South Africa delegation arrives in China for special economic zones investment roadshow

South Africa delegation arrives in China for special economic zones investment roadshow

The roadshow will provide him with an opportunity to attract new investors from China to the Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ that is located in the Eastern Free State town of Harrismith
PRETORIA, South Africa
May 29, 2018

A South African delegation comprising government officials from the Department of Trade and Industry and representatives of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) has arrived in China for the Special Economic Zones Investment Roadshow taking place from 28-30 May 2018. The roadshow, which is aimed at attracting investors to the country’s SEZs is led by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe.

The roadshow will take place in the form of a seminar where the South African SEZ delegation will make presentations on South Africa’s SEZ value-propositions, opportunities and incentives offered to companies which invest in the zones. The targeted audience include investors, finance institutions and government representatives. The SA delegation will also visit a successful SEZs in Shanghai for the purpose of benchmarking and knowledge-sharing.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Free State Development Corporation, Mr Ikhraam Osman says the roadshow will provide him with an opportunity to attract new investors from China to the Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ that is located in the Eastern Free State town of Harrismith.  “the dti and the Free State Development Corporation have spent a significant amount of money on upgrading the infrastructure of the Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ to make it more attractive to the investors. Now is the time for us to focus our attention on bringing more investors to the SEZ in order for it to effectively serve its purpose of contributing in growing the economy and creating jobs in the province,” says Osman.

The Project Manager of the Tubatse Special Economic Zone, Ms Bunjiwe Gwebu says the trip will provide her with an opportunity to meet with relevant companies in China and present to them various investment opportunities that will be available for them in proposed Tubatse SEZ to take advantage of.  “This is part of our mission to market the SEZ internationally with the aim of attracting foreign investors to invest in various sectors of our focus which include platinum beneficiation, manufacturing and assembling of mining inputs,” says Gwebu.

The General Manager of Properties and Infrastructure at the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency, Mr Themba Camane says he will be using the opportunity to talk to potential investors interested in the agro-processing sector in particular, and agriculture generally.  “We will also be looking at investors who are interested in investing in our green energy production infrastructure. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that the proposed SEZ effectively serves its purpose of creating jobs for the people of Nkomazi as well as contribute significantly in the economic growth of the province. We have identified about eight Chinese companies that we will be targeting during this trip with the aim of attracting them to invest in Nkomazi,” says Camane.

The Project Executive of the Special Economic Zones at the North West Development Corporation, Mr Davis Sadike also expressed confidence that he will be able to attract investors to the Platinum Valley Special Economic Zone, which is also known as the Bojanala Special Economic Zone. The zone is focusing on mineral beneficiation with special emphasis on platinum and chrome, mining capital equipment manufacturing, agro-processing and renewable energy storage sectors.  “The trip provides us with an opportunity to sell the SEZ to potential Chinese investors in their backyard. We are optimistic that we will be able to create sufficient interest amongst the investors and return with concrete commitments,” says Sadike.

The Sector Specialist of the Upington Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Ms Babalwa Mbobo says she is looking forward to attracting investors from China to invest in the Upington SEZ, primarily in the solar energy sector because there are many companies in China that are operating in the sector.   “We are aware that some of the companies are interested in investing in South Africa and the trip will give us an opportunity to provide them with relevant information regarding the opportunities that are available in our SEZ,” says Mbobo.

Distributed by APO Group 
Janngo Raises Seed Funding To Shape Digital Ecosystems and Create Panafrican Tech Champions

Janngo Raises Seed Funding To Shape Digital Ecosystems and Create Panafrican Tech Champions

Janngo, 1st Social Startup Studio in Africa, closes first funding round to launch new digital platforms offering solutions to African SMEs, with an inclusive approach
PARIS, France
May 22, 2018

Janngo successfully closes its first funding round, launches its Paris and Abidjan offices and unveils its strategy of building digital ecosystems in Africa during Paris Tech for Good Summit and Viva Technology. This €1 million seed funding will enable Janngo to launch and grow new digital platforms targeting African SMEs while creating tech-enabled jobs at scale for women and youth.  With Janngo, we want to empower African SMEs, leveraging technology to improve access to market and business performance. We build turnkey solutions to support their growth, access new market opportunities, build capacity, improve their productivity and boost their competitiveness.

» explains Fatoumata Bâ, Founder & CEO of Janngo.  Janngo closes a €1 million seed funding led by top-tier investors and opens offices in Paris and Abidjan

Janngo announces its first funding round to launch digital solutions tackling challenges faced by African SMEs. Janngo demonstrates its ability to attract both African and international capital with a pool of experimented investors including :

Mulliez Family, a family office with a long-term patrimonial vision

Clipperton, a leading independent Investment bank fully focused on high growth Technology companies and backed by Natixis; Soeximex, leader in international trading supporting access to consumer goods in West Africa for more than 5 decades and specialized in commodity and vehicles trading.

