South Africa: 4 BEE fintech startups awarded $283 thousand

South Africa: 4 BEE fintech startups awarded $283 thousand

South Africa: 4 BEE fintech startups awarded $283 thousand.

On Monday 30 October 2017, at a pitching event hosted by AlphaCode, four black-owned South African financial services startups each won R1-million ($71000).

The Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) pitching event is an initiative of Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings which seeks to identify and reward high potential South African fintech entrepreneurs to boost the development of fintech in South Africa. The event was run for the third time in collaboration with AlphaCode, a club for next-generation financial services entrepreneurs powered by RMI Holdings.

Monetary awards were made to four of the ten black-owned financial services businesses which pitched. The four businesses, as recipients of the grant funding, will become members of AlphaCode’s BEE Centre of Excellence and will receive additional business support services including free office space at a prime Sandton location.

To date, the programme has disbursed R13 million to 15 businesses over the past two years. The grant funding has ranged from R500 000 to R1 million per business.

The winning startups were:

  • Commuscore – An alternate credit scoring provider that captures payment and lending behaviours of consumers and micro-lenders in the informal sector. They provide an informal saving scheme administration and management tool that is able to build a credit profile based on various data points. Founders are Philile Mkhize and Priya Mistry.
  • Investsure provides fraud insurance to shareholders against losses in share price caused by actual or perceived deception committed by management. Their fraud insurance product operates on trading platforms and is targeted at individuals investing in the JSE and asset managers. Founders are Mbulelo Mpofana, Ignatius Nkwinika and Shane Curran.
  • Cascade was founded in 2016 by two actuaries, Mutoda Mahamba and Gavin Waldeck. Through technology and digital marketing, Cascade reduces the cost of insurance and gives the savings back to the consumer through an insurance savings product. Their product is the equivalent of a medical aid savings account within the short term insurance market.
  • Everest Ventures, founded by Neo Ratau, is an entrepreneurial SME finance advisory service and investment management company offering comprehensive services such as capital raising, business case solutions, acquisitions and disposals and financial reporting. It’s the meeting point of large and small businesses providing access to funding and opportunities.

During the event, contestants from the businesses had just five minutes to pitch their businesses with a few minutes set aside for questions from the panel of judges. The judging panel included Senior Investment Executive at RMI Holdings, Dominique Collett; Justin Bothner, Head of Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch South Africa; Albertina Kekana, CEO of Royal Bafokeng Holdings and Raymond Ndlovu, Investment Executive at Remgro Limited.

Chipo Mushwana, Head of Ecosystem Development at AlphaCode speaking on the awards said, “We are delighted by the commitment and quality of the entrepreneurs of these high impact black-owned businesses that we see in the financial services space. This is testament to the need for our BEE Centre of Excellence. The winning businesses were selected because of their ability to meet our judging criteria which included their revenue model, the problem they are solving, how they differentiate from their competitors and their marketing plans.”

Julia Benadie, Regional Executive of Operations and Corporate Affairs at Merrill Lynch explained, “Our company is wholly supportive of young entrepreneurs in South Africa as we recognise them as significant contributors to our economy. Disruptive ideas are to be supported and encouraged as we need to see creative fintech solutions emerge for the challenges that South Africans face.”

Mushwana continued, “We have seen that this funding is used for the development of technical platforms to create annuity revenue for the businesses; recruitment of highly skilled team members; purchasing of much-needed equipment such as laptops and boosting marketing and business development efforts.”

“We have also tracked the impact of these businesses over the last two years. Previous successes of this initiative include Isazi Consulting, a machine learning business which used the funds received in 2015 to build a data visualisation tool and made a 266% return on the investment. When Livestock Wealth joined the programme, they had sold only 10 cows and with the funds received in 2015 and increased marketing efforts, they have now sold more than 1000 cows and attracted additional funding as well as a global audience.

Edited by Dean Workman
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How to succeed with youth focused social media campaigns

How to succeed with youth focused social media campaigns

Ernst Wittmann, Global Account Director MEA & Country Manager – Southern Africa, at Alcatel

South Africa’s first digital-native generation is coming of age, and it’s changing the rules for marketers. Some 41% of South Africans are younger than 22 years old and have grown up with smartphones and social media, so they have different perceptions of marketing to Generation Xers and baby boomers.

