We are all about the latest shipping solution from Aramex – Shop & Ship and here are 5 reasons why we can’t get over this new service.
1. Offers shoppers 23 physical addresses across the globe: With Shop & Ship you get 23 physical addresses across the globe making it easier for members to shop from websites that don’t normally ship to Nigeria! Shop and Ship provides physical addresses in 23 countries, that enables members to purchase goods and ship them from as many countries as desired.
2. Delivery within 3-6 days: Presently S&S has the fastest delivery time for shopping at international stores.
3. Cost saving – Pay for just what you order: S&S ensures that shoppers are only charged based on the actual weight of the item(s) bought and not by volumetric weight. What this means is that unlike other regular shipping companies, S&S will only charge for the weight of the product to be shipped, and not its dimensions. This is a sure way of reducing shipping costs.
4. S&S allows for tracking of goods to the point of delivery: Shoppers are able to track their goods from the first day until it arrives at your destination. This service guarantees peace of mind especially with customs bottlenecks and all.
5. Pay for your Shipping in Naira: For added ease, Shop & Ship offers you the option of paying for your shipping using your Naira card when your shipping arrives Nigeria.
Join us for a Twitter chat with Shop and Ship!
*Sponsored post by Aramex
Aramex (DFM: ARMX) is the disruptive leader in the global logistics and transportation industry. Established in 1982 as an express operator, the company rapidly evolved into a global brand recognized for its customized services and innovative multi-product offering. Traded on the NASDAQ from 1997 to 2002, Aramex today is a publicly traded company on the Dubai Financial Market, employing more than 18,000 people in 567 locations across 69 countries and leads a strong alliance network providing global presence, and bringing together 40 independent express companies from around the world. The range of services offered by Aramex includes integrated logistics solutions, international and domestic express
Wave Academies is a vocational training platform which aims to empower millions of disadvantaged West African youth. With skills that transform their mindset and employment opportunities that enhance their social mobility.
Misan Rewan is the founder of WAVE Academy. Born and raised in Nigeria, Misan plays a vital role in the transformation of Nigeria’s education and skill development sectors. She has worked in management consulting with The Monitor Group on a wide spectrum of projects in both the private and public sector. She also supported aspiring Ivoirian entrepreneurs through, TechnoServe’s Business Plan Competition; and developed a scholarship administration model as a consultant with the Center for Public Policy Alternatives in Nigeria. Misan supported Bridge International Academies’ international expansion strategy, and is a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur.
Noella Moshi is the Programs Lead at WAVE. She was on the founding team of African Leadership University (ALU) Education where she directed Marketing, and worked on the curriculum. Noella co-developed Goodbye Malaria, a social impact venture that works with private and non-profit organisations to eliminate malaria. She is a Mandela-Rhodes scholar, and a Praxis Fellow.
Ifeanyi Okafor grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. She is passionate about helping young people discover themselves.
Aissatou Gaye is a Senegalese citizen who works as a Finance Coordinator at WAVE. She is currently helping the organization draft its way towards financial sustainability through various revenue diversification and cost reduction strategies. Aissatou is also the co-founder of YAWcamp, a summer camp that focuses on developing critical, creative and proactive thinking among Senegalese youth.
Amina Lawal is the training operations coordinator at WAVE. She is skilled in communication, research and creative writing. She firmly believes that having the balanced 360 degrees life is possible and steadily strives to have such balance. When she is not working, Amina writes for various blogs.
We share the amazing story of these great women and how their awesome work at WAVE is creating the next generation of change drivers.
What was the driving force that lead to creating WAVE?
Lifting John Stott’s definition of vision as: a deep dissatisfaction with what is and a clear grasp of what could be, I’d say the driving force behind starting WAVE was a deep dissatisfaction with the state of affairs for West African youth.
There are over 40 million unemployed youth in West Africa, but beyond the statistics are real faces, people like you and I, whose reality is chronic unemployment, disillusioned poverty and a loss of dignity that leads to growing levels of frustration across the region.
WAVE was an attempt to stop complaining and to do something about it. So a few friends got together in a room and started designing a solution. Enter WAVE – an attempt to level the playing field for hardworking young people by teaching them the skills required to get a good job, increase their incomes and build a brighter future
What has been the biggest challenge(s) you’ve faced and how have you crossed each hurdle?
Biggest challenge faced has probably just been me dealing with my own insecurities (imagined and real) and coaching has been helpful in crossing the hurdle. I don’t hear enough leaders in this part of the world talk about their shortcomings and how they’ve built support networks to deal with them, and I’m no different.
So overcoming has been through everything, from having a coach who helps bring self-awareness to my “automaticities” (my default way of responding) and helps me generate my best self, to family and friends who “hold the space” for me to JUST BE (rather than DO), to the serenity prayer that helps me discern where to focus my brain cells, effort and anxiety. I could give you a laundry list of other challenges faced but the critical challenge/hurdle is dealing with me first so I can see most other challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.
What values have been crucial to your success in the business world?
Inclusiveness – Most of what drives me comes from a simple notion I’ve had since I was a kid, of not wanting poor people to be poor.
At WAVE today, this value translates as “Putting People First” – from the people we exist to serve, to our team who does the serving to our partners who support our service. Our clients see how we have designed our model, service delivery and feedback culture to put them first and so are able to be very forgiving when we slip up, give us feedback and grant us a second chance to make it right.
What principles and skills are necessary for young people to possess in order to excel in today’s world?
