Category Archives: ideaexchange

BA 2119: The Flight of the Future exhibition

A guest post by Elsie Kibue-Ngare.

I was fortunate enough to be invited/gifted a ticket to an interactive exhibition by British Airways in collaboration with students from the Royal College of Art (RCA) at the Saatchi Gallery as they showcased the future of flying in the next 100 years.

This year, British Airways is celebrating its 100th Anniversary as being part of a predecessor company AT&T (Air Transport & Travel Ltd) and this exhibition is a celebration of that long history by looking at aviation through history via FLY, an interactive, multisensory, virtual reality experience that turns you into a time traveller from being a bird, into Leonardo Da Vinci’s studio in Florence all the way to 100 years into the future to what aviation might look like with an aircraft that is guided to land by sight as one of the possibilities of air travel.

Together with FLY, eight other concepts were showcased at the exhibition. These included:

  • AVII (AVY), which I particularly liked as a concept to improve the experience of travellers using Artifical Intelligence (AI) in collaboration with cabin crew. The idea is to submit your needs as you book your flight, for example, if you have particular dietary needs and this information is fed back to the cabin crew who in return provide personalised service throughout your flight without even you asking.
  • Another concept, TASTENATION, uses data collected from DNA and body health to 3D print food for a new multi-sensory in-flight dining experience. This idea does away with food waste as meals are prepared from scratch onto edible cutlery and plates. Yet at the same time provide the necessary nutrients whilst on the air as it prepares the body to adjust to the cuisine of the traveller’s destination.
  • In line with reducing waste, THE FUTURE OF LUGGAGE is another concept that can also be realised. The vision where travellers would travel without any luggage as they will have to upload their clothes onto a digital wardrobe together with their measurements and depending on the weather, duration of their stay, etc. and the idea that you would arrive at your destination and find a set of clothes waiting for you at the airport lounge at your destination is pretty awesome. Clothes will be made from recycled materials that at the end of your trip, you drop them off at the airport where they are recycled.

There was so much to detailing to see at this exhibition from personalised wearable seats called AIRWEAR, to flying green with AERIUM, where the air we breathe and the water that we drink whilst flying is generated through bioavionics systems integrated as part of the plane. CURIO, a hypersonic modular aircraft with zero emissions and weird seating is one I did not get. And so did AER, a shape-changing smart luggage transportation concept.

Of the concepts, I saw at the exhibition, AVII(AVY), AERIUM, TASTENATION and THE FUTURE OF LUGGAGE looked like the ones that are likely to happen in the near future leading up to 2119 with the other concepts looking very unlikely, but I could be wrong and years beyond 2119, these other concepts could be a reality for many.

All in all, it was amazing to see how history and the advancement of technology inform us of the ideas and innovations of what is yet to come.

African Banker Awards 2019 Nominees

The winners of the 2019 African Banker Awards will be announced on June 11 at the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. 

Multiple nominees this year include Absa, the Trade & Development Bank, Equity Bank, and Standard Bank while first-time nominees include Family Bank of Kenya who partnered with Simba Pay to enable payments via WeChat to China, Kenya’s largest trading partner. There are also nominees for arranging sovereign Eurobonds and IPO’s, while UbuntuCoin, an asset-backed digital currency that was a finalist at last year’s awards, is nominated again.

The complete list of shortlisted nominees for 2019 are:

African Banker of the Year:  Admassu Tadesse (Trade and Development Bank), Brehima Amadou Haidara (La Banque de Développement du Mali), Brian Kennedy (Nedbank, South Africa), James Mwangi (Equity Bank, Kenya) and Johan Koorts (ABSA, South Africa).

Award for Financial Inclusion: 4G Capital (Kenya), Amhara (Ethiopia), Bank of Industry (Nigeria), Cofina (Senegal), Jumo (South Africa).

Best Retail Bank in Africa: Coris (Burkina Faso), Ecobank (ETI), Guarantee Trust Bank (Nigeria), KCB (Kenya), QNB AlAhli (Egypt).

