Africa_Business_BillAirtel Africa has unveiled Tap2Bill, which will allow content providers and merchants to use Airtel’s billing infrastructure to charge and bill their customers.

According to Airtel, Tap2Bill will be available through a secured portal that will help growing businesses across Africa. The service will prevent businesses from investing in costly billing and payment capabilities.

Businesses can register for the billing service online by providing their email, company details and supporting documents. Consumers do not need to register, enter their credit/debit card details or even own a bank account to use the service according to Airtel Africa. All they need is a mobile device with a SIM card.

“We are very pleased to announce this new customer payment innovation to the market. It will support the growth of content services and enable content producers and merchants across Africa to share and benefit from Airtel’s scale, market and technology,” said Christian de Faria, Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa.

According to Total Telecom, Airtel Africa is a leading telecommunications service provider and has operations in 17 countries across Africa. Africa is seen as the fastest growing market for mobile commerce in the world and the need for smarter solutions is continuing to grow.

Airtel Africa is partnering with IMImobile in order to make sure the service is available on cell phones. They have worked with Airtel Africa since 2011 and have made IMImobile one of the leading mobile service providers in Africa.

According to IMImobile Chief Executor, Jay Patel, “We are delighted to partner with Airtel Africa to help bring these new, affordable, mobile-centric service offerings to market which not only creates a richer user experience for subscribers but will also encourage and support growth and variety of mobile content across Africa.”

According to It News Africa, Airtel Africa will launch Tap2Bill in the first week of December 2015 making it commercially available.

Jordan Connell

Sources: Airtel Tap2Bill, It News Africa, Total Telecom
Photo: Flickr

To the Market: Empowering Struggling Communities-TBP
Launched by Jane Mosbacher Morris at the end of 2014, To The Market (TTM) is a platform for promoting and selling handmade items created by artisans and entrepreneurs who have faced abuse, conflict and disease. TTM’s primary objective is to help these survivors achieve financial independence, a key to breaking the cycle of poverty, through entrepreneurship. They also want to raise awareness of the hardships they’ve faced. TTM operates through their online marketplace, pop-up shops and retail partnerships. Survivors also have the opportunity to share their stories on TTM’s Stories page and on Huffington Post blogs.

TTM connects with retailers or local partners who already employ survivors and sell their products. Next, they make sure these local partners operate according to their guiding principles, such as prohibiting child labor, providing a safe, secure and hospitable workplace, and paying fair wages. They also must permit employees to join labor unions and address valid employee concerns. Overall, these local partners must prove themselves to be good corporate citizens that engage in fair business practices that benefit their workers. TTM then extends benefits to their partners, like trend forecasting and mental health resources for employed survivors, and promotes their products on a larger scale.

TTM assists survivors of abuse, survivors of conflict and survivors of disease. This could include survivors of domestic or sexual violence, war widows, refugees, persons living in conflict or post-conflict zones, or people living with HIV/AIDS, leprosy or physical disabilities. Consumers can use the website to support victims of a specific issue, such as human trafficking or orphanhood, using the “shop by cause” option. They can also choose to support citizens of certain countries, from Nepal to Vietnam to Burundi, by using the “shop by country” option. Furthermore, consumers can find all products from TTM’s local partners on their website and shop exclusively from these partners. Examples include Mamafrica, the first Fair Trade Federation Member clothing company working with displaced women in Eastern Congo, and Starfish Project, a jewelry business that supports exploited women in Asia.

Currently, TTM sells items ranging from apparel to home goods to wedding gifts. Their twenty local partners support citizens from eighteen countries. Consumers can also submit custom requests for specific goods, providing business to those who truly need it. By giving a platform to these local partners, TTM aims to provide survivors with more business, help them expand their operations and economically empower those who are struggling.

Jane Harkness

Sources: Mamafrica, Social Justice Solutions, Starfish Project, To The Market 1, To The Market 2, To The Market 3, To The Market 4
Photo: To The Market

Partner With A Nonprofit
How to partner with a nonprofit? Partnering with a nonprofit organization can be rewarding and useful if done correctly. Knowing how partnering with a nonprofit operates is important to ensure you go about it the proper way. There are two main ways to partner with a nonprofit organization.


