Month: January 2015

The battle for talent in Africa is intensifying, says professional services firm EY in a recent report. Some 70% of the 308 African organisations surveyed by EY are recruiting to support their growth ambitions. In this more competitive labour environment, the ability to attract and retain the right skills becomes increasingly important.

But attitudes towards employment differ from one country to the next. For example, in many Central African countries employees place a high value on benefit packages, which is less of a requirement in East Africa. How we made it in Africa asked a selection of DHL Express country managers to identify the most effective strategies to attract and retain the best and brightest in their territories.

Training and a clear career path

While an attractive basic salary remains a substantial factor to lure the right people, it takes more than that to keep them. Most of the DHL country managers highlight the importance of investing in training and development programmes.

“Investing in people development for me is the most effective way of attracting and retaining talent. Providing training and ensuring staff have the opportunity to grow is always important,” notes Asteway Desta, country manager of DHL Uganda.

Dominique Lalous, head of DHL Mozambique, concurs: “It is essential to create development programmes for employees, which involves on-the-job coaching and training to close the gaps for a move to the next level. Companies offering international mobility opportunities are also more likely to keep talented employees.”

In Liberia it is necessary to show employees a clear future career path within the company, notes local DHL country manager Akwasi Aninakwah.

EY’s survey found that offering learning and development opportunities is the most important factor for holding on to talent in Africa, with 67% of companies ranking it as their top retention strategy.

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Article Source: How We Made It In Africa

Economic experts from across the African continent say this may be an exciting year for African economies, which could be ready to move out of their traditional roles and into new sectors.

African nations have struggled for decades to go beyond their role as providers of basic raw materials, like oil, gas, minerals and agricultural products.

Their efforts have had mixed success. While nations like South Africa and Kenya have managed to diversify their economies, others, like Angola and Nigeria, are largely known to investors as energy sources.

But then oil prices fell. And fell. And continue to fall. And while that trend is clearly alarming to those energy producers, economists say this might represent an opportunity for resource-poor African nations, which have struggled to be heard in the resource-packed African market.

Experts gathered in this month in Johannesburg — still the continent’s economic hub, home to Africa’s strongest banking sector, and the headquarters of many international mining giants — to discuss this new trend.

Analyst Martyn Davies said change is afoot.

“Africa has predominantly been this commodity-driven economy where growth is allied to commodity prices. We now see the headwinds of rapidly declining oil prices. What future does that hold out for continental growth? What implications does that have for business? And I think arguably, is Africa then rebalancing away from traditional commodity-driven growth to one that is more balanced, more consumer-driven and new wealth, new value being created, beyond the simplistic business model of non-beneficiated raw materials?” asked Davies.

That move away from the simple export of raw materials, said analyst Gareth Newham, could also prompt wider improvements in governance and in society. After all, diversified economies spread wealth in more ways than one, and also add much-needed jobs to the economy.

Newham is the head of the Governance, Crime and Justice Division at the Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies.

“In commodity-driven economic growth, where a very small portion of the population benefits, while very high levels of inequality and poverty do lead to higher levels of instability, making it more difficult to pull together a stable environment for business. And so there’s a very close connection between good governance and the possibility and opportunities for business going forward — and the opposite when there’s not stability,” said Newham.

Davies predicts a geographic move as well, from the traditional West African powerhouses to their East African competitors.

“So I think we’re going to start to see the interests of business, the interest of capital, move away from what has traditionally been oil-propelled economies in West Africa, think Nigeria, think Angola, amongst others, to more sort of East Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania. Yes, Tanzania, is going to be a natural gas story going forward as well. And also Mozambique. So I think the center of interest will shift from West Africa increasingly to East,” said Davies.

Gas prices are expected to stay low for much of the year, and will be closely watched by investors — and consumers — around the world. For many consumers, the low prices present a welcome opportunity to save money.

But for African economies, low commodities prices might be a chance to grow in new directions.

Article & Image  Source: Voice of America

The first doses of the Ebola vaccine were on a commercial flight to West Africa and were expected to arrive on Friday, according to a spokesperson from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) one of the companies that has created the vaccine with the National Institutes of Health.

Another vaccine from Merck and NewLink will also be tested.

“Shipping the vaccine today is a major achievement and shows that we remain on track with the accelerated development of our candidate Ebola vaccine,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chairman of global vaccines at GSK said in a company release.

Ebola who is patient zero?

In December, the trial of the vaccine made by Merck and NewLink were stopped after some of the volunteers in the trial had “transient mild” joint pain. After investigating that side effect, scientists concluded it was not a big enough issue to stop the development of the vaccine. No similar side effects were noted in the GSK trial.

There are other Ebola vaccines being tested by companies in the United States and in Russia.

This first shipment will be used, along with a placebo in this first large-scale trial in the next few weeks in Liberia.

“We are expecting to start by the last week in January, but there are some details that need to be ironed out regarding the FDA,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at a press conference.

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Article Source: CNN