Tuesday, March 29, 2016

COMING UP!>>Ep#68 (Season 4; Ep.3):Delivering an excellent Customer Service Culture in Ghana & across Africa (1)

Episode #68
(Season 4; Ep.3):  
Delivering an excellent Customer Service Culture in Ghana & across Africa (1)

We continue Season 4 STILL on the theme of “making money for Africa”.

We started the Season with the Creative Economy, and concluded that Film, more than any other cog in the Creative Economy wheel, was probably the most dominant within the Creative Economy that has an ancillary value-chain that includes caterers; fashion-designers; etc.

Last week, we concluded the show appreciating how if managed properly, Sports could become the biggest employer in Ghana, the sub region, and the Continent.

In episode 3 of the Show, we are talking customer service – without which it remains difficult to add value to your organisation, and make money. Buried inside that conversation is a cultural relativism that seeks to suggest Africans simply are averse to customer service. This begs the question of whether there is such as thing as “African customer service.”?

Even more importantly, we want to unpack the experience of customer service in Ghana, and explore ways in which we can begin to have a proper conversation about its role in the so-called Africa Rising narrative.

That East Africa has an East African Customer Service Charter, plus the fact that in 2015, a number of customer service jobs were going to the region arguably speaks to a comparative advantage by the East that West African countries, like Ghana, can tap into.

Back in March 2010, the Economist magazine reported how the arrival of three international fibre-optic cables in Kenya had “sparked hopes of an information-technology boom.” According to the magazine, the Kenyan government believed that business-process outsourcing (BPO) could provide work for the country’s numerous unemployed graduates. Other African countries were listed, including Ghana.

Ghana had apparently-identified BPO as a pillar of future development, and had expressed an interest in creating 40,000 jobs by 2015, with a longer-term goal of earning $1billion a year from the industry. Ghana had equally waxed lyrical about the establishment of technology parks across the country.

The reality, six years down the line, is evidently very different: Ghana has not seemed to pay sufficient attention to either BPO or seen the value of enhancing the customer service value chain.

Significantly over-taken by East Africa to the extent that the region has incorporated it into their equivalent of ECOWAS (in the East African Community), Ghana is left with lofty conversations around technology parks. In 2012, Ghana announced it would establish the first technology park in Tema; the sod was cut for Hope City by President Mahama in 2013; and, in 2015, Ghana announced a partnership with Mauritius to renew the 2012 promise of a Park in Tema.

As we know, it has yet to materialize; and some may argue that the country’s dedication to customer service remains abortive.

So, we ask: how serious in Ghana about customer service?

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 30 March, 2016.
Call us on the following numbers
Guiding questions
  • Is there such a thing as an African Customer Service Culture?
  • Has consistent messaging of staff about a company failed in Ghana?
  • How important is customer service to enhanced revenue?
  • How central is technology to enhancing customer service?

Guests in the studio:
Ø Dr.Benonia Aryee-Manu, Founder & CEO –Omansi Business Advisory & Training Services/national customer service advocate

v  Guest on the line:
Ø  Edem Senanu, Management Consultant

*more details will be available soon on www.africainfocusradioshow.org ; africainfocusshow.blogspot.com.
*Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/africainfocus14.
Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on www.twitter.com/ekbensah, using #africainfocus.
Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

Friday, March 25, 2016

ARTICLE>>Episode #67 Season 4, Ep.2: “If managed properly, Sports can be the largest employer in Africa” – Football Expert

Episode #67
Season 4, Ep.2:

“If managed properly, Sports can be the largest employer in Africa” – Football Expert


ACCRA, Ghana – Football Expert Nana Agyemang believes Ghana must start taking sports seriously. He believes a Sports Bill would empower all the different sporting institutions. That would in turn encourage corporate Ghana to provide sponsorship to ensure “there is proper infrastructure development.”

Speaking to E.K.Bensah Jr on the “Africa in Focus Show”, which commenced a series of Africa in Sports in Season 4, the UEFA-licensed coach, Nana Agyeman, explained how sports is “probably one of the largest employers on the African continent”. He says “Africa is over-laden with talent...and in Ghana, if we really knew how to manage sport, it would be the largest employer in this country.” He referred to the different sporting disciplines that exist: “we are even taking part in fencing and taken part in intercontinental competitions and received medals.” This includes swimming; tennis; basketball and even cricket. He says many of them are team-based, “so when you look at that and try to professionalise the various disciplines, once you are a professional, you get paid.” The discipline of sport involves a whole value-chain that includes a coach; a dietician; a nutritionist; a physiotherapist; a psychologist; and a cook. He says “it’s massive!”