They have higher expectations from brands in terms of the personalisation, interactivity and immediacy. They don’t want to simply be passive consumers of brand messages and content. South African youth are resistant to traditional advertising, have short attention spans, and value experiences over physical possessions.

They also want to have their say and be part of the story. GfK research shows that 76% of South African Generation Z respondents would be more loyal to a brand that lets them give input or help shape its products and services. This market is critical to brand expansion and growth. Generation Z represents a significant pool of purchasing power as they subsequently have influence over what parents and guardians buy too.

Here are some ways brands can effectively use social media to reach this mobile-first generation.

Think content, not platform
Much like their parents, the youth gravitate towards content that meets their needs because it is relevant to their lives. As such, brands don’t need a Snapchat or Facebook strategy, but a strategy that meets the audience’s needs with the right content for the context. Some environments lend themselves to marketing engagements better than others.

For example, some marketers and many teens think of Facebook as being a bit old-school, however, the platform has rich data, powerful targeting tools and high-quality analytics that can help brands to drive deeper engagement with their audiences. By contrast, South African teens ranked WhatsApp as their favourite app in the Sunday Times Generation Next survey for 2017, yet it lacks mature tools for advertisers.

Keep it short
Young social media users multitask across several apps and screens at a time, so a brand needs to learn how to capitalise on grasping those micro-moments available to them. Short posts and bite-size videos will get them engaging with the content— especially if the content is funny, useful and personalised to their needs.

Remember, you’re the intruder
Digital natives see advertising as an interruption and annoyance. Brands that place content and advertising on social platforms need to show they are adding value. A hard sales approach is a turn-off. Content needs to be appealing and valuable in its own right. It’s about starting a conversation and building a relationship, trusting that the sales will follow.

Be flexible
The biggest challenge in youth marketing is that the audience’s interests and preferences change frequently and suddenly. Marketers need to stay in touch with the market through constant research. What are the latest trends in fashion and entertainment? What are the cool new apps? Which brands are resonating right now?

Authenticity matters
Authenticity is a hard quality to define, but most people know it when they see it. Brands that are successful with the youth:

· Are transparent in how they deal with their audiences

· Don’t talk down to younger consumers

· Don’t come across like a Dad trying to talk and act like a teenager.

Telling stories about the brand and having a sincere purpose helps to make it more trustworthy.

Listen and engage
Younger customers are content creators, not just content consumers. They want to be part of the story and they want to feel like their opinions are heard. It’s important to listen, to let them comment, to help them share, and to show that you hear them.

By Ernst Wittmann, Global Account Director MEA & Country Manager – Southern Africa, at Alcatel

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How the new data protection laws will keep your data safe

How the new data protection laws will keep your data safe

How the new data protection laws will keep your data safe.

The “masterdeeds” data breach of over 30 million people’s personal records has been cited as South Africa’s worst-ever data breach. The sensitive information in question, including names, addresses, ID numbers, genders, ethnicities and email addresses of people both living and deceased, was extracted from one of South Africa’s top real estate companies, Jigsaw Holdings.

In light of this catastrophic data leak, what guarantee do you have that your personal information – and that of your clients – is safe? Ross Saunders, the Director of Global Technology Services at Cura Software Solutions, believes that the data should not have been where it was to begin with, and beyond that, the source website did not have best practices in place to keep any data safe. “Their first mistake was to store an extract of their database on a publicly accessible website. The fact that there were insufficient security measures in place and absolutely no data encryption was a recipe for disaster.”

According to Saunders, the solution is on its way in the form of the General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR) for Europe and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) for South Africa.

From a South African perspective, POPIA sets the conditions for when it is lawful for someone to process someone else’s personal information. The legislation, centred around integrity and confidentiality, is applied to any natural or juristic person who processes personal information, including large corporates and government.

