Category: Posts

Nurturing relations for business and development

Nurturing relations for business and development

Growing supply and demand through business relations

No doubt, the toughest terrain in doing business is the Sub-Saharan region. The endless red taped bureaucracy, the myriad of licenses and permits, accessing capital, ridiculous legal costs for enforcing contracts. Actually, now that I am listing this, I realise the challenges are not different from doing business in Austria.

What makes doing business in Africa difficult is the high diversity of cultures, poor infrastructure and sourcing the right skilled workers. Let me add in poor time-keeping and keeping up with customer behaviour. How can you circumvent these barriers to enable smooth trading? The answer is: You cannot. Your best bet is to understand your target customer, find a trusted local partner and mirror the negotiation skills of an Asian trader.

Nevertheless, there appears to be a growing trend of European enterprises taking advantage of the mixed economic system, private freedom and rising middle class in Africa. Austria is slowly catching on to this trend and realising the potential high returns of investment in education, skills, health and off-grid renewable energy.

Do not fear the dominant presence of Chinese.

The Chinese trader does a very good job in manufacturing and infrastructure development. The quality levels remain a matter of debate. But you should know that the African consumer loves quality goods, which are affordable, durable and fitting to local needs. You have a great chance of winning the African consumer if you provide sustainable products or services. Very often, no-frills products without unnecessary features are enough to cater for the mass market.

Have patience.

You are on the path to sustainable profitability as long as you are persistent, resilient, own enough liquid cash flow, supported by trusted local partners, and have an understanding of the consumer, local cultures and market trends. Your chances of success are heightened further if you are trading with African countries led by governments that are accountable and pushing innovative industrialisation strategies. Take for example Mauritius or Rwanda.

Join the expanding network circles of Austria-Africa relations. 

Throughout September 2017, Austria offered an exciting programme of discussions, entertainment, education and training with a focus on business and development in Africa, including Aphropean Partners’ Frontiers of Dialogue, the Aussenwirtschafts Österreich’s Forum on Business and Development with focus on Africa, The African Gala 2017 hosted by the Diaspora, and so forth.

Building relations is the key to success. Together with strategic partners, we can help frame your understanding of the emerging and frontier market of Africa. Simply get in touch and email curious@aphropean.com for consultation and seminars.

Using CSR marketing to confront the cancer epidemic

Using CSR marketing to confront the cancer epidemic

Using CSR marketing to ensure healthy lives

It seems like all we hear about these days is the topic of cancer. Why is that?

The gruesome fact is that hardly any of us will be spared by cancer. One way or the other, either yourself or someone close to you will be afflicted with this prevalent disease.

But don’t worry. If you are based in the developed world, you will be alright. Most middle- and high-income countries have all the facilities to prevent and treat cancer. Africa, on the other hand, has too many patients and not enough cancer specialists nor equipment.

 

Impressive advancements have been made to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

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Behind every challenge lies an opportunity. Strides are made to confront the rising cancer crisis around the world.

Technologically advanced countries in the Sub-Saharan region, such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa actively seek to collaborate with top cancer experts in Europe and elsewhere on research and development programmes customised to local needs.

Cancer registries are virtually non-existent in most African countries. So far, only the African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN) established in March 2012 is carrying the burden of collecting data on patient history, diagnosis and treatment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) established a Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organisations are working towards cancer control.

We can all be instrumental in confronting the cancer epidemic across the world. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a powerful mechanism to initiate market expansion across geographical borders, attract and boost engagement with loyal customers who can relate to the campaign.

 

Watch this short video to recognise opportunities of cancer treatment and prevention in Africa

Aid for Dependency or Trade for Stimulus?

Aid for Dependency or Trade for Stimulus?

Stimulus or Dependency?

It’s not a secret that I am an advocate for trade rather than aid except in the occasions of force majeure.

Some of you may think it is easy for me to favour trade over aid in the comforts of an Austrian safety blanket. Nevertheless, I can reassure you that millions of internet-connected Africans exposed to the perception of them by high-income countries reject the reliance on foreign aid and pity.