We may not be able to compete with mining, but the sporting sector, in Nana Agyemang’s view, would outnumber civil servants by three to one. He believes the African is “more akin and in tune to sporting developments than we are in tune with anything else.” Agyeman is categorical that, the prowess and strength that the African possesses in all the different fields “is something that cannot be matched by the rest of the world.” He continues that, the only challenge “is our inability to... professionalise the whole sector and to ensure that the infrastructure required for our sporting professionals to practice in safe and secured places each and every day does not exist; the investment that is required for the professionals does not exist.” Because of that, he laments, “Where are we?”

What makes sport a unifier is the way in which we come together for the World Cup; the African Cup of Nations; the Confederations Cup. It unifies us because we come together to participate, knowing that the winners from there will go to the Club championships – as well as knowing that when we qualify for the World Cup, we meet the likes of Germany and the USA.  

For Nana Agyemang, the 2006 World Cup was an example of what he has never seen before in his lifetime: the whole of Africa coming behind Ghana. He continues that, “we are so fragmented with our politics and our tribalism and the lines that were drawn between us by the Europeans when they colonized us in the Scramble for Africa...that it was wonderful to see the whole of Africa united” in seeing Ghana go forward.

He laments it’s a shame how we cannot transfer moments like this into the way our countries are governed and the way our economies are managed: “If we could, we would be trading among each other!” Perhaps, I have the ability to make cane juice, which could be coming from Zambia, and I am trading something else with Zambia, and making the continent self-sufficient.

Pressed to explain which region is worthy of emulation, Nana Agyemang points to North Africa. He says “they are dominated by desert, but have green grass growing all around the place. Their fields are green, watered very well. They have structures that mirror those in Europe.” They have academies, where children as young as five attend those academies. They have the structure to ensure that the capacity of the coaches they have there are developed, and constantly reinforced with new ideas and trends so they know what they are teaching.

Still on the efficiency of North Africa, he explains that if we ensured commensurate infrastructure, investment; capacity-building, the whole nation would rally behind them.

On the Olympics four years ago, Nana Agyemang recalls that there were just nine participants and around twenty-six officials – as compared to the US’s six hundred! Nana avers “that cannot engender unification back home because we are sitting here and we are embarrassed to say that we only have nine participants to one of the greatest shows on Earth.” He continues “and the reason for that is that we are not investing in the development of sports men and women...in the development of sports boys and girls. Where’s the unity in that? We remain fragmented,” he lamented.

As far as reconciling education and the pursuit of sports, Nana spoke to the priviledge of his experience of growing up in the UK, where he actually combined both the rigorous participation of sporting disciplines – which included cross-country running; rugby; swimming; tennis; table-tennis; volleyball; basketball – alongside his academic studies. Same can be said with the US where you excel in your sporting discipline and still come out with your degree.

Conversely in Ghana, because of lack of facilities and infrastructure, African countries tend to go for a scholarship, which ends up dis-incentivizing them from keeping their allegiance to their Mother country in favour of the country that offered the scholarship. That is also one of the key things that discourage unity in the sports in Africa.

In his take-home message, he explained that, “If we are really serious, we will turn the spotlight off the senior national team and share that light across the board with all our other sporting disciplines. We will have proper sporting budgets – every year the sporting budget gets slashed by a third...it’s now GHS22 million.” He continues that, “we need to have a meaningful budget that when spread across various sporting disciplines, will ensure we have proper infrastructural development, will ensure that we build the capacity of those who will nurture and edify all the young talent that we have, and produce real champions. And stop pretending that we want to produce champions, and produce champions!” We cannot do any of these without a Sports Bill, he insists.

The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h05 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from www.africainfocusradioshow.org . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

COMING UP!>>Ep.67(S04, Ep.2)>Africa & Sport (1): Lessons for African Unity?

Episode #67
(Season 4; Ep.2):  
Africa & Sport (1):
Lessons for African Unity?

We continue Season 4 STILL with a bang – by jumping into the conversation on Sports. Since it debuted on 6 May, 2014, this is actually the first time we are discussing Sport. This is ironic, considering the capacity of Sports to foster African unity.