Similarly, the GDPR is one of the most important changes in data privacy regulation in 20 years and aims to protect all EU citizens from data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world. The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive and will be enforced as of 25 May 2018. It could be reasonably expected that the GDPR will become the “gold standard” for data privacy regulation globally.

Data protection laws set principles that controllers must comply with, which include the following:

Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency
This means that the processing of information must be lawful and not excessive. Processing should be for a defined purpose, and there should be openness as to any processing activities.The principles and conditions of the law must be followed. In an essential step towards data transparency and consumer empowerment, the new legislation stipulates that the data subjects may obtain confirmation as to whether or not their personal data is being processed, where and for what purpose.

Purpose Limitation
The processing of the information must be for a defined purpose and limited from further processing without consent thereafter.

Data Minimisation
Only necessary data should be kept in order for processing to take place. Organisations should be cognizant of the fact that they should not be keeping excessive data that is unused for their purpose.

Accuracy
The data itself should be accurate, and should allow for data subject participation in making sure it is up to date.

Storage Limitation
Once data processing has completed, the data should be removed. It should not be kept for longer than is necessary to perform the data processing activities.

Integrity and Confidentiality
Data, wherever it may be stored, must be stored responsibly and with the correct safeguards in place to ensure its security. It is the obligation of the organisation to prevent loss, damage or unlawful access to the data via appropriate security measures. This information must be treated as confidential. In the instance of a security breach, both the regulator and the data subject should be notified of such.Data protection laws also create obligations for controllers, which include:

– Technological and organisational measures that must be implemented to lawfully process data,
– Controlling of processors through contracts,
– Keeping records of processing activities,
– Co-operating with authorities, and Securing personal data.

In conclusion, Saunders says, “Both the GDPR and POPIA are taking extensive measures to protect and empower all citizen’s data privacy and will substantially change the landscape of data breach risks for organisations globally. Along with our other compliance solutions, Cura offers a data privacy solution specifically geared for GDPR and POPIA readiness and Management with the assistance of Michalsons attorneys.”

Edited By: Darryl Linington
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Nigeria: NCC to go to war with cybercriminals

Nigeria: NCC to go to war with cybercriminals

Nigeria: NCC to go to war with cybercriminals.

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) declared on Monday 30 October 2017 that the organisation has intensified its onslaught against the threat posed by cybercriminals across the Nigeria. This is according to a report by Nigerian Communications Week.

The commission highlighted the composition of the Industry Group (IWG), which holds a forum to brainstorm ways to wage the war, as one of the strategies that could be used to combat the scourge of cybercrime.

Engr. Ubale Maska, executive commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, who spoke during the second Workshop of IWG on electronic banking fraud at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) Kano, lamented the staggering level of fraud in the industry.

The executive commissioner gave a presentation titled: “Electronic Banking Fraud in Nigeria: Challenges and Way Forward” in which he said it has become necessary to intensify the campaign following the visit by the Deputy Governor of the CBN to the management of the NCC to discuss the prevalence of banking fraud using telecoms infrastructure. This was accelerated further after various banking structures complained about the sophistication of the methods employed by cyber criminals via telecoms infrastructure in defrauding unsuspecting customers.

Maska highlighted his eight-point agenda for the industry, of which facilitating strategic collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders to foster ICT for sustainable economic development and social advancement became a priority for the commission.

The IWG, which was constituted early in the year, has as members and stakeholders from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Civil Society Organisations (CSO) as well as Value Added Service (VAS) providers.

The NCC representative said that a reference point for the committee was to look at the technicality and security of mobile banking; awareness issues in mobile banking; SIM card replacement processes; SIM card cloning as well as unsolicited text messages.

Edited by Dean Workman
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Uber adds new features for South African drivers

Uber adds new features for South African drivers

Uber adds new features for South African drivers
(Image Source:

Ride-hailing service, Uber, announced on Monday 30 October 2017 that the company has launched a new set of features for driver-partners in South Africa. Some of the new addition to the popular app will allow the drivers to choose when, where and how they drive which will ultimately look to improve both driver and rider safety.

The platform has come under immense pressure from the metered taxi industry in South Africa and as a result, they are trying to make changes to offer a more flexible experience for the 12 000 drivers who use the platform every week.

