Saturday, March 31, 2007

What Country IsThis? Mr. Kadiku Could Tell Us!

photos courtesy of: The Paddocks

Please take a look at these renderings and tell me if you were expecting to find them in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is an example of a very well planned and thought out real estate investment in Africa.

The place just so happens to be Port Harcourt, Nigeria. What you are looking at is small piece of a nearly $100 USD m project in Nigeria which is part of a push to not just develop subdivisions in Nigeria, but to develop mixed used communities or cities in Nigeria. One of the key entrepreneurs behind this project is Mr. Popo Kadiku of PK Consultants. Mr. Kadiku is both an attorney and a real estate developer from Nigeria. Originally, my plan was to do an entire profile on him. However, I was not able to find enough information to do that. Instead we are doing a shorter piece which brings togther the project and the entrepreneur.

Let it be noted before continuing that you could start investing in real estate in Africa with only several thousand US Dollar-some parts of Africa, not all.

What strikes me as very unique about this entrepreneur is the sheer magnitude of this undertaking. Based upon an interview that I saw between him and The Saturday Independent he is very serious about doing what is necessary to put Nigerian real estate ion the map. For instance, the property itself is expected to sit on nearly 40 acres. This development is targeted to meet the needs of the areas high concentration of oil industry workers and executives. Another point of major significance is that the properties will actually rely upon t services of a private gas, water, and electric as a source of power-this will be the first project in Nigeria to earn that distinction. Something else which I find very encouraging is that this will be a "green development" where only 21% of the land will actually have structures on top of it and the rest will remain as trees and other natural greenery.

One more thing that I will say about Mr. Kadiku is that he selected companies from all over the world and not just Nigeria, when it came to putting this vast project together. This to me is the embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit.

Below is a short quote from Mr. Kadiku:

"...In our company, PK Consults Limited, the policy is that once we’ve commenced on this our pilot project here in Nigeria, we’ll be looking seriously at taking off on some of the social housing plans that we have, because then we will be actually impacting the society.

There is a model that you can adopt to provide housing for a group of people that can afford it at any price, and there is also the model of providing as a benefit to the society. Now, as a businessman, I am not saying when I do such a thing I’ll be doing it for charity, but there is a basic social responsibility which is demanded of every businessman.

In Lagos State for instance, we have some companies that have taken the bull by the horns. They partnered with the government to make some of the roads better, and thereby improving the general aesthetics of the state, therefore making life even more bearable for the people that ply such roads..."

I thought that this was a great way to show case both African entrepreneurship and genuine real estate opportunities in Africa, as well. In this instance we pointed out Nigeria, but it could have easily been Tanzania or any other country in Africa with a favorable macro-economic climate.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Ghana Real Estate The Buying Process

I wanted to share an observation with you. Over the years I have had many conversations with acquaintances from various parts of Africa about investment back home. One commonality that I have noticed in these conversations is real estate, in the form of apartments or rental houses is almost always mentioned. I thought that the words below written by Rhiannon Williamson adds an interesting new dimension to this topic.

Ghana Real Estate The Buying Process: "...Ghana is a nation that offers an investor an unrivalled wealth of choice and potential, and a property investor considering this emerging market will likely be overwhelmed by the weight of opportunity for profit and gain.

But because the Ghanaian investment real estate sector is in its absolute infancy there are many critical factors that a property buyer must bear in mind before committing to purchase land or real estate; this is a guide to the property buying process in Ghana to assist foreign buyers.

First things first it’s important to note that there are currently no restrictions on non-Ghanaians owning land and property in Ghana and this situation is unlikely to change because the government of Ghana is committed to promoting maximum inward foreign direct investment and is working with a body called the
Ghana Real Estate Developers Association to restructure the entire property sector in the country..."

Besides the youthfulness of some of Africa's real estate investment sectors, I think that there are other factors that make it very attractive:

  • Dollar to local currency conversion.
  • The climate-it allows for slower building times-which in turn can allow investors to build projects over two or three years without going into debt.
  • A serious scarcity of rental property in urban centers.
  • Large numbers of foreign nationals demanding luxury-styled accommodations and willing to pay a premium.
Do you own investment property in Africa? We'd like to know your experiences. Are you thinking about it? Please, feel free to comment in this post and in the one's to follow .

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Commendation for Great Work!

Often times, we don't think of attorneys as business people or entrepreneurs. However, many of them are exceptional business people and provide an invaluable service.

Such is the case with Mr. William Tiku from the Law Offices of Tiku & Associates. He has done wonderful work for me. He is originally from Cameroon, West Africa and specializes in immigration law. Many of his clients are from various parts of Africa, from Central and South America, as well as America.

Unfortunately, he does not have a website (hint, hint). But I still recommend him anyday, anytime, or to anyone in need of legal help because of the way that he handled my own case. His email address is tiku-at-tikuassociates-dot-fdn-dot-com. The number to his law practice is 770-272-9470. He is based in Atlanta, GA but my understanding is that he helps clients all over the country. In addition to immigration law, he is well versed with criminal law, and credit law.

