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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

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A round-up of recent careers, business and other news from the UK, Africa and around the world.

A round-up of recent news from the UK, Africa and around the world
One-third of UK Employers Turned Down Candidates for Social Media Profile

More than half (56 per cent) of UK employers admit that candidates’ online profiles actively influence their hiring decisions, according to a new survey that highlights the increasing integration of social media into the recruitment process. The research, from jobs board Monster and YouGov, suggests most HR professionals actively consult social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook during the hiring process. Around a third (36 per cent) of the 4,000 HR professionals surveyed said they had declined to interview a candidate, or had rejected an applicant they had already interviewed, after checking their social media posts, while 65 per cent Googled prospective employees. The process works both ways, however: 28 per cent of jobseekers said their view of an organisation was influenced by what they read about it on websites such as Glassdoor, and they were less likely to apply if they formed an unfavourable impression. Around half (48 per cent) of jobseekers are conscious of how their online reputation looks to potential employers, and 20 per cent of young people say they are very aware of how their online reputation could impact on job prospects. This compares to 33 per cent who either do not care or think about their social media persona. At the same time, data tools are making their way on to the market, which enable recruiters to actively mine and analyse social media profiles. For example, Recruit Assured deploys algorithms to understand how many times the candidate has posted keywords, which can be used to assess how ‘suitable’ they are.

Emerging Talent Scholarship Scheme (Scotland) Deadline Approaching

The Hospitality Industry Trust, known as HIT Scotland, is a Scotland based charity, which raises funds to support and encourage excellence in the hospitality industry. Since its creation in 1994, HIT Scotland has distributed a total of 8,000 bursaries to students from universities and colleges across Scotland, who it hopes will help to drive forward the potential of the industry. Through practical support, which includes bursaries, scholarships and industry events, HIT Scotland helps those training to enter the hospitality industry and those already in it. The Emerging Talent Scholarship Scheme is a programme with an overall objective to help all to achieve their full potential and further enhance and maintain the excellent skill base within Scotland.
HIT Scotland helps continuous development in the workplace. To keep employees motivated and up-to-date in key skills within the competitive world of hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, it provides a number of scholarships that can take place locally, nationally and internationally and which offer world-class training courses and 'money can't buy' learning experiences. These scholarships are available to ambitious and talented individuals and are intended to continually update skills within the industry, enhance personal development and bring fresh ideas back to Scottish businesses to remain at the forefront of international innovations. The scholarship awards are presented at the annual Emerging Talent Conference. The next deadline for this scheme will be 25 November 2016. For further information, interested parties should visit the Hospitality Industry Trust website

Mothers Lack of Progression Blamed for UK Gender Pay Gap

UK mothers who return to work are paid up to 33 per cent less per hour than men thanks to their restricted opportunities for promotions and pay rises, according to a new study. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report blames lack of progression at work for a headline gender pay gap of 18 per cent, as mothers tend to work fewer hours. The average female employee without children earns 10 to 15 per cent less per hour than a man on average, according to the study. But the gap widens consistently for 12 years after their first child is born, by which point women receive a third less per hour, a phenomenon attributed to lack of progression that gradually drags on average earnings. Female employees who take time away from paid work – mostly to have children – return on an average wage that is 2 per cent lower than their previous earnings, and struggle to keep pace with wage growth among men and non-parents.
The gap is considered most serious for women with lower levels of education and fewer qualifications, who already receive lower pay – but the motherhood pay penalty is financially larger for more highly educated women, at 4 per cent for each year out of paid work. The findings are backed by new research from the Chartered Management Institute, which suggests male employees are 40 per cent more likely to gain a promotion than their female colleagues. Scotland has the UK's worst gender pay gap according to the IFS study, with women in management roles paid almost £11,000 less on average than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap in the country now stands at 29.2 per cent. The government’s forthcoming attempt to close the gender pay gap – by making it compulsory for all companies with 250 or more employees to undertake pay audits and publish figures on the gender pay gap in both base salary and bonuses from 2018 – is seen as a less-than-perfect solution by many. The IFS study did suggest that the overall gender pay gap is decreasing, from 23 per cent in 2003 and 28 per cent in 1993 to 18 per cent today. But as women typically work for fewer hours a week than men, their take-home pay is even lower, at 36 per cent less per week.

