Thursday, 20 September 2018

Time For Ghana's Leaders And Media Professionals To Be As Bold As President Nkrumah Was - If The Ghana-Beyond-Aid Is To Ever Materialise

Tomorrow marks the birthday of President Nkrumah. Nkrumah, Ghana's first democratically elected leader, was much-maligned by the lackeys of neocolonialism and imperialism in our country. Like their Western sponsors, they understood correctly, what they would personally lose, if Nkrumah was able to achieve his dream of an industrialised  Africa, with a common market, because the West would no longer have access to our continent's natural resources, and no longer be able to sell Western manufactured goods to Africans, in what for them at the time was a captive market.

As one reminisces about the era of the remarkable Nkrumah, and his impact on the black race, one can't help feeling  that if only the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media had the nous and gumption to focus on the effects of the mental slavery, which still makes it possible for vested interests abroad, to continue having a hold on our country's natural resources,  it will speed up the transformation of our homeland Ghana into a prosperous and egalitarian society, akin to those of the Scandinavian nations.

It is time journalists in this country ended their cosy relationships with political parties  and members of our nation's mostly-self-seeking political class, and spoke truth to power instead, by  holding our nation's ruling elites to account in the management of our nation's affairs. How many journalists, for example, are aware of the nation-building work done by patriotic citizens running  radical organisations such as Prof Lungu's  - www.GhanaHero.com and Fair-Trade Oil Ghana (FTOS-Gh/PSA)? Incidentally, patriotic and independent-minded Ghanaian journalists wanting to join the campaign can cut and paste  this link to enable them sign the FOTOS-Gh/PSA petition here:  https://www.change.org/p/ghana-fair-trade-oil-share-psa-campaign-ftos-gh-psa).

The question is: Why are our educated urban elites not looking at renegotiating the unfair and obnoxious oil agreements signed by our leaders since oil in commercial quantities was discovered off our shores? Will newly signed production-sharing agreements - in replacement of the existing one-sided agreements - not provide the additional revenues needed to fund free education from kindergarten to tertiary level, as well as give access to affordable, well-designed and well-built  housing, and  free world-class-quality healtcare, for all Ghanaians in need of such vital social intervention intiatives? Haaba.

Finally, in light of all the above, to inspire our younger generation's cohort of dynamic young media professionals, today, we are posting a culled Forbes.com news story by Tim Worstall, which illustrates perfectly, what bold African leaders who actually care about their nations' well-being, and seek the welfare of their citizens, do, when confronted   with evidence of egregious rip-offs detrimental to their people, engaged in by foreign oil companies. If even our relatively poorer sister nation Chad's leaders can be so brave, when they discover clear evidence of powerful oil companies' chicanery, Ghana's current leaders have no excuse to continue  allowing our nation to be taken for a gigantic ride by foreign oil companies - not when hard-to-find-money is desperately needed for the transformation of our motherland Ghana, in the shortest possible time-frame,  practicable. Haaba. The time has come for Ghana's political leaders and media professionals to be as bold as President Nkrumah was - if the Ghana-beyond-aid is to ever materialise . Habba.

Please read on:


"Nov 16, 2016, 03:18am
Exxon's $74 Billion Fine In Chad - Unbelievable Economic Numbers Are Unbelievable
Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall
Contributor i

It is the economist Brad Delong who notes that we should all have some sort of general idea of economic numbers. Most especially, that we who write about the world should have some grasp of roughly what those numbers are. To the extent that Delong has been known to offer short courses and guides to us on what they roughly are. We're not talking about the details--what's the level of business investment in software sort of things. Rather, just rough ideas about how what might be reasonable. GDP changing by 20% in a year for example--unreasonable in the absence of a shooting war. Or there're some 320 million people in the US, 160 million of them work, the unemployment rate is about 5%, GDP is some $18 trillion.

The need for this is so that we can spot when something's not right. Or perhaps not important. Sure, we can say that $1 million is a lot of money. But if we say that "Americans spend $1 million on" then it's a trivial amount--Americans spend that $18 trillion each year. Or perhaps of more relevance after this election, it's fair enough to say that some 45% or so of Americans don't work but that's just not the same as 45% of Americans are unemployed.

With this rough grounding in even just orders of magnitude we can then evaluate stories as they pass us by. Like this claim about Exxon in Chad:

    Exxon Mobil Corp is negotiating with Chad over a record $74 billion fine the U.S. oil company was told to pay by a court in the central African nation over unpaid royalties, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

    Exxon has appealed the Oct. 5 court ruling, but the appeals court hearing has been delayed because of the talks, Bloomberg reported, citing a lawyer for Exxon.

That is not a believable number. It is the number being reported but it isn't a believable one:

    Exxon Mobil Corp. is negotiating with Chad’s government about a record $74 billion fine the oil company was told to pay last month by a court in the central African nation because of a dispute over royalties.

Neither I nor Delong are assuming that you should have at your fingertips the details of the Chadian oil trade. But these things are easy enough to look up.

Oil exports are some $2.5 billion a year or so from the nation. That's all exports, not just Exxon's. The company has been exporting since 2003, and yes, the oil price used to be about twice what it is now. $74 billion is thus, around and about, roughly, the total value of all oil exported over that period of time. Do note that I don't say that this is a correct number--only that we're in about the right sort of order of magnitude here.

As reported the dispute is about whether Exxon should have been paying a 2% royalty or a 0.2% one. Who is right here we have no idea, the company says it has an agreement, the government seems to be stating that the right people didn't sign off on it.

And we've one more point, which is that according to local rules fines are twice whatever the amount in dispute is.

There is absolutely no manner at all by which we can play with these numbers to gain a fine of $74 billion. Even the method of think of a number then double it doesn't get us there. Thus the number is unbelievable--because unbelievable economic numbers are unbelievable. And that basic background that Delong urges us all to have is all we need to grasp that. If we've just some rough idea of the size of things then we can immediately reject certain propositions.

For example, one that crops up here in comments quite regularly. That Walmart makes profits of $115 billion a year. This is again one of those unbelievable numbers and yet some people really do base their consideration of the wages the company should pay upon that sum. The true number is more like $15 billion--the $115 billion is the gross profit. That's the number left over after you deduct the costs of t-shirts, shoes and so on, the cost of goods, from the revenues. Out of the $115 billion you've then got to pay the electricity, buy the trucks, build the buildings, pay the workers and so on.

