Category Archives: ALN

Idea Exchange: Opportunities Galore: Blogs, Dust, Eggs, Interns, PhD’s, Oil, Social Media, Weddings

Some open opportunities to apply for; 

(Edit) African Banker Awards: The 2013 African Banker Awards competition is now on. Winners will be selected in categories of  African bank, African banker, best bank (in North Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Central Africa regions),  retail bank,  investment bank , most innovative bank, socially responsible bank,  financial inclusion award, investment fund/private equity fund,  deal of the year, mortgage bank/product,  and brokerage house of the year. Deadline is 11 March.

African Development Bank: 2013 Internship Programme Session 2 – Provides students with an opportunity to acquire professional and practical experience at the African Development Bank and the Bank with a pool of potential candidates for future recruitment purposes.

Also, the #AfDB’s Regional Integration Dept is seeking junior consultants. Apply now.

PhD Fellowships from the African Economic Research Consortium  for people who have gained admission in 2013-14 to selected universities such as Cornell, Oxford, Ohio State or the Universities of Bonn, Sussex, Newcastle and others.  Apply through these university websites before April 30.  
The African Leadership Academy seeks to  enroll the most outstanding young leaders from across Africa and around the world. Deadline is February 28..

The African Leadership Academy also has the inaugural ‘African Teacher of the Year Award’ to celebrate teaching excellence on the African continent. The final 3 shortlisted finalists will be honored at a gala dinner in Johannesburg, South Africa in October in front of media, the headmasters of 100 of the leading schools in Africa, and other dignitaries. The winner of the award will also win a cash prize of $10,000. Nominate an outstanding African secondary school teacher- by the 31st of March, 2013 to

Aga Khan Foundation: International Scholarships – scholarships and loans for postgraduate studies in 2013-14 to outstanding students from the developing world. The Foundation assists students with tuition fees and living expenses only and half of the scholarship amount is considered as a loan, which must be reimbursed with an annual service charge of 5%. Application deadline is 31 March.

(Edit) Anzisha Prize 2013: Has $75,000 in cash prizes for youth entrepreneurs. Details here and deadline for the @anzishaprize is April 1.
BAKE: Kenyan Blog Awards 2013 awards aim to reward and recognize exceptional bloggers creating content in technology, photography, creative writing, business, food, environmental / agricultural, style, politics, corporate, sports, lifestyle, travel, new blog and others.  Deadline is February 1.
Big Brother Africa: BBA 2013 kicks off in May. To qualify, participants have to be above the age of 21 and speak fluent English.
Blackberry: Developers may apply for Built for Blackberry reviews and the $10,000 Developer Commitment before February 18.

(Edit) CNN Multichoice African Journalist 2013 is open to African nationals, working on the continent for African owned, or headquartered, media organisations and with work that has appeared in printed publications or electronic media that is primarily targeted at and received by an African audience. Deadline is 17 April 2013.

(Edit) The 10th edition of Diageo’s DABRA awards is now open. The Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards will recognize journalists and editors who provide high quality coverage of the business environment in Africa in ten categories including ICT, finance, infrastructure, agribusiness / environment, tourism, best business story, business feature, newcomer, media of the year, and journalist of the year. Deadline is March 15.

(Edit) East Africa Philanthropy Awards: The 2013 EAPA awards from the East Africa Association of Grantmakers is now open for nominations in philanthropy categories for individuals, youth, faith-based, community, social entrepreneurs, and corporate philanthropy. Deadline is 30 March.
Egg Hatching Incubators are being lent to individuals and groups on credit, and with no interest charge. 
Faithful Frames: Win a free wedding photoshoot worth Kshs. 15,000 (~$175). Deadline is  Jan 28.

(Edit) Film Mentorship Program: Opportunity for talented young African filmmakers involved in directing, scriptwriting, production, camera, production design, sound design and editing, to enroll in a workshop where they will meet professional filmmakers from all over the world in September 2013. Details here and deadline is 1 May.

(Edit) The International Academy of Journalism 2013/2014 Fellowship program Journalism in the Digital World is now open.  Deadline is May 3, 2013.

Kings Pool Challenge League: EABL’s Pilsner brand is sponsoring a national pool tournament that runs from 21 January to May 4 2013.
(Edit) The 2013 edition of Mobile Web East Africa  is on later in February in Nairobi. Read more about the event.