Money alone does not solve the issues of brain-drained migration, security, climate change and weak governance. There are countless studies to show the high spikes of corruption levels upon receipt of aid money in countries with poor governance. Many foreign-funded orphanages resemble prisoner-of-war camps because managers pocket most monetary donations. Contributions in kind of equipment, materials, and supplies are either sold on or not suitable for local conditions, such as the hot, humid/dry climate and weak energy infrastructure and so forth.

The principal activities to finding solutions to stubborn global problems are constant open dialogue to foster knowledge exchange and international trade, particularly intra-regional trade to fuel economic progress for low-income countries.
Of course, other factors come into play to strengthen a strategic partnership for sustainable development, such as the accountability of African governments, European aid pushers or multinational corporations. However, both continents – young and old need each other to achieve sustainable growth, wealth, and development.

The Africa-EU Partnership reflects the commitment of both sides to work together on a strategic, equal, and long-term footing.

If managed well, the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership could facilitate favourable frameworks to mobilise all five capitals for individuals, enterprises, and institutions in both neighbouring continents to enable fair and mutual trade and cooperation.

Perhaps, you do not agree with my views – please get in touch. I always welcome a healthy debate!

The Business of Sustainability

The Business of Sustainability

Learn. Diversify. Adopt.

Distracted by the financial and migration crisis of the past few years has left Austrian businesses hard pressed to grow. Instead, many companies have been forced to become more risk averse, affecting the export market. But shying away from expanding into new markets will get us nowhere.

What it takes to gain an advantage.

It takes a risk taker armed with data, local partners and reliant cash flow to invest in the emerging markets successfully. So, it should not come to a surprise that the share of Austrian exports to Sub Saharan Africa peaked at 0.6% trade volume in 2016. That is not even 1%! Just imagine the benefits reaped from a monopolised position by these key players in Kenya, Nigeria, Kenya and other investment destinations.

Today’s climate presents an opportunity for you to increase revenues and profits in the long run. Austria’s well-funded program in start ups, green innovation, and digital solutions has made the execution of an internationalisation strategy easier today than yesterday. Now has come the right time to build on strategic partnerships, learn about options to diversify and adopt the smart business of sustainability.

Learn. Diversify. Adopt.

Among existing core strategies to develop your business, consider expanding to the sustainability market of developing countries. Sustainability is a trending element to innovative business models and ambiguous in the definition. In Europe, the ecological component of sustainability is of highest priority to manage climate change. In Africa, it is the economic part of sustainability that ranks first to improve the quality standards of living. But you probably know that.

At the upcoming Frontiers of Dialogue held on 7 September 2017, accompanied by a distinguished panel with Africa experience, we will explore together the opportunities and challenges of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Across Borders with a focus on Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. As you look forward, consider sustainable business and CSR initiatives for growth to acquire new customers, build strategic partnerships, expand into new markets and new product/service additions.

Challenge the status quo.

To bridge the sustainability market with Africa, you need to understand the business conduct and market demands fully. Those of you who have already attempted trading in Africa: what your business did to be successful in the past might not be ideal to in the future. Africa is connected and enlightened today more than ever before.

The underserved markets of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa demands technology, know-how, and investments to develop in water and sanitation, agriculture, health, and education.

Too many Austrian businesses fail to realise the high potentials of combining business with sustainability and ethics to expand to Africa’s emerging markets. Of course, this comes with a higher level of risk taking, trust and understanding. The strategic and cross-cultural partnership is crucial to the success of international business relations. You need to have a knowledge of the sustainability market, opportunities and challenges of the underserved emerging markets in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Leverage on your strengths.

Austria should not be intimidated by uncertainty and the barriers set by China and the US. Instead, we should leverage our strengths of social capital, high-quality production of energy efficient solutions and knowledge-intensive services.

Let us challenge the conventional thinking about doing business in Africa by asking the right questions. Together we can increase our understanding of the international business of sustainability. We shall explore innovative solutions and ideas to bridging the sustainability market between Austria and Africa’s emerging markets.

