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Many qualities have been identified that are important to great leaders…
But there are seven leadership qualities that seem to stand out as being more important than the others.The good news is that each of these leadership qualities can be learned, and they must be learned by practice and repetition.
Here are the seven most identified attributes of leaders and executives:
Great leaders have vision… They can see into the future.
They have a clear, exciting idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish and are excellent at strategic planning.
This quality separates them from managers. Having a clear vision turns the individual into a special type of person. This quality of vision changes a “transactional manager” into a “transformational leader.”
While a manager gets the job done, great leaders tap into the emotions of their employees.
“Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.”– Winston Churchill
The quality of courage means that you are willing to take risks in the achievement of your goals with no assurance of success. Because there is no certainty in life or business, every commitment you make and every action you take entails a risk of some kind.
Among the seven leadership qualities, courage is the most identifiable outward trait.
In every strategic planning session that I have conducted for large and small corporations, the first value that all the gathered executives agree upon for their company is integrity. They all agree on the importance of complete honesty in everything they do, both internally and externally.
The core of integrity is truthfulness.
Integrity requires that you always tell the truth, to all people, in every situation. Truthfulness is the foundation quality of the trust that is necessary for the success of any business.
Great leaders are those who are strong and decisive but also humble.
Humility doesn’t mean that you’re weak or unsure of yourself. It means that you have the self-confidence and self-awareness to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened.
It means that you are willing to admit you could be wrong, that you recognize you may not have all the answers. And it means that you give credit where credit is due.
Humility gets results. Larry Bossidy, the former CEO of Honeywell and author of the book Execution, explained why humility makes you a more effective leader:
“The more you can contain your ego, the more realistic you are about your problems. You learn how to listen, and admit that you don’t know all the answers. You exhibit the attitude that you can learn from anyone at any time. Your pride doesn’t get in the way of gathering the information you need to achieve the best results. It doesn’t keep you from sharing the credit that needs to be shared. Humility allows you to acknowledge your mistakes.”
Great leaders are outstanding at strategic planning They have the ability to look ahead, to anticipate with some accuracy where the industry and the markets are going.
Leaders have the ability to anticipate trends, well in advance of their competitors. They continually ask, “Based on what is happening today, where is the market going? Where is it likely to be in three months, six months, one year, and two years?” They do this through thoughtful strategic planning.
Because of increasing competitiveness, only the leaders and organizations that can accurately anticipate future markets can possibly survive. Only leaders with foresight can gain the “first mover advantage.”
Leaders always focus on the needs of the company and the situation. Leaders focus on results, on what must be achieved by themselves, by others, and by the company. Great leaders focus on strengths, in themselves and in others.
They focus on the strengths of the organization, on the things that the company does best in satisfying demanding customers in a competitive marketplace.
Your ability as a leader to call the shots and make sure that everyone is focused and concentrated on the most valuable use of their time is essential to the excellent performance of the enterprise.
Your ability to get everyone working and pulling together is essential to your success. Leadership is the ability to get people to work for you because they want to.
The 80/20 rule applies here:
Twenty percent of your people contribute 80 percent of your results.
Your ability to select these people and then to work well with them on a daily basis is essential to the smooth functioning of the organization.
Gain the cooperation of others by making a commitment to get along well with each key person every single day. You always have a choice when it comes to a task: You can do it yourself, or you can get someone else to do it for you. Which is it going to be?
Most of the time, leaders think about the good leadership qualities and how to apply them on a daily basis.
The most important contribution you can make to your company is to be a leader, accept responsibility for results, and dare to go forward.
The federal government and its federating units are presently facing massive cash crunch due to the sharp decline in oil prices. The country has for decades depend solely on the revenue from oil sales. The federating units send their representatives to the federal capital every month to collect their share of the monthly allocations.
While their monthly trip to Abuja can be excused same cannot be said of the way the allocations and revenues generated have been spent in the last decade.
The situation has become so dire and disheartening as most of the state governments can no longer pay salaries. They now ask the federal government for bailout.
