Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Jobberman Story: Interview With Jobberman Co-Founder, Opeyemi Awoyemi

Globally, the trend of unemployment is an issue that often pose a major concern. While it has become a threat to socio-economic peace and stability in Africa; In Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, it is one of the most worrying socio-economic incidence.

Yet, a recent report released by the International Labour Organisation, "repairing the economic and social fabric", warned that the number of globally unemployed persons could rise to 208 million by 2015, up from 200 million today.

A report recently released by the World Bank states that 56 per cent of the youths in Nigeria are unemployed.

On this note, three Nigerians- Opeyemi Awoyemi (25), Olalekan Olude (29) and Ayodeji Adewunmi (29), in 2009 during their undergraduate years at the Obafemi Awolowo University created a job website, Jobberman, where graduates can submit their Curriculum Vitae and get information about available jobs in Nigeria. 

Today, they have the bragging right as West Africa most popular job search engine and have the bragging rights as the No1 online job search engine in Nigeria. According to, 
Jobberman is the fifth most visited site in Nigeria.

The company has since moved into Ghana, Nigeria’s close neighboring country and they have also achieved commendable success there, having attained the second most visited website in the country.

I spoke to one of the founders of Jobberman, Opeyemi Awokoya on behalf of Ventures Africa Magazine on the idea behind the business, their achievements and what they have learnt so far since they have started the business. He also gave tips on what is expected of job seekers/applicants and then shed light on some of the pressing issues encountered by the organisation.

Kindly introduce yourself to the readers
Opeyemi Awoyemi, 25, Technology Entrepreneur. I am presently focused on building Africa’s largest jobs website. I am also passionate about scalable and commercially viable products that stand the test of time and markets. I love Africa.

What inspired the founders of Jobberman to create a job website? Why did you venture into the business?
We saw a huge vacuum that could be filled with the tools provided by Technology. The idea to provide a solution to the problem of job search using technology and the power of the internet came to our heads and we decided to build a business out of the idea; providing the widest pool of talent available in Nigeria to employers.
We wanted the space to be creative. The goal at the time my partners and I started the business was to create a service that could impact on Nigerians; a business that was viable and could be used by millions of people.

What is Jobberman? Why do you choose to use the name?
Jobberman is a solution to the problem of job search. It’s an internet business which provides the widest pool of talent available in Nigeria to employers.
Four years ago, if you needed a job, you had to go around physically to offices dropping your CVs, or buy a physical newspaper to see the jobs available in town. Jobberman was at the forefront of making jobs info available as well as making job applications as simple as possible.
Today, Jobberman is the platform (print and online combined) with the highest number of jobs and jobseekers in West Africa.
As for the name, a friend suggested the name and it sounded cool and we decided to use it.

You established Jobberman as an undergraduate; did you foresee the acceptance you have now from the inception?
Our risk appetite was high. We were willing to go all the way in achieving our set objectives. We understood that it would take a lot of risk, notwithstanding in our own opinion, the barriers were low – all that was needed was hard work and relentlessness; we knew that if we continued delivering value we would garner a lot of acceptance.
Of course we weren’t sure 100 percent; every new day in business was a miracle.

How is the site funded? 
Funding came at first from our stipends, money from family and friends and other pools of other fund.
In December 2009, Chika Nwobi of L5Lab approached the team and we finally met in January 2010 after which we entered into a strategic equity partnership.
In August 2010, after about a year of starting the company, Tiger Global (portfolio includes LinkedIn and Facebook) invested a million dollars in the business.

You operate mainly in Ghana and Nigeria; any plan for expansion into other parts of the continent? How do you manage the present ones?
Yes, we do have plans for expansion into other parts of the continent; it takes time and lot of planning if you really want to win. We do have offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana where operations for the countries are managed. Technology is however centralized – from Lagos, Nigeria.

What has been the acceptance like in Ghana?
Awesome, I must say. Jobberman Ghana is the second most visited website in Ghana. We achieved this by going local, understanding the Ghanaian market and job seeking culture and this helped a lot.

What’s presently your staff strength?
We have a staff strength of about 60 awesome people.

Approximately, how many companies do you liaise with to get applications posted on your website?
More than 7000 companies at the moment, and we’ve not peaked yet. This keeps growing every day.

