Transformation of our Minds, Attitudes and Behaviors

first_imgHis Honor the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia Society: This third level must support the family and education by setting and adhering to norms that are based on excellence, integrity, civility, ethics, civic virtue, dependability and trustworthiness among others. Society must also reinforce the fact that there are consequences through rewards and punishment. Every member of this society, small or big has to know that s/he must have personal responsibility for her/his actions. Persuasion, As Spears and others who speak of servant leader describe persuasion, it is the ability to convince others rather than to rely on positional authority to coerce compliance that separates the servant leader from others who use power to dominate others. Too often I see examples of leaders who rely on positional authority to coerce compliance. If we want our people to follow our vision, persuasion is what we need to use. As we read this quote from Greenleaf and think about Liberia, the question is, as leaders, do we place our constituents’ highest priority needs at the forefront of how we structure their educational or work experiences, or do we do what is convenient for us? Do we structure their experiences to ensure that they grow as persons? As a result of our leadership and the manner in which we structure their experiences, do our students/constituents become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous? Are they more likely to become servant leaders given their experiences with us? At TU we have articulated a mission that states that we provide quality educational experiences that transform lives for worthy service. We expect our students when they leave us to go out and serve in whatever their disciplines are. But in the past three hundred years the idea of nationhood took root in most of the world. Members of tribes started to become citizens, viewing themselves as a single people with patriotic sentiments and duties toward their homeland. .. As we strive to become one people, one nation there are some beliefs and practices that we must change. Among these is what I have heard referred to as MALE RIGHTS. In a recent discussion I had with a group of men and women, one of the male discussants stated that women coming to Liberia should adapt to the way things are. He went on to say they should know how to address men showing proper respect because of male rights. I responded by asking him what about female rights and children rights, or human rights. I was disturbed by this line of conversation because it suggests that because of the difference of one chromosome which results in a different anatomical difference that males are entitled to rights denied to women. It signified that women are still regarded as less than men and should be treated not only as lesser creatures but as property to be used and abused. So I went in search of the evidence that gives males rights that are not accorded to women. I went back to the Constitution of Liberia, Chapter III, Fundamental Rights. And this is what I found in Article 11, (a) I quote. “All persons are born equally free and independent and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of pursuing and maintaining security of the person, and of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, subject to such qualifications as provided for in this Constitution.” Identity: who we are References His Excellency the Doyen and members of the Diplomatic Corps What are the changes that we must make in order to become servant leaders? There are 10 characteristics of the servant leader as described by Greenleaf and others. The first is listening. Spears in Greenleaf’s The Servant Leader, points out that as a servant-leader, the focus is on listening intently to others, trying to identify what the will of the group is and trying to clarify that will. During her recent visit to Harper Her Excellency said to the audience “I am here to listen to you”. As a psychologist, I closely observed her (she didn’t know that she was being scrutinized by a psychologist), and can say that she engaged in what we call “mindful listening.” She stayed in the moment with the speaker even though some of it was critical, and did not respond defensively. In my profession of psychology we talk about the importance of also listening to what is not being said. So does the servant-leader. As Spears indicates, s/he “also keenly listens to her/his own voice and engages in reflection”. Members of the Consular Corps Members of the Clergy and Religious  Community Love of nation should supersede ethnicity and other affiliations that are used to divide; each child must learn what it means to be a citizen; with all of the rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities. They should not mouth the national anthem and other national symbols without fully understanding what they mean. We must all truly understand that in order for Liberia to succeed each one must do his/her duty regardless of what it is, because others depend upon us. We cannot afford to have bench warmers, that is people who sit in offices or under trees and do nothing but collect a paycheck. We also cannot afford to have minimalists, those who perform the least of what is expected and nothing more. We must examine our labor laws that permit those minimalists to work the system by working only 15 days a month knowing that they will get a paycheck for the whole month. We need workers who demonstrate the value and passion for work. Therefore dependability and trustworthiness must be the new order of the day and every day. We must practice personal responsibility instead of trying to pass blame for not doing what we were supposed to do. Change will not come easy, but we must remain steadfast and hold ourselves and others accountable. If we do not change, Liberia will become obsolete as the dinosaurs while others speed by. Let us remember the words of the national songs which proclaim a new day. We can truly become “one people, one nation, united for peace and sustainable development” Constitution of the Republic of Liberia Spears, in Greenleaf, 1970, “ The Servant Leader” I would like to express my profound thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson and the 167th Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee for selecting me to bring a message to the nation. I consider my father the late O. Natty B. Davis the orator within the family so I do hope that I do justice to his memory. I am sure that he would be delighted to see one of his children addressing the nation on this important occasion.  