In 1926, George Samuel Clason a former US army issued the first of a famous series of pamphlets on thrift and financial success, using Babylonian parables. These were distributed in large quantities by financial institutions, the most famous being, The Richest Man in Babylon. It is one of most inspiring book on wealth ever written.While the secrets from the book were mostly directed to personal lives they are applicable and transferable to governments too.
In the book, Arkad, the richest man was asked how he has acquired his fortune. Arkad quoted the first piece of advice he received from Algamish, his mentor “I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep.” The advice to save no less than a tenth of what Arkad earned was the start of a transformation he said. This is a golden rule and it applies to governments too.
Successive governments over the years have refused to keep and invest a part of what they earned. No individual or government will spend all during time of plenty and expect everything to be fine in time of famine.
Globally, countries as well as states who generate commodity driven revenue have been found to set aside part of their earnings for the future and the vehicle or platform mostly used is the sovereign wealth fund (SWF).
Resource prices are really volatile. They go up and down and if a government is making plans on these prices they should be very careful, a savings plan like the SWF can ensure that when the economy contracts there will be a buffer to sustain that government.
A sovereign wealth fund (SWF) is a state owned investment fund investing in the real and financial assets such as bonds, stocks, real estate or precious metals. They can also be invested in private equity fund or hedge fund. Generally, SWFs are funded by revenues from commodity exports or from foreign-exchange reserves held by the central bank.
It is estimated that there may be a total of eighty SWFs globally holding, holding about $7 trillion in total assets.
Norway, a commodity driven country like Nigeria, established the Government Petroleum fund in 1990, commonly referred to as the Oil fund, the fund changed its name to The Government Pension Fund Global in 2006.It was established after a decision by the country’s legislature to counter the effects of the decline in income and to smooth out the disruptive effects of highly fluctuating oil prices. The fund currently valued at about $1trillion, holding 1.3% of global equity market making it the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is now a shining example on how SWF can succeed.
Kuwait has the first and oldest SWF in the world. Founded in 1953, It is the 5th largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with assets exceeding $592 billion. Set up to manage the funds of the Kuwaiti Government in light of financial surpluses after the discovery of oil.
Another oil rich country Qatar, founded its own fund in 2005. The Qatar Investment Authority was set up to manage the oil and natural gas surpluses to strengthen the country’s economy by diversifying into new asset classes. QIA is estimated to hold in excess of $170 billion of assets.
There are other commodity driven countries who also use SWF to save and invest revenues from commodity sales. The interesting thing is while countries are commonly known to own SWF, oil rich federating states and provinces are also now embracing SWF as a way of saving for rainy day.
Alberta, an oil rich Canadian province established its Heritage Trust Fund (HSTF) in 1976 with three main objectives “to save for the future, to strengthen or diversify the economy, and to improve the quality of life of Albertans. At inception, the fund received 30 per cent of Alberta’s non-renewable resource royalties. It was worth $17.5 billion as of March 31, 2014 according to the Alberta government’s 2013-2014 annual report.
Alaska’s Permanent Fund was established the same year as Alberta’s Heritage Fund. At least 25 percent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, royalty sales proceeds, federal mineral revenue-sharing payments and bonuses received by the state are placed in a permanent fund. The Fund grew from an initial investment of $734,000 in 1977 to approximately $53.7 billion as of July 9, 2015.
Texas’ Permanent School Fund is a sovereign wealth fund which serves to provide revenues for funding of public primary and secondary education in the US state; as of the end of fiscal 2014, the fund had an endowment of $36.3 billion.
After oil started booming from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, state legislators established a sovereign wealth fund in 2010.The North Dakota Legacy Fund to help save and invest revenue from its oil sales, it is now worth $2.4Billion
Sovereign wealth funds as a vehicle for commodity rich states is an increasing phenomenon
The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish a National Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) is by far one of the most significant economic policy decisions taken in recent times. The act establishing the National Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) was signed into law in May 2011. The objective of the fund is to invest the savings gained on the difference between the budgeted and actual market prices for oil.
