Issue 70

Oserian Development Co. Ltd

Kenya in Bloom Through an ambitious and transformative diversification drive, Oserian is opening up new opportunities for both its own and other local businesses around Lake Naivasha Writer: Tom Wadlow Project Manager: Lewis Bush  Adaptation, innovation and diversification – three simple terms at face value, but traits that many businesses are having to exercise in order to address challenges and ensure a sustainable future.   From global financial crashes and fluctuating commodity prices to new legislation and changing consumer behaviour, organisations across all industries around the world are having to adapt, innovate and diversify in order to survive.   Kenya’s Oserian, one of the world’s leading exporters of fresh cut flowers, is no exception.   “We face head winds at home and abroad,” begins Neil Hellings, the company’s Managing Director. “The imposition of VAT on crop protection in 2018 has created additional financial challenges given the duration before such cash outgoings can be recovered.  “The Kenyan Bureau of Standards’ and other related government handling of the importation of fertiliser and how it is established to be compliant has done substantial damage to our sector – easily resolved issues have taken an unfathomable amount of time and starved the sector of crucial inputs.”  Outside of the country, a slowdown in sales for crucial events like Valentine’s Day has also presented a challenge, but one which Hellings believes can be solved by adherence to the three aforementioned traits.     “Sustainable production techniques and gaining market advantage from them will become ever more important,” he adds, “and those farms that ‘get in early’ and embrace it

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AutoZone South Africa

The Automotive A to Z  The largest wholly-owned auto parts retailer in Southern Africa, AutoZone has not settled, set to fundamentally reinvent its operational and productive portfolio to the benefit of all during 2019   Writer: Jonathan DybleProject Manager: Josh Hyland  A strategic and catalytic segment of the South African economy, the automotive sector has become a mainstay of national industry, accounting for just shy of seven percent of GDP. Standing aside from a continent that is home to just 44 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, four times less than the global average of 180 according to Deloitte, this market has continued to prevail in South Africa, remaining the country’s sole manufacturing sector to have expanded while others have shrunk. “Many have prospered under these circumstances and we are now seeing a lot of market consolidation, with rapid growth taking place in both the retail and supplier spaces,” explains Lesego Moagi, Marketing Executive at AutoZone. “A number of mergers in the industry are underway, and change is something that we see happening at a pace never seen before.” Setting the scene, Moagi goes on to reveal that the situation is no different for AutoZone itself, a company that remains the largest wholly-owned distributor of auto parts, spares and car accessories across Southern Africa. “Let me paint a picture of what our company is looking at right now,” he continues. “We’re arguably the most typical example of an automotive business having been the subject of rapid growth, and now we’re reinforcing our position. “What this has resulted in is the implementation of extensive structural and

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PW Nigeria

Steady Support PW Nigeria has been side by side with the country’s development since the 1970s, providing critical support to mining and infrastructure projects    Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Donovan Smith  When thinking of Nigeria’s economy and industry it is difficult to look beyond oil & gas.  The sector alone accounts for around nine percent of the West African nation’s GDP and more than 80 percent of its export revenue, making it a staple of the country’s economy since oil was first discovered in Oloibiri in 1956.   Nigeria is also abundant in other resources. Minerals such as tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc are all present in high quantities, while the sheer size of the state translates into a large amount of arable land.   Activities in the mining sector began to nose-dive considerably during the mid-1970s due to a number of political and economic factors, especially the focus on crude oil production as a major source of foreign exchange.   However, the industry is beginning to contribute meaningfully to Nigeria’s income once more. In 2015 it accounted for 0.33 percent of GDP and today is worth around $1.4 billion a year, employing 0.3 percent of the country’s workforce.   Playing its part in this recovering trade is PW Nigeria, an engineering specialist serving both mining and construction sector clients and working for the likes of the World Bank, federal governments, state ministers, local government authorities and multinational corporations.   “We have helped to construct critical infrastructure throughout West Africa, in particular Nigeria, and are at the forefront of the