New Uber features:

Arrival destination and time: The new feature of arrival destination and time allows drivers to set the time that they want to arrive at their final destination. Uber drivers commute across the various South African cities throughout their day with some trips taking them far away from their final destination, the drivers’ homes. With this new feature, the app will notify them when it’s time to start heading toward their destination and at the same time, they’ll be connected with a trip along the same path.

Long trip notification: This new feature allows drivers to be more aware of the type of trip they will embark on. With “long trip notification” drivers will be notified when a trip is estimated to be 45 minutes or longer, so they can plan accordingly.

“No thanks” button: Under the current Uber system drivers can either confirm a trip request or wait for the request to timeout. The new feature will allow drivers to instantly decline trips that they are not interested in. This, in theory, should also drive down the waiting time for riders.

Rating protection: The rating system is integral to Uber’s platform. With the current features sometimes drivers are given a low rating because of reasons that are not in their control. The new rating policy that will be implemented will ensure that these types of ratings won’t count towards a driver-partner’s score. Uber will still get the feedback to help them improve but it won’t impact the driver’s overall rating.

By Dean Workman
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Velocity Group Acquires Majority Stake in MLC Solutions

Velocity Group Acquires Majority Stake in MLC Solutions

Jonathan Kropf, Group CEO of Velocity Group.

The Velocity Group, a South African strategic specialist ICT reseller and systems integrator, announced on Tuesday 31 October 2017 that the company has agreed terms for the acquisition of a majority stake in MLC Solutions for an undisclosed sum.

MLC Solutions is a long-standing IT Services business, specialising in, amongst others, installing and supporting the full range of Microsoft solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Office 365, the vendors popular cloud offerings. In addition to its Microsoft specialities, MLC has rich competencies in enterprise hardware installation and support, networking installation and support, as well as desktop managed services.

“The acquisition will add significant services revenue to the group and is in line with our stated goal to derive half of our group earnings from services within the next three years. The technical skills that MLC brings to the table are second to none, and we look forward to helping deliver on our stated Hybrid Cloud strategy to our customer base.”, states Jonathan Kropf, Group CEO of Velocity Group.

In addition to its Microsoft skills set, MLC has rich institutional knowledge of the mining, engineering and construction sectors, with industry experience that spans more than 15 years.

“These sectors are under immense pressure and are actively looking for ways to make their businesses more efficient, as well as derive the most out of their IT assets. We believe we are perfectly suited to help these customers, and now with the support of Velocity, will be able to add a new range of services as well as tap into the skills of the company to help meet our client’s business goals,” states Murray Lloyd, Divisional Manager – Services

The goal will be to expand the services offering beyond Gauteng and leverage off the Durban and Cape Town branches that already exist in the group.

The transaction is effective 1 November 2017 and the entity will trade as “Velocity | MLC”

Edited by Dean Workman
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Multiple security threats Internet users need to look out for

Multiple security threats Internet users need to look out for

Multiple security threats Internet users need to look out for.

The double whammy of the largest data breach in South Africa’s Internet history coupled with the announcement that the wireless communication protocol used by virtually all wireless access points (WAP) world-wide had been hacked is bad news for both consumers and business showing just how fragile our virtual world had become.

Pieter Erasmus, an IT security strategist who works in association with Moyo Business Advisory, said the upside of the revelation was that it would hopefully dispel the false sense of security that many Internet users had.

“The data breach that has made the most intimate details of the majority of South Africans available to the hacking community who can use it for identity fraud and a host of other nefarious activities is by far the most serious breach that has ever happened in this country.

“While the wealth of passwords that was revealed in the breach is perhaps one of the issues that can be fairly easily addressed by rapidly changing all passwords, stolen identity numbers and other personal information that cannot be changed presents a much bigger problem.

“We will be seeing identity fraud committed with this data making an appearance in the not too distant future and exactly how this is going to be addressed remains to be seem,” Erasmus said.

The issue of the vulnerability of the WPA2 communications protocol that had been hacked remained a problem because it was now possible for any hacker with a little bit of technical knowledge to fool a wireless network into believing that a hacked wireless access point (router) was legitimate and could gain full access to the network without a password.