Although coming rather late for a commodity driven county like Nigeria, it’s a step in the right direction. At inception the fund was allocated $1billion as seed capital. While the fund is the third-largest in sub-Saharan Africa, after Botswana’s $6.9billion and Angola’s $5billion it still lags behind its peers in oil rich countries. Sadly, the fund has not received fresh funds since the government injected $1 billion in 2014.
Data from the office of the accountant general indicates that Ebonyi, Ekiti, Osun and Rivers states received N35 billion, N40billion, N46billion and N245 billion respectively from the federation account in year 2011. Data for 2012 also indicated similar amounts were received. The implication of this is that if these states have saved between 10%-30% of their monthly allocation they would have something to cushion the effect of the present cash crunch.
State legislators should pass laws that will mandate their various state governments to save a portion of their monthly allocation or revenue for the rainy day. The SWF, originally intended to counteract the boom and bust cycles of oil and commodity dependent economies like ours is a good platform that can help them in achieving this.
Today, as a country we have so much less to show for all the years of oil boom we have had. Our infrastructure gap is huge yet our savings is so lean and in most states there are no savings at all.
At the federal level the national assembly should pass laws that mandates the executive to compulsorily save every month, it is ludicrous that since the establishment of the country’s SWF with the seed capital, no fund has been contributed to it.
To actualize this, there has to be the political will to do it. Erstwhile Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, blamed the country’s present economic situation on the zero political will of the immediate past government to save for the rainy day. In her speech in April 2016 at the George Washington University, Washington D.C. She said “In 2004 we saved $22 billion because the political will to do it was there. And when the 2008 /2009 crisis came, we were able to draw on those savings precisely to issue about a five per cent of GDP fiscal stimulus to the economy, and we never had to come to the Bank or the Fund. “This time around and this is the key now, you need not only to have the instrument, but you also need the political will. In my second time as a finance minister, from 2011 to 2015, we had the instrument, we had the means, we had done it before, but zero political will”.
Nothing should stand in of the way of both the federal and state government in seeing that they put everything in motion to actualize this. The executive and legislative arm of government should see this is an economic issue, SWFs act as stabilization funds during times of low revenue and this can promote economic development.
Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has confirmed that it planned to acquire U.K.-based semiconductor chipmaker ARM Holdings (ARM) in a £24.3 billion ($32 billion) cash deal.
This deal represents Softbank’s biggest acquisition since the $21.3 billion buyout of U.S. telecoms company Sprint, and the biggest-ever acquisition of a European tech company.
Founded out of Cambridge, U.K., in 1990, ARM powers the processors in most of the world’s smartphones, including iPhones, and with its low power-consumption and cost the company is also pushing hard into the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) industry.
ARM, originally called Advanced RISC Machines, before switching to its acronym in 1998, was a joint venture between Apple, VLSI Technology, and Acorn Computers, and was chosen by Apple for use in its Newton PDA device, which was a flop.
In the wake of Softbank’s acquisition, the Tokyo-based company said that it will maintain ARM’s Cambridge HQ, double its employee headcount in the U.K. over the next five years to six thousand, and retain its current partnership-based business model and senior management structure.
Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, said in a statement:
We have long admired ARM as a world-renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market-leader in its field. ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the “Internet of Things”.
This investment also marks our strong commitment to the U.K. and the competitive advantage provided by the deep pool of science and technology talent in Cambridge. As an integral part of the transaction, we intend to at least double the number of employees employed by ARM in the UK over the next five years.
SoftBank intends to invest in ARM, support its management team, accelerate its strategy and allow it to fully realise its potential beyond what is possible as a publicly listed company. It is also intended that ARM will remain an independent business within SoftBank, and continue to be headquartered in Cambridge, U.K..
This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank’s growth strategy going forward.
Today’s news comes less than a month after Softbank offloaded Clash of Clans-maker Supercell to Tencent for more than $10 billion.
Softbank’s ARM acquisition represents one of the biggest tech acquisitions of all time, after Dell’s $67 million buyout of EMC last year, and beats out Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn last month.
Though ARM’s board has approved the deal, its shareholders still have to give the green light — a 75 percent vote in favor of the scheme is required for the deal to proceed.
