31 May 2011

TANZANIA-INDIA A Rewarding Relationship

DAR ES SALAAM, May 27, 2011 (IPS) - The Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, concludes a three-day visit to Tanzania on May 28. Singh arrived in Dar es Salaam from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he took part in the Second India-Africa Forum Summit, which began on May 20.

The Tanzanian leg of his overseas trip has reinforced already close cooperation between the two countries, and comes at an opportune moment for the Tanzanian government in its search for foreign investment.

Tanzania and India have long historical links. The first bilateral cooperation agreements between the two countries date back to January 1966, just two years after the official birth of Tanzania from the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. (Zanzibar is an island off the coast in the Indian Ocean.)

The total value of trade between India and Africa stood at 31 billion dollars in 2009-2010; trade between Tanzania and India exceeded a billion dollars that same year. India is Tanzania's leading source of imports (900 million dollars in 2010) and the second largest investor, after Kenya, according to the economic desk at the Indian embassy in Tanzania.

India's involvement with Tanzania can be explained first of all by the large Indian Diaspora which in this East African country. The first Indians arrived here more than 90 years ago, shortly after the First World War, when the League of Nations designated the territory as a protectorate under British control. At independence in 1961, a large number of Indians remained in the country and today occupy an important place in the country's economy.

According to figures provided by the Indian embassy in Dar es Salaam, the economic capital, there are 40,000 Tanzanians of Indian origin, and an additional 8,000 expatriate Indians. The Indian community lives mostly in the country's major cities, where they are involved in commercial enterprises and industry.

At the first India-Africa summit held in New Delhi in 2008, India and Tanzania agreed on cooperation in two key areas, food security and health. In line with this, a first batch of 288 tractors arrived from India in October 2010, to help Tanzanian farmers achieve better yields.

"Four hundred others, of an eventual total of 1,700, will arrive soon," the Indian ambassador to Tanzania, Kocheril Bhagirath, told journalists this week, stressing that the country will continue to support Tanzanian agriculture.

For 45 years, Tanzania has benefitted from Indian expertise in numerous domains. "The partnership is very dynamic," says the Tanzania-India Friendship Association, headed by the former Tanzanian prime minister Salim Ahmed Salim. "India has helped us to realise some of the millennium development goals, particularly in the health sector."

A new hospital is to be constructed in Dar es Salaam in 2013, which will be co-managed by the Tanzanian government and a private Indian firm. It will offer specialist treatment that is not currently available in the country, with patients forced to seek treatment overseas.

In 2010, day-patient units for treating cardio-vascular complaints were established in two clinics in Dar. The city's Lions Club - financed by diasporic Africans - has also sent 2,000 Tanzanian children suffering from serious cardiac problems for treatment in India, according to the Indian embassy.

Even before that, in 1996, Tanzania's first private university, the International Medical and Technological University, opened in Dar es Salaam, a project supported by the Bangalore-based Vignan Educational Foundation.

Also expected to be raised during the Indian prime minister's visit is the struggle against terrorism and Somali piracy. Piracy has disrupted maritime trade in the Indian Ocean that both countries depend on and the possibility of cooperation between the naval forces of the two countries was to be discussed, according to reports. 

