Sunday, 25 May 2008

George Ayittey on Leadership in Africa

Cheetah vs Hippo generations. Africa governments as vampire states. This grab-you-by the throat speech by Ghanaian economist George Ayittey unleashes an almost breathtaking torrent of controlled anger toward Africa's corrupt leaders and the complacent populace that allows them to thrive. Why, then, does he remain optimistic? Because of the new, fast-moving "Cheetah Generation," a "new breed of Africans" taking their futures into their own hands, mobilizing Africans to revive the indigenous markets and institutions that have worked for centuries. As he says: "With Cheetahs, we can take Africa back, one village at a time."


Related Post: Patrick Awuah on Leadership in Africa

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Patrick Awuah on Leadership in Africa

This video is from TED2007 though an old one it is still relevant today. Here Patrick Awuah talks about transformation in Africa through leadership training. He mention the problem of ethics as one of the root causes of the slow pace in developing the continent. He also mentions the value of creation to empower people.

The main issues to problems in Africa, he said were corruption, weaken institutions and leadership. He talked about Ashesi University and leadership training, which is the beginning to creating a perfect society.


Monday, 19 May 2008

UK Tax Submissions

Employer Annual Return forms P14s/P35 final deadline

Today is the latest date for receipt of Employer Annual Return (P14 or substitutes and P35) for the tax year ending 5 April 2008 by the HM Revenue and Customs in the UK. The quickest and easiest method is to file online by midnight. Penalties are chargeable on any returns received after today. Employers with fewer than 50 employees, will get £100 tax-free if they send the 2007-08 Return online.

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Saturday, 17 May 2008

Different Colours (One People) - Lucky Dube

It is time to remind the world as we past through this weekend and this caught my attention. The lyrics are below:


Lyrics:

Breaking those barriers
All over the world
Was not an easy thing
Yesterday your mouth was shut yeah
Couldn' t make a sound eh boy
But it' s such a good feeling today
When I can hear them from
Across the ocean singing this song
That the whole world should be singing
All the time

Chorus: (x3)
We' re...
Different colours / one people
Different colours / one people

Hey you government
Never try to separate the people
Hey you politician
Never try to separate the people

They were created in the image of God
And who are you to separate them
Bible says, he made man in his image
But it didn' t say black or white
Look at me you see BLACK
I look at you I see WHITE
Now is the time to kick that away
And join me in my song

Chorus: (x3)

Hey you politician
Never seperate the people here
Hey you man hey you man
Never try to seperate the people

Some were from America
We were from South Africa
Some were from Japan
We were from China
Some were from Australia
We were from the U.K.
Some were from Zimbabwe
We were from Ghana
Some were from Jamaica
We were from Russia
Some were from Aha-ha-ha
We were from Uhu-hu-hu

Chorus till fade

[Enjoy your week end]

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Monday, 12 May 2008

Stoweboyd in the Past Two Weeks

Stowe Boyd is one person I admire a lot, not because of how he looks but the output of his soft issues. He has a visionary and down to earth style of presentation. He is a thought leader and had been paving the way for others to follow (this is shown in his twitter stats of more followers that followings - The Twitterized Conversational Index).I am presenting in this piece an analysis of the best of his blogs in the past two weeks

Open criticism

He had a personally bad experience with an organisation that had given an information which is different from what it is doing - I Bet That Clear Is Going To Do Everything Wrong. Here he points to the right thing to be done not just apologies. This he is able to do without any fear of intimidation. This can not be done in certain parts of the world without putting yourself in any form of danger especially when you are using geoloco applications like Brightkite or Dopplr. This shows how US still remains a free country despite all the terror threats. I do hope this air of freedom would eventually spread to the rest of the world.

This other piece is about the discussion of being a polymath in this world of creativity - Steve Rubel Wants To Be A Polymath, And Blames The Internet. After doing some criticism he points out that

Investing 10,000 hours into some skill -- like architecture, guitar, or karate -- is a general rule of thumb for mastery at the 'black belt' level. Being a polymath simply translates into someone who has invested 10,000 hours -- 3 hours per day, 333 days per year for 10 years -- into more than one discipline.

He also made an argument for breadth (broad-mindedness):

I agree. I am not suggesting that people work to acquire a superficial awareness of a wide variety of things, but that we should, each of us, become deeply invested in a number of disciplines. We should learn music, deeply, how to play an instrument or sing, not just passively listening to the radio. We should learn to cook, not simply to appreciate great food. We should learn foreign languages, not just marvel at those who are polyglots.

