AfricanBrains Africa Education Innovation Technology Investment Networking Events News Social Media Blogs Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:35:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SolarReserve Promotes Urban Solar Farms As A New Paradigm For Renewable Energy In South Africa Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:35:17 +0000 solarreservePioneering study develops new business model for solar in urban areas as an alternative to grid power for commercial and industrial end users.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to SolarReserve South Africa (Proprietary) Limited to advance their “Urban Solar Farms” initiative in South Africa; a pioneering study into large metropolitan municipalities that will provide a framework for large commercial and industrial electricity consumers with significant power requirements to cost-effectively deploy renewable energy in urban areas. The grant, which supports the goals of the U.S. government-led Power Africa initiative, will support development of up to 200 megawatts of solar farms ranging in size from 5 to 30 megawatts. The projects will be privately owned and operated and will provide power to end users either directly or through wheeling arrangements with municipal distribution companies.

The projects, primarily ground-mounted in order to solve the problem of restricted roof space, will be constructed in areas where there is a high demand for daily energy consumption. Additionally, Urban Solar Farms will incorporate the integration of solar power with energy storage to support peak energy demand requirements, as well as grid stability and help defer utility substation and network upgrades.

Urban Solar Farms will provide a framework to cost-effectively deploy renewable energy in urban areasUrban Solar Farms will incorporate the integration of solar power with energy storageUrban Solar Farms will also stimulate job growth and small business development

“This groundbreaking study has the potential to impact the way municipalities across South Africa accommodate privately-owned clean power generation within their distribution borders,” said SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith, who signed the grant alongside USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak. “It represents a unique approach to involving the private sector in expanding South Africa’s generation capacity, while stimulating job growth and small business development.”

Urban Solar Farms have the potential to fill a niche market in South Africa for mid-sized generation projects that ensure a reliable, clean power supply for customers with substantial energy needs.

“This unique private sector-led power solution is a clear demonstration of the impact Power Africa is having on Africa’s economic development,” said Director Zak. “Working together with an innovative American company and a strong partner in South Africa, USTDA is proud to support increased use of renewable energy that will spur broader gains across the economy.”

SolarReserve is a leading global energy developer, with 246 megawatts of solar capacity already on-line in South Africa, an additional 100 megawatts of solar thermal with energy storage awarded by the South Africa Department of Energy, and 450 megawatts bid into the latest round of bidding in South Africa. SolarReserve has selected U.S. firm Mott MacDonald, Inc., a global management, engineering and development consultancy working in over 140 countries, to conduct a critical study that will support SolarReserve with various technical, economic, financial, legal, regulatory, permitting and commercial inputs in order for SolarReserve to complete its strategic analysis and to progress financing and begin implementing the projects.

This grant agreement was signed during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York City, which is focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa.

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GE reinforces Commitment to Africa at 2016 U.S.-Africa Business Forum Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:21:09 +0000 geGE, which has operated in Africa for over 100 years, committed at the 2014 event to invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018.

The African growth story is still real (

Two years ago, the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum drew the attention of the world to the promise of Africa. Governments and organizations discussed and debated opportunities in infrastructure, innovation, and workforce development, and together committed more than $33 billion ( in deals, investments, and financing to accelerate African growth.

GE, which has operated in Africa for over 100 years, committed at the 2014 event to invest $2 billion ( in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018. Today, ahead of the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum, GE is proud to announce significant progress against these commitments, as well as several new initiatives.

Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa, said: “Meeting Africa’s needs takes leadership and cooperation This week’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum signals the strong commitment by both African and U.S. companies and governments to collaborate for economic growth. GE is proud to remain a steadfast partner in Africa’s sustainable growth and will continue to invest in people and infrastructure across Africa.”

Nabil Habayeb, president and CEO of GE Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey said: “Building on our decades of presence in the region, we have specifically focused on supporting North African nations to strengthen their energy, healthcare and transportation infrastructure – sectors that are mission-critical for sustained growth. In addition to delivering advanced digital industrial technologies that enhance productivity and efficiency, our emphasis has been to create thriving innovation ecosystems and promote local capacity building. Led by the success of these initiatives, we are taking our partnerships to the next level to accelerate growth and progress.”

Building infrastructure

Africa is home to 12 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies, and its manufacturing, services and technology sectors are fueling markets around the globe. Improving access to core infrastructure will equip more Africans to tap its vast potential.

