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By ZamChro

It is very scary to see  Kwacha depreciating at a very fast rate. It is costing almost K6 000/per $1. The Jump from Nov’08 to February is just too enormous. This is what we predicated way back here at Zambian Chronicle, the collapse of the world economy is evidently has a lot of impact on the Zambian economy .

That is what happens when you are so dependent on the outside funding. Something is really wrong. This is what happened to Zimbabwe.

In America the economy is souring twice as much, although unlike Kwacha, the $ is appreciating. People are losing homes like crazy and job losses are sky rocketing.

US bank shares hit 17-year low yesterday on rising fears the government will have to nationalize troubled institutions such as Citigroup and Bank of America wiping out investors’ confidence as they feared government controlling of large portion of the financial sector.

According to the Financial Times report, Bank of America shares slid 14% to $3.93 their lowest point since 1984. Share in Citi were down 13.8%, closing at $2.51, their lowest since 1991.

There some options for the banks being discussed. One option, at least for Citi- would be to convert some or all of the government’s $45bn holding of preferred shares, as well as the $35bn in preferred shares held by sovereign wealth funds and other investors into common stock.

There is some refreshing news though from at least one country.

Canada has shown itself to be a pretty  good manager of the financial system in ways that haven’t always been in the United States. This is due to stricter regulation and their conservative culture, one that depends heavily on a vast and stable retail branch network, and clubby working relationship,.

Canada‘s banks have remained the strongest in the G7 and according to the October report by the world Economic Forum, the soundest in the world.

According to a Finance professor at the University of Toronto,  “… in Canada they do it the old fashioned way, where you need money you go to the bank and they will lend you no more than 75% of the value of your house. Canada is a more conservative place and as much as it limits growth in good times, that approach pays off when others begin a race to the bottom.”

It even gets better to know that there is a country like Canada in this world with reliable banks. Instead of our consulting Nigerians, it may be beneficial if President Banda would surround himself with world leaders like the Prime Minister of Canada.

In Canada, five banks the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal , Largely control the market through thousands of branches across the country, forcing geographic diversification and efficiencies of scale generally not found in US or other countries.

Canadian investment banks, as part of commercial banks, are more tightly regulated and kept in check by main institutions, which would pay a price for unwise investing.

The Financial Times reported that after President Obama’s first visit to Canada, he has decided on taking a path that other presidents have not taken in the past putting banks his agenda and staying open minded to new ideas.

More drama on the souring economy.

On another note, UBS has been sued on account of 52,000 Account holders. The Department of Justice sued the Swiss bank giant for records on thousands of U.S customers. The DOJ says UBS agreed to pay a $780Million fine and reveal information on 250 US customers to avoid prosecution but vowed to fight the broader disclosure. Though some think the end of secret Swiss banking is nigh.

Copyrights © 2009 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2009 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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When I got my highest corporate position as Operations Liaison at Citigroup, the position was equivalent to Assistant Vice President – Operations.

 

I was virtually in charge of the day to day running of our franchise in the Auto Division, a position I held until I left to pursue other interests and my personal dream of running my own enterprise(s).

 

I soon realized that perception was everything in the corporate world and it did not matter what I was made of or even what I said. What was important was what others thought of my capacity to execute and run things.

 

I was taken aback by what the Lord once asked his disciples in the big black book. Mathew 16:13-16 (NKJV) below … I rarely use biblical analogies even though I love the book but this is by far the best I could think of …

 

“13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”


14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”


15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”


16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

Jesus was asking his disciples a perception question. He wanted to know what others out there thought of him and also wanted to know if his disciples themselves knew who he really was.

 

The moral of the above analogy is that perception, however right or wrong, is actually reality to whoever holds it. It is therefore important that we actually control perceptions of those around us.

 

We can not control what others think about us entirely but we can certainly circumvent their perceptions of us. Each one of us needs to make sure that the perception of others towards us is positive because people respond based on their perception of what they anticipate would be our reactions to circumstances.