There are three things I think are important for success: Knowing your “why”: Understand what motivates you, and connect it to whatever work you are doing. For example, I care about learning for the sake of personal growth. That’s my “why”. As long as I am doing work that pushes me to stretch beyond my current capabilities, my “why” is being fulfilled.
Learning from everyone: Everyone has something to teach us, and if at any point we aren’t learning, then we need to look harder for the lessons. One of my favourite things about working at WAVE is that each person brings insights from their unique experiences; from the driver to an intern, to the people we serve.
Trusting yourself. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Take advice from everyone, but at the end of the day, whatever decision you make must come from you, so that you can stand by it. That way you avoid regret, and you avoid living someone else’s life.
What innovations have helped in achieving the set goal at WAVE, and how exciting is it to train young people of diverse background and see them become more equipped Africans?
Our goal at WAVE is to increase income for unemployed youth. We do this by screening youth for attitude and motivation, training them on employability skills, and then matching them to job opportunities, where they can earn while they learn.
Our most powerful innovation has been to integrate “paradigm change” throughout our process. End to end, we focus on helping youth to mentally connect the dots from where they are, to where they want to be. After WAVE, youth who had dreams but no belief that they could achieve them, can now see how their current efforts will lead them to the next step of the ladder to wherever they want to go. Their self-image also changes: After WAVE, they no longer say “I can’t do this”. Instead they say: “I can’t do this yet”. And that mindset shift makes all the difference.
What mechanism are necessary for facilitating trainings at the Academy?
A trainee must be between 18 and 35 years old, they must agree to the terms and conditions of the training. The trainer and the training operations coordinator must be physically and mentally ready. We make sure each training cycle runs at it’s optimum best.
What tools and support are relevant for young people in the course of their advancement and what kind of partnership would be vital to this?
We provide absolute in-house trainers and also external facilitators who are experts in their fields to train these young people. We also provide ”on the job” support for them, by arranging workshops, alumni panel and counselling.
A partnership with Google could help with the ICT angle, covering the fundamentals of computer skills and basic software they need to know about. Also, the social media angle, most of the jobs we get are evolving, so many of our employers want people with computer skills, or those who can use social media.
What support system has been relevant in helping WAVE thrive over the years?
The success of WAVE over the past three four years has been a combination of multiple factors. The level of engagement and passion from our staff to deliver a rigorous and excellent model. To make access to economic opportunities easier for young underprivileged youth, the financial support we receive from our funders and their commitment to the vision that we are after, and last but not least our employer partner network who are willing to hire based on soft skills, instead of proxies like degrees.
How impactful have the programs at WAVE been over the years, and what kind of investors are you looking to work with in the future?
WAVE’ s reach has grown a lot over the past four years. Since our inception in 2013, we were able to train over 1600 youth on employability skills and place over 800 of them on jobs in the hospitality and retail industries, of which a good number was able to double their income after a year on the job.
We however still have a long way to go to reach the numerous unemployed youth in Nigeria and across West Africa; we cannot do the job alone. We are currently codifying our magic to share with different stakeholders that could effectively reach our target market and bring about the change we want to see: a world where every young person is equipped enough to move up the economic ladder.
What’s the one phrase that resonates for WAVE and why?
The resonating phrase at WAVE is “Start small, Learn fast and Grow big”. The reason behind this is that we believe and understand that the soft skills we train on are vital to the achievement of career goals. Success is not achieve overnight, but it takes consistent conscious steps towards the achievement of success. WAVE is one of those conscious steps to career growth.
What recent achievements have re-echoed the growing impact of WAVE?
One of the recent achievements that re-echoes at WAVE is the increment of our Alums average Salary to N33,000. It is an achievement for us because this is what we set out to do; increasing the income of youth who do not stand a fighting chance in our economy today.
Tell us your favourite destination country?
My dream destination country is America because of the limitless career growth opportunities available.
Are you doing any impactful work to empower unemployed youth?
Dorcas Tshuma is the South African founding member and programme director for Triumphant Hand of Mercy Initiative (THOMI Africa). THOMI Africa empowers women and girls, who are helpless or homeless, with the skills and confidence necessary to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children.
Dorcas has participated in prestigious events across the globe: The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York, the Civil Society Policy Forum in Washington DC and as the guest speaker for NIMSA (Nigerian Medical Students Association) on their Empowering women to Empower Humanity female international summit.
Please briefly highlight what THOMI Africa is about?
We are a non-governmental organization which support the UN Women’s flagship programme of ”making every women count”. We look at challenges women face, and suggest different solutions.
We equip women with the knowledge that will enable them to be skilled at all levels, irrespective of their geographical location.
THOMI Africa is against the abuse of women and children. We also campaign against the abuse of drugs, alcohol, and form of substances. We raise awareness pertaining to breast cancer, TB, HIV & AIDS, including the care and counsel of victims dependents. Additionally, we make every women count by assisting the elderly, disabled and widowed in our community.
Why and when was THOMI Africa founded?
I founded this organization a long time ago, but it was officially registered in 2015; due to my natural passion for gender equality. It used to sadden me every time I saw girls and women suffering, begging on the streets with kids on their back, starving, being raped, abused and murdered. That is what triggered me to be involved in making every women count, through empowerment programmes which equip women and girls.
As a Programme Director what does your role entail?
I oversee the administration of policies and programmes; and I monitor and report on the economic empowerment portfolio and provide assistance when needed. I also communicate with all project/programme partners at all levels, and ensure that the organisation strategy is developed across all areas. I play a role in in decision making and provide financial analysis, and provide guidance on all activities, plans, targets and business drivers.