1. GE’s installed base across Africa totals more than 93 gigawatts of power. We have added approximately 11 gigawatts to the grid since 2014, and 2.74 gigawatts are currently under development by GE in Power Africa projects

2. GE has spent $15m over the past two years on projects representing roughly 2GW of power in Nigeria and Ghana. Today, we are excited to announce the signing of the PPA and related agreements for the Ghana 300 Bridge Project, which will power the equivalent of 700,000 homes in Ghana.

3. In Egypt, the government needed help to avoid outages during Ramadan in 2015. GE delivered 2.6 gigawatts ( )– enough emergency power to supply 2.5 million homes — in 9 months, the fastest project of that size we have ever done.

4. In Algeria, GE has created 3 joint ventures across the energy spectrum. We broke ground in 2015 at GE Algeria Turbines (GEAT) and are preparing the site; we expect it to be operational by 2018.

5. In Nigeria, we launched ( ) a $20M Healthymagination Mother & Child initiative in 2016 with USAID, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. Two million expectant Nigerian mothers are set to benefit from the program by 2020.

6. GE is supporting ( ) Kenya’s Managed Equipment Services (MES) project in line with the country’s transformation strategy. One of the largest healthcare modernization programs to date in Africa, we have so far upgraded radiology departments at 96 Ministry of Health hospitals. Early results are positive; access to radiology services improved by 50 percent across three pilot hospitals in the first five months after the new equipment was installed.

7. Through partnership agreements ( in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Angola, we support their development agendas in power generation, healthcare, and transportation. We were even named ( ) one of Nigeria’s most strategic investors this year.

Localized solutions

GE is proud to remain a steadfast partner in Africa’s sustainable growth and will continue to invest in people and infrastructure across Africa.

GE is working with partners in Africa to drive sustainable development and solve local challenges by investing in technology, building capital markets and developing technical skills within communities:

1. GE launched its first Africa-based innovation center in South Africa in 2016. The Africa Innovation Centre, according to GE Africa president Jay Ireland, will be a “collaborative work space” aimed at “driving innovation in Africa for Africa.”

2. The Centre, which serves as the Africa HQ for GE’s growing Healthcare business, also houses the first Healthcare Customer Experience Centre in Africa, which is designed to mimic different care areas in a hospital environment.

3. GE inaugurated ( the brand new $13 million GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute, an education facility for healthcare professionals, in Kenya in 2016, as part of its MES commitment. Through the new facility, GE has committed to training over 10,000 healthcare professionals from across Kenya and East Africa by 2020.

4. The $19M supplier development fund we outlined in 2014 is operational, and 18 small- and medium-sized businesses are now receiving business and technical services.

5. In collaboration with the U.S. Africa Development Foundation and USAID, today GE continues its commitment to the “Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge”. The initiative has awarded 50 grants of up to $100,000 each to local enterprises to develop and expand off-grid solutions in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

6. In 2016, GE’s and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship launched a program to train and mentor African social entrepreneurs addressing maternal and/or child health. The program selected ( its first cohort of 17 social entrepreneurs, who will gain support in strengthening their business models, refining business plans, reinforcing organizational development, managing talent, and learning how to scale sustainably.

7. In Egypt, GE and the Ministry of Communications and IT launched ( ) the GE Egypt Digital Innovation Challenge in September 2016. Entrepreneurs can submit ( ) digital solutions for industrial challenges in healthcare, transportation, and energy until November 30, and winners will receive a cash award of EGP 100,000, as well as an opportunity to receive training to develop their software solution on Predix.

Capacity building

GE investing in capacity building that will ensure sustained growth by providing skills training and developing leaders through partnerships with local governments, schools, and hospitals:

1. GE employs more than ~4100 workers across 35 countries in Africa. Since the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in 2014, GE has received over $11B in orders. In 2015, GE saw $6.4B in revenue across the continent.

2. Since 2014 GE upgraded GE facilities in South Africa and Nigeria; opened new facilities in Kenya and Ghana; and launched offices in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Cote d’Ivoire.

3. In 2014, the GE Foundation announced a $20M commitment ( ) to advance maternal and child health in Africa, through the extension of programs supporting the Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate preventable maternal and infant mortality. Nearly 800 health workers have been trained so far through biomedical equipment technician and nurse anesthetist programs.