“It is the view of the board that this is a compelling offer for ARM Shareholders, which secures the delivery of future value today and in cash,” said ARM chairman Stuart Chamber. “The board of ARM is reassured that ARM will remain a very significant U.K. business and will continue to play a key role in the development of new technology. SoftBank has given assurances that it will invest considerably in the business, including doubling the U.K. headcount over the next five years and maintaining ARM’s unique culture and business model. ARM is an outstanding company with an exceptional track record of growth. The board believes that by accessing all the resources that SoftBank has to offer, ARM will be able to further accelerate the use of ARM-based technology wherever computing happens.”
Softbank’s investment in ARM is indicative of the value it sees in the Internet of Things, which is expected to see around two billion devices connected by 2020. We’re already seeing all manner of random connected products, including fridges, doorbells, and beds, and with ARM’s licensing model — which has led to it becoming used almost exclusively in the smartphone realm — Softbank is eyeing a future in which everything is powered by ARM’s technology.
@PaulSawers via @VentureBeat
Despite the vast differences in organizational culture, banks and startups in the field of Fintech are a successful combination, when the main beneficiary of this cooperation is the customer
The steady increase in the number of Fintech companies in Israel and worldwide, raises the issue of the danger to the stature of banks. It is not only the growing number of these companies, but also, and especially, the capabilities of those Fintech companies to act quickly and flexibly and in a more focused way. They enjoy more room for maneuvering, are free of legal and regulatory restrictions, and operate in an inviting eco-system.
But are Fintech companies a real existential threat to banks?
In my view, the answer is – absolutely not. Fintech is an opportunity – perhaps even an historic one – for the banking industry.
Banks are becoming aware of the world of Fintech. Some know it well, and most of them choose to put their ego aside and cooperate. In many areas in the Israeli banking system, there is an understanding that cooperation with Fintech entrepreneurs can create a Win-Win opportunity for all parties, producing satisfied customers as a result of simplifying procedures and reducing costs.
This cooperation between banks and Fintechs is expressed in different ways: from mergers and acquisitions of technologies developed by Fintechs; to accelerators and innovation labs, where products and services for the benefit of customers are developed in cooperation with Fintechs.
Banks are on track
Two decades ago Bill Gates famously said that “Banking is necessary, banks are not”.
It seems that today, banks have been able to demonstrate that they understand banking and focus on customers and their needs, even – believe it or not – if it comes at the expense of profitability. It does not always happen as quickly or as desirably as possible, but banks are already on track, and they are fighting for the customer’s attention. And to draw it, they are willing to go through challenging, questioning, and perception-changing processes. It can be said that the banking industry is currently undergoing an accelerated evolution.
Fintech is one of the fastest growing fields in the world of high-tech and it seems as if everyone around is madly successful; every day someone else raises piles of money, exits are all over the place, and the regulators don’t impose limitations. This is creating a sense that success is guaranteed and all that is needed is to be proactive.
But this is far from reality. The entrepreneur’s road to success is long and challenging. Market penetration, reaching the end customer and the creation of trust are challenges that in most cases create a need for worthy partners. It is true that to be “free” means that you are on your own, but freedom is not always worth the cost.
The way to a successful partnership
Partnership between banks and Fintechs can certainly be wonderful and successful, but may also be difficult and frustrating. As in any partnership, the secret to success is communication and coordination of expectations.
Differences between the parties are significant and pose a challenge to mediation – from ongoing conduct through decision-making processes, organizational culture and not to mention the concept of timetables. These inherent differences may bring the parties to an impasse. Mapping gaps and aligning expectations in advance will result in a fruitful collaboration and shorten the path to success.
Each of the parties usually brings to the table something the other does not have: technology, knowledge, skills, a customer base and more. What’s important is that both parties bring complementary experience.
Banks, on the one hand, bring experience resulting from mileage accumulated with Fintech and innovation units that specialize not only in piloting, but also in implementation.
And Fintechs, on the other hand, bringing experience in finance, whether it is in the background of the entrepreneurs and the employees, or by virtue of the identity of the investor that supports them.
