DURBAN – The share price of Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN, rose 2.78 percent on the JSE after it announced several changes to its board in a bid to strengthen its executive team. The share closed at R105.30 on Friday.
MTN has appointed former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas as its chairperson-designate to replace Phuthuma Nhleko, who is stepping down in mid-December.
Jonas is no stranger to the MTN board. Last May, he was appointed as an independent non-executive director after being fired by then-president Jacob Zuma in 2017.
Nhleko has delayed his departure by six months to oversee the formation of the international advisory board (IAB), which he would serve as a member.
The five-member IAB will be chaired by former president Thabo Mbeki and will include former President of Ghana John Kufuor; Dr Aisha Abdullahi, former African Union commissioner for political affairs; Dr Mohammed el Baradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and Dr Momar Nguer, president of marketing and services Total SA.
MTN said the main purpose of the IAB would be to counsel, guide and support the MTN Group from time to time in fulfilling its vision and objective of being one of the premier African corporations with a global footprint in telecommunications, contributing to increased digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle East, a pivotal aspect of the fourth industrial revolution.
Other key changes include Dr Khotso Mokhele, who will become a lead independent director from December 15, and Lamido Sanusi, a Nigerian national and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Vincent Rague, a Kenyan national who worked for the International Finance Corporation, both with effect from July 1.
Alan Harper, Jeff Van Rooyen and Koosum Kaylan will step down from the board on December 15, while Peter Mageza and Dawn Marole would step down next year.
Peter Takaendesa, a portfolio manager at Mergence Investment Managers, said there were two important things that the MTN board had announced: the appointment of new non-executive directors and setting up of a new IAB.
“One of the key challenges MTN has faced in the past five years has been costly fines from African governments, especially in West Africa, and our view is that some of those sanctions were due to weaker relationships with relevant stakeholders. We, therefore, believe that the well-respected new non-executive directors and members of the IAB will go a long way in reducing those risks,” Takaendesa said.
Nhleko led negotiations after the group fell out with Nigeria after local authorities slapped MTN with a $5.2 billion (R74.48bn) fine in 2015 for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards on its network.
The fine was later reduced to $1.7bn after a series of negotiations with the Nigerian government, with the fine leading to MTN reporting losses for the first time in its 2016 financial results.
Last September, MTN was ordered by Nigeria’s central bank to refund about $8.13bn that it allegedly had illegally repatriated from the country.
Takaendesa said there was no doubt on the contribution that Nhleko has made on connecting the African continent to telecommunication services and the fruits of his vision decades ago would continue to benefit many stakeholders for decades to come.
“His influence on MTN will be diluted going forward, but his guidance will not be lost, as he will join the IAB. However, a number of investors in MTN have been calling for an independent chairperson to strengthen corporate governance further, and Jonas has been asked to step into that position.
There is no guarantee that problems in Nigeria will become a thing of the past, but Jonas will have very strong support from both the newly appointed non-executive directors, including former Nigeria central bank governor, and IAB with solid African leadership experience,” Takaendesa said. He said MTN was now in a much stronger position compared with where it was 12 to 18 months ago.
Qatar Airways to launch new route to Lusaka and Harare from August
Qatar Airways (Image: YouTube)
Qatar, DOHA – Zambia and Zimbabwe are being added to Qatar Airways expanding list of destinations in Africa from early August, bringing its award-winning service to two important southern African destinations.
The new service to Lusaka and onwards to Harare is scheduled to be operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It will connect passengers in Zambia and Zimbabwe with Qatar Airways’ global network of more than 140 destinations. With the addition of these two new routes the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Africa continues to be an area of strong growth for Qatar Airways and launching this service will support the development of the economy and tourism sector in both countries.
“Not only do we continue to rebuild our network after the pandemic, but we are actively expanding it with the addition of these two key destinations. These are the fifth and sixth new destinations in Africa added to our network since the start of the pandemic, taking our total new destinations added across the globe to 10.”