Or, as I say, unbelievable economic numbers are unbelievable. Here with Chad we'll just have to wait and see where the error is. It's possible that a court there has simply invented some number. It's possible that the tale has been a little garbled in the telling. What isn't possible though is that someone is seriously trying to fine Exxon $74 billion. That's around and about the value of all of the oil under discussion over a 13 year period, not a sum that could possibly be in dispute.

It might even be true that a court is claiming that sum but they're not being serious when they do.

I'm a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, a writer here and there on this and that and strangely, one of the global experts on the metal scandium, one of the rare earths. An odd thing to be but someone does have to be such and in this flavour of our universe I am. ... MORE

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End of culled Forbes.com article by Tim Worstall.



African Development Bank and Purdue University to hold conference on successful technologies for African farmers

The Scale Up Conference will bring together hundreds of individuals and organizations engaged in the introduction, diffusion, and adoption of agricultural innovations that have the potential to reach millions

INDIANA, United States of America, September 20, 2018/ -- African Development Bank and Purdue University to hold conference on successful technologies for African farmers:

From:               25/09/2018

To:                   27/09/2018

Location:          Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana

The African Development Bank  (www.AfDB.org )  and Purdue University are organizing the Scale Up Conference on Agricultural Innovations (https://AG.Purdue.edu/scaleup/Pages/about.aspx) from September 25-27, 2018, to address how to shift agricultural innovations from research institutions into the developing world, particularly Africa.

The Scale Up Conference will bring together hundreds of individuals and organizations engaged in the introduction, diffusion, and adoption of agricultural innovations that have the potential to reach millions.

Bank President Akinwumi Adesina will be the keynote speaker at the conference. Together with Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development Jennifer Blanke, Adesina will meet with university management and other stakeholders on partnership opportunities, including the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative, being steered by the Bank. TAAT is a knowledge- and innovation-based response to the recognized need for scaling up proven technologies across Africa.

“This will be the first multi-day conference on this topic that includes presentations, panel discussions, case studies, and breakout group discussions to help conference participants develop a thorough understanding of how to scale up agricultural innovations to reach millions,” said Indrajeet Chaubey, Associate Dean and Director of International Programs for the College of Agriculture at Purdue University.

Dozens of speakers who have implemented scale up processes in agricultural landscapes will participate.

“In the College of Agriculture we work to develop solutions to real world problems while also finding methods to realistically deliver and grow these technologies,” said Karen Plaut, the Dean of the College of Agriculture.  “The Scale Up Conference is about taking those technologies and applying them in the developing world.”

Participants are expected to gain an understanding of successful, sustainable large-scale implementation. Researchers, implementing organizations, the business community, governments, policymakers and the donor community will come together to discuss best practices for scaling up agricultural technologies.

For more than 60 years, Purdue University’s College of Agriculture has led and managed large agricultural research and development projects. In addition to a long history of significant agricultural innovations, the university has produced three World Food Prize laureates.

The African Development Bank Group is the premier development finance institution in Africa with a mandate to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in the continent, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.

The African Development Bank's authorized capital of around $US 100 billion, is subscribed to by 80 member countries made up of 54 African countries and 26 non-African countries. www.AfDB.org

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

SOURCE
African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

InsideSources/Kate Patrick: Congressmen Demand Answers From Google Over Data Collected From Children

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Congressmen Demand Answers From Google Over Data Collected From Children
Posted to Technology September 19, 2018 by Kate Patrick

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Two members of Congress are demanding answers from Google over allegations that they illegally use their powerful technology to gather data from children.  At the same time, Google is among the tech companies named in a lawsuit from New Mexico’s attorney general over targeting kids for data collection.

Representatives David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) sent a letter to Google Monday demanding “answers on whether its data collection practices for children using YouTube are in compliance with existing federal law.”

The letter is in response to a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in April by 20 child privacy and protection advocates who claim that YouTube violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) by collecting personal data on children using YouTube.

COPPA prohibits any company from collecting personal data on children under the age of 13 without parental consent, but many child privacy and protection advocates argue the law is ineffective as more and more children under 13 use Google’s search engine, as well as YouTube and game apps in Google Play.

The complaint filed by the child protection organizations quotes a 2017 study that found “80 percent of U.S. children ages 6-12 use YouTube daily” and that child-targeting channels like  ChuChuTV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs and Ryan ToysReview “are among the most popular channels” on the platform. They also alleged that “disclosures from content providers and public statements by YouTube executives” provide proof that YouTube is aware of the large number of children using their product, and that “the creation of the YouTube Kids app, which provides additional access to many of the children’s channels on YouTube” is designed to encourage under-13 viewership.

“YouTube even encourages content creators to create children’s programs for YouTube,” they allege.

YouTube does state in its Terms of Service that YouTube is “is not intended for children under 13. If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service. There are lots of other great web sites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you.”

But as the FTC complaint points out that YouTube does not notify parents or require any kind of parental consent for children under 13.

Meanwhile, a challenge has been mounted at the state level by New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas.  Last week he announced a lawsuit against Google, Twitter, Tiny Lab Producions, MoPub, AerServ, InMobi PTE, AppLovin and IronSource  claiming apps made by some of these companies and advertised in Google’s stores track and collect data on children.

Google has long struggled to counter the view that they are not serious about making their site a safe platform for children.  A year ago, Google lobbied against the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which seeks to strike down legal protections for tech platforms that knowingly host child sex trafficking ads.

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About the Author
Kate Patrick
Kate Patrick reports technology and finance news for InsideSources. She previously reported supply chain, freight, logistics, and procurement news as well as supply chain tech and regulation news for B2B startup Industry Dive.
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Fast Company/Ursula Meade: Men: Have you really stopped to think about gender equality?

Fast Company    

    09.20.189:00 am Work Smart

Men: Have you really stopped to think about gender equality?
It’s an entirely different thing for men to try to put themselves in women’s shoes so they can suss out what their female coworkers may really be experiencing on the job.
Men: Have you really stopped to think about gender equality?
[Photo: AndreyPopov/iStock]

By Ursula Meade 5 Minute Read

It’s one thing for men to talk about women.
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It’s another thing for them to talk about women’s issues.

And it’s an entirely different thing for them to actually sit down and try to put themselves in women’s shoes so they can suss out what their female coworkers may really be experiencing on the job.

I know because my cofounder, Daniel, did it. And what he learned was pretty surprising–at least to him. In fact, it was so revealing that he ended up quitting his job and dedicating his career to building InHerSight, the company we started together to improve workforce gender equality.

It started when the two of us were working together at a midsize financial tech company. The company we worked for was one of those rare gems that had an obsession, albeit a healthy one, with making sure its employees are happy and feel supported.

