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Kola Adesina Urges Investors To Focus On Access To Power At The Ongoing UK-Africa Investment Summit

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Kola Adesina, GMD Sahara Power Group

London, United Kingdom– Leading energy conglomerate, Kola Adesina of Sahara Group has urged participants at the UK-Africa Investment Summit to explore committing resources towards addressing the energy needs on the continent that is home to about 1.3 billion people.

The Summit which holds on January 20, 2020 in London, will be hosted by the Prime Minister, bringing together businesses, governments and international institutions to showcase and promote the breadth and quality of investment opportunities across Africa.

Sahara Group said UK and African businesses need to commit more funds to grid electricity development while ramping up investment in renewable energy to bring electricity to over 600 million people, a figure that is 10 times the population of the United Kingdom.

Also Read: Interview with James Lawson, Founder, Intergreatme; A RegTech Company Helping You Create Your Own Digital Identity

According to Kola Adesina, Executive Director, Sahara Group, access to power in Africa is crucial to ensuring sustainable economic growth and seamless transition to the fourth industrial revolution. “Investment in off-grid electricity will light up homes and small businesses in rural and poor communities, mostly in Sub Saharan Africa. This is an auspicious time for investors in the UK and across the globe to explore this opportunity which promises a win-win situation for all,” he stated.

Adesina said apart from having the potential to promote access to clean energy, off-grid electricity from renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and hydro, has the potential of becoming more affordable for more Africans in the long run. “The aspirations of Africa’s youth population, some 400 million people aged between 15-34 – which is about twice Europe’s entire population – rest on the decisions UK and African investors take at this summit. We can promote the agenda of bringing energy to life through enhanced access to electricity in Africa and Sahara Group is committed to spearheading this cause through more investment and collaboration,” he added.

Adesina stated that Sahara Group, with its profile as one of the largest private power business operators in Africa, was already in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on a project aimed at boosting access to sustainable energy in Africa.

He concluded that governments and businesses must work together to develop and implement a plan to transform regulatory and operational issues in the power sector. “We also need a sustained awareness plan to change the mindset of Africans to navigate from consumption to production; this will require reliable and affordable electricity. Sahara Group remains passionate about electrifying Africa and believes the time for all stakeholders to act is now.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), despite being home to 17% of the world’s population, Africa currently accounts for just 4% of global power supply investment. The IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2019 report found that achieving reliable electricity supply for all would require an almost fourfold increase, to around $120 billion a year through 2040, noting that mobilising this level of investment would require huge investments and thorough policy and regulatory measures to improve the financial and operational efficiency of utilities.

Sahara Group

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The Ideal Startup Employee

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Image source: world economic forum

In the 1950s, the average age of a company on the S&P 500 index was 60. Today, that number is less than 18. This just means that the most successful corporations are growing three times faster than they have in the past. To succeed at this rate of rapid change, employees and business leaders have had to adapt by adopting growth mindsets, learning new skills, and embracing flexibility.

Here are some valuable tips that make you stand out as an exceptional startup employee.

It takes a certain type of personality to want to work at a startup . So just before you submit that resume, take a moment to compare your assets to these must-have traits below:

1. Adopting the Idea Generator personality.

Most business owners value employees who are able to take it upon themselves to do some exploring on their own, generate, develop, and communicate new ideas while figuring out solutions to difficult challenges. This involves taking ownership, wearing the hat of a divergent thinker, coming up with as many ideas, selecting the best idea or ideas, working to create a plan to implement the idea, and then actually taking that idea and putting it into practice.

2. Thriving in organized chaos.

Thee best way to describe a startup is fragile as a newborn baby. Some days, you wake up and realize, “What we’re building isn’t actually scalable. The immediate reaction to this would be to change things immediately. The best startup employees not only understand this mentality, but are ready to adapt to new changes alongside helping you spot issues along the way  for the improvement of the whole.

3. Applying oneself in building processes.

As times change, processes change too. What that means is, you have to not expect things to always be set in stone in a startup. Obviously, the goal for these sort of organizations is to find the ideal standards and build processes and best practices that scale and age well. Most of all, the ideal employee just understands when things need to change at a moment’s notice and be willing to run and sprint with it.

4. Looking beyond the formal job responsibilities.

When you’re working in a startup environment, there is a never-ending list of things that can be done. On some days, my to do list ranges from “in the weeds” tasks like prospective candidate follow-ups, vendor follow-ups, training new employees etc. Fluctuating between multiple tasks can be extremely mentally taxing however, the great startup employees realize they are building their “future role” at the company and beyond so they take it upon themselves to not only get their own work done, and done exceptionally well, but find other ways to check things off the company’s to do list even if it means being a salesperson for a hour.

5. Not measuring your value between the hours of 9 and 5

In order to be a valuable addition to a fast growing startup, you have to be fine with the fact that your day won’t always start right at 9:00AM and end the moment the clock hits 5:00PM . Some days will start earlier than normal and other days will go late. Some weekends, you’ll even find that you want to get some work done yourself  so that you don’t have a crazy week ahead. In a startup, you typically have more freedom, but with that freedom comes with high expectations of  exponential value.

6. Replacing short-term rewards for the longer-term payoff

It is common knowledge that building something great takes time. It’s also amazing to hear people say, “I was one of the pioneer staff at Uber,” or, “I was part of the first 20 at Microsoft.” In society, these early employees are praised and idolized almost just as much as the founders. If you want to be part of that pioneer group though, you have to really come to terms with the fact that none of those early employees signed themselves up for a “job.” Most of them believed in the vision. They wanted to be part of the building process and bring the founder’s vision to life.

