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How Africa Islamic Economic Foundation is Supporting Regional Development



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How Does Ijara Financing Work?




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Ijara financing is a type of Islamic financing that is based on the principles of profit and loss sharing. It is a popular financing option in countries with a large Muslim population and is also used by non-Muslim businesses and individuals who are interested in ethical and socially responsible financing.

In an ijara financing arrangement, the lender provides the borrower with the necessary funds to purchase an asset, such as real estate or equipment. The borrower then pays back the loan in installments, which include both the principal and a profit margin for the lender. The profit margin is calculated as a percentage of the asset’s value and is determined based on market conditions and the lender’s risk assessment.

One of the key benefits of ijara financing is that it is based on the principles of risk sharing. This means that the lender and the borrower share the risks and rewards associated with the asset. If the asset increases in value, the borrower benefits by paying a lower profit margin. On the other hand, if the asset decreases in value, the lender bears a greater share of the loss.

Another advantage of ijara financing is that it is considered a more ethical and socially responsible form of financing. In traditional financing arrangements, the lender charges interest on the loan, which is considered to be forbidden by Islamic law. Ijara financing avoids this issue by structuring the financing as a profit and loss sharing arrangement, rather than a loan with interest.

There are several types of ijara financing, including ijara wa iqtina (lease-to-own), ijara muntahia bitamleek (diminishing musharaka), and ijara thumma al bai (lease and then sale). Each type of ijara financing has its own unique features and benefits and is suitable for different types of assets and borrowers.

To participate in ijara financing, borrowers must meet certain criteria, including having a good credit history and being able to provide collateral or a down payment. Lenders may also require the borrower to have a long-term lease or purchase agreement in place, to ensure that the asset will generate sufficient income to cover the profit margin.

Overall, ijara financing is a flexible and ethical financing option that is suitable for a wide range of assets and borrowers. It provides a way for borrowers to purchase assets while sharing the risks and rewards with the lender and is a viable alternative to traditional financing arrangements that involve interest.

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Can Cultural Safari Raise Russia’s Image Across Africa




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By Kester Kenn Klomegah

After several years of heightened criticisms of falling cultural diplomacy, Russia has begun filling the huge pitfalls and cracks. In the context of the emerging multipolar order, Russia has taken the appreciable and practical step in its renewed Russia-African diplomacy, but has a long meandering road in establishing its cultural influence and realising the expected impact on the public perception.

Russians have to warmly admit the cultural catastrophe. On the other hand, it has to go far beyond the decades-long traditional rhetoric and diplomatic niceties, at least be open to African cultural troupes to Russia as it readies for strengthening cultural relations. In the context of global turbulence, Russia’s doors are still closed for all these due to fragmented post-Soviet public outreach diplomacy, while it hopes to lead and currently advocating for democratization of international life and multipolar order.

In order to raise its geopolitical influence, it has to re-examine the cultural component in relations with Africa. It is the moment of truth, there are existing challenges and realities on the landscape but the United States, Europe and Asian States such as China have broadened their strategic soft power and generally the public diplomacy. For Russia to regain part of its Soviet-era influence, it has to address its own image, with seriousness and consistency, in addition to other several questions in Africa.

Many experts believe that Russia is far behind, and surprisingly most often ignore policy expert views and suggestions, for instance, proposed in the ‘Situation Analytical Report’ on Russia-Africa. That report, researched and compiled by 25 policy experts headed by Professor Sergei A. Karaganov who is the Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, was very critical about Russia’s current policy towards Africa.

That, however, on the eve of the second Russia-Africa Summit scheduled for St. Petersburg in 2023, Russia has taken cultural tour to there East Africa. The three African countries included Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia, according to reports monitored from the Russian Ministry of Culture. The ministry’s key task is to ensure Russia strengthens its status as a great cultural power, exchange experience in multifaceted cultural fields with external countries. The ministry deals with culture and arts issues as well as implementing strategies with external countries and within the Russian Federation.

“The festival is intended to popularize the diversity of Russia’s cultural heritage and will introduce the foreign audience to the best examples of Russia’s unique vocal folklore performed traditionally and in modern adaptation as well as the popular pieces of musical academic art,” its statement said.

The Festival of Russian Culture designed to bolster intercultural interaction with African countries. It aims at portraying Russian culture and geography, so it included a photo exhibit of picturesque locations of Russia’s Far North. The report asserted that visitors would view the landscapes of northern parts of Russia, from the Murmansk to Kamchatka Regions.

There have been series of discussions on culture between Russia and Africa, the latest report in October 2022 says the Culture and Sports Minister of Ethiopia Kejela Merdasa discussed with Ambassador of Russia to Ethiopia, Evgeny Terekhin on how to enhance the long standing relations between the two countries in the culture and sports sectors. Both agreed on an arrangement for the signing of MoU between the two countries on cultural cooperation.

Undoubtedly, there is huge cultural gap between Russia and Africa. Despite the general pessimism, there is still a chance to revive Russia’s cultural relationship with Africa. Last November 2021, Egypt recieved a Russian cultural troupe as part of the Russia-Egypt Year of Humanitarian Cooperation. Russia’s Deputy Minister of Culture Olga Yarilova, who led the Russian delegation in the meeting there at the Cairo Opera House, emphasized the strength of cultural relations between Cairo and Moscow.

Beryozka (Berezka) Dance Ensemble, one of the internationally renowned and oldest Russian dance troupes, presented a number of artistic shows on Russian folklore in Cairo, Egypt. The Ensemble is a troupe of female dancers founded by Russian choreographer and dancer Nadezhda Nadezhdina in 1948 in the Soviet Union which specializes in performing in long gowns and moving across the stage as though on wheels or floating.

South Africa also saw Russian cultural performance in 2015. Professor Gerrit Olivier at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, and former South African Ambassador to the Russian Federation, wrote in an emailed query that “what seems to irk the Russians, in particular, is very few initiatives go beyond the symbolism, pomp and circumstance of high level opening moves.”

Important though is the fact that the Soviet Union never tried to colonize Africa. Soviet influence in Africa disappeared almost like a mirage with the collapse of the Soviet system in 1991. Russia’s cultural diplomacy is completely catastrophic.

In the current assessment of Russia’s influence in Africa, despite efforts towards resuscitation, has remained marginal. While, given its global status, it ought to be active in Africa as Western Europe, the European Union, America and China are, it is all but absent, playing a negligible role, according to the views of the retired South African diplomat.

Of particular importance here and as Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has oftentimes pointed to the unique fact that strengthening comprehensive partnership with African countries today is among the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy.

“Russia highly appreciates its African friends, who just as a vast majority of members of the world community defied unprecedented, brutal pressure, to refuse to join the anti-Russian sanctions, and continue to develop the dialogue and cooperation with us. Such an independent policy focused on national interests deserves deep respect,” Lavrov said early November, the transcript posted to the official website.

“We regard Africa as a unique and dynamically developing continent, a continent of the future. We consistently advocate the strengthening of its role in the multipolar architecture of the world order. We wish its voice, firm and independent to be heard and taken into account in the international arena,” he underlined about Russia’s support Africa.

Western culture and orientation have largely dominated Africa which has the fastest-growing population in the world. The African public is not exposed to Russian culture neither African culture exposed to Russians.

In their joint summit declaration, the two sides set plethora of ambitious goals to develop and strengthen people-to people and cultural relations. The declaration’s point 10 states the facilitation of the people-to-people contacts between Russia and Africa using the potential of non-governmental organizations and various fora, including the youth ones.

The declaration’s point 43 highlights the benefits of civilization diversity, encourage cooperation in sports, tourism and mass media. And in addition to those spheres mentioned, the document states that cultural exchanges are essential for the development of mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between the peoples of Africa and the Russian Federation.

Courtesy: Modern Diplomacy

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How to Create a Roadmap of Business Success through Strategic Planning




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A business needs constant tweaking and analysing past results to unite the strategies and embrace success. Creating a business roadmap is not easy; you need to analyse the performance of the business and assess the potential threats, opportunities, and key performance indicators. Business roadmaps help organisations of all sizes to innovate and scale. Regardless of the market or the industry, the roadmap is a crucial tool that helps everyone in the organisation evaluate the key objectives, take respective actions, communicate status, and more. A business strategy online course offers guidelines to help create a well-drafted business roadmap.

What is a business roadmap?

A business roadmap is a certain plan of action helping to achieve goals and meet deadlines. The roadmap reflects your future path and how you are getting there. It is a detailed visualisation of the bigger picture and illustrates your major goals and key strategies.

A well-designed strategic roadmap is like a navigator and justifies the name well. It tells you where you are and directs you to reach where you are supposed to go. It serves as your plan for accomplishing the overall business objectives. Good strategic roadmaps are well-thought-out papers enabling entrepreneurs to make informed decisions. Irrespective of what the business plan serves, it is essential to make it detailed and easily navigable.

Why do you require strategy roadmaps?

Strategy roadmaps are practical and agile teams often outline the plan to meet the goals. However, several leaders often lack the means to achieve the vision. This is where strategic roadmaps are useful for your team members to make informed decisions. A strategic planning course lays the stepping stones for a concrete roadmap to attaining business success.

Tips for creating a strategic roadmap

Ascertain the mission and objectives:

This is the first step that helps in the planning process. It decides the mission of the company, the vision, and the goals to understand its objectives. Then, guided by the business vision, the measurable objectives can be defined to measure the earnings growth, the market share, the business position of the company, and the organisation’s reputation. A business strategy course helps you assess the mission and objectives well and to proceed with the next step without facing any challenges.

Create a roadmap that is visually clean and compelling:

It is crucial to create a roadmap that is a powerful way to help you acquire buy-in on the strategy. A few teams care profoundly about creating the right impression through their roadmap and understand the value of the visual. In today’s agile world, updating a graphic or spreadsheet every time the roadmap is updated can be tedious. Hence, it is ideal to be strategic in choosing the right tool to build the roadmap. An executive strategy course offers insights to create a roadmap that is visually clean and compelling.

SWOT Analysis:

This is a technique for understanding and analysing brand positioning. Now that you know the strengths, you must determine the benefits of the products/services. Analyse the best way to build a marketing campaign by finding the weakness. Next, assess how you can make the product better. Continue exploring the business as this can help you enhance the product or service. This helps to eliminate all errors and makes it more complete, and is essential to help you move forward and comply with your target market. From offering the target market a unique customer experience to creating a feature, it will outperform the competition. The analysis helps you reveal the crucial elements to create a concrete, clear plan to help you succeed. Enrol in an executive strategy online courseto avoid common mistakes that can break the roadmap.

Competitor analysis:

It is also essential to analyse the activities of competitors, which might be equally beneficial to the business. With most businesses using similar marketing strategies, competitor analysis helps to save you a lot of time and work in the future. In addition, the competitor analysis provides you with statistics to back up the assumptions that can improve the product. If you find it challenging to do a competitor analysis, an organisational strategy course can be helpful.

Plan your courses of action:

Once you have laid down the capabilities, it is high time to take the actions that bridge all the gaps. It is necessary to consider organisational changes whilst implementing new channels integral to digital marketing and popular for fuelling your growth. Initiate the process by identifying the priorities and focusing on those of high priority.

Generation of strategic options:

It is crucial to develop several different strategic options which might be available to the organisation. One of the most common mistakes in this process is that options are often not brought to the table as they are not perceived to be valuable enough. In addition, it is essential to convince the leadership team to articulate the logic behind a strategic option instead of moving directly to an evaluation stage. Therefore, enrol in a business strategy program to develop several strategic options.

Give a strategic justification for every item on the roadmap:

A roadmap is not just the feature list; instead, it must provide a persuasive case to build the product. With this in mind, it is recommended to have the roadmap include the reasoning behind each of the epics, themes, and other initiatives. This approach offers several benefits and enables your team to be more strategic in product decisions.

Set milestones in the strategic roadmap:

For team members working on the project, it is essential to prioritise milestones, especially for longer-term projects. They offer an opportunity to track progress whilst honouring the effort of the teams. The strategic roadmap is a journey that never ends, and the paths created might need to pivot with changing business trends. Create a concise business plan with a senior executive strategic programme that keeps communication and vision on track.


Your business roadmap needs to be relevant, realistic, and visionary, and formulate a strategy to meet the goals and objectives. Having every detail on paper can scale the company’s success. It is important to craft a strong content plan and finish it by setting milestones that create a unified culture around the business and is the core for the business’s longevity. A business strategy online course can help you to design the ideal roadmap and give credibility to your strategic plan.

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