Entrepreneur, Khubi Ratsatsi from *InnoBI (an SME on the MTN enterprise and supplier development programme managed by NGM) together with NGM CEO, Zaid Mohidin attended the German-African Business Summit (GABS) in Kenya as guests of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Khubi Ratsatsi: “The Kenya Trip was an eye opener for me. Being born and bred in South Africa, I feel we are ignorant of the rest of the African countries. Recently, I updated my CV and counted 30 cities in all continents which I have visited in the past, yet this was my first major trip to an African country. I realised I had wrong perceptions about our continent and that we are very insulated in SA from an African perspective.
For that reason I witnessed Germany in its full might, from Ministers to Ambassadors and most importantly the German business delegation representing a variety of sectors from ICT to Agri, Food, Pharmaceutical, Construction, Consulting, Finance, Mining etc. I asked myself, if Germany sees such levels of opportunities and are interested in sharing in the East African economic growth rate, what about us Africans? Why do we not look at Africa similarly, as a world of business opportunity. Especially in sectors such as Agri, Food, Mining, and Infrastructure such as water, energy, construction etc.
In my opinion there is a lot of potential. Kenya may still have some way to go in many areas, but then again, these areas create the opportunity we are talking about here, right? I saw a headline in one of their major newspapers stating that the Kenyan government has just approved about 100 Billion Shillings in additional pay for their civil servants. 100 Billion Shillings is big money in my view. And if you look at the Maslow hierarchy of needs where will that money be spent once it reaches the beneficiaries i.e. civil servant? This is additional revenue being injected into the economy.
The presentations at the German-African Business Summit also covered the East African Trade Corridor which basically includes 5 countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia and Ethiopia, with a population of approximately 153 million.
That’s a lot of people if you think about it, all of whom need to grow and develop economically, need to eat every day, need shelter and related home amenities, need clothes, they want to communicate and stay in touch with their loved ones, and need to move from point A to point B. In my opinion therein lies massive business opportunities.
Of course the environment is competitive as you have Kenyans themselves, European countries e.g. Germany, China who sees an opportunity to use Kenya and many other African countries as vehicles through which to strengthen their own economies and creating jobs back home. So they go there well prepared, with big money to invest, first and foremost to meet their own objectives of enrichment and economic development. What I don’t see, is Africans from various parts of the continent establishing similar structures and investment vehicles and going after this aggressively as part of our own entrepreneurial and national economic development. So we are spectators of our own economies.
To me as an entrepreneur, Kenya was inspirational, the people are great, whilst there I spoke to a variety of people both the locals and German visitors. I managed to understand certain key issues and as a result formulated my own plans and strategies. Long story short, I will be going back to Kenya as I now have local partners, and we plan to collaborate and establish certain investments in the East African Region. It will take time, but it will happen, slowly but surely.
InnoBI is derived from: Innovative Business Intelligence – a 100% black owned South African company (Level 1 B-BBEE status), that specialise in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data Analytics on the one hand; and Smart Electronics Device manufacturing, on the other. The primary focus is on turning big data analytics into smart data, that is able to support better management processes, cost saving, increased efficiencies, better planning and decision making, environmental friendliness as well as safety (of assets, infrastructure and people). InnoBI is one of the companies on the MTN Enterprise and Supplier development programme managed by NGM.