Tag: Austria

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.

What’s Better: Aid for Dependency or Trade for Stimulus?

What’s Better: Aid for Dependency or Trade for Stimulus?

Stimulus or

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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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 

Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders

Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders


Frontiers of Dialogue

CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa

Thursday 21 September 2017, 18:00-21:30
Salon Razumovsky, Vienna

Today’s global marketplace increasingly explores opportunities to trade with emerging markets.

Salon-Razumovsky Frontiers of Dialogue location

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with IEEE TEMS (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Technology, and Engineering Management Society) invites you to be part of an inclusive conversation.

At this Frontiers of Dialogue, we’ll discuss the options of bridging the sustainable business divide between Austria and Africa.

We have invited a distinguished panel representing the academia, public and private sector who will be sharing their sustainability initiatives in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. These individuals are incredibly valuable sources of knowledge and even better, can help you and your enterprise avoid the same mistakes they made.

The #FOD17 Panellists

Nwabisa Mayema

Chuks Ojeme, MSc
Griller & Bauer

Arch DI Dr Doris Österreicher
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien

Mag. Hans Stoisser
ECOTEC – Institutionelle Infrastrukturaufbau GmbH

Frontiers of Dialogue pt 3 Panellists

What’s on the agenda?

An engaging dialogue between experts of sustainable business, technology, and Africa in a relaxed setting with an after-work canape.

In order to successfully, expand your market to 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 in the future. Africa is connected and enlightened today more than ever before.

Together, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of ethics and sustainable business initiatives with focus on the underserved market demands of Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa – particularly in the field of agriculture, education, and training, renewable off-grid energy, finance, consumer goods, manufacturing, and transport.

Frontiers of Dialogue3 Promo

What’s the point?

At this #FOD17 evening, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of ethics and sustainable business initiatives in the developing world.

If you are interested in strengthening your professional Africa-Austria relations, this is a brilliant opportunity to meet intellectual people, exchange views and learn. We may not solve the world’s problems by the end of the evening, but our conversations may be the most inspiring.

The evening will be casual and filled with those sharing a common interest in the sustainable development of Africa to stem migration, create a skilled workforce and reduce the reliance of foreign aid among other matters. We place emphasis on promoting leaders of thought and practice with Africa experience.

About Aphropean Partners2
Sponsors and Partners of Frontiers of Dialogue

Previous topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017)
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017)

Upcoming topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Making Profit and Sense of Sustainable Agriculture  (November 2017)
Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders (September 2017)

The Afro-Austria Business Summit 2017

The Afro-Austria Business Summit 2017

Celebrating Africa’s New Dynamism

Purple Premium Ltd and Iroko Awards International, in collaboration with Aphropean Partners, invites you to participate in the first Afro-Austria Business Summit with a focus on global business and economic development.

Currently, on tour across Europe, this event provides you with an excellent chance to:

  1. Connect with enterprises who have successfully conquered a stake of the African market.
  2. Learn about the vast opportunities in real estate investments, capacity building, security, packaging industry, project funding and using technology for profitable sustainability solutions.
  3. Meet with industry specific decision makers, government representatives, civil societies and entrepreneurs with a vested interest in Africa’s New Dynamism.

Held on Saturday, 27 May 2017 between 17:00 – 21:00, the Afro-Business Summit will take place at the ARCOTEL Kaiserwasser, 8 Wagramer Strasse, 1220 Wien (near Kaisermühlen U-Bahn station).

The Afro-Austria Business Summit is free, but places are limited, so registration is required. To register, please email events@aphropean.com, call +43 664 494 1020 or click this link.


Richard Obahor, multi-award winning CEO of Purple Premium Ltd and the event host explains.


