Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Nigerian Stock Exchange to List Five ETFs this Year

Nigerian Stock Exchange to List Five ETFs this YearThe Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, said the exchange would list five exchange-traded funds (ETFs) this year to increase products available to investors.

He also said the exchange is putting strategies in place to increase the number of investors from five million to 40 million by 2016. The NSE had last year listed the first ETF (NewGold).

Speaking at the BusinessDay Capital Market Annual Conference in Lagos yesterday, Onyema said more ETFs would be listed this year, just as he restated the call for the listing of already privatised companies of government on the bourse.

Nigeria: Finance - Elumelu, Task FG to Support Entrepreneurs to Grow Economy

Tony Elumelu
The Federal Government has been advised to support entrepreneurs by providing them with adequate funding and create an enabling environment that will boost their businesses and in turn grow the economy.

Tony Elumelu, the philanthropic entrepreneur whose self-named foundation has been promoting business excellence and leadership across the continent for the last three years said, Nigeria's entrepreneurs should be firmly encouraged to continue making sustainable investments in the local economy, as this will form a new approach toward building competitive industries in +Africa.

In fulfilment of its mandate to promote entrepreneurship and competitiveness throughout Africa, The Tony Elumelu Foundation hosted its Founding Patron, the world's foremost expert on business strategy and competitiveness, Professor Michael Porter, at a series of lectures and events intended to inspire and improve business leaders from around the country.

Who Else Wants to Invest in Nigerian Stocks?

Photo by World Bank
Photo by World Bank
In case you missed it, the Nigerian Stock Exchange is making investors wealthy of late.

Thanks to a raft of reforms and a growing realization of the investment opportunities in Africa’s most populous nation, the MSCI Nigeria Index is up 78.6% over the past 12 months.And this bull run looks like it may have some real legs. The market remains well below its five-year high. The five largest companies on the exchange have an average P/E ratio of 15.4 in spite of them averaging earnings growth of 40.6%. And 23 foreign portfolio managers are poised to dive into the market.
I’m guessing some of you would like to do the same. Unfortunately, the market isn’t as easily accessible as its larger counterpart in Johannesburg. So how exactly can a non-resident invest in Nigerian stocks?
Investing in Nigeria via ETFs and Mutual Funds
The simplest entry point for most US-based investors is through an ETF. This is as easy as buying any other stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. The downside is that your exposure to the Nigerian market will be limited the weight given to it by the ETF’s portfolio manager. The majority of these funds’ holdings are not Nigerian, so you’ll want to take a close look to see if the portfolio as a whole fits with your investment strategy.

NCC Slashes Call Tariffs

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released new set of interconnection rates for voice services.

This can be seen as the desired response of many Nigerians, in line with complaints made over the high tariffs charged by these telecoms operators in the country.

The Director of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo told a news conference in Abuja that the new rates which takes effect from 1st April and will last for the next three years and will significantly favour subscribers.

The review, which will start from April 1, 2013, was agreed on after comprehensive consultations with various stakeholders, the NCC said in a statement on Thursday.

“The new termination rates, which significantly reviewed prices downwards, are informed by the depth of competition in the industry, while taking into consideration the position of new entrants and small operators,” the commission said in the statement.

Nigerian Stock Exchange Launches X-Issuer

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has introduced the first ever issuers’ portal in the Nigerian capital market, known as X-Issuer.

Brokers work on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange
in the commercial capital, Lagos
The new portal, which was formally launched on Tuesday, is one of a number of new regulatory initiatives of the NSE that will allow online information submission for enhanced interaction between the exchange and listed companies.

The portal is expected to encourage transparency and accountability, and will expedite the discharge of issuers’ post-listings obligations relating to structured and continuous disclosures.

The X-Issuer will also offer unique benefits of data capture, form submission validation and other ancillary services such as submission notification mechanisms and tracking of submitted information.
With this, listed companies no longer need to submit hard copies of information to the exchange by post, hand delivery or courier.

FBN Holdings Delights At Resolution Of Tax Issues For Nigerian Bank Holding Companies

FBN Holdings PlcVENTURES AFRICA – The management of FBN Holdings Plc expressed delight at the timely resolution of tax issues which has engendered an equitable taxation regime for Bank Holding Companies in the nation.

The Bank Holding Companies emerged in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Regulation on the Scope of Banking Activities & Ancillary Matters, No. 3, 2010 requiring the separation of commercial banking business from other financial services businesses. They include FBN Holdings Plc, Stanbic IBTC, UBA, and FCMB.

Speaking on the issue, the CEO of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Bello Maccido said the holding companies at inception faced a major concern over possible interpretation of existing tax statutes that would lead to the double taxation of dividends. There was also a concern about the magnitude of transaction costs that would be incurred by the banks in responding to the change in regulations.

Aig-Imoukhuede, Yuguda may replace Sanusi as CBN gov

Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede
Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede
Indications have emerged that President Goodluck Jonathan may be considering the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, and Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State to replace Mallam Lamido Sanusi as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Isa Yuguda, is also said to be lobbying to get the plum job and is actively pushing his candidacy through Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

Sanusi, whose tenure end early next year, has said he would not seek reappointment for a second five-year term.

The CBN governor, whose grandfather was Emir of Kano, had openly expressed his interest in becoming the next Emir.

Even before Sanusi’s declaration, Presidency sources had said he was not likely to be nominated for another term despite enjoying a rather successful but controversial tenure.

Sources said top Presidency officials feel that Sanusi’s nomination might become a problem for President Jonathan if he is put forward next year as the CBN governor has become one of the biggest critics of the administration’s huge spending on political office holders and other cronies of those in power.

CBN okays new forex policy on importation

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has kicked-off the self-service process in the automation of foreign exchange forms, now known as Electronic Form M (e-Form M) on the trade monitoring system.

It also approved a fee to be paid by importers and traders for accessing the e-Form M on the single window for trade.

The e-Form M automation, which was scripted to aid the apex bank’s cash-less initiative and remove bottlenecks involved in making foreign exchange transactions, especially by importers, would now be initiated by individuals concerned.

In a statement signed by the Director of Trade and Exchange Department, W.D. Gotring, the apex bank noted that following the successful deployment of the forex form on the Nigerian Single Window for Trade portal, it became necessary to commence the self-submission of the form by importers and traders.

NSE to unveil supplementary market makers April 2

    NSE to unveil supplementary market makers April 2THE Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) will unveil supplementary market makers on April 2.
Briefing the press yesterday, the Executive Director for Market Operations, Ade Bajomo said that the market makers would complement the activities of primary market makers introduced in September, 2012.

Besides, he said that on that date the circuit breaker for all quoted stocks on the NSE would move 10 per cent upward.

According to him, the aim is to ensure liquidity in the capital market.