“This will affect both private individuals who make use of Wi-Fi as well as the business community who have massively adopted the technology,” Erasmus said.

“Our biggest problem is that hardly any of the Wi-Fi router manufacturers have come up with patches for their equipment. As long as the protocol remains unchanged users will remain vulnerable,” Erasmus said.

Android smartphones are a major concern in South Africa, as manufacturers struggle to release standard OS updates for their flagship phones.

There were certain actions that Wi-Fi network users could take to provide a measure of protection.

These included:

  • Installing the latest security updates as soon as become available.
  • Firewalls and anti-virus software should be updated on a regular basis.
  • Avoid wherever possible the use of public Wi-Fi networks such as coffee shops and airports.
  • Avoid non-secure website and make use of HTTPS to connect to websites.
  • Always use a secure app for banking and if possible, use a virtual private network (VPN).
  • On PCs download operating system updates regularly. Microsoft is expected to make available a WPA2 update this week. It is unknown whether this will solve the problem as long as the WAP remains vulnerable.

Erasmus said even with security patches, users needed to be super vigilant.

“Even with the best software and hardware security in place, social engineering remains by far the biggest threat.

“Professional hackers are social engineers at heart and know exactly which buttons to push to get potential victims to open up to them providing the most sensitive information to them in the belief that they are speaking to a legitimate support person or departmental head.”

“Our job as cyber-security experts is to ensure that our clients are fully prepared to defend themselves against such attacks not only by ensuring that their software is up to date but also to protect themselves against social engineering scams that seeks to steal data and money from unwitting victims.

Professor SH (Basie) von Solms, Director of the Centre for Cyber Security in the Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, said many computer crimes and data breaches were swept under the carpet and could not be quantified in statistics.

“It may actually be more than the two to three billion rand a year figure that is commonly quoted for South Africa.”

By Pieter Erasmus, IT security strategist, Moyo Business Advisory

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Data Science Nigeria positions Nigeria as outsourcing hub for data scientists

Data Science Nigeria positions Nigeria as outsourcing hub for data scientists

Data Science Nigeria (DSN), a non-profit initiated by MTN’s executive, Mr Bayo Adekanmbi is driving industry-level discussions about Nigeria’s need to build its big data/machine learning ecosystem, with the goal of being well positioned to access a 10 percent share of the global data analytics outsourcing market, which is expected to garner $5.9 billion by 2020, according to Allied Research Group.

To facilitate the discussions and help practitioners prepare for this opportunity, Data Science Nigeria hosted an industry engagement summit and a follow-up four-day bootcamp with leading industry stakeholders, including statistician Dr Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and many leading professionals and academics in the private and public sectors. Speaking at the summit, Dr Kale said that the value of data is enormous, and that Data Science Nigeria’s initiative to equip future data scientists is a veritable initiative harnessing untapped potentials in the data analytics industry. He stated that, “Data is money. Some of the multinationals like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook may be providing their services for free, but they are worth billions of Naira. What they do to make so much money is sell data.” He said: “We understand that oil has been the primary source of revenue for Nigeria, but if we start taking this serious, data could be more valuable than the oil.

In his industry perspective presentation, Mr. Olumide Olayinka, Partner and Head of Analytics Practice, KPMG Nigeria said that, “Some organizations do not even understand that they need data scientists, and unfortunately this subject is not even discussed in the boardroom”. He also advanced the argument that, “Machine learning and artificial intelligence are not taking away our jobs; [they facilitate] the rise of humans to create better jobs”. His view was shared by Mr Dozie Uzoma, the CEO of Diamond Bank, who spoke about why a CEO needs data science. He said, “Twenty years ago, accountants were important as they looked at historical records. Today, data scientists are important because we want algorithms that understand the future and can predict how to meet the needs of customers”.

