Issue 74


Transforming Connectivity Championing digital content delivery, managed infrastructure and connectivity services, Sentech SOC is helping to revolutionise broadcasting and telecommunications across South Africa   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki  I became interested in telecommunications as a result of my interest in the mechanics of how radio works; how it is that you can have people communicating across distances as if they are close to each other.  “I am from a rural background – this curiosity was triggered at a time when I was shepherding my father’s sheep in the Eastern Cape village of Cingco. I began asking questions, but no one could answer them, so I took an interest in scientific studies. The rest is history!”  Both inquisitive of and inspired by the ever-evolving capabilities of technology, Mlami Booi’s passion for telecommunications remains as pronounced today as it was 30 years ago.   An entrepreneur at heart, he spent many years as an engineer, regulator and businessman after graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering, now standing as the CEO of SENTECH SOC, driving digital innovation in the public sector.  “Connectivity and the accessibility of internet services are more important than ever before,” he declares. “Telecommunications and infrastructure are some of the cornerstones of this digital economy, pillars that the economic development of Africa will be dependent upon.  “It’s SENTECH’s mission to be a crucial part of this evolution, operating as an industry spearhead in delivering digital content. The role of our organisation in driving connectivity to facilitate the fourth industrial revolution is something we are very much proud of.”  27 years in the

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MTN Congo 2019 : Congo’s Connectivity Champion

MTN Congo continues to promote digital inclusion across the country through numerous investments in the likes of mobile money, content streaming and affordable smartphones

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METC Engineering

Redefining Effective EPCM METC was established in 2017 to offer a fresh approach to engineering, procurement and construction management work, the company continuing to gather momentum thanks to a string of successfully delivered projects  Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Donovan Smith    It is well documented that mining, one of the world’s oldest industries, is at the slower end of the scale when it comes to embracing change.   While the process of extracting minerals from the ground has been mechanised beyond any recognition since commercial activities first began, the uptake of digital technology, for example, has taken longer than many other industries.  Another (not mutually exclusive) characteristic long associated with the sector is the relative domination of large multinational corporations up and down the value chain. Resource rich and often able to survive fluctuations in commodity prices, corporate giants’ sheer size can also come at a cost – namely in the form of agility and flexibility.   It is against this backdrop that Steve Cathey and his business partners John Edwards, Ross Manning and Nick Tatalias decided to set up Metallurgical Engineering Technology and Construction (METC) in 2017.   “We had been working together for several years and the takeover of our employer MDM by Foster-Wheeler, then Foster-Wheeler by Amec, and finally Amec by Wood, all in the space of three years, made us realise that we had to forge our own future and could not rely on large corporate companies to offer a stable future,” Cathey recalls.   “All set into taking the leap of faith, and Ross goes and resigns two months prior what the four of us agreed upon! The

Donovan Smith By Donovan Smith

KTVR Bus Service : Driving Growth

A BRT system built for the masses, KTVR is set rejuvenate opportunity, both socially and economically, in the Ekurhuleni region of South Africa.

EditorJoshua Mann By Editor Joshua Mann

Jomanday Group

For the Love of Liberia Multifaceted Jomanday Group is driving development in its beloved home country and across borders as it continues to invest in entrepreneurial pursuits across a range of industries  Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Josh Mann  Liberia is a country looking forwards after a turbulent recent past.    Strategically nestled on the West African coast and entering a new chapter of its development under the leadership of legendary former footballer George Weah, the country has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.  Optimism renewed, it is now time for enterprise to drive development forwards.   “I would like to say that Liberia and Africa as a whole is ready for business,” declares Sekou Jomanday, Chairman & CEO of Jomanday Group.   “Any investors out there that are ready to work in Liberia or neighbouring countries, I can assure you that the business climate has improved and keeps improving as we have superior infrastructure in place compared to 10 years ago. Most industries are booming, and smart competition is like never before.”  Jomanday is an impassioned Liberian entrepreneur.   Determined to contribute to the upliftment of his beloved nation, he opted against his initial desire to enter the banking industry after discovering a flair for business at a young age.     “I started selling clothes in high school and I was very good at it,” he recalls. “I was making 100 percent margin on every item I sold with a minimal amount of effort, as I knew how to conquer my target group.    “Making enough profit at that age to take care of my high school expenses gave me a second thought of my career path.”  After breaking numerous sales records at

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GIGM : Daring to be Different

Established as a stalwart of African innovation, the transport offering of GIGM remains inspired by customer-centricity.