7. Willingness to learn and be Intellectually CuriousWorking in a startup can be hard because almost everything you do is the “first time.” You’re constantly in exploration mode, which means you’re probably going to be fumbling in the dark for a while. A great startup employee thrives in this sort of high learning environment. They take it upon themselves to do some learning on their own without management having to necessarily push you. Independently identify resources needed to improve on existing skills.

Also Read: Wahida Mohamed: Empowering Women And Championing Islamic Financing In Sub Saharan Africa

Every day is a fire-fighting day for a startup. I have come to realize that both large and small companies will invest in team members who are ready to adapt to change with an intense sense of ownership over their responsibilities, and often beyond them as well. You have to be ready to bring something new to the table on a daily basis to thrive in this startup environment.

Written by: Nneka Alfred

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Press Release

Helios Investment Partners Backed Africa Specialty Risk Group Launches

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Africa Specialty Risk Group CEO, Mikir Shah

Helios Investment Partners (“Helios” or the “Firm”) is pleased to announce the launch of Africa Specialty Risk Group (“ASR”) in partnership with Mikir Shah, former CEO of AXA Africa Specialty Risks, and Bryan Howett, former CEO of Old Mutual’s pan-African reinsurance operations. ASR is a reinsurance business focused on becoming the partner of choice to corporations through the provision of comprehensive and bespoke risk mitigating insurance solutions.

Helios, through its extensive financial services expertise in Africa, identified an unmet need in the reinsurance space to expand the continent’s long-term domestic capacity beyond its current capabilities. Having previously founded market-leading businesses such as Helios Towers, the Firm
took a similar pioneering approach in partnering with Mikir Shah and Bryan Howett to develop and increase domestic reinsurance capacity.

Also Read: Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu, African Risk Capacity (ARC) CEO Shares Goals, Disaster Risk Solutions, COVID-19 and Future

ASR will create tailored solutions for local and global customers, using Africa-specific pricing models coupled with a deep understanding of African risk and cultural environments. This provides corporates and investors with the confidence to grow their businesses, thereby unlocking investment activity, and the associated developmental benefits.

Mikir Shah, commenting on the partnership noted: “We chose to work with Helios given their extensive reach across Africa, their knowledge and experience in our key markets, as well as their established track record in helping entrepreneurial businesses to scale.”

Souleymane Ba, a Partner at Helios, said: “We have identified a sustained lack of adequate insurance capacity across Africa, which has been exacerbated further by Covid-19 as global reinsurance providers focus on their home markets. ASR has been established to address this gap by providing specialist risk mitigation products which companies and capital providers operating in Africa have found difficult to access to date. As demonstrated in the US and Europe, private equity has a long and successful track record of stepping up to fill unmet insurance capacity to de-risk and support investment activity.”

ASR intends to work proactively with local regulators and clients to develop skills and provide training to local underwriters. Environmental, social and governance considerations are central to ASR’s values, particularly in relation to local capacity building.

The investment in ASR is being made from Helios’ latest fund, Helios Investors IV, L.P., whose investors include CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution) and the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group).

Issued by Helios Investment Partners

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Press Release

METTĀ And Nairobi Garage Join Forces To Create Kenya’s Biggest Innovation Community

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Nairobi, September 15, 2020 – Kenya’s leading co-working space Nairobi Garage and entrepreneurial club METTĀ have announced they are combining their services to create the country’s largest innovation community, offering flexible access to all their workspaces and networks, as well as a new digital event series.

African businesses are facing a disrupted marketplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with day-to-day operations and the economic outlook for businesses of all sizes feeling the impact. As a result, there is a renewed demand for flexible work space arrangements, allowing companies to remain responsive to the market and keep their teams productive without tying up much-needed working capital.

As Kenya’s leading co-working space, Nairobi Garage is home to over 150 companies across its four premises, giving members total flexibility when it comes to the office space they need, as well as offering a range of add-on business development, collaboration, and networking opportunities.

METTĀ is a club for the entrepreneurial community to connect, share knowledge and bring ideas to life. With 370 members in Nairobi, and over 15,000 members in its digital community, METTĀ offers a range of events, workshops and corporate innovation programmes.

By joining forces, METTĀ and Nairobi Garage members will have access to both organisations’ workspaces throughout Nairobi – with drop-in and private office options available in Westlands, Riverside Drive, Karen and Kilimani -, as well as to all the complimentary business support services provided across the two communities. All members will benefit from exclusive corporate collaborations and partnerships – such as discounts, programmes, and first dibs on funding and training opportunities.

The organisations have also combined their entrepreneurship events and will launch an online event series offering thought leadership, innovation and practical business advice. The series involves six monthly events, including panel discussions, networking e-meetups, and podcasts.

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“We are confident in the resilience and capacity of Kenyan entrepreneurs to come back from this pandemic stronger than ever. We want to support them in doing just that, and this merging of forces is a demonstration of our belief in the strength of both our communities. It’s of utmost importance that innovation in business continues to be a priority, and we’re here to facilitate that process for the country’s top entrepreneurs,” says Hannah Clifford, director of Nairobi Garage.

Esther Mwikali, general manager of METTĀ, says: “We have always believed that “Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation”. Outstanding innovation breakthroughs occur when the right people collaborate, to spark commercialisation and scale. This partnership is a true testament to our
vision, as we are taking our own advice and leading by example – the value we offer our customers and the community at large through this is greatly increasing.”

With the business landscape plagued by so many uncertainties in the COVID-era, Nairobi Garage and METTĀ want to provide a sturdy, strong foundation for businesses in Kenya to thrive. By combining their two trusted names, members can have the most complete support available to weather the current storm.

To become a member, people should write to join@nairobigarage.com or nairobi@metta.co

New members joining in the month of September get 10% off their first month’s membership.

Jointly Issued by: Nairobi Garage and METTA

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