Join the upcoming Frontiers of Dialogue on CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa held on 7 September 2017, 18:00h at the Salon Razumovsky, 1030 Vienna.
More info about the event.

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Data-Driven Governance in Africa

Data-Driven Governance in Africa

Matching governance with disruptive technology

Today the emerging markets in Africa are competing for the largest share of foreign direct investments. If governed well, the money inflow would tackle challenges faced by most developing countries including climate change, poor sanitation, educational inequity, unpaved road and so forth.

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Strengthening trust in government is vital to attracting money inflows. I find it difficult to pinpoint what it takes to be a successful government. Perhaps you can help me by sharing your suggestions by clicking here. Though, I am sure on one aspect for success – the need for delivering good governance in the public sector.

An accountable and efficient government is crucial for sustainable development of peace, justice and strong institutions. For instance, let us take Nigeria for example, an African country with an estimated 192 million citizens living within borders. Such a large population demands regular census to present a reliable picture of the social characteristics (gender, income, etc.) and economic characteristics (quality of living standards, etc.) of a country.

In order to allocate budgets across education, basic infrastructure, food security, health, and climate change mitigation, it is necessary for the government to gather data on demographics, education, and other factors shaping a nation’s competitive advantage. A data-driven public sector can enhance transparency, and so weakens prevalent corruption activities.

Jacobs Edo Aphropean Partners

Among Africa’s leading advocates who push the digital agenda forward is Jacobs Edo, the author behind Digital Transformation: Evolving A Digitally Enabled Nigerian Public Service. Having lived over a decade in Austria’s capital city of Vienna as an executive at The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Jacobs Edo realised only too well the contrast of Austrian and Nigerian governance frameworks.

In his book, Jacobs Edo details the case of Nigeria’s ability to adopt and support the digital transformation of its public services. He discusses in simple and jargon free terms the guiding principles, approaches to digital transformation, and more.

Since its publication, the suggested solutions of public service digitalisation in Africa has reached global commendation. At Aphropean Partners’ Frontiers of Dialogue, Jacobs Edo shared his views on the opportunities and challenges of disruptive innovation and technology impacting Africa’s emerging economies through the path of digitalisation. Have a look at the highlights here.

Digitalisation allows one person to do what used to take ten, which is ideal for the efficiency of organisations and government, but not so much for employment security. There are very few jobs that are not in danger. It seems doubtful whether jobs, as we know them, will exist at all in the near future. Highly populated countries such as Nigeria are likely to be profoundly affected. The antidote towards the inevitable automated take over is good governance in order to attract the right kind of investments for developments in the education, agriculture and entrepreneurial sector.

What is your view on this?

Share your tips on how to improve the digital transformation in Africa for a chance to win a signed book by Jacobs Edo.

Now through to Friday 11 August 2017, you have the chance to get a signed copy of Jacobs Edo’s Digital Transformation: Evolving A Digitally Enabled Nigerian Public Service. Tell us about your experiences and recommendations in dealing with the public service in Africa. Send us a tip along with your full name and email address on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #AphropeanViews. We want to know the good, the bad and ugly. The best tips will be published in our upcoming newsletter and Aphropean Partners social media network on 1 September 2017 and announced at the upcoming Frontiers of Dialogue series held on 7 September 2017. For more info about the event email events@aphropean.com or read more here

 

 

Reference
http://www.digitaltransformation.com.ng
Denmark has made digital mandatory for government citizen interactions
How technology can help us eliminate not alleviate poverty
Austrians electrifying Uganda

Austrians electrifying Uganda

A case of profitable sustainability in Uganda

In Uganda, over 80% of the population manage without grid electricity. In recent times, entrepreneurs around the world are responding to the off-grid energy demands of rural communities.

When it comes to renewable energy, Austria ranks among the top performing producers in Europe. Considering the rate of innovation and supply, the highest share of renewables is in Sweden, at a whopping rate of 53.9%, Austria has a share of 33.0%, whereas the United Kingdom racked a pathetic share of 8.2%, according to Eurostat.

