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African Development Bank Boosts Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy with close to $2 Million

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Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), of which the Government of Japan is a major donor, along with the Austrian Government and the African Development Bank, will contribute $923,570 and $988,202 to finance the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab) programs

The African Development Bank’s Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) has provided funds totaling nearly US $2 million to its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative.

FAPA, of which the Government of Japan is a major donor, along with the Austrian Government and the African Development Bank, will contribute $923,570 and $988,202 to finance the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab) programs, respectively. Both programs form key components of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which invests in high-growth sectors with potential to promote youth and women’s empowerment, as well as create 25 million jobs over the next decade.

“Africa hosts the world’s youngest population, which will double to almost one billion by 2050. The continent needs to create jobs much faster, particularly for women and youth,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director of Women, Gender and Civil Society Department at the Bank.

“FAPA’s generous support will go a long way to accelerating the Jobs for Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab and Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace programs that contribute to meeting these needs,” Moungar further remarked on Thursday, 13 September 2018, during the funding announcement event, which was themed “Entrepreneurs 2.0 – When fashion meets technology”.

Attended by Bank staff, dignitaries, public and private sector stakeholders, the event was also graced by fashion designer PatheO’, known for making the distinctive, colorful shirts worn by the late Nelson Mandela and Salimou Bamba, Managing Director of Abidjan-based SME development firm, AGENCE CI PME.

The Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab) programs align with FAPA’s vison to create an investment-friendly climate for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) on the continent. They will also provide platforms for strengthening and promoting entrepreneurship that target women and youth-led businesses.

Launched in 2015, the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative supports its “High 5” priorities, in particular, the Jobs for Youth in Africa and Industrialization agenda. FAPA’s latest support for this initiative will enable the development of the digital platform and application designed to increase and facilitate access to markets and finance; provide access to relevant information, mentorship and networking opportunities as well as develop the skills, competencies and qualifications of African designers and fashion entrepreneurs.

The eLab program will provide innovative young entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance and broader ecosystem support. With eLab, “We aim to support the next generation of business owners across the continent,” said Babatunde Olumide Omilola, Manager for Public Health, Security and Nutrition at the Bank. “Target beneficiaries are businesses started by young people and intermediaries that support business development, focusing on the three sectors identified as priorities by the Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy, namely agriculture, Information and Communication Technology and industry.”

Addressing Bank staff and guests, Mr. Takuji Yano, the Bank’s Executive Director for Japan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Austria and Brazil said: “Both projects focus on promoting entrepreneurship and ICT tools as drivers for development. By leveraging technology, African countries can enhance understanding of markets, expand education and employment, and deliver monetary benefits for the informal sector and government alike. We are happy to see this diverse, innovative and creative portfolio of FAPA’s proposals.”

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East African law firm predicts key growth for African countries ready to invest in gaming

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ICE Africa (24-25 October, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg), which is set to provide regulators and operators with an ideal platform to discuss the growing market, Amne Suedi, Principal at Shikana Law Group, a law firm operating within East Africa and based in Kenya and Tanzania, explores the where, how and who of investing in the diverse gaming industry across Africa

The burgeoning gaming industry in Africa has been thrown into stark relief during 2018 with countries across the continent driving key measures to capitalise on emerging sectors and authorities keen to discuss the direct and indirect investment opportunities ahead. Talking ahead of the inaugural ICE Africa (24-25 October, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg), which is set to provide regulators and operators with an ideal platform to discuss the growing market, Amne Suedi, Principal at Shikana Law Group, a law firm operating within East Africa and based in Kenya and Tanzania, explores the where, how and who of investing in the diverse gaming industry across Africa.

Why is there such a focus on Africa at this time?

As a lawyer specialising in investment in Africa and being very active in the gaming industry in Africa, I think this is an investment area that has a lot of potential to grow further and to have an even bigger impact on the countries that welcome this type of investment in terms of job creation and of course the revenues that can be collected by the tax/government authorities. Governments in Africa can leverage a lot more on this industry as they can divert the earnings into development of sports, entrepreneurship centres, etc.

Where do you see the big wins for the industry in the coming months?

Currently the East African market is very exciting in terms of opportunities but also the regulatory space is ever changing as legislators try and keep up with technology. Representing companies in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda I can say that these markets are smaller than say the Nigerian market, however with an immense growth potential. Definitely, there is room for coming in and making a mark. I believe that the recent legislative changes in Tanzania and Kenya and the imminent ones in Uganda should not dissuade investors. There is always room for engaging with legislators and with planning and a sound, reasonable strategy, investors can achieve legislations that are not perfect (that does not exist), but which are balanced and at least meet their investment requirements half way. It has worked in other sectors, so there is no reason it cannot work in gaming!

