The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted organisations across Africa to invest in distilling facilities for the first time, and prompted existing distillers and brewers to innovate and diversify. This is according to Hendre’ Barnard Training and Marketing Manager at Distillique – one of the partners of food & drink technology Africa trade exhibition.
Barnard says that in South Africa, the majority of craft distillers survived the lockdown and restrictions on alcohol sales; with many of them using the time to innovate and diversify their product lines. “A lot of the companies are now lining up export projects; and others have diversified into new lines such as non-alcoholic beverages,” he says.
The lockdown has had a significant impact on the local market, with a massive increase in home brewing and distilling. “This put strain on the supply chain for raw materials such as yeast: because of demand from home distillers, we were selling 200kg of yeast in one hour at one stage. Where we normally buy 50 – 60kg every two months, we were ordering a ton at a time.” “Because of bottlenecks in imports, there are still some challenges in the brewing and distilling supply chain”, he says.
Barnard adds that the coming festive season will likely be disappointing in terms of sales. “Right now, craft brewers and distillers are focused on recovering, and some are trying to increase sales direct to the consumer rather than through an intermediary. They should also cut costs wherever possible and not over-produce for the festive season. We don’t know what level of lockdown we will be at this December, and because of the economic impact of the lockdown, there is a chance that sales will be lower than they were last year,” he says.
Pan Africa steps up production
“Elsewhere in Africa, many countries realised they were too dependent on alcohol imports when the pandemic struck, and we now see a surge in interest in distillery equipment across a number of countries.”
Barnard notes that distilling equipment is needed not just for consumable alcohol, but also for industrial alcohol and essential oil distillation. With a surge in demand for alcohol-based sanitisers and a global market for certain essential oils for use in cosmetics, there are growing opportunities for African entrepreneurs to open distilleries to meet demand.
“At food & drink technology Africa, we have an excellent opportunity to engage with delegates from across the continent, showcasing our equipment which has been built and adapted specifically for the unique African environment, where heat, humidity and erratic power are all concerns,” says Barnard.
Fresh interest in brewing, distilling
Barnard reports that home brewing that took place during the ban on alcohol has driven new interest in the art of brewing and distilling, which could be good news for craft brewers and distillers.
Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, Brewmaster and founder of Brewsters Craft, which offers contract brewing, consulting, an academy and a laboratory, expects new craft breweries and a great deal of innovation to come out of the lockdown. “We are seeing a lot of interest from people wanting training so they can start their own craft breweries. There is also a lot more product and branding innovation taking place. People are now looking to bring to market new flavours, exciting new products, and even more non-alcoholic craft beverages like ginger beer. The lockdown may have given people time to research brewing, or perhaps they were driven to seek new revenue streams, but coming out of lockdown we see a lot of new activity in this space.”
Nxusani-Mawela is optimistic about the prospects for a good summer holiday season for craft brewers: “I think people are just tired of being stuck at home and they want to go out and explore new things,” she says.
Nxusani-Mawela, who has participated in food & drink technology Africa since 2016 and a partner since 2018, says the trade show gives would-be brewers access to the latest technology and equipment, and allows Africa to showcase its capabilities to international leaders. “Having all the suppliers and buyers from around the world and across Africa in one place makes it important to be there,” she says.
Dain Richardson, Senior Exhibition Manager of food & drink technology Africa, says the pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for the food and drink sector across Africa: “We’re hearing encouraging reports of organisations that are starting to pivot and seek new opportunities despite the lockdown and slowed economy,” she says.
“Partnering with leading industry bodies and stakeholders such as Plastics SA, SAAFFI, Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) Africa Sector, Craft Brewers Association South Africa (CBASA), BICSA, Brewsters Craft and Distillique gives us as the event organisers deep insight into the evolving environment, and allows us to shape our event to address the changing needs of the sector,” she says.
To help industry stakeholders across the continent to adapt and seize new opportunities, food & drink technology Africa 2021 will focus on emerging technologies and solutions to help modernise operations and improve efficiencies.