 

To be successful in any enterprise one needs to have the ability to read people and tailor antitheses to what he/she perceives to be the most logical derivative reaction(s) from the said subjects.

 

While a lot of this requires a lot of training and understanding oneself, much of it is achievable by sheer instincts and thus culpably realizable. It requires the development of a sixth sense if you like and every one of is capable.

 

Without the ability to control peoples’ perceptions one is at a loss for advancement in any endeavor be it family, enterprise and otherwise. Most people fail miserably in life and business not because of lack of expertise but because they do not have the ability to circumvent others’ perception(s) of themselves.

 

The only thing standing between you and that promotion is your boss’s perception of you, the only reason you could not close the last deal was the perception of your client, the only reason you could not get the right investors go alone with your business plan was their perception of you.

 

You can change any one’s reality by simply changing their perception, the ball is in your court and you have whatever it takes to get started, circumvent others’ perception, get in the driving sit and take control of whatever circumstance(s) pulling you down.

 

Take a look at yourself today, look around you and evaluate. Do you have a perception problem? If so, it is time you took time to correct it, dress for success and thrive …

 

If you get a hang on what others think about you, you are halfway to success – trust me, you will feel like a million bucks in the process.

 

That’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle

 

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

 

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc

 

 

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Brett Nelson from Forbes tries to ask and answer the 20 most important questions in business for us …

 1. What is your value proposition?

This is the single most important question of the bunch. If you can’t explain–in three, jargon-free sentences or less–why customers need your product, you do not have a value proposition. Without a need, there is no incentive for customers to pay. And without sales, you have no business. Period.

ALT2. Does your product address a viable market?

Entrepreneurs are passionate to a fault. Many fall in love with an idea before confirming that there’s any viable market for it, let alone one large enough to attract investment capital. If a market doesn’t yet exist–the toxic term of art here is “white space”–they assume they can create one. (Hint: There may be a reason for all that white space.)

3. What differentiates your product from competitors’?

Few companies can rely on–let alone afford–clever marketing schemes to separate themselves from the competition. Yes, Starbucks made people believe they wanted $4 caffeinated concoctions, and Louis Vuitton lulled people into shelling out $1,500 for denim handbags, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. If you want to win in business, you need to offer something tangibly valuable that the competition doesn’t. Examples: rock-bottom prices (Wal-Mart); ingenious product design (Apple); extreme convenience (Fed Ex).

ALT4. How big is the threat of new entrants?

If you’re smart enough to spy a profitable business opportunity, you can bet competition isn’t far behind. Some barriers to entry–patented technology, a storied brand–are more fortified than others, but eventually someone will find a way to do what you do faster, cheaper and maybe even better. If not a direct competitor, then a substitute technology might take a chunk out of your hide. (Think what digital film did to Kodak.) The trick: building a loyal following before that happens.

ALT5. How much start-up capital do you need?

Any early stage investor or small business consultant will tell you that most businesses fail because they were undercapitalized. The lesson: Figure out how much you think you need, and then add plenty of extra cushion.

ALT6. How much cash do you need to survive the early years?

In case you didn’t pay attention to the previous question, take this one to heart. It doesn’t matter how much money your business might make down the road if you can’t get out of your garage. Plenty of business plans boast hockey-stick-style financial projections but run out of cash before the good times kick in. (Remember all those busted dot-com companies from the tech boom?) Three words: Mind the cash.

ALT7. How will you finance the business?

You have a few choices: Aunt Sally, credit cards (dangerous), angel investors, and if you’re really onto something, venture capital. Forget bank loans (at least until the cash is flowing in a positive direction). As for selling shares to the public, what with all the regulatory hurdles, you might find the price of that exposure a tad steep. If you can bootstrap your business, do it; raising money is difficult and distracting. If you plan on stumping for capital, consider how much equity and control you’re willing to give up. (The more you need the money, the stiffer the terms will get, so ask for it sooner than later.) Finally, always remember to match the timing of cash inflows from your assets and the outflows to cover liabilities. A mismatch can sting.

