Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique initiate long-standing investment plan
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African countries coming together to enhance their trade and investment strategies not only hints of growth to come, but is also indicates a broader willingness between nations to communicate, cooperate, and prosper.
Representatives from Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique agreed in the year 2000 to harness the natural resources of the area and, through greater private sector participation and infrastructure improvement, create jobs with the goal of eliminating poverty.
The project received unanimous support from the United Nations Development Programme and would be known as the Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique Growth triangle (ZMM GT).
Since then, progress has been slow but steady, with a Memorandum of Understanding between the three nations signed in 2003, as well as a more general call from experts for formalisation of the agreement coming at the close of 2014.
The Director of the UNECA sub-regional office for Southern Africa Said Adejumobi recently announced that the nations will soon finalize draft accords which will then be approved by the relevant government ministries.
Perhaps the most important business reform that the ZMM GT is set to initiate will be the simplification of border relations between the three countries, which will extend to the removal of any limits placed on conducting cross-border commercial activity. The immediate effect of this will be the streamlining of business transactions across the triangle.
A railway line that spans the three countries is also due to be completed and will facilitate the transport of goods across Zambia and Malawi, to the port of Nacala in Mozambique.
Investment and infrastructure development are key to the growth of any nation; with three aspiring countries agreeing to streamline and enhance this process it would seem that prosperity could finally be on the horizon for the nations of Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique.
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.