One-third of UK Employers Use Digital Talent Platforms

New research has found that the use of digital talent platforms – which connect freelance workers with companies and individuals who require their skills – is growing rapidly in the UK. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of employers recently surveyed by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) said they had used platforms such as Upwork and TaskRabbit in the past 12 months. And 29 per cent of business decision-makers predicted that digital work platforms would play a more important role in their organisations in the next five years. According to Kevin Green, REC’s chief executive, the platforms bring big benefits to freelancers and employers and give SMEs access to the global skills market, allowing workers to work flexibly and take charge of their own pricing mechanisms.But critics warned that the platforms, which offer employers the choice of setting a fixed price for a project or inviting people to pitch for the work and set their own price, make it easier for organisations to pay less for work. Intense competition for jobs – especially from overseas workers – is also bringing down market rates.

Huge Rise in UK Maternity Discrimination, says Citizens Advice

The number of women seeking advice on discrimination around maternity and maternity leave issues has increased by almost 60 per cent in just a year, according to new research from Citizens Advice. The organisation points to the rise of zero-hour contracts and the introduction of employment tribunals fees, which it says are causing businesses to find underhanded ways to limit pregnant women and new mothers. Just over 3,300 women visited Citizens Advice with discrimination-related issues in the year to June, compared to 2,099 in 2015. The charity revealed a 22 per cent increase in people looking for help online; advice on their website was viewed 22,000 times in the last year. The most common issue it dealt with, in relation to maternity leave, was being made redundant, followed by a reduction in hours, including being moved to a zero-hours contract and having a role changed upon return to work. Maternity discrimination is on the rise. A report released by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) last month estimated that around 54,000 new mothers are losing their jobs every year in Britain: a number reported to have doubled in the last 10 years. The report additionally found that one in five new mothers experienced harassment or negative comments from their colleagues or managers when pregnant, or returning from maternity leave, and 7 per cent said they were pressurised to hand in their notice.

NHS accused of ‘disgraceful’ Failures in Progressing Women and Ethnic Minorities

The NHS has been accused of failing to utilise the talents of both female workers and those with ethnic minority backgrounds at a senior level. Just 2 per cent of NHS trusts are chaired by people with a black and minority ethnic (BME) background and women make up just 28 per cent of trust chairs, according to a new report. The Action not words – Making NHS boards more representative report, which is based on data from around 1,450 board members at 114 trusts, found that while 80 per cent of NHS staff are women, female trust chairs are outnumbered almost three to one by their male counterparts. People with a BME background make up just 4 per cent of the executive directors and 7 per cent of non-executive directors on trust boards, and, while around half (47 per cent) of the trusts’ executive directors are female, women comprise just 38 per cent of the non-executive roles on boards. The NHS has launched a two-year drive to rectify this issue and, last year, NHS England appointed two senior staff to boost BME representation. The NHS recognises that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. In June this year, it published the first NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report, which gave feedback to every hospital and trust across the NHS about the experiences of their BME staff.

Investment Banks Hinder Socio-Economic Diversity in Recruitment

Research has revealed that recruitment processes in investment banking are often skewed to favour an elite few. A report from watchdog the Social Mobility Commission found that people with a disadvantaged socio-economic background were underrepresented in front-office investment banking jobs. The commission said this could be explained by the benefits at various stages of the recruitment process of being from a privileged background – something it defined as including type of secondary school attended and parental income at that time. The study highlighted data from a 2014 survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust, a think tank, which showed that one in three entrants to the banking sector as a whole over the previous three years were from fee-paying schools, compared with 7 per cent of the general population of the UK. The commission found that investment banks appointed high numbers of people from elite universities across the world, whose students tended to be drawn from more privileged than average environments. It added that a rigid process of screening applications for academic credentials was often followed by an informal process of hiring managers making decisions on perceived ‘fit’, which interviewees felt was as important as evidence of technical aptitude. The commission’s report said fit included “emphasis on issues including speech patterns, accent, behaviour and dress”. It added: “These attributes are generally summarised as ‘polish’, a term that is used in multiple peer group professions, and within which confidence and self-belief are especially important.”