EditorJoshua Mann By Editor Joshua Mann

Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise (EPSE) : Petroleum Power

Ethiopia’s sole importer and distributor of refined petroleum products, EPSE is helping to uphold the country’s rapid economic expansion.

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Cameroon’s Electricity Transformer Eneo continues to invest in crucial energy infrastructure upgrades and community-driven projects, its think big, start small approach paying dividends   Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Krisha Canlas  The green shoots of economic recovery are starting to show in Cameroon.  Following a slowdown in GDP growth caused largely by falling oil prices, 2018 saw something of a rebound as the country’s economy expanded by four percent (up from 3.5 percent in 2017).   According to the World Bank this momentum, albeit tentative, is set to continue through 2019, the organisation forecasting a GDP rise of 4.2 percent, with an average 4.5 percent growth predicted for 2020-2021.    This is being driven by the ramping up of public infrastructure projects, including the Kribi deep water port, the Memve’ele hydroelectric dam and several road projects, activities which are expected to increase private investment.  Further, diversification of the country’s energy generation in the form of increased LNG production and renewables is expected to ease the supply of electricity and benefit both consumers and businesses in industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction.   For longstanding national electricity sector operator Eneo, this forms a promising backdrop from which to develop.   Indeed, Cameroon has been making steady progress in electricity supply over the past several years, as there has been a positive year-over-year development in electrification.   However, this progress has yet to be improved in view of the country’s potential. Cameroon currently has a 62 percent access to electricity rate, which, while above the average in Sub-Saharan Africa, is behind the 100 percent seen in most North African countries.   This paradox is even more stark when a comparison between cities (93 percent) and

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CSquared 2019

FibeRising Africa By enabling ISPs and MNOs to better serve their customers, CSquared is helping to drive the fibre revolution across several of Africa’s most prominent urban centres  Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Vivek Valmik  “Working in an organisation that is committed to investing and developing broadband infrastructure in Africa is quite honestly a dream come true for me. I have worked in the ICT sector across the continent for almost 21 years and I know firsthand the real connectivity challenges facing the region. So, the opportunity to be part of a unique set of people and investors that are committed to changing the status quo was obviously a thrilling proposition.”  For Lanre Kolade, joining CSquared as its Chief Executive Officer in 2018 was something of a no-brainer.   A problem solver by nature and passionate believer that broadband access will enable Africa to fast-track economic development, Kolade is especially driven by the potential of technology to upskill populations and drive GDPs upwards, what he calls ‘FibeRising Africa’.    Central to this is boosting connectivity.   “Across the continent, submarine capacity is increasing but overall usage of these cables is still low since metro networks are not very pervasive,” Kolade observes.   “Hence, access to connectivity across the continent is limited, expensive and inefficiently deployed with various technologies still in use. Intra Africa connectivity is an even bigger challenge, and we need to bridge the gaps by increasing cross border links between the countries.”  The CEO points to the World Bank’s Africa Digital Moonshot 2030 report as evidence of the need to accelerate broadband installations, while also citing that 31.6 percent of African’s have access to the internet (as of June 2018). This number drops

