Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Emerging markets private equity group Abraaj has raised more than $1.3 billion for two funds investing in Africa, the largest amount amassed for direct deals across the continent, people aware of the matter say.

The two funds mark further global investor interest in Africa as private equity groups bet on strong growth as Sub-Saharan economies develop and the middle class grows, while stability returns to parts of North Africa wracked by unrest for the past four years.

Dubai-based Abraaj, which has been fundraising for these funds for eight months, has capped the Sub-Saharan Africa fund at $990m, higher than the $800m the company had originally sought to raise. The North African fund will probably end up oversubscribed at $340m, exceeding its $250m target.

There has been a surge of private equity interest across Sub-Saharan Africa, with US group Carlyle making its debut investments in Nigeria and South Africa last year. Abraaj, which manages $7.5bn of assets, has deployed $3bn to date across Africa. The company declined to comment.

Other funds are also raising capital to tap into growth. Carlyle, which last year raised a $700m fund for Africa, is not only leading private equity group to have arrived on the continent – KKR and Blackstone have also struck regional deals. Other smaller buyouts groups, such as Brait, Helios and AfricInvest have also been raising funds to tap into the private equity surge.

In January, Helios closed a $1.1bn Africa fund, the first to top the billion mark and the group’s third since starting in 2007. Last year, Edmond de Rothschild raised $530m for its first Africa deal fund.

Razia Khan, head of Africa research at Standard Chartered Bank, said private equity across the continent remained at a “nascent stage” but the macroeconomic conditions are in place for more opportunities for groups such as Abraaj.

“The deal flow that we saw last year has only just recovered to its pre-crisis highs,” she said. “So it is not surprising that we should see sustained interest in this space.”

IMF’s growth forecast for Africa – The International Monetary Fund forecasts growth in Africa this year of 5.75% higher than Abraaj’s home markets in the Middle East, where growth forecasts have been slashed to 3.3% after oil prices halved.

Comedy Central has tapped Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, to succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, its influential late-night news satire.

The choice of the 31-year-old Mr. Noah, echoes the selection of Mr Stewart 16 years ago when he succeeded original host Craig Kilborn and began transforming the half-hour nightly show into a sharp skewering of US politics and media that draws a young, male audience that advertisers are eager to reach.

“We set out to find a fresh voice who can speak to our audience with a keen take on the events of the day, and we found that in Trevor,” said Michele Ganeless, Comedy Central president. “He has a huge international following and is poised to explode here in America, and we are thrilled to have him join Comedy Central.”

Mr Noah joined The Daily Show as a contributor late last year and has made a handful of appearances, as well as performing on NBC’s Tonight Show and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman.

[Sky Sports] — Kenya strode to gold in both the men’s and women’s races at the World Cross Country Championships in China on Saturday with 19-year-old Agnes Tirop and Geoffrey Kipsang taking their first titles.

Tirop produced an impressive start-to-finish victory over the 8,010-metre course in Guiyang in a time of 26 minutes and one second, leaving behind Ethiopian Senbere Teferi in the final 200 after a head-to-head battle between the 19-year-olds.

Her five-second victory on an old horse racing track in southern China against an impressive field, that included twice world cross champion Emily Chebet, provided the 300th medal in the discipline for the East African country.

“I am very happy to have won Kenya’s 300th medal,” Tirop told organisers, the official IAAF website. “I was trying to push the pace from the start. I had no fear, I was just trying to run my own race.

“The Ethiopian tried to overtake me and tried to push me to get away, but I was strong and managed to hold on.”

By  for Enterprise54

A recently-launched multicultural initiative of the British Council Arts in Nigeria has been described as ‘ambitious’ by the organizers themselves, likely because of the intensive nature of its wide-reaching goals. The program simply aims to connect over forty million young Nigerians in the 18–35 age bracket to the United Kingdom by increasing collaboration between young people in both countries through the arts.

Tagged “UK-NG 2015/16: A Season of Collaboration”, the culture-oriented program is expected to feature over 30 projects and over 80 events, which would cut across visual and digital art, fashion, design, theatre, dance, music, literature and film, with a special emphasis on digital media, highlighting the commitment of the organizers to the growing innovation, skills and talent that exist in this dynamic sector.

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With some projects already in the works, all activities will peak between September 2015 and April 2016 in 5 cities across Nigeria and the UK. Projects that meet the programs’ criteria will be endorsed and featured, while about 15 projects that fit the programme aims stand the chance of receiving grants of between 5,000 to 10,000 pounds.

Inclusion criteria
We are offering partners the opportunity to:

1. Submit project proposals for inclusion in our official programme.
2. Submit project proposals for grant funding

Download Grant and Inclusion brochure for details of additional criteria and benefits.