Foresight: Foresight enables the servant leader to “understand the lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequences of a decision for the future.” Ladies and gentlemen: My personal past is one of the many stories of Maryland County’s past. Please indulge me as I pay tribute to some of Maryland’s sons and daughters who are responsible for my being here today. My paternal grandfather, Alfred Pryde Davis was an outspoken private entrepreneur who was not involved in politics, but became a political prisoner for being critical of the government of his time. In his day, Liberians did not enjoy the freedom of expression that we so freely exercise today without fear of being relegated to a lifetime of imprisonment. As we enjoy these freedoms, we need to also demonstrate a sense of responsibility and not engage in malicious rumors that cause dissension or bring injury to individuals, families and institutions. The promulgation of half-truths, misinformation, and disinformation that cast aspersions on people and divides our communities is not demonstrating personal or social responsibility. If Liberia is to move forward in unity, these actions must stop. Greenleaf, 1970 “The Servant as Leader” My message to you will have some pieces of my personal experiences in order to provide a context for parts of my message. Those will provide the backdrop particularly when I talk about values and service; essential elements for “One People, One Nation, United for Peace and Sustainable Development.” Your Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia The Honorable Vice President of the Republic of Liberia Joseph N. Boakai and Mrs. Katumu Boakai Students “Before the rise of the nation-state, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. They feared other tribes and often warred against them. Kings and emperors imposed temporary truces, at most. Reviewing a course proposed by faculty at TU in entrepreneur education, I was pleased to see emphasis on topics such as “the meaning of the dignity of labor”; “benefits and value of doing work”; and “ethics in life and business”. Those should be standard in any curriculum in Liberia As Liberia rebuilds itself after several years of civil war, it is faced with many competing priorities. Infrastructure development, roads and bridges that were torn apart need to be rebuilt. Education needs attention, as does providing healthcare. The list goes on. However, little or no attention is paid to the transformation of minds, attitudes and behaviors.This presentation raises the need to focus on the human factor. How do we shift from a warring mentality to one that fosters peace? What are the values upon which this new Liberia needs to be built? It looks to the Constitution for some of the values that are embedded within it, and proposes a restoration of some of those that can point the direction for the nation. It challenges the common practice of leadership often build upon self-aggrandizement and proposes a model of servant leadership. The Preamble goes on to state, “Exercising our natural, inherent and inalienable rights to establish a framework of government for the purpose of promoting unity (not disunity), liberty (not bondage), peace (not war), stability (not instability), equality (not inequality), justice (not injustice), and human rights (not abuse) under the rule of law (not mob rule) with opportunities for political, social, moral, spiritual and cultural advancement of our society, for ourselves and for our posterity.” In that same Preamble, there is a resolve to “live in harmony, to practice fraternal love, tolerance and understanding as a people” as well as setting forth the obligation “to promote African unity and international peace and cooperation.” Evident in these words is the need to shift from a warring mentality to a peaceful one where our behaviors are consistent with harmony, fraternal love, tolerance and understanding, promoting unity on our continent, and engaging in international peace and cooperation. Well, you might say that was meant for the government. I contend that as citizens each one has a responsibility to live those words; not just mouth them but to live them daily. Education: Each school must strive to become a center for quality and excellence. No more should we hear that our students cannot read or write. We must not just have students who take classes, but we must provide them with quality educational experiences so that when they leave us they are transformed for worthy service. That means that each student at every level should be able to demonstrate new knowledge, skills and attitudes in readiness to serve humankind.  They must demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication. In this day and age, rote memorization is no longer the most desirable tool for teaching. Our students must be taught critical thinking, reasoning, the ability to critically search for and use information. They must demonstrate skills in quantitative reasoning and given today’s world they must have the ability to use technology as an effective tool. Section b continues with defining these rights. “All persons, irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex, creed, place of origin or political opinion, are entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, subject to such qualifications as provided for in this Constitution.” Nowhere does it state that males have rights that females do not have. Therefore we need to alter our thinking and behaviors about men and women. Females are equal to males and should not be treated as lesser creatures or as property to be used and abused. The law must enforce this in every aspect of life; in the home, classroom, work-place