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Redshift – Connecting South African small retailers with shoppers during lockdown

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Mmabatho Mokiti, Founding Director at Redshift

Have you ever wondered why all technologies seem to launch in the more centralized urban areas particularly in Johannesburg? Why, although the township economy keeps thriving and the technological advancements seem to ignore this economy. These were the questions Mmabatho Mokiti, John McDonald and Douglas Hoseck who founded Redshift had.

“I woke up and found myself in a lockdown, amidst a pandemic with soldiers on the streets and worry about just getting basic groceries. I worried about my neighbors and how they would protect themselves. The entrepreneurs in my neighborhood, who would have to shut down for safety reasons even though they formed part of essential services. It seemed to me, that there was a unique dilemma we faced and this insight was the reason we built the Redshift Store Connector.” Says Mokiti

According to a recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which measures the size of South Africa’s small business sector, of South Africa’s estimated 5.78 million MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), only 14% are formalised. Of the 817 000 formal MSMEs, 686 000 are classified as small, very small and micro. In contrast, there exists over 2 million informal MSMEs and 2,89 million survivalist businesses. Most micro and very small businesses exist to create self-employment.

Retail accounts for the majority of MSMEs with most of them operating in domestic trade (wholesale and retail). The current lockdown has seen a boom for large food retailers and established chain stores, which have benefited from panic buying. But presents a serious blow to the prospects of small independent retailers in township environments.

John McDonald, Founding Director at Redshift

“We decided to do something to help South Africa during her time of need. Given Redshift is an agile, easy to use website builder with phenomenal turnaround times, we built our Local Store Connector in a matter of hours with a solution oriented mentality in mind. Here’s the perfect tool to help connect consumers to small business owners while solving several problems at once. Social distancing, food security, safety and convenience are some of the immediate benefits that a customer will gain from using the Local Store Connector. The benefits for small business owners include getting a free online presence to help make an already under-pressure customer base aware that they are open for trade during lockdown and facilitating customer orders,” says McDonald.

While the lockdown regulations allow food retailers to continue trading, they must formally apply for a license to do so. There is lack of clarity as to whether independent retailers such as spaza shops are allowed to trade from their premises, and social distancing protocols have discouraged shoppers from utilising their services. This has resulted in most shoppers flocking to large chain stores as evidenced by the long lines seen at shopping malls and large outlets.

Also Read: These two Africans are helping businesses and individuals spend less time doing expenses with Xpensi

In support of small businesses in South Africa, Redshift supported by FinMark Trust will focus on using digital means to connect township food retailers to their customer base. The Redshift platform provides small businesses the opportunity to list themselves and accept orders from shoppers. These orders can then be pre-packed and readied for collection by the customer or for home delivery. As part of the on-boarding process, the platform facilitates MSME’s formally registering as essential businesses, which then allows them to continue to trade during the lockdown.

Subsequent phases will include introduction of digital payments and digital generation of management accounts that will assist in securing funding for working capital and expansion.

Redshift’s Online Store Connector functions in two ways:

  1. It allows retail MSMEs to register their stores in order to access the local marketat no cost; and
  2. It allows customers to shop from their local stores by simply submitting their grocery list and collecting their them after receiving confirmation, again at no cost. Thus, avoiding long queuesand the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus, while enabling food security for households.

The Local Shop Connector

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CEO Corner

AVCA Board appoints Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as CEO

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AVCA CEO, Abi Mustapha-Maduakor (Source: AVCA)

AVCA: The Board of Directors of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Ms Mustapha-Maduakor joins AVCA from MedAccess, a subsidiary of CDC Group, where she was Head of Business Operations and Finance, overseeing financial and risk management, strategy implementation, and organisational development.

During her tenure as AVCA’s Chief Operating Officer from 2016 to 2019, Abi played an integral role in driving the Association’s strategy, prioritising knowledge exchange and digitisation. Under her leadership, the Association strengthened focus on data and pioneering research, professional development support for private equity stakeholders, and strategic regional partnerships, all of which grew the membership to around 150 investors collectively managing US$1.5trn in assets.

The appointment follows an extensive global search led by the Board.

Abi will take up the position on 1 February 2021, and there will be a transition period with interim CEO, Dara Owoyemi, until her departure.

‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Chair of the Board, said: “After a rigorous process, it was clear to the selection committee that Abi is the right leader for this chapter in AVCA’s life. Her knowledge of the African investment landscape, advocacy, business strategy and risk management will be instrumental in her role leading the Association through its next phase and transformation, as investors and portfolio companies navigate various social, economic, political and institutional challenges. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Dara Owoyemi for her immense support and guidance as we searched for a permanent CEO.”

