Rated number one company in all aspects and categories on the WORLD STOCK EXCHANGE 2025.
Please note: All numbers are in African dollars: A$
- Assets of over 3 trillion A$ (equivalent to 1000 trillion US $)
- Annual Profit after tax and community upliftment: A$500 million
- GDP Growth of 12% year on year
- 92% employment
- 0% poverty
Can this really happen?
For those who think every African comment is based on racism, pessimism, colonialism, communism or even jealousism… there is only one ism that counts and that’s optimism.
So, those who see Africa as a place of optimism, this is for you.
Optimism only exists if one can see the light at the end of some chasm, without the light we just get the negativity of dark thoughts and the gut wrench of frustration.
Those who have lived for a long time on this continent have ALL experienced exasperating thoughts about a variety of popular subject matters ranging through potholes, political incompetency, corrupt officials, desperate situations, emigration, hungry eyes, greedy corruptiles, policonomics, flowing street sewers, failed schemes/cities/countries, plastic bag flowers and senseless deaths. It makes me feel despondent every time I read a paper or watch the news, so guess what we do, watch it even more and now we soon become back room commentators and eternal pessimists… eish, I hate others who whinge and hate myself every time I go there.
Is there a solution, a light that we can actually all see, or don’t we all see light the same?
Bubble bath thinking allows us to switch from the realities of real life to the sanctity of warmth, cleanliness and open free thought. As I came up for a breath, I swished the bubbles and froth from my forehead and a thought of immense optimism hit me.
As a business sort of guy, I have 4 companies that somehow miraculously work and give 40 odd people a meaningful job, allows me to ride my bike in weekends and drink a few ales with mates, provides the Taxman, the VATman and the ANC celebs with a couple of Million to fix our roads and educate our children. I pay several commercial suppliers including Telkom and Eskom and whatever other “koms” are out there, to provide the juice to keep us going. I was even given some BEE brownie points by my Government for educating my black son…wow life is full of fulfillment.
But how did all this happen?
Was it a fluke, my heritage, heritance, inheritance, skin colour, education, personality, beastly good looks, diet, my tribe, my skills, my mates, my mother, my luck?
This got me thinking and like most businessmen we tend to look back and start to preach to our staff and especially children about how we made it in those harsh post war days. We all know how this ends up!
The reality of personal or business success comes from the simple ability to have good idea and make sure you implement it properly. Of course other people (customers) must also believe in and see some value in your grandiose ideas, otherwise its just another orbital pie in the sky.
Another learning we mostly have from business is that, the only way to create a bigger success than the one you originally and selfishly thought it was; is to grow an idea or a business exponentially by partnering with other smart people and allowing them to do what they do better than you. This is the art of skillful delegation / cooperation / collaboration and allows the synergetic momentum to get people to help create a common dream by applying their contributions to the business model.
At this point, as I emerged from the bubbles and I thought of Africa and how to turn it into the most successful business location in the world. What a challenge, what optimism, what a dream, where is the light?
Let’s look at this quite simply (as any form of complexity tends to hurt me).
Let’s break this down and see if this analytical thought hasn’t got some meat attached (sorry vegetarians, a bit insensitive)
What’s the light that we all want to see?
This would seem easy as we see it in every NGOs vision statement and even in most political parties “promise statements”. Let’s try a few of the ones we see down memory lane….
- A country where everyone has a valued and meaningful job. Some however, (not all) would get rid of the valued and meaningful jargon and just settle for a good paying job.
- A country where we have freedom.
- A country where everyone has education.
- A country where… Yawn, yawn, yawn.
This is the never-ending list that most African political aspirants subscribe to and sadly most of it is based around western values, especially $$$$$.
What is the real light for Africa, the vision that would grab 600 million people to want to be part of anything?
What gets your staff, your friends, your brothers to pitch up every day and give it “horns” … yes $$$$ will be there, but what do they need the $$$$ for?
- A comfortable place to live, better known as a home.
- A couple of meals a day.
- A facility to learn and have my offspring taught.
- A job where I can express my competencies and be appreciated by earning some $$$.
- Mates that enjoy my company and support me.
- A sports team that wins more than it loses.
- A way of getting around to cool places, visiting mates, getting to work and to watch my team play.
- Our country winning some Gold medals at the Olympics.
There may be a few more but that’s being greedy and I am a firm believer that if all 600 million could see this as the light, there would be a unified approach and effort to get the African Team (600 mill) to respond. As long as a man has a dream, keeps the dream and believes in the dream, he will chase that dream. As an employer, I believe that if your staff has that dream and if you can provide opportunity and facilities to allow that to happen, then most will fight the good fight.
MY LIGHT MOMENT
I am a firm believer that if you can’t do the job or haven’t got time to do the job or believe someone else could do it better… it’s simple; delegate it to the person or persons who can do it best.
This simple business philosophy fails if you employ idiots into your business, but I’m thinking that within the 600 million there has got to be at least 500 million smarter than me, so it shouldn’t be difficult to delegate on this massive continent.
I am however, not stupid enough to fall into the supremacist approach of going into the drama of African failures and disappointments, but let’s look at what causes failure in most businesses and relate this to our African Motherland.
