In commemoration of this year’s Africa’s Day, Facebook draws attention to a brand that is helping to reshape, refine and reproduce a drink viewed by many as a ‘drink for the streets’.
This drink is popularly known as ‘ogogoro’ and the brand that’s putting this drink on the global map is Pedro’s Premium Ogogoro. With an Instagram page that has been deliberately designed to charm people from all walks of life into getting a taste of this drink, Pedro is doing a great job of spreading the tentacles of Nigeria’s cultural drink into the world’s most urban regions.
From Lagos Nigeria, Pedro’s premium ogogoro has now found a market in Ghana, Kenya and London. Let’s take a quick peek at seven things we can learn about this Afrocentric liquor that’s now finding its way to bars across the world.
- Ogogoro can be both traditional and modern
A first glance at Pedro’s Instagram page portrays the enticing look of a bottle with a splendid blue label. Pedro’s has proven that the drink called ‘ogogoro’ can look premium and be compared with Western alcoholic drinks like vodka, whiskey, brandy, etc.
- Ogogoro is loved by all and sundry
From the riverine communities of Nigeria’s southern regions, Pedro’s shows that ogogoro can transcend rural borders and find its way into the hands and homes of people living in highbrow areas of Lagos and other countries like Ghana, Kenya and the UK.
- Ogogoro isn’t just about the drink, it’s about the culture
Pedro’s Premium Ogogoro constantly shows how the culture behind the drink is vital. A preview of the photos on the brand’s Instagram page shows several images of African cultural items. It’s obvious that the culture is what drives the brand, not just the liquor. Maybe, there’s a spirit in this spirit drink called ogogoro.
- People love ogogoro
Every now and then, you’ll see Instagram posts from Pedro’s explaining that their stock has been sold out which leads to a safe assumption that the demand for premium ogogoro is almost more than the supply.
- You can use ogogoro in cocktails
Cocktails are known to contain such heavy spirits as whiskey and vodka but it’s interesting to note that ogogoro can also make for a good base in cocktail drinks and they can actually look and taste great.
- Ogogoro can also use some pairings
Fans of alcoholic drinks are definitely aware of the multiple variations of meals and other stuff that probably go well with their favourite liquor. Ogogoro is not an exception. Asides distilling this premium spirit, Pedro’s goes through the task of educating the inexperienced or unknowing drinker about possible pairings that would be great with this drink.
- Premium ogogoro is made from four key processes
Premium ogogoro is obtained from the oil or raffia palm tree and has to go through four key processes namely, tapping, fermentation, distillation and refinement. The tapping is done in the rural areas by palm wine tappers; this is also where the natural fermentation occurs traditionally using wild yeast. The first round of distillation is also carried out by rural practitioners to help preserve the otherwise fermented sap. The final process is what separates premium ogogoro from its rural counterpart to give it that premium taste.
Learn more about Pedro’s Premium Ogogoro on the official Facebook Africa page and on a dedicated ‘Made by Africa, Loved by the World’ microsite to get a glimpse into the growth and success of the Afrocentric liquor that is loved in homes and bars across the world.
AfCTA: NITDA Partners Namibia to Build Digital Market
As Nigeria is moving fast towards diversifying its economy using technology, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has proposed partnership with Republic of Namibia in the areas of Innovations and Entrepreneurship through African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
This is because Africa as a continent lost out during the First, Second and Third Industrial Revolutions due to the huge capital investments but with the Fourth Industrial Revolutions comes endless opportunities that all it needs is talent and vibrant, young technological driven generation. It is therefore imperative for African countries to encourage “Made in Africa” products by exploring and exploiting opportunities provided by emerging technologies to build an enviable global market standard.
The agreement in finding a viable route for digital trade resolution was made when the High Commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, His Excellency, Mr Humphrey D Geiseh paid a courtesy visit to the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.
Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, the Director General of NITDA, expressed his delight and privilege at the High Commissioner’s enthusiasm in seeking collaborations with NITDA in building a stronger relationship and developing technological products between the two countries.
Abdullahi stated that the Agency has been implementing the National IT Policy until 2019 when the Ministry’s mandate was expanded to cover Digital Economy. He averred that this was because Communications was not an end but a means to an end.
He said it was important to calibrate activities and align them with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which necessitated the Agency to come up with a new Strategic Road Map and Action Plan.
The DG stated that ‘Emerging Technologies’ which is a strategic pillar in the road map should be used to create and capture technological values in Africa.
“These emerging technologies come with promises and perils and the Agency’s focus is to avoid the perils and achieve the promises”, he noted.
He disclosed that the Agency established the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics specifically for researching best ways to apply these technologies in the Health and Agricultural sector just to mention a few. “I will invite you to visit our Centre as well and see how you can borrow some of the ideas and domesticate it in Namibia”, Abdullahi said.
The DG mentioned that “Promoting Indigenous and Local Content, which is another strategic pillar of the Agency is aimed at supporting local start-ups and encouraging Made in Africa products.
He opined that African countries should share experiences and ideas in order to build world class product while laying emphasis that it is easier to procure products from neighbouring countries rather than other continents.