What is the best book you have ever read?
Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Since its inception what are some memorable THOMI Africa achievements?
Attending the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit (New York) in 2016; Being part of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings as part of Civil Society Policy Forum in October 2016 in Washington DC,USA; Being guest speaker at NIMSA Female International Summiton on the topic, “Empowering Women to Empower Humanity”.
We also participated in the Anti Female Genital Mutilation Campaign which took place on Saturday, 19th of November, 2016; and were nominated by United Nations women last year, as a 2016-2017 Global Champion for change.
Being unable to secure adequate funding to execute programmes and campaigns. But, every organisation face challenges and they differ depending on the circumstance at hand.
For anyone who would like to contribute to ‘making every women count’, which qualities are you looking for?
Someone who will contribute to ‘making every women count’ must have, among other qualities, a natural passion for helping the underprivileged. That individual needs to be able to listen, give appropriate counsel and mentoring. They need to have a strong sense of compassion and empathy for people.
In conclusion they need to be able to meet deadlines and interact effectively across many levels of management. I have developed multitasking and prioritization abilities, and willingness to do whatever is needed to empower women. And a positive attitude!
Do you know of or run an organisation which positively impact women?
If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more here.
Afroes , short for ‘African heroes’, is a mobile-first enterprise. They’re on a mission to position African youth for productive futures by, innovating in skills acquisition, engagement and connecting to opportunity.
Anne Githuku-Shongwe is a Social Entrepreneur, Social Innovator, a Development Professional and a thought leader on digital and social innovation. Anne founded Afroes in 2010, as a digital enterprise. Creating gamified learning solutions designed to reach, teach and connect Africa’s young women and men to life skills, through their mobile phones.
Her vision is to revolutionise learning in Africa, with a focus on delivering positive, Africa-focused mobile phone entertainment to the youth market across the continent. Anne and Afroes have received multiple awards including, the prestigious Schwab Foundation/World Economic Forum Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.
Gathoni Mwai is a Sustainable Development professional. She has over 7 years experience working on social development issues in Africa, and on the use of data, technology and innovation for development.
Having been brought up in Kenya she is passionate about the country, its people and seeing them all thrive. Gathoni joined Afroes as project manager for the development of the PeaceApp award winning Haki II: Chaguo Ni Lako, ,a mobile game that was used for peace building in Kenya, in the run up to the 2013 elections following the post election violence experienced in 2007-8.
She recently completed her Masters in Sustainable Development Corporate Responsibility. Currently, she takes on the role of Kenya programme manager, where she is tasked with scaling the Afroes product range and developing partnerships.
Join us on this inspiring journey as we share the stories of these two front-running African women in tech.
Tell us the story behind Afroes
Afroes (the name comes from a play on the words African Heroes and Heroines) was inspired by conversations with my children. I was worried that they weren’t being exposed to any positive African media content; and that their ideas and aspirations for Africa were being influenced by the Western media’s pervasively negative messages about the continent.
I wanted to do something to change that. But it was whilst I observed my son excitedly relating things he’d learned while playing the computer game, Civilisations, that I realised that, children who play computer games are a captive audience for anything you want to teach them.
I knew from that point onwards that I needed to harness the power of computer games, to deliver positive messages to African children. Given the growth of mobile phone usage and ownership across Africa the idea of computer games evolved to mobile phone games.
How effective has the Afroes’ strategy been, in achieving its set goals and what successes have you recorded in recent times?
The Afroes strategy has had to be very adaptable to the changing times, technology and issues that affect African youth. At our core ,our main goal has been to inspire and empower young Africans with 21st Century skills, which will help them transform their lives and the lives of people in their communities.
We have set out to build partnerships with like-minded organisations that see mobile phone technology as a medium to change mindsets and positively impact young Africans. In the last 3 years we have been lucky enough to receive the following awards:
Winner of PeaceApp – promote digital games and gamified apps as venues for cultural dialogue and conflict management, 2014;
Winner, Gender Mainstreaming Awards, Empowerment Initiatives, South Africa, 2014;
Winner, ICT Innovation Award for Gender Youth and Vulnerable Groups, Kenya, 2014;
To date we have had over 800,000 users download our games and 100,000s more through offline activations.
What challenges have you faced in the course of running your business and how have you been able to walk through them?
Sustainable financing has been a major challenge. We have been lucky enough to have our games fully funded by our project partners, but this has been quite limiting. Another challenge we have had is convincing programme/ solution stakeholders to adopt an alternative media/ mediums, strategy and methodology to reach and engage their traditional intended audience; as well as appeal to a new demographic of social issue based content advocates, stakeholders and consumers.
How important is technology for Africa’s future and how well has the African market tapped into it?
Technology is important on a global scale. What is more important for Africa is appropriate technology to enable sustainable growth and livelihood development for all. The African markets have not only tapped into the technology, but are leading the charge in technological innovation.
From Mpesa (mobile money), to the use of drones to transfer essential goods. Recent statistics have showed that 2/3 of young people own a smart phone, giving them access to a world of information, allowing them to tap into new ideas and adapting it for themselves.
If you had to binge watch any movie series, which would it be?
The Wire – because it’s on my watch list but I’ve never watched it.
Tell us about the Job Hunt game launching soon and the concept behind it
JobHunt is a mobile game designed to simulate the online/ digital work experience. The concept of this game is to create awareness on digital jobs and the opportunities to earn an income for young people. In the game you bid for jobs, improve skills and ultimately build the skills required to win jobs in this space.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt on your entrepreneurial journey so far and how has it helped you in the course of your work at Afroes?
