Many of you my dear readers should by now know that I’m also a presenter of a jazz music programme, “Sunset Serenade”, on 101.9 Chai FM (or webstreaming on I was attracted to the genre – and Africa arts and culture – at a very early. So I used to uncles and old timers such as my neighbour, Bra Solly Baloi, In Hammanskraal raving about track 3 in an album being the greatest of them all. Yes, later on as a trainee journalist at the Weekly Mail (before it metamorphosed into the Mail & Guardian) I also learnt about the Importance of page 3 in a newspaper. So, 3 is some kind of a magic number for me.

So I thought about this magic number as I was conceptualising the 3rd annual Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition. We launched it – with this news portal, Jambo Africa Online – as platforms to respond to the worrying findings of Thebe Ikalafeng’s annual brand Africa™ Survey that found that while during their launch year in 2010, 34% of the “Top 100 Most Admired Brands in Africa” were the continent’s indigenous brands, this paltry percentage has been consistently dwindling down to reaching 10% this year. The work was cut out for us to ensure that we helped build reputations of “Made in Africa” service and product brands so that the 1.3 billion consumers in the continent could embrace and uptake them. We knew although the integration of Africa into a common market, through the operationalisation of the AfCFTA from 1 January 2021, with a combined GDP now slightly decreased $3.6 trillion to $3.4 trillion by the COVID-19 pancession, was meant to bolster consumption of “Made in Africa” service and product brands, this was an almost impossible mission to accomplish considering that our continental consumers converted primarily with foreign brands. We took it upon ourselves as global pan Africanists to help build the reputation of Africa as a viable destination for investment and tourism while also opening market access opportunities for our beneficjated produce.

The word “Biashara” is a kiSwahili word that means “the activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial transactions.”

Post COVID-19 lockdown, this year’s seminar will be hybrid – a combination of virtual through Zoom and social media platforms plus limited physical attendance on 14 December from 9h00-13h00. This year’s theme is: “Two Years of Operationalisation of the AfCFTA: Celebrating Achievements; Mitigating Risks; and Entrenching a Shared Continental Vision”. Our standard overarching themes are feed Africapower Africa; industrialise Africa; and, integrate Africa.

We’re proud to say this year the African Business Council (AfBC), the African Tourism Board (ATB) and the Empire Partner Foundation (EPF) are Brandhill Africa™‘s strategic partners on executing this seminar. As such, Dr Amany Asfour, President of the AfBC, who’s based in Egypt, and Cuthbert Ncube, the Executive Chairman of the ATB, will be keynote speakers. The AfBC is the apex body on the promotion and lobby of the Pan-African Business interests. It serves as a key pillar within the architecture of the AfCFTA by ensuring there is organized interaction between the Pan-African Private Sector and African Policymakers. The ATB’s brand positioning vision is “where Africa becomes ONE tourism destination in the WORLD”. EPF’s Manager, Mikhial Mariemuthu, will be welcoming us as the host at their prestigious venue. As the event is about promoting “Made in Africa” service and product brands, we’re glad to say Lavo Wines, owned by HRH Lerato Pretorius, will be onboard too.

Another keynote address will come from H.E. Andre Nzapayeke, Ambassador of the Central African Republic (CAR) and current Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in South Africa. 

The other speakers will include Ben Leyka, CEO of the African Agri Council & CEO of DRC Invest; Dr Dustin Ramahanedza, Global CEO, Farmers Connect Africa (FCA); Ipeleng Kwadi, Managing Director: Motshotelo Farming Enterprise; Lerato Maku, Administrative Director of Future Africa International (a pan African youth business federation with branches across the continent); Sonwabile Ndamase, designer of the Madiba Shirt and Managing Director: Vukani Fashions; Masingita Masunga, brand ambassador: abOVEnormal; and Amb Mouhamed Faouzou DEME (a Senior Expert in Tourism and Hospitality; former Technical Advisor to several government Ministries in Senegal; Ambassador of the African Tourism Board (ATB) and has been appointed a World Tourism Hero by the World Tourism Network).

Both our platforms in their third year of existence, have emerged as the premier pan-African multichannel tools aimed at those committed to making valuable contributions to the growth, renewal and transformation of our continent’s economic landscape and for deriving maximum value out of the implementation of the AfCFTA. 

This annual conference was inaugurated on 9 December 2020. Its objectives for this third instalment are:

  • To share updates, milestones and their implications in the operationalisation of the AfCFTA since 1 January 2021
  • To support efforts in mainstreaming issues affecting the AfCFTA particularly among economic development agencies,  organised business, organised labour and civil society institutions
  • To help promote opportunities accruing from the AfCFTA among the MSMEs, youth and women enterprises
  • Share best experiences from other countries and the economic sectoral approaches on the operationalisation of the AfCFTA
  • To promote institutions boosting intra-African trade; positioning Africa as a viable destination for tourism and investment; and advocating for continental integration. 

