Facebook Live with Sneha Shah: How to do business in Africa without fearing the risks.(Oct 13)

Want to do business in Africa successfully? Learn how to break down barriers and prove your worth.

On Friday, October 13th, Sneha Shah – Managing Director of Africa for  Thomson Reuters shared with us how the African business landscape is currently positioned for female entrepreneurs, and how you can take advantage of it.

Sneha has initiated partnerships with leading international market development, and works in close collaboration with public and private sector organizations in each country, to tackle the opportunities and challenges around financial and capital markets development.

Learn from @snehasshah how to do business in Africa without fearing risks Click To Tweet

Register below to get a FREE downloadable guide with Sneha’s top 10 tips on how to do business in Africa without fearing the risks.

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Are there businesses that are easier to establish in Africa than others? Find out.
  • How young start-ups in Africa are changing the game.
  • Challenges and opportunities business owners should expect when operating in Africa.
  • How the African business landscape is currently positioned for female entrepreneurs.
  • Leveraging millennials for African growth.
  • What Africa can learn from other emerging economies.
  • Innovate or disrupt – how to prepare your company for the future.

Watch the video:

Posted by She Leads Africa on Friday, October 13, 2017

Sign up for the e-book here:

About Sneha

Sneha Shah joined Thomson Reuters in 2001 in New York and has held several global leadership roles across the financial and media business units in operations, product development, and technology.

She was appointed Managing Director of Africa for Thomson Reuters in April 2015, and leads all of the financial, risk, tax and legal businesses across the region, providing data, automation and digitization solutions to financial institutions, governments, and corporates.

She is responsible for driving the profitable and sustainable growth for Thomson Reuters in Africa in a manner that contributes positively to the region’s economic development.

Born in Kenya and having worked in many African countries, Sneha is particularly passionate about initiatives that help empower Africa’s success. 

Sneha is a member of the Board of the US Chamber of Commerce, US-Africa Business Center. She is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the African Leadership Network (ALN) and has been actively involved in several initiatives of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, including the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) (current), and the Global Agenda Council on Governance (2014 to 2016).

Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Sneha was a commodities trader for Cargill in South Africa and traded money markets and foreign exchange at CFC Bank in Kenya. She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Politics with International Studies from the University of Warwick in the UK.

How to land a job in the (Kenyan) public sector

It's easy to get a job in the public sector, provided you're is confident, a go-getter and have experience Click To Tweet

When it comes to landing a job with the government, many people think it is a tall order that can’t be achieved by common citizens.

According to Aziza Said, a communication professional working under the presidency, it is easy to get a job in the public sector, provided one is confident, has a go-getter mentality and experience in a related field.

Here’s a summary of what the young Kenyan lady believes propelled her into getting a job in the public sector and keeping it so far.

Confidence and immeasurable experience

Working in the public sector is like working in any other job. As such, an interested candidate should have the common and necessary qualities such as relevant education and experience in the field. Above all, one needs confidence and a belief in self- qualities that push one to seek opportunities that will help them to grow in that field.

Prior to working with the government, Aziza was a radio program host for two local stations. Here, she had an opportunity to put into practice her acquired skills. She expanded on people skills, a quality that is crucial, especially, while working in a government office.

Excellent communication skills

It is Aziza’s duty to ensure that information from the government reaches the public. Information is important in improving the lives of the citizens.

“I am also keen on informing Kenyans about the country’s performance in the global market,” she adds.

Communication skills are vital when it comes to performing these duties, as well as interacting with the public. This does not apply to communication professionals alone. All public servants should be able to communicate and interact well with colleagues and the general public at large.

All public servants should be able to communicate and interact with their colleagues & the public Click To Tweet
Photo credit: Aziza

Know what the Constitution says about your duties as a public servant

The Constitution stipulates what public servants should and shouldn’t do. It is therefore important for government officers to know what the Constitution says about their field of work.