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Know Any Pan-African Business Bloggers?

I was just thinking today, that although there are an ample amount of Africa bloggers who post about business-only or primarily- in specific African countries, there are not so many that I am aware of who cover African business from a regional, Sub-Saharan, or continental approach.

At one point, I considered actually taking this blog and breaking it up into several regional blogs focusing on the African continent. The only thing that has kept me from doing it in the past was the fact that something like this might require more contributors. But, nowadays I still think about it, but not quite as much.

In conversations with various persons, it became clear to me that we, the Pan-Africa business bloggers, are providing a very vital service to our readers by providing a "one-stop shop" for anyone wishing to learn more about business in Africa. After all, there are quite a few Africa business bloggers who discuss their particular country, right? So, what are your thoughts on the topic"?

By the way, the Pan-Africa business bloggers that come to my mind are:

Emeka Okafor
G Kofi Annan
Ryan Shen-Hoover & Coldtusker
Frederic Tape
Steve Brown

Do you know of any others, please let me know. Also, stay tuned as we go into the next series-Real Estate Investment in Africa...

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In Closing Kenya Open for Business

Well, my plan was to summarize the Kenya Open for Business event for the final post on the African Diaspora Investment Series. However, I may have run into a glitch. This post was supposed to be a podcast, but the mp3 file is taking it's swet old time.

As such, I will say that the event, I think was a success. The theme was that if Kenyans abroad could continue the remittances, plus maybe add a small bit more in the form of organixed investments that the country's economy could go from growing iinto a full scale boom.

Below are a few links that I hope you will enjoy.

Kenya Development Network Consortium
African Path

Also, if there are any podcasting experts who'd like to point me in the right direction on files large than 10MB, my podcast file is [ here ] Thanks

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Announcement: Consulting Opportunity in Kenya

If you are an international development consultant...

Consultancy Services on Developing Government Assets Management Register and Registry

The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Finance intends to engage a consultant to Develop
Government Assets Management Register and Registry.

The assignment will be expected to achieve the following objectives:-

(i) To have a well defined and functional asset management unit in place.
(ii) To have a clear methodology of Public Assets valuation.
(iii) To have a clear methodology of recording government Assets.
(iv) To have appropriate software in place for capture of data of all government assets.
(v) To have a well developed institutional structure of assets management at the Treasury.
(vi) To have a fully functional Government of Kenya Assets Register.


The assignment will mainly involve review of existing documentation/practice in public assets
management, propose and assist in establishing a well functional assets management register and unit.
The consultant will carry out the following activities:-

(i) Review the status of government assets records in various Ministries/Departments.
(ii) Review the implementation of Treasury circular No. 14 of 13th October, 2000.
(iii) Recommend appropriate software to capture data on all government assets.
(iv) Recommend the mandate and operational structure of the government assets management unit
(v) Propose Human Resources requirement for the GOK Assets Management Unit.
(vi) Advice on Mode of Accounting for security related assets.
(vii) Advise on management of assets register by Line Ministries/ Departments/parastatals and other

Public Agencies.

(viii) Advise on mode of Government Assets valuation, depreciation, appreciation and disposal.
(ix) Propose appropriate training needs for staff in Assets Management unit in Treasury & line

Ministries on records management, Assets valuation and other related activities.

(x) Identify any legal or regulatory obstacles to the implementation of any aspects of a fully

functional central government assets management unit.

(xi) Advise on best practices in public assets management.
(xii) Any other matter that is related to the above.

Interested, eligible and competent consultancy firms are invited to submit expressions of interest to
provide the above-mentioned services. Interested consultants must provide information that they
possess senior level expertise and experience in:-

· Policy formulation and development relating to assets management and valuation.
· Government financial procedures and regulation.
· Government procurement procedures.
· Government Assets Valuation and Disposal procedures.
· Wide Knowledge on public management practices.
· Knowledge in Management information system.
· Knowledge in records management.

Complete expression of interest documents in plain sealed envelopes clearly marked on top with the
name of this consultancy should be addressed to:

The Financial Secretary
Ministry of Finance
P. O. Box 30007

Or be deposited in the tender box situated on the 1st floor, Treasury Building, Harambee Avenue
so as to reach him on or before Tuesday 10th April 2007 at 10.00 a.m.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Entrpreneur Wanted Announcement from India

We are manufacturer of following products in INDIA and we are looking forward for business in african countries.

Art Materials:
1. Burnt Natural Charcoal
2. Colour Mixing Plates
3. Graphite Holders
4. Acrylic and Wooden Oil Pallates with Dippers
5. Dry Pastles
6. Oil Pastles
7. Crayons

Drawing Materials:
1. Set Squares
2. Pro Circles
3. Triangular Rulers to the scales
4. Lettering Stencils
5. French Curves

1. Steel Rulers from 10cm to 300cm

Anybody interested please contact.

Deepesh Gohel (MD)Khyati Sales9, KaranparaKaransinhji RoadRajkot 360001INDIAPh: +91-281-2360217email: ssydg@yahoo. com


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Audio Interview with Diaspora Investor!

[AUDIO] there is also a written one below.