Aside posting job applications on website, does Jobberman have additional service it renders?
Our objective is to be the destination place for Employers and companies to get the right people. For companies, we offer a fully featured Applicant Tracking System which allows in-CV searching, resume database search and communication tools.
We also provide Career Services to candidates - they are able to request for an appraisal or makeover of their CVs and help with cover letters.
Since Jobberman was created in 2009, has there been a wrong move that you have made that could have caused a setback for the business? If yes, what was it and how did you manage the situation?
If you say setback, I will say none. There are steps (internal and externally) that we’ve taken and had to retract. We’re a start-up and being nimble and swift has helped us to make these mistakes and correct them as quickly as possible.

There has been complain by members of the public about the addition of premiums to your service or offer; why is Jobberman introducing premium payments knowing that your target audiences are job seekers who peradventure cannot afford to pay? And how does this premium service operate?
Premium Membership was an upsell to or Free/Basic service. A premium member had access to view more data about companies as well as apply for unlimited jobs on the website. Free members were limited to a number of jobs.
What we’ve discovered is that clear communication is very important in Africa as people do a lot of “surface” conclusions. We have since improved on the communication bit and increased the number of applications free users can get.
This I believe, saying jobseekers cannot afford to pay for a service is erroneous and misleading. Airtime, Transport, Internet Access -all these are paid for. It should also be noted that over 80 percent of users on Jobberman are employed people looking for better opportunities out there.
I think the focus should be on the value they get from the Premium in comparison to the Basic/Free service.
We have also made advertising of vacancies free for companies so that there will be no inhibitions to job seekers gaining access to all the jobs.

Hotnigeriajob accused Jobberman of imitating its job advert with impunity; what is Jobberman’s defence to this accusation? 
All advertisers on Jobberman are spoken to by Jobberman sales staff. Quite often, an advertiser will ask us to use existing copy of a particular vacancy from their website, HR system or another source on the internet to make it easy for them.
Like all sales organisations, individuals in the sales team are incentivised to find new sales leads for new customers. The team definitely look at other local job websites, although we do not have any express policy around this. This is common practice by all websites in our space and pretty much any sales organisation anywhere.
I would suggest you ask HotNigerianJobs to confirm that they have never copied a single job advert from another source in this way, or looked at any other website to find new customers.
They also express in the article that they are OK with Jobberman reposting their ads - even though that is not our policy - but don't like us charging jobseekers for those jobs. This is also totally misleading, since Jobberman jobseekers can use the site for free up to a certain cap.
Our attempts to reach out to them have proved fruitless (the site has no address or contact details), and it is unfortunate that they are not able to just pick up the phone to resolve such an issue rather than trying to use the media to try get some mileage out of it.

So, why do you think social entrepreneurs fail and what does it take to be a successful social entrepreneur?
You need to know where your ROI will come from. Lot of social entrepreneurs fail because they do not fully define the goals and metrics of the business. If you are not going to make profit, then you need donors not investors. To get donors, you must be making ultra-massive impact in a way that helps the donor’s PR or intent.
Social entrepreneurship is measured by the impact of a social change achieved and when impact is difficult to measure failure is imminent.

You have the bragging right as the business that redefines online recruitment in Nigeria, what is the company doing at the moment to sustain the Jobberman brand as the No1 online job search engine in Nigeria?
We are continuously working on our products to make sure that they deliver more value to our users. We’ve also intensified in our partnership efforts to make the brand more visible across the country. Key initiatives are going on in conjunction with the biggest brands in Nigeria in media, telecommunications, non-profits and the Federal and State Governments at different levels/capacities.

How do you keep up with competitors with so many job sites springing up? What is the competitive advantage Jobberman have over other website that will keep it going as a leader among its peers?
Solid management team, knowledgeable institutional investors who are veterans in the global job space, already established brand. I think what is important now is for us to continue to deliver superior value. As they say, “just don’t mess it up”.

Jobberman was recently represented at the Nigerian Blogger fair. How do you think bloggers can blog profitably?
Most blogs will never be profitable, this is a fact. However, profitability will increase generally over time with increase in quantity and quality of online traffic in the Nigerian internet space.
I think bloggers need to choose niches and stick with it as well.
At the moment, there are only a few outliers, LindaIkeji, BellaNaija, OMG et al; so it’s a time, chance and demography game.

How do you think investors can help tech startups in Nigeria?
Cash first. Business knowledge follows. Any other thing is more yadayada than real stuff.

