Author: Uzoma Oguh

  • 12th April, 2024
  • 3 min reading

In the last decade, Africa has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of scalable ventures and entrepreneurial activity.  This rise is being driven by a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs who are leveraging technology to drive growth and make a significant impact across the continent, as well as attract more investors who are interested in Africa’s potential.  

According to Africa the Big Deal, by Q4 of 2019, funding raised by African startups hit $0.7bn, surging to $1.8bn in Q1 of the 2022 financial year, with a total of 125 startups making up this figure. In 2023, African startups raised $2.9 billion in funding, with the big four (Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, & South Africa) retaining their position as the top investment destinations in Africa. As of February 2024, startups across Africa raised a total of $217 million, representing a 182% increase when compared with January. 

Image Source: Moove. The African startup offers vehicle financing for mobility entrepreneurs

 

Though the investment landscape in Africa offers many opportunities for investors and startups, finding the right partner remains a challenge for investors and small businesses across the continent. Identifying suitable firms or trusted partners is one of the obstacles for investors looking to invest in African startups, while entrepreneurs face the challenge of attracting the right investors to their businesses.  

In today’s complex business environment, where even some of the most recognised names compromise on integrity, it has become important for investors and business owners to have the right partners for growth and investments. While it is critical for investors to know the health of the company they intend to invest in, entrepreneurs seeking financing should study potential investors for any red flags.  

But what does it take to build a fruitful partnership between African founders and investors looking to invest in African businesses? During our recent webinar on “Fostering Institutional Investment in Africa,” Anthony Osijo, Group CFO of Bboxx, gave valuable insights into how both investors and entrepreneurs may build fruitful partnerships in the dynamic African market.  

Image Source Bboxx: Bboxx is transforming lives and unlocking potential by connecting consumers and deploying innovative energy solutions across Africa.

Key insights include:  

For African startups and businesses:  

Understanding Investors’ Interests: Understanding that different investors have different interests is key to attracting the right investors. The investment goals or interests of traditional institutional investors, like private equity and venture capitalist firms, differ from those of development finance institutions and impact investors as well as sovereign wealth funds. Your investment proposals must be tailored to align with the interests of different types of investors. A recent Morgan Stanley report reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) of global investors are interested in sustainable investing.  

Value Proposition: Clearly articulate the value your business brings to the table. Your value proposition should be clear, concise, and compelling. It should be easy for investors to understand what your business does and why it is different from other businesses in your industry.  

Long-Term Perspective: Seek investors who have a nuanced understanding of Africa and are committed to long-term partnerships. Pitch for investors looking beyond the temporary market trends in Africa and fusing on the fundamental values and growth potential of the business on the continent. This will help you avoid making impulsive moves toward investors for your business. IMF Global Financial Stability Report, which looked at the underlying drivers of investment decisions by institutional investors, found that this type of investor usually have a long investment horizon, with obligations that often stretch out over decades.  

Image Source: Apollo Agriculture Kenya-based agritech Apollo Agriculture, helps farmers access farm inputs, financing, and markets.

For potential investors in Africa:  

Resilience: There are obvious barriers associated with investing in Africa, including governance and regulations. Investing in Africa requires resilience and staying power due to its unique challenges and opportunities. However, there are huge benefits for investors who look beyond the short-term benefits.  

Local Expertise: Partner with entities that have a deep understanding of the African market and its nuances. Before partnering with an investor, ensure their values and vision align with yours. A shared vision and core values create a strong foundation for a successful partnership.  

Considerations: Focus on companies that have a history of revenue growth and a promising future growth trajectory. Assess growth potentials, returns, and financial propositions when making investment decisions.  

Navigating the dynamic African market to form effective partnerships requires a deep understanding of its complexities and nuances. ETK’s due diligence services help bridge the gap between potential investors and African startups, making the journey more streamlined and focused. By aligning interests, articulating value propositions, and creating long-term strategies, entrepreneurs can attract the right investors, while investors can leverage local expertise and resilience for sustainable growth. In this ever-evolving landscape, developing partnerships based on shared values and visions paves the way for mutual success and impactful contributions to Africa’s business ecosystem. 

  • 11th March, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

ETK Group was featured in the Spring 2024 edition of Horizon Magazine UK, shining a spotlight on our Director of Growth and Strategy, Terser Adamu.