Tom Wadlow Donovan Smith By Tom Wadlow Donovan Smith

Big Save Group

Big Save, Big Family Starting out as a soft drink wholesaler in Pretoria in 1989, Big Save Group has adapted and grown as the industry has evolved, today employing more than 1,350 people    Writer: Tom Wadlow   Project Manager: Lewis Bush  The dawn of South Africa’s democratic age in the mid-1990s brought with it tremendous change across almost all areas of social and  economic life.   A newly-elected government, end to apartheid and liberalisation of the economy created fertile ground for business to thrive, an environment which saw new wholesalers and retailers like Big Save Group emerge.   Cornering its own niche in the Pretorian market, the next decade saw the family business thrive thanks to low operating costs, high margins and a lack of serious competition.   However, fast-forward to the present day and Big Save’s more recent story is one of adaption, growth and innovation, sparked by a transformation in South Africa’s wholesale and retail scene.   “From 2005 onwards then all the dynamics started changing within the townships and informal areas,” explains Tony Ferreira, Director of Operations and son of company founder Johnny Jardim Snr.   “Massive infrastructures were built such as shopping malls. Many of the corporates were then chosen as the preferred tenants to fill up these huge developed sites and this type of development impacted the local stores like us and our customers, who were already trading in the area.”  This prompted a shift in strategy, the family deciding to join major buying groups with national footprints in a bid to compete with the larger players. Big Save

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Robert Bosch South Africa

A Hallmark of Trust With a presence dating back more than a century, backed up by a brand reputation for quality products, Bosch is very much in the fast lane of South Africa’s automotive supply chain industry Writer: Tom Wadlow Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki  South Africa’s automotive supply chain industry must be one of the most exciting and at the same time challenging spaces to be involved in,” muses Frank du Plessis, Regional President ED SA for Bosch. “Very few other countries face the challenges and opportunities that we do.” A complex, nuanced sector of the South African economy, the wider automotive sphere is the mainstay of the national industrial base and accounted for 6.9 percent of 2017’s GDP, or $42 billion in monetary terms. “It is not an easy environment, however, and for this reason companies need to be resourceful and innovative with an entrepreneurial spirit, something that Bosch drives very well,” du Plessis adds, further explaining why he decided to join the company back in 2009. “The number one reason was the Bosch values. Businesses nowadays often seem to be run without core values and can only lead to short term gains and a damaged reputation later on. “I was excited about the all-round diversity within the company, especially the technology fields and vast product ranges that Bosch offered. The firm also invests greatly in its employees and it was clear that they had a career plan with each person, something you do not find in all organisations.” This reputation stems from a long and rich history that the German industrial heavyweight has

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Braitex Tensilon

Textiles Reignited  Braitex Tensilon continues to serve South Africa’s textile needs having adapted to changing and challenging industry backdrops ever since it began life in 1948   Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Vivek Valmiki  Very few industries have been left untouched by globalisation over the past few decades. Ease of transport, improving connectivity and the allure of outsourcing to save money has resulted in many local trades being overtaken by manufacturing powerhouses, especially those with immense labour forces in Asia. The textiles trade is a case in point, but with challenge comes opportunity and the chance to innovate. “Working in this industry for the last 36 years has been extremely testing,” comments Jacobus Venter, CEO of narrow fabric manufacturer Braitex Tensilon. “Our customer base, especially in the clothing sector, has shrunk tremendously, meaning we’ve had to diversify our operations into industrial products and today we find ourselves with a new operation in Springs catering for this sector. “This, plus the return of clothing manufacturing to South Africa, have reignited the excitement in the industry.”  Braitex is a South African textile stalwart. Founded in 1948 by the late George Rosochacki, the company grew from small beginnings into one of the most prolific manufacturers of narrow fabrics on the continent. Today Braitex operates production facilities in Cape Town and Gauteng, converting hundreds of tonnes of raw material into high quality products every year for both local and international customers. The power to adapt  Asked what stands Braitex apart from others in the textile trade, Venter points to the company’s immense experience contained within its ranks, experience which has

