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Eugene Nizeyimana, CEO of SSCG Consulting on why now is the time for impact investing in Africa

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Eugene Nizeyimana, CEO of SSCG Consulting

SSCG is a global consulting and professional firm providing strategy advisory, management consulting and operation support services, with the aspirations to transform traditional consulting industry landscape mainly in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs). In his vision, founder and CEO Eugene Nizeyimana, is to accelerate entrepreneurship, women empowerment, small businesses growth competitiveness and resilience; enhance agro-processing and manufacturing value chains in Africa to harness sustainable growth. In this interview, Eugene explains his plans for SSCG Consulting, his effort to build a global company that will outlast him and complete with other industry players, and why now is the best time to invest in Africa.

 

Time for Impact Investing in Africa

Current global economic trends pose risks but also create unprecedented investment opportunities for investors and businesses.African market is profitable and present abundant growth opportunities. According to the World Bank Group (WBG), emerging markets will power global growth over the next twenty years where half of the consumption increase (1.8 billion extra consumers) expected to come from. By 2025, it estimated that Global consumption will double and reach $62 trillion, where 65% of the world’s manufactured goods will find their way to emerging markets. Similarly, over half of the world’s population growth between 2017 and 2050 is forecasted to take place in Africa, where it is projected to more than double, growing by 1.3 billion.

Each year more than $1.5 trillion mainly Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) moves across international borders into developing countries. Most of it goes to just 10 countries. Barely 1% trickles into areas with the greatest need for investment: countries affected by conflict and instability.Only a small % share of the trillions in investable assets allocated to EMDEs, despite the significant investment opportunities that exist in these markets. According to JP Morgan, the global socially responsible investing (SRI) market is now worth almost $23 trillion, with around half of all assets managed in Europe and more than a third in the U.S.

To achieve substantial and sustainable economic transformation, smart and shared actions are needed by investors, financiers, entrepreneurs, regulators, development institutions, governments and the private sector to tackle the world’s greatest development challenges while also unlocking investment opportunities and to achieve The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the same time, there is growing interest among private investors to adopt sustainable investment practices.It is important to emphasis that, if these developing economies and development institutions are serious to accelerate sustainable economic growth in regions as Africa for prosperity, contracts and tenders opportunities must be shared with African SMEs and High Mid Cap firms who understand cultural intelligence and local needs; are the backbones of the economies and engines of growth improving people’s livelihoods.

Also Read Black Space App CEO, April Jefferson on entrepreneurship and connecting black travelers to their culture

Transforming SSCG for Competitiveness

For decades, African consulting industry has been dominated by Western service providers mainly the Big four incumbents namely KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PWC, followed by US strategy giants McKinsey & Company, Accenture and The Boston Consulting Group, acquiring majority of work and contracts. Recently, global industry trends have demonstrated that some of these players mostly under deliver work against their promises and with inadequate oversight thus faced with mounting regulatory pressure, trust for value delivery, engulfed with poor ethics and lack corporate accountability.

SSCG is well positioned as one of the top go to market service providers and working extremely hard to build a top tear global brand coupled with talented and experienced people to ensure we are competitive in the global consulting market and outpace our peers while ensuring that we deliver high quality and value driven services to transform industry status quo and the economy. The market and communities are looking for providers that are impact driven. The global African communities is abundant of highly talented and experienced people. It is imperative that African solutions are defined, championed and delivered by African people and talent.

Leveraging our foundation and footprint since the launch in Oxford as Sub-Saharan Consulting Group, we have been enhancing our reputations as we serve the many clients in the UK and African economies to become a trusted provider of consulting services. As firm we have deployed an integrated lean and agile business model to ensure we continue to meet our client demands, innovate and invest heavily to bolster our capabilities and diversify our global practices, build smart relationships and collaborations, enter new markets and consulting segments to boost revenue and market share Says SSCG’s co-founder and CEO, Eugene Nizeyimana.

SSCG strategic vision in the next five years is to enhance its global footprint and capabilities, establish presence in the US, European and African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal and Ethiopia. Taking advantage of opportunities created by global private investment community, The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the newly ratified African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement. SSCG aim to be highly active in accelerating industrialisation, international trade and flow of investment from the UK, US and Europe, boost intra-regional trade and scale up private sector growth especially focusing on key sustainable sectors of economies such as Agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare, digital and technology, fashion and creative industry, engineering, renewable energy, High Volume Transport (HVT), Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the automotive sectors.

Our work and effort is also strategically aligned to facilitate in the achievement of regional strategic priorities, SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063.