This is an interview that I was fortunate enough to get with a good friend of The Benin Epilogue and an up and coming Kenyan Diaspora investor, Hoseah Njuguna of Wajuzi Consultants. This was my first experience with anything audio related, so please go easy on me, OK? :)

Photo of Hoseah Njuguna

[Written Interview] (a different interview with Hoseah, prior to his return to and from Kenya) a great compliment to the audio!

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Photos from Kenya Open for Business forum

These are a few photos from the Kenya Open for Business event that took place on March 24, 2007 at Kennesaw State University. I was very happy to be in attendance and hope that these pictures capture a glimpse of my excitement about all that took place at the event!

Also for a more extensive set of photos from this event, you are encouraged to visit Hash's Flicker.

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook



Today I had the opportunity to attend the Kenya Diaspora Investment Forum 2007 at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA. I believe it was a mind blowing success. After going through countless notes, audio, and a few pictures my mind is terribly exhausted. Over the next couple of days we shall add our content from this event.

In the meantime, both WhiteAfrican and African Path have some exceptional coverage on their blogs. Please check them out while I sort out both my mind and my notes...By the way Hash or Joshua if you are reading this it was a real pleasure meeting the both of you!

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Saturday, March 24, 2007

DENI Africa-Ingenius, Indigenous, & lluminanous!!!

OK, so I guess we could have gone with a slightly more "down to earth" title....but, hey? Just had to get the sillies out of my system, you wont hold it against me will you? Most of the time my family gets the brunt of my shenanigans, but seeing as how everyone else is asleep, guess that will have to do for now...

Anyhow, as promised I did get a chance to revisit the DENI Africa website for a deeper understanding of this initiative. Thanks Mr. Emeka Okafor! Sijui, you too! As it stands here is my understanding of what makes this a most unique proposition, followed by a description from the DENI Africa site:

One could say many things about DENI Africa. In fact, they could fall under at least four of the most commonly used labels on the Benin Epilogue-Africa Bloggers, Friends of African Business, African Diaspora Investment, Business News from Africa. But this in itself is not really why we are discussing them today. The main reason is the sheer amount of creativity that the facilitators of this program used just in developing this strategy for mobilizing the resources found amongst Africa's Diaspora. The acronym DENI, stands for Direct Expatriates Nationals Investment.

In a nutshell what DENI Africa was designed to do is to harness the African Diaspora's financial resources and channel them into debt reduction for Africa's countries which fall under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries classification.

Below are a few excerpts from DENI Africa:

"...To stimulate the private sector and the African economies, DENI requires that African nationals overseas buy up the Paris Club debt at a price acceptable to both sides. The lower the price the larger the amount of debt that can be retired. The goal is to liquidate a credible amount of the Paris Club debt and return the continent to a sustainable basis..."

Here is another:

"...The Direct Expatriate Nationals Investment (DENI**) model was originally designed as a Debt Relief and Poverty Reduction program but has since morphed into Enhanced DENI as a Poverty Reduction and External Resource Mobilization Program for countries that have received massive debt cancellation from the HIPC Program. Therefore, of the three applications of DENI, namely: (a) debt relief (b) poverty reduction and (c) external resource mobilization, only (b) and (c) remain enduringly valid for purposes of Enhanced DENI which is designed to turn a country’s liabilities into assets. Already, 14 African countries have received bilateral and multilateral debt cancellations and qualify for Enhanced DENI.

The Ingenuity of DENI is that it is a debt conversion in its impact but totally original in concept. Unlike other proposals that are out there in the marketplace of ideas, DENI is a people’s solution to the intractable twin problem of debt Relief and Poverty reduction that has bedeviled Africa for so long with no end in sight. The program is based on mobilizing ordinary African nationals living in North America and Western Europe as well as those scattered elsewhere around the globe to buy out the official debt owed to Paris Club (and other creditors if available) at a negotiated price with debt vouchers (in modest amounts) that are redeemable at home in a variety of local assets but not in local currency. DENI requires that each country’s nationals address their own country’s debt, meaning Nigerians for Nigerian debt, Senegalese for Senegalese debt, Kenyans for Kenyan debt and so on, down the line. There will be no cross-border purchases..."

This represents genius in that it is only one solution, but it addresses so many economic challenges that some of Africa's poorer nations face. Here a few ways that it addresses some of Africa's major challenges:

  • Freeing up government funds from debt service
  • It aims to reverse capital flight
  • This can improve the international credit rating of Africa's HIPC nations
  • Enhancing democratic institutions, through transparency

It is centered on a wholly fair and objective approach, which allows African expatriates in Canada, the US, Europe, and any other continent outside of Africa to purchase assets such as shares in state owned parastatals by buying debt vouchers. The author of this ingenious approach to debt retirement is Frederick Kwoba, a Massachusetts resident-by way of Ghana. My understanding as to the status of this program is that it is still in it's beginning stages. I believe that the African countries who have signed on, to date, are Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Kenya. Hopefully Mr. Emeka Okafor, who is both a very prominent Africa blogger and also a facilitator of DENI Africa may help to clarify just a few minor details. Questions like 1) who are the African countries that have signed on to the concept? 2)what stage of development is the program in now? 3) when can Diaspora investors get started? 4) what has been the reaction of the Paris Club to this proposal?

