Saturday December 28, 2019
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Saturday December 28, 2019

Ethiopian News Agency – Ethiopia

China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia: 2020 Historic Year for China and Ethiopia

ANGOP – Angola

Government plans to increase electricity production by 2020

State Information Service – Egypt

Sisi, Putin discuss latest developments in Libya over phone

Lusaka Times – Zambia

Reports that passport fees have been increased are fake-Kampyongo

Daily News – Tanzania

Regional leaders urged to market tourist attractions

The New Times – Rwanda

The need for executive coaching in Africa

By: Robert Mandeya

At the recent Leadership Coaching and Mentoring Annual Award Ceremony someone asked me “what is executive coaching?”

Executive coaching for corporate leaders is gaining recognition as an effective executive development tool which African corporate leadership must take advantage of.

The high potential of leadership skills in Africa can only be realised if national and private institutions on the continent embrace executive coaching as management imperative for business and social development.

For high potential individuals both in the private and public sector Executive Coaching will help unlock their leadership capacity to exceptional levels.

However, executive coaching is not only for top management but can also be used across different layers of the organisation from the C Suite to lower management levels and across individuals with differing needs.

This relatively new phenomenon in Africa is slowly gaining recognition with countries such as Rwanda making great strides in this endeavour– thanks to President Paul Kagame.

This has seen most of Rwandan Public and Private institutions attain commendable standards of performance in their execution of business and social matters.

If applied properly executive coaching will unleash the potential in individuals, leading to both individual and organisational effectiveness.

Unpacking executive coaching

Executive coaching is a professional relationship that unlocks potential, lifts engagement and enhances executives to perform at personal-best-performance (PBP) and to build team dynamics for maximum performance and enable it to function as more than the sum of its parts.

This increases motivation and professional development which are the necessary ingredients for high productivity.

Today’s executives are experiencing unprecedented change.

They are inundated with changing business models, employee discontent, high turnover rates, meetings galore, and too many emails and voice messages.

Research has proved that executive coaching is a significant and powerful contributor to addressing organizational change and talent development goals.

It is a key approach through which leadership in complex and dynamic organisations can be developed using real-life challenges.

International best-case scenarios

Further afield, IBM has more than sixty certified coaches among its ranks.

Scores of other major companies in the United States and Europe have made coaching a core part of executive development.

The belief is that, under the right circumstances, one-on-one interaction with an objective third party can provide a focus that other forms of organizational support simply cannot.

In the developed world, whereas coaching was once viewed by many as a tool to help correct underperformance, today it is becoming much more widely used in supporting high achievers.

In these cases, companies are using coaching to sharpen the skills of individuals who have been identified as future organizational leaders.

Africa lagging behind

Whilst in the first world countries executive coaching has evolved into the mainstream leadership and management development programmes, in Africa it is still to gain much recognition as a critical leadership development program.

Given the great demand in the workplace for immediate results, coaching can be the remedy that the doctor has ordered for.

By providing feedback and guidance in real time, coaching develops leaders in the context of their current jobs, without removing them from their day-to-day responsibilities.

Any company, organisation or individual who places a high value on personal development and human capital could hire an executive coach once a need is identified.

Individual and organisational needs

The needs of an organisation and its individuals at different levels will vary widely.

There are different branches of executive coaching providing interventions for leadership or transition coaching to specific needs like a high potential manager who struggles with teamwork.

Given that external coaches are independent and objective, they will bring with them unbiased intervention approaches to help struggling individuals.

This is so because they are free of corporate politics and vested interests that affect internal development programs.

Internal coaching can be used but there are guidelines governing confidentiality and conflicts of interest.

Timing 

Executives should seek coaching when they feel that a change in behaviour—either for themselves or their team members—can make a significant difference in the long-term success of the organization.

More specifically, some experts say, coaching can be particularly effective in times of change for an executive.

That includes promotions, stretch assignments, and other new challenges. While you may be confident in your abilities to take on new tasks, you may feel that an independent sounding board would be beneficial in helping you achieve a new level of performance, especially if close confidants are now reporting to you.

More so, you may recognize that succeeding in a new role requires skills that you have not needed to rely on in the past; a coach may help sharpen those skills, particularly when you need to do so in the shortest possible period.

Coaching must be systematic

Coaching works when it’s systematic and studies show that many organizations use coaching as an integrated part of a larger leadership development program.

