South Africa’s ‘Big Five’ Growth Opportunities

In the two decades since South Africans worked together to transform their political landscape and usher in a new democracy, the country has made remarkable progress. In particular, GDP has nearly doubled in real terms, lifting millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class and greatly expanding access to services. Yet since 2008, average annual GDP growth has slowed to just 1.8 percent, while unemployment has stubbornly remained at 25 percent. Given the country’s vibrant public life and dynamic business sector, South Africa has no shortage of ideas, but a tone of pessimism is growing as many worry that the economy is stuck in a low-growth trap.

A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, South Africa’s big five: Bold priorities for inclusive growth, recommends reigniting the country’s economic progress by focusing on five opportunities: advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, natural gas, service exports, and the agricultural value chain. If government and businesses prioritize them, these five initiatives alone could by 2030 increase GDP growth by a total of 1.1 percentage points per year, adding 1 trillion rand ($87 billion) to annual GDP and creating 3.4 million new jobs.


Here are the “big five” opportunities we’ve identified—and why:

  • Advanced manufacturing. South Africa can draw on its skilled labor to grow into a globally competitive manufacturing hub focused on high-value-added categories such as automotive, industrial machinery and equipment, and chemicals. To realize this opportunity, South African manufacturers will have to pursue new markets and step up innovation and productivity.
  • Infrastructure productivity. While the country is investing heavily in infrastructure, big gaps remain in electricity, water, and sanitation. A true partnership between the public and private sectors could make infrastructure spending up to 40 percent more productive by maximizing the use of existing assets and increasing maintenance, prioritizing projects with greatest impact, and strengthening management practices to streamline delivery.
  • Natural gas. South Africa’s electricity shortage has constrained growth, and, despite new capacity, another shortfall is projected between 2025 and 2030. Natural-gas plants—which are fast to build, entail low capital costs, and have a small carbon footprint—can provide an alternative to diversify the power supply. With the necessary regulatory certainty, we estimate that South Africa could install up to 20 gigawatts of gas-fired base-load power-generation capacity by 2030. Gas can be provided through imports, local shale-gas resources (if proven), or both.
  • Service exports. South Africa has highly developed service industries, yet it currently captures only 2 percent of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa’s market for service imports, which is worth nearly half a trillion rand ($38 billion). With the right investments, service businesses could ramp up exports to the region; and government can help by promoting regional trade deals. In construction, the opportunity ranges from design to construction management to maintenance services. In financial services, promising growth areas include wholesale and retail banking, as well as insurance.
  • Raw and processed agricultural exports. With consumption rising in markets throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, South Africa could triple its agricultural exports by 2030. This could be a key driver of rural growth, benefiting the nearly one in ten South Africans who depend on subsistence or smallholder farming. Capturing this potential will require a bold national agriculture plan to ramp up production, productivity, and agroprocessing.

Successfully delivering on these priorities will move South Africa closer to realizing its long-held vision of a “rainbow nation” characterized by shared prosperity for all. But first, the country will need to embrace some fundamental changes to become more globally competitive; not least, it will have to address a serious skills shortage through a dramatic expansion of vocational training. Tackling such foundational issues will require business and government to come together in a new partnership characterized by shared vision, collaboration, and trust.

Richard Dobbs is a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, where Susan Lund is a partner; David Fine is a director in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office, where Paul Jacobson is a consultant, Acha Lekeis a director, and Nomfanelo Magwentshu and Christine Wu are principals.


Nasir Yammama – Founder, Verdant Agri-Tech

Country: Nigeria

It all began in 1996 in the village of Yammama. On a clear day here, a blue sky covers the heavens and white cotton fields light the ground below. A dozen brightly-painted trucks are lined up; workers load sacks upon sacks of cotton. Then six-year-old Yammama, who carries the name of his village, walks the fields with his father. He saw the workers sweating and vowed to improve the work of farmers in Africa.

In 2014, he founded Verdant AgriTech, a social enterprise to support rural farmers with mobile technologies for sustainable farming and improved food production.

“The company was founded on the premise that smallholders should be able to produce more, sell more, make more profit and thereby attain an improved standard of living by using simple technologies,” he says.