They offered just about every employee benefit you can imagine: unlimited paid time off, a game room, free food, yoga and exercise classes, as well as lactation rooms for nursing moms and some pretty sweet paid parental leave benefits.

It was awesome.
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One of the ways the company made sure it was doing a good job supporting its employees was by constantly asking us for feedback on various aspects of our work and the office environment.

RELATED: Care about gender equality? Ask hiring managers these five questions

Most of the time, it was a standard all-employee survey. But one questionnaire was specifically focused on women’s experiences at work. It explored issues such as whether leadership really listened to its female employees and if they were well represented in the company.

When Daniel sat down to take the survey to actually evaluate the company’s support for women specifically, he realized that not only had he never really thought about it before but that he had taken for granted his own experiences as a man.

I think you can guess what happened next. After he took the survey, he compared notes with me and several of the other women at the company and unsurprisingly learned that his assessment of our experiences was totally off.

From how often ideas were acknowledged in meetings to inclusion in deskside conversations to the enjoyment of the regular office Nerf wars and beyond, his own experience was not consistent with those of the women he worked with.
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Shocker! Well…not really.

Working women know that men have long had a leg up at work, earning more money for doing the same job, nabbing better promotions, and securing many more positions in top leadership.

RELATED: Why employees say these companies have figured out flexible work

Let’s just say that my coworker had an awakening after taking that survey and talking to me and other female coworkers about it. It was a turning point in his career.

He now spends every day building tools to help women achieve respect and equal treatment at work, which means understanding the issues women are facing better. It involves a lot of listening: to conversations around the office, to the latest statistics and news about women in the workplace, and to what the data and comments we collect from working women tell us. Then it’s necessary to make a conscious effort to notice when women are having a different experience than their male colleagues.

So now when we’re at a function and businessmen introduce themselves and offer their cards to Daniel without acknowledging me, he redirects their attention and lets them know that I am the CEO. When he notices a woman being ignored or not getting adequate credit for her ideas, he moves the conversation back to her–over and over, if necessary. He’s more mindful about his use of pronouns and in making assumptions about who works in what roles. And of course, he cofounded InHerSight.
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This is one, perhaps extreme, example of a man “switching on” to the issues women face at work and changing his behavior to become a better male ally, someone who associates with, cooperates with, and supports women.

It’s no secret that women want more allies. We polled 1,200 women in the InHerSight audience in hopes of determining how many women feel like they have male allies at work. The responses show that 42% of women think that they don’t have any male allies or are unsure if they do.

There are many simple yet mighty ways to help reduce the number of women yearning for allies. In fact, many of the women who responded to our poll offered examples of how men can better support them in the office. Here are some of the ways women told us how they want to see men do better:

    Acknowledge that there is still a problem.
    Ask women about what they are experiencing, listen to their responses, and echo and amplify their concerns.
    Be open about your opportunities and salaries.
    Bring more women to the table as peers.
    Speak up and say something when you know something isn’t right,
    Be respectful and call out anyone who isn’t.
    Back up women at work when we are passionate about something.
    Pay it forward. If there is an area where you excel and your coworker, on the other hand, needs help or has too much on her plate to focus on, offer your assistance to help her accomplish her goals. Be supportive of her success by giving her the tools needed to be successful.
    Don’t expect women to act like men. Stop perceiving feminine strengths as weaknesses (e.g., diplomacy, training/teaching, flexibility, etc.).
    Stop focusing on our physical appearance. Trust that they have the skills and more to do the job they were hired for.
    Give credit where credit is due.
    Share your salary information. Women lose out on a daily basis because they don’t know their worth.

At InHerSight, we have a lot more data detailing how companies support women. Although most responses come from women, men chime in, too. What we’ve learned from our various surveys is that what Daniel experienced is pretty common. In general, men rate companies and their perceived support for women higher than women do. And men’s biggest blind spots are consistently centered around women’s access to equal opportunities and management positions and their satisfaction with women’s representation in leadership.

So, men, go rate your companies’ support for women and then take a look to see how your female coworkers have ranked their own experiences.

Like Daniel, you may be surprised by the results.
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Ursula Mead is founder and CEO of InHerSight.
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RenewEconomy/Sophie Vorrath: Australian financial watchdog hones in on climate risk, warns companies to lift game

RenewEconomyAustralian financial watchdog hones in on climate risk, warns companies to lift game
Sophie Vorrath 20 September 2018 1 Comments
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Closing the “emissions gap” requires moving away from coal-fired power. Photo by Duncan Rawlinson/Flickr

National securities watchdog ASIC has put ASX-listed companies on notice after a broad-ranging review found corporate climate risk disclosure standards to be seriously lacking.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission report, published on Thursday, examined climate risk disclosures by 60 listed companies in the ASX 300; in 25 recent initial public offering (IPO) prospectuses; and across 15,000 annual reports.

Of the 60 ASX 300 listed companies, just 17 per cent identified climate risk as a material risk to their business; while most of the reviewed ASX 100 entities disclosure practices were found to be fragmented and vastly different.

And in some cases, the review found climate risk disclosures to be far too general, and of limited use to investors, ASIC said.

“Climate change is a foreseeable risk facing many listed companies in the Australian market in a range of different industries,” said ASIC commissioner John Price in comments.

“Directors and officers of listed companies need to understand and continually reassess existing and emerging risks (including climate risk) that may affect the company’s business – for better or for worse.

“Climate risk disclosure practices are still evolving, not only in Australia but also globally. We intend to monitor market practice as it continues to evolve and develop in this area.”

The findings of the report, and the recommendations from ASIC, have been welcomed by the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), which represents more than $2 trillion in funds under management.

“Financial regulators are clearly telling corporate Australia that they must report on climate change risk with the same level of rigour as any other financial risk. This report finds that currently they are not”, said IGCC CEO Emma Herd in comments on Thursday.

“While there is some evidence of progress for larger companies, worryingly ASIC found that the level of reporting has actually gone backward as regulatory signals have weakened over the past few years. This is especially true for companies outside of the ASX100,” Herd said.

“Investors need companies to report investable data which delivers a complete picture of climate-related risks. Investors are demanding better, more meaningful information and collaborating in unprecedented numbers through initiatives such as the Climate Action 100+ to push for it.

IGCC itself has been calling on companies to strengthen their corporate reporting on climate change disclosure for a number of years now, through frameworks like the global Taskforce on Climate-relate Financial Disclosure and through the Senate Inquiry into Carbon Risk.