By Arnaud Bébien

30 May 2011

Africa does not need irresponsible investments

The World Bank has sent a strong notice to foreign investors who want to invest in Africa saying that the continent does not need irresponsible investments.
In a speech delivered as part of celebrations to mark the African Union Day, the World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Obiageli Ezekwesili told investors and African ambassadors in Washington DC that even though Africa is open for business, it is not open to just any business.
“Africa does not need the irresponsible investments that have for many decades unleashed corruption and degrading conditions upon those they claim to serve”, Ezekwesili said.
The continent can only afford responsible investments, she emphasised.
According to Ezekwesili, Africa needs investments that are people-focused and pro-poor, promotes Africa’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, helps in creating jobs and promotes transparency, accountability as well as good governance.
Investments that bring about the emergence of an African middle class and build the skills Africans need to compete in today’s global and knowledge-based economy, she added.
Analysts have projected that FDIs into Africa will grow in the coming years.
Global financial experts, Ernst & Young has predicted that FDI into Africa will reach $150 billion by the end of 2015.
The World Bank, in a document titled “Africa’s Pulse” estimates that at the end of 2011, foreign direct investments (FDI) into Sub-Sahara Africa will hit a record high of $40.8 billion.
The extractive industries is expected to receive majority of these FDIs into the continent due to its perceived potential growth with some sectors such as tourism, consumer products, construction , telecommunications and financial services emerging as attractive investment options, it said.
The World Bank indicates that FDIs into Africa rose to $32 billion at the end of 2010 with prices of oil and metals exports seen as the main drivers.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Ekow Quandzie

27 May 2011


Mobile phone: An opportunity for low cost Banking in Africa.
Africa, home to over 800 million people is still grappling with significant unbanked populations even among the urban populations across cities, semi urban and rural communities.Regulators, innovators, technologist,financial services providers, international developmental organizations and governments are rallying around this significant dilemma of Banking the unbanked African.
New exciting technologies like the Mobile and cards are bridging the wide divide with innovative solutions like agency Banking, mobile financial services, community and micro finance Banking.
Unlike any other place on the Globe, mobile financial services is ushering a new dawn and hope to millions of unbanked people in Africa. Bringing convenience of banking anytime and anywhere using the mobile phones as a means of authentication for basic financial services. The mobile technologies is proving to be the solution to a century old challenge as a transformational channel for previously unbanked which are accessing services for the first time through the convenience and security of the mobile phone.
The ubiquitous mobile phone with the strong compelling needs of Africans, coupled with sheer ingenuity is changing lives and connecting Africans to the global e-commerce ecosystem which is more advanced with formal Banking services.
With the wide spread availability of the Mobile phones across regions in Africa, the unbanked African is only an sms away!
Plan to attend a one day summit which will proffer practical regulatory, technological, commercial solutions to the challenge of reaching the unbanked in Africa.
The summit will examine the following:
  • Reducing cost of reaching the unbanked though technology innovations.
  • Social benefits of banking unbanked populations.
  • Measuring impacts of regulation on the unbanked.
  • Building sustainable commercial propositions.
  • Evaluating cost effective channels, technologies and solutions to reach the unbanked.
  • Improving financial literacy to Africa’s unbanked.
  • KYC methodologies suitable for African market.
  • Examining the cross road between Micro Finance, agency Banking and mobile money.
  • Promoting a sustainable investment climate for financial inclusion.
  • Impact of credit in unleashing the potentials of unbanked.
  • Agency Banking as Cost effective channel to deliver commoditized financial services.
  • Delivering transformational Banking experiences for underserved communities.
  • Technological innovations promoting access to low income segments.

Speakers from across the world will deliberate and proffer solutions that will  radically change the present situation and position Africa’s unbanked population to benefit from the growing global economy.
Join solutions providers, technologist, international development experts, regulators, Micro finance experts, financial services providers, mobile money providers, Mobile network providers, agency Bankers and other leading subject matter experts to chart the way forward at the UNBANKED AFRICA SUMMIT – 2011.

The First 4th Generation Broadband Wireless Internet Provider to Start in Cameroon Read more: http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/05/27/3102193/the-first-4th-generation-broadband.html#ixzz1NZHeHLIy