As a media practitioner, the constitution has separate clauses that inform us how information should be collected, reviewed and shared with the public. Articles 31, 33, 34, and 35 of the Kenyan Constitution give a guideline on how to handle and disseminate information.

The good thing about the government is that there are training opportunities for every employee Click To Tweet

Be on the lookout for opportunities to advance self

The good thing about the government is that there are training opportunities for each and every employee. It is the duty of the particular public servant to identify and attend such training opportunities to increase their knowledge on a specific area.

Public servants are also encouraged to go back to school for higher education. The good thing is when there are promotions; those with more experience and education are considered and rewarded.

Aziza believes she’s grown immensely in the past two years since joining the government. She advises citizens to be on the lookout for job adverts in the Kenya Gazette, local dailies, and relevant websites, as well as keep tabs with those working in such offices, also known as networking.

“Look at the requirements for every posting and avail all the necessary documents, as this is where the initial short-listing process starts,” Aziza advises.

The fault in Nigeria’s stars: The war between business & government

The fault, dear Shakespeare, is occasionally in our stars —and if you’re Nigerian, occasionally in our government.

Yesterday, while all of Nigeria nursed a hangover from Mark Zuckerberg’s stealthy visit to Lagos, local government officials handed out an overdose of Advil, with complementary sunglasses, to smack us all back to reality from the ephemeral excitement. Amongst other properties on Rumens Road in Ikoyi, the Lagos branch of the Nuli Juice Company—a rising local healthy fast food company—was demolished by local government officials who claimed that warnings had been sent to the respective landlords concerning outstanding fees.

A worrying trend

A few months ago, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), slammed a $5.2 billion fine on MTN for failing to disconnect unregistered users, dragging the telecoms giant’s bottom line to a headline loss for the first half of 2016.

This was amidst questionable monetary policy decisions by the Central Bank that have now seen the Nigerian economy, along with the constituent businesses of the flailing economy, crumble in 2016.

The tug of war between Nigerian businesses, their predominantly foreign investors and the government has never been more obvious. And Nigeria’s economic situation, more disheartening.

The same business owners, investors and government officials who vivaciously graced the dance floor to the tune of the “Africa is shaped like a gun and Nigeria is the trigger” chant led by McKinsey & Company and The Economist appear to be trickling off.

Standard Chartered and Atlas Mara are leading the exodus from Nigeria with United Airlines and Sun International in tow.

The Garden of Eden has proven that when trouble strikes in paradise, the blaming game begins. Adam blames Eve, Eve, the serpent and we Nigerians, our government. That’s just the way the chaos crumbles.

However, the Nigerian government is not alone but in good company. The Chinese government has driven Uber to a $1.3 billion loss in the first half of the year. The Tanzanian government abruptly passed a bill requiring all telcos to list on the Dar Es Salam Stock Exchange. The South African government’s proposed sugar tax has the potential to squeeze the life out of Coca Cola’s operations in the country.

This chasm between the private and public sector across the globe could not be more glaring.

Thankfully, in my lifetime, I’ve experienced the magic that happens when the chasm is bridged.

I spent the summer of my sophomore year in college interning at Sahel Capital, a leading agriculture-focused investment firm. Sahel Capital manages the $100 million Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN). Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture established the fund and now, Sahel Capital manages it.

I am the daughter of my father, a brilliant agricultural economist. He spent the bulk of his career in Nigerian agribusinesses—the private sector.

My late maternal grandfather spent his life in public service. In his day, he worked in the agriculture sector of Nigeria’s Western Region. Interning at Sahel Capital, the epitome of public-private partnership, my two worlds collided. And not just mine, but Nigeria’s too.

Collaboration between the public and private sector is by no means beyond the bounds of possibility. Here’s blowing the whistle on our leaders for attempting to prove otherwise.

5 ways to start building your political career


Today more women are taking charge and running the show in different capacities as businesswomen, captains of industries, CEOs, academics, and professionals. Yasss! Salute to all the Motherland Moguls making it happen.