“This report shows that Australian companies have the policy and accounting frameworks they need to report on climate change risks in a meaningful way. With ASIC, APRA and the market calling for better reporting on climate change, it’s time for Australia companies to step up,” Herd said.

Meanwhile, ASIC’s focus on climate risk disclosure contrasts with a complete loosing of the reins at the top of federal politics, as all attempts of emissions reduction are erased from energy policy, Paris fades from view, and Abbott’s Green Army makes a return.

But if companies can be moved by their shareholders to take climate change seriously, then perhaps governments will one day be convinced by their constituents to do the same.

“What we’re seeing is, in markets all round the world, in every region, increasingly you’re seeing investors picking this up and engaging with the companies that they invest in, have equity holders in, are owners in, and saying we expect you to be reporting on this,” said Herd told RenewEconomy in an Energy Insiders Podcast earlier this month.

“The speed at which those recommendations are being adopted is quite phenomenal, including here in Australia. And once you report it to market… you really begin to see how that changes how the companies behave. And it’s a work in progress, but it’s already having a significant impact.”

Herd said it was clear that investor money was ready to be deployed in new technologies and infrastructure, but that it would find a home in other markets if Australia continued to sow confusion with its policies.

“From our perspective, we can’t see how you can move forward with an energy policy that does not have an emissions component, because it is such a fundamental part of the energy system in Australia.

“We can’t see how you can regulate for reliability without regulating for emissions at the same time, because it is… two sides of the same coin.

“And we would very strongly argue for an integrated energy and climate policy, which actually does work towards delivering on Australia’s commitments under the Paris agreement, as well.”
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Fast Company/Lindsay Tigar : What 13 moms wish they knew their first week back from maternity leave

Fast Company

   

    09.20.188:00 am Strong female lead

What 13 moms wish they knew their first week back from maternity leave
“Absolutely everybody will have an opinion about what you should or should not be doing, but it’s important to take a step back from all of the chatter and let your body tell you what you instinctively need.”
What 13 moms wish they knew their first week back from maternity leave
[Photo: Tanaphong Toochinda/Unsplash]

By Lindsay Tigar  Long Read

Of all the seasons in your life—and your career—becoming a parent is among the most challenging. A tiny human has a way of wreaking havoc in every corner of your world, while also overwhelming your heart with the kind of love you never imagined. After those initial first few weeks of adjusting to a lack of sleep, and navigating the complicated process of breastfeeding, many women in the U.S. are thrown back into the workforce faster than they’d like.
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Or for some, not as early, as they’d prefer to save themselves from going stir-crazy. Regardless of how a female professional feels going into that first week post-maternity leave, those five days are often full of emotional surprises they didn’t expect. Luckily, these 13 successful executives and moms give you a sneak peek for the road ahead:
[Photo: Flickr user David D]
“It made me better at letting my guard down”

When the cofounder of Living DNA Hanna Morden had her first child, she worked up until the very last minute. Or as she put it, one minute she was having meetings, planning sessions, filling up her calendar, and the next, her legs were up in the air and she was being told to push. “I didn’t realize I was having contractions, so I was in meetings until my water broke,” she says.

After she welcomed her daughter, Claire, into the world, she didn’t quite comprehend how much rest one needs after giving birth, and when she did return to the office, she experienced a very different rhythm than before. In fact, she changed her communication approach. Instead of responding to emails, she was more proactive with face-to-face discussion in an effort to finish ASAP.

She found that at work, it became more about supporting and less about doing, which required her to let her guard down. Leaking breast milk at an awards ceremony helped her ease into herself more, too. “Nothing prepared me for being in a red dress and having my breasts leak milk at the table. And to top it off, our business won an award that night, so up I went to collect it, with two dark patches on my dress,” she explains. Now, at the end of her second pregnancy, she’s using these lessons to carry her into becoming a mom of two.
“It is okay not to feel guilt”

When Amber Olson Rourke, the cofounder and chief marketing officer for Nerium International, gave birth to her first child, Hattie, everyone warned her about the guilt she’d feel when it was time to come back to the office. To her surprise, she had the opposite response. “After my maternity leave, I was excited to go back to work. I am incredibly passionate about my job, and it is a huge part of who I am as a person,” she says.

After spending plenty of time cooped up taking care of a newborn, her professional life allowed her to reconnect to herself again, and become a role model for her daughter. “I want my daughter to see me as an example of a passionate, hard-working woman. When I am at work, I am 100% focused on my role there, and when I get home, I am 100% focused on my family.” It is this same mentality she’ll carry with her, as she’s due any minute to give birth to her second child.
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[Photo: Flickr user Adrian V. Floyd]
“Let your partner step in”

While everyone will remind new moms of the extra hands (and arms and hugs) they’ll need once they welcome a baby into the world, Jodi Harouche, the president and chief creative officer of Multimedia Plus, stresses the importance of letting your partner step in—and up!—too. It might seem like a no-brainer, but she says since many executives are programmed to do it all and not show how difficult something can be, they often forget to let dad in on the work.

“Let your partner be a part of getting you back to work. Today’s dads really do want to participate in raising kids. So let them. Let them change diapers, give the kids a bath, or take a nighttime feeding,” she says. “We don’t have to do everything on our own.”
“It’s okay to trust what you need”

The weeks leading up to the end of your maternity leave, you might feel a plethora of feelings: from looking forward to putting on actual clothes again to desperately wishing you could take your baby with you to every single meeting and conference. When mom of two and owner of StarCycle Dionne Del Carlo returned to work, she experienced a roller-coaster of emotions, and struggled to figure out what she actually needed, instead of what everyone told her she needed.

“Absolutely everybody will have an opinion about what you should or should not be doing, but it’s important to take a step back from all of the chatter and let your body tell you what you instinctively need,” she shares. “If going back to work full-time from the get-go doesn’t feel right for you, explore options with your employer. You would be surprised to find how accommodating many companies can be for new parents who are easing their way back into the workforce—whether through a temporary part-time position, or remote opportunities. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the best way to return to work.”
[Photo: Flickr user Bridget Coila]
“It’s a major identity shift”

Before Sophie Kahn, cofounder of AUrate, gave birth to her daughter May, she knew herself as, “Sophie, career workaholic.” But then, as she puts it, “Suddenly from one day to the next, I was a mom with an infant who needed her 24/7. To say it was a major identity shift is putting it lightly. Constant breastfeeding, diapers, burping, you name it—and my equilibrium felt entirely shaken,” she says. “With time, I realized I could be both, balance it, and even be good at both, but it was a big shock to the system. Having known about this beforehand would have definitely helped reduce my anxiety about it.”