A technology-oriented approach
The first step in the innovation process in the bank is identifying or getting the idea to sprout. There are a variety of ways in which the bank does this: Hackathons; cooperation with accelerators, hubs, academics, technology giants and venture capital funds; participation in meet-ups; relations with banks worldwide; intra-organizational ideas; and the list goes on.
There is nothing better than an example to illustrate this. Two years ago, Bank Leumi identified “Scanovate”, that is engaged in mobile visualization and progressive scanning technology, as a startup with a product that has great potential. As part of a cooperation between Scanovate and Bank Leumi, a ‘Mobile Check Deposit’ service was developed, that allows customers to deposit checks through a mobile banking app, without physically depositing the check itself. The scanning and data processing technology of Scanovate is based on advanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) algorithms for processing an image from video in real time, which the company developed. This technology operates on the user’s mobile device and is not dependent on an external server to transfer the data.
Although I have described this cooperation in a few lines, this is still a complex process, integrating innovation, technology, business development, marketing, business lines, implementation and more. Since then, the relationship between Scanovate and Bank Leumi has spawned a real partnership and even resulted in further product development such as “Snap & Pay”. The product allows customers to pay a variety of bills by simply pressing a button in the bank app. They take a picture of the bottom of the bill, select a credit card they wish to pay with and confirm the transaction.
How does it look from the Fintech side? Amir Fishman, CEO and co-founder of Scanovate, describes the cooperation between Leumi and Scanovate as such that creates a synergy which provides a technology and innovation-oriented approach that puts the customer experience and user convenience at the center: “The bank’s willingness to adopt out-of-the-box thinking as well as its capability to embrace a rapid learning process, combined with Scanovate’s technology, created a new and synergetic vision of a truly digital and innovative mobile banking application, focused on the end user’s convenience and service experience”.
No problem, it’s impossible
Jerry Seinfeld was interviewed after his recent visit to Israel and said that Israelis have no gray areas and that their answer to each question is either “Of course, no problem” or “No way, it’s impossible”; an interesting and accurate insight of someone who knows a thing or two about the human psyche, but not so in our case.
Most of us, who choose to collaborate, shift around in the “gray” area with readiness to compromise, so that we can find a common way to provide the best product and service to the customer. In this context, what seemed impossible at first becomes possible later, even if it may be somewhat different from what we imagined at first. Therefore, it is important for both sides not to fall completely in love with the concept, the product, or the initial conception. It’s true that it’s “our baby” and we imagined it in a very specific way; it’s true that they are our customers and we know exactly what they want; but we must be flexible to changes and adjustments, because we do not have all the wisdom. It is part of growing up, and it is what gives us our ability to move forward to success.
In conclusion, if we return to the question in the title, it seems the answer is clear. Banks and Fintechs can be friends, when the main beneficiary of their friendship is the customer.
Michal Kissos Hertzog, Head of Digital & Innovation, Bank Leumi
Cogs replaced hands so to speak during the U.S. Industrial Revolution when businesses felt a rush to automate manual tasks. Now the technology rush is removing the cogs as we hurry to replace people running the lines with automated systems. With artificial intelligence not too far away, the trend for less human involvement is set to continue into the future. So it makes sense that business is evolving, too, moving from a “doing” model to a “thinking” model. As technology handles more tasks, mental agility has never been more important. If we want to future-proof our businesses, and ourselves, we need to be able to think, re-think and even un-think current processes. Like anything, coming up with solutions and new ways to see things takes practice. Behavioral strategists Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan, authors of the new book Selfish, Scared & Stupid , teach people in business how to become better thinkers, innovators and problem solvers; here are their best tips to get your mind muscles working:
1. Ideas are a numbers game. When brainstorming, you want the numbers on your side. This is the secret to the best creative and problem-solving minds on the planet. You have to generate enough options to get the obvious thinking out of the way. Like reps at the gym, you need to push through the easy stuff and get to the difficult things for the best results. Your first ideas are obvious and thus first-level thinking. You need to go deeper than that to find gold. You must go beyond that first-level thinking to discover unseen ideas that truly solve the problem.