4. The GE Foundation further committed in 2015 ( to its Safe Surgery 2020 Initiative, a $25 million-dollar, 3-year commitment to accelerate access to safe surgery in low- and middle-income countries. The Initiative launched in Ethiopia and will expand to Tanzania next.

5. GE and the GE Foundation’s 2014 investment in Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon ( ) has trained 30 technicians in equipment repair and maintenance in Ethiopia. The program is launching a biomedical center of excellence there.

6. GE has facilitated leadership development and helped develop curricula at Regional Leadership Centres for President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). GE staff members also serve as mentors to youth in the program.

7. GE expanded its GE Garages program into Kenya ( in 2015, collaborating with Gearbox and Seven Seas Technologies help build a skilled workforce and drive entrepreneurial development in the country.

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IBM Joins the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:29:06 +0000 IBM - 600x400Takreem El Tohamy, IBM’s General Manager for Middle East and Africa, appointed among the 23 leaders on the Advisory Council.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has appointed Takreem El Tohamy, IBM’s General Manager for the Middle East and Africa, to the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. Takreem El Tohamy is among a group of 23 private sector leaders selected to advise the U.S. President on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.

The President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA) was created in 2014, as part of an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama, to promote broad-based economic growth in the United States and Africa. As a PAC-DBIA member, Takreem El Tohamy will provide information, analysis, and recommendations on U.S.-Africa trade and investment priorities, including U.S. and Africa job creation; developing and strengthening commercial partnerships to increase U.S. public and private sector financing in Africa; and analyzing the effect of policies in the United States and Africa on American trade and investment interests in Africa.

IBM has long recognized Africa’s potential, and we’ve been partnering with local organizations on the continent for almost a century. In recent years in particular, we’ve seen how local governments and organizations have been able to leapfrog in technology adoption by embracing the latest innovations such as cognitive systems, cloud computing, data analytics and mobile technology.“I’m honored to represent IBM on the President’s Advisory Council,” said El Tohamy. “IBM has long recognized Africa’s potential, and we’ve been partnering with local organizations on the continent for almost a century. In recent years in particular, we’ve seen how local governments and organizations have been able to leapfrog in technology adoption by embracing the latest innovations such as cognitive systems, cloud computing, data analytics and mobile technology.”

“We’ve been working aggressively with clients and partners to develop skills, build out infrastructure and boost local scientific research to develop unique solutions to Africa’s unique challenges. These local investments have enabled us to create win-win scenarios for both U.S. businesses and local clients.”

With more than 30 years of experience at IBM, Takreem has led expansion of the company’s capabilities and facilities across Africa. IBM now has a direct presence in 24 African countries.

IBM also has been investing heavily in developing local skills and talent. A recent example is the Africa Skills Initiative: through a $60 million investment, IBM is supporting African governments and academic institutions to narrow the skills gap between tertiary institutions of learning and market place requirements.

IBM has research, technical and client centers across Africa including global delivery centers in Egypt, Morocco and South Africa; client centers in South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria, and a regional Digital Sales Center in Egypt. IBM has opened two Research Labs in Kenya and South Africa, where scientists are driving innovation through the development of commercially-viable solutions that transform lives and spark new business opportunities. IBM also launched this year its first IBM Cloud Data Center in South Africa.

Through long standing commercial partnerships as well as new ventures, IBM is assisting African businesses in key industries including telecommunications, banking, healthcare and government with their digital transformation, and their shift to cloud in the cognitive era.

For example, IBM is helping deliver electricity in Kenya, accelerate the adoption of mobile banking in West and East Africa, transform the healthcare and insurance sectors in South Africa by implementing the latest cognitive technologies and boost youth-government engagement in Uganda. IBM is also providing cloud computing expertise to independent software vendors (ISVs) in Morocco and Egypt to help drive innovation, to name a few recent engagements.

IBM is also investing in pro-bono consulting with multiple Corporate Service Corps (CSC) projects, IBM’s global effort to solve critical problems through employee volunteerism. Africa, a growing market for IBM, is one of the focal points of the program. Recent engagements include recommendations for developing smarter healthcare and education capabilities in Angola, South Africa, Senegal and Morocco and enhancing education opportunities for women in Ghana. To date, the program has deployed approximately 1000 IBM employees on projects in South Africa, Ethiopia, Angola, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt.