Increasingly, outside Africa, firms incorporate “360-degree” feedback, using the results to indicate areas in which an executive might benefit from working with a coach.

Africa must embrace this new phenomenon to solve many of the leadership challenges faced by many institutions in business and social spheres.

******

The Herald – Zimbabwe

West Africa’s new currency, the Eco: Rebrand or fresh start?

By: Katrin Gänsler, Robert Adé and Carole Assignon

In 2020, the West African region is set to get a long-discussed new currency: the Eco.

Many Africans are pleased — but there is a lot of work ahead, say experts who insist a rebrand of the old Franc CFA will not do the job.

Many Africans cheered and applauded when Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara announced last Saturday “that, in agreement with the other West African Economic and Monetary Union Heads of State, we have decided to reform the CFA franc with the following three major changes: First, the name change of the currency from the CFA franc to the Eco.”

His speech marked the official end of the French-backed currency CFA francs for eight countries belonging to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo currently use the CFA franc which has been criticised by many as a French relic from colonial times.

Further, France will stop holding “50 percent of the reserves in the French Treasury” and will withdraw “French governance” related to the currency.

The Eco’s value will be pegged to the euro, just like the CFA has been for more than two decades.

Remnants of French empire

The CFA is used in 14 African countries, split into the West African CFA and the Central African CFA.

However, the changes will only affect the West African form of the currency. Originally, the CFA franc was introduced by France in 1945 and at the time stood for “French Colonies in Africa.”

Nowadays, it stands for “African Financial Community in West Africa” and “Financial Cooperation in Central Africa.” It is used by a population of about 150 million.

Students of the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar in Senegal were thrilled after the news hit. They told DW: “Many countries are fleeing the CFA franc; that is why they do not want to invest in Africa.

With this change from the CFA franc to the Eco, there will be more jobs for the youth.”

Another student said: “I think these efforts are reassuring, even if the effect is not as desired by the Senegalese, but there will be improvement.”

A modest victory

However, not everyone is as optimistic. According to Mor Gassama, economist and researcher at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, the introduction of the Eco is a victory to be celebrated with great modesty.

He says there are still many grey areas in relation to the introduction of the Eco.

“These are just words at the moment because the problem in Africa, as everyone knows, is not just a problem of money”, he told DW.

“It is first and foremost, a problem of the management of public funds.

If a head of state does not respect his commitments, if the best resources we have are squandered or not used according to our priorities, whatever the name of the currency, it will not do much good.

The decision is more political than economic.”

Two separate Ecos?

The Eco is expected to be adopted on the first of July 2020, but since the concept arose in 2003, the target launch date for the currency has been postponed several times: in 2005, 2010 and 2014.

Countries in the franc bloc and other West African nations such as Nigeria and Ghana, which have their own currencies, have for decades debated creating their own currency, the Eco.

This should promote regional trade and investment.

“ECOWAS is ultimately about regional economic integration. Ultimately, that cannot be achieved without the currency,” Solomon Jamiru, Deputy Minister of Information of Sierra Leone, told DW this summer.

‘Worse than the CFA’

However, a July launch of the Eco is not being welcomed from all sides, Martial Ze Belinga, a Cameroonian economist, told DW: “In a way, we now have two Ecos.

One that the 15 African countries voted for and whose name was already decided in 2003.

And today there is a new Eco which France and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries have chosen — independently of the others.

This seems astonishing. One could at least have waited for them to give their approval.”

In the economist’s view, it does not make sense to promote West African monetary integration without involving countries like Ghana or Nigeria.

“A country that accounts for over half of the population in the region cannot be left out. ECOWAS must therefore react very quickly. Otherwise its own project, the currency unit, will get into difficulties and it will lose credibility as an organisation.”

He hopes that the Central African franc bloc is thinking further ahead.

“My impression is: they are waiting and watching. It is urgent that Central Africa works on a plan B to create a perspective for itself that gives security.”

Senegalese economist Samba Sylla agrees: “The Eco could be worse than the CFA franc.

If you take the criticism of the CFA franc seriously, you cannot go in the direction of Eco.”

According to him, the CFA is firstly under French domination and secondly a common currency which does not work.

“So far, there is no work that shows that the two CFA zones are optimal monetary zones.

The advantages of keeping these currencies are lower than the disadvantages.

One replaces a dysfunctional common currency with another, even less functioning common currency.

This does not seem like a good deal to me.”

