Nigerian Government to set-up committee for implementation of AfCFTA Agreement

Following the signing of the AfCFTA Agreement, President Buhari has approved the establishment of a National Action Committee (NAC) for implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement.

The Committee will be comprised of representatives of Ministries and Agencies with competent and relevant jurisdiction, and selected stakeholder groups from the private sector and the civil society to coordinate the implementation of all the AfCFTA readiness interventions. The Committee will undertake a process of engagement with stakeholders to sensitize them on the opportunities and challenges of the AfCFTA, with preparedness plans for the Nigerian economy.

Upon ratification, Nigeria will domesticate the Agreement by incorporating it into existing laws or enacting new laws, as appropriate engagement shall shortly start with the Ninth National Assembly. On the list of the President’s approval are: fast-tracking domestic work, for the implementation of AfCFTA readiness interventions to enhance productivity, competitiveness and facilitate trade which includes policies to grow local capacity to produce and export goods and services; infrastructure projects, trade facilitation, ease of doing business and trade rules enforcement initiatives. And support, actively, Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises.

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Reviving the Wakanda Spirit in Africa


Credit: Black Panther/ Marvel Studios.
Map of Wakanda from Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1 (December 1983).
Art by Don McGregor.

As essential as the allure of the character the Black Panther is, the Kingdom of Wakanda, the fictional African city from which he hails, is just as meaningful to many of those attending. Wakanda is a hidden African city, never conquered by Europeans, with the world’s only source of Vibranium and more technologically advanced that the rest of the world. It is alleged the source of the Vibranium is a meteor strike and that the meteor contained the Soul Gem, one of the Infinity Stones integral to the plot of Avengers: Infinity War.

Let’s visit the old Egypt

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa , concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt . Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology ) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes (often identified with Narmer ).

The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age , the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age .

An old Egyptian Map.

Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East , after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians , the Achaemenid Persians , and the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great . The Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander’s death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when, under Cleopatra , it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.

The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system , the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes , religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.

The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the
quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks ; a system of mathematics , a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature , and the earliest known peace treaty , made with the Hittites. Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy.

The pyramids of Giza are among the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt.

Old Kingdom

The great pyramids of Gizah

Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the
Old Kingdom , fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration. Some of ancient Egypt’s crowning achievements, the Giza pyramids and Great Sphinx , were constructed during the Old Kingdom. Under the direction of the vizier , state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield, drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order.

Middle Kingdom

The kings of the Middle Kingdom restored the country’s stability and prosperity, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects. Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier Amenemhat I , upon assuming the kingship at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty around 1985 BC, shifted the kingdom’s capital to the city of Itjtawy , located in
Faiyum . From Itjtawy, the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty undertook a farsighted land reclamation and irrigation scheme to increase agricultural output in the region. Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the “Walls-of-the-Ruler “, to defend against foreign attack.

In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians and was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. The administration established by Alexander’s successors, the Macedonian Ptolemaic Kingdom, was based on an Egyptian model and based in the new capital city of Alexandria. The city showcased the power and prestige of Hellenistic rule, and became a seat of learning and culture, centered at the famous Library of Alexandria . The Lighthouse of Alexandria lit the way for the many ships that kept trade flowing through the city as the Ptolemies made commerce and revenue generating enterprises, such as papyrus manufacturing, their top priority.

Young people are the drivers of Africa’s economy and future. With eleven million youth expected to enter Africa’s labor market every year for the next decade, now is the time for urgent action to build and nurture the region’s human capital.

The above information was culled for motivation and for the propagation of change in the future of Africa’s youths, policy makers, and civil society to collectively focus in solving the Africa challenges , aspirations, and actions taken to help build the human capital of areas of digital transformation to building human capital, Africa’s development future, prepare for Africa’s digital future and developing the potential of the continent’s next generation.

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Aspiring Entrepreneurs should  finish  degree before starting up a venture -Isaac Sesi, Co-Founder and CEO at Sesi Technologies

Isaac Sesi is a Ghanian born entrepreneur, engineer and a software developer passionate about leveraging technology to solve some of Africa’s most pressing problems, especially in the field of agriculture while inspiring young Africans to be innovative and solve problems too.  Sesi holds a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from KNUST, a Tony Elumelu Fellow, Next Einstein Forum finalist and  World Summit Awards National Winner. He currently, lead a team of 11 at Sesi Technologies where they are developing affordable technologies to help farmers and agribusinesses along the Agric value chain to  increase productivity and reduce losses. For now, the startup is focusing on FarmSense and GrainMate and putting the relevant structures in place to help scale up production. In the past, he have co-founded two other startups namely; Invent Electronics and GravyCode.

