Afreximbank: Putting Africa On The Map

Ekra: “Our Role Is To Ensure That Africa Trades With Itself”

The overspill of the credit crisis in the developed world drove a huge new demand for Afreximbank’s trade finance products, leading it to develop new partnerships with other multilateral institutions, the Bank’s chairman and president says.

THE GLOBAL CREDIT CRISIS THAT began in 2007 created a vacuum in the availability of finance for African counterparties, one that prompted a surge in demand for Afreximbank’s products. This, in turn, drove major changes to how the organisation funded its operations, according to Jean-Louis Ekra, the Bank’s chairman and president.

Very few African financial institutions had direct exposure to the kind of complex financial products that prompted the near collapse of banks in the developed world. However, the crisis rapidly turned into one of liquidity squeeze. Needing to cover positions at home and rebuild capital buffers quickly, banks in Europe and the US stopped lending. African banks who had previously relied on credit lines from their global counterparts found themselves cut off.

This absence of liquidity was reflected in a broader pull back from Africa by international investors and banks, who were looking to retrench and reduce their exposure to riskier assets. This compounded the problems caused by falls in commodity prices, prompted by weaker industrial demand in markets that consume Africa’s natural resources. With money hard to come by, companies started to turn to Afreximbank en masse.

Read the full article: African Business Magazine


The Importance of Branding YOURSELF! What’s Your Gimmick?

Nunu Ntshingila, CEO of Ogilvy South Africa

Nunu Ntshingila, CEO of Ogilvy South Africa

I stumbled upon the topic of branding after watching an episode of America’s Next Top Model in which Tyra Bank’s competing models were taught a lesson on the importance of redefining themselves as a brand as a marketing technique to their targeted audience. But whether a top model, celebrity, company, or businessperson branding is a key necessity that can help  you to achieve success on a much greater scale.

As a businessperson it is also critical to market oneself to an intended audience and sell a quality to an employer, investor, or consumer that sets you a part from your competition.   Branding, gives you the opportunity to market yourself, solidifying all of the listed skills on your resume and prove to your target audience that you are both a memorable  force and an asset to your field.

So,what exactly is branding and why should you care?

Women, Success & Money blog define branding as ” when you give yourself a unique spin that differentiates you from others in your field, so you are seen as the only one who can provide a specific solution”.  A brand embodies who you are, what your mission is, what you stand for and what sets you apart from other competitors. Think of any business for example, Nike. We as an audience know exactly what we are getting when we buy Nike’s products.  Branding creates a sense of clarity to your audience and guarantees trust and consistency.

Here are some tips to help you build your brand in the business world:

1. Define your brand. And be an expert in your field! This is the time to do major digging and soul searching. Figure out who you are, how you would like to be perceived and what exactly your mission is. Then, establish an expertise that correlates with what you stand for both as an individual and as a business.

2. Be Memorable! When you walk into any room have a presence that makes you unforgettable.  No one likes to see the same old thing on repeat. The same thing applies to the business world. Don’t be like every other candidate or competitor on the market. Be different. If you represent a company, have a name or slogan that is simple and compelling to its audience. Offer a different quality than any other business or individual they have ever seen before.  Market yourself as though you ready from Day 1 for your dream position.

3. Network, Network, Network! Whether it is through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or face to face interactions, it is important to represent your brand everywhere. This is an opportunity to spread awareness about your brand and convey your value to your audience.

4. Incorporate the “Holy Trinity of branding.” You want to have consistency, clarity and authenticity, says Roffer. “Translated correctly, how I present myself and how I speak about myself should be a true reflection of who I am at the core.”  Start with what you know. Build on passions, strengths, talents and past success. As Roffer says, “redefine you in a fresh new way,”consistency is key. 

5. Share Your Story. Women Success & Money point out that it is important to be relatable to your audience. A good way  to show this is by sharing your experiences that have helped to shape you and your brand.  No one has stood where you have.

Photo: Flickr; by Ogilvy Joburg


The Young Professional’s Guide to Surviving a Terrible Week

The day started so well. Sunny skies. Light traffic on my morning commute. The debut, during a lovely luncheon, of a nonprofit video I’d written. My mood soared as I arrived back home that evening.

Then, like falling dominoes, one piece of bad news after another crashed down on my perfect little day.

Affixed to the door of my newly rented townhouse was a notice informing me the previous tenants hadn’t paid the mortgage. The home had been bought in a foreclosure auction. Not good.

Before I could fully grasp the implications of that, my husband arrived home with news of his own: he had lost his job. Really not good.

Later that night, I learned about family members facing major troubles—loved ones falling ill and friends deciding to divorce.

Image: Thinkstock

It’s going to get better. Follow these simple steps.

It felt like some sort of cosmic joke. Surely so much could not go wrong in such a short period of time. I spent a sleepless night full of so many worries I barely knew which stress to focus on.

I was a wreck the next day. How could I possibly work while it felt like the world was crashing around me? Exhaustion and stress consumed me, but I couldn’t miss the day.

If you have to face a catastrophic week, here’s how to work through it:

Read the rest at Black Enterprise

4 Steps to Put Your Savings on Autopilot

investingOver the years, I’ve observed a few things about people who are good savers. It’s not because they are the most frugal, have a budget that accounts for every single penny or make high salaries. Their strategy is simple: Make it automatic.

