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Web TV aims to boost youth interest in African farming

Ouagadougou – With the logo of his internet TV station on his black T-shirt, Inoussa Maiga energetically plucks corn stalks in northern Burkina Faso for a programme on farming in Africa.

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Maiga, 30, launched Agribusiness TV in May in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou, determined to change poor opinions about agricultural work held by African youth and to help develop the continent.

“All those who went to school up to a certain level consider going back to the land as a failure, as something demeaning. Yet and we see it every day in our broadcasts, there are many opportunities for young people,” he says.

In Bagre, 245 kilometres (150 miles) north of the city, Maiga has found one of the unusual topics he likes to promote: a teacher who gives classes in maths while raising pigs and growing maize, rice and groundnuts.

Other characteristic subjects are a woman in Benin with a degree in banking and finance who works in a “man’s universe of crop production” and an inventor of helpful machines for agricultural cooperatives in Togo.

The TV channel, available on the web and mobile phones, has steadily garnered a network of correspondents in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali and Togo, with Mauritius next on the agenda.

‘Maximum age of 40

The editorial stance of Agribusiness TV has clear rules.

Features focus on people of “a maximum age of 40” who have a “pretty interesting” background in farming, stock-breeding and other “different links in the food chain”, Maiga explains.

Programmes can cover “food processing, green jobs, everything related to the environment and the business of sustainable agriculture”.

“We want people whose careers can inspire other people,” says the broadcaster, who set up the enterprise with his wife Nawsheen Hosenally.

Himself the son of a peasant farmer, Inoussa studied at the University of Ouagadougou, where he specialised in communications for development before founding Agribusiness TV.

He seeks “above all to showcase young Africans who are courageously committed to agriculture, who invest in the area, and possibly to bring a different outlook among young Africans to this sector,” he says, calling it “the motor for the development of African economies”.

‘Massive youth unemployment’

“When you look at the economic structure of our countries, you see that it’s in agriculture where one can create the most jobs and fight massive youth unemployment,” adds Inoussa.

“We want to spotlight young people who are doing interesting things. We seek to motivate and encourage those who would like to start out in agriculture. May this inspire them!”

Inoussa’s work won support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a joint institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and the European Union.

The CTA provided funding worth 58 000 euros ($65 000) to help launch Agribusiness TV. Inoussa came up with a further 65 000 euros from his own communications firm.

Hosenally also works full time on the channel. She translates material into English and deals with technical aspects of putting broadcasts online and managing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The founders surpassed their aims during the first year, with 45 000 fans on Facebook and about 800 000 viewers for their broadcasts. The website is bilingual, full of videos and a blog.

But on a continent where internet access remains patchy, the founders of Agribusiness TV are happy to make their videos available to various associations to be shown in rural settings.

“We project videos ourselves when we’re invited to conferences or meetings with players in the rural world,” says Inoussa, who hopes that his channel will benefit from the gradual progress of the internet in Africa.

“Every day, at least 15 people get in touch with us asking for the contact details of such and such an entrepreneur to whom we devoted a video,” Hosenally says.

“We’re also encouraged by the messages and the comments we receive each day,” adds Inoussa.

“These are videos that inspire people, we get a lot of feedback from the entrepreneurs we meet. Some of them tell us about contracts they have signed thanks to our work.

“All this gives hope.”

Agribusiness TV is available in French and English on dedicated apps for smartphone at www.agribusinesstv.info.
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Web TV aims to boost youth interest in African farming

Ouagadougou – With the logo of his internet TV station on his black T-shirt, Inoussa Maiga energetically plucks corn stalks in northern Burkina Faso for a programme on farming in Africa.

Maiga, 30, launched Agribusiness TV in May in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou, determined to change poor opinions about agricultural work held by African youth and to help develop the continent.

“All those who went to school up to a certain level consider going back to the land as a failure, as something demeaning. Yet and we see it every day in our broadcasts, there are many opportunities for young people,” he says.

In Bagre, 245 kilometres (150 miles) north of the city, Maiga has found one of the unusual topics he likes to promote: a teacher who gives classes in maths while raising pigs and growing maize, rice and groundnuts.

Other characteristic subjects are a woman in Benin with a degree in banking and finance who works in a “man’s universe of crop production” and an inventor of helpful machines for agricultural cooperatives in Togo.

The TV channel, available on the web and mobile phones, has steadily garnered a network of correspondents in Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali and Togo, with Mauritius next on the agenda.

‘Maximum age of 40

The editorial stance of Agribusiness TV has clear rules.

