Important to think globally, says Khalid Abdulla of AEEI

Published 28 April 2017, by Joseph Booysen, Business Report 

South African businesses and business leaders can learn a lot by attending the World Economic Forum, taking what they need out of the global perspectives on offer, applying approaches and principles learned from world business leaders to their own business, with a firm eye on maximising the business volumes of the future so as to avoid business extinction.

This is according to Khalid Abdulla, group chief executive of African Equity Empowerment Investment (AEEI) ahead of his attendance at the global forum next week.

Abdulla said it was important to think globally about how current and future business was planned for and approached – Africa would soon have 2 billion people living on the continent and the world 9billion people in the not-too-distant future.

“We need to listen to what other countries and businesses are experiencing, assimilate the different perspectives and then apply the appropriate practices and innovations to our own,” Abdulla said, adding that it would be important for businesses to develop the right team and to implement solid corporate governance to extract the most value.

“So, you can attend all the conferences in the world, but if you don’t apply and implement what you learn, it is just going to be another certificate on the wall.”

He said despite all the negative news in the country at the moment, including the recent ratings downgrade, there was still much to be positive about as South Africa had achieved amazing things.

“We must celebrate these while working on the challenges,” he said.

Abdulla encouraged other companies to continue sharing these and other positive stories in order to keep hope alive for the country’s citizens, while current challenges were being addressed, in order to build the nation on a sustainable basis.

“There is an opportunity in everything. As a business leader one has to see things in context while at the same time we have to think out of the box. This current state too shall pass, and we as business need to look to the future and ask ourselves if we will be ready for when that time comes.”

Read the full article here.

 

Blind child rights hero receives ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’

 

 Published 27 April 2017 by IOL reporter
Manuel Rodrigues, a blind child rights activist from Guinea-Bissau, on Wednesday received the child rights award, The World’s Children’s Prize (WCP), often called the ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’.

This is the result of the Global Vote, by millions of children around the world.

Manuel Rodrigues from Guinea-Bissau, bottom right, was selected by children around the world to receive child rights award the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child. Molly Melching is second from the left, and Rosi Gollmann is fourth from the left. Behind them are members of the Child Jury.

Manuel was honoured in recognition of his work for children with disabilities, who face being kept hidden or abandoned to die.

In Guinea-Bissau, it is hard for children with disabilities to go to school. Many have been kept hidden away, or abandoned to die. Through Manuel’s work, however, both attitudes and legislation are changing rapidly, so that children with different abilities can grow up in safety, attend school, and have a good life.

Manuel was one of the three nominees for the award, nominated by a child jury whose members are experts on the rights of the child, through their own life experiences as refugees, slaves and soldiers, amongst others.

Since the launch in 2000, a total of 40.6 million children have participated in the World’s Children’s Prize programme, the world’s largest annual educational initiative for children on rights and democracy.

Two other child rights activists, 90-year-old Rosi Gollmann, from Germany, and Molly Melching, from the USA and Senegal, were also honoured on Wednesday.

Gollman’s work includes rescuing tens of thousands of girls in India from being killed at birth, and Melching has led pioneering initiatives to tackle female genital cutting and child marriage in West Africa.

Both received the World’s Children’s Honorary Award.

All three nominees for the award were honoured at a ceremony today at Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred, Sweden, where children from 15 countries were assisted by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in presenting the prizes. The prize money, totalling SEK 700,000, is split between this year’s child rights hero (SEK 350 000) and the two honorary award laureates (SEK 175 000 each) and is to go towards the prize laureates’ work with children.

Abatsha, a young band from Cape Town, South Africa, played at the WCP Ceremony. Five of the band members are pupils at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where the World’s Children’s Prize programme is implemented annually, and where the band members and other pupils are trained as WCP Child Rights Ambassadors.

Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (the latter two, posthumously).

Read the full article here.

‘South Africa will weather the storm’

Published 13 April 2017 by Business Report.  

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said South Africa will weather problems associated with the recent credit rating downgrade to junk status.Speaking at a business forum between South Africa and Qatar in Pretoria on Wednesday, Zulu moved to allay investor jitters over the downgrades, charging that the government was ready to deal with concerns raised by investors and rating agencies.

“It is not the first time that we are finding ourselves in this,” Zulu said.

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, Qatar Minister of Economy and Trade HE Sheik Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani, Dr Iqbal Survé, Sekunjalo chairperson, and South African Ambassador to Qatar, Shirish Soni, at the RSA-State of Qatar Business Forum in Pretoria. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

“The government has taken upon ourselves as government, the private sector and our communities to work together to weather the storms. It is going to be a very difficult period for us. We shall weather the storm working together.”

Ratings agencies S&P’s Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings last week downgraded the country’s credit rating to sub-investment grade. The South African Reserve Bank earlier this week said the downgrades could put pressure on the rand and accelerate inflation.

Zulu’s assurances came as President Jacob Zuma hosted the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, who was on a state visit to South Africa which was, among others, aimed at deepening economic relations between the two countries.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said that the total trade between South Africa and Qatar had increased from R4 billion in 2012 to R7 billion last year.

One of South Africa’s largest investments in the Middle East is Sasol’s joint venture gas-to-liquid facility located in Qatar.

Commitment

“[The] two heads of state have agreed to advance our relations to a strategic level in demonstration of our commitment towards strengthening our economic relations.

“In as much as fostering partnership among business communities is important, it is equally imperative that we emerge from these engagements with a structured programme of co-operation,” said Zulu.

Numerous opportunities of co-operation existed between South Africa and Qatar in agro-processing, financial services, mineral beneficiation, petrochemicals, aerospace and defence, infrastructure development and tourism.

She said South Africa’s focus on radical economic transformation opened up opportunities to all South Africans, with focus on black South Africans.

“In line with South Africa’s commitment to radical economic transformation, we must ensure adequate participation of black entrepreneurs.

“The bottom line is that and there is no compromise land was taken away from the majority of our people.

“That has to change if we are to make sure there is peace, security and stability in South Africa.

“This should not scare any of our investors. Your investment in South Africa will always be safe, because in South Africa we have very strong institutions, whether its institutions of governance or financial institutions. We make sure that anybody who comes to South Africa with their investment is protected,” she said. South Africa had prioritised the creation of black industrialists and the integration of small- and medium-sized enterprises, she said.

“The black industrialists are the people that you would need to have more engagement with.”

She said there were numerous investment opportunities in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“The continent is on the move, with a whole lot of construction happening.

Al-Thani said South Africa could use Qatar’s location and logistics infrastructure to export to the Middle East, Asia and Europe. He said Qatar could also be a gateway for South African products to the Gulf Co-operation Council Common Market and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.

 

Read the full article here.

All faiths unite at Cape Passover celebration

Published 7 April 2017, by Bronwyn Davids, Cape Argus

Cape Town – The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape) on Thursday night celebrated the Passover Seder, a “celebration of human rights overcoming human wrongs” – with fellow South Africans and African refugees of all faiths.Held at the Jewish Museum, among the guests were Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, executive chairperson of Sekunjalo Dr Iqbal Survé, Muslim and Christian clerics, and Judge Dennis Davis, who was the MC.

Usually, a 2 000-year-old family and community celebration rich in religious symbolism of the Hebrews’ exodus from captivity in ancient Egypt, SAJBD deputy director Gwynne Robins said: “We decided to share our tradition with others because there are lots of things we say in the Seder that is relevant to us today.

“We say all who are hungry come and eat, there’s so much hunger, famine in Somalia, there are people in Khayelitsha who go to bed hungry, we must remember a time of hunger in our history.

“We talk of being refugees; there are lots of refugees in South Africa and all over the world, from North Africa. There are so many problems. The point of the Haggadah book, which means ‘telling’, is that you shall tell your children what the Lord God did for us on that day of fleeing from Egypt. Education is important, part of this Seder,” said Robins.

Read the full article here.

 

Sekunjalo Edujazz Big Band kicks off #CTIJF

Published 01 April 2017, by IOL Mojo.

The Sekunjalo Edujazz Big Band were the opening act for the 18th installment of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which officially kicked off at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday evening.