4G Africa is contributing to the reduction of the digital divide

DOUALA, Cameroon, May 27, 2011 -- 
/PRNewswire/ -- 4G Cameroon, the local subsidiary of 4G Africa AG, launched its operation in Cameroon under the brand name "YooMee" only 12 months after it won the necessary permissions to operate a broadband wireless internet access network from Cameroon's telecom regulator ART.
The wireless network covers Douala. Yaounde will be operational during the summer.
YooMee's mission is to provide affordable, reliable and state-of-the-art internet access in Cameroon. YooMee services are designed for the residential and SME markets, as well as governmental entities. The product range includes various types of wireless broadband internet access.
Mr. Dov Bar-Gera, the CEO of 4G Africa said: "We have the pleasure of sharing with you the launch of our services. The Cameroonian market is very attractive for these types of services."
The company offers a variety of services using either a mobile internet USB key, or a stationary desktop device. The service offering starts with CFA 1'000 for monthly 90 minutes and up to an unlimited subscription.
The download speed of YooMee is unusually high for Cameroon – 640 kbit/s, compared to market offerings of 256 kbit/s or lower.
All devices can be bought through authorized dealers.
YooMee's services are based on the fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband technology. The company started with mobile Wimax (16E), upgradable into LTE, should it be necessary.
4G Africa AG, a private Swiss company, was founded in 2009 by a team of telecom entrepreneurs active in emerging countries for the last decade. The team includes the founders of a wireless broadband operator in Europe, which deployed over 200 base stations in Austria, Slovakia and Croatia, and acquired thousands of customers. Under the leadership of this team, this company obtained twice the "Best of Wimax World Awards" (2006, 2007).
The company's main office is Douala. As of today, the company employs directly and indirectly about 50 people in Cameroon. In the coming 24 months, the team will continue in its growth.
4G Africa is committed to closing the digital divide and supporting the economical development by providing an immediately available, speedy and stable Broadband Internet connection.  
Marcin Marszalek tel. +48 507833998marcin.marszalek@4gafrica.com www.yoomee.cm
SOURCE 4G Africa

Read more: http://www.heraldonline.com/2011/05/27/3102193/the-first-4th-generation-broadband.html#ixzz1NZI5JqxU

A Nigerian story on the face of an Italian woman

Ilaria Chessa is an Italian economist-turned filmmaker in Nigeria.
She is originally from Verona north of Italy. She had lived in Nigeria for the past seven years. She was the director of ION International Film Festival held in Nigeria (2009) and currently pursuing her passion in the Nigerian film and music industry.

Last week, 13th May 2011 she came to summit some artistic works, both for the upcoming Verona’s African film festival (November 2011) and for (a web-based) Afriradio, Verona.
That was where we met.

How long have you been in Nigeria and what is your impression about the Nigerian people?
I arrived in Nigeria in early 2004 and I felt welcomed from the first moment. I could feel the heartbeat of the country and the heartbeat comes from the people. Nigerian people are the best… the richest resources that Nigeria, a very rich nation already has. Nigeria is rich of oil, gas and agriculture. Yet human resources, the people are the best asset…
I have the feeling that when you enter a new environment with a positive outlook and openness that the same openness will come back to you; good things will come back to you. My experience is that I entered Nigeria with openness and I haven’t stopped receiving… It’s a very generous place from human perspective and it’s an amazing place in terms of opportunities.