When we look at football alone, the World Cup and AFCON together generate a sense of African’s potential over the “Beautiful game” and, by extension, the potential “dominion” they could hold in sectors non-sport.

At a recent press conference at UN headquarters in February, the UN Secretary-General spoke to the significance of “The Value of Hosting Mega Sport Events as a Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainable Development Tool.”

In it, he reminded the world about the importance of mega-sports events leaving “durable legacies by developing equitable, inclusive and accessible facilities and infrastructure that will benefit societies long after the games and competition are over.” The message behind this was to emphasize how so-called mega sport events, like the World Cup and the upcoming Olympics, have taken the sustainable and inclusive developmental path by implementing “outstanding legacy initiatives at the local, national, regional and global levels.”

As the world heads down August to witness the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, we want to ask some important questions about the role of sports and its potential to help unite Africa.

Over the past decade, AFCONs have offered a sense of pride to West Africa as Cote d’Ivoire; Togo; Ghana; -- to name but three – have dominated the games. Some may say the magical aura of regional solidarity that surrounds games like these remind us how united we are more as a region than we think.

It is arguable that football reminds us how more-closely we identify with the regional space than the continental. Even if this is the case, what lessons are there within football, specifically, to help us learn about facilitating African unity?

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 23 March, 2016.

Call us on the following numbers

Guiding questions
  • Does football rally more African together than any other sport?
  • How do we use sport to foster African unity?
  • What other sports can Africa point to for lessons on solidarity?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Nana Agyeman , Media Consultant; Sports Analyst & UEFA-licensed coach  

*more details will be available soon on www.africainfocusradioshow.org ; africainfocusshow.blogspot.com

*Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/africainfocus14

Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on www.twitter.com/ekbensah, using #africainfocus. 

*Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

COMING UP!>>Ep.66 (S04, Ep,1):Africa’s Creative Economy (1): Ghana vs. Nigeria Film: Lessons Learnt?

Episode #66
(Season 4; Ep.1):  
Africa’s Creative Economy (1):
Ghana vs. Nigeria Film: Lessons Learnt?

We start off Season 4 with a bang – by jumping into the conversation on the Creative Economy, which we started in an earlier incarnation on 24 February 2015, and this year as “Towards an African Personality”. We will still reprise a conversation on this theme each 24 February, but want to use Season 4 to help unpack more concretely elements of Africa’s Creative Economy.

Although definitions of the Creative Economy continue to evolve, it is attributed to one John Howkins who developed the concept in 2001 “to describe economic systems where value is based on novel, imaginative qualities rather than traditional resources of land; labor and capital.”

Put simply: the term was applied to the arts; cultural goods and services; toys and games; research and development.

It is arguable that Africa has this in abundance, but has not necessarily been defined as such in the strictest sense of the term. We want to provoke our listeners to consider whether the continent’s Creative Economy can help African economies make money to complement the traditional responses to generating revenue.

Along the value chain of Africa’s Creative Economy is, arguably, the Film industry. Even if not all countries possess a Film industry – but pockets of different people doing their own thing, as stated by JOT Agyemang – it remains one of the most popular elements of the Creative Economy.

The borrowed nomenclature of “-wood” to both the Nigerian and Ghanaian ones are insufficient to mask the differences of style and substance of the two countries’.

The rich history alone of these two countries’ film needs to be unpacked – if even for the sake of nostalgia and for the aspiration that even as Africa struggles with the traditional ways of revenue-generation, if it just got its act together on the Creative Economy – especially film – it would serve as a significant boost to member countries.

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 16 March, 2016.
Call us on the following numbers

Guiding questions
  • How critical was Nigerian collaboration to the development of Ghanaian film?
  • Can an enhanced Nigeria-Ghana collaboration foster mutual efficiency of their respective industries?
  • What needs to quickly-happen to make this a reality?
  • What lessons can the Ghanaian film industry draw from Nigeria’s evolution of its film industry in making epic movies?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Elijah Iposu , former Programmes Manager, Homebase TV
Ø  J.O.T Agyeman, Communications Consultant & General Manager, Productions, Global Media Alliance Broadcasting Company 

*more details will be available soon on www.africainfocusradioshow.org ; africainfocusshow.blogspot.com.
*Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/africainfocus14.
Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on www.twitter.com/ekbensah, using #africainfocus.
Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

ARTICLE: Episode #64 Season 3, Ep.20: “Influencing decision-making at the top in East Africa has to do with compromises among elites” – Governance Expert

Episode #64
Season 3, Ep.20:
“Influencing decision-making at the top in East Africa has to do with compromises among elites” – Governance Expert

ACCRA, Ghana – Governance Expert, Mark Amaliya, believes “the elections [that have] taken place in Uganda...is an example of how not to conduct elections.”