AphropeanViews Solantis

Among these unsung heroes is Solantis Solar, a young enterprise founded and managed by Dr Lukas Grüner and Ines Schreckeneder; two Austrian professionals, who provide high quality, affordable solar energy systems to East African households.

Both, Dr Lukas Grüner and Ines Schreckeneder commute between their home and host country to position their company Solantis Solar Ltd as a market-leading supplier of fully certified clean energy solutions at best price and performance ratio. The dynamic energy company is on a mission to serve the needs of low and middle-income households around the world with the best value of off-grid solar home systems available with micro-loan options.

Between 2016 and now, Solantis Solar established six stores in Uganda. Further expansions are planned in response to the high demands for Solantis affordable bundled deal of solar home systems and appliances, installation and after sales service. The ambitious ecopreneurs secured a cooperation with two of the largest micro-financial institutes BRAC and Pride to ensure energy supply for all social classes of society.

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By aligning their business practices with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Solar Solantis make an obvious impact on communities in Uganda with a focus of:

  •  creating women-only customer service call centre,
  • distributing affordable, reliable and clean energy products,
  • fostering entrepreneurship for incentivised salespersons,
  • enabling small farmers to process crops more efficiently,
  • reducing the harmful effects of kerosene poisoning and candle accidents.

Environmental Technologies made in Austria are internationally sought after, whether the innovations involve the latest and most sophisticated CleanTech solutions or start-of-the-art renewable energy products.

By providing off-grid energy to Africa and the developing world, a medium-sized enterprise, such as Solantis Solar, is capable of merging sustainability with profits to bring affordable light and power to homes and businesses in need. If they can do it, then you can do it to with the help of Aphropean Partners, courage and resilience.

More about Solantis 

Adding value to Africa’s capacity

Adding value to Africa’s capacity

Insights on ways to efficiently improve skills for Africa’s industrialisation development.

As an advocate for corporate social responsibility and profit-oriented sustainability programs, I believe we can tackle global issues such as the excessive migration flow, climate change and so forth through education and training.

There are a number of effective ways to promote industrialisation development through capacity building in the Sub-Saharan region. Here I focus on three:

1. Integrate entrepreneurship in the school curriculum.

Necessity is a main driver of innovation. Teaching school children the principles of entrepreneurship would eventually transform the social and economic landscape. The rise of EduTech is on the path of overturning under-financed and archaic education system.

You are on the right track if you have come up with a concept to deliver education content through mobile SMS. Most of the population in low-income countries do not have smartphones…

Challenge: an underfinanced education system; relatively few companies within and beyond borders allocate resources to act socially responsible specifically for the education and training sector.

Outcome: an increased chance for local small-medium sized enterprises to trade globally, a vast pool of a skilled and emerging workforce, attract international business and foreign direct investments.

Do you know of the Integrated Entrepreneurship Education (IEE)?
The IEE covers the teaching of knowledge and skills that will enable the individual student to plan, start and run his/her business, delivered as an integrated part of the curriculum at an acknowledged education and training institution within the national education system. It’s an initiative funded by and supported by enterprises and organisations.

The IEE is constantly on a mission to upgrade school curriculum with a focus on entrepreneurship as one of the subjects of instructions. Botswana, Kenya and Uganda have already successfully integrated entrepreneurship and skills development in their school curriculum with a focus on administration, ICT, engineering and agribusiness.

2. Prioritise training programmes and apprenticeships to match skills with jobs on a global scale.

The misfortune of others is fortunate for another.  Acute skills shortages in leadership, marketing, sales and artisan work present as a great business opportunity and philanthropic deed for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Consultancies, artisan associations, multinational organisations and educational institutions that are willing and able to supply training programmes to match demands in Africa are in the chance to cater for the rising number of affluent consumers.

Challenge: low capacity in leadership, marketing, sales and artisan work in many Subsaharan countries.