Arts Grant
Artists and arts organisations can also apply to receive grants under our grants scheme.

We are seeking original and adventurous artistic project proposals, which will culminate in a high quality live, or digital performance, showcase or other public facing event during the UK/NG season. Projects will be delivered in one or more of our focus cities in Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja and Calabar) or in the UK.

We are looking for a strong mix of projects that range across literature, theatre, performance, visual art, design, fashion, film, digital and music. Download Grant and Inclusion brochure for more details.

The latest in the Ojoma Ochai-led British Council Arts’ drive to grow Nigeria’s creative industries, it seems to me like UK-NG 2015/16 is about to birth many a creative artist’s dreams.. Download the application here.

Lagos, Nigeria – The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is pleased to announce the selection of the first 1000 African entrepreneurs for the Tony Elumelu  Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).  TEEP is a $100 million initiative to discover and support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade, with a target of creating 1 million new jobs and $10 billion in additional revenues in the process.

Over 20,000 African entrepreneurs from 52 countries applied to the programme, representing the creativity and potential on display across the continent.  The initial 1,000 selected for the 2015 class are a remarkable group of entrepreneurs who are a testament to the ability of Africa’s own entrepreneurs to drive Africa’s growth and development.

Speaking on the desired impact of the programme, Founder, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON, commented: “The selection of these 1000 entrepreneurs brings us closer to our ultimate goal – to drive Africa’s economic and social transformation from within and to radically intensify job creation in Africa.  Though I have never met or spoken to any of the winners, I am confident that due to the rigorous criteria and selection process, these entrepreneurs are Africa’s hope for the future.  I will continue to invest my experience, time, influence, and resources to see them succeed.  I am embarking on this journey with these entrepreneurs hopeful and inspired.”

The winners represent 52 African countries and territories, as well as a multitude of value adding sectors ranging from agriculture to education to fashion and ICT.  The top five countries in terms of numbers of winners are Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.  All five African regions – North, East, Southern, Central and West Africa are represented, as well as all major language blocs – Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, and Arabic Africa.  More than anything else, they epitomise the opportunity and promise of Africa.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation appointed Accenture as an independent review consultant to thoroughly evaluate each application based on selection criteria approved by the TEEP Selection Committee.   Following Accenture’s independent review, a meeting of the TEEP Selection Committee, made up of successful entrepreneurs and development experts from across Africa, was held today in Lagos to approve the final list of winners.

The 1,000 selected entrepreneurs will continue through the programme cycle over the next nine months. This cycle includes an intensive online training curriculum, mentoring, and participation in a two-day entrepreneurship boot-camp and the Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum.  The over 19,000 entrepreneurs who were not selected will be invited to join the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Network where they will be able to further hone their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills.

Parminder Vir OBE, Director of Entrepreneurship at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, said: “The high quantity and quality of applicants we have received is testament to the brilliant ideas and incredible talent that exists in abundance across Africa. The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme will give structure and support to these African entrepreneurs to develop themselves and to grow their businesses. Through TEEP, the ripple effects of the long-term investments in a new generation of Africapitalists will be felt throughout the continent.”

For a full list of the winners, please visit

The inaugural FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards aims to recognise extraordinary artistic talent in three categories – fiction literature, film-making and art across more than 100 emerging market nations.
There is a remarkable structural shift in the world, propelled by economic progress in the developing markets and the advanced reach of the Internet. More connectivity and greater variety of voices in the business, science and arts communities are leading to a new renaissance. The Financial Times and OppenheimerFunds are delighted to provide a platform to recognise the people contributing to these markets.
<<< APPLY HERE >>> 
The Emerging Voices Award will be open to residents or passport holders of emerging nations in three categories:
1. Africa and the Middle East: Works of fiction published in English.
2. Asia-Pacific: Films in any language with English subtitles.
3. Latin America and the Caribbean: including, but not limited to, paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, photographs, prints and mixed media.
The judges aim to reward those in each of the eligible art forms whose work shows outstanding talent and in some way furthers understanding of their region.
The longlist for each category will be announced on 5 June 2015. This will be followed by the announcement of three finalists on 7 August 2015 who will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in New York on 5 October 2015 where category winners will be announced.
The winner in each category will receive a prize award of $40,000 and will also be featured in a post event magazine and videos profiled on

PwC launches ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report to highlight the potential of the continent: African CEO Forum, Geneva 2015

The African continent is crossed by five trends: demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power and climate change

Today at the African CEO Forum of 2015 in Geneva, PwC ( launches the first edition of its ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report, which details the potential of 20 African cities that we believe to be among the most dynamic and future focused on the continent. The report is part of PwC’s global Cities of Opportunity series and its analysis is structured around the critical issues of the business community as well as those of the office holders and other public authorities who are responsible for improving the collective life of each city examined here.

