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Nestlé announces the winners of the Sub-Saharan Africa innovation challenge

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The 3 start-ups winners have been awarded a 4-month residency in the new Nestlé R&D Accelerator for Sub-Saharan Africa

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 4, 2019 – Start-ups SHOPIT, EXPORTUNITY and WAKULIMA from South AfricaBenin and Tanzania respectively, emerged today the winners of the Nestlé Research and Development (R&D) Sub-Saharan innovation challenge. Selected from among a highly competitive group of 174 submissions received from 27 different countries across Africa, these start-ups projects were judged by a panel of Nestlé executives as the most promising.

In addition, the initiative MAFANI led by 2 students from University Gaston Berger of Saint Louis (Senegal) was selected as the winner of university category of the challenge and will receive CHF 10,000 in prize money.

The 3 start-ups winners have been awarded a 4-month residency in the new Nestlé R&D Accelerator for Sub-Saharan Africa, located at the Nestlé R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

During their stay, the 3 selected start-ups will have the opportunity to tap into Nestlé’ R&D’s expertise, as well as have access to state-of-the-art infrastructure such as hot desks, labs, kitchens and pilot testing equipment to further advance and potentially commercialize their ideas.

According to Joëlle Abega-Oyouomi, Head of the Nestlé R&D Center in Abidjan, “the Sub-Saharan African innovation ecosystem is filled with creative energy and strong entrepreneurial minds. However, there is not enough infrastructure to test and validate new ideas therefore limiting access to a wider market’’. She highlighted that “Nestlé’s R&D science and technology expertise will contribute by providing a platform to deliver innovations adapted to African consumers’ needs and preferences.”

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In May 2019, Nestlé launched the R&D innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of its efforts to stimulate innovative solutions across four areas: affordable nutrition, environmentally friendly packing solutions, sustainable cocoa plantlets, and new routes to markets. It has set a particular focus on universities and start-ups in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

Chair of the challenge selection panel, Mr. Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé in Central and West Africa, was pleased with the high level of participation from the region. “I am impressed by the original ideas pitched to us today.  With a majority of the submissions coming from Ghana and Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, the region is in an exceptional position to become an innovation hub for the African continent.”

Bruno Olierhoek, Market Head for Nestlé East and Southern African Region expressed his delight at the dedication showed by students and start-ups to this initiative. “We are thrilled that this innovation challenge resulted in such great interest from the East and Southern African Region. In the spirit of co-creation we can now look forward to joint ideation between the winners and Nestlé for solutions that will contribute to a healthier future of the people of Africa’’.

For more information see:

Nestlé.

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Mixed-use is the key to funding hotel development in Africa

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JLL’s research into global property transactions reveals that in the first half of 2019, there was a 42% increase in the value of mixed-use property transactions

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 16, 2019 – A new report from JLL, the world’s largest professional services firm specialising in real estate, has revealed that people seeking to finance a new hotel project in Africa will be much more successful if their hotel is part of a mixed-use development.

JLL’s research into global property transactions reveals that in the first half of 2019, there was a 42% increase in the value of mixed-use property transactions, whereas there was a decline in other sectors, with Office down 4%, Industrial down 6%, Retail down 20%, Hotel down 18% and alternatives down 40%.

Xander Nijnens, Executive Vice-President, JLL Sub-Saharan Africa, explains that the trend is driven by lenders’ approach to risk. He said: “Diversifying risk by including alternative types of property, commercial, retail, hotel and branded residences, in one development, provides comfort to financiers due to the diverse and more consistent income streams generated. Branded residences are also increasing in prevalence because they provide up-front cash inflows and a more predictable source of revenue than one gets from a hotel alone.”

In Africa, the leading funders of hospitality construction projects are government-backed Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) like International Finance Corporation (IFC), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the CDC Group, Proparco and the German Investment Corporation (DEG). They are motivated by economic development, skills development and job creation and have a lower requirement for the predictable, consistent loan repayments required by a commercial bank. DFIs are also able to stomach more risk.

Also Read Interview with Badejo Stephen, CEO and Founder of The Removalist Logistics

A driving factor for this trend is that hotels rent their rooms in euros and US dollars rather than in local currency which, from a financing perspective, reduces the risk to the lender and lowers the interest rate paid by the borrower.