and in social settings. In order to fully achieve the theme of this year’s anniversary, we must bring about transformation. What does transformation mean? Alteration, change, conversion, renovation, revolution, makeover. I am not here to talk about renovation of our infrastructure or other physical manifestations. I come as an educator and a psychologist to talk about an alteration of our minds, our cognitions, our perceptions, and our behaviors. We may have new roads, electricity, new buildings, etc. but if our attitudes and behaviors remain unchanged, we approach these with the same disregard as we did the old and soon they appear as the old. We must eschew dishonesty and corruption and imbed integrity in all of our actions, no matter how small. Public servants/ civil servants should not ask for money or favors under the table to do the people’s work. center_img My life’s story began on Green Street in Harper City, Maryland County where three generations of Davis’s before me lived and worked to make their contributions to Maryland County and to Liberia. So, I am a fourth generation Marylander, and I would like at this time to thank my brother Natty B who seven years ago encouraged me to return home. I am grateful to Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for giving me the opportunity to serve Maryland County and Liberia as President of William V.S. Tubman University, Liberia’s second public university.  Liberia can boast of some strong women. I am grateful to those strong women in my family who set for me such wonderful examples of service to humankind. It is my strongly held belief that words of praise to the Almighty without deeds to our fellow humans are nothing but hollow words. Two women who not only consistently praised God, but followed up with deeds of human kindness were my paternal grandmother and great-grandmother whose commitment to education and service took them to the remotest corners of Liberia. Let me share a story of a visitor from the United States, a Mr. William Kamma Reeves, a man in his seventies, who visited me in Harper and told me stories about my great-grandmother. He pointed out that my danneh, as we called my great-grandmother, and her daughter, Ma Caddy, my grandmother lived in their village of Gedebo and taught him his ABC’s, and that my grandmother and he grew up as siblings. He went on to say how harsh living conditions were in the village but that were it not for their presence among the villagers, he and others would not have begun their education. This encounter brought back some very fond memories. I remember as a young child as I traveled with them on their missions from one remote area of southeastern Liberia to another. The condition of the roads in the fifties was challenging as it is today. These are the women who shaped my early development and that of several other Liberians. From their lives we glean the importance of education as the great equalizer even then. We also see the value placed on service to others. Why else would they leave the comfort of their homes to travel and live under very harsh conditions? It certainly was not for the salary. “We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation states.” He goes on to give a brief history of the world as it was then. Again I quote him. As we look at the second characteristic, empathy, we know that Carl Rogers, a psychologist made a tremendous impact to not only psychology, but to several other fields when he emphasized this concept and that of unconditional positive regard. The servant-leader is one committed to understanding and accepting others even when he or she does not accept their behaviors or performance. We have leaders who state that they will not sit down in the same room as others with whom they disagree. That is the opposite of servant leadership. The distinction between the behaviors/performance and the individual as someone with intrinsic worth is essential to being a servant-leader. As one people, one nation, we must learn to accept one another even if we disagree with their politics and behaviors. I also have fond memories of my father, Olie Davis, as many Marylanders called him, standing and addressing Marylanders at the 26th Independence Day celebration, or other occasions. Dad was also known as the poor man’s advocate because, as a lawyer, he often took cases not because of people’s ability to pay, but in his search for justice for people who could not access justice for themselves. And so we often got cassava, bananas, and other fruit and vegetables from grateful people for whom he had fought in the courtroom. But we also got something even more powerful. When people found out who our father was, we were offered kindness and care. Today, too many Liberians seemed to have lost that sense of caring for one another and kindness to one another. We seem too busy getting what we can get for ourselves, sometimes even stealing, to be attentive to the plight of the less fortunate. We need to change our attitudes and behaviors and become more caring of fellow humans, especially those who are the most vulnerable among us. If you have ever ridden with Her Excellency, you know how long it takes to arrive at the designated destination because she makes numerous stops to inquire about the people, demonstrating how genuinely she cares about the citizens, especially the children.  General and self-awareness means one is sharply attuned to self, others and the environment. Oftentimes this means that one is jarred by that awareness. However, that awareness is used in the service of others and to correct one’s behavior. Robert Reich, The New Tribalism, March 24, 2014   Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) The Honorable Speaker Alex Tyler, Mrs. Tyler, and the Honorable House of Representatives Building Community: Given the rise of urbanization, technology, and all of the other factors that tend to isolate us contributing to our tendency to focus only on ourselves, the servant leader strives to build a sense of community within the institution, fostering caring communities that replace the bureaucracies and silos which we have erected in this society.  