Two panel discussions were also held to discuss a Nigeria-centric big data roadmap and local case studies. The leading experts in these discussions included James Agada, CEO, CWG; Wale Olokodana, Director, Enterprise Commercial Segment, Microsoft; Babafemi Ogungbamila, CIO, Interswitch; Chika Nwobi, CEO, L5Lab; Emeka Okoye, CEO, Cymantiks; Yomi Akinyemi, Senior Manager, Analytics, KPMG; Chidiebele Ifediora, Technical Sales Leader, ‎IBM; Nadayar Enegesi, Director, Andela; Bernard Ewah, CCO Keoun.ng; Steve Baba-Eko, CEO X3M; Dr Tunji Adegbesan, Founder Gidimo; Mr Foh Patrick, Software Engineer, Maxdotng; Ngozi Dozie, Director, OneFi; Samuel Odeloye, Co-Founder Lara.ng; Dele Tejuoso, Founder, Wifi Combat and Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, a US-based Nigerian scholar and the inventor of Zenvus, a precision agriculture solution powered by big data. In his practical application presentation, Prof Ekekwe remarked that technology improves productivity rates and simplifies all the industrial sectors of any economy. In Nigeria’s case, to transition from “a petroleum-driven economy to a possible data-driven economy, Nigeria needs to build the necessary model that would enable that.”

Data Science is globally celebrated as the No 1 career taking the first spot in Glassdoor’s Best Jobs in America list in 2016 and 2017, while Harvard Business Review described it as the sexiest job of the 21st century. A new study by CareerCast.com revealed data scientist jobs have the best growth potential over the next seven years, as they are one of the toughest jobs to fill.The summit and the bootcamp were supported by Microsoft, 4Afrika, Interswitch, Diamond Bank, OneFi, L5Lab, Keoun.ng, KPMG, ProShare Nigeria, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, DataCamp, BusinessDay, CFATech.ng, BrandCrunch and the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa. 

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The future of African ports is also that of her economic success

The future of African ports is also that of her economic success

The future of African ports is also that of her economic success.

Statistics indicate that 90% of imports and exports in Africa are driven by sea. With a global middle class set to reach 5 billion people by 2030, global trade is set to continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. Reports suggest that global freighter fleet is expected to double over the next decade due to the growing consumption demands of the ever-increasing middle class.

Beyond fulfilling their respective countries’ trade needs, ports act as gateways to land-locked countries such as Ethiopia and Chad, that have significant agrarian and raw materials export potential, and a great need for imports of finished and processed goods from the East and West. Without these gateways, landlocked countries that have much to offer in world trade are figuratively closed for shop.

If Africa is to play a meaningful role in world trade and benefit from the rapid global growth, its seaports will be key to ensuring that success. However, African ports face the primary challenges of under-developed infrastructure and inefficient operations, leading to significant losses in potential revenue. According to PWC, of the 72% of world container throughput commanded by developing countries, Africa collectively only sees 1%. A hypothetical improvement from 1% to 3% would increase the economic value of trade by sea by a magnitude equivalent to the GDP of certain African countries. There is clearly a need to drive improved performance at African ports if we are to take advantage of the economic promise that the future holds.

What’s holding back our sea trade success
The primary challenges shared by most African ports are long cargo clearance times; under-developed basic port and hinterland infrastructure; usage of dated equipment and low levels of automation; and container and cargo theft.

To help address some of these challenges, global donor organisations are funding the development of various African trade corridors. This is witnessed in the significant investments that are going into port infrastructure capacity expansion, including parking lot expansions, deepening of canals and the widening of basins. Infrastructure investment is however only one piece of the puzzle required to handle more cargo in a more efficient manner.

The key to efficiency is for ports to do more with their existing resources, particularly those focused on moving cargo. By optimising the utilisation of these resources, ports will not only improve their cargo throughput but also become more profitable. According to SAP global performance benchmarking, ports that leverage technology to drive productivity improvements have a 36% higher operating margin than their peers. As an example, in Asia where ports are largely automated, the turnaround time for vessels – the time it takes to port, offload cargo, reload, and depart – can be as little as 7 hours compared to the 5-day average for an African port. Cargo vessels can also spend a full month longer in an African port than they would in an Asian equivalent.

