2X Challenge Members Launch Business Competition in Africa

2X Challenge Members Launch Business Competition in Africa

Leading development finance institutions (DFIs) including FinDev Canada, CDC Group (CDC) of the United Kingdom, Proparco of France, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) of the United States along with the Mastercard Foundation announced today at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference that they are joining forces to sponsor the 2X Invest2Impact – Business Competition. The purpose of the competition is to support the growth of high-potential, women-owned businesses to increase their commerciality and impact. This major new initiative will support women entrepreneurs who have the potential to make a positive impact on their local economies and are strong candidates for investments from development financiers.

While there is no shortage of business competitions on the African continent, and many women-focused entrepreneurial forums, programs, and initiatives, 2X Invest2Impact will stand out by focusing on growth stage women-owned businesses, poised for investment capital. 2X Invest2Impact will provide them with mentorships, business development services, visibility, and the opportunity for funding.

“The credit gap for women-owned SMEs globally is estimated at $287 billion. This means that 70 percent of women owned SMEs cannot access the financing they need to grow a business. This competition aims to directly address this,” said Paul Lamontagne, Managing Director of FinDev Canada.

“We also know that there is a persistent disconnect between investors and development financiers who are seeking to invest in women-owned businesses and those women owners who are looking to grow their companies. Our 2X Invest2Impactinitiative will help bridge that gap by bringing high-quality women-owned businesses together with interested investors,” noted Jen Braswell, Director, Value Creation Strategies, CDC.

The goals of 2X Invest2Impact are to:

  • Directly reach women-owned businesses that may otherwise face barriers in accessing investment capital;
  • Contribute to the community of women business owners and leaders in the region;
  • Gather and share learnings on women in business and gender-lens investing;
  • Increase visibility and momentum for gender-lens investing; and
  • Pilot an investment prospecting model that could be replicated in other regions.

“Africa is home to more female entrepreneurs than any region in the world. Through 2X Invest2Impact, OPIC is proud to join its 2X Challenge partners and MasterCard Foundation in providing a platform for female entrepreneurs to showcase their successful enterprises and to access critical expansion capital. We are not only reaching these female entrepreneurs but also showing the world what African women can do when they are empowered,” said Kathryn Kaufman, OPIC Managing Director for Global Women’s Issues.

“The Mastercard Foundation is pleased to support this exciting business competition. We know that when we support women entrepreneurs, there is a positive impact in the community. This competition will drive employment and growth,” added Lindsay Wallace, Director of Strategy and Learning, Mastercard Foundation.

The competition will provide value to all entrants, including networking and feedback through insights and benchmarking reports. After an initial application process, twenty-five small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be selected for participation. These contestants will benefit from pitch training, access to webinars, podcasts and other learning tools as well as networking opportunities. Each SME will be assigned a mentor and be promoted during a high-profile and well-publicized closing event.

“We are confident that this will be a turning point for the winners of the competition,” noted Gregory Clemente, CEO, Proparco. “They will benefit from improved access to funding, increased visibility stemming from the media coverage and word of mouth and the hands-on mentorship of a leading entrepreneur in their region. We are also very happy to see them entering into an investment readiness support program, which will help these brilliant women entrepreneurs bring their businesses to new highs.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

Africa rising as Bizcommunity launches .Africa domain

Africa rising as Bizcommunity launches .Africa domain

Africa rising, pan-Africanism and African renewal are just some of the terms seen regularly on the radars of global business scenario forecasters.

52.3% increase in intra-African trade

According to The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), intra-African trade is expected to increase by 52.3% from 2020. With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement signing in Rwanda, March 2018, and other factors, Africa has proclaimed itself open for business – with 55 countries merging into a single market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5tn, which will see Africa become the largest free trade area in the world.

With the above factors providing every reason why African business stakeholders should be talking to each other more than ever, Bizcommunity’s dedicated B2B platforms are ideal to enable exactly the knowledge and resource sharing and intra-African networking required right now.

Celebrating Africa Month_ May 2019

In May, the daily go-to media for the curation and distribution of African company news, jobs and events across 18 industries will further spotlight the factors and stakeholders spearheading these moves.

Join us in our vision to enable a connected business-ready Africa

Send a clear message to the world that your company is open for African business opportunities on bizcommunity.africa daily news platforms.

Join us in our vision to enable a connected business-ready Africa. Publish company news, opinion, activations, events and jobs on the biggest multi-industry website, that’s made in Africa, to put African business news on the front pages and in the hands of our 464,000 readers.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Bizcommunity.

