Saturday, April 23, 2011

Time To Up Your African IQ

As one moves beyond the negative centered western spin or narrative of Africa (and even that is slowly changing hence, Newsweek states Africa is the new Asia), one discovers a fascinating new chapter emerging in Africa.

Yes, poverty, disease and wars aside, Africa is truly experiencing a resurgence. The following stories underscore the Neo-African Story:

Hollywood, Meet Nollywood

Nollywood will be the next big thing in world cinema. Just believe it.

Nigeria’s movie industry is thriving, and it’s about time you took notice. Fondly referred to as Nollywood, it is now an $800 million industry, providing employment for about 300,000 people as actors, directors, marketers and distributors. After Hollywood, it is the second largest in the world – even bigger than India’s Bollywood.

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10 Most Powerful People In African Business

Business in Africa has been booming and the movement is being led by a new league of African businessmen. These men are building pan-African companies with regional and global presences. They are considered some of Africa’s most esteemed voices in the business and political spheres. Ultimately, they are helping to shape the economic future of the continent. Here are 10 of those bold and fearless leaders according to a recent list compiled by Forbes:

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Turn That TV OFF!

Roughly six months ago, I blogged that we need to turn off Reality TV garbage and start paying more attention to our political and economic reality.

And judging by the feedback, you'd thought I said kidnap and duct tape grandma. One nasty e-mail stated, how dare I mess with their guilty pleasure - well read the following:

See Link - TV

Blacks ages 18 to 49, the data show, have been TV-ing it at a record-setting pace - on average clocking in a whopping 7 hours and 12 minutes a day.

That's more than two hours per day above the national rate of 5 hours and 11 minutes, and just shy of four hours per day more than the amount of TV watched by Asian-Americans, who clock in a relatively meager 3 hours and 14 minutes a day.

Read on:

This isn't trivial. While so many of us in the black community decry the state of our still-separate-and-unequal public educational system, which doubtless needs improving, and while we blame overcrowded classrooms or uninspired teachers for failing to prepare a large quantity of our children for competitive college careers, we tend to overlook the reality that there are very simple - and painfully obvious - things we can do in our own homes to improve our children's chances for success.

The national African-American high school graduation rate hovers somewhere around 50%. What if for two of those seven hours of daily television consumption, more black parents chose to read stories to their children at night? What if for two of those seven hours per day, more African-American students chose to study vocabulary or work through extra arithmetic problems?

That would only be bringing black America's television viewing habits in line with the national average. What if the number were chiseled down to rival that of the typical Asian household? Is that so terribly far-fetched a goal?

I could not agree more with the author. Turn that damn TV OFF! Pretty please...

Felicia Joy: 4 Ways To Maximize Your Time

I feel this sister's energy and insightful business tips. The following advise on how to maximize your time is a must read for an entrepreneur. Here's the link for the full article - Felicia Joy

1. Complete your critical or “must-do” tasks first: Identify your revenue-generating tasks and put them at the top of your daily to-do list. Keep your list short at seven items or less. You can keep a master list of to-do items a mile long, but keep that in a folder or Word file somewhere else. Don’t use your long list as a daily guide because subconsciously, it is not good to end your day everyday with more things left to do than you have completed. It is more psychologically rewarding to have a short list that you complete or nearly complete each day.

2. Schedule everything, including breaks for administrative tasks: Schedule your day with a generous amount of time for revenue-generating tasks because they are priorities. In between these tasks, or as a short break from them, schedule 15 to 30 minutes for administrative or miscellaneous items, such as answering e-mail or returning calls. Working in blocks of time like this has really helped me. I have gotten to the point where I schedule everything, including time for interruptions. I know this may sound a little rigid, but it takes a good bit of discipline and focus to build a business that pays for itself and pays you well so sometimes we have to upgrade our habits.

3. Start your day with energy and focus: Every day before I start working I take a few quiet minutes to get centered. I then check my BlackBerry calendar so I know what is ahead. I also have my to-do list — written the day before — on my desk waiting to be worked through when I get started in the morning.

4. Be honest with yourself and eliminate or minimize distractions: I have found that e-mail and telephone calls distract me a lot. So now, I don’t check e-mail or make phone calls until I have done two or three things on my list. This way I build momentum and it’s easier for me to get back to work after checking e-mail for 30 minutes or taking a call. I also now put my BlackBerry on silent and leave it in my purse and out of reach while I am working. If it is there on my desk, I have the tendency to keep checking it every two minutes. This is so silly, but it’s what all these gadgets and the Internet have done to us! Identify your time wasting weaknesses and set yourself up for success by getting rid of the distractions.

Election success could improve Nigeria's reputation

Nigeria may be able to polish its reputation and assume a wider role on the global stage if its upcoming gubernatorial polls are as seemingly free and fair as last week's presidential election, analysts say.

This oil-exporting country of 154 million people has long enjoyed the money and manpower to dominate its continent, and some analysts expect it to top South Africa as the most economically and politically powerful country in Africa by 2030.

Yet throughout decades of unruly and often corrupt rule, the main obstacle between Nigeria and its potential for global stewardship has been its poor international reputation for vote rigging, for corruption, and for its government's lukewarm commitment to democracy.

The country should be a member of the influential G20 (Group of 20 nations) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Nigerians during a 2009 visit. But the country's reputation for corruption, she said, is a problem.

Analysts say, however, that Nigeria's reputation for corrupt, un-democratic, and inhumane rule may be on the mend following its most free and fair elections in recent memory.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Libyan "Rag Tag" Rebels Create Central Bank & Oil Co.

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave, When We First Practice To Deceive

Ok, here we go again!