Yammama began with 50 farmers in Katsina, his home state. He taught them to use their basic phones to gather market information, weather and management skills, and financial services.

Yammama has achieved a lot. He studied information technology and business information systems at Middlesex University, London, has a master’s in creative technology, was selected among 50 Global Entrepreneurs for the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and won numerous awards, including the British Council and Virgin Atlantic’s Enterprise Challenge in 2015. This gave him the chance to be mentored by Sir Richard Branson and receive a start-up grant for Verdant.

In collaboration with Oxfam and GIZ, Verdant is currently running a project to support 25,000 farmers. This June, Yammama will also receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in England.

Yammama has profited from linking technology to Africa’s rich red soil.

Source: Forbes Africa

Creating a Positive Work Environment

When it comes to managing your employees, one of the most important things you can do for them involves setting the right tone at work.  We’ve all heard some of the horror stories about terrible jobs or bad managers, and the one thing each of these stories has in common was the negative workplace environment.

An employee’s motivation to work is heavily influenced by his or her environment. You want your employees to respect you—not fear you. Creating a positive work environment will yield far better results for your employees and your company.

Clear communication

Good communication between a boss and his or her employees is essential for a positive working relationship. Your employees need to understand what you want them to accomplish, but you also need to have an idea of what they expect from you. There should be an equal amount of communication from you and your employees.

The key to good communication at work is to be clear and direct. If there are issues, don’t avoid them and pretend they don’t exist. Address them head-on and make it clear why it’s an issue. Especially if you are carrying bad news, it’s much better to be direct with your words. 

Listen to everyone’s ideas

Each one of your employees is with your company for a reason. Encourage employees to voice ideas. Even if the idea may need some work, it’s still important that everyone has his or her say. This will show that each member of your team is valuable and his or her input is just as important as a fellow coworker’s.

Encourage your employees to share their ideas.

Set up specific times during the day to open your office door and allow employees to bounce ideas off of you. Encourage your team members, especially the more quiet employees, by asking for input directly—that will help cement the fact that everyone’s input is important. At Swartz Kitchens & Bath, employees are encouraged to share design tips in their weekly meetings. This lets them learn from each other and also helps them to be on the lookout for more ideas to share with the team.

Recognize hard work

It’s a good idea to reward an employee who does a good job. Recognizing the individuals who work hard will encourage them to keep up the great work. It also instills the notion that hard work is acknowledged and appreciated, and encourages other employees to strive for the same recognition.

Staff meetings are a great time to acknowledge the work your employees do. You can take two minutes out of your meetings to bring attention to your employees’ accomplishments. Other rewards that are cost-efficient can involve letting your hard working employees either leave work early or come in later, or present them with a prize such as a gift card.

Internet marketing company WebpageFX has an “ongoing learning program” that rewards employees for spending time outside of work reading industry related books, learning code, or attending seminars. Some creative incentives they offer include tickets to play laser tag, Netflix subscriptions, and if you work hard at it for several years, you could even earn a safari to Africa.

Show your trust

You know those parents that hover over their children constantly and never give them time to breathe? You don’t want to be the workplace equivalent of that. Your instinct may be to micromanage and make sure everything is running exactly as you want it, but that will only create a negative environment for everyone else in the office. I once had a boss who read every email that anyone sent in the entire company. I would send a coworker a private email asking about the details of a project, and by boss would respond with input. Everyone felt like we were being watched, and morale suffered.

Step back and let your employees do their jobs. You have to trust that they will do a good job—after all, you hired them for a reason. While you should be periodically checking in with your employees, you don’t want to be overbearing about it.

Have some fun 

Your employees are spending eight hours of their day in the office. Maintaining a professional environment is important—but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull. A happier employee will perform much better than a miserable one.

There are many ways you can be both fun and professional. Allow your employees to decorate their work spaces to show off their personalities—even have small contests for the best decorated desk. Encourage employees to take breaks during the day and they’ll be happier and more productive. A staff retreat can do wonders for morale—provided you have a fun and productive retreat.

Lead the way

As the one in charge, you are the one who sets the tone for your employees. If you are grumpy and negative, your employees will react accordingly. If you stay positive, your work environment will reflect that. A smile is contagious—and a frown even more so.

Be comfortable and encouraging with your employees. Listen to them and keep up the constant communication. Once you create the positive work environment, maintaining it becomes a lot easier.

Source: Bplans

Find Your Why and Tell Your Story: Lessons for Budding Entrepreneurs From Gerard Adams

Gerard Adams exited from Elite Daily in 2015, hosts the show Leaders Create Leaders and offers wisdom and insight as the Millennial Mentor on Instagram. In short, he knows a ton about entrepreneurship and leadership, and is on a mission to share this information with the world. This desire is what led Gerard to launch Fownders, a learning platform built for entrepreneurs who want to develop the skills needed to align their purpose towards a prosperous career and lifestyle.

Read on for three key takeaways Gerard wants all entrepreneurs to learn and incorporate into their journey.

Find your why.

After his exit from EliteDaily in 2015, Gerard sought a new purpose and passion in his life. At a Tony Robbins event the phrase, “success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure,” seized upon him. As a young entrepreneur he had been greatly inspired by a visit to Silicon Valley, and blown away by all of the advice and mentorship he found in the community.

A native of New Jersey, Gerard decided to bring the idea of educating entrepreneurs back home — and Fownders was born. For Gerard, cultivating emotional intelligence and focusing on core values is the first key step to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

“You need to align personal values, purpose and what drives you – your why. Really focus on that personal growth and mindset. Focus on internal before you build something external.”

By beginning your entrepreneurial journey with a focus on personal mission, the rocky road of development will ultimately be more fulfilling, more satisfying, and easier to navigate, with a strong why at the forefront of your mind.

Idea isn’t enough.

You’ve heard it before at Propelify. Everyone has ideas. Only entrepreneurs build and monetize those ideas.

“A lot of people want to become entrepreneurs. And a lot of people have ideas. But how to actually take action, to execute that idea, to learn strategies and tactics, and then turn that idea into something profitable? That’s real entrepreneurship,” Gerard says.

Fownders is focused on helping budding entrepreneurs chart a path to success before they even begin. By using the lessons his previous mentors have already learned, Gerard wants Fownders to help idea generators become innovators and turn their ideas into reality.

“Being of service, offering something of real value – that’s the lesson entrepreneurs need to learn along the way,” Gerard says.

The next great idea you have, begin with the end in mind — the monetizaion — so you can craft a series of steps that will lead to success.

Personal branding is storytelling

“One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned is to understand how you tell your story. To not only understand how you see yourself but to see how the world sees you,” Gerard says.

By learning to craft and cultivate a personal brand that tells the story you want to tell, you will entice collaborators and customers to your product and business, in a natural way.

Interested in tweaking your own brand or image? Answer these four questions to start the process: What is unique about you or your product? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What can you share that’s of value? What space or platform will be best for you to share your story?

Your brand is your story. Think about what story you want to tell as you make your vision a reality.

5 Essentials for Succeeding When You Become Your Own Boss

Picture this. You get to your desk on that last Monday morning. You’ve spent years working this job that hasn’t been what you wanted for your life, but you smile because it’s almost over. You put in your notice two weeks ago. You’re down to your last week. This is it. You’re about to leave the nine-to-five world behind to begin living your dream of entrepreneurship.

You spend the week saying goodbye to coworkers you’ve enjoyed working with (you smile at those you didn’t). Each day you recall what you’ve gone through and consider where you’re going. You come to the end of that week and clean out your things. When you walk out of those doors on Friday evening, you feel victorious. What happens next in your life will be on your terms.

You spend the weekend with those you love. You breathe easier because you don’t have to punch a clock anymore. Monday morning you wake up without an alarm clock, get out of bed and smile until your face hurts from smiling so much. The freedom feels good on you.

Now that your dream of entrepreneurship is reality, the real work of your life begins. You will be free in a way you haven’t been before, but how you pay your bills is on you. The amount of money you earn is proportional to the amount of work you put into your business. Here are five essentials to growing a wildly successful business now that you have become your own boss.

1. Get clear on your outcome.

To get anywhere, you have to know where you’re going. It’s the same in any business. To succeed as your own boss, you have to know what you want your outcome to be. You became your own boss for a reason greater than making money without punching the clock.

Get clear on your goals. Get honest about all the things you want to accomplish in your life and how your business will help you get those things. Give yourself metrics to build upon each step of the way. Set lofty goals that are attainable but not easily. Live each day knowing you will one day accomplish those goals and keep your focus on the outcome of those accomplishments.

2. Build systems that can be scaled.

Being the boss is more than signing your name on some paperwork. It means you are the person responsible for the growth of your business. To grow, you need to implement strategies and put systems in place that allow you to scale. Your goal should be to grow your business bigger than just you. You need marketing systems (even, possibly, a team), plans for each quarter, sales goals, a system to organize your time and more. Tools and technology can help you with creating systems. Research what systems work best to grow the type of business you have.

3. The real goal is to become the best you.

You become a better boss as you become a better person. Your personal development is inseparable from the growth of your business. Your reward for putting in the work to be the best you is the energy and motivation you need to grow your business.

Continue to eat food that nourishes your body. Spend the appropriate amount of time exercising. Read books and consume content that educates and inspires you. Experiment outside your comfort zone. Wake up each day determined to challenge yourself more than the day before. Become the best version of yourself in every area of your life. It will make you a strong entrepreneur who grows an amazing business.

4. Leverage today’s tools and opportunities.

We are very fortunate to live in the internet age. More than 3.5 billion people log into the internet every day. About 2.46 billion people use social media every day. Today, you can access all the information you want — about anything — with a few strokes of your finger on your smartphone. You can use software and technology that can take your business to the next level in months. Your business will experience explosive growth when you leverage all these opportunities.

Leverage the power of the internet to market and give your business exposure to millions of people. You can get interviewed on podcasts about your business and write for large business and personal development publications. These two strategies alone will grow your audience and exposure. Use tools such as WordPress, Clickfunnels, Hootsuite, Asana, Mailchimp, DocuSign and many more. You don’t need to understand and know how to use all of it. The goal is to leverage what makes sense for your growth strategy.

5. Surround yourself with entrepreneurs who push you.

Your circle has an effect on how successful you become. One secret to becoming successful as your own boss is surrounding yourself with entrepreneurs who inspire and push you. You want those in your life who are just as hungry as you. People who are complacent will drag you down to their level quickly. Join a mastermind group. Network with local entrepreneurs doing great things where you live. Join Facebook groups with like-minded game changers. The point being: elevate your circle to become successful.

Use these five essentials to help you build the business of your dreams and create a life of freedom.

Source: Entrepreneur

INSIGHT: How Africa’s Youth are Rising to Meet the Continent’s Socio-economic Challenges

“By 2035 Africa will have the largest youth workforce in the world. It is the young entrepreneurs that will address the employment gap.” – Fred Swaniker, ALA founder

It’s no surprise that “Entrepreneurship and Industrialisation” make up the theme for the 2017 African Economic Outlook, released in May. With an estimated 29 million new entrants to Africa’s labour force every year between 2015 and 2030, the continent’s unemployment statistics are rather grim.

Did you know? African innovation may long have been understated, but it’s a force to be reckoned with, as revealed by the statistics in the 2017 African Economic Outlook:

  • More people start a new business in Africa than in Latin American Countries (19%) or Asia (13%).
  • 20% of new African entrepreneurs are introducing a new product or service.
  • At 22%, Africa’s rate of working-age population starting new businesses, is the highest in the world.
  • Firms with fewer than 20 employees and less than 5 years’ experience provide the most jobs in Africa’s formal sector.

Africa’s hope, suggests the report, lies in its entrepreneurs: “Innovative industrialisation strategies for African countries should target Africa’s high-potential entrepreneurs. They create jobs, increase demand for educated labour, bring goods and services to market and contribute to the government tax base.”