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Nigerian Government Support can help Small Businesses thrive in Recessionary Times Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:28:05 +0000 Magnus Nmonwu, Regional Director Sage West Africa
Magnus Nmonwu, Regional Director Sage West Africa

Small & Medium Businesses in Nigeria face challenging times, even as the economy slides.

With the Nigerian economy in recession, support for Small & Medium Businesses could be one of the key ingredients to carrying the country through these tough times. Assisting them should become a priority for big business and government.

That’s according to Magnus Nmonwu (, Regional Director for Sage in West Africa (, who says that Small & Medium Businesses in Nigeria face challenging times, even as the economy slides. In addition to the country entering a recession – defined as a decline in GDP over two consecutive quarters – the upcoming Communication Service Tax Bill could also affect Nigerian businesses.

Yet Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs are creative and resilient – and might play an instrumental role in lifting the economy out of recession, given the right support and business environment. “Nigerian entrepreneurs and business owners are the engines that drive the country’s economy,” says Nmonwu.

“During recessions, big companies are able to adjust by downsizing and cutting costs. Small businesses, however, keep going and carry the losses. They need our support, as they can contribute to turning the economy around, far more quickly.

“It is important that government and other stakeholders listen to entrepreneurs’ concerns as they seek to grow and contribute to the economy. We have embraced the responsibility of helping to amplify the voice of small business, because we also started small and understand the challenges entrepreneurs of small face in such times.”

With the recession biting, Small & Medium Businesses face the reality that consumers won’t have as much money to spend and that investors and business partners will taper down investment. Given that Nigeria has an estimated 37 million micro, small, and medium-size enterprises making a significant contribution to GDP and employment, this sector should be treated as an economic priority, Nmonwu says.

Communication Service Tax

Another concern on the horizon is the looming Communication Service Tax Bill 2015, which is currently with the National Assembly. If passed into law, the law will require that consumers of voice, data, SMS, MMS and pay TV services pay a 9% tax on their tariffs for using these services.

This is in addition to other taxes people already pay for mobile and Internet access – 5% VAT, 12% import duties on ICT devices, and 20% tax levied on SIM cards, amongst the series of taxes. The Alliance for Affordable Internet, Nigeria Coalition, estimates that the tax could prevent more than 50 million Nigerians from affording a basic broadband connection.

Nigerian entrepreneurs depend on their mobile phones and the Internet to run their businesses
“Nigerian entrepreneurs depend on their mobile phones and the Internet to run their businesses,” says Nmonwu. “The tax could potentially raise the cost of doing business and hold back Nigeria’s integration into the global digital economy by excluding people from broadband access.”

Nmonwu says that it is understandable that the government needs to raise new tax revenues in the wake of falling commodity prices. However, this should ideally be done in a way that nurtures the growth of the Small & Medium Business, technology and services sectors – especially at a time Nigeria needs to diversify its economy beyond oil

Emphasis should be placed on creating new tax revenues. For example, a conditional tax amnesty could encourage smaller businesses who have not compiled with tax laws to fall into the tax net. By making short-term sacrifice of potential tax revenues, government could bring more businesses into the formal economy and help them grow into enterprises able to employ more people, approach banks for financing and pay taxes.

Financing small businesses

“In this regard, we are encouraged to see some of the moves that government, multilateral financing institutions and other stakeholders are making to support entrepreneurs,” Nmonwu adds. In particular, he welcomes the Central Bank’s launch in May 2016 of a modern online collateral registry, supported by the World Bank. The registry will enable low-income earners and micro-entrepreneurs to secure loans against movable assets such as machinery, livestock, and inventory.

Other bodies providing small businesses with financial support include:

Bank of Industry, which supports new or existing companies, seeking expansion, modernization or diversification;

The National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND), which provides medium-to-long-term financing for viable small and medium enterprise; and
Bank of Agriculture (BoA), which provides financial support for all agricultural in addition to rural micro enterprises.

“Funding is one of the major challenges entrepreneurs face in Nigeria, so these are great initiatives,” Nmonwu says. “We would welcome similarly innovative interventions to address some of the other challenges small businesses face such as complex tax and remove regulations and general business red-tape.”