Outcome: Match skills demand and supply of industry and education. Develop the capacity to manage and solve problems; drive the performance of individuals, businesses and the society as a whole.

There is no such thing as a useless university degree. In fact, each countries priorities lie in different companies. Occupations in health and manufacturing, such as mechanics, welders and electricians are high in Africa’s demand. Perhaps you can supply?

The apprenticeship system within the DACH region is world renown and often regarded as the potential model for developing countries. Apprenticeship brings some benefits including self-employment, adequate job security, and skill development for those with no education. On the flip side, apprenticeship systems can carry risks if not standardised, which leads to limited skill transfers or underpaid employment.

Have you heard of the Green industrialisation?
It’s another coined description of becoming industrial to meet energy demands and preserve the environment. Renewable energies, financial and education technologies present great opportunities for Africa’s youth to drive green industrialisation forward. All it takes is an investment, private sector involvement and the right policies to drive training and apprenticeship programs forward.

3. Engage private sector to help shape skills development policies

Capacity building and skills development are both a means and an end.

Challenge: Competition poaches trained workers after all the invested efforts of training. This misfortune happens across all sectors and corners of the business world.

Outcome: Develop skills of the local workforce to match international standards. Partnerships with enterprises, business, industry, craft associations, unions, and other formal and informal stakeholders to make training more relevant to the labour market (AfDB/OECD, 2017).

Corporate social responsibility initiatives across borders

Today’s global marketplace increasingly explores opportunities to trade with Africa’s emerging markets through profitable sustainability programs and corporate social responsibility programmes.

Complex questions have arisen on how to execute international corporate social responsibility programmes without relieving the public sector from its duties. Who is responsible for solving today’s pressing issues? What role does technology play in launching a sustainability program? What are the benefits and pitfalls?

Frontiers of Dialogue, part of an event series started in Vienna, is a vigorous discussion among a distinguished panel and audience to address these questions and more. On September 7th, 2017, a distinguished panel and audience discuss Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders in view of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Click here for more info.

The Summer of Love in Europe

The Summer of Love in Europe

Views on the political dynamics of pro-European parties.

Along with sustainability, business and technology news, I like to keep informed on current international affairs. So, this post serves as an insight into the political dynamics in Europe.

The year 2017 appears to mark Europe’s summer of love.
Last year, following the Brexit and election of US President Trump, there was an overwhelming assumption that other countries, particularly Europe would follow suit in the wave of right-wing populism and nationalism.

History has shown us time and time again, that austerity breeds discontent towards migrants and the foreign. Some countries feared globalisation more than others, depending on the levels by which citizens, companies and countries around the world have become more interconnected through trade, investment and advances in technology.

Evidently, the political status quo and fear of mass migration triggered a global right-wing movement in Europe.

Austria

It was interesting to witness how the Austrian political showdown tried to emulate the unsavoury American style of debates, rhetoric and dirt digging. The far-right oriented Austria’s Freedom Party leader, Norbert Hofer put up a tough fight and retreated following a narrow win of the Pro-European Alexander van der Bellen, following the presidential elections on 4 December 2017.

Netherlands

Every country’s nationalist party should have a fair share of seats in the House of Representatives to protect the interest of tradition and domestic affairs. The Dutch nationalist Party for Freedom took it a step too far with constant feeds of anti-Islam propaganda, spearheaded by its sole member and controversial leader Geert Wilders. The world was surprised to learn of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy to win the general election, and this despite the opinion polls prediction to put the right-wing populist Party for Freedom in the lead for the election held on 15 March 2017.

Finland

The populist and nationalist-oriented party, True Finns had false hopes in winning the municipal election to draw out of the European Union and drive away all migrants. The National Coalition, a conservative but liberal and strongly pro-European Party eventually won the election held on 9 April 2017.

France

Effects of globalisation and prevalent anti-immigration rhetoric brought the largest far-right movement in Europe.
Marine Le Pen’s Front National party failed to live up to supporters’ expectations in a closely-watch French general election. Similarly experienced to the US presidential election of Barack Obama in 2008, newly elected French President and pro-European Emmanuel Macron brought hope. France dodged a right-wing nationalist bullet at the general election held on 7 May 2017.

