Month: July 2016

Tap from the pool of young African professionals

When the development of Africa is discussed, most stakeholders often focus more on finances and may be logistics. Human resources are usually overlooked. The few who do think about human resources show little attention to the vast and ever-growing pool of young African professionals based both in and out of the continent. Companies carrying out projects in various industries across the continent have until now depended largely on non-African professionals. The most common flimsy excuse for not using African professionals even in projects for Africa is that, it is hard to find qualified and experienced Africans to do the job. Paradoxically, African countries like Congo (Brazzaville) experienced an unemployment rate of up to 66.9% in recent years and over 20 other African countries have experienced an unemployment rate of between 20 to 40% from 2012 to 2016 according to TradingEconomics.com . Many platforms uniting African professionals exist. Their common goals are to profile, categorize and orientate these experts towards areas where maximum use of their expertise is in need. One such platform is The African Chamber of Commerce (AFCHAM). Inspired by demands for African professionals by foreign companies investing in Africa, the organization now has a project called the AFCHAM-HR Directory. It is a rich pool of African professionals in any industry you can think of and most of them are all available to start work ASAP as long as the working conditions are right. Hiring from the AFCHAM-HR Directory is advantageous in the fact that most of the ground work like general background check and preliminary basic skills evaluation are guaranteed and endorsed by AFCHAM, making it easy for the recruiter to focus more on skills related to the particular position in mind. All professionals listed in the program have been checked by AFCHAM officials although this is not an ultimate guarantee that the recruit will satisfy the needs of the employer. Companies or individuals interested in using the AFCHAM-HR Directory service simply have to submit their requests to AFCHAM at [email protected] and the department will get in touch for further discussions regarding their needs. It is worth noting that companies in need of African professionals are not necessarily companies based in Africa. Many companies based in other countries need African professionals for other reasons related to their businesses. African university graduates and working professionals aiming at greater heights in their careers are invited to join this program and get listed as soon as possible before the pool gets flooded. Submit your CVs and portfolios to AFCHAM at [email protected] and the department will be in touch to evaluate your skills, career interests before getting you listed. African professionals who are already registered members of AFCHAM enjoy more privileges in this program such as advice on CV writing and interview coaching. The future of the African continent is in the hands of young African professionals who currently form about 65% of Africa’s population. The African Union in its program dubbed Aspirations for 2063 puts it in the following words: “The aspirations reflect our desire for shared prosperity and well-being, for unity and integration, for a continent of free citizens and expanded horizons, where the full potential of women and youth, boys and girls are realized, and with freedom from fear, disease and want”. The time is now. D. Nkwetato  

Tanzania: Focus On Agriculture, Tanzania Urged

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania's economy has been growing at a satisfactory rate but the country must promote several areas for the growth to have an impact on poverty reduction endeavours amid global uncertainties, the United Nations has said. In its Development Assistance Plan 2016 -2021 Report - which was launched in Dar es Salaam recently - the United Nations calls upon Tanzania to ensure that it puts emphasis on growth of areas that will have a a quick impact on the population. The areas include tourism, agriculture and in building productivity of the micro, small and medium enterprises. "The country must provide openings for upgrading the tourist sector and branding the country as destination of choice with focus on promoting natural beauty, historical and cultural heritage of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar," reads a statement in the report. Tanzania, the UN says, must take advantage of the high rates of return on investment in social sectors by addressing challenges of equity, quality and scale. That can be done by investing in building productivity of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The MSMEs must be helped through increased access to finance, business development services and training. "Similarly, the country must invest in productivity to provide measures for agriculture and development of agro-industries which have enormous potential given that 80 per cent of agricultural exports were currently not being processed in the country," the report reads.

Angola: Investors Interested in Cultivating Exotic Plants

Luanda — The Angolan Agriculture minister, Afonso Pedro Canga, said that there are investors in the cultivation of exotic plants. The minister said so on Tuesday at a press conference held in Luanda, under the government's Corporate Communication and Marketing Programme (GRECIMA). The meeting with the press is expected to be one more opportunity for the incumbent minister to better put across and explain the main projects of his sector aimed at the diversification of the country's economy.