The Nigerian government is also to be commended for establishing a range of organisations and initiatives to support Small & Medium Businesses. For example, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) identifies Nigerians who are interested in entrepreneurship and provides them with training in entrepreneurship and vocational skills. Entrepreneurs meet regularly to share ideas about growing their businesses under the umbrella of SMEDAN.

Nmonwu says: “Entrepreneurs make life-sacrifices. They are dreamers and innovators. They take risks to pursue their passions and, on this, Nigeria’s prosperity can or should be built /developed. They deserve a bigger voice and we will always work hard to champion this noble cause.”

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A World of Differences: Five Shifts Set to Shape the Future of Africa’s Entertainment & Media Industry Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:21:40 +0000 Vicki Myburgh, Entertainment & Media Industry Leader for PwC Southern Africa
Vicki Myburgh, Entertainment & Media Industry Leader for PwC Southern Africa

The Outlook presents annual historical data for 2011 – 2015 and provides annual forecasts for 2016 – 2020 in 11 entertainment and media segments for South Africa, Nigeria, and KenyaThe Internet, video games, television, and filmed entertainment segments of sub-Saharan Africa’s entertainment and media industry are projected to continue to grow in the following years but the publishing industry is having to work very hard to make any headway, according to PwC’s ( Entertainment and media outlook: 2016 – 2020 report (South Africa – Nigeria – Kenya) released today. Despite a relative slower growth projection for the industry, the Outlook forecasts that South Africa’s entertainment and media industry is expected to grow from R125.7 billion in 2015 to R173.3 billion in 2020, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6%.

“In spite of widespread disruption in the entertainment and media industry, as well as intense competition for consumer attention, there are growth opportunities aplenty for companies to capitalise from in the new media landscape,” says Vicki Myburgh, Entertainment & Media Industry Leader for PwC Southern Africa.

Digital spend is expected to drive the overall growth. South Africa’s Internet access market will rise from R39.4 billion in 2015 to R68.5 billion in 2020, as broadband – both fixed and mobile – becomes an essential utility. “Although the forecast CAGR of 11.7% is lower than previously predicted, this still makes Internet access by far the largest contributor to total E&M spend,” adds Myburgh.

The Outlook presents annual historical data for 2011 – 2015 and provides annual forecasts for 2016 – 2020 in 11 entertainment and media segments for South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya: the Internet, television, filmed entertainment, video games, business-to-business publishing, recorded music, newspaper publishing, recorded music, magazine publishing, book publishing, out-of-home-advertising and radio.

Aside from the Internet, the Outlook predicts that growth will also be seen in the video game market, filmed entertainment and television segments. “As Internet revenue continue to rise, the forecast for newspaper and magazine circulation is on the decline as consumers migrate from print copies to free online alternatives – and aren’t as yet moving to paid digital formats in great numbers,” says Myburgh.

South Africa has the largest TV market in Africa and continues to grow strongly, with pay-TV subscription revenues expected to expand by a 5.0% CAGR to reach R25.2 billion in 2020. The video game market is also performing well and revenue is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% to reach R3.7 billion in 2020, up from R2.8 billion in 2015. Social/casual gaming revenue overtook traditional game revenue for the first time in 2015 and is expected to be the key growth area over the next five years, exceeding R2 billion by 2020.

Alongside video providers, the B2B market will be a strong source of revenue for South Africa’s entertainment and media industry over the next five years. The amount of data that businesses are using for decision-making is increasing, and the tools used to access the information are increasingly cloud-based with more and more users gaining access via mobile handsets. The market is forecast to grow at a 4% CAGR to reach just under R11.6 billion in 2020.

By contrast, the newspaper market in South Africa is expected to be R1 billion smaller than in 2015. In 2015 total newspaper revenue was worth R9.1 billion, but this figure will drop to R8.1 billion in 2020. Circulation figures are also forecast to start declining, as price rises are unable to compensate for the declining numbers of copies sold.

By the same note, South Africa’s consumer’s magazine market is also forecast to see a decline in later years. A growing number of South Africans are accessing magazine content and websites via their smart devices, but the boom in smartphone and tablet ownership will be the biggest driver for digital magazine revenue growth over the forecast period.

Although physical music continues on its downward trajectory, it is streaming revenue that will be responsible for keeping recorded music revenue from large falls. Digital music streaming revenue is forecast to rise from R74 million in 2015 to R437 million in 2020.

