Issue 75

Africa Improved Foods 2019

Nourishing Nations AIF produces high-quality nutritious foods made from maize grown by over 35,000 Rwandan farmers that treat and prevent malnutrition across East Africa  Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Josh Mann  Like a lot of people, I was climbing the corporate ladder and ended up working as the Vice President of Marketing for a $2 billion travel technology company in the UK. However, I kept asking myself, what am I really doing here? Where’s the value that’s created for society by what I’m doing?  “A lot of the work conducted in high-end economies is often focused on marginal optimisations of customer value, yet at the same time, there’s billions of people in the world who are struggling with the very basics.  “I decided I wanted to get into something that would make more of a meaningful impact and quickly became passionate about the agri-foods space, looking at how the global food system works, or doesn’t in many cases.  “I enjoy business, don’t get me wrong – the strategic, the day to day, the commercial is all fascinating to me. But each of these elements become particularly rewarding when they’re applied to causes in Africa, where there’s a lot to be done.”  For Amar Ali, Africa Improved Foods (AIF) provided the perfect platform to use his skills and make a tangible difference.   An organisation set up with the single goal of helping to address malnutrition across East Africa with food made in Africa, AIF has been operating out of a state-of-the-art facility in Kigali, Rwanda for close to three years, helping to raise the

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CityDia Ghana

Growing for Ghana CityDia is proving itself as a community-driven and people-centric retailer, the company seeking to build on its footprint of stores across Accra, Kyebi and Kumasi    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Josh Hyland   For centuries open markets and street vending have been the mainstay of Ghanaian retail.   Even today, street-based purchasing and over-the-counter shops account for around 95 percent of the sector, the remaining five percent categorised by what is known as organised, or formal retail.   However, the industry as a whole is a fast growing one, and the formal segment represents a huge opportunity to drive progress, an opportunity not lost on João Rente Correia, General Manager of CityDia Supermarkets (Ghana).   “There is room for expansion, as an ever-growing middle class and a large young urban population are driving forces for the growth of organised retail,” he explains.   “A more informed and critical customer, the demand for a continuous and sustained offer, quality assurance along the supply chain of the purchased products and a comfortable and accessible shopping experience will be the differentiators and catalysts for the development of formal retail in Ghana.”  CityDia, the result of a partnership between the Economic Distribution Company Ghana (ECODI) and international food retailer Dia Group, has been a leading force in this transition since it began operating in the country in 2016.   “The informal market does still play a very predominant role on the African continent and particularly in Ghana,” Correia adds, “but, consistently, we are witnessing a transition from consumers looking for different options to make their purchases.   “The challenge is for retailers to make the same affordable offer in a comfortable and modern

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dhk Architects

Driven By Design Built from the ground up, dhk Architects now stands as not only one of South Africa’s top design companies, but equally a champion of social enablement and industry optimism Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Eddie Clinton  Looking at the direction of South African architecture, I can honestly say that I am pleased. The quality of design in this nation has drastically improved compared to previous decades, and vast swathes of fantastic projects are underway both here and across the continent.  “It’s exciting – the world is beginning to notice us and for that I’m very proud of the entire industry.”  Derick Henstra is distinctly optimistic.  Having been interested in architecture from the age of 13, he remains just as enthused about the industry today as he was four decades ago, now standing as the Founder and Executive Chairman of one of Africa’s preeminent architectural design firms.   “Last year dhk Architects celebrated its 20th year,” Henstra continues, introducing the company. “It was a time of reflection; a period where we could look back at the business and its achievements. It’s truly been a great success.”  Having incorporated derick henstra architects (dha) in 1983, a name that the organisation held until its merger with KCvR in 1998, Henstra has spent the vast majority of his career pursuing his passion thanks to the support of his wife, gradually building the firm brick by brick with his esteemed team over the past 36 years.   Fast forward to the present day and dhk Architects is now considered to be one of the top design companies in South Africa, employing over 120 people across Cape Town and Johannesburg.  “I think the thing that makes us different, the reason

