Orange Money Users to Get Visa Mobile Prepaid Accounts

Orange Money customers will have access to Visa prepaid accounts on mobile handsets as part of service.

Orange and Visa have announced that Orange Money customers will soon have access to Visa prepaid account features inside their Orange Money accounts – a significant step in bringing Visa-quality payments to consumers in developing markets.

Orange Money is the mobile phone-based payment service designed by Orange to meet the needs of customers in Africa and the Middle East. It offers Orange subscribers applications such as person to person transfers, bill payments, and agent-based cash-in and cash-out services for loading or withdrawing funds.

Launched in cooperation with local bank partners, the service was first introduced in 2008 and is presently available in eight countries across Africa and the Middle East. Orange plans to introduce Visa payment capability to Orange Money subscribers in select markets by the end of 2012.

“We already provide secure and convenient payment capability to 3.5 million unbanked or financially under-served African citizens,” said Jean- Paul Cottet, Orange’s Executive Director for Marketing and Innovation.

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“By combining the convenience of Orange Money with the reach of Visa’s global payment network, we can offer new payment capability to Orange Money customers in their home country and abroad.”

Visa Mobile Prepaid, a new Visa product introduced in October 2011, enhances the security, scale and interoperability of mobile money programs, such as Orange Money, by enabling account holders to make person-to-person payments, retail and e-commerce purchases at merchants where Visa is accepted, or withdraw funds at Visa ATMs.

“Mobile technology has become one of the most important enablers of financial inclusion and its ubiquity is allowing mobile network operators, financial institutions, and Visa to connect financially under-served consumers to each other and the global economy,” said John Partridge, President, Visa Inc.

“The convergence of mobile and financial services networks helps to remove service barriers, accelerates the pace of change and is transforming the lives of consumers in developing countries.”

African Entrepreneurs in the Spotlight

The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship took place in December – we look at the winners.

This year’s Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship saw a record 3,300 companies from 48 African nations submit entries to compete for the Grand Prize of US$100,000.

The awards, founded by private investment group Legatum, were designed to promote the value of entrepreneurship in Africa, encourage small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs and attract more venture capital inflows towards good businesses across Africa.

The winner of the big prize was SECURICO, Zimbabwe’s service-focused security company. Director and Founder Divine Ndhlukula said: “I hope that my story of creating SECURICO, and those of my fellow finalists will help to inspire other African entrepreneurs to seek opportunity, embrace risk, and above all, believe in themselves.”

THE SECURICO STORY

So what is Ndhlukula’s story? By all accounts, it’s quite a remarkable one.

The idea of SECURICO was created in her home in the country’s capital, Harare. The company first started working out of Ndhlukula’s cottage with just four employees. Her determination was tested when her supportive husband passed away, but nevertheless she continued to pursue her dream using savings.

At that time, security giants such as Midsec and Fawcett dominated the industry – which may not have been quite ready for a female-led company. “The market was not convinced on my capacity to deliver in a hitherto male dominated industry,” said Ndhlukula. “The way to manage that was being the best…and the market was sure going to recognise a good thing coming out of our company. I had to work five times harder than the average man in my industry to get noticed. That won the day.”

Ndhlukula was clear in the principles she wanted to enforce from day one. The highest quality service and a shorter turnaround time than SECURICO’s competitors were two such values.

SECURICO provides guarding services and electronic security solutions and became the first security company to be ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certified and now employs more than 3,400 staff – 900 of which are women.

“I started the business to create financial security for my family and myself and also to be in a position where I would make a huge impact on other people in particular, women,” said Ndhlukula, making sure that employees are provided with medical aid, help with education, housing and life insurance.

VISION

SECURICO has been rewarded with a number of achievements outlining its success. It won the inaugural National Quality Awards (NAQA) Company of the Year Award (Large Enterprises) hosted by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe and was also voted Zimbabwe’s 7th Best Employer for 2010 in a national survey conducted by Industrial Psychology Consultants.

Ndhlukula said she was not willing to compromise employee welfare for profit. “While competing on price is healthy there should be a balance between the business’ concern for growth and the welfare of employees,” she explained on her website.

“The tendency to charge unrealistic prices compromises employees’ welfare and in the end the quality of the service provided by these companies is seriously compromised. They inevitably end up losing business rather than growing their businesses.

“Our vision as SECURICO is we become a leading security organisation in the Southern African Development Community region and continue to grow at the targeted rates and make our company a truly international business.”

FINALISTS

There were five other finalists, including Chocolate City Group. Based in Nigeria, the entertainment group of companies, consisting of Chocolate City Music, Chocolate City Media and Chocolate City Distribution, is home to some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop stars such as M.I and Jesse Jagz.