Like other professionals, returning to work was actually a happy transition for Kahn, not one she felt immensely guilty about. (Well, only a little.) “On the third day back, I went out for a few hours to reply to emails and stay involved with AUrate. And then I continued to do this in between her naps and breastfeeding sessions. It made me feel ‘normal’ and like myself again,” she says. “Of course, this went coupled with feelings of guilt: ‘Why don’t I just want to stay at home in the baby bubble? Does this make me a bad mom?’ Having perspective now, it just shows me how much passion I have for my company. Back then, it could have helped reduce the guilt trap.”
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“Everything in my life changed but work didn’t”

Unsurprisingly, after having a baby, everything in Stacy Ellison’s life changed. From how she felt and how her days evolved, this Studio 11 cofounder and principal was expecting to go back into the office and find everyone else recovering from the tornado of transformation. What she found was, well, the office was the same. Understanding and adapting her previous responsibilities and expectations took time, as she discovered what her “new normal” would actually look like.

“Part of this is realizing that you are not the same person that left that day on maternity leave, but the expectation is to pick up exactly where you left off. If only it was that simple,” she says. “You think differently, you work differently, your availability changes, your priorities are shifting—yet going to work is like you never left. It’s important that you let yourself find that new balance and keep telling yourself that you aren’t failing your home or workplace.”
[Photo: Bart]
“Nursing is incredibly challenging”

Rocking your newborn while they nurse and slowly drift off into a peaceful sleep is an image plenty of mothers-to-be visualize while they’re pregnant. Though those moments do come for many, the process of breastfeeding and eventually pumping isn’t so rosy, according to Rachel Blumenthal, the cofounder and CEO of Rockets of Awesome. As a mom of two, she’s navigated the tricky feeding process twice. “I was nursing three to four times a day at home and then pumping three to four times a day at the office.

“I had to have all my pump pieces clean and intact, my ice pack and cooler prepared, and the schlepping back and forth every day was a third job,” she shares. “I’m exhausted thinking about it, and I cringe every time I remember the sound of that pump!”
“Great childcare is essential”

Much like being brave enough to ask for help, being diligent enough to secure childcare that allows you to be (mostly) at ease is essential for working moms, according to Tara Foley, the founder and CEO of Follain. Thanks to unusual hours and a busy travel schedule, she needed to hire someone who was flexible that she could trust when she was not only out of town, but also out of the country. It wasn’t as seamless as she hoped, and a process she had to slowly transition to over time. “In order to do this, I started back earlier than I would have liked, but this transition helped me figure things out with my childcare—and my body—more efficiently,” she says.
[Photo: Bastien Jaillot/Unsplash]
“Worrying is the new normal”

For Sara Eisen, the co-anchor of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street and Power Lunch, part of returning to her on-air duties was accepting that she’d always have a pit in her stomach. With an eight-month-old at home, stressing about her baby became a new habit. Even though she never considered herself a worrywart, as a mom, her attitude has completely shifted. “Honestly, it’s mostly silly stuff: ‘Is he aware that I’m gone? Is he eating well? Did he burp enough? Is he late to crawl? Is he getting a cold? Is he going to bump his head in the crib? Does he need more playdates?’—you name it, I worry about it,” she says. “This is a big adjustment, and I’ve had to learn to trust others with childcare, accept that I can’t—and shouldn’t—control everything, and realize that some level of worry is part of what being a parent will always be, no matter how old your kids are.”
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“Both mom and baby have to adjust”

Julia Wetherell LeClair, cofounder of Orchard Mile and mom of one, remembers her first day back at work perfectly. While pumping in the designated room, she opened her Nest app to check in on her daughter—and her heart sunk. She watched as her daughter screamed and cried, refusing the bottle from the nanny, and Wetherell quickly matched her child’s angst.

“Here I was sitting in a 3-by-3-foot windowless room attached to my pump, and I started to cry, thinking that if I was there, she would be cozy in my arms, and we would both have the biggest smiles on our faces,” she explains. After calling her mom in despair, she was reminded that returning to the office is a process for both the child and parent.

“By the third day, Chloe was completely settled, and I loved being back to work. It allowed me to use a different part of my brain during the day, and really appreciate every second of my time with my little baby. I now couldn’t wait for her to wake up at 3 a.m.!” she says.
[Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStock]
“I’m proud of doing something, not everything”

Jessica Abo, author and CEO of JAbo TV, concisely describes the pressure of hard-working, go-getting female professionals: “We want to do it all, we want to do it all well, and we want to look good while doing it.” Though this mentality is a pre-children goal, once she became a mom, she’s figured out how to be proud of what she has done instead of focusing on what she has left to do. “I’ve come to accept that I won’t be able to do everything perfectly, and that sometimes, done is better than perfect. And I’ve laughed over how ‘looking good’ these days means I’m in workout clothes that could pass as an outfit, or pajamas that actually match,” she says.
“Work-life balance is a myth”

And a big one at that, according to Autumn Manning, cofounder and CEO of YouEarnedIt. When she became a first-time mother at 25 while also building her business, she quickly realized that one’s professional and personal lives not only intersect occasionally, but at every turn. “Traveling with a newborn, being part of pitch meetings and nursing—in between everything we had going on with the business—was really challenging. I had to learn to move, maneuver, and adapt, and still be present for the important parts of life,” she says. “Learning to lighten up and let anything extra go (without guilt) is an important skill, and one that takes practice to be good at. I wish I’d known that, after my son was born.”
[Photo: Mike Marquez/Unsplash]
“Everyone at work supported me”

For some women, motherhood can feel like a lonely experience. And for others, there is even shame in returning from maternity leave, as they are afraid their colleagues or managers will think of them differently. Natasha Lucke, interior designer of Kalahari Resorts and Wisconsin Dells and mother of three, wishes she would have known how supportive her professional community would be of her growing family. “After my first child, I felt I had to hide the fact that I was tired and stressed, but the reality was that my work community wanted to help. I used to trick myself into thinking that I couldn’t share too much about my personal life in the corporate world—but I found the exact opposite to be true,” she says. “It helps to create an environment of encouragement and a healthy support system for people at work. Now I share stories daily, and the kids come and visit often.”
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The Driven/Bridie Schmidt: VW adds electric cargo bike to its fleet of zero emission working vehicles

   
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VW adds electric cargo bike to its fleet of zero emission working vehicles

    Posted on September 20, 20183 minute readBridie Schmidt

e-Cargo Bike

VW has presented a fleet of all-electric and hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, that includes not only 4 types of e-vans for transport and cargo use, but even an electric cargo bike.