Nestlé Prize in Creating Shared Value (CSV) seeks innovative programmes, businesses or social enterprises that innovate with impact in water, nutrition, or rural development. Deadline is March 31

(Edit) PivotEast: The third edition of this mobile startup showcase competition takes place on June 25-26 2013 in Kampala, Uganda, and it is open to  all companies in East Africa including South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Competition will be in five categories of mobile finance, mobile enterprise, mobile society, mobile utility, mobile entertainment – and this year companies can submit a product in more than one category. The deadline for entries  is 15 April.

(Edit) Poptech: The 2013 Social Innovation Fellows program. Details here and deadline is 2 April.

(Edit) The Rockefeller Foundation Next Century Innovators Award series is now open. Nominate people or organizations that can win up to $100,000 for solving entrenched social problems. Deadline is February 28

Squad Digital: The digital agency is seeking an experienced digital business director with  knowledge of social SEO, Mobile (e.g. M-banking) 
TAHMO: Design a sensor that measures a weather or hydrological variable (temperature, wind, dust or lightning) and is both inexpensive and robust.  Deadline is 1 March 2013.
Tony Elumelu Foundation: Is seeking companies to place interns with for periods of  8-10 weeks. They should have revenue of $250,000 – $5 million per year and agree to pay for stipends while the Foundation will  cover the cost of recruitment, travel, and accommodation  
Toyota: Dream Car art contest dubbed “Your Dream—The Car of the Future” aims to create an opportunity for children (in 3 categories) —through drawing pictures of their “dream cars” —to develop their interest in cars. Deadline is January 31. 
Tullow Oil: The Group Scholarship Scheme will offer up to 114 scholarships across its countries of operation (10 for Kenya) for the 2013/14 academic year and these can be in engineering & tech., oil & gas economics, business journalism, law, and others. Deadline is 13 February. 
World Bank Africa: Social media internship – apply by responding to the phrase: #iwant2work4africa because..

New African Consumer

Today in Nairobi McKinsey & Co, and TBWA released a report on The New African Consumer. It’s one that trends towards rapid urban driven growth with people having with more discretionary spending power,  and one not based on resources. The top states with the highest consumption per capita, and accounting for 75% of all of Africa are SA Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia Libya Ethiopia and Kenya. Crucially most of the growth (80%) will come from people who earn more than $10,000 per month.
It’s a useful road map for companies looking to understand future trends in Africa and offer lessons such as be online (Africa had more Google ad clicks than Western Europe), brands & quality matter, distribution is king, data is scare, respect country differences & act local, prepare for talent shortage, and expect to iterate (have dynamic execution).
The report should lead to a bigger debate, one based on future sustainable economic trends. The same report points out that more babies were born in  Nigeria than all of western Europe. So more studies need to be done in that regards to answer where will the increased African population work? Where will they learn and get medical care? Who will build houses for them? How will they commute? Who will grow food for them as more will reside in large urban centres? Will they be able to cross-borders in such of improvement in any of these challenges? That’s the next set of questions & opportunities to balance out with the insightful trends in this report.

Can Kenya avoid the Resource Curse?

This week, the big announcement was that Kenya has found oil – but is that good news?

From the ArchivesMarch 2006 I am hoping that we don’t find oil fields/reserves in Kenya and not just because we are unlikely to escape the much-written about oil curse that has plagued so many countries. We simply don’t have the governance systems in place to manage oil revenues which the Economist referred to as oil money flows from big oil to the big man and Kenya will become the latest example to confirm that resource rich countries grow more slowly than resource poor ones.

Kenya’s oil is likely to be found in remote parts of Coast, North Eastern, Eastern or Rift Valley provinces and these are areas that have not received much development in 43 years of independence. Discovery of oil is likely to be met by hostility from these residents (who are often armed to defend themselves from bandits and raiders) and who will have the view that “you” (other Kenyans/central government/Nairobians) don’t consider us to be Kenyans, you have never cared about us and now you’re only taking an interest in us because we have oil – so F__ you, we want our own country and we’ll cut our own oil deals, maybe even with Sudan, Ethiopia or Somalia.”

Also the discovery of oil will not help other vibrant & diverse industries, especially agriculture-based, which will be hurt by the distorted foreign currency positions that oil will create. Also, oil & mineral industries never create as many jobs for locals as they promise – and agriculture, which supports a majority of Kenyan households & families will suffer leading to increased poverty.

There Hope: So how can Kenya escape the resource curse? At an African Leadership Network (ALN) Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2011, Oxford Economist Prof. Paul Collier, outlined steps for countries to escape the resource curse (which should begin even before oil/minerals are found)

5 Steps for Handling Resources
1. In terms of discovery of natural assets, geological information has to be made public before government’s call in the private companies (..Kenyan insiders are dealing away oil drilling leases.)
2. Have a good taxation system to benefit the society – (Africa’s resource history is one of missed revenue, and misaligned contracts so it is important to get the right contracts)
3. Involve & manage the local community (avoid a Niger delta problem)
4. A substantial portion of income should be saved rather than consumed
5. Save in what? Africa needs sovereign development funds, not sovereign wealth funds. However Africa does not have much of this capability, and there is a need to build capacity, i.e. invest in investing to manage the resource depletion and erratic commodity prices.