Angola Will Not Resort to IMF’s Financial Assistance

Luanda — The Angolan government reaffirmed last Monday in Luanda that it will not resort to technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), due to its recent efficient economic performance and other sources of financing. A press communiqué from the Finance Ministry on the "Fiscal perspective and indicators of the macroeconomic performance for the first semester of 2016", which has reached ANGOP, states that "the country will continue to hold dialogues to share opinions in the domain of its economic policy (...)", adding that despite this option the government will continue to hold talks with the IMF for the continuation of the technical assistance programme, reason why a delegation from that international institution is expected back in Angola next October. In the visit made to Angola last June, reads the note, the IMF delegation had "frank and constructive dialogue with the Angolan Finance Ministry. The Angolan government has recognised the suggestions made by the IMF team on the reforms needed for the protection and diversification of the country's economy. The note also explains that the decision to get financial assistance from the IMF had been taken in a context in which the price of the country's main commodity, crude-oil, was falling steeply in the international market, which the prevision of reaching USD 20 per barrel. The note states also that the outlook is now more encouraging with the recent rise in the international price of crude-oil. However, states the note, the Angolan Executive continues to show commitment to executing its structural reform programme.

Cote d’Ivoire: Coffee Business Brewing in Ivory Coast

Most of the coffee beens come to the world market from African countries like Ivory Coast, but few companies roast and package them locally. However, things started to change slowly and some of the Robusta variety is now being processed for local consumption. "International brands are coming to Ivory Coast. They have understood and realised the potential of this market because we are having a dynamic boom in our economy which attracts a lot of people," says Fabieenne Dervain of Couleur Cafe Abidjan. Dervain is selling quality Ivorian coffee processed in Abidjan to wealthy Ivorians. She believes that if it is prepared and blended correctly, it is far superior to any other variety of coffee. It is also more affordable. Bakayako Lamine, an Ivorian coffee brewer, says: "[Ours is] a type of coffee that is a bit bitter and coarse and yet so flavourful. It's good." Famous coffee brands are also increasingly mixing Ivorian coffee with the more expensive and harder to find Arabica variety. Arabica is considered to be smoother with complex flavours, but it is a more fragile plant. Robusta makes up about 30 percent of global coffee production.

Tanzania: New Law Seeks to Press Firms to Enlist in DSE

The government mulls coming up with a new law and regulations that will compel privatised firms to enlist at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) if they fail to do so voluntarily. The move aims at encouraging transparency and good corporate governance; hence making tax administration task easier while enabling citizens to participate in economic activities. For instance, some of the listed companies feature in the 15 largest taxpayers and quality employment provision list; namely TBL, TCC, NMB, CRDB Bank, Simba Cement, Twiga Cement and TOL Gases. The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, said the same mechanism (mutual talks) used to list seven privatised firms at the DSE would be applied to other firms that had not been listed. "If the mutual talks fail, then the government will push them to offload some of their shares at the DSE," Dr Mpango said during the official self-listing of DSE shares at the bourse. He noted that although the government had stakes in some of the privatised companies, it will offload them strategically to avoid harming their operations. "We do not only want Tanzanians to buy shares in those companies and boost their welfare but we also need to openly see the companies' operations and proper determination of (our) taxes," Dr Mpango said. Earlier, DSE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Moremi Marwa said more than 400 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) had been privatised in the last two decade out of which only seven made their way through the capital market. "We only wish if at least 10 per cent of the privatised companies were privatised through the exchange -- we would have over 50 companies. The impact (of listing 50 firms) to our capital market and economy would have been significant," Mr Marwa argued. The CEO stated that learning through previous experience, "it is advisable that future privatisations are conducted through the capital market." Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) CEO Ms Nasama Massinda said they were very pleased by the government's move to require the telecoms sector to offload 25 per cent of their share by listing at DSE. DSE yesterday self-listed after a successful initial public offer that saw it was oversubscribed by 377 per cent. The shares rally in the first day from 500/- at IPO to 800/- in just 20 minutes of listing. It is believed that the more attractive DSE becomes, the more enterprises and investors would come up to use the local capital market to support the industrialisation drive.

