MZUZU (Ephraim Nyondo) –World’s tech giant, Google, wants to bolster its presence in emerging markets.
The US-based user-friendly search engine, worth over $750 billion, eyes Africa as a profitable, yet untapped and rewarding business destination.
This is why the global tech giant was in Nairobi, Kenya, last week reaching out to potential companies to partner with.
Interestingly, the only southern African company invited to the Kenya capital was Shepherd Bushiri Investments (SBI) Limited.
Founded by Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, a youthful Malawian, SBI is a global investment company duly registered under the company laws of South Africa where it is based. It was duly incorporated on November 3 2015.
Today, SBI has several entities operating across the globe. They include SB Airways, SB University, PSB Mobile Network, SB Real Estate, SB Stock Exchange, SB Mining and SB Media.
Google was moved by SBI’s resolute advances in technology, PSB Network—with more than 1oo ooo subscribers in South Africa just in four months—as well as Bushiri Buzz, a social chat network with at least one million users globally.
The tech giant identified SBI as a potential strategic partner due to its reach, influence and value as a company and brand.
This should be good news for Malawi.
SBI is founded by a prophet who is truly and proudly Malawian. Everywhere he goes, Bushiri maintains his love for his country and its flag. When he travelled to Nigeria recently, he instructed his designer Thoko Phiri to fashion outfits that purely represent Malawian colours as he always does when he flies beyond borders.
Ask the local designers at Nzika or Khalidwe Wear what this means.
Bushiri runs the Enlightened Christian Gathering Ministry (ECG), which has over 300 000 registered members in South Africa alone. According to social network tracking tool, Meltdown, the prophet is even more popular in Kenya and Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation which he visited recently and government gave him a 24-hour military and police guard and escort. Kenya is Africa’s busiest tourist destination.
Besides, his every service and move, anywhere on the globe, is followed by 1.7 million followers on Facebook and nearly 2.6 million TV viewers on his Prophetic Channel.
If Bushiri garbs Malawian wear once, that is strategic enough to get the world to know about his business acumen and, most importantly, his origins—Malawi.
I stay in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
In Malawi, the sight of numerous vehicles with GP number plates confirms that most migrant Malawians live in Gauteng Province, especially in Pretoria or Johannesburg.
But when you are in the two cities, Bushiri is a household name.
It welcomes you at OR Tambo International Airport with a large banner and enviable mentions from taxi drivers at the airport, tomato sellers outside PSB Networks in Midrand, Johannesburg and large corporates—including Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes Benz—where Bushiri is acting a guarantor to members who dream driving poshy cars.
He has been to Malawi, even making donations to the hungry, prisoners and those in hospital.
But he does not just do that in Malawi. He has reached out to prisons in Nigeria, donated to the sick and underprivileged in South Africa, the relief food and paid needy students’ fees in Malawi—just everything.
All this demonstrates that Bushiri is a Malawian export we need to work with, not against, in our quest not just to attract powerful tech giants, such as Google, but also to help negotiate partnerships that the country needs to be seen not as a ragged beggar in the global development system, but a key player.
This is what Google wants. This is what SBI wants too.