2. Think in questions. Train your brain to think in questions not statements. The problem with statements is that they presuppose a solution and can stop you from coming up with an innovative solution. Questions in contrast open up the solutions. Asking for a shelf sticker that draws attention to a product is very different from the question of how to increase noticeability at the shelf; it leads to different solutions. The first gives you exactly what you asked for, but the latter could lead to breakthrough ideas: new packaging designs, a revolutionary product design, sound-activated point of sale, or multiple products in new flavors.
3. Don’t come up with ideas. Come up with solutions. You need a problem to solve. One of the biggest problems we find is that people say, “I need a great idea,” and then they wonder why they can’t think of anything. We have never come up with a great idea in our combined 40-plus years in business, but we have come up with a huge number of innovative solutions. Ideas solve problems (even those the market is unconscious of), and if you have not defined a problem, chances are you will not miraculously have any ideas that are useful. Spend time looking for problems that need solving rather than trying to think differently about nothing in particular.
4. Back yourself into a corner. The tighter the corner, the more creative you seem to get. So much so that creative people have a mantra: “Grant me the freedom of a tight brief.” The brain seems to work better under duress; perhaps our survival instincts kick in and adrenaline fuels us to find a way out. So find a problem and then add parameters until you feel a little panicked. Slight beads of sweat forming on your brow are perfect.
5. Collide ideas and thinking. Your ability to think different is crucial. A great way to do this is to get different inputs and inspirations from different people, places, industries and systems. If you want to become an agile thinker, you have to learn beyond your own role, read a lot, be interested in everything and look to other industries to see what they are doing. The most successful patents often combine thinking or tech from different industries, and new product design can be as simple as colliding thinking. For example, putting use-by dates onto pillows as the Australian brand Tontine did is a food industry idea repurposed very successfully.
Are you ready to start working out and developing those idea muscles? You may be surprised at what you can do.
Dan Gregory & Kieran Flanagan
In Yoruba culture, Ori, literally meaning “head” refers to one’s spiritual intuition and destiny. It is the reflective spark of human consciousness embedded into the human essence, and therefore is often personified as an Orisha (god) in its own right. It is also believed that Ori be worshiped like Orisha. When things are not going right, Ori should be consulted. And to make things right Ori should be appeased. This is because whatever one becomes or whatever happens in one’s life is as destined by Ori.
In his journal , The Yoruba Concept of ori in relation to human destiny, Raymond Olutoyin Ogunade writes , “E. B. Idowu, the doyen of Yoruba Religion, has shown convincingly that Yoruba believe in ori. He examines the different elements that make human beings and argues that the most important element is ori. He contends that in the act of taking destiny, “it is the ori that comes into the world to fulfill a destiny.” Idowu believes that because of its pure origin, no ori is essentially bad. By this view, Idowu is also in agreement with the fact that no ori leaves heaven in a bad state. The Yoruba, therefore, believe in ori leaving heaven in a pure state”.
The Yoruba belief in ori is unwavering. Oriki, Ewi are some of the poetry that the Yorubas use to praise ori, Many artistes have also sang many songs to praise ori. In her song ‘Aseye’ Shola Allyson Olaniyi praised her ori so well and even pleaded thus “ori mi gbe mi de b’ire”. (My head please take me to a successful place)
The Yoruba believe the twins will not have the same destiny. We believe it’s possible for education to favor one twin’s ori and education may not to favor the other twin’s Ori. You will hear comments like, ori e o ni iyawo meji meaning your head doesn’t have two wives, or ori e o k’ore meaning your head doesn’t allow you too many friends. And so on so forth.
Using the Yoruba ‘Ori’ analogy we can also infer that as a country Nigeria’s head is different from others. And for Nigeria we can say, ori e o on’jale or ori e o nse jibiti, meaning Nigeria: your head doesn’t steal, your head doesn’t do crime.
The comments by President Buhari in London about some Nigerians spoiling the country’s image elicited different reactions from Nigerians. One of the popular line you hear during this brouhaha was that Nigerians are not the only one committing crimes and they are right. There are countries that commit more crime than Nigerians. So why are we always the most talked about? Is it the way proceeds of crime are brandished or that our “Ori’ is different than theirs? Perhaps it is our ori. Our ori doesn’t do crime.
