Tariku Bogale Enterprenuer

Growing up in the dusty market town of Dilla in Ethiopia, Tariku Bogale’s world should have been small. During his pre-school years, the North East African country was caught in a famine so great thousands of people died and the scars left by a devastating civil war had yet to heal. His childhood was tough, but so was the young Bogale. And thanks to a love of books and the company of young Peace Corp volunteers from abroad, he saw far more when he looked around than fruit stalls, coffee plantations and limited opportunities. Instead, he saw a world that was his to explore. Today, still a young lion at 34, he has travelled to many of the places that he ‘visited’ as a child through the words and pictures in books and newspapers. He has done business in a number of diverse fields, grown his fortune and along the way, nominated for African Pioneer, Black Business Award, and earned the reputation of ‘serial entrepreneur’,

A glance at his CV might make one think of a child
with an attention deficit disorder, so varied is the
range of business ventures he has explored, from
travel agencies to a foreign exchange office, CBD
renewal projects and mobile marketing solutions
to self-service terminals for air passengers and
even a Johannesburg tavern. But the fact of the
matter is that Bogale’s energy and passion are
insatiable and his actions are driven by a
philosophy that demands the ability to transform
and remain viable – ‘adapt or die’.
Eminent economist Joseph Stumper (1883-1950)
coined the phrase ‘creative destruction’ which
relates to his belief that long-term economic
growth is sustained by radical innovators who
force established business to adapt or die. As an
entrepreneur, Bogale is adept at spotting opportunities in existing
markets and exploiting them. He is equally able to recognize
when the time has come to move on, however.
“Africa Holdings has gone through many facelifts,” says Bogale. “It
was the trading name of a number of companies established
since 2000. I believe in not placing all your eggs in one basket
which is why Africa Holdings has been involved in a number of
industries, including banking, travel and tourism, real estate and
information technology.
“However, along with heightened opportunities, diversification also
carries high risks, increased costs and involves complex
management challenges. These realities, coupled with the current
global financial restraints and changing markets, have forced me
to adapt yet again," he says.
In October 2013, Africa Holdings LLC was registered under New
York State law to invest, consult and facilitate trade and
investment in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
This move to consolidate Bogale’s business interests saw a
number of companies being sold and closed ,including Sikhona
Forex (Pty) Ltd ( Authorised dealer in Foreign exchange) SOLD,
Stokal Property (SOLD), Lions Entertainment ( Licensed Tavern)
SOLD, Abyssinia Business and property investment ( SOLD),
Travel online Click ( IATA accredited), TravelStoreMakerSA,
MOCCA fashion magazine, Visible Link CC, Battery Extender,
VoiceBlast, SmartReply, Self-Help, KIOSK , Dual Investment (Pty)
Ltd, Jozi Cash'nCarry, Johannesburg Shopping Center CC and
Lease International, LLC. Travel Click, the travel agency he
established in 2006, was closed at a loss.
“I think Africa Holdings can add great value in facilitating and
promoting trade and investment, specifically in Africa, by
partnering with governments and private companies,” says

Bogale says that ‘sometimes we tend to look for things when they are right in front of us’. “The fall of
apartheid opened enormous opportunity for South African companies locally and they were caught
up trying to meet local demand. At the same time, international companies were eyeing the South
Africa market and competition become tougher. An obvious solution to increase market share lies in
the rest of the continent.”
Challenges for South African companies looking north include the need for a localized go-to-market
approach, the tendency to overestimate the time it takes to establish themselves in these markets
and the misconception that they can develop a new market, or get involved in major projects, with
limited budgets.
“Africa is very big market, with over one billion people, making it attractive to quick-off-the-mark
investors. Companies from India and China are the biggest competitors for the Africa market and if
South African companies are to compete, they need the backing and support of their government to
create the right business and trading environment.”
Some economists have predicted that Nigeria will topple South Africa as the continent’s financial
powerhouse, with economist and former chairman of the asset-management division of the Goldman
Sachs Group Jim O’Neill saying the Nigerian economy has the potential to grow between 10 and 12
per cent if the country’s power supply is stabilized. Bogale remains unconvinced, however, saying
that infrastructure and security could prove to be a stumbling block for Nigeria.
“South Africa’s status as African forerunner depends on the current and future political leaders.
Young leaders have to step up, opposition parties need to be grown and veterans must show a
readiness to relinquish power when numbers speak out!” he adds.
Regardless of which country dominates the continent, he is adamant that Africa’s time has come,
urging fellow Africans to ‘be part of this ship and let us sail together.’ He finds West Africa an exciting
trade and investment destination, saying that the region has a lot to offer, from resources to
infrastructure development, but cautions that these countries need to ensure stable governance if
they are to woo international investors.

International trade and infrastructure
It was the realization of businesses in the Western world of
what they are missing that prompted Bogale to focus his
energy on positioning Africa Holdings as an international trade
and infrastructure advisory expert able to assist governments,
multilateral agencies, investors and public and private sector
firms put down business roots in foreign soil.
“International trade today is complex, with many issues to be
grappled with including the different regulations governing
trade in each country; go-to-market strategies to plan how a
company will reach customers and achieve competitive
advantage; customer segmentation to group together
customers according to their similarities to maximize sales
and marketing; and channel strategies to guide decisions
about a product’s distribution. Trends are complex, fast
changing and dynamic and to penetrate new markets and
grow market share, companies will need the help of someone
familiar with those markets and associated business
“Infrastructure advisory support is pivotal to defining goals and
then working with project stakeholders to achieve those goals.
Project finance, as opposed to the traditional method of
financing where the borrower promises to transfer to the
lender a physical or economic entity (collateral) in the case of
default, can involve many participants, including multilateral
organizations, governments, regional banks and private
entities. Project finance is often the preferred funding option in
developing countries for large infrastructure projects and sees
the lender accepting future revenue from a project as a
guarantee on a loan.
“Traditionally, countries relied on governments to put in place
the infrastructure needed for businesses and citizens to live
and work but in the increasingly competitive global
environment, many governments have been forced to find
new ways to finance infrastructure and service delivery.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) offer exciting growth
opportunities for businesses looking to expand into new markets, especially in developing countries
where a greater need exists for roads, hospitals, bridges, airports, schools and other essential
“However, a different approach may be needed when doing business in Nigeria, for example, than
may be the case in the investor’s country of origin and having someone on your side who know the
‘lay of the land’ is key.”
Bogale finds the global business environment an exciting one. “With today’s information technology,
the world is at our fingertips and the way of doing business has changed forever.

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