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy life, very often you need to be motivated even when things may not be working in your favour.
There is this image of a man digging in a cave with a huge diamond just a few digs away. He has to choose whether or not to keep digging, not knowing if he has reached the diamond or not.
This for me sums up the life and motivation of an entrepreneur and my journey with Afroes – if you believe in your product, your idea your company you have to keep digging to find that diamond. So we must keep digging.
What the next step for Afroes in another five years?
Over the last year we have been redeveloping the Afroes strategy. We have streamlined our strategy to enhance the current games catalogue and from our research we have decided to target specific areas that affect African Youth, such as Jobs and Health.
What one quote resonates with what Afroes represents?
“The future of Africa lies not with external actors but within Africa itself. The future of Africa lies here in Africa.” I strongly believe in Africa and the power of her people to make a difference in our lives.
For too long solutions to our problems have been sought from outside, but we have the solutions. Afroes is playing our part by producing games and stories on mobile devices that speak to Africans, which represents Africans and that can ultimately transform Africa.
Dumisile Melody Mphamba is a 19-year-old Zimbabwean young lady who will be starting her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, this fall, under a full scholarship.
Growing up in a country with a ‘broken’ health system, she aims to contribute solutions to eradicating the inequity in the healthcare sector. Dumisile hopes to becomes a medical doctor and public health professional, who focuses her career on optimizing access to healthcare, for low-income Zimbabweans.
She describes herself as an artistic scientist. During her high school days, Dumisile co-managed 26 extracurricular clubs including: Public Speaking Captain and Toastmasters Vice President. She is also an active She is a Worship Leader, actress, Youth Music Director and volunteer in her community. Dumisile is the oldest of three girls, and lives with her parents and sisters in Harare, Zimbabwe.
In this interview, she takes us through her incredible story to Stanford…
What has been your motivation for excellence and what impact have you made as a result?
My core belief is that I was created to praise and please the Lord. What better way to honour my Creator and Source than to give Him my best and nothing less?
In this same regard, I take pleasure in developing other people, so that whether they share my spiritual beliefs or not, they can live to get the very best out of life, and share the very best of their gifts with the world.
I do this in many ways, my particular favourite being, as a mentor and Youth Group Leader in my church, as well as the Youth Music Director and Worship Leader. In addition to that, as a Cultural Captain and leader in my school.
I believe that, by striving to maintain excellence as a form of worship, I inspired several of my schoolmates to pursue academic, extracurricular, sporting and other equally important forms of excellence, and thus obtain a sense of fulfillment.
Take us on a walk through your journey to attaining a full scholarship at Stanford University?
I began considering applying to the US for tertiary education when my school Guidance Counsellor suggested that I consider it as an option. Anyone who knows me, knows that at the time (I was 17) I had made a solid plan to complete my GCE A-levels, pass and go straight to medical school, without going through the relatively complicated American path to becoming a medical doctor.
It took a lot of convincing from my Guidance Counsellor and my mentor, Dr Charlene Kembo-Chideme. But, I joined EducationUSA Harare, took the SATs, sought guidance from the EducationUSA advisor and fellow Zimbabweans in the USA (in crafting my application essays), applied, and the rest is history.
I was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, also on very generous scholarships, but Stanford had always been my dream school, and their package was the most generous of the three. So I am very grateful for having such an easy choice to make!
What principles have been fundamental to you and why?
My defining element is my constant motivation to please God, and pursue a close relationship with him. But, this was not always my conviction.
When I was about 14 years old, I experienced a time of loneliness and rejection by friends I had trusted for years, as well as tragedies that led to angry questions: What was the point of living? What was the point of God?
It is then that I began to realize, through prayer, introspection, and a bucket load of tears, that my job was not to understand why things were the way they were. But, what was important was for me to flourish in those circumstances, and please God by doing my personal best, no matter what my surroundings looked like.
While in high school, you balanced having an outstanding grade while managing over twenty-six extracurricular activities. How did you achieve that?
The most important element was my close relationship with God and our often brutally-honest conversations. I also received constant encouragement from my parents, and had a strong support structure of older sisters, particularly my mentor, who affirmed me especially when I needed it.
I also have to mention my artistic outlet. I studied only science subjects at Advanced Level, and so it became increasingly important for me to deliberately let out the artist in me on stage, through public speaking, theatre, music and worship.
What qualities are essential for young Africans?
Resilience is key. One of my favourite quotes is “A river cuts through the rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins. As young Africans, we must believe in the unique gifts and ideas we possess.
We must be resilient enough to seek new ways of pursuing our goals if ever we fail, and we must refuse to allow our gift to die without being tapped into. I believe that leadership is the ability to use our gifts to unite people; Towards a vision that benefits followers, and to inspire them to develop their own vision for their lives, so that they may use their gifts to, in turn, benefit the lives of others.
What are your plans for Africa and Zimbabwe in particular in the coming future?
My goal is to become a medical doctor and public health professional, who focuses her career on optimizing access to healthcare for low-income Zimbabweans.
I look forward to collaborating with many like-minded individuals, both in Africa and the world at large, who are also passionate about developing healthcare infrastructure in our part of the world.
During college, I aim to involve myself in service initiatives that can, in one way or the other, enable me to begin to work on developing Africa.
Tell us how you sang your way to Paris in 2014
I first heard of Alliance Francaise de Harare’s annual national contest ‘Sing Your Way to Paris’, when I was 13 years old, and purposed in my heart to win it someday, even though I had never sung in French before, let alone in front of the audience.