Here, are his advice to African future entrepreneurs;

Upcoming entrepreneurs, should not fall for the college dropout misinterpretation. They should should not drop out of school yet.

The “You don’t need a degree to be successful because Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of school and made it“ narrative is a common example of Survivorship Bias which is causing many young people to make unwise decisions.

Sesi embrazing nature

The people who push this narrative focus only on the achievement, leaving out the unique details surrounding those achievements.

The disproportionate focus on the stories of the Gates and Zuckerbergs who survived without considering the stories of those who didn’t paints an incomplete picture. For every Zuckerberg who drops out and makes it, there are probably 99 other dropouts who do not make it.

A university degree does not guarantee a successful life but, it does open up opportunities for you and give you a better shot at life.

If you live in Africa, where the systems are such that you need a degree to even get one foot at the door, then getting your degree is even more important.

So, if you do find yourself in the university and you have ambitions to start your own business, unless you have a very compelling reason to drop out, finish your degree and then you can go live out your startup dream.

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Yet another huge diamond find in Africa

Lucapa Unearths 130ct. Diamond in Angola: The 130 carat diamond is the 13th +100 carat diamond recovered to date and the second recovered so far in 2019. This recovery, together with the continued recovery of other large special white and fancy coloured diamonds continues to highlight the very special nature of the Lulo diamond concession.

The 130 carat diamond adds to the current inventory of high-value large Special run-of-mine diamonds, including top colour white diamonds, weighing 128 carats and 62 carats, as well as a number of fancy pink coloured diamonds.

The majority of the diamond inventory is scheduled for sale this quarter by the alluvial mining company, Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo, however, some diamonds may be extracted and held for tender at a later date.

Lucapa is a growing diamond company with high-value mines in Angola and Lesotho, along with exploration projects in Angola, Australia and Botswana.

Lucapa’s vision is to become a leading producer of large and premium-quality diamonds – from both alluvial and kimberlite sources – in Africa and other known diamond provinces around the world.

Read more via https://lnkd.in/dSjgtxU

 

Mark-Anthony Johnson

 

 

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Emirates plans to grow operations in Africa as growth outperform other markets

Emirates Airline has said it sees potential for growth in Africa, with plans to increase its frequencies to some destinations including Morocco, Ghana, Senegal, Egypt, and South Africa.

Orhan Abbas, senior vice-president of commercial operations in Africa for Emirates, said Africa has been one of the strong performing markets for the carrier over the past two years, even amid challenges.

In the year ending March 31, 2019, Emirates saw a 9 per cent rise year-on-year in revenues from its operations to and from Africa, with the region registering the strongest growth compared to other markets.

The second largest growing markets in terms of revenues were the Americas, at 8 per cent, followed by Europe at 6 per cent.

Abbas said the growth in travel into and out of Africa stems from various sectors including leisure, business travel, trade, and religious travel especially for Hajj and Umrah from West Africa.

Read more …https://lnkd.in/dbZfHUa

Mark-Anthony Johnson, CEO at JIC Holdings.

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As Europe grapples with Brexit, the African Union seeks a more United States of Africa 

Since the United Kingdom voted for Brexit three years ago, the European Union has been struggling to work out a structure for its future relations with the country.

While debates about the unpredictability of economic and political relationships between the EU and Britain continue to linger, thousands of miles away, the AfricanUnion (AU) is creating a close-knit relationship among its own 55 member nations.

In 2013, the AU designed Agenda2063, a framework with set objectives to aid the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.

The vision is to maintain integration of Africans on the continent, according to Khabele Matlosa, the organization’s Director of political affairs.

“The goal is to realise the union of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens,”

One of the ways the union is doing this is through the proposed launch of a continental passport known as the AU passport.

The passport will grant visa free access to every member state so Africans can move freely across the continent.

Presently, only Seychelles and Benin have no visa restrictions for Africa travelers. Read more via https://lnkd.in/d6dtQ5G

 

Mark-Anthony Johnson, CEO at JIC Holdings. Continue reading “As Europe grapples with Brexit, the African Union seeks a more United States of Africa “

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Africasokoni is redefining online shopping in Africa

AFRICASOKONI is redefining online shopping in Africa

Africasokoni is a keyan online shopping company and fiercely Pan-African. They believe that Africa must do business with itself as well as with the world, but on its terms.