I have three personal stories to tell. On my first day in class in Toronto in the winter of 2004, I stood in the lobby waiting for the instructor to arrive when a guy walked up to me. He is probably from one of our neighboring countries in West Africa but must have immigrated to Canada when he was younger, we exchanged pleasantries and asked me where I was from, I replied that I was from the largest black country in the world and asked him to guess, he guessed right on the second try. Then he laughed and said “and you are proud of that?” I replied yes and asked why not, he goes, don’t you know your people are thieves. I was furious and as a “JJC” just fresh from Naija I gave him the tongue lashing of his life.
Years later I went for my first job interview in the city of Calgary, it was a great company. While in Nigeria, I did my youth service with central bank of Nigeria Owerri and so it was still on my resume. When I got to the interview I was asked couple of questions and the next statement shocked me. The Controller turned to the Senior Accountant and said “we get a lot of fraudulent emails from this bank right”, the senior accountant nodded in agreement. I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say and I became defensive, defending Central bank and explaining to them that those emails do not actually emanate from the bank. I left the interview disappointed and thinking no way will I get the job. I was called on a weekend that I was the best for the job. According to them they called him on a weekend because they didn’t want me taking any other offer before Monday. I left that company with my head held high.
Couple of months later on the golf course, a Caucasian guy beckoned on me to join him on the golf cart, I agreed and joined him. I had barely sat down when he asked me where I was from, again I replied from the largest black country in the world. His first guess was South Africa, second was Sudan and his third guess was Nigeria when I said yes, he turned to me and said “you aren’t one of those guys that send me letters right? We both laughed and talked about it for a bit. According to him he strongly believes there are lots of good people in Nigeria.
Why am I staying all these? To let you know that as Nigerians our ori is different. Our head is not good for stealing. Our crime rubs off on all of us; it affects even those who didn’t commit any crime. If you are in diaspora you probably have witnessed how even our neighbors from African countries disparage us. They use all our negatives against us. When they are caught doing crime Nigerians don’t laugh at them, we don’t use it against them.
Our head is different from theirs; our head doesn’t like crime, our head only love success. It’s a good one with great destiny but one that doesn’t love crime. Here is what one caucasian man said to me some time ago “anytime I am at the airport and I see a black man walking majestically and confidently as if he owns the airport, only two things come to my mind. He is either a Nigerian or a black American”.
That’s the type of ori we have. An ori that can be well respected, An ori that’s very intelligent, an ori that leads. When you have this kind of ori and you color it with crime it’s bound to have negative outcome.
To get the best from our ori we need to eschew crime, abstain from all that tarnishes our ori. And for those who do not engage in any unwholesome behavior but keep friends who are into all sorts of crime, stop asking them how is the hustling. Tell them to disengage from it, tell them our ori is not good for crime.
When next you hear someone say Chinese, Russians or Mexicans do crime more than us and why is our name only mentioned your reply to them should be ori yato s’ori (One head is different from the other).
Over the past decade, Nigerian government officials have acquired great admiration for foreign direct investment, also known as FDI. There has been a lot of junketing abroad, supposedly to attract FDIs into the country.
Actually, FDI has been rising in developing countries. Foreign Direct Investment is a company’s investment in a production plant in another country, an acquisition of a foreign firm or investment in a joint venture or strategic alliance with a foreign company. This makes it different from portfolio investment, which is an indirect investment into a foreign country via equities and bonds. Foreign direct investors are more stable contributors to a country’s economy than portfolio investors.
According to the 2015 fDi intelligence report, key recent FDI trends show that Africa witnessed the largest increase in inward investment with $87 billion of FDIs announced in 2014. Africa has some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. These high-growth economies and the continent’s emerging middle class attracted FDI in consumer-oriented industries, including food, IT, tourism, finance and retail. Globally, capital investment in greenfield FDI increased 1% from $642 billion in 2013 to $649 billion in 2014. India, Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia were four of the fastest growing destination countries for FDI in 2014, while Asia-Pacific region remained the leading destination for FDI in 2014 with 4,153 announced FDI projects at an estimated value of $250 billion. The region attracted 38% of all capital investment globally in 2014.
