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(America): When Slots For Illegals Are Eliminated, America Will Have More Slots For the World's Best, Brightest, and Exceptionally Talented To Immigrate and Renew America.

How should America treat it's illegal immigrants? The Biden pick for Health and Human Services nominee wants illegals to be given Medicaid.

And this is what we think is wrong with American immigration, and one that should be overhauled. Australia for instance, processes Illegals, assylum seekers and refugees in the far off island of Papua New Guinea.

In America meanwhile, illegals are being processed at the border patrol, and it gets even worse, in the Biden administration, assylum seekers will be allowed to travel to the United States as they await the results of their assylum application.

This Biden administration move in championing for illegals, assylum seekers, and refugees has made immigrant caravans all the way from Africa, Honduras, and Haiti begin to travel by foot to the United States border.

When there are so many illegals in America, the burden will be on the American taxpayer to provide them with food stamps and unemployment benefits. Besides, illegal immigrants decrease the slots for the legal immigrants that the United States truly needs. It's why we think that immigration should be overhauled, to increase slots for the best and brightest, and those with exceptional talents that will prepare America for the next phase of growth in the industrial internet of things (IIoT), smart hardware, Fintech, carbon materials, and such fancied fields, which America is struggling to hold on to the global lead.

China and India alone produce two Thirds of the world's PhDs, China has two million engineers. That's what's at stake for America. When the illegals are eliminated, the slots for H1-B Visas, how the most talented foreign workers will be increased ten fold, of course with safeguards so that large businesses cannot use the H1-B Visa as an excuse for paying poor American workers low salaries.

To be black and be a capitalist, and a Republican, is not an anomaly. An incompatibility sort of.

We wish golfing legend Tiger Woods quick recovery in the Los Angeles accident. But here is our proposition regarding the incident.

The next chapter in the American Civil rights movement is the availing of business capital and entrepreneurship to blacks and Latinos. African Americans don't have have to make wealth in their " traditional strong fields" like sports and entertainment".

They can make wealth solving the toughest challenges that plague America and the world. They can wildly be successful creative genius entrepreneurs. The job of diversity and inclusion is supposed to make blacks be included in the former white spaces in powerful jobs, but blacks shouldn't be a tick in the box. An affirmative action hire or elite college admittee. A racial justice issue.

Moreover, the smartest blacks now don't attend historically black Colleges like Howard or Morehouse but now attend the Ivy League and Uber Private colleges like Harvard, Duke, and Yale, then go on to work in Wall Street, representing a brain drain on the African American community when a struggling black business would have needed their talents.

And since small businesses are the primary employers, it means all this black talent that is being lost to Wall Street and Silicon Valley as a diversity and inclusion issue, an affirmative action hire is going to waste in that the kith and kin these bright black youngsters left behind have no businesses to hire them.

And I know Booker T Washington, a Republican by ideology, the first African American to visit the White House, was shamed for acting white when he said that rather than confronting white supremacists directly, blacks should aim for great careers and entrepreneurship. But nothing could be further from the truth.

And another African American leader, Marcus Garvey, said blacks fail because they don't have a capitalistic system that support them. He was wealth shamed for having a publishing company, media house, real estate and a ship which he hoped would transport all black people back to Africa.

But essentially, to be black and to be capitalist shouldn't be an opposite dichotomy. Likewise, to be black and be Republican should also likewise not be an incompatibility. Because where has the freebies of the Democrats taken blacks? They are at the exact same place where the slave emancipation proclamation left them. Someone said the biggest threat of a black is a white liberal, because they act so sweet without really meaning it, and it couldn't be further from the truth.

Social Byte: Is Colorism deep among people of colour?

The simple definition of colorism is that it's where members with a lighter skin among people of color are treated better than their darker skin colleagues of the same race.

Although it's most prevalent in the black race, it's not confined to it alone. An advert in a French billboard paints a successful French parent as one where a successful black male is married to a biracial or light skinned black.

In India, you wouldn't know that half their population is darker skinned from watching Indian Bollywood movies as all the acting gigs go to the light skinned Indians and not the untouchable dark skinned dalites. 

This has of course spawned a lucrative bleaching creams as blacks, especially females want to be light skinned and upgrade their social status. 

Does Writing Really Pay That Much. Can it Be a Full Time Career, Especially in Africa.

The joke is that one of the ways for you to die a poor man or woman for that matter is to take up writing as a full time career. As a weekly columnist for the Star Newspaper in Kenya, the third in the market daily, I got paid $30 per weekly column of 350 words. Granted, one could say that pay is too much for just 350 words. But it is the quality that matters, not the word count. And I knew I had worked on my craft well, and so I felt shortchanged.

Again, I wrote a 12 page educational advertorial pull out for the same Star Newspaper Kenya, I got paid $100, even as they made $50,000 from the same pull out in advertisements.

Coincidentally, one of their former radio girls come come Group Marketing Manager responsible for those advertisements in my pull out is also dabbles up as a motivational speaker and goes around telling young impressionable girls that you have the same 24 hours as me, or as Bill Gates. So, why doesn't she start with paying people their fair dues first?

I had done much research and knew that as a weekly Columnist for the Telegraph, Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister of Britain, was getting $250,000 a year pay, that is $5,000 a week, just for scribbling a few quality words a week.

I also knew of a weekly technology columnist in The Wall Street Journal that got paid a million dollars a year for a weekly column, that is $20,000. I'm interested in that especially because I did Mechanical Engineering for my Bachelors Degree.

So, why doesn't writing pay in Africa. The reason is simply we haven't professionalised the creative scene, that is writers, singers, actors, et al. It is still a buyers market. They set the price. We follow along. And that needs to change if our kind is going to take up writing as a full time career rather than a side hustle.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

World Ideas: Does Every Continent in The World Need Their Harvard or Oxbridge?

 

Everyone in the world knows that being admitted to Harvard signifies smartness. You could as well be smart and attend Princeton or Stanford, but it is brand Harvard that ran away with the connotation for smartness. 

We are now in an era where wealth is no longer about physical body brawness, that was during the Agrarian Revolution. Or mechanical innovation aptitude, that was during the industrial revolution. Now, we are in the knowledge and information age where ideas are the new wealth. 

Think of Uber, it's basically an idea. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon are all information merchants. And their founders are billionares many times over. And you could imagine the founders of these companies- Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are all products of Harvard, even if they dropped out.

Which means for the developing world to catch up with the rest of the rich world, they need super class universities.

 India has the Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs, but the bad thing is that two thirds of IIT graduates emigrate to the United States. China has Peiking university but it still can't match the raw brain power of the Harvards and Stanford's of America. 

Japan formed RITSUMEIKAN Asia Pacific University to attract global talent to the Japan. It teaches both in English and Japanese. 

If every region of the world had a Harvard, then developing countries would grow many times faster, then the government and ultra wealthy individuals would contribute research funds for solving the toughest challenges that humanity faces, and then form companies around solving these problems and global wealth will be unleashed that the world has never seen.

Africa 54 View: The Voter Is The Weakest Link in Democracy Working In Africa.

 

It's often said that a country or a people get the leaders they deserve. So, in a nutshell, the present dysfunctional Africa has more to do bad choices made by voters in the polling booth and has nothing to do with the leaders. 

Zambian American Economist Dr. Dambisa Moyo, in her book "Edge of Chaos", suggests that to rid Africa of the present sorry state of leadership, voters must be make to take a Civic test and only those who pass get to vote. She believes too many voters in Africa and elsewhere have no idea of the weight of their decisions.

Other democracy experts allege that the reason why democracy has not worked outside the West is lack of a strong middle class to counter weight the run away political establishment. In fact, they put a figure to it. That below a per capita income of $10,000, democracy is more mob anarchy than a means to effective governance. 

How many voters in Africa can be said to be left leaning liberals. Or right leaning conservatives? Very few. The political gravitas in Africa revolves around the tribe and region where the leaders come from. 

So, for Africa, it isn't that we were cursed with bad leaders, but rather, it's because the right leaders are burried deep by base emotional politics of tribe and region.

Africa 54 View: While China Has Two Million Engineers, Africa on the Other Hand Has Two Million Pastors.

 

This isn't a religion bashing post, but rather a critical look at the African society and the way it is currently. Picture that China has two million engineers, while Africa has two million pastors. 

Have we given up the course of remaking Africa such that we shift all the burden of development to our maker? By Chinese having two million engineers, it relies on hard data and science to solve it's toughest challenges, while us Africans rely on prayer to solve our most pressing needs. 

Now, getting a job in Africa is something that is celebrated as a miracle instead of it being an inalienable right. When you have good leaders that cater to the needs of a population and citizenry they lead, getting a job would be second nature, not something that is to be given as a testimony during the church service. 

Because, remember, when there are only ten jobs in a company and a thousand people apply for that job, 990 people will not get the ten jobs, no matter how much they pray. 

In a nutshell, let's strive for good governance in Africa, and then the pastor's can handle spiritual matters, not prosperity matters that the maker gave us brains to solve.

World Ideas: Are Uber Drivers Employees or Sub Contractors?

 

Uber drivers, and labour unions, want Uber drivers to be treated as employees. On the other hand, Uber argues it is mainly an intermediary between the driver and the passenger through it's app.

So, who's correct. First, as freelancing, Subcontracting, and 9 to 5 job rapidly merge, it will be hard to distinguish who is an employee and who isn't. 

For the record, Uber has never made a profit, and in it's IPO filing, it argued that it may never make a profit. Even it's product has been nothing short of a miracle. It is literally driving taxis out of the market. 

If Uber was clearly treated as an employer, it's wages would be astronomical. It would have to find a means to pay it's more than a million drivers, and Uber rides would be very expensive, putting it out of business.

Uber then would have to find a way to make money, and it's product such as Uber Eats of food delivery to the last meter would be it's best bet to make money.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Africa 54 View: A Life After Presidency Doesn't Mean Boredom For Former African Presidents.

 

Many Africans watched with horror at the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol Hill of Trump fanatics. Trump supporters hadn't yet accepted the fact that Trump had lost the election and wouldn't be in the White House anymore. 

One would be forgiven to think that these were situations that were only to be visible in the developing world in general and Africa in particular. Closer home in Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni easily won, by aid o state machinery, another election that would take his rule over the Pearl of Africa nation to 40 years. He joins a long list of African dictators like Paul Biya- Cameroon, Theodora Nguema-Equatorial Guinea, and Idris Deby- Chad.

African Presidents fear a life outside power, that's why they want to die in office. But it needn't be so. The likes of Joachim Chissano- Mozambique, Festus Mogae- Botswana, late Benjamin Mkapa- Tanzania have shown that we don't have to look to the US for Statesmen retiring and living a productive life. There are Statesmen right here in Africa.

