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ZNCC meet the CEO campaign, interview on Mr. Chanakira: 15 March 2011

"I say this is time for the African renaissance. Let’s forget about borders and boundaries in Africa. This is time to build global businesses coming out of Africa. I strongly believe in building African businesses that will compete with any giant anywhere in the world." assured Twenty Third Century 

Systems CEO Ellman Chanakira in an interview with ZNCC Harare, Public Relations and Business Development Manager Willard Razawo.

WR: First of all let me thank you for according me the opportunity to come and have a chat with you at your spacious office

Chanakira: You are most welcome. It is my pleasure to have you here.

(Twenty Third Century Systems CEO Ellman Chanakira)

WR: There are many organizations like ZNCC around the country do you think they are doing their best to serve the purposes and fulfilling mandates they were purportedly created for?

Chanakira: We have had a lot of interactions with ZNCC over the past 2 years. From my viewpoint ZNCC has been proactive in its interaction with the business community. They organized a very successful trip to Ghana last year which was very fruitful to Twenty Third Century Systems. As a result of that trip we have build strong relationships in Ghana and are now very active on the Ghanaian market. We will definitely be doing business there this year.

WR: What would you want to happen at ZNCC for it to continue to receive respect as it has done over the years?

Chanakira: I strongly believe that Africa does not have borders any more. I strongly believe in building pan African businesses with a global reach. Africa is a huge market which offers huge business opportunities. ZNCC is in the right direction to link local businesses to the continent as demonstrated by that initiative to Ghana and the other attempt to take business to the DRC. So ZNCC should strengthen its resolve and initiatives to link Zimbabwean business to the African continent. It is the responsibility of each business to cease these opportunities when they arise whilst on the other hand ZNCC should educate its members on the opportunity Africa offers through workshops and feedbacks after such trips.

WR: What is your definition of a good Chamber of Commerce?

Chanakira: In brief it is the one that has interest of its members at heart and pushes for Zimbabwe to be number one. Our country is blessed with a huge skills base. Zimbabweans occupy leading positions in best companies worldwide. There is no reason why we can’t be a significant global player. So a good chamber is the one that leverages on our strength as Zimbabwe and pushes for Zimbabwean businesses to be big players on the African continent and globally.

Much of ZNCC business, Hey, Now to your business, can tell us a brief about Twenty Third Century…

Chanakira: Twenty Third Century Systems (Pvt) Limited, a registered Zimbabwean business solution provider, was established in October 1996, and has since then made tremendous in roads into the local and African l information technology market including the Middle East. Twenty Third Century Systems has extensive experience in implementing and supporting SAP systems across Africa and the Middle East with successful projects in countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana and Bahrain.

For more than 15 years, Twenty Third Century Systems has been involved in over 45 successful SAP implementations across Africa and the Middle East. Employing over 130 full time consultants with varying skills including Tax and Revenue Management, Business Intelligence, Financials, Customer Relationship Management, Procurement, Sales and Distribution, Treasury, Banking, Pension Fund Administration and Human Resources, Twenty Third Century Systems is the largest SAP Service Partner in Sub Saharan Africa outside South Africa. Our experience include public sector, tax and revenue management, manufacturing, banking, mining, insurance, pension fund administration, services, utilities, revenue collection, oil and gas and transport. Our unique attributes include the following:

Largest employed pool of SAP resources in Africa, over 130 fulltime SAP consultants

* Understanding of working in Africa
* African Company, run and manned by Africans
* Network of local and international partners
* Oldest active SAP partner outside South Africa
* Most experienced Tax & Revenue Mgmt practice in Africa
* Most experienced Government practice outside SA
* Pool of English and Portuguese speaking consultants
* SAP gold partner

Why that name?

Chanakira: The name? We at Twenty Third bring the future today. We live ahead of our time. We bring the future today to our customers. Our vision, our ideas and thoughts come from the 23rd Century whilst we live in the 21st Century. We want our customers to enjoy and experience a 23rd century business environment whilst living in the 21st Century.

WR: How has been the reception of your products in Zimbabwe, particularly SAP?

Chanakira: SAP is well received in Zimbabwe. SAP is world class brand worldwide and SAP is the best globally. The local market understands and knows this. We at Twenty Third have leveraged on this and have successfully built a pan African company that is very active and respected across the African continent. We have made great inroads in the local market and continue to do so. The local market has invested over

US$ 60 million in the SAP system including infrastructure that supports SAP such as hardware, communication, training etc. SAP and Twenty Third Century Systems are very strong brands both within Zimbabwe and all over Africa. I want to emphasize that our brand is well known across the African continent. Our vision is to be a significant global player. We have established ourselves as a very strong player across Africa and to a lesser extend in the Middle East.

WR: What are the advantages of using the SAP system?

Chanakira: SAP offers a wall to wall solution for businesses. It addresses business requirements of most businesses in one system. It offers a one stop shop for business and therefore eliminates the need to interface or link the SAP system to other add on products or systems. It offers a deep vertical expertise with strategic solutions for more than 25 industries. These 25 industry solutions come bundled with best business practices form the various industries such as manufacturing, banking, insurance, pension fund administration, mining, retail, utilities, public sector, etc. This allows any business within any such sector to benefit from the best business practices used in that industry from anywhere in the world. SAP is truly a trusted business partner worldwide with more than 82 000 companies running SAP worldwide. It is important to note that more 96% of top 500 companies worldwide run SAP.

It also important to note that SAP is used by both large and small companies. It offers solutions for both large enterprises as well as small and midsized companies Our clients are very varied, from 5 users, some 10 to some with over 4 000 users.

(Twenty Third Century Systems CEO, Ellman Chanakira right) recently with SAP Africa Managing Director, Pfungwa Serima.

You are Zimbabwe’s lone SAP partner, what does it take for one to work with such an organization?

Chanakira: We have earned our reputation. We have been working with SAP for the past 15 years. We have devoted all our time, energy and focus on SAP and as a result we have build a strong brand around the SAP system across the African continent. One of SAP’s strength as a company is its unique ecosystem. SAP fully supports its partners. We have been a very loyal partner of SAP and we have received and we continue to receive a lot of support from SAP. We work very closely with Steve Mangadze who is SAP’s Regional Director for SADC as well as other SAP offices across the African continent including South Africa and the Middle East.

How do you rate ICT technology in Zimbabwe and Africa?

Chanakira: The area of ICT is fast moving and dynamic. Sadly, Africa has not moved with the same speed and pace. ICT in Zimbabwe and Africa has massive room for improvement. It still lags behind the developed world and many other developing countries in Asia, Middle East and South America. This in itself offers a huge business opportunity for ICT businesses in Africa. The slow start for Africa in ICT provides a huge opportunity and advantage for Africa to leapfrog the rest and take advantage of the current technology.

Your parting shot to all members of the chamber?

I say this is time for the African renaissance. Let’s forget about borders and boundaries in Africa. This is time to build global businesses coming out of Africa. I strongly believe in building African businesses that will compete with any giant anywhere in the world. At Twenty Third we have made major inroads into Africa where we operate in more than 20 African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa as well as the Middle East. We will be in every African country. Africa is a sleeping giant. Africa has massive opportunities. We as Africans are unlimited, even the sky is not the limit. It’s our time, this is time for Africa.

Visit our website at www.23rd.biz


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