In closing, I would like to say that, to me, this effort represents one of the most practical and far reaching approaches to economic development and poverty reduction that I have learned about. Additionally, when it comes to mobilizing the investment of Africa's Diaspora this could easily become the standard by which all other similar efforts are measured. Once again, I would like to thank Sijui and Mr. Emeka Okafor for mentioning DENI Africa in their recent comments here-thanks a lot, you two!

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Friday, March 23, 2007

Reforms Strengthen Investment in Liberia


VOA News - Reforms Strengthen Investment Climate in Liberia: “...I think the Liberian people are now very confident of their future; they’re very optimistic, and I think Liberia is beginning to attract talent from the Diaspora. Secondly, the government of Liberia, through its anti-corruption policies (and reform) policies around the justice system, again makes Liberia a very attractive destination,” said Cummings..."


Dutch African Fair

From Holland...

Dutch African Fair: "...Recent international financial reports (World Bank, African Development Bank, EU, etc.) are showing that the growth rate of African businesses is impressive. Large-scale import/export and venture capital companies are enjoying high returns on direct foreign investments and African people get the benefit of new employment. China business relations with Africa jumped to 14% in 2005 at 13 billion US Dollars. The African continent with a total population of over 800 million people living in 53 countries offers a great opportunity for business, energy gas in Sudan, Nigeria, Angola, among others.

CHUDI INTERNATIONAL ADVICE, took the initiative to organize the first Dutch African Enterprise FAIR in 2006, with the purpose of offering entrepreneurs from Africa and the Netherlands a space to gather for business-to-business investment, matchmaking and networking event. The FAIR will be followup with new FAIR in 2007 to 2010 in the Netherlands and African countries. Businesses from Netherlands, Belgium, Britain and other countries will be invited, as well as African diaspora enterprises..."


Nigeria targets $20-billion Diaspora remittances

From Nigeria...

Nigeria targets $20-billion Diaspora remittances: "...The Nigerian economy will attract an average of $20-billion Diaspora remittances in the five years between 2006 and 2010.

Indications to this emerged from the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Chukwuma C. Soludo’s recent pronouncement in Abuja that Diaspora remittances bring about $4 billion yearly.

The CBN governor who also said that foreign direct investments (FDI) and portfolio inflows were growing, while bonds were over subscribed due to high earnings in real dollar terms, revealed that capital inflows were doubling every year with about $2.5-billion recorded in 2006 from portfolio and non-oil sectors..."

Read More... Ghana: More American Investors Coming (Page 1 of 1)

In keeping with the theme for this weeks series, I wanted to bring you news from various parts of the continent and abroad, as it pertains to Diaspora investment. The first peice is from Ghana, it comes courtesy of Ghana: More American Investors Coming (Page 1 of 1): "...To benefit from the positive effects arising out of the synergies of these two events, the Embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C, has adopted a theme -Economic Emancipation- for its activities in the U.S.

The Ambassador and his economic team are touring continental U.S.A to galvanize Ghanaians in the Diaspora and to network with business entrepreneurs to invest in Ghana.

The tour, which commenced on January 1st, with a church service in New Jersey, has since taken the team to various states including Florida.

In Florida, Ambassador Bawuah-Edusei and his team interacted with the Mayors and the executives of the local Chamber of Commerce of Broward County, and the City of Fort Lauderdale and were presented with the official keys to both the City and the County. The Mayors, who participated at their respective City Business fora, applauded the initiative and pledged their support.

As a result, the Mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Mr. Tim Naugle, led a 20-man delegation to Ghana on February 23 to participate in Ghana's 50th independence Anniversary Celebrations. Additionally, a US based company, CITPIX Inc, will be returning to Ghana in the second quarter of this year to continue its program of setting up Information Communication Centers (ICC) in rural Africa..."


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

African Diaspora Investment: An Intro

We go into this series at a time when several African governments ask themselves, "what can be done to harness the power of our relatives overseas into helping to build our local economies?" Amidst these questions from the African governments themselves other world authorities have recently begun to turn their attention to Africa's Diaspora investors, as well.

The reason that this investment trend has been gaining so much attention in recent years is to be found in what Africa's Diaspora investors represent:

*Source of financing trade deficits for various African nations.
*Stimulus for economic growth, through investment.
*Large percentage of the GDP, this means as much as 25% of GDP for some African nations.
*Tool for alleviating poverty.

So as we continue this series, The Benin Epilogue hopes to bring you the perspectives of businesses, Diaspora investors, government agencies, and other concerned parties as it pertains to this trend in various parts of Africa. The series will culminate with coverage of the Kenya Diaspora Investment Forum taking place this weekend in Atlanta, GA. We hope that you will enjoy this series and if you have a related experience which you'd like to share, then we'd like to hear about it.