One of the key differentiating factors of leading global ports is the extent to which they have adopted emerging technologies. For example, IoT driven smart logistics platforms and advanced analytics solutions that manage container theft, predict the failure of key equipment, and reduce downtime, in real-time, thereby increasing port throughput and protecting profit margins. By contrast, outdated technology and manual processes remain a burden for African ports with most operators still relying on ageing equipment, disparate systems and a siloed approach to handling core processes and operations.

Moving forward for Africa’s ports
To address the challenges and overcome some of the prevailing inhibitors to their success and growth, African ports are embracing various technologies to achieve performance improvements realised by their counterparts in other geographies. In pursuit of such performance excellence, African port authorities have identified two top-level goals: increasing port throughput and improving terminal operations. To increase port throughput, port authorities are considering ways to accelerate the flow of goods through their port by reducing congestion in the value chain. By leveraging hub logistics, transportation management solutions, and connected warehouse offerings, port authorities can accelerate the rate of information exchange across the multiple stakeholders in the port value chain, and unlock the ability to conduct real-time performance monitoring of key assets. This enables them to track profitability at an asset level, enabling them to identify potential new business opportunities. As an example, the Hamburg Port Authority simplified logistics and truck park management with SAP Hub Logistics, and was able to reduce idle time for carriers, improve its traffic management system, and achieve a higher turnover of traffic from 9 million containers to an eventual 25 million.

To improve terminal operations, African ports need to adopt automation as a means of standardising and simplifying port operations. In addition, these ports require a centralised approach to managing processes, enabled by a single platform for all automation efforts. This will allow them to handle unusual circumstances by pre-empting potential business disruption, recommending remediation actions and facilitating communication between stakeholders across the port value chain, with no duplication of efforts or messaging.

Realising Africa’s economic potential
With 30% of the world’s remaining mineral resources and approximately 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land on the continent, Africa’s relevance in the global food and resource transportation value chain is significant. The success of Africa’s ports and associated transport networks is critical to Africa’s conversion of economic potential to economic success. To adequately facilitate greater trade with the world, African ports need to embrace innovation, automation and simplification. By investing in the right business solutions that offer end to end transportation management, connected warehouse management, vessel and container track-and-trace, and inter alia, improved hub logistics, African ports can take a step closer toward enriching the continent.

Partnering with a global technology provider, African ports can adopt innovative business models, streamline operations, and scale their operations to meet future demand and realise their full potential.

By Kirenga Rwigema, Industry Value Advisor for Ports & Rail at SAP Africa

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John Sanei becomes first South African to join Singularity University’s faculty

John Sanei becomes first South African to join Singularity University’s faculty

John Sanei becomes first South African to join Singularity University’s faculty.

The Singularity University, a collection of some of the most innovative minds in the world, announced on Tuesday 31 October 2017 that South African, John Sanei has been invited to join Singularity University’s (SU’s) panel of global speakers. John, a business innovation strategist, trend specialist and futurist will join a panel which includes the world’s top minds in exponential technologies, global grand challenges, entrepreneurship, and organisational innovation.

Sanei, author of South African bestseller What’s Your Moonshot?, is now listed alongside the likes of Peter Diamandis, co-founder and chairman of Singularity University, Rey Kurzwei one of the world leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, Anousheh Ansari, electronics and computer engineer, entrepreneur and first female space tourist, Anja Boisen, professor and head of Nanoprobes , Neil Jacobstein chairman of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track in the Singularity University research group and many others from around the world.

“It’s an honour to be included on the list of innovators and futurists creating and decoding the fourth industrial revolution. Technology is disrupting our world as we know it; turning it upside-down, and allowing for the possibility of solving global grand challenges,” says Sanei who was recently in San Francisco at Singularity University.

Sanei says having Digital Neo Cortex’s embedded into our brains is less than two decades away which will elevate and transform humanity as we know it –besides the exponential advances that are bringing access to free energy, free communication and free transportation – we are set for an extremely abundant future.

Part of his role will be working with SU on its growth strategies to help expand the education of exponential technologies and how these will affect humanity and ultimately solve the earth’s grand challenges… key among them being the ability to educate and feed every human on earth.

Edited by Dean Workman
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