48 episodes

Hosted by our award-winning journalists, and featuring trailblazers and leading thinkers from across the continent, the African Business Podcast is an essential listen for anyone with an interest in Africa. If you are looking for serious thinking but with the twist of humour and humanity that makes Africa so endearing, you've come to the right place.

The African Business Podcast IC Publications Ltd

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings

Hosted by our award-winning journalists, and featuring trailblazers and leading thinkers from across the continent, the African Business Podcast is an essential listen for anyone with an interest in Africa. If you are looking for serious thinking but with the twist of humour and humanity that makes Africa so endearing, you've come to the right place.

    Driving growth across African e-commerce

    Driving growth across African e-commerce

    In this episode we speak to Daniel Yu, a 32-year-old Californian entrepreneur now based in Zanzibar. He is the founder and CEO of Wasoko, a supply chain and distribution company established in 2015 to respond to the challenges faced by small and micro-business across Africa in managing stock levels. Having just raised $125 million in Series B venture capital funding from Tiger and Avenir, Wasoko is now valued at $625 million, and has its sights set on eliminating the inefficiencies plaguing Africa’s enormous, dynamic, so-called ‘informal’ retail economy.
     
    A humble innovator, Daniel has learned Swahili in order to better service his customers in east Africa. Wasoko’s network now spans 75,000 businesses across six African countries, but the plan is to become – in Daniel’s words – the ‘operating system’ for commerce across urban Africa. For Daniel, this growth must be coupled with a broader positive impact; to improve overall conditions in the communities in which they operate is core to Wasoko’s mission.

    Alive to the possibilities of the technology sector for the continent, Daniel has worked with the authorities on Zanzibar to turn the island into an innovation hub. He still sees substantial deficits in the regulatory and operational frameworks structuring the innovation environment in Africa, and worries that these will fall short of the continent's wealth of skills, creativity and entrepreneurial talent.
     
    Read more
    Digitalising African retail
    The informal sector is the future of African work
    Africa bucking the global VC trend
    An MIT framework for innovation ecosystem policy
     
    Credits
    Host and executive producer: Dr Desné Masie
    Co-producer: Peter Doerrie
    Research: Angus Chapman
    Digital Editor: Charles Dietz
    Design: Jason Venkatasamy
    Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles
    Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 40 min
    How the UK is investing in African development

    How the UK is investing in African development

    British International Investments (BII), the UK’s official development finance agency, was the first organisation of its kind when it was founded in 1948. It remains at the forefront of international development finance, particularly for Africa, where it deploys 70% of its $2-$4 billion of new capital every year.

    CEO Nick O'Donohoe is a pioneer of impact investing, coming to BII following stints in investment banking and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and having co-founded Big Society Capital, the world’s first social investment bank. He explains how BII fits into the UK’s foreign policy in the context of Brexit and a shrinking foreign aid and development budget.
     
    He discusses priorities, illustrating how infrastructure and technology are key to enabling Africa to exploit its enormous entrepreneurial potential. He also touches on climate change, outlining how BII’s commitment to achieving net zero across its both portfolio and transactions will drive its engagement with the continent’s clean energy transition.
     
    The podcast takes a philosophical turn, with Nick and Desné tackling the big questions of development, finance and investment. What does it mean to be developed? What is the ‘right’ kind of private sector? Must investments be large to be transformational?

    They finish with a discussion of social impact, gender and green bonds. Nick sees huge progress in this space. Recalling the 1990s, and even into the 2000s, he argues that there has been an explosion in awareness of how investment can materially change development outcomes.   
     
    Read more
    The next ten years of impact investment
    Africa's changing role in UK foreign policy
    What do we really know about Africa's informal economy?
    Explaining green bonds
     
    Credits
    Host and executive producer: Dr Desné Masie
    Co-producer: Peter Doerrie
    Research: Angus Chapman
    Digital Editor: Charles Dietz 
    Design: Jason Venkatasamy
    Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles
    Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ 

    • 51 min
    General Electric on Africa's energy transition

    General Electric on Africa's energy transition

    Since General Electric was founded by Thomas Edison almost a century and a half ago, the power business has changed a lot. Vuyelwa Mahanyele, regional sales director for GE’s gas business in Southern and East Africa, has seen this change up close. She tells us how decarbonisation became the overarching theme for both the company and the region, and steps through the financial, technical and policy aspects of making it a reality.

    Achieving the trilemma of affordable, reliable and sustainable power in Africa remains a serious challenge. Mahanyele suggests that a combination of gas and renewables can do much of the heavy lifting. She places it in the context of the continent’s economic trajectory, arguing that better, cleaner power with revitalised generation and transmission infrastructure can drive a real economic acceleration, as it has across the world.

    Mahanyele outlines the rapidly shifting technological frontier, exploring the technical and economic feasibility of innovations such as hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and next-generation gas power. 
     
    She finishes with a discussion of the local and international factors – technology, investment, skills and policy – that can make large-scale transformation possible at the country, regional and international levels.
     