The research comes a week ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), Africa’s highest profile gathering of the hospitality and tourism industry, which takes place in Addis Ababa on September 23-25.

JLL

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Fenix International to Launch Off-Grid Solar in Mozambique in partnership with leading operator Vodacom

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Launching sales in Mozambique is the latest step in Fenix’s expansion

MAPUTO, Mozambique, September 16, 2019 – Fenix International, a next-generation energy company and subsidiary of ENGIE, opens its sixth market in Mozambique, where it expects to reach 200,000 households with clean energy and inclusive financial services within 3 years.

Launching sales in Mozambique is the latest step in Fenix’s expansion. Headquartered in Kampala, the company has already connected 500,000 customers to solar power in Uganda, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, and Nigeria. Fenix has rapidly grown operations as a subsidiary of ENGIE, enabling the company to scale off-grid energy and financial services across new markets, with Mozambique the fourth new market opened within the past year.

Luke Hodgkinson, Managing Director of Fenix Mozambique, comments, “Mozambique has set an ambitious target with their ProEnergia initiative to reach 100% of the population with electricity by 2030. The country represents an optimal market for off-grid solar products, with only 27% of households currently connected to electricity and a highly distributed population. Fenix’s operations here will focus on reaching those most in need of energy access, particularly districts in the North and people who are using expensive, polluting, and dangerous methods such as kerosene and candles to light their homes.”

By replacing fossil fuel-powered lanterns, solar home systems allow off-grid customers to illuminate their homes with clean LED lights, as well as charge phones and run radios, TVs, hair clippers and speakers. Fenix’s latest product, Fenix Power, is a GSM-enabled power system that enables the company to determine product usage and potential technical issues remotely, improving the customer experience. Fenix is the first PAYGO solar company in Mozambique to use these Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to reduce costs and bring high-quality, affordable technology to rural, last-mile customers.

Fenix has partnered with Vodacom and Vodafone M-Pesa SA to tackle the challenges of distribution, connectivity and mobile payments that have left rural Mozambicans underserved by affordable energy products in the past.

Luke adds, “We are delighted to partner with Vodacom and Vodafone M-Pesa SA. With their market-leading brand, distribution network and payment platform, and Fenix’s high-quality products and excellent last-mile customer service, together we can provide clean energy and financial inclusion to millions of rural Mozambicans. Once these foundations have been established, the possibilities to bring other life-changing products, from household appliances to crop insurance, are truly endless.”

Gulamo Nabi, from Vodafone M-Pesa SA adds, “We’ve been working to unlock the potential of M-Pesa for the millions of Mozambicans in rural areas, far from the national grid or traditional financial services.

“Vodafone M-Pesa SA is excited to work with Fenix to access these areas and provide the easy, fast and secure payment platform for customers to light up their homes with clean, affordable energy. This is totally aligned with our mission to create mobile solutions to change our customers lives.”

Also Read Interview with Badejo Stephen, CEO and Founder of The Removalist Logistics

Fenix is headquartered in Maputo, but will operate in every province of Mozambique within the next three years. Whilst sales have already begun in the South Region, the next point of entry for investment will be in the province of Nampula before the end of the year. This decision is motivated by Fenix’s commitment to delivering its solution to households most in need and in the hardest to reach corners of rural Mozambique. To serve its customers across the country, Fenix will train and employ over 150 full-time sales and marketing, customer service, product diagnostics, and logistics professionals.

Fenix International

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Arab central banks’ chief laud Egypt’s successful economic reform experience

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Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer

CAIRO – 15 September 2019: Governors of Arab central banks and monetary institutions applauded Sunday Egypt’s successful economic reform, which helped restore investors confidence.

This came during the 43rd session of the Arab Central Banks Governors and Arab Monetary Associations, which kicked off earlier in the day at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) with the participation of over 200 Arab bankers, central banks’ governors, ministers, economic experts and officials of the Arab Monetary Fund.

Also Read Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Participants asserted that the Egypt’s economic reform experience over the past four years should be documented as a model to be followed by other countries.

Egypt Today

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