The report shows that South Africa’s total entertainment and media advertising revenue is expected to rise from R43.4 billion in 2015 to R53 billion in 2020, a CAGR of 4.1%, with only newspaper advertising revenue forecast to take a downward turn. TV advertising continues to dominate the market, but Internet advertising is combining scale with a great pace of expansion, and will become the second-largest contributor to revenue by 2020.

Myburgh says: “Entertainment and media companies are facing an ever more challenging and complex environment. Companies need a more detailed understanding than ever before of the various forces at play at a local level. Armed with such insights, both established and emerging players are well-positioned to capitalise on the industry shifts and lead the next phase of growth.”


In a world where Netflix can launch in 130 new countries in a single day, it’s easy to assume that content is becoming more globally homogeneous
Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing markets in the entertainment and media industry. In 2015 it saw 15.7% growth to reach US$3.8 billion, and with all segments forecast to rise over the forecast period, an 11% CAGR is anticipated. Internet advertising will see the fastest growth over the forecast period, and will come predominantly in formats designed for mobiles, in keeping with the prevailing method of Internet access in the country. TV advertising is also benefitting from strong economic growth and an emerging middle class with a higher disposable income.


Kenya’s total entertainment and media industry was worth US$2.2 billion in 2015 and is expected to be worth US$3.3 billion by 2020. Internet access again will be the main contributor, if not as dominant in Kenya as in Nigeria, accounting for 43% of the total market in 2020.

Five key shifts emerge amid the continuing disruption

As these high-level trends play out, our research has pinpointed key shifts occurring in each of five dimensions of the entertainment and media landscape: demography, competition, consumption, geography, and business models. Simultaneous and interrelated, these five shifts influence and play off one another. They should serve as a serious call to action for both industry incumbents and new entrants to seek out growth opportunities in markets worldwide.

Shift 1. Demography: Youth will be served

Our analysis of national entertainment and media markets globally reveals an almost perfect correlation between the relative size of the under-35 population and growth in entertainment and media spending—confirming that younger consumers are now the primary drivers of global growth. Our analysis of total entertainment and media revenue growth in the world’s 10 youngest and 10 oldest markets in demographic terms reveals that, on average, entertainment and media spending in the 10 youngest markets is growing three times as rapidly as in the 10 oldest markets.

Shift 2. Competition: Content is still king

In a world where Netflix can launch in 130 new countries in a single day, it’s easy to assume that content is becoming more globally homogeneous. But the reality is that content is being redefined by forces of globalisation and localisation simultaneously—and that while much of the industry is growing more global, content tastes and cultures remain steadfastly local.

Shift 3. Consumption: The joy of bundles

The ability for consumers to design and curate their own media diet has been one of the most powerful trends to emerge in the industry. But the bundle is far from dead, with video and cable incumbents—which were initially slow off the mark—now fighting back by offering their content on an integrated omnichannel basis, on TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. As take-up of these new-style bundles grows, we believe the bulk of digital OTT mass-market services will gradually be reabsorbed into aggregated offerings that will echo the traditional analogue-style bundle, but that will be more flexibly priced and available on a full range of devices. When this happens, the competitive battle may move up a notch, as cable, technology, and telecom players fight over gaining access to distribution.

Shift 4. Geography: Growth Markets

Generally, entertainment and media companies had one set of expectations about developed markets (slow growth, low regulation, easier to access) and another about developing markets (rapid growth, high regulation, harder to access). But the dynamics are shifting rapidly as disruption pushes markets to develop in different ways, meaning “opportunity” economies—even within the same region—can display significantly varied growth patterns.

Shift 5. Business models: Transforming with trust

Today’s entertainment and media market includes technology companies racing to become hybrid content companies, and traditional publishers evolving the other way to emerge as hybrid technology companies. This underlines how the growth of technology and digitisation is acting as a centrifugal force—breaking up existing relationships; pushing large, generalist entities to give way to smaller specialists; and allowing smaller, nimble competitors to beat out incumbents. For incumbent advertising agencies, this opens up an opportunity to reorient themselves to become invaluable to markets, by bringing together programmatic capabilities, analytics, data aggregation, and native content to create the new “super” agency.

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SA: MTBPS to reveal university fees shortfall Thu, 22 Sep 2016 11:35:22 +0000 Pravin_Gordhan_-Wikimedia commonsPretoria – Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will next month during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) announce how National Treasury will fund the university fees shortfall.