Scottish Government Launches New Round of International Development Grants Programme

The Scottish Government has launched the third year of its International Development Small Grants Programme which supports small international development agencies in Scotland. Administered by Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, the Small Grants programme is open to small Scottish-based non governmental organisations (NGOs) to plan, implement or expand programmes helping some of the world's poorest communities. This grants programme has been designed to nurture Scottish expertise in international development, encourage innovation and increase the scope and size of international NGOs in Scotland. The programme is intended to accommodate smaller requests. Project grants up to £60,000 are available for over a three-year period. A maximum of £10,000 for feasibility and capacity building grants are available to cover a one-year period. The funding must go to projects in Scotland's international development priority countries: Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Indian States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. The deadline for applications is 28 November 2016. Full details can be found on the Lloyds TSB Foundationwebsite

Migrant Staff, Elderly and Disabled Rate Highly for Employability

Older workers are perceived as the most talented and employable of all underrepresented demographic groups in the workforce, according to a new CIPD survey of more than 2,000 HR managers and line managers – with disabled people and migrant workers also scoring highly. The Attitudes to employability and talent report, which explored views towards employability, saw workers aged over 55 scoring an average of 6.93 out of 10 when ranked on the attributes used to describe a talented employee. They were seen as having a more positive attitude to work, but lower potential to develop, compared with young people (who scored 5.6 overall). The report found that businesses that employed migrant workers recorded a 1.2-point increase in their perceptions of this group – a greater uplift than any other demographic group. This indicates that the gap between the perception of migrants and the reality of actually employing them is more significant than among any other group. Older employees were also rated the highest on their ability to hit the ground running, levels of relevant experience and skills, and being highly networked and connected. Individuals with disabilities came a close second in the CIPD findings, scoring 6.29, followed by migrant workers (6.15) and parents (6.06). Migrant workers were ranked particularly highly for easily adapting to working conditions, while employers thought individuals with disabilities were good at bringing new and innovative ideas. The long-term unemployed and ex-service people scored 5.18, and ex-offenders came last among the eight demographic groups in the study, with 4.93. All three groups ranked in the bottom three when it came to reliability, work ethic and being able to adapt to the working environment.

Four-fifths of UK’s Highest Earners are Men

Fewer than one in five of those earning the top 1 per cent of wages in the UK are women, new research has revealed. A study of income tax records by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) found that just 9.2 per cent of the top 0.1 per cent of salaries in the UK were earned by women in 2013. This made the UK the least equal of the eight economies analysed in the report, in terms of the gender pay divide at the very top. Women made up less than a third (28.2 per cent) of the top 10 per cent of UK earners, and less than a fifth (17.8 per cent) of the top 1 per cent. The report said that, while female representation in high income brackets had risen over the past 20 years, it was changed little in the top 0.1 per cent. The presence of a “glass ceiling” has become “more apparent” in the UK over that time, the authors added. Meanwhile, it’s thought that the UK’s gender pay gap would not close until 2069 unless significant action is taken, according to professional services firm Deloitte. Deloitte’s research found that women in full-time work earned almost 10 per cent less per hour than men in full-time work between 2002 and 2015, and this disparity was closing at an average rate of just 2.5p per year. In certain sectors, including skilled trades and education, the gap was widening, it found.

Reducing Gender Pay Gap would add ‘£150bn to UK Economy by 2025’

The gender pay gap – which currently stands at 19.2 per cent – will cause significant damage to the UK’s productivity levels if government and employers fail to take action, a gender equality and women’s rights charity has warned. The Fawcett Society has also revealed new research that found 77 per cent of women, and 66 per cent of men, believe it’s the responsibility of businesses and employers to reduce the gender pay gap. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of women, and 56 per cent of men, said solving the issue was the government's responsibility. The survey found that 56 per cent of female employees and 48 per cent of male workers believe individuals have a collective responsibility to reduce the gender pay gap. Nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) agreed with the statement: ‘It matters to me that my employer or potential future employer is taking steps to reduce the gender pay gap in their organisation.’ Almost a third of women (30 per cent) said they felt their employer could do more to encourage the career progression of women, compared to 26 per cent of men. A separate ICM poll found that women and younger people were significantly more likely to look for an employer that is taking action to close the gap, as the government prepares to publish new regulations requiring large employers with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap figures from April 2018. Financial services is the highest-paid sector in the UK but also has the biggest gender wage gap at 39.5 per cent.

