18 Oct

Andela: Africa’s Engineering Talent With Global Technology Companies

Andela, the company that builds high-performing engineering teams with Africa’s most talented software developers, announced on Tuesday that the company has secured $40M in Series C funding. The investment was led by pan-African venture firm CRE Venture Capital with participation from DBL Partners, Amplo, Salesforce Ventures, and Africa-focused TLcom Capital. Existing investors, including Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, and Spark Capital, also participated. The round, which marks one of the largest investments ever led by an African venture firm into an Africa-based company, brings Andela’s total venture funding to just over $80M.

Andela was launched in 2014 to combat the global technical talent shortage by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers. With an estimated 1.3M software jobs unfilled in 2016 in the U.S. alone, it’s clear that the growth of today’s major technology ecosystems is inhibited by a severe lack of talent. To solve this, Andela invests in high potential pools of brainpower across the African continent to help more than 100 partner companies build distributed engineering teams. These partners range from industry leaders like Viacom and Mastercard Labs to high-growth technology companies such as Gusto and GitHub.

With offices in Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Kampala, Uganda; Andela has hired 500 developers to date — the top 0.7% of more than 70,000 applicants from across the continent. Selected developers spend six months in a rigorous on boarding program before being matched with one of Andela’s partner companies as full-time engineering team members. Beyond recruiting elite development talent, Andela is catalyzing the growth of tech ecosystems across the continent by open-sourcing its content and partnering with organizations including Google and Pluralsight to provide resources and mentorship to developers.

“Over the past three years, we’ve helped prove to the world that brilliance is evenly distributed. It’s now time to prove that our model of investing in extraordinary people isn’t just viable, but revolutionary,” says Jeremy Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of Andela.

Read more: Andela Raises $40M To Connect Africa’s Engineering Talent With Global Technology Companies

17 May

It’s ANC Against Zuma as Eskom Hails Return of CEO

The newly reinstated head of South Africa’s power utility has been accused of attempting to influence a former minister, reversed plans to close power plants that his predecessor claimed weren’t needed, and set the country’s ruling party against its president.

He’s only been back on the job for two days.

Brian Molefe, who returned as Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s chief executive officer on Monday to staff posters welcoming back ‘Papa Action,’ was moved to tears when he left the role in November. He resigned following a graft probe by the Public Protector that found he made decisions favoring the Gupta family, who are friends with President Jacob Zuma. Molefe’s surprise reappointment, announced Friday by Eskom Chairman Ben Ngubane, sparked a backlash that’s stretched from opposition parties to labor unions and even the ruling African National Congress, which told the government to reverse the move.

“Politically and ethically the reinstatement stinks to high heaven,” Aubrey Matshiqi, an independent political analyst, said. “It seems to me that power has become so dispersed — that some power lies in the state, some power lies in the government, some power lies in powerful economic actors, some power lies in powerful families.”

Molefe’s reinstatement has exposed widening rifts within the ANC and between some party leaders and Zuma’s government. It’s revived scrutiny of the influence wielded by the Guptas, who are in business with the president’s son, Duduzane, and means investors must digest yet another surprise appointment, less than two months after Zuma replaced Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in a sweeping late-night cabinet overhaul.

ANC officials told the government that it should rescind Molefe’s reappointment at a meeting Monday attended by Zuma, party Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday. Action should be taken immediately, he said. The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, filed a court application on May 15 to set aside Molefe’s appointment.

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe didn’t pick up a call seeking comment and the utility’s media desk didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.

Molefe’s second day back was already off to a poor start after former South African Minerals Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi alleged the CEO was present during a 2015 meeting when Eskom Chairman Ngubane tried to pressure the then-minister into suspending Glencore Plc’s mining licenses in the country during a dispute between the two companies. Ngubane threatened to go to the president if the request was refused, Ramatlhodi said.

Read more: It’s ANC Against Zuma as Eskom Hails Return of CEO

16 May

Britain’s Equinox to invest $250 million in Kenya bio-gas power project

Britain’s Equinox Energy Capital is close to concluding a $250 million (£194 million) fundraising round to invest in a project in western Kenya to produce electricity from invasive lake weed water hyacinth, the Kenyan presidency said on Friday.

Water hyacinth has choked off large parts of Lake Victoria, a fresh water lake that straddles Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and has alarmed environmentalists with its spread over the past two decades.

The government has had little success in eradicating the weed, which now covers the lake’s surface like a carpet of grass, cutting off local communities from vital fishing grounds and choking regional ports.

The project will be developed in phases and it is envisaged having annual capacity to produce 35 megawatts when completed. Construction is due to start this year and is expected to last 12-18 months, an official at the company said.