Africa’s CEOs to empower youth for the digital age at the All4Youth Regional Alliance flagship event
All4Youth Regional Alliance Senior leaders (Image: All4Youth SSA)
We aim to support 1 million young people to find work and plan their transition to the digital economy between now and 2022 through a flagship event of All4Youth Regional Alliance, “CEO & Youth Connect”. A collaborative intervention led by various multinational companies dedicated to reduce youth unemployment across Sub-Saharan Africa. Senior leaders from the alliance will meet on November 8, 2021, to discuss skills of the future required in their organizations as well as share programs, training, and initiatives designed to prepare youth for the digital era.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis, forcing tens of millions of people out of work. As economies continue with the reopening journey, some jobs may not come back, yet we continue to see a rise in the number of youth joining the job market. “We have therefore put the best of our resources to support this recovery, including using data to understand the most in-demand roles, supporting with skilling and reskilling needs for job seekers and job creators. Partnerships such as this will play a critical role and will support us to scale us to more youth and increase the impact across the African continent” noted Ghada Khalifa, Director for Microsoft Philanthropies for Middle East and Africa.
Bruno Olierhoek, Chairman and Managing Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region emphasized the importance of senior leaders taking keen interests in the development and ultimate successes of the youth. “We are driven by our inspiring purpose that is so relevant in our East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) and we want to do good by addressing societal challenges such as climate change, sustainability and youth unemployment. To help contribute to these major challenges, we realize the need to work in an ecosystem which is entrenched around long-term thinking, with immediate actions. Through our involvement in different programmes supporting the youth in Employment & Employability, Entrepreneurship and Agri-preneurship we are committed to continuously define projects that are fully integrated in our value chain for them to be viable over the long term and be able to make a real meaningful impact for the community and us.”
“The youth of today are the builders and leaders of tomorrow. As Adcorp we know that enabling agility, focus and skill in the youth of today is the key to unlocking their potential for tomorrow ‘’ highlighted Dr John Wentzel, Chief Executive Officer, Adcorp Group.
In the last two years, alliance partners have reached over 150,000 young people, empowered over 3000 young people through employability and mentorship programmes. Giving high potential young talent access to a network of high performing industry professionals that accelerate opportunities, career and personal development goals.
We encourage young people to register for the upcoming event to click here and learn more about in-demand skills, insights to future of work and opportunities alliance partners have available for youth.
AVEVA to Showcase World-leading Smart City Solutions at GITEX Technology Week 2021
AVEVA Head of MEA, Dr. Tariq Aslam (Image: Supplied)
AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software, driving digital transformation and sustainability, today announced that it is participating in GITEX Technology Week 2021 to be held from 17–21 October. Together with its strategic partner, Schneider Electric, AVEVA will demonstrate its AVEVA™ Unified Operations Center for Smart Cities, which seamlessly integrates systems, sites, people and assets for cities of the future, at the Middle East’s largest technology exhibition.
With increasing urbanization, mounting cost pressures, and demand for improved quality of life, there is now a global move towards infrastructure consolidation, upgrade, and continuous improvement of cities. AVEVA’s Unified Operations Center for Smart Cities drives streamlined operational efficiency and reduced energy costs, while promoting adherence to cybersecurity, safety, and regulatory compliance.
“Our Unified Operations Center is the command-and-control solution for infrastructure and smart city operators based on an integrative ‘System of Systems’ approach. It can be used to collate information from various data sources to anticipate and resolve problems even before they are presented, coordinate various resources and processes for seamless operation, and generally make more strategic decisions. It converges OT and IT technology into a single pane-of-glass solution, where the operator can effectively monitor and control entire city operations through a ‘City in a Box’ approach as we like to call it,” says Dr Tariq Aslam, Head of MEA, AVEVA.
AVEVA’s Unified Operations Center for Smart Cities and Schneider Electric’s IoT-enabled sustainability platform – EcoStruxure Resource Advisor offer smart city operators a powerful solution. The EcoStruxure Resource Advisor is a best-in-class, AI-assisted, cloud-based solution for managing cross-enterprise energy and sustainability data, which shows how operators can track data across more than 400 categories to have near real-time access to their resource performance.
