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More oil found in Ghana

August 22nd, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Business, General

The headline says it all.

Tullow Oil has made another “significant” oil discovery in Ghana, in a block adjacent to one where it made a big discovery in June, supporting investor hopes that the country will become a major profit centre for the firm.
London-based Tullow said in a statement on Wednesday that the Hyedua-1 well discovered “a significant light oil accumulation”, in the Deepwater Tano block, which Tullow operates and in which it has a 50 percent stake. U.S.-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp and private-equity backed Kosmos Energy own 18 percent each.

Oil will be developed as soon as 2011. Read more

(via YG)

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Vote to add Africa 2.0 panel to SXSW festival schedule

August 21st, 2007 | 8 Comments | Posted in Business, Editor's Note, Events, General, Technology

vote for Africa 2.0 panelOver the past year and a half, I’ve come to love writing about African style and business issues and interacting with the many inspiring people and ideas which I’ve come across through this blog. In my experience, today’s technology has provided us with the most effective vehicles to communicate and has caused an acceleration of African ideas AND actions across borders and even hemispheres. In my first attempt at taking our online conversations offline, I’ve proposed a panel idea for the upcoming South by SouthWest (SXSW) Interactive Festival being held in Austin, Texas March 7-11 2008. The proposed panel, Africa 2.0: Affecting Change Using Technology, will discuss how blogs, social networks, digital media and mobile technology are being used by businesses and citizens — both African and foreign — to affect change in Africa. The group of panelists will discuss adoption of mobile technology, community activism online and offline, and digital media’s effect on African entertainment industry growth. The process of developing the final schedule for the festival relies on a public vote to decide which panels actually get added. Please take a moment to VOTE to add the Africa 2.0 panel to SXSW Interactive schedule. My panel seems to be the ONLY Africa-related panel idea for the interactive festival.

In related news, I am hoping to put together a panel/roundtable to be held in New York City sometime this fall. I’m looking to bring many of you together to discuss opportunities and experiences in African business. If anyone has any ideas or would like to suggest any sponsors please contact me. I’ll have soe more specific information soon. Now go VOTE for panel!!

Other panels which deserve your vote:

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Hilton Hotels brings brand to Ghana

August 17th, 2007 | 19 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, General, Travel

Hilton Accra Airport City 2010Inc. Magazine alerts us to an announcement by Hilton Hotels that it will open its first property in Ghana in early 2010. Named The Hilton Accra Airport City, the 186-room property will be located in Airport City, a new mixed-use development in the heart of ‘upscale’ Accra. This makes Hilton Hotels one of the first upscale international brands to operate in the capital city of Accra. Owned by Grand Real Estates and Company Limited and managed by Hilton Hotels Corporation, the new property will become Hilton’s ninth property in Africa joining hotels in Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroon and South Africa. Additional Hilton properties are under development in Africa in Equatorial Guinea (Malabo) and Uganda (Kampala).

Inc. Magazine’s Mike Hofman adds “Our latest survey of Inc. 500 companies, to be published in September, shows that America’s fastest-growing firms are currently doing business in at least 12 African countries, led by cosmopolitan South Africa but including such once-hard-luck cases as Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.”

This gives us a tremendous opportunity to establish our brand in an African country that is experiencing strong growth. Accra itself is a key commercial and tourism hub for the country, with a real and growing requirement for upscale hotels. Expansion in Africa is key to our development strategy, – Jean-Paul Herzog, President, Hilton Hotels, Middle East & Africa.

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UNICEF: Mudfaced African children need your help!

August 17th, 2007 | 4 Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Charity, General, Politics, Travel

UNICEF Germany mud Africa adsIf there was any doubt about how ineffective and out of touch old-world charity organizations have become when it comes to Africa(ns), here is an example. UNICEF Germany put time, effort and valuable resources into producing this recent ad campaign which “shows four German kids who appeal for solidarity with their contemporaries in Afrika”. In an attempt at drawing a familiarity between German and African children on the topic of education Jung von Matt/Alster – UNICEF’s ad agency – came up with the brilliant idea of showing typical German children with mud spread across their faces. Taglines for the ads include: “In Africa, many kids would be glad to worry about school”, “Some teachers suck. No teachers sucks even more”, “In Africa, kids don’t come to school late, but not at all”, and my personal favorite “I’m waiting for my last day in school, the children in Africa are still waiting for their first one”.

Needless to say, the ads have caused a lot of controversy. When “help” efforts like UNICEF’s and the eerily similar Giorgio Armani’s Kate Moss cover are so off mark, you know there is a serious need for African intervention at the planning stages. Someone tell these guys to give me a call before they embarrass themselves further and continue to lose money.