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Servest Office Services

Servicing a New Chapter The Office Services division of Servest is building a strong foundation  to drive sustainable growth and differentiate in what is a competitive and evolving facilities management industry in South Africa   Writer: Tom Wadlow   Project Manager: Lewis Bush  Facilities management is a complex business. With many companies boasting large portfolios of services and managing multiple sites for numerous different clients, no job is ever the same, and consistent standards are a must in order to succeed. Add in the relative maturity of the market in South Africa, and the challenge for FM providers to thrive becomes even clearer to see. “This density of competition, the regulatory environment, as well as the fact that it is a labour-intensive industry, makes it an extremely challenging environment to operate in,” remarks Xolile Sizani, Group CEO at Servest. “Furthermore, barriers to entry are low and clients are price sensitive. However, with intensification of the fourth industrial revolution, as well as the increasing pressures on businesses to contain and drive down costs, the industry is actually poised for growth through innovation. “Additionally, recent research conducted in the sector indicates that companies are planning to outsource more of their facility needs in the upcoming year.”  New beginnings  Ross Anderson, Managing Director for the Office Services Division of Servest, became part of Servest in 2007 when his previous employer was acquired by the company, working up through the ranks into the Managing Director’s chair. An important part of his upcoming remit will be to implement a joined-up strategy based on the vision of the wider Servest Group, which

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Cash Converters

The Supersonic Age of Second Hand Retail  Cash Converters Southern Africa is not only expanding its family of franchisees, but also equipping them with the digital tools required to run successful, modern businesses    Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Josh Hyland  The trading of used goods has been a cornerstone of commercial activity throughout human history.   An economical way of acquiring essential items, be it clothing, tools, gadgets and almost anything in between, the second-hand retail industry has become a mainstream alternative to buying new.   However, while the rise of established second-hand trading has enabled consumers to live more economically, it has also carried with it some unwelcome reputational stereotypes.   Issues of trust, wheeler-dealing and sleazy salesmanship are all tags that are commonly associated with this realm of retail, but organisations like Cash Converters have built themselves up by offering a fresh way of doing business.   “Our group founder Brian Cumins describes it as taking the sector out of the steam-driven era and propelling it into the supersonic age,” explains Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters Southern Africa.      “It was about mainstreaming the industry and making the average consumer in the street comfortable with the brand and its professional approach to second-hand retail.”  Mukheibir established the South African wing of the business in 1994 after flying over to Perth to meet with Cumins.    It was a time of tremendous change in the country. Nelson Mandela, having been released from prison in 1990, won the landmark democratic election of May 1994 and swore in a new post-apartheid era.   For

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Zesco Limited

Keeping Zambia Switched On State-owned ZESCO Limited is charged with powering the nation, operating with a vision to become a regional hub for electricity trading by 2025  Writer: Tom Wadlow  Project Manager: Callam Waller  Water – lifeblood to almost all living things that inhabit earth.   From hydrating humans to powering plant photosynthesis, it is rightly labelled the world’s most precious resource, with rivers, coasts and lakes the focal point of civilizations throughout the whole of human history.     Through time water has taken on a tremendous range of other use cases, not least in the industrialisation of society. Its ability to generate power, be it steam when heated or through sheer force of movement, has catalysed socioeconomic advancement all over the world.   And it is the latter, hydrokinetic energy which is proving key to the powering of Zambia’s development.   Landlocked in the heart of Southern Africa, the nation has turned to its rivers as the means to generate the required power to industrialise.   Indeed, of Zambia’s 2,800 MW of installed electricity generation capacity, 85 percent is hydro based, and ZESCO Limited is the state-owned body responsible for the vast majority of power generation, transmission, and distribution.   The company was formed in 1970 after the Zambia Electricity Supply Act was passed in parliament.   “This Act brought together the electricity undertakings that were previously managed by the local authorities,” the firm states. “The corporation traces its origins to 1906 when a small thermal station was established in Livingstone to serve a small section of the town.”  Today ZESCO is wholly

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Century Real Estate Rwanda – 2019

