Saturday, June 23, 2007

Zambia's President Authors Piece on Trade and Aid

I really enjoyed writing this post about Zambia's President, who recently authored an opinion piece in The Africa Report about infrastructure, China, trade, and aid. I really hope that you enjoy it too!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Press Release

From Frederic Tape:

Richmond Va,June 12, 2007- Enrique Pierre’s first collection is on display.

Enrique Pierre clothing collection has officially been made available to the customers a few days ago. The customer, that understands and appreciates apparel that cleverly combined simplicity with fashion flair,will certainly include this southern line to their list of most preferred lines.

The Richmond's company has now the chance to share its message of love,love and more love with its customers and passerbys that would see the T-shirt worn by early adopters of the fashion line. It would an understatement not to say that love is at the center of what Enrique Pierre Clothing is about. Love for our creation, our customers and the joy we may provide through the statements written on our products are what is guiding the company.

The following statement summarizes oh very well our philosophy:"The Lollipop in the middle of the name represents all women of the World. There’s nothing sweeter than a woman!!! When God created woman he created the backbone of society. Women endure so much in their lives and still maintain their strength and beauty. We have lots of respect for women and these designs are the many ways we just want to say, “Thank You.” Thank You for No Monkey Business (Keeping It real), Thank You for Listening 2 Your Heart, Thank You for Just Loving no matter what, Thank You for Seeing Clearly through cloudy conditions, Thank you for your Strength and Beauty, Thank you for staying sweet, Thank you for Keeping Your Heart Clean,

Thank You for Speaking a Language That The World Can Understand (Love). The foundation of Enrique Pierre is love; this is where our designs come from. This is what society says is weakness when it’s displayed. We say differently; love is what got us here and love is what’s going to keep us here. We love the fact that we are making quality clothing at affordable prices but we love even more the impact of our designs. When you purchase any item from Enrique Pierre you are making a statement to us, and to the world, for Change. Together we can flood the World with images that will impact lives everyday in a positive way. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for being a vital part of the movement. We can do more together than we can apart. Thank you for being a World changer. God Bless You All."

Visit the official site of the company at,to find out the different designs offered for the launch of this clothing company.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Discussion is Here to Stay-Angel Africa on Trade vs Aid

Hi, I just wanted to highlight a very beautiful discussion that I witnessed and participated on recently. The discussion took place on Angel Africa. It all seemed to start when Emeka Okafor of Timbuktu Chronicles commented about TED. From there, Amini Kajunju, the director of Angel Africa chimed in with her thoughts on why trade is so relevant in Africa right now and from there the conversation got quite interesting. Hopefully, they don't mind me doing this but I will post part of the conversation below.


For a taste of where the Aid debate is going take a look at the Andrew
Mwenda vs Bono encounter at the recently concluded TED Global event :

On the first day of the conference, the discussion between Andrew
Mwenda and Bono electrified the audience and those following the conference via
blogs.Here's what bloggers both inside and outside the conference had to

Felix Salmon's Market Movers blog for gives an

... the conference kicked off with[William] Easterly-by- proxy Andrew
Mwenda. Ethan Zuckerman was there tohear Mwenda run down the standard Easterly
talking points –- but at TEDconferences, the points have a way of talking back.
And when Mwendachallenged the audience to name a country where aid had led
todevelopment, Bono, of all people, stood up and named Ireland, in thedays of
the potato famine.
Bono was scheduled to speak [in Session] Two, and he
devoted his time not to his own ideas but to rebutting Mwenda's. ...

And a report on the confrontation as it went down comes from fifthculture:

Andrew Mwenda [is] a journalist and socialcritic (read troublemaker –
my kind of guy), and passionate speaker.... [A]ccording to Andrew, all of us
bleeding hearts from richcountries are doing the absolute wrong thing by giving
aid to Africancountries. Andrew asked "has anyone in this room benefited or had
arelative who benefited from aid?" A surprise answer came from Bono (allI could
make out of the comment was "bullocks," but Bono would elaborate a little
later). Liz Dolan from the Huffington Post reports in

