JOHANNESBURG – Pharmacy, health and beauty retailer Clicks said on Friday Vikesh Ramsunder had been appointed group CEO and an executive director with effect from next January to succeed David Kneale who has led the company since 2006.
Kneale will step down from January 1 and assume the role of group strategic advisor while he serves his contractual notice period until August 31 2019. This will enable the group to benefit from his extensive health and beauty retailing experience and ensure a smooth transition.
Ramsunder is currently Clicks chief operating officer and has been with the group for 25 years. He has held numerous roles across multiple disciplines including store and distribution centre management, and was head of logistics.
“Vikesh has been mentored as my successor over several years and is highly respected both internally and by external stakeholders of the group,” said Kneale. “His proven leadership track record and depth of experience makes him the ideal CEO succession candidate.”
During Kneale’s 13 years at the helm, the Clicks group has experienced strong growth in its core markets, with both Clicks and UPD holding market-leading shares in their respective sectors. The group’s revenue has more than trebled in this time while operating profit has increased five-fold.
Under Kneale’s leadership the group seen its market capitalisation grow from R4 billion in 2006 to R50 billion and was recently elevated into the FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index.
– African News Agency (ANA)
African Guarantee Fund Secures $20 Million Capital Increase for Green SME Financing
African Guarantee Fund CEO, Jules Ngankam and IFU’s CEO, Torben Huss (Source: African Guarantee Fund)
African Guarantee Fund has today received a capital increase of USD 20 million from the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) to facilitate green SME financing in Africa. The capital increase is partially financed by the Danish Government, as part of the Danish “COVID-19 Development Assistance” package. Including the additional USD 20 million, the total Danish investment in AGF amounts to USD 72 million.
The capital increment into the African Guarantee Fund will increase the Fund’s capacity to unlock financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa. SMEs in the continent have experienced a deterioration in their creditworthiness as a result of the economic impact of Covid-19. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 2020 survey reports business closure, lack of operational cashflow and a drop-in demand as the top challenges facing African SMEs as a result of the pandemic.
“The initial Danish capital injection into the African Guarantee Fund not only generated economic and social impact but also helped to attract more capital from other Development Finance Institutions. AGF is currently supporting financial institutions and SMEs to contain the impact of Covid-19 and to eventually recover in the post-covid context. Our target is to keep SMEs afloat while maintaining their workforce; and to ensure SMEs’ green transition. With this capital increment, our capacity to offer more green guarantees to financial institutions is enhanced and will facilitate sustainable financing for green transition in Africa” said AGF’s CEO, Jules Ngankam.
“Private SMEs are vital for creating and safeguarding decent jobs in Africa, but they face huge challenges in the Covid-19 crisis. AGF is well placed to ease the negative consequences and help African SMEs to build back better and greener. IFU´s 20 million dollars investment provide funding of SMEs´ green transition, making more companies fit for a low carbon climate resilient future and create jobs. We are confident that our investment will attract other investors to exploit the proven potential of AGF filling the huge gap in SME financing in Africa,” said IFU’s CEO, Torben Huss.
AGF’s key objective is to reduce the SME financing gap currently estimated at more than USD 300 billion. With IFU’s capital increase, AGF will be able to achieve even more economic and social impact, given the investment will unlock more than USD 400 million of financing for SMEs.
The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at the MIT launches Foundry Fellowship for entrepreneurs in Africa
Thehas launched the Foundry Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind leadership program for accomplished entrepreneurs who are considering their role in shaping the future of the African innovation ecosystems in which they work and live. At an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journeys, Fellows will learn from MIT faculty, connect with investors, and expand their network of peer innovators. The Fellowship is open to entrepreneurs working and living in Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal.
Building on the MIT ethos of Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand), the Foundry is a place where entrepreneurs come together to reflect on their achievements and shape their futures as leaders in business, investing, and governance. The program includes an interactive online curriculum followed by a three-week immersive session that brings the cohort together to explore innovation-driven ecosystems.
The Foundry Fellowship presents a unique opportunity to bring MIT resources and knowledge to these critical innovation ecosystems and, importantly, also offers MIT an opportunity to learn from successful leaders and their innovative solutions.
Professor Fiona Murray, Faculty Director of the Legatum Center, described this opportunity to expand MIT’s innovation network “[as] a moment for the Fellows to reflect on [their entrepreneurial] journey that also allows us to learn from them. They can use this experience as a stepping-off point as they move to the next stage of ecosystem-wide leadership.”
“As a school dedicated to the development of principled, innovative leaders who improve the world, MIT Sloan looks forward to welcoming the Legatum Foundry Fellows to Cambridge and to the MIT community,” said David Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management.