At the same ALN forum, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (ADB) spoke about helping countries avoid the oil curse saying ..Diamond-rich Botswana has shown that it is possible to do this. Oil exporting countries have made mistakes but recently when an African country (he did not name) discovered oil, the ADB went to see the President and offered their advice as the ADB is helping countries negotiate good contracts through a legal support facility, and avoid signing bad deals which are difficult to wiggle out of without damaging investor confidence.

Idea Exchange: TED Global, Richard Branson, Student Opportunities

The 2011 Africa Awards ceremony take place in Nairobi on December 8 and reward entreprenual excellence & efforts. This year the odds are strong that the winners of the total $400,000 of funding prizes won’t be Kenyans as the nominees shortlisted are soleRebels, – Ethiopia, Unique Solutions – Gambia, Expand Technology – Mauritius, Chocolate City Group , FASMicro, and Pepperoni Foods (3 from Nigeria) Cellular Systems International – Senegal, Victoria Seeds – Uganda, Securico – Zimbabwe and InvesteQ – Kenya.

The Awards are held in conjunction with Convergence Africa also in Nairobi on the same day and which features Richard Branson among other speakers and leaders.

Africa Leadership Academy: The world famous school in South Africa is taking on the next crop of students leaders. Application details are online and the Deadline is 12 December 2011.

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund: Has a new round of financing for renewable energy and climate adaptation technologies. It is aimed at for-profit companies with eligible projects in the East Africa region and Funding will be in the form of grants and repayable grants of between US$ 250,000 to US$ 1.5 million. Details here.

Google Photography Prize: Google + is seeking photographs submitted in ten categories (main ly by university students). More details.

NetFund: Identify individuals, educational or community institutions with project, initiatives or campaigns that contributes towards environmental management and are worthy of an award. Details here and deadline is January 30 2012.

Reuters Business News Workshop Fellowships: This is a five-day course in London next year, that is open to as journalists or regular contributors to print, broadcast or online media organizations. D/L November 25 (Found at Yipe)

TEDGlobal 2012 takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland in June 2012 with 50-plus speakers and performers from all over the world. See registration details.


Australia Awards: The Government of Australia has scholarships to Kenyans in priority development sectors. They include masters levels (D/L Feb 28) and short term professional development (D/L 16 December). More details here.

Chevening Scholarships: The Chevening Scholarship Programme for Kenya 2012-13 is now open for applications. It facilitates post graduate study program in the UK available for up to 12 months or for short courses or research. details here and the deadline is Jan. 23, 2012.

CNBC Africa: Top Trader is a new reality television show that will in 2012 follow the trials and tribulations of Africa’s top amateur traders> The competition is now open to public; there are more details on CNBC Top Trader and the D/L is Jan 21.

FiveByTwenty program of the Coca Cola company to create five million women entrepreneurs in the coca cola ecosystem by 2020. The pilot had 100 young women trained in Nairobi in financial & distribution training and become sales partners and more are invited to apply to coca cola 5 BY 20 technoserve as producers, suppliers, farmers (project nurture) etc. if they meet some criteria.

Google Africa Internships: This is a continuation of their summer internship program, now open for new applicants, and more Google Internship details can be found at the Africa blog.

Pasha: Latest round of funding from the Kenya ICT Board. Details here and D/L is Dec 3.

CNNMultiChoice African Journalist 2012 Awards. Details here and D/L is Jan 26.

ALN 2011 Day 3

The final day of ALN, brought calls to embrace politics, more lessons in banking & political leadership, an update on the status of the network, and appearances by 50Cent and African royal(think ‘Coming to America’)!

(Excerpts, not the full day proceedings)

Needs and Leads (N&L): This was a mid-morning session for attendees to find tangible ways to collaborate with other ALN members. Each speaker had three minutes to talk about their work and their needs, without using slides or PowerPoint to make a connection. They included

– Mike of Fenix International said that they (in partnership with MTN) had developed a solar power set in Uganda, which small businesses could use to charge other batteries and devices for members in a community. It retails for ~$150, and can break even for the owner/investor in about 6 months. They hope to scale up and introduce the device to millions of others in Rwanda and South Africa and are looking for entrepreneurs to distribute the devices.

