The premiere edition of the Legacy Global Summit organised by Legacy Premier Foundation held on the 5th and 6th of November 2020. The virtual event hosted business leaders, investors, educators and distinguished men and women from different sectors and works of life as they shared practical insights on several topics.
The conference, through panel discussions and plenary sessions, focused on nurturing and strengthening long term business relationships between US and Africa, opening up channels of sustainable business opportunities, supporting growing African businesses, fostering mutual business interests, and building a formidable ecosystem of trade and investment, that will enhance ease of doing business between the United States and Africa.
Day 1, Thursday 5th Nov. 2020
The event kicked off with the opening remark by Dr. Remi Duyile, Founder of the Legacy Premier Foundation and the convener of the conference. She stated the importance of intergenerational collaboration and partnership and how the future of Africa must be preserved. She spoke about her faith in the future of Africa and highlighted the possibilities of greater outcomes as regards to trade and investment in Africa.
Special remarks to the six continent participants was followed by John C. Wobensmith, Secretary of State of Maryland , USA
The opening remark was followed with a brief orientation of the virtual teleconferencing platform by Dr Wendy Brisley Executive Director of M3Linked , and a SUPER networking session by Dr. Richard Kaye from CEO space International.
Brian Castleberry, the Regional Manager – Middle East, Africa & India Office of International Investment and Trade moderated the first panel session titled “Doing Business In The UAE” which had business personalities from Dubai – Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi, Executive Director of Marketing and Sales Ajman Free Trade Zone UAE and Arshi Zaveri, CEO TrustwithTrade Group as panelists.
They highlighted the possibilities of doing business in the UAE and also mentioned that there are no barriers to foreign investments from diverse sectors. Sheikha Abdulla AlNuaimi pointed out that the creation of the free trade zone has become one of the biggest drivers for business growth in the UAE. In response to the question of gender inclusion in the business community of the UAE, Arshi Zaveri stated that the leadership of the UAE has ensured that women-owned businesses are supported and women are welcomed even in executive positions.
The second panel session ‘Access to capital’ was moderated by Jeannine Scott, the Founder and Principal of America to Africa Consulting, LLC (A2A). The panelists were: Alan Beard, Roshanda Johnson – Business Development Specialist US International Development Finance Corporation Brian Castleberry, Nicole Woods – Business Development Expert Export-Import Bank of the United States and Femi Akinrebiyo – Global Manager, Upstream manufacturing Agribusiness and services IFC
The discussion was centered around the issues faced by SMEs as regards getting capital for their business or projects.The essence of capacity building for business owners was also discussed in order for businesses to measure up to the requirements of financing institutions.
One of the panelists, Alan Beard, from Interlinks spoke about how important it is for business owners to have high quality financial statements before seeking capital.
Femi Akinrebiyo, global manager IFC enjoined entrepreneurs to know where to go in order to get capital or funds. He mentioned that every financial Institution has specifics, as regards what kind of idea or project they invest in.
Nicole Woods, a business development expert spoke about the role relationships and partnerships play in giving entrepreneurs access to real opportunities. She advised business owners to have a good plan and strategy before meeting with any investor or financial institution.
Rashanda Johnson from DFC stated the willingness of the dfc towards entrepreneurs to scale their business or project.
Jeannine Scott concluded by saying that the ability to be flexible and to move quickly is very important for business success.
The third panel, titled ‘Doing Business in Africa’ was moderated by the Chief Commercial Officer of Mixta Africa, Rolake Akinugbe-Filani. The panelists included: Dipo Adesina, Dr. Olawanle Akinboboye, Esther Dassanou, Hon. Idris Mohammad, and Gregory Simpkins.
The discussion centered on the importance of good government policies and how it affects the flow of business transactions. Each speaker shared their thoughts on the question asked – ‘Is Africa still a choice destination for doing business?’
Esther Dassanou highlighted the fact that Africa has the largest percentage of women entrepreneurs and business owners and she believes Africa is still a choice destination for doing business with opportunities, waiting to be explored.
Dipo Adesina, a serial entrepreneur envisaged the population strength of Africa (which is 1.2 billion people) as a pointer that Africa is still a choice destination for business. He also mentioned that entrepreneurs must continue to look at which continent is constantly growing in population so as to understand where to invest.
Dr. Akinboboye, a business leader in the tourism industry took a step by step approach to highlight the fact that Africa has a 30.2 million square kilometer area with a population of 1.2 billion people.He made his point clear that with all Africa has, Africa is still a choice destination for doing business.
Gregory Simpkins also shared insights on the goal of AGOA to increase Intra-Africa trade, and connect business people together. He mentioned that one of the benefits was the creation of scale.
In between the panelists were standalone global impact thought leaders and influencers such as Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao , Max Sutherland and Delegate Darryl Barnes who spoke and moved people to action.
The “Public-private-partnership: A Fundamental Key To Developmental Growth” panel session engaged participants and co-speakers on the wide range of discussions, from international public-private partnerships to foreign investments in the African continent. Moderated by Shavon Smith, Principal, the SJS Law Firm, the session was an eye-opener to foreign partnerships and global business opportunities available for African business owners, as well as possible limitations. The panelist drove their points home by highlighting a few key factors influencing the Public-private-partnership ecosystem globally, amongst which are local and international policies, leadership, market accessibility, local talent and public perception.