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Firemount Group

The Denim Difference Firemount Group is helping to drive economic diversification and spearhead sustainability in Mauritius with its premium, tasteful, tailor-made textiles   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Callam Waller  A small island state off the coast of southeast Africa that’s home to just 1.3 million inhabitants, Mauritius may not seem like much of an economic powerhouse on the face of it. Yet a quick glance at the World Bank’s national overview will reveal a country that has made great strides since gaining independence in 1968, so much so that it now stands as one of the continent’s few upper-middle income economies. Its ongoing success can largely be attributed to the government’s progressive efforts – efforts which include the launch of a public infrastructure programme, ongoing support to the tourism industry and a general emphasis on diversification. As a result, a thriving private sector has emerged, with numerous businesses having come to the fore in recent years. “This economic diversification policy has allowed Mauritius to establish itself as a manufacturing and exporting location, and maintain its image as premium tourist destination,” explains Anil Kohli. “Although it may not seem like it at first glance, our isolated location in the Indian Ocean is often a benefit rather than a hinderance – we’re not landlocked like many other African countries.” Kohli himself has helped to champion the national vision. Currently standing as the Director of Firemount (FM) Group, a company that is playing a major role in putting Mauritius on the global map as a textile specialist, his team have become renowned for providing value-added, quality, authentic denim fabrics and garments to leading international

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Guardrisk Group Mauritius

A Captive Market Guardrisk Group Mauritius, through its specialised offering of cell captive insurance and reinsurance services, is safeguarding the future of businesses across its home nation and further afield    Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Sam Love    Mauritius is officially ranked the easiest place to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa.   According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 study, the Indian Ocean island nation scores a competitive 79.58 out of 100, this total score covering aspects such as starting a company, registering property, paying taxes, acquiring credit, resolving insolvency, sourcing electricity and trading across borders.   The ranking also means Mauritius is the 20th easiest place to do business in the world, something which fills Vikram Ramlochun, Managing Director of South African insurance group Guardrisk’s Mauritian business, with optimism.    “We are in one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa and the country’s business environment and investment climate has also made it one of the most business-friendly destinations in the region,” he says.   “Furthermore, Mauritius has emerged as an important platform between Asia, the Middle East and Africa for investment into the African subcontinent. The financial services sector, including the insurance industry, is an important economic pillar of the Mauritian economy and the insurance industry’s contribution to GDP is about three percent.”  Indeed, important progress at a legislative level has added even more impetuous to the nation’s insurance industry, now recognised as a respected international finance centre.   As of June 2019, reinsurance business continues to be taxed at three percent, this having convinced the OECD about the country’s responsible approach to harmonising best tax practices

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Hitachi Construction Machinery Zambia 2019

Keeping Zambia Building  By supporting clients with expert remanufacturing services, Hitachi Construction Machinery Zambia is ensuring reliable machinery makes its way to vital infrastructure projects across the country  Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Donovan Smith  Zambia, somewhat against the regional grain, is home to a sturdy construction sector at present.   The well-documented headwinds faced by fellow Southern African neighbours, especially South Africa, appear to be shielded against for a number of reasons.   Public infrastructure projects and investment in commercial buildings and residential housing have ensured a continuing pipeline of demand, shown by the fact that Zambian cement production increased by 10 percent in 2018 according to figures from the Africa Development Bank.   The country’s construction industry is a vital contributor to GDP, which grew by around four percent last year and is forecast to expand by 4.2 percent in 2019 and 4.3 percent in 2020.   Also crucial to the sector’s current and long-term stability is a resolute mining sector, something which Scott Johnston, GM of Operations for Hitachi Construction Machinery Zambia (HCMZ), recognises as a positive backdrop that the company is operating in.   “We are still seeing investment in the local construction and mining industry,” he says, “and with the rise of demand on electric vehicles we only foresee the demand for copper to increase. We therefore look forward to rejuvenated activity in 2020 and also see the trend that customers who sweated their assets from the last global recession are now starting to look for replacement equipment.”   Indeed, much of HCMZ’s activity is focused on remanufacturing key Hitachi machinery components throughout their lifecycles,

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Hollard Ghana

Insurance Inspired Combining quality service competencies, employee and partner power and a community-first approach, Hollard Ghana is leading the national indemnity revolution   Writer:  Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Sam Love   Sweeping changes are striking the Ghanaian insurance industry, inciting economic confidence across the sector and country.  “I will commend the National Insurance Commission, our regulating body, for the massive steps being taken to facilitate the growth and development of the insurance industry.  “I think the introduction of new types of compulsory insurance and the strict enforcement of existing products such as motor insurance and insurance for commercial buildings will go a long way in boosting sector performance.  “We’re excited about the draft bill that has compulsory insurance like group life insurance, workmen’s compensation, public liability insurance, marine insurance and professional indemnity, and we look forward to the this finally being passed by the end of the year.”  Standing front and centre in the Ghanaian insurance industry, Patience Akyianu’s optimism speaks volumes of the mutual strides being taken by public and private entities alike.   Having spent 17 years in banking, holding senior positions at the likes of Barclays Bank Ghana and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, she took a transitional cross-industry jump into insurance owed to this buoyant outlook, joining Hollard Ghana as its Group CEO in October 2018.  “Last year was an inflection point in my career,” Akyianu affirms. “After 10 years at Barclays Bank Ghana, I decided it was time to do something different.   “I found the opportunity to champion the growth strategy of Hollard in Ghana exciting because the insurance industry here is still in its infancy. As disposable incomes increase