What are the most important resources and will really support us to achieve our ambitions and vision is acquiring capable human capital, hiring smart people with the right experience in our team to make sure that the company stay competitive against peers, continues to deliver value and for prosperity. Also operating a lean and agile business model which provide flexibility and easy to transform when necessary in addition of forming smart partnerships and collaboration in the markets.

Press Release

Insurpass Partners AXA Mansard To Provide Easy Access To Health Insurance Coverage For More Nigerians

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Insurpass, an insurance technology company has partnered with AXA Mansard, a leading player in the insurance and asset management sector to provide access to affordable insurance coverage for emerging customers in Nigeria.

The partnership will leverage Insurpass’ Open Insurance API to provide easy access to AXA’s health insurance products such as Malaria-care, Malaria-care plus, Easy Care, and so on.  AXA’s Malaria-care provides quality malaria test and treatment to customers at various accredited partner pharmacies nationwide. Malaria-care plus provides cashback on customers’ hospital expenses when placed on admission for 2 or more nights and pays life insurance benefit to the customer’s beneficiary in an event of a customer’s death. Easy Care provides comprehensive health coverage and gives customers access to over 1000 hospitals nationwide.

Insurpass, in its drive, to deepen insurance penetration, increase financial inclusion and break the barrier to accessing insurance coverage in Nigeria. Through its plug-and-play API infrastructure and embedded insurance model will enable other service providers ranging from Banks, Health-techs, Edu-techs, and various point-of-sale agents to enroll customers for this health insurance scheme. The company also promises coverage to the base-of-the-pyramid consumers who live in rural areas. And do not have access to smartphones or internet service, as it will enable them to access healthcare insurance. Through thousands of point-of-sales agents who already carry out mini-financial activities around their neighborhoods.

Speaking about the partnership with AXA Mansard, Gloria Agboifoh, Head of Partnership and Business Development at Insurpass stated that, “Insurpass at its core is committed to breaking the barrier to inclusive insurance in Nigeria and bringing innovative and affordable insurance closer to the very people that needs it the most and this partnership goes a long way in bringing the company closer to its goal of democratizing access to insurance coverage starting with health insurance”.

In the same vein, Mr. Alfred Egbai, Head, Emerging Customers and Digital Partnerships Group at AXA Mansard, stated that “our aim is to create innovative products that cater for the needs of our customers. We will therefore continue to strive to ensure that these products are easily accessible, this is why we have partnered with Insurpass to achieve this objective”.

Insurpass, provides an API-driven insurance infrastructure-as-a-service solution that enables companies across various sectors to embed insurance products and back-end insurance components into any web, mobile app, or USSD channel through its Open Insurance API.

AXA Mansard is registered as a composite company with the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM). The Company offers life and non-life insurance products and services to individuals and institutions across Nigeria whilst also offering asset/investment management services and health insurance solutions through its two subsidiaries – AXA Mansard Investments Limited and AXA Mansard Health Limited respectively. The parent company was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in November 2009.

Customers can also access affordable insurance products on their devices when they log on to BimaCred an online platform powered by Insurpass.

 

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Press Release

Wärtsilä reaches 7GW installed power capacity milestone in Africa

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Wärtsilä’s Energy system integration night (Image: Wärtsilä)

With over 600 power plants commissioned in 46 African countries, Wärtsilä confirms its position as a leading provider of power generation solutions in the continent

The technology group Wärtsilä first began its Africa operations in Tanzania back in 1975. Since then, the group has delivered more than 600 installations, supplied power plants in 46 countries, generating 25% of the national electricity supply in over 25 countries. Total installed capacity now exceeds 7.4 GW of which one-third is covered by operation and maintenance contracts. Today, Wärtsilä is the undisputed leader in the medium-speed power engine market in Africa.

This strong track record, built up over decades, has its roots in a dedicated local presence combined with the capability to bring together international expertise to build groundbreaking energy solutions.

Wärtsilä’s Industry Firsts in Africa

With more than 650 employees and service hubs located in Kenya, South Africa, and Senegal. Wärtsilä is proud to have contributed to many industry firsts. These include Africa’s largest gas engine power plant on the Kribi coast of Cameroon with 216MW capacity, as well as Africa’s highest installation, the 175 MW power plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, sitting at 1,700 meters above sea level.

Another first, the KivuWatt power plant in Rwanda, is the first ever power plant to use the naturally occurring methane from lake Kivu to generate electricity and reduce the environmental risks associated with such high concentrations of gas. Today’s power output is 25 MW but future planned expansions to this project will increase capacity by an additional 75 MW.