This is how we have been characterising our conference and differentiating it from the run of the mill:

  • An annual review of progress on the operationalisation of the AfCFTA
  • Continental participation buttressed by those interested globally
  • Support from BRICS, ASEAN, Latin America, the Caribbean and the EU 
  • All African RECs to be covered and involved
  • We will address and prepare inputs on outstanding AfCFTA items of the items to be tackled in the current and next phases of negotiations – and these are,  Investment, e-Commerce, Intellectual Property and Competition
  • Participation by CEOs of economic development agencies of major African countries 
  • Participation of diverse business formations – SMME’s, cooperatives and SOEs
  • Focus on transformational and developmental topics 
  • Focus on sponsor-driven streams or sessions in carefully identified areas
  • Sector or subject-focused inputs compared to topic-focused inputs
  • Highly participative and intensively interactive.

It has been an interesting journey

Looking at the calibre of speakers we attracted; the excellent quality of their presentations; the breadth and depth of the themes covered; and the broad spectrum of virtual audiences from across Africa and other continents such as the Americas, Europe and Asia, it indeed exceeded our expectations.

We were privileged to host as a keynote speaker H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in our Africa Month celebration on 8 May this year. This event was preceded by a three-day workshop on climate-smart agriculture which we hosted on behalf of the United Nations and European Union as part of our webinar commitment during the first quarter of this year. Our third quarter event was when we became the media partner to the African Agri Council on their Agri Investment Indaba in Cape Town.

Previously participating companies included Proudly South African, CSIR, Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat and many others. The keynote address was given by Dr Mohan Guruswamy, Chief Knowledge Officer of the World FZO; and speakers included Saul Molobi, Group CEO: Brandhill Africa (Pty) Ltd (“De/constructing the African Renaissance: NEPAD, Agenda 2063 and AfCFTA”); Dr Eustace Mashimbye, the CEO of Proudly SA; Leslie Mpofu, Executive Director: TKCS (“Unlocking trade relations between South Africa, Botswana and Namibia); Irvaan Maharaj, Country Manager: WBCG (“Unlocking trade through unique public-private-partnerships”); Francois Fouche, Director: Growth Diagnostics “Africa’s Readiness: Towards the operationalisation of the AfCFTA”); Ruan Fourie, Energy Economist: CSIR plus Secretary: South African Association for Energy Economists (“Exploring pathways to just economy transition in South Africa”); Ipeleng Kwadi, MD: Motshotelo Farming Enterprises (“Women in agriculture: A historical perspective”); and many other distinguished speakers (see the attached poster).

Inspired by its success as it attracted delegates from all over the world with interest in Africa, we then made a commitment to host quarterly virtual seminars as build up to the annual December jamboree. We couldn’t allow it to be a once off event as many conferences are. We had to keep the momentum going in-between the annual events. So we made a commitment to host quarterly webinars as build up to the annual jamboree. By the way, this was what the delegates also demanded from us. It was even more humbling when they requested that we set up a WhatsApp group so that the conversations could continue in-between the quarterly webinars. This has resulted into the establishment of three groups with active members who daily share valuable information on business opportunities in Africa. 

We held our first quarterly virtual seminar on 3 March 2021 evaluating the opportunities and threats emerging as teething problems immediately after the operationslisation of the AfCFTA on 1 January 2021. Francois Fouche presented a keynote address: “AfCFTA: Opportunities and threats”. There were riveting debates from the delegates engaging with the presentation. 

Who we are?

Charity begins at home, the cliché goes. This holds true for us because Jambo Africa Online and BiSPA have done so well to promote the Brandhill Africa brand – it goes without saying that’s why we received so many invitations from various institutions across the world to do presentations on brand Africa and the AfCFTA. 

The crown on top is when this year I was nominated again by the World CEO Rankings Board as “The World CEO of the Year” – this was a second nomination after the 2020 first one. I’m glad to say through your votes, this year I managed to be ranked number 16 out of 620 nominees from all over the world – and I was ranked 2nd in Africs after Winifred Kamuya, CEO of International Renaissance Centre, based in Kenya. We’ve been privileged once last year when the World Brand Congress bestowed upon Brandhill Africa™ the “Best Brand Award” at its “Brand Leadership Awards 2021” on 15 July 2021 in recognition of its work in managing the brand reputation of Africa. 

Before signing off, let me share with you the pre-event promotional interview that Dr Nimrod Mbele did with Cuthbert Ncube and I in his “Beyond Governance” weekly show on 101.9 Chai FM yesterday morning. Click here to listen to an almost hour long interview.

To register to attend this event, please do send your details to

Enjoy your weekend.

Kindest regards,

Saul Molobi (FCIM)

PublisherJambo Africa Online
Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: Brandhill Africa™

Tel: +27 11 759 4297
Mobile: +27 83 635 7773  
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Physical Address: 4th Floor, The Firs; Corner Bierman and Cradock Avenue; Rosebank; JOHANNESBURG; 2196.


– a pan African competitive identity and public diplomacy agency decorated with the “Best Brand Award” at the World Brand Congress’ “Brand Leadership Awards 2021” –

A Strategic Partner to UNISA Enterprises (Pty) Ltd
A Strategic Partner to Enterprises UP (University of Pretoria)
A Strategic Partner to Proudly South African (Proudly SA)
A Supporting Partner to the African Agri Council (AAC)
A member of the World Free Zones Organisation (World FZO)
A member of the African Tourism Board (ATB) and World Tourism Network (WTN)