The launch of Lusaka and Harare also supports increased demand for trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe and destinations on the Qatar Airways network such as London, Frankfurt and New York and from multiple points in China. With a total of 30 tonnes of cargo capacity on the aircraft per flight, Qatar Airways Cargo will play a key role in facilitating key exports from Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As travellers return to the skies with Qatar Airways, they can take comfort knowing that they are travelling with the only airline in the world that has, together with its state-of-the-art global hub Hamad International Airport, achieved four 5-Star Skytrax ratings – including the prestigious 5-Star Airline Rating, 5-Star Airport Rating, 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating and 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating.
These achievements highlight Qatar Airways’ commitment to providing our passengers with an industry-leading experience at every point of their journey, including the highest possible level of health and safety standards that safeguard the wellbeing of our passengers both on the ground and in the air. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit www.qatarairways.com/safety.
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 40 destinations including Casablanca, New York, Paris and Singapore.
Flight schedule starting 6 August:
Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Doha (DOH) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1455 departs: 02:20 arrives: 08:50
Lusaka (LUN) to Harare (HRE) QR1455 departs: 10:20 arrives: 11:20
Harare (HRE) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1456 departs: 18:55 arrives 19:55
Lusaka (LUN) to Doha (DOH) QR1456 departs: 21:25 arrive 05:55 (+1)
Fatura secures a $3 Million pre-series A investment round
Fatura co-Founders (Source: Hossam Ali)
Fatura round was co-led by Sawari Ventures and Arzan VC, with the participation of Egypt Ventures, EFG-EV, The Cairo Angels as well as Khwarizmi Ventures. The B2B marketplace was launched late 2019 and already crossed the 1 Billion EGP yearly GMV milestone, and that’s just in the FMCG sector. Fatura is a mobile application that connects wholesalers & manufacturers with retailers in different industries. The start-up has been operating in the FMCG industry and it is currently piloting in other industries.
During the past year the start-up also extended its reach to more than 25,000 retailers and more than 500 wholesalers and manufacturers across 20 governorates, exchanging more than 10,000 SKUs. Fatura also cracked the surface of financial services by introducing digital lending with focus on retailers financing, aiming to add more services in that area in the near future.
“Fatura’s existing infrastructure has enabled them to expand their offerings to new customers,” commented Hany Al-Sonbaty, Managing Partners at Sawari Ventures, adding that, “the team has demonstrated that they have the vision to identify new opportunities and the prowess and agility to implement and deliver. We are excited to become part of their journey.”
Hossam Ali, Fatura’s CEO, commented on the news saying: “There is a great opportunity in the B2B space in Egypt, that is growing as the players are becoming digitally mature and ready. Collectively, the digital B2B players in the FMCG space capture less than 5% of the market and there is a long way to go. Our conviction is to stay asset-light, be inclusive to all the industry stakeholders and to attract the best on-ground acquisition force across the country”
Fatura has built a strong foundation and infrastructure that enables it to monetize its data and services. The company’s future plans include new services that support the different players in its ecosystem including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, multiple digitization initiatives with focus on digital payments and regional expansion into new markets.
“Being part of Fatura’s success story is exciting for us. The FMCG industry is in need of Fatura’s product, which will solve many challenges faced by small retailers. Also, its fintech angle complements the core product and enables retailers to scale their business further with less working capital constraints.” – Hasan J. Zainal, Managing Partner of Arzan Venture Capital
This investment will gear Fatura to extend its services beyond e-commerce and digital lending to optimize the exchange of goods, money and information in the B2B context while focusing on convenience and the different users’ experience.
Business Africa Online, InnoPower and Afrigrants to Host some of the best African, USA Innovators and Investors
Business Africa Online, InnoPower, LLC (USA) and Afrigrants Foundation are set to Host some of the best Innovators, Investors, Business Consultants and Industry Experts in the world at the Going Global Summit with the theme, “Africa: The Next Global Frontier”. The summit is a part of InnoPower Minority Business Week (IMBW) hosted by Innopower, LLC (USA) scheduled to hold from Monday, June 14 to Friday, June 18, 2021 and currently ongoing.