In a statement on Tuesday, Treasury said that it had been inundated with enquiries on how the shortfall will be funded following the announcement by Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande.

On Monday, Minister Nzimande announced that universities will individually decide on fee increases for the 2017 academic year. However, the recommendation is that fee increases should not go above 8%.

Minister Nzimande also announced that fees for students who qualified for funding under the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and the “missing middle”, would not increase in 2017.

“National Treasury has been exploring different mechanisms of finding the money to pay for the subsidy. The department is embarking on a prioritising drive and working with various departments and agencies to address the shortfall.

“National Treasury will continue to work with the Department of Higher Education and Training on the fees matter and will announce the results of the process during the MTBPS on 26 October 2016,” it said.

National Treasury said it supports the call, encouraging all National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) beneficiaries who are employed to start repaying their loans.

“This is part of each citizenry responsibility to play a part in helping other students who are in need of financial aid. In the present constrained fiscal environment this is an extremely challenging situation.

“It is important therefore that, those who can afford to pay do so to enable the state to support the ever increasing numbers of those who deserve support and cannot afford,” Treasury said.

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SA: Companies urged to participate in Premier Business Awards Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:35:57 +0000 dtiBy–

Pretoria – The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is calling on businesses to submit their entries for the fourth annual South African Premier Business Awards.

Businesses have until 30 September to submit their applications.

Organised by the dti, Brand South Africa and Proudly South African, the awards recognise business excellence and celebrate enterprises that promote the spirit of success and innovation as well as job creation, good business ethics and quality.

Businesses can submit their entries in a range of categories, including technology, manufacturing and women in business.

Minister Rob Davies has described the awards as South Africa’s apex business awards, which bring together all single-sector awards into one big national business awards.

“The awards represent and acknowledge all South African business sectors and enterprises, as well as members of the media, who meet the various criteria per category and have achieved success in their various fields,” said Minister Davies.

For the first time in four years, an on-line entry system will be active to give businesses that are based in other provinces a chance to participate. However, those companies who prefer to submit hard copy entries can do so and hand deliver their entries at Proudly South African offices in Rosebank.

Chief Executive Officer of Brand South Africa, Dr Kingsley Makhubela, has emphasised the role that business plays in building a strong and competitive nation brand.

“South African business is critical to building positive perceptions about the country’s competitiveness for both domestic and international audiences. These awards also highlight how collaboration between government and business plays a part in building a competitive and capable nation brand,” said Makhubela.

Categories for the awards include: Lifetime Achievement Award, Manufacturers Award, Exporters Award, Enterprise Development Support Award, Women-Owned Businesses Award, Young Entrepreneur Award, Investor of the Year Award, Proudly South African Enterprise Award, Play Your Part Award, SMME Award and Black Industrialist Award.

More information on the awards, competition rules and entry forms is available on or 0861 843 384.

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UNIC marked International Day of Peace with tertiary students in Pretoria on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 09:35:14 +0000 unicefThis visit also presents the opportunity to reinforce the importance of peace and encourage students to promote it in their immediate environment.

This year, to mark the International Day of Peace, students from Boston Media House and the Tshwane University of Technology will interact with peacekeepers in gaining a better understanding of the work of the UN in conflict resolution, peace and security. UNIC in partnership with UN Volunteers and ACCORD will visit the tertiary institutions to encourage the media and communication students from the respective universities to write articles on their interpretation of peacekeeping in Africa with the best article being featured on the UNIC and ACCORD websites. This visit also presents the opportunity to reinforce the importance of peace and encourage students to promote it in their immediate environment.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The United Nations General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

Details of the events are as follows:

DATE: 21 September 2016
VENUE: Boston Media House Arcadia – 11:00

TUT Soshanguve North Campus – 14:00
KEY SPEAKERS: UN Volunteers – Ambrose Toolit
ACCORD – Kwezi Mngqibisa

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U.S. Embassy to announce the start of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:49:21 +0000 us sdThe U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa will announce the start of 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship application on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a flagship program demonstrating the United States’ commitment to Africa and an initiative to develop young African leaders. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa will announce the start of 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship application on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

At the event, several previous Mandela Washington Fellows will share their experiences in the U.S. universities and lead discussions on how to apply.