Addressing the growing feeling that debtrelief will not get African
nations nearly as far as western directinvestment, Bono said "You'd think
somebody farted in here when thewords 'debt relief' came up -- ooh, that's so
uncool. Well, I will tellyou that 20 million children in Africa are going to
school today as adirect result of debt relief, 3 million right here in Tanzania
David McQueen reports on the talks and the

... Talking to a number of peopleafterwards there were many mixed
messages. Most believed that tradeshould be the primary focus but with incumbent
governments still verydependent on aid that the focus should change. Personally
I lean moreto the position of Mwenda. Here is a man looking at the situation
fromthe ground, and with possible prison sentences hanging over him fromhis
native Uganda. OK he may not have all the solutions but his disdainfor people
looking down at Africa trying to solve issues from theoutside in definitely
resonated with me and many others.

Ecorica-Blog offers some more background on
Andrew Mwenda's analysis:
One important remark: He admits that aid can bring
humanitarian relief and can save lives, but he does not believe in the idea that
aid can support long-term development of asociety.

Live-blogging hero Ethan Zuckerman writes at length about both Mwenda's and Bono's talks. (The title of this blog post is borrowed from his
indispensable blog.) White African also offers a good look at the talks, as does Ramon Thomas.

Technorati tags: Africa, Andrew Mwenda, Bono, TEDGlobal, TEDGlobal2007 ..."

From Nvalaye Kourouma:

Folowing up on Emeka's email, this an article that further expand on what
Afirica really needs. I believe entrepreneurship and business is what is
needed adn any aid has to be directed towards creating the right environment for
business to serve people. Any thought?
____________ _________ _________
_________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________
_________ _________ _______
What Does Africa Need Most: Technology or Aid?

By JASON PONTIN for New York Times

I AM just back from Tanzania in East Africa.

"...Very poor farmers and their children stared curiously at me as I

In the afternoons, I attended the TEDGlobal 2007 conference, held by the
Technology, Entertainment and Design organization in the modern Ngurdoto
Mountain Lodge. The contrast between the two experiences troubled me.

TED conferences, mostly held in Monterey, Calif., are invitation-only
affairs, are attended by the aristocracy of Silicon Valley and are known for
their adventurousness in drawing together wildly disparate trends in technology,
business and the arts.

On this occasion, Bono, the Irish rock star and champion of African
causes, had persuaded the conference's organizer, Chris Anderson, to invite the
usual crowd, as well as African entrepreneurs, activists, health care
professionals and artists to this tropical, leafy region midway between the
Serengeti Plain and Mount Kilimanjaro.

But beyond this Panglossian message, however much a corrective to the
common images of African misery and however flattering to the pride of TED's
African attendees, was something that everyone at the conference knew (and which
I saw every morning on my runs). Whether measured by per capita income or by the
gross domestic product of its nations, Africa is the poorest place on earth. The
question that the conference was really exploring was this: How can we make
every African family richer?

At TED Global 2007, I witnessed one small skirmish in a larger ideological
conflict between those who believe that Africa needs more and better
international aid, and those who think entrepreneurialism and technology will
lift the continent out of poverty and thus reduce its miseries.

Predictably, TED's attendees and speakers were spellbound by technology and
entrepreneurialism and, at the same time, distrustful of international aid.
"What man has ever become rich by holding out a begging bowl?" asked Andrew
Mwenda, an Ugandan journalist and social worker, now a research fellow at
Stanford in California.
Mr. Mwenda argued that $500 billion in international
aid over 50 years had achieved nothing in Africa and that the persistence of
African poverty could be explained, in part, by aid. Charity, he said, had
"distorted the incentive structure" and had persuaded the brightest Africans to
work for corrupt governments. He called upon African entrepreneurs to build
African businesses and the American investors in TED's audience to finance them.

Echoing Mr. Mwenda, Russell Southwood, the publisher of Balancing Act, a
newsletter about technology in Africa, implored African entrepreneurs and
Western business leaders to "invest in shortages." Africa, he said, could
"leapfrog" the industrial technologies that Westerners use and build truly
21st-century technology systems and networks.
As an example, Mr. Southwood
pointed to a near absence of telephone landlines in sub-Saharan Africa; cellular
networks for mobile phones could quickly bring modern communications to hundreds
of millions of Africans.