Ethiopia’s soleRebels also made it into the final six companies. Founded by locals to create jobs for the poor community in Addis Ababa, the shoe company has become a global success. Using recycled material and Ethiopian artisan crafts, the footwear company has gone from strength to strength and is the only World Fair Trade Organisation certified footwear company.

Other finalists included Expand Technologies, based in Mauritius, Unique Solutions of the Gambia and Pepperoni Foods of Nigeria.

Josephine A. Okot, founder of Ugandan agricultural company Victoria Seeds, won Coca-Cola’s Most Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur, taking home a prize of $100,000.

Top 10 Best Companies To Work For in South Africa

The Corporate Research Foundation (CRF) Institute comprehensively reviews pay and benefits, training and development, career opportunities, working conditions and company culture. ABR has selected just 10 of the 57 South African companies that made the grade as a BEST Employer™ for 2010-2011.

10. Cell C

South Africa’s third cellular provider is also the smallest in terms of workforce. However, this can act in its favour says the CRF Institute because it can act swiftly. “It also enjoys excellent relationships with stakeholders, while its flat structure adds to its nimble approach,” it said.

9. Coca-Cola South Africa

It could be easy to assume the world’s largest beverage company may treat their staff more like numbers than people – but this is far from the case. Black economic empowerment (BEE) is a priority for the company, extending to bottlers as well as initiative es in the local community.

8. Group Five Construction (Pty) Ltd

One of South Africa’s most established construction and engineering companies, Group Five has Level 3 accreditation for BEE. Built on proud traditions dating back to its early days in 1974, it has a strong diversification strategy, supported by its commitment to its shareholders, customers, employees and communities.

7. Nestlé (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd

One of the most famous brands on the globe, the CRF Institute said Nestlé’s presence in South Africa is underlined by trust, quality, honesty and diversity.“This is an informal environment based on our values of openness, trust and transparency,” says David Moloto, Training and Development Manager.

6. MTN South Africa

Recently named Africa’s biggest brand, MTNuses a proactive model to identify high performers within the company, called ‘Leadership Talent Management’ to ensure achievement is recognised. It also offers MyMTN Emergency – home medical and roadside emergency assistance for workers.

5. SAS Institute (Pty) Ltd

The business software giants have a worldwide reputation for being great employers, with SAS International having recently been named the number one company in the US for Fortune’s 100 best Companies To Work For list for the second year running. Each individual employee has a Bonus Plan that recognises both performance and achievement.

4. JSE Ltd

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange was launched in 1887 and has since became the most respected market on the continent. According to the CRF Institution, “JSE’s greatest asset is its enthusiastic, passionate team; people who are inspired by an exciting workplace characterised by constant change, and who are forever looking forward to the next big development.”

3. South African National Roads Agency Ltd

The South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) is a government formed company and is wholly owned by the Department of Transport. It has a distinct mandate to finance, improve, manage and maintain the national road network. Due to this, it does not have an official BEE rating however a recent exercise carried out in the company suggests they would achieve the second highest rating and be a Level 2 contributor.

2. Vodacom Group Ltd

Having undergone a massive re-branding exercise to change company colours from blue to red (that of parent company, Vodafone), Vodacom has been in the spotlight this month. The leading telecommunications provider in South Africa has a corporate wellness programme that includes an Employee Assistance Programme, HIV and Executive Health Management Programmes.

1. Unilever South Africa (Pty) Ltd

The South African subsidiary of the UK-Dutch fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) giant has never been short of success. It is currently the leader in seven of the nine categories in which it operates and is renowned for its training and skills development.

The company has adopted a graduate programme to ensure talented employees are carefully nurtured. Up to 60 top graduates in key areas are employed each year including IT, marketing and human resources.

Unilever SA also places a great deal of emphasis on performance based bonuses that are paid annually and payout cash prizes known as Oscars that reward exceptional competency and delivery.

“People are our greatest asset,” says Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gail Klintworth – and this statement is backed up by the 24-hour Vitality Assist funded by the company. The helpline enables staff and their families with counselling, financial assistance and legal advice.

Top 10 African Business Schools

African Business Schools aim to help their students excel in management and business education in Africa. In fact, these business schools now play a very important role in the country by preparing their students for development in the private sectors early on.

WRITTEN BY ALLICE LANE

1. University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business was voted Best Business School in Africa for a third consecutive year in November 2010 at the Eduniversal Global Convention in Prague, Czech Republic.

The UCT GSB offers one of the most innovative Executive MBA courses in the world andis probably the only African business school that still has a very clear set of values that encapsulate the school’s dreams and commitments. Not only does UCT GSB encourage a passion of learning, but it also encourages a spirit of inquiry and creativity. It also supports and takes great pride in all of its students.