Global Cyber Security Market Set to Reach Over USD 181.77 Billion in 2021: Zion Market Research

Global Cyber Security Market Set to Reach Over USD 181.77 Billion in 2021: Zion Market Research

Author: Hirem Sam (Source: Global News Journal)

Zion Market Research has announced the addition of a new market intelligence report. The report is titledCyber Security (Network Security, Cloud Security, Wireless Security and Others) Market, By Solution (Identity and Access Management (IAM), Encryption, Risk and Compliance Management, Data Loss Prevention, Antivirus And Antimalware, Firewall And Others), By Vertical (Aerospace, Government, Financial Services, Telecommunication, Healthcare And Others): Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Segment, Trends and Forecast, 2015 – 2021”. The global Cyber Security Market report serves with all-inclusive, highly-effective, and thoroughly analyzed information in a well-organized manner, based on actual facts, about the Cyber Security Market. The whole information from the scratch to the financial and management level of the established industries associated with the Cyber Security Market at the global level is initially acquired by the dedicated team. The gathered data involves the information about the industry’s establishment, type and the form of products it manufactures, annual sales and revenue generation, the demand of the manufactured product in the market, marketing trends followed by the industry, and a lot more important information. The industries majorly comprise the global leading industries that are putting their extreme efforts to maintain the hold over the highly-competitive Cyber Security Market, about which the thorough information is provided in the report.

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Cyber security

Some of the Major Cyber Security Market Players Are:

  • Symantec
  • IBM
  • McAfee
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • CSC

The industry analysts begin their task by compiling this huge pile of information, graphically expressing, anticipating the future market growth, offering the ways to improve the business, and many other important viewpoints explained by them in the global Cyber Security Market report. The report delivers the analytical data in several parts based on the fragments of the global Cyber Security Market product, its end-users, applications, and others of the market; additionally,

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Cyber Security

The global Cyber Security Market report elucidates the comprehensive analysis of the market-derived on the basis of regional division [Latin America, North America, Asia Pacific, Middle & East Africa, and Europe]. The report comprises precise analytical information related to market forecast for several upcoming years. The report also includes the particulars about the valuation of macro and micro elements significant for the growth of already established Cyber Security Market contenders and emerging new companies.

Find the Right Business Opportunity for You in Africa

Find the Right Business Opportunity for You in Africa

Finding the business opportunity which will suit you best should never be a random process and always requires a sound strategy.

Your plans must obviously take into account your skills and aptitudes, as well as your interests and previous experience. And while such an approach should never rule out something entirely new, you must know your strengths (and weaknesses) in order to determine what path you plan to follow.

You must also look around carefully to find out what is popular and where there is a gap in the market. And fortunately, Africa is a continent full of business opportunities for both traditional and trailblazing entrepreneurs.

Right Business Opportunity
African art and traditional craftwork

Do you know much about the value of African art? You may be surprised to hear that Sotheby’s sold a collection of West African antiques in New York for the staggering sum of $41 million in 2014 (a record sum for African art in the US).

And elsewhere, Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwn’s wooden sculptures sold on the London market for $500,000, – three times more than they were expected to make!

While these are extreme examples, it’s also known that the marketplaces of Egypt and Morocco, for instance, enjoy a buoyant trade in original artefacts and locally created, hand-crafted goods produced primarily for the tourist trade.

There are undoubtedly many reasons for the resurgence of interest in this field, but the spread of multiculturalism and today’s ease of access via the Internet suggest this is a trend set to continue.

Right Business Opportunity
Africa’s renaissance farmers

African agriculture suffers from a bad press, associating it with poverty, aging farmers, back-breaking labor and subsistence-level returns.

As a result, there has been a pronounced drift away from rural areas. This industry has become an untapped goldmine crying out for new blood and full of exciting opportunities to develop an ancient industry in exciting new ways.

Sub-Saharan Africa has fertile soils, around three-fifths of the world’s unexploited arable land, an abundant source of agricultural labor and year-round sunshine.

These attributes put the region in pole position to become a major source of food for the world’s markets. This projection discounts the continent’s own ‘home market’ of one billion people – a huge opportunity for young agricultural entrepreneurs to exploit.

Eco-energy for the African market

Would-be entrepreneurs should note that hardly one-fifth of Africa’s population have access to an electricity supply, and even those who do mostly rely on dirty and noisy generators.

With much of sub-Saharan Africa able to enjoy an average of more than 325 days of sunshine a year, the continent has its own source of cheap, clean energy ready to be harnessed to get its people connected to the future.

The market for solar power has huge potential. To take just a single example, the smartphone has emerged as Africa’s most potent tool for communication, but millions have problems finding a reliable source for recharging their phones – especially in rural areas.

Solar energy now benefits from advanced technologies which make it fast and cheap to set up, even in the most remote locations.

In addition, solar-generated energy is a ‘green and clean’ product which makes it an even more attractive proposition for the future.

With equipment prices also falling, many observers believe that African solar power could start making a major contribution to the European energy market.

