Why A British Hotelier And Ghanaian Entrepreneur Are Building Petronia City

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Image result for nana kwame bediako with cola azad

Nana Kwame Bediako (left) with Azad Cola     Picture Credit: Global Trade Magazine

British multi-millionaire property developer Azad Cola who owns the famous Westbury Hotel and Ghanaian serial entrepreneur Nana Bediako recently established Capital Nine Zero (CNZ), an investment company that is developing Petronia City - a 2000-acre city development project that aims to provide the first fully integrated business hub for West Africa’s Oil, Gas and Mining industries. The project, which is hosted by Beahun and Yaabew communities in the Ahanta West District of the western region of Ghana, sits approximately 8 kilometres from Takoradi.

Petronia City was created primarily to address the infrastructure gap in the Western Region following the 2007 oil discovery and subsequent increase in social and economic activity in the region. Petronia City aims to cater to the needs of the oil and gas, mining, financial and government sectors and will provide a hub from which companies can expand into the sub-region and beyond.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Nana Bediako and Azad Cola to speak about the geo-commercial precedent set with the launch of the Industrial Park and Free Trade Zone known as Petronia City in Ghana.


What were the Capital Nine Zero (CNZ) motivations behind founding Petronia City and building this unprecedented investment hub in Africa?

Nana Bediako: This was a labor of love, a project nine years in the making, one accomplished with the consent of over sixty-five families, twelve chiefs and three sub-division chiefs. These are men and women I invested time and energies in meeting with on a regular basis to ensure they were aware of and involved in the three-staged process to turn acres upon acres of African land in to an industrial free trade zone and investment community, a Silicon Valley-esque energy city and a digital hub, with residential and commercial applications that we are only now in the process of fully exploring.

This near-decade needed not just vision but local knowledge; the ability to assuage concerns as to truly owning the land, but doing so in a way that was empowering rather than more of the same, that is, one-dimensional disillusionment.

We came together from two continents, respectively serving in our capacities as an economist and a visionary. We did so because we believe that we are working within one of the richest regions on the continent of Africa, strategically located to be a cross-border, intra-trade thruway for the ECOWAS.

As Steve Jobs once said, "..the people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who usually do".

Azad Cola: We need to build a platform of sustainable industrial development, producing and manufacturing to an international standard that will bring investment, training and a number of additional socio-economic benefits to the local and wider communities.

The cost of importing the required materials and bringing the right professional expertise is currently a huge barrier to the regions' public and private sectors ability to fund the required investment into infrastructure and development.

By providing the capability to produce within, to not export for the purposes of refining or further manufacturing, but to turn the supply chain around and have easy access to a huge marketplace, was an opportunity which spoke for itself. However, I needed to understand local dynamics; I needed a partner with not just the vision, but the know-how.

This platform and free zone enclave is going to expedite the supply chain in a sustainable environment to meet growing market demand, ECOWAS and Pan-African. We can bring true autonomy to this part of the continent, one development at a time.

What have been the greatest challenges in securing the Free Trade Zone and launching it for investment?

AC: Without a doubt, it was in securing the land. I witnessed Nana in his own professional and personal sacrifice, taking hundreds of trips in and around Ghana to ensure all landholders and stakeholders were involved in this developmental process. I recognized that securing the land was in short, nothing less than to be a Herculean effort.

NB: A challenge is no doubt that Africa remains disillusioned as it pertains to foreign interventions. This has not been a misconception. One "comes in, extracts, then goes," so to speak. I'm here, my partner, Azad is here, not just for our own legacies, but that of the continent. And we are here to stay.

Therefore, we've created our own city, our own bastion of opportunity and not just for the international community, of whom we welcome involvement, but as a proponent of job creation in and beyond country borders for the communities in which we proudly operate.

Who are the primary stakeholders involved with this project and how are you specifically ensuring local communities will benefit?

NB: We are not limiting industrial development and diversification opportunities; each phase of Petronia's development caters to a different type of stakeholder, each with their own demand and own home base. We will diversify and offer opportunity for lasting, sustainable and mutually-beneficial development for as long as essentially needed.

It's important to note that we commend our partners in political governance who have supported us along the way, as they so too see the opportunities presented by projects that are transparent, proudly African, yet rooted in leveraging complimentary strengths to accomplish what was once deemed impossible.