The full-time programme or part-time/modular MBA or the Executive MBA all provide a strong emphasis on personal development and growth, understanding business and leadership in emergent markets and the challenges of transforming organisations to armour students with the key skills needed for elite management jobs.

2. The American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo’s Business School prides itself on going further than academia, allowing students to broaden their horizons and make the most of their university experience. The AUC School of Business says it has identified three pillars; entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the way business programmes are developed, improved and delivered.

3. Strathmore Business School

StrathmoreBusiness Schoolinfluences leadership in the country’s private and public sectors and focuses on giving service to the society. SBS has already significantly developed their leadership and International business management programms with hopes of bringing about more transformative business leaders in the country. This passion for excellence is what makes the school excel in the country and beyond.

4. The University of Nairobi

The University of Nairobi is considered the pioneer institution of African University education. In fact, it was the only higher learning institution in Kenya for a very long time. Established in 1964, its Business School is split into three departments, Finance and Accounting, Business Administration and Management Science.

6. The United States International University

The US International University is actually the oldest private university on Eastern Africa and is based in Nairobi. It provides broad-based and top quality education, which prepares its students for professional schools and beyond. In general, their curriculum helps their students accomplish high levels in their fields of choice and promotes multiculturalism and global understanding overall.

5. The University of Dar es Salaam

The University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS) is one of the leading institutions in business and management research, teaching and consultancy in the sub-Saharan region. It also houses an Entrepreneurship Centre, Institute of Insurance and Risk Management, and the Career Advice Placement and Practical Training Bureau.

6. The Management College of Southern Africa

MANCOSA was established back in 1995. Initially, it was a post-apartheid empowerment school that provided accessible and affordable business management education to people who were denied access to it. To date, it is still the only business school in Africa that is known to have 100 percent black ownership.

7. UNISA

UNISA is the leading distance learning business school in Africa to date and is known to churn out tomorrow’s inspiring leaders. UNISA motivates the future generation and provides qualifications that are accredited internationally, as well as world-class resources. It has also formed a lot of global partnerships with hopes of achieving the dreams of the African people.

8. The American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo’s Business School prides itself on going further than academia, allowing students to broaden their horizons and make the most of their university experience. The AUC School of Business says it has identified three pillars; entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the way business programmes are developed, improved and delivered.

9. Universityof Stellenbosch

The university’s itself is considered to be a centre of hope for the country. In fact, its academic framework is built entirely on the Pedagogy of Hope. The Businessw School places a great deal of emphasis on leadership development and provides its students with global qualifications that can serve them greatly all over the world.

10. Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)

The University of Pretoria’s GIBS is an ambitious African business school that hopes to be a school from and for the entire business community in the country. As such, it has already made a huge impact in the lives of its students and their careers, proving to be a true place of inspiration, hope, hard work and insight in Africa.

Guest Post by Allice Lane who writes on behalf of w3Toledo, a web design and Toledo SEO firm.

Top 10 Office Gadgets

The office is one place where gadgets have made considerable headway in the past decade, stress-balls, metronomes and Newton’s cradles were once standard, but such decorations have been replaced by tools that make working life more pleasurable, productive and personable. Here is ABR’s Top 10…

WRITTEN BY JOE JOHNSON

1. The Apple iPad

The iPad, in all its iterations is without question the most important office gadget of all time. The tablet computer packs all the power of a laptop device and all the portability of a mobile phone, bridging the gap between these two devices and offering a near-faultless solution where neither fully delivers.

The potentially endless supply of high quality third party applications means that new uses for the iPad can be found all the time, adding value as time goes on, ensuring it makes for a worthy investment. Not only does the iPad function impeccably, it also excels in form stakes, with a super-slim case and a beautiful, easy-to-use interface, making it simple enough to use for all team members.

Although a top office gadget – it is perhaps the iPad’s stunning functionality on-the-go that is one of its most desired attributes, meaning you can carry on working wherever you are.

2. Under-desk exercise bikes

One of the toughest personal challenges facing the modern office worker is keeping fit. Demanding jobs mean that long periods of sitting at the desk and convenient junk food both mean weight gain is difficult to avoid. Enter the under-desk peddle bike, discretely allowing execs to exert themselves while working on that urgent report!

3. Posture enhancing chairs

Keeping the pounds off isn’t the only concern of office workers; most desk chairs are poorly designed and uncomfortable, promoting poor posture. Special posture enhancing chairs have a back rest that ensure the spine maintains a neutral position, and don’t place undue stress on the muscles and bones of the mid-section.

4. Mug-warmers

Nothing kick-starts the morning like a piping hot mug of tea or coffee, perfect for getting the mind engaged and the colleagues on-side. Nothing is more annoying than a stone cold brew however, left to cool when you’re whisked off to an unexpected meeting. Eliminate this risk with a special mug-warmer that will insulate your brew, so it’s still drinkable when you return!