Securexpo East Africa aligns itself with the Secure Kenya 2030 initiative

Securexpo East Africa returns again this November with this year’s edition far bigger than it was in 2015. The whole event has grown by 25% with over 70 companies now exhibiting and thousands of products on display. The conference has also grown and will now feature 15 sessions covering all aspects of the regional and international security market. The event is the largest security focused exhibition and conference in the East African region and is set to welcome 2500 industry professionals over the three days. With security high on the agenda of both public and private sectors, the exhibition has been gathering a huge amount of interest as investment in the market peaks. The organisers have also partnered with the new Secure Kenya 2030 initiative. This is a is a private sector lead initiative spearheaded by Institute of Professional Security Studies, that aims at building partnerships and developing networks with the Government, individuals, organizations and leaders who share the common vision of ensuring that Kenyan security is a priority. Secure Kenya 2030 has aligned itself with the government led initiative of Vision 2030 that aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030. In speaking about Securexpo East Africa, Lt.Col(Rtd) Julius Githiri, Director of IPSS said, “Secure Kenya 2030 and Securexpo East Africa are aligned in trying to help increase investment in the Kenyan security market. The event has the potential to massively benefit the sector and help towards the overall growth of Kenya.” Within the event and the thousands of products that will be on display, the conference will run alongside the exhibition. Highlighted sessions include ‘Kenya's 2017 elections and beyond’; ‘Safe Cities: Using smart technology for public security’; and ‘Understanding the private security industry regulation bill’. With the conference, as well as the whole event, free-to-attend, it will allow individuals the chance to hear from speakers that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. With topics that are integral to the successes of organisations, this part of the show has gathered huge amounts of interest. Securexpo East Africa is running from the 8-10 November 2016 at the Visa Oshwal Centre and for more information please visit: www.securexpoeastafrica.com

AfDB Loan to Provide Power to 1.5 Million Kenyans

The African Development Bank has approved a USD 135-million loan to launch the second phase of an energy project that is expected to benefit a minimum of 300,000 customers in Kenya and which will translate into providing electricity access to approximately 1.5 million people.

Call for Applications - Governance for Development in Africa Initiative Residential School 2016

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation in association with SOAS and the Centre of African Studies-University of London is organising its annual Residential School on the topic of ‘Governance and Development in Africa’. The residential school is for 20 participants who are policy makers, academics, researchers or civil society representatives from any African country who will gain, through this training, new ideas and knowledge on the broad issue of governance and development. We welcome applications from a wide range of backgrounds. Applicants should have at least a MSc degree in areas related to Governance or 5 years professional experiences in fields relevant to the theme of Governance and Development in Africa. The official language of the School is English.  All costs for successful applicants, including economy flights, visa costs, accommodation and meals, will be covered.  No per diem. Applications should include: 2 page max CV (including email address for correspondence), One reference letter (can be emailed directly by referee to ab17@soas.ac.uk), Proposal of max 1000 words outlining research interest and/or professional background and how the applicant will benefit from attending the Residential School. Deadline for applications: 15 December 2016. Please refer to the website for more information or contact  cas@soas.ac.uk

Call for Applications - Leventis Nigerian Post-Doctoral Fellowship in London

The Centre of African Studies of the University of London invites applications from Nigerian academics to take part in a scheme of collaborative research funded by the Leventis Foundation. The Leventis Research Co-operation Programme is devised to assist younger scholars develop their research interests in collaboration with their counterparts in London. Applicants are invited to apply to spend three months as visitors of the Centre of African Studies in order to pursue their research in libraries and archives and to participate in the intellectual life of the Centre. The scheme might be particularly appropriate for scholars working up a PhD thesis into publishable form. For more info on how to apply please visit our website or contact us at cas@soas.ac.uk  For more information visit: http://www.soas.ac.uk/cas/sponsorship/leventis/
Deadline for Applications: 31 March 2017

Global Clearinghouse for Refugee Student Scholarships

A new global clearinghouse to identify scholarships and opportunities and connect refugee students with resources they can use anywhere in the world has been announced. The Platform for Education in Emergencies Response or PEER will be established by a new Catalyst Trust for Universal Education and the Institute of International Education or IIE will support projects and organisations that bring educational opportunities “directly to the neediest children and youth, whether they live in a conflict zone, a refugee camp, or a place that lacks the means or ability to provide a meaningful education”. PEER will be a web-based, mobile-ready platform in both English and Arabic, giving students access to a comprehensive database of education and scholarship opportunities and application guidelines, as well as other important resources such as online courses and massive open online courses or MOOCs, translation services and education advocacy groups, and to connect students with advisory services. The advisory service will involve face to face and virtual guidance to help students through the process of accessing education. PEER will also coordinate efforts between stakeholders to assess what opportunities are available. It also plans to convene a conference on best practice in higher education in emergencies to share experience and expertise between stakeholders. The PEER clearinghouse will build on the resources that IIE has leveraged over the past five years through its Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis. The Catalyst Trust is providing the initial investment in PEER with the goal that governments and other donors will join the effort to expand its reach to refugees and displaced people at all levels of education and in all world regions. According to a report released by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, only 50% of refugees have access to primary education, as opposed to the global average of 90%. That enrolment gap grows with age: 22% of refugees are enrolled in secondary schools, compared with 84% of secondary school age children globally, and only 1% of refugees have access to higher education, compared to 34% of university age youth globally.

