Yolanda Cuba, the Chief Executive Officer of one of South Africa’s most diversified companies, Mvelaphanda Holdings, is lending support to this year’s Botswana International Financial Services Center (IFSC)’s Career Fair to be held at the Gaborone International Conference Center in two weeks’ time.
Cuba, a 29-year-old high flyer in South African corporate circles, will be the guest speaker at the fourth IFSC Career Fair, one of the biggest events on the Botswana corporate sector calendar.
She manages a company, chaired by Tokyo Sexwale, with a total value of about R 7 billion.
Cuba, who also sits on the boards of seven other companies, is expected to give young graduates an insight into how the corporate world works.
This will be in line with the IFSC’s mission of capacity building among young graduates by giving them practical working experience before they look for full time jobs. Further, the graduates will learn from a young, successful person of their age group.
Among Cuba’s achievements at her tender age are being a board member of AbsaÔÇöSouth Africa’s largest commercial bank, which is also listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) ÔÇöand Life Healthcare.
She is also a board member at Rebserve Cleaning Services, Abvest, Lifecare, TFMC and Royal Foods Sechaba. Over and above that, she oversees Mvelaphanda Interest at Batho Bonke Capital, Mvelaphanda Resources, and Group Five and at Unitrans.
The Career Fair was started in 2004 as part of the organization’s efforts to close the gap between the academic and the corporate world.
“In engaging more and more potential investors, the question of availability of sufficient and the right caliber of labour became pertinent,” says the IFSC. “Investors are not only curios about the choice of location of their investments but also ask interesting questions about the sufficiency of the labour force.”
IFSC says that investors want to know whether the country “has the right combination of skills and work ethos” before they can make a decision to place their investments in a particular location.
IFSC, the company, was conceived around the Dublin or Luxemburg model which was tasked with turning Botswana into Africa’s financial and ICT hub.
Companies registered through them can use Botswana as a launching pad to do business across the region and benefit from that by paying a concessionary tax rate of 15 percent.
However, in Botswana’s case, a lot still needs to be done to get the country to sign double taxation treaties with other countries to ensure that potential investors are not discouraged by multiple taxes.
At last year’s Career Fair, 400 young graduates and unemployed professionals attended and 16 companies exhibited there.
The fair offers an opportunity to both graduates and the exhibiting companies to meet and try to find out how to complement each other.
Normally, this leads to internships with interested companies and the majority of candidates end up being offered full time professional jobs.
The internship programme is hailed by the industry for molding graduates into future productive employees.
“Attendees had an opportunity to enquire about career prospects in the companies that participated,” said the IFSC about last year’s Career Fair. “At the end of the Fair, we were able to announce companies that had pledged to take on the interns.”
This year, the Career Fair falls on September 23 and will be at the GICC. It is expected to set a positive tone among the young graduates.
Cuba joined Mvelaphanda Holdings’ Corporate Finance division in January 2003 to facilitate the sourcing, valuation and execution of transactions within the Mvelaphanda group of companies. Within eight months, and as a result of her sterling effort, she was promoted to the position of Deputy CEO. In July this year, she took-over as the group’s CEO.
Before this impressive achievement, she worked for a range of companies, including Robertson’s Foods, Fisher Hoffman and PKF auditing firm.
Cuba holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town, having majored in Statistics. She also holds a bachelors degree in Commerce and Accounting from the same university and a Post-graduate Certificate in Advanced Auditing from the Rand Afrikaans University.