Will you say tech startups are finding it easier now than when you started your business in 2009?
It has become more difficult than it was in 2009. The entrants in the tech start ups have increased geometrically. It is definitely difficult to build say... another Jumia or Jobberman now. But opportunities abound for people with original and innovative ideas. I personally would love to see less of websites offering basic stuff and more of paid services and software-hardware hybrid projects.

What do you think job seekers/applicants are doing wrong which they need to correct to make their CV look more favourable?
My advice to jobseekers:  There are thousands of people like you out there. Don’t just list your educational qualifications. Sell your skills and uniqueness to employers in your CV. Mention things you’ve done. Add growth numbers or anything that shows how much of a superstar you are. Let your CV look professional, search online for samples or let a good CV writer help you out.

What do you think should be the paramount thing to remember/do in a job interview?
Know as much as you can about the company, their business model and the role you’re applying for. Be confident and communicate clearly. You should also be objective with your answers to questions; recruiters dislike those who beat around subject matters.

If you are to devise a logical means that will help tackle unemployment rate in Nigeria; what will that be?
I will quote Governor Fashola of Lagos State here - The ultimate answer to finding a solution to unemployment and joblessness lies in three simple words which is “Made in Nigeria” as no other nation has done it another way.
So to get to "Made in Nigeria", we must innovate and be creative. Innovation requires us to start looking for new and more efficient ways of doing the same thing. Creativity is the hand maid of innovation which suggests we must develop things for ourselves.

Where do you see Jobberman at the end of this decade?
I see Jobberman becoming the #1 recruitment destination in Africa – online or offline – in terms of revenue, jobseekers, employers and traffic. I also see a truly respected pan-African Internet franchise.

Thank you, Opeyemi. Good luck in your endeavours.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Co-CEO of Africa Internet Holding, Sacha Poignonnec On Doing Business In Africa

 Jumia Africa Global CEO's Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec.

Insight into Africa Internet Holding:

Africa Internet Holding (AIH) is a joint venture between Berlin headquartered internet incubator Rocket Internet and telecoms operator Millicom International Cellular which quickly gaining footings on the continent. It has since launched in nine African countries namely: Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana.
The company portfolios include online retailer Jumia, online food ordering site Hellofood, real estate portal Vamido, hotel booking site Jovago, car classified website Carmido, online marketplace Kaymu and taxi booking platform Easy Taxi.
Meanwhile, Sacha Poignonnec, the co-CEO of Africa Internet Holding was recently featured on How we made it in Africa and here is what he has to say about doing business in Africa:  

#On Africa e-commerce, Poignonnec says:

“We believe in Africa. We believe that e-commerce is going to leapfrog lots of traditional businesses. The opportunity is here.”

According to Poignonnec, the biggest challenge AIH faces is accessing talent.
“Is the challenge bigger than in the US or in the UK? I don’t think so. Talent is one of the scarcest resources everywhere. We are very well positioned because our value proposition as a company for someone who wants to work is very appealing. You work in an entrepreneurial setup yet it’s very structured; you work with experienced people who have knowledge and reasonable ambition.”

Market Comparison:

Poignonnec says international companies expanding into Africa not to assume things work the same way in all 54 countries.

“Africa is the most diverse continent in terms of culture, in terms of religion, in terms of consumer behaviour [and] businesses practices. The first thing is to accept there is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

“Nigeria is the biggest country [in Africa by population] but there are some great surprises. We launched Jumia in Ivory Coast [which is] a 25m people country [and] is not the richest, but it is taking off faster than Nigeria.”
The firm however plans to expand into Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Algeria.

Why these countries:

“[Ethiopia has] 80m people who are buying products, eating food, looking for houses , looking for cars, taking taxis… that is a market for me. There are many large corporations that are starting to invest in Ethiopia. I think it is a great market,” says Poignonnec.

“Congo is quite stable. I think the degree of instability [is low]. We are in Egypt at the moment. Is Egypt stable? Well, no, but if you step back and take the very big picture into perspective… people are eating every day, they are driving their cars and buying items, that is what we do, we are not extracting oil.”

Consumer Taste

“The Kenyan consumer is different [from] the Nigerian consumer. Everyone knows that the consumer class is growing in Africa, but in terms of their tastes, it really differs from one country to the next. I think it would be very ignorant of us to come into Africa with one approach. You need to have local flavour, you need to understand the market,” says CEO of Vamido Kenya Aneesa Arshad.

