Wided Bouchamaoui (left), Ziad Bahaa Eldin (left top), Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Atabani(bottom left), Ali Benflis (bottom right), Wafik Al Shater (top right), Omar Balafrej (right)
The Arab Spring has produced a new wave of influential people across the North African sub-region. Our top six people to watch in 2014 list includes Tunisia's Wided Bouchamaoui who turned down calls to take over as prime minister.
Sudan: Ghazi Salah al-Din al-Atabani - Old ally of young rebels
Amid unease within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Ghazi (pictured below) has become a critic of President Omar al-Bashir.
Protests about the lifting of fuel subsidies rocked the government in September.
Ghazi joined 30 other senior NCP members to write to Omar to ask him to rescind the fuel subsidy reduction, to investigate the killings of protestors and to open a dialogue for national consensus.
Omar instead ordered an investigation into the dissidents within the party.
Ghazi is a supporter of the Sa'ihoun, an Islamist group of mainly military members and younger critics of the government.
Omar sacked him from his position as presidential adviser and then as leader of the NCP caucus in parliament in April 2013.
As a veteran member of the Islamist movement with ties to the mercurial Hassan al-Turabi, he is positioning himself as a key ally of the younger dissidents.
Morocco: Omar Balafrej - Business leader bred by politics of the left
Balafrej is part of a generation of Moroccan politicians who are distancing themselves from traditional politics.
He spent four years managing the Fondation Abderrahim Bouabid, named after his uncle, a former secretary general of the Union Nationale des Forces Populaires (UNFP).
This political heritage did not stop him from leaving the Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires – which was formed after a schism in the UNFP in 1975 – in 2010 and launching a new movement called Clarté, Ambition, Courage, which aims to awaken the Moroccan left.
It is planning its first conference for March 2014.
Balafrej is also an experienced manager and is director general of Casablanca's Technopark, a cluster of information technology and offshoring companies. He is pushing for the Moroccan government to support innovation among small businesses.
Egypt: Ziad Bahaa Eldin - Last liberal standing
A centre-left lawyer who opposed former president Mohamed Morsi, Bahaa Eldin is the leading voice in government for reconciliation with the Islamists.
As deputy minister for economic affairs he is one of the architects of the government's economic stimulus plan.
More importantly, he is seen as the last true senior liberal in a government that has shown no qualms about a bloody crackdown on the Islamists.
He has argued that the future of the country is still in the making and that it is up to him and others to make sure the result is a democratic and tolerant state.
Should he believe he cannot make a difference, he will probably resign.
Algeria: Ali Benflis - Quietude wins plaudits
The former prime minister is set to make a dramatic comeback to the political stage by running for the presidency in 2014.
Pushed out in May 2003, Benflis has won plaudits for an exemplary Charles De Gaulle-style political exile: not leaving the country but instead keeping his mouth shut.
His quietude has won friends among those who are keen to see the country take a different course, including the security sector grandees.
He was secretary general of the ruling Front de Libération Nationale from 2001 to 2004 and counts on friends in its ranks.
If he can rally more, he could be a winning consensus candidate when President Bouteflika steps down in 2014.
Libya: Wafik Al Shater - Rewiring a pan-African ambition
After working as an adviser to the post-revolution team, Wafik Al Shater returned to telecoms.
In late 2011, the 46 year old became chief executive of LAP GreenN, the state-backed telecoms company whose pan-African expansion plans were stopped by the revolution.
He wants to fend off some legal challenges in 2014, the most difficult with the Zambian government, which renationalised LAP GreenN-owned Zamtel in January 2012.
He may also look for a telecoms licence on his home turf.
Tunisia: Wided Bouchamaoui - Boss of the bosses
Despite turning down calls to take over as prime minister, the first woman to head Tunisia's chamber of commerce will remain a key participant in the dialogue to get the economy moving again.
She supports a free trade area between Tunisia and Algeria, a review of the investment code and greater openness to African economies, and has called for vigilance about unemployment.
Your first step in transforming your network is to assess and define the barriers that are holding you back. Do you need to break a habit or routine? What is keeping you from connecting or reaching your goals?
