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How Africa Can Compete in the era of Anti-globalization

Darshan Chandaria

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If there is one thing, we can be certain of in this day and age, its uncertainty. The rise of populism in the recent past came as a surprise to many with the phenomenon manifesting in two highly politicized events in 2016; those being Brexit in Britain and the election of Donald Trump in America. The world was taken aback by the heated arguments that ensued and resulted in two unlikely outcomes.

The top issues on the table in 2016 were immigration and the loss of national identity. This is quite understandable because people are worried about their jobs, wages, and the erosion of their culture and are seeking an alternative to what is the consequence of globalization.

During the second half of the 20th Century, world leaders were confronted with the challenge to discover new tools that would govern the global economy, environment and changing circumstances of modern life. Thus, began the process of reconstruction from the previous nation-state to an internationalized structure. Consequently, economic, political, cultural, legal and other aspects of society were forced to adapt to the realities of globalization. Essentially, this meant the elimination and weakening of various regulatory functions; free movement of people from country-to-country and the formation of trading blocks, all with the aim of global thinking and doing business freely.

The seeds of the anti-globalization movement became evident in 1999 when riots broke out during the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle. The riots were led by an enraged group of opponents of international trade and the anti-globalization arguments; brought about by the institutionalization of the global financial system through institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the like. We must appreciate though, that anti-globalization has transformed into a more polarized movement from the days of the WTO Seattle riots. Anti-globalization has leaders questioning the unification of the world versus a nationalistic approach to global relations. What does this mean for Africa?

Protectionist Policies

Let me begin by citing an example of a recent move made by President Trump and the impact it has on Africa. Trump made a number of promises during the elections and one of them was an end to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He argued that the TPP agreement would have cost American’s their jobs and livelihood.

Prior to the formation of the TPP, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) had been in place since the year 2000, and was renewed for another 10 years in 2015, by President Obama.

AGOA enables African companies in the textile industry to export their finished products to the US market duty- free. The fact that it allows for 3rd party sourcing of fabric and still allows exportation to the US duty-free made it even more appealing to nations like Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mauritius and Madagascar that already have vibrant textile industries.

The TPP was going to offer the same opportunity to a hand full of Asian countries and Africa would have faced stiff competition from these markets. Sourcing fabric from 3rd parities would have resulted in long lead times, less value addition and the loss of opportunity in the American market for African manufacturers.

Asian products are preferable because they have more control over the factors of production, with more value addition than we do here in Africa. The reality of that matter is if Africa doesn’t improve in value addition in our products, we risk losing opportunities in the long run. In a sense this has bought Africa some time.

Many multinational companies are grappling with the future of business where nations are adopting more protectionist policies. This era calls for strategic thinking more than ever and high-level intelligence in order to identify emerging trends. In summary, business leaders need to adapt their operations to meet the challenges ahead in order to build robust businesses. Negotiation will be an important skill going forward and it will have to be up close and personal. This calls for an appreciation of people from different cultures and respect of the value systems they deem fundamental to their way of life. Back to the example I cited on the implications of the end of the TPP on Africa; protectionist policies are going to be a way of life in the business climate. Africa has a lot of work to do if we are going to compete globally any time soon.

As we move into a more self-regularized and protectionist business climate, Africa needs to reposition itself to offer tangible value to our trading partners. In order for us to attract investors we need to put regulations in place such as frameworks for trade that will integrate industries and assets to serve the goals of policy, in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Another aspect that needs improvement is the ability for people to understand the African business climate better. Kenya has been at the forefront in improving the ease of doing business index, however, more indices are required that show how the trade is expected to perform and other methods that enable investors to assess risks. Finally, we need to encourage more international cooperation through mutually beneficial partnerships with a long-term view that grows economies and ensure that growth is felt at the grassroots level – can we improve the lives of every African? This essentially means that Africa must develop long term plans dedicated to the development of its people.

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5-Step Guide to Achieving Effective Communication for Business leaders

Kimani Patrick

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As an entrepreneur, communication is a very important facet if you are going to grow your personal brand and grow your business to the next level

For you, is not just about exchanging information, it’s about understanding the emotions and intentions behind the information you relay and receive.

Effective communication is also a two-way street. It is not only how you convey a message so that it is received and understood by someone in exactly the way you intended, it is also how you listen to gain the full meaning of what’s being said and to make the other person feel heard and understood.

Apart from building trust, being an effective communicator means that your team can rely on you. You will build stronger relationships, employees will adopt your ideas, and you will reduce breakdowns as well as get more results for your business.

Being an effective communicator will also help you to understand other people better and when you understand them, you will relate to them in a meaningful way.

While you already know how to communicate, learning a few simple principles that can be applied immediately will make you an effective communicator and give you a huge advantage in today’s ultracompetitive business world.

Step 1: Be Friendly

When someone steps into your office to say hello, step out from behind your desk to shake his or her hand.

During a networking event or coffee break, don’t hold your beverage in a way that blocks your body or distances you from others. The higher you hold your coffee, the more of a physical barrier you put up between yourself and the person you’re talking to. Hold it closer to your waist, that way you will seem open and engaged.