ALT8. What are your strengths?

Google writes powerful search algorithms; Steinway works wonders with wood; Cisco sniffs out promising new technologies and buys them. Figure out what you’re good at and stick to it. An obvious notion, perhaps, but plenty of zealous entrepreneurs lose their way–especially when the world seems so full of possibilities.

ALT9. What are your weaknesses?

You may know how to design a widget, but not know a thing about running an efficient manufacturing plant. Apple designs and markets its nifty iPods and iPhones, but lets someone else slap them together. Countless Webpreneurs farm out the design of their sites and back-office payment systems. Wasting resources just to be mediocre is suicide. Stick to core competencies and find trusted partners to handle the rest.

ALT10. How much power do your suppliers have?

Convincing customers to buy your products is tough enough without suppliers giving you a hard time. Basic rule of thumb: The fewer the number of suppliers, the more sway they have. Take the steel industry, which relies on a handful of companies for its iron feedstock. If two of those big guys should get together–as BHP Billton and Rio Tinto have been discussing–they would have significant pricing power, potentially crimping steel producers’ margins. On the flipside, beware getting hooked on low-cost providers who don’t keep an eye on quality. (“Lead-laced” Barbie, anyone?)

11. How much power do your buyers have?

Take a lesson from Delphi, the giant auto parts supplier stuck in Chapter 11 despite its $26 billion in annual sales: It’s no fun to be in a business where a few big customers can demand price cuts with each passing year. Meanwhile, movie theaters–even while besieged by video-on-demand and other services–still manage to push higher prices on the disaggregated masses. The cost of a seat at a Regal Entertainment Group theater in lower Manhattan is now $12–up 20% in less than three years.

ALT12. How should you sell your product?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to wooing customers. For two decades, Dell Computer bypassed retailers and sold directly to customers, with limited tech support. General Motors and Coca Cola rely on distributors to move their cars and cans. Clothing companies like Ralph Lauren work both internal and external channels. And thanks to daily, intensive sales training, privately held Lazy Days moves some $800 million worth of RVs out of one sprawling location near Tampa, Fla. Whatever sales method you choose, make sure it aligns with your overall business strategy.

ALT13. How should you market your product?

Young companies have to get the word out, but they also can go broke doing it. A decade ago, America Online spent so much money flooding the planet with free trial software that it tried to mask the bleeding by capitalizing those expenses on its balance sheet. (Regulators later nixed that accounting treatment, wiping out millions in accounting profits.) What percentage of sales should go toward marketing? As with sales, there is no one rule of thumb. For more, check out Six Marketing Strategies Worth Paying For.

ALT14. Does the business scale?

Bill Gates plowed piles of money into developing the first copy of Microsoft Office. The beauty: Each additional copy of that software program costs next to nothing to produce. That’s called scale–and it’s the difference between modest wealth and obscene riches. What models don’t scale? Think service businesses, where the need for people grows along with revenues.

ALT15. What are your financial projections?

You can’t lead if you don’t have a destination. Two critical milestones: 1) the point where more cash is coming into the business than going out in a given period, and 2) the point at which you finally recuperate your cumulative initial investment (including an adjustment for the time value of money). Financial projections should be reasonable. Paint too rosy a picture and seasoned investors will run; more to the point, you might run out of cash.

ALT16. What price will consumers pay?

Get this answer wrong and you could leave bags of money on the table–or worse, send customers running into the arms of the competition. When Apple sliced the price of its iPhone by a third after only two months on the market, even loyal customers screamed, forcing chief Steve Jobs to apologize and offer a partial rebate. Consultants get paid handsomely to help companies arrive at the right price. For more affordable advice, check out “The Six-Step Guide To Pricing Your Product.” Wannabe consultants should read “How To Price Your Consulting Services.”

ALT17. How do you protect your intellectual property?