For the next two days the Convention Centre will play host to famous as well as up-and-coming musical acts and also a number of exhibitions linked to the event.

Jazz lovers from across South Africa, and in fact the world, gather annually for the festival which is a showcase for some of the best local and international music acts.
Earlier this week, Capetonians were entertained by top acts at the annual free concert held at Greenmarket Square. The concert is considered the opening event of the musical showcase which draws thousands of people to the Mother City every year.
Read more here.

Sekunjalo happy to invest in Jazz festival

Published 31 March by Staff Reporter
For the past decade, the Sekunjalo Group, via its subsidiary African Equity Empowerment Limited, has been invested in the Cape Town International Jazz Festival because of its impact on the economy, and to support black excellence.Sekunjalo Group executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said the company invested in the Jazz Festival when espAfrika was faced with shutting down the popular event because the North Sea Jazz Festival (the forbearer to the festival) had pulled its funding.

The Jazz Festival is often referred to as Africa’s grandest gathering, so Survé said that the Sekunjalo Group could not see such an important Cape Town event being scrapped.

The bands of between five and seven members each were all part of the music and career programme which forms a vital part of the run up to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

“Billy [Domingo] and Rashied [Lombard] approached us for funding and we agreed based on their ability to put together a show of an international calibre,” Survé said.

“The festival is a social enterprise, it is a business, but its impact is significant.

“The festival creates 300 direct jobs and between 2 500 to 3 000 jobs during the festival. It also brings in R600 million to the gross domestic product.

“It provides huge opportunities for small businesses, including those in catering, engineering, sound, security and cleaning.

Survé is passionate about development and said the music development week preceding the Cape Town Jazz Festival is a showcase of South African talent.

The festival has been a springboard onto the international stage for South African artists, and it also deepens the cultural links between South Africa and countries like Brazil, China and Cuba.

“One of the most important wins in the investment is that the festival is about black excellence, from the planning to the execution of the festival,” Survé said.

Read the full article here.

Indian magnate Iqbal Surve appointed head of South Africa’s BRICS Business Council

Published 31 March 2017 by PTI, The Economic Times.

Iindian-magnate-iqbal-surve-appointed-head-of-south-africas-brics-business-councilndian-origin South African billionaire Iqbal Surve has been appointed as chairperson of the country’s BRICS Business Council and has underlined the need for strengthening trade ties with countries like India and China.

Straight after his appointment by the South African government, Surve, headed to New Delhi for the mid-term meeting of the Brics Councils from other countries in the bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

He highlighted importance to strengthen ties with China and India.

“In the age of Trump protectionism and Brexit, we have to strengthen our ties with business in the East, especially China and India, whose economies are expected to be number one and number three in the world by 2030, with a GDP of USD 35 trillion and USD 16 trillion respectively,” Surve said.

“This opens up many opportunities, not only for South Africa but for the continent,” Surve said, adding that it was of utmost importance that Africans benefit from the new BRICS Development Bank.

“It is an interesting development that China is flying the flag for globalisation at a time when US President Donald Trump is taking a more protectionist stance,” Surve was quoted as saying by the daily Business Report.
Surve, the chairperson of Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media, has interests in media, technology and healthcare.

The chief executive of the South African Public Investment Corporation, Daniel Matjila, lauded Surve’s appointment.

Surve said he sees his new role as one of being an enabler to ensure that Brics benefits the most marginalised South Africans and Africans, especially in the areas of financial services and sustainable development financing.

Surve said the Business Councils had a huge role to play in economic development.

“We want them to build dams, roads, power stations and railway lines in Africa. It is noteworthy that all five countries (in BRICS) have different ideals, economic policies and politics, yet we know that for economic growth we have to work together to ensure our people benefit economically.

“Included in the benefits must be skilling and reskilling in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution, where biological, physical and digital worlds merge,” Surve concluded.

Read full article here

 

AEEI boss named top empowered business leader

Published 31 March 2017 by Business Report, Kabeo Khumalo

Cape Town – African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) group chief executive Khalid Abdulla was on Thursday named as the top empowered business leader of the year at the 16th Oliver Empowerment Awards held in Johannesburg.Abdulla said he was humbled by the award and credited AEEI’s board and his management team for continuing to implement the group’s 2020 strategic vision for growth and transformation.