Italy

Despite the burden of handling a steady flow of desperate refugees, Italy’s neo-fascist party, the Lega Nord lost its recent local election and prepared to charge ahead for the general election in 2018. Italy’s pro-European Democratic Party emerged as winners of the local election held on 25 June 2017.

Great Britain

Along with the American, British politics is truly show business for ugly people. Current Prime Minister and Conservative Theresa May faced a humiliating defeat against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn who won 10% growth voters confidence; an achievement last experienced in 1945. The recent election appeared to be more about inequality than the nationalistic movement that led to Brexit. According to multiple poll surveys, the average Labour voters represented high-income, and highly educated demographic and Conservative voters represented the working class with only secondary school education. Usually, it’s the other way round …
The UK general election held on 8 June 2017 was overwhelmingly voted by the British wishing to remain in union with Europe.

Germany

The nationalist-populist party Alternative für Deutschland along with all other alternative parties have a slim chance of moving German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the throne. Since 2005, the Christian Democratic Union has managed to bring the German economy to a leading position in the world, along with 6% drop in unemployment and a largely multicultural and family-oriented democracy.
Who in their right frame of mind wants to vote against a stable and predictable Merkel economy? We will find out in the German general election held on 24 September 2017.

Austerity breeds populism.

Across the world, people are fed up with the political status quo.  The effects of globalisation in Europe swing in favour of anti-immigration, anti-Islam and Euroscepticism. Also, emerging technology is to blame for the harsh transition of replacing labour with automation across all sectors.

Instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt through populist rhetorics achieve an abundance of votes in the short term. Evidently, love and sensibility trumps hate and ignorance in Europe. Many of us, including the most sensible right-wing conservative, can relate to the fact that immigration brings innovation and diversity.

The European Union brings security and international trade.

International trade which is associated with globalisation has been a practice for centuries. Countries need access to goods and service they don’t have or cannot produce. There are two ways to gain access; either through trade or conflict.
Which would way would you rather?

Profitable sustainability is not a cakewalk

Profitable sustainability is not a cakewalk

How to draw a roadmap to sustainable business

Cashflow is the lifeblood of every business. Most companies cannot afford to look beyond profitability in the short run. But sometimes you just gotta to give. Strategic planners with foresight recognise the attractive returns of social responsibility, despite reaping returns more in the long run.

What leads you to sustainable development goals? Which stakeholder plays a crucial role in the value chain? There are four primary value chain components that stand out in a strategic sustainability business model:

The Product

Produce goods and deliver services sustainably and profitably. How? By taking in consideration three sustainable components: 1) working conditions, 2) raw materials and 3) environmental performance.

Take for example Mondi Group, the paper and packaging company. Recently, the international organisation rolled out its sustainability strategy program. This complicated process involves all the company stakeholders and requires thorough due diligence on Mondi’s vast supplier network spread across 30 countries.

Also, Mondi’s sustainability policies and management systems focus on key global trends affecting society and business, including:

  • modern slavery and unsavoury working conditions;
  • ethical sourcing of raw materials;
  • reducing deforestation through forest-friendly policies such as the Growing Responsibly Model.

You may be interested to know how to conduct Due Diligence for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Learn about the OECD Guidelines.

The Employee

Staff play a fundamental role as CSR-ambassadors. Notably, the Millennial generation (born 1980-2000) tend to adopt socially responsible values. As you already know, engaged employees who relate with the company values tend to perform better and push profits to upper levels.

Large organisations such as Mondi plc take more time and effort to implement and adapt revised changes to business operations. The effort to meet profitable sustainability objectives comes at a high cost – bigger budget allocations to human resource for staff training as well the marketing department. The organisation`s social responsibility marketing strategy weighs heavy on communication and carefully orchestrated campaigns. Company resources are largely funded to promote the means and ends of sustainable profitability measures within internal and external business operations.