Putting your savings on autopilot simply means that you have set up a recurring amount to be deducted from your paycheck or checking account every pay period or per month. When I first started automating my finances I set up what Jacquette Timmons, founder of Sterling Investment Management, refers to as a “no-matter-what savings strategy.” I committed to saving a fixed-amount regardless of how my financial life changed. The biweekly savings started as low as $50 per month until I was able to work my way up to saving 15%. Odds are, you won’t even miss the money.

“You must create a savings strategy so that you can back your actions into a goal,” says Timmons. “If you don’t have a strategy you are less likely to save and you diminish the probability of meeting your goals in the time frame you outlined. You’ll say, ‘I’ll do it next time’ and then a year from now, you’ll realize you haven’t met your savings goal.”

How many of you can relate to financial procrastination? No need to be bashful here; we’re in this together and we’ll take it one week at a time until you too can say, “I follow Wealth for Life Principle No. 4; I save at least 10 percent of my income.”

Read more: Black Enterprise

Photo Credit: Femalepreneur Lounge

What Makes Someone An Entrepreneur?

Variations on a theme are easier to create than the theme itself.  (That’s our fancy way of saying it is easy to improve an existing idea than to start one from scratch.)  But what makes an entrepreneur go out and create those variations?

It is no idle question.  There are literally tens of thousands of people who have ideas for what could be worthwhile companies, and yet they have done virtually nothing to develop what could very well be viable concepts.

What separates those that pull the trigger from those that don’t?

A Venn diagram comprising the attributes that makes the best entrepreneurs.

Consider these three entrepreneurs:

  • Bernard A. Goldhirsh started a sailing magazine because he thought the existing ones too snooty. “They were all filled with Somebody the Third meeting up with Somebody Else the Fourth at some fancy yacht club.” But in the process of starting Sail, Goldhirsh realized he knew nothing about starting or building a business. In talking to other fledgling entrepreneurs he learned they were in the same boat.
  • Arthur A. Jones always had a secret obsession. An eighth grade drop out, he worked as everything from an animal importer to television producer and even hosted the syndicated show Wild Cargo. But through it all he kept a secret.  Jones was fascinated with bodybuilding.  Through conventional weightlifting techniques he had created an impressive physique, “but I wasn’t satisfied.”
  • Perry Mendel was a successful real estate developer in the South whose kids were grown, so there was no reason for him to be overly interested in child care back in 1968. Yet almost every day there was another  story about women entering the workforce and how divorce was increasing and he got to wondering “who was taking care of the children.”

In each case, Goldhirsh, Jones and Mendel identified a need in the marketplace that resonanted with them. Goldhirsh wanted to find a way to help people like himself learn more about business. Jones was searching for a more efficient bodybuilding technique and Mendel was looking for a better form of child care.

Read more at Forbes

How Social Media Can Take Your Business Higher

I know many people would like to see their profits double this year or have more customers get on board with their services. Well you can do this by using social media to benefit your business and ultimately, make more money. Social media will allow you to interact, inform, and create incentives for your customers to have them return to your goods and services. This will allow you to have a better sense of who your customers are and allow you to reach a wider range of possible customers.

What exactly is social media? Social media is a social instrument of communication on the Internet. It is a way for people to express thoughts, events, news, and basically anything else. There are thousands of social media outlets that exist, but to save time and avoid a headache, we will only focus on the three most popular social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Wait, but who cares? Why even use social media? Well for starters, you can educate your customers on what exactly you’re trying to sell them INSTANTLY! Whether it be a good or service, it doesn’t matter! Social media gives you the opportunity to connect with your customers within seconds; therefore, they are always updated on what you have to offer them. You can network with other businesses, check up on competitors, and most importantly, you can reach a wider range of potential customers who can potentially take your business to higher levels. Get this, 71% of people will only buy from companies who use social media sites and 91% of people use Facebook to look for local businesses.

Back to the two common social media sites that can help advance your business – Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Twitter allows you to interact with your customers and people world wide within nanoseconds! You can interact by answering questions customers may have about services, wish customers a good day or even ask for their opinions on certain topics. Be creative! Let them know you care for their needs. Inform your customers on new services or policies constantly, so they can always be updated. People want to know you care, so show them!  Tweet incentives such as special offers on certain products or services. In return, this will give a person a reason to follow you and be a loyal customer. The more people re-tweet and favorite your tweets, the more their networks have a chance to interact with you and begin learning about your company.

Facebook is a way for your company to show its true personality to your customers. It is important to create a fan page that allows your customers to contact you including a phone number, short summary of services, and an address. Connect with your customers by showing pictures of events, products and employees. Incentives can be a powerful tool to increase customer engagement and encourage customers to showcase their loyalty to other individuals in their network.

Once you’ve started your social media efforts, stay personal and engaged with your customers and users. Regardless of the platform you use, consistency and responsive are key to maintaining that relationship with your customers and encouraging user interaction. Social media is an excellent tool to increase consumer trust and show the softer side of a company. With a strong plan and consistent engagement, you can use social media to take your business to the next level.

Creator and owner of Unique28

Creator and owner of Unique28

Compliments of Dammy Oshodi, Creative Officer and Founder of Unique28 Designs