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Java House

A Tale of Transformation Having received a new lease of life, East Africa’s most successful coffeehouse chain is set to embark on an exciting new chapter as it turns 20 years old   Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Lewis Bush  East Africa is a region enrobed with optimism.  Real GDP across its 13 countries rose by an average of 5.7 percent in 2018 according to the World Bank, a trajectory that is expected to remain strong with forecasts of 5.9 percent for 2019 and 6.1 percent for 2020.  Combine this with a population that is expected to double in size and reach 711 million by 2050, overtaking the entirety of Europe in the process, and it’s easy to see why an aura of excitement surrounds the region as it gears up to meet the associated challenges and opportunities.  20 years old this year, Java House Africa is one such business embodying this enthusiasm. With foundations in Kenya, its Java House coffee, 360 Degrees Pizza and Planet Yogurt brands now span 75 restaurants across three countries.  “Our industry, like many others, is on the up,” states Steve Carlyon, referring to the thriving food and beverage scene.  “Casual diners have become community hubs, meeting places for friends, families, business meetings, dates, you name it. F&B is about more than just providing great food. It’s about providing destinations to celebrate social occasions, and the appetite to be spoilt in a culinary sense is certainly growing.”  Previously heading up Emirates Airlines’ frozen meals production plant in Dubai, Carlyon took a leap into

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Naledi Rail Engineering

Keeping SA on Track Naledi Rail Engineering has been providing South Africa’s railway industry with engineering expertise since 2004, a vital pool of knowledge given the government’s plans to develop the sector   Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Josh Mann  South Africa is home to the continent’s most developed and largest rail network.   According to the latest available figures from the World Bank, the country houses almost 21,000 kilometres of usable rail track (2017), while the government has announced plans to invest R900 billion by 2027 on transportation infrastructure, of which rail is a critical part.   However, while this form of transport is rightly seen as a key enabler for South Africa in the future, there are some hurdles which need to be overcome.   For example, the USA’s International Trade Administration ( has identified a shortage in capacity both at a passenger and freight level that needs to be overcome if the industry is to maximise its potential and become what is labelled a ‘best prospect industry’.   Further, project implementation has been slow and may be reviewed to ensure good governance and sustainability, while internal inefficiencies and administered rail tariffs have made competing against road freight difficult.  But, despite the challenges, opportunities are also aplenty, not least in the form of projects like that at Tambo Springs in Gauteng. Due to be fully commissioned by 2022 and valued at $15 billion, this is a multimodal rail, road and air hub that will present significant cost efficiencies and freight capacity increases.   Expanding South Africa’s rail network is not the only way in which the industry will continue to develop

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Safaricom 2019

Transforming Lives For Safaricom, success is not dictated by finances and statistics. It is determined by a wider purpose of catalysing community development and supporting socioeconomic strides   Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki   Around the world, the modernised, optimised millennial processes brought about by emerging technologies have paved the way for digital and enterprise transformation.  In Kenya, this backdrop is no different.  One of East Africa’s leading lights, the country recently claimed third place in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report for Sub-Saharan Africa, owed to its growing youthful population, skilled workforce and dynamic private sector.  The latter of these core elements is underpinned by the nation’s thriving telecommunications sector.  From the deployment of fibre and LTE infrastructure upgrades to the arrival of 5G and rapid internet and mobile subscriber growth, it is an industry that has flourished following its liberalisation in 1999.  The government has been a key proponent of the monumental technological strides that Kenya has taken, continually adhering to its overriding ambition of becoming East Africa’s technological hub.  Yet arguably it is Safaricom that has played the greatest role, emerging as a true powerhouse of the country’s and indeed continent’s digital economy since its inception almost two decades ago.  Pursuing a purpose  Now serving over 30 million mobile subscribers across the country, Safaricom remains invested in a unique way of conducting business, driven by its purpose of ‘Transforming Lives’.  Stripped back, this is essentially a social upliftment mandate, the company ensuring that its operations serve to create opportunities for the

