IOA Position Papers

Education in the Age of the 21st Century

During an event held by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) in 2018 in partnership with Heavy Chef, former President Mbeki stressed the importance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for the African context, and expressed concern about whether South Africans in general, and educators in particular, are adequately prepared to respond to the challenges of the 4IR. In response to Mbeki’s call, the TMF formed a multi-stakeholder Working Group (WG) comprising of academics, educators, policymakers, civil society and thought-leaders to tackle the complex question of what practical steps South Africa, and Africa in general, needs to take to build a foundation for a successful transition into the 4IR.

The TMF contracted In On Africa to lead the comprehensive research assessment and analytical work of the WG, and provide support throughout the project on the planning, managing, implementing, assessing and reporting. Through extensive consultation with the WG, experts in the education space, and a wide range of sources, it has become clear that South Africa (as well as other African countries) is not currently equipped to join the 4IR. This is for a number of reasons, including a lack of basic and technical infrastructure, poorly trained teachers, curricula that are no longer relevant, and education stakeholders not collaborating effectively.

IOA PRESS RELEASE – 10 FEBRUARY 2020

Innovative youth-focused digital platform launches with the aim of unifying thousands of young people across South Africa

Leading research firm In On Africa (IOA) has launched a game-changing digital platform in response to the shift in awareness of the youth in South Africa and the need for these future leaders to become empowered to inform decision-making for a brighter future.

The ‘Voices Unite’ platform, which launched on the 10th of February, will bring together tens of thousands of youth aged 18-34 through a large-scale national research study focusing on a wide range of pertinent topics. These topics include the state of education, youth unemployment, the future of work, media and technology, infrastructure, healthcare and many others.

Voices Unite believes that a platform to unify and amplify the voices of the country’s youth – their views, ideas and dynamism – can inform true change in South Africa. Voices Unite aims to achieve the following core objectives:

  • Unify and empower youth in South Africa to become meaningfully involved in the creation of a better South Africa.
  • Facilitate more active, collaborative engagement between SA corporates, non-profits, education institutions and government.
  • Inform data-driven decision-making today to ensure a brighter tomorrow for the entire country.

Youth who participate on the platform stand the chance to win a wide range of prizes, ranging from small incentives like data, event tickets and gift vouchers to larger prizes like tech gadgets, bursaries, internship positions and R50,000 cash.

According to Voices Unite Founder, Jonathan Mundell:

IOA conceptualised Voices Unite in an effort to empower young people in South Africa, and ultimately across the African continent. Research that our firm has been doing for more than a decade has led us our belief that bringing youth and key stakeholders together – on a massive scale – to voice their ideas, perspectives and concerns, is essential to ensure effective decision-making.

Voices Unite aims not only to unify youth across South Africa, but to also bring relevant decision-makers to the same table, to collaborate in their efforts to address the various challenges that young people face. And for this collaboration to be guided by the views and insights of the youth, and for decisions to be made together with the youth – not on their behalf.

Voices Unite has more than 60 confirmed partners, ranging from impact-driven youth development organisations (e.g. Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, SAB Foundation and Mr Price Foundation), through to large corporates like Sanlam, agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), public and private universities and colleges, and various others partners.

For anyone interested in joining Voices Unite either as a youth participant (age range is 18-34) or a partner, more information is available at http://voicesunite.co.za.

Botswana 2019 Election Review

An assessment of Botswana’s socio-political landscape

Long considered a beacon of democracy and good governance, Botswana’s 2019 General Election was the first true test of the democratic experiment running since 1966. Known primarily for its diamond mining industry and as a safe haven for African elephants, Botswana made headlines when the lifting of its elephant hunting ban in early 2019 saw the sons of the country’s founding father leave the party that he had formed. What transpired subsequently has been a cunning battle of politics and extravagant campaigns, culminating in the most tightly contested elections in the history of the country.