Africa’s potential education market 

There is an ever-growing need for education and training all over Africa which is overwhelming governments everywhere.

For the entrepreneur equipped to meet such demands, there are numerous small and large opportunities right across the sector: in both primary and secondary education, for individual private tutors, in university training, for vocational training as well as professional certification needs of all kinds.

Africa’s growing population of young people see a good education not only as a pathway out of poverty but also as the key to securing a good job with prospects for advancement.

And in the corporate arena, businesses are looking to recruit an educated workforce who can service the needs of a 21st-century economy. For example, these needs alone have created an almost insatiable demand for language teachers.

These are just some of the many gaps in the market Africa now offers the young, dedicated and organized entrepreneur.

So, provided you carefully research the present and future demands of your sector, there are many businesses which could represent an ideal opportunity.

By Bruce Hakutizwi, USA and International Accounts Manager for BusinessesForSale.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling small and medium size businesses.  Bruce has over 7 years’ experience working within the US business transfer marketplace connecting buyers and sellers.

Kenya ranked third in Africa’s private equity chart

Kenya ranked third in Africa’s private equity chart

By BRIAN NGUGI

Kenya has been ranked the third most attractive African market for private equity (PE) funding, indicating the huge promise in East Africa’s largest economy despite multiple challenges arising from a recent pile-up of public debt.

Consultancy EY (Ernst & Young) says in a report that is expected to be published today (Monday) that Kenya’s fast-growing technology sector, nicknamed “Silicon Savannah”, drew the most foreign investor interest, supported by an improved business environment.

“FDI [foreign direct investment] projects in Kenya increased by 44 per cent compared with 2016,” says the Turning Tides, Africa Attractiveness October 2018 report.

The increase, the report says, was “largely because of a conducive environment, including a pool of well-resourced IT developers and a high smartphone penetration rate.”

South Africa and Morocco are ranked as Africa’s top hotspots for PE deals ahead of Kenya, which beat Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt – the number four, five and six respectively.

The report says Kenya’s top ranking has benefited from recent government’s action to make the country a viable and competitive technology hub through formulation of policies to drive the initiative.

The country’s performance is described as significant given that 2017 was dominated by election-related investor jitters.

Kenya’s economy grew 4.9 per cent in 2017, its lowest rate in five years, under the weight of a prolonged electoral process and adverse weather.

Top ten countries by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Projects

That pace of growth was far below the 5.9 per cent recorded in 2016, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data.

The last time Kenya’s growth stood at below five per cent was in 2012, also an election year, when the economy expanded by 4.5 per cent.

EY says British investors were particularly active in Kenya last year, having made 10 project commitments, followed by Dutch firms.

“The digital industry remains a key driver of the continent’s growth riding on high mobile and Internet penetration rates coupled with the establishment of technology parks across numerous countries including Cape Verde, Angola, Kenya, Senegal and Rwanda,” says the report. Kenya is expected to remain a hotspot for private equity whose attraction to global deal makers was mainly driven by improved business environment.

“Recent initiatives in Ethiopia, as well as gains by Kenya and Nigeria in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business scores, illustrate that more and more of Africa’s leaders are starting to prioritise reform,” it says.

“Along with that, recent leadership changes in Angola, Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are also expected to stimulate policy change, as countries increasingly compete for foreign investment as a key driver for sustained growth.”

Recent studies have echoed similar projections while noting that the improvement in ease of doing business, high return potential across all sectors, a well-diversified economy and consolidation in sectors such as financial services has created an avenue for increased PE activity.

Consolidation

In the financial services several analysts have said they expect consolidation in the banking industry and innovations to be the main drivers of activity.

“We remain bullish on PE as an asset class given the abundance of global capital looking for opportunities in Africa, the attractive valuations in private markets compared to public markets and better economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa compared to global markets,” investment firm Cytonn said in an outlook earlier.

The Treasury has recently upgraded Kenya’s economic growth projection to six per cent from 5.8 per cent, a move that was seen as having been informed by renewed private investor confidence and increased agricultural output.

Heavy rains in the second quarter of the year and the March 9 truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga — popularly known as the ‘handshake’— are likely to lift growth to a seven-year high, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said earlier.

Kenya’s economy last expanded at the projected pace in 2011 when growth was 6.1 per cent.

Economic activities last year buckled under the weight of a biting drought in the first half, which hit farming activities hardest, and elevated political uncertainties following a bruising presidential election contest in the second half that put on hold a raft of investment decisions.

That, together with the debilitating effect of a sharp drop in loans to the private sector due to legal ceilings on loan charges starting September 2016, resulted in the slowest growth in national wealth in five years at 4.9 per cent.