“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country provide about 95% of the workforce and produce more than 50% of the Nation’s GDP. It is therefore necessary to ignite processes in the digital ecosystem with the use of technology.” Innovations don’t happen in isolation, you need to connect with what others are doing in other parts of the world and apply them domestically to create wealth for the Nation and the continent at large”, Abdullahi noted.
The DG said that Agriculture, which is one of the major sources of income in Namibia is one of the areas the Agency identified in which technology can be used as a game changer. He stated that the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture, (NAVSA) which is one of the initiatives of the Agency can help Namibia boost her productivity in Agriculture. “This is an area we can explore partnership where we can get some startups who can develop solutions for you and on our part, also learn how you manage your agricultural business.”
“NITDA has a yearly flagship programme called ‘e-Nigeria’, an international conference and exhibition programme where local start-ups are invited to showcase their products, and this year’s programme would be tagged ‘Digital Nigeria’ because of the evolution from electronic to digital system.”
“We are having a one-week Digital Nigeria International Conference and we are extending the invitation to you. You can bring people from Namibia to the conference to have a glimpse of our ecosystem where you will meet some of our startups, share ideas, challenges and see how we can use technology to grow our economy as a continent”, Abdullahi concluded.
His Excellency, Mr Geiseh in his earlier remark said that Namibia and Nigeria are both African countries who have been long standing friends since Namibia’s independence.
He disclosed that Namibia has a population of about 2.4 million and almost one-third of her population are internet users according to statistics as of 2018.
He mentioned that the country is committed to providing necessary opportunities for the youth to be exposed to concepts and technologies that will dominate their lives in the near future.
“In Namibia, we recognise the role of the youths in the development of the country in the future prosperity of the Nation which has prompted our visit today to basically know how your agency has advanced in the areas of ICT so we can identify common challenges and proffer solutions in areas where both countries can work together”, the High Commissioner disclosed.
CNN’s Connecting Africa Explores Business Leadership Across the Continent
In the latest episode of Connecting Africa, CNN International’s Eleni Giokos looks at business leadership in Africa, meeting leaders from across the continent.
Giokos presents the show from the site of Expo 2020 in Dubai, where Africa will be very much in the spotlight. From October, every African nation will showcase their innovations and culture in designated country pavilions, for the first time in 170 years of World Expos. While the site is still under construction, Giokos visits the Ghanaian, Egyptian, and Nigerian pavilions, using them as a backdrop as she profiles some of the continent’s most innovative leaders.
In South Africa, Giokos meets Fleetwood Grobler, the CEO of Sasol. Formed in 1950, Sasol describes itself as an integrated energy and chemical company and Grobler talks about their market reach, “We have quite a market presence in Africa, which we are growing. I’m remiss not to mention all the neighbouring countries in South Africa. So Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, the SADC countries, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, they are all within reach by road, and we supply many, many products through that logistics systems into those countries as well, going broader than only the industrial solvents and polymers.”
Sasol has constantly transformed and innovated to keep up with market trends. Grobler speaks about how the company is adapting to be more sustainable, “We’ve sharpened our focus on sustainability, and climate change is a cornerstone of our strategy because we know it is an item that we can’t wish away. We have to address it head on. And that is the crux of the matter. And so, we are preparing ourselves to travel a pathway where we can have significant steps in our decarbonisation of our processes in terms of using different feedstocks and eventually through renewables.”
Grobler has been the CEO of Sasol since 2019. He describes his plan for the future of the company, “If we can use technologies and renewables and sources of carbon that’s sustainable, those would be the long-term areas that we should focus on to unlock value in Africa.”
Next, Giokos takes a look at the oil industry in Ghana. One of the key companies in the country’s burgeoning energy sector is the Springfield Group, the first Ghanaian owned company to produce oil in the country. CEO Kevin Okyere speaks about the importance of the company’s Ghanaian roots, “The most important thing about Springfield is us being Ghanaian and one would ask why? And I said because it gives hope. It gives hope that a Ghanaian, a black African, can dream big, and achieve that dream. It gives hope that we too can do it and do it better.”
Okyere is passionate about his company and his country, “Ghana is actually the gateway to Africa. Ghana is open for business and Ghana is welcoming Africans and foreign companies to come in and invest in Ghana. So, Ghana has so much potential, so much potential on tap, which gives room for Ghanaians and Africans and multinationals.”
The programme then visits a farm owned by the Egyptian Growers Organisation. Created in 2015, the company says it is the country’s first cooperative venture for farming and exporting produce. Managing partner Hussein Marei explains the idea, “The idea behind the cooperative venture is that, for the longest time now, exporting fresh fruits and vegetables from Egypt has largely been an individual effort. Individual farms, individual companies. But lately, given the world that we live in and the various obstacles that we face, we found that the road forward requires cooperation. Cooperation between farmers, cooperation between companies, cooperation between people are involved in the whole supply chain from farm to table.”