He said that the minimum requirement for each supplementary market maker would be N250, 000 and that the exchange had received 20 applications.

Bajomo said that the exchange would ensure there is no limit to the number of supplementary market markers, adding that whoever qualifies would be picked.

NCC registers over 100million telecom lines in Nigeria

Nigeria is the fastest communication growing country in Africa with the National Communication Commission (NCC) registering over 100million communication lines and subscribers. The development amounts to 81 percent telecommunication density which is also the largest in the continent.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Mr Eugene Juwah, made these disclosures Friday at the ongoing Enugu International Trade Fair. He was Sunday Atuh who added that through the Universal Access Programme, the Commission had ensured deployment of telecommunication services to the rural areas.

“Our mobile number portability initiative will commence by March 26. This is a new platform where a subscriber can move from one network to another using his or her mobile number,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Communication, Sen. Gil Nnaji, at the occasion, criticised the spate of destruction on telecommunication facilities, saying it will affect services.
Nnaji, representing Enugu East Senatorial zone, called for restraint, saying the senate would continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Communication to provide adequate infrastructure to aid efficient services.

“We are worried by the state of bombings and motiveless destruction of telecommunication facilities and installations. I plead with every individual and groups to refrain from acts capable of disrupting the smooth operations of telecommunication services,’’ he said.
Source: Daily Times

Unilever calling in on Africa

Project Shakti is unleashing the potential of rural India. Unilever is now kicking off the experiment in Nigeria and Kenya.

Project Shakti is unleashing the potential of rural India. Unilever is now kicki

Consumers throughout the western world are used to those famous two words ... "Avon calling". Now the people of Africa will be exposed to the same selling technique, but instead of just cosmetics it will be shampoos, cleaning fluids and detergents they can buy – courtesy of multinational giant Unilever.

The first countries to benefit from the company's direct to consumer distribution scheme – known as shakti – which has already been a huge hit in India, will be Nigeria and Kenya.

And another major difference from Avon is that the army of Shakti vendors in Africa won’t comprise solely of women, as men are being recruited too.

Unilever’s move into shakti comes on the back of increased disposable income in India and certain parts of Africa, but where distribution is made difficult by poor road and rail networks.

“We are kicking off the experiment as we speak in Nigeria and Kenya,” said Frank Braeken, head of the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate’ in Africa.

“Women work full-time in Africa; they are the ones who really carry the agricultural economy. The men decide on the crop to plant and the women do the work. So that can make it more challenging for us to hire women,” he says.

Nigerian teams are more likely to be a combination of men and women.

Unilever, producers of Dove skin care and Flora margarine, are developing the model of employing tens of thousands of vendors that it started in India in 2000.

There, the Shakti programme employed women to sell to friends and family in remote villages. It began with just 17 women in two states but now has 45,000 women serving more than 3m households.

In Africa, though, Frank Braeken believes it will be tougher to recruit sufficient women.
Nestle already runs similar schemes in parts of Africa. It has over a thousand ice cream vendors in South Africa – who are given bikes, uniforms and even washing machines – as well as 5,500 individual vendors in the central part of west Africa.

A similar scheme in the Democratic Republic of Congo is targeting 100 first-time women entrepreneurs selling Nestle products in the streets of Kinshasa by the end of the year.

Unilever provides microfinance for its vendors and Mr Braeken sees this as a potential difficulty in Africa where banking infrastructure is less well-established than in India.

While the Shakti programme allows Unilever to distribute its products to far-flung places it could not otherwise reach, the conglomerate points out that it also provides a livelihood for people – especially women – who might otherwise struggle to find work. Instead, the scheme allows them to make a monthly profit of $15-$22, Unilever says.

Unilever generates annual sales of more than €5bn ($7.2bn) in Africa.

Understanding Business & Social Culture In Sub-Saharan Africa

Business in AfricaVENTURES AFRICA – Sub-Saharan Africa consists of 48 countries and is more than three times the size of the USA. With the Democratic Republic of Congo as large as all of Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa presents immense investment potential.

Africa has 90 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves, 80 percent of the chrome, 50 percent of the gold, 50 percent+ platinum, 33 percent uranium. Nigeria, Africa’s second-largest economy, is the fifth largest supplier of oil globally.

In Africa, social and business culture reflects the past colonial history, which divides this vast land into three groups:

▪ Anglophone countries (English speaking)
▪ Francophone countries (French speaking)
▪ Lusaphone countries (Portuguese speaking)

How 'outsider' Fletcher clinched major deal to fight disease in Nigeria

Fletcher Rae's plans for the massive facility in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Fletcher Rae's plans for the massive facility in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
By Eric Jackson
With an office that is literally in the shadow of the Beetham Tower, one of the tallest, most recognisable buildings in the UK, Manchester architect Bob Fletcher could be forgiven for feeling a tad envious.

Such edifices, especially when they attract tenants like the Hilton and are quirkily top heavy, pick up awards and bestow glamour and fame, but the joint MD of the architects Fletcher Rae, whose studios nestle in the renovated Castlefield area of the city and employs 18 people, takes pride that most of his projects are a lot larger but a little bit more down to earth – as low as one storey, in fact, and are now helping third world progress.
“I was originally branded as a bit of a shed-head,” says the ebullient north Manchester-born father of two about one of his company’s specialities for major manufacturing and logistics facilities.
“But if something functions well, it’s delivered on time and on budget and people like it, that’s the real satisfaction. I’m not too worried about the publicity.”
Bob, though, who at 60 doesn’t look a day over 50 with thick, dark hair, has reason to hold his ‘shed- head’ high.

Zenith hits new Nigerian banking peak with London Stock Exchange listing

Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest banks, has officially listed on The London Stock Exchange.
The bank, which was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2004, has subsidiaries in the UK, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and representative offices in South Africa and China.

With a customer base of over two million accounts at 366 branches and total assets of $27bn, it is the biggest Nigerian bank in terms of Tier 1 capital and shareholders' funds.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, managing director and chief executive officer of Zenith Bank, said: “We are delighted with the success of our inaugural GDR listing.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

IPSAS: An African odyssey

By: Sylva Okolieaboh

Compared to the West, African nations seem to be in a hurry when it comes to implementing International Public Sector Accounting Standards. We’ll know soon whose model works best

If you are an African, a friend of Africa, a public financial management practitioner of African descent or a good governance and public accountability crusader in Africa, this is your time to rejoice. Your homeland is on to something new, noble and bold, as a wave of awareness sweeps through our continent.

From the banks of the South Atlantic bordering the Cape of Good Hope through the rough hard tops of Zuma Rock to the wide, wild expanse of Tahir Square, change has met Africa in an unusual, unexpected but pleasant place. International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) have made a triumphant entry into Africa. And Africa has, in turn, embraced IPSAS.

