US$58bn project still on track for 2020
Despite recent withdrawal from some investors, construction of Egypt’s new capital is still planning to achieve completion by 2020. Ahmed Zaki Abdeen, who is leading the construction of the new city reassured that “There is very strong interest from the political leadership in the project.” He also acknowledged that “the large scale of the work leads to large scale problems.”
The project was launched four years ago by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, shortly after he was elected president. The project was to create a capital that would be created in contrast to Cairo, which has become overpopulated, with major traffic congestion preventing the capital from efficiently expanding. Much of the original architecture has also fallen into disrepair. The creation of a new city, currently named the New Administrative Capital, will allow the creation of a more eco friendly capital that is cashless and technologically up-to-date.
- South Sudan and South Africa sign six-year oil agreement
- Bosch opens Sh100mn facility in Nairobi for heavy machinery parts
- Nairobi’s Sankara will become a Marriot Hotel
- Read the latest issue of Business Chief, Africa edition, here
Despite concerns over investors, the city has already laid strong foundations. The first phase covers 168 square km, and will establish ministries, a diplomatic quarter and financial district. A large mosque and cathedral and conference centre have already been built.The creation of the new capital will create a new and efficient location for government and finance organisations, while also providing over 6 million new homes. The Capital is expected to cover 700 square km in total, the same size as Singapore. In the early phase of the construction alone, over 170,000 jobs have been created.
While the plan is an ambitious one, and not without challenges, the creation of the new city will give space for new industries to thrive. Until then, the New Administrative Capital is to host the Longest Ramadan ‘Iftar’ Feast in the world, culturally reaffirming the new city, as well as underpinning the scale at which this new capital will function.
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.