Given that Africa is encumbered with many problems, the life of a former President doesn't have to be boring. They could start foundations to solve the myriad of challenges in Africa. They could be visiting Lecturers at our Universities and use their leadership experience to mould our next crop of leaders.

World Ideas: To Grow Your Career, Seek a Sponsor, Not A Mentor.

 

A lot of us have been conditioned that in order for us to grow in our careers, then we need to have mentorship. But that is true only up to a point. For the people we consider mentors are way out of our league, and it will take ages for them to be relatable to us.

What if we instead set out to connect with career sponsors? These are people are about three to five years ahead of us. They understand what we are going through and are willing to walk the career journey with us. 

And the best thing about a sponsor is that the relationship is two way. We learn as much from them just as they learn from us also. For instance, while they give us the important contacts, networks to progress well, they also learn how to deal with their teams as supervisors. 

You could also help your sponsor maintain a professional social media page just as she gives you the latest tips on how to make it in investment banking. In hindsight, having a career mentor is good, but having a relatable career sponsor is even better.


Africa 54 View: It's Time For Africa To Move From Periphery of World Affairs To The Center.

 

If Africa is to stop being the sick child of the world, the forgotten corner of the world, then it must seek to move from the Periphery of world affairs to the center. Currently, Africa hasn't featured anywhere in the White House, No. 10 Downing Street, Elise Pace, or People's Great Wall of China, and the Kremlin. 

Africa is viewed more in terms of aid. More as always needing to be helped out of one crisis or another. And you can bet that a poor person anywhere in the world is despised. 

Let Africa be a place where dreams, especially financial, come true. A place of investments. The future Wall Street. Future Silicon Valley. Future Hollywood. Future Ivy League. 

In fact, my misgivings about Africa laying claim to the ancient Egyptian civilisation, Kemet land as it were, is that perhaps it's a move to latch on to something, however little, to prove that indeed Africa was great. 

But a tiger doesn't need to pronounce it's tigritude. It simply pounces to prove it is a fierce and dangerous animal. For Africa then, the way to prove it was once great, and will be in due time is to fix it's present dysfunctional state and be great, let the world drink at Africa's feet.

World Ideas: America Has, And Will Always Be, A Land Of Immigrants.

 

The Trump administration was anti immigrant to it's very core. Never mind that Trump's wife, Melania Trump, is herself an immigrant from Eastern Europe. The fact is that America has been built and renewed, by immigrants.

 The current verb for communicating and holding a meeting online is zooming. But Zoom was founded by a Chinese Immigrant, Eric Yuan. But did you know that Eric Yuan applied for the US Visa a record Seven times? That is how much he believed in the promise and potential of America. 

But hopefully, the Biden Administration will reverse all the Trump anti immigration stance. Studies show that an immigrant is twice as likely to start a successful business that employs hundreds than a native born American. 

When Trump says Mexicans are rapists, African countries are shitholes, Chinese are cheating, separates the immigrant children from their mum's, then you know you have a President who really believes the only I'm migration should be from Europe to conform with the founders of America that wanted to create a European Satellite state. But that ideal has been over taken by events.

Friday, 29 January 2021

World Ideas: Can Silicon Valley Be Replicated Anywhere In The World.

 

The depth of success of Silicon Valley is hard to quantify for it's simply mind boggling. In a single day, the amount of deals that take place in Silicon Valley are more than the deals that take place for the whole of Africa combined. So, can the spirit and mojo of Silicon Valley be replicated elsewhere in the world?

Can Tel Aviv- Israel, Sao Paulo-Brazil, Shenzen-China, London, and even America's own Boston and New York tech start ups match Silicon Valley? For now at least, the king remains only one- Silicon Valley, but with a young pretender to the throne, Tel Aviv Israel, that is slightly ahead in cybersecurity and defense technologies. 

For the world to match Silicon Valley, there needs to be a confluence of talent, capital, infrastructure and deep pocketed markets. Otherwise, Bangalore, India also has the talent but it's people are still relatively poor compared to Americans. 

Google and Facebook barely make any money there as most Indians still shop in the small dukawalla shops rather than supermarkets and malls Walmart style. 

Not only that, the average shopping basket for an online delivery of an American is $33, while that of an Indian is $3, a ten fold difference. So, for now at least, Silicon Valley will still be king.

Africa 54 View: For Brand Africa To Be Taken Seriously, It Needs To Sell It's Success Stories Even More Than It Sells It's Gold's And Diamonds.

 

The good of Africa doesn't just sell outside there. Marketing Africa is like winking at someone in the dark, they'll never notice. That just means that the occasional good stories about Africa in the international media are subsumed by the tonnes of negative stories about Africa out there. 

In the international media, Africa is a war lord away from civil war and anarchy, never mind that the recent insurrection of US Capitol Hill by Trump loyalists is the greatest manifestation of anarchy but the US will never get such a tag.

Also, Africa is portrayed as being a common cold away from a disease pandemic, a spoonful away from starvation and you get just how difficult it is to sell the good of Africa out there. For instance, nobody knows that six of the ten fastest growing economies of the world are in Africa. Or that the Nigerian Stock exchange gave the highest returns in the world. 

Given that then, Africa has to sell it's stories to all and sundry across the world. For in the current world perception is the new reality. It's why Hollywood exists in the first place, to market America as the land of milk and honey, never mind the millions of internal problems that America has. 

Or the way European soccer leagues like La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, EPL market the most remote village of Europe all the corners of the world.

 Nigeria has began with Nollywood and it's movies are being blamed to all sitting rooms in Africa. It now needs to be global. Musicians like Wizkid, Shatta Wale, Burna boy, Sarkodie and Diamond Platinumz need to be global. Africa needs to win the football world cup. The Professional Nobel Prizes. Our geeks must get the global same stature as our celebrities. That's the only way to take brand Africa to even greater heights.

Africa 54 VIEW: For African Leaders, Never Leaving The Stage While Applause From The Crowd is Loudest Is Their Undoing.

 

Many Nelson Mandela critics allege that he was too soft and never negotiated for economic upliftment of black South Africans. That is quite true. However, what you can't dispute is that Mandela left the stage when the applause from the crowd was at it's loudest. 

He never waited to dance himself before an empty crowd that had left the auditorium long ago, as for example, the present crop of African dictators are doing.

When Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni too over power in 1986 through a military uprising against dictator Idi Amin, he said the problem of African leaders is overstaying in power. May be he has forgotten that part for he will be 40 years running President when the next elections are due in 2026.

Incidentally, he said that if anyone wants to remove him, they must go to the forest and fight to remove him like he did to fellow dictator Idi Amin. And worse, allegations that he is grooming his son for the top seat goes on to show that what he was really interested in was power for it's own sake, not to improve Ugandans' fortunes. 

A trait he shares with the likes of Paul Biya of Cameroon, Idris Deby-Chad, and Theodora Nguema-Equatorial Guinea.

World Ideas: Is The Far Left Of America In Danger of Extinction?

 

Picture this, on the day that Bernie Sanders dropped his Presidential bid, insurance shares skyrocketed. That means an obstacle to the insurance companies continued mega profits had been removed. Bernie Sanders had campaigned on a platform of free healthcare, and free public education. 

So, apparently, free healthcare is a radical idea in the United States, the richest country in the world. This is a mainstream idea in Europe, and even conceivable in poor to middle income countries like Rwanda. 

The truth is that the Democratic party, in order to appeal to big corporate donors, has shifted to the center. The last three Democrat Presidents, Biden, Obama, and Bill Clinton have all been centrists, endeared by America no less. 

Bernie Sanders was the champion of the far left and it was clear he wasn't welcome to the main Democratic dinner table from the way the DNC treated him in the last two campaign circles. Thus, the far left of America has to find for a new champion.

Otherwise, American Presidents will continue being centrists to far right, and America will remain captured by corporations for years on end. And that narrative will ring true- that every President of recent past, Democrat or Republican, has always governed from the center right.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Africa 54 View: A Great And Prosperous Africa Does Not Pose a Threat to Rich Countries But Offers Opportunities For Engagement.

 

Joseph Biden in his inaugural speech as US President on January 20th, said that America seeks to be a force for good in the world. Opinions on America being a force for good in the world are evenly split. 

For while the American government is the most hated in the world because of it's hard military power, the American people are the most beloved in the world due to their soft power courtesy of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Ivy League, and the Bible evangelical belt.

Similarly, a strong and prosperous Africa doesn't pose a threat to the rich countries. Some rich countries want Africa to be the backyard of global prosperity since Africa is the most mineral rich continent and where else would the rich world get the minerals to power their economies? For whereas you can credit Steve Jobs for the iPhone innovation, it is child labour in Eastern DR Congo that makes it possible for Coltan, a key component in mobile phones, to be mined. 

A highly educated and remunerated workforce in Africa will create tonnes of opportunities for investors. Remember, India is the largest market for Google and Facebook but number of users and yet, these two companies barely make a cent there. 

Even in last meter delivery, whereas an American spends an average of $33 per shopping basket, an Indian spends just $3 per shopping basket. That should be a point to ponder and as India shows, a rich Africa and the developing world is good for everyone.

World Ideas: Due To Corona, Every Company Now Needs A Digital Strategy, Making The Chief Technology Officer, CTO, More Powerful Than Never Before.

 

A digital strategy was often confused for a social media strategy for many elite companies. But with Corona pandemic making work, school, and shopping shift online, a digital strategy for every company isn't just a pursuit of the likes of Google and Facebook. It should be a pursuit of every company.

This makes the Chief Technology Officer, CTO, more powerful than ever before, quite rivalling the CEO. For if a company doesn't have a digital strategy in this perilious times, then it will go the dinosaurs way in next to no minute. 

Thus, while the Human Resources Manager begged to be given the same seat as the Chief Finance Officer and was ridiculed for that, the Chief Technology Officer, CTO, doesn't need to do so. The CEO and the board will demand for her input. 

As social media transforms into 3D augmented reality, and then you have the confluence of AI, smart hardware, robotics, industrial internet of things (IIoT) where once a fridge runs out of supplies, it will signal the online store to bring in more supplies, a combination of fintech and smart hardware. Such will be the power and allure of the Chief Technology Officer.

World Ideas: Are You In A Job Or A Career?

 

Though used interchangeably, 90 percent of humanity are in jobs rather than careers. And there are many reasons for this. First of all a career is an intersection between having great talent, ability, and being passionate, and the job market is willing to pay for that so you are comfortable even as you give out your best.

