You won’t help farmers in Africa by just throwing money at them 
by Cesar Revoredo-Giha
Governments and donors have tried hard to improve dairy farming in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. Many recognise that it has much potential to boost the economic situation of poor farmers in the region. And unlike many other products such as cut flowers or mange tout, it tends to supply local consumers rather than people in other countries.
This means that making it affordable has implications for local health, spending power and so forth. Yet so far, any notion of a “white revolution” in milk production remains far from reality. To understand what is holding it back, I undertook a three-year research project into dairy farming in Malawi.
My findings suggest that those who want to improve the sector need to look more closely at how the produce gets from the farm to consumers’ kitchens.

Ed’s note: Read his fascinating insights from his fieldwork

You won’t help farmers in Africa by just throwing money at them

by Cesar Revoredo-Giha

Governments and donors have tried hard to improve dairy farming in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years. Many recognise that it has much potential to boost the economic situation of poor farmers in the region. And unlike many other products such as cut flowers or mange tout, it tends to supply local consumers rather than people in other countries.

This means that making it affordable has implications for local health, spending power and so forth. Yet so far, any notion of a “white revolution” in milk production remains far from reality. To understand what is holding it back, I undertook a three-year research project into dairy farming in Malawi.

My findings suggest that those who want to improve the sector need to look more closely at how the produce gets from the farm to consumers’ kitchens.

Ed’s note: Read his fascinating insights from his fieldwork

How Esther Muchemi’s early bet on the growth of mobile telecoms paid off
In 2000 there were just 10m mobile phone subscribers in Africa. The industry was just picking up and the pricey gadgets were still a preserve of the rich. And although it was thought the industry had positive prospects, few people anticipated the kind of growth that has been witnessed in the last decade.
It was around this time that Esther Muchemi quit her 20-year career as an auditor to open a shop selling airtime, mobile phones and SIM cards. People around her were shocked. “They were wondering why anyone would leave a well-paying and prestigious job to become a shopkeeper, a dukawalla. Starting Samchi Telecom was literally opening a shop,” she recalls.
Samchi Group today runs three telecom companies operating close to 55 outlets across Kenya. The group also has interests in serviced offices, financial services and hospitality.
Over the years Samchi Telecom has worked with mobile network operator Safaricom and was the pioneer dealer to roll out mobile money transfer service M-Pesa. The company has been ranked by Safaricom as the top M-Pesa agent and airtime dealer in the country, and this year Muchemi was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’ Eastern Africa chapter.
“I always ask myself, ‘how would my life be if I never made that move?’. I am able to educate my children in the best universities wherever in the world. I am able to give back to society and I have created more than 500 jobs. I think not taking that step would have been a big regret in my life,” says Muchemi.
The Samchi Group CEO says she was inspired to venture into entrepreneurship because she could see immense opportunity in the telecoms industry.

How Esther Muchemi’s early bet on the growth of mobile telecoms paid off

In 2000 there were just 10m mobile phone subscribers in Africa. The industry was just picking up and the pricey gadgets were still a preserve of the rich. And although it was thought the industry had positive prospects, few people anticipated the kind of growth that has been witnessed in the last decade.

It was around this time that Esther Muchemi quit her 20-year career as an auditor to open a shop selling airtime, mobile phones and SIM cards. People around her were shocked. “They were wondering why anyone would leave a well-paying and prestigious job to become a shopkeeper, a dukawalla. Starting Samchi Telecom was literally opening a shop,” she recalls.

Samchi Group today runs three telecom companies operating close to 55 outlets across Kenya. The group also has interests in serviced offices, financial services and hospitality.

Over the years Samchi Telecom has worked with mobile network operator Safaricom and was the pioneer dealer to roll out mobile money transfer service M-Pesa. The company has been ranked by Safaricom as the top M-Pesa agent and airtime dealer in the country, and this year Muchemi was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’ Eastern Africa chapter.

“I always ask myself, ‘how would my life be if I never made that move?’. I am able to educate my children in the best universities wherever in the world. I am able to give back to society and I have created more than 500 jobs. I think not taking that step would have been a big regret in my life,” says Muchemi.

The Samchi Group CEO says she was inspired to venture into entrepreneurship because she could see immense opportunity in the telecoms industry.