Step 2: Keep Your Word

Doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it is the highest attainable level of disciple. When you promise someone something make sure you deliver within the agreed upon timeframe. If you are not able to meet your promise, communicate it in good time so that the other party can prepare for an alternative to avoid inconveniences.

Being disciplined in keeping your word communicates to people that you are a reliable and trustworthy person. This will help them want to keep you close and conduct business with you.

This also extends further to building your positive reputation and people will find it easy to recommend you whenever an opportunity shows up.

Step 3: Be Clear and Never Assume Anything

Assumptions are a major problem in communication, whether they are self-fulfilled assumptions or merely assuming that others see things in the exact same way that you do.

Never assume – the fact of the matter is that most people do not see things the way you do, nor do they have the same feelings as you do. The less you assume, the better. This falls in the category of making your communication is always clear.

Step 4: Be Authoritative

Even if you are friendly and down to earth, your relaxed attitude should never overshadow the fact that you are in control. When you are introduced to someone, stand tall, extend your hand, and introduce yourself by saying your name and what you do.

To sound authoritative, speak in a normal, conversational tone. And if you are a female, watch that your voice doesn’t rise at the end of a sentence as if you are asking a question or seeking approval.

When stating your opinion, use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.

Step 5: Learn How to Talk Business

If you are trying to get someone to open up then try using open-ended questions rather than yes or no interrogations. When reviewing your own tactful, analyze how you approach people. Do you bully them with close ended questions or do you ask them in a positive manner how the both of you can make necessary changes to get a project, for example, moving more efficiently.

The more effective you can be with you communication the more successful you will be – personally and professionally.

Have more ideas on effective communication? Share them in the comments’ section below.

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5 Murdered in South Africa as MTN, MultiChoice and Shoprite shut Branches in Nigeria amid Protests

News Team

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Five people, all foreign nationals, have been killed in the ongoing Xenophobic violence and protests in South Africa.

The violence which erupted late last week has seen businesses owned by citizens from other African countries looted, property damaged and truck drivers from neighboring countries being targeted and torched in the violent attacks.

South Africa – Pretoria – 29 August 2019 – Calm restored in the Pretoria CBD following burning of foreign owned shops. Photo: Africa News Agency / ANA

In a retaliatory move, Nigerian protesters took to the streets of Lagos on Tuesday evening to vent their anger by throwing stones and destroyed properties owned by SA brands such as MTN, Shoprite and MultiChoice.

Dozens of shoppers descended on Novare Shoprite Mall in Lekki, near Lagos, Nigeria and looted goods of unknown value while torching a police truck. Several other SA owned stores including PEP, MTN were looted and property destroyed in Surulere and Jakande.

Following the protests, South African television group MultiChoice has shut its offices and branches in Nigeria and Zambia, “We have had to shut branches and offices to safeguard customers and staff until further notices,” said its head of corporate affairs Jabavu Heshu on a statement on Wednesday morning.

On its case, MTN Group said it had closed its stores and service centers in Nigeria “as a precaution” after four stores in Nigeria were attacked on Tuesday evening. Sources indicate that the company also closed several stores in Johannesburg. The company, in a statement condemned the acts of violence.

Shoprite Holdings said in a statement on Wednesday that several stores in South Africa, Nigeria and Zambia were closed and extensive damage had been done to several supermarkets over the past 24 hours.

“(Shoprite) is highly concerned about the acts of xenophobic violence against foreign nationals that sporadically flare up and the resultant rhetoric of intolerance that is levelled against foreigners and the platform this creates for criminals to exploit this,” the company said in a statement.

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Go For Gold: Lessons From Chris Kirubi

Inversk Review

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As an entrepreneur, you have to pursue and attempt to achieve the very best possible outcome or reward from the same activity, task or endeavor. Below is advice transcribed from a few of Chris Kirubi’s #AskKirubi show.

Gold is very symbolic to mean the fine things in life. You don’t find gold all around you, but you find at least somewhere close to you. Very scarce indeed. Does that mean it is not meant for everyone? It’s all in your mind. Reach out for the best possible solutions. Reach out for the biggest venture. Reach out for the biggest investment.

Gold is a great reward. Great things don’t come easy. You will struggle to get to it, but the fruits will be there. To be the best, you have to effect change. Don’t be afraid to effect the change. Within our comfort zones, we as entrepreneurs might feel like we have actually achieved it all. When that feeling crosses your mind, that’s when you need to move and effect change. Change is the only constant thing in the world.

Don’t say you can’t move. When you get that mindset, you will be poor. The worst thing you should avoid is being poor in the mind. Do not conform your mind to weak struggles. Conform your mind with strong struggles such that you will put more effort in your deeds. Challenge yourself and out great effort into that. Then expect great rewards.

Arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge should be your weapon whenever you want to attack and get huge profit margins. Be hungry for knowledge and do not shy away from wanting to know more.

Go for quality. Quality begins with you. Be quality. Don’t be shady. How you look, is how you act. From what and how you dress, to how you carry yourself and interact. Look quality. Talk quality and expect nothing less of quality anywhere you venture into. When you are quality, you will definitely attract quality.

Build your own stature. No matter how difficult it may seem. It will cost you but it will be worth it. Do what you will be proud of. Quality will definitely make you a proud person.

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