The new range spans the gamut of the light commercial vehicle market, offering solutions for long-haul routes, urban and last-mile delivery and even an option for the tradies.

Crafter HyMotion
VW Crafter HyMotion

Starting at the heavier end of the light delivery vehicle class is the hydrogen-fuelled Crafter HyMotion.

Currently in concept stage, this 3.5 tonne van carries a 4.2kg hydrogen tank and 13.1kWh li-ion battery that can travel a distance of 350km without refuelling, and is available with an optional larger tank for those needing a longer driving range of 500km.

According to VW, the Crafter HyMotion is nearing production stage – but that whether or not it reaches market is entirely dependent on analysis currently being conducted to determine if its production will be profitable.

ID BUZZ Cargo
I.D. BUZZ Cargo

Also in concept stage is the I.D. BUZZ cargo van concept – the working dog equivalent of the I.D. Buzz ‘electric Kombi’ that we told you about yesterday.

Similar in appearance to the I.D. BUZZ microbus, VW intends to fit out the cargo van version with specialised shelving for sparkies and technicians in mind, that can track and deliver items needed for jobs, that are stored on the shelves at the push of a button.

There is however a missed opportunity, with no mention of powerpoint –  we imagine this would also be very useful for tradies (no prizes for guessing what this would be powered off).
The ABT e-Caddy can also be used as an electric taxi
The ABT e-Caddy can also be used as an electric taxi
ABT e-Caddy and e-Transporter

Joining the Crafter HyMotion and I.D BUZZ are the ABT e-Caddy and ABT e-Transporter.

These small delivery vans, designed for urban delivery in collaboration with strategic partner ABT, fill a prominent gap in the German automaker’s electrified commercial vehicle range.

The e-Caddy is the smaller of the two, with 4.2 m3 interior space and a top speed 120km/hr (somewhat faster than needed for urban delivery it must be said), comes with a 37.3kWh battery and 82kW electric motor and a range of up to 220km (NEDC).

The e-Transporter is the EV version of the eighty-year strong Transporter model, and in addition to the same 37.3kWh battyer of the e-Caddy has an optional version with a battery capacity of 74.6 kWh, giving a range of 200 or 400 kilometeres, according to the German automaker.

Electric drive retrofit solutions for the ABT range are slated to arrive on market in 2019.

e-Cargo Bike
Cargo e-Bike

The cargo e-bike , which is to be made available for sale in 2019, is designed for the last mile on the way to the customer, but could also be used in areas such as CBDs, factories or on hotel premises.

It’s by no means something to be zipped around in; the 250W electric motor offers a maximum speed of 25 km/hr.

Designed for a payload of up to 210 kg (including the driver), it is is equipped with two wheels at the front, supporting the low cargo area which fits a transport box with a storage capacity of 0.5 m³.

Tilting technology that VW have engineered for the front axle ensures that goods being transported on the loading area are always sure to stay stable.

All in all, VW’s new commercial EVs look to be very usable across a range of applications – and we will see them on Aussie shores from 2021 onwards.

As a spokesperson from VW Australia has told The Driven, “We see this sector as an important part of our local EV rollout and have already received great interest from our corporate customers.”
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Jaguar I-Pace charges through Chunnel – London to Brussels on single charge

    Posted on September 20, 2018Tony Bosworth

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The Driven/Tony Bosworth: Jaguar I-Pace charges through Chunnel – London to Brussels on single charge

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Jaguar I-Pace charges through Chunnel – London to Brussels on single charge

    Posted on September 20, 20182 minute read Tony Bosworth

Jaguar wants to put range anxiety to rest with its new I-PACE SUV due in Australia next month and the company has gone a fair way to doing just that with a 369km drive from London to Brussels on a single charge.

The all-electric performance SUV began its intercity trip on London’s South Bank, with its 90kWh battery fully charged, before heading to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone in Kent.

But unlike the 80 million vehicles that have made the crossing by train since the Channel Tunnel opened, the I-PACE travelled the 50km through the world’s longest undersea tunnel using its own power.

After emerging into the Calais sunshine from the service tunnel which runs between the two rail tunnels, Stephen Boulter, the Jaguar engineer behind the wheel, headed east and arrived at the historic Mons Des Arts in central Brussels with eight per cent battery charge still left.

Stephen Boulter, Vehicle Integration Manager, Jaguar I-PACE, said: “We know customers won’t compromise on everyday usability so we engineered our electric performance SUV to deliver outstanding real-world range.

“By driving the 369km from London to Brussels on a single charge – and arriving with plenty of range left – we’ve demonstrated how comfortably it deals with long-distance journeys.”

As part of the challenge, the I-PACE cruised along motorways and through rush-hour traffic in the northern hemisphere’s summer heat to reach the Belgian capital.

The I-PACE has some very neat features which help drivers tackle longer journeys.

For example, before the journey begins, pre-conditioning can automatically heat or cool the battery to reach its ideal operating temperature and set the cabin to the desired temperature too. Using power from the grid to do this instead of drawing current from the battery is more efficient and maximises range.

The navigation system takes account of route topography and driving style to calculate range on any given journey and can plot the most energy-efficient route available.

It will also alert the driver if the programmed destination cannot be reached and will help to find charging stations within range – using a 100kW DC rapid charger can add up to 100km of extra range in just 15 minutes.

Clearly in Australia that will be more of a challenge than in Europe where charging stations are popping up everywhere, compared to here where they are still thin on the ground.

Still, the $120,000 I-PACE’s range should be more than enough for most Aussie drivers to get comfortably – and without too much anxiety – from A to B.

You can see a Jaguar promotional video of the event here.
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Investopedia: What is a 'Leverage Ratio'?

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Leverage Ratio
What is a 'Leverage Ratio'

A leverage ratio is any one of several financial measurements that look at how much capital comes in the form of debt (loans), or assesses the ability of a company to meet its financial obligations. The leverage ratio is important given that companies rely on a mixture of equity and debt to finance their operations, and knowing the amount of debt held by a company is useful in evaluating whether it can pay its debts off as they come due.
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BREAKING DOWN 'Leverage Ratio'

Too much debt can be dangerous for a company and its investors. However, if a company's operations can generate a higher rate of return than the interest rate on its loans, then the debt is helping to fuel growth in profits. Nonetheless, uncontrolled debt levels can lead to credit downgrades or worse. On the other hand, too few debt can also raise questions. A reluctance or inability to borrow may be a sign that operating margins are simply too tight.

