Insights

Kina Advisory provides insights on topical issues facing the industry today as companies operate and invest in Africa. Read through our latest thought pieces that give an insight into Kina’s way of thinking, as we discuss ideas that challenge the way business in Africa is conducted, offer solutions to those challenges and highlight the success of others.

 

A Japanese concept that sums up Kina’s ethos

21|04|2016

Have you ever heard of the Japanese concept of nemawashi? No? Neither had I till I spoke to a Japanese client of mine the other day. Nemawashi, she explained to me, is an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and getting feedback. The Japanese consider it a fundamental first step before any major change or project gets underway. Successful nemawashi means that changes can be carried out with the support and consent of all sides.

Building consensus

I think this neatly encapsulates the work Kina does for its clients. We help to build consensus and trust between the companies that want to invest in African countries, and the governments and societies that will influence or be affected by those investments. We prepare the ground for our clients and make sure that, from the very outset, business, government and society understand each other’s fundamental motivations and needs. A successful, long-term business cannot be built without this understanding – this nemawashi.

Going around the roots

The literal translation of nemawashi is “going around the roots”. It refers to the process whereby – before you transplant a tree – you gradually introduce soil to it from the new location. By doing so you get the tree accustomed to the new location, before you move it.

At Kina we “go around the roots” on behalf of our clients. We believe in a gradual process of acclimatising them to the countries in which they plan to operate. We help to forge links between them – ‘the company’, and the government and society in the countries where they wish to operate. These links are based on mutual understanding and respect.

Our triangular theory

We call this our triangular theory of doing business: It is founded on the idea that the key to unlocking long-term profits in African countries is to understand how governments, business and wider society interact with one another. It’s not just about having conversations with governments and society, it’s about having the right conversations. In fact, it’s all about nemawashi.

Rosalind Kainyah, MBE, Founder and Managing Director

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How to build a successful business in Africa

22|03|2016

Kina Advisory CEO, Rosalind Kainyah, explains the philosophy that drives the company, how it makes a difference to Kina’s clients, and what it takes to build a successful business in Africa.

 

Can a company ‘minimise’ its tax payments and still be socially responsible?

25|01|2016

I came across an article in The Economist (Jan 2nd 2016) on whether firms can be “socially responsible” while avoiding taxes. It reminded me of when the late Australian business mogul Kerry Packer was asked by a government committee if he was a tax avoider. His response was: “I am minimizing my tax. And if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax they want their heads read because, as a government, I can tell you: you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra.” It’s a typically controversial quote from a controversial figure. I am not saying that I agree with Packer, but his words do bring to mind some important questions about the relationship between business, the state and society. 

Less tax, more good works

Is it possible for a company to avoid tax and at the same time call itself socially responsible because it is has an impressive CSR budget? Some argue that money saved by paying less in taxes can be put to work far more usefully by corporations, who can invest it directly into jobs, training and opportunities, and other ‘good works’, than by governments, who tend to spread it too thinly to provide tangible benefits to local communities.

I do not agree, for two reasons:

First, I think we start getting into great complexities when there is any link between social investment and taxes. I think the two should be completely separated. Taxes are usually paid on income after taking out all ‘allowable’ expenditure. I think companies can always include money spent on social investment projects as part of such expenditure. This means it comes out of their gross earnings and the company is then taxed on its net earnings. This is why we advise that social investment should be linked to business objectives, so that they can genuinely be part of project costs. Even a company’s pure philanthropic activities can be treated as costs before tax.

Second, I think it encourages bad habits in governments when companies take over their responsibilities. Companies and individuals pay taxes so that governments can provide public services. It is not for companies to say: because governments won’t do what they are supposed to do with their tax dollars, we will take over their role. They should join with other citizens to ensure governments do what is right.

CSR: a taxing dilemma

Ultimately, however, making this an argument about taxes versus social investment completely misses the point of what CSR should be about. It’s not about either, or. CSR is about your entire approach to business: It’s about making corporate decisions that will generate important long-term benefits for the country in which you operate. Such as employing local people over expatriates; using local goods and services rather than importing from abroad; and training local people in the skills you need.

Work with, not against, government

If a company believes its CSR policy justifies paying less tax, then it has missed the entire point of CSR. Paying your fair share of tax is socially responsible, as is making a tangible benefit to the communities in which you operate. Genuine CSR is a about aligning your own corporate objectives with the legitimate aspirations of the host country. It is about partnership and having the right kind of conversations with governments and with society. This is what ensures a more profitable and sustainable business in the long-term.

Rosalind Kainyah, MBE, Founder and Managing Director

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Nurturing Africa’s most plentiful natural resource: talent

10|12|2015

African countries need to create a deeper pool of skilled and competent workers for the current and future job markets. That is why I am always on the lookout for new and original ideas to help boost education and skills development. I came across a company the other day that pays people in Nigeria to learn computer programming and then hires them out to work remotely for Fortune 500 companies in the US.

