Africa News

East African Energy-Boom Investments Take Focus in Budgets

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Petroleum Exploration

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania plan to allocate money in their annual budgets to spur investment in infrastructure to exploit oil and natural gas from deposits that companies including Tullow Oil Plc (TLW) are developing.

Ugandan and Kenyan oil discoveries, made in 2006 and 2012 respectively, and new gas finds off the coast of Tanzania that have boosted reserves to as much as 46 trillion cubic feet have seen East Africa become a frontier for petroleum exploration.
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Africa News

Zimbabwe’s Emerging Tobacco Queens

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Tobacco-farmer

Harare — Madeline Murambwi sits behind the wheel of her brand new Toyota Land Cruiser, threading her way through the traffic in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. She’s on her way back from the tobacco auction floors where she just pocketed thousands of dollars.

“Tobacco farming is a brisk business here. Before joining it, I didn’t realise men were making lots of money out of this leaf. I have made great economic strides in my life,” Murambwi tells IPS, adding that she now also invests in property.

“So far I have made 42,000 dollars through tobacco sales, with more sales to come,” says Murambwi, 47, who has a 32-hectare tobacco farm in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland East Province.

In 2012, Murambwi ventured into tobacco farming and her business continues to grow each season. Continue reading

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3 Smart Hiring Lessons From Hillary Clinton’s New Book

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hillary-clinton-george-mitchell

You have young stars in your organization, frontline or midlevel employees who are already informal leaders. If they continue on their talented trajectories, they’ll one day join the ranks of your top team. Many businesses train these promising pups by giving them so-called “stretch” goals or assignments: Tasks that are slightly above their current skill levels, based on the idea that they’ll learn by doing.

Nothing wrong with that. But while reading Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, Hard Choices, I was struck by how she’d taken something of the opposite approach with some of her key early hires as Secretary of State. Rather than entrusting young stars with “stretch” assignments, Clinton hired established leaders–people with enough credentials to be Secretary of State themselves–to deliver on high degree-of-difficulty tasks.

In other words, she gave stretch assignments not to promising young stars, but to highly credentialed leaders. Continue reading

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How to Be Way More Productive

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Wake-up

Wake Up With More Energy

Many people feel tired in the morning not because they didn’t sleep enough but because they have low blood sugar. You can minimize this by consuming a tablespoon or two of unsweetened almond butter before you go to sleep. It’s a very simple way to stabilize your blood sugar. (I’ve tested this by having a continuous glucose monitor implanted in my side.) Right away, a lot of people will go from feeling groggy to feeling extremely alert when they wake up. Continue reading

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Things To Do Instead of Innovating

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stepping-on-lightbulb

Invest In Employees

How important are happy employees? More than you might imagine. David Sirota, co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee, found that businesses with high morale outperformed industry counterparts by 20 percent; those with moderate or low morale underperformed peers by about 5 percent.

Encourage Efficiencies

Don’t underestimate the cumulative impact on your bottom line of encouraging employees to make improvements in areas they understand. Continue reading

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The Secret to Building a Startup That Stays Nimble

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HBS

The question caught me by surprise. I was working as an IT manager at a large consumer electronics company in Minneapolis at the time. My days were spent looking over budget reports (ho-hum), scanning over project management summaries (blah) and either preparing for or writing performance evaluations (dull as paint). In short, I was really bored.

“Sure,” I told my boss at the time.

Anyone who knows me will find out quickly that I own a Taylor acoustic guitar and a Fender Telecaster. I have (almost) every song by the band Manchester Orchestra memorized. Joining an impromptu team to start a record label? I’m there. Continue reading

Africa News

Africa’s women entrepreneurs take the lead

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Janet Nkubana

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Madinah Nalukenge recalls the day she set out to sell food on the filthy edges of a bus terminal in the Ugandan capital in 2004. She had just $10 left over from a failed attempt to sell bed sheets.

Now she runs a catering business that makes a monthly profit of up to $3,000, a source of pride for the 34-year-old single mother who spends her days offering plates of mashed plantain and greasy meats to transport operators in downtown Kampala. Continue reading

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Strategic principles for competing in the digital age

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Digital Age

The board of a large European insurer was pressing management for answers. A company known mostly for its online channel had begun to undercut premiums in a number of markets and was doing so without agents, building on its dazzling brand reputation online and using new technologies to engage buyers. Some of the insurer’s senior managers were sure the threat would abate. Others pointed to serious downtrends in policy renewals among younger customers avidly using new web-based price-comparison tools. The board decided that the company needed to quicken its digital pace.

For many leaders, this story may sound familiar, harkening back to the scary days, 15 years ago, when they encountered the first wave of Internet competitors. Many incumbents responded effectively to these threats, some of which in any event dissipated with the dot-com crash. Today’s challenge is different. Robust attackers are scaling up with incredible speed, inserting themselves artfully between you and your customers and zeroing in on lucrative value-chain segments.

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How to find funding & grow your business in 2014

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Funding

I am passionate that every business looking to grow, in any part of the world, should have the opportunity to access funding and am regularly asked how to win angel finance for a business, so here are my top 10 tips:

1. Financial Forecasts
All financial information needs to be expertly produced, easily understood, realistic and justifiable. Mistakes here will cause a loss of credibility and interest so you must know your figures inside and out. Investors are looking to see a return on their investment, and need to be sure that you have a cast iron grip on the finances of the business and know exactly how you are going to turn their funding into profits. Continue reading

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Find the people that are right for your business

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In his latest article, John Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer at Ellipse emphasises why this is particularly the case for SMEs and why, even though finding the ‘right’ people isn’t easy, you can’t afford to recruit anyone who doesn’t pull their weight.

Before you can even start searching, you need to consider what your aims are for your business. What is the extent of your ambitions? Even if you have only just set up your business, what is your exit strategy? What is needed to take your business from where it is now to where you want it to be in five years’ time? Continue reading