[SA Business Week] Opening businesses to the world, growing markets
In the recent years, South Africa has continued to prove that it is one of the most diverse and promising emerging markets in Africa. The country has become a key global hub for investment, innovation and research with a focus on technology, e-commerce, finance, trade and manufacturing sectors. To keep up with the momentum of its economic growth, South Africa is continuously growing its markets by opening business opportunities to the world.
This week, a London based software technology company Fiskl partnered with South Africa's Vodacom Group to introduce a host of mobile and digital technology solutions to South Africa's SMEs. Fiskl will be integrated in Vodacom's business offering, which will allow customers to easily add Fiskl to their business apps from the Vodacom Cloud Marketplace. Apart from Vodacom, Fiskl recently partnered with another South African based fintech, Ocean on 76, to strengthen its presence across Africa. Vodacom and Telkom also concluded a long-term multi billion rand agreement where Telkom will obtain roaming and facilities leasing services from Vodacom with full effect from June 2019. Telkom customers will be able to roam on Vodacom's 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Another partnership that happened this week was between Israel’s based On Track Innovations and Western Cape Government. This partnership will see the implementation of Go GEORGE Smart Cards, a "smart card" solution for South Africa's public transportation system. The smart card system will replace the paper ticketing system currently used on buses in the region.
In trade and international relations this week, it was a sigh of relief to most Kenyans as the South Africa government finally decided to scrap short term visa requirements for Kenyans travelling to South Africa. This move was propelled by an announcement made by President Kenyatta late last year that any African wishing to visit the Kenya will be eligible to receive a visa on arrival. The Kenyan government officials travelling on official business to South Africa will be also be granted three months free visa with immediate effect. Kenya moved its visa application from the tedious and time-consuming visits to the embassy to a more convenient and cashless e-Visa application in 2015.
Still in trade and relations, the South African filmmakers who just came back from the United States on an investment mission are optimistic that their stay at Hollywood will yield positive results and that there will be a long lasting working relationship between the SA filmmakers and Hollywood companies. The filmmakers told the American studios that utilizing the services of black filmmakers for their productions does not compromise on quality or excellence .
Cuba is also seeking to enhance its trade and relations with South Africa. This came earlier in the week after the Cuban Chamber of Commerce expressed its willingness to assist South African companies and investors to trade and invest in different sectors of the economy. The Cuban chamber’s International Relations Officer for Africa and Middle East, Mr. Marcel Blanco said that there were more than 800 businesses linked to the Chamber and that they are willing to assist South African companies in the energy, tourism and agro-processing which are key sectors of economy.
In the stock markets this week, AVI Limited, and Standard Bank announced their secondary listing on A2X stock exchange market. AVI will become the twelfth company to list on A2X whereas Standard Bank Group will be the thirteenth to list. Both companies will retain their primary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and their issued share capital will not be affected by their secondary listings on A2X. JSE has also seen an icrease its listing portfolio with Vivo Energy, Raven Property and Naspers having recently listed.
Standard Bank Group has been very instrumental in business expansion and innovation in South Africa. In 2016, it launched the first ever animated banking app for children and recently, it launched a social campaign on Twitter to turn tweets into educational tools. The banks’ efforts have however not gone unrecognized as in 2015, it won the Super Regional award for its eMarketTrader platform in the in the Profit & Loss Services Digital FX Awards. A report released early this month also revealed it to be the most valuable South African Brand.
In a bid to expand its markets in Africa, this week, Oracle announced of its opening of an innovation hub in Johannesburg. The innovation will further digital transformation in South Africa by raising awareness about the impact of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Bots and Machine Learning (ML). The hub will be the first one for Oracle in Africa and will drive the adoption of emerging technologies across the country’s corporates, public sector and academia. In mid-2017, Oracle South Africa appointed Niral Patel to be the Managing Director and Technology Leader. He is responsible for accelerating the adoption of Oracle Cloud solutions, identifying new growth opportunities and enhancing engagement with key stakeholders in South Africa. Oracle also hosted its Impact Technology Summit in Nairobi two months ago in order to drive awareness of emerging technologies and their impact on business.
Another company that is opening up business in South Africa is Temenos. This week, Temenos announced the launch of its South African "Bank of the Future" Think-Tank. This venture will involve a quarterly gathering of some of the brightest minds in South African banking industry and it will address domestic and global challenges and opportunities facing financial institutions in South Africa. Temenos has also previously supported AUC Venture Lab, a startup in Egypt by providing it with access to the world’s number one core banking solution for its development environment. Temenos also increased its footprints in Ethiopia in 2017 where it helped the Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO) go live with its UniversalSuite, accelerating its growth.
Lastly in the automotive sector, a British luxury automobile maker Rolls-Royce recently opened its first lease engine storage facility in the South African Airways Technical (SAAT) site at Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport. This week, another global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), has opened a new Motus dealership in Pinetown South Africa. The facility will provide the best servicing experience to all Jeep, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Chrysler and Dodge customers within and around Durban. In mid-2017, the Western Cape Government received over 350 Volkswagen Polo Vivo Sedans to be used for general purposes by Provincial Departments in the Western Cape, such as the Traffic, Transport and Public Works. This shows just how much the global automobiles are willing to expand business in South Africa.