5. Parker Pen

With all the ultra-high tech gadgetry on display in today’s modern office, it may seem churlish to talk about pens. The fact remains however that a good office worker needs a good pen, and Parker produce some of the finest in the world. Invest in a top quality fountain pen and ditch the tens of flimsy, unreliable biros taking up all your draw space.

6. Dropbox membership

This might be an intangible gadget, but it is untouchable for more than one reason. For a small monthly fee you can have access to unlimited cloud storage space for all your documents, files and media artifacts. This totally eliminates the need to carry around external storage devices, since you can access all your files from any internet-enabled device.

7. Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones

Sometimes you just need to be in the zone, whether it’s finishing that report or putting the final touches to a PowerPoint presentation, certain music has been proven to help us work more efficiently. Listen to your favourite tunes through crystal clear Beats headphones.

8. Apple iPhone

Although its younger sibling swipes the number one spot in the list, an iPhone is also undeniably an essential piece of office kit, such a portable piece of hardware that offers so much functionality – and I’m talking about things like notepads, calendars and the ability to view emails – can’t conceivably missed out.

9. Energy saving desk lamp

Weather like it or not, being climate aware is the new ‘cool’ in the workplace and investing in one of the growing breed of energy saving desk lamps boost your green credentials while at the same time illuminating your work space with a warm glow.

10. Mini whiteboard

Admit it, you’ve always wanted to play to role of teacher, scrawling your musings on a whiteboard in various different colours of permanent marker. Well now you can! It may not be particularly high tech, but a whiteboard can help you quickly record important points from phone conversations, to-do lists, and inspired ideas!

Joe is a travel blogger who often works with just the most basic of office equipment. He will be splashing out on a new laptop however when he takes his Dubai holidays.

African Business Review is now available on the iPad. Click here to download it.

ForgetMeNot Africa launches Zimbabwean app competition

Developers encouraged to create new apps for Zimbabwean market

Budding Zimbabwean app developers will see their unique ideas for SMS-based mobile applications launched to more than three quarters of the country’s 7.7 million mobile subscribers.

A new app competition launching next week at a JumpStart Community meeting at the Harare Club will enable winning developers to earn revenue from their apps, which will be launched across Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s network of 6 million subscribers.

The ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge – in partnership with developer community Jumpstart, leading Zimbabwean weblog TechZim and mobile operator Econet – encourages developers to create new apps and games that are particularly attractive to Zimbabwean mobile users.

Using ForgetMeNot Africa’s unique Optimiser Platform – which currently supports internet-free Facebook, email and online chat via Econet’s eTXT service – entrants can develop apps that reach user1s of all handsets via two-way SMS, from first generation mobile phones to the latest smartphone. Developers can use any programming language for their entry.

Winning entrants will win up to three iPads along with $2,000 seed capital to develop their ideas and, if successful, their apps will be launched to Econet’s 6 million mobile subscribers, from which they will receive an ongoing revenue share.

To submit their ideas developers must first become members of the Jumpstart community, then register on the ForgetMeNot Africa Developers’ Platform. Once developers have created their app they can submit it onto the Econet eTXT Platform.

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After an initial development period, the best app ideas will be shortlisted and developers will attend a Test Drive Final in May, where they will receive mentoring from ForgetMeNot Africa experts to fine tune their ideas. They will then present a business plan and code for their app to a panel of judges, who will choose the winners.

The launch of the competition follows the success of ForgetMeNot Africa’s Kipokezi Apps Challenge in Kenya. This inspired developers to submit unique app ideas for Kenyan mobile users, including a traffic information app, a treasure hunt game and an app that provided football fans the latest information on the Kenyan Premier League.

Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer at ForgetMeNot Africa, said: “Our recent Apps Challenge in Kenya was a huge success with some truly unique and innovative ideas submitted. Zimbabwe also has a wealth of developer talent and we want to give them the same opportunity to earn revenue from their ideas. We are giving developers the chance to bring their ideas for unique apps or games that are useful, fun and highly relevant to Zimbabwean mobile users.”

ForgetMeNot Africa’s technology is already available to Econet’s entire subscriber base through its eTXT service, which launched in April 2011. This launch more than doubled access to internet messaging in Zimbabwe. Previously only one in eight

Zimbabweans (1.4 million people) had access to the internet, but the launch of eTXT provided all Econet subscribers with access to Facebook, email and online chat on even the most basic mobile handsets.

The competition will be launched at the JumpStart Community event at the Harare Club on Tuesday, March 27. ForgetMeNot Africa founder John Carroll will speak at the event, and will be running workshops to assist developers the next day.