 Otherwise, you could be a great poet but rarely does poetry pay a full living wage, or you could be working at a career that pays well like a management consultant at McKinsey, PWC, or Bain&Capital but have absolutely have no passion for that job.

When you are in a career, you utilise your skills and talents to maximum effect. There are no boring Monday Mornings nor energy Filled Friday evenings. There is no struggling to get out of bed when the 5AM alarm rings. Time at the office flies like a second. 

You don't view your colleagues as competition, but you compete against the benchmarks you have set for your self. And the salary isn't the main thing that makes you turn up at the office, you are happy to wake up and go meet your colleagues and customers.

A job meanwhile is all about the pay, and other extenuating circumstances being equal, you would have quit the job yesterday. Your energy levels are low. Time at the office drags by. You hate Mondays but are energised on Friday afternoons. Your productivity is at an all time low. And if it weren't for the salary, you would have quit. 

Sadly, 90 percent of humanity are in jobs that snuff the life out of them. It's one of the excesses of capitalism. To make us mere machines, a little cog in the giant spinning universe of wealth creation for shareholders.  

Africa 54 View: Africa Has Despots As It's Dictators. Asia/Arab World Have Benevolent Dictators.

 

Outside of the West, democracy has been a disaster. Democracy experts argue that below a per capita income of $10,000 democracy ceases to work since there will not be enough and empowered middle class to propel democracy forward. 

Another Economist, Zambian American Dr.Dambisa Moyo argues in her book "Edge of Chaos" that voters should be subjected to a Civic test and only those who pass this test should be allowed to vote.

So, Africa has the world's highest number of dictators. But Asia and Arab world also have dictators. But the difference is stark. Arab and Asian dictators have the inherent traits of the efficient Persian Governor who utilises resources optimally so their citizens can prosper. So, there people give up democracy freedoms in exchange for economic freedoms. 

The small Qatar desert state will host the 2022 world cup. It runs the Arab focused international TV station, Aljazeera. United Arab Emirates realised oil was running out and quickly repositioned the flagship city Dubai as the global destination for tourism and business. 

Asia Dictators like Lee Kuan Yew curtailed political freedoms yes, but he lifted Singapore from Third World to first World in just twenty five years. The Chinese Communist Party is a dictatorship by all intents, but it has lifted 500 million people out of poverty and makes the US strategists and statesmen shiver at the prospect of losing their world dominance. 

So, African dictators, if they really must hang onto the Presidency, let them give their people economic freedom at the very least. Not relying on blind hero worship and state machinery to hang onto power. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Africa 54 View: In Africa, Those With Power Have No Ideas. Those With Ideas Have No Power.

 

A respected lawyer and constitutional expert Prof. PLO Lumumba opines that in Africa, those with ideas have no power. And those with power have no ideas. This is how the Africa state has been captured. 

When the ruling gangster politicians took over the running of Africa, those with ideas simply moved under and continued to carry Africa on their shoulders. But their influence is limited so the world doesn't know about them. You will never see them on BBC, CNN or any of the big international channels.

Instead, they are head of the local cattle dip association, ensuring farmers get to spray their cows with dip effectively even as the hiring of agricultural extension officers gets eaten by the gangster politicians.

They will head their local school's laboratory development committee aiming to position their school into the 21st century cutting edge technology. Even as the money for constructing the laboratory gets eaten by the big guys at the ministry of education. 

Because they are so driven in their mission, these idea pilgrim Africans never make noise, for cool waters run deep. But their impact is profound. They are the reason why Africa has been able to withstand the multi trillions crime syndicate and the conjoined siamese partner in crime twin sins: Black anarchy and white supremacy.

World Ideas: For China To Overtake America, it Has To Leverage on It's Soft Power Rather Than It's Hard Power.

 

China has caught up with America GDP wise when you account for the purchasing power parity-PPP. It had to take unilateral decision by the Trump administration to ban Huawei so the US Companies can match Huawei in 5G technology. 

For China then, it's future as a world power will be determined more by it's projection of soft power, that is winning hearts and minds of people around the world, rather than hard power of GDP or military capability.

Which is why China must be concerned about the disappearance of it's richest man, Jack Ma. For he was one of the great selling points of China, giving it free publicity without charging a single cent. That Jack Ma rose from being an English teacher to China's richest man thanks to his pet project, Alibaba, this is what American dream with Chinese characteristics is all about.

Soft power is about winning hearts and minds. For today's battle for global dominance isn't in the battlefields anymore, but in our books, media, and the internet. 

And that's where America beats China. The Hollywood movies. The Ivy League Universities such that even as Chinese universities as Peiking are equal to Western universities, President Xi Jinping daughter had to attend Harvard under an assumed name. 

Then you have Wall Street and Silicon Valley skimming all the world's talent. Not to mention the evangelical pastors. And ultimately, English is the language of business such that even the French speak English these days. 

China is building it's soft power by opening Confucius Institutes all around the world. Teaching mandarin, it's most widely spoken language. Offering scholarships. However, in terms of exporting it's culture through music and songs, it's still way behind. And so for now, America's mantra of "Approach, Don't Overtake" holds true.


World Ideas: As Success Becomes Previledged Rather Than Acquired, How Do The Poor Of The World Escape Poverty.

 

Today, success is previledged rather than acquired. In the United States, they have what we call legacy admissions in elite schools like Harvard and Yale. 

That means if your grandfather and father attended Harvard, then you are also likely to be admitted to Harvard, something admission officers say is preserving the traditions of the Institutions. 

Around the world, every country has it's elite schools. In China, it's University of Peiking. Japan has Tokyo University. 

India has the Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs, which has exported so many CEOs to America. Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Sun Microsystems are all graduates of IITs, such that a US Democratic candidate in 2004 suggested that IIT graduates be given free H1-B Visas to work in the US.

Kenya has the Alliance High School which between 1985 and 2008 sent no less than thirty students each year to the Ivy League Schools this becoming the top feeder school to the Ivy League outside of the United States.

What we need now to do is to ensure that there is equality of opportunity. Probably Australia could offer as a lesson in offering education previledge to all and sundry as it's schools and universities are all nearly the same in quality. That is only we can prevent both wealth and poverty being inherited in equal measure. 

Africa 54 View: How To Position Africa To Create The Next Google And Facebook.

 

Africa was bypassed by both the industrial and Agrarian Revolution. And now, we are in the information age, where theaking sense of data is the new gold and oil rush? How can Africa, the world's most mineral rich continent, make the leap to the information age and reap great dividends from it?

Number one. We need top tier talent. And this has to do with having great universities that conduct research and not just teaching alone. Currently, the best ranked African university is Cape Town University at position 250. This ranking is too low. We need at least one university to be in the top five, and match the to toe with the Harvards and Stanford's of the world. 

Secondly, we need funding. This is a call to action of venture capitals, which are outliers in Africa. We need no less than $100 billion dollars venture capital injection into our nascent start ups. 

The business model of venture capital is that 95 percent of the businesses they invest in will fail, but the five percent will become the Google's and Facebook's of the world, thus erasing all the losses, and leaving the venture capitalist with windfalls in share capital. 

Third, we need markets, which can only be feasible only if we invest in the right infrastructure. Internet penetration is only at 30 percent in Africa, and internet speeds are still pretty low, and as we move to industrial internet such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), we will need to have 5G internet in all the corners of Africa. 

So, basically, we need talent, venture capital funding, infrastructure, and markets for Africa to create the Next Google or Facebook.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

World Ideas: What's the Future of Hiring Workers? Is the 9-5 Job Tenable Forever.

 

The Human Resources department is the department that brings new talent to a company, yet it's the department that the CEO and the board overlooks the most. The HR head has never got the same seat as the Chief Finance Officer, and lately due to the Corona Pandemic shifting work to remote, the Chief Technology Officer. 

But what is the future of Human Resources. One, it is now about hiring talent rather than degree credentials. The degree credential was and may be still is important because your grades in college signify you can sit down and learn, and put in the effort which is what working in a company is all about. 

And then how does HR balance between the hard technical skills, the IQ, versus the soft skills, personality, EQ which is so essential for a worker to fit in a company and collaborate across several linkages. 

Many companies test your IQ through grades in campus, especially in the early years of your career, and then later on, the technical hard skills are tested by your experience. The soft skills EQ are tested through personality tests and joint group assignments.

If the Human Resources department finds the sweet spot between the hard IQ and the soft EQ, multi trillion dollars worth of capital for the company will be generated. 

And the talent manager will move from the periphery of the company's affairs to the center, where she will get the same seat as the Chief Finance Officer, CFO, and the Corona induced Chief Technology Officer, CTO.



Africa 54 View: The African Union Is Joke Taken Too Far.

 

The fundamental truth you should know is that the African Union, AU, is the weakest link in propelling Africa forward. It is a club of African dictators extending favours to each other and covering their backs. 

Think about it, the African Union coffers are so empty that the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was constructed by funds from China. Such a sensitive place where these Preseidents hold their semi annual meeting could be debugged by China. What don't they realise?

The African Union has simply no political, economic, and cultural muscle to make Africa be a powerhouse globally. It has no joint currency, no joint passport until the likes of Aliko Dangote say that they need 37 visas to travel around Africa and so, he is divesting to America to cushion his wealth portfolio.

African Union doesn't have a joint army. Joint infrastructural bank for building roads, railways, and airports to interconnect Africa. If you want to travel to Tunisia in North Africa, you would first need to travel to Paris, France, before being redirected to Tunis, Tunisia. 

We don't have a common currency, a common courts to ensure that the mistakes made by successive African despots are punished right here in Africa rather than being sent to the ICC

In essence, the African Union must style up and rise to the challenge of being Afroca's sole guarantor.

World Ideas: The US President has a two term limit. What if term limits was also extended to Members of Congress..

 

At the Presidential level, the US has had term limits, which ensures that a President serves a maximum of two term limits, each four years. The premise for term limits is simply. It is better to have a saint whose term has been truncated, rather than extending the term of an evil despot. 

Now, these term limits should go all the way to the members of Congress. The issue of the world now isn't about incompetent leadership. It's that politics has become a career like say a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.

 But that was not how it was supposed to be. Career politicians long lost the touch to the everyday realities of the common person on the street. In fact, politics should be a side hustle, preferably with little to no pay, so that only the better angels amongst us would seek elective positions. 

But now, politics all around the world is about amassing as much wealth and power as possible, and no wonder the world is so much stuck in the idealism of the campaign speeches, but once a President enters the White House, Elise Palace, No. 10 Downing Street, Aso Rock, it's all about firefighting. Nothing gets done. 

World Ideas: What Really Goes Into Valuing a Start Up For A Billion Dollars?