Tablet adoption endangers bible existence in Ghana 
from MASAHUDU KUNATEH in Accra, Ghana
ACCRA - OUT with the old and in with the new. This trend is playing itself out in Ghanaian churches where worshippers have resorted to the use of digitalized bibles in place of manual ones that have been in use for centuries. A survey conducted by CAJ News Ghana established that majority of Christians in Ghana preferred taking their bible-laden tablets to churches than the traditional manual bibles. This phenomenon is catching on with the Ghanaian youth and some high profile pastors.
A cross-section of youth and pastors shared their views as to why they preferred using their tablets to read the bibles- it easy, fast, and convenient to read the tablets bible than the manual, not to mention it is fashionable.
A worshiper at the Central Gospel Church, Isaac Mensah, said holding the tablet alone to church was a “fun” than holding the bulky manual bible.
“The era of using the manual bible is dead and gone so I will encourage everybody especially the youth to use their tablets during worship. It is portable than the bible,” he said.
Emmanuel George is so religiously attached to his tablet such that if it has technical problems, he does not attend church. “I really find it cumbersome to hold the manual bible to the church,” he said.
Leading telecom industry expert, Boadiwaa Delanyo Donkor, noted that the tablet was gradually becoming a preferred choice.
“It is convenient and trendy. It is easy to find a tab. Compared to opening the hard copy bible unless you have a personal culture of reading the bible. “I guess so many people use it because it is quite expensive. But with an aspiring society like ours it will definitely catch up,” she said.
She therefore appealed to telecom companies to partner with tablet device manufacturers to introduce affordable tablets on the market.

Tablet adoption endangers bible existence in Ghana

from MASAHUDU KUNATEH in Accra, Ghana

ACCRA - OUT with the old and in with the new. This trend is playing itself out in Ghanaian churches where worshippers have resorted to the use of digitalized bibles in place of manual ones that have been in use for centuries.
A survey conducted by CAJ News Ghana established that majority of Christians in Ghana preferred taking their bible-laden tablets to churches than the traditional manual bibles. This phenomenon is catching on with the Ghanaian youth and some high profile pastors.

A cross-section of youth and pastors shared their views as to why they preferred using their tablets to read the bibles- it easy, fast, and convenient to read the tablets bible than the manual, not to mention it is fashionable.

A worshiper at the Central Gospel Church, Isaac Mensah, said holding the tablet alone to church was a “fun” than holding the bulky manual bible.

“The era of using the manual bible is dead and gone so I will encourage everybody especially the youth to use their tablets during worship. It is portable than the bible,” he said.

Emmanuel George is so religiously attached to his tablet such that if it has technical problems, he does not attend church. “I really find it cumbersome to hold the manual bible to the church,” he said.

Leading telecom industry expert, Boadiwaa Delanyo Donkor, noted that the tablet was gradually becoming a preferred choice.

“It is convenient and trendy. It is easy to find a tab. Compared to opening the hard copy bible unless you have a personal culture of reading the bible. “I guess so many people use it because it is quite expensive. But with an aspiring society like ours it will definitely catch up,” she said.

She therefore appealed to telecom companies to partner with tablet device manufacturers to introduce affordable tablets on the market.

BBC News - The fashion designer taking his Xhosa heritage global
It is not every day that a designer showcasing at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg for the very first time gets a standing ovation.
But that is exactly what happened to Laduma Ngxokolo, a young man from the Xhosa ethnic group, whose colourful range of knitwear had lit up the catwalk.
Laduma is the founder and creator of MaXhosa by Laduma. Born in 1986, he was taught by his mother how to use a knitting machine.
The design range showcased in Johannesburg was conceptualised as a project titled The Colourful World of the Xhosa Culture while Ladume was studying textile design and technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

BBC News - The fashion designer taking his Xhosa heritage global

It is not every day that a designer showcasing at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg for the very first time gets a standing ovation.

But that is exactly what happened to Laduma Ngxokolo, a young man from the Xhosa ethnic group, whose colourful range of knitwear had lit up the catwalk.

Laduma is the founder and creator of MaXhosa by Laduma. Born in 1986, he was taught by his mother how to use a knitting machine.

The design range showcased in Johannesburg was conceptualised as a project titled The Colourful World of the Xhosa Culture while Ladume was studying textile design and technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

Kenyans move over 1 trillion shillings on mobile phones in 6 months

Summary

The increased uptake of mobile money comes at a time when mobile money providers are fighting for a piece of the lucrative retail payments market with the launch of mobile payment products.

Kenyan consumers used mobile money services to transfer more than Sh1 trillion in the first six months of the year, the latest industry statistics show. The new Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) report shows the value of mobile payments grew by nearly a third to Sh1.1 trillion in the first six months of the year compared to Sh872.1 billion last year.

This means that consumers moved an average of Sh186.4 billion monthly or Sh6.2 billion per day compared to the Sh4.8 billion a day they moved in a similar period last year.