Having lived in Nigeria all these years, especially within the entertainment sector, how do you judge the viability of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry?
Entertainment business is a very viable one in Nigeria and in Africa. Africans are natural consumers of entertainment; they are natural storytellers and they are amazingly talented artists. So the market is all there.
It was just a matter of putting some numbers together in order to make investors realize the potential the entertainment industry has. In order to convince investors to shift some of their resources from the more traditional sectors like oil and gas and for example real estate, which are the major in Nigeria.
We have to prove that the entertainment sector is indeed viable. Together with two friends of mine who share with me the love for Nigeria, we set up a communication agency.
The purpose of the communication agency was to share with Nigerians and quite frankly with the rest of the world, the beautiful things and the talents that were worth celebrating in the country.
Filmmaking is an example of success in Nigeria. Nigeria is the second largest film producer in the world and yet the world hardly knows of the existence of the Nigerian film industry. So we felt that communicating to the world and finding platforms where these kinds of examples could be celebrated would be a way of counterbalancing the wave of negative news coming out of Nigeria and Africa.
We went to Los Angeles and pitched a touring film festival, called: “ION International” and we convinced them to produce the 6th edition of the ION film festival in Nigeria (2009) and it was bombastic.
We had Hollywood, we had Bollywood, we had the independent European films and we had the independent African films.
Everybody was conveyed in Nigeria to celebrate filmmaking and frankly to zoom the lens on the Nigerian film industry.
The purpose was really to get investors to see filmmaking as a viable industry. With films you can “educated”, you can “inspire”, you can “tell your own story”, you can “employ” and you can “make money”. You can target all these five… I don’t know of any industry where you can have this multiple objectives, yet the creative industry can do it and Nigeria has proved that it is viable already.
Nollywood has been producing a thousand films a year, making money. Nollywood is viable. It has proved to be viable. It has proved that a film which costs 15, 000 to 20, 000 euros can recoup and even triple the returns in two and half months – from conceiving the project to the distribution point. So in two and half month, you are making like 200% to 300% out of your investment, Nollywood has proved that making films is profitable.

Considering quality as the first point of critic against many Nollywood films, what would you say?
Quality is definitely an issue in Nollywood. Some people say it is the issue of resources as in financial resources. I would argue that you can have a better management with the resources that are put right now into Nollywood. I think it’s very much an issue of capacity, as in like in technical capacity. It’s an issue of motivation as well.
The kind of story you want to tell and perhaps some patient as well. If you are not too much in a hurry to recoup your investment, you can invest in the quality of the story you are about to tell.
There are Nollywood filmmakers today that are driven by the message, for example Jeta Amata. Jeta Amata produces and directs films that have very strong socially related message. Now his drive is to tell something to his own people and get that message across to other parts of the world. In order to reach the rest of the world, he is investing in quality production.
There are other filmmakers that are interested in culture. So they are interested for example, in making people to understand the beauty and the depth of their local traditions and believe, like the director of Figurine, Kunle Afolayan. They are both investing in the local story as well as the quality of the film, so that the film is actually watched and it can go and tap into the secret of international film festivals.
The more the film is watched the more people will learn about your culture and will pick your message.
If your quality is too low, then the message is only restricted to the local audience.

Within the Nigerian entertainment industry what are your plans for the future?
What I’m doing right now is to prove that there is a viable model to invest in films and I’m proving it by producing a film, a Nigerian inspired universal story, which will be directed by a Nigerian filmmaker. It’s going to be acted primarily by Nigerian actors, even though being a universal story it also has some international actors.
We really want to get appeal to the African market and the non-African market.
We want to prove that the box-office in Africa can recoup the cost of the film.
We also want to prove that the quality of the film does not require a huge kind of investment, so you can achieve great quality and excellences.
We are hearing things like 5 million dollars film, 10 million dollars film. We think that you can improve on the existing Nollywood film production by a much more modest kind of investment that it can be absolved and recouped directly in the local market.
I’m also walking on a film called: “Ghetto Red Hot”. This is a ghetto story and it is set in Ajegunle, Lagos. Here, I want to showcase the music talents of Nigeria. I believe that Nigeria is second to no one in terms of music talents.

What would you say is the greatest success of Nollywood so far?
I believe that the greatest success of Nollywood is that it has told its own stories. And it has proved that it can tell its own stories without losing money, which is also important because it makes the industry and the business sustainable so you can tell more stories.
By Ewanfoh Obehi Peter

24 May 2011

BiD Network updated its online database of financiers!

All of the financiers specifically target small and medium sized enterprises: we included only those that do investments above 10.000 and below 2.000.000 USD.

How to find the SME financiers?

1. Go to http://www.bidnetwork.org/search
2. Click 'Advanced search' and check 'Finance'
3. Here you can search for financiers by their investment focus: Startup/Established, Theme, Country and Sector of your business
4. Once you have made your selection, click 'Search' (not necessary to fill in keywords)
5. There you will find profiles of financiers including links to their websites and the information you need to apply for their services.

