Monthly Archives: November 2016

Namibia comes out top of all African countries featured in Global Entrepreneurship Index Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa fall closely behind

The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index of 85 countries ranks Singapore as the best environment for entrepreneurs

Of the African nations, Namibia scores highest and comes 42nd overall – ahead of other prominent African markets, such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

The research, conducted by Mara Foundation and Opinium Research, examines the state of entrepreneurship around the world. Inaugural index features special ‘Focus on Africa’ section, with a deeper look at ‘women in the workplace’ and ‘youth unemployment’

Singapore has topped an in-depth study of the world’s nations as offering the best environment for entrepreneurs, according to an Index developed by Mara Foundation ( and Opinium Research.

Download the full report:

The inaugural Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index measures entrepreneurial environments around the world and assesses each of its 85 countries against a set of criteria that spans policy, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurial environment and finance.

Top scoring African nations by pillar:

Of the African nations, Namibia ranks 42nd overall, Rwanda ranks 43rd, Botswana ranks 44th and South Africa ranks 46th – all of which perform well on the ‘Policy’ pillar but have some way to go to improve on their infrastructure and education in particular.

Of the top three African countries in the Index, Namibia and Botswana are stronger on the education pillar because of comparatively higher levels of literacy and quality in education. Both countries have made education central to their development.

Rwanda scores highly on the Policy and Finance Pillars driven by government initiatives to increase the ease of doing business. Credit is easily available and business transparency is high.
Zambia scores particularly well on the Finance Pillar (72). Primarily because of the availability of credit and a low total tax rate.

Zambia, South Africa and Rwanda, the top 3 countries in Africa on the Finance pillar, stand head and shoulders above their peers, with scores of 72, 66 and 65 respectively. This places Zambia in the top 10 of all countries globally on the Finance Pillar, just behind the USA (78).

Significant challenges exist in terms of Africa’s political stability, underdeveloped infrastructure, poor education and under-diversified economies. Comparatively lower scores for infrastructure are primarily driven by a lack of electrical access and the technology that comes with reliable access to energy, such as telecommunications and internet access.

Lower scores for education are due to the overall quality of education and lower literacy rates. Boosting opportunities for a quality education is imperative for increasing the region’s quality of entrepreneurs and start-ups and providing a suitable workforce.

While much of Western Europe does well overall in the Index, Greece and Spain rank relatively low (34th and 50th respectively). Both nations are continuing to reel from the after-effects of the financial crisis, which have been exacerbated by poor levels of entrepreneurial opportunities.

Rona Kotecha, Executive Director, Mara Foundation said: The Ashish J. Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index offers a powerful insight into various elements that impact entrepreneurship globally. Whilst Mara Mentor enables and empowers entrepreneurs, the Index and its 20 policy recommendations are designed to provide a starting point for changes that can be implemented to create more effective entrepreneurial environments. This, in turn, will lead to job creation and a positive impact on economies around the world.”

The Ashish J Thakkar Global Entrepreneurship Index 2016 is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur, Ashish J Thakkar, who started his first business at the age of 15. The Index is a Mara Foundation initiative that has been developed with support from independent research consultancy, Opinium, to create a wide-ranging and thorough analysis of the state of entrepreneurship globally.

Ashish J Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group & Mara Foundation said: “Through the work of Mara Group over the past 20 years, I have come to recognise the immense contribution that entrepreneurs make to economies and societies around the world – particularly in relation to job creation. In recent years, however, it has become more and more apparent that governments and the private sector are simply not doing enough to support entrepreneurs in their endeavours. With the creation of this Index, we hope to provide some solid policy recommendations that will help guide discussions and improve entrepreneurial environments globally.”

President Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank said: “I commend Ashish J. Thakkar and the Mara Foundation for creating this timely index. It provides useful insights on how Africa can unlock the potential of its youth and boost entrepreneurship. As populations are aging rapidly in much of the rest of the world, Africa can reap the economic dividends of its growing labor force. Africa is poised to become the next center for entrepreneurship, but we must provide Africa’s youth with the required skills and create an environment that will enable them to become the business leaders of tomorrow.”