AC: Although the local communities will clearly be the primary stakeholders and beneficiaries due to the positive impact this investment generates for the local economy, the government and the entire country will all have a clear and direct interest. The economic benefits are undeniable. This platform will create an environment where the entire value-added chain can be kept in the country, reducing imports, increasing exports, creating a highly skilled workforce by training and empowering Ghanaians with better paid jobs and transferable skills.

We are creating a blueprint for emerging market prosperity.

Is Africa truly the last frontier of the industrial revolution?

AC: This is a fact. There are very few countries and very few examples in Sub Saharan Africa where producers, manufacturers and distributors neighbor. There has been a longstanding cycle of dependency which this industrial platform will break by creating a replicable template for sustainable development.

NB: If there is any chance for the world to come together to create lasting change, it is here in Africa. We are not asking for charity. We are not suggesting this is a work in progress. We are letting the world know that change is on the way; it's 'manifest destiny', so to speak, as has been inevitable and as proponents of that change, we welcome informing your readers, keeping them abreast of our breaking a longstanding oligarchy of dependency on the continent of Africa that will provide resource and opportunity for generations to come around the world.

Source: Forbes



 Real Estate Finance: Lessons that Ghana can draw from the rest of the world


Real Estate Finance: Lessons that Ghana can draw from the rest of the world

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Written By: Alexander Ayertey & Emmanuel Amoah-Darkwa

A report by the department of economic and social affairs of the United Nations in 2018 shows that 55% of the world’s population is domiciled in urban areas; a proportion that is expected to gain an additional 13% by 2050.

Recent projections have shown that the perennial exodus of rural population into urban areas together with an overall increase in the world population has the tendency to add 1.2 billion people to the urban population by 2050. A whopping 90% of this tremendous change is prognosticated to occur in Asia and Africa. The world’s urban population growth in the last 68 years has been prodigious; in 1950 the urban population of the world was 751 million. This number has inordinately risen to 4.2 billion in 2018.

As at 2016, the total population of Africa was estimated to be 1.225 billion, representing 17% of the total world population. The projections made by the United Nations suggest that the total population of Africa may be 2.5 billion in 2050.  All these forecasts give a vivid description of the growing urban population in Africa but the mortgage market in Africa becomes relatively small when international comparisons are made with developed economies.

This imbalance can mainly be attributed to the high poverty levels on the African continent. A typical example can be seen in Sub-Sahara Africa; with about 48.5% of the total population living on less than USD$ 1.25 a day. Sub-Saharan Africa is considered the poorest region in the world. High unemployment rates, persistent low-income levels and poor access to financial services have been some of the reasons for this unpleasant economic condition in this region.

Related: Real Estate Advice: Think You Can Be a Landlord?

The mortgage market in Sub-Saharan Africa is a nascent one; South Africa, Namibia and Cape Verde are the only countries with a mortgage market that represented more than 17% of their GDP. Deposits from customers have been the major source of funding for the mortgage portfolios of financial institutions in this region.

This routine clearly shows that financial institutions in this region are deprived of long term funding that is the most ideal form of funding for mortgage markets. This challenge is coupled with legal constraints that are associated with securing a clean title to an estate and a cumbersome eviction process in times of default.

In most countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, the lack of healthy competition in the banking sector, combined with high transaction cost, credit exposures and crowding out effect perpetuated by unscrupulous borrowing of successive governments have collectively contributed in restraining the growth of the mortgage markets in the region.

In the developed economies, real estate developments have been a fulcrum for economic growth. In 2018, construction on real estate developments contributed USD$ 1.15 trillion to the economic growth of the United States. This represents 6.2% of the GDP of the United States. Real estate construction is labour intensive; this partly explains why the drop in the real estate construction contributed hugely to the unemployment rate during the recession.

The 2008 financial crisis was triggered by the consistent falling of prices of houses. Close to half of the loans that were issued between 2005 and 2007 were subprime. The banks at the time used these mortgages to support large amount of funds in derivatives. The banks folded the subprime mortgages into mortgage-backed securities which were sold as safe investments to pension funds among other parties.

With the America International Group Inc. as the main issuer, the credit default swaps were considered to be insured.  When the borrowers defaulted, this set the slippery slope to the recession in motion as the questionable value of the mortgage-backed securities began to prevail. The American International Group became illiquid.

This meant that investment banks like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns which had a lot of mortgage-backed securities on their books became unattractive to other banks as they were shunned entirely.

The fall of Lehman Brothers; the fourth largest investment bank in the United States before bankruptcy was declared began the 2008 financial crisis.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost all the financial institutions that ply their trade in housing operate with the collateralized loan products which are costly and only suitable for short term real estate projects. Nonetheless, the mortgage market in Sub Sahara Africa is full of potential that will be of interest to investors.

