Navigation and mapping technology is increasingly making inroads into the telecoms space with more mobile handsets incorporating built-in global positioning system (GPS) functionality than ever before.

As a result, there is a clear shift in many business strategies – particularly by the mobile network operators, tourism operators and governments – to leverage the growing installed base of GPS-enabled mobile devices and provide value-added services around navigation technology.
Having successfully sealed a number of navigation deals in South Africa, Avnic Trading, the official distributor of Garmin products in Africa, and Garmap, the official African map data provider to Garmin, are continuing their drive into the telecoms, tourism and government sectors.
Expanding the availability of both navigation technology and quality map data throughout the rest of Africa is also of paramount importance to the two organisations.
Richard Fearon, group CEO for Avnic Holdings, has announced that Andrew Mthembu, a household name in the South African telecoms industry, has been appointed to the boards of both Avnic Trading and Garmap in order to help spearhead this new drive for both Avnic Trading and Garmap.
Mthembu, who was deputy group CEO at Vodacom Group and chairman of GSM Africa, is currently executive chairman of Imphandze Investment Holdings which he established in 2004.
Imphandze holds and pursues various investments across Africa in the areas of ICT, property development, energy & resources and tourism.
Mthembu sits on the boards of various other companies including the JSE-listed GijimaAst, the Johannesburg Expo Centre (NASREC), Broadband Infraco (a state-owned national / international broadband wholesale company), as well as Africa Prepaid Services (APS) – a company within the JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms Group.
He is a member of the boards of trustees of the UNISA Foundation and “Women and Men Against Child Abuse” – a non-governmental institution (NGO). He is also a past special ICT advisor to the Minister of Public Enterprises.
Mthembu was instrumental in developing and executing Vodacom’s African expansion strategy, which led to Vodacom successfully rolling out mobile network services in Mozambique, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo to name a few.
“Mthembu’s experience in the telecoms sector and throughout the rest of Africa will be an unbelievable asset to Avnic and Garmap as we continue our expansion not only on the continent, but also into specialised industry verticals like telecoms, tourism and government. More important is the fact that we regard this as the first step towards bringing Mthembu’s Imphandze on board as an equity participant in the group,” Fearon says.
“In addition to this directorship role, Andrew will execute a number of strategies to identify and facilitate relationships with national and provincial government, parastatal institutions and various empowerment-centric organisations with large user or subscriber communities.
“Mthembuwill assist in the planning and execution of a strategy to penetrate the tourism, travel and hospitality industry and finally, to advise and direct empowerment strategies for the group,” he concludes.