Thursday, February 28, 2008

Urwego community banking - Rwanda

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URWEGO offered its first loans in July 1997 to Rwanda's economically active poor. After 9 years of rapid growth, URWEGO has emerged as the premier Microfinance Institute (MFI). We use proven methodology in Rwanda and we serve 21,241 active clients and their families through access to credit and savings facilities as well as training. These clients compose 560 Community Banks and 54 Solidarity Groups and we operate in eleven of Rwanda's twelve former provinces. Eighty-six percent of URWEGO's clients are female. URWEGO was named "Best MFI in Rwanda" in the 2004 "Year of Microfinance" through a joint assessment by the government of Rwanda, the United Nations, and Harvard University.


To alleviate poverty in Rwanda in the name of Jesus Christ. Loosely translated, the Kinyarwandan word "URWEGO" means ladder and the aim is to help our clients "Climbing the Ladder of Economic Empowerment."


URWEGO strives to become a financially self-sufficient institution, with an outreach that is broad, deep and significant in impact on poor people's lives.

Where We Work:

URWEGO currently operates in all five of the new administrative regions. Expansion plans are underway to cover all the new administrative districts that are not currently covered, especially those in the western and southern region. See the chart below for our specific locations.

MFK Corporation - based in Kampala

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MFK Corporation is a Multi-dimensional business establishment with its headquarters in Kampala, Uganda - East Africa. The conglomerate represents diverse interests in different disciplines but with a common shareholder vision and objective.

MFK Corporation is placing a greater focus on umbrella partnership to build new brand relationships and provide greater value to business partners.

BPO in Ghana - An African success story

Business Process Outsourcing is an emerging industry in Africa. This film looks at the various issues and opportunities facing the BPO sector in Ghana through the lenses of three BPO operators.

Uganda National Academy of Science - Science for prosperity

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The Uganda National Academy of Science (UNAS) was launched on 20th October 2000 in Kampala.

UNAS brings together a diverse group of scientists from the physical, biological and social/behavioral sciences, working together in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary manner.

The main objectives of UNAS are to:

1. Provide an independent forum through which scientists can exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences.

2. Promote and foster the growth of the scientific community in Uganda.

3. Encourage, stimulate, design and coordinate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific research and development.

4. Get involved in the planning, convening and co-ordination of scientific education programmes and help in the development and nurturing of high-level scientific and technological manpower in Uganda.

5. Establish a regular award scheme for recognition of outstanding achievements in science and to advocate for proper, safe and ethical exploitation of science and technology in national development.

Monday, February 25, 2008

African organic farming foundation

African Organic Farming Foundation

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AOFF's Marketing and Agro-Business Development (MAED) Program is a market-led, trade capacity building partnership that facilitates the inclusion of the resource-poor in organic production and trade by linking small farmers with markets to improve nutrition, food security, incomes and community decision making. Increased income will enhance the well-being of farm families and give them new incentives to improve their management of the soil and other natural resources.

Netmark - Nets for malaria prevention

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NetMark represents a time-limited investment by USAID to reduce the burden of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa by increasing the commercial supply of and public demand for insecticide treated nets. This is achieved primarily through partnerships with commercial companies and national malaria control programs, and national scale public education and promotional efforts.

NetMark and the 44 commercial partners it has worked with since 1999 have invested over 85% of their resources in the target countries and created sustainable commercial markets for nets and ITNs, making them available to all socio-economic groups. High risk groups such as pregnant women and children less than five years are receiving free or subsidized ITNs, and donors are better able to target their free distribution to the neediest.

Rethinking the India Back Office - opportunity for Africa?

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about the Indian Outsourcing industry. The article basically describes how costs in the outsourcing sector are outpacing savings. Furthermore, captives which are entities owned by multinationals are getting hurt by the fall of the American Dollar. Plus, labor rates and employee churn are hurting profit margins of Wipro, Infosys, Tata, and some of the other Indian firms.

I have consulted, researched, and presented information on the global BPO/ITES (information technology enabled service), my conclusion with outsourcing is this. Currently, India is the mecca for BPO because of it's highly qualified labor force, this will never change. India graduates more english speaking engineers than the US and UK combined. However, labor rates in India are getting higher and will keep getting higher.

Where does Africa fall in all this? Well, for starters we need cheap, reliable fiber optic cable. We are highly educated, we just need more investment in science and technology education. Africa has witnessed a paradigm shift in terms of telecommunications on the continent. We have the fastest growing mobile market in the world and this is forcing state owned monopolies to divest and invest in new technologies. For the first time in 10 years, African governments are starting to collaborate and partner for fiber optic infrastructure. East Africa has 4 different competing fiber optic cables that will enable outsourcing and cheaper communications.

By 2015, I think Africa should be a player in the global BPO market and could perhaps challenge India. Africans speak English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Africans also don't need to take special language classes to overcome accents.

WSJ article about India outsourcing

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Africans at DEMO 2008

Here is a video of the African panel at DEMO 2008 of TED'sters Erik Hersman of White African and Juliana Rotich of Afromusing.