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Cim Group

Modernising Money Having been the first non-banking financial institution in Sub-Saharan Africa to issue Mastercard and Visa credit cards, CIM Group continues to pioneer new technology-driven solutions for its customers in Mauritius and elsewhere    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Sam Love  Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world’s most exciting regions when looking at the potential for technology to transform financial services.   Transform may not even be the most appropriate word. The sheer potential of digital and mobile to provide first-time banking access to millions of African consumers is cause for a wave of optimism and activity.  Take mobile industry association GSMA and its latest State of the Industry Report on Mobile.   According to its findings, 395.7 million mobile money accounts were registered across Sub-Saharan Africa as of December 2018, up 13.6 percent year-on-year.    In terms of transaction volume and value, this respectively measured 1.7 billion and $26.8 billion, rises of 11.8 and 15.3 percent on 2017.   Kenya, notably through M-Pesa, is a leading light in this field, its mobile digital ecosystem and strong consumer awareness well documented.   Indeed, the latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that mobile money transactions stood at Sh3.98 trillion ($38.5 billion) in 2018, up 10 percent on 2017 and equivalent to $108 million of activity every day. Strikingly, the value of these transactions represents some 44 percent of the country’s GDP.  It is this vibrant market which has attracted investment from the likes of Mauritian financial services firm Cim Group.   Led by Chief Executive Officer Mark van Beuningen, in 2018 the company set up a fintech hire purchase business under

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Checkers Food Services

Finding Value in Food Service Upholding entrepreneurs, enterprises and communities alike, Checkers Food Services is showing how effective, efficient operations translate into mutual benefits for all   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Lewis Bush  Africa’s economic ascent is set to continue throughout 2019.  A quick glance at the African Development Bank’s latest continental economic outlook report reveals that the region’s projected GDP growth rate is set to accelerate to four percent this year and 4.1 percent in 2020.  Couple this with the UN’s commonly referenced population predictions, forecasting that Africa could have more than 1.3 billion additional inhabitants by 2050, and it’s easy to see why the continent is rapidly emerging as a global powerhouse for the future.  Amidst such a climate, the region’s leading businesses such as Sonatrach and Shoprite Holdings are thriving, successfully capitalising on the abundant array of opportunities that span a vast multitude of sectors.  The latter of these corporations provides the perfect evidence of this, its 146,000 employees now serving 35 million people everyday across more than 2,700 outlets. Home to a monumental food retail portfolio, Shoprite has grown from strength to strength, owed to continuous organic growth and innovative expansion strategies – strategies that Lance van der Spuy is all too familiar with.  “I joined Shoprite in 2009 as a Projects Officer in the Operational Projects department, reporting to the then COO, now CEO, Pieter Engelbrecht,” he reveals.   “After two years with the firm I was asked to investigate the feasibility of Shoprite entering the food service sector by Whitey Basson, the Group CEO. Whitey was not only instrumental in founding the Group, and building it into

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Botswana Telecommunications Corporation

Strategic Success From the introduction of next-generation LTE to extensive cost optimisation processes, BTC is championing change when it comes to connectivity   Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki  Much like the rest of Africa, Botswana’s telecommunications market is evolving rapidly.  As the rise of long-term evolution (LTE) technologies remains meteoric, and 2G and 3G continue to be replaced by their modernised successors in the form of 4G and even 5G, the country is beginning to leverage a host of new, transformative capabilities.  The crux of these is mobile connectivity, an industry that is anticipated to grow at roughly 12.3 percent per year and account for 79.3 percent of national telecom service revenue by 2023. Combine this with a whole host of associated branches such as the internet of things and cloud services, and it’s easy to see why Botswana is gearing up for a period of extensive, progressive change.  This in mind, it’s understandably exciting times for Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC).  An organisation established almost four decades ago to provide, develop, operate and manage Botswana’s national and international telecommunications services, the now privatised entity stands front and centre of the industry, helping to facilitate the aforementioned ascendancy.   Finding value  Providing both mobile data services in the form of its flagship beMOBILE brand, alongside its BTC Wholesale and BTC Fixed offerings, BTC remains a market leader in communications services, priding itself on upholding superior customer service through innovative solutions.  “We exhibit a sense of pride in the work we do and take accountability for the quality of our efforts and the organisation as a whole,” the company states on its website where it outlines its values statement. “We commit to the best customer experience

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