New American Campus in Mauritius to offer ‘global’ Higher Education

An American Campus is to open in Ebène, a ‘cybercity hub’ 15 kilometres south of the capital Port Louis, giving Mauritians the opportunity to follow American courses without having to move to the United States. A partnership between US universities, the new higher education institution will open in January 2017. It quoted Spalding Jugganaikloo, president of the American Campus, as saying the intention was to “educate students in a global way”, and equip them to prepare for the job market. As a start, the institution will offer courses in English and agriculture from January and May respectively, reports L’Express. A diploma in English as a second language will be provided by the Sacred Heart University of Connecticut, for annual fees of US$4,900; and bachelor degrees in agribusiness and international agribusiness will be organised by Utah State University for US$6,600. A computer science programme is due to be introduced in September 2017. The American Campus will encourage young people to stay in Mauritius and help those who want to follow an American course to save some money on the costs of studying at US universities.

Only 4% of South Africans Who Start School Get a Degree

New research shows that two-thirds of matriculants with bachelor passes go to university, and that university access of qualifying students is not biased against black or poor students. For every 100 students who start school in South Africa, only 12 go to university, and only four of them get a degree within six years, reports MyBroadband. These are the findings in the academic paper Higher Education Access and Outcomes for the 2008 National Matric Cohort. The research used data that combines matric examinations data from 2008 to 2013, with data from all South African universities from 2009 to 2014. It also used data from the EMIS Masterlist and the 2011 national census. The research found that matrics who attend expensive, quality schools are four times more likely to access university than those from the poorest 60% of schools.
Full report on mybroadband.co.za

Ethiopia to Overtake Kenya as Eastern Africa’s Top Economy

Ethiopia’s economy is expected to overtake Kenya’s this year, buoyed by massive government spending on infrastructure that has kept the Horn of Africa nation in the list of the world’s fastest economies in the past 10 years. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest statistical estimates indicate that Ethiopia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow from $61.62 billion in 2015 to $69.21 billion this year, narrowly beating Kenya’s output which is expected to rise from $63.39 billion to $69.17 billion over the same period. Ethiopia has experienced double-digit economic growth, averaging 10.8 per cent since 2005, which has mainly been underpinned by public-sector-led development, says the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme say in the latest African Economic Outlook report. Kenya’s GDP of $14.1 billion in 2000 was 71.6 per cent larger than Ethiopia’s $8.23 billion in the same year but the Horn of Africa nation has closed the economic gap in the last five years of robust growth. The IMF’s GDP estimates are based on current market prices using exchange rates prevailing between July 22 and August 19. Having established its economic lead ahead of Kenya, Ethiopia is forecast to maintain its position as Eastern Africa’s largest economy over the medium term — a position that is also expected to improve its standing as an investment destination. Ethiopia’s rise as a regional economic powerhouse has mostly been fuelled by mega public sector investment similar to the Chinese model that has enabled the Asian nation to become the world’s second-largest economy in two decades. Ethiopia’s investment, as a percentage of GDP, rose sharply from 20.2 per cent in 2000 to 39.2 per cent last year and is expected to hit a new high of 39.2 per cent of the domestic output this year.