Custodian of Kigali property A year on since we last spoke with Managing Director Charles Haba, Century Real Estate has continued to make service-driven strides across Rwanda’s real estate market and beyond   Writer: Jonathan DybleProject Manager: Eddie Clinton  Rwanda. A small Central African nation spanning just 26,338 square kilometres, the country arguably struggles to compare to the continental powerhouses of Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. This said, however, it would be wrong to underestimate a nation brimming with confidence and a GDP growth rate of 7.2 percent. Take Kigali’s real estate industry, for instance. A sector bolstered by government incentives, political stability, positive demographics and infrastructural modernisation, Cytonn Investments has revealed that Rwanda’s capital city recorded an annual urbanisation rate of 4.9 percent in the 12 months of 2018. An industry on the rise, such positivity is no better reflected than by the growing ambitions of Century Real Estate Rwanda, a leading Kigali-based company. “It’s been an amazing 10 years since this company was born,” explains Charles Haba, the company’s Managing Director. “We started out as a typical estate agency, formed off the back of a merger between two such businesses, but have since diversified to become a one-stop property shop, offering a broad range of professional services.” One year on from our last conversation with Haba, the company has remained progressive as ever, providing not only property selling, purchasing and rental solutions across both the residential and commercial markets, but equally service excellence in property development, management and consultancy. “Resultantly, we now stand as the leaders in the Rwandan market in terms of

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CPC Engineering

Hitting the sweet spot CPC Engineering, thanks to its agile setup and full suite of engineering  and drafting expertise, is able to support clients across continents throughout the entire life of a mining project    Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Donovan Smith   Australia has long supported the African mining industry.   According to the Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group, there are more than 185 ASX-listed mining and other resource companies operating over 430 projects in 37 African countries.   This amounts to an estimated footprint of more than $40 billion based on current and potential future investment.   “At the moment there is no shortage of opportunities to work,” says Rod Davies, General Manager of CPC Project Design at Perth-based CPC Engineering, a company supporting a range of mining projects across multiple regions including Australia and Africa.  “Companies are always trying to progress projects and expand plants, although a slowing impact both in Africa and Australia has been the sourcing of financing for such plans. The world is becoming more risk averse, but by February after the Christmas shutdown we tend to see investment picking up and we are starting to see those green shoots again.”  The opportunity for Davies to join CPC, by his own admission, came out of the blue, but it was too good to turn down – the GM headhunted on recommendation from colleagues of his retiring predecessor.   It is an industry he has always held a passion for, stemming from a young age.   “I like big machines and how they do things, to put it simply,” says

Tom Wadlow Donovan Smith By Tom Wadlow Donovan Smith

Epitome Architects Limited

An esteemed portfolio spanning Tanzania, Rwanda and Nigeria, Epitome Architects continues to spearhead innovative developments across the African continent

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GIG Logistics

Exceeding Expectation  Synonymous with innovation and digitisation, GIG Logistics is striving to transform customer experience and raise the logistics bar across the African continent   Writer: Jonathan DybleProject Manager: Josh Mann  The food problem of Africa is not the result of shortages in production, but rather a consequence of our inability to store food during harvest in the rainy season to ensure that we have enough during the dry season.”  Piqued by forays into the study of farm management and agricultural economics at University, Ayodele Adenaike’s interest in logistics was nurtured from a young age as he went on to produce a thesis that assessed the storage capabilities of small-scale farming enterprises across Sub-Saharan Africa.  “Building on this, I found it relatively easy to function very well on my first job as a purchasing store officer and ultimately make a full-time career in logistics.”  Fast forward to the present day and, having expanded his expertise after spending 11 years with international industry specialist DHL, Adenaike now hold’s his most prestigious position to date, standing as the Chief Operating Officer of GIG Logistics.  A Nigerian subsidiary of indigenous technology and intelligence-driven management company GIG Group, GIG Logistics was formed in 2012 with a mandate to address the major challenges of the country’s logistics industry.  “It was rare to find a logistics company with a perfect blend of structured processes as well as a vast knowledge of the local environment,” states Adenaike. “It was the ideal opportunity and I believe that this company is truly revolutionising the way in which