How is Africasokoni redefining online shopping in Africa ?

Africasokoni seeks to deliberately give agency and control back to the African, be he or she the buyer or the seller.

Here’s the thing:

Africasokoni know Africa because it is an African company. The challenges of condescending vendor support, or unreliable order fulfillment and delivery for buyers are ones they understand intimately, having been online shoppers in Africa.

For buyers, they seek to create a seamless, natural, and super easy online shopping experience that will ensure that what you order is what you get. Delivery will be on time and customer care will support the buyer all the way through the relatively short and easy shopping process.

For the vendors, they undertake to offer a new reality between marketplaces and sellers. We will relate with respect and professionalism.

Visit AFRICASOKONI today via https://www.africasokoni.co.ke/

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5 Tips for Building a Startup Digital Footprint

The search for pretty much everything these days starts with Google. What a searcher finds on the first page can make or break a reputation. This applies to both individuals and businesses. Your online presence, also known as a digital footprint, is therefore everything.

Let’s apply this to the startup eco-system. When it comes to getting a startup off the ground, half your battle is in being seen as credible. If you have a very limited digital footprint when someone Googles your name or your startup, that’s bound to ring alarm bells with potential investors, customers and new hires. So building a startup digital footprint is vital.

We like to refer to this as the startup sniff test. Passing it is essential.

What is a digital footprint, and why is it important?

So first off, let’s just define what we mean by a digital footprint when it comes to startup PR and marketing. A digital footprint is your online presence. This is the online record of you and your company. But it goes way beyond your own website and social channels. A well rounded online presence should also include plenty of earned media wins. By winning press coverage across a range of publications you’ll be perceived as being far more credible. But it’s not just the slightly -intangible quality of credibility that an earned media digital footprint delivers. It’s also vital in growing backlinks to your website. And backlinks are still fundamental to how Google ranks its search results.

How to increase your digital footprint ?

Getting the basics right with your owned media and social media is vital. After all, these are what will appear at the top of page one of Google when someone searches for you. In an ideal world, here’s what the perfect Google page one digital footprint of a startup could look like (this doesn’t include a Wikipedia entry, more on that below):

Don’t worry, I’m not about to pad out this blog post with advice such as “setup Facebook and Twitter”. Instead I’ll run through some of the often overlooked owned media platforms and earned media opportunities that can be leveraged to build a startup’s online presence.

1. Blog on Medium.

I have to confess, I love Medium. I think everyone should be using it. Not only does it give you access to a huge community of readers, it also gives you a really good shot of getting content you’ve written onto page one of Google for long tail keywords. This is thanks to how authoritative the site is, so it’ll outrank most startups’ websites without breaking a sweat.

If you regularly add content to Medium, your directory page should appear on page one of Google when somebody searches for you. This helps to grow your online presence and shows off your original and insightful content. However, don’t put all your original content onto Medium. The value from any backlinks that this content earns will go to Medium, not to your site. So just use Medium to publish a small amount of content, with the bulk being published on your own site.

2. Put your business on Crunchbase.

Setting up a Crunchbase account is a must for any startup these days. It expands your digital footprint onto another platform which will more than likely also rank on page one when someone searches for your brand. Crunchbase is more of a database of business information, rather than a business network like LinkedIn is. And it’s crowd sourced, which means users can edit or add information to any profile.

Don’t just copy and paste your company description from LinkedIn or Facebook. You don’t want to duplicate content across platforms. You should also write your Crunchbase profile in the third person and avoid superlatives. And keep the news section updated; put up press releases on your site when announcing news and link to these from here.

3. Sign up to a consumer review platform.

This one kind of depends on what it is your startup does. But if you sell a consumer product or service, you should seriously consider signing up to a consumer review website as soon as you get going. It’s another plus point with your digital footprint and acts as a strong trust signal with potential consumers.

Sites such as Trustpilot and BazaarVoice provide review services to customers. Your review page that’s hosted on a consumer review website should appear on page one of Google when a user searched for you. This type of online presence lends a lot of credibility to your brand.