In this feature of Horizon – Spring ’24 Edition – Africa Culture Class Article, Terser shares insights on some of the fantastic trade and investment opportunities that the African market offers!

This edition of the magazine consists of 84 pages of specialist advice and guidance. Horizon Magazine UK aims to equip you with the tools to take your international trade to new heights.

Key themes explored in the article include:

👉 Overlooked Potential: Africa’s thriving market has been misunderstood for too long.

👉 Changing Perception: More are recognising Africa as a lucrative business and investment hub.

👉 Diversity as Opportunity: Africa’s cultural diversity offers fertile ground for innovative ventures.

👉 Relationship Building: Emphasising the importance of building lasting connections in African markets.

👉Flexibility in Approach: Adapting strategies to navigate the nuances of African business culture.

It’s truly an honour for us to contribute to this edition of the magazine and to showcase the work that we’re doing at ETK Group to facilitate trade and investment in Africa.

Many thanks to the team at Horizon Magazine UK for consistently producing such useful and informative content in every edition

  • 9th March, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

On Friday, March 8, 2024, ETK Group organised an Afternoon Tea at the UK House of Lords for a group of inspirational women across diverse professions to celebrate International Women’s Day, very kindly hosted by Lord Kulveer Ranger.

During the event, we had an insightful panel discussion chaired by ETK Group Managing Director, Bolaji Sofoluwe, alongside the incredible Rupa Ganatra Popat Founder and Managing Partner of Arāya Ventures, and Alice Hopkin, Special Adviser to the UK Home Office.

The panellists shared great insights and experiences on women in business, government-led initiatives, and whether or not legislation was needed to increase investment in women.

Key takeaways from their discussion include:

👉 It makes economic sense to support women with funding as women are more likely to reinvest in healthcare, education, and communities.

👉 There is a need to empower women in financial education and incorporate this into the mainstream educational curriculum.

👉 There is a need to expand the table in various aspects of life to allow for diversity of thought, leadership, and equal opportunities.

Our sincere appreciation goes to Lord Kulveer Ranger for hosting us, and Oliver Scheidt deserves special recognition for his consistent support.

A huge thank you to our amazing guests for giving up their afternoon to be with us at the event.

  • 29th February, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

Recently, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced its commitment in 2024 of ₦60 billion (about US$ 37 million) towards achieving net zero emissions by 2060. The roadmap for achieving net zero by 2060 is set out in Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), which stipulates the specific actions the government will take to decarbonise the economy.

The plan focuses on eliminating emissions from the largest sources of greenhouse gases, which taken together, account for about 65% of Nigeria’s CO2 emissions. In thinking about how effective these strategies will be, the following four questions come to mind:

  • How does Nigeria plan to meet its commitments to achieving net zero by 2060?
  • Are the commitments laid out in the ETP compatible with the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and how well is Nigeria doing in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)?
  • What has been undertaken so far to achieve these objectives, How well is Nigeria doing with respect to meeting its stated objectives, and what more needs to be done?
  • What does this mean for the country, specifically for individuals and businesses?

We thought it would be a good time to review Nigeria’s strategy for achieving net zero and its impact on businesses and households in the country.

In this progress report, Brent Barnette reviews, assesses, and provides expert insights on Nigeria’s strategy for achieving net zero, progress so far, and how the transition is impacting businesses and households

The progress report can be downloaded here Nigeria’s Net Zero by 2060 Progress Report

  • 11th February, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

Institutional investors have a key role to play in helping to close the
sustainable financing gap, which is defined as the shortfall between the expected investment required to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and existing investment currently allocated towards achieving those goals. In Africa, the sustainable financing gap is estimated to be approximately 7% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

As part of our commitment to developing robust, viable, growth-enabled businesses in markets across Africa, we at ETK wanted to explore how the sustainability agenda is affecting institutional investment in Africa.

In this article, we took a look at how the focus on sustainability is creating entirely new business models and new opportunities for existing businesses while considering the challenges these businesses face in accessing financing from institutional investors.

We also delved into how institutional investors and the sustainability agenda are creating a new set of obligations for all businesses – regardless of sector or geography – in terms of transparency
and reporting around non-financial ESG measures.