Kenya has six main mobile money platforms —Safaricom’s M-Pesa, Airtel Money, yuCash, Orange Money, MobiKash and Tangaza Pesa — backed by a network of about 120,781 agents.

The increased uptake of mobile money comes at a time when mobile money providers are fighting for a piece of the lucrative retail payments market with the launch of mobile payment products.

The merchant platforms include Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-Pesa; Lipa Sasa Na MobiKash; Airtel Money and yuCash. Tangaza Pesa is currently piloting MyDuka – a new online shopping product. Safaricom reckons that the success of M-Pesa - Kenya’s pioneer mobile money service – has inspired ordinary consumers, companies, banks as well as government agencies to embrace mobile commerce.

“I think that the early success of M-Pesa has encouraged ordinary citizens to have confidence in a concept that otherwise would have been difficult for them to comprehend or accept,” said Bob Collymore, the Safaricom chief executive.

“This growth is driven primarily by an increase in active M-Pesa customers and an increase in the average number of transactions per customer.”

Kenya had a total of 25.9 million mobile money subscribers at the end of June, having risen from 23.75 million in June 2013, a growth of 9.2 per cent.

Ghanaian Entrepreneur Catherine Hagan & Her Site Makowla
African entrepreneurs and talents are capitalizing on their intimate understanding of African consumers, as well as their relationships on the continent, to capture markets at home and overseas.
With her new company Makowla, an eBay/Amazon-style marketplace for African and Africa-inspired designers, Ghanaian entrepreneur ​Catherine Hagan is among this enterprising crop. We asked Hagan how her connection with the continent helps distinguish her brand in this increasingly competitive market.
MadameNoire: Your company’s name Makowla is reminiscent of Ghana’s famed open-air market Makola. What inspired the name and how much does Africa’s local marketplace economy inspire the Makowla business model?
​Catherine Hagan: Exactly, the name Makowla is a spin off the ‘Makola’ Market in Ghana because just like Makola, the open air market in Ghana​, Makowla is a place where people can buy and sell all items (not only clothing) the only difference is that on Makowla they are doing it online.

Ed’s note: Read the complete interview

Ghanaian Entrepreneur Catherine Hagan & Her Site Makowla

African entrepreneurs and talents are capitalizing on their intimate understanding of African consumers, as well as their relationships on the continent, to capture markets at home and overseas.

With her new company Makowla, an eBay/Amazon-style marketplace for African and Africa-inspired designers, Ghanaian entrepreneur ​Catherine Hagan is among this enterprising crop. We asked Hagan how her connection with the continent helps distinguish her brand in this increasingly competitive market.

MadameNoire: Your company’s name Makowla is reminiscent of Ghana’s famed open-air market Makola. What inspired the name and how much does Africa’s local marketplace economy inspire the Makowla business model?

​Catherine Hagan: Exactly, the name Makowla is a spin off the ‘Makola’ Market in Ghana because just like Makola, the open air market in Ghana​, Makowla is a place where people can buy and sell all items (not only clothing) the only difference is that on Makowla they are doing it online.

Ed’s note: Read the complete interview

How the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Is Providing a Boost for African Start-Ups | Vanity Fair
Photo: Harambe entrepreneurs Idris Bello, Okendo Lewis-Gayle (founder and chairman), Rumbi Mushavi, Rakhee Shah, David Ly, Suzana Moreira, Rapelang Rabana, and Sam Imende. Photographed at the Antico Caffè Greco, in Rome.
Harambee is Swahili for “Let’s pull together.” And the flourishing Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance lives up to its credo. The brainchild of 31-year-old Okendo Lewis-Gayle (second from left)—born in Costa Rica, raised in Italy, educated at Southern New Hampshire University—the organization targets African-born twentysomethings from elite schools who have dreams of starting business ventures and socially responsible projects in their native lands.
Discouraged by the frequency with which foreign executives tend to swoop in to run new companies, Harambe persuaded large firms such as McKinsey & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Standard Chartered Bank to provide grants, pro bono services, and expertise to its members and their start-ups.he result: a 31-country assembly of 225 bright young entrepreneurs, .
After a Vatican forum not long ago, Harambe associates met to network and swap stories at Rome’s oldest bar, the Antico Caffè Greco. Among them: Nigeria’s Idris Bello, who oversees tech incubator Wennovation Hub; Zimbabwe’s Rumbi Mushavi, who works with a poultry-farm initiative that provides jobs and sustenance for H.I.V.-positive women in rural Uganda; Kenya’s Rakhee Shah, whose successful fashion label is carried in boutiques in Hong Kong and Spain; Senegal’s David Ly, who leads an app-development firm; South Africa’s Suzana Moreira, who has set up a mobile-commerce service; Botswana’s Rapelang Rabana, a “mobile learning” pioneer; and Kenya’s Sam Imende, who co-founded Enzi, a made-in-Africa footwear brand.