There are several different specific ratios that may be categorized as a leverage ratio, but the main factors considered are debt, equity, assets, and interest expenses.

A leverage ratio may also be used to measure a company's mix of operating expenses to get an idea of how changes in output will affect operating income. Fixed and variable costs are the two types of operating costs; depending on the company and the industry, the mix will differ.

Finally, the consumer leverage ratio refers to the level of consumer debt as compared to disposable income and is used in economic analysis and by policymakers.
Leverage Ratios for Evaluating Solvency and Capital Structure

The most well known financial leverage ratio is the debt-to-equity ratio. It is expressed as:

D/E Ratio = Total Debt / Total Equity       

For example, Macy's has $15.53 billion in debt and $4.32 billion in equity, as of fiscal year ended 2017. The company's debt-to-equity ratio is $15.53 billion / $4.32 billion = 3.59. Macy's liabilities are 359% of shareholders' equity which is very high for a retail company.

A high debt/equity ratio generally indicates that a company has been aggressive in financing its growth with debt. This can result in volatile earnings as a result of the additional interest expense. If the company's interest expense grows too high, it may increase the company's chances of a default or bankruptcy. Typically, a D/E ratio greater than 2.0 indicates a risky scenario for an investor, however this yardstick can vary by industry. Businesses that require large capital expenditures (CapEx), such as utility and manufacturing companies, may need to secure more loans than other companies. It's a good idea to measure a firm's leverage ratios against past performance and with companies operating in the same industry to better understand the data.

The equity multiplier is similar, but replaces debt with assets in the numerator:

Equity Multiplier = Total Assets / Total Equity 

For example, Macy's has assets valued at $19.85 billion and stockholder equity of $4.32 billion. The equity multiplier would be $19.85 billion / $4.32 billion = 4.59. Although debt is not specifically referenced in the formula, it is an underlying factor given that total assets includes debt. Remember that total Assets = Total Debt + Total shareholders' Equity. The company's high ratio of 4.59 means that assets are mostly funded with debt than equity. From the equity multiplier calculation, Macy's assets are financed with $15.53 billion in liabilities.

The equity multiplier is a component of the DuPont analysis for calculating return on equity (ROE): 

ROE = Net Profit Margin x Asset Turnover x Equity Multiplier                          

An indicator that measures the amount of debt in a company’s capital structure is the debt-to-capitalization ratio, which measures a company’s financial leverage. It is calculated as:

Long-term Debt to Capitalization Ratio = Long-term Debt / (Long-Term Debt + minority interest + equity)

In this ratio, operating leases are capitalized and equity includes both common and preferred shares. Instead of using long-term debt, an analyst may decide to use total debt to measure the debt used in a firm's capital structure. The formula, in this case, is:

Total Debt to Capitalization Ratio = (current liabilities + Long-Term Debt) / (current liabilities + Long-Term Debt + minority interest + equity)
Degree of Financial Leverage

Degree of financial leverage (DFL) is a ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. It measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), and is represented as:

Degree of Financial Leverage with EPS in the numerator
DFL can also be represented by the equation below:

Degree of Financial Leverage with EBIT as numerator

This ratio indicates that the higher the degree of financial leverage, the more volatile earnings will be. Since interest is usually a fixed expense, leverage magnifies returns and EPS. This is good when operating income is rising, but it can be a problem when operating income is under pressure.
Consumer Leverage Ratio

The consumer leverage ratio is used to quantify the amount of debt the average American consumer has, relative to their disposable income.

Some economists have stated that the rapid increase in consumer debt levels has been a main factor for corporate earnings growth over the past few decades. Others have blamed the high level of consumer debt as a major cause of the great recession.

Consumer Leverage Ratio = Total household debt/ Disposable personal income
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African Development Bank, mariner investment group, and africa50 price landmark $1 billion impact securitization

Structured as a synthetic securitization by Mizuho International, Room2Run transfers the mezzanine credit risk on a portfolio of approximately 50 loans from among the African Development Bank’s non- sovereign lending book, including power, transportation, financial sector, and manufacturing assets

MONTREAL, Canada, September 19, 2018/ --

•    With “Room2run,” AfDB Launches Securitization Market for Multilateral Development Bank Sector
•    Transaction is in Direct Response to G20 Action Plan for Mdb Balance Sheet Optimization
•    AfDB Commits to Reinvest freed up Capital into New African Infrastructure Lending, Making Room2run one of the Largest Impact Investments ever
•    Transaction is supported by New European Union Guarantee Tool (European Fund For Sustainable Development)


The African Development Bank (www.AFDB.org), the European Commission (http://EC.Europa.eu/growth/industry/innovation/funding/efsi_en), Mariner Investment Group (www.MarinerInvestment.com), LLC (Mariner), Africa50 (www.Africa50.com), and Mizuho International plc  (www.Mizuho-EMEA.com) today announce the pricing of Room2Run, a US $1 billion synthetic securitization corresponding to a portfolio of seasoned pan-African credit risk. Room2Run is the first-ever portfolio synthetic securitization between a Multi-Lateral Development Bank (MDB) and private sector investors, pioneering the use of securitization and credit risk transfer technology to a new and previously unexplored segment of the financial markets.

Structured as a synthetic securitization by Mizuho International, Room2Run transfers the mezzanine credit risk on a portfolio of approximately 50 loans from among the African Development Bank’s non-sovereign lending book, including power, transportation, financial sector, and manufacturing assets. The portfolio spans the African continent, with exposure to borrowers in North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa. Mariner, the global alternative asset manager and a majority-owned subsidiary of ORIX USA, is the lead investor in the transaction through its International Infrastructure Finance Company II fund (“IIFC II”). Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, is investing alongside Mariner in the private sector tranche. Additional credit protection is being provided by the European Commission’s European Fund for Sustainable Development in the form of a senior mezzanine guarantee.

“Room2Run gives us fresh resources to invest in the projects Africans need most,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “Africa has the most promise, the greatest natural resources, and the world’s youngest population. But we also have the world’s most persistent infrastructure deficits. The African Development Bank has the strategy to address these infrastructure finance gaps—and Room2Run gives us the capacity to make it happen.”

Structured as an impact investment, Room2Run is designed to enable the African Development Bank to increase lending in support of its mission to spur sustainable economic development and social progress. In connection with Room2Run, The Bank has committed to redeploy the freed-up capital into renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, including projects in low income and fragile countries.