The first phase will have 8 MW of capacity and the plant will be located in the western county of Homa Bay.

The power plant will use the bio-gas method, harvesting the hyacinth, using bacteria to break the sugars in the weed into methane gas that can then be burnt to produce electricity, Chris Evans, an associate at Equinox, told Reuters.

He said the company is negotiating with Kenya Power, the country’s main electricity distributor, to allow it to inject the electricity into the national grid.

Distributed by: REUTERS

27 Apr

South Africa may have many more years of Zuma rule to come

There is growing speculation in South Africa that president Jacob Zuma is lining up his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed him as leader of the ruling African National Congress party. He must step down before elections in 2019.

Until recently the head of the African Union Commission, Dlamini-Zuma previously held ministerial posts in South Africa including home and foreign affairs.

President Zuma has not formally declared his support, but has called for the ANC to be led by a woman – a statement seen by many as a de-facto endorsement.

Support for her is seen as an attempt by the president to retain political influence after he steps down. This could spell more trouble for the country’s beleaguered economy. Rising political risk under Zuma’s scandal-prone presidency was the main driver behind unprecedented sovereign debt downgrades by Fitch & S&P earlier this month.

With more almost two years left until the next general election, much of this is speculation. But Zuma has a long and distinguished track-record at outmanoeuvring his political opponents. He is not someone to bet against.

Distributed by: WhyAfrica.com

29 Mar

Japan donates US $906,000 to Mine Action in South Sudan

Last year alone, Japanese-funded teams cleared a total of 1,799,211 sqm, and closed 450 spot tasks including emergency operations by UNMAS Quick Response Teams to survey and clear civilian locations in Juba in the immediate aftermath of conflict in July 2016

JUBA, South Sudan, March 28, 2017

The Government of Japan has contributed USD 906,000 for the mine action project “Humanitarian Mine Action in Support of Conflict Affected Communities in South Sudan.” Over the past five years, Japan has contribution over USD 13 million to mine action operations in South Sudan. Last year alone, Japanese-funded teams cleared a total of 1,799,211 sqm, and closed 450 spot tasks including emergency operations by UNMAS Quick Response Teams to survey and clear civilian locations in Juba in the immediate aftermath of conflict in July 2016.

An estimated 7.5 million people have been directly affected by the conflict in South Sudan since it began in December 2013. Over the past year, the affected population has grown by more than one million. On 8 July 2016, the optimism for peace and socioeconomic development resulting from the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan was interrupted by an outbreak of conflict in Juba and several locations in South Sudan. The use of explosive weapons such as rockets, grenades, and mortars has further increased the proliferation of explosive hazards with accident levels in 2015 and 2016 being the highest in the last five years. It is clear that the explosive legacy of war will continue to inhibit social and economic recovery long after the guns have been silenced.

Continued funding from the people of Japan will support a Multi-task Team (MTT) to reduce the impact of explosive hazards, through survey and clearance as well as the provision of Risk Education, for conflict affected communities in Greater Equatoria.  In South Sudan, where 92,840,000 sqm of contamination is known and hundreds of new hazards discovered every month, Mine Action is a critical enabler of humanitarian aid and a key driver of socio-economic development.

The Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan, Mr. Kiya Masahiko stated, “We feel a sense of mission as a peace-loving nation to support mine action in South Sudan as it lays the ground work for the people of this country to cancel out the negative past and to collectively embark on humanitarian and development efforts. Ahead of the International Mine Awareness Day, I wish to answer the global call for mine action with a USD 0.9 million contribution and to invite others to this indispensable mine action led by our long-standing partner, UNMAS.”

Mr. Tim Lardner, UNMAS South Sudan Programme Manager, emphasized the importance of the support from Japan. “Japan has been a reliable and encouraging partner in mine action to South Sudan and to UNMAS.They have always worked closely with us to support the goals of risk reduction to the population through the clearance of explosive remnants of war, but also maintain an important role in working closely with the government of South Sudan, through the National Mine Action Authority. It is great to have such a steady and reliable partner.”

UNMAS currently supports mine action programmes in Abyei (Sudan/South Sudan), Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Darfur (Sudan), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, State of Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and the territory of Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

14 Feb

Private Equity Africa | 7th Annual Review & Outlook Seminar

The Private Equity Africa 7th Annual Review & Outlook Seminar will be hosted by Thomson Reuters March 1 from 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm.

OVERVIEW

Generating Alpha in Uncertainty

2017 Outlook & 2016 Review

In 2017, investors will locally be navigating a re-based Africa and globally, a post-Brexit Europe and the Trump presidency.

What will fundraising and deal making in 2017 look like? How did investors mitigate challenges in 2016, and what have been the biggest lessons learnt?