At least one of the African attendees of the conference was representative
of the kind of technological entrepreneurialism that the show advocated.

Alieu Conteh, the chairman of Vodacom Congo, was born in Gambia, in West
Africa, 55 years ago and moved to Congo in 1981. For years, he was a successful
coffee buyer and exporter.
Congo is about the size of Western Europe and has
an estimated population of 65 million people. It is one of the least-developed
nations in the world, with less than 300 miles of roads, most of them in poor

MR. CONTEH is building a telecommunications network where none existed
before. With 600 employees and 5,000 contractors, Vodacom Congo is one of his
country's biggest employers. If he realizes his ambition to create a stock
market and offer shares in his company, he will have created new wealth. But the
tale of Vodacom Congo also illustrates the difficulties of creating new
businesses in Africa and the limits of entrepreneurialism as an alternative to
international aid.

Mr. Conteh accepted risks that few businesses would, and for many years he
found it impossible to attract more than a few eccentric investors. More
significant, it has taken Mr. Conteh more than a decade to provide
telecommunications to less than 10 percent of the country. While the existence
of Vodacom Congo may one day help build other businesses, the country's general
poverty is not alleviated by the existence of the company.

In truth, Africa will need both investment in entrepreneurialism and aid,
intelligently directed toward education, health and food..."

And from Amini Kajunju:

"...Africa needs entrepreneurs like the men who started Vodacom or Celtel.
It does not need aid. We need investors. Here is the truth of the matter as Mr.
Mwenda said:

Mr. Mwenda argued that $500 billion in international
aid over 50 years had achieved nothing in Africa and that the persistence of
African poverty could be explained, in part, by aid. Charity, he said, had
"distorted the incentive structure" and had persuaded the brightest Africans to
work for corrupt governments. He called upon African entrepreneurs to build
African businesses and the American investors in TED's audience to finance

Frankly, if it was up to me, I would put a 30 year moratorium on
aid to Africa. I would create a world where African goverments only accept "free
trade" and investors. No AID. No Bono..."

And here is a section of my comments:

"...Thinking further let me say that Pontin's argument pre-supposes that it
almost sounds as if Mr. Pontin thinks that all 900 million plus on the African
continent face poverty. Of course we know this to be grossly inaccurate.
Furthermore, by default hisargument seems to lump all of Africa's poverty into
thecategory of being situational (resulting from one-timecatastrophies) , again
we know this to be untrue aswell. In fact, though I dont have figures I would
probably say that this would probably account for less than 15 percent of the
poverty that he talks about. So Mwenda and Ayittey do have a very solid argument
then, but it is only that I have not heard them address the types of poverty
resulting from natural or human disaster.

However in the vast majority of cases on the African continent where
communities seek to reduce or eliminate poverty, there is a strategy that is
being tested by organizations like Technoserve, which I think will help

Also, for the record I believe that trade and investment on the African continent will continue to be the driving force for reducing the income gap between some of the continent's lower producers and some of the world's middle and upper income nations. However, in when it comes to tackling humanitarian issues aid makes more sense. I will say that the number of disasters on the continent is smaller than the media will have you think. Thus, more trade than smart aid is needed.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kenya-Libya ties need more than oiling

A new baby has been born in Africa and is changing the way Business is being done in Kenya, the baby is Known as Smartbiz Africa can be reached through

I extracted some of the information in the editorial to give you a lead but you can read more Kenya

"Apart from trading blocs, the other way of increasing trade among countries is through bilateral ties. Each African Union member belongs to at least a trading bloc or a grouping that seeks to promote cross-border exchange of goods and services. Many such outfits always have problems and bilateral ties have in the past come in handy to save collapsing blocs.

A good example is the East African Community, which collapsed in 1977 but was revived in the late 1990’s after bilateral ties between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda solidified, making its leaders to see the sense of working as one. This is the context in which we see the new-found love between Kenya and Libya.

This is a good development. While Libya has had a fair share of international relations problems with the West, such as the 1987 Lockerbie bombing that locked it in a drawn-out spat with the US for years, working with other African countries to boost trade is the best thing that a country with high oil resources can do.

