each market.<br />

But first and foremost, we have to get a global grasp <strong>of</strong> the continent right. Africa cannot be<br />

treated uniformly, and acknowledging and understanding the complexities <strong>of</strong> this is crucial<br />

to enabling a powerhouse <strong>of</strong> inclusive impact – across the region.<br />

About BDO<br />

BDO in South Africa is the South <strong>African</strong> member firm <strong>of</strong> BDO<br />

International. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each<br />

<strong>of</strong> the BDO member firms. <strong>The</strong> global BDO network provides audit, tax<br />

and advisory services in 164 countries, with over 95 000 people working<br />

out <strong>of</strong> 1 713 <strong>of</strong>fices worldwide. Service provision within the international<br />

BDO network <strong>of</strong> independent member firms (“the BDO network”) is<br />

coordinated by Brussels Worldwide Services BVBA, a limited liability<br />

company incorporated in Belgium with its statutory seat in Brussels.<br />

Bernard van der Walt<br />





Peace and infrastructure are<br />

the two things the DRC needs most.<br />

Capital: Kinshasa.<br />

Other towns/cities: Lubumbashi, Mbuji-Mayi.<br />

Population: 111.8-million (2023).<br />

Real GDP (PPP): $102.9-billion (2021).<br />

GDP per capita (PPP): $1 100 (2021).<br />

Currency: Congolese franc (CDF).<br />

Regional Economic Community: Economic Community <strong>of</strong> Central <strong>African</strong><br />

States (ECCAS), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA),<br />

Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), Southern <strong>African</strong><br />

Development Community (SADC).<br />

Landmass: 2 345 409km².<br />

Resources: Cobalt, copper, niobium, tantalum, petroleum, industrial and gem<br />

diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, coal, timber, cassava,<br />

plantains, sugar cane, maize, oil palm fruit, rice, tubers, bananas, sweet<br />

potatoes, groundnuts.<br />

Main economic sectors: Mining, mineral processing, textiles, plastics, footwear, timber.<br />

Other sectors: Hydropower, metal products, processed foods and beverages,<br />

cement.<br />

Sectors for investment: Road, rail, telecoms and port infrastructure.<br />

Key projects: <strong>The</strong> World Bank is overseeing several important projects: the<br />

Regional Great Lakes Integrated Agriculture Development Project, the Urban<br />

Development Project (focussed on connectivity), the Regional Great Lakes Trade<br />

Facilitation Project and the Goma Airport Safety Improvement Project.<br />

Chief exports: Copper, cobalt, crude petroleum, tin, diamonds.<br />

Top export destinations: China, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, South Korea.<br />

Top import sources: China, South Africa, Zambia, Rwanda, Belgium, India.<br />

Main imports: Packaged medicines, refined petroleum, sulphuric acid, stone<br />

processing machines, delivery trucks.<br />

Infrastructure: Five international airports, 270 airports and numerous landing<br />

strips; 238 935km <strong>of</strong> roads (2 250km paved), 5 033km <strong>of</strong> railways; 16 238km <strong>of</strong><br />

waterways; 89 hydroelectric plants.<br />

ICT Development Index 2017 (ITU) world ranking: 171, 33rd in Africa.<br />

Mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 50 (2022).<br />

Internet percentage <strong>of</strong> population: 23 (2021).<br />

Climate: Tropical. <strong>The</strong> wet season south <strong>of</strong> the equator extends from November<br />

to March; north <strong>of</strong> the equator it begins in April. <strong>The</strong> equatorial river basin creates<br />

hot and humid conditions. <strong>The</strong> highlands to the south and east are cooler with the<br />

eastern section also being considerably wetter. <strong>The</strong> Congo rainforest is the secondlargest<br />

rainforest in the world, after the Amazon.<br />

Religion: Mainly Christian, divided between Roman Catholic, Protestant and<br />

other groups.<br />

Modern history: In January 2024 President Felix Tshisekedi began his second fiveyear<br />

term <strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong>fice. Opposition parties contested the result. President Tshisekedi’s<br />

accession to power in 2018 represented the first peaceful transition to power<br />

since the country gained independence from Belgium in 1960. Five years after<br />

independence, Mobutu Sese Seko took control <strong>of</strong> the country, renamed it Zaire<br />

and began a period <strong>of</strong> authoritarian rule which came to an end in 1997 via the<br />

