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Do you have a MBA :Master in Business in Africa?

I thought that going to a business school , having a post graduate degree & all the degrees expected as well as fluency in different language added to a long profesional experience as a high executive in various multinationals was my passport t succeed in Doing business in Africa… What an illusion, I had forgotten few realities on the field:

1-Corruption of the public services : they love you more when you don’t pay taxes… dilemma: What to do?

2-Corruption of the people working for your client: they claim a share of each cent made & if you happen not to play the game , your competencies, professional behavior, & other objective criterias have no value in their eyes. Only cash talks.

3-Police who are supposed to protect your assets are the first to steal your goods. Yeah… I cannot count the number of billboards or vinyl I have gotten stolen …

4-Insurance hardly work (in DRCongo)

5- Your competitors cheat by not paying the required taxes & dump prices …

6-The big companies who claim advocating good governance are hypocrits (How can you favor a supplier who does dumping without questionning some issues). They don’t pay you or they make up stories not to pay you… And the bigger the name the worse , the behavior. I will spare them for now. I am currently on a lawsuit with a big french company who failed to pay our services and another big US multinational was playing hide & seek… So the cheaters are not not just the Africans indeed…

7-No bank will give you a loan, so you invest whatever money you make…

8-The legal system is so corrupted that you need cash to win a case (it’s not about who is right or wrong, it is about who has money to waste)

9-Since you are an entrepreneur, everybody thinks you are rich, so tax people will come harass you just to get a bribe.

10- The white man complex is soo deeply rooted in the society that Black women who speak up & complain are seen like pain in the a..

11-Everybody think they are smarter than you… Even your own staff…Do I look like a fool

12- Instead of focusing on your business you become an expert in tax management issues..

13-You don’t need any degree to succeed or access certain position if you are related to a Head of State (I know a certain country where the presidential family is into all businesses…)

14-The ratio of a local employee salary compared to an expatriate is scandalous…one of my former boss accused me of being a communist when I complained that my deputy was paid 10 x less than me… Actually I paid the price for it but I have never regretted standing for my staff.

15- Somebody’s tribe has an impact on his personality or so they say. I was born in the Senegal of Senghor where we don’t discriminate tribes & grew up in Houphouet Boigny’s Cote d’Ivoire where even foreigners were seen as Ivorians…

I guess all this is not in the business guides of “how to do business in Democratic Republic of Congo” lool … So I assume I fully deserve an MBA (Master in Business in Africa) LOOOOL… Come to Kinshasa & you will learn everything they don’t tell you in Business schools.

Just because I believe in my continent, i don’t give up but how does the government expect people to invest in such an environment?

But I don’t regret each bit of it, since I live for overcoming challenges. I will not give up. LOL. The only way to change thinks is from within.

Let’s try & work towards the change by stepping out of our comfort zone.

Be the change you want to see in Africa

Nabou FALL

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My gender Apartheid Experience

1999 , in Brazzaville Congo Republic I had just been hired by Mr Sawiris Naguib himself in Cairo as Sales & Marketing Director of Orascom Telecom upcoming Network in the country. I was under 30,  quite happy to be part of a new challenge in a post conflict environment. The future was promising… Until I had to face some realities. In the first appartment we used as office , no visitor would come straight to me, they would first talk to my male colleagueS (I was a young black lady so I could only be a secretary or some unimportant staff) at that time the MD was Lebanese , the CFO was Egyptian & the CTO was from DRCongo. It was amusing my colleagues to send them back to me for all sales & marketing related issues since the same persons had underestimated my potential influence within the company just because of my gender. Thank God I have learnt to minimize such issues & just focused on getting the work done somehow . It was a very enriching experience altogether to work for Mr Sawiris who is an african inspiration & a very fair & down to earth individual. But sadly those who gave less credit to African women were neither my Europeans or Arab colleagues but mostly my African brothers. So this is the challenge many sisters still have to face. How can we move the continent together if you can’t value our potential as professionals?