Fostering talent

This is a brilliant way to foster the kind of talent that African countries need to develop both socially and economically. Sure, some might argue that it is a shame they are using their skills to benefit companies outside of Africa. But this concern is far outweighed by the enormous opportunities it gives Africans to get valuable experience in global companies. Experience that can then be brought back and put to good use at home.

Private enterprise, public benefit

The company is called Andela and it provides a shining example of how the private sector can create a profitable business, while at the same time promoting broad and inclusive socio-economic development. The big question is: can this model be used on a much wider scale across Africa? It could be an ideal solution to the problem of training people in remote communities that don’t necessarily have the required resources or institutions on the ground.

I will continue to keep my eye out for original ideas that could release the potential of Africa’s latent workforce. In the words of the company itself: “It’s time to stop viewing [Africa] as simply a youth bulge—it is a talent bulge.”

Quick facts about Andela

Here are some quick facts about Andela and its raison d’être, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

  • Andela was founded to train the top 1% of tech talent across the continent. After six months in their software-development programme, young men and women work remotely for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups around the world while receiving continuing training and support.
  • With more than one billion people, approximately 60% of them under age 25, and more than 25% of young people out of work in many places, Africa is home to the world’s largest pool of brainpower and talent.
  • While the populations of rich countries shrink and age, Africa’s overall population is expected to double by 2050. Nigeria alone is projected to have more than 750 million people by 2100.

Rosalind Kainyah, MBE, Founder and Managing Director

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What we are up to & News

27|11|2019

Kina Advisory is proud to be an event partner of DLA Piper – Africa Week 2019

On the 28th November, Kina Advisory is proud to be an event partner of DLA Piper – Africa Week 2019. The theme for the day is“Africa: the future of trade and investment” and will be facilitated by Lanre A. editor of Nurmara and former editor of This Is Africa at the Financial Times and African Business. Our MD Rosalind Kainyah MBE will be moderating a session in the afternoon on: “Developing sustainable energy and natural resource projects: Implementing ESG in practice” | The panel will be made up of Jack Cunningham – Sustainability, Policy & Risk Director, Gemfields, Rhys Davies – Partner, DLA Piper, Chris Goodwin-Hudson – Founder, Watchman & Carla McRoberts – Managing Director, Veracity Worldwide | For a full breakdown of the day click here: 

21|10|2019

Rosalind Kainyah MBE will be chairing the 5th Africa Oil Governance Summit

Rosalind Kainyah MBE will be chairing the 5th Africa Oil Governance Summit on the 22nd & 23rd October 2019 & facilitating the 1st panel on “Value addition to petroleum resources extraction through industrialization: The possibilities and the challenges”.  For a full break down of speaker & agenda, click here.

23|09|2019

Africa | Attracting a New Wave of Investors

Rosalind Kainyah our Managing Director will be moderating a panel discussion for Invest Africa & DLA Piper on Wednesday 25th Sept 2019.  The Topic: Attracting a New Wave of Investors: Corporate Governance and Meeting International Standards | For the full details of who’s on the panel and focus points, click here.

22|07|2019

Cranfield Names Rosalind Kainyah in Top 50 “BAME” Female Leaders

The Kina Advisory team is delighted to announce that our Managing Director, Rosalind Kainyah, has been named as one of the top 50 Leading Females professionals of Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) women by Cranfield University.  The 50 inspiring women come from backgrounds historically under-represented in the senior leadership pipeline.  “Click Here” to read the full post

25|04|2019

Global Trade Review, West Africa 2019 and Rosalind Kainyah

Kina Advisory is delighted to confirm that Rosalind Kainyah, our Managing Director is one of the speakers at this year’s Global Trade Review, West Africa 2019.  Rosalind will be using her expertise to help explain the following, “What needs to be done to stimulate foreign direct investment in west Africa?”

In this interview conducted by Iyabode Soji-okusanya (Head Of Corporate Banking at Access Bank Plc) Rosalind will be touching on areas such as:

  • Ease of doing business: What are the main operational, financial and physical trade concerns for foreign investors?
  • Regulatory framework: To what extent is consistency an issue? Which West African markets and regulatory areas are of greatest concern? & What would investors like to see from regulators?
  • Physical infrastructure: To what extent is a lack of physical connectivity a barrier to fixed investment?
  • Who will be West Africa’s key partners in building a stronger, more resilient economy? What do investors see as the key areas of value they can bring to the region?

To see a full breakdown of the 2 day event, please click the below link.

Global Trade Review, West Africa 2019 and Rosalind Kainyah