Source – Business Daily

Uganda puts SGR on hold over unresolved issues with Kenya

Uganda puts SGR on hold over unresolved issues with Kenya

Finance minister Matia Kasaija has said government has put on hold the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) venture and has instead turned attention to revamping the old metre-gauge railway network until unresolved issues with Kenya and China have been concluded.

“It is apparent the SGR is going to take us a lot of time to complete. First, we have to wait for Kenya to reach at the Malaba [border] point then we can start,” Mr Kasaija told Daily Monitor Monday.

He said government, in the interim, is refurbishing the old railway line as “an alternative” to lower transportation costs for traders.

Uganda and Kenya first agreed to construct the SGR in 2008 but the arrangements were only concretised in 2012.

Construction

Kenya is currently constructing the 120km line from Nairobi to Naivasha at $1.7bn to be followed by a 266km line from Naivasha to Kisumu port at $3.6bn, and later embark on the 107km line connecting from Kisumu to Malaba border with Uganda which is expected to cost $1.7bn.

The first phase of Kenya’s SGR line running from Mombasa port to the capital Nairobi, that cost $3.8bn, was commissioned last year and is operational. The trains’ daily tonnage has increased to more than 800 containers, out of the 1,700 that arrive at the port of Mombasa.

Uganda’s first phase of SGR, the eastern line running from Malaba to Kampala, about 273km (338km rail length), is expected to cost $2.3bn.

Mr Kasaija admitted that Uganda has currently taken a back seat on the SGR venture, but will resume “serious discussions once Kenya is about to reach” the Ugandan side.

President Museveni, according to sources familiar with the venture, in recent months had been directly involved in discussions on the project, and had hoped to secure financing for the first section of the railway line during his visit to China last month when he attended the seventh Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit. But he returned empty-handed.

However, Mr Kasaija revealed that during the discussions in Beijing, it was agreed that “Uganda and Kenya will embark on joint financing negotiations” after Kenya has completed the current Nairobi-Naivasha section.

“Kenya also has its own problems which we cannot speak about in public. We shall wait for them to settle but on our side, we have already compensated people from Tororo to Iganga. When they finish their part, we shall proceed with it,” Mr Kasaija said.

For some time now, Ugandan government officials have blamed Kenya for failing to commit themselves to financing the remaining two—Naivasha-Kisumu, and Kisumu-Malaba—sections. Kenya’s non commitment, according to sources, is mainly debt concerns but also the fact that there is little economic activity in Uganda to justify such an investment.

Kenya’s take

However, a Kenyan government official told Daily Monitor Monday on condition of anonymity that Nairobi is “committed to the project” and said Ugandan officials were using Kenya to “cover” for what he called their “confusion.”

Uganda’s SGR project since conception has been subject of various controversies.

The Ugandan State Minister for Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, told Daily Monitor separately that government is “still on course, and is continuing to work with Kenya to tie up all the loose ends and synchronise the project.”

“We are even meeting in Kigali next week to continue discussions on the matter,” Gen Katumba said.

One of the key conditions made by the Chinese funders, EXIM Bank, is the seamless movement of the train from Mombasa to Kampala for it to make “economic sense.”

Early this month, the European Union offered Uganda €21.5mn for revival of the old metre gauge railway line from Tororo through the districts of Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira to Gulu “to contribute to a better performance of the value chain for key products and the development of the private sector in Northern Uganda.”

The line is expected to open up an alternative route to the Northern Corridor, connecting strategic trade routes with South Sudan, which is now a major trade and investment destination for partner states of the East African Community.

Old rail

Once revived, the 500km old railway line could as well be key in transportation to Uganda’s oil belt—Albertine Graben—and ease the burden on the existing and yet to be constructed transport infrastructure required for developing Uganda’s oil sector.

Revival of the railway line has been attempted before by Rift Valley Railways (RVR), the concessionaire for the Uganda-Kenya railway line, which collapsed early this year after each party accused each other of reneging on the concessionary terms.

Is SGR worth the cost?

The entire SGR, to cover the whole country, is pegged to a cost $12.8bn. The government has been in constant back and forth engagements with Beijing to release the first tranche of funding for the eastern line, particularly with prospects of paying back when oil revenues start flowing in 2020 but is unlikely. Several experts have said while the SGR could be a game-changer in reducing transportation costs, it might do little service for Uganda which is import reliant.

The main concern is that because the government imports more and exports less, the government will have to charge more fees on imports to offset the cost of exporting; Uganda imports goods worth about $4b and exports just about less than half of that. However, the government has noted that the project is sustainable, insisting that it will generate enough revenues to repay the loan.

The SGR classification is in line with the African Union SGR protocol, of upgrading and linking the continent’s railway system to facilitate continental integration. Other countries that have upgraded to SGR include Moroco, Ethiopia, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, and now Kenya and Uganda ongoing.

Source – Business Daily