China and South Africa support South Sudan's infrastructure goals
As fresh peace talks are concluded between South Sudan and rebel factions, the nation’s transport minister Kwong Danhier Gatluak was signing an infrastructure deal in South Africa, in the hope that this will secure much needed investment in the future.
He said: "Investors are willing, when the guns fall silent, they will come to invest." He also highlighted that the country would need over $10 billion to construct and maintain 10,000 kilometres of road.
Gatluak met with his South African counterpart, Dipuo Peters, and signed the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to transport. As part of the agreement, South Africa will assist South Sudan in constructing roads and airports, and will provide training for road engineers and air traffic controllers.
Gatluak said: "We are constructing a road that links Juba and the rest of North-Western part of South Sudan that’s 441 km long, (at a cost of) around $700 million." He also added that alongside Chinese funding, the World Bank had promised $150 million to improve road connectivity.
In addition to improvements in road, rail and river transport, Gatluak said that the first phase to upgrade Juba's main airport will completed by September, with China Harbour Engineering Company extending the runway by 700 meters.
He added: "By September next year we would have done the first phase and will be able to accept much bigger aircraft."
South Sudan has only existed as a nation since June 2011 and received its first ever tarmacked road in 2012 from USAID; the announcement of international support to develop its infrastructure must surely come as a welcome. What remains is whether the current peace deal will last; South Sudan’s president stating at the ceremony that he had “reservations” despite his official support.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.