How we made it in Africa says the firm’s aggressive expansion across Africa comes as a threat to local startups run by individual entrepreneurs. Its closest rival is South African-based multinational media company Naspers which invested in classifieds site OLX.
But Poignonnec says:
“We spend more time looking at what we need to do to better serve our customers rather than looking at what the competition is doing. I don’t know what their strategy is.”
“We have an approach where we follow the market and we adapt our strategy to the adoption of the different services we are providing. We are growing with the market, not forcing the market. We have a long-term strategy.”

The Future:
AIH plans to expand into new markets.

“We want to be ahead of the way, but not too far ahead or too far behind. That is a challenge but it is a good one,” the AIH boss said.

“We want to have a clear horizon to reach profitability. Facebook, after one year, could have stopped growing and become profitable. It’s better to keep growing. Do we want to be profitable one day? Yes, but we want to be profitable once we have grown enough. It is a strategic decision.”

Spur To Whet Africa’s Growing Fast Food Appetite With More Restaurant

Spur's Famous Pork Spare Ribs

Spur Corporation CEO, Pierre van Tonder, on Thursday said plans are underway to expand its South African fast-food chain business, Captain DoRegos, across the rest of the country.

Spur, which also owns Panarottis and John Dory’s, hopes to ratchet up its presence in the fast-food quick service restaurants (QSR) business.

"We think we can increase the chain from the current base of 75 stores to between 120 and 130 by expanding into the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga markets in the next five years," van Tonder said.

"We are also looking at Maputo, Gabarone and other African opportunities," he added.

The company is also looking forward to grow into the rest of the African market, having opened in Namibia and Mauritius. It plans to open 26 new restaurants in the next 12-18 months in Nigeria, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania and the Seychelles.

Pierre van Tonder had hinted that hotel, supermarket and retail development has been one of the major factors driving expansion.

Spur bought the Captain DoRegos — which specialises in "value-orientated" take-away fare such as chicken, seafood and burgers in May 2012 for R30m.

Captain DoRegos, under Spur, generated restaurant sales of R191m and franchise fees of R9m. The franchise also contributed immensely (R73m) to Spur’s manufacturing and distribution center sales revenue of about 50 percent to R214m in the year to end June.

Spur CEO hopes this contribution will continue to grow in years to come with 11 new Captain DoRegos outlets opened during the financial year and another seven scheduled for opening in the first half of the new financial year.

Fanisi Capital Invest in Kenyan Pharmacy Chain

Pharmacy Four Walls Branding

Fanisi Capital, managers of theFanisi Venture Capital Fund, a USD50m fund investing in the East African region, has announced its acquisition of a significant stake in retail pharmacy chain Haltons Limited for up to USD3m (KES255m). Haltons operates four retail outlets within Nairobi and has plans to expand its portfolio to over 100 outlets in key towns in Kenya including Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret and Kisumu over the next two years.

Fanisi Capital Managing Partner AyisiMakatiani says the investment will give Haltons scale to expand its business. ‘The partnership with Fanisi will provide the impetus needed to take Haltons through this growth path , establishing itself as a strongchain of branded pharmacies. This is expected to make a positive contribution to the immediate community in the areas of health and economic development,’ said Makatiani.

Haltons CEO Louis Machogu said the deal with Fanisi was the beginning of a concerted drive to reposition the Haltons brand. ‘Haltons plans to differentiate itself as a strong brand that will meet both the customer service needs in terms of availability of products and quality service while maintaining competitive pricing. We focus on quality products and maintaining customer loyalty.’Makatiani hailed the deal, citing the entrepreneurial spirit at Haltons as a defining trait of the business. ‘We are supporting a zealous and passionate entrepreneur by helping transform their business,’ he said.

This acquisition by Fanisi, the second in the pharmaceutical industry after it bought a stake in Sophar Limited, a Rwanda-based pharmaceutical wholesaler early this year, will deepen the fund’s participation in the regional healthcare sector.

Fanisi has made strides in the healthcare sector with its first investment in Rwanda. This being our second investment in the pharmaceutical space, Fanisi has secured a good combination in the retail and pharmaceuticals space,’ explained Makatiani.‘Fanisi has made strides in the healthcare sector with its first investment in Rwanda. This being our second investment in the pharmaceutical space, Fanisi has secured a good combination in the retail and pharmaceuticals space,’ explained Makatiani.

