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Other news from Africa and around the world


New Study reveals High Performers Ready to Quit

According to a new study by Leadership IQ, 47% of high performers are actively looking for other jobs by posting and submitting resumes, and even going on interviews.  The survey points out that while this trend should worry employers, what is perhaps even worse is that low performers want to stay.  Only 18% of low performing employees are actively seeking other jobs, and 25% of middle performers are actively looking around.  Leadership IQ surveyed 16,237 employees on a range of workforce and retention issues. High performers keep companies in business, according to Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, and companies are at risk if these people leave.  Yet, it appears that we ask our high performers to go above and beyond, making their jobs tough and burning them out.  Meanwhile, low performers often get easier jobs because their bosses dread dealing with them and may avoid them altogether.

Black and Minority Populations in UK set to reach 36% by 2050

Black and other minority ethnic groups could account for more than a third of the British population by the middle of the century, if immigration trends and inter-racial relationships continue at current rates.  Experts say people of mixed-race origin now represent the fastest growing ethnic group in the country while multi-culturalism has become more widely accepted.  Campaigners are however calling for greater equality to ensure a cohesive society.  According to the 2001 census, 4.9 million (8.3% of the total population) were born overseas.  This is more than double the number in 1951.  Figures from the Office of National Statistics in 2006 revealed that the British population is now more than 60 million and is growing at its fastest pace since the early 1960’s.  Source: The Voice

Achimota School Alumni Launch 3 Year Capital Campaign

Alumni of Achimota School, one of Ghana’s leading educational institutions, have launched AC2010, a 3 Year Capital Campaign on behalf of the School. Achimota School was founded to train leaders who would synthesize the best of African and western ideas and ideals and the school has produced three heads of state and a roll call of distinguished public servants.  The Capital Campaign is aimed at raising donations from all Akoras (alumni) and friends of Achimota School for the full restoration of Achimota to its former status as a West African centre of educational excellence and a leadership training ground.  The organizers are urging all alumni and friends to logon and to donate to the upkeep of the school. www.ac2010.org

U.S. Government Holds Forum on Cocoa Farming Labor Issues in West Africa

Experts focused on improving labor practices on West African cocoa farms held a unique, first-ever forum, led by the United States Department of State and United States Department of Labor in October.  The forum, "Cocoa Labor Issues in West Africa," brought together government, industry, non-governmental organization (NGO) and individual experts committed to encouraging responsible labor practices in cocoa farming.  70% of the world’s cocoa comes from the more than two million small, family owned farms that make up West Africa’s cocoa sector. The U.S. Government event provided a forum to exchange information on efforts underway to ensure cocoa is grown responsibly, and to address broader, related issues affecting cocoa farmers and the farming community.  Experts representing the governments of Ghana and the Cote d’Ivoire joined representatives from the State Department, Department of Labor, United States Agency for International Development, International Labour Organization, International Cocoa Initiative and other key stakeholders. Source: World Cocoa Foundation

Survey Shows MBA Students Believe Business Should Be Agent of Social Change

With the corporate scandals of recent years exposing severe moral and ethical transgressions, business schools have come under fire for failing to instill adequate ethical standards in students.  ANet Impact survey of more than 2,000 MBA studentssuggests that the overwhelming majority of today's MBA students believe that businesses should work toward the betterment of society that managers should take into account social and environmental impacts when making business decisions and that corporate social responsibility should be integrated into core curricula in MBA programs. Net Impact is an international network of MBAs, graduate students and professionals committed to using the power of business to improve the world. The Net Impact survey was conducted online from September 25 to October 15, 2006 at 110 MBA programs in the US and Canada. 78% agreed that the subject of corporate social responsibility should be integrated into the MBA core curriculum, and 60% said they believed CSR makes good business sense and leads to profits.

IFC Launches Lessons of Experience on BTC and Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Projects

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has launched “External Monitoring of the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project” to provide key environmental and social lessons and good practice.  The Chad-Cameroon pipeline project is a US$3.5 billion development of an oil field in Chad by a consortium headed by ExxonMobil, and a 1,070 km long pipeline extending through Chad and Cameroon to the Atlantic coast. The External Compliance Monitoring Group (ECMG), funded and logistically supported by the Consortium, serves as the team responsible for auditing the implementation of the Consortium's environmental and social commitments for this project.  “External Monitoring of the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project: Lessons of Experience" provides lenders and project sponsors with an understanding of the business case for employing an external monitor, as well practical advice regarding the major steps and key issues for designing, implementing, and operating an external monitoring mechanism for complex projects. To highlight the practical challenges and value of the external monitoring mechanism, the publication draws illustrative examples from the experiences of IFC during the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project.  PDF files can be downloaded at: www.ifc.org/enviropublications

Nokia and Plan Give a Voice to Africa's Youth

Nokia and international children's organisation, Plan, have joined forces to use modern communications technologies in Africa to raise children's awareness of their rights and opportunities. Nokia has provided an initial donation of 1 million Euros for 2006. The first stage of this new joint effort will see Nokia focus on supporting Plan's existing media and communications technology projects for Africa's children and youth. Involving children in digital media production either on the radio, in video productions or in music helps introduce the potential of ICT to communities affected by poverty and links remote communities to a much wider national audience. Producing their own digital media is often revolutionary for many children, providing them with the chance to gain self-confidence and further influence their own future. Plan is a humanitarian child-centred organization working in 46 developing countries, with families and their communities. Plan has 64 child media projects running in 31 countries at present.