Our insightful thought piece on how sustainability is changing the way institutional investors engage with businesses in Africa can be downloaded here Sustainability and institutional investment by ETK Group

  • 4th February, 2024
  • 4 min reading

 

On Sunday, January 28, 2024, the military governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger jointly announced their exit from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with immediate effect. The planned exit will see the number of countries that make up the West African Economic Bloc shrink to 12. 

Widely seen as West Africa’s top political and regional authority, the 15-nation bloc of ECOWAS was formed in 1975 to “promote economic integration” in member states. However, in recent years, the organisation has struggled to reverse rampant coups in the region, with citizens complaining of not benefiting from the abundant natural resources in the region. 

In the joint communiqué, the three Sahel countries said the bloc has not offered significant support to their countries’ fight against insurgency and terrorism, which has led to the loss of lives and rendered millions of their citizens homeless. 

There has been widespread concern about the political and economic implications of the countries’ planned exit on the region’s fragile peace and development. The potential impact of the exit spans various sectors reliant on regional trade, supply chains, and international business within the region. 

In addition to being founding members of the 49-year-old West African organisation,  the three countries are also part of the Sahel region of Africa, which is adjudged to be potentially one of the richest regions in the world due to its abundant human, cultural, and natural resources, as well as its youthful population, yet among the poorest in the world. 

How easy can the exit be for the Sahel trio? 

Article 91 of the ECOWAS Treaty of 1975 requires “Member States wishing to withdraw from the community to give the Executive Secretary one year’s written notice.” While the immediate withdrawal as announced by the joint military government may not be feasible as a result of the countries being signatories to the ECOWAS Treaties, if the exit happens, beyond the political implications, this may have an impact on the future of trade in the region and the continent. 

In a recent discussion with leading pan-African news outlets CNBC Africa and Channels Television, ETK Managing Director Bolaji Sofoluwe provided expert insights on the potential trade disruptions and supply chain complexities resulting from this exit and the broader implications. 

Key Insights from Bolaji’s Discussions:

  • There is a need for clarity on what the three countries are withdrawing from, as there are numerous infrastructures that bind ECOWAS together as a regional bloc.
  • The decision to exit ECOWAS by the three countries should not only be based on political sentiment since the countries are landlocked countries that depend on infrastructure in neighbouring countries to trade with the rest of the world.
  • The exit may have an impact on commodity prices if the three countries continue to transport their goods through other ECOWAS member countries, and they may find themselves in extreme economic isolation.
  • Africa is going through strategic integration in terms of trade and development. The exit of the three countries would mean decoupling the continent, and this would pose a significant setback to the ongoing integration of Africa being achieved through the AfCFTA. 
  • African leaders need to have an honest conversation with each other to stop external interventions in the continent’s affairs and formulate policies that suit the people of Africa.

Impact on Borderless Africa 

The Borderless Africa campaign had a target to achieve an Africa where Africans can move around their continent without the current restrictions or visa requirements, as well as for better trade, integration, and development.

The ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Residences, and Establishments allows nationals of member nations, including Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali, to enter member countries without a visa. According to the 2023 Africa Visa Openness Report, 97% of ECOWAS country-to-country travel routes require no visa for regional individuals. Because people of the three Sahel states trade with West African countries and other nations, they are likely to lose these rights, unless they are protected by separate bilateral agreements. In addition, if the trio leave ECOWAS, the remaining members may begin to levy import duties or require visas from their citizens. 

Impact on Trade Relations and Economic Integration 

The landlocked countries of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are among the poorest on the continent; however, if the secession move by these landlocked countries is carried out, it’ll undoubtedly disrupt the region’s trade and service flow. In 2022, total trade volumes, including imports and exports, from the ECOWAS region to the rest of the world totaled $277.22 billion, according to data from the region’s Trade Information System (ECOTIS) portal. Total exports from ECOWAS were worth $131.36bn. Burkina Faso’s contributed $4.55 billion out of this number; Mali exported $3.91 billion worth of goods; and trade with the rest of the world accounted for $446.14 million. Mali’s imports were worth $6.45bn, Burkina Faso $5.63bn, and Niger $3.79bn. While the economies of the three countries account for just 8% of ECOWAS GDP, withdrawing from ECOWAS may amount to the countries condemning themselves to economic isolation. 

Setbacks on the AfCFTA 

Africa is undergoing profound changes as the region becomes more integrated, accelerated by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The full implementation of the AfCFTA agreement is projected to increase real incomes by 7%, or nearly $450 billion. 