I entered the contest when I was 16. With the support of my family, French and Music teachers, and my musical genius of an aunt, Aunty Tammy- I sang and performed ‘Je Lui Dirai’ by Celine Dion, and became the first teenager ever in the country to win the contest! It was a dream come true.
Reading a book or watching a movie, what would be your preference?
That is hard to answer. I tend to watch movies upon recommendation from trusted sources. The same goes with books. It is my own elaborate form of laziness. And I am proud of it!
What an inspiring young lady! How has the belief in excellence helped you achieve your goals?
Dr. Yabome Gilpin-Jackson was born in Germany, grew up in Sierra Leone, and completed her studies in Canada and the USA. She is a social scientist, organization consultant, academic and writer. Dr Yabome Gilpin- Jackson considers herself to be a global African, dreamer and storyteller – a curator of African identity and leadership stories.
She’s been named International African Woman of the Year and Emerging Organization Development Practitioner 2017. The author of Identities: A short story collection, and initiator and co-editor of We Will Lead Africa, Volume 1.
Best known for: Her laugh. Yabome, who is married and the mother of 3 children, has also published several journal articles and book chapters and continues to research, write and speak. Most recently at Princeton University – on the importance of holding global mindsets and honouring diversity and social inclusion in our locally global world.
What is We Will Lead Africa?
We Will Lead Africa is a platform for inspiring continued change and transformation on the African continent, in two ways: First, we collect, curate and share the stories of everyday African leaders who are making a real impact on the progress of the continent. Second, we encourage networks of everyday leaders to gather in their communities to share, learn and inspire each other to continue taking actions that make a difference.
At our root, our work is about sharing inspiration and action, through the power of storytelling. We know that the personal narratives of ordinary everyday leaders are in fact extraordinary. Our first volume shows this powerfully. It reminds us everyday that Africans are taking charge of their destinies and futures, despite popular opinions.
My inspiration came from a deep desire to be part of the movement of Africans reclaiming our own narratives. When you live in the West/Diaspora, you are bombarded by news, images, and everyday negative stereotypes, that imprint the challenges and deficits of the continent on entire populations that don’t know any different. As this is perpetuated, Africans ourselves become hooked into a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, even when we know that the dominant view is an incomplete one.
We do not hear about all that is going well, the innovations occurring, the industries emerging and expanding, the people and groups who are no longer waiting for our political leaders and foreign aid to fix all our problems. As we lose hope, our conversations become like the very dominant Western narratives we are subsumed in.
For example, I received a call for submissions to the Kwame Nkrumah International conference a few years ago and the list sparked a deep desire for change in me. The list was focused on all the historical issues that have led us to the political leadership challenges we face on the continent. Then, I thought what about leadership NOW and into the FUTURE? What does that look like? That was what sparked the idea for We Will Lead Africa.
When I met my co-founders and co-editors, Sarah and Judith, they shared similar thoughts and sentiments and off we went. It’s important to say also that we are not interested in a one-sided view or only the positives…we want to know and be inspired by the fullness of stories of everyday leaders. How do they navigate and overcome the challenges they face everyday, to solve complex problems on the African continent?
This volume is so full of inspiration and examples of courage! I was impacted by all of them in different ways. But, the one that I keep remembering though is, Chris Mulenga’s story about starting a program to help get street children recognized for their resilience and innovative capacities and reunited with their families.
Chris describes how he has done this work that has a 90% success rate. He describes himself as poor when he started and says he is still poor. Yet at the time of writing the book he had helped over 6,500 children and has been recognized with international humanitarian awards.
He attributes his inspiration to the value of being hospitable-which he learned as a child- whereby his family would share what they had no matter how little; and to the orientation of service to the poor that comes from his Catholic faith.
I just keep thinking about the resources available to so many of us, and yet, we are stopped by the myth that we do not have enough to make a meaningful difference to the lives of others. What if we just tried? What if we just started now, with whatever we have?
What are the 3 main steps you’d advise for an aspiring author ?
1. Get clear what story you are passionate about telling and why
2. Get clear who you want to tell it to
3. Be focused and determined…and just start writing.
There really is no magic to it – it’s 90% determination and the willingness to make time to do the work needed.
Growing WWLA brand…
Our priorities are growing We Will Lead Africa networks and encouraging other African leaders to take on editing volumes as well. The three of us have identified a volume we will work on next, and we are documenting our process, which we will make available to others interested in editing a volume as well.
For now, stay tuned in the next 18months to 2 years for the following volumes: We Will Lead Africa: Technology; We Will Lead Africa: Women; and We Will Lead Africa: Governance.
Our priority is in growing our impact in inspiring everyday Africans to take action for the change and transformation of the continent. We are in this for the long haul and are choosing to go together so we can make real progress. As the often quoted proverb attributed to African wisdom goes: If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.
Your roles include: social scientist, consultant, academic, writer, curator of African identity and leadership stories. How do you prioritise all your roles?
My overarching anchor is that I am an applied social scientist in the field of Human and Organization Development. My work is about developing our human capacity to be, think and do things differently and better than we are doing today. What excites me is the idea of human potential and what we are capable of- under the right conditions.
Everything else is attached to my work as an applied social scientist, whether I am working with a single leader, an organization, a community or students on a campus. My consulting to leaders is about how they can lead in ways that helps their teams and groups reach full potential.
My teaching in the field, is to help students develop the capacity for complex, systems-thinking about human concerns. My writing and research is also to spark transformational change in the issues I write about.
