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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The urbanisation trap

Moving from farms to cities does not always translate to gains in income
AS A general rule, moving to work in cities is synonymous with economic growth, and the more people do the first, the more countries get of the second. The left-hand chart, drawn from the World Bank's latest World Development Report, shows the processes at work in Asian countries in 1985 to 2010. But general rules are made to be broken. As the right-hand chart shows, in many African countries an increase in the size of the urban population has not necessarily been associated with growth. Excluding the extreme case of Liberia (which had a civil war during the period in question), several of Africa’s largest countries, notably Nigeria, saw a big increase in what seem like relatively unproductive slums, and those countries that are following the Asian example (Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia) are doing so modestly and tentatively. The report examines the role of job creation in development, and suggests that while policies to encourage jobs and to encourage growth are similar, they are not identical. Growth policies do not always pay enough attention to female or youth employment, or to the multiple problems that self-employed people have in increasing skills or improving their businesses.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Africa's middle class: Fact or fiction

Africa's billion-plus population is increasingly being investigated by foreign and local companies alike for signs of a burgeoning middle class.
Potentially, it represents one of the biggest markets in the world - people with a disposable income which companies can turn into profit.
As part of its focus on emerging markets, the drinks giant Diageo has bought one of Ethiopia's previously state-owned breweries.
Order a drink in one of the increasingly numerous bars in Addis Ababa, the country's capital, and alongside Diageo's premium brands such as Johnny Walker and Smirnoff sits the more humble locally brewed Meta beer.
"Our strategy is to invest in the Meta brand," says the country's Diageo managing director, Francis Aghom Agbonlahor.
"It is an iconic brand. We want to see it reflecting its past glory and we want to double the size of the newly acquired brewery within the next three years."

'Realities'High fashion is a luxury very few can afford in AfricaModel at Senegalese fashion show

Mr Agbonlahor is happy with the government's privatisation process but there are still hurdles when running a business in a country like Ethiopia.
"Bureaucracy is a bit of a challenge," he says, "Sometimes you have to go at it two, three or five times before you can get something approved. You need a little patience."
Around Addis Ababa there are are huge billboards displaying Diageo products.
"Advertising was near dormant before we came here. When we put up our first 15 billboards, we were the only ones across the capital," he says.
Within a few weeks, every other competitor had placed similar hoardings around the city.

He believes this will lead to increased consumption as the economy begins to grow, and then it depends on choices and what people can afford.
"Competition is good for the market and good for the consumers. The consumers have been neglected and now everyone is copying what we started," he says.
"The key thing is to be able to provide what the consumers are looking for."
But is an increase in the company's African business a sign of a middle class emerging?
"I'm not sure what middle class is in the context of Africa," muses Nick Blazquez, head of Diageo Africa.
"They aspire to improve their lot; to provide education for their children; to progress themselves. In that regard they aspire to brands in the same way as consumers around the world aspire to brands," he says.
"We are seeing consumers coming out of the illicit and informal sector - leaving illicit and sometimes unhealthy alcohol and into the consumer branded goods sector, so we see trading up from illicit to formal sector, and within the formal sector people are trading up to more premium brands."

Not everyone equates the rise in GDP as proof of there being a middle class.
"Within the alcohol beverage sector, consumption correlates most closely with GDP (gross domestic product) growth, so the more money people have, the more they spend it on brands and on premium brands," he asserts.
According to Duncan Clarke of the management advisory group Global Pacific, 70% of Africans live on or below the $2-a-day range, and in some countries the figure is higher.
"You have a mix in Africa of medieval and modern economies in which there is not an overwhelming middle class, so it is important to have an accurate perspective and look at the prism of this through the realities of the historic evolution of the economies," he says.
"While markets and consumers will grow, it is nothing like the image of middle class bliss as projected by the media and the corporate cheerleaders."
So are the likes of the retailer Walmart and Diageo making a mistake by investing?
"They can judge for themselves. They can spot opportunities," he says.
"I am just trying to put a perspective into context about the real scale of the middle class in Africa.
"The actual real middle class in Africa that sits in a global middle-class income level is less than 5% - that would be about 50 million people spread in different countries across the continent, concentrated largely in some high-income countries such as South Africa and Nigeria."
Mr Clarke maintains that even in Ethiopia and Kenya, where there are some rich people, the impression that there is this vast middle class does not stack up to the world's values and standards.
"There are people with more money and they are benefiting from the growth over the past couple of years," he says.
But with economic growth comes the downside, and everyone complains how prices are rising every time they go into a shop, and how they have to constantly make decisions about whether to buy food or clothes, or put petrol into their cars.
"How governments handle this inflation will determine how the economy will play out and whether this upbeat mood about the economy will continue," adds Mr Clarke.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Rise of Eastlands As Top Investment Hub