IPSAS are a collection of public sector accounting standards issued by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB). Fashioned after International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), their private sector predecessor, IPSAS seek uniformity and consistency in public sector financial reporting across jurisdictions.

Nigerian Naira Weakens as Central Bank Reduces Dollar Supplies

The naira depreciated to the lowest in almost a week as the Central Bank of Nigeria offered fewer dollars at an auction, offsetting its decision to hold the key lending rate at a record high to support the currency.
The currency of Africa’s biggest oil producer fell 0.2 percent to 158.95 per dollar by 4:19 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Abuja-based bank sold $280 million at a foreign-currency auction today, less than the $300 million given out at the previous sale on March 18, it said in an e-mailed statement. The Monetary Policy Committee kept its benchmark interest rateat a record high of 12 percent for a ninth consecutive meeting yesterday to support the naira.

“Traders reacted to lower dollar supply by the central bank amid rising demand,” Sewa Wusu, an analyst at Lagos-based Sterling Capital Ltd., said by phone. “The policy rate should boost naira overtime as it checks liquidity of the local unit.”

In the next week, the naira should trade at about 158.7 per dollar with monetary policy support, Kunle Ezun and Kenneth Asenime, analysts at Ecobank Transnational Inc. in Lagos, wrote in an e-mailed note to clients today.

The yield on the country’s 16.39 percent domestic bonds due January 2022 declined 34 basis points to 11.26 percent in the secondary market, according to yesterday’s data compiled on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website. Yields on the $500 million of Eurobonds due January 2021 declined 10 basis points to 4.232 percent.

Ghana’s cedi weakened 0.1 percent to 1.9373 per dollar in Accra, the capital.

Source: Bloomberg

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Secrets of What Makes a Product Go Viral

The Secrets of What Makes a Product Go ViralTen years ago, had you ever heard of the hand sanitizer Purell? It existed, but nobody really used it. Then one day, it was everywhere. Grocery stores placed dispensers at the door, nail salons gave it to clients, and people started carrying travel size bottles in their bags. With little advertising, how did Purell catch on?

Jonah Berger, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, has dedicated his career to answering that question. As he explains in his new book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster, 2013), every viral product has six key features in common -- features that can be replicated to make any product go viral.
"People often think that contagious products just get lucky," Berger says. "But it's not luck and it’s not random. It's science."

According to Berger's research, specific circumstances and attributes empower consumers to share a given product. Any business can leverage those insights to create a viral hit. "You don't need a huge advertising budget," Berger says.

As many as half of consumers' purchasing decisions are driven by word of mouth marketing -- it's trustworthy and far more targeted than traditional advertising. Plus, the majority of those interactions happen offline, where advertisements can't reach. "Authenticity is a big reason word of mouth impacts behavior," Berger says.

To create a viral product that consumers are inspired to share authentically, incorporate these key elements.

1. Social currency. Consumers are more likely to adopt a product if it makes them feel special or ahead of the curve. For example, Gilt's exclusive sales helped it become one of the hottest online shopping sites.

2. Triggers. Products that catch on become part of our everyday lives, so successful products create reasons and reminders to return on a regular basis. For example, Facebook and Twitter drive you back to their sites every time they email you to say you have a new message or mention.

3. Emotional impact. People tend to evangelize a product if it affected them emotionally, whether it solved a stressful problem or brightened a bad day. For example, if a Buzzfeed article makes you laugh, you’ll likely share it with friends who need a lift.

4. Visibility. Giving a product a distinctive feature, such as a standout logo or color, helps consumers notice when others are using it. For example, you immediately recognize iPods because Apple made the headphones white when other companies all used black.

5. Practical value. A truly useful product that helps the user become more effective is more likely to be recommended often. For example, Evernote is very good at helping users remember and organize information, so it's often recommended for research.

6. Stories. If people are going to share your product, they need to be able to tell its story. That can be as simple as a clear statement about what the product does, or as complicated as a really interesting origin story. For example, people who buy TOMS shoes love telling others how one pair is donated for every pair you buy.

Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Won’t Renew Contract

Lamido Sanusi
Nigeria’s central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said he won’t renew his contract when his five-year term expires next year.

Sanusi, who has led the bank of Africa’s biggest oil producer since June 2009, said it was never his intention to stay longer than one term. He was speaking in an interview with CNBC Africa in Abuja, the capital.

Appointed in the midst of a debt crisis that threatened the collapse of the nation’s banking system, Sanusi, 51, fired the chief executives of eight lenders within four months of taking office. An audit of banks at the time found evidence of mismanagement and reckless lending.

In 2011, he was named central bank governor of the year by London-based The Banker magazine.
Nigerian inflation probably won’t accelerate too far above 10 percent this year, Sanusi told CNBC. The inflation rate rose to 9.5 percent in February from 9 percent in the previous month.

“We don’t think we are going to see inflation above double digits this year,” he said.

How to Win a Business Negotiation

How to Win a Business NegotiationIf you're in business, you're a negotiator. You have no choice. Business doesn't happen unless two or more people enter into a transaction.
This can be as simple as buying inventory or as complicated as a merger of two public companies.
Without transactions, business doesn't happen, and every transaction involves a certain amount of negotiation.
When you're in business, negotiating the best possible deals is a high, if not the highest, priority. As a business owner, you can't know enough about negotiating.

It's a lot easier to describe what negotiation “isn't” than what it is. Let's get some things straight upfront. Negotiation is not:
  1. A search for truth, justice and the American way.
  2. A friendly discussion at the corner of Starbucks.
  3. A quest for the perfect solution to a business problem.
Make no mistake: Negotiation is a game. The goal in negotiation is to win -- to get the best deal you can. Period.
To get ready for any negotiation, you must do three things:

Why the Samsung Galaxy S4 May Be Better for Business Than Apple's iPhone 5

Why the Samsung Galaxy S4 May Be Better for Business Than Apple's iPhone 5
image credit:
Last week in New York City, Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy S4 smartphone. Obvious questions arise. Is it a good option for business users? And, how does it compare to Apple's iPhone?
Here's a look at some of the most important features and how the Samsung Galaxy S4 stacks up:
Screen: The S4's five-inch touchscreen is slightly larger than the Galaxy S3's 4.8 inches. But it is substantially larger than the iPhone 5's four inches.
The screen size alone will be a key benefit over the iPhone 5 for many business users. When you're working with documents, databases, or taking notes, a larger screen is often easier to use -- especially for touchscreen typing.

The resolution of the S4 display is comparable that of the iPhone 5's Retina display. The S4 features a high-definition Super AMOLED screen, with a resolution 441 pixels per inch (ppi). Apple's iPhone 5 Retina display has a resolution of 326 ppi.