In its 7th year, this very popular event offers a great networking opportunity, pulling together between 150 and 200 delegates.

The evening commences with specialist presentations on economic, legal and risk expectations, which culminate into an investor panel discussion.

The evening ends with a networking drinks reception.

KEY TOPICS

• Top Sectors and Strategies for 2017
• Data Presentation: 2017 deal making and fundraising review
• Key investment sectors in 2017
• Exits expectations in 2017
• Economic forecasts
• Key Africa investment risks in 2017

Free attendance for qualified LPs and subscribers.

For free registrations, kindly email events@peafricagroup.com

VENUE

Thomson Reuters
30 South Colonnade-Canary Wharf
London, E14 5EP United Kingdom
+ Google Map
Phone:
+44 (0) 20 7250 1122

EARLY BIRD OFFER ENDS 20 FEBRUARY 2017

 

02 Feb

UK to boost jobs and trade in Tanzania

Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel launches the DFID Economic Development strategy at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa

The UK will sharpen its focus on economic development in the world’s poorest countries to help create the economic growth that will sustain rapidly growing populations, provide a long term solution to poverty and deal with the root causes of problems that affect Britain and Tanzania, International Development Secretary Priti Patel announced on January 31st, 2017.

Over the next decade a billion more young people will enter the job market, mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa’s population is set to double by 2050. This demographic challenge will add to the pressure of protracted crises and mass migration.

DFID’s first Economic Development Strategy sets out how investment in economic development will help developing nations speed up their rate of economic growth , trade more and industrialise faster, and ultimately lift themselves out of poverty.

By helping the world’s poorest countries grow their economies, this investment will help create the UK’s trading partners of the future, boost global prosperity and address some of the root causes of global issues such mass migration and instability that affect the UK.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

“There is no task more urgent than defeating poverty. The UK has a proud record of supporting people in desperate humanitarian crises, but emergency help alone won’t tackle the global changes we face.

With dramatic increases in population across Africa and Asia, developing nations must act fast to create jobs and investment, which is why Global Britain is leading a more open, more modern approach to development through our economic development to help the world’s poorest countries stand on their own two feet.

With the UK’s support, more people across Tanzania have the chance to get a job and build a brighter future for themselves and their families. The UK will continue to build this partnership between our two countries.

Over the next decade a billion more young people will enter the job market. Africa’s population is set to double by 2050 and as many as 18 million extra jobs will be needed. Failure will consign a generation to a future where jobs and opportunity are out of reach; potentially fuelling instability and mass migration with direct consequences for Britain.

Developing countries want to harness trade, growth and investment opportunities and Britain will lead the way to lift huge numbers out of grinding poverty to prosperity.”

The department will work across government to increase the number and quality of jobs in poor countries, enable businesses to grow and prosper, support better infrastructure, technology and a skilled and healthy workforce. […]

You can read the full story here: APO

 

 

 

01 Feb

The dti Creates Jobs through Business Process Services Scheme

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has created 30 000 jobs through its Business Process Services (BPS) Incentive Scheme since the scheme’s inception in 2011

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has created 30 000 jobs through its Business Process Services (BPS) Incentive Scheme since the scheme’s inception in 2011. This was said by the department’s Chief Operating Officer for Incentives Administration, Ms Susan Mangole today.
Mangole was speaking during the visit of Members of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry to one of the beneficiaries of the scheme, Conduent which is based in Sandton. The MPs are on a two-day oversight visit to companies that have received funding from the dti.

“The objective of the BPS scheme is to create employment opportunities particularly for the young people of South Africa through servicing offshore activities. To achieve this objective, we have created more than 30 000 jobs by supporting forty-three companies through BPS at a cost of almost R1 billion. About 86% of the jobs are for the youth,” said Mangole.

“The objective of the BPS scheme is to create employment opportunities particularly for the young people of South Africa through servicing offshore activities. To achieve this objective, we have created more than 30 000 jobs by supporting forty-three companies through BPS at a cost of almost R1 billion. About 86% of the jobs are for the youth,” said Mangole.

She added that the scheme was also aimed at contributing to the country’s export revenue from offshoring services.

Mangole also said the business process services industry, which has been identified by government through the Industrial Policy Action Plan as one of the country’s key job drivers, has been growing at an average of 26% annually since 2011.

Internationally South Africa is recognised as a leading offshore destination for business process services with its highly competitive costs, deep domain skills, English-speaking talent and world-class infrastructure. In November last year, SA won the Offshoring Destination of the Year Award from the Global Sourcing Association in London.

