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Covid-19 Pandemic: Top Business Gainers and Losers

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CoronaVirus Header- Image credit: furma.edu

In early 2015, one of the most adorable personalities in the world, Bill Gates held a session on TED about “The Next Outbreak? We’re not ready”. This was immediately after the world survived the outbreak of Ebola. He explained how we reacted to the epidemic with detailed statistics but also stated that despite our efforts the world was far from being ready for another epidemic or a pandemic!

Fast forward to the year 2020: COVID-19 has become a flame without a fire that has engulfed the entire world and brought us all to a standstill, with “compulsory holidays” being declared in most countries and no logical end in sight to the pandemic! If Bill Gates were a religious leader, the entire world would have become his congregation by now and of course, with plenty prophet offerings!

According to Wikipedia, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, and has since spread globally with common symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, sore throat, loss of smell and abdominal pain. The time from exposure to the manifestation of symptoms is typically around five days, but may range from two to fourteen days. As of 10 April 2020, more than 1.6 million cases had been reported in more than 200 countries and territories, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths!

The virus is mainly spread between people during close contact, often via small droplets produced during coughing, sneezing, or talking. While these droplets are produced when breathing out, they usually fall to the ground or surfaces rather than being infectious over large distances. People may also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their face. The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours. Coronavirus is most contagious during the first three days after onset of symptoms, although spread may be possible before symptoms appear and in later stages of the disease.

The Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Business Environment

The emergence of the mighty COVID-19 has definitely altered lifestyle on a global scale. The business environment has now become more challenged especially as no one knows how long the pandemic would last. But even in the current challenging reality, further opportunities have been created for some industries that now are enjoying tremendous cashflow despite the suffering of the world.

Imagine what the current situation would have been without access to information communication technology. Imagine what it would have been without online platforms for e-commerce, trainings and financial services.

Definitely, the financial industry has helped tremendously to stabilise the economy from collapsing through their various payment channels such as Internet Banking, Point of Sales (PoS) Terminals, Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), Mobile Banking Application and USSD. This management of the demand and supply flow is steadying various economies of the world and preventing another global economic recession.

In complementing the efforts of the financial industry, fintech companies are deploying innovative solutions for greater convenience in the performance of electronic payment transactions. Of late, one of such innovation is Paylink, a payment solution for anyone to receive money INSTANTLY into their bank account from anyone, anywhere, anytime! This particular payment solution has become the delight of SMEs, crowd funder, social entrepreneurs, religious organisations, individuals and others at this time of restricted movements and social distancing.

Also Read: Dr. Quist-Aphetsi Kester, A Global Scientist Leading The Fight Against COVID-19 Through Coding

The Biggest Business Losers

For industries that the pandemic negatively affected, the list is almost unending. But to kick-start discussions, here are the possible top losers:

  1. Aviation

This industry is one of the most capital intensive in the world and its operational cost is not a joke! The nature of the business involves continuous maintenance, high taxation, increasing operational and administrative costs which are the reason most airline operators utilise debt financing or are currently in huge debt with only bailout or liquidation as options.The outbreak of COVID-19 has complicated the struggling cashflow (revenue) of the airlines with several operators finding it difficult to survive!

  • Small & Medium Enterprises

SMEs have been the backbone of many economies as their activities have created employment opportunities and facilitated daily livelihood of many. However, with the lockdown, most SMEs have struggled to adjust as closure of business premises and markets has reduced patronage and sales. Although once business operations resume, it might be a slow start for them, but their recovery will definitely be short term.

  • Religious Organisations

Their major sources of income are donations and contributions of members and followers in terms of voluntary and mandatory giving through their various beliefs and principles. Many of such leaders have become richer than organisations in the real business world!

Definitely, they were shocked that such an outbreak could turn their worship centres into ghost sites with many of them now embracing and adopting technology to reach to their members. As their members are also affected financially, the impact would reach the religious organisation. However, their recovery could be medium term as they would need time to convince their members to continue in belief and obedience of the doctrinal principles of giving!

  • Entertainment

They were one of major cashcows before the COVID-19 with several shows, albums and events for brand visibility and definitely more money. The industry has produced more celebrities and overnight millionaires with little or no knowledge of wealth or fame management!

The belief is that all you need is just to have a talent and the world would be at your feet.But the reality is that the industry is a Red Ocean with several people struggling for the same audience.  At the moment, it is even difficult because the lockdown and social distancing measures have put shows and events on hold.