EcoStruxure is powered by Microsoft Azure enabling integration and interoperability to turn data into meaningful insights. The data is paired with Schneider’s unique approach to energy and sustainability consulting, bringing together technology and expertise, resulting in a “mind-plus-machine” approach to climate action.
“AVEVA, Schneider Electric and Microsoft are accelerating the delivery of smart city innovation across regions. Our unique combination of capabilities helps municipalities capitalize on the power of technology to become more agile, resilient, and sustainable. We plan to demonstrate smart cities in action on our Unified Operations Center with our strategic partners, Schneider Electric and Microsoft on their stands,” Dr Aslam adds.
“We will be showcasing the AVEVA Unified Operations Center for Smart Cities, to demonstrate how technologies such as AI and big data can transform how an urban environment is run to make it more efficient, greener, and better for the public and businesses,” says Ayman Ismail, Industry and Business Development VP, Schneider Electric Gulf Countries. “Digitization and digital technologies will make our cities more efficient and more sustainable, and we must prioritize technology developments as we look to create places to live that improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”
It is estimated that by 2030, the world will have 43 megacities, each with more than 10 million inhabitants. Converting existing infrastructure to smart infrastructure is the key to improving cities. With unified data and analytics, smart city operators are empowered with better information, which means they can make more informed decision to optimize operations for the new environment in which they are operating.
AVEVA’s vast portfolio of smart city software solutions span facilities management, utilities, transportation, and data centers. Taking an integrated approach, AVEVA’s solutions enable disparate functions to collect, analyze, and then act on unified and holistic intelligence – supported by the help of real-time data – to enable civic leaders to make better decisions and improve living standards.
Due to the scalability of the solution, Unified Operations Center is ideally suited for not just megacities but also smaller municipalities looking to take an integrated system of systems approach to monitoring and controlling their city operations. AVEVA works with megacities such as London, as well as smaller municipalities with populations of 50,000 or fewer, that are looking to leverage technology to improve sustainability and resilience.
AVEVA will be holding demos of its Unified Operations Center solution on Schneider Electric’s stand H5-B40. Senior representatives from the company will be at GITEX Technology Week 2021 to meet with customers and partners and share their global success stories with them.
Klasha raises $2.4 Million to build technology for cross-border commerce in Africa
Klasha team (Image: Klasha)
Klasha, a San Francisco based cross-border technology company, today announced that it has raised $2.4 million in seed funding to build technology infrastructure for cross-border commerce in Africa. The investment round was led by Greycroft with participation from Seedcamp, Berrywood Capital, AVG Basecamp Fund, Practical VC, Plug and Play, First Round VC, Expert Dojo, 2.12 Angels, MiLA Capital and angels, including Joe Cross, Ex-Marketing Head at Wise (formerly TransferWise), Santosh Ankola, Ex-Head of Product at TechCrunch and Michael Pennington, Co-founder of Gumtree.
With this investment, Klasha will expand its technology to help international B2B and B2C businesses such as ASOS, Zara, Amazon or Zoom to receive payments seamlessly online in African currencies from consumers across Africa. Klasha’s core technology allows African consumers to pay international online and offline retailers in African currencies while the retailers receive payouts in their dominant currencies, including USD, GBP, EUR. Klasha is currently available in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and will invest in driving more revenue, growing its current 10,000 customer base, and expanding into new markets with three more African countries set to go live by Q4 this year.
In the past few months, Klasha has continued to power international businesses with the tools they need to grow and expand into Africa. Within five short months of launching, Klasha has already processed more than 20,000 transactions across Africa with an average 366% MoM growth rate.
Klasha has built plugin integrations for WooCommerce, OpenCart and BigCommerce. Its integration library is rapidly growing to accommodate even more platforms, including Wix, Ecwid, Magneto and Commerce Cloud. And with an official partnership with BigCommerce, the Klasha Checkout will reach thousands of e-commerce stores globally, enabling them to receive payments online from Africa.