Commitment to the growth of people: Spears tells us that servant leaders “believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers.” Therefore servant leaders are “deeply committed to the growth of each and everyone in his or her institution/agency/ministry/office. This means that if we are servant leaders we have a “tremendous responsibility to do everything within our power to nurture the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of” the employees of the institutions, etc.. The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations and Heads of International Organizations  These ten characteristics are by no means exhaustive. I see them as compatible with the goals of a rebuilt Liberia. As a psychologist these are the essence of what we see as healthy growth and leadership. Robert Reich, an American economist, professor, author and political commentator wrote in his March 24, 2014 Blog a piece entitled The New Tribalism. In that piece he writes, and I quote him,  There are three levels at which this transformation of attitudes and behaviours must occur. It is imperative that each level reinforces the other. Family: The family is the unit that gives us our very early sense of who we are. It provides us with the foundation of values that prepares us for the broader society. It provides us comfort, security and a sense of worth. It is also the holder and transmitter of society’s norms. Yet for two generations of many of our young people there was no family. They raised themselves and for many their moral compasses are non-existent. And so they mistake brute force for acceptable means of achieving what they want. It is not too late for many of these young people. The schools, colleges and universities must become in loco parentis. That is, they must become surrogate parents on site. They must engage in values clarification, provide structure, and correct misbehaviors by serving as models of what is appropriate. In the words of the national anthem we sing the words of valor unpretending. If we search our Thesaurus, we know that other words for valor are courage, bravery, spirit, nerve, heroism, fearlessness, boldness, gallantry. Liberians must use courage, bravery, spirit, nerve, heroism, fearlessness, boldness, gallantry to change their perceptions of themselves, and their attitudes about what we can do for ourselves. We must battle mediocrity and set excellence as the standard in our schools, workplace and in society generally.  This third characteristic of healing refers to the “potential one has for healing one’s self and one’s relationship to others”; the desire to make whole. Greenleaf in “The Servant as Leader” states “There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led, is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share.” Liberia needs leaders who can change their attitudes and behaviors to promote healing rather sowing dissension and discontent. Thank you. God Bless Liberia! Stewardship: As leaders demonstrating stewardship, we hold our institutions/agencies/ministries, etc. in trust for the greater good of society. The President Pro-Tempore Findley and Mrs. Findley, and members of the Honorable House of Senate As we work to rebuild Liberia and achieve one people, one nation, united for peace and sustainable development, what kind of leadership is needed at all levels and in all spheres?  We currently see too much emphasis on self-aggrandizement. There is what I call the beating of the chest followed by the question, “Do you know who I am?”  with the expectation that we should pay homage. Instead the approach should be I am your public servant here to serve you. What can I do for you? What I am proposing a change in the attitudes and behaviors of all of us who serve the public. We are elected, appointed, to serve and we should do so willingly; we should be servant leaders. Greenleaf (1970) in responding to who is the servant-leader, wrote “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant – first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test is: Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” (Greenleaf, 1970 “The Servant as Leader”.) Traditional Chiefs and Elders Three entities working in concert with one another are proposed as suitable for bringing about this kind of transformation; the family, education, and society generally. How do we bring about this transformation? Our interactions with one another should be characterized by civility. We may disagree, but we do not have to be disagreeable. Ethical behavior should be the norm rather than the exception.  Let me begin then with a few of what I consider in need of change; deep structural change. Our sense of identity and our values: those principles, standards, morals, ethics and ideals that should form the bedrock of our society. Among others are excellence, integrity, civility, ethics, civic virtue, dependability and trustworthiness. The Dean and members of the Cabinet and other Government Officials Today, as he sees it, “The connections that matter most are again becoming more personal. Religious beliefs and affiliations, the nuances of one’s own language and culture, the daily realities of class, and the extensions of one’s family and its values – all are providing people with ever greater senses of identity.” While being bound by religious beliefs and affiliations, the nuances of one’s own language and culture can be positive, we can also use those to divide ourselves and foster insiders and outsiders. The not so distant past of Liberia attests to this. As we rebuild Liberia what takes precedent in our perception of ourselves? I contend that as Liberians we must think of ourselves as citizens, viewing ourselves as a single people with patriotic sentiments and duties toward their homeland, Liberia. The Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia states, “..that all of our people, irrespective of history, tradition, creed, or ethnic background are of one common body politic.” Conceptualization: As a leader one must think beyond the day-to-day occurrences, “putting out fires”, and dream big dreams. This ability for Conceptualization enables the servant leader to be a visionary.last_img read more