Before and beyond all this, I am a wife and mother and that person who loves my close and extended family fiercely. I pray for strength to always be a decent human being in the world. At the end of the day that’s my first priority. Living and loving well, such that who I am and what I do makes a difference to others. Even if it’s just my smile…or my crazy laugh.
Do you have a positive story to share about an African initiative?
If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.
Growth of e-commerce Gives Rise to Sophisticated African Digital Consumer
After scouring the store for a new pair of sneakers, Paballo Molahlehi finally lands on the one that catches her attention. She stares at it excitedly, swooning over the fresh pair of purple Reeboks. “It’s precisely the one I was looking for, I knew I was going to find it here” she nods as she adds the shoes to her shopping basket.
Thrilled with her latest addition to her growing sneaker collection, she navigates her way to the pay point. Molahlehi is doing all this while reclining comfortably on her couch, enjoying the convenience of online shopping. “I stopped going in-store after discovering online shopping. It makes more sense because my purchases get delivered to me for free, and I usually get discounts.”
Molahlehi is among Africa’s growing middle class who have money to spend and whose shopping habits have changed. With the surge of internet penetration on the continent, many Africans are easing into the habit of shopping online. According to a McKinsey’s Lions go digital report, online shopping could account for up to 10% of retails sales (with a value of around US $75 billion) by 2025, as more Africans gain access to the internet.
The increasing access to the internet is seeing a rapid emergence of e-commerce sites eager to tap into the continent’s growing online consumerism. The likes of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa are at the forefront of this evolution. Companies such as Jumia, a Lagos-based online retailer, are dipping their finger in almost all major markets on the continent, cutting themselves an enviable piece of every pie. Jumia is also among Africa’s best-funded e-commerce sites, having raised US $150 million in funding in 2014.
As more people take to the internet to do their shopping, the demand for devices such as smartphones also increases. The 2017 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey finds that in countries such as South Africa, smartphone acquisition increased from 52% in 2016 and 63% in 2017. Some of the more technologically advanced nations like Kenya and Nigeria boast a smartphone uptake of more than 44% and 30% respectively. Across the continent, the number of smartphone users saw a nearly twofold increase, reaching more than 226 million. This spike in smartphone penetration is steering a digital revolution on the continent, exposing users to the endless opportunities the internet provides.
Here are some of the top e-commerce platforms in Africa that are reaping the benefits of the booming internet penetration on the continent.
With a mission statement and ethos for connecting African consumers and entrepreneurs to do better business together, Jumia is blazing the trail of e-commerce sites in Africa.
The company is creating a platform where small, medium and large African companies link with their potential market, thus creating a new-age ecosystem that bypasses the middle man.
Launched in 2012 in Nigeria, the site has solidified a footprint in over 23 African countries, with a network of over half a million sellers since its inception. Jumia has managed to create a stellar reputation for being a hub for products and services spanning across the retail, food and hospitality, talent recruitment, concierge and the hotel and catering industries. Apart from servicing the needs of consumers and businesses, Jumia has also been upskilling and aiding employment for many Africans who are qualified in areas such as Engineering, IT and online marketing and web development.
South Africa’s Takealot is the go-to online retailer for the shopper that seeks a convenient and simplified online buying and user experience. The site has been around for over a decade, having been established in the year 2002. Its broad catalogue and variety of products in entertainment gives it an impressionable edge. Customers can shop anything from books to games, computers and TVs.
Part of what makes Takealot an e-commerce success story is that the online retailer strives to provide its customers with the very latest products in the market, coupled with up-to-date product specification.
In April 2017, Takealot scored a significant investment of over US $69 million from Naspers, one of Africa’s biggest digital companies. This came after the online retailer received US $100 million investment from investment firm Tiger Global Management in 2014. Naspers boasts a 53,5% stake in Takealot, while Tiger Global owns about 34%.
Kenya’s largest online shopping mall, Kilimall is relatively new in the e-commerce space but has remarkably managed to create an inter-continental mark since its launch in 2014. The site, now established in other countries such as Nigeria and Uganda, has a retail customer base that continues to boom.
Kilimall is known for providing electronics such as phones, computers and gadgets, stocking top brands such Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, and Phillips. The site also offers other products such as home appliances, clothes, books, health and beauty products, and more. All its services are accompanied by a 7-day free return policy on their premium range of goods, making it an attractive choice for consumers.
Konga has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2012 as a Lagos-only e-commerce site that specialised in baby and beauty care. The online platform has morphed into a major online retailer, often dubbed “The Amazon of Africa.” In 2015, Konga joined forces with leading Nigerian banks to launch KongaPay, a safe and convenient online payment method to tackle the issue of trust in Africa when it came to online payments.
The online marketplace was one of the first in Africa to create a system of payment that was integrated with world banks – an innovation that uses click system that eliminated the sharing of sensitive information during payments.
With a backing from the South African media giant, Naspers, Konga is now a major player in the e-commerce space. In 2014, Naspers, which has a 50% stake in Konga, invested US $50 million in the online store.
Established in 1999, South Africa’s online store Bidorbuy is one of the oldest online marketplaces in Africa. What makes the site unique is that buyers don’t only get to purchase what they want, but they can also make a bid for products, functioning as an online auction. The site provides a platform to facilitate trade between buyers and sellers. Previously owned items such as antiques and collectables are some of the most popular on Bidorbuy, making up 40% of all items sold. Other second-hand products shoppers prefer include high-end DSLR cameras and lenses, laptops, books, as well as video games.
