Africa in the News – August 2018

Every month, Africa HR Solutions summarizes the latest high-impact news for you. We aim to provide you with accurate and non-biased news from the African continent. This month, we take a look at Foreign Currency, Start-Ups, the Airline Sector and Fintech.

Nigeria Adopts Chinese Yuan as Reserve Currency


Nigeria has begun selling Chinese yuan to local traders and businesses, two months after agreeing on a 3-year $2.5 billion currency swap with China. The main motive behind this agreement is to ease Nigeria’s currency pressure after previous slides against the dollar.

When global oil price dropped in 2015, Nigeria faced a major dollar shortage as foreign reserves plummeted. This resulted in restricted access to dollars from government strict control, leading to cut down on flights and the shut down of various international businesses.

Direct trade with yuan without first converting to dollars makes it easier for local businesses to deal with Chinese counterparts. Back in 2015, The International Monetary Fund named the yuan as an alternative to the dollar. 2017 saw the European Central Bank convert £500 million worth of US dollars into Chinese yuan.

Kenya Startup Incubator to Run a $10 million Africa Grant Fund

Kenya Startup Incubator to Run a $10 million Africa Grant Fund

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has setup a “Netpreneur Prize” across the African continent. The prize is aimed at innovators coming up with digital solutions to address challenges and strengthen the African’s digital economy.

Kenya’s startup incubator Nailab has been selected to run a $10 million African entrepreneurs funding programme, established by the Jack Ma Foundation. The Netpreneur Prize will award $10 million to 100 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years.

The funding programme was launched at the “Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions” conference in South Africa on the 8th of August 2018. From next year on, the Jack Ma Foundation will host annual pitch competition for the shortlisted 10 best business ideas.

Ethiopian Airlines Suggests Co-ownership by African Governments

Ethiopian Airlines Suggests Co-ownership by African Governments

Ethiopian Airlines are without a doubt Africa’s largest airline both by revenue and by profit. Currently, the super successful state-owned carrier is looking for increased connectivity on the African continent. The government-controlled airline company is considering selling the minority of shares of Ethiopian Airlines to African countries if they are interested in buying.

Recently, Ethiopia began opening to investors on various key economic industries, including aviation and telecommunication. Earlier in August, Ethiopian Airline announced the acquisition of 45% of stakes in Zambia Airways, in an attempt revive the latter. Moreover, ET’s mentioned being the lead contestant in a tender aimed at setting up Nigeria’s new national airline.

There is no doubt that Ethiopia is looking to spread its regional footprint and strengthen its economy. The country looks set to flourish and this could be a massive opportunity for investors looking to get into key sectors such as aviation and telecommunications.

Mobile Payment in Africa

Mobile Payment in Africa

Paystack, the Nigerian payments company wants to raise $8 million for further enhancing its services and powering its growth beyond Nigeria. Paystack has been quickly progressing like wild fire in Nigeria, quickly winning merchant sign-ups and credence within the local system.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics announced the launch of its mobile payment service in South Africa, Samsung Pay. The service implements latest security trends, such as tokenization, to ensure the user’s card information is never exposed during any transaction. Smartphone users in South Africa is expected to reach 25 million by 2022.

The African continent seems poised to grow at a rapid pace in the coming months. This will definitely open up new opportunities for investors looking to participate in the growth of Africa.

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Kevina Takoordyal has a BA Hons Business Management from the University of Glamorgan, UK, with MBA in leadership and Innovation, MBA General, PMP Certified, and Agile Scrum Master. She currently works as the Head of Operations at Africa HR Solutions Ltd with more than 20 years of proven leadership capabilities in Operations, Business Development, People Management, Process Optimization, and Project Management in the Financial Services, BPO, Banking Industry, and Heath Care Industry. In Senior leadership roles with an international footprint across Europe working and extensive Pan- African experience from a compliance, finance, and operations angle, Kevina comes across with a panoply of cross-functional skills. Kevina also serves on a few Boards, Non-Independent Executive at MioD and for NGOs on a voluntary basis, a coach and mentor to aspiring female leaders across Africa and Mauritius.

Kevina is a firm believer in Servant Leadership with a strong focus and commitment to uplifting others, with the ability to deliver through a highly engaged – diverse team, and works towards consistently synergistic value creation. While being a focused and adaptive thinker and Kevina is actively participating in panel discussions on Innovation, CX, Digital transformation.

Kevina serves as Project Assessor for the National Youth upskilling program. She has been recognized as Global Talent in a few companies, Ceridian, and International SOS Ltd whereby she has been awarded a few scholarships and had the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Vice President in the US. Award Winner in various fields and at a national level and recognized including Super Achiever Leader Award in Africa in 2016, Awarded Africa Women Leader 2018.



Head of Legal & Compliance

A qualified lawyer who joined Africa HR Solutions in July 2020, Mark Du Preez has experience working in private practice for a reputable law firm in South Africa. He also played commercially focused roles at a leading private bank, wealth management company, and outsourcing firm in South Africa and Mauritius.

Mark has played a pivotal role in Africa HR Solution’s risk mitigation strategy, which positively impacted P&L performance over the years.

He currently leads the Partnerships function of the company including relationships and oversight with in-country partners (ICPs) across Africa.

alex daruty


Head of Commercial

Alex has more than 15 years of experience in the global, strategic development of both enterprise and consumer brands in categories including technology, transport, enterprise software, entertainment, and travel.

With experience in roles on both agency and corporate side, he has worked across international brands and has led the development and execution of multi-discipline campaigns across EMEA, NORAM and Asia Pacific.

His focus is on driving meaningful business impact through brand differentiation and building high-functioning, digitally oriented, and analytically driven capabilities. He is motivated by working with, and developing dynamic people, teams, and organizations.

He leads, manages, develops and mentors the Key Account Management department, including line management responsibility for the team of Key Account Managers and Key Account Administrator who represent the Company as the primary communication link between all relevant stakeholders, including clients, third party in-country partners and internal functions.

Originally from Mauritius, he holds bachelor’s degrees in International Business, Finance and Management from the University of Nevada, Reno.