Top 2 Ways to Partner With a Nonprofit


  1. Cause marketing, the first way, is the type of partnership that many large corporations choose. Many people have likely experienced cause marketing while buying groceries or going through the drive-thru. If you have agreed to add a dollar or two to your total in order to donate to an organization, you have participated in a company’s cause marketing. Businesses will partner with an organization on the terms that they will advertise and collect donations so their own image is heightened in the eyes of their customers. Regardless of motives behind the agreement, these types of partnership help nonprofits get their name out, as well as take in worthy donations.
  2. The second type of partnership is corporate giving, which most people are likely more familiar with. Corporate giving is essentially charitable donations, which can usually be used for tax deductions. This type of partnership can be made by both companies and individuals.

The first step in partnering with a nonprofit is seemingly obvious: know what nonprofit you want to partner with and contact them to begin the partnering process. It is important to have a connection with the nonprofit you choose; however, there are legal issues that must be verified before partnering.


Things to Consider: Legal Framework and Marketing Plan


Always remember to check the nonprofits tax-exempt status and ensure that they are eligible for tax-deductions, if that is something you are seeking. Requesting an IRS-issued letter, which states an organization’s eligibility for tax-deductions, can do this.

Formulating a marketing plan is vital when partnering with a nonprofit organization. By making a plan, you can guarantee that your time and money is being wisely spent. Both parties should closely access the plan, so that everything is outlined clearly and properly. Important parts of the plan you should remember include a set start and end date, and how money and percentages are to work and be transferred. is a useful website that can help you properly set up a marketing plan for your and the nonprofit.

Paperwork and proof are necessary when partnering with a non-profit. Because it is a partnership with a transfer of money, the records involved should always be kept so that nothing can be contemplated over later.

When money is being donated or transferred, it is important to never use cash. Doing so allows for the donation or transfer to be lost or stolen. Safer options for both you and the nonprofit, such as checks, allow for the money not to be lost and always traceable.

When donating online, in order to ensure safety, always check that there is a lock icon next to the browser’s status or another indicator that the website is safe.

Finally, promoting your partnership is essential. Though there are advertising laws that everyone should familiarize themselves with before considering serious advertising, it is always a good idea to spread the word about the nonprofit you sponsor as much as possible.

When partnering with a nonprofit, make sure to check your state or nations regulations regarding partnerships, because they can vary. For more information about partnering with a non-profit, contacting your state Attorney General’s office is a good way to better understand the laws in place.

– Katherine Wyant

Sources: U.S. Small Business Administration, Business USA, About Money
Photo: Flickr


Since the middle of the 19th century, when the industrial revolution first made significant impacts on social and economic life in the United States, labor unions have been respected and efficacious models of worker unification. That being said, the industrial revolution is old news. The digital revolution, also known as the third industrial revolution, has taken hold of modern lives. Jobs have become more specific and machines have replaced human workers in certain unskilled positions.

So what role does the union play in today’s economy? To understand, it is necessary to know how unions have always worked.

Unions have, since their inception, been organizations of workers dedicated to maintaining and, if need be, improving working conditions. They run a bit like mini-democracies: elected officials make decisions on behalf of the workers who elect them. Also like most democracies, workers pay for membership. They do this with tax-esque, regular payments, much of which go to those of the union’s staff members who aren’t volunteers.

The goals of unions are simple: to better working conditions. This mission can take many shapes, including pushing for increases in minimum wage and in worker productivity (often done by administering training programs), as well as trade restrictions, such as government-imposed tariffs and quotas. Tariffs are special taxes on imported or exported goods. Quotas are limits on the amount of a certain good that can be imported or exported.

Although there are basic goals common amongst most, if not all, unions, there are several varieties. These organizations represent, after all, different quantities and qualities of professional workers. As a small sampling, unions represent mechanics, teachers, factory workers, office workers, actors, musicians, police officers, construction workers, janitors, writers, doctors, engineers, plumbers and pharmacists, as well as countless others.

Local unions are comprised of local workers, usually bound by sector and region, not employer. They typically receive a charter from a national or international union before forming. There are over 60 national and international unions across the United States and Canada, representing millions of professionals.