Ghana To Hold 2nd African Women in Film Forum (AWIFF)

Gold coast country, Ghana is set to hold the second African Women in Film Forum (AWIFF) in Accra from September 23 to September 25, 2013 in an event that will feature some of Africa’s most exciting filmmakers, cultural producers and scriptwriters

The event will be organised by the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) in partnership with Alliance Française Accra, Brand Woman Africa, National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), Institut Francais and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts in Nigeria. 

The theme for this year’s AWIFF is Creating Compelling Social Justice Content for Film and Television.

Speakers include Ade Solanke, who wrote the screenplay for Nigerian director Tunde Kelani's forthcoming film, Dazzling Mirage; Akosua Adoma Owusu, Director of KWAKU ANANSE; Amaka Igwe who has to her credit production of over 400 hours of TV programming and movies; and Anita Erskine, Host of Making of a Mogul.

Other speakers at the three-day event are, Dr Beti Ellerson, Assistant Professor at Denison University; Dr Sionne Neely, Knowledge Management Specialist at AWDF; Dr Yaba Blay, Assistant Teaching Professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University and Consulting Producer for CNN’s Black in America 5 – Who is Black in America?; François d'Artemare, Founder of Les Films de l'Après-Midi; Korkor Amarteifio, Associate Director of the Institute for Music and Development; and Kwaw Ansah, Director of Love Brewed in the African Pot.

The rest are, Lodi Matsetela, script writer and producer of Society, originally flighted on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC); Prof. Linus Abraham, Rector of NAFTI; Sarah Bouyain, Director of Notre Etrangere/The Place in Between; Sarah Mukasa, Director of Programmes, AWDF; Sefi Atta, playwright and author of Everything Good Will Come; Stéphanie Soleansky, Cultural Affairs Attaché at Institut Français du Ghana; Tsitsi Dangarembga, author of Nervous Conditions; Vicentia Akwetey, Dean of Studies, NAFTI and YabaBadoe, Director and Co-Producer of The Witches of Gambaga.

Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Communications Specialist at AWDF said in statement that, “The general public in Accra, Ghana can participate in the AWIFF by attending the free film festival. On the 23rd of September we will be screening On The Border by Tsitsi Dangarembga and The Witches of Gambaga by Yaba Badoe at Alliance Française Accra from 6pm." 

"On the 24th of September we will be screening Perished Diamonds by Anita Afonu and Notre Etrangere/The Place in Between by Sarah Bouyain at NAFTI from 6pm," she added. 

According to Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, both Screenings will be followed by a question and answer session between Anita Erskine of Brand Woman Africa, and the filmmakers.

Film festival schedule
Date: Monday 23rd September 2013
Film screenings: The Witches of Gambaga by Yaba Badoe and On the Border by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Venue: Alliance Francaise (Accra),
Time: 6pm

Date: Tuesday 24th September 2013
Film screenings: Perished Diamonds by Anita Afonu and Notre Etrangere/The Place in Between with Sarah Bouyain
Venue: NAFTI
Time: 6pm
Filmmakers based in Ghana who wish to participate in the AWIFF can email for more information

Guinness Nigeria MD, Sani Adetu On Investing And Marketing In Nigeria

Sani Adetu

 Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Seni Adetu, said Nigeria’s economy has bright prospect for investors and market stakeholders, given the large number of its youthful population.

According to Adetu, a large number of the country’s population are in their 20s.

Speaking at this year’s Annual General Meeting of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), yesterday in Lagos, Adetu noted that the world is witnessing a changing lifestyle, with consumers becoming increasingly choosy and brand-led.

This, he argued, creates a big challenge for the marketing group since this has made it imperative for them to be innovative in order to meet the changing tastes of the consumers.

He urged marketers to be ready for a whole lot of challenges as consumer lifestyles are changing.

“Regulatory framework is getting more intrusive. But a marketer should know how to behave in this changing world, since marketing is critical to growth. He must be ready to think out of the box,’ Adetu said.

He advised marketers to have a deep knowledge of consumers’ wants and needs and the imperative of adopting new strategies and innovation to enable them make a success of their career, adding that investing in customer’s growth will help spur their growth and development.

Monday, 9 September 2013

2013 World Happiness Report: African Nations Are The Least Happiest Globally


Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo are the least satisfied with their lives, the 2013 World Happiness Report released Monday by Columbia University’s Earth Institute has revealed.