4. Start guest blogging.

Guest blogging remains one of the most effective ways of how to build a startup’s digital footprint and backlinks. But some people get very nervous at the mere mention of guest blogging. This is thanks to Google’s former Head of Web Spam Matt Cutts announcing the death of this practice in 2014.

But that misses the point a bit. He announced that there would no longer be any SEO value with poor quality guest blogs on questionable websites. But if you can bag a guest post on a top industry blog, or a leading publication like Forbes or Entrepreneur, this has enormous value with both your credibility and your SEO.

This is great for both your personal brand and your startup, as people searching for both can find these articles. You can also join Think Media Nigeria platform for as low as $150 per year in order to reach wide range of Africa market.

5. Don’t waste time with Wikipedia until you’re well established.

People can a little bit carried away with trying to get their startup onto Wikipedia. There’s no doubt that seeing a wikipedia side panel displayed on page one of Google is great for the credibility of any growing business. The problem is that Wikipedia moderators know this only too well. As such their guidelines are pretty strict. In a nutshell it boils down to this central point:

If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list. There are no minimum amount of sources you need to reach, to automatically secure approval from the moderators. But they need to be reliable sources, not written by a guest author, and offer in depth coverage rather then just mentioning a press release or other announcement. Have a read of this guide for more information.

So, building your online presence: easy, right? With a little bit of effort applied in the right places, you can start to build a digital footprint for your startup. And the more your digital footprint grows – the more your credibility increases. Kindly consult Think Media Nigeria.

 

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Digital disruptions has already happened in Africa.

Disruptive innovation is transforming Africa’s economic potential, creating new target markets and unprecedented consumer choice. The specter of economic populism that is haunting Europe and America is partly rooted in perceptions of unemployment and inequality arising from how businesses deployed technology in the last few decades.

Africa will not be spared from the sweep of such populism and opposition to new technology. Capitalising on these potential opportunities demands a complete rethink of customer engagement and business development strategies. So how can your business ride the wave?

  • Unconstrained by legacy

Africa has far less legacy to get in the way than in other regions, creating a clean sheet upon which companies can develop their own distinctive business models. We see this in the speed that many markets are expanding. We also see it in the blurring of industry boundaries – the coming together of renewable energy, mobile payment and consumer finance is a clear case in point.

  • The power and potential of disruption

Technological disruption is transforming markets and societies across Africa in ways that wouldn’t have been possible even five years ago. And this opens up huge and still largely untapped commercial potential for domestic and international businesses.

From the demographic dividend of a young and rapidly expanding population to an increasingly affluent and aspirational middle class, Africa has the potential to become a new powerhouse of production and consumption in the 21st century, just as Asia was able to do in the late 20th.

  • Implications for businesses and policymakers

Drawing on our market experience and wide-ranging market analysis, we believe that there are five fundamental priorities for mainstream businesses, disruptors and policymakers:

  • Mainstream businesses

Disruption isn’t just a tech opportunity but opens up opportunity for further commercial potential through development of the relevant infrastructure
Partnerships with Africa’s growing tech hubs and ‘technopreneurs’ can provide access to innovation. Broaden your outlook to include Africa’s emerging consumer class
Keep a disruptive mindset – get to market quickly and be prepared to fail but learn and adapt. Think differently about your workforce: a disrupted economy demands people who are creative, collaborative and ready to embrace change.

  • Disruptors

One size fits none in Africa – models can’t necessarily be lifted directly from one country and replicated in another. Look beyond technological innovation to ensure the business model and customer relevance. Think about where you fit in and what gaps you can fill in the existing markets. Think scale and look how to build up growth capacity and market reach before you outgrow your platforms. Expect resistance from vested interests and look at partnership as an initial option.

  • Policymakers

Embrace change and technological disruption as an opportunity
Improve data quality and share to target investment and improve efficiency of public services. Leapfrog developments elsewhere. Put agriculture at the forefront of development, to boost yields and move up the value chain. Foster greater transparency and trust through digital connectivity.

We discuss six main ways in which businesses, disruptors and policymakers can capitalise on the potential of disruptive technology in Africa.

1. Driving efficiency in business and public service

Boosting connectivity through increasing access and affordability is essential for disruptive development in Africa. Connectivity links consumers to businesses but also enables innovators to share ideas and seek funding and advice through the shared economy. While mobile connectivity is well-advanced across Africa, internet availability lags behind. Less than 30% of African people have access to mobile broadband (compared to 43% in Asia) and only 15% have internet at home.