A Collaboration between the Legatum Center and The Mastercard Foundation
Through this collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, the Foundry Fellowship will deepen the impact of leaders who are solving complex problems, creating jobs, and bringing essential services to millions through innovation-driven business models.
With the world’s fastest growing youth population, Africa is home to 4 of the world’s top 5 fastest-growing economies, has the fastest urbanization rate in the world, and has a rapidly expanding middle class predicted to increase business and consumer spending. Innovation and entrepreneurial solutions are a critical component to continued growth and prosperous people and societies across the continent. Africa’s entrepreneurs are building businesses that offer lessons in inclusion, sustainability, and value creation that extend far beyond the continent. As a global network of entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders, the Legatum Center’s Foundry offers a platform for leaders to share their stories and consider new ways to extend their impact in their local ecosystems and around the world.
Dina Sherif, Executive Director of the Legatum Center says, “To propel Africa forward and remain competitive globally, we need innovation-led entrepreneurship and robust African entrepreneurial ecosystems. The Foundry Fellowship supports African entrepreneurs to transition to entrepreneurial leaders who work with various stakeholders to strengthen and improve their ecosystems.”
The Foundry Fellowship is a competitive program for outstanding entrepreneurial leaders working in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. The Legatum Center will accept nominations from May 3 – May 20, 2021. A nomination is not required to apply; entrepreneurs are invited to submit an application directly. All nominees and applicants must submit a completed application by 11:59 PM EDT on June 10, 2021 to be considered for the program.
Nomination and application information is available at The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship
An initial cohort of 15 Fellows will be selected for this fully-funded program.
AI Expo Africa, Wesgro, and Zindi launch the Deepfake Africa Challenge
AI Expo Africa, in partnership with Wesgro Film and Media Promotion and African Data Science competition platform Zindi, has launched the Deepfake Africa Challenge in a bid to raise awareness about deepfake media, tools and ethics on the African continent.
Deepfakes have been prominent in the news in the last two years as the tools and platforms that allow for such content to be produced are widely available and easy to use by both skilled and casual users.
While some deepfakes can be used to create fun, viral videos or new synthetic applications such as digital avatars that have multiple applications, they also can be used to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with the potential to deceive with subsequent negative impacts for people, organisations and wider society.
Dr Nick Bradshaw, founder & CEO of AI Media the company behind AI Expo Africa, stated, “The objective of the challenge is to create convincing deepfakes to highlight the power of this synthetic media, illustrating its creative potential for exploitation for both positive and negative outcomes and focusing debate about its ethical use or mis-use in an African context. We partnered with Zindi as they have the largest community of Data Scientists in Africa, and Wesgro Film Unit to tap into the award-winning creative industry based in the Western Cape, South Africa. This challenge is open to both creative and technical talent across Africa. We look forward to seeing the outcomes from the submission.”
Wesgro Film and Media Promotion head Monica Rorvik commented, “Deepfake media can have negative outcomes. This challenge serves as an opportunity and platform that we can leverage during this interesting time of the “Pandemic of deep fakes” – and by working together, and checking facts, we can learn together and gain some herd immunity.”
Zindi co-founder and CEO Celina Lee stated “Deepfakes are fast becoming a challenge of our time. Through the Zindi platform we are seeking to tap into the collective insights and creativity from twenty-six thousand African data scientists to shine a light on this topic and create debate about the potential harms these media and tools can do from a uniquely African perspective.”
Submission and evaluation
Submissions are welcome from across the African continent and from relevant communities including researchers, developers, content creatives and film makers. The winning submissions of the Deepfake Africa Challenge will be showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE between 7 to 9 September.
- Artistic creativity and relevance to the challenge topic
- Level of innovation used in the process to generate the content
- A short explanation of platforms, tools and techniques used to generate your submission will greatly enhance your submission and are encouraged so we can build a picture of the most common tools and techniques used
The judging panel will be made up of representatives from Zindi, The AI Media Group and Wesgro. The judge’s decision will be final.
1st Place Winner: Complimentary ticket to join AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE (including 1x return economy flight & 4x nights hotel stay B&B courtesy of Radisson Blue to join us at AI Expo Africa 2022). The 1st Place Winner’s flight is eligible to delegates joining from outside the host city capped to $1000 using economy class fare. Expenses and visas are not included.
2nd and 3rd prize winners to receive 1x complimentary ticket to AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE.
Top 3 placed winners will have work showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 along with write up and press mentions.
The competition closes on 30th July 2021. Final submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM GMT 30th July 2021. Winners will be notified and announced by 17 August 2021 with the winning submissions being showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE between 7-9 September.
The challenge organisers reserve the right to update the content timeline if necessary.