Of these local and broad coalitions, there are slightly more specific trade and industrial unions. Trade unions represent workers who work a specific trade, such as those represented by The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Industrial unions, alternatively, represent workers who work a specific industry, including those represented by The United Auto Workers.

During the first industrial revolution, unions began to form alongside companies operating within steel mills, textile factories, mines and other heavily regulated environments. Because of this, unions are often associated with the “old economy,” but the new economy is, of course, where unions must work today.

As small and medium sized businesses outside of manufacturing become more prevalent, unions become increasingly general and must represent a much wider range of employees. This makes collective bargaining, a technique unions employ to facilitate negotiations between employers and employees, a more difficult task than it used to be. Naturally, since there are more managers with whom to negotiate and more potential hangups to avoid, the process may be elongated. Settlements may become compromised as unions juggle an array of workers.

These effects, however, are mostly speculative. In general, the union has been and continues to be, at least for today, an effective and empowering tool workers use and need.

– Adam Kaminski

Sources: Investopedia, Union Plus
Photo: The Century Foundation

Pizza in Africa
After looking at other, more crowded markets, Domino’s brand pizza has decided to open a franchise in South Africa, saying it is a brand new and lucrative market.

Domino’s Pizza, which recently opened a chain in Nigeria, is now planning to produce more pizza in Africa by opening chains in South Africa. Taste Holdings has now entered into a 30-year agreement to open stores in South Africa, as well as Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and potentially Zambia and Malawi.

Domino’s is one of the largest pizza delivery brands in the world.  It has nearly 11,000 outlets and has stores in 70 different countries, and now those countries will include South Africa.

More and more businesses are opening places in South Africa, including Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King and Cold Stone Creamery.

“We are looking at opening five or six stores [for Domino’s Pizza] this year,” said Jean-Claude Meyer, Domino’s Pizza CEO, in an interview with How We Made it in Africa.

However, the expansion of their brand is spreading a lot slower than KFC, with only four stores in the market so far.

“Let’s face it, KFC has gone much faster than we have.  I don’t believe we will be at 23-25 stores after three and a half years, but that is not our goal. KFC is selling chicken and chicken is an obvious seller in Africa. But pizza is not the same and we are still in the process of educating people a year and a half after rolling out[…]” Meyer said in an interview with How We Made it in Africa.

Domino’s Pizza will be partnering with pizza brands in South Africa that are already established and remodeling some of their stores. However, even though they are buying out some of the Scooters and St. Elmo’s Pizza stores, they plan to keep the local favorites.

“We’re very excited to be working alongside our new partners in establishing Domino’s as the preeminent pizza brand in South Africa and in the other markets where Taste Holdings is already established,” said Ritch Allison, Domino’s Pizza executive vice president of international in an interview with Yahoo! Finance.

In addition to keeping the favorite pizzas of the previous brands from South Africa, Domino’s plans to “Nigerianize” its products and create a special menu geared towards the tastes of their new customers.

“We have been able to roll out a couple of pizzas, for example the Chicken Suya pizza, which is a good seller and accepted very well in the market here,” Meyer said in an interview with How We Made it in Africa.  Domino’s is also offering Jollof rice, a popular West African dish, as a pizza topping.

Domino’s decision to enter the market of pizza in Africa will be beneficial to both the company and the people of South Africa.

“We looked at markets around the world, and there are very few markets…where the number one or two positions isn’t occupied by Domino’s or Pizza Hut…We would certainly rather be trading under a global brand, than a local brand,” Meyer said.

Domino’s decision to open its franchises in many different African countries will bring more jobs to the country and aid in diminishing global poverty over the next 30 or more years.  Their decision also helps them become better known in a market where they have previously been unheard of; it also helps them spread their brand globally.

– Cara Morgan

Sources: How We Made it in Africa 1, How We Made it in Africa 2, Yahoo Finance
Photo: CNN

is an online marketplace for consumers to purchase art and handmade crafts from global artisans. It is also a Certified B Corporation, meaning that the company operates as more than a profit-seeking business; it is a company that uses its power to solve social and environmental problems.

Etsy is not the only company focused on improving the lives of global artists. GlobeIn launched in 2013 to help connect local artisans to the global economy. Many artists featured on GlobeIn’s online marketplace may not even be familiar with the idea of the Internet, but they now have a way to expand sales of their crafts.