Eastlands is rising rapidly as a middle class residential area, as land and property prices move out of reach of entry-level buyers in most other areas of Nairobi, but remain easily accessible in the widening tracts of Eastlands now being opened by new public transport routes – and spawning the launch of projects such as Casa Mia, selling 3-bedroom houses at Sh5.25m that are expected to be worth 30 per cent more within one-and-a-half years.The latest Hass Index report on neighbourhood rents and property prices at the end of 2011 revealed Eastlands as an upcoming investment area, in sharp contrast to upmarket areas that are experiencing a decline in both rental price and property prices: with few middle-class Kenyans now able to reach their escalated prices.According to the fourth quarter 2011 report, rental prices in high end areas in and around Westlands, including Lower Kabete, Parklands, Spring Valley, Rosslyn, Gigiri, and Muthaiga, fell by up to 8 per cent last year, as tenants stretching to pay the high prices negotiated rental prices downwards.But the trend was exactly opposite in Eastlands, where rents in Buruburu, Donholm, Nyayo estate, Komarock, Tena, Imara and Daima all appreciated by up to 9 per cent over the same period, as tenants who had been living in high end areas shifted to cheaper homes in Eastlands as a way of cutting household expenses.Likewise, the selling price for houses in Brookside and Westlands declined by 5 per cent, the biggest dip experienced in Nairobi during 2011, while eastlands prices rose by up to 9 per cent. This was despite Westlands benefiting from reduced traffic congestion on the expansion of University Way and opening of the Northern Bypass.With average house prices in the inner Westlands areas running at Sh20m, compared with Sh5m in Eastlands, the appeal of more space in self-standing houses and villas in Eastlands began driving a new rush into the area that was further fuelled by reduced travel times.The area, which was for many years snubbed by investors due to traffic congestion and poor housing, now boasts an efficient railway commuter system running from Nairobi Railway station to Embakasi Village that has cut down travel time for residents by up to 75 per cent, while easing road pressure and allowing motorists to get to CBD more quickly.According to Meg Otieno, a Donholm resident, “It used to take me one and a half to two hours to get into town, but since the introduction of the railway system it now take me as little as 15 minutes to get to work.”For motorists, the government is also this month completing the Sh. 8.5bn Eastern bypass, which starts on the Ruiru-Kiambu road crossing to Ruai, then to Kangundo Road before proceeding to Mombasa Road via Embakasi, in a move that will further reduce travel time for motorists by up to 70 per cent. A 25 km special road dedicated to buses plying the JKIA – Nairobi CBD route to reduce pressure on roads is also in expected to be developed in the Nairobi Metropolitan Region Rapid Bus Transit system in the next four years.“The improved transport system and ongoing works have positioned Eastlands as a commercial and residential powerhouse and has also created a demand for quality housing with adequate open space for children to play as more residents settle in the area,” said Sakina Hassanali of Hass Consult.Private developers and various corporates are now further fueling Eastlands’ commercial growth, with the development of two malls that have in the last year been flocked by banks and businesses. The area now has 8 bank branches, 5 major supermarkets, 2 malls and is home to numerous private enterprises.This has seen HassConsult now mark out the area as one of Nairobi’s best residential investment, for current returns and yields.It forecasts that developments, such as Casa Mia, which is located 15 minutes from the Kangundo Road junction with the Eastern Bypass and is within 45 minutes reach of the CBD and less than 30 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta Airport, will now experience further sharp price gains.The development also represents a new kind of mid-income property. “The homes have been designed for upcoming professionals with young families who want a nice first home in a beautiful environment that their children can grow in, at a viable entry price of Sh5.25m,” said Ms Hassanali.Each 3 bedroom house measures 915 sq.ft and is built on approximately 1/12th of acre.Do you believe that Eastlands is replacing Westlands as a top place to invest in?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GMO Africans

Will GMO Africans all be blond and blue eyed?

My friend just forwarded a link about how L’Oreal and western mass market beauty companies are now looking to African women in Africa as their next frontier customer base.
The only little piece of good news (and I even see that one as a poisoned one) is the jobs that will hopefully be created locally by the installation of new manufacturing plants. I say it is a poisoned good news because of all that it could mean in the long run for our cultural heritage.
Besides that, articles of this nature reinforce my urgency in growing my current skin care company, Not because I am afraid of having competitors. First of all, there is a lot of room for many to succeed, but most importantly l’Oreal and its like cannot compete with my type of company simply because our values are so fundamentally different. But my problem is all the good, healthy hair and skin that is about to be ruined by the horrible products they offer this demographic. Think about it: hair straightener, skin lightning skincare products and complexion concealers (that only results in a zombie-like look when women have a face that looks so light compared to the rest of their skin). All the products and brands cited in the article are full of very harmful chemicals. It is all about emulating the white woman. The picture that accompanied the article (see above) is a perfect illustration of that flagrant display of lack of self esteem.
We know that black women in the western world are returning to their healthy roots. Indeed “the number of black women who say they do not use products to chemically relax or straighten their hair jumped to 36% in 2011, up from 26% in 2010, according to a report by Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm. Sales of relaxer kits dropped by 17% between 2006 and 2011, according to Mintel” (see the whole article here). So because these companies are now loosing revenue at a rapid rate because their usual customers have become more savvy and gained self-confidence, they are now turning their clout of toxic ingredients to those who did not bother to question what is going on, completely blinded by their complex of inferiority.
Sooner or later I know that more African women will also come to value and join the “natural hair” movement, natural skin care, and love their own dark complexions, but not before too many bodies have been ruined by these poisons in a bottle.   So the faster brands like Tiossano can grow, and with them all the proper awareness around healthy ingredients and rituals as well as a sense of indigenous pride, the more healthy bodies and beautiful African faces we will preserve. To add insult to injury is the use of brand names like “Softsheen”, “Fair & Lovely”, and what they imply.