“Since its inception, AEEI undertook to focus on growing the business and to provide the platform for empowerment of others, especially the empowerment of those disadvantaged individuals who are driven to succeed with us,” he said.

AEEI chief executive Khalid Abdulla was named as the top empowered business leader of the year at the 16th Oliver Empowerment Awards. Picture: Independent Media

AEEI, which was formerly called Sekunjalo Investments, invests in the fishing, information technology, financial services, food and healthcare industries. The Oliver Empowerment Awards are the country’s foremost awards recognising leadership and innovation in empowerment.

The awards are rigorously assessed and independently assured and provide recognition for companies that are integrating empowering business practice and delivering positive impacts in the marketplace, in the workplace and in the communities they operate.

Abdulla said the group’s success was due to its highly skilled empowerment management team, which put the company on the front foot for future growth.

“We are deeply honoured to have been recognised for our efforts with these awards, testament to our commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment, enterprise development and delivering strong financial performance with a holistic and sustainable business model,” Abdulla said.

The group has been on a spending spree in the past few years, particularly making significant acquisitions in the information technology space.

In 2015, it increased its stake in security and defence specialist company Saab Grintek Defence to 25percent – the deal was valued at R120million.

Aside from the Saab investment, the company has secured equity partnership with consumer brands group Pioneer Foods and fund management group Sygnia, for which it paid R10m.

The group last year acquired a 57percent stake in Midrand-based information technology company Puleng Technologies for an undisclosed amount. The award bestowed on Abdulla is one of the numerous given to the company in the course of last year.

In July last year, the Financial Mail announced AEEI as the top performer on the JSE, after it had demonstrated continued and consistent financial growth.

This followed recognition by Empowerdex on October 6, 2016, in its annual benchmark of JSE-listed companies as the Most Empowered Company under the amended codes as well as the Most Empowered Management Control.

Abdulla said that the work done in implanting the group’s 2020 vision and growing up in a racially divided South Africa had steered him and the company in the right direction.

“Where we have come from and what we experienced in years gone by has given me a different perspective on life and business.

“I see that echoed in many of my co-workers. What sets AEEI apart, and I believe has made us this solid and successful entity, is how we identify opportunities and our approach in taking these prospects forward to fruition.”

Full article here.

Survé’s Brics appointment good for SA

Published 31 March 2017 by Adri Senekal de Wet, Business Report

Dr Iqbal Survé, the chairperson of Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media, has been appointed as the chairperson of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council.Survé, a billionaire businessman with investments in a diversified portfolio including media, technology and healthcare, on Thursday told Business Report that he was excited and honoured to serve as chairperson of the SA chapter; his mission is to ensure that all South Africans share in the benefits of being part of the fast growing economies of the east and the south.

Survé sees “Trump’s protectionism” and “Brexit” as an opportunity for South Africa to strengthen ties with business in the East, especially China and India, whose economies are expected to be number one and number three in the world by 2030, with a gross domestic product of $35trillion (R455.32trln) and $16trln, respectively.

Dr Daniel Matjila, the chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation, congratulated Survé on Thursday: “This achievement is the result of his hard work and his fearless spirit.” His message ends with: “Iqbal, always keep your aim high and carry on your noble nature, many successes are yet to come your way. South Africa is proud of you”.

Survé is passionate about job creation, education, skills development and technology; he sees his new role as “enabler to ensure that Brics benefits the most marginalised South Africans and Africans, especially in the areas of financial services and sustainable development financing”.

“I will work with some of the best business leaders in the country and in the various Brics business councils. It is also an opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic transformation. I will work with leading South African, Brazilian, Indian, Chinese and Russian captains of industry and in the various Brics business councils, a wonderful opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic and social transformation,” he said.

Founding member

Survé is a founding member of the Brics Business Council and the Clinton Global Initiative; he serves on a number of multi-lateral institutions and global organisations.

