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Local investors in Africa need protection, says AERC

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The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) recently held its virtual 52nd Plenary Session with the official opening and keynote by the Cabinet Secretary – Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Kenya, Betty Maina.

Themed “Business Environment, Competitiveness and Economic Growth in Africa”, the plenary was held over two days with a special session titled: African Economies Amid COVID 19 – Impacts & The Road Ahead.

“Competitive economies are most likely able to provide an environment conducive to business, market development, policy clarity, strong institutions that define the rules/incentives mechanism and effective coordination; and hence will grow more sustainably and inclusively. This means that there is a likelihood that everyone in that particular society, market segment or physical location will benefit from the fruits of economic growth,” said the AERC’s Executive Director, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u.

In her official opening speech, Betty C. Maina highlighted that Africa must reimagine business beyond COVID-19, and that there is an opportunity to reshape Africa’s manufacturing if it focuses on self-reliance.

AERC

AERC’s Executive Director Professor Njunguna Ndung’u

She noted that African manufacturers are stepping up to produce essential medical supplies which could contribute 1.5 Billion dollars to the continent and, in the long run, African manufacturers can take advantage of opportunities that lead to African trade and global supply chain realignment.

The importance of strengthening Inter-African trade and supply chains could create a springboard for export-orientated growth.

The opportunity to catalyze the formalisation of Africa economies, improve productivity and access to finance will create additional protection and opportunity for employees and SME’s.

“Targeted campaigns need to be launched for SMEs so that they can familiarize themselves with access to finance and labour. It is important to leverage the informal employment sector as it has 70% of the working population and cuts across manufacturing and trade that leads growth to GDP. It is important to create the shift of competitiveness for economies in Africa”, Betty Maina concluded.

“We must build a solid macro-economic policy environment, protect local investments and strengthen intra-African trade as we embark on a post-COVID recovery path,” said Njuguna Ndung’u.

The forum had a diversity of presentations by various economists and was attended by senior government officials and scholars virtually, who discussed policy options to boost economic recovery after months of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Heirs Holdings appoints Dan Okeke as group executive director

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Dan Okeke
Dan Okeke

Pan-African investment company, Heirs Holdings this week announced the appointment of Dan Okeke as Group Executive Director.

The appointment took effect from August 01, 2020.

Mr Okeke joins following a distinguished three-decade career at the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), where he most recently served as an Executive Director, responsible for leading consumer, commercial and public-sector businesses.

At HH, he will be responsible for business coordination and growth across Heirs Holdings’ portfolio of pan-African investments in the power, financial services, oil and gas, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, and financial technology sectors.

Heirs Holdings is a family-owned investment company committed to improving lives and transforming Africa. Our portfolio spans the power, oil and gas, financial services, hospitality, real estate, and healthcare sectors, operating in twenty-three countries worldwide.

Driven by the Africapitalism philosophy of the Group’s founder, Tony Elumelu, which positions the private sector as the catalyst of African growth and seeks both social and economic returns on investment, Heirs Holdings invests for the long-term, bringing strategic capital, sector expertise, a track record of business turnaround accomplishment and operational excellence to companies within its investment portfolio. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Heirs Holdings has recorded consistent business success across its portfolio of investments.

Commenting on the appointment, Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, stated: “As we continue to grow in scale and complexity, Dan’s appointment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to institutionalisation. We have always recognised the need to invest in human capital. This announcement is a clear demonstration of our intent and determination to create sustainable value in all our business operations.”

“I am delighted to take on this new challenge and look forward to contributing towards the fulfillment of Heirs Holdings’ objective of improving lives and transforming the Continent,” Mr Okeke stated on his appointment.

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Konga targets New York, London and Nigerian stock exchange listings; investment exceeds $120m

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Konga
CEO of Konga, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, speaking during interview on ChannelsTV
  • Why we rejected a valuation of over $300m from global investors– Prince Ekeh

  • Employ over 150,000 Nigerians

  • Cut losses from N400m to N100m monthly in 2 years

Foremost retail giant, Konga has invested well over $120m since it was acquired two years ago in Nigeria alone and now strategically structured to take on other African countries.

Konga Prime and Konga Prime Pro

Konga Prime and Konga Prime Pro

The foregoing was disclosed by Co-Chief Executive Officer, Konga Group, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh.

