Tag Archive for: Innovation

Why Radical Collaboration is needed in the Global Mobility industry.  

In a world confronted by multiple global challenges, organisations are being pressured to demonstrate how they will generate value beyond profit and reduce their externalities. For meaningful change we need to step outside our bubble and get radical.
But how?

Rene’ Stegmann from Relocation Africa travelled to Rwanda in December 2021 and she felt it was best to share the story of the Gorillas in Rwanda as one of high tensions and conflict between the community and the animals to demonstrate the concept of Radical Collaboration. The human – animal relationships were adversarial in nature, and no-one really understood the problem, so finding solutions was limited and unproductive. There was no mutual understanding between the stakeholders, conflicts flared when crops were destroyed and managing differences was difficult. It was a problem that required radical collaboration to make a positive change. 

The concept of Radical Collaboration for us as an industry to be able to think very broadly to build high-trust relationships to improve efficiency, productivity, innovation, and agility for resolution. We are part of an “eco-system” and are each dependent on the health of the wider global mobility system: The healthier we are, the more we can rise together, in the same way if we are not healthy this will have a direct negative impact on the whole the eco-system.  It’s obvious but hard to orchestrate.  

Through radical collaboration, we can accept the risks that come with dependence on other entities with different agendas, while also recognising that diverse resources lead to innovation. You can make the most impact acting as the matchmaker at both the strategic and operational levels. It’s crucial to work with the partners to identify all the numerous parts of the possible solutions — assigning the management and ownership activities, the technical activities and the activities led jointly. 

In Global Mobility, we need to explore the effect of purely focusing on narrow discussions such as “low pricing” and how this could negatively impact important topics such as sustainable development. Can we start moving towards a value creation mindset instead of a cost reduction one? It is more expensive to visit the Gorillas in Rwanda than other nations such as Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, in Rwanda, the community is lifted through the collaboration of shared resources. In Uganda and the D.R.C, the Gorillas are still being poached and the communities still suffer the impact.  

Ultimately, we all want to be resilient, profitable businesses into the future and if we hold “Value for All” as a guiding star, our businesses can serve the well-being of both people and planet. Value is the key to the conversation. Value means not entering a price war and a race to the bottom, but rather asserting what our businesses offer to corporates and assignees that lift and
link up.

If we make the time and offer to engage with each other with a willingness to listen to all parties, however different our positions, we create opportunities for diverse conversations which could inspire creative solutions.

When referring to all parties and diverse conversations we need to think broader as when we talk about diversity it is often from perspectives such as a race, abled vs. Less-abled persons, age, or gender. Other areas of diversity could be Life experiences, the continent we live and work on, the size of the business we operate or work for, the ownership vs employment status can all be diverse opinions and considerations when listening to solve problems – the key is the willingness to engage and listen. 

 To embrace radical collaboration is going to take input from diverse people, business, and other sectors who are willing to create a structure which is open and transparent, to understand what value we can collectively offer the world and more specifically the Global Mobility industry. 

 Take the Gorilla story as a case study: It was multi stakeholders that effected change through radical collaboration.  Where there are tough societal problems, citizens, social enterprises and even business, are relying less and less on government-only solutions.  It is more likely, that crowdfunding, ride-sharing, app-developing, or impact-investing are going to be lightweight solutions for seemingly intractable problems. No problem or challenge is too daunting, from Malaria in Africa to traffic congestion in California.   

If we consider the different roles of stakeholders such as large corporates with big resources, skilled and motivated teams with global reach, government with convening power, funding, and ability to shift policy and regulations. Then the collective force of these new problem solvers is creating dynamic and rapidly evolving markets for social good.  They trade solutions instead of dollars to fill the gap between what government can provide and what citizens need.   By erasing public-private sector boundaries, they are unlocking trillions of dollars in social benefit and commercial value.  

The best collaborative partnerships work to tackle entrenched social and environmental challenges by assessing each of the parties’ key strengths and contributions and actively taking the best approach to address the challenge as a collective. 

Let us move beyond the exploitative mindset that late capitalism encouraged, towards an economy based on healthy relationships that link up and lift up. 

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall. 


It’s time for radical collaboration. 

See our YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Tnwk4Xyvg

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a funding crisis for global Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) when they are needed most. As tax revenues from donor countries continue to shrink, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) budgets dwindle, NGOs must utilise all available measures to achieve potential savings without compromising the quality and quantity of their aid.