IOA’s latest special report contextualises Botswana’s socio-political landscape in the lead up to the 2019 General Election, and looks to analyse the events preceding the election and their impact on the final election outcome. A further value-add which the report provides is the codification of common socio-political practices and general knowledge that is widely known by most Batswana, yet tends to lack in the broader literature. The main aim of this report is to equip the reader with the necessary knowledge to better-understand the country’s political and social dynamics, and their subsequent impact on the outcome of the 2019 election.

Africa Media Index (AMI)

The GroupM Africa Media Index (AMI), produced in collaboration with In On Africa (IOA), focuses on 14 of East, Southern and West Africa’s largest media markets. The index is designed to inform media investors and advertisers about opportunities, while also highlighting problems that stand in the way of profitable investment and effective advertising. Balancing raw data with the media sector are surveys conducted with experts in the field. Their perceptions provide depth to the report’s data structure and capture the enthusiasm or pessimism relating to particular aspects of the media environment. From these voices, businesses can hear direction on where to grow their brands.

One conclusion stands out in this report: Africans are diverse as individuals but tend to have uniform tastes in what they wish to receive from their media services. Enabled by the latest technology, investors can meet consumer needs and advertisers can tap into consumer desires.

The 2019 Africa Country Benchmark Report demonstrates how investment and trade are driving economic growth in Africa

The 2019 Africa Country Benchmark Report demonstrates how investment and trade are driving economic growth in Africa

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: Investment and trade go hand in hand with economic growth. The latest Africa Country Benchmark Report shows that these underpin African economies that perform the best in this year’s in-depth analysis of African country performance.

The exhaustive analysis of leading economic indicators – providing insight into the performances of African economies gauged by individual countries, both regionally and continentally – shows a strong link between economic growth and investment and trade. This connection, which is the basis for optimism over the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), is established in the findings of the 2019 edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR).



What is the future of work in South Africa?

Examining the ‘Side Hustle’ economy

With the current challenges in economic climate South Africans are increasingly looking to broaden their horizons into additional work opportunities. The advent of working on the side is becoming increasingly prevalent, whether it’s driven by a need to generate additional income, or in search of more engaging and stimulating work. But what is the prevalence of side hustling, and what are the likely impacts on the broader economy?

IOA in collaboration with Henley Business School has looked to assess the nature and proliferation of work on the side in the context of South Africa. The research aimed to delve into various drivers of side-hustling, the hourly commitments to pursuing a side venture, as well as the views coming from both employees and employers on the topic.

In On Africa (IOA) Press Release – June 2019




In On Africa (IOA) and African Business Magazine announce partnership for the 2019 edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR) 

In On Africa (IOA) and African Business Magazine, two leading African business information providers, have announced a partnership to produce and deliver the third edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR). The ACBR is a ground-breaking 500+ page publication, which provides a comprehensive assessment of 54 African countries, to deliver an all-encompassing picture of the African continent.


The report scores, ranks and insightfully assesses each African country holistically, as well as across ACBR’s four ‘quadrants’: Business, Economics, Politics and Society. Hundreds of infographics, more than 25,000 data points, and critical insights make the ACBR an essential tool to better understand Africa.



In describing the key objectives of the ACBR, Jonathan Mundell, CEO of In On Africa, states that: “Having a deep, all-encompassing understanding of African markets is essential for any business, institution, non-profit or government working on the continent. The ACBR aims to facilitate data-driven decision-making in Africa through the most comprehensive analysis of African countries, guiding our readers in their work on the continent and hopefully playing a central role in Africa’s development.”

Pedro Besugo, Business Development and Strategy at African Business adds, “There has never been a greater need to collate and analyse accurate data on Africa’s economic performance and the activities of the continent’s dynamic business community. African Business Magazine’s partnership with In On Africa to produce the Africa Country Benchmark Report will give readers access to a comprehensive data set for 54 countries, helping them to make better informed business decisions.”


The two organisations are finalising work on the 2019 edition, which has involved the re-engineering and expansion of the report’s assessment models. The report is scheduled to be launched at the end of July and there is currently a limited offer of early-bird access in addition to discounted rates for pre-orders of the report.