How I Roll: The Ten Day Rule And Other Consultingology. Here is another interesting bit where he talks about his ten day rule and consulting work. It is basically about going solo conference which he would be expending on. He has also been promoting his twitpitch idea which he developed some weeks past: The Elevator Pitch Is Dead. Introducing The Twitpitch. He wrote about Twitter being a launch pad for other social networks: Unit Structures: Twitter, Imagined Identity and Flux and how twitter can adopt a new XMPP model for scaling: Twitter Can Be Liberated - Here’s How.

Stowe Boyd is involve in a number of products and projects one of which is workstreamer preparing to go live next month. In Open Social Communication And Workstreamer, he discussed how the application would "stream work-related information, like tasks, project updates, design notes, or meeting agendas" as opposed to emails. I do agree the move away from emails but I also think if stream feeds had been in use we human would be thinking of going the email and inbox model. This is an inherent feature of human who are always craving for new, another way, or different ways of doing things. I am currently using bascamp for my projects but equally fascinated by the hip of worksteamer and would be migrating if it turns out good.

Another application in Stowe Boyd sleeves is Front Channel: Our Micro Business Model. He said...

...We are planning to allow non-commercial use of the tool for free, as soon as we can get a hosted version of it up. For conferences that are for-fee, we intend to use this micro fee model: Fee = A x T, where A is the full retail cost of attending the conference and T is the number of tracks...

Do you know of any blogger who is a thought and visionary leader?

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Friday, 9 May 2008

Twitter to a New Level

Last two days I had being tweeting and got caught up in the twitter flow conversation stoweboyd had been talking about and here is how it went

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Then there came a reply from AterNox

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I am getting a little bit urging

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Happy ending, points made.

Along the lines elle6503, whose bio includes risk financing, had been tweeting about Hot and cold pizzas...

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At same time I asked:

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Then came in elle6503...

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So I asked again..

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Source: http://quotably.com/mskpetigo

Lots of points had been developed here which show how twitter can be different from other social media by bringing the flow to a conversation.

Related Post:

Tweets or Blogs - Personal Perspective (1)

Monday, 5 May 2008

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)- The Inside Out

Since the new EPAs were signed in the early part of this year most African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have not done a detailed analysis of the agreements. However, a study report on The new EPAs: comparative analysis of their content and the challenges for 2008 provides a comprehensive analysis from the authors perspectives the trade regimes for Africa that on 1 January 2008 replaced the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), the negotiations that remain to be completed and the challenges facing Africa in implementation. The findings from the study is commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands and undertaken by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM).

According to the report, eighteen African and two Pacific countries initialed interim EPAs whiles Caribbean (CARIFORUM) countries agreed full EPAs. The remaining African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in exception of South Africa now export to the European market under the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). South Africa continues to export under its own free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA).

Key features of the interim EPAs

In part A of the report, five specific research questions where responded to in analysing the agreements initialed by African countries and, where relevant, makes a comparison with the CARIFORUM and Pacific agreements.

  • National level: what is the impact of the agreed tariff liberalisation schedules, when compared to current applied tariffs?
  • Regional level: how should the individual agreements (if applicable) be interpreted in relation to current and future regional integration initiatives?
  • ACP–EU exports: what does the DFQF market access to the EU mean for ACP countries in terms of (additional) market opening to the EU?
  • What do the agreed interim agreements/stepping stone agreements say about possibilities to opt out and conditions and time schedules to come to a full EPA
  • In how far are the agreed texts for African regions and countries i) similar to each other
    and to the text for the Caribbean region and ii) development friendly?

Levels of national commitment

In answer to the first question, the study points out how the interim EPAs were finalised in a rush to beat the deadline and how all the African EPAs are different in exception of the East African Community (EAC) region. The report point out that no clear pattern was identified that the poorer countries have longer to adjust than the richer ones or of the EPAs being tailored to development needs.

Implications for regionalism

The report points out that there is little coherence between the EPA agenda and the regional integration processes in Africa in answer to the second question.

Some key provisions of the interim agreements

Research questions 1 and 2 issues highlighted above, have been derived from the complex and detailed EPA schedules using the authors’ judgements about the relative importance of different elements of the agreements. Answering research questions 4 and 5 takes attention away from the schedules of tariffs to be liberalised or excluded towards the main texts, the impact of which will become clear only over time in the light of circumstances.

