Netanyahu to expedite business deals after Africa trip
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will follow up on his tour of east Africa with financing and regulatory help for business deals his team discussed while on the continent.
In a post-trip phone interview, Netanyahu reported that the outcome of last week’s five-day trip will only be revealed further down the road. He hopes stronger alliances with African and Arab leaders can help dampen the antagonism Israel frequently faces at the United Nations.
“The multilateral effect will take time, but it has begun,” Netanyahu said after returning Friday from his trip to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. “I don’t think it’s a journey of 1,000 miles, but we have definitely crossed the first mile. I see momentum being built.”
The Israeli business delegation arrived in Kenya for state-sponsored meetings, while Netanyahu and six African heads of state met at Ugandan President Yoweri Musevini’s palace banquet.
The executives discussed Magal Security Systems Ltd.’s bid to help Kenya build a wall across the Somalian border with the “smart fencing” it pioneered in the Gaza Strip. The team also talked about irrigation projects across Africa by Netafim Ltd., mining ventures with Israel Chemicals Ltd. and wind turbines pitched by solar energy specialist Gigawatt Global Ltd.
“There’s a commonality between Israel and Kenya in that they share the same concerns about terrorism and border security that we do, but on a much bigger scale,” Magal Chief Executive Saar Koursh said in an interview. The firm has already earned about $35 million from its contract to design and manage perimeter security at Kenya’s Mombasa port, he said.
Netanyahu said his staff will create a team to follow up on the Africa trip. The top priority is “to make sure that our government bureaucracies do not hamper these opportunities,” he said, adding that loan guarantees were one way the government could expedite deals.
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.