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Monday, March 19, 2007

Another Friendly Reminder-Kenya Investment Forum

For those of you who may be interested, please don't forget about this weekend....Kenya Diaspora Investment Forum 2007 coming to Atlanta this weekend!

Press Release


Why, Benin?

Why do I do it?

In case you were wondering why do I care to write about entrepreneurship in Africa, these are the answers. I do it for the love. Is it a secret that my heart has never left the African continent, I think for most people who have been able to talk with me for more than five minutes it can't be a secret. I did not always feel this way. It started, though, when I went to Ghana, for the first time while in school.

Don't know why this happened, it was not something that I had planned but while in Ghana some friends that I had met, one was a computer science professor, another a fellow student, and then there was a visual basic programmer and the group of us all got together and decided to start a software education company aimed at the Ghanaian primary schools. Our primary energy was spent on designing the program and upon talking with folks in the know as to what might work. We started no long after I had arrived in Ghana-maybe 2 or 3 months. Would you believe that by the time it was departure time for me the software was 80% complete? Unfortunately, after leaving and returning to the hustle & bustle of just trying to graduate from undergrad' and running a totally different company, which had achieved some moderate success, I somehow lost touch with the software developers that I was working with in Ghana. Back then email was availbale in Ghana, but back then I couldnt describe it as convenient or reliable. Our primary method for communication was phone call or fax, which were both expensive.

If there were something in life that I could redo, it would be this-just staying on top of those efforts and keeping it a priority. Since then there have been at least three or four African related businesses that I have tried from the States without much success. We tried importing amber beads from Mali, which proved very difficult, since our contact was in Ghana and had to travel all the way up to Mali to bring the beads and then ship them to us. By the time we managed to sell one or two of them here-my father and I realized that we had actually lost money. We tried importing ebony wood furniture from Ghana, which I was unable to find consistant buyers for her in the States. Then my wife and I brought back some hand woven garments and women's accessories from Kenya. We took them to small stores around Atlanta for consignment and although they looked very nice the consumers were still choosing the cheaper hand made goods from Asia. Looking back on it, although the dedication was there, I can see a few things that could have been done differently in each instance to make those ventures more successful-the main two are research and more preparation. Of course, both of these are necessary before entering any business venture irrespective of the location or the entrepreneur engaging in the business-so this applies to you too :)

In fact, let me take this opportunity to stress that any of the ideas that you see here should be treated this way. Always do your homework and find out for your self, first if the type of enterprise, then the business fundamentals, and the place of business make sense for you before you leap into anything that you may see here. Or anywhere else for that matter, you know? After all, what you see here is just a reflection of my own personal opinions and experiences..

Anyhow, back to why this whole African enterprise solution enthralls me so much. Probably, my father has had a lot to do with my desire to do business in Africa also. He has always said that his generation would be the one to bring modern day science into the mainstream in Modern day Africa, and that it would be up to the younger generations to help turn transfer the science and research into practical application-i.e. into revenues and profits. I guess my sub conscious absorbed more of this than I thought, because there aren't many weeks that go by without me thinking of it.

At the end of the day, this would not mean anything to me if it did not mean an overall improvement in the livelihoods of the general populations throughout Africa. I hear many folks talk about governments and politicians in Africa, but to me the emphasis should be on empowering the people to change their situations , instead of waiting for governments to change (however there are perhaps a few exceptions...Zimbabwe-case in point). Trade has always had a very tangible way of transforming regions and the people within them.

Where I'd possibly like to go with this in short term and long term:

Short term

1) Keep blogging!
2) Possibly add blog focusing on West African, East African, and Southern African regions.
3) Get some help from contributing bloggers.

Long term

1) I'd like to build a foundation to help provide Africa's youth and women with the technology, training, and other tools necessary to become competitive in the global marketplace.

2) I'd like to continue to chronicle the stories of entrepreneurs in Africa and act as a guide for foreign businesses who'd like to gaining market entry or export into or from Africa possibly by helping them to partner with successful local entrepreneurs in Africa.

So in a nutshell, that's why I do it!

Please stay tuned for Africa Investment in the Diaspora series, followed by Kenya Diaspora Investment Forum 2007 highlights and coverage...

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cat Out of the Bag on African Business Media

OK, for me the cat has been let out of the bag on dedicated African business media being still in its infancy stage and being driven in large part by foreign owned media. Perhaps, this is something that is not new to you though. So in this final installment of the Media Industry in Africa series I have a question for you...

So, here's whats been on my mind ever since starting this series-Africa's business bloggers might be the missing link. Even though, across SSA we don't see a preponderance of business publications, there are so many business blogs springing up either in Africa or by Africans in the Diaspora. By region we have:

East Africa region

Start Ups in Kenya
Kenyan Entrepreneur

Riba Capital

West African region

Annansi Chronicles
Africa Unchained
The Entrepreneur

Timbuktu Chronicles
Stockmarket Nigeria

Southern African region
Dave Duarte
South Africa Business Hub
Tomorrow Today

Do you think that together we, the Africa business bloggers, can fill in the gaps that exist today in Africa's business media?

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Is There A Dedicated Business Media in Africa?

