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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Upskilling SME, Reskilling Manufacturers and Uplifting Midsize Business Economies to Winning Elections

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Today, under the umbrella of pandemic recovery, all over the world the top item on the economic agenda is now about SME and their upskilling, reskilling manufacturers and uplifting midsize business economies for sustainability. The national consensus has climbed and global opinion has peaked. Here are some immediately workable strategies that are surprisingly not new funding dependent rather execution hungry and mobilization starved.  

Any initiative to uplift SME productivity and exports must start with an entrepreneurial mindset and therefore centralize common national goals and one identity.  One – select high value small medium size businesses eager to quadruple their productivity and exports, uplift national/global presence and dramatically increase their innovative excellence. Two- organize all such businesses on a master blueprint of digitization, highlighting their profiles and goods and services produced, so the talents and quality becomes available and visible to the world. Three -create vertical sectors profiles with bold and clear narratives amongst the local leaderships of trade groups, chambers and trade associations on harmonious trajectory, so critical forces of ‘value creation’ emerge. Four -establish a launch date to commence the upskilling to boost exportability and equally start building digitized economies, so that a timelines helps national mobilization. Five – seek out hidden warriors to lead, layout precise details on how to arrive at such results while any outside authoritative help to carve a national program geared to frame a global opportunity  

Any national or regional program must create a qualifying phase, any absence of the above steps the ‘critical path’ to success remains disconnected. A well-articulated national mobilization within a nation starts at 1,000 to 10,000 small-midsize businesses already doing from a minimum lower range of USD$1-5 million or from USD$10-50 million in annual turnover. Now depending on a nation such numbers can play a key role in economic modeling. However, even if a 10% to 20% combined growth over 1-2 years to businesses represents a massive uplift of the local economy. 

No program across the world can be successful without a deeper understanding of the four key pillars of small midsize business founders, their groups and sense of business directions. Here are the four players of the small business economy.One: Founders are the true entrepreneurial risk-takers, job-creators and grassroots prosperity fertilizers; therefore, they require special entrepreneurial mindset handling. Two: National trade groups and chambers are the umbrella where such founders gather to improve trade-flows; they are often century old procedural and conflict-resolution-mindset-players and need special skills on digitalization and global age commerce.  Three: National governments collecting taxes from founders are policy makers to improve the trades as they are too far away from the tactical battlefields and need deep immersion on entrepreneurial challenges, hardcore reasons and permanence of serious divides with government thinking.  Four: Lastly, the customers as they are the buyers only prove the validity of the existence for that small medium enterprise.

Understanding needed to articulate a positive narrative to bring all parties under a progressive umbrella is an art and creating national mobilization on digital platforms of upskilling for innovative excellence and exportability is a new science. Smart national leadership can place such untapped talented forces against the optimal global landscapes, these four sectors once mutually coordinated and balanced on digital platforms of exportability and innovative excellence, only create economic uplift.

Shift of our mindsets is the biggest gift from pandemic; Review how“Soft Power Assets Management v/s Hard Assets Centricity” is forcing new creativity and explore how ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ is sweeping the world as displaced workers like liberated cubicle slaves going independent. This is a very positive change for all nations. Search Expothon on Google and study various blueprints on national mobilization of entrepreneurialism.

The search for fearless warriors, identify the frontline teams on national economic developments and differentiate on the lack of understanding on national mobilization of entrepreneurialism, any absence of such now a liability to national economic survival. No nation without upskilling will stay in the race, no leadership without meritocracy and mobilization skills will survive. Such revolutions are decipherable by global logistic chain mindsets, visible via digitized economies of entrepreneurial mindsets, and actionable only via entrepreneurial initiatives.

New highways of new commerce:  there are new trade winds, new belts and new roads surrounded by new global shifts of power. With some 500 million SME in the world, a billion new big and small, young and old entrepreneurs on the march have created great opportunities to table tactical combative blueprints to advance the challenges of local grassroots prosperity. The new vision calls for collaborative multi lateral thinking.  Observe the shifts of powers.