 

In the past ten years, we have witnessed numerous valuations pf the billion dollars range of start ups. So, what really goes into valuation of a start up for a billion dollars. Why is the billion dollars valuation of an app SP crucial? And mind you, this app company might just have ten employees, and it not just unprofitable, but also has no revenues?

There is what accountants call Goodwill. That is future value of the app. This is the most basic metric for valuing startup app companies. It's also the same metric that has made Tesla be valued at a whopping $850 billion dollars, and made it's founder, Elon Musk be the richest person in the world, despite it producing only 500,000 of the electric vehicles, a minute figure when compared to what Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler produce annually.

The Goodwill for Tesla is that as we transition from fossil fuels to electric dependant cars, Tesla will not just be distributing cars only, but batteries for all these companies looking to switch to green energy like electricity.

 Think of the way through landlord usually charges Goodwill many times over the normal rent since that prime location of her building is located strategically where there are customers passing on the door by the thousands.


Africa 54 View: To Position Africa for the 21st Century, our Universities must give research the prominence it Deserves.

 

While African Universities are great in teaching, they fall way behind in research. It's why African universities are ranked lowly. The webometrics ranking of universities for instance measaures a university's presence on the internet by way of citations of scholarly papers and Journals. 

African Governments are not funding for research since they must balance between committing money to feed hungry children, versus investing in ivory tower research whose results may not be so visible in the short to medium.

But the thing is that in the long term, research pays. For while it may take 20 years before research comes up with a viable product, it will take a nano second to come up with carbon copies of the research. 

And the issue of research is even more profound in our universities since in this century, it is knowledge and information insights that will define the winners and losers. 

And in fact, the world's richest companies are now products of research and design. Think of Apple with it's beautiful ergonomics design. Microsoft with wanting a computer on every desk in the world, and that computer running on Microsoft Operating system windows.

Or Google's aim to organise the world's information architecture. And Facebook's goal of making humans connect socially on the internet.

Monday, 25 January 2021

Africa 54 View: Africa Has To Be Governed By Statesmen Who Plan For The Next Generation, Not Rulers whose Only plan is to win The Next Elections.

 

Every pundit on economics argues that this century will be the Asian Century. China and India combined have 2.5 billion people, a third of humanity. Then, in terms of science and engineering graduates, these two countrys have 4 million science and engineering graduates between them. It is why the United States is looking on it's shoulders all the time lest it be overtaken. Because for America, the mantra is "Approach, Don't Overtake". 

The United States is already retreating from the world to solve the many challenges it has, for really it has enormous problems at home. Racial tensions, a disappearing middle class, stagnant wages since 1972 when you account for inflation. Bankrupt cities saved by municipal bonds.  So, don't expect America to engage and pull it's weight around the world anytime soon.

In essence, while China is the manufacturing shop of the world, India is the world's back end office.

So, where is Africas position in all this geo political alignment. Africa is still a basket case, for now at least. Our best, the Ramaphosa and Buhari cannot hold a candle to the world's powers. 

In essence, Africa has to grow by double digits year on year for at least thirty years to catch up with the rest of the world. And it's not an impossibility. Singapore Prime Minister, though blamed as an authoritarian was a genius economic manager lifting Singapore from Third World to First world in just thirty years. China has lifted no less than 500 million Chinese out of poverty in the last thirty years.

In essence, Africa  has to fix it's leadership challenges. That the Mo Ibrahim Leadership Prize for former African Presidents who promoted good governance and economic prosperity has not been awarded for the last three years is a testament to the sorry state of leadership in Africa. 

And that is the great challenge of Africa. Having leaders who only prioritise winning the next elections, rather than statesmen who prioritise winning for generations to come. 

World Ideas: The Stark Difference Between a British System Based University and an American system University Transcript.

 

Apart from the fact that American universities grade their students on the Grade Point Average-GPA weighted up to 4.0, while for British Universities it's the four classes, First Class Honours, Second Class Honours Upper Division, Second Class Lower Division, and Pass, there are also other stark differences. 

And it's in the discrepancy of the transcript. American universities subdivide a degree or major into courses. British universities divide their degree into units. So, say like Calculus, a mathematical discipline, for British University subdivide it as Calculus I as the foundation unit, Calculus II as the intermediate unit, Calculus III as the expert level unit, and Calculus IV as the Masters Introductory unit. 

But these units are taught at least a semester apart, and by different lectures. That explains the inconsistency of a transcript of a British system in university. You might get, Calculus I-A, Calculus II-C, Calculus III-C, Calculus IV-A.

But for American Universities, a whole course is taught at a go for the whole semester/quarter. That's why American system University students have more uniform transcripts in terms of grades. While British system universities transcripts are all over.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

World Ideas: As Hard Economists Shift Economics From an Art To A Hard Physics Like Science, Humanity Suffers.

 

It is often said that Economics cannot be a science since no two economists can agree on anything under the sun. In wanting Economics to be an exact science, Economics students nowadays study mathematical modelling to a great degree. 

In fact, in the US, the way to get admitted for a PhD Economics degree is by having an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and not an undergraduate Economics degree. 

The first two years of the PhD Economics program in the US is all about a Math intensive course load. But as Economists shape government policy in many ways, is the move of Economics from an Art developmental field to a hard Physics like science really good for humanity?

An Oxford University Economist pointed out that he is an expert on Grand designs that fail. While he was joking, the fact of the matter is that it is the Oxbridge and Ivy League caliber Economists that fill the ranks of the World Bank, and IMF, and the Treasury departments all across the world. 

And this advice they dish to countries doesn't pass the test of time. Consider the hard infrastructure and GDP terms they use to rank countries. 

It puts the US at $14 trillion dollars, but hides the fact that close to a hundred million Americans are living in an overglorified Third World country. On terms of the more humane Human Development Index, it is not America but the Scandinavian Country Finland that leads the world. The US isn't even in the top ten. 

In India, the advice by pseudo Economists is so entrenched that a peasant on a donkey cart fetching firewood passes right by a nuclear power reactor, the highest form of Inequality there is. 

So, in a nutshell, what we need are economists more in tune with humanity, rather than hard mathematical economists that peddle models that fail when the tire meets the road.

World Ideas: With US Retreating From The World To Solve It's Own Internal Problems, Who Will Fill It's Leadership Vacuum Globally?,

 

The United States is encumbered with tonnes of problems. A raging pandemic that has infected millions. A middle class that is disappearing at a very first rate and this is what fueled Trumpism and it was only made worse that these disappearing American middle class were in fact white middle class jobs in disproportionate measure. 

Then you have cities that are going bankrupt and relying on municipal bonds to survive. A badly battered immigration system. So much are American problems that a BBC pundit opined that America's greatest problems are it's own internal challenges.

All these problems means that President Joe Biden already has his plate filled up. He has no time for outside engagement. Who could fill up this void left by the Americans? Is it China, Russia, European Union, or the United Nations?

The fact is that so many people were used to US leading that they didn't understand where Trump's isolationist policy of America First was coming from. China even though almost catches up with US on GDP figures, is still a developing country by and large. Russia isn't about to have the same weight as the collapsed USSR anytime soon. 

The European Union is still reeling from the exit of Britain and is thus not in a great place to offer the world leadership. The United Nations is still a gentleman's treaty between countries and would not take the leadership mantle of the world anytime soon.

So, in essence, for now at least, the unipolar American world is gone. And what will suffice is for the world to be multi polar world with each corner of the world leveraging it's strengths for a better world.


Africa 54 View: Does Africa Need a Harvard?

 

There are many who believe that Africans have lost it since they don't have a global university that can compete with the best of the best in the world. A University that can attract the best and brightest students and faculty from across the world. 

But a Nigeria academic questions this narrative and says that we should be cautious in wanting a Harvard for Africa. He says a university isn't just about buildings but an interaction of minds and experiences. He points out that the Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge University is a very simple building and yet, it gave the world the DNA.

And in fact, numerous studies have shown that in great universities, the learning isn't from the professors however Nobel Prize caliber they are. It is from fellow students who bring the intellectual acumen, talents, and hobbies to the table. 

Then, our universities are failing not because of having huge and imposing manicured buildings, but because they don't skim the best and brightest talent from across the world.

 So, in essence, we need to provide scholarships to the best and brightest in Africa and beyond, and then choose about twenty universities in Africa to which these students would matriculate . 

And that's how we'll build our intellectual base, and hopefully, we'll equal MIT's alumni wealth creation abilities of $1.9 trillion dollars, and Stanford's alumni wealth creation ability of $2.7 trillion dollars. 

World Ideas: Looking At The Great Legacies of Alliance High School Kenya, and Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs.

 

Educationists argue that next to death, education is the next great equaliser. And many have been able to escape poverty thanks to the great education they receive. For instance, even though the whole of Africa is painted as a desolate place, shithole countries in Trump's words, there is a little island in Kikuyu, Kenya called the Alliance High school. 

Each year from 1985 to 2006, at least 30 students from the school were admitted to the Ivy League. Outside of the US high schools, it was the top feeder school to the Ivy League Universities. Their principal, Christopher Khaemba, could literally recommend a donkey to Harvard and it will be admitted. 

The students of Alliance, just like the graduates of Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs, occupy prime position in Wall Street and Silicon Valley. For Alliance High School it was the missionaries that wanted to educate an African elite that would manage the Kenyan colony well.

For Indian IITs, the vision was that of Prime Minister Nehru, who wanted to create a strong scientific and technological base for India. But sadly, just as the Alliance High school in Kenya, two thirds of IITs graduates leave. Which portends a serious brain drain for India. 

In 2004, a US Democratic Party candidate for it's ticket, Howard Dean, argued that graduates of IITs should be given free and automatic H1-B VISAS to work in America to feed onto the bleeding age of Silicon Valley. And he is right, for Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Dean of Harvard Business School are all alumni of the Indian IITs.

But for both Alliance High School Kenya, and Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs, they must also seek ways to make their talent remain in their countries rather than whole of it being shipped off to America. 

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Africa 54 View: With Dictators Hanging on onto power, African Unity will still be a pipedream.

 

The pilgrim prophet of African Unity was Kwame Nkrumah. But he would be shocked to learn that his dream is basically in shambles and not many African leaders are interested in it. 

The continent has the world's largest number of dictators who hold their countries as personal fiefdoms to loot and plunder. Nkrumah himself said that seek ye the Political Kingdom first, and everything else shall be added onto you. 

Mo Ibrahim, the billionare sponsor of the World's largest prize, the Mo Ibrahim Leadership Prize, a $5 million dollars prize for a former African President who during his time acheived great economic dividends and enacted political reforms. Mr. Ibrahim argues that some countries in Africa are too small as to be viable and hints that continental unity should be the Clarion call of our leaders. 