The application collects basic information and includes questions about the applicant’s professional and academic experience, including educational background; honors and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency.

At the event, several previous Mandela Washington Fellows will share their experiences in the U.S. universities and lead discussions on how to apply.

The United States Embassy in Addis Ababa invites you to attend this important event.

Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 09:45am

Venue: American Center located inside the National Archives and Library Agency (NALA) (Womezekir), Addis Ababa

Please RSVP to Zelalem Befekadu (091-150-9522) or Rahel Zewdu (096-128-4012)

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Small & Medium Businesses in East Africa must create time to innovate Wed, 21 Sep 2016 15:50:04 +0000 .

Technology, government support and mentoring programmes all offer potential ways to address this challenge.

Small & Medium Businesses in East Africa are resourceful and creative, yet many entrepreneurs lack the time and support they need to innovate in their businesses. Technology, government support and mentoring programmes all offer potential ways to address this challenge.

That’s according to Billy Owino (, Regional Director East Africa (, who says that many Kenyan entrepreneurs have great ideas but struggle to develop them into new business offerings and ventures. This parallels the challenge entrepreneurs face worldwide – Sage research shows that businesses worldwide rank development of new ideas as the most common area of neglect in their organisations.

The problem stems from a lack of time, despite small business owners working over 40 hours a week, according to the Sage research ( “We see the same challenge throughout East Africa,” Owino says, commenting on issues raised by the Innovation Africa Summit 2016 ( in Kenya.

Owino says that there are many promising shoots of innovative growth in East Africa – the challenge for government and the business community is to nurture them and ensure that innovative thinking spreads across the region.

One focus should be on simplifying red-tape so that smaller businesses can focus their energies on customer service and new ideas rather than on admin and compliance.

“It is pleasing to see that most East African governments are committed to simplifying the day to day basics of business red tape – like paying taxes, securing licences, processing imports and exports, or registering a business,” he adds. “But we should be looking at ways to make it even simpler to do business.” For their part, large companies can help by making their paperwork easy for smaller suppliers and paying promptly.

It is pleasing to see that most East African governments are committed to simplifying the day to day basics of business red tape.

Since broadband is an important enabler of innovation, governments and the telecoms industry should work together to build the necessary infrastructure. Rwanda offers a great example in this regard, with a government-led project to lay down a 4,500km fibre optic backbone.

Likewise, the cooperation between Kenyan government (which is luring tech investors to Nairobi), the private sector and development-focused NGOs has helped to create Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah as hub of innovation and entrepreneurial energy. “Efficient and affordable internet access allows small businesses to innovate by creating new products, services and channels,” says Owino. “It also enables them to become more efficient.”

Training and mentoring small business owners in leadership should be another priority, says Owino. “Many entrepreneurs have innovative ideas, but need help bringing them to life,” he adds. “They need strategic and operational support – help in the practicalities of commercialising a product, marketing it and supporting it.”

Technology hubs and accelerators like iHub ( are doing a commendable job in supporting entrepreneurs in this regard, Owino says. NGOs like Educate! ( in Uganda are also helping by providing secondary school students with practical and entrepreneurial education. But much more could be done – for example, larger businesses and multinationals could mentor start-ups.

Innovation should also be nurtured from a young age by encouraging school children to think in creative and entrepreneurial ways and by exposing them to the latest technologies. Governments should work closely with educational experts and other stakeholders to put innovation in the curriculum. In Kenya, for example, the Digital Literacy Programme ( will distribute more than 12,000 digital devices to 150 primary schools in the pilot phase.

Owino notes that entrepreneurs in East Africa can also clear time in their schedules for innovation by putting the right systems and processes in place. Mobile technology, cloud business applications and other tools can help small business owners to boost their productivity so that they have more time to focus on developing ideas, he adds. For example, payroll and accounting software streamline much of the financial administration business owners need to do.

“As we have seen from successes like Ushahidi (, M-Farm ( and M-Pesa (, East Africa is taking its place on the world stage as place of innovation and opportunity. For our region, it comes naturally to leapfrog legacy technologies, find ways to work around infrastructure limitations, and reuse and combine old ideas into something new,” Owino says. “This is the work that East African entrepreneurs do every day as they power the economy. It is their entrepreneurial spirit that makes the difference and they deserve our support.”

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