In addition to the economic impact of the announced withdrawal, it also poses a significant challenge to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The regional economic blocs are the pillars of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The shrinking of ECOWAS is likely to weaken the pillars of the AfCFTA. 

Laudable innovations such as the proposed Eco currency, a centralized currency for the region, and the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), the centralized payment and settlement system for intra-African trade in goods and services, would be affected by the exit. Also, the progress made with AfCFTA in terms of trade and movement of people would be slowed down by the withdrawal of the three countries. 

While both parties are likely to be affected by the announced exit, there is still room for proactive strategies to mitigate the fallout. The military governments and ECOWAS need to explore realistic avenues for regional cooperation, international diplomacy, and innovative business solutions capable of putting an end to this unprecedented situation.  

 

  • 25th January, 2024
  • 5 min reading

The economic dynamics and investment landscape in east Africa present numerous business opportunities for investors looking to tap into the growth potential of the region. The East African Community (EAC), which comprises Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the newly admitted member Somalia, offers exciting prospects for investments.

According to IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for 2023, the East African Community (EAC) is on a trajectory of substantial economic growth, with region’s real GDP accelerating to 5.7 percent in 2024. The region will register the highest regional economic performance in Africa in 2024, with growth figures at over 5 percent, according to the African Development Bank’s 2023 East Africa Economic Outlook 

While the substantial growth is not equally distributed among member countries, the remarkable achievements of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, which are projected to grow at 7.2% and 8.0%, respectively, in 2024, according to the African Economic Outlook 2023, are commendable. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda are among the world’s highest-growing economies in 2024, according to the World Bank’s report on Global Economic Prospects. For instance, Rwanda’s robust digital infrastructure, renewable energy capacity, and favourable economic and political landscape make it the largest economy in East Africa and a significant player in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The EAC’s development far outpaces the sub-Saharan African average, demonstrating the region’s economic vibrancy and the efficacy of its collaborative policies.

WHY EAC?

Ranked number one in Africa by sub-regional population, EAC boasts assets such as political stability, an English-speaking and enterprising workforce, a strategic location, and exceptional natural resources, all of which make the region appealing to investors.

According to a report from Journal Economic Analysis on the attractiveness of the East African Community (EAC) for Foreign Direct Investment, some of the main strengths of the EAC relevant for attracting FDI include fast economic growth, relatively low general government debt, relatively low cost of labour, geographical proximity to regional markets and international markets (special agreements with the EU, US, China, and India), and a high share of young people involved in primary education.

Additionally, the free visa policies of Kenya and Rwanda will substantially bolster economic activities in the tourism sector of the region, enhance regional integration and economic inclusion, and attract global investors to the region.

Another comparative advantage of East Africa is its vast reserves of critical minerals. According to UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2023, Africa is home to 48% of the world’s reserves of cobalt and manganese, 80% of the world’s reserves of phosphate rock, and 92% of the world’s reserves of platinum-group metals, which are critical minerals in the production of electric cars, lithium batteries, and hydrogen batteries. Like other African regions, East Africa is also endowed with a variety of minerals, including fluorspar, titanium, zirconium, gold, oil, gas, cobalt, nickel, diamonds, copper, coal, and iron ore. These mineral deposits offer an opportunity for the region’s mining industry’s development.

Opportunities for Sustainable and Renewable Energy Investment

Apart from the region’s investment potential in agricultural businesses, supported by its nutrient-rich soils and a climate favourable to crop growth, the renewable energy sector in East Africa offers excellent prospects for investors. Investing in renewable energy in East Africa can have great benefits on sustainable socioeconomic development of the region by catalyzing economic growth, supporting job creation for the teaming youth, and improve the livelihoods of people in the region.

According to Africa’s Development Dynamics 2023 report, investments have been a major driver of East Africa’s recent growth; however, their allocation towards social and environmental sustainability remains insufficient. Current investments in sustainable energy are insufficient to meet the region’s energy access needs. While the region’s renewable energy sector has grown, most of its potential for sustainable investments has remained untapped.

For instance, despite East Africa’s diverse renewable energy assets, encompassing vast hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal energy resources, only 4% of greenfield foreign direct investment inflows into the region were directed at renewable energy projects during 2017–2022, compared to 17% for Africa as a whole. One of East Africa’s economic ambitions today is to develop its infrastructure, especially sustainable energy infrastructure.