UN Global Compact and Global Reporting Initiative Form Strategic Alliance

The world’s two most significant international corporate citizenship initiatives announced today that they have united in a strategic alliance aimed at providing the global private sector with an opportunity to embrace a responsible business strategy that is at once comprehensive, organizing, integrated and enjoys near or total universal acceptance.  The United Nations Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) said they will undertake advocacy and other partnership efforts to encourage companies and corporate responsibility organizations to support the synergistic platforms of the Compact and the GRI. While the UN Global Compact covers citizenship “implementation” through its 10 universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption, the GRI’s new “G3” Sustainability Reporting Guidelines provide guidance on transparency and how to report on performance results. The UN Global Compact today includes more than 3000 companies and stakeholders from approximately 100 countries, while nearly 1000 organizations from around the world are using the GRI Guidelines as the basis for reporting.

South Africa hosts 16th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers

 South Africa is hosting the 16th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (16CCEM) in Cape Town from 10 - 14th December.  The Ministerial Conference is complemented by a Teachers Forum, a Youth Forum and a Stakeholders Forum.  The latter is open to applications from all stakeholders in Commonwealth education (civil society. NGOs, academics, private sector etc.).   16 CCEM website for further details.

University Panel Calls for Brown University to Atone for Slavery Ties

The New York Times has reported that after extensively documenting Brown University’s 18th-century ties to slavery, a University committee has called Wednesday for the institution to make amends by building a memorial, creating a centre for the study of slavery and injustice and increasing efforts to recruit minority students, particularly from Africa and the West Indies.  The Committee on Slavery and Justice, appointed three years ago by Brown’s president, Ruth J. Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves who is the first black president of an Ivy League institution, said in a report: “We cannot change the past. But an institution can hold itself accountable for the past, accepting its burdens and responsibilities along with its benefits and privileges.”  The Committee did not call for outright reparations but also recommended that the University publicly and persistently acknowledge its slave ties, including during freshmen orientation. Dr. Campbell said he believed that the recommendations, if carried out, would represent a more concrete effort than that of any other American university to make amends for ties to slavery. The Brown Committee was made up of 16 faculty members, students and administrators, and its research was extensive. Source: The New York Times

Guidelines on Corporate Social Reporting are simplified

Following growing concern that interest in non-financial reporting will be confined to a handful of multinationals, a new set of simplified guidelines for corporate social responsibility have been drawn up in the hope of encouraging more companies to report on their environmental and social impact. Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Amsterdam-based not-for-profit agency responsible for drawing up the guidelines, said that for the first time the framework included an “entry-level” option. This means that businesses can choose to report on a limited number of issues, which, it is hoped, will encourage SMEs. The new guidelines, which were launched at a conference attended by more than 1,000 businesses and organisations, are based on suggested improvements put forward by trade unions, NGOs and businesses

NEPAD Forum on strategy for partnership with China

A two-day seminar on “China and Africa in the 21st century” to assist NEPAD to plan a strategy of its engagement with China as a long-term strategic partner was held in South Africa. The seminar organised by the NEPAD Secretariat, the Royal Africa Society and the South African Institute of International Affairs was opened by Prof. Firmino Mucavele, Chief Executive of the NEPAD Secretariat. China is now the third most important investor in Africa after the US and Europe. The Chinese presence in sectors like mining and energy is being increasingly felt as Chinese companies have become key players competing with the traditional Western companies. Source: NEPAD

Anglo American appoints Woman CEO

American Cynthia Carroll will take the helm at Anglo America when current CEO Tony Trahar steps down in March. She also will chair the mining company's Executive Board, which focuses on long-term strategy and developing shareholder relationships. Carroll's appointment is a historic one within the traditionally male-dominated mining industry. In 2003, women comprised 35% of U.S. officials and managers but held just 10% of these positions in the mining industry, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Women comprise only 10.4% of board directors within the Fortune Global 200, according to Corporate Women Directors International. Anglo America is ranked No. 196 on this list.  A 24-year industry veteran, Carroll has international experience in divestitures, change management, safety, mergers and acquisitions, energy, finance, technology, marketing and commercial development, human resources and investor and government relations. Carroll holds a bachelor's and master's degree in geology from Skidmore College and the University of Kansas, respectively, and an MBA from Harvard University. Source: DiversityInc.

South Africa Joins the UN Human Rights Council

South Africa has been voted a member of the United Nation's new Human Rights Council.  The 47 founding members of the new Human Rights Council were voted in at the UN's 60th General Assembly in New York.  The Council replaces the Commission on Human Rights and will address violations of human rights and promote effective coordination and mainstreaming of human rights issues within the UN system. Of the African members, it was decided that South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria would serve on the council for one year; Ghana, Zambia, Mali and Gabon for two years; and Djibouti, Cameroon, Senegal, Mauritius and Nigeria for three years.

Mayor of London Backs Tax Relief for Remittances

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has supported calls for remittance tax relief, stating that funds sent to families for subsistence should qualify for tax relief as these funds are used to reduce poverty by feeding and sheltering poor families.  The founder of RemitAid™ and Chairman of African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) Mr Gibril Faal welcomed Mayor Livingstone’s support for remittance tax relief, given the impact of remittances in international development

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