But for now, since unity seems elusive in the short term, we need a shared prosperity which means open up our borders within Africa so people and goods can move more freely.

Can you imagine if Aliko Dangote is worth ten billion dollars by only trading in just a handful of African countries, how wealthy will he be if he were to invest in all 54 African countries. He would be a trillionare I surmise. 

And because Dangote needs 37 visas to travel around Africa, this complicates his Investment strategy and he has opened a US office to diversify his portfolio, representing a huge capital flight from Africa.

World Ideas: As work Moves Online, The Chief Technology Officer Will Be The Fastest Growing Job globally.

 

Corona pandemic with it's rule on social distancing has made shopping, work and school move online.  But it is a shock that many companies actually never had a digital strategy. Now more than ever, the chief Technology Officer, CTO, has become just as powerful, if not more than the Chief Finance Officer. 

While the Chief Human Resources Manager begged for the same seat as the Chief Finance Officer, she was scorned. And HR became a series of paper filings, salary due dates, annual appraisal for employees. 

Thankfully the CTO will not have to undergoe the humiliation that the HR Manager underwent. It is the CEO and the board that will ask for her input into the company's overall digital strategy, and how to make work and performance of employees seamless.

Africa 54 View: Could a Rotating Presidency Work For Africa.

 

Leading Kenyan political tribal elites are considering whether rotating Presidency could be the panacea of the tribally charged Kenyan politics. For it is believed in Kenya and Africa generally, if your man occupies statehouse, then it's your time to eat as a community. This is why elections in Africa is a nihilistic fight between the various tribes garnering for the top seat.

Which is why the idea of the rotational Presidency comes to the table. On Kenya's case the cite that Switzerland isn't one country but a composition between it's seven semi autonomous regions. So, what they have done is to create a seven member constitutional council, with each of the seven regions having a representative in the constitutional council. The country's President is chosen from these constructional council members.

And ultimately, the biggest case study of the Rotating Presidency is the good old United Nation- UN. The UN secretary general position is rotated among the world's seven continents. For Africa, our eminent son Koffi Annan occupied the seat in the early to mid 2000s. 

A rotating Presidency could work best with countries like Rwanda and Burundi that have just two tribes, while for Nigeria with over 500 tribes, it would be tricky, and in such, then regional rotation of the Presidency would suffice. Nigeria already has the gentleman's agreement between the north and the south in sharing the Presidency. But it's time to put it into law.

World Ideas: How The American Middle Class Was Wiped Off in a Slow But Sure Way.

 

While decline of America was manifest when a radical group of Trump supporters attacked Capitol Hill to attempt and stop Congress from certifying the election of Biden. However, this decline of America has been a long time coming. 

The billion dollars farm was almost unheard of, for it could employ the world, figuratively. 

Then came the billion dollars industrial company that employed about 20,000 all with permanent jobs that would guarantee an American a comfortable middle class lifestyle. It could employ all and sundry, from the grade two dropout warehouse master, to the high flying doctorate holder doing research for the industrial company. The salaries that these employed middle class industrial workers commanded supported, families, communities, and towns of America. 

Then came the 500 employee software company which employed only Ivy League, Uber private university, and flagship state Universities as it's workers, leaving the community college and high school diploma holder out in the cold. This is how American middle class was wiped out. 

Then came the ten employee billion dollars app company, which employed just ten employees. Most of them of Harvard/Stanford Pedigree, creating enormous fortunes for the fludners and shareholders of the app company but leaving the rest of America further and further behind. 

And that's why it isn't the one percent of America that is the problem. It is the one percent of the one percent of America that are pulling far ahead of the rest of Americans. And what of the robotics age will create just one person owner manager billion dollar company. This shows that capitalism is always the greatest wealth generator. But at the same time, it's the poorest distributor of that wealth.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Africa 54 View: Looking at the Chequered Legacy of Mandela and Nyerere. They won politically, but lost Economically.

 

Mandela and Nyerere both had the opposite polarity of a village cow herder commenting on a Harvard Business Review article. That means they interacted with the peasant the same way they interacted with Kings and Princes. That's a rare combination and only about three percent of humanity possesses that opposite polarity. 

The unfortunate thing is that both lost the economic war. Nyerere's policy of "ujamaa" a kind of contextual African socialism suffered a heavy blow and he had to painfully return Tanzania to the capitalism route.

On the other hand, Mandela though a political rock star for blacks all over the world, didn't emancipate native South African people economically. With White Monopolised Capital calling the shots in South Africa. Blacks still don't have land, the primary means of income for rural households in Africa.

So, there you have it. Mandela and Nyerere hugely worshipped by their people but yet, their economic fortunes haven't improved. And economic liberation should be the last chapter in emancipating black and poor people all the world against the excesses of capitalism, which essentially needs a million rubber bands around it to make it work. 

World Ideas: Why I don't Hire People With Bad Grammar, a Contributor to Harvard Business Review Lays Out His Case.

 

A contributor to the Harvard Business Review argued that he doesn't hire people with even a minute grammar mistake. He wants you to know the difference between it's and its and when yo use them. He wants you know the difference between their, there, and they're. If your resume or CV has such glaring grammar mistake, then he tosses it out to the dustbin. He believes writing isn't just about prose, but is a reflection of who you are as a person.


While this hbr.org contributor may have gone out of his way to weed out candidates for the job he offers, he writes manuals for manufacturing companies so it is in his best interest to look out for grammar red flags. 

But seriously, what is the contribution of good grammar in your job performance. Is this the reason why the Human Resources department is the weakest link in a company being truly enduring? You be the judge.

Africa 54 View: How Can Africa Overturn The Damaged Brand Africa? Here's How.

 

Every country has something it's known about. In America, it's the American dream that promises that you can start out as dirt poor but still make tremendous fortunes if you put in the right amount of talent, skills, and hardwork. For in essence America was amde for the talented. The talented in America carried America on her shoulders ever since the Union was formulated.


China did also copy the American dream and adapted it to Chinese dream but with Chinese characteristics. Xi Jinping, the President, is now taught in class.

Then there is the German Machine which always works no matter the circumstances. It is boring but clinical, and has made Germany avoid recession, since it's small businesses that power it's innovation, not an individual trillionare like the US. 

Brand Africa is still at the bottom of the food chain in global geopolitics. Marketing Africa is like winking at someone in the dark-They'll never notice. Since the good that comes out of Africa is subsumed by all this negative energy and chaos of Africa being a common cold away from a pandemic, a war lord away from a civil war, a spoonful away from starvation. 

What Africa needs, even more than gold and silver, is to sell it's success stories to the world. Because Africa has an image crisis, we need to market our success stories more even more than we sell our oil, gold, or diamonds. 

The control experiment in saying we should sell our stories more than even gold or silver. US high school students place 12th in international tests. But they score number one in Self Confidence, because they have seen it happen, the Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg are successful in their own land, so, you can see where the self confidence of an American comes from and it can't be quantified, worth dozens of trillions networth.

World Ideas: Should social media giants like Facebook be treated as platforms or as publishers and be held responsible for content in their platforms?

 

Section 230 was meant to protect Big tech platforms and American lawmakers argued that the Facebook's and Twitter are essentially not originators of content. All they do is to distribute user generated information on their platforms. 

When Trump got banned was it stifling dissenting opinion and thoughts. I think so. Now that these big tech platfoms have decided to become newspapers themselves by hiring numerous fact checkers and moderators, who will act as editors for the content in their websites. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was astonished that a big tech company could cut off the voice and thoughts of a whole American President Trump? What of lesser mortals like us get on wrong side of Facebook and Twitter?

Ultimately, these big tech platforms now have more power than the Chancellor of Germany, and you get a feeling that big tech has certainly acquired a disproportionate amount of power and now no government appears ready to bring them down to size.

 The European Union Countries seem to have a better grasp of how online news, and commerce drives us crazy and need to be cut down to size. 

An Indian pundit said that next to death being the greatest equaliser, the internet is a close second. Allowing a rural school girl in Southern India or Northern Nigeria to have the same access to information like a high flying Harvard Professor. 

This great equaliser that is the internet needs to be regulated, abuse of freedom of speech notwithstanding.

Africa 54 VIEW: Should Voters take a Civic Test? Zambian Economist says it's an idea whose time has come.

 

Zambian Economist Dr. DAMBISA Moyo in her book "Edge of Chaos" argues that Voters should be subjected to a civil test and only those who pass should be allowed to vote.  She argues that voters do not know the consequences of their decisions and hence, they make poor judgements based on raw emotional appeal of their tribal lord. 

And this is a concept whose time has come not just in Africa, but the whole world. Urging voters to take a Civic test is not being elitist or arrogant. It is to make sure that only the best voters select their leaders. It is not an anti thesis to universal suffrage principle of one man one vote. 


Think of the way their are people who followed Trump as he promised to take them to the promised land, and they held onto Trump until Trump grudgingly left the White House and even then, some of his supporters on right wing tabloid, Breitbart news think Trump betrayed them by choosing to leave the White House.

In essence, they say a leader is a reflection of the voters. It's why bad leaders get chosen in Africa all the time, for there is not a single President in Africa I have heard proclaiming the virtues of being a liberal or a conservative. Thus, Zambian Economist Dambisa Moyo argument is sound. 

World Ideas: The Battle For The Future of Sport is whether it will be a science, in form of Christiano Ronald, or the art and beauty of it in the form of Lionel Messi.

 

The battle for the future of sport is whether it will be a science in form training hard, calibrating the player assists, average ball velocity, and such like metrics. In other words, will sports in future be all about the stats and nothing else? Is the future of sport more aligned with Christiano Ronaldo, who brought science into the game of football( soccer for Americans)?

On the other hand we have Lionel Messi who entertains fans through his dribbling the ball past defenders and making it look so easy.

And I think Brazil lost the world Cup in 2014 simply because they drifted from free flowing football that was their forte to a technical game like European soccer stars do. 

Ultimately then, sports statistics could be the next big thing in coming days as sports move from the realm of the art and beauty of it and now shifting to science and hard data to analyse the game. And I think you've even seen during prematch and at halftime, the sports commentators on Supersport are concerned with ball velocity, player assists, pass rate, ball possession and you see that technologies that merge sports and statistics will make trillions. 

World Ideas: Across the World of Jobs Qualifications, Masters Degree is the New Bachelor's Degree.

 

Even for the basic of jobs, nowadays the minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree. This means high school graduate best hope of getting income is to be hired in the notorious restaurant and retail jobs. 