In June 2013, the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc was incorporated as a limited liability company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with the core mandate of refinancing mortgages. Stupendous arrangements like this one and the laudable mortgage market reforms that have been made by South Africa and Tanzania in recent times is a step in the right direction.

According to the World Bank, Ghana had a total population of 28.83 million in 2017; out of this population, 54.68% represented the urban population. This shows the urgent need of housing for a growing urban population in Ghana as more than half of the total population resides in urban areas but the history of mortgage financing has been checkered with many unsustained methods of housing financing.

In a study that was published by the department of research of the Bank of Ghana in 2007, it highlighted that many financial institutions have offered mortgage facilities to the working class. Notable among them is the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), State Insurance Company (SIC), Social Security Bank (Now Societe Generale Ghana Limited) the defunct Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC), Home Finance Company (HFC) and First Ghana Building Society (FGBS).

The mortgage activities of these financial institutions were impeded by the high interest rates in the banking sector. This situation restrained the impact of these financial institutions in the mortgage market thereby making housing facilities only accessible to middle income and higher income groups who could access less costly loans in developed economies.

Related: Real Estate: Why Landlords Should Offer Short Let Rentals

The housing facility was beyond the reach of the majority of the working class in Ghana. The situation has not improved as the disparity between the rich and the poor continues to widen.

To develop the mortgage market in Ghana, a fully-fledged mortgaged industry, which is characterised by two major markets, is required. Thus the primary mortgage market where transactions between financial institutions that originate and service housing finance are carried out and the secondary mortgage market where existing mortgages are traded. These intertwined markets are exposed to the changing monetary developments of both domestic and global economic trends.

A well-functioning mortgage market has the capacity to increase funding for housing at a competitive cost and pricing. But this primary function of the mortgage industry cannot be carried out in isolation from the domestic economy. A vibrant mortgage industry thrives on a stable macroeconomic environment, an efficient regulatory framework that ensures a secure, transparent land title acquisition and foreclosures. These all-important features make it possible for a mortgage industry to attract long-term finance from other economies. - Business and Financial Times (B&TF)



How to search for business opportunities

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

 By Chris Nikolov

Often wait for opportunities, but is it worth waiting for opportunities? My answer no, it isn’t. First of all you can’t depend on pure luck, you never know if you will be granted with a great opportunity or not. So why do you want to be dependent on luck?

Instead you could be and should be dependent on yourself. This is the only sure way you know you will be granted with opportunity.

Opportunities are missed by most people because they don’t realise they have encountered such.

Here is one of the basic laws in life: There will always be opportunities for those who recognise and pursue them. The lucky people are simply those who have more chances than average.

Know your limits

You can’t be perfect. You can’t do everything yourself. You can’t create a business or live the life of your dreams or make a lot of money if you don’t know your weakness, strength and passions. If you know your limit and what you are capable of, you will know exactly what you need. Once you begin to know yourself, you will realise your weakness and you can fill these weakness with other people’s strength.

Open your eyes

There is a lot more happening in the world than you see. Stop listening to music all the time when you are riding the bus or taxi. Maybe there is someone who can change your life in that bus or taxi. Maybe the person sitting next to you is your next business partner or your husband/wife or your new best friend. You just never know, life is unpredictable, and that’s why you should always keep your eyes wide open. You might miss opportunity simply because you were too busy listening to music on your phone. Always be on the lookout even when doing simple activities as drinking coffee, riding the bus or walking back home.

Meet new people

If you want to be presented with more opportunities, simply meet new people. The more people you know, the higher chances you will be presented with new experiences. Go to meetings with people having similar interests as you. Visit conferences. You can even meet people online these days; join different Facebook groups, follow people on twitter, join LinkedIn. People are not so mean as you think. Also if you are one of those people who meet a lot people on daily basis and have a problem remembering their names this app will help you a lot-Anki (This app will make you never forget a name, a job position or age again. It does miracles. )

Don’t be afraid to ask

There is no shame in not knowing something, and there is no shame in questioning things. Do you know how I got my first job? I simply asked the manager could I work here and after he interrogated me a bit he said; Yes. So I found a job by simply asking a question in a company that wasn’t looking for employees. Most people would gladly help you if you ask them nicely for some help.

Don’t be afraid to try different approach

In Bulgaria (the country I am from) blogging is not something people make money out of. When I decided I wanted to blog, people laughed at me to find myself a serious job. But I didn’t think so; I knew I could create a successful blog myself and that all happened thanks to the steps I mentioned above. And in the end I did. Now I am earning five times more than what my friends are earning. I am working from home, I work when I want to. Just because the masses of people think something is wrong doesn’t mean they are right.


You should visit different places at least one time a year. This way, you will meet new people and also might be presented with an opportunity that simply doesn’t exit at your hometown.

Build self confidence

You can’t let people follow you if you don’t look confident. That’s why you need to confidence, you need to be sure 120 percent things will work out right in the end if you want other people to believe you as well. It might be fake confidence, but you need to have it. Most people follow the leaders even when they make bad decisions simply because of their leadership status. And if you could make people follow you, you will surely be able to create a lot of opportunities for yourself/ your company/ your work place. Keep learning. Learning is a process that never ends. You can always learn something new. Always maintain the attitude of a student. If you think you are done learning, then bitterness set in, but if you have more to achieve every day in an arena that makes each morning awaking full of potentials and cheery portent. In the end, all comes to doing. You will never get presented with opportunities by sitting and watching television all day. Go out, feel, see, be and take part of live. If you are active and always on the lookout, you will always end up on the right place in the right moment. - motivationgrid


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The Financial Indicator That Changes Everything

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

It can make all the difference for you and your business.

Do you ever wish that there was a magic number that would give you an insider view on your profitability? Do you wish that there was an easier way to take the pulse of your business's financial health? Do you wish that there was one financial metric that you could use to help determine if you are moving your business in the right direction?

Gross Profit Margin


As a business coach, I often sit down with new clients and discuss their financial pillars. Most can give me the basics about their finances, but nine out of ten business owners look a little clueless when I ask them about their gross profit margin. 

So let's first begin by looking at what Gross Profit Margin is.

Gross Profit =  "Total Sales" less "Cost of Goods Sold"

Your "Cost of Goods Sold" is your direct cost to produce or acquire to resell your product or service.  It generally includes materials cost and direct labor costs.

When you express your Gross Profit as a percentage of your total revenue, then you get your "Gross Profit Margin".

For example, if you were a business with $1 million in sales (total revenue) and a Cost of Goods Sold of $250,000, then your gross profit margin would be 75% ($750,000 gross profit divided by $1 million in total revenue.)

In a very important way, your Gross Profit Margin is a simple measure of your ability to be profitable.  If it is too low, what that is saying is that your price relative to the cost of producing your product or service is simply too low for you to ever be profitable. 


Remember, your Gross Profit only accounts for direct costs of producing your product or service, and not for any of the other costs of operating your business like sales, marketing, operations, admin, finance, let alone PROFIT for the owners.

How To Use Gross Profit Margin In Your Business


Once you have your magic number figured out, you can use it to make some really important decisions surrounding your business. 

Things like:

1.Your Pricing: 

If your gross profit margin is on the low side, one easy way to balance the equation is to raise your pricing. Most business owners put this task off for way too long, and it has a huge impact on your ability to scale and grow. Consider when the last price increase was, your value in the market and your competition and then raise your prices accordingly. My biggest tip here: Don't try to be the cheapest out there, be the company that provides the most value for its customers. 

2. Your Cost of Production. 

Cost of production is another problem area that a low gross profit margin can reveal. It can alert you of product lines that need to be discontinued or markets that you should ignore. You can also use this as a tool to approach your vendors and try to negotiate for a lower cost of goods in order to compete. 

3. How You Stack Up Against The Competition. 

If your industry averages a 50% gross profit margin and you are operating at a 60% margin, then you know you are on the right track. If your gross profit margin is less than your industry average, consider making some changes to meet industry benchmarks. 



At the end of the day, your gross profit margin can tell you a lot about the health of your business and give you a clear cut plan on where you should improve for the future. - Source inc.com



African-Americans resettle in Africa

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Ghana is the first African country to open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world..

The logo of the International Decade for People of African Descent

The logo of the International Decade for People of African Descent

In Prampram, a town just an hour’s drive east of Ghana’s capital Accra, many holiday houses line the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean. One of them belongs to Jerome Thompson. Located only 500 metres from the water, Mr. Thompson’s house is resilient to the effects of the salt and wind. The floors, windows and doors are made of hard wood. His self-designed furniture is made from quality Ghanaian timber and hand-carved by local artisans.

“The ocean helps me fall asleep and wakes me up in the morning,” says Mr. Thompson, an African-American retiree taking a stroll on the beach where palm trees shade hand-carved canoes. “Where else can I live this close to the ocean? It would cost me millions of dollars!” 