Exports have been increasing consistently and, according to Marei, Africa could become the next big market. He details why Egypt has good farming trade links with countries in southern Africa, “South Africa is in the southern hemisphere and Egypt is in the northern hemisphere, so we have opposite seasons, and we benefit each other with these opposite seasons so when we have grapes, they don’t have grapes, when we have oranges, they don’t have oranges and vice versa. So, we’re able to export to each other, and exchange the expertise between us, as we do now with other African countries.”
Finally, Giokos meets Nigerian banker Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. A former group managing director of Access Bank, Aig-Imoukhuede is the founder and chairman of Coronation Capital Limited. He tells Giokos about the importance of leadership, “I believe that if we can show the Nigerian, what Nigeria truly could be and that actually it doesn’t take that much, okay for us to change the narrative and get there is simply a function of good leaders.”
Aig-Imoukhuede is positive about the future for African businesses. He outlines his vision, “There’s no continent that’s actually growing at the population growth rate that Africa is growing, from a population demographic standpoint. Now, that’s our greatest advantage, right, if we make it one market. it could be in essence actually the world’s greatest market. That’s what we have to focus on. We have to build, break down, all those barriers to this operating world as the world’s largest market.”
SMEs: Government Support and Effective Policies Key to Future Growth-Mastercard Study
New research by Mastercard has highlighted the important role of government support in helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) to recover, position for growth, and contribute to economic prosperity.
In the inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index, government support and implementation of effective policies was highlighted as ‘important’ by 88% of the region’s SMEs, 50% of which rated this point as a ‘must-have’ essential.
This sentiment was especially pronounced in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (92%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (90%) regions.
Multitude of opportunities
In addition to looking for effective regulatory support from governments, 92% SMEs in MEA said they are also looking for support in upskilling of their teams, and 88% highlighted the importance of improved telco infrastructure – pointing to opportunities to effect positive change in wide-ranging areas from education and skills development to systems and infrastructural progress.
Public-private partnerships are crucial for effective development and implementation of initiatives that advance financial inclusion and inclusive growth. To achieve this, governments and the private sector must play a joint role in enabling a safe and secure operating environment.
Mastercard works closely with governments and the wider business community to advance SME inclusion into the digital economy through tailor-made digitization strategies, cutting-edge technologies, insights, and policy advice.
Government-led initiatives key to positive growth
Across MEA, 51% of SMEs say government-led initiatives could have a positive impact in supporting their businesses.
These include the UAE, where Dubai Government launched a third stimulus package to support small and medium enterprises maintain business continuity by reducing operational costs, while the Abu Dhabi Executive Council allocated AED 3 billion to the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme. The Central Bank of Egypt made it easier for SMEs to access capital by encouraging banks to raise their share of loans to MSMEs. A six-month debt relief finance scheme for SMMEs was launched by the South African government, along with a spaza support scheme and an agricultural disaster support fund for smallholder and communal farmers.
Public private partnerships a catalyst for growth
Furthermore, SMEs in the region recognize the great potential of public-private partnerships (PPP), and 63% think private sector initiatives and partnerships will benefit businesses and the markets in which they operate.
One in three SMEs (32%) think that collaborating with governments and businesses outside their markets could impact their growth. In Southern Africa this was especially pronounced, with over half (56%) agreeing.
The need for the public and private sectors to work together to create a better environment for small businesses has been outlined in a public policy paper* titled Reimagining Support for Small Businesses, released by the Mastercard Policy Center for the Digital Economy in partnership with global consulting firm Kearney. The paper outlines a number of strategic recommendations which highlight how effective policy and innovation can address many of the challenges faced by business-to business SMEs.
The key recommendations are:
- Ensure ongoing working capital stability for SMEs by driving solutions that ease cash flow burdens.
- Remove barriers that hinder women-owned businesses’ ability to receive capital by making IDs more accessible, and allowing different types of collateral.
- Make funding and resources available for B2B SMEs to build their digital capabilities by offering digitalization support for SMEs buying and selling internationally.
- Ensure a safe and secure operating environment for SMEs, in terms of cybersecurity, trust and transparency, as SMEs become increasingly digital.
- Build B2B SMEs’ knowledge of the financial and digital tools and resources available to them.
- Facilitate partnerships in which private entities, non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs), development finance institutions (DFIs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are incentivized appropriately to provide cash flow management support, capital or digital services to B2B SMEs.
- Improve the collection, analysis and availability of B2B SME data for use by governments and B2B SMEs.
- Model best practices by buying goods and services directly from SMEs, adopting payment and invoice digitalization and increasing the credibility of emerging businesses.
“Collaboration is the key to developing a commercial landscape that is fit for future growth. Through effective partnerships, the public and private sectors can together create a supportive environment where SMEs can thrive. The contribution of small businesses to regional economies is ultimately about much more than the immediate gains to livelihoods – it’s also about the sustainable development of an ecosystem that can advance inclusive growth and prosperity for all. This is why it’s so important that we prioritize public-private partnerships for SME growth, and why we’re putting our technology, expertise and global network to work, helping to develop the infrastructure to connect more people – and more small businesses,” said Valerio Murta, Senior Vice President, Core Products, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.
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