Download the report:

The African continent is crossed by five trends: demographic change, urbanisation, technological changes, the transfer of economic power and climate change. Urbanisation is of particular importance, as by 2030, half of Africa’s population will live in cities where economic activity and growth will be focused and which will become communication centers and hubs for social trends. The global megatrends are colliding across Africa. The growing middle class, strong demographic growth with an improving age mix, technological innovation that we have already seen in mobile payments and a growing choice of investment partners from the global south, as well as fast-paced urbanisation are all shaping what the future of Africa will look like.

Stanley Subramoney, PwC Head of Strategy for Southern Africa, says: “We have sought to answer ‘what makes an African city one of opportunity’ by developing a set of questions that investors should ask themselves and themes which city politicians and officials can work on to improve their competitiveness. This report assesses how the cities are performing not only on a regional level but also on an international one, which is hugely important in terms of these cities being able to compete and prosper on both of these stages.”

PwC studied four indicators: the economy, infrastructure, human capital and population/society (which itself contains 29 variables). From this analysis, two rankings emerged: ‘general’ and ‘opportunities for cities’. “We believe that these cities demonstrate the relative strengths and weaknesses of Africa’s urban future. Our evaluation and re-evaluation of that future is, of course, a continual work in progress,” adds Kalane Rampai, PwC Leader for Local Government for Southern Africa.


North African cities lead the way

Four of the top five cities in the report are located in North Africa: Cairo, Tunis, Algiers and Casablanca, with the fifth being Johannesburg.

The preponderance of North African cities at the top is mainly due to how long they have been established. This has given them time to develop infrastructure and a regulatory and legal framework, and to establish a socio-cultural ecosystem. Johannesburg is the only exception to this pattern since it was only formed more recently, in 1886 (compared to the other cities it’s ranked highly with), and was developed rapidly for political reasons. Therefore, its infrastructure and services are comparable to those of the more established African cities.


African cities with promise

Another major criterion of a city’s potential is the vision they have for their future. Accra, the capital of Ghana, is a good example of a city that has a good reputation throughout Africa and beyond for the quality of its communications infrastructure, low crime rates and steady democracy. Economically, it ranks second for both its attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment and the diversity of its GDP.

Most of the African cities with promise can (and will), with a little effort and organisation, climb to join those cities at the top of our overall ranking. Moreover, many of them have already become key regional platforms, such as Dar es Salaam and Douala as centres for telecommunications, Accra and Lagos for culture, and Nairobi for financial services.

Outside our top five cities, Kigali finishes at the very top for both ease of doing business and health spending; Abidjan ranks number one in both middle-class growth and diversity; Dar es Salaam is first in GDP growth; and Nairobi outscores all African cities in FDI.

With 5% growth, dynamic demographics and a growing middle class, Africa is extremely appealing to investors. After undergoing a period of pessimism about the future of Africa with some exaggerated optimism, leaders today share a more realistic view of the economic climate of the continent. This is what PwC calls ‘Afro-realism’.

The trends identified in the report, with the generally accepted economic data supporting the notion that cities are the world’s ‘engines of growth’, make ‘Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity’ report not only necessary but extremely timely.

South African Songeziwe Mahlangu was announced the winner of the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature at for his book ‘Pen~Umbra’ an Award Ceremony hosted in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, March 15, 2015. He beat Nigeria’s Chinelo Okparanta, author of ‘Happiness, Like Water‘ and fellow South African Nadia Davids, author of ‘An Imperfect Blessing’ to win the prize.

Songeziwe Mahlangu’s book ‘Pen Umbra’ earned him the prize money of £15,000. The organisers also announced the other perks of winning:

The winner will be awarded a cash prize of £15,000 and a high-end device, in addition to a book tour to three African cities. The winning writer will also embark on the Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, which will afford them significant opportunities to network with other writers and publishers and time and resources to work on their second book. The two runners up will also win a book tour and Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of all three books for distribution across the continent.

About the award:

This is the second edition of the award which was created by Etisalat Nigeria in 2013 to celebrate young, first-time African writers of published fiction books and to promote the reading culture in Africa. The Etisalat Prize for Literature is the first ever pan-African prize celebrating such first-time African writers of fiction. The prize aims to serve as a platform for the discovery of new creative African talent and to support the literary industry on the continent.



Chinelo Okparanta