This week has been the most rewarding for us at the Brandhill Africa group. Besides being accredited to attend the fifth instalment of the Africa Business Forum (ABF) through which I kicked the week off on Monday, there were other memorable events that contributed to entrenching our brand equity further.
The ABF is organised by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with its partners on the margins of the 35th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government. As Africa’s integration is dependent to a large extent on the development of infrastructure for interconnectivity, it was timeous that the theme for this year’s summit was “investing in multimodal transport infrastructure to optimise the benefits of the AfCFTA: A focus on air transport and tourism”.
According to the ABF, there are incredible infrastructure opportunities in the transport sector on the continent accruing from the AfCFTA. These are stipulated as follows:
- The estimated cost of trucks required is $345 billion;
- The estimated cost of aircraft required is $25 billion;
- The estimated cost of rail wagons required is U36 billion;
- The estimated cost of vessels required is $4 billion
This means, says the ABF, implementing the AfCFTA and planned infrastructure projects would result in the need for 2 213 579 trucks, 169 339 rail wagons, 135 vessels and 243 aircraft.
Now let me get to the highlight of my business career since July 2020. On Tuesday, my strategic partner, Sisa Njikelana, and I had a meeting with H.E. Wamkele Mene and his office. Yes, Brandhill Africa-Sinakoyoli Consulting partnership held a meeting with the Secretary General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)! The meeting was exploring possibilities of the Secretariat recognising the legacy of efforts by Brandhill Africa as well as an endorsement of its initiatives in developing content and platforms aimed at promoting the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Our projects, for those who may not be familiar with them, are inter alia:
- Jambo Africa Online – this independent pan-African strategic marketing and branding weekly news portal, established in September 2020, which has been consistently developing a body of work promoting continental economic integration through the AfCFTA. Its Editorial Advisory Board are reputable professionals from a number of African countries.
- The Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition – a series of an annual conference promoting “Made in Africa” service and product brands in pursuit of the AfCFTA’s cardinal strategic objective of increasing intra-African trade. The annual conference is preceded by quarterly webinars and special hybrid events as built up to the December annual conference. So far, two annual conferences were held (on 10 December 2020 and 9 December 2021) and in between three quarterly webinars (3 March 2021; 31 May 2021; and 1 September 2021);
- Development of a platform for structured engagements and collaborations between the Chief Executive Officers of economic development agencies by profiling them and promoting trade and investment opportunities in their respective countries across the continent. The custodianship of this project is vested the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) – an agency driving economic development in a province that contribute 35% to South Africa’s GDP, meaning 5% more than the combined by contributions of the Western Cape (at 16%) and KwaZulu-Natal (at 14%) provinces.
Indeed, the Secretariat commended us for the work we have been doing and further deliberating that they expected Brandhill Africa to:
- Continue providing support by developing and disseminating content – regular articles, interviews, opinion pieces and events – that promotes the AfCFTA through its programmes;
- Continue utilising its platforms as conduit for publicity, marketing and branding of the AfCFTA;
- Offer it guaranteed participation in the Biashara Services and Products Africa (BiSPA) Conference and Exhibition instalments;
- Facilitate engagements with organised business formations across all the regional economic blocs (RECs);
- Introduce The Africa Diary – a tool for information dissemination and engagement through its platforms with Jambo Africa Online running weekly, monthly and annual diary of events, programmes and campaigns of NOTE in Africa to promote them among its stakeholders and key events throughout the continent to ensure various publics are aware and keep abreast on events they may be interested in.
The diary will aim to promote the activities of such institutions as AfCFTA; AU’s Commission for Trade, Commerce, Industry and Mining; African Export-Import Bank; African Development Bank (AfDB); RECs including regional business councils such as the COMESA Business Council; and continental business formations such as the African Business Council (ABC) and the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI).
- Brandhill Africa to commit itself to transparency, equity, collaboration, inclusive transformation and pan-Africanism.