Only 6% of cross-border traders prepared for no-deal Brexit, report finds

first_imgAs few as 6% of cross-border traders are prepared for cash-flow issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a report has found.New research has found that most are choosing to disregard the potential impact a no-deal Brexit could bring.While the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31, only 6% of cross-border businesses have examined the possible legal implications for business contracts. Cross-border body InterTradeIreland said that the consequences of market access changes could mean firms are exposed to significant additional costs.The trade body found that just 6% of cross-border traders are prepared for cash flow and liquidity issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit.They have urged business owners to take steps to protect themselves.Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland’s designated officer and director of strategy and policy, said: “Ignoring Brexit is a bigger issue than not preparing for it. Advertisement “Failing to take into account how it may impact your business could be very detrimental down the line.”There are about 20,000 cross-border traders on the island of Ireland.A substantial proportion of these are micro-businesses, which are particularly vulnerable to changes in current trading arrangements and are more likely to be reliant on the cross-border market as their only export destination.The latest research also shows continuity of supply is an additional problem that could hinder cross-border businesses and the ability to trade, but fewer than one in ten have taken steps to interrogate their supply chain. Tariffs are a further issue that could strike at the viability of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the event of a hard Brexit.InterTradeIreland’s latest business monitor highlighted that just 12% of SMEs that trade across the border have looked at the possible impact of extra taxes on their business.Mr Gough said that InterTradeIreland has launched a new campaign to encourage cross-border traders to plan for Brexit, adding that the research underlines the need for companies to start acting now.“We want to reach as many SMEs as possible to help them prepare, that’s why InterTradeIreland is launching our new campaign,” he added.“This will be a significant departure for InterTradeIreland.“It recognises that Brexit is the elephant in the room and with the deadline of October 31 fast approaching, Brexit is now just too big to brush under the carpet.“We think this approach and striking visuals will resonate with busy firms on many levels.”InterTradeIreland highlighted its online Bitesize Brexit, a tool for cross-border traders which details specific actions that businesses can take to prepare for Brexit.In a statement from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, a spokeswoman said it has been working with companies for more than two years to raise awareness of the key Brexit challenges.The statement said: “The department’s ongoing engagement and research indicates that the proportion of businesses preparing for Brexit is increasing, particularly among those businesses identified as most exposed to Brexit-related impacts, and that awareness of the key Brexit challenges is also increasing.“Almost 60% of Irish SMEs report a good understanding of the likely implications of Brexit impacts that are relevant to their business.”The department said that a survey carried out in February this year suggested that planning for Brexit is increasing, with almost half of SMEs saying they have taken “some form of engagement” to prepare for Brexit.“Among the most impacted businesses, progress is also being made, for example more than half of exporters indicate that they have a Brexit plan,” the statement added.Only 6% of cross-border traders prepared for no-deal Brexit, report finds was last modified: August 26th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ramsey expects to work with Sherwood again

first_imgChris Ramsey believes he will end up working with Tim Sherwood again at some stage but hopes he isn’t reunited with him sooner rather than later.The pair worked together at Tottenham and Ramsey was brought to QPR as academy boss last year but with a view to eventually being first-team coach under Sherwood, who had been lined up to replace Harry Redknapp as manager at Loftus Road.But Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes became reluctant to appoint Sherwood and ended up installing Ramsey as head coach until the end of the season.Sherwood subsequently took over at Aston Villa and wants Ramsey to join him there next season if his friend is replaced by a new manager.And Ramsey admitted: “I could see us working together again, I just hope it’s not in the near future.”The pair will put their friendship to one side this evening at Villa Park, where a win would take second-from-bottom QPR above Sherwood’s team“It is going to be a bit of a strange feeling, but Tim’s the manager of another side and as soon as the ball starts to roll I’m going to block all that out,” Ramsey said.See also:Ramsey plays down Villa’s injury problemsQPR’s Yun ruled out of Aston Villa gameVargas’ season is ended by knee injuryAston Villa v QPR: five key battlesQPR defender Dunne returns to actionRangers defender Dunne returns to actionFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Report: Warriors ‘a big threat’ to sign Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

first_imgKevin Durant may have left town, but the Warriors might not be done “ruining the NBA,” according to an ESPN report.Should Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo become a free agent in 2021, the Warriors are “a big threat” to sign the NBA’s most recent MVP and create another super team, Ramona Shelbourne said Monday on “The Jump.”Milwaukee has said it will offer the super max (five years, $247 million) to Antetokounmpo as a means of keeping the three-time All-Star who just led the Bucks to the …last_img read more

