BCX to Lead Telkom’s Foray into Africa

 

Following an eighteen-month consolidation process, Telkom yesterday officially launched its rebranded wholly-owned subsidiary and enterprise-focused business unit BCX.

Isaac Mophatlane, CEO of rebranded BCX told ITWeb Africa at the launch in Johannesburg that the integrated brand will be at the forefront of Telkom’s exploration of business opportunities across Africa.

“We will be rebranding our offices outside South Africa as well. We are continuously and cautiously moving outside South Africa and building capacity. BCX will likely be the one doing activities in different parts of the continent. You will recall that Telkom previously had assets outside South Africa, but there is no interest at the Group level or at the CEO’s level, so we will certainly be the ones that are going to explore some of those opportunities on the continent. What is encouraging is that it is well embraced and we are growing in those geographies.”

Mophatlane says BCX managers from Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Zambia, among others, travelled to Johannesburg ahead of the launch as part of a two-day leadership forum organised by BCX this week.

The first of a series of launches of the new BCX brand outside South Africa will take place in Mozambique on 1 March.

Tough African business environment

Mophatlane expects that running the business in different parts of the African continent will come with challenges similar to those they have had to confront before the ongoing integration of BCX into the Telkom Group.

“One of our biggest challenges is currency devaluation. The ability for us to take money out of some of these countries is also becoming quite difficult. You cannot find enough dollars in some of these countries and while others have defaulted on their bonds. Nigeria has become a nightmare with the Naira. When we started the business there back then as Business Connexion 100 Nairas were equivalent to 1 US dollar, today one dollar is about 525.”

Ayo Adegboye, Managing Director of BCX in Nigeria for the last seven months agrees with Mopahatlanes’s summation of Nigeria as a challenging environment at times, although he anticipates that the prospects for BCX and other ICT businesses will improve over the coming months.

“It is a challenge. We are in recession in Nigeria at the moment but in the last few weeks the economy is picking up. Some two or three months ago oil production dropped to 2.2 million barrels per day to 700 million barrels. Just before I left Nigeria a week ago it was 1.3 million barrels. The journals I read today indicate that we are now at 2 million barrels per day. We are hoping that the business will bounce back. We are not in a situation where we expect to make huge margins or large profits because of the macroeconomic environment but we want to delight customers so that they can remember us when the economy is revived again. I am very excited. Telkom and BCX coming together gives us a better and broader offering to take to the market. We will do much more than we have done before.”

BCX says no jobs were lost during the merger and that clients who were previously with Telkom Business and Business Connexion have had to sign new contracts with the BCX.

BCX says its focus in the Telkom Group structure will be on offering customers solutions for cloud computing, unified communications, collaboration, converged connectivity and business mobility, as well as security, the internet of things, and big data analytics.

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