Different philosophies about money

Sylla believes it is unrealistic that there will be the Eco for the whole of West Africa in 2020, due to lacking economic and political foundations.

“That would require a treaty between the 15 ECOWAS countries, which does not exist.

It would need a statute for a new central bank, and we would need to harmonise banking legislation.

That does not exist at present.”

Another problem would be different cultures and philosophies about currency and money.

“Those are very different, for example between the Anglophone countries, such as Nigeria and Ghana, and the others.”

Before joining the currency, countries are required to meet 10 key demands by the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI).

Those include a budget deficit of less than three percent, an inflation rate of less than 10 percent, debts worth less than 70 percent of GDP and budget deficits of no more than 10 percent of the previous year’s tax revenue.

Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said that only Togo was on track to meet all the financial requirements for the Eco zone.

The International Monetary Fund welcomed the reform, saying it was “a key step in the modernisation of long-standing arrangements” between the WAEMU and France.

*****

Southern African News Features (Harare)

Africa: Global Disagreement on Climate Change - Consequences for the South

By Neto Nengomasha

Major disagreements erupted at the recent global talks about climate change in Madrid, Spain, leaving the South to question whether such meetings are worthwhile or mere talk shows, and meanwhile suffering the consequences such as drought and floods.

The African Group of Negotiators wanted targets increased for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and predictable financing mechanisms provided for adaptation.

African negotiators at the 25th Conference of Parties (COP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) further wanted clarity on loss and damage, but this was left hanging as consensus remained elusive throughout the conference.

Despite several appeals from the developing countries of the South, the industrialized North failed to provide sufficient assurance that they would reduce emissions and mobilize adequate and predictable finance for countries at risk to respond to the impacts of climate change.

The hostile negotiations leave the countries of the global South worried about whether industrialized countries, who are the main global polluters, will fulfil their commitment of mobilizing US$100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.

The disappointing outcome of COP 25 comes at a time when scientists are indicating that the world is running out of time to act, with global greenhouse gas emissions having reached a record high this year and showing no signs of slowing.

According to a new report on The Global Climate, significant changes in the global climate have occurred in the last five years, suggesting a renewed threat of climate change impacts and variability.

The report by the World Meteorological Organization released ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit held in New York in September, reveals severe changes in climate since 2015, including dramatic changes in temperature, sea level rise, and extreme weather events.

The report shows that 90 percent of "natural" disasters experienced in the period 2015-2019 are related to weather, with developing countries being the most affected due to limited adaptive capacities and resources.

Speaking soon after the conference, the UN Secretary General António Guterres expressed his dissatisfaction at the outcome, saying "the international community has lost an important opportunity to show increased targets on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis."

Further, the small island states accused countries such as Australia, United States, Canada, Russia, India, China and Brazil of failing to submit revised plans that show increased targets to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep the rise in global temperatures under 1.5°C this century.

Reinforcing the sense of division, India, supported by China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil, took a hard line on the promises made by industrialized countries in previous agreements before the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.

India and other countries insisted that the industrialized countries should show evidence that they have fulfilled the pledges made on cutting down carbon emissions in the years up to 2020, and if they have failed to meet the targets, these should be carried over to the post-2020 era.

However, the global North saw this as a tactic for countries to go back to the way things were before Paris, where richer countries were expected to do more work while emerging economies such as China, India and others do less. The negotiations were thus marred by divisions and self-interest.

Another critical issue that was expected to be agreed at COP 25 was to finalise Article 6 of the Paris Agreement dealing with international carbon trading. Some countries wanted to retain the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon credit system set up by the Kyoto Protocol while others opposed the move.

The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction credits, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

The credits earned can then be sold to developed nations to allow them to emit more carbon dioxide, thereby generating income for the developing countries.

A final deal was deferred until 2020 amid disagreements over details of carbon dioxide accounting rules, which revealed a rift among countries supporting greater targets and those satisfied with the current status.

Between January and April 2019, southern Africa faced several weather-related phenomena such as Tropical Cyclones Desmond, Idai and Kenneth, which caused extensive flooding in the Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Cyclone Idai, recorded as one of the worst tropical storms to ever affect Africa and the southern hemisphere, claimed hundreds of lives and left a trail of destruction, including severe damage to key infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and clinics.

Over 800,000 hectares of cropland as well as crops and seed stocks were destroyed by the cyclone, while about 3.3 million people were left in need of immediate humanitarian assistance such as food, shelter, clothing, potable water, sanitation and medical support.