Mobile opportunities in Africa

first_imgMobile use is soaring across the African continent, with every second person now reachable by phone.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica)Africa is claiming its place at the forefront of telecommunications.According to new research by Informa Telecoms & Media, the continent has exceeded the 500-million mark for active mobile subscriptions. Every second person living on the African continent can now be contacted by phone.A fast-growing mobile region According to Informa analyst Thecla Mbongue, these figures mainly show growth in the use of mobile phones used for basic voice telephony. Data connections represented about 8% of total subscriptions in 2010. Mbongue says that the African continent represents 10% of global mobile subscriptions.There are still many opportunities in the mobile market for investors in growth areas such as the voice segment in under-penetrated markets, and the non-voice segments with mobile broadband and mobile money services. Mbongue says that these services would apply to both business and private markets.She says that, to some degree, high computer prices still restrict the use of mobile broadband services to the top end residential and business segment.The mobile money service targets the mass market, as this is mainly unbanked. She says that the difference between mobile money and Internet banking is that customers do not need a bank account to access the former. Access is possible via the menu on a mobile phone.“Mobile money services make it possible for customers to send and receive even very small amounts, and sometimes it also enables them to pay for basic services such as utility bills and school fees,” says Mbongue. By 2014 the number of mobile money users in Africa will have risen to almost 360-million.South Africa’s MTN, France Telecom (Orange), India’s Bharti Airtel, Vodafone/Vodacom and UAE based Etisalat have all expressed interest in gaining a bigger footing in the African mobile market.Rapid growth “The expansion of networks and the decreasing price of handsets are key drivers to more people using mobile phones,” Mbongue says. The Informa report also says that the landing of new submarine cables on the east and west coasts of Africa over the past 18 months is boosting the continent’s international connectivity. It has also created more possibilities for data services.According to an Ernst & Young telecommunications study titled Africa Connected: A telecommunications growth story, many operators and governments have also embarked on projects to build national and metropolitan fibre networks to enable easy access to new services.The findings of Ernst & Young’s research, conducted in the third quarter of 2008, are based on interviews with 28 senior role-players in the African telecommunications industries. The telecommunications study shows that from 2002, the French telecommunications market grew at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% and the Brazilian market at 28%. In comparison, the African market experienced 49.3% growth.Growth in the African economy, fuelled by a commodities boom and increased liberalisation, is believed to be the main reason for the increase. The Ernst & Young study foresees that the African telecommunications market will grow faster than any other region in the next three to five years.Data market set to soar Ernst & Young also expects data to become a revenue generator in Africa, even though voice services are likely to remain the largest contributor to operator revenues in the medium term.The provision of internet access is a big market, but Mbongue says much work still needs to be done to expand it. She says that at the beginning of 2010, the rate of household broadband access in Africa was only 2.5%. The Informa report findings predict that by 2015, there will be 265-million mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa – a significant increase from the current figure of about 12-million.The Ernst & Young survey indicates that as competition in the mobile market escalates, innovation and operational efficiency will become more important. It also appears that even with the worldwide recession, new licenses were still being issued and mergers and acquisitions were still taking place in Africa in the past year.Nomalanga Nkosi, GM for Business Marketing at MTN Business, says that mobile subscriptions are changing the way business works.“Gone are the days when mobile subscriptions were only used to receive and make calls,” she says.Today, mobility is one of the fastest growing trends in business. Many companies have become more aware of the business value that mobile technology brings in terms of productivity, integration and return on investment.“It is easy to see why investments in mobile applications and technologies will increase through 2011, as organisations begin to ramp up both business-to-employee and business-to-consumer mobile spending,” Nkosi says.In the next five years Informa expects the strongest growth rates in mobile subscriptions in East and Central Africa. Mobile subscription numbers in Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Madagascar are likely to more than double by 2015.Africa still a challenging environment Telephony services are now widely available in Africa, but Mbongue says that there are still many more markets to develop. For example, in rural areas the rate of mobile access is less than 10%.Operators still face many challenges such as regulatory and political uncertainty. Ernst & Young’s study says there is a big need for regulatory independence.  Although political stability in Africa has largely improved, operators are cautious of government interference in the regulatory process.The absence of reliable infrastructure such as power is another concern. Operators also find it difficult to draw the right candidates to fill important technical and management positions, and retain this talent. However, findings suggest that this challenge is not seen as unique to African operators.Operators also have to keep in mind that African markets are at different stages of economic, social and telecommunications development. Only six countries – Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Gabon, Seychelles and South Africa – have penetration levels of more than 80%, while 24 countries fall below the 20% penetration mark and 17 have mobile penetration levels of less than 10%.Demographics also play a role. Countries such as Seychelles and Gabon, with penetration rates of 108% and 91% respectively, have smaller populations and higher mobile uptake levels. Larger countries such as Nigeria, with a population of almost 150-million people, should take longer to reach high penetration levels.The role of SMS Short-format text messages have become part of our day-to-day lives, but the experts say that it is no longer only a means to keep in touch with friends and family. Dr Pieter Streicher, MD of BulkSMS.com, says short message services (SMS) are also taking on a new role and improving communication globally. These days, SMS is used in crime fighting, reporting on political unrest and weather reports.Streicher says figures released earlier this year by former Nokia executive and mobile expert Tomi Ahonen show that 53% of the world’s population and 78% of the world’s mobile phone users send and receive SMSs.“If you look at the overall number of users, SMS eclipses email by 2.6 times, despite email having been around for 39 years and SMS for only 17,” says Clay Shirky, a respected digital media commentator.Thanks to SMS, farmers in rural Kenya can obtain market prices for their goods using their mobiles. This allows them to decide beforehand which market will be paying more for their produce. Shirky says that this is a good example of how access to information via SMS is helping previously economically disadvantaged people.Increased access to mobile phones in Africa has made it possible for more people to make use of SMS services. He says a lack of other communication channels such as fixed lines and email has led to the rapid adoption of SMS in Africa and other third world regions. The other advantage of SMS is that it is user friendly, readily available, and relatively inexpensive.“It isn’t surprising, then, that many grassroot innovations, and clever ideas that the phone manufacturers almost certainly never dreamt of, take place in Africa,” he says in a report. These days, mobile phone users can even get SMS reminders to take anti-retrovirals and other important medication.Africa is on its way to becoming a success story in all aspects of telecommunications.  The Ernst & Young study reports that there are many expectations and the continent is set to become a central focus of global telecommunications operators and vendors in the next five years. The good news is that Africa is shaking off its reputation as a market only for brave investors, to being seen as a region open for business and investment.last_img read more