The Going Global Initiative intends to boost a stronger pipeline of awareness, access to Africa’s talent and solutions with these focus areas; Entrepreneurship, Connection and Advocacy. The InnoPower Going Global Summit 2021 is a digital summit and intends to connect Africa to the global economy, starting with the USA. It will attract global business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, decision and policy makers around the world, especially from Africa and the United States of America (U.S.A). The Summit will feature panel sessions, virtual pitch, awards and networking.
Panel Discussion Topics will cover:
- Positioning African entrepreneurs for global exposure and impact.
- Raising Global Capital: Understanding the Why, When and How.
- Post COVID-19: Exploring US-Africa Investment Opportunities.
Esteemed Guests include:
- Dr. Akintoye Akindele (Nigeria) – Executive Chairman, Platform Capital
- Lawrence Walter (USA) – Vice President, Entrepreneurship at IEDC
- Ayodeji Balogun (Nigeria)– Founder and CEO of Premier Credit
- Lydia Idem (USA) – Founder & Managing Director of FM Capital Group
- Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes (Nigeria) – Founding Partner & CEO, Aruwa Capital Management
- Nike Anani (Nigeria) – Founder, Nike Anani Practice Ltd
- Ali Hussein Kassim (Kenya) – Tech Executive and Advisor
- Mohamed Aboulnaga (Egypt) – Tech Entrepreneur
- Shila Nieves Burney (USA) – Founder, Zane Venture Fund & Zane Access
- Segun Abiona (Nigeria) – Founder & Innovation Director, Nicole & Giovanni
- Manisha Dookhony (Mauritius) – Economist & Senior Advisor
- Sherif Nessim (Egypt) – Founder & Managing Director, Jedar Capital
- Linda Wayoe (Ghana) – Director, AM Group & Board Member UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce
- Mariam Kamel (Egypt) – Manager, AUC Angels
- Horesia Nyawade (South Africa) – CIO & Co-Founder, Vuuqa
- Muhammida El Muhajir (Ghana) – Global Brand Strategist
Conceptualised by Afrigrants Foundation, Pitch School Africa is an annual youth entrepreneurship event that trains young entrepreneurs on how to pitch their business ideas to potential investors. Over 200 students across Africa participated in the Pitch School Africa 2021 stream, which has now been narrowed down to just 4 BIG ideas that will be featured at the Grand Finale. The 4 Finalists that will pitch their business ideas at the 2021 InnoPower Going Global are; Gualo Confidence (Nigeria) – Gualocian fish processing, Budani Bulayani (Botswana) – Budzi Products, Favour Adeleke (Nigeria) – Qiqi Farms and Oluwatomilola Mustapha (Nigeria) – Raytreat.
The Pitch Jury are;
- Ronda Taylor, PhD Department Chair Entrepreneur Program, Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana.
- Dr. Kristin Burton Asst. Professor, Entrepreneurship, College of Business, Purdue University.
- Joe Albano, Principal Logika International LLC.
The winner will be awarded the grand prize of $5000 with a one year mentorship from the finest business developers across the world.
Over the past 12 months, businesses have faced remarkable challenges due to global economic meltdown and the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Many ventures were forced to shut their doors through legislation and other circumstances. Some managed to survive by thinking out of the box and adapting to the changing and dire times. Business Africa Online (BAO) with the support of InnoPower, LLC (USA) will be recognising and awarding three (3) African resilient startups that have pulled out all the steps to grow back better through the pandemic in Africa. The awardees will get a support grant of $500 each with an acceleration program led by global business developers.
“Our strategic partnership with InnoPower, LLC (USA) is to support and further drive its Going Global Initiatives here in Africa. Also to reaffirm our commitment to connect African entrepreneurs and businesses with US-based investors. We are inspired and motivated everyday by the incredible African (Social) entrepreneurs and investors within our community and their desire to impact the world positively.” says Alaba Ayinuola, Founder & CEO of Business Africa Online
To register for this virtual summit, please visit bit.ly/InnoPowerGoingGlobal2021