Both Sijui and Imnakoya have brought up some great points regarding business media in Africa. To that end, this post is inspired by their comments. This is one of the many things that I love about blogging-the "give and take" aspect of it along with the "living and breathing" personality that this blog has taken on. Anyway, before I doze off into my slumber why not first delve into some of Africa's most prominent business media organizations?

One of the reasons that I hesitated at first to post specifically about Africa's dedicated business coverage is that a large portion of the organizations that specifically write about business in Africa are based outside of Africa. However, as it has happened many times before I have given this thought more consideration and thanks to the dialogue that you have had with me on this blog my views have adjusted. The country or continent of origin for these publications is overshadowed by the fact that there still is not enough coverage of Africa's business news. So, these business publications from other regions of the world who focus on business in Africa are fulfilling a need and helping to disseminate very good information. For that reason, I am including them in this post alongside the homegrown media outlets which focus on African business.

In no particular order we have the following to thank for helping to get Africa's business headlines out to each of the corners of Africa and to the rest of the world:

Africa Report is a weekly TV based business news magazine covering business news around Africa. The 185 million households viewing this magazine around the world make it the largest African business publication in existence-I watch it almost every morning on The Africa Channel. It is produced and reported by Africans in partnership with CNBC.

African Business it should almost be considered a prerequisite for foreign companies considering doing business in Africa. This publication is a trusted source of news for over 140,000 readers in and outside of Africa who need to know the in's and out's of doing business in Africa. This publication is based in London and the parent company also publishes a similar themed magazine for the Middle East region.

Business in Africa provides company profiles, research reports, news and business updates as well as conferences around the continent. This publication reads like it is geared towards someone considering investing in African companies or stock markets. This magazine is published in South Africa.

MBendi is an online publication which provides very detailed profiles on African businesses. They also post African trade leads.

The Africa Journal a quarterly publication which looks at arts, business, trade policy, and economics in Africa. It published by a Washington, D.C. based organization whose purpose is to help facilitate a commercial relationship between the U.S. and the nations of Africa-the Corporate Council on Africa.

Busiweek an East African business newspaper which covers the large east African region one can find business news on Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia in this single publication.

Africa-Investor is a bi-monthly publication whose market includes Africa's domestic and international investors. This magazine is read by approximately 20,000 investors. This bi-monthly is published by a London-based corporate citizenship consultancy.

African Business Pages is an online business portal. Although its main function is that of an African business directory, it also publishes market reports, as well as a the Business Guide a "bridge publication" connecting African businesses to UAE businesses.

All Africa a multimedia online source of content based in Mauritius. They cover a variety of news topics in Africa. Since they have content agreements with 130 local African news organizations, they have a tremendous amount of information available to them. And even though they are not a dedicated business publication, they still have some rather difficult to find articles about business in Africa.

The African Executive
is a Kenyan based weekly opinion magazine which is aimed at promoting intra-African trade and introducing African business persons as role models for the younger generation.

Liquid Africa is a paid online publication, which actually started out, I believe as an online broker for African stock markets. Over time they evolved into a market information provider, acting as an information backbone to many of Africa's stock brokers and fund managers. This information and transaction platform operates from South Africa and founded by Cyrille Nkontchou in 2001.

Africa Week is published by the editors of its predecessor West Africa Magazine. The publishers of this magazine believe that African economists should work to emulate their Asian counterparts and this theme can be found in many of the articles of this publication-which is published in London, England.

Africa Travel Magazine
is a magazine that is the voice of the African Travel Association. It aims to shed misconceptions of Africa by showcasing little known facts and photos from Africa. It is a business magazine with stories written from a travel minister or consultants point of view.

independent magazine covering entrepreneurship and management in South Africa.
The Weekender a week-end newspaper published in South Africa and targeted to the country's high income earners, with a focus on local and international business news.

African Financial Markets
is a business research publication, publishing industry reports, stock market analysis on various stock markets in Africa, and detailed public company analysis.

There you have it, these are some of Africa's most noticeable business publications from around the world and within Africa. I think that you would find within some of these publications some of the most unbiased information as it pertains to business in Africa. Additionally, it is also interesting to note that this is one of the few areas which I have seen business leaders from Africa push the continent, as a whole, with success-as opposed to only the individual nations of Africa. I wonder if this might eventually spill over into other areas of business in Africa?

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sijui's Response to African Media Post

The other day after putting up this post we received a comment from Sijui-which you can read below. Initially, when I read this comment I thought that it was about the need for African journalism to be the voice of the people, rather than the politicians. Actually though, with only a few short sentences, Sijui has managed to say something very enormous. Given Sijui's wise and insightful comments here, that is no surprise, of course-but nevertheless, I wanted to hat tip Sijui for indirectly providing some much needed direction for this series. So, my understanding of Sjui's comment is that even when you look at the dedicated business media that exists in Africa there are often noticable political overtones. I noticed this too, with a a few exceptions which thanks to Sijui, we will cover perhaps in the next post. I guess the reason that I did not really give this observation a second thought might be because I am getting a more filtered picture of the "on the ground" reality of media in Africa. I was talking to a very close acquaintance from Ghana not long ago about a similar topic. In passing conversation he mentioned that things in Ghana are good, especially in comparison to some of its neighbors, however, they are probably not as good as some of the media that he sees floating out from Ghana's press agencies into the international media organizations. Sijui's comment is different but somehow they feel a bit related. What they may share in common is the theme that the media emenating from Africa's homegrown agencies may have some information gaps. Up until this point I figured that given all of the negative press that a few of Africa's nations receive in international media, that this was to be expected, but underneath that notion is the subtle idea that the media in Africa is being directed in a certain direction. Hmmm? Please read Sijui's comment below and let me know what you think.