Please let us know if you think we miss an SME financier in the database and please inform us if you have successfully found the financier you were looking for!

Manufacturing: Can Africa become the next China?

By Claude Harding.

In 2000, when William Hickey, president and CEO of US-based packaging company Sealed Air, took a long-term view on the future of his company, he predicted that by 2050 Africa would have replaced China as the world’s manufacturing hub.
“Eleven years later I think we are behind . . . 2050 becomes a challenge [but] I still think it is doable,” Hickey said during a session on manufacturing at the recent World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Cape Town.Headquartered in New Jersey, Sealed Air manufactures a wide range of packaging materials and equipment for food, industrial, medical and consumer industries. The New York Stock Exchange listed company has a presence across the world, including Africa.

“I know of one company, and only one at this point, that has moved their manufacturing operations from China to Africa. I thought that would be the tipping point, but that was six years ago and I know of no other customer of ours that has moved its manufacturing from China to Africa,” Hickey noted.
With factory wages rising in China and other parts of Asia, some multinational companies are considering to move their production plants elsewhere in world.
Manufacturing accounts for a very small proportion of GDP in most Sub-Saharan African countries,” said Ann Bernstein, executive director of South Africa’s Centre for Development and Enterprise. Manufactured goods currently constitutes only 14% of Africa’s exports. Even in South Africa, the continent’s industrial powerhouse, manufacturing has declined significantly since its peak in 1981 and its contribution to the total economy is now just 15%.
Challenges facing Africa’s manufacturing sector include a shortage of skills; rigid labour laws in some countries; inadequate electricity supply; cumbersome and expensive transport within the continent; low levels of productivity; political instability; and corruption.
Rob Davies, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, told the session that there are currently two main drivers of Africa’s growth. “The one is the minerals boom, and the second one is growing domestic markets. I think that both . . . need to be consolidated with a big boost to manufacturing,” he said.
Africa has abundant resources, from minerals to agricultural produce. Most of these are, however, exported for processing abroad. Davies said that Africa needs to add value to its raw materials through processing activities. According to him, most of the industrial developments on the continent have been in light industries such as textiles and food processing.
He gave the example of a proposed project in South Africa to process mineral sands into rare metals. Titanium sand sells for US$440 a ton; processed into titanium sponge it fetches $4,000 a ton and as an alloy, used in the aircraft industry, the price goes up to $100,000 a ton. The minister said that in addition to large financial benefits of beneficiation, a project like this would also create thousands of jobs.
Although Africa has a population of over a billion people, many of the individual country markets are too small for many manufacturers to be competitive. Business Daily reports that discussions are currently underway to unite three of the continent’s existing regional economic communities: The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). This proposed free trade area would comprise 26 countries with a total population of 521 consumers. “One thing is that we have to export, the other thing is we need to grow our domestic economies. If [we] look at ourselves as individual countries, we are too small on our own, but as a bloc we start to crack the numbers,” said Davies.
Labour productivity
Davies explained that a trained workforce is crucial to boost industrial output. “We need to engage much more seriously on questions like training, and training which is much more closely related to industrial needs.”
“Certainly what we need . . . is an educated staff, said Hartmut Reinke, director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa of US-based multinational DuPont.
He used the manufacturing of packaging materials as an example. “When you think of packaging, and you think of a big international food company, let’s say Nestlé in Nigeria, they will not accept packaging that they buy and source locally, that does not meet international standards. So a country needs to be able to produce at international standards . . . with the skilled labour that can do that,” he explained.
“What we are looking for are certainly academically educated people who can run the site. You need accountants. You need customer service representatives. But you need also the people on the line that know what they do. They need to be able to read, to listen [and] to think about what they are doing to be productive.”
He said low wages is not necessarily enough to attract manufacturing firms to the continent. “It is not a question if the wages are low or high. They come as a calculation of productivity. If productivity is high, the wages are increasing. That is what we are seeing in China, the workers are participating in higher productivity. They are producing more in less time.” He noted that the wages for unproductive labour is normally lower.
A lot of work still needs to be done for the continent’s manufacturing sector to realise its full potential, but it is crucial to ensure that this happens. As Davies put it: Africa is at a critical moment in time where it needs to boost industrial development if it wants to turn its current growth spurt into sustainable development.