Mo Ibrahim, Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: “Entrepreneurs are a great engine for development. In Africa, you need to encourage and create the right environment for their success. I really wish to congratulate The Mara Foundation for developing its important index which is a useful tool for all of us.”

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder said: “The Mara Foundation has done some great work supporting entrepreneurs all over the world. I’m delighted to see their new entrepreneurship index that will help identify opportunities for business, not-for-profits and Government to work together to create the right environment for entrepreneurs to thrive and to create jobs.”

Customer Satisfaction is More Important Than Ever During the Festive Season

The end of year festive season is almost upon us and for many businesses, especially those in the retail sector, this means the start of the peak activity period. In order to realize revenue targets, as well as offer a shopping experience that attracts a loyal following, it is imperative that retailers, both traditional and online, are properly geared for the expected upsurge in sales that is synonymous with the ‘silly season’.

This is according to Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (, who points to the findings in a 2016 study by McKinsey & Company, which indicates that shoppers in the African market are developing and demanding more creative, engaging and integrated shopping experiences from brands. “Multi-channel access points and reliable digital platforms are increasing in importance as consumers continue to look for products that are value for money. Companies must give consumers solid reasons to choose their product or store over alternatives,” he says.

Shoppers based in Africa shop across a number of channels and respondents claimed to have shifted a considerable amount of their spending toward modern retailers and away from the small independent retailers.

During the festive season, a company’s top priority is to make sure that its platforms are effectively managed and prepared to deal with an increased influx of customers. This period is also a highly competitive time for retailers and Heymans comments that supply chain management strategies are critical.

“Retailers need to ensure their supply chain is agile enough to handle the volume spike. To maximize profitability, retailers need quick, smart and cost-effective methods to fulfill orders timeously and accurately across multiple sales channels. Additionally, effective reverse logistics processes are also essential for managing returns to ensure a smooth, hassle-free customer experience. As e-tailers often extend or introduce free shipping offers over the festive season – it’s important for businesses to understand their shipping costs and processes to mitigate any potential shortfalls. Repeat deliveries stemming from incorrect products or address changes can result in additional shipping costs. Customers should also be reminded of potential duties, taxes and additional costs when importing from a site overseas. Ultimately, it’s all about managing expectations and satisfying the customers’ needs.”

Heymans adds that when problems do arise, it is important for businesses to be ready to resolve them effectively. “Customers with queries or complaints should be able to access various escalation channels easily. Access to senior managers should be clearly defined so that customers do not have the added frustration of trying to track down someone who can’t assist them. At DHL Express, we introduced a best-in-class feature on our website which allows customers access to the whole Senior Management team, through our ‘Straight To The Top (STTT)’ initiative. All STTT queries are logged and reported at a country and regional level; these are effective in helping highlight broader issues and we use root-cause analysis to identify solutions,” Heymans says.

Customer experience is what makes or breaks a business. “We’ve been in Africa for over 38 years, and our team of experienced employees, also known as Certified International Specialists, works hard to keep the customer at the center of everything we do. We have a saying at DHL in Africa, where we ‘take it personally’. The only way you can delight a customer is if you take the time to personally understand what they need, and do everything in your power to deliver it,” concludes Heymans.

“Merck More than a Mother” addresses Infertility Challenges and Solutions in Africa in partnership with International Federation Fertility Societies

“Merck More than a Mother” addresses Infertility Challenges and Solutions in Africa in partnership with International Federation Fertility Societies (IFFS)

The high level panel of ministers, parliamentarians and global fertility experts from IFFS and Africa Fertility Society highlighted lack of access to regulated fertility care and awareness about infertility management and widespread stigma of infertile women as some of the key challenges in Africa
NEW DELHI, India, November 4, 2016/ — Merck (, a leading science and technology company, through “Merck More than a Mother” ( in partnership with the International Federation of Fertility Societies – IFFS conducted a high level panel and addressed infertility challenges and solutions in Africa at the opening ceremony of the World Congress of (IFFS) held in New Delhi, India. The high level panel of ministers, parliamentarians and global fertility experts from IFFS and Africa Fertility Society highlighted lack of access to regulated fertility care and awareness about infertility management and widespread stigma of infertile women as some of the key challenges in Africa.