Kenya appears to be among the countries set to benefit from trade with Libya, which could provide a new market for its tea and coffee and cushion it from the volatile international markets and retaliatory partners like Pakistan. The latter always threatens Kenya with freezing tea imports if it imposes restrictions on its rice, as it did in early 2005 when the East African Community Customs Union came into force.

This nascent relationship with Libya should be nurtured to maturity, as the north African country has promised to boost investments in East Africa’s oil industry, through Tamoil Africa. Already, reports indicate that the oil company has won a $300 million (Kshs21 billion) tender to upgrade the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Ltd, which supplies Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with refined oil products - barely a week after Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki held talks with Muammar Kadaffi in Tripoli.

Tamoil has been increasing its presence in East Africa through acquisition of ExxonMobil’s service stations as well as supply distribution facilities. With such determination, Kenya is right to lure Tripoli to its side, as this could guarantee cheaper oil and thus reduce energy costs for producers.

Africa has substantial oil reserves, with Nigeria producing nearly 4 per cent of global supplies. Exploration efforts are ongoing in other African countries and the prospects look great. Collaboration between the oil producers and non-producers will help the continent move forward and have a bigger say in world economic matters."

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Developing Story: Explosion in Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya
Monday June 11 2007

There has been an explosion today in Nairobi in what is suspected to be a suicide bomber attack. Apparently, this was carried out by a man carrying explosives in a bag along the city's Moi Avenue (which is near a very busy commuter bus stop and two major international Hotels - Ambasadeur Hotel and Hilton Hotel Nairobi)
Only one person has been confirmed dead at the moment but sources at the scene say that there may be more than 10 casualties.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the suicide bomber timer settings were wrong and that the bomb exploded prematurely. All possible scenarios based on the location and the timing of the explotion suggest several targets most likely the city's transport vehicles branded CITY HOPPA. The man may have been headed to board one of the buses but did not succeed as the bomb exploded before he reached the target. The area has been sealed off for more investigation.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Kenya, Amplifyng the Trade Vs Aid Discussion

As the TED 2007 conference becomes a new chapter in Africa's history books, one issue will continue to be brought up in the media. That is the issue of trade versus aid. To me no story displays the chasm that has occurred between the two supporting camps like the two examples that I am about to highlight for you. I don't know if it's a coincidence or what...but two of the most recognizable text-book cases for each theory come from rural Kenya.

So first let us look at the evidence for supporting trade as a means of poverty reduction. For that we shall go to the small town of Ndaragwa in Central Kenya.

Here's the story as Technoserve recalls it:

"...Before 2001, business activity in the town of Ndaragwa had virtually ceased. The 10 small stands and one hardware store that lined the street of this small town in Central Kenya were generating barely enough income to survive. Local residents depended on small, one- to three-acre dairy farms to earn a living. Isolated by dilapidated roads in this dry, mountainous region, the farmers had no option but to sell their milk to traveling middlemen who notoriously underpaid them. Frustrated by their situation, a group of over 2,000 farmers founded the Nyala Dairy Multipurpose Cooperative Society.

The Nyala farmers' dream was to construct their own cooling plant so they could sell their milk directly to Kenya's large dairy processors and avoid middlemen. They turned to TechnoServe for help. In order to raise funds for the plant's construction and new equipment, TechnoServe helped the Cooperative to create a farmer-owned business. Nyala's 2,700 members became dairy shareholders by contributing $28 each -- not an easy task in a country where over 58% of the population earn less than a dollar a day. But with this structure in place, financing was secured and in 2002, the plant was completed. On the first day of operation, 3,000 litres of milk were collected.

With TechnoServe's guidance, Nyala Dairy's collection has since quadrupled to 12,000 liters per day supplied by 2,100 small-scale farmers. The largest milk processor in Kenya, Brookeside Dairy Ltd., is now purchasing Nyala's milk, and because Nyala Dairy is a reliable, high-quality supplier, it can pass along higher prices to its smallholder farmers. Recently, Nyala paid $86,258 to rural producers -- the highest monthly payment since its founding. The Dairy also provides a store that offers affordable cattle feed, veterinary drugs, and credit for its members.

In three short years, the Dairy has already increased incomes for thousands of poor farmers, but what it has done for the town of Ndaragwa is truly extraordinary. Nyala Dairy has created a standard of living that none of the farmers ever dreamed possible..."

Now in comparison with Ndaragwa is another rural community in Kenya called Sauri. Sauri is perhaps the most unique village in Africa.

I'll let Sam Rich and The Wilson Quarterly do the honors and explain why Sauri just might be Africa's dream village:

"...Sauri must be the luckiest village in Africa. The maize is taller, the water cleaner, and the schoolchildren better fed than almost anywhere else south of the ­Sahara.

Just two years ago, Sauri was an ordinary Kenyan village where poverty, hunger, and illness were facts of everyday life. Now it is an experiment, a prototype “Millennium Village.” The idea is simple: Every year for five years, invest roughly $100 for each of the village’s 5,000 inhabitants, and see what ­happens.

The Millennium Villages Project is the brainchild of economist Jeffrey Sachs, the principal architect of the transition from ­state-­owned to market economies in Poland and Russia. His critics and supporters disagree about the success of those efforts, often referred to as “shock therapy,” but his role in radical economic reform in the two countries vaulted him to fame. Now he has a new mission: to end poverty in ­Africa...

It’s not this diagnosis of Africa’s problems that makes Sachs’s theories contentious, but his proposed solution, which might be called shock ­aid—­huge, sudden injections of money into poor areas. Over five years, $2.75 million is being invested in the single village of Sauri, and an equal amount will be sunk into each of another 11 Millennium Village sites that are being established in 10 African ­countries...

Sachs has persuaded Western governments, local governments, businesses, and private donors such as Hollywood stars and international financiers to foot the bill. Under the auspices of the Earth Institute, the project he heads at Columbia University, he has gathered specialists in fields from HIV/AIDS re­search to soil science to work out master plans for these dozen ­villages...

But economists aren’t Sachs’s only critics; others within the micro school he wants to win over are asking questions, too. They want to make sure communities such as Sauri are not simply passive recipients of handouts from donors and lectures from experts, but are actively involved in making decisions about their own development...

Sauri faces the same economic challenges it always has. Most farmers are still growing subsistence crops and depleting their soils. They could instead be growing crops for market or investing in livestock. ­Low-­cost improvements in farming techniques, such as the use of manure and other organic methods that are more sustainable in the long run, are only beginning to be promoted. Growth will be slow because taxation, bad roads, and a lack of electricity need to be addressed at a national ­level..."

Now of course, these aren't the only two forms of aid and trade initiatives going on in Sub-Saharan Africa, however they seemed to illustrate why supporters of both trade and aid in Africa are so hopeful about their respective tool kits. But what do you think, is there enough evidence for you to conclude one strategy works better than the other at reducing the poverty gap in some of Sub Saharan Africa's rural communities?

Thanks Osize for your contribution to this discussion!

photo courtesy of Alison M. Jones Photo Gallery


Friday, June 08, 2007

Link On TED Global

I wrote a post about Africa Bloggers and TED Global on

Please let me know what you think about it...

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Monday, June 04, 2007

June 6, 2007 Conversations from

This sort of my attempt to keep this blog going and to see if we can give Africa Ready for Business an independent identity. Almost every week as a result of my work with there are numerous conversations that spring forth ( they normally pertain to business, entrepreneurship, and or Africa. The conversations may usually be found in the comments section of

This is a way of keeping the conversations going and showing my gratitude...

And these are this weeks participants:

Rich McIver

How To: Bootstrap It (27 Tips)

Hey You Entrepreneurs It Starts like this:

"...There are many different ways that you can start a business without burying
yourself under a mountain of debt, paying sky high interest rates on business
loans or handing over stake and ownership to venture capitalists or other
investors.You have to have money to make money.

Whether you are able to use money that you have saved in the past or you
need to rack up a temporary balance on your credit cards, there are plenty of
places to find money. You just need to figure out which method best suits the
needs of your business.

1. Personal Savings: This is the place to start when it comes to
bootstrapping a business. Dip into your personal account and fund your business
from money that you have saved. There may not be enough for this to be the sole
form of financing but, if there is enough, you won’t have to worry about any
debt or interest rates on loans.

2. Friends and Family: Ask your family and friends if they have any extra
money that they would like to invest. Agree on a payment plan, with interest,
and offer them future stake in the business if it turns out to be a

Africa Liz:


You've got to the pictures on Liz's site...

"...Mozambique is the world's 36th-largest country.

Mozambique's first inhabitants were San hunter and gatherers, ancestors of
the Khoi san peoples. Bantu-speaking peoples, who were predominantly iron
workers and farmers, began migrating into the area now known as Mozambique from the distant Niger Delta. Soon, scattered kingdoms began to arise, including
those of the Shona, which extended from present-day Zimbabwe into Mozambique,
and the legendary kingdom of Monomotapa, southwest of present-day Tete.
Meanwhile, from around the 8th century AD, sailors from Arabia began to arrive
along the coast.

Economic reform has been extensive. More than 1,200 state-owned enterprises (mostly small) have been privatized. Preparations for privatization and sector
liberalization are underway for the remaining parastatals, including
telecommunications, electricity, ports, and railroads. The government frequently
selects a strategic foreign investor when privatizing a parastatal.
Additionally, customs duties have been reduced, and customs management has been
streamlined and reformed. In 2006 Mozambique exported U.S. $2.43 billion worth
of goods and imported U.S. $2.82 billion worth of goods. Support programs
provided by foreign donors and private financing of foreign direct investment
mega-projects and their associated raw materials have largely compensated for
balance-of-payment shortfalls.

The nation's latest big investment project is a hi-tech $1.2bn ($660m) gas
plant, situated in the middle of bushland in the south of the country. The
project is owned and run by the South African energy company Sasol.The
government has privatised the port and boasts of its ability to attract big
foreign investors, such as Sosol and BHP Billington, which has built a $2bn
aluminium plant just across the bay. Mozambique has been classified as one of
the major destinations for investment in Africa.

The twin pillars of Mozambique's foreign policy are maintenance of good
relations with its neighbors and maintenance and expansion of ties to
development partners..."

Nico Liebenberg

Executive coaching enhances quality of life

From an executive coach:

"...Executive coaching is a common leadership development practice among
business leaders all over the world.

Coaching can be defined as “an ongoing relationship that helps clients
produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Through the
process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance
and enhance overall quality of life..."

So this concludes this edition. Hope to hear from you again!

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Press Release-Don't Miss Africa's SMME Awards

By way of David S. Fick*





In line with the NEPAD’s drive to support and profile the role that SMMEs play in promoting economic growth and job creation, the Africagrowth Academy in partnership with NORSAD AGENCY, MOMENTUM FUNDSATWORK, SEDA, and Xstrata SA and other enterprise support agencies will be organising the 2007 Africa SMME Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony on the 25th of October 2007, at the Crown Reef Convention Centre, Gold Reef City Hotel, Ormonde, Johannesburg, South Africa. The Conference and Awards ceremony will be aimed at presenting latest trends in SMME development in the continent and recognising and presenting awards to successful SMMEs by sector. The main aim is to support and showcase Africa’s finest entrepreneurial achievements in the SMMEs sector were the winners of each category will be announced at a gala dinner the evening of the 25th of October 2007.


Your small, medium or micro enterprise (SMME) may be recognised as the Africa SMME of the Year.

If your business has grown in a responsible and sustainable manner over the last few years and is furthermore contributing to the African and local economy, we feel you need recognition.

Businesses from all sectors, with a turnover ranging between R40 000 and R10 million, may compete for this awards and the ultimate honour will be to achieve the overall award for the SMME of the Year. There will be extensive media coverage and business exposure as well as prize money of R15 000, R20 000 & R25 000 for 3rd, 2nd & 1st place and R30 000 for the overall winner.

Winners will take the spotlight at a gala awards evening in Johannesburg on the 25th of October 2007.

Enter now for this very exciting competition and your company might be the 2007 AFRICA SMME of the year.