“On the Impact scale, Room2Run is off the charts,” said Dr. Andrew Hohns, Lead Portfolio Manager and head of the Mariner Infrastructure Investment Management team. “Room2Run answers the call of the G20 for private sector participants to step in and facilitate development finance, providing a template for attracting significant private sector capital into urgently needed projects in developing economies.”

Raza Hasnani, Head of Infrastructure Investment at Africa50 commented, “Room2Run provides an innovative and commercially viable solution to the African Development Bank’s risk management and lending objectives, while paving the way for commercial investors to support and benefit from the growth of infrastructure on the continent. Africa50 is very pleased to participate in this landmark transaction, which is in line with our mandate to drive increased investment in infrastructure in Africa, and to create pathways for long-term institutional capital to flow into this space.”

Room2Run enjoys the support and participation of the European Commission with an investment from the European Fund for Sustainable Development, in the form of a senior mezzanine guarantee. “Only a few days after announcing our renewed Alliance with Africa for sustainable investments and jobs, I am very happy to announce that we are, together with the African Development Bank, launching Room2Run,” commented Neven Mimica, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. “This initiative is a perfect example of what we are doing to support investments in African low income and fragile countries through the External Investment Plan. Through Room2Run, we provide an additional protection to investments in the field of renewable energy. Through our Guarantee, investments under Room2Run will translate into extending supply to many people currently without electricity whilst creating much-needed new jobs.”

Room2Run also directly responds to calls by the G20 that MDBs use their existing resources to full capacity, as articulated in the 2015 G20 MDB Action Plan to Optimize Balance Sheets, as well as calls for greater MDB efforts to crowd-in private investment. The G20 has called on MDBs to share risk in their non-sovereign operations with private investors, including through structured finance, mezzanine financing, credit guarantee programs, and hedging structures.[1],[2]

The Government of Canada has been a global leader in advocating for MDBs to use their existing resources more efficiently and to mobilize private capital for global development. The goal of the G20 MDB Action Plan to Optimize Balance Sheets is to catalyze significant new development financing from the MDBs throughout the real economy in key development regions.  “Attracting more private capital into global development efforts is critical to building economies that work for more and more people around the world,” said Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, “that’s why Canada and our G20 partners have been calling on multilateral development banks to use their existing resources as efficiently as possible, and to look for new ways to attract more private capital.  We are pleased to see the African Development Bank come forward with a transaction that directly responds to both of these objectives.  Room2Run is an innovative solution to a long-standing challenge.”

Juan Carlos Martorell, Co-Head of Structured Solutions at Mizuho International, adds, “Compared to other synthetic securitizations, a major achievement of Room2Run has been to ensure that ratings agencies, and in particular S&P, reflect the merits of the risk transfer into their rating assessments for multilateral development banks. The Bank’s leadership through this transaction has now set the stage for broader adoption of the instrument throughout the MDB community.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).



Media contacts:

AfDB: Nafissatou Diouf, Manager, Media Relations, N.Diouf@AFDB.org
Mariner Investment Group, LLC: David Press, Tel: (917) 721-7046, David@FeverPress.com
Africa50: Fleur Tchibota, Tel: +212666171099,F.Tchibota@Africa50.com
Mizuho International plc: Gayle Rodrigues, Corporate Communications, Tel: +44 207090 6213,
Gayle.Rodrigues@UK.Mizuho-sc.com
European Commission: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Tel: + 32 229-65322

About the African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group (www.AFDB.org) is the premier development finance institution in Africa with a mandate to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in the continent, thereby contributing to poverty reduction. The Bank Group achieves this objective by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in the continent; and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts. The African Development Bank's authorized capital of around USD 100 billion is subscribed to by 80 member countries made up of 54 African countries and 26 non-African countries.

www.AFDB.org

Media contacts:

AfDB: Nafissatou Diouf, Manager, Media Relations, N.Diouf@AFDB.org
Mariner Investment Group, LLC: David Press, Tel: (917) 721-7046, David@FeverPress.com
Africa50: Fleur Tchibota, Tel: +212666171099,F.Tchibota@Africa50.com
Mizuho International plc: Gayle Rodrigues, Corporate Communications, Tel: +44 207090 6213,
Gayle.Rodrigues@UK.Mizuho-sc.com
European Commission: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Tel: + 32 229-65322

About the African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group (www.AFDB.org) is the premier development finance institution in Africa with a mandate to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in the continent, thereby contributing to poverty reduction. The Bank Group achieves this objective by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in the continent; and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts. The African Development Bank's authorized capital of around USD 100 billion is subscribed to by 80 member countries made up of 54 African countries and 26 non-African countries.

www.AFDB.org

About Mariner Investment Group, LLC

Mariner Investment Group (www.MarinerInvestment.com) is a global alternative asset management firm that advises several direct and affiliated single and multi-strategy hedge funds, funds of funds, and other alternative investments services. Founded in 1992, Mariner and its associated advisers manage approximately $11 billion of assets through  offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Philadelphia, Dallas, Harrison (NY), Rowayton (CT) and Summit (NJ).

www.MarinerInvestment.com

About Africa50

Africa50 (www.Africa50.com) is a pan-African infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable, environmentally sustainable, medium to large scale infrastructure projects, with a focus on the energy, transport, ICT and midstream gas sectors. Africa50 catalyses public

About the European Fund for Strategic Development

The new European Union EFSD Guarantee (http://EC.Europa.eu/growth/industry/innovation/funding/efsi_en) is part of the EU's ambitous External Investment Plan launched in 2017. The aim of the Plan is to encourage investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood region to promote growth and job creation. The Plan focuses on a number of priority investment areas, such as sustainable energy and connectivity; micro, small and medium enterprises financing; sustainable agriculture, rural entrepreneurs and agroindustry; sustainable cities and digitalization for sustainable development.

The European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) combines existing investment facilities and the

EFSD Guarantee instrument to leverage additional financing for investments in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood region.

About Mizuho International plc

Mizuho International plc (Mizuho International) (www.Mizuho-EMEA.com) is the London based securities and investment banking arm of the Mizuho Financial Group, Inc., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. With a primary focus on client based activities, its wide range of services includes sales and trading in both debt and equity securities, the underwriting of new issues and M&A advisory services. Mizuho International is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is a member of the London Stock Exchange and LCH.Clearnet Limited. Mizuho’s Structured Solutions team has structured and arranged SRT transactions across a wide range of internal and external issuer portfolios totaling £10 billion, with experience in granular and concentrated portfolios, asset classes, single/multiple currencies and structural features, across jurisdictions globally. Mizuho International also has an office in Frankfurt, