Never before in modern history have we had a president-elect so ill-informed, ill-tempered, irrational and ill-equipped to deal with the major issues that face this country. The counterintuitive election of Donald Trump has left a lot of political pundits from both parties throwing up their hands, saying, “All we can do is hope for the best.” But as Mark Wahlberg’s character in Deepwater Horizon warns the British Petroleum executives ignoring the oil platform’s numerous problems right before it bursts into flames: “Hope is not a strategy.” And based on the political appointments and nominations Trump has recently made, people of color have little reason to be hopeful. That’s why it’s especially important over the next four years that black celebrities step up and take stances to give voice to those in the black community who will not be heard by the incoming administration. Given that the country is in the throes of a civil rights backlash that threatens to undo the progress we’ve fought so hard to attain, we have to be fearless and relentless in speaking up at every opportunity.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
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By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
Written by Jim Clingman March 19th, 2016
While Black people are bogged down in shallow and meaningless political discourse, our vaunted Black organizations continue to be M.I.A. except for their time in front of the cameras with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They say they cannot endorse candidates, but we all know that’s a sham.
In an article written by Freddie Allen, of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Marc Morial said the nine Black organizations that met with the candidates wanted to “provide to every candidate who is running for president of the United States, be they Republican or Democrat, the opportunity to hear from us on issues of civil rights, social justice, and economic justice in America, today.” Any real demands made on our behalf?
Al Sharpton said, “For the first time in American history, we will watch a Black family leave the White House and we do not want to see the concerns of Blacks leave with them.” So that’s where our concerns have been hibernating for the past seven years; and all this time I thought Sharpton and the POTUS were taking care of them.
And, I suppose to give comfort to Clinton and Sanders, Morial said the nine historic civil rights organizations represent tens of millions of Americans and that all of their organizations were “multicultural and multi-ethnic.” Multi-cultural and multi-ethnic? That’s strange; I thought they were Black or at least “colored.”
Speaking of colored, let’s look at one of these “Black” multi-cultural/ethnic organizations. In case you missed the cryptic message at the beginning of this article, “Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices,” think about the NAACP. You may know it as the group whose answer to the Ferguson issue was to walk 130 miles to the Missouri Governor’s office, followed up by a 1,000 mile stroll from Selma to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in search of justice. Guess they didn’t find it when they got there.
This is the group that practices outright hypocrisy by railing against voter suppression and voter ID laws, while accepting and even promoting those corrupt practices within their own ranks. More specifically, this is the group that has wreaked havoc in Ohio by conducting four elections for State President, two of which were legitimately won by Jocelyn Travis over Sybil McNabb, and two of which were do-overs by the national office via its henchman, Gill Ford, to keep their chosen candidate, McNabb, in office.
In the first corrupt election over which the national office presided, children were allowed to vote for McNabb—yes, children! In the second corrupt election, which just took place on March 12, 2016, again under national supervision, the same corrupt practice used in Cincinnati was used by Gill Ford in Columbus. He suspended Travis three days prior to the election, just as he did the Cincinnati president, whom he suspended the day before the election in an obvious effort to have his chosen candidate run unopposed.
The NAACP’s “Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices” is shameful, especially in light of holding themselves up as the national champion for fairness in the voting process. Even more shameful is the fact that only a relative few members, among those who have actually seen these shenanigans take place, are willing to stand up against the NAACP’s corruption.
The good news is that a group of members throughout Ohio have followed the lead of the Crittenden County (Arkansas) and Cincinnati branches by seeking and winning a Temporary Restraining Order against the NAACP’s continued interference in local elections. The results of the March 12th election are being held in abeyance by a Columbus, Ohio judge, who will conduct a hearing on April 7, 2016. You can be sure that all evidence of corruption, voter suppression, and election-rigging will be brought forth at that time.
Aside from the obvious hypocrisy displayed by the national leadership of the NAACP, not only in this case but in several other branches across the country, their corrupt practices also point to a larger problem. So-called Black organizations like the NAACP, despite their implied social contract with Black folks, can be swayed, bought, rented, or leased with nothing expected in return except a few dollars under the table, a political photo-op, or a nice hotel suite. The NAACP needs to stop abusing its members’ rights before purporting to speak on our behalf.
As for nine Black organizations suggesting they are the repository of Black power, here’s a question: If they have power, why after nearly eight years of a Black President are we, as cited in Morial’s State of Black America Report, worse off now and in “crisis”? As the heads of those organizations now intercede on our behalf, by meeting with presidential candidates, what would make us believe Blacks will get anything specific from the next administration?Post Views: 290
By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoEthiopia is one of the Africa countries expecting strong growth. Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Wall Street Journal.The news last month from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding sub-Saharan African growth has investors breathing a sigh of relief.
The IMF expects sub-Saharan Africa to grow by 3.4 percent in 2018, up from the 2.6 percent in 2017. Although such figures create optimism, they do not match the higher growth numbers in previous years.
Between 2004 and 2011, for example, sub-Saharan Africa grew 6.2 percent, with a peak growth of 7.6 percent in 2007 and a low of 4.1 percent in 2009 due to the 2008 global financial crisis.
The average growth between 2012 and 2015 was 4.5 percent, and growth has trended downward since then.
The rebound in 2018, according to the IMF, is not an indication of strong momentum in growth going into 2019.
One-third of the countries will grow 5 percent or more in 2018—largely in the eastern and western regions of Africa—however, combined with a decline of per capita incomes in 12 countries which house 40 percent of the region’s population (~400 million people), according to the IMF’s report.
