Ken's Blog

Africa can become the most prosperous continent in the world

Africa had record levels of private equity exits in 2015 contrary to popular belief, Africa can become the most prosperous continent in the world within our life time, with business driving this transformation.

As a Zimbabwean patriot business leader, I have learnt to use business networks such as YPO and the World Economic Forum to make a difference and influence those who really count on the continent of Africa. I have the ability and responsibility to attract investors to Africa by getting them interested in investing, showing them that it’s the right time and place to bring their money and that perception is not the reality. News has the propensity to print sensationalism which is largely negative and I believe we all have a collective responsibility to get behind the national agenda of the Africa Renaissance by allaying personal differences and agendas to become the “change we want to see in the world”.

By networking at these type of events and other business events and conferences in Africa I’m meeting business leaders, helping shape their views of how to do business in Africa as well as bringing investors from outside Africa back into the continent. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in turn helps address two issues:

1 – We need jobs in Africa: There are too many young people unemployed. The youth of Africa are sitting on the streets and hustling in major cities and towns across the continent. They’re not using their talents and their full ability and talent. When FDI comes into a country, it creates additional employment by either growing the existing business it invests into, which gives opportunity for more employment to be created, or alternatively if it’s a new project it will employ a completely new set of people.

2 – According to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed: We need to change the “begging bowl” attitude by driving out poverty. This will be made possible only by bringing in FDI. With new investment, the economy grows. When the economy grows, there is increased disposable income levels in the market and people’s salaries rise and that generally leads to the poor being lifted from their plight.

Our FDI is the poorest of any continent on the globe. We’re exporting roughly 12 per cent of the global resources, but only importing about 2 per cent of the global capital through FDI. That’s called imbalance. All the raw materials are going out and the money isn’t coming back in. Our politicians and leaders have a responsibility to ensure value addition is done on the continent and not elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Africa’s population remains unique in the world because 70 per cent are under 25 years old. In the next 20 years we will have a new “baby boomer” population of 700 million people driving consumption on the continent of Africa. Right now there’s 60 million middle income households on the continent. By 2020 it will have doubled with 120 middle income households which will consume goods, brands, products – and that consumption is going to drive the economies of Africa. With investments decisions made, they will get much higher returns than they’re getting in America and the developed countries of Europe. Our job and my strategy for Africa is to try and facilitate part of that dream

As an entrepreneur dreaming and having a vision is an important part of building a successful business plan. As growth has weakened in countries like Brazil and China, the combined power of 55 nations and over one billion people has never been more significant. Africa’s potential as the next global powerhouse is achievable and underway with the business community leading the way.

*Kenneth Sharpe, executive chairman of West Properties Company Pvt Ltd and member of YPO Africa Region

YPO is a global community of chief executives dedicated to becoming Better Leaders through Lifelong Learning and Idea Exchange.TM We create trusted spaces where leaders gather, connect, share and grow. The YPO platform provides more than 25,000 members in more than 130 countries – representing diversified industries and types of businesses – with access to extraordinary educational opportunities, alliances with leading institutions, and interest-based communities to support their businesses, communities and families. For more information, visit

MY STORY - August Words of Wisdom........TRUE FRIENDS

TD Jakes says "in life you have three types of friends;
1. Those called "comrades" who are with you during the race but when the race is over they immediately leave like they were not with you at all and even sometimes turn against you.
2. Those called "constituents" who are with you only whilst you are winning the race but when you start loosing they are no where to be seen!
3. Those called "confidantes" who are with you before, during and after the race and who stay with you whether you win or loose!
If you have three confidantes in your life consider yourself lucky and don't be angry with the rest just realise which category they fit into.

I have had my fair share of people whom whilst I was in the race I thought were my comrades, friends, partners and colleagues but once the race was over they were just like it says in Psalm 41:9 "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." and also some of them even became my enemies and spoke evil against me with hatred and deceit as it is also written in Psalm 109:2-5 "For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. "

The "constituent" type of friends are the most frequent and fickle who pretend to be your friend when everything is good and you are doing well. The moment things take a down fall and you face challenges especially financial ones these friends are no where to be seen. Proverbs 19:4 "Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour."

Here are three other famous quotes that help us understand whether people are real friends or not;
"If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway." Mother Teresa
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." Helen Keller
Proverbs 18: 24 "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
The last one reminds me that some friends in our life are really like family. I look at my wife who is my best friend and she is like a sister and brother, my most loyal friends are my daughter and sister in law and my closest friend Lee who is a brother and loves me like one. Of course the list goes on but the point is that like in Kellers quote above walking in the light is easy to do on your own but in dark times a true friend sticks to you like family and no matter the circumstances.

I could think of no better friend to have than Jesus Christ who tells us in his word that all we need to do to be his friend is to be obedient to what he tells us to do "John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

MY STORY - Friday 29th July

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

This scripture in Matthew Chapter 5 is given immediately following the Sermon on the Mount, where is verse 9 The Lord said "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." It's easy to make peace when it suites you or when the other side also wants peace but have you tried to make peace when your enemies hate and despise you? Have a look at verse 44 where the Lord says "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you".
Can you imagine doing good to someone who hates you and blessing them who curse you?