A thinktank brings Anna the eyeballs

first_img“Never start a press conference at 7:30 PM. That’s when TV news channels run sports shows. They will not cut out of cricket to show your press conference. Avoid live briefings at 2:30 PM, that’s when Hindi news channels run Saas-Bahu shows, which get very good ratings. Channels will not break out of their Saas-Bahu shows.” These are amongst the gems of insider information that Team Anna has relied on to outsmart and outmanoeuvre the government’s much-vaunted media managers.In an era when TV channels are forever ‘Breaking News’, Team Anna has shown great mastery in using the TV camera to communicate its message and keep the heat on the government. Compared with a government that takes several hours, some times days, to communicate its stance, Team Anna has been able to ensure that it sets the news agenda, forcing a desperate government to play catch up.Team Anna formulated its media strategy using the help of some former TV journalists. The likes of Manish Sisodia, who worked with Zee News as a producer, and Shazia Ilmi, who was one of the lead anchors at Star News for several years, help Team Anna get an insider’s perspective on how TV channels run and how to stay on top of the news cycle.Here are some of Team Anna’s Dos and Don’ts when it comes to the media. “Never kick off a major protest on a Sunday or a holiday, that’s when TV channels have a lot of pre-recorded shows and space for live news is limited. Plus, all the big anchors and editors take the day off. Stories get played up more when the top editors are present in the news room.” Sample another, “Unlike the government, do not make the mistake of neglecting Hindi channels and regional media, since most of the audiences are actually watching news in vernacular languages and not in English.”advertisementIn just the same way as editors conduct a news meeting every morning, key members of Team Anna too hold their own media strategy meeting. In this meeting, different ideas are discussed. The team then comes up with catchy headlines, like “Joke Pal not Lok Pal”, headlines that these professionals from their past experience know the media is likely to lap up.Talking points are circulated to members who will be appearing on TV debates or giving print interviews. The instruction is clear, don’t get bogged down by the noise of a TV discussion and regardless of what the anchor asks or the other panellists allege, ensure that what you say does not stray from the key issue of Jan Lokpal and corruption.The strategists also realise the importance of keeping the message fresh to ensure that ‘Breaking News’ is supplied at regular intervals. Letters to the Prime Minister or Sonia Gandhi, or photo opportunities like Anna sitting at Rajghat on Independence Day are part of this strategy. Team Anna has realised the importance of symbolism, which is how Anna’s image in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s samadhi became the defining image this Independence Day, instead of the Prime Minister speaking at Red Fort.Not just is the importance of communicating the right message understood, attempts are also made to ensure that there are no deviations from the central message. When Anna Hazare spoke out in favour of Narendra Modi, the media strategists quickly understood that this comment could end up alienating apolitical supporters and fuel allegations that Anna was the BJP’s B-Team. Very quickly, it was clarified that Anna only praised Modi’s development work and did not condone state-sponsored riots. When allegations were levelled that the RSS was sponsoring Anna’s campaign, attempts were made to rope in faces from the Muslim community to give the movement an inclusive feel.Team Anna has even engaged an external media tracking agency that pores over every line of news carried in newspapers and TV channels. If the team feels the media is drifting from their message, meetings are immediately convened and course correction strategies chalked out.Attempts to leverage the media are not restricted to TV and print, social media too is given a major thrust, which is what explains the large turn-out of youngsters at places like India Gate and Azad Maidan. A dedicated team of volunteers constantly updates India Against Corruption, Facebook pages and Twitter handles, which is how the youth know where to assemble and when. Communication is localised down to every city so that the campaign is not restricted only to Delhi and Mumbai.Compare Team Anna’s cutting edge media strategy with that of the UPA government. For 72 hours after Baba Ramdev was unceremoniously evicted from Ramlila Maidan in the middle of the night, the government made no effort to explain to a horrified nation, what prompted the police’s mid-night crackdown. Even in the case of the PM’s faux pas on Bangladesh in the Editor’s roundtable, it took the PMO more than 30 hours to remove the offending remarks from the PMO website. In the intervening period, serious damage had been done to the government’s image and media consumers had formed their own opinion on the government’s actions.advertisementIn the United States, successive Presidents since John F. Kennedy have turned media management into a fine art. An entire industry of spin doctors thrives and is growing with every passing year. Barack Obama’s successful presidential run in 2008 is often credited to deft handling of mass media and the ability to communicate a message of hope, which resonated with users across all media platforms – TV, print, radio and online.Rattled by a series of PR disasters, the government has now formulated a Group of Ministers on the media, whose job is to communicate the government’s viewpoint to the people in real time. But in comparison with Anna’s message which seems earnest, the government’s spokespersons often come across as being condescending, confrontational and arrogant.At every stage, Anna has shown that he is three steps ahead of the government. When it became clear that the government would arrest Anna Hazare on Tuesday morning, Team Anna recorded a message for the people of India. Government sources dismissed this tactic as being inspired by slain terrorist Osama bin Laden, but the video message helped Anna generate sympathy even amongst fence sitters who did not support his campaign before this. The recording also had a graphic plate with the names of people who would lead the movement in Anna’s absence – a key mass communication strategy to ensure that people know whose voice to listen to.In an era when 24-hour TV is a reality that cannot be wished away, Team Anna has shown how even with limited resources, mass media can be channelised to amplify the  message. The government, despite the innumerable resources at its command, still comes across as confused and chooses to blame the media for creating the Anna phenomenon. A classic case of confusing the message with the messenger. No wonder Anna is winning and the government is bound in shackles.last_img read more