The Population-Rich vs. Knowledge-Rich Nations:  “Decades ago, large populations in any country considered an economic curse; sheer burden of visible poverty, scenes of survival and struggle of feeding millions of hungry mouths provided the blatant proof. Today considered a blessing; when citizens armed with mobile online transactional centers, digital humming and trading with billions of devices with trade activity are now new proofs of economic vibrancy for such overly populated nations. How to maximize economic growth during such major recovery shifts?”
Referenced from “15 Monster Trends- by Naseem Javed” Dec 2014 Bizcommunity”

Observe the rate of behavioral change. Understanding the Last Seven Societies: What brought us here; not an accident but systematic build up of good and bad ideas? During the Print Society in 1900, when the printed word was power, literacy was perquisite and only the privileged had access to knowledge. Why is a similar scenario 120 years later occurring today, futurism demands futuristic literacy? Why is such an understanding a special key for upskilling and reskilling enterprises?

“The Radio Society made its impact after a quarter century. It brought information freely available to the air and music to tap dance on assembly line floors. The ‘voice’ created radio-personalities with opinions and opinion leadership became noticeable. There were five other major societies.  TV Society brought live action dramas, and started colorful consumerism. Telecom Society shorthanded distance and created standardization. The Computer Society created miniaturization and a sense of accuracy. The Cyber Society brought the world to the desk and started the diffusion between work and other lifestyles. We just left the Click Society, which brought the world into our pockets and seriously disrupted the traditional work model.” Excerpted Source: Naseem Javed, Sunrise, Day One, Year 2000, Published, IABC Communications World, Dec. 1995, Volume 12 Issue 11, Article, ‘Chronology Charts’

The facts are out there, Unlimited, global markets can absorb unlimited innovative ideas, goods and services. Unlimited, SME Founders with entrepreneurial talent and energy are always anxious for global age expansion. Unlimited, well-designed, innovative ideas and global age skills can quadruple enterprise performance. Therefore, what is stopping all this, why are new skills the critically missing links? The calls of the nations on upskilling SME, reskilling manufacturers and uplifting midsize business economies to winning elections are increasing on global stage. Plan strategically and think entrepreneurialism.

The rest is easy.

COURTESY: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/

Naseem Javed is a corporate philosopher, Chairman of Expothon Worldwide; a Canadian Think tank focused on National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism Protocols on Platform Economy and exportability solutions now gaining global attention. His latest book; Alpha Dreamers; the five billions connected who will change the world


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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Inquiry on General Babangida’s Involvement in Conventional Banking despite Introduction of Islamic Finance in Nigeria

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Dear Editor,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to express my curiosity and seek clarification on a matter that has caught my attention, specifically pertaining to General Babangida’s involvement in the conventional banking industry despite his role in introducing Islamic finance during the financial reforms of his military government in Nigeria. Vide your special article commemorating his 81st Birthday published in your esteemed news website: https://focus.afrief.org/trending/a-salutary-tribute-to-general-ibrahim-badamasi-babangida-architect-of-islamic-finance-in-nigeria/

It is indeed noteworthy that General Ibrahim Babangida played a pivotal role in shaping the economic landscape of Nigeria by introducing Islamic finance principles. It is fascinating to witness the implementation of Islamic finance in Nigeria, as it promotes principles that align with religious and ethical values. General Babangida’s efforts to introduce this form of finance were undoubtedly commendable, reflecting his commitment to establishing an alternative financial system that adheres to Islamic principles.

However, recent observations suggest his active participation in the conventional banking sector in Nigeria. Certainly, it is intriguing to see General Babangida’s continued involvement in the conventional banking industry, which operates under different principles. While some may argue that his involvement in both sectors is simply a matter of personal choice, it raises questions about the compatibility of his actions with the ideals and principles of Islamic finance. While the former is interest driven, the latter prohibits interest related transactions completely.

I wonder if General Babangida has ever publicly addressed this matter or explained his reasoning behind being active in both sectors. It would be enlightening to hear his perspective on how he reconciles his involvement in conventional banking with his efforts towards promoting Islamic finance. This has raised questions in my mind and perhaps in the minds of others as well.

I am keen to understand the rationale behind General Babangida’s dual engagement in both Islamic finance and conventional banking. Does this reflect a strategic approach to diversify Nigeria’s financial sector, or are there specific reasons behind his involvement in conventional banking despite advocating for Islamic finance principles?

Additionally, it would be interesting to explore the potential impact of his dual involvement on the perception and growth of Islamic finance in Nigeria. Does his presence in the conventional banking industry hinder the progress of Islamic finance, or does it have the potential to bridge the gap between the two sectors?

I believe that delving into these questions could provide valuable insights and generate constructive discussions within the Islamic finance community in Nigeria. By shedding light on General Babangida’s dual involvement and the potential implications, we can further enhance our understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the Islamic economy in our country.

Thank you for considering my questions, and I look forward to reading more about this topic in your esteemed Focus on Islamic Economy.

Sincerely,

 

Abba Musa Mamman Lagos

Kaduna


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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

10 Megatrends Shaping the World in 2024

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The report, “Navigating Megatrends Shaping Our Future in 2024”, was launched during the first day of the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024, being held under the theme “Shaping Future Governments” from 12th-14th February in Dubai. The report examines the indicators that shape these megatrends, supported by evidence from today as well as future expectations. These trends inform decision-makers and foresight experts about various sectors and the potential opportunities in each.

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said, “This report has been launched in line with DFF’s efforts to identify and communicate those trends with the most potential to shape opportunities and strengthen local and international partnerships to overcome current and future challenges.”

“The challenges that face us on our journey to the future require that we are agile enough to be able to adapt to rapid change. It is vital we pay attention to the signals we detect – only then can we be prepared to overcome challenges and seize opportunities. The World Governments Summit provides a platform for discussing these challenges and exploring the opportunities.”

Materials revolution

New types of materials will create a shift in the industry, with solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) such as biopolymers, biorefineries, and chemical recycling paving the way. These solutions will facilitate the development of new biological and novel materials that could rival plastics.

Boundless Multidimensional Data

Enabled by developments such as 5G and 6G in addition to advanced connectivity, the availability of raw data will vastly increase. The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue being deployed in healthcare, agriculture, and smart cities, especially in the Middle East.

Technological Vulnerabilities

The cybersecurity sector will boom amid a sharp rise in smart home devices and wearable tech. According to a report by Allianz, the annual cost of ransomware is projected to reach around $265 billion by 2031. Meanwhile, the debate on the future of decentralised finance will continue.

Energy Boundaries

Advances in tech and the growing demand for energy will drive the pursuit of alternative sources of energy. Novel materials and machine intelligence will enhance current sources of energy, including their distribution around the world – and in space.

Saving Ecosystems

Approaches to conservation will be more interdisciplinary and future-focused, taking into account both societal and environmental factors. Driven by resource scarcity, climate change, and shifts in social values, environmental impact management will become increasingly holistic.

Borderless World – Fluid Economies

The world is witnessing a rise in unmediated transactions in finance, health, education, trade, services, and even space, which are blurring boundaries and creating more cross-border communities. Advances in communications, computing, and advanced machine intelligence will accelerate the creation of a borderless world that will change the way we work, live, and connect.

Digital Realities

The spread of 5G and 6G networks will enhance the applications of autonomous technologies and IoT. As quantum technologies become scalable and reliable, immersive experiences will become even more realistic.

Living with Autonomous Robots and Automation

Robotics and automation will increasingly be deployed across industries beyond automotive, manufacturing and supply chain logistics. This will provide opportunities for efficiency and innovation, although there will also be ethical challenges to address.

Future Humanity

New workplace norms will emerge, with people needing to adapt to non-traditional skill sets in areas such as digital literacy, communications, culture and sustainability.