Closing date for entries: 30 June 2007

Dina Potgieter
Africagrowth Research
PO Box 3628, Tygervalley, South Africa, 7536
Tel: (021) 946 1791
Fax: (021) 946 1652

*This communication is from David S. Fick, author of books concerning successful entrepreneurs creating jobs in all 53 countries of Africa and improving the quality of life in their African communities.

The majority of 2003, 2004, and 2005 Africa SMME Awards winners and finalists are featured in the book Africa: Continent of Economic Opportunity Africa: Continent of Economic OpportunitySTE Publishers, Johannesburg, South Africa, November 2006, Please visit Website: for description and availablitity in Africa and Europe.

For immediate availablity in the United States, please contact the author David Fick. EMail: and Fick will immediately ship at $50 per book, shipping included within the United States. Proceeds from sales from author's 246 book inventory are allocated 100% to support Doctors without Borders' medical relief projects in Africa.

African Entrepreneurs in the 21st CenturyBeing researched for 2008 publication.
Please suggest to the author David Fick, EMail: successful entrepreneurs to feature in this book. The majority of 2006 and 2007 Africa SMME Awards winners and finalists will be featured in this book. As with my first and second books, in recognition of everyone's support author's royalties (percentage of print runs) due to me from sales of the third book will also go to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to support their medical relief projects in Africa.

Entrepreneurship in Africa, A Study of SuccessesQuorum Books, March 2002
Please visit

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Trade Versus Aid in Africa, Who Wins?

"Trade Versus Aid in Africa, Who Wins?

Posted by beninmwangi on June 4th, 2007

It seemed like the time was right for me to pen this post about trade -vs- aid. This is a discussion that has a tremendous amount of relevance in Sub Saharan Africa. But it is also relevant in other parts of the world where developing economies are predominate.

Now of course the concept of nations climbing out of the low income status by trade is not a new one. In fact the concept has been around for nearly four centuries and was made popular by Adam Smith. He posited that national national wealth creation comes by way of nations playing to their natural and practical strengths therby producing the items that other nations demand.

So then “what’s the big deal?” some may ask. In other words if it has already been established so long ago that sustaining an economy through production, as opposed to aid, is desirable then we probably shouldn’t be needing this conversation. But we do need it."

Read the rest at Trade Versus Aid in Africa, Who Wins? «


Friday, June 01, 2007

African Path Interview Illustrates Kenya's Competitive Advantage

For those of you who have not yet had a chance to read this interview, I highly recommend that you do it. The interview is between Joshua Wanyama, Editor of African Path and Keith Steel, owner of apparel maker Sandstorm Kenya.

What I enjoyed about the interview is that it may have pointed out where Kenya’s competitive advantage lies amongst her global competitors.
Here is an excerpt:

“…Around 95% of all bag and accessories manufacturing comes from China,” Keith says. “We are proud of the fact that everything that goes into our bags are from Kenya. We support Kenya, the Kenyan heritage and its people. The whole operation in Kenya is run and operated by Simon Mwangi, our very strong and able manager. All our employees are Kenyans. This is a commitment that we will continually uphold as we grow Sandstorm.”

“Sandstorm in no ordinary Kenyan company and neither is its owner Keith Steel. The rich heritage that the company embodies is a direct reflection of Keith. While Sandstorm is a relatively young company, Keith has managed to create a mature brand that conjures a romantic image of Africa. That of Indiana Jones battling through tough terrain while on safari seeking to conquer new lands. Wading through rivers in the jungle or crawling through the African bush. Keith says, “We are a safari-lifestyle brand and people expect the highest quality on our products. This shouldn’t be confused with luxury. Our customers are those with active lifestyles seeking lasting quality. They love the outdoors, care for the environment and appreciate authentic products.”

Keith has a great love of Africa since his childhood in Kenya. He loves nature and the abundant wildlife in Africa. His love has extended to nature conservation. Sandstorm has developed a relationship with Lewa Wildlife Conservancy located on the Laikipia Plains in Northern Kenya. The conservancy aims to conserve wildlife, educate people, work with local and international governments and change people’s attitudes towards development. Sandstorm donates a portion of every bag sold to Lewa…”

Read the rest here and get Benin Mwangi's take on how this illustrates Kenya's and possibly the rest of Africa's competitive advantage.

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