Tanzania: Government Adamant On VAT for Tourism Services

The new 18 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on tourism services would not harm the growth of the sector as it was carefully researched before it was introduced, a government minister has said. The Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that key stakeholders in the sector were consulted before the new tax was introduced and were satisfied that it would not cripple the sector which is leading in foreign exchange earnings in Tanzania. Speaking during the inauguration of the Swissport cargo terminal, the minister appealed to members of public people to stop giving misleading information concerning the new tax measure because it may send wrong message to tourism stakeholders. "The government is aware of the competitive environment among the East African Community member states and the country's weaknesses and strengths in the sector, thus this matter should not be used to mislead people because it may send wrong signal to the stakeholders," said Dr Tizeba, who was representing Minister for Works, Transport and Communication. Mr Tizeba further explained that Tanzania's tourism was different from other countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya noting that "while Kenya is leading in number of tourists visiting the country, Tanzania earnings from the sector were high compared to Kenya. He observed that, before the Finance Act was endorsed by Members of Parliament, key players were involved in every aspect as in budget preparation passed through various stages. Expounding, Mr Tizeba said that the introduction of 18 per cent VAT on tourism was carefully researched and highly debated in the Parliament before being endorsed thus allaying fear expressed by some stakeholders that it would lower the number of tourists and negatively impact on aviation industry. In his remarks, Swissport Tanzania Plc Chief Executive Officer Mr Gaudence Temu informed the Minister that the industry key players were of the views that the newly introduced VAT on tourism services was likely to have negative impact on both tourism and aviation sector. "This is because the tax is an additional cost given that it was not factored in tour packages some of which had already been sold one year ago," Mr Temu said. He added that the tax was also going to erode the country's competitiveness against its neighbours who have scrapped VAT on tourism services. Describing the state-of- the-art Air-cargo import warehouse, he said it is one of its kind in Africa with fully secured environment, access control through turnstiles and biometric locks. The cargo facility has locations provided for handling special cargo such as room for live animals 17sqm, Morgue capable to store up to 4 bodies, vulnerable items storage room 64sqm, valuable storage room of 40sqm, radioactive room 12sqm and dangerous goods room of 65sqm among others. Mr Temu however noted that by having the cargo import terminal Swissport will have now met the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirement for segregation of import and export cargo.

Tanzania Trade Facilitation On Focus

Arusha — East African businesses will tomorrow engage key agencies to facilitate trade in Tanzania. "The meeting aims at providing solutions to enhance business environment in Tanzania, hence increase intra-EAC trade," said the East African Business Council (EABC) chief executive officer, Ms Lilian Awinja, said. EABC, the East African Community Secretariat, Trademark East Africa and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation will host a public-private dialogue (PPD) with key trade facilitation agencies. The forum will bring together stakeholders from public and the private sectors to discuss major developments as well as address key challenges facing entrepreneurs across the EAC in conducting trade in Tanzania. Businesses will seeking an understanding of new developments with regard to the work of trade facilitation agencies and clarifications on issues affecting their businesses. Specifically, the key objectives of the forum is to provide an opportunity to TBS officials to interact with the EAC business community on various requirements regarding compliance with standards in Tanzania. It will also offer an opportunity for TRA officials to discuss with business executives on various tax requirements and compliance, particularly those that are applied to goods from EAC. The talks will also be a good platform for TPA to interact with the businesses on new developments at the Dar es Salaam Port and the progress towards making it a more efficient port in service to East Africans. TFDA officials are expected to clarify matters regarding the compliance with technical regulations for entry of food, drugs, cosmetics and other products into Tanzania. Tanzania has been rated lowly in reports on ease of doing business. The World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report for 2015 placed the country at No. 131 out of 189 countries. It revealed that Tanzania sank by one position compared with how it fared a year before. The score areas and positions that put Tanzania at rank 131 out of 189 countries in 2015 included starting a business (124), dealing with construction permits (169), getting electricity (87), registering property (123), getting credit (151), protecting minority investors (141), paying taxes (148), trading across borders (137), enforcing contracts (45) and resolving insolvency (105). According to the report, it takes about 26 days to start and run a business in Tanzania, which is a slight improvement compared with the average of 27.9 days in the sub-Saharan Africa. Rwanda's doing business 2015 rank was 46, up from position 48 in 2014. It took 6.5 days to start and run a business. Kenya's doing business 2015 rank was 136 up from 137 in 2014.