The Customer

You cannot ignore the rising demands for sustainable products and services.

Mondi plc recognises this.

Customers in Europe respond more to climate change management and environmental efficiency and are likely to have the means to pay for biodegradable packaging. Whereas the customers in Africa refer to sustainability as a way to save cost for maximum output in Africa.

I wonder how Mondi tackles the dilemma of producing quality environmentally friendly paper and packaging at affordable prices.  Perhaps you can tell me.

There are multiple ways to engage with existing and potential customers. Social Media is a great medium to listen and obtain direct feedback from customers. You need to keep your green enthusiasts happy. Brand loyalty is key, which brings me to the subject of branding.

The Brand

Throughout my childhood, Mama reminded me and my siblings not to boast. I try not to blow my own trumpet excessively and prefer others to do it for me. Funny enough, this applies to companies as well.

Organisations cannot rely only on public relations and advertising to boost their brand cred. There are sneakier methods to increase brand awareness. Carefully embedding sustainability values into the mission statement is one way to develop’CSR programs, collaborate with socially responsible advocates and Aphropean Partners to consult on sustainability marketing campaigns.

Take care of the planet and people for profits

The private sector is in a prime position to make a real impact in the way we live our lives today and in the future. Social entrepreneurs tend to tie sustainability to the mission and value proposition. Larger organisations will more or less be forced to view sustainability in the same light as quality. The recent international standards demand a sustainable approach to its value chain for profits in the long run.

Who says it is easy to create a path of profitable sustainability? Or sustainable profits? The aim to sustain a competitive advantage in the long run while taking care of the people and planet.

The Rise Of African Cybercities

The Rise Of African Cybercities

Disruptive Innovation and Technology in the Savannah

What does San Francisco Bay Area, Bangalore and Nairobi have in common? Each city is a leading tech hub in its continental region, where technology companies and savvy entrepreneurs groom within a startup ecosystem. Also known as cybercities, Silicon Valley (USA), Silicon Plateau (India) and Silicon Savannah (Kenya) have each significantly contributed to its nation’s economic growth. Also known as Cybercities, you will find a concentration of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, hackerspaces and other innovation labs striving for making an impact.

Cybercities tend to host a concentration of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, hackerspaces and other innovation labs striving for making a sustainable and positive impact on the economy, environment and society. Click here to see the World Bank’s infographic on tech hubs and incubators in Africa.

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.” African Proverb

Just like in any other country, cybercities cultivate digital entrepreneurship, connectivity, technology development, and most importantly innovative solutions.

Contrary to large organisations and public sector, Startups have a stronger sense of finding adaptive solutions to global challenges but struggle with the lack of financial means and infrastructure to launch sustainable products and services. Against all odds, tech hubs have mushroomed from a few too many in Africa’s emerging cities over the last six years.

International collaboration, grants, funding and impact investments keep the African Cybercities development steadfast. According to GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, technology startups based in Silicon Savannah received more than €38 million ($43 million, 2016) in funding. Meanwhile, Lagos, Johannesburg and Kigali are catching up with Nairobi as the leading African Cybercity.

Yabacon Valley or Silicon Lagoon – whichever name you prefer to call Lagos’ tech cluster – drives the leading knowledge-based economy in Africa, according to Demo Africa. Other scholars and institutions, bet on Johannesburg to lead the social enterprise movement in the near future. The fact is that it doesn’t matter where the largest tech cluster will be located on the continent. My interest lies in the ability of cybercities to create an enabling environment for Africa’s young population to channel their energy, idea and hopes.

I cannot emphasise this enough – the opportunities for firms and consultants to tap into the growing knowledge stock of Africa’s emerging markets are immense. All it takes is to find a local partner – an Aphropean Partner – to assimilate, adapt your offering to local needs and capture the largely untapped market.

Former US President, JFK once said: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction“. Expand on your internationalisation strategy, explore Africa’s consumer market and contact me and my partners for assistance before you take that leap.

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