By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawian business executive, Bonface Ndawala has been identified as one of the four experts that will deliver presentations at an international virtual conference that has been organised on October20-21 to explore reducing of transfer pricing audit risk in Africa.
The conference, organised by Informa — a global research group and a top FTSE 100 company listed on the London Stock Exchange, will tackle how the topic affects corporations doing business in Africa or have subsidiaries or branches on the continent.
Ndawala, who was picked because of his experience working in several parts of the sub-Saharan Africa, said the conference aims at exploring the different regimes that exist and how to navigate the different pitfalls in various countries and regions.
“The purpose of Informa, which is a leading international events, intelligence and scholarly research group, is to champion specialisation through hundreds of powerful brands they work with,” he said.
“It will provide the connections, intelligence and opportunities that help customers grow, do business, make breakthroughs and take better informed decisions.
“Informa has presence all over the world but their corporate headquarters is in London, United Kingdom. This year it is being held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic and it is expected to have an audience of dozens of countries across the world.
“In the past it drew attendance from over 20 countries across Africa when it was held in Johannesburg,” Ndawala said, who is Global Accounts Director Africa for South African company, Seamless Distribution Systems.
He will be joined on day 1 by Paulinus Iyika, group head Transfer Pricing Audit (oil & gas) for Federal Inland Revenue Service Nigeria to tackle the Reducing Transfer Pricing Audit Risk in Africa topic in which in-house professionals will come together to share their insights into how best to navigate the present international tax landscape.
Specific reference will be the management of international tax risks taking lessons learned from the EU State Aid Controversy; Optimal use of advisors in a budgetary constrained environment and dealing with uncertainty in view of on-going tax reform drives both globally and domestically.
For Day 2, Ndawala will be with Maxwell Ngorima (partner for Zimbabwe company, BDO) and chief revenue officer for Ghana Revenue Authority, Kwame Owusu to tackle challenges in cross border transactions in Africa.
“I was also picked this year because this is the third year running that I have been a speaker at these summits, which in the past were held in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.
“This comes following my experiences having worked mostly in Telecoms in Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leona, South Africa, Nigeria and South Sudan.
“With such a variety of markets I have come across various tax regimes and that gives me some special insights regarding how things work in these regions and how a corporation should work there to succeed.”
He said Seamless Distribution Systems specialises in the transfer of Value digitally as in post COVID-19 world this has taken special meaning because not only do communities want to digitise airtime, they want to digitise money too through various mobile money platforms.
“The idea, of course, is not just to make these mobile money platforms a medium of sending and keeping money but rather to bring in merchants of goods and services so the money circulates within these platforms.
“This will seamlessly empower communities by making it easy to do purchase and indeed pay for whatever they need in their lives.
“We also digitise the distribution process itself that gives businesses real time insights of what’s going on in their markets thereby giving them an opportunity to make timely decisions by reacting to market trends in a timely fashion.”
He further said this technology can be used by major agricultural corporations for instance to keep in touch with thousands of farmers whose produce they rely on to produce their end products and at the same time this would give an opportunity to farmers to have some sort of a direct relationship with the major consumers of their crop.
“And indeed this empowers farmers to understand what’s going on in the world by giving them access to — for instance — the reigning prices in the world thereby giving then a chance to negotiate better prices for their produce.”
His scope of work as Global Accounts Director Africa is mostly business development for Sub-Saharan Africa where most of the operators are still developing and exploring digitisation.
“A good deal of my role involves business development whereby we go into markets and show them what opportunities lie in digitisation and how digitising transfer of value drives business and economies far much faster and more efficiently than doing things physically.
“For instance, I manage the MTN group business and we have rolled out our services into 17 of their 21 operations across Africa and the middle East. Now the focus is moving into the non telco related businesses like banking, ecommerce and agriculture,” said Ndawala —
Ndawala, a product of Kamuzu Academy and the Malawi College of Accountancy, is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and the Certified Public Accountant, said he joined the company in 2019 after working in mainframe telecoms in various countries and regions for over 18 years.
He qualified as an chartered accountant with the Chartered Association of Certified Accountant (ACCA) in 1999 whilst working for Deloitte in Malawi and became a Certified Public Accountant in 2003.
In 2006 he became the Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (FCCA).
After Kamuzu Academy, he took the accountancy path that led him working for Deloitte for three years, Automotive Products, then Celtel/Zain initially in Malawi then Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
“Then I left the Zain group to join Cell C in South Africa where I worked for three years after which I moved to Nigeria to join the Globacom (GLO) group.
“I then trekked east and joined Zain South Sudan for three year after which I moved to Tanzania for a short two year stint before joining Seamless in my current role.”
He has attended other conferences as speaker in the past such as that for Global Telecom Business CFO summits in the UK in 2015 and 2016 when he was in mainstream telecoms and a few in his host country, which has become his permanent residence since 2016.
Any plans of returning home?: “Oh, yes. East or West, home is best — they say — one day I plan to return home when I have achieved what I set out to achieve out here.
“In fact, pre-COVID-19, I used to go home and visit my mother and grandmother at least four times every year. Malawi will always be home, and should I find something that I can do there I would return.”