In a recent development, in recognition of the low level of clean energy in Global South countries, which include east African countries, at the just concluded Davos 2024, the World Economic Forum announced the launch of a new alliance to provide a platform for developing economies like East Africa and other emerging markets to raise awareness about their clean energy needs, share best practices, and sustainably accelerate their energy transitions.

Past investment in the sustainable and renewable energy sector in the region includes the construction of the first solar photovoltaic park in Tanzania with a projected capacity of 150 megawatts, the second largest solar PV plant in East Africa. Kenya’s Power and Lighting Company launched a Last Mile Connectivity campaign, which was financed by the Kenyan Government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) with the aim of providing electricity access to over 300,000 non-commercial households in the first phase, reports

Similarly, Uganda is endowed with renewable energy sources, particularly hydro, biomass, and solar. Biomass accounts for 94 percent of the country’s energy consumption and is followed by hydroelectric.

With investment-appealing features such as political stability, an English-speaking and enterprising workforce, a strategic location, and exceptional natural resources, the region possesses high potential for innovative and sustainable investment to accelerate the uptake of renewable energies and contribute to the productive transformation of the continent. East Africa holds unique potential for renewable energies. The East African region is also seeing a growing interest in the renewable energy sector driven by the high costs of fossil fuels, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the challenges of climate change, which make investments in clean yet renewable energy more attractive in the region.

However, ineffective energy regulation, poor energy infrastructure, and unstable macroeconomic conditions, exacerbated by recent global shocks, weigh negatively on investor confidence in most East African countries. Africa’s Development Dynamics 2023 Report noted that suitable and renewable energies are core to East Africa’s goal to expanding access to electricity and clean cooking while supporting entrepreneurship and the region’s productive transformation. At the end of 2020, 49% of the population had access to electricity, and only 14% had access to clean cooking. Nonetheless, innovative enterprises are growing across the region and offer the potential to catalyse more investments in renewable energies and support productive transformation in the region.

According to the United Nations’ Renewable Energy in Africa: Prospects and Limits report, Africa has substantial new and renewable energy resources, most of which are under-exploited. Countries in the region have significant potential for renewable energy, particularly hydropower, solar, and wind. The report noted that only about 7% of Africa’s enormous hydropower potential has been harnessed. Existing estimates of hydro potential do not include small, mini, and micro hydro opportunities, which are also significant. Geothermal energy potential stands at 9000 MW, but only about 60 MW has been exploited in Kenya. Based on the limited initiatives that have been undertaken to date, renewable energy technologies (RETs) could contribute significantly to the development of the energy sector in eastern African countries. Renewable energy technologies (RETs) provide attractive, environmentally sound technology options for Africa’s electricity industry.

In the build-up to the UK-African Summit scheduled to take place in April 2024, UK and Rwandan business leaders, investors, and senior government officials will converge in Kigali from January 29 to 31, for the inaugural UK-Rwanda Business Forum, a Pre-event for the UK-African Investment Summit, to discuss business and investment opportunities in Rwanda and, by extension, the East African region. It is hoped that the forum will attract high-quality British investment in sustainable, yet renewable, energy to the region and further open opportunities for new investments from other parts of the world to East Africa.

As a leading African trade and investment firm focused on guiding existing and potential firms in Africa on their ESG and sustainability investments in Africa, our network of experts on the ground in east Africa can guide you in successfully exploring the untapped potential in the region. From Kenya, Rwanda, the DR Congo, and other countries in the region and across the continent, our experience and expertise will help your organisation successfully navigate the complexities of the East African market.

Image by ASphotofamily on Freepik

  • 12th January, 2024
  • 3 min reading

Recently, while sharing valuable tips on mastering adaptability in entrepreneurship and navigating career transitions on the BLACK RISE Podcast Series with Flavilla Fongang, ETK Managing Director Bolajo Sofoluwe emphasised that success is a marathon, not a sprint.

The same could be said about doing business in Africa. If you are a company trying to enter the African market in 2024, our advice to ‘newbies’ is to treat doing business in Africa as a marathon, not a sprint.

Do you need a crash course on entering the African market? Our FREE Market Entry Guide will teach you all you need to know, from picking the right partners to selecting the suitable market for your product and service, promotion, and finding your African client base.