Survé served as the first chairperson of the WEF Global Growth Companies Advisory Board and vice chairperson of the Global Agenda Council for Emerging Multinationals. He is a participant member of the G20 meeting and serves on B20 Task Teams as well as the Unga private sector forum, amongst others.

Read full article here.

Brics meeting set on solid relations

Published 31 March 2017 by  staff reporter, Cape Times.

Sekunjalo Group and Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé leads the SA Brics Business Council meeting in Delhi, India, to strengthen business links between South Africa and the Brics bloc.

SA Brics Business Council arrived in New Delhi on Thursday to attend the mid-term meeting of Brics representatives with their international counterparts.

Brics is an association of five emerging economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Half of the world’s population, almost four billion people, live in these five countries. Collectively. Brics has a GDP of about $37 trillion.

Dr Iqbal Survé leads the SA Brics Business Council meeting in Delhi, India, to strengthen business links between South Africa and the Brics bloc. Picture: Tracey Adams/Independent Media

Newly appointed chairman of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council, Survé said the mid-term meeting was an important event in the run-up to the Brics Summit which will be hosted by China, in the city of Xiamen in September. The summit will be hosted in South Africa next year.

Survé said he intended to strengthen the multilateral relationships of the South African business community with the Brics countries to the mutual benefit for each country.

The Brics Business Council ensures continuous interaction between the business communities and governments of Brics countries, identifying problems, bottlenecks and solutions to facilitate trade and foster investment relationships.

Brics Business Council members are appointed by the South African government. Commenting on his appointment as chairman, Survé said: “The Brics Business Council members are first and foremost ambassadors for the country.

“We are there to ensure that all South Africans benefit as the global economy moves rapidly towards the east and south.

“In the age of Trump protectionism and Brexit, we have to strengthen our ties with business in the East especially China and India, whose economies are expected to be number one and number three in the world by 2030, with a GDP of $35trillion and $16 trillion respectively,” he said.

Survé is a founding member of the Brics Business Council, and said he would build on the work done by his predecessors, Patrice Motsepe and, most recently, Brian Molefe.

The SA Brics Business Council members accompanying Survé include Siyabonga Gama, Transnet chief executive, and Danisa Baloyi, Black Business Council president, who are new appointments, Khanyisile Kweyama, of Business Unity South Africa, and Stavros Nicolaou, of Aspen Pharmacare, who retain their positions as members of the council.

The council will work closely with ministers in various clusters and business sectors including Finance, Trade and Industry, International Relations and Co-operation, Science and Technology, and Education.

Survé said: “It is indeed an honour to lead the South African Brics Business Council and to represent my country and in addition, I will work with some of the best business leaders in the country and in the various Brics business councils. It is also an opportunity to enable our country to achieve the goals of inclusive growth and economic transformation.

“I am passionate about job creation, education, skills development and technology, and I hope that in this new role, I will be able to ensure that Brics benefits the most marginalised South Africans and Africans.”

The upcoming Brics Business Council mid-term meeting will be taking stock of progress in deregulation, manufacturing, infrastructure, agri-business, skills development, financial services and energy and the green economy, and prepare for the September summit.

Survé said the business bouncil had a huge role to play in economic development on all fronts.

“It is an interesting development that China is flying the flag for globalisation at a time when the United States President Donald Trump is taking a more protectionist stance.This opens up many opportunities, not only for South Africa, but for the continent.

“As South Africans, we have to make sure that we remain relevant in the global economic order and that we have access to the global market, and access to capital,” he said, adding it was vital to ensure that Africans benefit from the New Development Bank. The bank was established by the Brics to support public or private projects, by supplying loans, guarantees and equity participation.

“The bank must not just benefit countries in Asia, we want them to build dams, roads, power stations and railway lines in Africa,” Survé said.

Brics brings many opportunities to South Africa as the country needs more foreign-direct investment.

“South Africa spends more than 40% (R153 billion) of the budget servicing debt, and if we don’t have foreign-direct investment, it will lead to greater unemployment and social instability. That is why the business council is crucial. It is there to ensure as a country, we can channel FDI from the rest of the world, but mostly from Brazil, Russian, India and China.

 

Read the full article here.