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Journal of African Business Issue 4

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Welcome to Journal of African Business, your guide to business and investment on the continent. The fourth edition of Journal of African Business is the second issue of this magazine to be published as a quarterly. The first two journals were published as annual publications in 2020 and 2021. The Journal of African Business covers a wide range of subjects within the broader economic sectors: energy; mining and exploration; trade; finance; technology and tourism. In addition to this, special features on topical matters are included, along with country profiles.

Y Standard Bank’s

Y Standard Bank’s Mulalo Takaedza 6

BANKING INSPIRED BY AFRICANS’ RESILIENCE AND INDUSTRIOUSNESS As someone who travelled widely in Africa before working on African deals, Mulalo Takaedza found her entrepreneurial spirit awakened in Nigeria. She is Senior Vice President, Structured Capital Team at Standard Bank. Your first experience of working outside South Africa on the continent was in Nigeria. Had you been to other African countries before that? I had travelled Africa quite extensively before that. I had been to East Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Zanzibar. I had also travelled to the SADC-region countries quite a bit. I had done Africa for travel, but never as part of my professional career. Nigeria was the first time I had lived and worked in a different country on the African continent outside of South Africa. Why did you want to travel in Africa? I have always been very open-minded and I think part of that comes from the fact that I was not raised in a nuclear family. I was raised very much by a village, having to listen to other people, having to take other people’s views into consideration and having to be very considerate. I love the African continent. It is part of me wanting to see what else was there, it came from knowing that there is more to us as a continent than just South Africa. What were you expecting in Nigeria and what did you find there? Was it different? My experience of Nigeria started through colleagues that I met before I travelled there. They had been very warm and kind to me so I already knew that I was going to have a softer landing and that there were some familiar faces that I would find. I think what surprised me was the intensity and the ubiquitous spirit of entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Literally from the bottom all the way up, everybody thinks very much as an entrepreneur: how do I turn this into an opportunity, how do I turn this into some sort of economic benefit? For me, it woke up some sort of entrepreneurship in me. Even if you don’t necessarily work as a business owner, there is a level of entrepreneurship we all need to apply in what we do every day, how we spend our time and how we make decisions. How we assess risk versus reward. That was something that I really enjoyed. I probably expected that aspect but the forthrightness of the people – how Nigerians tell it like it is and you know what they are thinking and how they are feeling – I appreciated that. That is kind of the person that I am. So being part of the culture of people like that, I definitely enjoyed that. How long did you have in Nigeria on that first stint? It was quite intermittent because of visas and travelling back and forth, but overall, it was for a period of about eight months that I was in and out of Nigeria. And does your current role take you around the continent? Partly because of Covid and because we have all adjusted to being able to work remotely, all the work we have done has been done virtually. I have done deals for companies that operate on the continent in my current role but I have not travelled yet. What did your travels plus your experience in Nigeria tell you about the potential of Africa? Oh, that’s its booming, that it is absolutely booming. That we are so industrious. We have always known this about ourselves: we are full of potential, we are resilient. At the time Nigeria was the secondlargest economy on the continent but there was still a lot of poverty and inequality in Nigeria. The resilience of an average Nigerian, or an average African actually, is something that is inspiring. We need to find the ability to be there for each other and be able to relate with one another from different walks of life. It is something that gives you a great sense of pride to be part of this continent that is so full of hope and so full of life, irrespective of all the challenges that we have in this country and on this continent. 7 There is a level of entrepreneurship we all need to apply in what we do every day Below: The Standard Bank building in Cape Town. Credit: Standard Bank.

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