Furthermore, the AfCFTA Secretariat expects Brandhill Africa to commit to the following values:
- FAIRNESS AND TRANSPARENCY: By conducting its operations in a fair and transparent manner;
- PROMOTION OF EQUITY: By promoting equity among African countries;
- COLLABORATION: By coordinating with other bodies that also promote the AfCFTA;
- INCLUSIVE TRANSFORMATION: By ensuring transformation, which is inclusive, is given prominence in the promotion efforts.
- PAN-AFRICANISM: By, inter alia, integrate the philosophy of pan-Africanism in the promotion of AfCFTA.
Finally, Brandhill Africa is expected to continue with its activities in keeping with the aspirations of Agenda 2063 as well as those of the African Renaissance.
Let me clarify that we’re not charging the Secretariat a dime for the work we’ve been doing in hoisting the AfCFTA flag sky high since July 2020.
This week my blessings came from Cairo and Accra. While my meeting with the SG was virtual as he was in Cairo, on Wednesday I got a great invite from Dr Amany Asfour, the President of the African Business Council (ABC), based in the Egyptian capital, inviting me as a media partner and speaker at the Online Panel discussion titled: “The role of media in promoting Africa-Europe businesses”, which will be held on the margins of the 7Th EU-AFRICA BUSINESS FORUM 2022 (EABF22) on 18 February.
Another blessing from Accra, besides the AfCFTA Secretariat being headquartered in this Ghanaian capital, was on Thursday when I was joined by Louis Yaw Afful, the Executive Director of the Accra-based AfCFTA Policy Network (APN), in an hour long interview with Dr Nimrod Mbele in his Chai FM show, “Beyond Governance”, unpacking developments from the past weekend’s African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
I ended my working week with my corporate social investment initiative through the Brandhill Africa Foundation when through the conscientious spirit of Dr Lesley Bradburn, I managed to represent our partnership with Naledi Farm in donating wheelchairs and walkers to the Lesedi Self Help Association – a home for children with disabilities – in my Hammanskraal home village of New Eersterus. Besides the founder of Naledi Farm, Samuel Maifadi, and I being homeboys, our relationship with the centre goes back to 2019. Then, in celebrating this affinity to the home, I wrote in a social media post that “charity begins at home!” This adage became quite literal for us then. I was invited through Brandhill Africa Foundation by Naledi Farm to choose a charitable organisation for which they could fundraise to help them meet some of their needs. In return, I had to go share my journey of recovery from my paralysis and share extracts from my manuscript, “Sound and Fury: The Chronicles of Healing” – which I wrote during the year I spent in hospital, six months of which fully paralysed. I chose Lesedi. The book has since been published and launched on 25 February 2020 – I was privileged H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of the Republic of South Africa, wrote the Foreword to the book.
Founded by a selfless, determined and highly motivated sis Matilda Phala, this home for children aims to give meaning to the lives of children with disabilities. Though it’s obviously under-resourced and constrained, the staff ensures, though their underlings are underprivileged, they are not made to feel like they are “children of a lesser God”.
The Centre informed us they were in dire need of disposable diapers, wet wipes and surgical gloves. So Naledi Farm organised one of their sumptuous “potjiekos” festivals, we invited people and we all enjoyed meals cooked by four competing chefs. The income generated was then used in purchasing what the Centre needed most.
When we presented our humble support to the Centre, we indicated that actually marked our commitment to a continuous support to them. Each time we were to visit home, we’d try to buy the Centre something – even if it’s just one packet of wet wipes. We knew this would indeed make a difference in the children’s lives.
After the formalities today we spent some time with children with disabilities. The excitement in their eyes as they welcomed us was just so humbling – and left us just too emotional. Today, I was accompanied by a representative of Dr Bradburn, and he also couldn’t hold his tears as we took a tour of the facility. Samuel couldn’t make it due to prior work commitments.
Sis Matilda is our own Saint Mother Teresa (real name Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu), and she deserves every bit of support from each one of us.
So a few weeks ago fate drove Dr Bradburn to reach out to me. She’s raising funds to build a full resource hub for a rural community within the Kgoshi Mampuru Park. She has invited us to collaborate on this project through the Brandhill Africa Foundation and Naledi Farm partnership.
Enjoy your weekend and stay blessed.
Publisher: Jambo Africa Online
Tel: +27 11 759 4297
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