"Sorry but I am not yet ready to give 'African media' the pat on the back. In
many instances, they continue to be part of the problem.......they still
concentrate on getting their bread and butter from petty political sideshows and
gossip. Yes, improvements are being made and you are starting to see serious
business publications that provide cutting edge and up to date insights on the
private sector landscape of the continent (Business in Africa etc) however they
are still in the minority. Also the level of competence and professionalism
exhibited by the 'dedicated business journalists' is still rather low. Most
African media is still on the 'pro-democracy bandwagon' and the associated
swirling political currents...they have not moved on to the results of democracy
i.e. a flourishing private sector." from Sijui

Thanks Sijui for being my eyes and ears in your region of Africa...And also, Sijui, thanks for helping this series to stay on track!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the Know: West African Media Outlets

Yesterday we looked at some of the media outlets that have been making waves in East Africa. Today we shall look at a few in West Africa. What follows are a just a few of them, and please remember this list is not meant to be all inclusive, its just a few of them that I have seen or heard about in my travels (both on and off the web).

West Africa

    • Financial Standard authoritative online digest of business and economic issues affecting Nigeria.
    • Voice of Naija on weather, sports, and news around Nigeria. Began as an external service of the Nigeria Broadcast Corporation in 1961.
    • The Sun a paper of human voices, capturing the unpredictable and unexpected rhythms of life and existence, the daily heartbeat of humanity in lucid and crisp prose.
  • Cameroon
    • CRTV Post Watch a prominent blog magazine in Cameroon focusing primarily upon politics in Cameroon.
    • CRTV daily news updates online, radio, TV. Topics focus on international issues, economy, and state of affairs in Cameroon.
  • Ghana
    • Joy FM by the Multimedia Broadcasting Corporation, offers readers with a comprehensive online source for up-to-the-minute news, information and entertainment content.
    • Ghana Review International reliable source of information for Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike. This magazine will be of interest to any person with an interest in Ghana, Ghanaians and Africans, wherever in the world they live.
    • Peace FM
  • Senegal
    • APA a Pan-African news agency featuring both French and English. Covers topics such as politics, religion, business, and sports in Africa.
Next up, we may find ourselves taking a cue from one of our very good friends-Sijui and asking ourselves whether media in Africa should serve any aims beyond profitability, such as advocacy media. So stay tuned....

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

East Africa Media Outlets

As promised we are bringing you a snapshot of who's who in African media circles. We are going to start with some companies first and then if time permits we shall highlight a few of the personalities behind these outfits. I did not know that there were so many different outfits in sub-Saharan Africa, the fact that there are so many means that I will not be able to list them here. So instead, we are going to go by region. In this post we are going to start with the East African region.

  • Kenya
    • Kiss FM (radio) is Kenya’s most listened to radio station. KISS is a new hits format station, playing the latest International Urban and Kenyan hits 24 hours a day.
    • The Nation a news conglomerate featuring newspapers, radio, TV, online mediums. Brands include business, Uganda, Kenya, and a Sunday publication
    • KTN (TV) the leading TV station in Kenya. It was established in 1989 as the first privately owned TV station in Kenya. KTN offers highly objective, credible, authoritative news coverage as well as world class local and international programmes.
    • East African Standard offers news on local, regional, international, politics, business, and more. It is the leading oldest newspaper in Kenya started in 1902.
  • Uganda
    • a news, travel, and entertainment portal spanning Uganda.
    • Weekly Observer breaking great stories for the dailies to follow up and championing analytical, factual and balanced reporting.
  • Tanzania
    • IPP Media Tanzanian news via radio, TV, and newspapers in English and Swahili.
    • The Arusha Times weekly newspaper from Arusha, Tanzania covering the latest in local news-from society to business.
Just to summarize it, this industry is relevant to the East African region in the amount of opportunities that it creates, in serving as an advertising medium, and even at helping to shape reform policies throughout the East African region. Again, these are but a few of the media outlets in East Africa, for the most part these media companies are large enough that I have heard about them, but there are many more that are not listed here. In fact, feel free to let me know if there were any that you would have liked to see listed here.

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Speaking of Finance for African Enterprises...

C4-world is building an online platform; MyC4, which will allow companies across Africa to source loans and equity investments from the global community.

To source investment opportunities, we will work through a combination of partner organizations, including Funds and NGOs that work with African entrepreneurs and SMEs, established companies who will give us access to African SMEs in their supply chain, and local banks and microfinance institutions who have an interest in sharing risks or expanding the reach of their operations, as well as recruit some of our own local credit officers.