This piece looks at the countries offering the best opportunities in 2018, with a strong consideration for the challenges in 2019. That qualification for 2019 underlines the economic and political uncertainty that will be created by a few elections in the coming 18-24 months.
Expected growth of 1.9 percent and 1.1 percent in Nigeria and South Africa respectively will bump up against elections in both countries in 2019, which has some investors skittish about the coming year.
The election of Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016 excited many investors. Getting an administration in place and making some economic changes, however, took some time, thus 2017 receives mixed reviews. But all indicators point to a strong 2018 with growth expected at 8.9 percent.
Oil production is expected to pick up in the country to match the current $60-plus thinking on Brent prices in 2018.
Kosmos plans to resume drilling on Ghana’s TEN project in early 2018. Energy growth, including gas-to-power, will be the focus in 2018 which will further help Ghana strengthen local aspirations with consumer products and light industrialization.
Any forward movement on the “Made in Ghana” policy launched in 2016 would be helpful for a country that would love to manage its imports and build up local content.
Agri-business is also an exciting focus for this country, with many investors viewing Ghana as a key player in agriculture for the continent going forward. Education also always remains an interest in what is considered West Africa’s education hub.
Ethiopia is expected to grow 8.5 percent in 2018. To many investors, such high growth in Ethiopia is not anything necessarily new in recent times and has not always bred investment opportunity.
The positive from Ethiopia in 2018 may simply boil down to a three things: (1) the amount of consumers continues to grow (thus why Ethiopia has the largest mobile operator); (2) consumers are spending more; and (3) investments have been tried and proven (compared to pre-2012).
Investors will find a ready partner for manufacturing and light industry as the model has been tested and proven beneficial for both investors and the country.
Agri-business will also be a focus for investors as local content for packaged goods and food is big for the government’s tight management of imports in relation to the Ethiopian currency.
Non-food related goods, including pharmaceutical products and household products (i.e., toothpaste, detergent), still require more investment for similar currency reasons and to address local consumer demand.
The Francophone Africa show will continue into 2018 led by Cote d’Ivoire. The country is expected to maintain its 7 percent-plus growth in 2018 and 2019.
Power generation is improving, with increasing interest from private investors and development institutions, and accompanies West Africa’s second largest port, a modern airport, and a relatively strong road network.
The growth, however, may be outpacing other vital sectors, including the real estate and financial sectors. Housing and office space is in demand for a growing middle class and to support growing international businesses in the country.
The financial sector still requires some restructuring and offers opportunity for private investors with an appetite for smaller sized investments that are capable of producing strong returns.
Senegal is the other pivotal country in the Francophone story. The opportunity in the country is widespread and underpinned by 7 percent grow in 2018. Energy and transport infrastructure are still a vital focus for the country.
The story here is not new as Senegal knows its economic hub reputation for West Africa depends on its ability to support business in the region with basic infrastructural requirements.
Other exciting opportunities largely flow from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are more the story in Senegal versus some other West African giants.
The government is doing a lot to support entrepreneurship in industrialization, manufacturing and agriculture in the country to boost SMEs. The ongoing complaint, ironically (for this article), remains the same with a lack of operational and financial partners.
Those concerned about a Senegalese election in 2019 can probably find solace in the strong performance of President Macky Sall’s ruling coalition in the 2017 legislative election.
The next three – Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique
Picking one of the above three to finish out a top five is hard. Burkina Faso is on the right track with 6.5 percent growth expected in 2018 to follow up what appears to be 6.4 percent growth in 2017.
Extractive industries and public investment, especially in infrastructure, have largely driven these growth numbers. But the government recognizes the challenges with a large concentration of its growth dependent on its own spending.
Thus current spending allocated for 2017 and 2018 significantly focus on entrepreneurship and boosting the business landscape for SMEs, particularly as it confronts extremism in the country.
Pulling in foreign investors has not been easy and makes the growth story a more cautious one.
Kenya remains the ‘beast of the east’ but is still settling its presidential election. Many investors expect a big 2018 for the country when the dust settles (hoping the dust settles before 2018). The business environment is familiar to investors and it is the economic and financial hub for East Africa.
The country’s airline has refinanced; the financial sector has finally digested an interest rate cap; and foreign investors had to sit still during a 2017 slow down – they will want to release the pent-up capital and energy.
The excitement is nevertheless cautious, as any political situation (as seen in 2017) can cause a complete slowdown.
Mozambique is quietly getting back on track after a debt fiasco…yes the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is still investigating the fallout. That said, President Filipe Nyusi is doing his part to clean up the country’s image.
The gas story is getting back on track for LNG. Investors are returning to the country with Kibo Capital making the latest investment in the country’s consumer goods space. Other investors are lurking around agri-business, logistics and warehousing which is great news after the last 18-24 months.
A strong turnaround would touch the Lusophone hearts in Africa (including yours truly).
Zimbabwe makes the list because there are many investors who have been excited by this country for years. The economic collapse in 2008 and subsequent economic hiccups have kept many investors away.
Playing politics is not fun for investors but you can bet that there will be investors closely watching how the political situation plays out in Zimbabwe.
Any economic opening with clear investment rules and laws, followed by an improved legal system and enforcement would excite anyone looking at the country. That said, there is a significant amount of work necessary to create a favorable environment to attract capital.
Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker with private equity experience in emerging economies focusing on the natural resources and energy sectors. He earned a law degree in tax and commercial law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and a master’s of business administration in finance, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Post Views: 305