Who is currently targeting the market?

The type of investors we see particularly in East Africa are not your typical household names in gaming like Ladbrokes, GVC Holdings, but more entrepreneurs who are going into gaming for the first time in Africa because of the market and huge potential for returns. I think a lot of people have to change their perception about investments in Africa. Like everywhere else in the world, if you want excellence you have to pay the price! It is not any different in Africa.

What’s the best place to start for operators looking to work in Africa?

How to invest would be to seek a good legal counsel who can walk you through the process. There are not so many experts in this field however firms like Shikana Law Group have a proven track record of successfully engaging with regulators and setting up sound investments in the gaming space in East Africa. You also need to have a very good understanding of the market you want to operate in. It is a mistake when investors feel like they can use the same capital and business model in Kenya as in Tanzania or Uganda since all these markets are very different. For example, investing and launching mobile gaming in Uganda would be most likely a disappointment since retail gaming is what is preferred by the Ugandan punters. However, retail is becoming less and less in markets like Tanzania. Of course, there are capital requirements and I always get surprised when certain foreign investors feel like they can invest USD$50,000 in gaming and get phenomenal ROIs while they are ready to invest at least USD$1m in their home countries.

What’s your top tip for those interested in doing business in Africa?

I think the number one advice I can give to investors coming into a country in Africa to invest is – forget what you know from other markets and treat each market as separate entity and do not compare.

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Property experts predict sustainable growth for Real Estate Sector

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RE-Calibrating Supply and Demand for Sustainable Growth is a natural evolution of the previous year’s theme, Changing the West African Narrative, which aided more than 400 delegates representing over 200 companies to reposition the sector in a region sparked to a growth footing by Nigeria’s exit from recession

The annual West African Property Investment (WAPI) Summit, the region’s most prominent and largest real estate investment and development conference will be once again taking place in Lagos on 15 & 16 November 2018 at the Eko Hotel and Suites.

According to the summit’s host, API Events’ Kfir Rusin, this year’s theme: RE-Calibrating Supply and Demand for Sustainable Growth is a natural evolution of the previous year’s theme, Changing the West African Narrative, which aided more than 400 delegates representing over 200 companies to reposition the sector in a region sparked to a growth footing by Nigeria’s exit from recession.

As Rusin expands, “The market has undergone a shift, which is most evident in the changing retail and office occupier market. To help our 500 delegates unpack these changes – we’re pleased to announce that we’ve secured more than 60 well-known regional and international thought leaders to speak at #WAPI2018. These include, Broll Nigeria’s CEO, Bolaji Edu, regional legal authority, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), Ali Djire, Fraym’s Country Manager and PwC Nigeria’s Chief Economist Andrew S Nevin.”

As the head of one of the region’s largest multi-disciplinary commercial property services providers, Broll’s Bolaji’s Edu, position provides him with a unique position to gauge how the market has re-calibrated post-recession.

As Bolaji says, “If we analyse the grade-A office market in Lagos and the overall retail mall market following the economy entering a deep recession in 2016; take up dropped by approximately 40% (offices) and 55% (retail) between 2016 and 2017. However, as the economic recovery strengthens, we have seen numbers flatten out, and we expect to see an increase over the whole of 2018 from the low point of 2017.”

And while Bolaji argues that the drop-off proved challenging it did enable the market to strike a balance, especially at the height of investment – with property values reaching sky high levels. This boom, he says can be attributed to the post 2007 global recession economy whereby investors fuelled by low interest rates entered emerging markets aggressively searching for high yields.

As Bolaji explains, “We don’t expect to see the same level from the institutional international investment community, which lead to emerging market currencies being too strong and artificially inflated the size of the economies and the size of the middle class in USD terms.”

A More Sustainable Market

Following this inflation and subsequent re-adjustment, Bolaji believes that the market is now on a more long-term stable footing. Commenting that: “The market has begun to rebase itself down from a level where rent levels and capital values in parts of Lagos were comparable to the wealthiest cities in the world such as New York and the out skirts of London.” For him, this is most evident in the reducing rates in the commercial and retail sectors, which are now at “more sustainable levels,” he says.

One of the most striking results of this re-calibration are the new strategies employed by developers to cater to demand and not “copy & paste” and a change in the demographic of international retailers drawn to the market’s demanding and aspirant middleclass.

“Developers and investors in the market are examining building size and design that better reflect the target market. It is important to entertain best practices and the latest trends from around the world, but we need to tailor our projects,” says Bolaji.

Adding that the region’s market size and growing demand from the middleclass means that retailers and companies still wish to establish a presence in Nigeria. “However, they are looking at this more strategically taking into consideration both the potential risks in addition to the incredible upside opportunities. International investors and retailers are seeking more partnership opportunities.”

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