Of the 156 countries, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, Canada, Finland, Austria, Iceland  Australia are the world's happiest countries.

The United States came in at number 17 in the world in terms of overall happiness, but it still lags behind Israel (11) the United Arab Emirates (14) and Mexico (16). The report ranks the United Kingdom as the 22nd happiest country in the world. Other major nations included Germany (26), Japan (43), Russia (68) and China (93).

Of the 156 countries, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, Canada, Australia are the world's happiest countries.

"On a regional basis, by far the largest gains in life evaluations in terms of the prevalence and size of the increases have been in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Sub-Saharan Africa", the report said.

Those looking for greater happiness and satisfaction in life should head to northern Europe, but steer clear of Egypt and countries worst hit by the eurozone crisis, according to the report.  

When Egypt was weighed on the scale of 1 to 10 -- with 10 rated as happiest -- Egypt averaged 4.3 in 2012, compared to 5.4 in 2007.

Angola, Zimbabwe and Albania experienced the largest increases across all the countries surveyed.

Governments seeking to improve the happiness of their populations should spend a higher proportion of their health budgets on mental illness, which is the single biggest "determinant of misery" in countries assessed, the study authors said.
The 2013 World Happiness Report comes on the back of a growing global movement calling for governments and policy makers to reduce their emphasis on achieving economic growth and focus on policies that can improve people's overall well-being.

The UN first encouraged member countries to measure and use the happiness of their people to guide public policies in July 2011.

"It is important to balance economic measures of societal progress with measures of subjective well-being to ensure that economic progress leads to broad improvements across life domains, not just greater economic capacity," the report said.

"People can be unhappy for many reasons -- from poverty to unemployment to family breakdown to physical illness," the report said. "But in any particular society, chronic mental illness is a highly influential cause of misery.

"If we want a happier world, we need a completely new deal on mental health," it said.

GSMA And Southern African Governments Agree Common Goal To Accelerate Mobile Access To An Additional 300 Million Citizens In Sub Saharan Africa

Africa mobile phones in use on the streets of Kampala, Uganda

Vice President of Botswana, the Honourable Dr Ponatshego H. Kedikilwe, opened a meeting of the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia to agree common priorities to accelerate the roll out of mobile broadband in the region, with the view of creating an additional 3.2 million jobs for Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. 

Ministers welcomed the positive impact of mobile on their digital economies. The mobile ecosystem currently contributes 6.3 per cent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa and could grow to 8.2 per cent by 2020 with the right policies to encourage investment. Equally, mobile penetration could increase to 93 per cent of the region's population by 2020, bringing mobile access to an additional 300 million citizens.

Signing a Communique, Ministers agreed to a series of measures including the creation of a Joint Task Force strengthening regional cooperation to support investment in mobile. "The provision of universal broadband access is vital in driving economic growth and improving the quality of life in Botswana and across Southern Africa," said Honourable Nonofo E. Molefhi, Minister of Transport and Communication for Botswana. "With greater coordination between regional governments and between the public and private sectors, mobile broadband can play a critical role in closing the digital divide."

"The GSMA congratulates the governments of Southern Africa on their commitment to provide an environment supportive of investment in mobile broadband," said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA. "Today's meeting has created a solid foundation for further cooperation between the public and private sectors. The meeting demonstrated the close alignment of all parties regarding the goal of providing universal access to broadband services."

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo. 

#Press Release

Nigeria: Federal Institute of Industrial Research TO Build Cassava Across States

Food production using cassava 

The Director-General of the institute, Dr. Gloria Elemo, said the Federal Institute of Industrial Research plans to build cassava factories in the 36 states of the federation.

She said the move would also help to stimulate interest in agriculture not only for food security, but as a means of empowerment.

The DG said already, a model cassava plant had been constructed in Lagos, adding that with the completion of the factory, it would soon be inaugurated by the government.

Elemo said, “The critical aspect of agriculture apart from production is processing the food into a form that can be kept for a long time to ensure maximum utilisation of your crops.

“We have to show the government that we are capable. We are building model factories, which will be opened very soon at Owode. We have built a complete cassava processing plant that can allow people to come in on cluster basis.

“We hope to establish small factories all over the country and when government sees that, I hope they will be able to buy into the programme.”

To boost the processing of agricultural products, the DG said that the institute had developed about 250 technologies, while over 75,000 entreprenuers had been trained.

