Category Archives: ALN

ALU: Africa’s University of the Future

The African Leadership University (ALU) is a pan-African university, which aims to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist today. Their programs aim to equip students with necessary skills including entrepreneurship, leadership, critical thinking, and project management – right from their first term. They have an intense online engagement process to monitor student performance that starts right from the time students apply and then right through admissions, assignments, courses, exams and assignments.

Their current degrees on offer at their Mauritius campus are Computing (Bsc), Business Management (BA), Social Sciences (BA) and Psychology (Bsc). It opened in September 2015 and has over 200 students from over 30 African countries.  Every year, students can get up to 4  months of internship at one of the ALU partner organizations which include Cellulant, Coca-Cola, McKinsey, Tiger, IBM, PWC, Thomson Reuters,  Pernod Ricard and Swiss Re. The partners also help subsidize the cost of education at ALU where a year of tuition and accommodation is about $7,000 – a modest amount compared to the cost of university education in many countries.

They also have a study abroad program that takes 4-12 months and ALU will have an MBA program at a new campus that will soon open in Rwanda, and for which they are already accepting applications. ALU is part of the Africa Leadership Group, and has founders including Fred Swaniker, Graca Machel and Donald Kaberuka. Eventually, they plan to have  25 campuses across Africa that can host 10,000 students a year.

ALU teams are currently on road shows to promote the university in Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Lagos. They have workshops, schools visits, and other events this month as they promote the university, and they are accepting applications up to a deadline on June 5.

Idea Exchange: Malkiat Singh, Blog Payouts, Biko, MAVC

Malkiat Singh: For more than 30 years, school children in Kenya have learned using books produced by an author who seemed to have an endless list of titles under his name that was super- human in breadth  – that many wondered if the man actually existed. 

This week Malkiat Singh, surfaced to sign a deal in which he transferred the rights to 43 titles of his ‘Improve Series’ for Kshs 83 million (~$955,000) to Longhorn Publishers

At the event, he spoke of his journey from when he published his first book in 1970 and went on became a full-time author in 1975 and then to set up his own publishing outfit – Dhillon Publishers in 1993 that has produced over 100 titles.

Biko Zulu: At the recent Story Moja Hay Festival in Nairobi, popular lifestyle writer and blogger, Biko Zulu gave an interesting master class on creative writing with ideas for writers on how to be unique, grab attention, and tell a good story.  He also spoke of his plans for the future, including a revamp of his blog which has some very popular posts like this Letter to Kenyans Abroad!

Currently available writing, and other opportunities include: 

ALAcademy: African Leadership Academy seeks to enroll the most outstanding young people with the potential to lead and impact the world through their courage, initiative and innovation. The Academy receives 4,000 applications from most African countries each year, and the deadline for the first round this time is November 30. 

Afrinolly is a short film contest with BuniTv. Upload your short movie or documentary by November 30 to be eligible for 3 prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $5,000.

The Commonwealth Writers Prize is a short story prize from the Commonwealth Foundation awarded to established and new writers across the Commonwealth. Just write your story of 2,000-5000 words story on whatever topic and you could win UK pounds 2,500  or 5,000 UK pounds. More here and the deadline is 30 November.

The Google Cloud Developer Challenge runs from October 22 to November 21with prizes that include Android devices and up to $20,000. Details here.

EDIT: Google also has an Africa Connected challenge in which content creators can win $25,000. Deadline is October 31.

Green Card The annual US Diversity Immigrant Visa 2015 program a.k.a green card lottery is now open making available 55,000 diversity visas to a randomly selected group of applicants. Deadline is 2 November. 

Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA)invites African entrepreneurs and innovators to propose projects that unlock new African potential in (i) Agriculture & agribusiness, (ii) Environment, energy & water (iii)  Health & well-being, (iv) ICT applications (v) Manufacturing &  service industries. The winning submission will be awarded a prize of $100,000 with two additional $25,000 ones for the runners-up as measured by business potential and social impact. Deadline is  31 October.

Making All Voices Count is a $55 million global initiative that supports innovation, scaling-up, and research to deepen existing innovations and harness technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness. Some prizes will be in the area of innovation (40 grants a year of $15,000 – 60,000), Scaling (16 grants per year of $60,000 – 160,000), Research (open and granted research) and Global Action.

It is open to applicants from 12 countries in Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Mozambique) and others in South East Asia – and ideal proposals should touch on gender, grassroots, and government, and must be submitted through the website by November 8, 2013.

EDIT: TRAC is the Trademark East Africa Challenge Fund that offers grant funds of between $250,000 – $350,000 to private companies in support of innovative projects that can boost trade in both East Africa, and the region’s trade with the world. Details here and the deadline is 18 November 2013.

Young Achievers Awards is an annual event where young successful Ugandans are recognized and awarded for their excellence and initiative in the areas of business, science and technology, agriculture and outstanding talent and leadership. Deadline is 30 October and details are here.

 Share other available opportunities here.

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 teacheroftheyear_at_africanleadershipacademy.org.

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).

Konza station

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.