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Mandela foundation launches $80,000 Äänit Prize to support projects with positive punch in Africa

The prize will go to projects that have a high potential for impact.

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South African political leader and philanthropist Nelson Mandela.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) has announced the new Äänit Prize, which will award up to $80,000 annually to projects and organizations that have the potential to positively impact Africa. The foundation is a Nelson Mandela legacy organization.

According to Businesswire, the Äänit Prize will accept applications from alumni of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship and Rhodes Scholarship. The prize was initiated by the Ezrah Charitable Trust, founded by Rhodes Scholar and MRF donor David Cohen.

MRF Chairman of the Board Njabulo Ndebele said the prize aligns with the foundation’s mandate and demonstrates its commitment to poverty alleviation on the continent. He added that the prize will help innovative and creative individuals make a difference in people’s lives throughout Africa.

A panel of judges with in-depth expertise has been selected to vote on the prize winners. In a bid to ensure transparency, experts, entrepreneurs and academics from diverse organizations, sectors and institutions will observe the selection process.

MRF CEO Judy Sikuza underscored that the judges will look for projects that have a high potential for impact, feasible ideas and teams capable of executing them.

“The prize will support both for-profit and non-profit initiatives with the potential to transform the lives of Africa’s most marginalized populations,” Sikuza said.

MRF is one of Mandela’s three official legacy organizations, established in partnership with the Rhodes Trust in 2003. It was created to build exceptional leadership capacity in Africa by finding, funding and empowering young Africans who aspire to use their talents to better serve society and the continent.

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Led by South African Mouton family, PSG embarks on strategic restructuring

The South African Mouton family owns 24.5 percent of the company.

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Piet Mouton.

PSG Group, a South African investment holding founded and led by the Mouton family, has begun restructuring its business.

At the investment holding’s general meeting on Aug. 10, more than 95 percent of shareholders voted in favor of the company’s strategic restructuring, unbundling its stakes in the listed subsidiaries that it owns and delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

As part of the restructuring, the group will unbundle its stake in subsidiaries such as PSG Konsult, Curro, Kaap Agri, and CA&S, as well as its 25.1-percent stake in Stadio, a tertiary education company.

Shareholders will not receive unbundled shares in these subsidiaries, and there will be no scheme consideration in the group.

PSG Group is a South African investment holding company, with positions in banking, education, finance, and consumer goods.

The South African Mouton family owns 24.5 percent of the company, which includes stakes held by family members like Petrus and Johannes Mouton, who serve as executives in the group.

The restructuring comes after years of attempting to close the gap between the holding’s JSE share price and its intrinsic worth, which management believes is far greater than its local exchange valuation.

The average discount between PSG and the firms in which it holds stakes is more than 40 percent, which can be attributed to investors preferring to invest directly in operating companies rather than through a holding corporation.

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South African billionaire Johann Rupert-linked SEACOM partners with BT Group

Seacom is privately funded and 75 percent African-owned.

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Johann Rupert. ©Billionaires.Africa

SEACOM has announced a strategic alliance with UK telecommunications service provider BT Group as it prepares to enter the African enterprise cybersecurity market.

SEACOM is a leading pan-African telecom services provider linked to South Africa’s richest man Johann Rupert.

The partnership aligns with SEACOM’s plans to expand its portfolio of services targeting African businesses. By leveraging BT Group’s infrastructure and expertise, SEACOM hopes to secure its own infrastructure and deliver new networking and security solutions to African businesses.

“With SEACOM’s global network and local presence and BT’s global reach and expertise, we will be able to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of cloud, security, and connectivity services that are reliable, scalable, and at the cutting-edge of the industry,” Oliver Fortuin, CEO of SEACOM, said.

BT Group, which protects some of the world’s largest organizations from cyber threats through a dedicated network of security operations centers around the world, announced that SEACOM customers will gain access to BT Group’s Cloud Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) platform.

The SIEM platform provides real-time visibility and monitoring across an organization’s entire IT environment, acting as an additional layer of security to SEACOM’s existing ICT solutions.

Seacom, which bills itself as Africa’s most extensive ICT infrastructure provider, is privately funded and 75-percent African-owned, with Rupert’s investment holding Remgro owning 30 percent of the company.

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe owns a 15-percent stake in the pan-African telecom services provider through his financial services conglomerate, Sanlam.

Jubilee Holdings, a Kenyan investment holding backed by Aga Khan IV (Shah Karim al-Husayni), increased its stake in SEACOM from 8.8 to 18.8 percent earlier this year after acquiring an additional 10-percent stake in the company.

According to Nizar Juma, chairman of Jubilee Holdings, the transaction will strengthen the company’s ability to diversify its investment priorities across major sectors of the economy.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto gains $166 million in four weeks

Calisto is one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

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South African tech tycoon Zak Calisto.

As the frenzy returns to equity markets, shares in Karooooo Limited have risen recently by double digits due to sustained buying interest as investors bet on tech stocks trading at all-time lows.

Karooooo Limited is a mobility platform led by South African businessman Zak Calisto.

As a result of the recent market surge, the value of Calisto’s 74.7-percent stake in Karooooo has increased by $166 million in the past 27 days to well above $640 million.

Calisto, who founded Karooooo and grew it into an international provider of smart transportation management solutions, is one of South Africa’s wealthiest men and one of Africa’s richest tech entrepreneurs.

As of press time on Aug. 10, the company’s shares were trading at $27.85 per share, up from their opening price of $26.98 per share earlier this week. The Singapore-based mobility platform’s market capitalization is presently $860 million.

The company’s shares have increased from a price of $20.65 to $27.85 at the time of writing this report, representing a 34.87-percent gain for patient investors since July 14.

The market value of Calisto’s shareholding in Karooooo has increased from $477.6 million on July 14 to $644.1 million at the time of writing, representing a $166-million gain for the tech tycoon.

The renewed buying interest in Karooooo’s shares can be attributed to investor reactions to the company’s double-digit increase in earnings in the first quarter of its 2023 fiscal year.

According to its recently published first quarter results, the Singapore-based global mobility SaaS platform’s profit increased by 44 percent to R156 million ($9.37 million), up from R108 million ($6.48 million) in the first quarter of 2022.

Earnings increased by double digits due to the higher revenue generated during the period, as the company’s total subscriber base surpassed 1.5 million, up from less than 1.4 million a year ago.

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