How the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance Is Providing a Boost for African Start-Ups | Vanity Fair

Photo: Harambe entrepreneurs Idris Bello, Okendo Lewis-Gayle (founder and chairman), Rumbi Mushavi, Rakhee Shah, David Ly, Suzana Moreira, Rapelang Rabana, and Sam Imende. Photographed at the Antico Caffè Greco, in Rome.

Harambee is Swahili for “Let’s pull together.” And the flourishing Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance lives up to its credo. The brainchild of 31-year-old Okendo Lewis-Gayle (second from left)—born in Costa Rica, raised in Italy, educated at Southern New Hampshire University—the organization targets African-born twentysomethings from elite schools who have dreams of starting business ventures and socially responsible projects in their native lands.

Discouraged by the frequency with which foreign executives tend to swoop in to run new companies, Harambe persuaded large firms such as McKinsey & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Standard Chartered Bank to provide grants, pro bono services, and expertise to its members and their start-ups.he result: a 31-country assembly of 225 bright young entrepreneurs, .

After a Vatican forum not long ago, Harambe associates met to network and swap stories at Rome’s oldest bar, the Antico Caffè Greco. Among them: Nigeria’s Idris Bello, who oversees tech incubator Wennovation Hub; Zimbabwe’s Rumbi Mushavi, who works with a poultry-farm initiative that provides jobs and sustenance for H.I.V.-positive women in rural Uganda; Kenya’s Rakhee Shah, whose successful fashion label is carried in boutiques in Hong Kong and Spain; Senegal’s David Ly, who leads an app-development firm; South Africa’s Suzana Moreira, who has set up a mobile-commerce service; Botswana’s Rapelang Rabana, a “mobile learning” pioneer; and Kenya’s Sam Imende, who co-founded Enzi, a made-in-Africa footwear brand.

Chinese investors invest US$2 million in retail sector in Mozambique

Chinese investors have applied US$2 million in building a hypermarket in the Mozambican city of Quelimane, the capital of Zambézia province, to service the area’s 250,000 inhabitants, Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported.

Managed by the “Number One Supermarket, Lda.” company, the hypermarket sells food, beverages, household appliances and other products. According to Notícias in the medium-term the Chinese investors plan to build an identical project in the city of Mocuba in the central province of Zambézia.

Potential for investment in Africa? Dubai is looking into it! | Al Bawaba

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), has developed a study highlighting economic and investment potential in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Hamad Buamim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said that the Chamber always strives to provide companies and investors with access to studies and research that will help them take informed investment decisions in target markets, namely the African market where the future of business is very promising.

He also highlighted that the increase in economic reforms, rising fiscal spending and ties with fast growing economies in Asia are the main factors supporting the economy in Sub-Saharan Africa; adding that the second Africa Global Business Forum (AGBF) this October, will shed light on the economic and investment realities in Africa. It will also give business leaders and decision-makers from Africa, Dubai and the wider GCC region an ideal platform to discuss business partnerships and opportunities. Buamim further stressed that this study is one in a series of studies on Africa developed by the Chamber, and is aimed at introducing businesses in Dubai to investment opportunities available in the continent.

The study further informs that Africa holds 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, but remains a net importer of several food products as well as processed foods. Encouraging growth in domestic production and reducing reliance on imports is a key goal to governments and investors. It states that investment opportunities are particularly significant in the telecoms sector. Although there are over half a billion mobile subscribers, most countries are still far from saturation and internet access is still almost non-existent in many countries.

The study also emphasises that with the emergence of the middle class, formal retail is starting to develop, offering “value” products aimed at lower income customers while infrastructure needs are enormous, with an estimated $100 billion a year required by the power sector alone.

Government services in Rwanda to go digital | HumanIPO

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Online Platform Limited have begun implementation of the Rwanda Online Platform, aimed at creating a unified public services platform and bringing government services online.

RDB said the platform will see all government to business (G2B) and government to citizen (G2C) services available online and via mobile, in efforts to bridge the gap of access to information, as well as improve service delivery through the digitalisation of services.

“The Rwanda Online platform will be a single service delivery portal for all Government ministries and agencies, providing citizens and businesses with a streamlined and efficient experience with reduced operational costs,” said Rosemary Mbabazi, permanent secretary at the Ministry for Youth and ICT.