Addressing the MPs at the company premises, Conduent’s Senior General Manager, Mr Jim Beatie said his company was grateful for the support provided by the dti. Conduent, one of the largest business process services companies in the world, was funded by the dti for more than R10 million in a project that will create 1 600 jobs over a five-year period.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Ms Joan Fubbs, said the purpose of the site visit to the dti-funded companies was to assess how the funds that the department disburses are making an impact.

“We would like to get first-hand information from the beneficiaries themselves on how the incentives are applied, whether they achieve their objectives, as well as the challenges companies could be experiencing,” said Fubbs.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

26 Jan

Loopholes in Mali’s Export Tax Regime make it a Magnet for the Illicit Trade of Gold in West Africa

Mali’s taxation practices applicable to gold exports have turned the country into West Africa’s illicit gold trading hub, Partnership Africa Canada (www.PACweb.org) said in a report published today.

The report, The West African El Dorado: Mapping the Illicit Trade of Gold in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso, investigates challenges in the governance of artisanal gold mining in the three countries—and the vulnerabilities posed by the illicit trade of gold on the region.

The investigation finds that all countries have taken important steps towards encouraging legal trade of artisanal gold—a sector which employs an estimated three million miners in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso—such as the harmonization of export taxes at 3%. Yet, Partnership Africa Canada found that Mali’s application of export taxes to only the first 50kg of gold per month is promoting smuggling, as traders bring gold over the border into Mali to get a large tax break.

“Mali’s harmful implementation of tax laws is cause for concern in the region, as it actively drives the illicit trade of gold. Mali’s neighbours are missing out on important revenue from taxes as traders smuggle gold over borders to take advantage of the tax break,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.

“Importantly, export statistics from Mali are painting a worrying trend and it is up to international refiners and buyers to exercise additional due diligence on gold exported from the country to ensure the gold is clean,” added Lebert.

An analysis of gold production and trade statistics in Mali, as well as declared imports from the United Arab Emirates of Malian gold spotlighted major inconsistencies in the declared data. Over a four year period, UAE imports of Malian gold successively exceeded Mali’s entire gold production. Mali declared 40 tonnes of gold produced in 2013—while UAE declared 49.6 tonnes imported. In 2014, the figure rose with Mali declaring production at 45.8 and UAE declaring 59.9 in Malian gold imports.

Since much of Mali’s industrial production is exported to Swiss and South African refiners, Partnership Africa Canada found little explanation for the discrepancy. The extent of the illicit gold trade in Mali raises concerns about regional peace and stability and highlights the need for refining centres to exercise additional due diligence on imports.

Partnership Africa Canada calls on Mali to undertake a comprehensive review of its tax regime to address the loopholes that make it magnet for gold produced in West Africa. Additionally, the report calls on the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre in the UAE to ban hand-carried imports of gold and demonstrate greater oversight over gold imports.

The report also calls on gold producing countries in West Africa to harmonize policies and practices in the gold sector through a Regional Approach, similar to that currently being implemented in the Mano River Union on diamond governance.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Partnership Africa Canada (PAC).

11 Jan

UK and Malawi renew their strong historic ties

New High Commissioner to Malawi, Holly Tett, presents her credentials while reaffirming UK’s commitment to Malawi

LILONGWE, Malawi, January 11, 2017

The new British High Commissioner to Malawi, Holly Tett, says the deep and strong bilateral relations between the UK and Malawi will be more important during this time that the countries are experiencing major changes like Brexit and the pushing of a reform agenda respectively.

The UK currently runs a £150 million (approximately K150 billion) development programme in Malawi to help progress and lift her people out of poverty

Ms Tett was speaking to local press at Kamuzu Palace in the capital Lilongwe shortly after presenting her letters of credence to President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.

Accompanied by her partner Mark Kalch and the deputy High Commissioner Stephen Phillips, Ms Tett said that as a long-standing development partner of Malawi, the UK will continue supporting Malawi in a range of priorities.

“I talked to the President about a really true historic friendship that Malawi and UK have; we talked about deepening that friendship through what will be period of significant changes like Brexit in UK and as the President pushes through his reform agenda,” said Ms Tett.

Ms Tett said she will support Malawi to deal with the current humanitarian crisis (where the UK has already provided £43 million, approximately K43 billion), to continue with the momentum of the reform agenda and a broad range of priorities like education, health and issues that affect women, girls and children, and to further boost the sporting links between the two countries.

Holly Tett succeeds Michael Nevin whose tour of duty ended in September last year. Before her arrival into the country earlier this month, Simon Mustard served as the UK’s temporary High Commissioner. The UK currently runs a £150 million (approximately K150 billion) development programme in Malawi to help progress and lift her people out of poverty.

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