How Your Network Can Make You More Productive

How Your Network Can Make You More ProductiveHave you found that your productivity fluctuates, relative to the people you spend the most time with? There are people in your network who will encourage your productivity and people who will drain your enthusiasm and energy -- even after just a conversation with them. You want to spend more time with that first group.

"Change who you spend your life with, and your life will change," Les Brown, author and motivational speaker, once told me when we were backstage together at a conference. We have choices about who we spend our time with and some people help us be more productive than others.
Imagine having a fabulous team of people around you that provides honest, constructive feedback; helps you move forward and grow your business and has only your best interests at heart. Even as an entrepreneur with limited resources to hire and recruit people, you often have such a team in your corner when you take the time to activate them.

10 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying a Business

10 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying a BusinessAndrew Cagnetta bought his first business -- a pasta shop in Wethersfield, Conn. -- at age 25 and quickly realized he hadn't done his homework thoroughly enough. Although he stuck to the shop's original recipes and products, customers began complaining that the recipes had changed. Sales declined, and in less than two years, Cagnetta and his cousin, the co-owner, ended up selling the store.
They had bought the shop from two elderly women who had run it for years, not realizing how integral the previous owners had been to its success. "One question I should have asked [the previous owners] was what do they think drove people to the store?" Cagnetta says.

He would never make that mistake again. 22 years later, he now owns Transworld Business Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which helps buyers ask the right questions before buying a business. "There are no stupid questions," Cagnetta says. "The more questions you ask, the less risk there will be."
Where to begin? Here are 10 key questions to ask sellers before agreeing to buy their business.

10 Questions to Ask Before Quitting Your Job to Start a Business

10 Questions to Ask Before Quitting Your Job to Start a BusinessGiving up the security of a full-time job to start your own business is a risky, often stressful move. "The biggest reason people don't end up quitting is the fear of uncertainty. They don't know what might happen and they don't want to give up the security that they already have," says Sean Ogle, who quit a job in finance to live in Thailand and run a virtual search engine optimization and Web consultancy.
How do you know when the time is right to make the leap? Here are 10 questions to ask before you quit your job.

Are you just miserable in your current job?
Some people who think they want to be entrepreneurs are just unhappy in their current roles, says Pamela Slim, the Mesa, Ariz.-based author of Escape from Cubicle Nation (Penguin, 2010). Developing a thorough business plan can help you avoid any impulsive decisions. "In addition to wanting to quit, you have to have a viable business idea and an effective marketing and operations plan," she says. As you work on your plan, she advises, keep your job and income as long as possible.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing an Office Space

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing an Office Space
image credit: Office Space
Choosing office space can be very challenging because your decision will have so many repercussions for your business. The wrong location, for example, could cost you employees or clients. What's more, you have to base your choice on your company's future needs, not just your current situation.
Given that landlords prefer lease terms of three to five years, entrepreneurs should consider these questions carefully before signing on the dotted line:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod

Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists. 

Rob Reid is a humor author and the founder of the company that created the music subscription service Rhapsody.

Why you should listen to him:     
Rob Reid is an author and a serial entrepreneur. He founded the company that created the Rhapsody music website, and his latest book, Year Zero, will be published in July. In it, aliens seek to erase the ruinous fines on their vast collections of pirated American music by destroying the Earth. Parts of it are made up. The audiobook version will be read by John Hodgman.

Amanda Palmer: The art of asking

Amanda PalmerDon't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.

Alt-rock icon Amanda Fucking Palmer believes we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable -- and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.

Why you should listen to her:
Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.

But the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop, offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom. Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her local collaborators in cash). And it's interesting to consider why. As Laurie Coots suggests: "The idea was heckled because we didn't understand the value exchange -- the whole idea of asking the crowd for what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less."

Summing up her business model, in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”

"Palmer is set to join Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails as the artists people mention when they talk about the new music business." - Billboard

Outgoing IFAC chief executive pushes G20 on accounting standards

Ian Ball, chief executive of IFAC Photo: Sam Kesteven
The outgoing chief executive of the International Federation of Accountants has called on Russia to use its presidency of the Group of Twenty leading nations to press for wider adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards. 

Speaking in Moscow on the eve of last week’s summit of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, Ian Ball said supporting the adoption and implementation of Ipsas would strengthen global financial stability.
The Russian presidency, which runs throughout 2013, should create a better understanding of the need to significantly enhance the quality of accounting by governments, he said.

Accounting bodies hail G20 emphasis on public sector reporting

Group of 20 in Russia
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors at last month's meeting in Russia
The Group of Twenty leading nations’ emphasis on transparent and comparable public sector financial reporting at its latest meeting has been welcomed by CIPFA and the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board. 

In a document issued after a meeting in Moscow last month, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors said achieving a stronger public sector balance sheet would require work to better assess the risks to public debt sustainability.

This included taking into account country-specific circumstances, looking at the ‘transparency and comparability’ of public sector reporting, and monitoring the impact of financial sector vulnerabilities on public debt.

NLNG earnings hit N9tr, gas production rises to 23 mtpa

THE Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) has earned about $60 billion (about N9 trillion) from its gas production and shipping business in the past 13 years.

The Managing Director,Nigeria LNG, Babs Omotowa, who revealed this at the 2013 yearly Olobiri lecture Series in Lagos, on Thursday, said the earnings were made from 3000 LNG shipments made locally and to the international market.
According to him, the company’s gas production has incre
ased to about 23 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), an increase of one million from 22mtpa from previous production.

Although, stakeholders in the industry have recently raised concerns that Nigeria’s LNG production may not record any significant increase until 2015, due to some unfavourable factors, Omotowa was however, optimistic about growth in LNG output.

Tax implication of IFRS adoption in Nigeria

IN line with section 8 of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Establishment Act 2007, FIRS issued a draft circular in October 2012 to provide direction to stakeholders on the tax implications of the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). IFRS is expected to far have reaching implications on taxpayers, knowing that quoted companies are expected to adopt it, beginning from 2012, other businesses from 2013 while SMEs are to fully adopt the guidelines in 2014.

This is to give effect to the Federal Executive Council’s acceptance of the recommendation of the committee on the roadmap for the adoption of IFRS in Nigeria, which places emphasis on the adoption of globally accepted accounting standards by reporting entities.

SME development: Path to becoming Nigeria’s engine of growth

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contribute nearly half of Nigeria’s GDP and are central to its future prosperity and social balance. Yet too little is known about Nigeria’s SMEs and what obstacles stand in their way. A new, Pathbreaking study carried out by SMEDAN, Nigeria’s apex body for small and medium enterprise development policy in collaboration with the German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ), highlights some of their challenges in Nigeria and also possible ways to help their businesses grow.

IFRS: CBN sets 2014 deadline for SMEs’ compliance

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set up a roadmap On International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) stipulating compliance by all Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) by January 31, 2014.