You can access the ACBR Info pack or pre-order the publication by clicking the links below:







About In On Africa

IOA was established in South Africa in 2007 with the goal of becoming the definitive source of expert research and analysis in Africa, focused on Africa. IOA’s mission is to guide and inform decision-making to accelerate growth and development in Africa – connecting Africa’s potential. 

IOA has conducted research and advisory projects for private and public sector clients across the entire African continent. These projects span key industries and markets, and range from multi-country market attractiveness studies and landscape assessments through to impact assessments, political risk analyses and social research. 

With headquarters in South Africa and consultants spread across the African continent, IOA combines in-country presence and expertise with a holistic understanding of our local and international clientele, making IOA a definitive strategic partner in Africa.

Find out more here


About African Business

African Business is published by IC Publications, a pan-African media and communication group with over 50 years’ experience in publishing magazines, country supplements, industry reports and market intelligence on Africa, reaching +2.6 million loyal readers in more than 100 countries.

African Business and its award-winning team is widely respected for its editorial excellence. We provide the all-important tools enabling you to maintain a critical edge in a continent that is changing the world. Our special reports profile a wide range of sectors and industries including Energy, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Agriculture to name but a few.

With our vast experience in the field of communications, public relations and contract publishing, IC Publications offers a one-stop shop solution to serve all its clients’ needs both for those wishing to expand into Africa or for African entities seeking international exposure.

Find out more here.

Assessment of South Africa’s SME landscape

Challenges, Opportunities, Risks and Next Steps

The South African government has prioritised small business development with the objective of creating 11 million jobs by 2030 to reduce the country’s chronic and high unemployment rate, and looking to SMEs to create these jobs and stimulate economic growth. This objective can only be achieved through the establishment of a supportive and enabling environment for the growth of small businesses.

SME SA in collaboration with In On Africa (IOA) has endeavored to assess the current environment in which SMEs operate through executing nationwide research on the sector. The aim of the research was to shed light on the challenges, opportunities and risks that need to be considered in the development of the SME sector to ensure the much needed growth and new employment opportunities in the country.

African stock exchanges hold the key to unlocking the continent’s economic growth and development

By Jacqueléne Coetzer

Analysis in brief:  Due to increased economic growth and development, largely as a result of improved political stability, African exchanges offer great investment value for both African and foreign investors.  Although there are still some difficulties to overcome to make African Exchanges more attractive to international investors, with the political will and dedicated efforts by governments and exchanges, these difficulties can be overcome.

Few people are aware of the business, economic and IT successes being achieved in Africa.  Mauritius is poised to become Africa’s first high-income economy within the next 10 years and there are a number of other African countries that are working actively to achieve the same.  The former-President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has famously remarked that Africa has the ability to solve its own problems and he was right.
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Youth Exchange Programmes in Africa

Impact Assessment and Recommended Practices Guide

Youth volunteering and exchange programmes are gaining currency as a means of supporting African development goals, including addressing youth unemployment, contributing to economic and social development, building human capacity and strengthening regional identity. As such, there has been increased interest from international agencies, the African Union, development actors and civil society organisations in promoting volunteering and youth exchange in African countries.

In mid-2017 the African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI), in collaboration with IOA, embarked on a large-scale research study to assess the impact of such youth exchange programmes in Africa. The aim of the research was to inform future strategies for youth development on the continent, and guide progress in strengthening North-South and South-South cooperation through youth exchanges. This report presents the key findings and strategic recommendations from the research.

Mining Trends Report 2018

Skills Development and Training Trends in the Mining Sector

In early 2017, IOA and MTS partnered to develop a first-of-its-kind mining sector trend report. The aim of the initiative was to provide a comparative assessment of the progress made within the South African mining sector over the last 5 years, and note the progression that has taken place within the sector over this period.

The report provides insights into the emerging trends of various government and private sector initiatives by assessing sample data drawn from the MTS Insite platform over 2012 and 2017, and covering 45 mining (inclusive of core contractor) companies in the country.