Deal of the Year – Debt: Absa ($350M Old Mutual Renewable Energy IPP), Afrexim – ($500M ChinaExim Syndicated Loan), CIB ($389M Egyptian Refining Company), Rothschild ($2.2 billion Republic of Senegal Dual-Currency Eurobond), TDB ($1 billion Sovereign Loan to the Government of Kenya).

Deal of the Year – Equity:  Al Ahly (Canal Sugar Equity), EFG Hermes (ASA IPO), RenCap (CiplaQCIL IPO), Standard Bank / RMB (Vivo Energy IPO), Standard Bank IBTC (Flour Mills of Nigeria Rights Issue).

Infrastructure Deal of the Year: Absa (Enel Green Power), Afrexim (Syndicated Loan for EBOMAF/Government of Cote D’Ivoire), National Bank of Egypt (ElSewedy Electric Hydropower Project), RNB (Roggeveld Wind Power Project), TDB (Mozambique FLNG Project).

Innovation in Banking:  ABSA (South Africa), Family Bank (Kenya), KCB (Kenya), MCB Capital Markets (Mauritius), and Ubuntu Coin (Côte d’Ivoire).

Investment Bank of the Year: ABSA (South Africa), Coronation Merchant Capital (Nigeria), NedBank (South Africa), Rothschild, Standard Bank (South Africa).

Socially Responsible Bank of the Year: Access Bank (Nigeria), Bank Misr (Egypt), Equity Bank (Kenya), KCB (Kenya), Qalaa Holdings (Egypt).

Stanchart opens eXellerator Lab in Nairobi

Standard Chartered Bank today announced the opening of an innovation lab in Nairobi, its first in Africa.  Run by Standard Chartered Ventures (SC ventures), the eXellerator lab will work with clients, staff, and local fintech companies on banking solutions for the future. This will be the fifth such lab after the first in Singapore, then Hong Kong, San Francisco, Bangalore, London and now Nairobi.

Stanchart Kenya CEO Ngari Kariuki CEO said that SC ventures, launched in March 2018, had a mission to invest in disruption and come up with new business models by partnering with fintechs in Asia, Middle East And Africa, scaling little ideas, giving them a global platform and investing in the companies. Kennedy Mubita the Africa Regional Head for SC Ventures said that the eXellerator was based on principles of human-centred, design, having a lean startup mentality, embracing an entrepreneurial spirit  (enabling staff of the bank to suggest ideas and develop them into products with rewards) and that the bank would also invest in local companies through a $100 million innovation fund. So far they are developing ten ventures drawn from 1,500 ideas submitted globally, with a notable one being Credit Card Buddy from Indonesia.

At a Q&A after the launch, It was queried what pipeline of projects Stanchart would target given that there were very few companies able to absorb series B funding here. The bank will have a country venture challenge, one of three in Africa, and will seek to work with companies to address payment gaps and trust gaps in value chains across all sectors.

Like with the video banking launch, tried and tested in Asia, Nairobi is the launchpad for the eXellerator lab program in Africa. Other banks with innovation labs in Nairobi include KCB with its Vooma Lab and I&M bank, which has a digital factory, called iCube.

TEF 2019 class unveiled

The fifth cycle of beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) entrepreneurs program was unveiled on Friday, March 22 in Abuja, Nigeria.

This year 216,000 applied to join (up from 151,000 in 2018), with 90,000 being women during the window that opened on January 1. After an extensive shortlisting process, 3,050 entrepreneurs, from 54 African countries, were selected to receive $5,000 capital for their business ventures, 12 weeks of tailored training, and the opportunity to attend the annual TEF Forum in July 2019.