In the theme of Celebrating Africa’s New Dynamism, the Afro-Austria Business Summit will feature a line of inspiring keynotes, including Speakers (click on the names for bio):

Dr Dayo Olomu – Staying Ahead in a Volatile Business Climate & Digital Age

Rita Isiba – Profiting from Sustainability through Technology in Africa’s Emerging Markets

Hon. Dayo Bush – Business Protection & Security

David Smith – Business & Packaged Opportunities in Nigeria

Herbert Macheiner  – Project Funding

Yemisi Akindele – Grooming Leaders of the 21st Century

Richard Obahor – Real Estate Investment for Nigerian in the Diaspora

Subrinah Dolischka – Moderator


Afro Austria Business Summit


Along with the inspiring and educational keynote sessions, the event will live music and an awards ceremony. The evening will feature a performance by Ola Egbowon, Austria’s critically acclaimed soul & pop artist, who will perform singles from his last album, Love is Alive. The Afro-Austria Business Award is a ceremony for deserving businesses and professionals, including categories:

  • Making a Difference in the Community
  • Excellence in Leadership
  • Excellent Business


ola egbowon


To register for #AfroAustriaBusinessSummit, please email events@aphropean.com, call +43 664 494 1020 or click this link http://bit.ly/AfroAustriaBusinessSummit

Driving Environmental Performance With Technology

Driving Environmental Performance With Technology

This event took place on 4 May 2017.

Technology plays a crucial role in managing environmental performance and achieving sustainable results in Africa’s emerging markets. 

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society invites you to join #FOD17 FRONTIERS OF DIALOGUE.

At this #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, our panel will focus on the opportunities and challenges associated with environmental technology for sustainable development. We will close this inclusive discussion with an opportunity to network over drinks and canapés.

When & Where?

Thursday 4 May 2017 at 18:00h


What we will cover

  • Key trends moving environmental technology forward in Africa’s emerging markets
  • Challenges faced in improving environmental performance: lessons learned
  • Opportunities for cooperation and transfer of environmental  technology


18:00 – 18:15 
Registration and refreshments
18:15 – 18:30
Welcoming remarks by Rita Isiba, Aphropean Partners
Remarks by Engr. Oluyemi O. Ogundele, NIDOE Austria Chairman
18:30 – 20:00 
Panel Discussion + Q&A with Moderator Rita Isiba
20:00 – 21:00 
Connect over drinks and canapés

Places are limited so to avoid disappointment register now.


6 reasons why you will benefit from #FOD17

This event series exists to give you a motivating mix of inspiring content, great people, music, drinks and snacks. We charge a small fee to create a valuable experience in order for you to: 

  1. Discover from leading experts in academia, private and public sector with international exposure;
  2. Great opportunity to ask questions and share your opinion;
  3. Get up to speed on key trends and issues affecting the way of business and work;
  4. Develop your knowledge for new ideas and approaches in business or work;
  5. Connect offline and meet professionals with international in spirit based in Austria;
  6. Have a great time after working hours with an inspiring mix of great people, music, drinks + snacks 🙂


I do not have a PayPal account. What to do?
Registration fees can be paid at the door.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Please email the events team – events@aphropean.com

Is my ticket transferrable?
Yes. If you are unable to attend, please send at least 24 hours before the event and we will give you a credit to use for future events.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
No, we will have your name on the list, so we know if you’ve booked or not.

What is the refund policy?
If you don’t turn up to the event you will not receive a refund or be able to transfer your booking to another event.

How to reach the venue?
AFRO-ASIATISCHES INSTITUT  (AAI) is located at Türkenstrasse 3, 1090 Vienna, Austria; Closest UBahnn station is Schottentor. You can plan your full journey with Wiener Linien.

In the 2nd series of Frontiers of Dialogue, the panel involves an exciting line-up of leaders of thought and practice from academia, civil society, public and private sector:


Rita Isiba, MBA, Aphropean Partners


His Excellency, Ambassador S.M. Gitonga,
Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Head of Mission 

Embassy & Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya

Dipl.-Ing Festus Imarhiagbe
Agricultural Scientist
AgrarMarkt Austria

Naomi Morishita, MSc, BSc,
Programme Officer
OeAD Housing Office GmbH

Jesse Ojobor MSc, BSc,
Industrial Resource Efficiency Expert
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Jonathan Schreiber,

#FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue aims to shed light on the role of technology in driving environmental performance, and the opportunities and challenges this presents in Africa.

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

Festus Imarhiagbe is an Agricultural Consultant and Agribusiness expert. He studied Agricultural Economics, Farm Production and Management at the University of Agriculture, Vienna in Austria.

He is the founder of Fesima Agro Consultancy, an advisor on agronomy as well as farm management and guest lecturer at the College of Agriculture and Sustainable Development at Cuttington University, Suakoko in Liberia.