The panel called for increased efforts to improve access to regulated fertility care through the development of artificial reproductive therapy (ART) laws and regulations and to empower infertile women through access to education and information. They also supported the training of African embryologists and discussed different interventions to remove the infertility stigma and create a culture shift and change of mind set.

The high level panel including Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of Health, Uganda; Hon. Betty Amongi, Uganda’s Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Chair of Uganda Women Parliamentarian Association; Hon. Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender, Liberia; Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya; Dr. Patrick Amoth, Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya; Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, Former President of International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS); Prof. Richard Kennedy, President of IFFS; Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Fertility Society; Dr. James Olobo-Lalobo, Vice-President of Africa Fertility Society, Uganda and Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare supported the implementation of “Merck More than a Mother’s” strategic objectives and interventions across Africa.

“The aim of “Merck More than a Mother” is to empower infertile women in Africa through improving access to education, information and health and change of mind-set and in case they cannot be treated the campaign is empowering them economically and socially through “Empowering Berna” Project so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives,” said Dr. Rasha Kelej, Chief Social Officer, Merck Healthcare.

“In Uganda, between 15-20% of couples fail to conceive. The number of fertility clinics in the country to address this problem are few and expensive. Together with “Merck More than a Mother” in Uganda we are creating awareness that infertility can be prevented and that to improve access, fertility care can be integrated into the already existing public reproductive healthcare services which will be cost effective as the infrastructure is already there. In addition we are building a hospital for Women Health where we will dedicate an IVF center to provide couples with affordable and effective treatment with the support of Merck to train the future staff,” said Hon. Sarah Opendi, the Minister of Health, Uganda.

“In our culture, a woman is always blamed for infertility. She carry’s the shame, embarrassment and tears in private. We need to create awareness by providing information and education on infertility so that both men and women can talk about it. “Merck More than a Mother” campaign has opened discussions on infertility and is talking about solutions and interventions available,” said Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament, Kenya.

At the meeting Merck showed a few videos of African infertile women who shared their stories of suffering due to failing to have children and their transformation after meeting Merck more than a Mother team who helped empower them socially and economically.

Speaking on the need to create a culture shift, Hon. Julia Duncan Cassell, Minister of Gender, Liberia said: “We should look at a woman as more than a mother. It is not always the fault of the woman when there is no child, but in our culture it is. We need to speak out as both men and women can be affected by infertility. Violence and stigma against infertile women should not be tolerated. We need to change our culture, tradition, attitude and mind-set. These can be modified and changed. We hope the “Merck More than a Mother” initiative can be extended to other African countries so that awareness can increase and know that infertility can be caused by many factors and that with the right information it can be prevented.”

“In the African culture, marriage gives a woman the right to property and land. When they don’t bear children they are disinherited and when they go back home there is also nothing for them. Therefore, empowering infertile women economically and socially as “Merck More than a Mother” is doing is important because most of them have nowhere to go. This enables them to sustain themselves and with the information they are given they become change agents in their communities,” said Hon. Betty Amongi, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda.

Prof. Joe Leigh Simpson, President of IFFS supported the need and importance of building fertility care capacity in Africa. “We in high resource countries have an obligation to provide education, service and translate in the shortest period of time the advances that are being made in our labs to middle and low resource countries”.

“IFFS has an important role to support “Merck More than a Mother”. We agree that education is essential and that we will support the education and training initiatives necessary in Africa to develop capacity for infertility treatment,” said Prof. Richard Kennedy, President elect of IFFS.

“In Nigeria people who come into our clinics are afraid because they don’t want people to know they are taking fertility treatment. In most of these cases only women seek treatment for infertility and not the men. People prefer to seek help elsewhere and by the time they come for medical help it is too late. We are happy that “Merck More than a Mother” campaign is being launched in Nigeria and in Africa to create a culture shift that will enable people to seek proper treatment for infertility and that there is respect for womanhood than motherhood,” emphasized Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President Africa Fertility Society.