We are excited to be leading Janngo’s first funding round as they embark on a journey of building world-class digital services for SMEs, at the backbone of african economies. With this investment, we demonstrate again our vision of enabling passionate entrepreneurs promoting innovation that make sense and creating a larger and long-term impact on the whole ecosystem. We have recently opened an office in Nairobi which illustrates our commitment and trust in Africa” comments Benoît Leclercq, President of Pole Innovation Metiers of Mulliez Family.

Clipperton supports Janngo since inception. It’s unusual for investment bankers to join a seed round but Janngo has achieved unanimous backing, a great testimony of the quality of their vision combined with the team’s track record and execution capabilities. We see them as a potential tech champion in Africa, in line with our core focus and positioning as technology experts for high growth tech companies with global ambitions » explains Nicolas von Bulow, Managing Partner at Clipperton.

Soeximex Group is very proud to be backing Janngo. We were not only convinced by the relevance of their vision but also by the strong social component of their approach. Our African roots motivate us to endeavour to give back to this amazing continent, while contributing to build robust business models, capable of delivering economical performance for the ecosystem.” highlights Christel Dagher Hayeck, Senegalese-born Director of Soeximex.

We are extremely proud to have been able to bring together this quality of investors onboard, committed to delivering our vision of technology as a lever of betterment of our society. They come with a unique blend of expertise as leaders in their respective fields combined with a long term vision and commitment to Africa, a strong mission alignment and values fit, solid operational synergies and evergreen funding, particularly critical for Africa where patient capital is needed to deliver sustainable impact. The successful closing of our €1 million seed funding is only a first step towards delivering our long term vision.» adds Fatoumata Bâ, Founder & CEO of Janngo.

A unique positioning towards building digital ecosystems  

The need to develop tech-enabled ecosystems to digitize entire value chains of key african sectors  Janngo focuses on building world-class digital solutions adapted to the african context and enabling SMEs targeting essential sectors such as :

(i) sectors providing African consumers for their fundamental needs; in particular agriculture, health and education ;

(ii) sectors enabling African SMEs to gain competitiveness, reducing their operations costs, saving time or optimizing their efficiency such as affordable logistics or financial services ;

(iii) sectors with a potential to generate large pools of direct and indirect jobs; such as fashion and tourism industries both still underleveraged while offering huge growth prospects.

From its Abidjan office, Janngo builds, pilots and grows tech platforms serving the needs of African SMEs and their end-customers to improve access to fundamental services, products and information.

Combining the very best of marketplaces and SAAS business models to serve the real economy, with an inclusive approach has been an ongoing passion turned into reality by Fatoumata Bâ, Founder of Jumia in Côte d’Ivoire, previously Managing Director of Jumia in Nigeria and Member of Jumia Executive Committee at Africa level, having driven the performance of up to 130 websites and mobile apps across the continent in more than 30 countries, with an impact of more than 3000 direct jobs, 70 000 indirect jobs and opportunities created for hundreds of thousands of SMEs in Africa.

Accelerate the growth of African SMEs through faster, better and cheaper access to market

African SMEs represent up to 17% of the GDP but face fragmented markets, prohibitively expensive operational costs, under optimized and non integrated supply chains with limited access to international markets, insufficient capacity and limited access to capital to scale their business; yet, they generate more than 85% of jobs on the continent, with major untapped opportunities. With fast growing markets such as Côte d’Ivoire consistently delivering a record 8% growth, a booming middle class, a continent home to more 1 million inhabitant cities than Europe already and mobile leapfrog pioneers such as Nigeria, with the highest number of mobile internet users worldwide.

« We strongly believe that our central thesis of being a technology-driven backer of African SMEs is a powerful lever to accelerate growth, owing to their preponderant role in the larger economy. That’s why Janngo mobilizes both technology and capital, providing solutions to grow their business, win additional markets, further build their capacity, accelerate their growth and enable their market expansion to ultimately become national, regional or pan-African champions.» explains Fatoumata Bâ.

Invest in startups and SMEs growth with an inclusive approach to boost employment creation and capacity building for women and youth

In a context where African countries are getting ready to tackle an unprecedented demographic challenge with more than 900 millions of jobs needed to absorb the growing labor pool by 2030, Janngo develops a double bottom-line approach boosting value creation from African start-ups and SMEs while contributing to the economic empowerment of women and youth.

« This is most likely our bigger challenge and best answer to the sense of urgency : create, via our platforms and our ecosystem of SMEs, directly and indirectly, qualified jobs at scale enabling as many women and young individual to earn their living with stable and recurring income. Many African countries are recording record high GDP growth at a global level but these numbers need to be translated into concrete improvement of population living conditions, higher disposable income and more job opportunities. If we manage, through Janngo, to generate long-term job opportunities at scale, especially for women and youth, while creating more opportunities for thousands of African SMEs in the coming years, then only we would be able to say that our mission is accomplished. It’s our North and the ciment of our team.» concludes Fatoumata Bâ.