Over the years, more strategic partners have come forward to assist the Tony Elumelu Foundation to expand the impact of their ten-year $100 million program that aims to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs and create 1 million jobs and in 2019, partners are providing funding support for 2,500 entrepreneurs.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is sponsoring 1,000 entrepreneurs (a commitment worth $5 million) and matching the support of the Tony Elumelu Foundation this year. Also, the United National Development Program (UNDP) is sponsoring 754 from 45 countries, while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is sponsoring 180 entrepreneurs from conflict-hit countries. Others are Seme City (from the Federal Republic of Benin), the US Consulate in Lagos (sponsoring 20), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, and the Government of Botswana (sponsoring 20).

Present at the unveiling, that was livestreamed around the world, was Aisha Buhari, the First Lady of Nigeria, and Tony Elumelu, who founded the Program. Others were the Foundation CEO Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, her predecessor Parminder Vir, TEF partner representatives, and the media.

Also at the event, a team of evaluators from Accenture explained the selection and short-list process they had done since the application deadline of March 1 2019. They also provided a breakdown of applications by country, gender, business stage, and business industry, with the highest number of applicants for 2019 engaged in agriculture, ICT and education sectors. They also highlighted trends in the program over the years including the overall increase in the number of female applicants.

All the applicants are now part of TEF Connect, which, with over 600,000 members, is the largest social network of African entrepreneurs. On the Connect platform, they can chat with fellow business owners in different African countries, access mentors, learning materials and network and share business ideas.

Update for 2020: The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Cycle which opened on January 1 will feature new changes that are vastly different from previous years. This year applicants will now receive instant feedback on their application and if they can proceed to the next stage to receive business training.

They will then be notified on if they can proceed to the mentorship stage and in June 2020, there will be pitching sessions to determine who the final beneficiaries of the $5,000 seed capital will be.

Idea Exchange: Anzisha, Obama, Elumelu, HEVA

EDIT The African Banker Awards that will take place during the African Development Bank Annual Meetings on 11th June in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea are now accepting entries for the awards of African Bank of the Year, African Banker of the Year, Investment Bank of the Year, Best Regional Bank in Africa, Best Retail Bank in Africa, Innovation in Banking, Infrastructure Deal of the Year, Deal of the Year (Debt), Deal of the Year (Equity), Award for Financial Inclusion, and Socially Responsible Bank of the Year. All financial institutions (banks, micro-financiers, investment banks, DFIs and others) are invited to compete. Completed entry forms should be submitted by Monday 1st of April.

Edit Africa CEO Forum Awards recognizes outstanding business leaders and this year includes a  “Gender Leader of the Year” prize and “Disrupter of the Year” award to go with other existing awards for CEO of the Year, African Champion of the Year, and International Company. Some nominees include Mohamed El Kettani – Attijariwafa bank and Tewolde Gebremariam – Ethiopian Airlines for “CEO of the year”, Banque Centrale Populaire, Ethiopian Airlines, OCP Group and Royal Air Maroc for “company of the year”, Absa Group, Access Bank, First Bank of Nigeria and Unilever for “gender leader” and Africa’s Talking, Baobab+, InTouch, Jumia and Kobo360 for the “disruptor” award. The awards will be given during the 7th Africa CEO Forum on 25 – 26 March 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) will officially open its call for applications starting from the 27th of March 2019. The ANPI is a US$10 million Prize competition for African entrepreneurs, founded by the Jack Ma Foundation, where ten finalists from across the continent will compete for US$1 million in total prize money. Deadline for applications is 30th June 2019

EDIT Class 5 of the Alibaba Global Initiatives eFounders fellowship is open to founders/co-founders of digital ventures from Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Rwanda, or Uganda. It is jointly organized by Alibaba Business School and UNCTAD and the deadline is March 17. Note that the fellowship does not cover air tickets and transportation/pick-up services to and from Hangzhou, China.

The Anzisha Prize is Africa’s biggest award for her youngest entrepreneurs and hands out over USD $100,000 every year in funding to entrepreneurs from all over the continent.  Details here.

EDIT  The British Council Future Leaders Connect, is a global network for emerging policy leaders seeking to connect to a long-term network of emerging leaders from around the globe, who want to change the world through policy making. To take part you must be aged 18-35 and live in one of our participating countries – Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Tunisia, UK and USA. Applications from Egypt and the USA are by invitation only. Applications close on Monday 6 May 2019.