Features focus on people of “a maximum age of 40” who have a “pretty interesting” background in farming, stock-breeding and other “different links in the food chain”, Maiga explains.

Programmes can cover “food processing, green jobs, everything related to the environment and the business of sustainable agriculture”.

“We want people whose careers can inspire other people,” says the broadcaster, who set up the enterprise with his wife Nawsheen Hosenally.

Himself the son of a peasant farmer, Inoussa studied at the University of Ouagadougou, where he specialised in communications for development before founding Agribusiness TV.

He seeks “above all to showcase young Africans who are courageously committed to agriculture, who invest in the area, and possibly to bring a different outlook among young Africans to this sector,” he says, calling it “the motor for the development of African economies”.

‘Massive youth unemployment’

“When you look at the economic structure of our countries, you see that it’s in agriculture where one can create the most jobs and fight massive youth unemployment,” adds Inoussa.

“We want to spotlight young people who are doing interesting things. We seek to motivate and encourage those who would like to start out in agriculture. May this inspire them!”

Inoussa’s work won support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a joint institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states and the European Union.

The CTA provided funding worth 58 000 euros ($65 000) to help launch Agribusiness TV. Inoussa came up with a further 65 000 euros from his own communications firm.

Hosenally also works full time on the channel. She translates material into English and deals with technical aspects of putting broadcasts online and managing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The founders surpassed their aims during the first year, with 45 000 fans on Facebook and about 800 000 viewers for their broadcasts. The website is bilingual, full of videos and a blog.

But on a continent where internet access remains patchy, the founders of Agribusiness TV are happy to make their videos available to various associations to be shown in rural settings.

“We project videos ourselves when we’re invited to conferences or meetings with players in the rural world,” says Inoussa, who hopes that his channel will benefit from the gradual progress of the internet in Africa.

“Every day, at least 15 people get in touch with us asking for the contact details of such and such an entrepreneur to whom we devoted a video,” Hosenally says.

“We’re also encouraged by the messages and the comments we receive each day,” adds Inoussa.

“These are videos that inspire people, we get a lot of feedback from the entrepreneurs we meet. Some of them tell us about contracts they have signed thanks to our work.

“All this gives hope.”

Agribusiness TV is available in French and English on dedicated apps for smartphone at www.agribusinesstv.info.
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Africa needs entrepreneurs

With a majority of African nations diversifying from traditional sources of income, entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as a key to economic growth. So far, entrepreneurship has yielded huge returns for entrepreneurs, and according to experts, there lies great untapped potential to drive the African continent into its next phase of development.

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A study released in June 2015 by Approved Index, a UK-based business networking group, ranked Africa as among the top of the entrepreneurship chart. The Entrepreneurship around the world report listed Uganda, Angola, Cameroon and Botswana among the top ten on the entrepreneurship list.

The group sees entrepreneurship as a “necessity” at a time of high unemployment, saying: “When unemployment is high and the economy is weaker, people are forced to start small businesses to provide for themselves and their families.”

Entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job generation tools in Africa.

Roselyn Vusia, a human rights advocate, points out that Uganda’s youth unemployment – estimated to be 83 percent, according to the African Development Bank’s 2014 report – is one of the highest in Africa.

Unemployment around the continent is also worrying. A 2013 study by Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, found that African youth (15 to 24 years) constitute about 37 percent of the working age population. The same age group, however, accounts for about 60 percent of jobless people in Africa.

Kwame Owino of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank based in Nairobi, says: High youth population, poor policy choices and a lack of comprehensive employment plans in many African nations precipitate the high rates of unemployment.”

Skills development focus

Vusia comments on one proactive approach: “The government of Uganda has implemented an entrepreneurship strategy that is focused on skills development, resource provision and access to markets. This seems to be bearing fruit,” she says.

The importance of entrepreneurship was underscored at the July 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, attended by US President Barack Obama, entrepreneurs from more than 100 countries and a group of US investors, among others.

Speaking at the summit, Obama lauded entrepreneurship for its promise for Africa with participants at the GES agreeing with him that entrepreneurship is one of the key ingredients in the toolbox to address youth unemployment in Africa, the region with the youngest population in the world. “Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world – it is the spark of prosperity,” Obama said.

According to Evans Wadongo, listed by Forbes Africa as one of the most promising young African entrepreneurs, many African governments have not been keen on developing policies that will avert unemployment among the youth in a big way.

“Governments are not doing enough. The private sector is trying, but most goods brought into the African market are from China. This denies the youth the much needed manufacturing jobs, which are more labour intensive,” he says.

Kenya’s cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Adan Mohammed, however, defends the policies of most African governments, saying that their efforts have been spurring confidence in the continent and are enabling more young people to turn toward entrepreneurship.