According to the study, the safest guide to what the parties have agreed and that allows a comparison to be made of each main provision in the various EPA texts is the issue-by-issue summary of the main provisions of the EPAs provided in Appendix 3 of the report. Specific border measures are provided in the EPAs which may slightly alter some of the features of the liberalisation regimes. Apart from that, there are big differences in the ‘rendezvous clauses’ in the interim EPAs which establish the areas in which negotiations must continue. These clauses are guidelines to be negotiated. In addition, the dispute avoidance and settlement provisions are more extensive and rigid than in some previous EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). All the EPAs except EAC have comprehensive but wholly non-binding provisions for development cooperation, mentioned in each and every chapter as well as in a section on development cooperation.

The way forward

Part B addresses five questions raised in the terms of reference for the study. Which considers the implications of the interim EPAs concluded in Africa, and the way they were concluded, on the continuing EPA negotiation process, and identifies options for the way forward.

  • What are the lessons learned from the EPA negotiation process?
  • Based on the findings from part A, what are the different scenarios for the way forward, including: – moving from interim to comprehensive EPAs, moving from country to
    regional EPAs, and/or moving from interim EPAs to GSP+?
  • What could be the changes and additions to the interim EPAs to make them comprehensive, development friendly and in support of regional integration?
  • What are the opportunities and threats for the ACP for the negotiations on ‘phase 2’?
  • Special attention should be given to the lessons from phase 1, the political dynamics and the interaction between regional integration and EPA negotiation processes.
  • Considering the outcomes of part A, what are the implications for aid modalities for the coming years (where should ACP and donors pay attention to compared to the current
    state of affairs)?

A turbulent negotiating process

The report mentioned the extremely challenging process and substance of the EPA negotiations resulting to tension and frustration on either side of the table. EC and ACP negotiators were unable to reach common understanding and approach on the cornerstones of new trading arrangements, especially development and regionalism. The report attributed this to various reasons but lack of institutional and technical capacity on the ACP side, as well as insufficient political leadership in many regions made the process less smooth. The first challenge is to mend bruised feelings, restore some confidence and trust and build a true partnership.

Options for the way forward

All the parties are officially committed to concluding comprehensive EPAs, and negotiations are continuing to that end in all regions.

It is not for the authors of this study to identify which is the best option, from the range of options, as this is a task for each country and region. These range from concluding full EPAs over adopting the initialed interim agreements as permanent solutions (possibly joined by additional countries), to opting out of EPAs, relying instead on the GSP to access the EU market and liberalising under the intra-regional and multilateral frameworks. The report went on to state that the challenge will be for each grouping to adopt a common approach consistent with their
regional integration processes, while promoting their development objectives as indicated by the analysis in Part A.

The need for ownership

Interests among countries within a region may differ, include varying degrees of commitment on trade in services and trade-related issues. Signing an EPA should be a sovereign decision by each country and not be pressured to join through political pressure or through aid conditionality.

The report stated that instead of moving from interim agreements directly to full EPAs it would be possible to address different areas of negotiations step-by-step through a built-in agenda consisting of rendezvous clauses with different issue-specific deadlines to finalise negotiations. It also talked about the need to increase transparency in the negotiations and their outcomes in order to allow for public scrutiny by policy makers, parliamentarians, private sector and civil society representatives. Apart from that, the asymmetries in negotiating capacity (between the EU and ACP and among the ACP) that have contributed to the incoherence of the interim agreements need to be taken into account in the further negotiations if the problems identified in Part A are not to be made worse.

Aid for Trade and EPA related development support

The total ‘theoretical revenue’ that will be lost during the first tranches of liberalisation is $359 million per year. Such inflows are needed just to maintain the support needed for domestic producers to adjust to increased competition from imports and new opportunities for exports
as a result of duty-free. As the centrepiece of the EU’s commitment to EPAs so far, it would be sensible to ensure that there is also adequate aid provision to help remove blockages to increased supply. Europe has committed itself to provide more Aid for Trade (AfT) to developing countries and should ensure that part of this enhances the use of quota-free access (DFQF) by removing obstacles to production and export, such as poor infrastructure and other physical or institutional deficiencies.

According to the report, the EU decided that EPA-related needs should be addressed through the ‘EU Aid for Trade Strategy’ in favour of all developing countries. The ACP regions and countries should proactively ensure that the EU AfT Strategy is operational and effective by identifying gaps in existing support and improvements needed in AfT delivery instruments. There is urgent need in particular to assess the added value of different mechanisms (regional funds and national-level instruments, etc.).

Related Posts

African nations in EU trade deal

EU/Africa EPAs on rocks

Globalisation challenges

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