The increase in FDI flows to Africa is driven by international and regional markets seeking access to natural resources. The expectation for a sustained growth of an emerging middle class attracted FDI in consumer-oriented industries, including food, IT, tourism, finance and retail.
Intra-African investment is increasing, led by South Africa, Kenyan and Nigerian TNCs. According to World investment report, between 2009 and 2013, the share of announced cross-border Greenfield investments projects origination from within Africa increased to 18% from less than 10% in the preceding periods.
In Africa; Egypt, Angola, Morocco, Ghana and Zambia all moved into the top 10 destinations in the region by capital investment. While Egypt recorded the greatest increase in FDI with $18 billion of investment and a 42% increase in number of FDI project, Angola attracted $16 billion more FDI in 2014 than in 2013.
There has been considerable increase in the amount of FDI flowing into Nigeria over the years. In 2014, the fDi report says Nigeria attracted $11 billion in FDIs, the third largest recipient in Africa after Egypt and Angola. However, the increase in FDI has not had quantifiable impact in new jobs created. For most countries, job creation is the most important objective of investment incentives given to foreign firms.
It is, therefore, essential that federal and state officials give account to the vast majority of their unemployed citizens on the public resources that have been spent in efforts to attract FDIs. What has been the value of the foreign trips, tax breaks, tax holidays and other incentives employed to attract FDI?
There is no doubt that there are positive effects associated with FDI. With FDI comes improved productivity, technology and knowledge transfer and overall economic growth. There is also the ripple effect of competition that forces the local firms to increase their productivity so as to enable them stay in business. Suppliers and service providers have also known to benefit immensely from FDI.
I believe FDI is a necessary building-block in the development of a vibrant economy, particularly an emerging economy like ours. Nevertheless, there is a need to gear up efforts toward local direct investment (LDI), a more measurable and more impactful investment from a country’s own investors and entrepreneurs.
To grow our economy, we have to look inwards. Charity they say, begins at home. In some situations, LDI creates the environment for inflow of FDI. In this case, government officials would not need to crisscross the world to attract investment. But if domestic investment is not vibrant, foreign direct investors will overlook such market. Perhaps this is the reason we have not seen much results from the FDI-driven development model of the last decade.
Government policies should provide greater incentives to develop the local private sector and encourage small businesses to grow. The more small businesses grow, they would become the conglomerates of the future and increase the pool of LDI in the country. For government to accelerate the achievement of its development objective, there has to be a deliberate policy to grow the local economy from within.
In outlining his vision 2020, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, established two programmes in 1991, the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme. These programmes were meant to turn Malaysia into a high-income economy by year 2020 as well as address key areas that will boost local direct investments. These programmes have contributed immensely to the success of the modern Malaysian economy.
LDI leads to innovation in industry, foreign exchange savings; it also encourages a Research and Development (R&D) culture. Other benefits of encouraging locally-owned businesses include higher multipliers; because of their local orientation, they spend much of their revenues locally and reinvest within the country. This sustains the local economy and attracts more investment. Their relative immobility also means they are more accountable to local regulation. Foreign-owned business often challenge local regulations and threaten to leave if their objections or concerns are not met. Local businesses instead tend to adapt rather than flee.
The flux of foreign business creates enormous stress on the local economy. Over the years, our governments have offered lots of money in form of incentives to attract or retain FDI and these deals have been huge losses. These investors take the incentives, stay for a couple of years and then relocate. But stability is another benefit of LDI, as they would rarely move and the local investors are not inclined to move to South Africa or United Kingdom to get a higher rate of return for their investments.
To evolve the culture of sustainable LDI, governments at all levels must support small- and medium-sized enterprises, ensure that the local investment climate is conducive for local businesses, and there has to be concerted efforts to invest in soft and hard infrastructure. The local economy will benefit from every naira spent locally and the current pressure on our external reserves would not exist. A campaign to encourage LDI is tantamount to a campaign for made-in-Nigeria and it is the key to our economic transformation.