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Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation

Adaption and Expansion Gold Leaf Tobacco tells a story of a local manufacturer competing against international heavyweights in Southern Africa, the company continuing to  expand and looking to react to the industry’s changing dynamics    Writer: Tom Wadlow Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki   Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation, a South African born manufacturer, began life in 2001 and has steadily expanded since, conducting business in Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.   The company holds distribution rights for Voyager, RG, Chicago, Sahawi, Sharp and Savannah brands, and is a full-service contract manufacturer for various blends and variants of high-quality cigarettes.   In South Africa, Gold Leaf enjoys a market share of around 15-20 percent in terms of sales, employing in excess of 400 people.   The company is operating in an industry which has been transformed by the monumental rise of e-cigarettes and vaping in recent years.   According to a study by Research and Markets, the e-cigarette market is estimated to reach $44.6 billion by 2023, this demand driven by factors such as increasing health concerns among smokers, demand for smokeless and ashless vaping, and surge in the number of vape shops and designated stores.   It is a trend which has forced traditional manufacturers to adapt, although in Africa the full effect of vaping models is yet to be felt.     “Whilst these devices have not yet fully made their way to Africa on such a large scale, mostly due to their costly attributes, the tobacco market has nonetheless slowed down over the years,” explains Ismail Khan, General Manager of

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Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS)

We look into the Government Employees Medical Scheme and the work it is doing to improve access to healthcare for South Africa’s government-employed citizens

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Hubmart

Nigeria’s New Frontier Retail is on the rise in Africa’s most populated country, with Lagos-based Hubmart broadening its horizons thanks to a fresh, customer-centric offering   Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Josh Hyland  The trading of goods has been the backbone of commerce throughout the development of human civilization. From ancient markets and bazaars through to out of town shopping centres and ecommerce, the retail trade has evolved enormously as time has elapsed. In Nigeria, this is no different. “The retail industry in Nigeria is historically, and arguably, the oldest alongside agriculture, both of which have existed for centuries though evolving with the times,” explains Anthony Atuche, Acting CEO of Lagos-based retail chain Hubmart. “Nigeria was the major hub for the exchange and distribution of goods in West Africa, first among the empires and then between the colonials as far back as the 15th century because of its seaports and inland waterways which made it conducive for trade.”  What many would see as modern retail, however, is a relatively new construct. “There was a brief stint in the 80s with the emergence of iconic departmental stores like Kingsway, UTC and Leventis which diminished due to the unfavourable economic clime of that era, but it is flourishing again this decade with the introduction of more retail brands annually,” Atuche continues. “This is evident in the growth in the market size nowadays which has almost doubled, reaching a rate of 3.5 percent from two percent a couple of years ago. “This growth signals opportunities as retailers are becoming more creative in their offerings, and customers are enjoying the

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Laxmanbhai Construction

Contractor Commitment Laxmanbhai Construction continues to contribute to East Africa’s growing demand for buildings, operating with its trademark commitment to excellence, quality, innovation, sustainability and safety   Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Eddie Clinton  The outlook for East Africa’s construction industry is a promising one.   In January this year, consultancy giant Deloitte released its African Construction Trends (2018) report, a study which contained many eye-catching headline statistics.   Top of this list of figures was that the total number of projects in East Africa has risen by 96 percent in the space of a year between 2017 and 2018, the combined value of such schemes also increasing by a massive 167 percent.   Around 84 percent of current projects are owned by state governments, although foreign investors, especially those from China, are playing an increasingly important role when it comes to funding, particularly for large infrastructure developments.   Deloitte’s research also found that Kenya was the region’s top performing country last year.   The nation currently has the largest number of high-value projects which represent a sum of $38 billion, a large proportion of East Africa’s $87.1 billion total, which alone accounts for 18.5 percent of the value of construction activity on the entire continent.   Large transport projects such as the Nairobi-Mombasa rail line are playing a key role in this developing picture, which is helping companies of all shapes and sizes to thrive.    Enter Laxmanbhai  Laxmanbhai Construction is among those businesses flourishing in this lively industry.   Drawing on more than six decades’ experience of the construction, financing and development of major projects in

