Business & Finance
Forbes Africa

Forbes Africa March 2019

Forbes Africa is the drama critic to business in Africa. The magazine helps readers connect the dots, form patterns and see beyond the obvious, giving them a completely different perspective. In doing this, it delivers sharp, in-depth and engaging stories by looking at global and domestic issues from an African prism.

South Africa
ABN Publishing Pty Ltd (trading as Forbes Africa)
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11 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
a note of optimism

I ONCE STAYED IN a men’s hostel. For two months. This was when I was studying film classics in one of India’s most prestigious film institutes, as one of 50 chosen by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to undergo the short program. The ladies hostel had run out of rooms, and the tough, bespectacled, no-nonsense matron somehow decided I was the lesser evil of the garrulous lot that arrived to check-in the day before commencement of the course. I was what she thought to be ‘a mature student’ – in her book, someone slightly older than the rest and perhaps more worldly-wise and sensible enough to not mess with her. But the matron, would, of course, keep a watchful eye on me. My younger, now-resentful female course-mates thought it an unfair…

4 min.
the most defining aspects of our lives

I was recently invited as the keynote speaker at a business networking event in New Delhi. The format and outcomes were a refreshing change from the run-of-the-mill talk-shops we have become accustomed to. The closed group of entrepreneurs from diverse industries had weekly targets of meeting each other and providing contacts to establish meaningful and outcome-driven relationships. In the interactive sessions, they spoke about tangible dollar-based businesses generated from each other. Very refreshing, I thought. They asked me to share my own journey, first as a military man and then as an entrepreneur. My life changed 38 years ago after a near-death experience in the military at the age of 22. I was inspired to become proactive and embrace the philosophy of transformation. My lifelong quest has been to find answers…

5 min.
brief 360

SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR BAGS THIRD GRAMMY South Africa’s multiple award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir won a Grammy for the third time. They won the Best World Music Album Grammy for their collection of songs titled Freedom. This was the group’s fifth nomination in this category. The album was recorded in June 2018 as part of the group’s tribute to Nelson Mandela’s centenary. It features a selection of South African struggle songs including their scintillating version of Johnny Clegg’s poignant Asimbonanga. The group have previously won an Emmy and been nominated for an Oscar for their collaboration with Peter Gabriel on the theme song for the film Wall-E. Other Grammy winners include rapper Cardi B and musician Childish Gambino. SOUTH AFRICANS IN THE DARK Mid last month, South Africa’s energy provider Eskom, for the first time in history, implemented…

13 min.
the multi-sector man from madagascar

IT’S A GLOOMY Monday afternoon in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of Greenside, South Africa, but inside the photo studio where we are, the mood is festive as Madagascar-born Ylias Akbaraly transforms himself from a humble, down-to-earth entrepreneur in modest casual wear into a stately capitalist wearing a nifty-grey Italian designer suit, dark tie and light-blue shirt. Madagascar’s wealthy businessman, who estimates his worth at just over a billion dollars, has come to share his story of how in under 30 years, he turned a small family business with a turnover of almost $34,000 and employing 20 people, to an empire with revenue expected to exceed $265 million in 2019 and employing 3,000 staff. The multinational conglomerate that he created through discipline, hard work and seizing opportunities, now has tentacles beyond his island…

3 min.
a solution to improve madagascar’s local economies

MADAGASCAR IS A priority country for conservation and preserving Earth’s biodiversity riches threatened by a rampant rate of habitat destruction. Ninety percent of the natural habitat of Madagascar has been destroyed and 91% of the lemur species are critically endangered, endangered or threatened. Since the political turmoil of 2009, coupled with security issues and illegal extraction activities, the conservation situation has worsened. The presidential election that took place in January offers hope that this new regime will make preservation of the unique wildlife of Madagascar a priority. President Andry Rajoelina ran on a platform of eliminating poverty for his people. Ecotourism is good for the economy, but there are doubts if it is enough. Our conservation teams in the Ranomafana region are hoping that we have a solution for improving local economies. Centre ValBio (CVB), a…

10 min.
deep trouble

THE 1970S ARE KNOWN FOR political scandal while the 1980s are known for pop culture. They are also known for South Africa’s boom in the mining economy. I write this article from Johannesburg dubbed eGoli (the city of gold) for its once rich gold mines. At the peak of those glory days, for every R100 the economy produced in 1980, R21 was from mining. In fact, during this boom, in 1987, the industry employed 760,000 people. Today, the story of South Africa’s mining sector makes for grim reading. The once mighty sector is a shadow of its former self as precious metals continue to struggle. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reports that gold has lost ground over the last three decades. The annual production index for gold is now 46% lower…