Imagine slaving for years on a new cellphone battery that lasts more than two days, only to watch it reverse-engineered and patented by someone else. Before you ask anyone to crank out a few prototypes, file for a provisional patent. It protects your idea for a year while you work out the kinks. For more on intellectual-property protection, check out Protect Your Prototype and The Patented Path To Profits.

ALT18. How do you keep the help happy?

What’s Google worth without its super-geeks? Goldman Sachs without its number crunchers (and their golden Rolodexes)? The local bar without old Jim manning the tap? Not much, which is why attracting and retaining talent is critical to so many businesses. For starters, that means crafting the right benefits package. Starbucks sets a fairly high standard: Health benefits are available to any Starbucks employee who works at least 20 hours a week and has been with the company for more than 90 days.

ALT19. How committed are you to making this happen?

About a year ago, Chuck Prince, recently resigned chief executive of Citigroup, addressed a group at New York University’s Stern School of Business. An audience member asked what life looked like at the helm of such a colossal firm. Prince responded that, save for a few exceptions, every evening for the next five months was already accounted for. Fair warning: If you want to run the show, get ready to give everything–and then some.

ALT20. What is your end game?

Running a business with an eye toward flipping it to a strategic buyer is a lot different than digging in for the long haul. (Will YouTube ever turn a profit? Who knows, but that’s Google’s problem now; the same goes for MySpace and News Corp.) Not sure whether you want to build the next great empire or just make a decent buck? Ask yourself the following eight questions.

NB:Some aspects of this article have been edited to fit our format …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Zambian Enterprise is not only the largest producer of copper in Africa; it also has a perfect track record to enable it to vie for a “World Class Credit” rating.

Usually referred to as “first credit” in economic terms, the rating would enable Zambia to issue international bonds and enter the elite class with incentives similar to those in developed nations.

Should this take place, Zambia whose economy currently accounts for only 1 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s $544 billion economy, would be the third country on the continent to issue such bonds.

“… if we went for a rating, we’d be able to issue a euro-kwacha bond for example … the country will probably seek its debut rating “shortly,” … there has never been a better time than this … with a buoyant economy and a good track record, I think it’s about the right time to subject ourselves to a rating,”… said the Manchester educated and one time professor of economics at the University of Zambia now Bank of Zambia Governor – Dr. Caleb Fundanga without being date specific.

The European Investment Bank, the finance arm of the European Union, in December 2006 sold 500 million pula of senior unsecured bonds, with settlement and payment in euros, the first-ever international issue in Botswana’s currency, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

South Africa, the continent’s largest economy and Botswana, the nation with the highest rated debt in the continent, are the only southern African nations with foreign currency denominated bonds.

Zambia has a lot of support and may need to fully capitalize on that support if reality has to come. Out-going World Bank country manager was one of Zambia’s strongest advocates to the same.

“… Zambia is clearly one of the countries where the impact of debt relief has been massive and could be very clear,” Ohene Nyanin, the former World Bank’s country manager based in Lusaka, said in an interview. “It is a very big fiscal space that has been opened up.”’

The country’s inflation rate dropped to single digits for the first time in 30 years in April 2006 as the government moved to control spending. Zambia has also benefited from a fivefold rise in the price of copper, which accounts for 53% of the enterprise’s income.

International bonds are a certificate of debt issued by a government or corporation guaranteeing payment of the original investment plus interest by a specified future date and have the ability to increase cash inflows at an accelerated rate thereby increasing a country’s liquidity.

classy-daddy-3.gifTwo to three years ago, I introduced a bond phenomenon on Zambia Online and even suggested the issuance of bonds as a debt instrument necessary for capitalizing the New Zambia Airways as a private enterprise.

It was to be privately driven and ran; some nay sayers rose up to short the idea down but yet even today more experts are vying for a bond rating that would elevate the country’s standing as well as help grow our economy above 7% come next year.