Regardless, the industry would still continue to survive through innovation that can create a new path to Blue Ocean within the medium term but definitely not in the short term!

  • Transportation & their Unions

It was necessary to specifically separate this from Aviation Industry and combine it with unions especially if you are from this part of the world where National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) is a major stakeholder in the affairs of the state. Outsiders think its members are illiterates but majority of its leaders have their family abroad and their children schooling overseas. Yet, we think they are not that smart but they milk money through extortion and harassment of motorists.

However, since governments across several states have ordered a lockdown to limit the spread of the pandemic, it has been very challenging for the transport operators and their unruly unions to eke a living. But once this period phases out, their business would resume as usual and their recovery will definitely be a short term!

Top Business Gainers and Next Emerging Opportunities!

While some will definitely find it hard to recover immediately after normalcy returns, a few will reach huge opportunities as the “Next Cashcow Industries” They include:

  1. Food & Beverages

The demand in consumption will increasing as people would put survival as a priority – and access to market will increase demand for food items.

  • Communication

There will be a change in culture and attitude in some areas such as work pattern, education, commerce and access to information, with more preference for online channels which in return would increase demand for data.

  • Lending

With many current loans going bad due to collapsed businesses and loss of jobs, the lending business would be receive huge patronage by people looking to start all over again.

  • Logistics and Distribution

Commerce and demand for commodities across locations as a result of the impact of current situation and fear of the unknown would create an increasing need for logistics and distribution of commodities.

  • Lottery

People will be desperate for quicker ways of making money and lottery would give hope even when such people might end worse off.

So, while we can’t change the reality of the challenges that would arise from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can at least apply wisdom to prepare towards joining the “Cashcows” when the season changes for good!

The next season is just around the corner! Are you Ready?

Article by:

Oluwaseun Adesanya: An international consultant with great wealth of experience across several countries with special interest in fintech, financial inclusion, insurance, innovation, financial services, strategy, social impact, business transformation and technology. He is currently, the Group Head, Strategy & Innovation of SystemSpecs, leading financial technology and human capital management firm.

Visit: SystemSpecs

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Investment

ILLA, an African asset-light FMCG Logistics Company Raises $2M Investment Round

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ILLA Team (Image: Supplied)

Cairo-based FMCG Logistics company ILLA secures a $2M investment round to boost its growth in the market and diversify its offering to the FMCG value chain. The round was co-led by Watheeq Financial Services and Golden Palm Investments. The round saw participation from Loftyinc Capital Management, Kepple Africa Fund, Cubit Ventures, AUC Angels, Oqal Angel Network and FLat6Labs Cairo doubling down on its investment in ILLA for the third time

Founded in 2019 by Mahmoud Elzomor, Alaa Jarkas, Ahmed Sakr, and Hossam Saraya, and shortly joined by a well versed management team with Mohamed Emera as Director of Growth, Mohamed Kamal as CFO, and Khaled Elzomor as Commercial Director ILLA aims to optimize post-production supply chain activities for FMCG brands, starting with middle-mile delivery services, being the most fragmented part of the value chain.

By focusing exclusively on the FMCG market, ILLA was able to capture the business and trust of over 65 clients in its portfolio, with household names to the likes of Coca-Cola, P&G, Danone, Nestle, Juhayna, and Pepsico.

Since 2019, ILLA has been delivering on its core promise of moving goods with efficiency on behalf of FMCG brands, spanning over 5,000,000 KM and completing over 250,000
transactions, across 27 governorates in Egypt leveraging its tech platform to power delivery
operations

Before ILLA, FMCG brands had to rely on a variety of owned and outsourced assets to manage their delivery operations, and that adds to the pain of a fragmented logistics cycle, which gave way to the value offering of ILLA to those brands; a streamlined value chain with visibility, control and growth potential for each individual brand, with ILLA acting as an asset-light logistics  company, leveraging its tech platform and operational intelligence to deliver an unparalleled experience to FMCG brands.