Over the years, Bidorbuy has made several acquisitions of South African online businesses. These include popular sites such as online jobs portal, Jobs.co.za and e-commerce company uAfrica.com.
Business strategist and work- life balance expert, Just Omomo Ibe, is helping women create a balance between their work and personal life, so they can chase their dreams and make money while at it. She also helps individuals identify the various opportunities in their business to make more profit.
Just Omomo Ibe has been in the banking sector for over seven years and is the founder of The Just Ibe Network; thus living her dreams while been an employee. She is involved in speaking engagements, coaching calls, online courses and business consulting for SME’s.
Recently, she launched a Youtube show which focuses on motivation and strategies from experts in various fields, the channel is aimed at further helping her target market achieve success in their life and business.
The Just Ibe Network is a group of company that comprises our consulting firm, training and mentorship platform, it also includes an online training academy and media arm. At The Just Ibe Network we pride ourselves in delivering superior quality trainings, coaching and consulting for our esteemed clients both offline and online.
What market research did you carry out in the course of starting your business, and how did you go about it?
The first research was that of my competitors, I needed to find out what my competitors were offering and what gap they are not filling. This helped me make informed decisions as to how best to penetrate the market. A lot of businesses offer homogeneous products, therefore market research helps you understand how best to position your business in a way that not only meets the needs of your consumers but also positions your business as authentic.
What challenges have you faced so far in the setup of your business?
The greatest challenge I faced in setting up my business was creating time to actually execute my plans; creating and fine tuning strategies that would keep me relevant in the market place today and always. Innovation keeps you in business long after your competitors have gone, so you must constantly innovate.
What are your launch plans once your business registration is completed?
Honestly a business registration isn’t stopping any major launch of my business, as all facets of my businesses are in full gear at the moment. The registration would just allow me operate a corporate account in the designated banks. So my take is it doesn’t matter if your business name is ready or not, keep adding value to your ideal clients and grow your business regardless.
Last year I started my career in public speaking, leveraging on several online platforms and offline avenues, despite been a full time banker, wife and mum.
So people started asking me how I was doing all I was doing, so conveniently. I started documenting steps I have taken that helped me overcome my otherwise very tight schedule and results I achieved. This book is aimed at providing practical steps that can help women fully integrate all aspects of their lives, thus living a balanced and fulfilled life.
What kind of investors and partnerships are necessary for your kind of business and what strategies are useful in achieving this?
Media investors are required for the talk show arm of my business, which is targeted at providing strategies that would help entrepreneurs succeed and grow in business. Corporate investors also play a major role, especially companies who have CSR projects, ours can successfully pass as a CSR project aimed at helping young and budding entrepreneurs.
Who is the one person from anywhere on the globe, you would love to interview and why?
The one person I would love to interview is President Barack Obama. He is the one person I look up to the most, because he is probably about the best public speaker that exists in this day and age.
What quote resonates with your business and how does it inspire you?
We at The Just Ibe Network live by this mantra: if you can think it you can definitely birth it. So dear corporate ladies, your dreams are valid, they are your dreams for a reason, it’s an act of self sabotage to neglect your dreams because you have a job; the world needs you to live to the fullest.
Have you mastered the art of work-life balance?
Share your story, let us know more about you and your story here.
Africa could soon be the largest free-trade area in the world. This is if the African Union’s Continental Free Trade Area (CTFA) stays on track to be operational by the end of this year. Once up and running, the continent-wide free trade zone could lead to a 52 percent ($35 billion) increase in intra-African trade within the next 5 years, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The UNECA’s Stephen Karingi, who heads their Regional Integration and Trade Division, says “boosting intra-African trade is the most effective way to speed up Africa’s economic transformation.” Speaking at the recent Africa Session of the Aid for Trade Global Review 2017, Karingi added that “trade contributes towards industrialization and structural transformation.”
Increasing intra-African trade – which reportedly stands at 13 percent – will require the removal of certain barriers in order to improve connectivity, including improvement of custom procedures, reduction of transit and other trade costs, and, importantly, development of reliable transport infrastructure.
Here’s a look at some of the inroads that have already been made in the expansion of Africa’s rail, road, and port networks to connect the fragmented African market:
The Ethiopia-Djibouti Rail Link
This year saw the launch of the first fully electric cross-border railway in Africa. Linking Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with Djibouti City – a stretch of more than 750 kilometres – the new line will incredibly cut travel time between the two countries. Running at 120km per hour, the rail journey, which lasts about three to four days by road, now only takes 12 hours. Each freight train reportedly transports the same cargo as 200 trucks, with the cost reduced by a third.
The line, which cost $4.2 billion, is a significant step towards elevating the poor levels of trade between African countries. Ethiopia plans to construct another 5,000 km-long network of rail by 2020, linking to Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.
The Trans-African Highway
Envisaged more than 40 years ago by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Trans-African Highway is an ongoing network of highways intended to connect all corners of Africa from north to south, east and west. The ambitious plan, first proposed in 1971, is aimed at boosting internal trade on the continent by building nine roads linking major cities across Africa. Those networks would collectively measure nearly 60,000km.
While progress has been slow, the completion of this project will mark a new day for intra-African trade. One of the nine planned roads is already complete – the 4,400km Trans-Sahelian Highway which runs through seven countries, connecting Dakar, Senegal to Ndjamena, Chad. While more than half of the network has been paved, maintenance remains an issue. Conflicts in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola have led to both the destruction of some highways and hampering of construction.