One way where potential savings could be achieved is through satellite connectivity. Continuous developments in the satellite industry offer a prime cost-cutting opportunity for cash-strapped NGOs. This is especially true for those operating across the African region, where satellite communication is already an established tool among the NGO community, so there is existing ground infrastructure to receive the satellite signals.

Notably, satellites have unique characteristics; such as their global unrivalled reach, as well as their reliability and resilience that enables them to provide truly ubiquitous coverage, covering 99% of the world’s population. Then there is also their rapid deployment that exceeds any currently available infrastructure.

Considering that limited connectivity infrastructure poses a major challenge to many NGOs, especially those operating in underdeveloped areas, satellite communication across these regions should be easily accessible and affordable.

Frank Bauner, CEO of IABG Teleport

Historically, an NGO would commission satellite links per location or project. Today, however, it is possible to establish a pool bandwidth for all remote locations across an expansive region like Africa, and save up to 25% of an NGO’s very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) budget, by using the available bandwidth in an efficient way, without impacting the user experience.

This is because time-division multiple access (TDMA) technology allows private bandwidth pools to be set up with customisation of bandwidth allocation per remote location. And due to the vast coverage of satellite beams, it is possible to add all remote locations across Africa within one single beam – SES’s NSS-12 satellite is ideal in this instance, as it covers the entire African continent.

The specific solution is called Private Supra-regional Pool Bandwidth (PSPB), and the idea behind it is quite simple. Instead of procuring a single link for each location, a private pool bandwidth is established for all remote locations in the region. NGOs can also combine forces and procure the bandwidth together to reduce individual costs. But in order to ensure that unused bandwidth within the network is only used by other remote locations from the NGO, this pool bandwidth has to be private.

This means that the degree of efficiency achieved by the pool bandwidth, increases with the number of remote locations connected to it. This creates the opportunity for NGOs to join forces and maximise the cost-saving benefits. With a growing number of sites, even in one time zone or country, the probability of a simultaneous internet use will decrease. This probability then decreases even further when sites are located across different regions and time zones.

To put this into context, IABG has leveraged SES’s NSS-12 C-band capacity since June 2020, in order to upgrade our broadband satellite network infrastructure and support cost-effective iQ modems for African NGOs.

Thanks to the very powerful and economical new modem generation, IABG Teleport is enabling NGOs with connectivity services delivered via satellites with a low one-time investment.

Frank Bauner, CEO of IABG Teleport

Over and above these cost-saving benefits, the private pool bandwidth also allows backup service for sites that are connected via terrestrial networks. This backup service comes at no additional cost. Terrestrially-connected sites can be connected as a backup link to the pool bandwidth. In case of an outage of the terrestrial link, the connectivity can therefore be continued by the VSAT pool bandwidth.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Virtual Africa Tech Festival will be taking place from 9 – 13 November 2020, bringing together AfricaCom, AfricaTech, The AHUB, and the AfricaCom Awards.

Join Africa’s digital thought-leaders as they discuss and debate the key issues impacting the journey to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the response to COVID-19, connecting the next billion and more.

Your virtual ticket gives access to the entire online event including both the AfricaCom and the AfricaTech exhibitions and the AHUB start-up zone. You can expect:

  • A digital experience featuring broadcast-quality, free content streaming
  • Access to the Africa Tech Festival Headline Keynotes, AfricaTech Centre Stage and the AHUB
  • AfricaCom and AfricaTech virtual expo with virtual booths

To get your virtual ticket, click here. And for more information about the event, click here.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

There are no defensive postures here. Undaunted by the potential for pandemic induced collapse in demand for commodities like sugar and cement, Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu sees only possibility – especially in agriculture, especially in Nigeria.

Not only is agribusiness relatively simple in terms of its business model, but it is urgent to save needed foreign exchange and to boost employment, he explains. Rabiu’s major focus is on promoting more production and processing to meet national demand and make more profits for his conglomerate BUA Group. BUA listed its subsidiary BUA Cement in January to raise capital for industrial projects in the glass, steel and oil sectors, citing the rigour and “scrutiny” of the process as a way of “de-risking” Nigerian opportunity for investors domestic and foreign.