3 May 2011

Seven business opportunities for May

Below are seven business opportunities entrepreneurs in Africa can pursue in the month of May.

1. Manufacture quality beverages for the growing African market
Soda King, a manufacturer of soft drinks and purified water, is offering business people and entrepreneurs across the continent a unique franchise opportunity to establish a localised bottling plant. Read more
2. Hydropower firm seeking qualified business partners

Onsite Recovered Energy, a South Africa-based developer of innovative hydropower technologies, is seeking suitably qualified, reputable business partners. Read more
3. Tap into the market for quality furniture
Furniture manufacturer Outdoor Lifestyle is expanding into Africa and seeking distributors in the rest of the continent. Read more
4. Establish your own ice manufacturing business
Minus 40′s Ice Block Maker offers an excellent business opportunity for entrepreneurs across Africa. The company has drawn-up a full business plan that entrepreneurs purchasing the Ice Block Maker can follow. Read more
5. Manufacturing company looking to partner with stakeholders in Africa
Calculus Products is offering firms in Africa a complete solution to all their manufacturing needs. The company is also enthusiastic about assisting stakeholders in expanding their manufacturing capacity. Read more
6. Grow your business by investing in bottle filling technology
Aspiring entrepreneurs as well as established food and beverages companies can benefit from using Marefa International’s state-of-the-art bottle filling equipment. We sat down with Marefa’s Peter Vermaak to talk about the company’s products and the opportunities in bottle filling. Read more
7. Why dairy production is a good business venture
Central Milk, a South Africa-based manufacturer of stainless steel equipment for the dairy industry, is able to offer African farmers a complete solution for the establishment of a dairy processing facility. Read more
All the above business opportunities are sponsored advertisements. For more information about promoting business and investment opportunities on How we made it in Africa, email us at sales@howwemadeitinafrica.com

Cameroon: Economic Competitiveness - EU, ONUDI Train Nationals on Diagnostic Analysis

In view of the putting in place of the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement, the European Union (EU), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (ONUDI), in partnership with the government of Cameroon are upgrading the capacities of local enterprises to make them competitive with others from elsewhere when the partnership agreement effectively goes operational. 

This was the focus of a week-long capacity building workshop for experts in various sector of the economy in Yaounde from April 25 - 29. It drilled Cameroonian experts on economic competitiveness mechanisms who will in turn help national enterprises to better organise their marketing strategies, financial arrangements and their production capacity so as to have a greater access to markets within and without the country. The training was within the framework of the Pilot programme to support the upgrading, normalisation and quality of Cameroon enterprises (PPAMNQ).
The programme, whose objective is to ensure the competitiveness of the country's enterprises, is financed by the European Union to the tune of FCFA 2.5 billion with the contribution from Cameroon as well as technical support from ONUDI.
According to Jean Claude Chimi, National Financial Expert of PPAMNQ, the over 80 experts trained during the seminar will go into these companies to do a financial market, human resources and technical analyses and to advise the enterprises on what potentials they have, their limitations, opportunities and threats they might have in the country and subsequently make some recommendations.
"The experts have been trained on human resource management, finance, production and computer system and marketing. With the assessment we have made, we will choose in each module at least four experts to assist some 15 pilot companies in their diagnosis and upgrading", he said.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the training, the Director General of Economy, Planning and Public Investment in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Dieudonné Bondoma Yokono, said government attaches a lot of importance to the competitiveness of the economy and building the capacities of experts in various sectors of the economy was welcome. "This is in line with the country's long-term growth strategy contained in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper", he added.