GlobeIn focuses its efforts in nine countries with regional managers, who oversee shipping and money transfers to the artisans. The website presents the story of the artists along with their products. The artisans decide the price of the items and they receive the full amount. GlobeIn’s local infrastructures are managed by regional directors, who help artists get their product listed on the online marketplace.

In contrast, Etsy users rely on the online marketplace to sell their crafts. Etsy was established in 2005 and continues to grow. The website hosts 875,000 sellers from all over the world, and the company is working on creating more international websites that operate in more languages to reflect the 147 countries of the sellers.

GlobeIn is a newer company—it was established in 2013—and caters to those who may not be able to use Etsy because of language barriers or lack of access to the Internet. Both companies are fighting global poverty by giving access to those who otherwise would not have access to the global online marketplace.

Both companies share a mission to connect local artists to the global community through an online marketplace. By giving these artists a platform on which to sell their crafts and goods, Etsy and GlobeIn help bring income to the artists and to make their stories known.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Etsy, GlobeIn, Mashable, Venture Beat

Photo: WordPress

When a country is in turmoil, the arts can be the first thing to go. Fortunately for Afghanistan, Turquoise Mountain Arts is reviving traditional Afghan arts, architecture and crafts.

Turquoise Mountain Arts is an institute that seeks to bring back traditional Afghan art by training artisans in four schools: calligraphy and miniature painting, woodwork, jewelry and ceramics.

Historically, Afghanistan was an important cultural center for a variety of Islamic arts that have unfortunately fallen to the wayside under the various conflicts that have disrupted life in the country. Traditionally, the Afghan arts and crafts industry is a source of pride and a respectable way for a person to make a living.

Turquoise Mountain Arts helps the Afghan community in more ways than preserving traditional art forms. Since the institute was fully established in 2006, nearly 1.5 million dollars of traditional Afghan crafts have been sold, with that money going back to Afghan artisans.

When the institute turns a profit, it reinvests in itself, putting the money back toward artisans and students so that they can continue to learn and produce art. Additionally, the different arts practiced at Turquoise Mountain Arts help keep valuable natural resources, such as wood, precious stones and metals within the country. The institute also “provides education and employment for over 400 students, teachers, engineers, architects, and construction workers.”

The heads of each of the individual colleges are all Afghan citizens, and whenever there is an opening for new professors, representatives from the institute head straight to Kabul’s craft district.

Before Turquoise Mountain opened, there were no schools focused on preserving and teaching traditional art in Afghanistan. However, since its founding, smaller schools and programs have opened up throughout the country.

The apprenticeship style program is highly beneficial for artisans, who are taught for three years before going out on their own, and are given internationally recognized “City and Guilds” accreditation upon graduation.

Graduates also receive support as they go into the craft market to start their own businesses and further preserve cultural heritage by transferring their knowledge to new workers.

With growing national recognition in addition to international markets in Canada, Britain and Arab countries like Qatar, Turquoise Mountain Arts Institute is helping to preserve Afghan culture and art, and provide respectable employment for citizens.

– Cameron Barney

Sources: Turquoise Mountain Arts, Islamic Arts

Negotiations for a trade such as this has been in the works for seven years, though only now are the extensive efforts coming to fruition. Concluding with a deal on April 7, Japan and Australia finally reached an accord on a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott express mutual respect for one another, citing security and neoliberal economic agendas as important ties that have connected the two men and their respective nations for some time. A Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, renewed in 2010, was initially signed between Japan and Australia in 2007 as a formal recognition of their devotion to the defense and support of one another. The Declaration came after years of informal cooperation, in such contexts as United Nations peacekeeping operations in the 1990s. More recently, Abbott has praised Japan’s democratic values and presence in international security activity.

Japan’s agriculture lobby, however, expressed concerns of an internationally aggressive competition and was opposed to easing access to food imports. Though Abe clearly favored opening Japan’s economy to increased competition, Australia was understandably concerned that the rigorous final round of negotiations would fall through as a result of the Japanese lobbying group’s hold on the ruling party that it elected. Yet the signed agreement builds on a trade treaty of 1957 that contributed heavily to the positive sentiment between the two nations. The new free trade agreement, then, is expected to build on the great business and cultural relations, and is consequently considered by many trade officials to be the best deal the Japanese economy has ever granted to another country.