Doraleh Multipurpose Port
Djibouti recently opened its new 690-hectare Doraleh Multipurpose Port after two years of construction. The $590 million project, one of the most advanced ports on the continent in terms of facilities, can handle almost nine million tonnes of cargo per year.
Despite its small size, Djibouti is one of the important trading hubs on the continent, thanks to its convenient geographic location of connecting Africa to Asia and Europe by sea. Ports in the tiny East African country of less than a million people receive the bulk of cargo from Asia, followed by Europe, and then Africa.
West Africa Regional Rail Integration
A group of West African countries and mines have poured significant investment into an ongoing extensive rail project which will boost trade in the region. When completed, the track will be 3,000 km long and connect Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. The network will add newly built tracks to existing ones which will be upgraded. This project will greatly benefit landlocked countries like Niger, which face constant transport problems. The country largely relies on its neighbors’ seaports and road infrastructure to carry its imports and exports.
The West African Regional Rail Integration project is a response to the need for better infrastructure and reliable transport to move minerals from one West African country to another, and from the mines to major ports.
With its Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is among the major trading hubs in Africa. Now the East African country is aiming to take things up a notch with the development of Bagamoyo Port, which is set to cost $11 billion.
While the new Tanzanian government has paused construction to focus on revamping other ports, Bagamoyo is set to be the biggest port in East Africa when completed. It will handle 20 million containers a year, more than double the capacity of the Port of Dar es Salaam. If everything goes as planned, Bagamoyo will boost Tanzania’s reputation as a trading centre for its landlocked neighbors such as Zambia, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The East African Rail Masterplan
Billed as Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since independence, the first section of the $13.8 billion railway officially opened in June 2017, connecting the capital Nairobi with the port city of Mombasa. The train will shorten travel time between the two cities from 12 hours to four, with freight trains set to carry 25 million tonnes a year.
The East African Masterplan will eventually extend to Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Ethiopia – a move that will further strengthen trade relations between the East African neighbors.
Have you ever noticed yourself submitting work to your supervisor and uttering the words “I hope you like it”? I know I have and as the words came out of my mouth I hated it. Why? It sounded as if I was unsure of the quality of my work and above all, myself. The truth is I was confident, I had done the research and written multiple drafts but I felt lowering expectations would make my supervisor like my work more.
But ultimately I was cheating myself under the guise of humility but rather I was showing a lack of confidence in my work. I knew I had put in the work but I didn’t feel that it was good enough or that no matter how good I thought it was my supervisor wouldn’t feel the same. So feeling and showing uncertainty was the better option to feeling great to only receive disappointing feedback.
Confidence is key
Basically, I was scared to show pride for my work in case it was not well received. I’ve come to realize there is no room for that in the workplace, confidence is key. There is power in being proud of what you do, especially when you’ve worked hard.
Supervisors are more receptive to work that is submitted without a doubt on your behalf. Their reliance on and expectations of you rise, and that’s a good thing. This is great when you are gunning for a promotion or raise. Your actual work will speak for you but your presentation is just as important. Sell your work as well as letting the work sell itself.
There is no shame in promoting your game. It is a lesson I have come to learn. But knowing isn’t as easy as putting into action. It takes small steps. So when it comes to talking up in meetings, I no longer shy away. If you’ve got a good suggestion, don’t hesitate. Speak. It’s important that we speak up in meetings with clients or colleagues when you know the work.
It will push you further and build stronger bonds with your client and show your boss exactly why you are in the position you are in. Speaking up can lead to standing out. Don’t shy away from raising your voice, especially when it counts.
Confidence is also necessary when you have to defend your work. We all have that one colleague who likes to push and challenge you. That shouldn’t back you into a corner. You know your work, there’s no reason to shy away when challenged. This doesn’t only make you a force to be reckoned with, it will also bolster your ability to address tough situations when the need arises.
Another small step? Changing your language. Take out phrases such as “I would just like..” or “I wonder if” and replace them with stronger more self-assured words. The point of this is to come across as more self-assured with regards to your request. People are likely to respond positively to a statement that is said confidently.
When sharing an opinion say it with conviction, “I would like to talk to you about..” or “I suggest that…” This enables you to get what you want when you say what you need. It yields better results in terms of ensuring efficiency from colleagues and getting your point across.
Being more confident isn’t just to gain the respect of your colleagues of supervisor, it is also great for your personal and professional development. When you believe in yourself, it will show in the way you carry yourself, and your professional outputs. The more you feel this way, the brighter you will feel and that will reflect in everything you will do.
Accept compliments with pride. When you hear the words “Well done”, what is your immediate reaction? Shonda Rhimes states three reactions to receiving compliments in her bookYear of Yes; dismissal of the compliment; shyness; and laughter/embarrassment at being complimented.
At the root of this is the little voice saying, “not me, I don’t deserve this. I was just lucky”. Humility is great and all that but it honestly doesn’t hurt to show your pride when someone recognizes your awesomeness. It is not overconfidence when you accept a compliment with a thank you.
We have internalized the fear of appearing confident because it appears cocky. But you’re awesome and that is okay, actually, it is better than okay. It is pretty damn great and its okay to stand in your shine. You’ve worked hard and being recognized for putting the work in is a great feeling so don’t shy away from it.
So what does it mean to be a confident woman to me now? It means speaking up when I know I have something valid to say. It is being able to back up my work when challenged. It is me acknowledging that I have reached where I am, not by default or mistake but because I am genuinely smart and talented. You are exactly where you are because you deserve to be, don’t ever doubt it.