Advanced Health and Nutrition

Accelerated progress in advanced machine intelligence, nano- and biotechnology, additive manufacturing, and IoT will transform health and nutrition, improving health and wellbeing for people of all ages. Technology will reduce, if not eradicate, some communicable and non-communicable diseases and enhance the sustainable use of and access to water and food.


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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Africa’s New Online Foreign Exchange System will Enable Cross-border Payments in Local Currencies – what you need to know

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The high cost of making cross border payments on the African continent has driven governments on the continent to seek options of settling trade and other transactions in local currencies. This has given birth to the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System which was formally launched in Accra, Ghana, in January 2022.  Development economist Christopher Adam, who has studied the exchange rate policies of African countries, answers some key questions.

Why are African countries exposed in the international currency market?

Three main reasons. First, African economies are small and as such are highly dependent on trade with the rest of the world. Their exports are dominated by primary commodities including oil and gas, minerals and cash crop agriculture. On the import side, they purchase a whole range of goods – from essential commodities not produced at home such as fooddrugs and medicines, to capital goods and energy. A large proportion of these are sourced from China and other major economies of the global north. But because African countries are small relative to their trading partners they rarely have the power to determine the prices of imports and exports. They are “price takers” in world markets. And with world prices being set in the major reserve currencies of the world (the US dollar, euro, yen and renminbi), African countries are exposed to movements in these world prices. Second, “intra-African” trade is still a relatively small proportion of the total trade of African countries.

Finally, since African countries’ currencies mostly can’t be directly exchanged in international transactions, the dollar remains the most widely used currency in trade, even between African countries.

What’s required for the system to get off the ground?

The basic idea of the system is to be able to settle trade between African countries without having to use the US dollar.  There are two major challenges with that. First, intra-African trade accounts for less than 15% of Africa’s exports at present (although supporters of the African Continental Free Trade Area expect this to grow significantly over the coming decades). The African payment system therefore does not eliminate the role of the dollar (or other foreign currencies) in trade settlement entirely.

The second issue is that trade is not balanced between African countries. For example, Kenya exports goods of higher total value to Ethiopia than it imports from Ethiopia. If Ethiopia paid in its own currency, Kenya would end up with Ethiopian currency that it didn’t need. Some form of settlement currency that is acceptable to all is required – most likely the US dollar.

What are the challenges and potential risks?

Since trade rarely occurs instantaneously, some institution in the trade financing chain carries the exchange rate risk. Because of the gap between placing an order for imports and receiving them to sell in the local economy, there is a risk that the value of local currency will change relative to the currency in which the import is denominated.

In the “old” system, this risk is borne by the trader because everything is priced in dollars. The local currency value of the income from exports or the local currency cost of imports will change with movements between the local currency and the dollar, but the banks and those counterparts pricing in the dollar are protected.

Under the new system the same allocation of risk will remain in “external trade”. This currency risk is also present for intra-African trade.

An important question for the new African payment system is: who bears the exchange risk if one African currency depreciates relative to another? Should the importer carry the risk, or the exporter? Can and should the African payment system bear this risk of exchange rate movements itself? Where both currencies are volatile, traders might still prefer the relative stability of settlement through the US dollar.

The success of this system also depends on scale. The more trade settlement is routed through it, the easier it will be to settle in local currencies. Large currency imbalances will be less common. But until the system achieves this scale, the African payment system will need a strong balance sheet so that traders and participants can have confidence that settlement will be swift and risk free. It is unclear at the moment how this is to be achieved.

What is the best case scenario?

If the system can address the trade imbalance problem, provide clarity on risk management and reach scale, it could be very successful. But this is all going to be driven by underlying economic performance. Improved settlement will help but what is really driving this is the structure of trade. The more the economies of Africa can develop intra-African trade and the less dependent they are on extra-African trade, the less will be dollar dependence in trade. This growth in trade depends to some degree on trade settlement and trade financing but much more on production, consumption, trade policy and fiscal policy.

Christopher Adam is a Professor of Development Economics, University of Oxford


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