“Success breeds success – as many entrepreneurs make headway, others get on board. Also, technology-based inventions are pulling entrepreneurs,” Mohammed says. “The mindset has changed and many young people now think as employers. Many African governments have ­created opportunities in terms of finance and access to markets.”

Commenting on the increase in foreign investment and economic growth in Africa, Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda says his government’s efforts to promote entrepreneurial culture have produced “remarkable results”. For instance, the state-run Youth Venture Capital Fund trains and provides money to young people with good business ideas. The government also helps young entrepreneurs to market their products.

Most importantly, with youth ­comprising more than 75 percent of its population, Uganda has remodelled its education system to include entrepreneurship as one of the subjects of instruction in secondary schools and colleges.

Also, with the help of the private sector and development agencies, the government has established information, communication and technology innovation hubs, which help entrepreneurs to launch successful start-ups.

Enabling environment

In Kenya, Eric Kinoti, the group managing director at Safisana Home Services, a company that provides cleaning services, hopes the government will follow Uganda’s example by creating an enabling environment to support entrepreneurship that can create jobs for youth.

“Many financial institutions in Kenya expect young people to provide collateral, yet only a few investors are ready to invest in young people’s ideas,” notes Kinoti, who mentors other young entrepreneurs and is listed among Forbes Top 30 under 30 in Africa.

Lack of access to working capital has hampered entrepreneurship in Kenya. Even though the government has created the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Uwezo Fund to support youth entrepreneurship, budgetary constraints limit their impact.

“Entrepreneurship, if well managed, can create more jobs on the continent and increase the middle class, which is essential in sustaining economic growth. There is need to integrate entrepreneurship training in formal education in Africa to prepare the youth for the future,” Wadongo says.

In Cameroon, Olivia Mukami, the president and founder of Harambe-Cameroon, a social entrepreneurship organisation, insists that Africa needs to prioritise youth unemployment: “African countries are sitting on a powder keg and if they don’t change, it is going to explode.”

Mukami says that in addition to contributing to job creation, entrepreneurship can also help the continent solve some of the social problems that undermine progress. “I am encouraged that the government of Cameroon has prioritised entrepreneurship as a key pillar of Cameroon Vision 2035.”

Andrew Wujung, a lecturer of Economics at University of Bamenda in Cameroon, attributes the country’s entrepreneurship effort to its unique poverty reduction strategy. Unlike other countries in Africa, Cameroon’s poverty alleviation strategy is linked to entrepreneurship. Moreover, the government is organising robust skill acquisition and training programmes for entrepreneurs and making credit facility easily accessible to people with innovative technological and business ideas.

For entrepreneurship to strongly impact Africa’s economy, governments must tackle some of the greatest challenges that impede its progress, including lack of funds, relevant mentorship and poor government policies. In addition, African governments should consider giving the private sector incentives through tax relief to create more jobs. Laws and regulations should favour entrepreneurs.

Mohammed says Africa is on the right path. But to reap the fruits of entrepreneurship, effective strategies and policies are required to create more employment opportunities within small and medium enterprises.
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Durban bulk water project on track

Durban’s largest ever bulk water pipeline, the Western Aqueduct, is making steady progress and reaching important milestones.

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The head of the eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS), Ednick Msweli, said the Western Aqueduct would have a significant impact on the future development of the eThekwini region.

“With unemployment at record highs and a need to fast-track the establishment of industry that will beneficiate commodities and manufacture for export, in order to both grow the regional economy and create jobs, the provision of good water infrastructure has never been more important. With the completion of the aquaduct, Durban will have some of the best water infrastructure in the country,” he said.

The project – divided into two phases – will bring water into Durban from the Midmar Dam and recently constructed Springrove Dam. It will significantly strengthen the capacity of bulk water supply and meet the needs of the greater eThekwini region for the next 30 years.

The first phase, which measures 20km and stretches from the Umlaas Road Reservoir to Inchanga, was commissioned at the end of 2012.

The R1.8-billion second phase, which continues from Inchanga to Ntuzuma, is expected to be commissioned next year. Martin Bright, the project manager for the second phase, explained that the massive phase had been divided into a number of related contracts.

The first two contracts – comprising 14km of pipeline extending from Inchanga to Alverstone Station, and then on to Ashley Drive in Hillcrest – have been completed by Cycad Construction and WK Construction respectively.

Both these contractors have already moved off site.

Msweli said the eThekwini Municipality was pleased that both projects had been completed and had met stringent quality standards.