How did the world reach such a stage that even for front office job holder, she needs a minimum of a four degree course? And realising that bachelor's degree quality around the world is the same as a Form Six high school in past years. 

Lack of jobs is the role reason why even a master's degree holder is not assured of a job. So, who will be the creators of wealth, when the smartest students all want to climb the ladder, but not to own the ladder herself. It's one of the tragedies of the Victorian industrial education that started in Britain and Europe more generally.

If Bachelor's degree is the new masters degree, then what of the job prospects of community colleges, vocational Training Colleges and technical institutes? 

Thus, the number one goal is to create billions of jobs around the world. Realising this trend, a think tank that supports entrepreneurship in the US gave high school students $400,000 to drop out of high school and start their own ventures. 

Which is why, all these endless career advice, which I also dabbled in, instead of advising students on how to polish the resumes and interview skills, we must attack the problem from it's root cause. Prosperous new businesses are just not being launched in great a scale as to absorb all the workforce that graduates from our higher education systems. 

Because ultimately, the issue isn't in polishing your resume or fine tuning your interview skills. If there are ten jobs available in a company, and a thousand jobseekers apply, then it means 990 job seekers will be rejected. 

And that's why, creative intuitive genius entrepreneurs must be encouraged to create as much wealth as possible in a stable environment that will create a demand for their products and services, and they will be forced to hire more workers to keep up with demand.

Africa 54 View: African Intellectuals Haven't Embraced Academic Tourism living it to the likes of Jeffery Sachs or Thomas Friedman.

 

It is a fact that African Intellectuals are paid peanuts, that why they go on labour strike often. But one area they have not explored the power of academic tourism. I know in terms of conferences, African Intellectuals have excelled. But spreading their ideas into the general common person is what they haven't done. 

Only the Likes of Jeffery Sachs, director of the Columbia University sustainable development studies, and Thomas Friedman seem to be lecturing the world on the most important issues of the day. In Africa only Zambian American Economist Dambisa Moyo seems genuinely in pursuit of academic tourism. She publishes regularly in the likes of Financial Times and Harvard Business Review. 

What's more she has several books to her name, such as "Dead Aid: and why aid is not working for Africa." "How The West Was Lost" and "Edge of Chaos and Why Democracy is not working" on which she posits that voters should undergo a civic test and only those who pass be allowed to vote since voters have no idea of the consequences of their vote and this make bad leaders elected. 

She started slowly and now commands speaking fees of $40,000 per lecture. Imagine if African Intellectuals got this kind of speaking fees, they won't even rely on government and would teach pro bono. Think about that.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

World Ideas: Is the $800 Billion Dollar Valuation of Tesla Justified?

 

For those that have just landed from Mars, the electric vehicle company Tesla is now valued at $800 billion dollars. That makes it more valuable than Toyota, Chevrolet, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler combined. 

Why is Tesla valued so much higher than all these traditional companies? It's because what accountants call Goodwill. It is more like what the landlord charges for business premises that is in prime location. 

In a similar way, it's argued that Elon Musk's Tesla is valued at $800 billion dollars despite producing only 500,000 cars because the future application and value of Tesla technologies is simply enormous. Think of electric batteries for all sorts of devises that will be switching from fossil fuel power to electric power and you get a sense where the value and treasure of Tesla truly lies. 

But ultimately, startups like Tesla must create as much clean decent and rewarding jobs as much as they create enormous wealth. Otherwise, the valuation of a billion dollar corporation with just twelve employees doesn't board well for capitalism.

Africa 54 View: What Does Africa Gain From a Biden administration?

 

Our distant cousins African Americans are so into the Demoratic Party it hurts. And ultimately, most Africans believe in the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. But the truth is Africa has benefitted more from a Republican administration than from a Democract administration.

Africa hopes that a Biden administration will continue with The AGOA act, which saw African textiles export clothes to America duty free. The AGOA act was introduced by Bill Clinton. 

Then George W. Bush introduced free AIDS anti retroviral drugs. And Obama introduced the Mandela Washington fellowship which sees hundred of future African leaders head to the US for a 3 month training course on leadership, entrepreneurship, and civic issues. So, Biden could build on this.

But Africa in essence has to be viewed as a business and investment destination rather than it being a place of always needing to be helped. And I hope this is the strategy of the Biden Administration. Africa needs investors, not humanitarian assistance however dire our situation is. 

World Ideas: As Under 35s do not read newspapers anymore, what's the future of Print Journalism?


As readers shift online from print, as under 35 year olds don't read newspapers anymore, what the future of print journalism? Given, print journalism isn't the coolest of majors in journalism compared to broadcast journalism. 

One, there is a huge difference between print and online journalism. For one, politics and salacious gossip drives people to buy newspapers, and tabloids like the Nairobian or the Daily Mirror fly off the newstands in seconds. But admittedly, these salacious gossip and politics doesn't drive advertising revenues. Especially online.

In the Google AdSense program that many online news display, ads on keywords such as celebrities only pay $0.01, so, you need tonnes of traffic, in the range of hundreds of millions of ad impressions, to get a decent income. 

That's why the promising for online only journalism the Huff Post had to close down several of it's international bureaus as the ad revenues couldn't just support the hundreds of journalists. 

And so, online journalism needs a tiered product. The politics and may be celebrity stuff to attract the tonnes of traffic, but also a niche business, finance, and tech journalism insights that will power it's subscription model.

Former CEO of Nation Media Group Linus Gitahi says that what the media needs now is insights, not simply regurgitation of news, that is now done by social media nowadays. The work of mainstream media is just to confirm the news. 

What Gitahi argues is that we are choking in data and so we need insights to make sense of this data. And this is what will drive paid subscriptions. 

That's why it is the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times that are wracking up subscription numbers as the rest of the political papers like Washington Post struggle. Even New York Times has had to introduce a strong business journalism component to wrack up it's online subscription numbers. 

Africa 54 View: It is The Major Advertisers, and Not Repressive Regimes, That Are Now The Biggest Threat To African Media.

 

Advertising is the financial lifeline of media, especially newspapers, well until the paid subscription model becomes a success. And now, major advertisers, with their financial strength, and not Repressive Regimes, represent the biggest threat to a free and fair media. 

When an advertiser signs below that dotted line, they expect nothing more than good publicity at the very least. When this line is breached a call to the CEO will have a story killed in a nanosecond. 

A Nigerian journalist lamented how her story on a major company pouring waste on a nearby river was killed since the company was a major advertiser for the media she worked for.

I know editors are like every worker out there and they also need to send their kids to school or pay their mortgage, and so, whoever brings in the big check will be king. But ultimately, our media, big and small, must move from the ad model to the subscription model. 

Viewers and readers are simply getting news and insights too cheaply, whereas it takes a great amount of talent, resources to gather, edit, and deliver these stories and insights.  

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

World Ideas: EdTech Was A Boring Investment Field, But Corona Has Made Remote Learning Mandatory, And Now Companies Offering Remote Learning Are Hot Cake.

 

When I wanted to start an education and careers magazine ten years ago, I approached a magazine distributor but she told me that education publishing was ish ish, a middle of the road idea that could or could not bring financial windfalls. She advised me instead to instead try politics or entertainment magazine and I will never go wrong. 

And this is more in line in the tech sector. Companies in the education technology, more commonly known as Edtech, receive very low funding as compared to companies in finance, fintech, or social interaction and sharing apps platforms.

But Corona has changed all this. With remote learning now mainstream, online learning companies are attracting great investments, even billion dollars capital injection. 

For instance, China now has 350 million Chinese students enrolled in the online tutorials classes, especially those offering preparation for the national high school exams otherwise known as Gaokao exams which determines entry into prestigious universities such as Peiking University, which in turns who gets the best jobs after graduation. 

 India has about 200 million. Amazon has joined the frenzy of universities preparing students for the final JEE exams, which is the terminal exam for high schools and the entry criteria to the country's universities such as the prestigious Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs, which offer the same same level of education as the Ivy League, Oxbridge, or French Ecoles. Amazon Academy now offers a series of tutorials and study tips for these exams. 

But for Edtech companies, the key is as to whether they will replicate the residential experience of physical schools. And certainly, given online schools can accommodate greater number of students will elite universities increase their enrollment numbers to reach the furthest corners of the world but still not dilute their brand name credentials which thrives in exclusivity?

Africa 54 View: Life After Presidency Is What Many African Presidents Don't Think About.

 

It is zero hour Joe Biden as he ascends to the US Presidency in a few hours time, or already, by the time you read this. But while we witnessed the chaotic nature of the transition, one thing the American experential democracy has demonstrated is that their is life after Presidency. 

This isn't a great precedent in Africa. Fear of losing it all is what makes many African Presidents swear to be life Presidents. Yoweri Museveni characteristically said he came to power through the gun, and could only be removed by someone going to the forest and launching a guerilla warfare to unseat him. Idris Deby- Chad, Theodora Nguema- Equatorial Guinea, amongst others think there country's Presidency that they will only vacate when they transition to afterlife. 

But African Presidents should know their is life post Presidency. They could right great books to document their Presieency, such as Decision Points By George W. Bush or The Promised Land by Barrack H. Obama. 

Or they could be visiting Lecturers in our often lacking experienced lecturers universities. Or they could start foundations to nurture Africa's next generation of leaders. 

Why does it have to take Obama to launch the Mandela Washington Leadership Fellowship for future African leaders to study in the US, while we have Festus Mogae, Botswana, Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania, Joachim Chissano, Mozambique that could nurture our own young future leaders in circumstances that are unique to Africa. A rethink is needed.

World Ideas: Aside From Pointing Out Trump's Faults, what Does Biden Bring To The Table?

 

We've all heard of Trump's Faults and they are many. Corona is China Virus. Mexicans are rapists. Africa is shit hole, or more brazingly, Trump has never had of a successful country that was run by blacks. 

But apart from pointing out the flaws in Trump, what does a Biden Presidency portend for America and the world? One, Biden says he'll sign at least ten executive orders on day one, today, to try and roll back on the damage that Trump has supposedly brought to America. One of them is to sign the Paris Climate Accord and bring back America's leadership in the climate change talks. The other is to reverse the Trump travel ban on majority muslim countries. 

But remember, aside from the glitz of Trump's failings, Biden told a group of wealthy donors to his campaign that "nothing would fundamentally change". In essence, Biden winning the American Presidency may have more to do with pilgrim Americans choosing the lesser of two evils than it was about an affirmation on Biden.

Biden is accused of the 1994 crime bill that incarcerated so many black folks, yet, it is the same community that gave Biden a lifeline when he resoundingly won the South Carolina Democratic Primary after three straight losses to Bernie Sanders. 

