“Africa: Open For Business” probes into the world of successful African businesses and exposes myths while debunking fears surrounding doing business in Africa. With concise segments following successful African and Africa-based entrepreneurs, decade-long Journalist, Carol Pineaus film shows resilient and creative businesses who meet and exceed international standards everyday. These pioneers are helping grow the economies of countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Botswana, Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and several others, one business at a time.
Ruff N’ Tumble
Adenike Ogunlesi decided to make some pajamas for her kids, and soon friends and relatives were asking her to make some for their children. Next came skirts, shirts, pants, and more. Today, she has a factory and several franchises. At the time she started, almost all children’s clothing in Nigeria was imported. Nigerians of any means wouldn’t buy goods labeled “Made in Nigeria.” Through savvy marketing and brand building, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble is the must-have children’s label for Nigeria’s growing middle class, with children insisting the label be sewn outside so everyone knows they were wearing Ruff ‘N’ Tumble.
For more information on Nigeria’s economic potential, visit www.nigeriaembassyusa.org
Jennifer Chen, Managing Director of Shining Century’s factory in Lesotho, is setting her sights on competing with China. Shining Century employs 1,500 people and makes garments for Old Navy, GAP and other well-known brands. Lesotho was considered a tremendous AGOA success story, but in January 2005, WTO released China from quotas, putting at risk all Africa’s recent gains from AGOA. Jennifer says if she can increase production and government can cut costs, they can compete. And she knows the competition. Like most factory owners and directors in Lesotho, Jennifer is Taiwanese. She came to the tiny Southern African nation in 1989 and intends to stay for the long haul.
1000 Cups Coffee House
1000 Cups Coffee House offers some unusual blends, from a lemon grass infused coffee to a traditional roast that is lightly toasted in clay pots. The owner, Michael Kijjambu, notes of his special blends, “These do appeal to the young, free-spending Ugandans.”
Noting that Uganda’s President Museveni has promoted Ugandan coffee at shops in South Africa and Scandinavia, Michael suggested the charismatic leader visit his coffee shop in Kampala. “It would have tremendous implications for coffee production and consumption in Uganda,” Michael predicted. President Museveni took Michael up on the invitation, and along with his entourage and the local press, he visited 1000 Cups Coffee House. After the President’s visit, coffee became the cool drink in Uganda and three new coffee houses opened up.
For more information on Uganda’s economic potential, visit www.ugandainvest.com
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
In the late 1990’s, international experts predicted there would be a market for only 10,000 cell phones in all of Congo. The day Alieu Conteh launched his cell phone company, he had capacity for 4,000 customers, but 35,000 people lined up. In less than five years he broke the one million mark. Alieu promised a telephone would no longer be a luxury in Congo. When Alieu came out with a $2 card, he revolutionized the market and tripled his sales. Alieu brought cell phone service to both government and rebel held areas and created Congo’s largest network. He continues to roll out service every week in rural villages throughout the nation.
Touch Adventure, a specialist in white water rafting and cultural tours, is part of a movement to diversify traditional tourism offerings in Africa. Founder Ndaba Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean adventure seeker who worked as a river rafting guide, says when he looked at starting his business, he realized the political climate in his country was deteriorating and he began looking on the other side of the river. Ndlovu set up his company’s base and operates all tours in Zambia, although he maintains a sales office in Zimbabwe. Zambia’s aggressive marketing campaign and diversified offerings have brought tourists for longer stays and repeat visits.
For more information on Zambia’s economic potential, visit: www.zambiaembassy.org
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