AfDB to Invest $24 billion in Agriculture across Africa

The African Development Bank Group has announced that it will invest $24 billion (about Shs82 trillion) in the agriculture sector over the next 10 years in its member state countries to increase food production for human consumption and for industrial development. The Bank says that Africa must feed itself and must become a global powerhouse in food and agriculture. With 65 per cent of all the arable land left in the world to feed 9 billion people by 2050, Africa will have to feed the world and Africa must take agriculture as a business. To help unlock Africa’s potential in agriculture, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will invest $ 24 billion in the agriculture sector over the next 10 years. That is 440 per cent above the Bank’s current level of investment in the sector and will focus support on promoting agro-allied industrialisation, value-addition and export diversification. To borrow from the international capital, a country has to have good credit rating by global rating agencies. This creates confidence in investors’ mind of the country’s ability to pay its debt. The number of countries with sovereign credit rating from Moody’s, Fitch or Standard & Poor increased from 10 in 2013 to 21 by 2014. Besides broadening the tax base, African countries will need to tap into the growing pools of funds in domestic capital markets, with pension funds estimated at $334 billion (Shs1142 trillion), sovereign wealth funds of $162 billion (Shs554 trillion) and remittances worth over $62 billion (Shs211 trillion). Intra-Africa trade is still low accounting for only 15 per cent of total trade in Africa, which must be developed through regional integration. The Bank stressed that greater regional trade will open up huge opportunities for industrial specialisation and in turn investments in regional infrastructure will go a long way boost trade and economic activities.

Ecobank Renews Partnership with the Global Fund

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, the leading Pan-African financial institution, through its Foundation, has renewed its partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a further three years. The relationship between the two organisations began in 2011 and the new agreement formalises Ecobank’s support for the Global Fund’s work in Africa. 
Ecobank pledged USD3 million at the Global Fund's Fifth Replenishment Conference in Montreal. The Fifth Replenishment raised USD 12.9 billion with a goal of saving 8 more million lives. Through its Foundation, Ecobank will continue to take a prominent role with the Global Fund to Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on the African continent. Programmes supported by the Global Fund partnership have put 9.2 million people on antiretroviral treatment for HIV, provided 15.1 million people with TB treatment and distributed 659 million mosquito nets to protect families from malaria. The Global Fund is an organization designed to accelerate the end of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria as epidemics. As a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by diseases, the Global Fund mobilizes and invests nearly US$4 billion annually to support programmes run by local experts in more than 100 countries and supports attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

Marriott International Rapidly Expands its Footprint across Africa

Leading hospitality company announces 6 new deals, 1 new brand, over 1100 rooms Amdec Group Continues to introduce Marriott’s global brands into South Africa Sheraton Mauritius is Marriott’s first signed deal since completing the acquisition. Marriott International continues its robust expansion across the African continent with news of brand-new signings of new properties in Cape Town, Nairobi, Cairo and Mauritius. This announcement comes hot on the heels of Marriott’s recently completed acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which has created the world’s largest hospitality. The transaction has increased Marriott’s distribution in Africa, thus affirming the company’s number one position across the continent.

Best HR Practice Impacts Business Success in Africa, study reveals

Research done by the Top Employers Institute and the HR Certification Institute, shows that businesses with the Best HR Practice show sustainable business results with the same trend being followed in Africa. here’s a distinct correlation between sound HR practices and company performance, an international study has shown – and for African companies, the trend is no different. Research by the Top Employers Institute and the HR Certification Institute has revealed that on average, Top Employers consistently outperformed their peers on a number of key metrics. To determine whether the Top Employers Certification is correlated with better business performance, data analysts examined companies that have received their certification since 2011 on key metrics. The findings show that companies that have achieved Top Employers certification since 2011 are not only more highly regarded, according to employee ratings on employer review & assessment platforms like Glassdoor and Kununu, they also show stronger stock performance and compounded five-year revenue growth rates. The report, entitled 'Emerging Evidence: Business Performance and the Validation of Human Resources Best Practices’, found that stock prices during 2011 – 2016 of companies certified by the Top Employers Institute outperformed the stock indices in their respective countries by an average of 51%. In addition, Top Employers also grew faster than their peers in the space of five years. “Compounded revenue growth rates of companies certified by Top Employers outperformed relevant industry average compounded growth rates by 14% when comparing 2010-2014 revenues,” the report explains. In Africa, the companies that achieved the Top Employers Africa 2016 Certification (certified in a minimum of four African countries) included multinationals like AbbVie, Becton Dickinson, DHL, EY, G4S, Old Mutual, Orange and Unilever. All of the above achieved positive results in the same year or have projected growth going forward. Sound HR practice is a key driver of success, but many business leaders are unsure how best to harness it. According to the report, 60 years into the digital revolution, our society and businesses are no longer driven by the key factors in the industrial age – increasingly, the most powerful tool in a business’ toolbox is the human brain.