2. Strengthening trust and combatting corruption

Blockchain is emerging as a key tool in stamping out corruption and waste, particularly in the public sector. Blockchain is already being used in Africa to improve traceability in the diamond trade, and has the potential for many other applications including combatting tax avoidance, avoiding land registry disputes and providing greater transparency of public spending.

3. Improving market access and ease of doing business

Nigeria’s experience highlights the opportunities and challenges facing companies in Africa’s e-commerce sector. Nigeria is Africa’s largest market, both by size of GDP and population and with an estimated two thirds of Nigeria’s internet users having shopped online at least once, there is an e-customer base of almost 60 million Nigerians. Drone technology and 3D printing have also helped Africa to bypass infrastructure challenges and improve access to markets, previously unreachable.

4. Healthcare and crisis prevention

Disruptive technology is helping to overcome the traditional barriers of distance and limited access to healthcare. One example is Peek, a portable eye examination kit which lets users carry out eye exams by taking high quality retinal images with their mobile phone. Another combines big data and drone technology to avert potential epidemics through early detection and tracking.

5. Education, innovation and job creation

From Cape Town up to the ‘Silicon Savannah’ of East Africa, more than 100 tech hubs have been set up across Africa over the past decade to help foster home grown innovation. Many hubs focus on supporting social enterprises that are developing solutions to social problems. Technology has also been transforming teaching and training in Africa, through delivering educational content on mobile and online channels.

6. Bringing the informal sector into the mainstream economy

Mobile connectivity brings financial inclusion by enabling banks and telecoms providers to reach out to previously unbanked customers with low cost accessible services. Through the success of the M-PESA payments platform. The industry, especially through smartphones, has become a hotbed for creativity and a source of inspiration for young innovators and entrepreneurs.

The entry of Uber tells a different story. The initial perception was of instant disruption. Taxi drivers in Kenya have at times responded by physically attacking Uber drivers. For them the loss of livelihoods was real and immediate. Their fear of loss was heightened by the fact that consumers may prefer Uber, a process that would facilitate the demise of their businesses.

The way forward for Uber entails searching for technological inclusion. There are several ways by which this can be pursued. The first is for Uber and local taxi services to find ways to share the market. This could be done through joint ventures. Kenya has one of the highest rates of inclusion in Africa, yet comparable platforms in other countries have found the going harder.

New local entrants are emerging in Kenya and South Africa, but they have an uphill battle competing with the well-established Uber brand. Access to new technologies might hold the key to such inclusion. Kenya’s Safaricom, for example, has launched Little Cab using its strong mobile technology base to compete with Uber. South Africa, which has been slow to adopt mobile money technology, is finding it harder to compete. Striking taxi drivers have called on the government to restrict Uber’s operations.

Finally, helping riders and drivers to overcome their constraints promotes inclusion. When Uber realized that Kenyan riders were reluctant to pay using their bank accounts, it allowed them to pay cash. Uber is also helping drivers in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria to acquire their own cars.

Other approaches include new app-based rider services. South Africa VW, for example, has launched such a service in Rwanda. South Africa VW plans to expand its service to Kenya and other African countries. The examples of mobile phones and Uber underscore the importance of inclusion in promoting the adoption of new technologies.

It is often argued that while new technologies may destroy jobs, it also creates new ones. Historically this has been true and will continue to happen. But when it comes to automation, it is important to note three key differences between historical trends, especially those informed by the Industrial Revolution in England two centuries ago, and contemporary developments.

Robots and automation will rapidly invade every conceivable human activity. Their spread is a global phenomenon, and no region of world will be able isolate itself from their diffusion. Countries such as China that built their industrial base on the backs of cheap labor are at the forefront of adopting industrial robots.

The pace of technological change is discernibly exponential, and disruptions often occur soon after new technologies are introduced. Uber is less than a decade old but its tumultuous entry is already being felt worldwide. More disruptions are expected in the sector, especially through the introduction of driverless cars despite current concerns over safety.

The argument that displaced workers can be retrained to do new tasks no longer holds universally true. Robots are learning to perform new tasks faster than we can train old workers. We are entering the age where the robot will make other robots faster than humans can reproduce themselves.

Read more:

Disrupting Africa: Riding the wave of the digital revolutions – PWC.

What innovation and technological disruption really means for Africa- Quartz Africa.

 

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