So wake up, dear African sisters! Know that you can be beautiful and loved with the skin     and hair that God gave you.  My husband constantly admires me and regards me as the most beautiful woman on the planet, BECAUSE of my very dark skin and African hair.  Find a man who loves you as you are, and take good care of your healthy, natural skin and hair.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Real Robot here
Todays world is soo damn different from the world our fore great grand parents knew. if they were to resurrect today, they will not belief on the advancement in in key things in on earth from farmig methods to technoloy. this has been made possible by mans curiosity on developng new things and descovering the undiscovered.
the most striking one that marvels me is machines created that make work easier. this is in the form of robots that act the same way human beings work in the daily running of business. ling erms, can walk and the most significant is at wor fronts. spy cameras are fitted on robots to aid grounds men in locating enemies and others can even take down enemies as they are fitted with rifles and grenades. there accuracy is good as they are lesser guided and use GPS technology to get the precise location. am waitning to see where this wil go next. the US army demonstrated this in war with iraq. drones and land moving unmanned tanks
the world at large has in the past made sure that all work is done in the most efficient way and as quickly as posssible and with precise accuracy. this has made every company and evry firm to ensure that they get the latest on technology to inprove on their profits by cutting down costs and opreating effciently. this has made the same firms and other colloborating firms to invest massively and research to ensure that they get to the right tools for the right job.
although this has cut down on jobs since some work realy depended on labour, which in esssense was more expensive but again job cuts have had negative impacts in the population. unemployment has doubled in some countries that job creations is still below par and at the same time they are still paying very low wages on the same.
An amazing revolution is taking place on the battlefield, starting to change not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. This upheaval is already afoot -- remote-controlled drones take out terrorists in Afghanistan, while the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years. But it is only the start. Military officers quietly acknowledge that new prototypes will soon make human fighter pilots obsolete, while the Pentagon researches tiny robots the size of flies to carry out reconnaissance work now handled by elite Special Forces troops.
ever read a jornal called Wired for War? It takes the reader on a journey to meet all the various players in this strange new world of war: odd-ball roboticists working in latter-day “skunk works” in the midst of suburbia; military pilots flying combat mission from their office cubicles outside Las Vegas; the Iraqi insurgents who are their targets; journalists trying to figure out just how to cover robots at war; and human rights activists wrestling with what is right and wrong in a world where our wars are increasingly being handed over to machines.
If issues like these sound like science fiction, that’s because many of the new technologies were actually inspired by some of the great sci-fi of our time ­ from Terminator and Star Trek to the works of Asimov and Heinlein. In fact, Singer reveals how the people who develop new technologies consciously draw on such sci-fiction when pitching them to the Pentagon, and he even introduces the sci-fi authors who quietly consult for the military.

But, whatever its origins, our new machines will profoundly alter warfare, from the frontlines to the home front. When planes can be flown into battle from an office 10,000 miles away (or even fly themselves, like the newest models), the experiences of war and the very profile of a warrior change dramatically. Singer draws from historical precedent and the latest Pentagon research to argue that wars will become easier to start, that the traditional moral and psychological barriers to killing will fall, and that the “warrior ethos” ­ the code of honor and loyalty which unites soldiers ­ will erode.

Paradoxically, these new unmanned technologies will also seemingly bring war closer to our doorsteps, including even with videos of battles downloaded for entertainment. But Singer also proves that our enemies will not settle for fighting our high-tech proxies on their own turf. He documents, for instance, how Hezbollah deployed unmanned aircraft in the Lebanese war of 2006, and how America may even fall behind in this revolution, as its adversaries gain knockoffs of our own technology, or even develop better tech of their own invention.

While his predictions are unnerving, there's an irresistible gee-whiz quality to what Singer uncovers and the people he meets along the way. It is packed with cutting edge research and hard to get interviews of everyone from four star Army generals and Middle East leaders to reclusive science fiction authors. Yet it also seamlessly weaves in pop culture and illuminating anecdotes to create a book that is both highly readable and accessible. In laying out where our technologies are taking us to next, WIRED FOR WAR is as fascinating as it is frightening.
.Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.
all in all we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines' decisions. . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

If we always feel cheated in a relationship this is a must read…

If we always feel cheated in a relationship this is a must read…

20 JAN
In a relationship, married or not… You should read this.
“When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.
Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?
I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!
With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.
The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.
I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.
My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.
Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.
Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.
She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.
That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.— At least, in the eyes of our son—- I’m a loving husband….
The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!
If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.
If you do, you just might save a marriage. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Miguna Miguna Leaked Book

if this report from the ireport is anything go go by, it will definetley blow a dent to Hon Raila Odingas presidential campeigns and his ambitions to be the neshe two books t president of kenya. the two books seem to have much more and there is also more to it than meets the eye
follow this to read more on the same