It is highly feasible that some critics were new to the subject and saw no benefit to the Zambian Franchise at all … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

  

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Bill Gates, Microsoft
Estimated Net Worth: $56 billion 

The second richest man in the world is also arguably the most philanthropic in history. He and his wife preside over the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with its $33 billion endowment–not including the additional $31 million committed by Warren Buffett last year.

Among his many goals is to increase the agricultural productivity of African farmers, develop preventative treatments for malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and expand financial services to the poor. “The philosophy that Carnegie had in The Gospel of Wealth,” Bill Gates told Charlie Rose last summer, “It really helped me think about philanthropy, and, you know, how you ought to set very high goals.”  Bill Gates will this year leave his position at Microsoft to solely concentrate on philanthropic work around the world using Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

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Pierre Omidyar, eBay
Estimated Net Worth: $8.8 billion

The eBay founder is a vocal proponent of microfinance–small loans to those generally too poor for traditional bank loans–as a method of cultivating entrepreneurship in Africa. Two years ago he and his wife Pamela donated $100 million to Tufts University to create a microfinance fund that will provide millions of loans, some as small as $40, in developing African and Latin countries.

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Oprah Winfrey
Estimated Net Worth: $1.5 billion

Earlier this year the Queen of All Media opened the $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Two months later she cut the ribbon on another. Her charity, the Angel Network, raises funds for everything from HIV/AIDS treatment for African communities ravaged by the disease to Christmas gifts for African orphans.

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George Soros, Hedge Funds
Estimated Net Worth: $8.5 billion

Soros’ investment in Africa began in 1979 when the already wealthy financier helped bankroll the educations of black students attending the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa. Among his many recent projects on the continent are the funding of free and open media, greater public participation and local government, and compliance of African nations to human rights. Last year Soros pledged $50 million to support the Millennium Villages, some 30 villages in sub-Saharan Africa in need of health, education and farming support.

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ALTStephen Case, AOL
Estimated Net Worth: $1 billion

Through his Case Foundation, the former AOL chairman and his wife Jean have committed at least $5 million to PlayPumps, which builds water pumps that also function as merry-go-rounds for rural African communities in dire need of clean drinking water. The Foundation also provides fund-raising expertise and support to KickStart, which sells low-cost farming tools and supplies to help African families “kick-start” their family’s economic growth. During her last visit to Zambia, US First Lady Laura Bush visited PlayPump at a Basic School in Lusaka promoted by Stephen Case’s philanthropy.

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Sanford “Sandy” Weill, Citigroup
Estimated Net Worth: $1.6 billion

The retired Citigroup chairman is now an active philanthropist. As chairman of the board of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, he is overseeing the development of a medical center in Tanzania, where an estimated 9% of the population is afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Weill’s wife Joan sits on the board of the Touch Foundation, through which the couple have donated millions to underwrite medical training for Tanzanian doctors and care workers.

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ALTWarren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway
Estimated Net Worth: $52 billion

Last year, the Oracle of Omaha, and until recently the second-richest man in the world, committed $31 billion of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is particularly active in alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable growth in Africa. Buffett and the Gates’ appeared on PBS’ TheCharlie Rose Show last summer to discuss the gift. “The diseases we’ve already been working on and the education and the inequities that we’ve been looking at for so long just basically doubled by Warren’s gift,” Melinda Gates remarked.

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ALTThomas Hunter, West Coast Capital
Estimated Net Worth: $1.1 billion

The Scottish billionaire plowed proceeds from the 1998 sale of his sneaker business into West Coast Capital, which invests primarily in real estate and retail businesses. Two years ago, he hooked up with former President Bill Clinton to launch the Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative, which he seeded with $100 million. The funds will help provide health care, clean water, sanitation and security in Rwanda and Malawi. Hunter has also committed $12 million to UNICEF’s food program in Niger.

Of the eight philanthropists above – now commonly known as ” Billionaires For Africa”, seven of them live in the United States of America and the only black is a woman from Chicago, IL … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. 

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle 

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle.  All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc. 

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.