Doing business in Africa is a marathon; if you aren’t physically fit, don’t start. African marketplaces require a significant amount of discipline, attention, time, and investment. The goal is to cross the finish line, and whether you’re first or last, the real achievement is getting started and earning the “medal” of success.

Before you get started, it’s crucial to outline your market entry objectives when considering expansion and entry into the vibrant African markets. Whether you’re eyeing Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, or any other country on the continent, consider these key points:

Business Objectives for Africa Expansion
It is critical to define your African expansion goals and how success will be judged. Set precise targets to help you track your development and measure your triumphs as a starting point. Measuring progress and determining whether your strategy is performing as anticipated can be challenging without clearly defined targets. This must be in line with the goals of your firm. For example, if you are expanding into a new African market like Ghana, your objectives could include increasing your customer base, increasing revenue, or enhancing brand visibility.

Understand your Sales Value or Volume
Rather than monetary profit, your targeted sales volume reflects the quantity of products you need to sell in your chosen African market. While it may appear that sales volume is less essential, this is not true. Africa’s growing population presents significant prospects for retail and distribution expansion. As a result, your sales volume is an important sign of the health of your African business. It enables you to monitor the effectiveness of marketing initiatives, assess the efforts of sales personnel, and select the ideal sites for real stores.

Identify Relevant Product or Service
If you have considered direct sales or exporting as your main entry options into your chosen African market, the overall success of your export business in Africa will depend strongly on the products and markets you have chosen to export to.
The right market can give you a competitive advantage and the chance to expand your business. On the other hand, picking the wrong market can lead to low sales, higher expenses, and legal difficulties.

Define your Target Market or Markets
When expanding into Africa, one of the major areas to consider is market size. While most African countries can boast of a sizeable population, a market worth targeting should be sizeable enough to be profitable, have growth potential, not already be swamped by competitors, be accessible, and fit with your firm’s mission and objectives.

Allocating Resources for Project Success
Funds and resources play a vital role in the success of your expansion into African markets. You might have a great idea to compete in the sustainable energy market in Africa. However, it is a business that is capital-intensive. What this means is that you will either need a lot of money or must be able to raise funds. The question then is: does your organisation have the resources to do business in Africa?

Is your business eyeing economic opportunities in Africa? Our team of African business expansion experts is ready to guide you in achieving your African market entry goals.

  • 5th January, 2024
  • 3 min reading

A warm welcome to 2024! As we begin yet another remarkable year, it’s a moment for us to reflect on the distinctive characteristics of the businesses that placed their trust in our services throughout 2023. To offer a fascinating insight into our customer base, we’ve taken the opportunity to categorise them.

Join us as we explore the diverse and prevalent categories of clients that ETK Group had the privilege to collaborate with in 2023.

1) Enterprise Catalysts for Growth (ECG)

These risk-takers are major contributors to economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. They are energetic business owners with a strong desire to succeed. They have strong managerial and ownership control over a huge portion of African enterprises and are responsible for an estimated 80% of jobs on the continent. Despite the continent’s current economic predicament, this set of clients continues to strive for the top. Their business goal is to become more structured and to develop their businesses into scalable African enterprises. They ensure that their teams have the appropriate competencies across a range of functional areas with our bespoke organisational transformation and capacity-building solution for African MSMEs.

2) The Market Frontier Navigators (MFN)

This clientele consists of daring risk-takers who have had success in other markets or have gotten it right with their products and services on other continents. They, like the three wise men, have heard of Africa’s immense potential and are eager to capitalise on it. However, they are hampered by a lack of advice and knowledge about African markets. They frequently come to us for guidance on how to strategically marshal each market on the continent. Our team of professionals assists them through the market entry process, giving assistance, insights, and research to ensure their success on the continent.

3) The Impact Development Partners (IDP)

This group of clients is less concerned with profit and more concerned with the well-being of their host communities. Non-profit companies, development institutes, foundations, and charities are looking for highly qualified individuals to implement, manage, and oversee their projects in Africa. They are looking for progress partners who might be their third eye on their impact projects in Africa. Our team of Africa-based consultants got to work, providing monitoring, evaluation, and reporting services to maximise the success of their impact investments in Africa through our project management and implementation services.

4) The Global Expansion Pioneers (GEP)

These are resilient enterprises that weathered the storm, mastered the skill of doing business in a specific African country’s market, and gathered sufficient expertise to establish, maintain, and expand their operations in the dynamic marketplace of the continent. They embody the potential to drive economic advancement and make meaningful contributions to Africa. These clients face the challenge of extending their thriving local operations to new markets within Africa or across other continents. They’ve successfully ventured into markets not only in Africa but also in the United Kingdom, Europe, and various other continents by leveraging our state-of-the-art market expansion solutions, and they are eager to explore additional markets.

5) The Enterprise Stewards for Global Success (ESGS)

These customers come to us for long-term, in-person management of their enterprises. These clients are MSMEs, family-run businesses in a range of sectors, who have worked hard to manage and scale to a desirable level within Africa’s difficult business climate, attain their full potential, and attract investors. These companies have achieved success and sustainability by investing sweat, equity, and personal finances to ensure that they not only survive but thrive. However, for various reasons, they must ‘japa’ to other regions of the world but do not want to abandon their businesses. These clients are confident in the viability of their enterprises but are unsure who to turn to. We ensure the stability, success, and security of their businesses throughout their extended absences by providing managed business services. We collaborate with them to provide additional layers of management to ensure that these enterprises’ high standards are maintained throughout their ‘staycation’ abroad. This enables them to continue focusing on providing outstanding service to their clients and consumers while remaining profitable.

As experts in assisting businesses to expand and scale, we are committed to delivering a variety of business support services aimed at assisting Africa-focused businesses and organisations to achieve their objectives. Whether it’s entering a new African market, expanding into other African markets, strengthening institutional capacities, providing trade support services, or managing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities in Africa, our services have been proven to help our clients achieve their goals.

Regardless of where your company is on the growth curve, ETK can provide insights to guarantee that your targets and goals are met.

Ready to increase your business success in Africa? Let our expert consulting services be the catalyst for your success. Contact us today, and let’s embark on a journey of innovation, growth, and unparalleled achievements together in 2024.

  • 2nd December, 2023
  • 5 min reading

COP28: What to expect from this year’s annual gathering on climate change by Brent Barnette

As sure as December brings Mariah Carey, for the last few years, it has also meant that world leaders, climate activists, journalists, business leaders, civil society organisations, representatives from NGOs, and interested members of the public once again gather for another COP. And while all Mariah wants for Christmas is you, climate activists and world leaders, particularly those from Africa and the global south, are hoping for meaningful progress on the UN agenda for dealing with the threats and challenges brought about by climate change. With the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels slipping out of reach, the push for financing meaningful support for the most affected and vulnerable communities is gaining greater urgency. 

For better or worse, COP is where the world comes together to try and agree on ways to address the climate crisis and meet the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord. The 28th COP this year is being held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and the parties will be hoping to find consensus on solutions to the many challenges facing the global community as the planet experiences year after year of ever-hotter temperatures. 

The COP agenda

As at past COPs, the agenda this year focuses heavily on the development of technology solutions to help reduce carbon emissions, the financing of those solutions, and the financing of adaptive approaches to help those most affected by climate change address the after-effects of climate-induced disasters and disruptions.   

The 2023 agenda is organised around 32 thematic areas over 12 days. The themes included are broadly outlined below (with some of the specific themes from COP28 in parentheses): 

  • Fostering solutions to address climate change (Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Climatetech Ecosystem Building; Technology for Climate) 
  • Creating adaptive solutions for impacted communities (Children; Gender and Inclusion; Youth; Industry / Just Transition / Indigenous People) 
  • Financing the transition to a sustainable future (Finance; Finance / Trade / Gender Equality / Accountability) 
  • Systemic challenges resulting from climate change (Education and Skills; Energy; Food; Agriculture and Water; Land Use and Oceans; Multi-Level Action; Nature; Relief, Recovery & Peace; Trade; Transport; Health). 

One of the key objectives for this year’s COP will be to resolve details around the implementation of carbon offset schemes as laid out in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Another key objective will be securing the necessary financing for the Loss & Damage Fund, which was agreed to last year at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. 

This year also includes a global stocktake of how well individual countries are doing in meeting their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The stocktake is a mechanism for assessing global progress towards achieving the emissions reduction goals as set out in the Paris Climate Accord. The current stocktake (which is also the first) began in 2021 in Glasgow at COP26 and is set to conclude this year at COP28. 

