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Thursday, April 15, 2021

African Company Executives Flip To Tech Entrepreneurship

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By Eric Osiakwan

Three vital information gadgets went on the worldwide wire on 25th February 2021 as follows;

  1. Liquid Telecom, a member of the Econet Group that has laid greater than 70,000km of fiber optic cable throughout Africa, raised $840M financing package deal (US$620M bond and a US$220M equal time period mortgage in Rand).  This was Liquid Telecom’s second bond difficulty and it was 5.5 occasions oversubscribed with JP Morgan Chase & Co, Commonplace Chartered Plc and Commonplace Financial institution Group Ltd as joint world bookrunners.
  2. Convergence Companions, a number one Pan African Non-public Fairness fund entered into an settlement with Nasdaq listed Inseego (INSG) to amass 100% of their subsidiary Ctrack’s operations in Africa and the Center East.     
  3. Ecobank Nigeria, the most important nation operations of Ecobank Transnational Included (ETI), issued a London listed $300M bond that was three occasions oversubscribed and drew vital worldwide curiosity with Citibank, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Commonplace Chartered Financial institution as joint lead managers and e-book runners. 

These tales are vital as a result of these firms are owned by a vanguard of African company executives turned entrepreneurs who’ve constructed their respective ventures into world success tales such that these information gadgets are first of their class (Liquid Telecom is majority owned by Attempt Masiyiwa from Zimbabwe, the shares of Convergence Companions is managed by South African Andile Ngcaba,  ETI was co-founded by Gervais Djondo from Togo and Adeyemi Lawson from Nigeria and constructed as the primary indigenous Pan-African financial institution by Nigeria’s Arnold Ekpe). Gervais, Adeyemi, Andile, Attempt and Arnold labored in authorities and company Africa on the highest degree earlier than changing into main lights for the brand new technology of top-performing

African entrepreneurs. Accordingly, on this concluding phase to finish the primary quarter of 2021, I current the tales of Ghana’s Marcia Ashong, Kenya’s Aziz Omar and Ivory Coast’s Alexandre N’Dore highlighting their distinctive strengths on the finish.  

As Adesuwa Okonbo Rhodes advocates for extra tables on this quote “I imagine the way in which to successfully present girls with extra seats on the desk is for us to create our personal tables. Extra girls succeeding as capital allocators means extra girls getting funded, extra mentors, extra torchbearers, extra examples to observe. We don’t want extra seats, we’d like extra tables!” which ended half considered one of this essay, Marcia Ashong, CEO of TheBoardroom Africa, has being getting extra girls on the tables in company boardrooms since launching her enterprise in January 2016 in Ghana. Previous to this Marcia was in Ivory Coast heading the nation operations for a serious oil service firm with duty for over 100 staff and contractors.  In line with Marcia, management ladders are formed like pyramids: girls are well-represented on the backside, and but, based mostly on her expertise, as one ascends girls develop into extra scarce and, for her, it was apparent that the issue began with the construction of company boards. “There’s a robust hyperlink between the range of a board and the collective intelligence that results in improved decision-making and higher ruled entities” Marcia mentioned. Ladies deliver openness to new views, collaboration, inclusiveness, energy in ethics and equity and, as such, the dearth of ladies within the company boards has large implications on governance requirements and enterprise efficiency. They’ve positioned greater than 37 girls on boards of which 25% are first timers and graduated over 100 girls of their governance programme.

Aziz Omar began within the worldwide NGO world then moved to authorities earlier in his profession. Aziz’s day of reckoning got here in early 2011 when he confronted the lack of an employment alternative within the Kenyan authorities as a result of his appointment letter was caught within the publish workplace and by the point, he bought it, the job was already provided to another person. That led him to co-found and construct the world’s first cellular postal workplace generally known as MPost. Aziz and his group have grown MPost to a stage the place his co-founder has taken over the administration of the operations. In the course of the pandemic (January 2021) Aziz launched his second enterprise SaveApp – a platform that permits one to roundup their spare change and put it aside. Purchasers can later redeem these financial savings by way of prompt gratification choices like promotional vouchers or convert them into retirement financial savings by direct pension contributions. Launching a brand new enterprise in a pandemic speaks to the large expertise and grit that Aziz had gained from his earlier ventures. In line with him “We imagine as an organization that our answer concentrating on SMEs and Africa’s develop youth in regard to micro-pensions and financial savings seeks to ensure Africa’s socio-economic growth and the transfer to a extra digital future”.

Insurance policies for 200 firms from 14 international locations value 55MUSD on their platform. Alexandre N’djore began his company profession at MTN Cote D’Ivoire as Logistics Supervisor, was there for nearly three years after which moved to Millicom which owns the Tigo cellular model. At Millicom he rose by the ranks and have become head of digital operations in Tanzania. Tigo Kilimo, a platform he had constructed for farmers bought considered one of them nearly in tears as a result of the poor farmer had been capable of a number of his earnings threefold by the platform. He then constructed Tigo Bima which went viral, shortly accumulating over 562,000 customers in simply 18 months with zero funds for promoting. Realizing that he might do that on his personal, Alex left Tigo to start out Digitech, an insuretech platform in January 2016 that permits the buying and processing of insurance coverage digitally. The corporate which workplaces in Seychelles and South Africa has main insurance coverage and reinsurance firms equivalent to Sanlam who’ve offered greater than 10,000 insurance policies and CICA-RE who’ve processed 7M.

The journey from the company world to entrepreneurship, as outlined within the aforementioned case research, comes with three distinct benefits;

  1. Expertise – Company publicity offers former executives large enterprise expertise, enabling them to keep away from pricey errors. They might have additionally learnt the ropes of enterprise utilizing the company cheque e-book, so these experience and experiences give them a aggressive benefit within the entrepreneurship enviornment. That have may compromise or retard their enterprise capacity to suppose outdoors the field and take potential game-changing dangers, so it’s a two-edged sword. 
  2. Financial savings – Most of them have financial savings from their earlier company salaries, which frequently function useful and useful momentary cushions within the rocky startup universe. and eventually
  3. Networks – Center and top-tier company life facilitates the constructing of intensive enterprise networks, that are indispensable in constructing and rising a profitable enterprise enterprise.  

Thanks for studying and in your curiosity in Africa. Content material is produced in collaboration between Africa.com’s editorial group and our companions — together with nongovernmental organizations, personal sector stakeholders, companies and establishments. In case you are excited about telling tales in an impactful method to shine a highlight on a specific difficulty, please electronic mail editor@africa.com. We stay up for listening to from you.  


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