– The second N&L speaker was from a private equity business in Johannesburg that has a team of over 400 programmers working on customer development & billing application software for the private sector, telecommunications companies, large SA banks, and the Government (SA’s revenue agency). They are seeking to grow into Kenya by finding leads into Kenyans businesses in software development, telecommunications and the government.

– Lindsay of Sanergy talked about the slum residents in Nairobi who don’t have access to sanitation. So her company builds toilets for them, collects sewage, and converts this to fertilizer and energy – making money as an independent power and fertilizer producer. There is great potential in this and she is seeking fertilizer distributors, Kenya government officials (in sanitation & standards) and micro-finance banks and institutions.

– Laila runs a property firm in Nairobi and is the Chairlady of the Kenya Property Developers Association, and focuses on urban development in cities. They have mobilized $25 million to develop middle class properties, and with an IRR of 30% where they have exited – and they are seeking to mobilize $100 million as risk capital and mezzanine finance to develop low costs housing, budget hotels in East Africa, as well as senior private equity professional, to become a partners & board members.

– Arjuna from the Omidyar Network, lives in Silicon Valley and, is looking for people who want to change lives in Africa to bring their ideas forward.

– Ann is working to establish meaningful social games for change and reach young people to work on projects around wealth and prosperity, and she is looking for experienced African in games design, and social innovation projects as well as partners, investors, and interns

– Andy from USAID spoke about the overlap of needs and mutual interest between Africa and America and are they are seeking young people to engage with, and help them craft meaningful, impact-ful programs for Africa and be sounding boards of feedback

– Joseph from Congo, grew up in a refugee camp in Uganda with limited schooling & learning resources, and is now a graduate of the ALA. He, and other refugees, co-founded a youth organization – Coburwas which looks at the common needs of refugees which are common across and now want to expand the education program and help kids finish school. By 2010 85 students, and 15 were competing A level, including 5 girls – the first ever to complete school from the camps. He was need mentors to advise on foundation decisions, and need $13,000 of funds to take 100 kids to high school for the next one . Within 10 minutes, another attendee (Colin Gayle of Bounce Back Media) got on the stage and told Joseph, that a benefactor (Curtis Jackson, a.k.a 50 Cent) had committed to fund the entire $13,000.

– Debbie of Aecom/Stanford Business School focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging markets, especially on bottom of pyramid, helping people to deal with poverty issues that can scale. They are seeking entrepreneurs (in Africa, Asia, Latin America) who would want assistance from Stanford and are willing to case studies for research

– Swaady from Cote d’Ivoire has set up luxury tea company and is seeking customers, funders, partners.

– Isis from inMobi spoke of the scalable potential for mobile advertising to the 500-600 million phone users in Africa as that will be the main way people access the net. She is seeking talented women to work at the company.

– Nuradin a former Somali refugee now Dutch citizen is the MD of a company that distributes Massey Ferguson tractors in Africa. They plan to set up agriculture learning centers in Africa, on 100 hectare model farms to teach farmers how to use tractors and implements and he is looking for partner dealers in Africa.

– Monica has set up an agro processing company working on alternative foods (non-Maize) for the larger population , and is seeking people to assist in branding, supply chain & distribution strategies.

– Nena of Blackbox noted that there is little research done on young women consumers in Nigeria, no one knows them, or how to market to them. So they want to do a study for women 0-18 what are they doing, needs, gaps in services, and data from this will be used for brands to do product development, governments to provide better service. They are seeking funding for the study, people interested in buying the study, and other who may wish to run similar studies in their own countries.

– Oliver from LGT Capital invest $200,000 – $1 million in expansion business models in education, health, resource management. They have invested in Bridge International an institution that is growing for-profit schools (now 38) in low cost areas in Kenya at a student cost of $4 per month. They are primary investors but are looking for capital from Africa to invest, entrepreneurs with ventures, and partner who can bring expertise to the group.

– George of Angels Finance spoke of a project he’s developing in Uganda where people can donate a portion of their phone airtime to charities – and he is seeking mentors, a bank to be the trustee, and developers to put it on phones

– Brian (a co-founder of Seacom who recently stepped down) has founded Black Rhino that invests in infrastructure in Africa. He notes that such developments should have social inclusion, smart financing (governments should not put crippling liabilities on their balance sheet) and smarter (transformational) technology. They are seeking people with experience in social work, and environmental work especially French-speaking ones.

– James of Dahlberg talked about the long history of philanthropy in Africa. They want to identify and celebrate champions of philanthropy across Africa, mapping out high givers of interest, and create platform for collaboration, and acknowledge their efforts.