The roadmap, The Nation learnt, requires that the entire business community in the country would implement and converge in phases, while the phases are submerged within a general implementation framework. The general plan would therefore ensure that appropriate changes and restructuring are made to processes, systems and the personel in terms of training and capacity building.

The IFRS is a globally-accepted set of accounting standards, framework and interpretations, adopted by the International Accounting Standard Board (IASB and its interpretative body, the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC).

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

China-Africa Honeymoon Over? Nigeria Central Bank Governor Thinks So

The governor of Nigeria’s Central bank, Lamido Sanusi, has warned that Africa must “remove the rose-tinted glasses” through which it view China.
In this Financial Times article, Sanusi says the relationship is no longer that of two peers in the developing world. Instead, it was one of an imperialist power exploiting a weaker economy.
Sanusi then criticized the Chinese regime for hampering Africa’s industrialization and development.
Mike Morris is the director of Policy Research in International Services and Manufacturing at Cape Town University. He says African nations need to have a united approach towards China.
[Mike Morris, Professor, School of Economics, Cape Town University]:
“China has a policy and a strategy for Africa. Africa as a whole doesn’t have one for China. In other words, what that means is that China can deal with 52 countries with one policy and strategy. The African countries are all trying to cut a bilateral deal between themselves and cut the next country out, and not able to stand together in one forum as one voice, and that would be to the best of their advantage.”

Wanted: Young African Entrepreneurs

Anzisha PrizeJOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, March 12, 2013 – African Press Organization (APO) With more than $75 000 USD in prizes it’s one of Africa’s richest youth entrepreneurial competitions and young business people from around the continent are encouraged to enter.

The prestigious Anzisha Prize ( rewards young African entrepreneurs who are making a difference by transforming their communities. It celebrates initiative and innovation and identifies those who are leading by example and underscores their ability to significantly shape the future of Africa.

With $75 000 USD in cash prizes, the Anzisha Prize is hosted by the African Leadership Academy in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. There is also a $10 000 USD Energy Prize which will be awarded to the applicant who demonstrates ingenuity in developing sustainable renewable energy sources.

Optimism emerges over European funding for African research facilities in Africa

Political momentum is growing in both Europe and Africa behind the idea that investment in research facilities is as important as investment in roads and schools for a country’s development.
But a lot of work needs to be done over the next few months, on both sides, to ensure that a willingness in principle to commit such funding is translated into the practical steps needed to get the money flowing.

This was the main conclusion to emerge from a two-day conference that took place as part of the meeting on EU Science: Global Challenges & Global Collaboration, which ended in Brussels on Friday.

The workshop was the concluding event of a two-year initiative, funded by the European Union, known as Promoting Africa-EU Research Partnership Infrastructure Project (PAERIP).

Fewer clean audits – AG of South Africa

Auditor General Terence Nombembe
South Africa Auditor General
Terence Nombembe
The number of government institutions receiving clean financial audits has decreased, according to the 2011/12 report released by Auditor General Terence Nombembe on Tuesday.

Only 117 of the 536 government institutions (22%) evaluated across South Africa achieved clean audits.

Analysis over a three-year period reveals a steady decline in the number of entities achieving clean audits.

During 2009/10, some 31% of audited entities achieved clean audits. In 2010/11, the figure dropped to 25%, and in 2011/12 only 22% received a clean bill of health from the auditors.

India's Bharti raises stake in Nigeria unit to 79%

Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile phone operator, said on Wednesday it had acquired an additional 13.36% stake in Nigerian unit, Airtel Networks, from existing shareholders to raise its total holding to 79.06%.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Edited by: Reuters

More investment interest in Africa than anywhere else – KPMG

Michael Andrew
Michael Andrew
Audit, tax and advisory services firm KPMG received more enquiries for investment strategies into the African continent than for any other global market, developed or otherwise, KPMG global chairperson Michael Andrew said on Monday.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion ahead of the fifth yearly Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) Summit, to be held in Durban at the end of March, Andrew asserted that an emerging continental middle class was driving intensified interest in core consumer market investment.
“To give a sense of scale, about a year ago, we were receiving between two and three enquiries a week around investment strategies into Africa, which has now grown to between 15 and 18 enquiries a week. It’s really ramped up,” added KPMG global Africa COO Anthony Thunstrom.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Diezani: PIB Will Help Develop Nigeria’s Oil, Gas Reserves

3006 Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Petroleum Resources Minister.jpg - 3006 Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Petroleum Resources Minister.jpg
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has stated that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which passed through second reading last week, would ensure the development of Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves.

The long delay in the passage of the oil industry reform bill has resulted in rapid decline in new investments in the oil and gas industry.
Speaking at the Africa Energy Summit session during the Cambridge Energy Research Association (CERAWEEK 2013) in Houston, Texas, United States, the minister, who was represented by the Group Executive Director Exploration and Production, at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Abiye Membere, noted that the PIB would usher in new opportunities in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Prepare for IFRS, Council Urges SMEs

By Obinna Chima

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has advised Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operating in the country to get ready for the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) from December 31, 2014.

The council also urged Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of companies in the country to invest in the education of their employees on the recently adopted international accounting standard, so as to enhance accountability.
CEO/Executive Secretary, FRC, Mr Jim Obazee, gave this advice during an executive briefing on IFRS for CEOs and top management of companies in Lagos.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Gary Kovacs: Tracking the trackers

As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil -- personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it's your right to know what data is being collected about you and how it affects your online life. He unveils a Firefox add-on to do just that.

Gary Kovacs is the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, where he directs the development of Firefox.

Why you should listen to him:     

Gary Kovacs is the CEO of Mozilla Corporation with the responsibility for leading the overall direction of the organization and the Firefox Web browser. Prior to joining Mozilla, Gary held senior leadership roles as Senior VP of Markets, Solutions & Products at Sybase (through its acquisition by SAP earlier this year), as General Manager and VP of Mobile & Devices at Adobe and as VP of Product Marketing at Macromedia (through its acquisition by Adobe). Previously, he led the successful creation and growth of Zi Corporation, a company specializing in embedded software and services for mobile and consumer devices. Prior to Zi Corporation, Gary spent 10 years at IBM in leadership positions in product management, sales, marketing and operations within the global software division.