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M&D Construction

Rising High South Africa’s M&D Construction is swimming against the tide, surpassing the R1 billion revenue mark and setting new heights for multi-storey social housing projects  Writer: Tom Wadlow  Project Manager: Eddie Clinton  It is an extremely challenging period for the South African construction industry as is evidenced by the number of contractors that have already gone into business rescue.  “M&D has managed to buck the trend and we have been focused on growing our company in a shrinking market and tough economic conditions. In order to do this, we had to use one eye as a telescope, so we could look into the future and align our strategy to our environment, whilst using the other eye as a microscope, to ensure the daily operational issues were being managed well.”  For Rukesh Raghubir, CEO of M&D Construction, the need to differentiate and innovate has never been more important. A construction sector that is recovering from recession and facing very low growth again this year, companies have been forced to revaluate the way they do things in a bid to become more efficient.  “Constantly identifying areas for improvement and adapting and thriving through change – these are both fundamental pillars of M&D Construction Group’s rapid growth and diversification,” Raghubir continues.  “We have survived these political shocks by having a resilient management team, sufficient cash reserves to weather tumultuous episodes, and always focusing on servicing clients to the best of our ability, guided by our core values.” M&D is well-versed in dealing with market fluctuations. Established in 1982 with only a few

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Motheo Construction

Firm Foundations Motheo Construction Group continues to build vital infrastructure across South Africa despite facing a challenging industry backdrop  Writer: Tom Wadlow  Project Manager: Eddie Clinton  South Africa’s construction industry is battling through strong headwinds. In recession last year, the sector is set to emerge from this through 2019 according to research by Fitch Solutions, which forecasts growth of 2.4 percent. This is far below the growth predicted for the wider Sub-Saharan region, which is set to expand by 6.8 percent this year. However, while South Africa’s construction sector has endured troubled times, it has not been a story of struggle for every company. Far from it. Those that have been able to adapt and innovate against a challenging backdrop have emerged strongly, and Motheo Construction Group certainly falls into this category. “Motheo has seen significant growth over the past three years,” comments company Director Tim Potter. “The South African construction industry is currently in a very challenging place, and we are grateful and blessed to be growing and flourishing during these very turbulent times. “Motheo is ideally positioned to excel in this current phase, and this is because of our understanding of the operating environment.” Established in 1997 by Dr Thandi Ndlovu, the organisation today stands as one of South Africa’s prominent black female-owned construction companies (52 percent of shares are owned by six black women) and is a leading provider of social housing. It predominantly contracts on low tech residential and non-residential buildings and has the ability to carry out its own electrical work, while the company also operates a civil construction division.  For

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National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS)

Underneath the Microscope South Africa’s National Health Laboratory Service is determined to bridge the gap between public and private provision of vital lab and related health services  Writer: Tom WadlowProject Manager: Callam Waller  A great deal of hope is hinging on the South African government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.  Designed to address growing inequalities between public and private provision of healthcare, the premise behind NHI has been widely welcomed by industry stakeholders, be they medical organisations or consumers who stand to benefit in a potentially lifechanging way.  It is a cause for optimism for the likes of Dr Karmani Chetty, seasoned doctor and Acting CEO of South Africa’s National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).  “The biggest challenges facing the country’s healthcare market at the moment are an under-resourced public health sector, lack of skilled and competent human resources, poor quality of services, and rising costs,” she explains.  “The South African health system is inequitable with the privileged few having disproportionate access to health services. The public sector is under-resourced relative to the size of the population that it serves and the burden of disease, and has disproportionately less human resources than the private sector, yet has to manage significantly higher patient numbers.  “However, NHI will ensure that everyone has access to appropriate efficient and quality health services. It is intended to bring about reform that will improve service provision and will promote equity and efficiency, so as to ensure that all South Africans can use affordable, quality healthcare services regardless of their socioeconomic status. “I am therefore very optimistic

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