The platform will allow people from around the world who create online funded investment accounts to participate in auctions (they will bid an amount and the interest rate they wish to earn) to fund the loan requests posted by the entrepreneurs and SMEs.

In addition, we have started work to raise two funds (target $50m each). The first fund will be a microfinance fund, investing both in microfinance institutions themselves, and also at the actual microfinance loan level, using knowledge and analytics captured from the flow on our platform.

The second fund will be a private equity fund, investing in a combination of other funds, and directly in companies (with a focus on earlier stage investing than most current African PE funds), using the analytics, networks and knowledge from the flow on the platform and the microfinance fund.

We will launch in Uganda first, where we have the strongest network of contacts, then plan to expand to the rest of the continent soon thereafter (neighbouring East Africa, South Africa and Ghana are high on our list of countries to expand to).

When making loans or investments in the companies, whether directly through our funds, or on behalf of the investors on our platform, we will typically need to work with local banking partners to issue, administer and document the loans.

The plan is to provide these partner banks 100% of the underlying capital to fund the investments/loans, and to rely on the banks' infrastructure to actually issue the loan on our behalf, and administer it.

We are targeting a launch date of May 1 for the "Beta site" of MyC4 which will operate in a controlled environment and expect to "go live" to the general public end this year - we are in close contact with major Danish pension funds and expect to launch the first two funds in 3rd quarter of 2007.

Special Thanks to Annelise and Tim of C4-World for providing me with this breaking news from Uganda, by way of Denmark.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Announcements...Blogger Invititations...

Do you know anyone who is passionate about small enterprise in Africa and likes to write? If you do please pass on the word that The Benin Epilogue could use a few good bloggers to come on as contributors. You may notify me at beninmwangi at

Additionally, from time to time you may be seeing posts coming up under a press announcement label here on The Benin Epilogue, this is a free service that I have extended to small enterprises that do business in or with African countries and its just my little way of helping in the community. If you are or know of someone who could benefit from this please email me at beninmwangi at

Thats all for now, until the next post, have a great week!!

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Missed You!

Hi All, It has been two days since I last posted anything here, but to me it felt like an eternity. I got a chance to take a break and spend some much needed time with family and I'm feeling totally rejuvenated.

Unfortunately, the Media Industry in Africa Short Series will have to be extended a little bit into the middle of the week. Afterwards, we will follow it up with a few of my own ramblings regarding my past, present, and future as relating to African enterprise. Thanks for your patience and hopefully we should be up and running at full speed again in no time!

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Media Industry in Africa: Short Series

What are your thoughts on the impact of Africa's media industry upon African businesses and communities? To me this is probably one of the most diverse areas of business in Africa, where you have large numbers of organizations that operate for purely social reasons, while many others who do solely to fulfill advertiser demands. My hunch is that this industry has been transforming Africa, both in business and in socio-economic reform, so my aim in this series will be to try and get a feel as to whether this is a close assessment. Since each aspect of media is important our primary aim here will be to bring you closer to the movers and shakers in Africa's various media sectors-both social and free enterprise oriented. Before we jump in head first, if you have any suggestions as to what you'd like to see in this short series please feel free let me know.

Otherwise, kick back and enjoy the ride!

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nigeria Boosting Entrepreneurship?

Thanks to my fellow Africa blogger Black River Eagle (who just had a very insightful piece on Black History month in Europe, by the way) for alerting me on this article , we bring you some very exciting news coming from Naijaland courtesy of Knowledge@Wharton and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The audio link that follows is a podcast from a conversation between Peter Bamkole, General Manager, Enterprise Development Services at Lagos Business School and two journalists from Knowledge@Wharton. There is also a link provided for the written form of the interview at the bottom of this post.

Just to briefly summarize contents of this podcast, what it describes is a multi-fold approach to making the Nigerian economy one of the world's most competitive developing economies by the year 2020. Mr. Bamkole covers some proposed changes to Nigeria's educational system to prepare every university student for entrepreneurship irrespective of college major, the fight against corruption, and how the Nigerian government is beginning to move towards doing more to foster the growth of their newfound sweetheart-the Nollywood cinema industry(the world's 3rd fastest entertainment industry).
It to me sounds like Nigeria has a very realistic plan.

The audio link is below:


What this news story invoked in me was a reinforcement of my prior beliefs that against the backdrop of so much that we hear about Nigeria, the country has been quietly making strides in the area of entrepreneurship and small business friendly legislation. What it boils down to is that Nigeria is making itself more attractive to outside investors and more conducive to organic growth through local entrepreneurship-this has the potential of becoming huge! It is also very interesting to note that throughout much of West Africa Nigerian businesses have been reaching out their arms into new markets. Thus, the strengthening of Nigeria's entrepreneur base, through targeted education and support, has the potential to also benefit populations through out West Africa.

Those are my thoughts, at least-but what do you think? Don't be shy please feel free to share your thoughts.

This is the Knowlege@Wharton link, from which both the podcast and written interview can be found.

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