As a result of the severe drought experienced lately, the rehabilitation of areas where the pipeline was laid had been delayed, but since been completed under difficult circumstances.

Work on the 25km stretch of the pipeline from Ashley Drive to Ntuzuma being carried out by Esor Construction, is on schedule for completion in September 2017.

He said a 7km branch line to Tshelimnyama was being carried out by Esor and was on track for completion towards the end of this year.

This pipeline runs along Haygarth Road, and under the N3 to the water reservoir in Tshelimnyama, and will alleviate water shortages in this area.

The large Ashley Drive Break Pressure Tank, designed by the Western Aqueduct Consultants Joint Venture, has been completed by ICON Construction. This 20-million litre Break Pressure Tank has just won the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) Award for Technical Excellence at the Saice Durban Branch Awards.

In the submission entry, the following aspects of this project were highlighted: that it showcased the civil engineer’s leadership and management skills, not to mention technical competence, in bringing together a team of specialists in the disciplines of civil, structural, hydraulic, geotechnical, roadwork, mechanical, electrical, electronic and telecommunications engineering, as well as other related fields such as environmental, heritage, security and planning.

A second reservoir – known as the Wyebank Break Pressure Tank – is also well on the way to completion during the third quarter of 2017. This break pressure tank has also been designed by Royal Haskoning DHV and is currently being built by ICON.

Msweli thanked eThekwini residents for their patience during the construction of the completed sections of the pipeline and during on-going construction.

“Unfortunately, traffic disruption will still be felt as a result of work in Kloof, Wyebank and Kwadabeka. The section of the M13 off-ramp to Willingdon Road is due to begin next month. The temporary railway crossing at Kloof Station will terminate at the end of this month, and traffic will revert to flow along Church Street as the pipeline along Church Street is now complete,” he said.

He said work would continue along Wyebank Road for the foreseeable future.
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Entrepreneurship support is pivotal to Africa’s economic growth

WITH most African countries diversifying from traditional sources of income, entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as a key to economic growth. So far, it has yielded huge returns for entrepreneurs, and experts say there is great untapped potential to drive the African continent into its next phase of development.

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A June 2015 study by UK-based Approved Index ranked African countries among those at the top of the entrepreneurship charts.

The Entrepreneurship around the World report listed Uganda, Angola, Cameroon, and Botswana among the top 10 countries.

The group regards entrepreneurship as a “necessity”, saying in its report: “When unemployment is high and the economy is weaker, people are forced to start small businesses to provide for themselves and their families.”

Today, entrepreneurship is seen as one of the most sustainable job-generation tools in Africa.

A 2013 study by Brookings Institution, a Washington DC-based think-tank, found that African youth (15-24 years) constitute about 37% of the working-age population.

At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi in 2015, and attended by US President Barack Obama, entrepreneurs from more than 100 countries and a group of US investors discussed the role entrepreneurs could play to tackle youth unemployment in Africa.

According to Evans Wadongo, listed by Forbes Africa as one of the most promising young African entrepreneurs, many African governments have not been keen on developing policies to deal with youth unemployment.

“Governments are not doing enough. The private sector is trying, but most goods brought into the African market are from China. This denies the youth much-needed manufacturing jobs, which are more labour intensive,” he says.

Kenya’s cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Adan Mohammed, however, defends the policies of most African governments, saying that their efforts have been spurring confidence in the continent, and are enabling more young people to turn towards entrepreneurship.

“Success breeds success — as many entrepreneurs make headway, others get on board. Also, technology-based inventions are pulling entrepreneurs,” he says.

Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda says his government’s efforts to promote entrepreneurial culture have produced “remarkable results”. For instance, the state-run Youth Venture Capital Fund trains and provides money to young people with good business ideas. Most importantly, with youth comprising more than 75% of its population, and 83% of its unemployed, Uganda has remodelled its education system to include entrepreneurship as one of the subjects in secondary schools and colleges.

With the help of the private sector and development agencies, the Ugandan government has established information, communication, and technology innovation hubs that help entrepreneurs to launch start-ups.

Lack of access to working capital has hampered entrepreneurship in Kenya. Even though the government has created the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Uwezo Fund to support youth entrepreneurship, budgetary constraints limit their effects.

Andrew Wujung, an economics lecturer at the University of Bamenda in Cameroon, attributes the country’s entrepreneurship effort to its unique poverty-reduction strategy. Unlike other countries in Africa, Cameroon’s poverty-alleviation strategy is linked to entrepreneurship.

The government is organising robust skills-acquisition and training programmes for entrepreneurs, and making credit facilities easily accessible to people with innovative technological and business ideas.