I really don't like the way the Democrats take African Americans as some sort of demographics where they'll emotionally appeal for votes but do nothing once in office. Are blacks merely electioneering machines for Democrats? At least Republicans don't give that much promise to African American folks, but the Democrats promise heaven and deliver hell. 

Today's swearing of Biden is a win for the American Corporation, not the American people. And this is my control experiment. Why is it that the insurance shares shot up the day Bernie Sanders hang up his boots after being deemed as too risky by the Democratic establishment which needs the big corporate donations just as the Republicans need those funds?

By and large then, the Democratic Party of today is the Republican Party of the 1970s and 80s. That's how much to the right the Democratic Party has swung. In essence, the true leftist is an endangered species since there are very big vested interests when suddenly public education and healthcare become free. When slave wage jobs must pay a minimum, humanely work condition job. 

And that's the tragedy of American elections today. It's a choice between centrist corporate appealing Democrats, for which Obama and Bill Clinton were, and the now far right wing Republican Party. More a choice between an evil, and a lesser one.

Africa 54 View: What If Capitol Hill Attack Had Happened in Africa?

 

For Africa, the leadership and governance challenges are having a real strain on how the continent is perceived in the outside world. Look at how America is marketed. Even though there was great dereliction throughout the world on the attack on Capitol Hill, at a billion people throughout the world will be tuned to the international TV networks, radio, and internet to follow the American Presidential inauguration live. 

The seduction of America to the world really surprises me. For while the American government is the most hated government in the world, the American people are the most beloved. And the Iraq student admitted to Harvard will quickly forget how the Bush war in Iraq killed millions, utterly shattered the life of her countrymen. She will forget all that and call all her friends and relatives on her admission to Harvard once she gets the Congratulatory acceptance email.

This two faced love and hate of America in equal measure is one of the greatest marketing inventions of all time, even better than selling ice to the Eskimos. Can Africa pull off such a great or seductive should I say marketing ploy. 

Imagine if what had happened in Capitol Hill had happened in Africa? The reaction from around the world would have been "Trust Africans to make a fine mess of themselves". "Africans are incapable of self governance". "The colonialists should never have left Africa that quickly". And for America, Capitol Hill Attack, it's just a minor stain and then we are back to watching the Hollywood movie on Netflix, applying for the Green Card to America, or applying to Harvard.

For Africa then, we must realise that nothing sells better than success. Africa must become the land of the dreamers, the creative geniuses, the saints, the highest angels and no doubt the world would sit down and take notice. This could also apply to China and India as both seek to become world powers. 

World Ideas: What If Trump Had A Good Side That Appealed To Our Highest Angels.

 

Today is Trump's last day in office, and Biden's first. So, let me say figuratively, today is the day that America swears to bury Trump for good. 

And in an African burial ceremony, you never talk ill of the dead, only their good side. So, here's the proposition that I know makes me an outlier, one because Trump has said that there is no single country in the world that he knows is run by a black man and is successful. But I won't focus on the base, or even narcissistic elements of Trump. 

Since today is figuratively Trump's burial day in America, let's reflect on his good side. On a side of him that appealed to our better angels. Our highest angels even. So, what good did Trump do?

One, he didn't take America to any war that I know of. And that's an anomaly for an American President. Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner, gave us the debacle in Syria, and the rise of Isis.

 He toppled a progressive regime in Muammar Gaddaffi in Libya since he believes only he, Hillary Clinton, and Sarkozy at the time, has the right to decide which President in the world is good or bad and needs to stay or go. 

Trump pointed out the disappearing middle class in America. I know he laced his arguments with racist slur. Such as Mexicans are rapists. But let's not concentrate on the racialisation of America. Let's instead concetrate on the side that is true. Isn't it true that the American middle class is disappearing at rates never seen before? 

Isn't it true that safe middle class industrial jobs that ensured that an American, of whichever race could afford a decent living is a past era America, never to come back again? 

Isn't it true that the CEO compensation rate, where a CEO whose only credential is that he is an Ivy League card carrying member and a Finance cost cutting guy, isn't it true that he is taking home at least 400 times the compensation of the factory floor worker. The so called "Tired Third Tier"  Community College or high school drop out card carrying member? 

Given the above then, today's Trump burial day- figuratively, is not the day to remember on Trump's many blunders, and they are many, but to reflect on a side of him that appeals to our immortal self, our highest angels so to speak.

Africa 54 View: Given Today is Trump's last day in office, What Can Africa Learn?

 

Given the next 12 hours or so, Trump will depart the White House, and Biden will be ushered in. Even though Trump called Africa a shit hole place, and that he had never known any country in the world that was led by a black that was successful, what could Africa learn from the Trump Presidency? 

One, politics of division never helps us. If anything, it makes us sweep the most important things that encumber us under the table. Trump could have framed the disappearing middle class in America more as a class issue, and therefore go after the one percent of America legitimately, than a race issue.

Secondly, that America isn't what it's painted out to be in the movies. They have real problems. A middle class that is struggling more than ever before, medical bills that could send one to bankruptcy immediately, bankrupt cities, crime levels that are unprecedented, a failing education system though if you only looked at Harvard or MIT you wouldn't tell. But you need to scratch the surface and go to the Community College where Professors are part time freelancing adjunct Lecturers- with no job security, you meet drunken students in the corridor on your way to the lectures, not an exactly great way to inspire you to greatness. 

Seriously, only twenty million Americans seem to be doing okay. The rest 300 million are in an overglorified Third World Country. But they have been fed that they are the greatest country in the world, but aren't North Koreans also fed that garbage also?

For Africans, stay home and make Africa heaven, everywhere has problems, you could be running away for a better life in America only to realise you are jumping from frying pan to fire to hell fire.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

World Ideas: Are Terminal Exams That Cover Many Years of Schooling in a Just a Few Hours of Exam A Good Measure of a Students Ability?

 

A student columnist for the Oxford University student newspaper has argued that the UK A-Level final exams should be abolished. She argues that you simply can't measure a students ability of two years of study, Form Five and Six, in a few hours of exams. What happens when you forget a key formula or concept in the hour of exam? What if you fall sick on the day of the exam?

Britain exported the industrial exam based Victorian education system wherever it colonised. In Kenya, the terminal high school exam, KCSE, determines the degree course you'll get in university. Highly sought after degree courses like medicine, law, and engineering require perfect grade As in KCSE.

In India, the JEE exams determines who gets to the best colleges and universities in the country, most notably, the Indian Institute of Technologies-IITs, the elite universities in India that have produced the likes of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Dean of Harvard Business School Nortin Nohria, amongst other top flight CEOs in America and India. 

The graduates of IITs are so good that an American senator Howard Dean in 2004 Democratic campaigns for it's Presidential ticket argued they should be given automatic H1-B VISAS to work in the US since they would boost the productivity of the US by a great deal. 

And entry into such fine institutions is determined by a single high school exam, the JEE, so much is the stakes for this exam that Edtech companies that offer tutorials for JEE exams are multi million dollar companies. Amazon itself entered this edtech and now offers the Amazon Academy, a series of tutorials for the JEE. 

In China, terminal exams for high school students are sat by at least ten million students each year. The exams, known as Gaokao exams, are sat in just a few days but they determine who gets the slot in prestigious universities such as Peiking university. Given Chinese education system exams are borrowed from it's ancient days civil service technocract exams that were used to determine who gets to be promoted or not. 

The American high school education system relies on exams yes, but not one single terminal exam, but a series of exams. For admission to US universities, the academic component, a student is gauged on the so called Grade Point Average, GPA, which the school administers to students, and the SAT aptitude test, a five hour one day exam. 

However, it's the GPA that is weighted higher and a mediocre or average score in the GPA cannot be compensated by a perfect score in the five hour SAT aptitude test. Could the world universities follow this model in the admission of high students to universities?


Africa 54 View: Is Africa, and Indeed The World, Ready For Ranked Choice Voting.

 

While the world was focused on who will be the American President on election day, something else was going on in the American elections. It was determination of a referendum on whether several counties in the US would vouch for ranked choice voting. 

Ranked choice voting simply means that you don't just vote for one individual, but that you rank the candidates on the ballot in order of preference. Then the top two or three go for a run off until subsequently, a winner is found. 

As a columnist for Princeton student newspaper The Daily Princetonian argues, this eliminates choosing between the lesser of two evils that much of the world electorate find themselves confronted with. 

And she cites that in the US counties where ranked choice voting was implemented, election candidates campaigned much more on the issues that the electorate held dear rather than mudslinging as campaigns in Kenya, Africa and the world are much more about painting the other candidate as bad, rather than coming up with a plan on how to better the electorate lives. I think, with hindsight, ranked choice voting is an idea whose time has come, not just for Africa, but the world.

World Ideas: How Can Chinese Companies Expand without Friction with America, As Huawei Did?

 

The preceding Chinese President, Hu Jintao, set out to have at least 100 Chinese companies in the global Fortune 500 companies. And that dream is beginning to take shape. For one, Lenovo bought off the personal computing division of US giant, IBM. Tik Tok is among the most downloaded apps in the world. 

Alibaba has brought ecommmerce war to the doorsteps of American companies. And let's not forget the pioneering 5G technology of Chinese company, Huawei. While the Trump administration paints it's war with Huawei as guarding against spying and epsionage of Chinese companies, the truth is that America knew Huawei was going to be a run away success in 5G, which would usher in things like Industrial internet of Things (IIoT), smart hardware, and fintech. 

Where for example, your fridge once it runs out of supplies, it will order more supplies from the online store, all without your involvement. And you get a sense that whoever will control such Technology will basically be holding humanity at stake.

So, Chinese companies will have to play smart. They should know the mantra of the United States is Approach, But Don't Over take. And that's why small City states like Singapore can even go ahead and have the highest per capita incomes in the world, since in terms of size and grandeur, they are non starter. But China is too big for such success, and that's why you see the kind of strain with Chinese companies at present.

Africa 54 View: Africa has to sell it's success stories more than it sells it's gold and diamonds.

 

The tragedy for Africa isn't it's poverty, sickness, or under development however significant these threats are. The tragedy for Africa is lack of genuine of role models on a global super star level. 

That's why many an African entrepreneur cites Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg as their role models, but the fact is that these people grew up in vastly different conditions from the average Africa, and unless of course they are the daughter or son of an African big man politician.

Success breeds success. In international tests, American high school students place position twelve in the 30 most developed countries, otherwise known as OECD. But in terms of self confidence, they place first. This is because they have seen it happen at home. 

They have seen Google start from a Garage. Dell Computers and Facebook start from a University student laboratory. And they know they will be the next big thing if they exert the right strategy and tenacity. 