Wärtsilä’s reciprocating gas engine technology and innovative energy management systems play an important role in response to Africa’s growing demand for flexible and reliable electricity. Small to medium size projects can be used to establish microgrids in remote regions. Their flexibility means that they can work hand in hand with renewable energy resources. Output can be ramped up at the same rate as wind or solar output fluctuates. One example is the 15 MWp hybrid engine-solar PV power plant for the Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso: The combination of low-cost renewables with flexible engine solutions enables energy intensive industries to enter an era of more cost efficient and climate friendly operations.

Africa’s Future, Beyond Energy

No single project is the same. As a leading international EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company, Wärtsilä has a history of providing unique power solutions to meet the specific challenges of its clients. As well as to extend educational and economic benefits to local communities when delivering on projects such as Tasiast in Mauritania and Ndola in Zambia

For Wärtsilä, EPC also means Experience, Proven and Compliant. These projects have helped several nations accelerate their development and increase their standard of living, not to forget the many jobs created across the continent. At the heart of each project is local engagement, training and transmission.”, said Fabien Cadaut, Marketing & Communications Manager, Africa, Wärtsilä Energy.

This is why Wärtsilä has proudly joined forces with Ambitious.Africa, an initiative working to connect the youth of African and Nordic countries. To foster upcoming talent and co-create a more equal and sustainable future. Through this association, Wärtsilä can actively connect students, entrepreneurs, start-ups, financiers, and other stakeholders from across two continents. And provide them with the knowledge, skills and training they need to bring about real and lasting change.

As another example, Wärtsilä provides local institutions in Senegal with hands-on training and support for talented students often struggling to find their place in working life. This is part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. Another recent contribution was made in support of solar energy unit installations in informal settlements in the Western Cape. The households in these settlements are either connected to an illegal and unsafe electricity source or have no access to basic electricity.

As recent contracts such as the 120 MW power plant project in Gabon. The 90 MW gas conversion project in Senegal, and renewed O&M contracts in Nigeria demonstrate, Wärtsilä is committed to accelerate broad-based electrification across Africa.

 

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Investment

Asilimia secures $2 million to build the financial infrastructure of Africa’s informal economy

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Asilimia founders and employees (Image: Asilimia)

Asilimia, a startup that is building the digital infrastructure to connect African MSMEs to the formal financial economy, has secured $2 million. To grow its team, deliver new services and expand into new markets in East Africa. The startup raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from a wide range of investors, including two-time unicorn founder, Fredrik Jung Abbou (co-founder of Kry and Lendo), Norrsken Impact Accelerator and other prominent founders from across Europe.

It also raised $1 million in a debt round that included Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners. The pre-seed funding will support team growth and expansion while debt funding will enable Asilimia to extend credit to MSMEs, providing much-needed financing to help them scale their businesses.

Asilimia is on a mission to build the digital financial infrastructure of Africa’s highly fragmented and paper-based informal economy, and address the $360 billion credit gap that is impacting the continent’s 150 million MSMEs. Despite contributing approximately 38 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, lack of consolidated data means MSMEs are considered as high risk, leaving them locked out by traditional financial institutions.

And even in a country like Kenya that has a higher financial inclusion rate than most of the continent due to the advent of M-Pesa, most MSMEs still use pen and paper to record their transactions, and 30 percent of their profit is spent on mobile money transaction fees.

Asilimia has built an affordable and easy to use digital platform that formalises payments, revenue collection and accounting for business owners. Making it easier to monitor their business activities in one place. Using just their mobile phones, business owners can record their expenses and sales. Track pending payments and gain financial insights through a simple dashboard that is more efficient than using pen and paper. They can also connect their personal mobile money accounts and save up to 90 percent on transaction fees.

This consolidated and verifiable business data de-risks business owners. Making it easier for them to access a range of financial services, including insurance, savings and loans to meet their specific needs, accelerate their growth and support development in their communities. The startup is growing at 30 percent week on week, and the app is used an average of 90 times per month per customer.

According to Tekwane Mwendwa, CEO and co-founder of Asilimia, “Africa’s informal businesses are the backbone of its economy and we want to unlock their GDP to drive further growth and development across the continent. Our focus over the last few years has been to build a solution that works and this new funding will enable us to take it into new markets and impact the lives and livelihoods of more business owners.”

Asilimia was founded by Tekwane Mwendwa and French entrepreneur Morgane Kablan to build the first financial infrastructure of the informal economy in Africa. The startup was incubated in the prestigious Station F programme in Paris. And it has also been through the Norrsken Impact Accelerator programme.

Funda Sezgi, co-founder and Managing Director at Norrsken Impact Accelerator said, “MSMEs play a vital role across Africa and making it easier for them to succeed is great for the continent as a whole. Tekwane and the team have built a solution that works and we are delighted to be supporting them as they drive prosperity in a key sector for the African economy.”

 

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