Africa presents vast opportunities for scaling quickly in commerce. There are more than 400 million internet users in Africa, and the total value of e-commerce is expected to reach $29 billion by 2022. Still, the ability to pay online with African money methods including cards, M-Pesa, bank transfer and mobile money is challenging for consumers on the ground. Klasha believes that consumers in Africa should have built technology to facilitate the same frictionless access to the goods they want regardless of their geographic location.
- Klasha Checkout: A technology solution that allows international merchants to collect payments from Africa in local currencies. The checkout can be integrated into any e-commerce platform, website or app. Through this checkout, customers in Africa can make payments online using their preferred African payment method (card, bank account, USSD, M-Pesa, Mobile Money) in their local African currency, and the merchant receives the equivalent in their chosen currency. Customers can also enjoy cheap and fast delivery of their goods.
- Klasha Payment Links: A no-code option to accept payments for B2B and B2C merchants or independent sellers that do not have an e-commerce storefront. The Klasha Payment Link provides a flexible and easy way for international businesses to collect payments from customers in Africa without needing a website, app, or any coding skills. With just a few clicks, businesses can create a simple custom checkout page directly from their KlashaDash dashboard and share it with their customers via email, WhatsApp or other social media platforms to receive payments.
- Klasha mobile app: A secure app that allows you to make local and international payments online in your local African currencies without any restrictions. With the Klasha mobile app, you can send and receive money from family and friends in Nigeria, Ghana or Kenya who use the app. No monthly charges. You can also create a virtual card, fund it with NGN, KES or GHC, see all your transactions, including the amount paid, merchant details, card information and much more.
- KlashaWire – A fast and easy way for businesses to pay their suppliers overseas in their preferred African currency, whether Naira, Cedis or other currencies. The suppliers, on the other end, receive the money in the dominant currency of their choice. With this feature, small business owners can make large payments to suppliers overseas with ease while lowering the cost of the transaction directly on the Klasha dashboard. When payments are made, the supplier generally receives it in their dominant currency in two business days.
29-year-old Jess Anuna, Founder and CEO of Klasha, ex-Amazon, Net-a-Porter and Shopify, said: “By 2025, half of the world’s population will live in Africa. At Klasha, we’re building the technology to facilitate frictionless cross-border payments and allow international businesses to scale seamlessly into Africa through our API. Equally, we’re giving consumers in Africa the same access to the global e-commerce economy experienced on other continents. It is imperative that African consumers are able to remain globally competitive, which includes having access to the goods they want without payment or delivery restrictions.”
Alison Lange Engel, Partner at Greycroft, said: ”Klasha’s technology allows for seamless cross-border transactions at a time when Africa is rapidly growing and needs both payment and logistics solutions for online commerce. We’re excited to support Klasha and their mission in simplifying borderless payments for commerce in Africa.”
Oloyede Oladimeji, CTO of Klasha, said: “We have built a secure and reliable commerce solution from scratch using modern technologies. As a business, it is important that we not only build but move fast. Every day, we are scaling our solution to solving a unique problem, connecting Africa to global merchants. Africa is a growing economy with huge potential but low card payment penetration, and we are enabling consumers in Africa to access products irrespective of their payment methods. Our multi-currency technology saves merchants the stress of dealing with all the different currencies available in Africa, allowing them to receive payouts in their dominant currency. What is amazing is not what we have built already but what we are going to build.”
Reshma Sohoni, Founding Partner at Seedcamp, said: ‘’As Africa continues to undergo digitisation, there’s an increasing opportunity for online businesses in Europe and US to garner market share quickly by accepting payments online in African currencies due to the nascent stage of commerce on the continent. Klasha is our first investment in Africa which will allow frictionless scalability for merchants into the continent through their cross-border payment technology, enabling billions of underserved consumers to access their services.’’
Klasha remains committed to simplifying cross-border payments for commerce in Africa and empowering businesses with the tools they need to grow and expand into a market full of energized consumers.