Speaking to E.K.Bensah Jr on the “Africa in Focus Show”, which reprised AfroDemocracy for the last time in Season 3, Amaliya adds that, the take-away for Ghana is that “there are certain basic freedoms that we take for granted – the liberal media waves that we have; the dearth of critical reflections that go on in platforms such as social media; the alternative mindsets and perspectives that groups and individuals who are willing to discuss issues of the nation bring to bear – inform how we approach and hold our leaders accountable.”

He believes these are the things “we must guard jealously, because these have now proven, as in the case of Uganda, to be real constraints for rulers.” He feels were these freedoms to be raised as a national security concern, “then it means that countries that have the opportunity and citizens that have the opportunity...should use these platforms for the right purposes, while remembering the potential of these platforms exerting influence on governments.”

In Amaliya’s view, “it is significant to understand” that the Ugandan election “was not just an election, but a contest against the status quo.” He avers it was difficult to imagine change “without strong resistance.”

Quizzed by Bensah as to whether it was not expected that Museveni would win – for the mere fact he had been in power for so long – Amaliya tried to situate his response in the context of the region, by explaining that, East Africa is a region where good governance is “unique” in these sense that, apart from the fragile states, such as Somalia, that are part of the region, one even has countries, such as Kenya, which legitimacy was tested back in 2007; Rwanda’s Kagame who is a “known, historical ally of Museveni”. In short: powerful states, such as Kenya and Rwanda that have all helped shape the uniqueness of the region, and probably negated any decision for them to condemn the elections in Uganda!

Worrying for Amaliya is his view that “East Africa still has to deal a lot with questions regarding how the political will in the region – the gap between elite rulers and legitimate concerns of citizens in those countries. The fact that influencing decision-making at the top in East Africa – considerably has to do with compromises among the elites.” He laments how the fact that “independent-minded bodies like the UN, and even the African Union, would really only have to come second and third-place to these elite networks raises very serious concerns about democracy in East Africa.”

The “Africa in Focus” Show is hosted by Emmanuel.K.Bensah Jr from 14h05 to 15h00 every Wednesday. You can download all podcasts from www.africainfocusradioshow.org . Follow the conversation on twitter on @africainfocus14 , using #africainfocus

International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016 Moving Women’s Rights from paper to reality -- SOTU Release

International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016
 Moving Women’s Rights from paper to reality

Nairobi, Kenya, 8 March 2016 – Despite Africa being recognised as having the most progressive women’s human rights and gender equality policy framework, African women are yet to fully realise their rights and involvement in decision-making is still not at an equal basis with men.

At the continental level, the African Union (AU) declared 2016 as the Year of Human Rights with special focus on the Rights of women’. The development agenda for Africa, AU Agenda 2063 recognises ‘women as a critical ingredient to Continental Development.’’ Africa is currently in its AU declared African Women’s Decade (2010-2020). These processes have been preceded by the AU Gender Policy that incorporates the 50-50 Gender parity rule; the principle of gender equality enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act in Article 4(1) and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, 2004.

In 2003, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), was adopted and as at January 2016, 38 (70%) out of 54 AU member States have ratified it. Most if not all constitutions in Africa have a provision on gender equality and recognition of women’s Rights.
It is clear that African governments recognise the need for gender equality. Laws, policies, institutions exist at all levels to move from rhetoric to implementation. The reality however is that despite the enabling framework, gender discrimination and violence against women in African societies is systematic and tolerated.

Women’s representation in parliament is often a sign of a country’s representation in governance. The Maputo Protocol in Article 9 further requires States to take steps to involve women in politics and decision-making. All African Countries with the exception of Rwanda have not attained 50% gender parity in their parliaments. However in addition to Rwanda, 5 others, (Seychelles, Senegal, South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique) have made progress or maintained large numbers of women representatives in parliament.