Why this is so important

If the goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius is to be achieved, carbon emissions must be cut by 43% from 2019 levels by 2030. That means cutting CO2 emissions from 2019 levels of roughly 33.2 gigatonnes per year to 18.9 gigatonnes per year by 2030. At current growth rates, by 2030 we will be emitting closer to 50 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. Reversing current trends is crucial if the planet is to avoid a worst-case scenario of a greater than 2 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures. 

Country representatives during the endorsement of the UAE Declaration on Climate Health at COP28. Image source: cop28.com

Climate change in Africa has arrived

Reducing carbon emissions and working towards a net-zero future are essential goals in order to ward off the worst effects of climate change. However, many of the impacts of a warming planet are already evident in the increasing climate disasters witnessed around the world over the past few years. Africa has been particularly hard hit. Of the 30 deadliest climate disasters recorded since record-keeping began in 1900, six have occurred since 2022. These include: 

Improvements in scientific techniques have made it possible to directly link any particular climate event to changes resulting from human-caused climate change. This new area of study is called attribution science. Since 2000, anthropogenic climate change has been directly linked by scientific attribution studies to more than 20 extreme weather events in Africa, including 13 droughts, seven floods, and two heat waves. 

COP28 and the African agenda

Africa is represented at all of the COP proceedings by a group called the African Group of Negotiators, or the AGN, which is currently chaired by Zambia. The AGN speaks collectively on behalf of Africa, arguing for climate justice, a just energy transition, and adequate funding to help the continent deal with the impacts of a changing climate. While Africa is responsible for less than 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the continent is disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. Some of the areas that will be covered from a specifically African perspective during the scheduled COP proceedings include the following:

  • Greater use of blended finance to support sustainability initiatives in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, water, and sanitation. There are untapped resources available for sustainable development financing, but to date these resources are underutilised. What can be done to mobilise this capital?  
  • The Africa Green Industrialisation event will be jointly hosted by the COP28 Presidency and the Government of Kenya. This event looks to highlight the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and the UAE-led investment of $4.5 billion in the green industrialisation of Africa. The objective is to look for opportunities for green industrialisation, showcase successful renewable energy projects, and propel Africa towards a carbon-neutral future. 
  • The African carbon market story is a Heads of State event that will launch Carbon Market Activation Plans for Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Malawi to develop carbon markets in these countries. 

In addition to these events, a key area of discussion from an African perspective will be what it means to achieve a just energy transition. This is seen as an essential element in the ongoing economic development of Africa, allowing governments to lift people out of poverty and to provide electricity and reliable sources of energy for cooking. In practice, what this means is allowing for the continued exploitation of carbon-based sources of energy and for oil-producing states to continue to invest in oil exploration and extraction activities. Proponents of this approach say that it allows African economies to replicate the industrialisation process that allowed advanced economies to grow and prosper. Critics say it dangerously extends the timeline for achieving net-zero emissions targets and diverts investment away from renewables and other sustainable sources of growth. 

Endorsers of the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace. Image Source: cop28.com

In conclusion: What all this means

Many world leaders have converged in Dubai with fresh reminders of the costs and impacts of climate change on their countries back home. African leaders will arrive to the talks with especially recent events in mind and will want to ensure that the countries most responsible for creating the climate crisis pay a fair share of the costs of helping those most affected deal with the impacts. 

Indeed, who foots the bill for what is probably the simplest summary of all the various discussions that will be taking place. Beyond paying for the costs of recovery, the mechanisms of financing the transition to a sustainable future will also be very much on the table for discussion. Whether there are disagreements over how to fund a just energy transition, financing the shift to a more sustainable industrialised future, or unlocking blended forms of financing to help pay for all of this, the question of who pays will no doubt dominate the talks. 

As the world continues to warm at an alarmingly rapid rate and as the very real impacts of climate change continue to disproportionately affect those least able to adapt, the imperative to find solutions—and to pay for them—gets greater every day.

About the Author.

Brent Barnette is a Director at ETK. He leads on our climate change agenda and in the development of service offerings to help clients pursue sustainable growth strategies, including the development of an African-focused ESG reporting framework. He writes on topics of climate change and economic growth and is passionate about creating solutions to address the problems caused by climate change in the global south.