‘‘Though we started with a monthly loss of N400m, but with new systems, structure and energy put in place, we have gradually been reducing losses and now about N100m loss per month. E-Commerce is an expensive project but we are best positioned to deliver as a very innovative technology company,’’ he disclosed.

Equally important, Prince Ekeh made the disclosure on Kaleidoscope, an interview programme aired on Channels TV on Sunday, August 2nd, 2020.

The young business leader, who described Konga as a technology company revealed that Konga employs directly and indirectly over 150,000 Nigerians.

Most of them are merchants, logistics and other service providers.

‘‘We partner to create a trusted and sustainable digitally-driven ecosystem and working hard to scale this to about 250,000 before the end of 2020.

‘‘We see ourselves as more than just an e-Commerce company. Konga is a technology company and as a technology company, we are positioned to leverage that status in deploying new solutions and innovations. Indeed, no one should be surprised if tomorrow, Konga starts launching space ships into orbit. Although we have received several offers from interested investors, we are content with the group that is currently funding Konga. The group is highly ethical and want us to maintain the highest level of integrity. Our investors have assured us of enough capital to survive the next five years at least. This was why we did not accommodate a valuation of $300m from a consortium of global investors last year. 

‘‘However, we are also keen to expand into other African markets after taking charge of the Nigerian market. The e-Commerce market in African is still a largely untapped one. Therefore, any company that makes the right in-roads will reap huge benefits from it,’’ he said.

‘‘We have also received enquiries from the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to list on these markets. It’s something that will happen as part of our African expansion plan when Konga becomes a multi-billion-dollar business.’’

Continuing, he stated: ‘‘Our strategies and tact are 21st century influenced, but also taking cognizance of deficiencies in our country and that was why we spent the first two years rebuilding technologies, setting up secure but robust warehousing facilities and delivery logistics nationwide. With these under our control and owned by us, we are driving towards profitability.  It is important to note that at Konga, we do not believe in just hype

‘‘In addition to our status as a technology company, Konga is also Nigeria’s first ever marketplace and composite e-commerce group. The company is on the verge of rolling out a suite of cutting-edge solutions and services that will excite the market very soon.

‘‘But that is not all. A lot is happening behind the scenes at Konga. We recently announced the re-launch of the Konga Affiliate programme. Also, we developed a solution for corporate procurement which has helped procurement managers in major establishments. Konga boasts the largest collection of merchants and because of this, pricing is very aggressive, thereby helping procurement managers get the best deals on Konga while also promoting transparency. We are committed to our vision and clearly understand that it is a long term and highly ethical race,’’ he concluded.

Acquired by the Zinox Group in December 2018 and having achieved over 1000% growth, Konga has grown from a position of strength into arguably Nigeria’s leading e-Commerce brand, with a long list of innovative strategies and solutions setting it apart in the sector.

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Why our SMERP solution is targeted at SMEs – CWG Plc

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Nigeria’s largest system integration company, CWG Plc, has adduced reasons it is targeting the Small and Medium Enterprise segment of the country’s economy with its cloud-based ERP solution tagged SMERP.

The company believes the successful development and sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises is key as SMEs play a major role in most economies, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria, where they contribute to new jobs creation by 70 percent.

According to CWG, most formal jobs are generated by SMEs, which create 7 out of 10 jobs but are lacking the basic tools to function effectively and efficiently.

“We have seen that SMEs in Nigeria face enormous challenges such as innovating, supporting their business growth and keeping the lights on. This is why we have developed the SMERP solution to strategically address their challenges,” said the SMERP’s Product Manager, Omodolapo Orogbemi.

He disclosed that the CWG’s SMERP is a reliable, scalable and flexible solution which can be used to strategically achieve a competitive leading position in the SME sector for Nigeria.

SMERP is capitalizing on this opportunity to achieve success in enabling SMEs to improve the GDP of the Nigerian Economy. 

Specifically, he said the SMERP solution will provide business outcomes such as smooth functioning of daily processes, enhancement of work efficiency, a substantial reduction in recurring cost and improved operational efficiency for SMEs.

Other value proposition of the solution are remote business monitoring, business intelligence & data analytics and improving the overall competitiveness in the world market through modern technologies.

SMERP supports the survival and standardization of the SME sector through different modules such as Invoicing, Accounting, Inventory, CRM, Point of Sale, Rewards and Loyalty Programs.

These benefits to business owners ensure business expansion and transforming one-time customers to regulars.

SMEs account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development. They represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. The World Bank Group estimated that formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies.

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