For entrepreneurship to boost Africa’s economy, governments must tackle some of the greatest challenges that impede its progress, including lack of funds, mentorship, and poor government policies.

African governments should consider giving the private sector incentives to create more jobs through tax relief. Laws and regulations should favour entrepreneurs, and effective strategies and policies are required to create more employment within small and medium enterprises.

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Innovative project uses energy efficiency to help the unemployed

Residential energy is saved and vulnerable gain skills through behaviour change project.

With a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK coming from the residential sector, there’s a need to find new ways to help households reduce energy use. While some of this is related to building condition and type, much is related to the way people use energy. In the last two years we have been working to tackle this issue in Wiltshire homes, and meanwhile provide a social benefit.

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The project, Achieve, began life in Frankfurt five years ago to address the combined issues of high fuel costs and rising unemployment. In Germany if you’re unemployed the state covers your energy bills, so an idea was born to tackle both issues at once. Achieve trains and supports the unemployed to provide energy advice directly to vulnerable consumers – often their peers – in their homes, resulting in saved energy, changed behaviours and meanwhile helping people reintegrate into the job market.

At Severn Wye Energy Agency, an independent charity and not-for-profit that promotes sustainable energy, we spotted the potential and with European funding partnered with Wiltshire Council to run a series of training programmes. The programmes provide advice to residents struggling to pay energy bills and, meanwhile, the local unemployed to gain valuable new skills. To date we’ve trained seven advisers, helped more than 200 families and, as a consortium, reached over 1,700 homes in France, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Germany.

Gary Hardman of Trowbridge, who first became interested in Achieve through his local Job Centre Plus in the summer of 2012 has now undertaken more than 100 visits, and said: “I had never thought of working in this area, but I’m finding it really exciting and I have already found loads of ways to save in my own home.”

Achieve involves two free home visits. During the first, the trained advisers assess the home including bills and areas where energy is being wasted. This could include: the use of tungsten or halogen lighting, appliances routinely left on standby, or draughty doors and windows. The adviser then assesses which of a number of simple energy-saving devices may offer the greatest benefits for the household based on their current energy tariffs, and critically what this will mean for them in financial terms. On the second visit, the adviser installs the most appropriate devices and presents a report outlining their findings – including the time the original investment will take to be repaid to the household.

Key to the design of Achieve was that we did not want to rely completely on the ability of people to make long-term changes to their behaviour in order to make savings. Rather, we wanted to show people some small savings that they could make by installing simple devices. Through this, people are educated about the cost of specific appliances and will motivate others to go further with their own behaviour change.

One particular device that has proved successful in the savings reached and in its acceptance by clients is the retrofitting of halogen down lighters with LED equivalents. Having limited funding, we were usually only able to install one or two bulbs – an array typically has between three and five bulbs, and some households have more than 10 50-watt bulbs. This gave the client the opportunity to test the technology and to consider the return on further investment. During return visits we were pleasantly surprised to find a number of clients, despite their limited budget, had invested in further LEDs.

We also focused on highlighting the cost of appliances on standby, such as obsolete and unused video-players costing over £30 a year. While the savings are quite modest for individual modern appliances cumulatively they can soon add up. Where funding prevented us from installing a device, we were still able to translate the energy use into monetary terms for the resident, and it is this translation that we believe is key. Combined with educational material and remote support, we caught resident’s interest and have seen them take further energy-saving steps themselves.

In some cases the project has been able to go further and help households to access funding toward heating and insulation measures. One client in Melksham commented: “Top service. Thanks to your report, our housing association funded our switch from Economy 7 storage heaters to full gas central heating, making savings of about £45 a week.”

Climate change discussions and calls to reduce emissions will only go so far, and with so many people. But innovative projects like Achieve demonstrate how behaviour change can be achieved through tailored advice and a focus on the bottom line.

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Growing Africa’s SMEs through CSR initiatives

As many African countries grapple with economic uncertainties, resulting in increasing rate of unemployment, business leaders believe that the sure way to reverse the ugly trend is to train future entrepreneurs that will help leapfrog the continent through enterprise and innovation. David Audu reports on Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, concept as one of the components of such social enterprise initiatives.

As global unemployment rate soars, with the International Labour Organisation, ILO, projecting that an estimated 212 million people may be jobless by 2019, most countries are adopting remedial policy measures to avert the looming crisis and by so doing, mitigating the socio-economic damages to their economies.