We were informed that the NATO led Libyan intervention was for humanitarian support. The company line was something like: "We will not allow Qaddafi to slaughter his defenseless innocent citizens hence, we authorize the establishment of a No-Fly Zone"

Yes, that was our pretext for NATO (USA) military involvement. Now this, in the middle of a war (by all accounts very fierce fighting), a rag-tag army, that supposedly was an organic populace uprising, finds time to create a Central Bank and establish an oil company.

John Carney of CNBC muses:

“Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power?”

This story has exploded across the blogsphere - some are saying:

...the uprising looked like a “major oil and money play, with the true disaffected rebels being used as puppets and cover” while the transfer of control over money and oil supplies takes place.

Others are saying:

One major problem for globalist banking cartels... is that in order to do business with Libya, they must go through the Libyan Central Bank and its national currency, a place where they have absolutely zero dominion or power-broking ability. Hence, taking down the Central Bank of Libya (CBL)... is certainly at the top of the globalist agenda for absorbing Libya into its hive of compliant nations.

Stuck on stupid I am not. I smell a rat...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wealth Is What You Save, Not What You Spend

The Following Is A Reprint Article From Yahoo by Jennifer Waters

Want to be a millionaire? Don't overspend and use debt wisely.

We all may not be millionaires but there are plenty of financial and life-planning secrets we can learn from the well-heeled.

Most people know that wealth in the U.S. is in the hands of a small percentage of the total population. And, today, most of those folks with a net worth of $1 million or more have earned it themselves.

They're mostly entrepreneurs who create everything from high-speed networks to garbage haulers. They dig ditches and build houses and grow corn and make jewelry. They deal stamps or coins or artwork and control pests and cut lawns. They also cure people and give them new teeth. Others will defend their neighbors or even feed them.

And they're not big spenders. In fact, most of those with big bucks live well under their means -- think about Warren Buffett still living in that modest Omaha home -- and they put their money instead toward investments that help them stockpile more wealth.

"Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend,"
according to Thomas Stanley and William Danko, the authors of the seminal tome on America's wealthy "The Millionaire Next Door," first published in 1996.

"It is seldom luck or inheritance or advanced degrees or even intelligence that enables people to amass fortunes," the authors wrote. "Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and, most of all, self discipline."

Wealth is defined in many ways, though it's generally determined as the value of everything you own minus debts. But there's a difference between marketable assets -- things you own that could be liquidated rather quickly, like stocks, bonds, real estate -- and possessions like cars, clothing and household items that you use regularly and aren't likely to sell.

Income alone does not make one rich. It helps, of course, to build wealth, but the financially independent look to their salaries as a means to an end, which is that pile of cash.

"The wealthy don't spend their wealth on discretionary purchases," said Pam Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing, a consumer market-research firm specializing in luxury goods and experiences. "They get rich by maximizing the value of their investments."

That doesn't mean they don't pay big bucks for pretty shoes or outfits, but that most choose those items carefully and shop for value and quality. "They truly evaluate the purchase as an investment, not an expense," Danziger said.

What they do though is diversify those investments, which gives them more flexibility to ride out difficult times.
"The wealthiest clients have very, very diversified portfolios that go way beyond just stocks and bonds into hedge funds, currencies, commodities and emerging markets,"
said Leslie Lassiter, managing director of the JPMorgan Private Wealth Management.

"There are many, many mutual funds out there that will allow you to get exposure to those types of asset classes," Lassiter said.

Among the biggest differences between those flush with cash and those wishing they were is in how they pay for things. Millionaires tend to use cash for most of their purchases, including cars, homes and boats.

For the average wage earner, of course, that's not always an option but it still holds this lesson: Don't look to debt to fund your lifestyle.

Most wealthy people use debt for investment purposes and are careful not to over-leverage themselves. "A prudent use of debt is an appropriate thing for anyone," Lassiter said.

They also plan very well and spend a lot of time at it. Many are compulsive savers and investors who often say the journey to riches was far more fun than the reaching the goal.

And they're patient, willing to invest in the long term and wait it out. "They stick with their investments and are more likely to have a financial plan," said Sanjiv Mirchandani, president of National Financial, a subsidiary of Fidelity Investments.

Many take the long-term approach to investing because they're working at being financial independent. When they retire, for example, many will know exactly how much they need to live on, to give away and to leave as a legacy.

"The best ones really understand how much liquidity they need to cover their expenses and make sure they have that much cash on hand," Lassiter said. "That's something the average person should do as well."

At the same time, she said most are very careful about leveraging debt. "The wealthy tend to balance between the two," she said.

Recommendations for accumulating wealth:

Live below your means: People with high incomes who spend all that money are not rich; they're just stupid.

Plan: That means plan for today, tomorrow and 30 years after retirement. Take time doing it too and spend time monitoring it every day. Use budgets and stick to them.

Diversify: As Lassiter said, look for mutual funds that allow you exposure to asset classes that aren't related to each other.

Reduce use of credit and turn to cash: It's easier, of course, for a prosperous person to pay for a house in cash than it might be for most folks, but credit-card debt for luxury purchases or extravagant vacations will never pave a road to riches.

Have access to cash: While the rich keep much of their wealth invested, they can get cash when they need it. "Have some kind of line of credit available, like a HELOC (home-equity line of credit) that you never use," Lassiter said. "It's a safety valve." She suggests a year's worth of cash to cover expenses; Danziger thinks three years worth is a better bet.

Spread cash around: When the wealthy pulled money out of the equities markets two and three years ago, they opened a bevy of bank accounts, all guaranteed up to $250,000 of deposits by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Bring your children into the mix, and remember the importance of estate planning: The affluent can go to great lengths to teach their children about money and how to manage it -- something every family should do. Though talking about money with children consistently ranks as one of the most dreaded conversations, it's important that your heirs know where all the bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes are -- even that their names are on them, too -- who the attorney is, where the will and trusts are filed.