Distributed by APO Group

Mogadishu To Host International Conference To Stop Illegal Charcoal Trade

Mogadishu To Host International Conference To Stop Illegal Charcoal Trade

Mogadishu to Host International Conference to Stop Illegal Charcoal Trade
Monday 7th May, 8am – Tuesday 8th May, 4pm, East African Time

MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 1, 2018/ — Opening addresses: Monday 7 th May, 9am -11am, East African Time

Press Conference:  Monday 7 th May, 9.45am- 10am, East African Time

From 7-8th May, 2018, high level Government officials, senior UN representatives, international and Somali environment experts, and international donor partners, will for the first time convene in Mogadishu for a milestone Somali Government-led conference to stop the illegal trade, and unsustainable production and use of charcoal in Somalia.

The two-day conference is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), with funding from the European Union, Sweden and Italy.

Export of charcoal from Somalia has been banned by a 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution and the Somali government due to its destructive effect on the environment, and its exacerbation of conflict and humanitarian crises. 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in Somalia between 2011 and 2017, increasing land degradation and food insecurity. Illegal trade in charcoal acts as major source of funding for militias and terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab, who illegally tax exports.

The Somali Government-led event therefore aims to urgently build alliances amongst consumer countries and international and local experts and donors. It intends to rally support for concrete action, including partnerships with investors, to stop the illegal trade and to strengthen ongoing work in developing alternative livelihoods and alternative energy sources in Somalia.

What: International Conference on Charcoal – ‘Building Partnerships to Curb Unsustainable Charcoal Trade, Production and Use in Somalia’.
When: Monday 7th May, 8am-4pm, and Tuesday 8th May, 9am-4pm
Registration: Monday, 7th May, 8am – 9am
Opening Addresses: Monday 7th May, 9am – 9.45am
Press Conference: Monday 7th May, 9.45am – 10am. Please note there will be a brief time to approach speakers at the end of the press conference.
Where: Airport Road, Mogadishu
Who: H.E. Hassan Ali Khayre, Prime Minister of Somalia
Mr. Peter de Clercq, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations Resident Coordinator for Somalia
Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment

To access the event please RSVP via email to: Keelin FitzGerald, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Somalia, email:,
Tel (Kenya): +254 714 923736  by Midnight (East African Time), Tuesday 1st May.

By APO Group on behalf of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 13, 2018/ — The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS II), which will take place from 6-8 June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the esteemed patronage of His Excellences President Paul Kagame and Pedro Pires (ex-President of Cabo Verde), announced a call for applications to innovators across Africa whose solutions have the potential to solve the continent’s challenges.

The AIS II seeks innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance. As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS II will bring together people with the power to act, from all parts of the continent and elsewhere, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers, corporates, innovators, investors, policy makers and academics, researchers, as well as policy, science and technology experts, with the aim of building robust ecosystems for innovation in Africa to ensure Africa’s structural transformation.

Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, indicated that “AIS provides more than a robust and dynamic platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue, but rather a catalyst for “Made in Africa” innovations that are already addressing the challenges faced on the continent, but need assistance to take root and scale across the continent.”

The AIS has partnered with Enterpriseroom, a transformation consultancy specializing in starting, sustaining, and accelerating businesses, to drive the sourcing and selection of up to 50 Innovations across the continent, to be showcased at the Summit. The CEO of Entepriseroom, Tracey Webster, said “We are delighted to partner with the AIS and believe the innovations selected to be showcased at the Summit will have a unique opportunity to engage the right stakeholders when it comes to discussing and unlocking blockages in the eco-system that are preventing solutions from going to scale, or ideas being commercialized.” AIS firmly believes that the solutions are in Africa and innovators need to be at the table architecting a conducive environment for Innovation to thrive in Africa.

AIS is therefore calling all African innovators to apply for this unique opportunity. The innovators selected must meet the following criteria:

  • Know or have an innovative idea or solution that can drive positive change in Africa and;
  • The solution must be at a critical stage: either ready to commercialize or ready to scale.

The identified innovators will meet influential people, policy makers, and investors who are ready to discuss Africa’s development challenges and ways to solve them. They will also have the opportunity to interact with like-minded African innovators and change agents who are driving a new era of change in Africa.

Applications and additional information can be found on the AIS website:

Applications close Friday, 30 March 2018.

#AIS2018 – Registration Announcement

#AIS2018 – Registration Announcement

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 8, 2018/ — This June the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) will bring together about 1,000 innovators, entrepreneurs, policy makers, business and political leaders, as well as academics, researchers and investors who are “thinkers and doers” to join minds for three days in the land of thousand rolling hills Kigali, Rwanda to reflect on how Africans can innovate to address the pressing challenges facing the continent, such as water, energy, food security, health, governance and poverty.

This is a three-day event of inspiring talks, dialogues, hands-on exploration, and futures oriented analysis aimed at mobilizing and inspiring stakeholders to undertake collective actions to promote innovation and the building of robust innovation ecosystems in Africa able to provide the enabling environment to finally address the perennial challenges facing the continent.

The AIS is an exciting and dynamic event that is focused on “how to promote innovation in Africa.” The AIS promotes “synthesis” and it is not simply a tech-oriented platform. The AIS will include an Exhibition Track with up to 50 Start-ups and SMEs to showcase “Made in Africa” innovations to address the challenges facing the continent.

So come participate and work with us to build the AIS into a continental platform for the promotion of innovation in Africa.