“ILLA will use the funds to fuel its expansion and growth in Egypt and disrupt the traditional route to-market for FMCG companies and SMEs, while building more around its tech platform to deliver more value to its clients and drivers alike”, says Mahmoud ElZomor, Co-Founder and CEO of ILLA

“Mahmoud and the team are tailor-made for ILLA, bringing decades of diversified experience to help drive efficiency into the $15 trillion global FMCG market. With the onset of covid, the global supply chain management industry is suitable for modernization, and ILLA is uniquely positioned as an end-to-end execution platform. In addition, ILLA’s smart logistics solutions also play a crucial role in providing a full stack of operational solutions that will disrupt the sector, and will change the behavior for all stakeholders within the FMCG market,” said Khaled Zaidan of Watheeq Financial Services.

“Middle-mile logistics is one of the most underinvested segments of the global supply chain market. ILLA has identified this massive opportunity in MENA and is offering a full-stack B2B supply chain management platform enabling FMCG brands to reach retailers directly at the lowest cost per case. Mahmoud and team are utilizing the trucking logistics shared economy and tech automation to innovate within a large and fast-growing market.”AJ Okereke, Partner, Golden Palm

 

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Press Release

Africa’s CEOs to empower youth for the digital age at the All4Youth Regional Alliance flagship event

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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. 

 

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Investment

Fawry Invest in Sudanese Classifieds and Marketplace Platform alsoug, Marking First Overseas Venture

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 Fawry CEO Eng. Ashraf Sabry (Image: Supplied)

Fawry establishes strategic partnership with Sudanese consumer platform with an eye to scaling up technology platform beyond Egypt.

Fawry (the “Company”, FWRY.CA on the Egyptian Exchange), Egypt’s leading provider of e- payments solutions and digital banking services, announced today that it has finalized an investment in alsoug.com, Sudan’s largest online classifieds platform and marketplace, to help build out alsoug’s new fintech platform, Cashi. Fawry has acquired a strategic minority stake in the alsoug.com/Cashi holding company, marking the Company’s first venture capital investment outside of its Egyptian home market. The investment comes as part of Sudan’s first announced venture capital funding round.

Fawry played a leading role in ensuring the success of the USD 5m round, with the Company’s presence catalyzing involvement from other strategic Western VC players. As a strategic investor in alsoug, Fawry intends to leverage its long track record with white label technology solutions to help the platform expand in scale, enhancing the platform’s merchant acquisition operation, refining its go-to-market approach, and providing valuable insights that inform high-level strategy across all segments of the business.

Founded in 2016 by a world-class team of technology entrepreneurs, alsoug is now Sudan’s leading consumer internet platform and its largest digital marketplace. Alsoug is one of Sudan’s most downloaded apps on the Google Play app store with two million downloads and is a platform where sellers can list everything from real estate and cars to services and commodities.

Despite the political and economic headwinds experienced by Sudan as it goes through a transformative political transition, the platform has grown rapidly since 2016, reflecting alsoug’s highly skilled team of in-house developers, comprehensive coverage by its on-the-ground teams, as well as Sudan’s promising economic fundamentals. Moving forward, and building on the strategic partnership with Fawry, alsoug will significantly expand its service offering by building a new payments network capable of serving customers across Sudan, one of the largest countries on the African continent.

“We’re delighted to be kicking off our partnership with alsoug, one of Sudan’s most exciting prospects and a Sudanese leader in tech innovation. This is our first investment foray outside of Egypt in our thirteen years of operation, and we’re confident that our story with alsoug and Cashi will be a special one. Fawry’s investment in alsoug delivers on our plans to venture into underserved international markets by leveraging our technology and teaming up with strong local players. This investment will provide us the opportunity to strategically expand our footprint into Africa and transfer the experience we’ve gained in the dynamic Egyptian market to neighboring Sudan, an economy with major potential across several sectors and with a significant pool of entrepreneurial talent. Meanwhile, Fawry’s strategic partnership with alsoug leaves it ideally placed to help guide the platform’s rollout of a countrywide payments system, a feat which Fawry has already managed through a scalable, robust, and best-in-class technology platform.” said: Fawry CEO Eng. Ashraf Sabry

“This investment marks a significant milestone not just for alsoug, but for the nascent tech space in Sudan as a whole, which has until today been essentially shut out of the global capital markets. I hope this investment is the first of many and that the huge potential of the tech sector in Sudan is fully realized in the coming years. We are looking forward to working with Fawry, and our new strategic shareholders, to continue our expansion from the classifieds and marketplace space into payments. We will build a payments platform that will deliver financial inclusion to all Sudanese.” said Alsoug co-founder and CEO Tarneem (Nina) Saeed

 

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