Conscious of the negative effects of burgeoning unemployment in their domains, political leaders, businessmen and other development experts are consensual in their views that entrepreneurship, particularly among the youth population, remain the key to guaranteeing the future of the countries and people and laying enduring foundation for their real social, economic and political transformation. They agreed that the only way to achieve this lofty dream is to increase the number of entrepreneurs so as to minimise the increasing rush for formal, white collar jobs by young school leavers and giving them the right orientation about entrepreneurship and its potential for their self fulfilment. Besides, the new emphasis on entrepreneurship development assumes that entrepreneurs will in turn provide employment for others along the value chain. It has also become a known fact that small and medium enterprises are globally regarded as the backbone of any economy. According to experts, when given adequate support, SMEs can spur significant economic growth.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, SMEs have a significant role to play in economic development. According to UNIDO, SMEs form the backbone of the private sector; make up over 90 per cent of enterprises in the world and account for 50 to 60 per cent of employment. “They also play an important role in generating employment and poverty alleviation”, It said. The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, put the total number of SMEs in Nigeria at over 17 million. However, because of some challenges in the economy, a lot of SME operators in the country fi nd it very difficult to effectively play their role. Some of these constraints include competition, infrastructure, taxes, accounting, management, marketing, economic, planning and finance. Also, poor economic conditions, which also imply poor finance and inadequate infrastructure, have been identified as the most crucial limiting factors. Again, poor access to finance at relatively cheap cost is also one of the most crucial problems hindering SMEs to have significant contribution to national output in Nigeria.

There is no doubt that Nigeria as a nation, since attaining independence in 1960 has tried out various economic policies in a bid to achieve meaningful economic development. Most of these policies, some analysts say, are centrally planned and government dominated. The resultant impact of this excessive government domination of the economy left much to be desired leading to massive divestment in the 1990’s by the government. This was done under the economic policy of “privatisation and commercialisation”. The shift of emphasis thus created a challenge of building capable, dynamic and resourceful entrepreneurs to take the baton of economic revitalisation from government. These entrepreneurs incidentally have to fulfi l this onerous task through the establishment of business that could mainly be classified as small and medium scale in nature. However, over the years the task of creating a sustainable environment for SMEs to thrive was a difficult one, and for obvious reasons. One, the dwindling state of the economy has made it difficult for people to save and thereby little capital accumulation for investment. Further, the private sector was long undeveloped making experienced entrepreneur and small business managers scarce. Today, there is a growing consensus among policy makers, academia, industrialists and economic planners, that the development of local entrepreneur and encouragement of the establishment of small and medium scale business is the only penance to our economic growth. With this reality in view, a number of private organisations and individuals have taken it upon themselves to provide the necessary impetus to encourage young people to embrace entrepreneurship.

One current example among others is the chairman of Heirs Holding Mr. Tony Elumelu whose foundation, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, TEEP, which in its current drive towards this end has earmarked about $100m as grants to about 1000 young people from Nigeria and other African countries to train and mentor in various entrepreneurship projects. According to Elumelu, “African destiny lies with us African to realise”. The project, though with an African wide focus, has about 50 per cent participants coming from Nigeria. Launched in December 2014, the TEEP project is a $100m initiative to discover and support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade, with a target of creating one million new jobs and $10bn in additional gross domestic product contribution to African economy by the end of the programme. Economic analysts have described the programme as the first of such initiative to be launched by an African philanthropic organisation targeting the entrepreneurial space designed to empower the next generation of Africans entrepreneurs. Areas of focus by the programme include agriculture with 30 per cent participants; commerce and retail have nine per cent, while education and training have equally nine per cent each respectively.

Other areas include ICT, eight per cent, manufacturing, eight per cent, while healthcare and fashion have five and four per cent each. Energy, power and construction have three per cent; waste management, transportation, financial services, tourism and hospitality have two per cent each. While the programme covered 51 African countries, 49 per cent are from Nigeria followed by Kenya with 16 per cent; Uganda, four per cent; Ghana 3.6 per cent and South Africa with 3.2 per cent. At the TEEP boot camp in Otta, Ogun State last year attended by dignitaries and government officials, the need to harness Africa potentials through creating conducive environment and empowerment for Africa entrepreneurs to thrive was highlighted. Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, underlined the need for African leaders to pay attention to developing entrepreneurs to move the continent forward. Restating the plight of Africa as a continent, which he stand in the throes of poverty and disease, and having the highest ratio of unemployment, and therefore the need for concerted efforts to pull it out, adding that entrepreneurship and handwork are the instrument of growth and development. He enjoined all to embrace integrity, rule of law, transparency and self discipline to entrench enduring business ethics in Nigeria and on the continent in generals. He charged the aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace the spirit of trust, integrity, and consistency, reminding that enduring success comes from respect for the rule of law and commitment to set objectives He commended the Heirs Holdings for initiating the programme, noting that “economies cannot be developed without social entrepreneurs like Tony Elumelu”.