That's why for Africa, it must turn away from being just a common cold away from a pandemic, a war lord away from civil war anarchy, a spoonful away from starvation. 

Africa must be the place where the real deal happens. Where genuine super success of whatever kind is visible. Because in the current world, perception is the new reality. That's the reason why Hollywood exists in the first place. To market America that's it's a land painted with milk and honey. 

For Africa, marketing it is like winking to someone in the dark. They'll never notice. The good that comes out of Africa is simply subsumed by all the negative stories about Africa out there.


Monday, 18 January 2021

World Ideas: The College Drop Out Billionare Is Actually A Myth.

 

While the College drop out billionare such as Bill Gates, founder billionare of Microsoft, or Mark Zuckerberg, founder billionare of Facebook, both Harvard drop outs, while these college drop outs cum billionares are good for selling magazines, they are the exception rather than the rule.

Most successful businesses are started by people in mid career in late thirties through early fifties. This is after they have gained the requisite experience, and most importantly, have the networks and contacts for a ready market. 

Let's look at College drop outs more keenly. Mark Zuckerberg studied at the exclusive Philips Exeter Academy, a high school with an endowment of $1 billion dollars. That places it at the level of an Uber private American University in terms of wealth. It's English department is reportedly better than the Harvard English department by a huge stretch. So, even with all the wealth and class and Prestige of Harvard, for Mark Zuckerberg, it could have felt like the school down the hood given his Exeter Experience. 

Then let's look at Bill Gates. Bill Gates founded Microsoft when software was like food recipe. Widely available, but not attributable to anyone. Property rights for software were still not in enforcement like say in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. And Bill Gates also lived an upper middle class American life, so, he could afford some of the early costs of his company from the pocket. 

So, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates were more a story of previledge than a story of come from behind mega wins that the popular media likes to paint out. 

While glamorising entrepreneurship is great, for few people worship entrepreneurs the way they worship celebrities, and even as we aim to prop up the numbers of great entrepreneurs for the creative genius seems to be an extinct species in an age of rabid socialist utopian evangelism, the fact is that entrepreneurship is a long hard journey, and experience and networks are important, and they come with age and time dirtying your hands before learning the ropes. 

Africa 54 View: Does Africa Need A Harvard, Stanford or MIT.?

 

Does Africa need a great Elite Global university in the mould of Harvard, Stanford, or MIT? Is an elite African graduate the panacea to the problems that afflicts Africa at the moment?

Harvard is a liberal arts university and is evenly balanced between the sciences and the arts, although it's engineering still has a lot of catching up to do. However, the two drop outs, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg carry Harvard on their backs in the tech world. 

In the business, politics and arts scene, no doubt Harvard tops the world, as it has produced countless CEOs, hedge fund billionares, and five American Presidents, most recently, Barrack Obama. 

On the other hand, a non profit think tank that seeks to promote entrepreneurship, the Kauffman foundation estimates that the wealth created by the lifetime alumni of MIT is $1.9 trillion dollars, while that of Stanford is $2.6 trillion dollars. So, these two universities alone have added $4.5 trillion dollars to the wealth of the world. 

Clearly, if Africa had such universities, we could be in paradise. So, how do we create about twenty or so universities that will make great fortunes for Africa and in deed the world? Simple, let each billionare start and bequeth a private global but Africa focused university. The universities I have mentioned above are all private, and for Africa, we seem to worship governments too much.

Forbes magazine estimates the number of African billionares is equal to those of Latin America, which is many. Ventures Magazine puts the number of African dollar billionares at 50. And a billion dollars is a hell lot of fortune in Africa, and funding an elite university won't dump the size of the pocket book of these billionares that much. 

And this is informed by fact that in the current world, knowledge and ideas are the new wealth, not physical raw materials. And Africa isn't doing too well in placing our best and brightest at the right environment where they need to flourish.

World Ideas: Who Will Take Over America's Vacuum in World Leadership.

 

As the Biden administration begins to take shape on Wednesday, one thing that is clear is that America will retreat from the world and focus on it's own internal problems. 

The American middle class is disappearing even as it's big companies mint trillions, it's cities are bankrupt, and the rise of Trumpism was as much a loss of the common American livelihood as it was about fractured race relations that sees the police treat the white supremacists that stormed Capitol Hill to try and stop Joe Biden from being certified as President by Congress get treated with kid gloves by law enforcement while the protestors at the George Floyd murder get unleashed with the full force of law. 

So, in essence there will be a lot on the plate for Biden administration from day one such that America will have no choice but to retreat from the world. Who will fill up this void? Is it China, India, Russia, or the European Union?

While America has been the dominant power since end of cold war in 1990, it has been declining for the last fifteen years or so as China rises and endears itself to the world.

 Asian nations now play China and the US against each other and attempt to get a better deal from both sides, while in Africa, China has been welcomed with open arms since it doesn't lecture African leaders like the West does, and given African countries are cash strapped, the infrastructure deals with China have been credited with improving the economic prospects of the continent. 

But in essence, America's biggest foreign policy challenge are it's own internal problems. There is no way the US can lecture rogue world leaders on the values of good governance and rule of Law after what happened to Capitol Hill two weeks ago. And ultimately, the US must wake up to the fact that the world is no longer uni dimensional but is a multi polar world and each corner of the world deserves a place in the big table.

Africa 54 View: The Tragedy For Africa Is That It Has Rulers And Not Leaders.

 

Too often, holding a powerful position is confused for leadership. But position and leadership aren't the same. Position is about power. Leadership is about influence. And Africa needs more influencers to uplift us to our highest angels, than powerful position holders who will lord it down on us. 

When the recently relected President was asked if his long time friend turned foe Kizza Besigye would ever get the Presidency, he said that he answered that Besigye would have to get the Presidency the way he got it. By fighting in the forest. The power of the bullet so to speak. 

And yet, on ascending to power after dethroning dictator Idi Amin through the power of the barrel, Museveni said that a Ugandan should only die of natural causes not preventable calamities like disease, or hunger. And yet, forty years later, Museveni still hangs to power even as he says that he hasn't at yet seen anyone to take over.

The ruler worships his powerful position and it's trappings. The leader is in effect an efficient Persian Governor who utilises resources efficiently so her citizenry never lacks. Therein lies the lesson for Africa. 

Sunday, 17 January 2021

World Ideas: What Should The World Expect from a Biden Administration?

 

I'm a not a big fan of the Democratic Party of the US I should say since it believes in the cause of the big government as the enabler and guarantor of our lives, which is the complete opposite of a conservative like me who believes a state should be organised around the individual as the master of her own destiny. But that's because I come from Africa, where governments are inept, corrupt, dyfunctional, and appeals to our darker angels instead of our highest angels. 

But like a good Republican, I accept that yes, the US will have a new President in Biden. And since the US with all it's failings is still the center and locus of the world geo politics, what should we expect from a Biden administration?

One, Biden says he'll sign at least ten executive orders to overturn the utter mess that has been Trump. One such is returning the US to the Paris Climate talks, where climate change pilgrims like Greta Thunberg have advocated that our leaders simply don't care about the next generation by not focusing on climate change and it's dire consequences on us. 

Then the other major policy change for America is to return it to the center, for it had gone too far to the right. I think that's the best Biden can achieve, he won't be radical in things like free healthcare or free public education like his frenemy Bernie Sanders, a guy who on pulling out of the Presidential race the insurance shares shot up since a mortal enemy in Sanders free healthcare plan had been removed. 

Shows you that making life comfortable for everyone in America isn't an affordability issue but a moral one, and in this, you could say, America is literally a corporation with piecemeal actions like elections only meant to maintain the contract between the ruling corporate orligarchs and the people, and you must remember that when Biden was addressing his major donors, he said nothing would fundamentally change. And in this, the left of center Democrat is an extinct species. For the last two Democrat Presidents, Obama and Clinton were corporate centrists than pilgrim leftists. 

For Clinton was the Presidency that ushered in the multi millionare CEO while the factory floor worker earned a pittance and found that the American dream a fallacy. And Obama was a friend of Wall Street at night even as he gave great redemption of America speeches during the day.

For Africa, even though our distant cousins African Americans seem to worship the Democratic party almost to a fault, it is the the Republican Party party that has benefited Africa the most during it's regime. 

But to Trump's credit, he was not involved in any major war which seems an anomaly for an American President. So, even the devil has his day where he appeals to the angels that uplift us I guess. 

Africa 54 View: Africa Has Benefitted More From Trump/Bush Than Obama/Biden administration.

 

As Biden takes the oath of office as President of the United States, and arguably the most powerful man in the world, many Africans seem optimistic that he would help Africa greatly. But the facts prove opposite on who between the Democrats and Republicans is the better deal for Africa. 

I know this is a non entity argument in the first place since Africa is simply at the tail end of the priorities that an American President has to deal with. There is the city state Israel to deal with. Russia. Iran. China. Then American own gigantous problems, a disappearing middle class, rising trillion dollars student debt, bankrupt cities, rise of white nationalists and you get a sense that Biden plate will be full on day one. 

And that's why usually a US President visit to Africa is scheduled on his last name duck days in office, more as an experiential travel rather than a serious deal striking tour like in the rest of the world.

The only major Democrat African policy achievement has been the AGOA trade deal, which sees African textile manufacturers export their merchandise to the US tax free. It was George W. Bush era that brought with it free anti retroviral drugs for millions of African AIDS patients. 

And conversely, it was supposedly the continent's most beloved son of all time, Barrack Obama that removed the regime of Muammar Gaddaffi, ostensibly to rescue Libyans from the oppression of Gaddaffi, who had made trendous gains for Libyans economically even as he was a dictator. And then the regime change cabal of Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Sarkozy assumed they have a right to rule the world by birth and made a mockery of a country that was the envy of many. 

I know Gaddaffi the dictator killed many, but Gaddafi the Efficient Persian Governor who utilises resources so his citizens prosper was simply an economic Colossus.  And show me which President hasn't Killed? Even the supposed saintly Obama dropped bombs with his drones so much that he would make Bush Iraq war seem a saintly pursuit.

And my parting shot is that whereas our distant cousins African Americans seem to worship the Democratic Party, it is the Republicans that have engaged us mutually. But ultimately, the relationship between Africa and the United States, and in deed the world, must shift from one of an aid and humanitarian perspective where it's always Africa's turn to be helped from a war, disease, poverty, or hunger, to one where we engage with the rest of the world on trade and business ties. 

For essentially, Africa is an entrepreneurs best kept secret, and the fact that it is choking in problems should be an entrepreneurs best call to action and take on their boots and unleash wealth,-ethical and humanely, that the world has never seen.