Afro-Biz SQ

  James Mwangi, Group CEO of Equity Bank, on the Africa Business Agenda

The Africa Business Agenda has come out of research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and is the result of interviews with 1,200 CEOs globally, including 31 in Kenya. NTV's Business Editor, Wallace Kantai, speaks to James Mwangi, Group CEO of Equity Bank, on the Africa Business Agenda.


Africa Business Agenda: Bob Collymore CEO Safaricom 

The Africa Business Agenda has come out of research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and is the result of interviews with 1,200 CEOs globally, including 31 in Kenya. NTV's Business Editor, Wallace Kantai, speaks to Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, on the talent challenge facing Kenyan CEOs.

  James Makawa CEO/Founder Africa HD/Africa Channel Speaks to Jeff Koinange on the Bench

 "We need start building this libraries of content...Everybody else around the world owns content about Africa and the Africans own zero...what do the Africans own? We do not own our own imagery...It is important we start building this libraries of content because everybody else is capitalizing on our image around the world...we need to do something about it! "

James Kawawa - CEO Africa Channel and Africa HD

Donald Kaberuka - President of the African Development Bank

This week on Captains of Industry we speak to the man at the helm of Africa's largest Developmental Finance Group. Donald Kaberuka was appointed as the President of the African Development Bank back in 2005. A former Minister of finance and economic planning in Rwanda, Kaberuka has been credited with rebuilding the country's economy after the 1994 genocide and helping Africa weather the worst global recession in 70 years.

Did you know Donald Kaberuka spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp. He was influenced by the way in which African countries received and took care of the refugees and looked after him. This experience reminded him as Africans we are One. Poor governance has vast consequences for the country and neighbouring states.

Inspiration Zone: Richard Maponya, South African Millionaire & Property Developer

Richard Maponya is a property developer best known for creating a business empire during the restrictions of apartheid.

Incorporating in Mauritius

Mark Twain once quoted a Mauritian as saying that heaven was copied after this paradise

For the G.A. out there seeking to set up shop and need to incorporate  your new business venture you may want to consider taking a much needed holiday trip to Mauritius and incorporating your business whilst at it. In a recent local daily "Foreign companies with an eye on Africa’s emerging markets are flocking to Mauritius to incorporate local subsidiaries in a move that could deny more than a dozen African governments billions of  Shillings in corporate taxes and position the island nation as the region’s economic hub."
Mauritius offers a lot of incentives in terms of favourable tax regime and asset protection mechanisms, efficient judicial and dispute resolution mechanisms as well as the double taxation treaties which protects transnational companies from being taxed twice for the same asset or income  thereby easing the flow of trade and investments. Mauritius has more than 30 double taxation treaties in Africa.

Mauritius has also entered into Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with its double taxation partners which grants foreign investors from signatory states guaranteed compensation for losses in case of war, armed conflict or riot and are offered clear arrangements for settlement of disputes with the contracting states.

In a nutshell, Mauritius offers itself as an attractive destination, political stability, availability of skilled labour and investment-friendly rules and institutions.

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and here
Republic of Mauritius Companies Division, A Division of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Photo by Eutrophication&hypoxia

Martin Oduor-Otieno was appointed as the Group CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank back in 2007

Borrowed leaves from the Marshall Plan -- Local Business Key to Development in Africa, Analyst Says


 Store in Somalia Photo by Guleed


The Marshall Plan -- the world's most successful aid project -- revived post-World War II Europe by fostering entrepreneurs and local businesses. William Duggan, the co-author of The Aid Trap, says this Marshall Plan model could work in Africa, too.
Currently a senior lecturer in business management and strategy at Columbia University in New York, Duggan told that local business is the key to meaningful, long-term economic growth and development.
"Most people don't know that the world's most successful aid project -- which everyone recognizes as the Marshall Plan -- was specifically and explicitly a mechanism to support the local business sector in the postwar countries of Europe," he said. "That was its purpose."
Duggan said most people think the Marshall Plan -- which lasted only four years (1947-1951) -- provided food, clothing and shelter for the war-ravaged countries of Europe, but that was done by the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, which ended operations the year before the Marshall Plan was created.
"Some people think the Marshall Plan was a public works project to rebuild ports, roads, railways and hospitals. Well, that was not the Marshall Plan either," Duggan said.
Instead, the Marshall Plan -- which was named after U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall -- was a "very, very clever mechanism" that made infrastructure both dependent on and a spur to the development of the local business sector. "
In its most basic form, Duggan explained, the Marshall Plan provided a variety of loans ($115 billion in today's dollars) to local businesses.
"When the local businesses repaid the loans, the Marshall Fund or the Marshall administrator essentially forgave the loans if the local government would spend that money on commercial infrastructure to help the local business sector."
"So that was the purpose of the Marshall Plan and how railways, ports and other needed infrastructure projects were built, from loan money repaid by the business sector," Duggan said.
"This is a wonderful discipline," he said. "It is not just 'Here is a lot of money to rebuild your port,' but 'The money to rebuild your local port came because your local business sector repaid their loans, so now you can have that money'" to invest.
"It was a brilliant discipline that would have been a wonderful idea for the poor countries in Africa starting in the 1960s, and it still would be a wonderful idea today," Duggan said.
According to William Duggan, the infrastructure needed in Africa goes beyond ports and roads to include educational and training institutions.
Any Marshall Plan for Africa would be necessarily different from the original plan in Europe, Duggan said. "Europe in 1950 is not the same as Africa in 2010. Some things are going to change."
For example, he said, the infrastructure needed in Africa goes beyond ports and roads to include educational and training institutions. One key institution that Africa lacks in adequate supply, he said, is business schools.
Aid agencies usually focus only a small part of their budget on local business. With the original Marshall Plan, support for local business was the aid program.
"So if you agree that the local business sector is the key to prosperity and democracy as well, then let's spend 50 percent of the aid budget on that," he said.
Spending 50 percent of the aid budget for Africa on local business would "totally transform" the continent, Duggan said.
In many of the world's poorest countries, he said, some local governments act as obstacles to local business development by imposing bureaucratic barriers, high fees and taxes and fostering a corrupt environment that retards business development.
Duggan noted that Africa is going through a commodity boom right now, and it is important to understand who is benefiting from those higher prices.
Many times it is the local government, which is charging big fees for foreign companies to come in and develop those resources, he said. But this seldom translates to doing much for the local community or local business.
There is a political calculation involved, Duggan said. Successful businesses, given room to develop, often start getting ideas -- for example, supporting opposition candidates against the government's wishes.
In the original Marshall Plan, Duggan said, a government only qualified for funds if it had enacted the correct policies to allow its local business sector to operate. "That is very, very important," he said. The first step in any aid program should be the requirement that "the local government receiving it be totally open to nurturing local business."
While some financing or microcredit does exist for business development at the village level in Africa, there is nothing to help small businesses expand into what Duggan calls the "missing middle," and therefore the successful small business has no room to grow.
All U.S. businesses, Duggan explained, no matter how big they are today, started small, and all small businesses need a clear path for expansion.
In Europe and the United States, he said, infrastructure followed the industry. "It is not as if a government came into power, built lots of roads and then developed. It is quite the opposite. If you look at the history of where roads go and where railroads go, they go where the economic activity is, so the economic activity precedes the infrastructure."
Looking out his office window in New York City, Duggan said, "Walk down Broadway -- those are all local businesses" on either side of the street. "It is so normal in America, Europe, South Korea, Japan, China or India. Everybody knows this. There is no alternative to local business when it comes to achieving meaningful economic growth and development."


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