Abi brings several years of finance and banking experience to the role. Previously, she was Special Adviser on private sector development to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria. She also held leadership positions at Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and EY.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Mustapha-Maduakor said: “It is an honour to be appointed as CEO during this time of tremendous change in the global economy. As the Association’s new leader, my priority will be to build on the success of the past 20 years and transform AVCA into a conduit for diverse and varied sources of private investment in Africa. I look forward to working with the Board and team to deliver first-class member services, putting digital transformation, smart data and collaboration at the heart of our work.”A

AVCA

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Press Release

Novarick Appoints Otonye Lolomari as Non-Executive Director

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L-R: Non-Executive Director, Otonye Lolomari and Chief Executive Officer, Noah Ibrahim, both of Novarick Homes and Properties during the official presentation in Lekki, Lagos.

Novarick Homes and Properties Board of Directors has approved the appointment of Mr. Otonye Tony Lolomari as a Non-Executive Director. This takes effect from 21 of January, as the company is driven to reposition its management and business development for sustainable growth.

Lolomari brings over 24 years of industry experience which includes his position as a director of ICE Commercial Power in 2018, then moved to Chevron, Husky Energy and Schlumberger in Trinidad before joining the Novarick team. He also worked with leading companies and experts in different Continents like Europe, Africa and the USA.

According to Noah Ibrahim, CEO Novarick Homes, the new affiliation will position the company to make better decisions and propel the brand to a greater height. “We intend to continue collaborating with top professional within and outside our industry to achieve a well-rounded organization”, he noted.

Prior to his appointment, Lolomari has contributed and rendered supports in various forms to the goals and objectives of Novarick. The strong passion for inclusion, experimentation and empowerment drives his career towards a distinguished level of proficiency.

Furthermore, Novarick Homes operates other subsidiaries in segments like Property Development, Property Investment, Property Procurement & Advisory, Joint Ventures and Facility Management. The company is also working actively to achieve number 7, 9 and 11 of the 17 World Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the years, the firm has provided green, sustainable and smart real estate solutions using clean and renewable energy. Some major on-going projects include the Ruby Apartments, Nova Gardens and WAZOBIA Courts, all in Lagos State.

Novarick Homes and Properties is a fast-rising real estate development firm which was incorporated in 2018 and based in Lagos. The company is also focused on bridging the housing gap by building affordable and eco-friendly communities in Nigeria.

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Aviation

Qatar Airways Expands Africa Network with Increase in Flight Frequencies

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Qatar Airways Aircraft (Source: YouTube)

Cape Town, Casablanca and Tunis will increase to five weekly flights, while Johannesburg will increase to 18 weekly flights, offering passengers more flexible and reliable travel options

Airline’s young mixed fleet of sustainable aircraft has enabled it to continue flying throughout the pandemic and rebuild its global network to more than 800 weekly flights to over 120 destinations via the Best Airport in the Middle East

Qatar Airways continues to be the leading global carrier connecting Africa, operating one of the largest and most reliable networks in the region. Having become the largest international carrier during the early stages of the pandemic, the airline has applied its unrivalled knowledge of global passenger flows and booking trends to rebuild its Africa network to 23 destinations and more than 100 weekly flights.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are proud to be the leading international carrier connecting Africa with Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., offering more flexible travel options and a global network of flights that passengers, trade and business partners can rely on. Having launched three new destinations in Africa with Abuja, Accra and Luanda joining our network in 2020, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to the region by adding new routes and steadily increasing frequencies across the continent. With the resumption of Alexandria and Cairo, we will operate over 100 weekly flights to and from Africa with connections via the Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport, to our global network of over 120 destinations. As global travel recovers in 2021, we look forward to further expanding our network and offering more connections to and from Africa.”

In line with the airline’s steady rebuild of its Africa network, Qatar Airways plans to increase frequencies to the following destinations:

  • Alexandria (two weekly flights resumed 25 January)
  • Cairo (up to 16 weekly flights resumed 18 January)
  • Cape Town (increasing to five weekly flights from 1 February)
  • Casablanca (increased to five weekly flights from 21 January)
  • Durban (increasing to three weekly flights from 14 February)
  • Johannesburg (increasing to 18 weekly flights from 26 January)
  • Maputo (increasing to three weekly flights from 14 February)
  • Tunis (increased to five weekly flights from 24 January)

The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 120 destinations with plans to increase to over 130 by the end of March 2021.

Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA’s recent success as the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provides assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

Passengers can book flights with peace of mind, knowing that Qatar Airways offers unlimited date changes and fee-free refunds for all tickets issued before 30 April 2021, for travel completed by 31 December 2021. The carrier’s industry-leading flexible booking policy also provides the permanent feature of exchanging tickets for a travel voucher with 10% additional value for all customers booking travel via qatarairways.com. For full terms and conditions visit qatarairways.com/Flexibility.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by 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. The Qsuite seat layout is a 1-2-1 configuration, providing passengers with the most spacious, fully private, comfortable and social distanced Business Class product in the sky. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 45 destinations including Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne and New York. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted ‘Skytrax Airline of the Year’ title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.

Issued by Qatar Airways

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