He said Elumelu invoked the daring spirit successful enterprise by investing substantially in the ideas of entrepreneurship of the young Africans. By doing this he is shaping the future of the continent as he empower them to embrace entrepreneur to enable them direct the economic affairs of the continent in the coming years. He said government on its part will continue to provide enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive Acting United States Consul General, DI Gilbert likened the gathering to African Union meeting in Nigeria and described it as the ‘future Africa’. She said it is education that gives people the working tool that will make them productive. Asking how we can do things differently? She charged the beneficiaries to look for a creative new way of doing things to add value to society.

To African leaders and business men, she reminded them of the potentials that lie in Africa. “With 30 per cent of your population under 30, the energy is there and therefore the need for you to get going through right economic initiatives such what the Elumelu foundation has done”. Guest of the occasion, Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin, Lionel Zinzou, lauded the initiative while describing every effort to boost entrepreneur in Africa as the urgent thing the continent requires for growth and development. He said every country in Africa and indeed Africa as a whole need innovative idea which young talents who are beneficiaries of the TEEP project will bring Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who was at the event urged the beneficiaries of the programme to convert their ideas into work that will make Africa proud. Speaking on what government can do to encourage entrepreneurs, he said only government through workable policies and good legislation can provide the level of trust that is required for successful entrepreneurship.

“Nothing is possible without a functional government. No matter how rich you are, without a minimal functional government to provide the basics such as road, power and other infrastructure you are lost.” He therefore urged the federal government on the need “to take a pragmatic approach to policy redemption and investment in Africa”. He noted that Africa with it large population stands at a great advantage if it leverage on the huge demographic dividend but will be a disaster if it fail to do so, while urging African political leaders to boost their economies through appropriate policies and legislation that will encourage entrepreneurship. Managing director Bank of Industries, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, noted the impact the programme will have on the continent and Nigeria in particular. He said the bank will work with the candidate to help them evolve successful business that will enable them be employers of labour in the future. Explaining further his vision for Africa’s entrepreneurship project, Elumelu noted that only the present Africans can develop the continent for the future, stressing that “Africa needs multiple successful private sector business to make its mark on the world stage”. Advising the young entrepreneurs, Elumelu urged them to imbibe the spirit of hard work, discipline and the need to think long term in their vision. The entrepreneurs would receive $5000 seed capital each to enable them start their dream projects.

Source: nationalmirroronline


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Stabilise mining as key industry feeding economy

South Africa can score quick wins with the right focus, Goldman Sachs sub-Saharan Africa investment banking head Colin Coleman said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a presentation at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) attended by Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online, Coleman put the stabilisation of South African mining at the top of a list of eight priorities for this country, which the world-leading investment bank found had an extremely sound financial sector and low hard-currency external debt but red-flashing 24%-to-34% unemployment lights.

Key conclusions from stress tests the bank applied in a comprehensive data-backed study found that South Africa had a well-governed corporate sector with resilient earnings and a free-floating exchange rate that acted as a shock absorber.

But to raise economic growth, each of this country’s social partners would have to play its role, with government creating a conducive environment for business, business raising capital investment to drive domestic growth and jobs, and labour creating a stable environment for industrial relations.

The bank proposed a national youth service initiative big enough to engage 300 000 over five years and advocated a ‘Team South Africa’ approach to the rebuilding of investor confidence.

The comprehensive Goldman Sachs study found that although South Africa’s wealthiest had grown stronger in the last 20 years of democracy, the country’s poor had become less poor.

Of the 54-million South Africans, there were now 41-million “with something to lose” as a result of the income effect.

But the country needed to arrest the decline of mining to benefit from its multiplier effect and mining’s contribution to exports.

Although South Africa’s resilience to financial shock should give the confidence to private and public sector fixed investors and calm fears of an impending crisis, the country could not afford to be complacent.

“We need to get bolder,” said Coleman, a member of a South African family with strong anti-apartheid struggle credentials, who observed that local business was readying itself to be more vigorous in its engagement with government.

The overall findings of the illustrious bank were that public policymakers and private sector participants needed to act with urgency to increase the pace and effectiveness of reforms to modernise the economy and address the weaknesses of unemployment, twin deficits and slow economic growth.

Strong economic management, leadership and policy coordination would put South Africa on a sustainable growth path.

Recommended was the establishment of an economic council to drive growth because without urgent action, South Africa ran the risk of being caught in a low-growth trap, amid rising domestic social pressures and an approaching storm of global headwinds.