From 2015 to 2017, Festus went to support as a project team leader in farm management the Cuttington University in Liberia under the sponsorship of USAID,  and subsidy department of agricultural marketing board (AMA) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Key qualification in Agricultural economics, farm production and resource management; personal/team leadership management and counselling

He is specialised in plant biology, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, new agricultural-based products and commercialization of new crops (Agribusiness development); Entrepreneurship and Microenterprise, Value Chain Analysis in Commercial Agriculture and in agricultural marketing, quality production and sustainability.

Festus is also involved in animal feeds formulation, preservation and conservation; new applications of plants for food, flavour, fragrances, health and nutrition, dietary supplements, natural plant products and herbs.

He serves in educational institutions and as a co-worker in several farmers supports projects across West Africa¸and is currently involved in steering initiatives which seek to enhance economic opportunities including the establishment of the Agricultural Training Center (ATC) in Bong County, Liberia.

Naomi Morishita, MSc, BSc

Naomi Morishita Naomi Morishita is a doctoral student at the TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Institute of Construction & Technology, Research Center for Building Physics & Sound Protection.

Her dissertation topic develops vernacular Syrian adobe architecture as a basis for developing energy-efficient transitional post-war housing incorporating recycled rubble. She completed her Master’s of Science at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Wien in Building Science & Technology (2010), and her Bachelor of Architectural Science with a Building Science major at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada (2003).

Ms. Morishita has over seven years of research experience in the fields of sustainable construction and energy-efficient buildings. She has been involved in international and regional interdisciplinary research projects relating to total energy use in buildings, on-site renewable energy production, building greening, energy-efficient construction, and energy-related occupant behaviour. She studied the influence of energy-related occupant behaviour on residential thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort on total residential energy use in summer.

She has given lectures to international professionals and university students about architecture, building physics, and thermal comfort. Since 2014, she has been involved in the curriculum development and organisation of the Green.Building.Solutions international summer university program. She has published in international conferences and peer-reviewed journals and also assists academics at all levels with technical writing in English for publication.

Ms. Morishita’s practical experience includes on-site construction management and architectural design services. She has lived and worked in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, and Austria. She speaks English and German fluently, as well as French, Japanese and Slovak. She currently lives in Vienna.

Ambassador Samuel M. Gitonga

Ambassador Samuel M. GitongaHis Excellency Ambassador Samuel M. Gitonga is the Deputy Permanent Representative and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy/Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya. The Mission is accredited to the United Nations Agencies and the International organisations in Vienna and to Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. Ambassador Gitonga has been serving in this capacity since October 2013.  

He has vast experience in the Kenyan Civil Service in a career spanning over two decades. Prior to his deployment in Austria, he serviced as Ambassador and Director of the Americas Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya. As Director, he was responsible for matters all emanating from North America and Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, he worked at the Foreign Service Institute as the Deputy Director. He also served as First Counsellor and Head of Chancery at the Kenya High Commission in Uganda.

He was the first Head of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2003 and 2004 and oversaw the installation of the first Local Area Network (LAN) in Ministry during this period. He also served in the Administration as Second Counsellor and as First Secretary in the Europe and Commonwealth Division, Africa and AU Division in the same Ministry. In the formative years of his career, he served as a Third Secretary deployed at Kenya Mission to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations (UN) Division in the Foreign Ministry.

In Central Government, he has worked in the Kenyan Provincial Administration in Office of the President as Acting District Commissioner and District Officer having served in seven districts in four provinces in the Country. In the mid-1990’s he served in the Ministries of Land Reclamation Regional and Water Development, Environment and Natural Resources and Water Resources as Assistant Secretary, Senior Assistant Secretary and Acting Under Secretary.

Educational Background
Ambassador Gitonga holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in International Business from Kampala International University, a postgraduate Diploma in International Relations from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Kurukshetra University in India.

His professional qualifications include:

  • Talent Management Course at the Kenya Institute of Administration
  • Strategic Leadership Development Programme at the Kenya Institute of Administration  
  • Business Ethics and Corporate Governance Course at Kampala International University
  • Certificate In Corporate Directorship with the Commonwealth Association For Corporate Governance (CACG)
  • Report Writing and Presentation Seminar at the Kenya Institute of Administration  
  • Advanced Public Administration Course at the Kenya Institute of Administration  
  • Short Course In German at the Abendrealschule in Bonn, Germany


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