Develop a list of your potential barriers. If you have a long list, don’t worry. Just focus on one at a time. Addressing them will help you experience positive change and make connecting with others an easier and more enjoyable process. Take action, start a conversation when you’re feeling uncomfortable, or ask someone to join an activity: the results may happily surprise you.
2 – Define your core passions and purpose with the Funnel Test
With the Funnel Test you can review your passions and define a purpose to anchor your networking and ultimately help you increase your happiness and prosperity. Start by identifying three of your passions that clearly defines your core interests. The area where your three passions overlap is your sweet spot.
Next, write down how you are cultivating your passions and make a commitment to improve in these areas. Now come up with a with a selected word for your tone. Like a funnel, where the contents flow from top to bottom, envision all of your actions being influenced by your tone. Last, streamline your passions and create a purpose statement of less than twenty words that describes your purpose and use it to guide you down your chosen path.
3 – Create a mind-set of positive productivity
Positive productivity involves developing a mind-set of conscious effort to make the most of your time, connections, and relationships to increase your happiness, success, and true wealth. Try toexpand your circle of friends and professional allies; focus on networking opportunities, and positive productivity will help turn obstacles into growth situations.
Remember: In our global, networked economy, you can’t allow your social capital to lie dormant. Each day, to get more energy, be productive and active, and you’ll be unconsciously taking steps to build your future happiness. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish if you take one step a day toward a personal or networking goal that you are trying to achieve.
4 – Develop a Give Give Get attitude
A key to value-based networking is helping others when you don’t expect anything in return. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
If you put giving back and helping others at the center of your networking and relationship building, you are likely to have more impactful and stronger relationships. By seeing networking as an opportunity to help people, you’ll discover that your actions change you for the better and help to transition out of negative states of emotion. Remember that the idea is “Give Give Get”; that is, put greater energy into giving than receiving. What you will find is that the giving will come back to you tenfold.
5 – Commit to shaking it up
Shaking up your routine and exploring new opportunities can change your life. Sometimes change is by choice and sometimes it is due to external circumstances. Regardless of where it comes from, it always has the potential to bring positive growth and learning.
Sometimes change is self-motivated, and sometimes it is a result of outside influences. It’s not always easy to predict, but when you anchor your core values and practice positive productivity, you will more successfully navigate the highs and lows of your journey. Look at ways you can proactively shake it up by changing your routine, trying events designed to meet new people, embracing unemployment (if it happens), and getting outside of your comfort zone.
6 – Accelerate your connections with technology
Technology has increased virtual intimacy and reduced the degree of separation between connections. New and old networking relationships may be just a tweet, a post, or an email away. Toss out the old ideas: networking is no longer about climbing a ladder to success with a Rolodex stuffed in a leather briefcase. A different networking strategy is paying dividends in our global, mobile economy: one that includes understanding your values, having a positive attitude, and connecting with collaborators for mutual inspiration, innovation, and support.
Embrace rather than shun the new online tools and social sites. If used properly, you can make new connections, improve your happiness, and impact your future prosperity.
7 – Cultivate relationships that support your purpose
As your network builds, the way you interact and treat your professional and personal colleagues, especially in your core circle, will have a dramatic impact on your ability to achieve your purpose and find happiness and success.
Your core circle affects how you spend your time and where you socialize, your networking success, and ultimately your happiness. Outside your core circle is your secondary circles, which have a highly important impact on your networking. Your goals are to build authentic, honest, emotionally based connections and to identify if you need any additional support or resources to help you realize your passions and purpose.
8 – Visit power pockets to accelerate networking
Look at environments, clubs, and events to see how they can accelerate or diminish your efforts and ability to live your passions and purpose. If you think of your network as a web of interconnected relationships, it is important to look at where you could get stuck and where you can accelerate your efforts.
Review the importance of your work space and the benefits of what I call “power pockets”: places and events that accelerate networking and support your passions or purpose. Think about your community or places that you visit for travel, identify two to three power pockets, and make an effort to visit or work out of a location that’s not your office. Remember that under the surface, there is learning to be had from every connection.
9 – Hone your connecting skills and learn from hub players
Create value and opportunity by embracing highly networked individuals who thrive at bringing people together. Hub players are the people at the center of the social or business sphere, and they excel at connecting themselves and others. If you are not a hub player or the idea of making small talk at a party makes your skin crawl, don’t worry; those skills can be learned and practiced over time.