Source: engineeringnews


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E-waste recycling can boost economy

Recycling SA’s electronic waste (e-waste) will be a source of new business, job creation and will develop the country’s economy, says environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa.

SA has an unemployment rate of 25%, and Molewa says government recognises the potential of the e-waste sector in helping drive job creation and is committed to working with the sector.

“There are opportunities for job creation and poverty alleviation, and entrepreneurial opportunities from a well-planned, strategically resourced, well regulated,managed and controlled e-waste system,” she says.

The minister says her department has identified recycling as a way to regulate waste management in the country, and not only protect citizens’ health and the environment, but create jobs at the same time.

“Most of the components of e-waste are recyclable. The department has put systems in place for the collection, transportation, sorting and recycling of e-waste,” she says.

“We see the waste sector in general and the e-waste sector in particular as a catalyst for socio-economic development. It is the source of new businesses and jobs, as well as an important contributor to us attaining our goals of a cleaner, greener South Africa,” Molewa explains.

Hidden gold

ICT veteran Adrian Schofield says government can form a formal e-waste supply chain by training people to educate their local communities.

“An opportunity to elevate indigent people who currently sift through waste on an informal basis into a properly organised workforce will repay the required investment through the value created from recycled materials and the prevention of environmental damage through toxic dumping,” he notes.

Meanwhile, the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) also notes the e-waste epidemic in SA can potentially boost the economy.

According to eWASA, through the establishment of proper recycling facilities, precious metals, including gold, indium and palladium, can safely be reclaimed and re-used.

Dumping ground

Molewa notes the country’s government institutions, which include departments, provincial departments, municipalities and state-owned enterprises, generate significant amounts of e-waste.

The minister says e-waste makes up 5% to 8% of municipal solid waste in SA and is growing at a rate three times faster than any other form of waste. This becomes a further challenge because of the lack of proper management facilities for e-waste, which means large amounts of e-waste will be disposed of in landfill sites.

In 2008, e-WASA warned “Africa is becoming a dumping ground for America and Europe under the guise of donations…and if e-waste is not managed, SA could find itself and its people in a high risk health and environmental crisis”.

“The challenge in the proper management of e-waste is a result of a lack of recycling infrastructure, inadequate funding, poor legislation, a lack of public awareness and market-based instruments,” says Molewa.

Schofield agrees SA does have a serious e-waste problem but this is part of a larger problem of waste management.

“Attention to the value of recycling and to the detrimental effects of certain types of toxic waste has not received the attention from government at all levels that it should. We are only now beginning to see municipalities paying attention to recycling and educating households and businesses into separating waste into categories,” he says.

Source: itweb


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Minister woos European maritime investors to South Africa’s oceans

Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga hosted an investment seminar in London on Tuesday to promote investment in South Africa’s multi-billion-rand oceans economy, where she announced that South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan (NDP)’s aim was to grow the country’s economy in a manner that eliminated poverty and reduced unemployment.

South Africa is situated on one of the busiest international sea routes that is very critical to international maritime transportation. Our geographical location presents a huge opportunity for investing in a diversified maritime market, Chikunga pointed out in her speech at the seminar.

Research has shown that SA’s oceans economy had the potential to contribute up to £9.8bn (R189bn) to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create about a million jobs.

Part of the purpose of Chikunga’s London visit was to share information on the recent developments South Africa achieved in growing our oceans economy.

“We need potential partners on a win-win basis to support South Africa’s oceans economy strategy. We extend an open invitation to investors to visit South Africa to further explore vast investment opportunities,” she said.

The seminar, Oceans Economy Investment Seminar was part of Operation Phakisa – an initiative focused on driving the economic potential of the country’s oceans. The seminar welcomed Europe based investors who were looking towards investment in South Africa, and particularly investing in maritime related interests.

From ship builders, to maritime transporters, import and export business, to all maritime related investors, the seminar showed South Africa’s true potential as a maritime nation. Presentations were delivered by Chikunga, High Commissioner Obed Mlaba, South African Oil and Gas Alliances’ Ebrahim Tokalia, Head of Operation Phakisa in the Presidency Ismail Akhalwaya and Transnet’s Richard Vallihu. The British special envoy for trade to South Africa, Baroness Patricia Scotland also attended and presented at the Seminar hosted by the Chikunga.

Chikunga was also present last week at the International Maritime Organisation special plenary session, followed by visits to harbors and Ports in England, including Plymouth, South Coast of Devon England, held various stakeholder meetings with maritime business and organisations and which finally ended with the intensive one day Seminar.

Source: cnb


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