Recently I faced an incident in a very public place where a certain older man in his late 50's used the most foul disgusting language to swear in my face and humiliated me. Some years ago I would have reacted very differently to this type of behavior but let's just say I would have immediately taken action. This time I found the resolve and strength that comes only from God to let him say it all out, and I even went back to him a second time and said calmly it was not acceptable nor befitting for a him to say and behave like he did and of course I got a second round of worse insults, false accusations and lies against me, my wife and colleague. I had to restrain myself from responding or reacting negatively and walked calmly back to my car and left. In considering my possible options and after speaking to my lawyers who told me I was fully within my rights to lay charges against him with the police for verbal assault and even get a peace order; I went home to ponder and discuss it with my family. After this type of behavior and treatment how I could possibly "do good" and "bless" this man. After praying we felt we must forgive him and we actually felt quite sad and sorry for him to be in misery for all eternity.
People like him who are lost, sad, angry, full of malice, jealously and hatred need the love of God in their lives and that's why we must forgive them and pray for them to have peace. This is the easier part for me but the real test is to be obedient and live by doing "good" and "love" to my enemies.

The same man who offended me that day has also been peddling a lie that I had his wife thrown in jail for 3 days. He hopes by saying this he will discredit me. I will not stoop to his level to try defend myself against such nonsense. I have never had anyone's wife thrown in jail and would not do such a thing.
There is a saying "those who matter don't care and those who care don't matter"!

My decision was to not take action against him despite the fact that I had the power to do so and more importantly that I also knew he had done a lot of other bad things to me by making up lies and trying to destroy my credibility and harm my reputation. I didn't take action not because I didn't feel like I wanted sweet revenge or because I didn't want to teach him a good lesson but rather because taking revenge on him or retaliation in any way would not be what the Lord wanted.

However the first thing to "do good" is simply not to do any bad and the Lord talked of the action 'Agape' love which is a verb and not a feeling. This is a story for another day but simply put the doing 'love' to them is not the same as the feeling 'love'.

I decided to give it to God and leave it in his hands. Immediately I felt at peace and relieved.

On consideration I feel we must pray for people who get satisfaction from malicious lies and rumors that cause hatred which is cancerous for the body and soul.

Even though I had to go through this situation I came out more humble and better as a person and I know my father in heaven will protect me for doing what's right.

All the difficulties I have faced in my life; near death, reputational attacks, humiliation, false accusation, jealousy and unneccary legal battles and much more make it almost impossible to have to deal with as a man but I want to encourage you that with God all things are possible and thats why you must not give up and have faith and patience in God. I even thank God for giving me these challenges in my life and and testing me in the refiners fire with people like that because these things make me humble and even stronger. Truth always conquers lies and it comes like the morning sunshine after deep darkness.

In conclusion of this weeks blog I share this experience with you as part of my continued story for the true facts to be known and not so that you feel sorry for me but because I want you to believe that what challenges you go through is for your own good to make you stronger. Don't give up!

MY STORY-Friday 22nd July

People have tried to tell my story in their words;
words of lies,
words of deception,
words of deceit,
words of slander,
words of anger,
words of jealously,
words of malice,
words of evil,
words of injustice,
words of corruption,
but NOW its time for me to tell MY STORY in my own words.....

I have been quite for too long to wait for my turn to talk. This is the reason why I have started this blog but is not the reason why I will continue with this story.

I shall be true to myself, I shall use my God given talent and skill to use this platform as a daily, weekly and monthly story to share my thoughts as they come to me, in no particular chronological order, perhaps sometimes not even in logical sequence but always inspired by my heart who has never lied to me. In doing so I know it will set the record straight, I know in doing so it will leave a permanent true record for my posterity to remember me and I PRAY that in doing so it will inspire and uplift you the reader to have hope, to carry on, to fight to the end, to endure the battle of life, to be tested in the refiners fire, to have faith in knowing that in the end all things work for the good and lastly I hope it will leave you with rich words of encouragement, kindness, benevolence, consideration, humility, perseverance, tenacity, goodness, virtuous, patience, determination, charity and the most important of all love. (my wife always told me love would conquer the world). If you know you are doing what is right and what is good then never give up!

This story that I am going to write is not an intellectual debate, nor is it a philosophical argument and although it is neither a religious sermon nor biblical account, I want you to know that my bible is very special to me as it contains the word of God which gives me great peace, joy and gratitude! This is simply going to be the story of my life, the daily struggles I face as a mere mortal man, the unfettered truth of what I stand for and believe in, it is how God gave me a life and then a second chance to live again, its about how I can make a difference in the world and how I can leave the world a better place than when I found it, its about whose life I can have a positive impact in, its about who I can give a hand up to, its about being grateful and this is the secret of my life. This is the secret of my story.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.