Mr. Thompson, a native of Maryland in the United States, retired to Ghana 11 years ago. He first visited the West African country on a tour in 2000. “I fell in love with Ghana and its people,” he recalled, during an interview with Africa Renewal. “It was good seeing black people, my people, in charge of the country (Ghana).”  

That trip took him to many attractions across the country, including the Cape Coast Castle from where centuries ago millions of Africans walked through the infamous “Door of No Return” into slave ships bound for plantations in the Americas and the Caribbean, never to set foot in their homelands again.

But for their descendants like Mr. Thompson’s, the sign that hangs on that infamous door today reads: “Door of Return”. 

“I was so ready to turn my back on the United States,” he says, adding: “We did so much for the US, yet they don’t want to see us as first-class citizens.” 

A feeling of belonging 

Mr. Thompson is one of the 20 or so African-Americans and other people from the diaspora of African descent who have found a home in this fishing community, attracted by the beaches and the peace and tranquility the town offers away from the hustle and bustle of Accra. 

According to 2014 estimates, more than 3,000 African-Americans and people of Caribbean descent live in Ghana, a country of about 26 million people. 

Whatever their motives, Ghana, the first sub-Saharan Africa country to shake off colonial rule 58 years ago, has become the destination of choice for diasporans looking for a spiritual home and an ancestral connection in Africa.

While some returnees have gone through the emotional journey of tracing their families through DNA testing, for the majority who just come to visit, or to settle like Mr. Thompson, the feeling of being “home” on the continent is satisfying. “It’s good to know that you came from some place and it’s not just a figment of someone’s imagination,” he says. 

Claudette Chamberlain shares Mr. Thompson’s feelings of belonging. She was born in Jamaica but lived in the US and United Kingdom. Seven years ago, she moved to Ghana and built a five-bed guesthouse at Prampram. 

“When I got off the plane, I just had this overwhelming feeling come over me,” Claudette says, adding that she realized then that Ghana was the place she wanted to be. She misses her mother and siblings who still live in London but she doesn’t miss London. “Ghana is definitely home, I’m going to spend the rest of my days here.” 

Ms. Chamberlain, a former dentist, says while her native Jamaica is more beautiful, it is not as peaceful as Ghana.

Currently, there are around 200 million people in the Americas identifying themselves as of African descent, according to the United Nations. Millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent, and in most cases they experience racism and discrimination.

To promote the respect for and protection of their human rights, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015–2024 as the “The International Decade for the People of African Descent”, to be marked annually on 25 March.

Right of Abode

Ghana, from whose shores the majority of 15 million Africans passed into slavery, has invited its descendants in the diaspora to return home.  The country has had a long history, from the days of its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, of encouraging the return of persons of African descent to help with the continent’s development.

In 2000, the country passed a law on the ‘Right of Abode’, which allows a person of African descent to apply and be granted the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. And recently, the country set up a Diaspora Affairs Bureau under the foreign affairs ministry to provide a sustainable link between the Ghanaian diaspora and various government agencies to achieve development
and investment goals.   

Beyond laws

More needs to be done to make returning African brothers and sisters feel welcome back on the continent if Africa is to benefit from their return. Samuel Amankwah, the director of research at Ghana’s interior ministry, admits that the authorities need to engage more. “Those who left our shores are still our brothers and sisters,” he says, adding: “Offering Africans in the diaspora a right to abode in Ghana is a way of engaging for our common interest.”   

When the late televangelist Myles Munroe visited Ghana in 2012 and paid a courtesy call on President John Mahama, then a vice president, he encouraged people of African descent living in the diaspora to take advantage of Ghana’s Right of Abode law and reconnect with the African continent. 

Mixed feelings

Despite some initial setbacks, people of African descent continue to migrate to the continent, though not in the expected droves. And like Florindo Johnson, who just retired from Delta Airlines this January, says: it is important to encourage more blacks to come. 

Having flown in and out of Ghana for nine years, Ms. Johnson, a Caribbean who lived in Chicago, is retiring in Ghana to operate her six apartments in Prampram that she intends to rent out as holiday accommodations. “I really want black people to come and see for themselves. It is disheartening that a lot of black people don’t want to come because of what they’ve seen in the media, yet white people come.” 


Written by Efam Dovi  and Originally posted on: un.org/africarenewal 

Related: Africa could feed the world - if it overcomes these key challenges

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