First Congo War. This was immediately followed by the devastating Second Congo<br />

War which only ended when Joseph Kabila took power. He ruled until 2018. <strong>The</strong><br />

eastern part <strong>of</strong> the country continues to be wracked by conflict. <strong>The</strong> DRC has vast<br />

mineral wealth, with about 70% <strong>of</strong> the world’s coltan, a third <strong>of</strong> its cobalt, a 10th <strong>of</strong><br />

the world’s copper and more than 30% <strong>of</strong> global diamonds.<br />



MALAWI<br />

Climate shocks are among<br />

this agricultural country’s greatest challenges.<br />

Capital: Lilongwe.<br />

Other towns/cities: Blantyre, Mzuzu, Zomba.<br />

Population: 21.3-million.<br />

Real GDP (PPP): $29.6-billion (2021).<br />

Real GDP per capita (PPP): $1 500 (2021).<br />

Currency: Kwacha.<br />

Regional Economic Community: Southern <strong>African</strong> Development Community<br />

(SADC), Southern <strong>African</strong> Customs Union (SACU).<br />

Landmass: 118 484km²<br />

Resources: Limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits <strong>of</strong> uranium,<br />

coal and bauxite; tobacco, sweet potatoes, cassava, sugar cane, maize, mangoes,<br />

guavas, potatoes, tomatoes, pigeon peas, bananas, plantains.<br />

Main economic sectors: Agriculture (tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products).<br />

Other sectors: Cement, consumer goods.<br />

New sectors for investment: Hydroelectricity, other renewables, transport, digital<br />

development, trade logistics and finance sectors.<br />

Key projects: <strong>The</strong> Malawi 2063 Vision aims to commercialise the almost exclusively<br />

subsistence farming sector, to industrialise parts <strong>of</strong> the economy and to leverage the<br />

urbanisation process to diversify and expand the economy.<br />

Chief exports: Tobacco, gold, soybeans, raw sugar, tea, dried legumes, nuts.<br />

Top export destinations: Belgium, United States, Egypt, South Africa, Germany,<br />

Kenya, United Arab Emirates.<br />

Top import sources: South Africa, China, United Arab Emirates, India,<br />

United Kingdom.<br />

Main imports: Postage stamps, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, fertilisers,<br />

<strong>of</strong>fice machinery/parts.<br />

Infrastructure: A total <strong>of</strong> 31 airports, two international, seven <strong>of</strong> which have paved<br />

runways; 24 866km <strong>of</strong> roads, <strong>of</strong> which 6 956km is paved; 797km <strong>of</strong> railways; 700km<br />

<strong>of</strong> waterways.<br />

ICT Development Index 2017 (ITU) world ranking: 167, 30th in Africa.<br />

Mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (2020).<br />

Internet percentage <strong>of</strong> population: 24 (2021).<br />

Climate: Subtropical, with a rainy season that begins in November. <strong>The</strong> dry season<br />

normally starts in May. <strong>The</strong> Great Rift Valley runs through the country and Lake<br />

Malawi, at 587km long, is its most distinguishing geographic feature. <strong>The</strong> Shire<br />

River flows out <strong>of</strong> Lake Malawi to join the Zambezi River 400km to the south.<br />

Religion: Predominantly Christian (about 33% Protestant) and about 14% Muslim.<br />

Modern history: <strong>The</strong> British Central <strong>African</strong> Protectorate was proclaimed in<br />

1889 and renamed Nyasaland in 1907. In 1964 this territory became independent<br />

Malawi. Hastings Banda was the first president and, after a constitution change in<br />

1971, president-for-life but one-party rule came to an end in 1993. Multi-party<br />

elections have been held every five years since then.<br />

Despite political calm, food security has been hard to achieve. Subsistence<br />

farming is widespread and the country is subject to climate shocks such as<br />

drought and cyclones.<br />

Most Malawians rely on subsistence farming, but the food supply situation<br />

is precarious because <strong>of</strong> the climate. <strong>The</strong>re has been low productivity in the<br />

agricultural sector combined with very little commercialisation and a decline in<br />

global demand for tobacco. Some better economic growth has been achieved in<br />

recent years, partly through a programme <strong>of</strong> fertiliser subsidies.<br />

Malawi has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Lake Malawi National Park and<br />

the Chongoni Rock Art Area.<br />


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