Trade and investment

with key markets in Africa Nottingham University Business School has recently been appointed as the exclusive executive education partner of Africa House. Based in London, the trade agency encourages direct investment

and trade with key markets in Africa and promotes sustainable job creation opportunities, growth and long-term prosperity for African and UK businesses. The partnership went live in November with long- term goals of immediate relevance to organisations across the East Midlands, including:

• Encouraging trade, commerce and investment between the UK and a specific set of Sub-Saharan African high-growth markets

• Providing resources and commercial partners to support growth companies either moving into Africa for the first time or expanding their footprint in Africa, in order to assist in managing challenges, risks, and infrastructure requirements

• Facilitating relationships between buyers, suppliers and distributors with the purpose of increasing trade, commerce and investment throughout Africa and the UK

• Increasing UK-Africa bilateral trade to ensure stability and prosperity for the UK and Africa in a post-Brexit landscape

For more information, visit

value proposition to engage the poor, and to help create the ecosystem to deliver it. The Financial Times and The

Economist have recently defined Africa as “rising”, a far cry from the “hopeless continent” headlines from the turn of the 21st century. Opportunities will abound increasingly in Africa for businesses and organisations of all sizes across our region. However, there are also a number of very real challenges that can directly impact both strategic and day-to-day activities for those looking to increase their engagement with Africa. Economic activity in Africa is

expected to grow remarkably in the coming decade with the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which connects 55 countries with a combined GDP of $3.4tn. The World Bank predicts that AfCFTA will have a number of effects on global trade and supply chains, including an increase in Africa’s exports by $560bn, mostly in manufacturing. African countries are also increasing their presence in international affairs and global markets. One of Nottingham University

Business School’s key Africa-related goals in 2021 is to critically assess both the opportunities and the

risks that organisations in the East Midlands face with respect to their potential engagement with African countries. We will also be seeking to learn and make use of lessons from our historical engagement with China, a part of the world that also used to be considered a “sleeping economic giant” and is now anything but. We are passionate believers in

the power to change lives through business. We look forward to strengthening and deepening our relationships with organisations across the East Midlands that not only feel the same but are excited by the potential opportunities yet to be realised by effectively partnering, in the right way, with the people and organisations in Africa, the next economic powerhouse.

Dr Judy Muthuri explores the Base of the Pyramid concept in a recently-published book on the subject, titled Base of the Pyramid Markets in Africa: Innovation and Challenges to Sustainability.

To discuss commercial opportunities in Africa with Nottingham University Business School, email business-

Tabitha Wacera, left, receiving the Vice-Chancellor's Impact Scholarship from Shearer West, vice-chancellor at the University of Nottingham

Entrepreneurially Solving Africa’s water crisis?

Growing up in Kenya, Tabitha Wacera walked miles in search of water, carrying hundreds of litres on her back for hours at a time. Today, her start-up company Sustainable Water, based at the University of Nottingham’s Ingenuity Building, is already water for thousands of people in off-grid communities in Africa. Having walked the water walk, Tabitha is on a mission to solve the water crisis once and for all. “When you see a water aid campaign, it often features a girl or a

woman walking a long distance in search of water, often at the expense of her education or her future,” says Tabitha, a 2016 alumnus in sustainable energy engineering.

‘On weekdays, I had to fetch water for two hours after school before doing my homework’

“I can simply say ‘that girl is me’. I too have carried more than 120

litres of water in a day, making six trips of 1.5km, each laden with water in a yellow jerry can. When the drought would persist, this scenario would recur over several days a week. On weekdays, I had to fetch water for two hours after school before doing my homework. Luckily, I had a mother who valued education. Two decades later, it’s unsurprising that my master’s thesis was on solar water pumps. This motivated me to do something about the water crisis.”

Using her engineering expertise,

Tabitha worked in partnership with those in need in Africa to develop a sustainable solar water pump that is 90% cheaper than others on the market and can be affordably installed in rural communities. By installing just one of her pumps in a village of 20,000 people, more than 200 children can go back to school because they do not have to choose between school and water. Since 2019, Tabitha has gained recognition and awards for her work

including the Vice-Chancellor’s Impact Scholarship, Santander Enterprise Award, The Brenda Dean Ingenuity Scholarship and the Engineers in Business prize. She is now in discussion with a large company in the East Midlands to develop and embed real-time data monitoring technology in the next generation of pumps, with the aim of innovatively enhancing the benefits to the end users and the supply chain.

business network December 2020/January 2021 57

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