The 20 Most Powerful Women In African Business

ar113-327x245“You have to think fast in business. If someone asks – Are you selling your blouse? Sell it!
You can always buy another one. The first day I opened my shop, I only had five bunches of roses.
My first customer didn’t see the flowers I had – all he saw was water. So he asked me: Are you selling water? I told him – Yes! That 20 cents he gave me was my first income. You have to be brave. You have to be aggressive. Don’t be embarrassed.” -

VENTURES AFRICA - With incredible business savvy, determination and resilience, many African women have succeeded in creating a name for themselves. Whether they achieved by moving up the ranks of the corporate world, through entrepreneurial innovation or fighting for social justice, these 20 Women represent the most powerful of the African business cohort across various industries.
Like Dinah, each woman’s remarkable achievement is the result of a combination of many elements: identifying and maximising opportunities, striving for excellence in everything and a refusal to turn from their vision. Maybe you’re just starting out in your career; perhaps you are 30 years deep, let something from these women drive you to be the absolute best in whatever you do – be it creating floral masterpieces or brokering contracts worth millions.

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita (South Africa) CEO ArcelorMittal
As the Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal SA, Nonkululeko leads the South African branch of the global steel manufacturer which is the largest producer of steel on the African continent, a position requiring steely determination. Prior to this, she served as the Chief Officer in charge of Mergers and Acquisitions in the Vodacom Company.

Siza Mzimela (South Africa) CEO South African Airways, Oprah Winfrey Academy
Siza Mzimela was appointed in 2010 as the first female Chief Executive Officer of South African Airways. After joining the company in 1996 as a Research Analyst, Siza moved up the ranks to assume her current position while garnering recognition for her work in tourism. She serves on the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy board and was a finalist for 2002 Nedbank Businesswoman of the Year award.

Isabel Dos Santos (Angola) President’s daughter, oil, diamonds and media
First daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola, Isabel Dos Santos has made her mark as perhaps the most powerful and richest woman in her country. Deftly using family influence and financial backing by her father, she started her own business. Through strategic investing, she currently has holdings in diamond trading industry, media, retail and energy both in Angola and Portugal.

Mamphele Ramphele (South Africa) CEO Circle Capital Partners, former MD of World Bank
Former Managing Director of the World Bank group, Mamphele is a renowned academic and businesswoman. She has succeeded in her work as a medical doctor and anti-apartheid activist and she now sits on the board for the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, rewarding good governance in Africa and leads Circle Capital Ventures, a Black Economic Empowerment Private Equity firm.

Bridgette Radebe (South Africa) Founder and Chairman Mmakau (Platinum, coal, chrome gold)
Bridgette Radebe, elder sister of South African Billionaire Patrice Motsepe, wields great power in the mining industry. She founded and runs Mmakau Mining with investments in platinum, gold, coal and chrome. She is the nation’s first black female mining entrepreneur and serves as the President of the South African Mining Development Association and was awarded the International Business Person of the Year Award in 2008 from Global Foundation for Democracy.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) World Bank, Minister of Finance, Co-Founder Makeda fund
Well-known for her role as the Managing Director, World Bank and her part in shaking up Nigeria’s finances, Dr Ngozi has returned to her country as the current Minister of Finance and leader of President Jonathan’s economic team. She continues to work towards economic reform and investing in capital projects with the aim of reducing Nigeria’s high unemployment rates. She founded the Makeda Fund, investing in helping African women entrepreneurs.

Folake Folarin-Coker (Nigeria) CEO, Fashion designer, Tiffany Amber
Responsible for revolutionising the Nigerian fashion industry in 1998, Folake started the Tiffany Amber brand. Every collection created pays respect to her African heritage blended with the influence of her childhood spent in Europe. The Tiffany Amber collections have received wide acclaim in the global fashion industry, showing in fashion weeks in Lagos, London, Paris and South Africa. She is the first African designer to have shown at New York fashion week twice.

Dolly Mokgatle (South Africa) CEO Peotona Group Holdings Ltd and Thandi Orleyn (South Africa) Co-Founder, Peotona Group Holdings Ltd; Lawyer
Dolly and Thandi co-founded Peotona Capital, an innovative women’s investment company with stakes in De Beers, South Africa, the world’s top diamond miner as well as holdings in Lafarge, one of South Africa’s cement makers. Prior to this Dolly served as the CEO of Spoornet, a heave freight rail company and has set up and continues to support numerous women’s initiatives. Thandi is a highly qualified lawyer and expert on labour and employment matters.

Iman Abdulmajid (Somalia) Founder and CEO Iman cosmetics
Somali-born former supermodel Iman is best known for her high-profile modelling career and beautiful cosmetics created for women of colour. During her 14 years of modelling and TV appearances, Iman mixed her own products to match her skin tone and after retiring she started the self-named cosmetics brand to fill that gap. As of 2010, Iman Cosmetics is a $25 million a year business.

Joyce Banda (Malawi) Country Vice-President, CEO, Joyce Banda Foundation and National Association of Business Women
Joyce Banda has had a long and successful business and political career. Prior to her role as the current vice-president of Malawi, she was the founder and CEO of Joyce Banda Foundation, focused on improving educational opportunities to children and orphans and micro-credit to poor women. She also founded the National Association of Business Women to empower women economically. She received the United Nations Population Fund International Award for the Health and Dignity of Women in 2006 and the African Woman Development Fund Woman of Substance award in 2010.

Adenike Ogunlesi (Nigeria) Founder, CEO Ruff n Tumble
After dropping out of undergraduate Law program at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria, Adenike joined a tiny tailoring shop as the second member of staff, after her mother. In this shop, she found her calling and in 1996, her entrepreneurial spirit. She began selling the clothes she made from a suitcase and eventually turned Ruff N’ Tumble into a widely recognisable children’s brand across West Africa. She was featured in the documentary, Africa Open for Business and named the 2005 FATE Foundation Model Entrepreneur.

Maria Ramos (South Africa) Group CEO, Absa Group Bank
From her former role as Director General of South Africa’s National Treasury, Maria later became the CEO of the Barclays Bank subsidiary, Absa, a role in which she has excelled till date, raising the group profits significantly even through trying financial times.

Linah Mohohlo (Botswana) Governor, Bank of Botswana
Linah Mohohlo has served as the Governor of the Bank of Botswana since 1999, following 23 years in other areas within the bank. She has also worked as International Monetary Fund Special Appontee and been a member of the International Monetary and Financial Committee. An eminent academic, she has published several papers, books and chapters in the field of economics, reserves management and governance. She is the recipient of Botswana’s highest public service award, Presidential Order of Honour.

These trailblazing women have opened the door for a younger generation of African power women. The next six women represent increasingly the next generation of African women taking the mantle in business.
Susan Mashibe (Tanzania) Founder and Executive Director TanJet Aviation
At 29, Susan Mashibe returned to her home of Tanzania to start up TanJet in 2002, a company offering logistical support for company, diplomatic and private jets. Her clients include Heads of State, monarchs, celebrities and corporate gurus. She has received numerous awards and was honoured as 2011 Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (Ethiopia) Founder and Managing Director, soleRebels
Bethlehem brought the soleRebels brand to life in 2004 in an attempt to create jobs in her community in Ethiopia. By innovatively fusing artisan skills and entrepreneurial wisdom, she has created a globally recognisable brand that produces excellent fair trade shoes sold and distributed in more than 30 countries around the world.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria) Author
According to her, Chimamanda began writing as soon as she could spell. She published her first book of poetry in 1997 and released her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, in 2003 to wide critical acclaim. She is the recipient of many awards including the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best first book (2005). She is working to pass on her expertise and vision by teaching writing workshops in Nigeria.