- Non-existent or poor vision. Without something that excites us we don’t get out of bed and participate. When you cannot see the reason or purpose in something, it becomes a chore, a purgatorial act that irritates sensible persons. The current Africa Unincorporated has many “visions” that are probably wish lists or more likened to shopping lists if the inhabitants lived in a world of wished for freebies. You ask most successful CEOs the principle reason why their MGT Boards are committed and its not about the money but about what they can achieve or aspire to achieve, that matters most. Companies without a meaningful vision or purpose don’t last, they take the short-term profits and run, no one remembers them and they are like some hyena-like acquaintances you meet in life, they take but never give back.
- Poor leadership. If the navigation and running of the ship is left to a bunch of “know-all’s”, you’ll hear a lot of theories and excuses, but nothing that actually makes sense. Great leaders know how to communicate their meaning to others. They don’t chop and change, they are humble, clear, and sensible and never give up on what’s right.
- Poor management. The company rots from the head! The best ideas badly managed results in chaotic and spasmodic busts of effort and success. Nothing becomes sustainable, and the company /country has sporadic bursts of winning- ness but mostly mishaps deluxe. How do we get best management? I suggest get onto GUMTREE (and not the LAVATREE) or whatever and get professionals who know how to attain results from willing resources (mostly people), respected for their integrity and able to know the difference form right and wrong and act on this. Can anyone give me a list of current political appointees that fit this mold?
- Poor systems and processes. Even the most competent management and enthusiastic staff will fail if 1 + 1 always ends up lost.
- Short-term thinking and CYA behavior. When an organisation rewards short term gains and not long-term efforts, it creates a culture of “look what I did boss…what do I get for this?” The sad reality is that most MGT are under the whip to give instant results and a good Board should allow a MGT team appropriate time to develop a proper long term strategy and allow for short term budgeted downside occurrences. This will allow a management team to do what’s right and not what’s popular.
- A communication process that conveniently shuts out and ignores the majority of the 600 million stakeholders. Ever worked in a company where no matter what you say, no one acts or they just say…”yea that’s so right” and then drift off? Its one of the most disengaging behaviors that we humans have in not listening. Think about your relationship and how important it is to listen to your spouse and children and trusted friends… say no more.
So, how does this affect our Africa, “the wealthiest opportunity yet to be unleashed”. It is clear that Africa right now has a lot of questionable leaders and managers, some trying to do a good job but mostly out of their depth when it comes to dealing with growth strategies and creating adequate returns on assets available. It is clear that if we don’t invest in a management team of the highest quality to lead and manage all of Africa’s abundant assets and resources, we will eventually (and in most cases we already are) in liquidation and spend the rest of our African lives groveling around our Western and Eastern “bankers” asking for handouts to survive.
Well, my thinking is based around the simple philosophy that Africa is a company, yes a very big one; it has 600 million employees, dependents, children, learners, complainers, protesters, pensioners, dreamers, entrepreneurs, capitalists, communists, vagrants and some criminals. They all live and work for the best company every created:
Africa Incorporated: A company where ordinary people live extraordinary lives
SHAREHOLDERS: All African citizens and we all own Africa.
VISION: To dominate the WORLD (sorry this was an old version).
VISION 2: To have all 600 million Africans and our many tourist and business visitors happy, energised and proud of being part of our company and continent (work place).
STRATEGY: To run Africa as a successful and world leading company, with strong values and a strong desire to deliver on diverse shareholder expectations.
- To have 85% employment, the balance will receive benefits to live a respectable life until they can work. (We respect that not everyone can work, but we will ensure they are respected and given an opportunity to somehow participate in our country).
- To have 100% of our children educated and employable.
- To have 100% of our people above the poverty line, every person will have access to 2 meals a day and a bed to sleep in and a place to work and a second set of clothes to wear.
- To have 85% of our people in their own homes, the rest in subsidised community sponsored homes.
- To have 100% of our people given access to the world’s best health and hospital facilities.
- To have 85% of our population transported to work by efficient public transport.
- To have a transport network that allows our people to get to work and to their communities cheaper and easier than personal driving their own vehicle.
- To have communities being autonomous but not exclusive.
- To have police stations that are community help centers.
- To have prisons that are empty.
Wow… how long have you got?
- One United States of Africa (USA…oops!) or Africa Incorporated.
- Only residential land can be owned, all other land falls into the capitalised assets of the AI and distributed according to best use and best user.
- The assets of Africa are incorporated into AI who then leases these assets out to the respective members of the AI collective (previously known as countries).
- The leases are auctioned and given for unlimited periods of time as long as each AI member pays there lease and provides the agreed returns on the assets engaged.
- Failure to pay for the lease will result in a default procedure and result in a re-auction to another AI team that can best bid for the lease and comply with its terms and returns.
- Define the AI culture by setting up an AI constitution, values, defined work ethic processes, diversity policies, performance evaluation measurements and incentives.
- Each country must give up its sovereignty and become a member / division / department / contributor of the AI.
- Each member has an internal Management team (elected internally) and the MD and FD each are represented on the main AI Board.
- Each AI member is given contributory targets to achieve and contribute to the AI.
- Each member will have autonomy with regards to operational processes but must comply with the Constitution of AI.
- Each member has 2 representatives on the Board of AI (MD and FD) and these have to change every 5 years.
In conclusion, I have not really thought this through into the deepest depth but, as I am still in the bath and it’s getting cold, I will delegate the deeper thinking and planning to those best trained in such things.
“Over but not out”
Director of the HISIDE Group