– Arthur, the deputy prime minister of Zimbabwe, said that despite his background (McKinsey, MIT, Rhodes) he felt lonely as there were no other political leaders present. He urged ALN members to make sacrifices and take a plunge into politics, (become political gangsters) in order to be true continental leaders.

Don’t ignore Politics: This was under-scored by another speaker Tutu Agyare who lamented that while most in the room comfortable with big positions, or making money from foreign corporations, they had to take more risk to build their countries as they could do better jobs than the minister in our countries. Also it was important to take more risk at the young age as you don’t have to be 70 years old to run an African country

ALN Award The inaugural ALN Award was given to James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Bank. He talked about the large price and sacrifices you have to make – like he did in 1992 when a mutual fund (Equity Building Society) in his village was about to be closed by the Central Bank (CBK)for insolvency (no funds, no trail balance for 3 years and other governance issues) and he was approached to intervene. He did, but the CBK Governor asked him to take over the society’s management as a condition to keep it going, and he foolishly did, going from a top bank job earning Kshs 400,000 to about Kshs 50,000, and with the additional danger of losing his house which he had bought through the society.

He also talked about need to have a belief in something like the society (now bank), not just an interest, to transform it from 2,000 to 7 million customers (more than the number of people who voted in Kenya’s presidential elections). Also that, while success is not always celebrated, having a belief enables you to do things like persuading villagers to convert their society savings into investment in the society and they have been paid back to a point that the village Nyagatugu maybe the richest rural village per capita in Africa.

He also mentioned the need to focus on innovation and use it to develop communities & societies. Equity is edging away from branch banking to mobile phones & agency banking model to a point that 40% of their transactions are being done by shop keepers, as well as distribution of relief food funds in Kenya and they sell more policies than all insurance companies in Kenya. Also that next week, they will launch the first free transfer from the diaspora to the continent in partnership with MasterCard.

Talk from a King: The closing Keynote was given by King Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi II of the Royal Bafokeng Nation in South Africa.

Who’s the King? He’s an tax payer, architect, and a trained pilot who’s worked with the SA air force and reads on culture & economies which helps him run a $4.5 billion fund. He said the issues that leaders face are universal, problems are generic and that prosperity is partly about finding the right formula, but mostly its about having the will to act and maintain a vision.

He spoke of the people of Bafokeng migrated to their current homeland around the year 1450. Their then king forged friendship with colonial leaders and noted the interest in their land and decided to obtain title to the land to avoid land grabs. Bafokeng citizens went to work in the Kimberly diamond mines, and portions of the money they earned was saved – and the King got help from a missionary who they asked to buy the land in his name and hold it in trust for the Bafokeng community.

Later in 1925, platinum was discovered under the land that the Bafokeng owned, and despite clashes over land rights with mining companies and the government, courts have sided with the Bafokeng as genuine owners of their land. As such, they have derived income from mineral extraction for 60 – 70 years that has funded many of their expansion plans and brought wealth to the nation.

However they are aware of the resource curse and the challenges it brings such as population influx, crime, unmet expectation, social ills, complacency and corruption – for the nation of 150,000 people (in 29 villages) are something of an island of prosperity ($300 per month average income) in a sea of rural poverty.

The Kingdom has a Plan35, a detailed blueprint for the next quarter century (to 2035) and their portfolio is now 60% in mining, and 40% in property, communication oil gas – though holding firms, enterprises, education, and sports firms that ensure sustainability.

He was asked (and answered questions) about the supreme council of elected leaders who help run the state (are elected, and are now more representative with women and youth among them), welfare programs (dependence on the state), the need to develop entrepreneurship (a big challenge as there has not been an incentive to work for 70 years and some people have the mind-set since everything is given to them) and communal land tenure (which is an obstacle to enabling people to obtain development loans).

State of the network: Acha Leke and Fred Swaniker spoke about ALN whose membership is now a mix of South Africa (25%), US/UK/Europe (17%) Nigeria (17%) Kenya (11%) and other countries but weak in Arab and Francophone Africa. It is also male, 28% female, and dominated by the private sector (heavily finance & consultancy) 89%, and non-profit’s are 6%, against a goal of having 30% from the public sector.

In 2012 they will grow in the above areas that are missing, as it is not meant to be a business network, but a leadership one. They will target to have two events a month cross Africa – regional gatherings, from which a lot of where membership tends to spring from – next in Cairo, Dakar, Abidjan, and Luanda. Also they will take a group of ALN leaders to visit China, and, after two years in Addis, Ethiopia, will have next year’s event at a new venue in Accra, Ghana