FGC Wireless

FGC wireless is Sierra Leonean communication service provider providing voice and data network solutions and services. FGC wireless is dedicated in providing customers with reliable and affordable state of the art technology designed to simplify their lives.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Leap Africa - African leadership training

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LEAP provides leadership training programmes and executive coaching services for business owners, social entrepreneurs and youth. LEAP also invests in continuous research on leadership development in Africa. LEAP’s approach to cultivating leadership skills is unique.

LEAP’s success is linked to the practical changes that its participants are able to make in their lives, their companies and communities. As a result, LEAP actively monitors the progress of its participants, as they strive to become change leaders in Africa.

Rwanda opens stock exchange

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Courtesy BBC

The BBC has reported that Rwanda has open up it's own stock exchange. Initially the exchange will deal with corporate and government debt, over time it expects to list shares to the world market.

This is a big development in a country where 15 years ago it was in a devastating shape. Rwanda's economy has done a 360 degree paradigm shift and has embraced investors and foreigners all over the world.

Read article here

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ultimate seasonings - African seasonings

Founded in 2002 by Julie and Albert Ndjee, Ultimate Seasonings LLC goal is to bring you the fresh and healthy taste of Africa. Their mission is to make your dinner table healthier, better and tastier. With Ultimate Seasonings, eating fresh and healthy is now a reality.

Many of it's seasonings can be used for a variety your favorite recipes.

Sao Tome e Principe works with technology

Core 77 design blog has an article about Sao Tome craftsman making unique wooden designs of USB flash memory cards.


Courtesy of Core 77

Read more

Fortune article - African investments starting to pay off

Marc Gunther from Fortune magazine, has written an article about profitable investments in Africa. Marc notes that Africa has risks, but Africa has some of the best returns in the world.

Investment in Africa starts to pay off

Widespread perceptions of corruption and violence do not deter some Western firms from putting money into African nations - often with impressive results.

By Marc Gunther, senior writer

(Fortune) -- Read the news about civil war in Kenya, unrest in Chad, or genocide in Darfur, and you could conclude that Africa is no place to invest money.

But behind the headlines lies business opportunity. Africa's economy is growing at 5 to 6% a year. Inflation is down. Prices are rising for commodities like oil, copper and gold.

Read more

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Zain - African & middle east telecommunications

Zain (formerly MTC) is the pioneer of mobile telecommunications in the Middle East and now a major player on the African continent.

Today, they are a leading mobile and data services operator with licenses in seven Middle Eastern and 15 sub-Saharan African countries with over 15,000 employees providing a comprehensive range of mobile voice and data services to over 42.4 million ** active individual and business customers (December 31, 2007).

On September 8, 2007 MTC Group announced it has re-branded to Zain ( which becomes the Group’s corporate master brand with immediate effect.

Gold Coast limited - African investment banking

Gold Coast Securities Limited (GCSL) is a leading investment-banking firm, specialized in Capital Market and Money Market securities operations, Asset Management, Equity Market Research, and Corporate Finance operations in the financial markets in Ghana, with Global brokerage partners in Europe and the USA.

Incorporated in August 1993, GCSL has over the past years consistently rolled out customer-driven innovations in providing financial investment solutions in products and services.

Rosaab International - African branding design

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Rosaab International is a Nigerian registered company founded in 1974 as the pioneer manufacturer of embossed car plate numbers. Formerly know as Rosaab Industrial Design Limited, the company has evolved over a period of 3 decades from business areas such as precision engraving, silkscreen printing, plastic welding, and metal/plastic fabrication to becoming one of Africa’s leading signage manufacturer and environmental brand Implementation Company.

African Investment and Finance Conference - London, UK

Key topics include:
Private equity landscape: the past, the present, the future

Africa has established itself as one of the most profitable emerging investment markets. Some of the leading investors explain how they have achieved success, and their view of current trends:

  • How the African market has grown - and why
    Which investment vehicles are available, and how to choose them
  • Promising sectors for high growth in the future.
Doing Business in sub-Saharan Africa & the macroeconomic picture
Current economic trends in global markets and Africa
Sovereign Wealth Funds and their relevance to Africa
Africa's banking sector, Africa's capital markets and capital
gains on African stocks
African Infrastructure Financing
What are the key challenges in sourcing and transforming
companies in Africa?

Go to conference site to learn more

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

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AGRA is a dynamic, African-led partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural “value chain”—from seeds, soil health, and water to markets and agricultural education. AGRA is chaired by Kofi A. Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. AGRA, with initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana

Science in Africa - online science magazine

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Science in Africa is the first popular science magazine for Africa. Science is alive in Africa. From Cape to Cairo, scientists in a broad range of fields report on their research, giving their expert views on topical issues in science and providing the right information to an African public seeking a deeper understanding of science and of the dynamic role it plays in everyone's lives. A culture of science is spreading across Africa.

Initiative africa - weekly magazine

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INITIATIVE Africa is a magazine that highlights the initiatives of individuals or organizations (NGOs, government agencies, businesses, etc.) contributing to the development of the African continent in the domains of education, culture, the environment, and health. The reports display the activities of men, women, and children who, whether in large cities or small villages, help to construct Africa on a daily basis.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

TED Africa 2008 registration now open!

TEDAfrica in Cape Town

TED Africa registration is now open. TED Africa is an awakening many people don't have the opportunity to witness.

Don't miss the opportunity to get engage in the "community" and participate in sharing your knowledge.

Register today for TED Africa in South Africa!
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