More coverage:

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African Design Competition: Design a Uniform, Shape a School

August 15th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Art, Business, Fashion, General

Here’s a good opportunity for African creatives to get some real world projects under their belt:
The African Leadership Academy, a world-class boarding school opening outside Johannesburg, South Africa on September 2008, has launched a pan-African design competition to solicit designs for the Academy’s inaugural school uniform. The competition is open to individual students or groups of students between the ages of 12 and 20 all across Africa. The best design will be decided by an international panel which will include world-renowned African fashion designers, and the winner will be commemorated with a plaque at the Academy. The first round runs until the 15th of November.

For more information about the competition visit the ALA website.

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Forget aid and money, Africa needs IDEAS!

August 8th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Business, Charity, General, Politics, Technology

If ideas are capital, why is Africa investing more on things than on information, and more on the military than on education? Suddenly, I realized what this idea could mean for Africa. If the pen is mightier than the sword, why does a general earn more than the work of a hundred writers combined? If ideas are indeed capital, then Africa should stem its brain drain and promote the African Renaissance, which will lead to the rebirth of the continent. After all, a renaissance is a rebirth of ideas. And knowledge and ideas are the engines that drive economic growth.

From Philip Emeagwali’s speech delivered at the University of Alberta, Canada, September 23, 2006 (read more)

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Climate change threatens Ghana’s economic future

August 8th, 2007 | 2 Comments | Posted in Business, General, Politics, Technology

Akosombo Dam by ckoukkosSpeaking to people living in Ghana recently, I had become worried by the ongoing power problems. While power outages are nothing new to many of us in developing countries, I have started getting worried about the effects of Ghana’s ongoing power issues on the country’s looming economic growth spurt. While power shortages are an inconvenience to the regular Ghanaian, for Ghana’s growing entrepreneur class the shortages are a critical issue. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Phillips writes

Just as its economy is picking up steam, Ghana is finding its growth stunted by a force beyond its control: climate change.

Rainfall in the West African country has declined so sharply in recent years that the water level behind the 41-year-old Akosombo Dam, long the country’s main power source, is now at a record low, forcing the government to ration power and companies to invest in costly diesel generators. Economists estimate the water-and-power shortage could slash as much as two percentage points off Ghana’s economic growth this year.

The water level at the Akosombo Dam is 41 feet below the dam’s high-water mark, affecting Ghana’s power distribution and subsequently it’s business climate. “Officials say they will bring emergency generators on line and hope a long-dormant plan to add a Chinese-financed dam on the Black Volta River, upstream from Akosombo, will become a reality within a few years.” the WSJ article points out. But while global warming has accelerated it’s unreliability, many Ghanaians I’ve spoken to fault government officials for not moving quickly enough to find alternative sources of electricity to relieve the pressure on the 41-year old Akosombo Dam. With the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and numerous other economically beneficial events planned in the next year alone, Ghana is at a crossroads and a wrong step can undo 50 years of steady growth.

(photo by ckoukkos)

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Is there an African culture code?

August 6th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Books/Magazines, Business, General, Travel

Africaincorp relates lessons from the book The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do to the African diaspora.

What makes a Kenyan “Kenyan”, what makes an Ivorian “Ivorian” and what makes an Moroccan “Moroccan” are answers the savvy professional,entrepreneur,investors and executives are actively seeking as we speak.
Businesses and other mediums that are able to provide the answer or at least a lead will make a lot of money along the way. These answers would then be at the core of any product and service development so that customers throughout the vibrant African economies would be offered products that are in line with the codes.

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Africa Enterprising articles part 3

The 3rd edition of the The Carnival of African Enterprising has launched at the White African blog. As with the previous installments, this edition highlights some of the best posts from the African business/entrepreneurship blogosphere. Head over to White African to check out top posts from 5 of Africa’s top blogging/business talent, with a bonus addition from Annansi Chronicles (Big Thanks to Hash).To find out more about the ongoing carnival go here. Special thanks to Benin Mwangi for organizing everything.

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“Africa:The Next Chapter” videos premiere

The good folks at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) have debuted the first videos from the powerful TEDGlobal 2007 conference held in Tanzania earlier this year. Called “Africa: The Next Chapter”, the conference featured talks from many of Africa’s current innovators.  The first few uploaded videos include South African investment banker Euvin Nadoo – who I met at the Harvard Club in New York in April – describing a continent poised to light up, Ghanaian economist George Ayittey’s lacerating criticism of Africa’s “hippo generation” to inspiring appeal for the “cheetah generation” to arise, former Finance Minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala showing how the different pieces of the aid vs trade argument could be reconciled, and finally 19-year-old Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba who won a standing ovation for his shy 3-minute interview, revealing how as a 14-year-old he solved his parents’ energy needs in a village which had no electricity. These first videos are a window into the minds of Africa’s growing entrepreneural class. I can’t wait for the other speakers’ videos.

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