When you reach out to a hub player, you’ll find the same dynamic that occurs when you meet a new friend, but with exponential levels of energy and feedback. If the two of you share professional interests and embark on a collaboration, get ready to discover new areas of learning and change.
10 – Create content, products, or services to share your purpose
Having a mindset of being a producer will help you focus when generating content or developing products or services to increase your visibility, build your network, or increase your reach. The goal of being a producer is to add value to the collective good based on your passions and purpose.
As a producer, you should actively seek to create content, products, or services that support your passions. When you do so, those activities will often result in creative enjoyment, sharable assets, and possibly financial gain. The more you enjoy your producing process, the easier it will be for you to share your output and excitement with others.
11 – Develop partnerships to extend your reach
Reaching critical mass can be accelerated by connecting with core influencers, exploring partnerships, and unleashing the power of groups. Use your passions and purpose as a filter to focus your connecting efforts and achieve your goals.
Building your audience and the reach of your personal brand or message online takes effort, but the returns can be multifold. Classic brand-building techniques such as creating partnerships, identifying key influencers, combining press and social media, among others, can be used to target your message and build a following.
12 – Learn to make successful asks.
Get your foot in the door, secure a meeting, or simply get advice; the Ask is a skill people hone over time. With the support of your network, learn to ask for help, move your projects forward and live your purpose.
Succeeding at the ask requires a blend of courage, passion for your work, preparation, innovation, and resilience. Also, remember that often magic doesn’t happen overnight. “Don’t leave before the miracle” is a phrase to remember as you focus on turning your passions and purpose into reality.
13 – Decide what brings you happiness and success: head, heart, or wallet?
Decide what brings you happiness and success: head, heart, or wallet? If your network is your net worth, what role do the people in your core and secondary circles play in your happiness and success? Do the contents in your wallet make you happy? Is happiness and success driven by what you know? Or who you know? Or both?
Remember to look inside first, outside second. Surround yourself with a values-based team, and creatively focus on living your passions and achieving your purpose. If you’re facing pivot points, get productive and don’t let your social capital lay dormant. Help others, be of service, and, remember, Your Network Is Your Net Worth.
Solargiga of China Forms Venture to Develop Solar Farms in Ghana
Solargiga Energy Holdings Ltd. (757), a Chinese solar manufacturer, formed a joint venture to develop 200 megawatts of photovoltaic plants in Ghana. The company will own 90 percent of the venture with Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, which promotes green projects in the country’s north, Solargiga said in a statement.
Ghana is following nations on the continent such as Nigeria and South Africa in seeking to develop large solar plants. It introduced long-term incentives to help meet a 10 percent target for generation from clean sources by 2020. U.K. developer Blue Energy Co. plans a 155-megawatt solar park in the country.
“In recent years, using solar power is actively promoted in Africa,” Hsu You Yuan, chief executive officer at Hong Kong-based Solargiga, said in the Dec. 9 statement. “Thanks to growing market demand, coupled with the government’s supportive policy, we believe that the African market enjoys huge potential.”
Solargiga will initially develop projects with 40 megawatts of capacity, it said without elaborating. The company produces solar wafers, panels and cells, as well as building projects.
The United States government is offering an internship through the State department known as Young Africans Leadership Institute (YALI).
As of 2014 the US is taking up to 500 participants in a once in a lifetime opportunity to come to the United States and interact with business leaders and public sector leaders in the hopes that these young people will be mentored to go back and transform their own communities and come up with African solutions for African problems.
The 6 week program will involve mentoring, networking and workshops.
2014 APPLICATION IS OPEN NOW TILL MONDAY, JANUARY 27.
The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has announced that members states in the sub region would from January 2015 adopt a Common External Tariff (CET) for goods coming in from outside the region.
Mr. Felix Kwakye, Customs Specialist for the ECOWAS Commission made this known on Monday when ECOWAS held a workshop at the on-going Trade Fair on the theme “Regional Integration through Trade”.
He said the CET when implemented would take over all national tariffs by member states and would help achieve custom union in the region.
He said the CET would ensure that any goods coming outside the sub region attract the same duty irrespective of the country it is taken to whiles goods from members states attract no duties.
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