Enjoy these ideas from your editors.
Point: The best way to measure economic recovery is to access the cost of global shipping containers over time
Lessons to Africa: There are very simple ways to access economic growth. Instead of using statistics developed during the industrial economy for the emerging knowledge economy, you can focus on simple things that are measurable. In the last six months, Tekedia Intelligence has tracked the cost of shipping containers and notes its price correlates with the global recovery. Nations are made up of men and women and as far as we are living, goods will move. How active the economy is can be estimated by what it takes to move those goods. This calls for good statistics by AU states.
Point: Norway has mandated (legally binding) a quota of about 40% of women in corporate board. France plans the same.
Lessons to Africa: African women run and manage most sectors of African economy, except the corporate Africa. Our women raise more kids than our men. From farming to petty trading, our women are stars. However, in corporate Africa, we see few women in Boards. And we lose that knowledge, intellect and wisdom African women provide. Now is the time for African Union to mandate all Boards to have at least 30% women in the Board. We need them; they cannot be out of the corporate Africa. The whole argument that they should stand on merit and be recognized as such is flawed since they never even get close to try. But remember: Tekedia advocates for quality and not quantity; that is appointing women, not by their political connections, but by what they will provide to African business.
Point: Technology is displacing man at the job market, and that is why unemployment is high and productivity is up. It is one of those variants of the knowledge economy.
Lessons to Africa: The world job market will continue to look increasingly sour because the knowledge economy is about brain. What has worked in the industrial economy where muscle triumphed over brain will not matter much these days. Africa needs to understand this redesign of the global job structure and restructure itself. Though more people will be needed at work, the continent must plan for what to do with those that cannot be absolved. One good area is to form alliances where all nations calculate technology-man ratio to quantify the displacement and then help the affected to go back to agriculture where the classical theory of factors of production (big land and big labor) still make sense. For the new emerging economy, that cannot employ all of us.
Point: Creative destruction is the center-piece of modern capitalism. No firm must be too big to fail and none should be salvaged over another. Let markets decide who wins and who loses.
Lessons to Africa: In the era of bailouts, our governments took money that would have been used to develop education and health to help banks. We must develop the same urgency of bailout to our educational system that is dying.
Point: “The best way to predict the future is to create it” (Peter Drucker)
Lessons to Africa: Until we develop the creative capabilities in our industries, we cannot predict the destines of states out of poverty.. And that creation is planning. We need to get serious with our roadmaps. When you create a thing, you have more control over it
Point: Climate change consulting will become a major industry in coming years. And because of the global nature, all nations will be involved
Lessons to Africa: In this area, we must prepare and develop programs that will equip our banks and schools to prepare for this new industry. We must put legislation and train our own people into this business. Let us have firms that are experts in climate right there in Africa instead of depending on expatriates to do this for us.
Point: High quality science is very important, but not sufficient to create a strong company or industry.
Lessons to Africa: Our science and technology development must be an amalgam of science, law, marketing,economics, management, and others to be effective. Collaborations must exist among all these groups if we hope to make progress.
Point: $100b went for Greek bailout from 16 euro nations. Discontent voters will change euro govts and bring new politicians. Within a decade, a major euro-zone nation will pull out of euro. I predict that political revolution will force an opposition part to campaign to pull out of the currency union within a decade in one nation.
Lessons to Africa: Stop the single currency union program and focus on developing infrastructure and knowledge
Point: “Businesses acting as businesses, not as charitable givers, are arguably the most powerful force for addressing the issues facing our society”, Michael Porter, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 6, 2010
Lessons to Africa: In this era of corporate enshrined social responsibility, the most important and vital responsibility firms can do to our communities and cities is simply to be businesses. Whether they give money to NGOs or not is not that important if they continue to create jobs, reduce unemployment and poverty. We have to encourage firms to balance that giving with survivability. I saw in Owerri, Nigeria where a local conglomerate charitied itself into bankruptcy because the owner could not resist to help. Being business as business is just as good; we need them to be there for long.
Point: We live in an era of information deluge; from individuals, firms to nations. In that data and information are secret codes for greatness and wealth if harnessed.
Lessons to Africa: Now is the time to translate that data into intelligence and help your citizens. From farming to bakery, corruption to education, there are solutions; yet, we do not use them. African Union needs a Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) who will seek, analyze, and provide knowledge intelligence to the union. Similarly, it is time African states have Ministry of Knowledge Economy; we need focus on the evolving normal.
Point: China will certainly surpass Japan as the world’s biggest oil importer to become #2, behind U.S this decade. It is already # 1 world’s exporter.
Lessons to Africa: You can measure your economic vibrancy by looking at your energy consumption. When you consume so little because your major cities are always in darkness, it means you need no consultant to tell you to reform. Energy consumption is a simple factor to measure national economic health and activity.