    Read more:
    General Electric: Accelerating South Africa's energy transition
    IISD: Exploring the case for gas-fired power in South Africa
    Africa's natural gas - necessary evil or economic saviour?
    The many colours of hydrogen explained
    The challenge of energy access in Africa
     
    Credits
    Host and executive producer: Dr Desné Masie
    Co-producer: Peter Doerrie
    Digital Editor: Charles Dietz 
    Design: Jason Venkatasamy
    Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles
    Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ 

    • 51 min
    Pascal Lamy: Africa's position at COP27

    Pascal Lamy: Africa's position at COP27

    Few people understand issues of international trade, development and environment as well as Pascal Lamy. Following eight years as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal now serves on the board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; one of Africa’s most influential civil society organisations. He joins us following the release of the Foundation’s 2022 Governance Forum report, which aims to make Africa’s case in the global climate change debate ahead of COP27 in Egypt in November.
    Framing it as a race between demography and economy, Pascal wants to see Africa’s development needs prioritised in the global response to climate change. Africa is prepared to fight for its position, he says, and highlights south-south solidarity as a countervailing force against the US, China, EU and other heavyweights.
    Natural gas is set to be a flashpoint at COP27. Despite claims that foreign ownership, frothy export markets, high prices and poor infrastructure make it unlikely that gas will be a development panacea for Africa, Pascal insists that the continent’s prodigious reserves should be exploited.
    Africa is already a large positive for the global climate ledger, and Pascal outlines further opportunities for the continent to support global climate solutions. Governance will be key, he says, explaining the Mo Ibrahim Foundation's work on governance monitoring, assessment and improvement.
    We conclude with a discussion of the global trade environment. Pascal offers his thoughts on Africa’s place within the global trade system, assesses the implementation of the AfCFTA, and explains how Africa can secure greater benefits from trade in the future.
    Read more:
    Making Africa's Case in the Global Climate Debate: the 2022 Ibrahim Governance Forum report

    IC Intelligence on Africa's energy transition
    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Africa can play a leading role in the fight against climate change
    What you need to know about the African Continental Free Trade Area
    Why trade matters for African development
    Credits
    Host: Angus Chapman
    Co-producers: Peter Doerrie, Dr Desné Masie
    Digital Editor: Charles Dietz
    Design: Jason Venkatasamy
    Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles
    Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 46 min
    Kenya's crucial election: the podcast

    Kenya's crucial election: the podcast

    Charlie Mitchell, Kenya correspondent for African Business Magazine, previews the upcoming contest between Raila Odinga and William Ruto, which will be a crucial test for the East African nation
     
    On Tuesday August 9 Kenyans will go to the polls for a crucial election to decide the direction of travel of East Africa's economic giant for the next five years. Veteran challenger Raila Odinga - who has received the vital endorsement of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta - will go up against current deputy-president William Ruto, who is attempting to portray himself as the natural pick of Kenya's "hustler nation". The outcome of the tense race will undoubtedly have profound implications for growth and development across East Africa. 
    In this special election preview episode David Thomas, editor of African Business, is joined by Charlie Mitchell, Kenya correspondent for African Business and the Times of London, who explains the competing visions of the contenders, the implications for economic policy, and the prospects of a free and fair vote. 

     
    Credits

    Host: David Thomas

    Guest: Charlie Mitchell 

    Producer: Peter Doerrie

    Digital Editor: Charles Dietz

    Design: Jason Venkatasamy

    Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles

    Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 25 min
    Food, climate and a just energy transition: Round-up from the 2022 African Development Bank Annual Meetings

    Food, climate and a just energy transition: Round-up from the 2022 African Development Bank Annual Meetings

    In this special round-up episode, we speak to three prominent attendees of the 2022 African Development Bank Annual Meetings. The theme, Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa, features prominently, as our guests talk us through their hopes, fears and aspirations for development on the continent. Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher and Managing Director at IC Publications, kicks off with his take on the Annual Meetings. He relays the challenges of attracting more development finance to the continent amidst myriad economic and financial pressures, gives us his highlights from the African Banker Awards and reflects on the upbeat, defiant tone of this year’s meetings [2:12-14:48).
    Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, highlights Africa’s huge infrastructure gap, laying out a strategic vision for a series of linked, transcontinental projects to help compress value chains and drive industrialisation. He also speaks about the so-called ‘African risk premium’, claiming that the maturation of the continent’s financial architecture alongside the strong performance of existing investments may mean this premium is finally eroding [14:48-41:02].
    Professor Kevin Urama, the Bank’s Chief Economist, rounds out the episode with a wide-ranging overview of economic and environmental developments on the continent. He is frank about the existence of a ‘triangle of disaster’, but is positive that Africa’s financial institutions and mechanisms, as well as its robust productive base, makes it more economically resilient than many suppose. He speaks passionately and urgently about the threat of climate change, and outlines a framework for the decoupling of economic progress from environmental degradation. He concludes with a challenge; for Africa to chart its own economic course [41:03-1:25:04].
    Read more:
    Dr Hippolyte Fofack on IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
    Africa's infrastructure paradox
    The African 'perception premium'
    The 2022 African Economic Outlook
    Our World in Data: Decoupling emissions and economic growth
    Credits
    Host Angus Chapman 
    Co-producers: Peter Doerrie, Dr Desné Masie
    Digital Editor: Charles Dietz

    Design: Jason Venkatasamy

    Music: Corporate Uplifting Chill by MusicLFiles

    Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

    • 1 hr 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

chengy_ ,

Informative!

I love the broad perspective

chiefmogogo ,

Great topics and a lot of potential

Interesting guests and topics. I have been looking for a podcast that covers African businesses, projects and economy in general and this is a close as it gets! I wish the episodes were more frequent. Lately however, it has been a little difficult to follow the train of thought of the new host. Many unfinished thoughts and makes it seems like the questions lack direction.

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