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The Journal of African Business Issue 7

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Welcome to The Journal of African Business, a unique guide to business and investment in Africa. Since the inaugural issue was published as an annual in 2020, the quarterly format has been adopted, giving our team more opportunities to bring to readers up-to-date information and opinions and offer our clients increased exposure at specific times of the year. We cover a broad range of topics, ranging from energy and mining to tourism and skills development. A wide-ranging interview in this issue with a visionary entrepreneur gives a welcome insight into how the private sector can be deployed to solve issues that go to the heart of social problems, in this instance, affordable housing. Related to urban development is the article that lays out the vision of one of the continent’s great cities to create a smarter city. Special Economic Zones have been in Africa since 1970 but there has been a great deal of new thinking about the role that these zones can play in bolstering economic growth and promoting exports. An article explores the chief motivations for the growth of this particular policy intervention and notes that more zones and organisations representing these zones are aiming to work together, not only on a continental level but through the United Nations as well. Executive education can boost the earnings of graduates of Master of Business Administration courses, but can those post-graduate programmes also respond to and equip students with the tools to tackle African challenges? The importance of being properly covered by insurance for extreme weather conditions is the subject of two case studies by the African Risk Capacity Limited, a financial affiliate of the African Risk Capacity Group, a specialised agency of the African Union. And much more... Global African Network is a proudly African company which has been producing region-specific business and investment guides since 2004.


SUSTAINABLE MINING MINERALS COUNCIL COMPACT A mandatory code of conduct binds mining companies to ethical practices, including a commitment to consideration of sustainable development when making decisions. The Membership Compact is a mandatory code of ethical business conduct to which members of the Minerals Council South Africa subscribe. The overriding vision and mission of the Minerals Council is to reposition the South African mining sector as South Africa’s pre-eminent industrial sector and to double real investment in mining by 2030. This is an industry strategy that will be owned by all Minerals Council members with the overriding objective of building a trust-based social pact with key stakeholders, creating an overwhelmingly positive investment and operating environment for the sector that makes the global investment community and mining industry recognise that South Africa has emerged into an investment destination of choice for the mining sector. The benefits of achieving this vision are incalculable and will be a game-changer for the country and its ability to achieve the National Development Plan objectives, to which members of the Minerals Council subscribe. A COMPACT OBJECTIVE The primary objective of the members of the Minerals Council is to ensure that the mining industry is able to realise its latent growth potential and so contribute meaningfully to the national objectives for sustainable development, transformation and the growth of the South African economy. THIS CAN BEST BE ACHIEVED THROUGH: • Building trustworthy relationships with key stakeholders • Transforming the mining industry • Partnering with communities surrounding existing and future mining operations and those in labour-sending areas GUIDING PRINCIPLES The guiding principles serve as a framework to enable Minerals Council members to achieve the objectives of the Compact. Minerals Council members undertake to integrate the guiding principles into their management systems to ensure consistent application across all operations. The following 10 guiding principles demonstrate the commitment of members to manage their operations in a responsible manner. Members commit, in all aspects of their businesses and operations, to: • Implement and maintain ethical business practices and sound systems of corporate governance • Strive to achieve zero harm in respect of mine health and safety by complying with the Mine Health and Safety Milestones • Integrate sustainable development considerations within the corporate decisionmaking process • Respect fundamental human rights and respect cultures, customs and values in dealing with employees and others who are affected by their activities • Implement risk-management strategies based on valid data and sound science • Continuous improvement of their environmental performance • Contribute to conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning • Facilitate and encourage responsible product design, use, reuse, recycling and disposal of their products • Contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of the communities in which they operate and in labour-sending areas • Implement effective and transparent engagement, communication and independently verified reporting arrangements with their stakeholders. Minerals Council website: 22

ENGINEERING COLLABORATING WITH LOCAL ENGINEERING FIRMS TO BUILD BOTSWANA’S SKILLS BASE ICreating local value for local communities and the wider Botswana economy are critical benefits that EPCM firms can bring to the mining sector, says James Othapile, Managing Director of Erudite Botswana. In the pursuit of economic prosperity, Botswana stands as a shining example for CREATING LOCAL VALUE its efforts to harness its abundant mineral resources to drive growth. Yet, achieving broad-based, future-proof economic growth calls for professional engineering expertise and investment to enhance the sector’s development and workforce skills. wider Botswana economy. This is achieved in two basic ways. The mining and quarrying industry emerged once again as the major contributor to Botswana’s economy in 2022, accounting for 24.6% of its GDP, as per Statistics Botswana’s Gross Domestic Product Fourth Quarter of 2022. Notably, the real value added by the coal, soda ash and diamond industries grew by 21.8%, 8.9% and 7% respectively, underlining the sector’s dynamic diversity and growth potential. James Othapile, Managing Director of Erudite Botswana, notes that the key in meeting this potential and ensuring the country’s long-term mining growth lies in optimising the country’s operations. This is where engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) firms like Erudite can play an invaluable role, assisting in transforming Botswana’s mining sector and economy and positioning themselves as partners in the nation’s socio-economic development. “Multinational EPCMs have primarily been serving the local mining industry, with a modus operandi of setting up remote offices with minimal staff within the country’s borders and delegating tasks to their internationally based head offices. While this may seem efficient, this approach has brought little to no substantial local empowerment to the local engineering sector in which they operate,” he says. A significant advantage of partnering with more localised, African-based EPCMs is their commitment to local ownership and skills development. Rather than relying primarily on international expertise, these firms invest in developing the skills of local engineering and project management professionals. The goal is to build teams that can ultimately manage local projects independently from their parents and contribute to the nation’s skills development in a sustainable manner. Othapile points out that operational methods generally employed by large multinational EPCMs are ill-suited to assisting Botswana and other developing nations to build locally driven, knowledge-based economies. By contrast, Erudite believes in fostering local ownership, developing local teams and collaborating with existing local engineering firms. This approach ensures the transfer and development of valuable skills and expertise within local businesses. It further results in the retention of funds within the borders rather than exporting funds to international destinations. “The value that Erudite brings to local clients, which include mine owners and governments, extends beyond our capacity to design and build infrastructure or processing plants. With a greenfield project, for example, you start with a barren stretch of land which must be cleared and developed, introducing road, water reticulation and power infrastructure and the necessary mining and beneficiation plant facilities. This responsibility generally falls to appropriate EPCMs, which in turn appoint subcontractors. But it’s how the EPCM engages with those contractors that matters,” says Othapile. He adds that success is not simply measured by meeting immediate project execution goals, but also through creating value for local communities and the Firstly, by subcontracting local companies, EPCM firms directly facilitate the growth of the local economy, creating jobs and driving income growth. This approach goes a long way in supporting the growth of local enterprises, offering them lucrative opportunities to participate in significant projects and gain exposure to the industry. Secondly, these firms deploy comprehensive training programmes designed to enhance the professional capabilities of local workforces. This helps raise the skill levels within their immediate teams and contributes to a broader ecosystem of well-trained professionals. The long-term impact of such initiatives is substantial, equipping workforces in countries such as Botswana with the expertise needed to lead future projects and drive innovation in the sector. “Sustained investment in local subcontracting and training forms an integral part of companies’ strategies. By committing to these initiatives, they can nurture an ecosystem of skilled professionals and robust enterprises. As we’ve seen in Botswana, the ripple effects of such an ecosystem are substantial, with potential to contribute significantly to economic growth well beyond the completion of initial projects,” concludes Othapile. Erudite Projects was awarded a major contract when Two Rivers Platinum Mine in South Africa upgraded its processing plant. Credit: Erudite 23

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