Dr. Patrick Amoth, Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health Kenya pledged support for the work that “Merck More than a Mother” is doing in Kenya. “The Ministry will play a key role in developing policy and guidelines to implement the ART law to ensure standards and regulations are maintained to protect couples seeking fertility treatment from exploitation,” he emphasized.

Investec and RBC Capital Markets Join the Mining Indaba Investment Discovery Forum

Investing in African Mining Indaba® ( is pleased to announce Investec and RBC Capital Markets as supporters of the 2017 Investment Discovery Forum (IDF) ( This partnership will attract new investors and mining companies as well as provide unique programming that centers around roundtable discussions on current mining trends. With participation from these organisations, the Investment Discovery Forum establishes the building blocks for future growth of the conference, growing investor and mining company participation and focusing on the core of Mining Indaba – investment into African mining.

“We are very excited about the partnership between the Investment Discovery Forum and Investec and RBC Capital Markets,” said Harry Chapman, Director of Content for Mining Indaba. “It demonstrates our commitment to the investment community and our return to the core objective of the event – investing into African mining. The support from these two leading organisations only further establishes our ongoing promise to be the preferred deal making platform for mining in Africa.”

About the Investment Discovery Forum, Investec and RBC

Mining Indaba launched the Investment Discovery Forum in 2014 in response to market demand for a venue for investors and mining companies to meet privately. IDF gives investors and miners the opportunity for the interaction and engagement they seek inside the Mining Indaba. The 2016 IDF tripled in size from the year prior. With the combination of new and popular programming and the broader investor programme, registration has already doubled from this time last year.

RBC Capital Markets is an industry leader in the mining, metals and natural resources sectors and brings global expertise to the programme. Investec is one of South Africa’s leading banks and will bring in key clients from South Africa and globally that influence the mining industry.

Mining Indaba remains the preferred deal-making platform for mining in Africa, bringing together mining corporates who seek investment, investors who want to strike deals in the mining sector, and government ministers who engage both groups to discuss new projects in their countries. Over the past few years Mining Indaba has been evolving to better meet the changing needs of the African mining community.


The Tanzania Investment Forum 2016 will focus on Economic Growth and Investment Opportunities in Tanzania
Learn about the vast investment opportunities, meet key stakeholders, government officials, corporates and investors at TanzInvest

The Tanzania Investment Forum 2016 ( will be held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam on November 16th, 2016. The Forum is part of a series of worldwide events led by CountryFactor, a global investment consulting company.

The event will gather a group of diverse experts and influential speakers to discuss and connect around opportunities in Tanzania in priority areas of investment, such as:

Natural Resources
Petroleum and Mining
Financial Institutions
Agriculture and Livestock Development
Real Estate
Economic Infrastructure
Telecommunications & ICT
Guest of Honour

His Excellency the President of Tanzania, John. P. Magufuli is the Guest of Honour and is invited and expected.

Confirmed Speakers

So far, there are more than 25 confirmed speakers for the event, which include:

Charles John Mwijage, Tanzania Minister of Trade, Industry & Investment
Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania Minister of Energy & Minerals
Dr. Adelhelm Meru, Permanent Secretary, Tanzania Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Investment
Brad Gordon, CEO, Acacia Mining
Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan (Venkat), CEO, AngloGold Ashanti
Clifford Tandari, Executive Director, Tanzania Investment Center
Oystein Michelsen, Country Manager, StatOil Tanzania
Stefan Kratz, Managing Director, Ferrostaal Topsoe
Kapuulya Musomba, Acting Managing Director, TPDC
Diego Gutierrez, CEO, Tigo Tanzania
James Shepherd, Managing Director, Africa Aggreko
Dr. Reginald Mengi, Chairman, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation
Dr. Elena Clarici, Founder & CEO, Micah Group
Kjartan Stigen, Regional Director for East Africa, Norfund
Dr. Nyathahe, Chairman, Confederation of Tanzania Industries
Patrick Rutabanzibwa, Country Chairman, PanAfrican Energy
Carsten Schneider, Executive Project Director, Ferrostaal Industrial Projects
Ben Agyeman, Head of Project Financing, Ferrostaal Topsoe Projects
Essen Ami Mpungwe, Chairman, Tanzania Chamber of Energy & Minerals
Eric Tirabassi, Chief Editor,
Haran Sivam, Principal Investment Officer, IFC Oil & Gas
Gift Shoko, CEO Commercial Bank of Africa
Dr. Charles Kimei, Chairman, Tanzania Bankers Association
Jasmine Montgommery CEO, Seven Brands
Hussein Soufian, Director Corp Affairs Bakhresa Group
Godfrey Simbeye, Executive Secretary, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation
For registration, speaking and sponsorship, complimentary press pass and tickets contact:

Wendy Jones
London, England
WhatsApp Tel : +44 7342 303 800
Tel : +44 7457 124 310

Montage Limited
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel : 0715 003 355 – 065 718 5580
To register visit: Country Factor

Africa Entrepreneurship award selects 37 finalists

The BMCE Group Bank of Africa is now announcing the final Round of the 2nd edition of the African Entrepreneurship Award (, an initiative to support African entrepreneurs by rewarding talent and technology transcending borders.

After 3 Rounds of online mentoring 37 finalists from 22 African countries have been selected for the final phase that will take place during a Bootcamp in Casablanca from December 1st to December 4th 2016. Candidates will be prepared for their final presentation through coaching and personal training sessions.

On December 5th, the day following the coaching sessions, a closing ceremony will take place rewarding the most social and sustainable projects in the three categories of the program: Education, Environment, and Uncharted Domains.

Last year, 10 entrepreneurs shared the 1M$ grant with Business across 8 countries in Africa.

The winners will be assessed by a prestigious jury of international business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Announced in 2014, the award grants one million USD to inspire entrepreneurship across Africa and reward the projects with the strongest social and sustainable impact.

The 2016 2nd edition of the African Entrepreneurship Award gathered over 7,000 applications from 105 countries including all 54 African and has extended its network to 180 partners/mentors from Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.

Africa’s Premiere Open-Publishing Platform Launches in East Africa, starting with Kenya

Young people in Kenya can now get paid to publish their stories on the biggest open-publishing platform in Africa
The Naked Convos (TNC) showcases the talent of a vibrant, outspoken and mobile-savvy generation across Africa
The Naked Convos (TNC) (, Africa’s premiere open- publishing platform with over 1 million monthly page-views has today announced its expansion into East Africa, starting with Kenya (
The Naked Convos (TNC) open-publishing platform acts as a stage, allowing young Africans to amplify their own voice and break down any barriers to freedom of expression.

Launched in 2011, The Naked Convos is one of Nigeria’s leading websites giving young people the opportunity to tackle politics, relationships, sexuality, religion, sports, finance, feminism and more through their own lens and in their own words. The aspirations, ideas, and opinions on The Naked Convos foster a vibrant conversation and often come back into the wider public through plays, web-series and anthologies, truly reflecting what it means to be young and African today.

TNC offers to pay every single contributor for their writing through a calculated algorithm that takes into account both the number of hits on each post and the comments. With over 4000 published posts and 160,000 comments in a little over five years, it remains a platform for raw, heartfelt pieces that capture the zeitgeist of a changing, dynamic Africa.

This strategic launch in Kenya is a major step in establishing TNC as the pan-African open-publishing platform of choice. The Naked Convos TNC Founder, Olawale Adetula said “Over the years, we have seen a significant increase in contributors from outside Nigeria. This year, two of our three judges for The Writer ( – our online writing competition were non-Nigerian. A third of the 3000 + entries were from East Africa, and a majority of those came from Kenya! This is the right time for us to expand in Kenya, create an active presence within other countries on the continent and extend our lead as the foremost platform for expression in Africa.”

Lisa Mugera, Editor for The Naked Convos Kenya adds that “As Africans, we have a shared heritage, and we have a shared culture. This means that we also share the need to express ourselves without judgment. TNC vision is to be a community where young Africans can safely express themselves, in line with our tagline – ‘Express You,’ and what better way to do this, than to expand to every country in Africa – starting with Kenya.”