Africa Mobile Learning Market To Achieve Highest Global Growth By 2017

North American mobile learning market to reach $2.1 billion by 2017

The "The 2012-2017 Africa Mobile Learning Market" by Ambient Insight, says Africa mobile Learning market will grow more than five times to reach $530.1 million by 2017, up from the$102.4 million reached in 2012.

The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the Mobile Learning market in Africa is 38.9 percent, the highest in the world, according to a new report by Ambient Insight.

"Seven of the fourteen countries analysed in this region have growth rates above the 38.9% aggregate rate," Sam S. Adkins, Chief Research Officer said.

"We have identified the five major catalysts driving the Mobile Learning market in Africa. Combined, these catalysts have made Africa the most vibrant Mobile Learning market on the planet."

In his comments, CEO Tyson Greer said: "Mobile Learning VAS products will generate the highest revenues in Africa throughout the forecast period. What is also interesting is the unique app buying behaviours in each country. No two countries analysed in this report exhibit the same consumer buying patterns. This report identifies the specific types of educational apps that generate the highest revenues in each country."

Mobile devices are now the primary computing devices used by consumers in many countries in Africa.

Accessing the web on an Internet-enabled feature phone or a Smartphone is often a user's first Internet experience, in what is often referred to as a Post-PC experience.

For many people in the Africa region, Mobile Learning is their primary learning technology and they may never be exposed to other learning products.

"In the developed economies, Mobile Learning is often seen as a disruptive learning technology, particularly in the consumer and academic segments. It is ostensibly disrupting the legacy PC-based eLearning industry. This is referred to as 'product substitution' in market research," adds Adkins. "

Microsoft’s MSN Launches In Kenya

Software Company, Microsoft has launched MSN Kenya through South Africa-based Kagiso Media, to provide a fully localised version of the Microsoft web portal to Kenyans.
Microsoft’s MSN is a serious global player in the online international publishing market and one of Africa’s largest portals with about 3.3 million unique browsers per month.

MSN Kenya will host the local content on various sections of its platform – all of which are shaped to suit the needs of the Kenyan market which has an Internet population density of 40 percent.

Microsoft will initially not produce original content for MSN, rather it will partner with local publishers and content generators for local content through the web and mobile.
Kagiso Media in partnership with Microsoft has helped launched MSN in Nigeria and South Africa.

According to Marcus Stephens, General Manager of MSN & Skype, Microsoft’s Publishing & Advertising & Online assets in sub-Saharan Africa – a division of Kagiso Media; MSN looks at the country's Internet penetration density.

"There are more cellphones in Africa than toothpaste business, which forms most of the Internet growth", says Stephens.

"With more than 10 million Internet users in Kenya, we think that MSN Kenya is going to be an excellent platform for brands that want to market their products and services to the country's fast-growing middle-class."

He added that: "Though many Kenyans already visit our general African and South African portals, we believe that the Internet market in Kenya is now of a size that it deserves a dedicated MSN portal of its own.”

“There is a growing hunger for localised content across Africa as undersea cables, mobile broadband and falling Internet access costs bring more people online. We aim to address this need with the same formula of locally relevant, easy to digest content that we offer our audience in South Africa,” Stephens said.

Additional report from: Ventures Africa

Want To Start A Business?, Have A Business Plan – BOI MD Says

Female entrepreneurs have been advised to always design a plan before venturing into any business.
Speaking at a forum tagged: “A Moment with a V.I.P,” organised by the Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria in Lagos at the weekend, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Ms. Evelyn Oputu, said women to also weigh the risks embedded in any sector they want to invest in.
“The other thing you must think about in terms of the business is the risk attached in the business you are going into. You must be able to identify all the risks. For example, if you say you want to produce orange juice, where will the oranges come from? If you don’t have a farm of your own you are going to rely on people who produce it.
“So, you list all the risks and determine the worse thing that can happen to you in the business. You must subject whatever business you want to go into to the worse situation and when you have determined the worse that can happen in the business, if you decide to go into it, then you know that you like that business,” Oputu explained.
If entrepreneurs do not have a business plan, they have been advised to approached the BOI.“If you come to BOI with a business that is into processing agric products or mining something, you are likely to get support from us before some who is in the oil and gas. In terms of interest rates, I will say that our interest rates don’t exceed 10 per cent for long-term loans,” Oputu said.