The final version of the free trade agreement calls for joint compromise in both economies. While Japan is now required to phase out its current 38.5 percent tariff on Australian beef exports, Japan will end tariffs on Japanese vehicles, electronics and household appliances. Within 15 years, the Japanese beef tariff is expected to reach only 23.5 percent, with a subsequent decrease to 19.5 percent in 18 years. The Australian Trade Ministry also reported that Japan would increase cheese imports and simultaneously phase out tariffs on fruits, honey, vegetables, nuts and wine. Prime Minister Abbot has thus declared that Japan is “Australia’s best friend in Asia.”

Some argue that the free trade agreement between Australia and Japan, in bringing both nations closer to the United States as a result, could risk a free trade agreement with China, Australia’s number one trade partner. However, Japan is Australia’s number two partner, and the political and security ties could make a difference in the long run. After seven years of intense negotiations, one can only hope that Australia and Japan have made the correct decision.

– Jaclyn Stutz

Sources: The Conversation, Sydney Morning Herald
Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

During the past three decades, more than 500 million people in China were lifted out of extreme poverty. And now, those people are buying the same goods that Americans have been purchasing for decades.

The Birth of Entrepreneurship in China

Peasants wanted ownership over the land they farmed and they did not achieve this under Mao Zedong’s rule. Deng Xiao Ping dismantled the farm communes set up by Mao and established a household responsibility system that led towards a more stable society, thus allowing for the establishment of a civil society with growth in the non-government sector. In about 40 years, the number of NGOs in China went from 6,100 to 354,000.

China is a Primary Emerging Market Consumer

The number of people in China earning $1,000 or more is equal to the number of people earning the same amount in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey combined. China has been catching up to western markets and it has been catching up faster than other markets.

Youth in China Earning More and Spending More

The new generation in China has more education and therefore, more opportunities to work outside of factories. The young people in China have the highest incomes and they are willing to spend it. Specifically, they are spending more to be connected; they are buying smartphones. As incomes rise, consumers spend money on food, personal care products and smartphones.


China is the first developing country to half the number of people living in poverty. During the past 34 years, the number of people suffering from hunger was reduced from one-third to one-tenth. China is not only lifting its own people out of poverty, it is also lending aid to Asia and Africa. These efforts have made the China Development Bank the world’s largest lender.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Skoll World Forum, The Atlantic, CNN
Photo: Cult of Mac

orphanage tourism
The number of orphanages in Cambodia has nearly doubled since 2007, yet the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that there are now fewer orphans in Cambodia than ever before. The reason for this discrepancy? Orphanage tourism.

Volunteering at a local orphanage has become a bucket-list item for many tourists and the preferred feel-good end to a trip full of festivals, massages, cooking classes, and guided tours. Regardless of skill-sets or language barriers, most orphanages throw open their doors to well-meaning travelers, but for a price.

UNICEF’s statistics show that of the estimated 12,000 children living in Cambodian orphanages today, only 28 percent have lost both their parents. Most of the children in these establishments are serving as — for lack of a kinder expression — tourist attractions.

The inflation of orphanages has come an explosive 250 percent increase of travelers into the country.

Parents who cannot afford to feed or educate their children have started sending them to one of the newly sprung-up orphanages in the hopes that they will find a better life through the pocket change of tourists. But while a few orphanages deliver on their promises to desperate parents that their children will be educated, most do not.

Tuk tuk drivers are often commissioned by orphanages to deliver optimistic tourists, and again by market vendors if the tourists are brought to them first to purchase school supplies.

Smart travelers are able to find the few genuine orphanages, but it takes determination, and a willingness to accept their own limitations; trained child workers and long-standing volunteers are almost always more qualified to care for orphans, and the quick turn-around time of visitors often just deepens a child’s feelings of abandonment.

It’s common for unwieldy volunteers to pamper their own conscience more than those they are aiming to help, because while this sometimes leads to a life of humanitarian work, most times it just leads to cool Facebook pictures. Travelers wishing to spend some of their vacation doing volunteer work must be careful to put their money in the hands of people with similar motives.

– Lydia Caswell

Sources: The Telegraph, Forbes
Photo: Mangine