Sage Survey Reveals Data on Young Nigerian Entrepreneurs

Integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems company, Sage, has revealed the results of a study into how technology is inspiring young entrepreneurs to create businesses and how young people work and interact with technology. research in Nigeria and 15 other countries shows that we are just at the beginning of a major shift in how businesses are run as the young entrepreneurs make their presence felt. Mobile technology has already made us all much more productive and helped companies of all sizes to reduce costs and become more efficient, but most young entrepreneurs see plenty of opportunities to do even much more with the tools and apps available at their disposal. Some of the most interesting local findings on Nigerian young entrepreneurs include: 96% say that they still feel the same excitement about their business as they did when they first started it; 44% say they will start over 5 businesses in their lifetime; 42% say they would have still been able to run their business with the technology available 20 years ago; 38% say they socialise with their team once a month; 29% say that work comes before life; 16% say that they get out of bed in the morning because they want to make a difference in the world and do some social good. Mobile devices are the platform of choice for today’s entrepreneur and, as you might expect from a generation that has been mobile literate from an extremely young age, a large proportion place huge emphasis on technology and are keen to be at the forefront of new trends. Young Nigerians are mobile-first people. More than a third of young entrepreneurs (38% in Nigeria) say the technology they use is the most important element when it comes to the smooth running of their business; they couldn’t prosper without it. 42% say they could probably not have run their business with the technology available 20 years ago. Far from destroying jobs through automation, technology is inspiring young people to create businesses that could not have existed in the past. When it comes to networking and new business, nearly 70% of Nigerian respondents say that they use technology rather than a face-to-face approach. Some 39% say that they depend on technology to succeed, while 44% say technology is invaluable in helping them market their business. Put simply, we’re seeing technology being woven into the very fabric of today’s businesses. Nigerians are confident about their mastery of technology.  About 80% of young entrepreneurs in Nigeria claim that despite technology constantly evolving, they do not worry about whether they will be able to keep up. Most Nigerians (80%) also say they do not worry about whether they will be able to afford the latest technology. Looking to the future, in the next ten years, 33% of Nigerians surveyed believe that technology will make the concept of ‘your desk’ defunct and that, in future, everyone will work remotely and flexibly, via a mobile device. Additionally, 45% agreed the workplace will have more virtual staff, working remotely and flexibly, while 23% said that they will save money on office space and overheads. Very clearly from our research is that young entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the rest of the world greatly value flexibility and want to have freedom over when, where and how they work, as well as with who. For them, technology is not only a means to boosting efficiency and productivity; it is also a way to achieve the flexibility and work-life balance that they value so much. Sage’s research also showed that millennial entrepreneurs are far more focused on creating businesses that ‘give back’ to local communities and the world.

Hilton Seeks to Double Its Presence in Africa

Hilton Worldwide has announced new properties and extensions in three African countries, continuing its commitment to expansion across the continent as it seeks to double its footprint from its existing 39 hotels to more than 80 hotels in the next 3-5 years. Among the new hotels agreed is Africa’s first modular build hotel, the 280 guest-room Hilton Garden Inn in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, a concept that Hilton first premiered in 2014 through a partnership with CIMC Modular Building Systems. Other deals see the creation of Africa’s tallest hotel in Nairobi, while Hilton builds on its industry leading airport hotel legacy with an extension to the recently signed Legend Curio at Lagos Airport. Hilton will manage all three properties as it continues to expand its managed hotel portfolio. Modular construction is an innovative solution that can be used to drive hotel development, offering numerous benefits including faster development, streamlined design and cost efficiencies. The process involves assembling portions of the hotel - including guest rooms and hallways - in China, before transporting them to the final site for completion, thereby significantly reducing the time taken for construction. The model helps ensure consistent quality and accelerates the build schedule on site, a particular benefit for developers and investors in emerging markets.

Ghana Mobile Money Transforming Cash Transactions

The evolution of mobile money platforms on almost all networks in the country has the potential to reduce the need for cash for transactions. Mobile connections in the telecommunications market was 29 million in 2014, and it grew to 33 million in October 2015. Currently, there are over 37 million mobile connections in Ghana showing an increase of eight million connections in two years. There were 2.3 million active mobile money customers in 2014 with the total value of transactions of GHC11billion. As of end 2015, the figure had grown to GHC35million. As of June 2016, Mobile Money had already reached GHC30billion.

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