Weekend Reading

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on December 10, 2010November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This week on the MHTF blog:The Department of Community Medicine at Rajarata University wrote about productivity costs and maternal healthCEDPA updated us on their project to integrate HIV/AIDS into maternal health programsYoung Champion Hellen Koltolo told us about her work in Gujaratmothers2mothers explored active client follow-up in ZambiaCIESAS made progress in their ALSO evaluation in MexicoYoung Champion Anna Dion pushed her boundaries in ArgentinaSome reading for the weekend:Midwifery back in Laos after 20 yearsC-sections in ChinaAfrica and mHealth sustainabilityShare this:last_img read more

Touch Shorts

first_imgIn this edition, read about how to nominate for the 2012 Colley Reserve Five-A-Side Championships, all the latest from the 2011/2012 State League competition and the South Australia Heat National Touch League (NTL) fundraising events. To view the newsletter, please click on the attachment below.  Related Filestfsa_newsletter_jan_2012-pdflast_img

Fivestar hotels must give explanations for overcharging on bananas eggs Paswan

first_imgNew Delhi: Five-star hotels charging exorbitant rate for food items like bananas and eggs is ‘unfair trade practice’ and the government will seek explanations from them, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday. The minister asserted that provisions will also be made while framing rules and regulations under the recently enacted Consumer Protection Act to crack down on such cases. Paswan was referring to a video that recently went viral in which actor Rahul Bose was seen complaining about five-star hotel JW Marriott, Chandigarh for billing two bananas for Rs 442. One more complaint of charging Rs 1,700 for two boiled eggs by another 5-star hotel has also gone viral on social media. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “There are complaints and reports in social media and media about overcharging by some five-star hotels for items like bananas and eggs. This is a serious and unfortunate matter,” Paswan told reporters here. The minister wondered how five-star hotels could charge Rs 442 for two bananas and Rs 1,700 for two eggs when these items were sold in the open market at very cheap rates. “How much they (hotels) will charge for services offered,” he quipped. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Paswan said the department will seek explanations from the fiver-star hotels concerned on what basis they have charged such huge amounts. “We will not allow dual MRP (maximum retail price),” he said, adding that the government will make rules to check such practices under the Consumer Protection Act that was recently passed by Parliament. Speaking on the sidelines after the minister’s press conference, Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K Srivastava said, “Prima facie it is an unfair trade practice. As the minister has directed, we will seek explanations from these hotels.” He further said that action would be taken against such hotels if they are found indulged in such unfair practices. The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) had however defended JW Marriott, Chandigarh when the controversy broke out saying the hotel did not do anything “illegal” and asserted it did the right thing by charging 18 per cent GST on food and beverages served in the hotel premises. The FHRAI had argued that unlike a retail store where bananas could be purchased at market price, a hotel offers service, quality, plate, cutlery, accompaniment, sanitised fruit, ambience and luxury, and not just the commodity alone.last_img read more