“The opportunities are here,” enthuses the group chairman and chief executive during our videoconference, a portrait of South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela beaming over his shoulder. That has not really been the case for the man on the Lagos Danfo, to twist a phrase – the city buses were restricted due to measures against transmission of COVID-19.

Most Nigerians are still reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic. Traders have ceased operation, farmers have thrown away produce due to the lack of transport, and businesses have mothballed investment projects. Most of BUA Group’s expansion programme remains undisturbed. Chief executive Rabiu unveiled plans for 3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in cement capacity and 50MW of power in Adamawa State in July.

However, he put off the announcement of a glass project that was slated for the postponed June France-Africa summit. While COVID-19 disrupted most firms, greater automation in BUA Group’s agribusiness and cement plants allows them to operate at about 40-50% of their normal capacity. “We are lucky for the fact we are even at 50%. Many others have not been able to work at all,” says Rabiu.

The ban on travel between Nigeria’s states was the greater challenge, “and that is lifting now”. He argues that “the impact [of the coronavirus] is going to be with us for quite some time” and that “entire industry business models are going to have to change.”

Better than 2019

Learning from operating his family business as a young man, Rabiu has built up his empire slowly but surely. BUA Group has moved from a trading company importing commodities to a manufacturing powerhouse in agribusiness and construction materials. From edible oils, through sugar and cement projects, the group also operates a shipping terminal in the oil town of Port Harcourt and owns a real-estate portfolio.

Cement is the industrial star. BUA Cement had a solid first quarter in 2020, banking nearly $60m in profit. This means, according to Rabiu, that it can absorb the slowdown from April to June, and have year-end results that may be “better than 2019”. That is not something many other Nigerian companies are predicting. It is bullish given the record year the company had in 2019; a 47.5% increase in turnover, with profit jumping nearly 70%.

He attributes the leap to the launch of a second line at the Obu plant in March 2019, adding 3mtpa to BUA’s output, and the first full year of the Kalambaina plant’s second line operations. The cement expansion does not stop; while BUA Cement currently has capacity for 8mtpa, Rabiu is targeting 14mtpa over the next few years.

Analysts do not share Rabiu’s optimism about the sector in the short term. “We expect the deterioration in the macroeconomic conditions – caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, which triggered a sharp decline in oil prices – to constrain activities in the construction industry as fiscal spending on capital projects weakens,” wrote Nigeria’s CSL Stockbrokers.

The scars will remain for some time for the Nigerian economy at large, Rabiu says, with the damage hitting the poorest first. “The price of goods has gone up, especially food items,” he says, partly as a result of the devaluation of the naira but also because the virus has hurt port logistics, making the clearance of imports difficult. That could be seen as an opportunity to intensify Nigeria’s great push to support food production, something that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has supported for rice in particular.

As part of Nigeria’s CACOVID (Coalition Against Covid-19), an organisation of private-sector operators pooling funds to help relief efforts, BUA has put money into feeding programmes in Lagos and other cities, to cushion the blow of the pandemic. Fundamentally, Rabiu is unhappy about the high level of food imports. “It should not be happening at all, not only here in Nigeria, but generally in Africa. We have 60% of the world’s arable land. We have the people [to farm]. We have the climate. We have everything it takes.”

He is keen for that opportunity to go beyond food crops to cash crops, and again focus on keeping value in Africa. “The US, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium produce 75% of the entire chocolate production worldwide. And if we look at the cocoa industry worldwide, what are we talking about, $150bn-$160bn? And Africa gets maybe $10bn-$15bn of that?”

Sugar for resilience

He expects agriculture to provide the resilience that Nigeria needs in the post-COVID-19 era. Next year, for example, will see the ramping up or opening of operations at three major sugar plantations, including BUA’s own in Kwara State, as well as projects for Dangote Sugar and Golden Sugar.

BUA is Nigeria’s second-largest sugar producer after Dangote Sugar. “With that plantation, we will be able to produce 150,000tn of white sugar with millions of litres of ethanol, employing over 10,000 people in direct jobs,” says Rabiu.

He was inspired by a visit to Uganda’s Kakira sugar estate, run by the Madhvani family: “It was the most impressive sugar plantation I had ever seen.” And Mayur Madhvani told Rabiu that while he could get yields of 9tn per hectare in Uganda, the soils and potential in Nigeria were far greater.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].