Last year my son came back from school looking sad and perplexed. As our conversation went on, i discovered that his classmate told him that he would one day become a murderer because he was born in South Africa (notwithstanding the fact that none of his parents are South Africans, but my boy was already labelled). "South Africans are murderer" the boy said. 
The West African in me wanted to go to the school, demand to speak to the parents of the boy, and create some serious chaos. The religious part of me took over my emotions, calmed me down and led me to comfort my boy. 
The classmate was referring to xenophobia in South Africa. Even though it has momentarily stopped, we all know that it will come back. Human beings never learn. We temporarily stop certain behaviours but always relapse. Xenophobia is in our DNA. Don’t we have the same skin colour? Don’t we experience the same challenges? Why don’t Africans love themselves?
 
We saw it when George Floyd died and the online saturation of pictures and messages of denunciations, anger and general fatigue. 
Some senseless people, however, kept alluding to the fact that by partaking in those protests (instead of creating some local ones) Africans were insensitive to the tears of their own people. There is freedom of speech but i was outraged by those comments.
George came from Africa. The colour of his skin reaffirms the same. He was black and if not for anything, it was important to speak against this inhuman act. Racism is a system established to illustrate and reinforce an imbalance in power, and we cannot as black people keep silent before such atrocities. 
Nothing should however stop anyone from starting a national movement should a crime be done against their own people. It took close to one month of protests for America to undergo some reforms. Let’s do the same without pulling our own people down. Black is black irrespective of where one resides.
 
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We also see the xenophobia in this "buy country X, build country x" mentality. I have seen it in Kenya, in my own country Cote D'Ivoire, and in many other Africans countries. Do we realize that African foreigners pay more taxes in their country of residence than in their birth countries? These taxes are used to build hospitals, create job, build infrastructures and develop many other projects. Those foreigners will eventually leave but the infrastructures will remain and impact generations after generations. This regretful mentality continues to pull us down and creates barriers and a sense of competition instead of collaboration. We like to use this old adage in our businesses "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together" but we forget to apply the same to build our own nations. We should be promoting the following slogan "buy Africa, build Africa." Greed, corruption, selfishness, xenophobia take the better part of us. Why don't Africans love themselves?
 
When the first case of Covid 19 was confirmed in the country, as people saw chaos, i saw opportunities, and was wondering why i was not in the manufacturing industry. 
We all know what we need to do to protect ourselves from this disease. The recommendations by WHO are the same irrespective of your country of origin. We just need to apply those rules and reinforce the regulations. As we started talking about closing the borders, I naively believed that we would close businesses to the rest of the world, and open it to African countries to strengthen inter-Africa trade. I was wrong. Kenya imports palm oil from Malaysia yet, palm oil can be found in West Africa. They are issues of volumes and quality that must be managed but we can deliver by investing in and strengthening those sectors while insisting on quality products. I often laugh (and agree) with the standards imposed to Kenya when exporting avocadoes. We followed every demand to the latter. But the quality sold locally is not the same. Why don't we apply those same standards locally? 
 
Most African countries got their independence in the 1960s. Fast forward- i want us to forget about what we have achieved, and think briefly about what we have not.
Even though infrastructure has improved in most African countries. we are all indebted. Some debts are necessaries for growth but we are cognisant to the fact that most African leaders take debts to enrich themselves, never thinking about the impact those actions will have on the society at large.
 
Lets’ take education for example. “Statistics show that the literacy rate for sub-Saharan Africa was 65% in 2017.” (Alphonse, 2018), yet we know that lack of education is a major problem in Africa. How do we expect people to vote wisely when we know that they don’t understand the law? Every 4 years, some politicians throw some money at them in exchange for their votes. When you live under 1$ a day, that seems sufficient. But when you are educated, you know better.
 
Recent events have shown that despite their wealth, many celebrities date men and women who are below their social classes. And because these individuals did not get the exposure they needed to transform positively their lives and those of their communities, the right to education to question the status quo, the opportunities they would have had, had we invested in skill development, value creation, health care, they got attracted to this new life and eventually destroyed their partners. They don't know any better. Why don't Africans love themselves? 
 
Even though we pride of having international organizations in our individual countries and use those statistics to attract investors, they are mostly led by people from the West. We worship them, promote their goods yet, treat our own people as lesser beings, simply because they do not belong to our tribe or country.  There is no problem being patriotic but the problem arises when we believe that this patriotism gives us no significant obligations towards other black people. 
 