Khanyi Dhlomo (South Africa) CEO, Editor, Destiny Magazine, Destiny Man
Through a combination of wit, passion for media and good luck, Khanyi Dhlomo has positioned herself as a leader in the South African media industry. At 22 she was appointed Editor of True Love magazine and succeeded in doubling circulation within her first year. She acquired an MBA from Harvard University and set up her own company, Ndalo Media, a joint venture with the publishing arm of South Africa’s largest media company. Destiny Magazine, Destiny Man and are the successful products of Ndalo.

Isis Nyongo (Kenya) Managing Director, InMobi Africa
Isis was appointed Vice President and Managing Director of InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile advertising network in 2011. She is well-suited to the task of driving the company’s business strategy for Africa having previously led the African business development initiatives for Google. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School, Isis has been instrumental in driving the launch of MTV networks and setting up Kenya’s first online recruitment service, MyJobsEye.

Magatte Wade (Senegal) CEO, Adina World Beat Beverages
Who knew a business could be based on the Hibiscus flower? Magatte Wade co-founded Adina World Beat Beverages in 2004, a manufacturing company based on a simple, sustainable, fair-trade model relying on manufacturing and products from Africa. Their beverages include herbal drinks, organic coffees and teas sold across the US. Her company supports the Quality Biological Agriculture Cooperative (QABCOO), a group of Senegalese women earn a living producing the traditional hibiscus drink. Adina’s annual revenues are reported to be over $3million by UNDP.

Nigeria: Central Bank Governor - 'I Don't Need Second Term'

Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi may have foreclosed the possibility of a second term in office after the expiration of his term next year.

Sanusi was quoted in an interview with the London-based Banker Magazine as saying he had completed his assignment at the apex bank and would not be seeking a second term in office.
He said critics of his tight monetary policy had forgotten how unstable the nation's financial system was just three years ago.

Though perceived to be controversial, Sanusi, who took over from Prof. Chukwuma Soludo as the apex bank's governor on June 3, 2009, is believed to be in good standing for re-appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan given his impressive record in office as CBN governor in the past four years.

recapitalisation of micro finance banks - CBN extends deadline

The Central Bank of Nigeria has extended the deadline for the recapitalisation of micro finance banks in Nigeria by one year. The new deadline for compliance is now the 31st of December, 2013.

The decision was reached at a meeting between the regulatory bank and the national executive committee of the National Association of Microfinance Banks, held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja.

The CBN had previously given the micro finance banks December 31st, 2012 to recapitalize, but the association had asked for an extension to enable its members streamline their operations. Meanwhile, micro-finance bank branches operating without due authorization and approval from the CBN have been advised to shut shop.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Caroline Casey: Looking past limits

Activist Caroline Casey tells the story of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation (no spoilers). In a talk that challenges perceptions, Casey asks us all to move beyond the limits we may think we have.

First, Caroline Casey put Ireland on the accessibility map. Now she's changing the global social landscape for people with disabilities.

Why you should listen to her:     

Caroline Casey has dedicated the past decade of her life to changing how global society views people with disabilities. In 2000, she rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sight Savers. Then, as founding CEO of Kanchi in Dublin, she developed a set of best practices (based on ISO 9000 quality standards) for businesses, to help them see "disabled" workers as an asset as opposed to a liability. Hundreds of companies have adopted the standards, changing their policies and attitudes.

In 2004, Casey started the O2 Ability Awards to recognize Irish businesses for their inclusion of people with disabilities, both as employees and customers. The initiative has received international praise and, in 2010, a parallel program was launched in Spain.

"She is one of those people who, instead of just talking about changing the world, gets up and actually does it however tough the doing of it turns out to be." - The Irish Times

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Our world prizes extroverts -- but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.

Why you should listen to her:     

Susan Cain is a former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant -- and a self-described introvert. At least one-third of the people we know are introverts, notes Cain in her new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Although our culture undervalues them dramatically, introverts have made some of the great contributions to society – from Chopin's nocturnes to the invention of the personal computer to Gandhi’s transformative leadership. Cain argues that we design our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions for extroverts, and that this bias creates a waste of talent, energy, and happiness. Based on intensive research in psychology and neurobiology and on prolific interviews, she also explains why introverts are capable of great love and great achievement, not in spite of their temperaments -- but because of them.

"I prefer listening to talking, reading to socializing … I like to think before I speak (softly)."
Susan Cain

Kenya’s Eva Muraya: Entrepreneurship And Why The Women Of Africa Should Play Economics

Eva MurayaVENTURES AFRICA – Ventures Woman had a chance to interview Eva Muraya, a renowned Kenyan entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Color Creation Ltd, the first advertising and branding business to be ISO 9001 certified in Kenya. She runs BSD (EA) Ltd, a leading regional brand, strategy and design agency. Eva has won numerous awards including the premier Goldman Sachs Fortune Global Leaders Award. She was among 100 women nominated to receive The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference 100 Award. She is an alumnus of the Legatum Pioneers of Prosperity and her business Color Creation Limited was a top finalist in the 2006 Africa Business Awards. In 2006, Eva was selected to represent Kenya in the Fortune/State Department International Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. A motivational speaker, Eva has addressed the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women’s Summit. She serves on Vital Voices Africa Advisory Board and recently joined USIU’s Chandaria School of Business Advisory Board. Read on!

One on One With A Young Ghanaian Businessman, Shoemaker

Tonyi SenayahVENTURES AFRICA – At the 10th Anniversary dinner and awards of The Global Professional Achievers Award (GPA) held in Accra, Ghana, a certain Tonyi Senayah, a young Ghanaian businessman in his late 20′s and CEO of Horseman Shoes, was awarded the YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 2011. Receiving the award Tonyi said, “I believe in Ghana and also believe there are a lot of opportunities in Ghana and pray the youth take advantage. The vision of Horseman Shoes is to be the biggest footwear manufacturing company in Ghana and beyond in terms of employment and brand preference.”

Today, Horseman shoes is a footwear manufacturing company that makes quality and fashionable footwear with the finest leather. Some of the company’s products are men’s dress shoes, Unisex sandals and slippers, School sandals and Security boots. But just how did this young entrepreneur get into the business of shoemaking? The shoemaking entrepreneur has also undergone series of training programs some which include leadership, business management and financial management. In his chat with Ventures Africa, Tonyi tells us about his passage into entrepreneurship, his shoe making business, challenges, aspiration and hope for his business. As a young entrepreneur himself, Tonyi advise young entrepreneurs to step out of their comfort zone and not let the fear of failure hold them back.