EDIT Cities Alliance a global partnership supporting cities to deliver sustainable development, hosted by the United Nations United Nations Office for Projects Services (UNOPS), is offering grants up to USD 50,000 to people working on innovative and accessible solutions for improving tenure security and land and property rights in any African country. It is open to Innovators, microenterprises, social entrepreneurs, community-based organisations, and national and local NGOs working in African cities.  Deadline to apply for the Cities Alliance is  March 14, 2019.

Edit Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and PETCO have launched an innovation challenge, dubbed the Beyond Baling Innovation Challenge (BBIC), that aims to provide innovative solutions to bale post-consumer PET plastic in order to ease their transportation for recycling and manufacturing.

DRC Innovation for Financial Services 2019:  The Central Bank of Congo, in partnership with FSDA Africa and Elan DRC, has launched Innovation for Financial Services 2019, a competition for businesses and entrepreneurs aimed at promoting the development of innovative and relevant financial services and payment solutions in the DRC. The winner of each category will then have access to FSD Africa’s investment process with the possibility of raising up to US$130,000.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the leading African-funded and founded philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, has announced its last call for applications into its prestigious 2019 Entrepreneurship Programme. Selected beneficiaries will join 4,470 current alumni and will receive $5,000 seed capital, access to mentors, bespoke training and numerous opportunities to impact policies at the local and global level.

The programs is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, the Programme’s objective is to generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa. Applicants can apply on TEFConnect, the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs by March 1.

HEVA Fund: HEVA has launched a Growth Fund in collaboration with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), targeting mature businesses in the creative economy – fashion, apparel and accessories; live cultural events (music, shows, venues, festivals); and digital media content production and distribution. – that have been in operation for at least 5 years, with annual revenues exceeding KES 10 million. The targeted businesses are in the following creative economy value chains:  HEVA will be investing a minimum of KES 5 million and a maximum of KES 10 million in each successful enterprise. Deadline is 13th March 2019. HEVA is also receiving applications for its Cultural Heritage Fund and for a Young Women in Creative Enterprise Fund.

The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) has launched the IREN Technologies and Innovations Platform 2019 (ITIC 2019) to promote the best mix of technology and innovation to processes along the agribusiness value chains. Innovators are expected to address the region’s challenges in value addition, energy, storage, logistics and marketing. The Lake region is known for fish, grain, vegetable, cash crop, dairy and livestock production. IREN welcomes Institutions and established companies to participate in the final ITIP 2019 Trade Fair to be held later in November 2019.

Edit MEST: Five promising start-ups from across Africa have been chosen as regional winners in MEST Africa’s annual Pan-African pitch competition, moving one step closer to winning $50,000 in equity investment, a place in the MEST Africa incubator of their choice and global mentorship to help their company scale. The winners who were chosen from over 1,000 applicants are AMPZ.TV – a ‘LinkedIn for Sports’ (Nigeria), OZÉ – a financial data insights company (Ghana), Snode – real-time cyber security (South Africa),  WayaWaya – a fintech company (Kenya) and Seekewa – an agricultural financing platform (Cote d’Ivoire).

Obama Founder Leaders Africa Applications are live for the Obama Foundation Leaders Africa Program which aims to identify a group of emerging African leaders from all sectors—government, civil society, and entrepreneurs—who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the common good. Apply by February 28, 2019.

Edit  Pivot East: East Africa’s premier entrepreneurs’ program is back for its 6th year after a two year break with a call for applications opening on 11th March 2019 and the startups pitching competition and conference event happening on 27th June 2019. Applicants can be in software and hardware in five categories of finance, enterprise, entertainment, social Impact and utilities.

Sanofi, the global pharmaceutical company, extended the registration deadline for entries to this year’s edition of the VivaTech innovation conference. 17 Kenyan start-ups have registered so far and are expected to participate in the conference.