This knowledge is not new – in fact, it’s the core belief behind the annual Anzisha Prize, Africa’s largest sponsorship and funding opportunity for young African entrepreneurs.

A partnership between African Leadership Academy (ALA) and Mastercard Foundation, the Anzisha Prize was launched seven years ago to recognise and support the vision of Africa’s young innovators. Every year, 15 finalists are selected from hundreds of emerging pan-African business leaders aged between 15 and 22 years.

Age is but a number

On Tuesday, 15 finalists were honoured at an exclusive gala ceremony where 22-year-old Ibrahima Ben Aziz Konate from Cote D’Ivoire was awarded the top prize. Abraham is the founder of Poultry D’Or, a poultry business that employs 15 people. The $25 000 cash prize, he says, “is the difference that I need to scale my business and show the young people in my community that entrepreneurship is possible, even at a very young age.”

Age is the one of Anzisha’s category requirements questioned and deliberated on every year, noted Josh Adler, Vice President of Global Programmes for ALA. There’s a good reason why Anzisha targets the young. “If we want to address youth unemployment, it’s important to invest in young entrepreneurs,” ALA founder Fred Swaniker said in his keynote address, which not only paid tribute to the finalists but also outlined the principle need for a support system for the young innovators who would go on to play a critical role in providing real solutions to Africa’s socio-economic problems.

The Anzisha fellows certainly do: each finalist has founded a business that responds directly to a social or economic need within their community – despite their age. Runner up Victoria Olimatunde from Nigeria, founded Bizkidz, a board game that teaches students financial literacy. She is only 15 – and was selected from 219 applications from her home country. Seventeen-year-old Edgar Edmund from Tanzania, also a runner-up, founded Green Venture Tanzania, which has created a method of turning recycled plastic materials found on the streets into durable construction blocks.

Selected from 14 countries, nearly half of this year’s Anzisha finalists are young women representing sectors as diverse as clean energy, agriculture, waste recycling and youth empowerment. They, and their fellow finalists, “represent the capacity of African youth, their energy and vision,” Koffi Assouan from MasterCard Foundation, noted in his address to the audience.

Accessing full potential

All Africa’s young men and women need to realize their full potential is access to funding, Assouan asserted, and this point is driven home by the scope and variety of pioneering projects Anzisha supports. “The Anzisha Prize is more than a prize – it is a fellowship that enables you to prosper in the journey of entrepreneurship,” Assouan revealed, explaining that engagement Anzisha fellows does not end when the ceremony is over. Apart form cash prizes, finalists also benefit from ALA’s Youth Entrepreneur Support Unit (YES-U), which provides ongoing consulting and training support in the form of an Anzisha Accelerator boot camp, mentorship and consulting services, travel opportunities to network, and business equipment.

The Anzisha Prize ceremony was a glittering event that highlighted a rallying call for Africa’s youth to unite in meeting her needs, as witnessed by the testimonies of the spirited young finalists and previous winners, and punctuated by Swaniker’s challenge to young entrepreneurs to create one billion jobs for Africa in the next 18 years.

Clearly, it’s a challenge Africa’s youth will have no problem meeting.

Source: African Leadership Acedemy

Ocean Basket was launched with R800 and a dream

“We convinced all of our suppliers to let us pay them with post-dated cheques, and then we worked like hell to make enough money that month to ensure they didn’t bounce.”

Fats Lazarides founded Ocean Basket in 1995 with R800. Today the nation-wide brand has system-wide sales of over R1 billion.

Ocean Basket was launched from a 118 m2 store in Menlyn Park with some crazy restrictions, because the centre management had assured their current clients there would be no more restaurants in the centre. They could only serve five proteins and two starches. They weren’t allowed to serve salads, desserts or coffee, and only one red and one white wine by the glass. Doors had to be closed by 7pm.

For every restriction, Fats Lazarides found an advantage. “We focused on the lunch-time trade. Meals were cooked and served quickly. Bar stools set up against the wall saved space and let single shoppers eat without feeling lonely.” Soon, families would deliberately eat an early dinner before the store closed. “An entire family of four could eat for R60 because we let them bring their own salads, wine and even desserts.”

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

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