Special remarks were also made by the State Attorney for Prince George’s County, Aisha N. Braveboy, the U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Congressman Anthony Brown and Honorable Darryl Barnes, the Representative of the 25th Legislative District in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Friday, 6th November 2020
The second day of the event kicked off with a presentation on ‘Sustainable Ecosystem for African businesses’ by Guest Speaker Otunba Bimbola Ashiru, former Commissioner of Commerce and Industry and Director of O’DUA Investment Company Limited
He highlighted the potentials of the African market and laid emphasis on the fact that Africa is recognized as the next business hub waiting to be harnessed. “A bright light shines on the African tech ecosystem” said Otunba Bimbola.
The event continued with a Guest session anchored by as Dr Menna Demessie who spoke on the topic “Leveraging Policy and Policymakers for International Trade Relations”. Dr Menna extensively impressed the need for business owners, particularly the locals to get accustomed to the policies and laws – local, state, federal and international – that would help facilitate ease of doing business.
Hon. Aisha Braveboy
Honorable Aisha Braveboy, earlier in the event, gave a special remark acknowledging the great work done by Dr Remi Duyile, the convener of the program. She expressed in joy in the vision of the Summit, wholeheartedly, and appreciated the Speakers and participants who availed themselves on that day. Honorable Aisha also anchored the graduation ceremony of the HERISE Global Internship program.
The first panel for the day came up shortly after Dr Menna’s session. Tagged “Going Global: Understanding International Trade and Development,” the session featured Global thought leaders from various works of life namely; Tisa Clark, President, J.D. Clark Professional Services, L.L.C. (JD Clark); Don Williams, President and CEO of Princeton Healthcare International; Dr Kamaladevi Baskaran, Head of Industry Relations & Faculty, Department of Management & Commerce, Amity University, Dubai; Denise Cortês-Keyser, Entrepreneur, Motivational speaker, Finance and Investments Adviser Founder, DCK GLOBAL. Dr Kavita Kapur, an Assistant Professor at the College of Business, Bowie State University moderated the session.
The panel discussions was deeply engaging, as conversations centered on cross-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships, exploring global talent exchange, international trade processes and attracting the right investments/investors.
Mrs Toyin Sanni, CEO, Emerging Africa Capital spoke on the “Women Empowerment through Trade and Investment” She approached the topic keenly from her experience as a Financial Markets Expert and Gender Leader. Mrs Toyin, during her session, highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for women, as they are responsible to many grass root business establishments on the African continent. She went further to propose key solutions that could help promote gender empowerment and parity across the continent. Education, easy access to funding, and promotion of gender equality were some of the key solutions she mentioned, with the promotion of gender equality on the very top of that list.
Afterwards, Denise Cortês-Keyser gave an expose on The African Union’s African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) uncovering key details on the scope of the agreement. She touched on historical data, the vision of the trade agreement which is to allow free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent; and the current number of countries who have both signed and approved ratification of the AfCFTA Agreement – which currently stands at 30 countries, as at the time of her session. Denise stated 2 major issues posing as bulwarks to the AFCFTA. Issues such as unified trade policies and markets, cultural gaps, and manufacturing pose a great challenge to the implementation of the agreement. She further suggested seven namely: trade finance, trade facilitation, and trade policy, trade related infrastructure, trade information, productive capacities, and a factor market integration.
Victory Oluwasegun, CIO of Jamborow and COO/Co-founder of SpringPort Technologies moderated the next panel session ‘Generational Bridge-Building for Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs’ with panel members: Josephine Agbeko, Dayo Israel and Lara Abiona.
They addressed critical issues that stand as barriers between different generations. They highlighted the fact that all generations have something to offer and more would be achieved if each generation can leverage their strengths, and collaborate instead of compete.
In response to a question on the challenges of intergenerational gap, Josephine Agbeko described the younger generation as a set of people who will always ask “why” and sometimes such characteristics might be in contrast with the perception and attitude of the older generation and vice versa. She affirmed the importance of collaboration between generations. Lara Abiona also affirmed that the younger generation are willing to provide answers for their future. Victory Oluwasegun chimed in with the phrase ‘In the long run it’s not what we do that matters but why’.
The ‘Diplomatic Round table session’ followed immediately, anchored by Dr. Lawrence Mcneil the Dean of Bowie University. The panel members were Lawrence Manzi, Amb. Pradeep K Kapur, and Kayode Alabi.
Amb. Kapur, while speaking on trade and investment stated the impact Africans in Diaspora can have on Africa if they decide to build and invest in Africa. He acknowledged the achievements of Africans in Diaspora in different sectors and suggested that it’s important that Africans in Diaspora begin to create a legacy in Africa as their heritage.
Also Mr. Lawrence Manzi highlighted 3 pillars responsible for the growth of Rwanda – Unity as a people, Accountability and thinking big.
Mr. Kayode talked about the efforts made by the Kwara State Government in Nigeria as regards trade and investment in different sectors
The last panel session was titled ‘Entertainment: Tool for Nation Building’. The session was moderated by Kemi Ajumobi with Rozina Negusei and Audi Maikori as panelists
During the session the successes and achievements of the entertainment industry in Africa and the global impact was highlighted.
Audu Maikori talked about how African content enjoys more streaming and downloads from international audiences.
Rozina Negusei also mentioned that African entertainment is now the best next thing after playing soccer drawing the attention of music lovers worldwide.
The two-day event ended with an Award session, launch of the ‘Legacy Colossus Coaching for women and also the ‘Legacy Global Network’ – a platform to connect global entrepreneurs and business leaders that will serve as an engine of growth for emerging leaders.
The summit will ultimately impact business interactions between nations, creating a bridge for investors and entrepreneurs to meet and create innovative value. The 2021 edition is scheduled to hold in the UAE.
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.