Be the change you want to see in Africa

Nabou FALL

Big Up Mrs Banda

Malawi has followed Liberia with the wind of change, by becoming  Africa’s second country with a woman as a President. Mrs Joyce Banda   vice-President from 2009 to 2012 succeeded to the late President  Bingu wa Mutharika in a smooth transition in April 2012 . The 62 year old mother of 5 has surprised the world with her decision to sell the Presidential Air Jet, as well as 60 Mercedes Benz of the presidential car fleet. Awkward & usual decision for an African President. She also announced that she will not participate to the AU summit displaced to Addis Ababa in July, willing to focus on putting her country’s economy back on track. Another very unusual decision from an African Head of State. We know that our leaders love those summits & reunion where they drag hundreds of useless followers who cramp the already meager budget of the state. These first signs of good governance have seduced the Malawi population breaking with the late president luxury lifestyle. Personally I diddn’t know much about that country but we keep our hopes high with a leader liKe Mrs Banda who has been nominated as one of Africa’s most powerful women by Forbes Magazine. Thanks for these incredible moves Mrs Banda, YOU ARE REVIVING not only HOPE for Malawi but for Africa.

Be the change you want to see in Africa

Nabou FALL

Let’s remember June 16th 1976, for our children.

We all remember that Movie A DRY WHITE SEASON directed by Euzhan Palcy , based on the novel on the same name by Andre Brink. If not that movie pictured perfectly what happened in Soweto that day. South African Children marching for their right for a better education killed just because they were black children claiming for a better tomorrow. It was a day of June 1976 & Hector Peterson (on the picture carried by the young Mbuyisa) was the first one to be shot. Since then South Africa has changed, apartheid has been abolished but since 1991, African Union stated the 16th of June “Day of the African Child” that is now an official UN celebration to remember thevarious challenges faced to educate our children. As of today 2 out of 3 children in Sub saharan Africa are left out of secondary school. So let’s look around us those who are less favored & try & give a helping hand . Hector Peterson & his friends died just because they were claiming a better standard of education. Let’s remember it… As African women educating our children is a right still denied by the cost of education as well as the reduced investments in the education sector coupled with the many strikes of the teachers due to lack of decent salaries.

Nabou FALL

 

so empowering…yes we do

maremdouk

One week into our Intel Education Service Corp project in Senegal, I feel that all our pre planning anxiety has been replaced by our team’s determination to make our collaboration with Worldvision and the Elementary school a ground breaking success.  So far our team has met dedicated teachers, living and working with certain realities that we have never experienced and as we are preparing our teachers to apply all their operational and pedagogical training  to their own students, I hope that what we have to offer is going to be valuable to their daily lives in the classroom. This trip is also an opportunity for me to reflect on how information technology shaped my life and what it can do for the next generation of educators and students.

I know that many of my colleagues developed a deep interest in computing technology when they were children. Not me, I had however an unlikely fascination with processes…

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The Sanusi Lamido Sanusi regalia outfit controversy

An African perspective

So this is it just because Dan Maje Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Central Bank governor of Nigeria turned up to work in his Regalia outfit became a National Wahala (issue). It just shows how we are still mentally enslaved. What is wrong with our traditional clothes? Should that require so many words & misplaced comments? Personally I congratulate the recently turbanned Dan Maje Kano & thank him for proudly displaying our Heritage as Africans.

Nabou Fall

Handmade is meant to be expensive not cheap

The handmade dilemma: bespoke, made to order, made to measurement all these are more expensive all over the world except on one continent: Africa. Because we are viewed as a cheap continent by many. Always been surprised at how our brothers in the Americas & Europe expected everything coming from “homeland” at a cheap rebate price… Why so? If only they knew the time involved in coloring a 6 yards piece of brocade or the time spent weaving raphias; Kentes or manjacks fabrics, they would understand. No wonder when Hermes comes & hire Aissa Dione , the Lady behind refined hand woven fabrics in Africa, then everybody is ready to buy it at the Hermès price. So be it. Fair trade must be fair fellow Africans so stop piling your pounds & euros to only shop abroad & respect the sweat of our hard working artisans .

Let’s be the change we want to see in Africa

Nabou FALL