Until African governments focus on the developmental impact of gender inequality, then we will continue to have very well-written and detailed instruments, policies and declarations that fail to translate into any meaningful change to improve the lives of all women in Africa. Women are an integral part of Africa’s development agenda and when women and men are enabled to participate equally in society a shift in development gains is experienced.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, the State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) is drawing attention to the implementation of the Maputo Protocol for realizing African women’s rights. SOTU has observed that while, “vital, ratification is not the ultimate driver of change at the national level. Implementation and domestication is the core of translating instruments into tangible results.” (SOTU Continental Compliance Report 2014, p.10 available at www.sotu-africa.org).

It is time for African Governments to shift from policy making to policy implementation of legal frameworks that are already in place. “What we want is actual change that is visible and people can point to and say my life if better because my government did this,” says, Osai Ojigho, SOTU Coordinator. “African governments’ commitment to addressing inequality for women is now beyond putting pen to paper. They must enhance existing implementation strategies or develop new models to make them a lived reality for women”. She concludes.
SOTU therefore calls on African Governments to:
  1. Support the full and universal ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) by urging the 16 AU Member States yet to ratify to do so. And for those that have ratified the Maputo Protocol to implement their commitments through meaningful and practical ways.
  2. Allocate adequate financial resources in their annual budgetary processes to ensure that public services aimed at improving women’s empowerment and gender equality are efficient and functioning. In particular, to facilitate the implementation of National Action plans on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
  3. Implement the AU 50/50 Gender Parity principle and representation in all structures, operational policies and practices thus enhancing equal participation in leadership and governance.
Media Contact:
Victor Nyambok, SOTU Communications Officer: +254-722211819vnyambok@sotu-africa.org

About SOTU
The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) is a coalition of civil society organizations working together to hold African Governments accountable for the ratification, domestication, and implementation of African Union (AU) instruments (i.e. treaties, protocols policy frameworks and standards). SOTU believes that the successful implementation of these instruments will have a remarkable and positive impact on the lives of millions of African citizens.

For more information:
Email: info@sotu-africa.org
Website: www.sotu-africa.org
Twitter: @SOTUAfrica @MyAfricanUnion
Facebook: www.facebook/SOTUAfrica
Address: The Atrium, Chaka Road, P O Box 40680, GPO (00100), Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-20 282 0000

The statement is also available on the SOTU Website:  http://bit.ly/1TGSOqx

Osai Ojigho | State of the Union (SOTU) Coalition Coordinator

The Atrium, Chaka Road, Kilimani | Nairobi, Kenya | www.sotu-africa.org
oojigho@sotu-africa.org | skype: osai.ojigho | twitter: @livingtruely
 | Mobile: +254-787602699

#BeTheVoice of Africa. Join the My African Union Campaign.

COMING UP!>>Ep#65 (S03, Ep.21): Celebrating Ghana’s Women in the Corporate World!

Episode #65
(Season 3; Ep.21):  
Celebrating Ghana’s Women in the Corporate World!

In the last edition for Season 3 of the show, we want to celebrate some of Ghana’s women by looking at two case scenarios:

First we will be speaking to Eunice Brako-Marfo of the Ghana Association of Savings & Loans Company, which helps her interact with mostly-men. We will find out how she adapts herself to an industry like that.

Secondly, we will be speaking to the Founder of the Ghana Women in Business & Leadership about the objectives of the Network, and why it is important to women to play critical roles in the corporate world. 

We will be refracting all this through the lens of International Women’s Day and ask a fundamental question: are women making a difference in the corporate world, or is there still some way to go?

Join us if you can at 2.05pm on 9 March, 2015.
Call us on the following numbers
Guiding questions
  • How does it feel to be a woman in a male-dominated working world?
  • On IWD, how are Ghanaian women repositioning themselves to create impact in the working world?
  • How can a “Women in Business” Summit help network women to work more effectively and efficiently?
  • What kind of businesses are women more suited to do?

Guest in the studio:
Ø  Jennifer Sarpong , Motivational Speaker/Author , Ghana Women in Business & Leadership

Guest on the line:
Ø  Eunice Brako-Marfo , Executive Secretary, Ghana Association of Savings & Loans Company (GHASALC) @ 14h20-14h30
more details will be available soon on www.africainfocusradioshow.org ; africainfocusshow.blogspot.com. Follow the conversations on #AfricainFocus on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/africainfocus14. Tweet Emmanuel ahead of time on www.twitter.com/ekbensah, using #africainfocus .
Call Radio XYZ93.1FM on 0289.000.931 / 0289.931.000.

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