As we fight less important things, we need to realize that colonialization is still around the corner. The second colonialization is more powerful and highly undermined. It is the regulation of data. During the first colonialization we sold our wealth for "common" items because we didn't know any better. But now we do.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking over the world. Ownership of data is the biggest asset any organization and nation can have. Facebook and Google and the United States are currently leading the industry. We are happy to provide our personal data for free applications not thinking about the repercussions they will eventually have on us.
People WAKE UP! We are a population of over 1 billion people with a very strong voice we can use to regulate and own data. This cannot be done individually; we need to unite our African countries to take a stand. We need to support Africans, partner with African businesses, and promote African products and services.
 
I am not a politician and i may not know what goes into politics and agreements between nations BUT it reaches a point where we need to ask ourselves whether we will take the bold step to love ourselves enough to make a world in which all Africans can live together, or if we will continue being taken advantage of.
 
#emmanuellaaboa #panafricanist 
 

Don’t sell yourself short. No one will value you. Set a fair price for you, your book, your services, whatever it is that you have to offer...” John kremer.

The flexibility and bespoke approach of service providers make it difficult for most to appreciate the values they provide and price their offerings accordingly.

As a service provider, remember that you sell your expertise and your time, and like one Frank Kitonga rightfully said "if you give what you are supposed to sell, you are inviting poverty."

Covid 19 exposed many opportunities that can help you position yourself competitively. You can build a global brand as a result of the growth in digitization, and price your services based on the benefits you offer.
When pricing, be clear about your cost (which not only include your time and expertise but also your fixed cost such as rent, and variable cost such as advertisements) and your value (the perceived benefits of your offering).
You can then decide to structure your price based on your cost or your value. If you choose a cost based pricing, you will take the cost of producing your service and add a surplus to make a profit. If you however opt for a value based pricing, your price will be based on what your customers are willing to pay through the perceived benefits. Remember that your target market will also determine the pricing strategy you will use.

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Whether your services are perceived as economic or high end, you will always get clients. However, no one will ever buy your service if you, as a business owner, don't have confidence in what you offer and if you are unclear about the value you provide.

#emmanuellaaboa #pricingstrategy #service

In 1995, thousands of delegates travelled to Beijing to attend the fourth World Women’s Conference aimed at promoting women’s rights and advancing gender equality. 2020 marks the 25 years of the conference.
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Today I attended a talk hosted by #AfricaForAfrica that evaluated the significance of Beijing25+ to African Women in driving the socio-economic growth of the continent. The talk covered a number of items pertaining to African women such as: gender equality, financial inclusion, leadership and poverty eradication.
 
One of the panellists was former Malawian President- HE Dr Joyce Banda. In her address, she asked two questions that i considered important in progressing the discussion, and ensuring Africa continues to record great progress in the fight against gender equality. She asked:
 
1. Even though policies have been implemented in the continent to ensure women hold leadership positions within their countries' business and political spheres, very little is shown on the ground. How do we get into top managerial positions when they are already held by men? 
 
2. How can women support each other when they get to the top? 
This question reminded me of the famous quote "women are their worst enemies". 
Could the low statistics reaffirm this statement? Why don't we help other women rise when we get to the top? How can we change the status quo? As women, do we mentor other women? As leaders, do we provide equal opportunities and remove the gender pay gap? These are questions every woman should meditate on. Our fight for gender equality depends on the actions we take not only as a country, but more so as individuals.
 
#emmanuellaaboa 
 
 
Wikipedia describes best practice as “a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things.”
 
Organizations use best practice to acquire knowledge, improve efficiency and enable better decision making. But how far can best practice take your organization? 
Not every best practice can be best for your organization. In a rapidly changing environment, copying best practices can limit innovation, yet innovation provides a firm competitive advantage to organizations. 
Using best practice has its merits but if your organization focuses solemnly on best practices to make decisions, it may soon be defined by other innovations and become a failure statistic. 
 
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Photo credit: Allan (2018)
 
All best practices have been invented by people who used their imagination to question the status quo As a matter of fact, researches have shown that creative people are able to manage effectively uncertainties because they can easily adopt their thinking, create business models that have no precedent, and provide positive results.
 
As you begin a new week, learn to solve problems by being creative, experiment with new ideas and plan your result-oriented goals. 
 
 
#emmanuellaaboa #bestpractices #innovation #management