The Top Five most advanced African cities to do business in
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5. Tunis, Tunisia
Like any successful capital city, Tunis has bustling rail, road, air, and port links that connect the North African nation with the rest of the world through the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a high concentration of students and therefore offers a diverse and high level skill set for employers.
4. Algiers, Algeria
There has been a settlement of some sort or other at Tangiers since at least the 3rd Century BC and since then the city has become a vibrant economic hub and centre for culture. It contains many centuries of historical artefacts, and also the world famous fortress of the Kasbah, designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Algiers is home to three universities, which makes it an ideal destination for a business looking for a highly qualified and specialised workforce. Alongside its international airport and railway, the city is home to a vital seaport that connects the whole of North Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
3. Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca makes a huge contribution to the Moroccan economy; according to casainvest.ma up to 44 percent of the country’s industrial production, and a third of both its banking operations and national industrial exports take place within the city.
In addition to its airport, seaport, railway, and motorway links, Casablanca is home to the first North-African professional district comprised of more than 1,400,000 m² of office space. The city also hosts the Casablanca Stock Exchange which is the third highest performing Bourse on the continent and is also the dominant exchange for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
2. Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg is one of the major cities in Africa’s second largest economy and contains the highest performing stock exchange, the JSE. The city has attracted all the top players in business and includes many national head offices for an impressive roster of multi-national companies including Coke, Nokia, and McDonalds
Founded around 1886 after the discovery of vast gold reserves, the city has grown to be a major centre for both business and education. Sandton, one of the city’s suburbs, has grown to become a business hub in its own right with most national companies basing themselves there and can now boast the largest convention centre on the continent.
1. Cairo, Egypt
Cairo is thousands of years old and has had lots of time across the centuries to mature its infrastructure grid and professional opportunities. It is also home to several internationally renowned universities, providing a vast array of educational and vocational opportunities.
The city makes up roughly 11 percent of Egypt’s total population and 22 percent of the country’s Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). Furthermore, the city has grown so much that additional cities have sprung up in its wake, giving the Cairo area the status of a Mega City. The city also received the status as ‘World’s most 24-Hour City’ in a 2011 conducted by Badoo.com.
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.