For the longest time, politics all around the world has been referred to as the big boys’ game. Well, hold the door fellas because more girls wanna come in and play too.

Why politics?

It’s simple. There are various issues that affect us African women such as those tendered in the Nigerian Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill which failed to pass for the second reading in the Nigerian Senate.

Some of these issues include access to education, divorce rights, ownership of property. To get the laws that will favour us, we need better representation in government.

An article in the West Africa Insight declares that women are usually found at the bottom of the political chain; organizing, supporting, and acting as spectators as opposed to leading and initiating. Traditionally, the woman is relegated to the background and as such this practice has found its way into political participation.

In the ECOWAS parliament, we have only a minute number of female parliamentarians. Nigeria has one of the lowest numbers of female senators and ECOWAS parliamentarians (6.7% of parliamentarians in Nigeria are female). Despite decades of self-governance, this country has produced only two female governors in its entire history.

Does this mean that women are uninterested in politics?

Of course not. While we recognize that the participation of women in politics has been an immense struggle with several factors working against us such as financial constraints and cultural inhibitions, we must rise to the occasion. We commend the efforts of countries like Rwanda, South Africa and Namibia for taking a feminist stance in political representation. However, several African countries are still lagging behind.

We need to rewrite the story of women in Africa and it starts with every single one of us. Politics is not confined to running for office either. Some of us will rise to become the most influential persons in the government’s cabinet as ministers, commissioners, advisers and administrators.

It’s not just about women issues. If we are qualified and passionate about good governance, then we should put ourselves out there. If you have a dream to create an impact in your constituency, by all means work towards it.

Where should you begin?

For those of us who would like to make our foray into politics, these are some of the steps we need to be taking:


1. Start young

It’s not too early to plot your map and begin making steps towards your political future. Now is as good a time as any.

Take a leaf from Lindiwe Mazibuko, former parliamentary leader for the Democratic Alliance in South Africa who made history as one of the youngest parliamentarians.

She decided to veer into politics after being intrigued by her future party’s dynamics making it the focus of her final year dissertation in university.

2. Get involved with a cause

You need to be known for something. This is the time to begin to carve a niche for yourself. What social issues are you most passionate about?

There are several campaigns that you can get involved with depending on where your passions lie. Volunteer within the community.

Propelled by crises in her own life, Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi inspired and impacted the lives of women and children battling systemic abuse and poverty even before assuming public office.

She also fought to enact bills protecting women and children when she gained a seat in parliament.

3. Align with a mentor

Network with the people who can kick off your career and fund your aspirations. According to Political Parity, a platform aimed at helping women achieve their political aspirations, more women remain at the bottom tier because of lack of access to funding.

Mentors who are able to relay their experience as well as provide resources and connections play an invaluable role in an aspirant’s rise to success.

Hanna Tetteh

4. Develop the right skills to stay relevant

Hanna Tetteh became an indispensable member of her political party in Ghana after a worthy performance managing its communication strategy.

She has been described as an expert negotiator and it is no surprise that this skill has helped keep her at the top of the political ladder. What skills can you start to develop that will be useful when you begin building your political career?

5. Become an expert in your chosen field

As a young woman some people may already have their doubts about you so it is extremely important that you become a master in your field. Former Nigerian Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonji-Iweala had a long career as an economist rising to one of the top positions in the World Bank before entering government.

Despite controversies, she was a prized asset in President Jonathan’s government due to her level of expertise.

Thulisile MadonselaThulisile Madonsela became Public Protector of South Africa after receiving a 100 percent vote from parliament. She holds a BA in Law and an LLB, she was also awarded three honorary doctorates in law after an impressive record in public service.

She was involved in the drafting of South Africa’s constitution amongst other notable feats. No one can deny that she knows the law and would be an effective advocate for South Africans.

Begin to build a worthy resume by deciding what area you intend to become an authority in and by working diligently at it.

There you have it ladies, 5 steps that can help you ascend the political ladder. What moves will you be making?