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Southern Oil

The Canola Curator Having introduced the canola crop to South Africa in the 1990s, Southern Oil has created a diverse portfolio of products under its B-Well brand which continues to identify with consumers  Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Lewis Bush  “To be honest with you, my initial inspiration to join the company was because of the brand B-Well – it was one of the few edible oil products standing in a retailer that actually informed a consumer of what they are buying.   “If you don’t know, or back then if you didn’t cook, then you have no idea of the difference between canola, sunflower or soya oil. B-Well, however, educated consumers on shelf and tried to portray the message of why? Why should you buy canola oil? Why is canola good for you? This was what drew me in, and when the opportunity arose, I took it with both arms.”  For Morne Botes, the desire to join Southern Oil was made before the opportunity even arose.  A keen consumer of its B-Well product range and impressed by its openness and transparency, the now Commercial Director is five years into a journey which has seen him learn from peers and understand the local and international edible oil market.   Having established a firm departmental structure across the company, a process which has geared it up for growth, Botes is fully submersed into a drive to establish B-Well as a brand which represents more than just oil, but a range of responsible health foods.   “I now have an exceptionally talented team reporting to me,” he says.   “The next focus area will be

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St Louis Petroleum

Future proofing Ghana’s Fuel St Louis Petroleum is building up the nation’s storage capacity in  order to keep pace with growing levels of oil production, the company also determined to develop in-country skills   Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Eddie Clinton  Ghana is a relative newcomer to Africa’s oil production stage.   Producing just 1,400 barrels per day (BPD) in 1994, today paints a wholly different picture, with current output sitting at 214,000 BPD and set to double by 2021 thanks to a new discovery by Norway’s Aker Energy ASA in the west of the country.   The last year alone has seen a significant ramping up of activity. In June 2018, for example, oil production sat at 160 BPD, meaning today’s figures represent a rise of about a third in the space of 14 months.   If Ghana is to truly realise such potential, however, investment is needed elsewhere.   Post-production processes such as refining and storage are in danger of being left behind, something which St Louis Petroleum and CEO Louis Yamoah are all too aware of.   “I worked for Shell in Ghana for about 10 years, and it was here where I got to understand the challenges facing the country’s oil and gas industry,” he recalls, having joined St Louis Petroleum in 2014.   “I saw there was a great need for storage facilities for these products, which would tremendously help the process of distribution to the people and businesses that need them.”  Storing the future  Indeed, building up Ghana’s fuel storage capacity is the company’s raison d’être.   St Louis Petroleum is known for its record of building tank farms where refined fuel can be

Tom Wadlow Eddie Clinton By Tom Wadlow Eddie Clinton

Stefanutti Stocks South Africa

Standing Strong By staying true to its vision and values, Stefanutti Stocks continues to defy a challenging industry backdrop and deliver excellence in execution across multiple construction disciplines and geographies    Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Eddie Clinton  Innovation, adaptability and flawless delivery are a must for South African construction companies operating in today’s environment.   A sector enduring a period of contraction which has forced many private and public-owned firms into administration, the backdrop facing those which have survived is set to remain a challenging one until at least 2020, when the industry is set to enter a phase of what Fitch Solutions describes as a tepid recovery.   The recent elections, won by the ANC, could herald the introduction of a new infrastructure fund which could, if enacted, add some much-needed momentum.   However, for now South African construction companies are having to operate in what Russell Crawford describes as survival mode.   As the new CEO of Stefanutti Stocks, one of the country’s largest multidisciplinary construction groups and still standing today, he is hopeful of the upturn in fortunes which the likes of Fitch are forecasting for 2020.   “I have been in the industry for 36 years and work with people who have been involved even longer, and we all think that this is the most challenging period that Southern Africa’s construction sector has ever faced,” he says.    “Every year we believe it will improve, but margins are tightening. Do I think the picture will improve? I certainly am hopeful, but the government has a difficult job to service the debt of state-owned enterprises and make room

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Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) 2019

Tanzania International Container Terminal Services continues to enhance its offering to importers and exporters passing through the busy hub of Dar es Salaam. CEO Jared Zerbe fills us in 

Staff Writer Callam Waller By Staff Writer Callam Waller