Entrepreneurial journey
When asked if he had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, Tonyi said: I would not say I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur but I had always wanted to drive change. I had always wanted to be part of a solution to our challenges instead of sit and complain. And it so happened that I found the opportunity to start with the unemployment situation among the Ghanaian youth.”

Starting his business
Tonyi started his business, Horseman shoe, while he was an undergraduate at the University. He started by buying from manufacturers in November 2009 and by August 2010, he had opened his own workshop and employed artisans.

“The business idea came when I first bought a locally made shoe for myself and anytime I put them on I had unending compliments. Friends became interested in owning pairs. It then dawned on me that there’s an opportunity to make a viable venture out of it for myself and the craftsmen who usually operate on very small and informal scale. The whole idea was to migrate these guys from their corner shops into a factory”

“I also wanted us (Ghanaians) to move away from the patronage of second hand products. I believe we deserved something new and decent for our souls rather than pre-owned stuffs imported from Europe. So we have to create something by us and for us”, he added.

Migrating shoe makers from their corner shops into a factory
Horseman CEO explained thatIt was just a matter of identifying these young people who had the desire and passion for it. I scouted for them and got others through recommendation. I’m still on the search for more young artisans.”

Horseman Shoes, its target audience and distinguishing factor from its counterpart in the African market
“We have a range of products and each range has its targeted audience. Our products include men’s dress shoes targeted at the young professionals and the working class. We also have female flat shoes made from leather, our unique local fabrics: GTP and Kente. We manufacture school sandals for senior high schools and we do also safety boots for industries and the security.
What set us apart from other manufacturers is that, our shoes especially for the men and women are handcrafted with genuine materials. Our shoes are a blend of quality, comfort and style. We also make bespoke shoes.”

Why the name Horseman Shoes?
“Horseman represents the unique features of horses. They are fast, strong; they have stamina and are beautiful. These are what our brand stands for. We want to associate with the young people who aspire greater heights in their various fields of endeavor. It takes determination and focus to achieve. So like the horse, they have to keep running in horseman shoes,” Tonyi explains.

Sourcing for materials internationally?
Currently we source raw materials from local importers who import from Europe and Asia. But very soon there are certain materials we will be sourcing directly from suppliers.

Creativity in the shoe making business
Business has certain principles that must be followed if you want to be successful, regardless the industry you find yourself in. Creativity is the fulcrum of the industry (fashion) I operate. If you don’t have it you cannot stay in business.

Challenges starting the business + lesson learnt managing the challenge(s).
The challenges we face as an infant enterprise are numerous but are however surmountable. One of the challenges is the availability quality human resource. Getting young people with the right attitudes and the willingness to start small is very difficult. Easy access to finance is also another great challenge we face as young enterprises.

Experience of failure as an entrepreneur?
Tonyi says “Whoever has not experienced failure probably has not tried anything before. I encountered a lot of failures and challenges. I think that’s one of advantages of starting small. You make small mistakes and you learn from them. I had no business background in terms of academic or experience starting my business. So I obviously had difficulties in managing certain aspects, especially finance. I’ve lost some money before due to poor management. And I’ve learnt a great deal of lesson from it.”

Doing business in Ghana?
Doing business is Ghana is not easy I’m sure just like many other developing countries. But generally there’s condusive atmosphere in terms of political stability, security and macro economic growth that facilitate business. There are however some institutional challenges young enterprises encounter such as taxation among others which we hope to sort out through advocacy.

Most significant and exciting experience since venturing into the business world
I have had quite some few high points but what comes readily to mind is having the rare opportunity to represent Ghana in the US President’s Young African Leaders Initiative 2012. I had the opportunity to network with sixty (60) other participants from all over Africa.

Experience as the representative of Ghana in the US President’s Young African Leaders Initiative 2012
It was such a huge and varied set of experiences I had being part of the US President Young African Leaders Initiative. To start with, the recognition by the US embassy in Ghana in nominating me indicated that somebody is watching whatever you are doing. Because it is not a program one applies to attend but they rather identify you.

Pitching Horseman Shoe to investors and buyers
There were several platforms where I pitched my business to investors, buyers and many other groups.

Meeting other 60 young people from the continent was a networking opportunity to expand social, political and business ties. It also created a platform to network and share ideas with American businesses. I did an internship with an American Branding and Advertising for two weeks which gave me a lot of insights for my brand building.

Minimum start-up capital for shoe making Business
Using his case as an example, Tonyi said although he cannot say there’s a stated minimum capital requirement for shoe making and for that matter many other businesses. But he started his shoe business with only 100USD.

Company’s worth today
About $90,000

Will he say Horseman shoe business is successful and why?
It depends on what indices you are using to measure success. Unfortunately success is often measured in materiality. But in my own small way, I would say Horseman Shoes has been a success so far. It is a business I created out of nothing and today I am known for Horseman Shoes. There has always been the perception that made in Ghana products are of inferior quality but I’m very happy to see that my shoes defeated that misconception. I think it is a feat to be proud of. We can also measure our success in the creation of employment for other young people. Although it’s not a significant number, putting food on the tables of 10 people is a starting point.

Horseman shoes in the near future
The vision of Horseman Shoes is to build the biggest footwear manufacturing company in Africa in terms of employment and brand preference. In line with our vision, we hope to create employment for several hundreds and thousands of the Ghanaian youths. We also hope to expand our product line to include belts, wallets, bags and other fashion accessories. In pursuance of all these we seek to build a world class brand.

Business outside Ghana?
“Currently I don’t have any business outside Ghana,” he says.

Expansion plans
Of course there are plans to expand within the sub region and other parts of the world. But it’s a step at a time. We want to grow organically.

Other venture apart from the shoe business
Currently all my time and resources are devoted to the nurture of my infant business – Horseman Shoes.

If he is not into shoe making business, what else?
Very interesting question. I believe God has a purpose and a role for every individual and I think he would have used me in some other way.

Mentors in the business industry
I have quite a few people I look up to as mentors – both local and international entrepreneurs. One of such people is Prince Kofi Amoabeng, CEO of UT Holdings in Ghana. He’s a very real and practical person but highly principled. Another person whose story inspired me is Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic. I got encouraged when I read his book – “Loosing My Virginity.”

Advice to budding entrepreneurs
What I will say is there are a lot of opportunities around us. It is often not the biggest of ideas that works but rather the small ones. The most important step is the beginning. Young people should step out of their comfort zone and try. They should not let the fear of failure hold them back. With the right attitude and determination; nothing cannot be achieved.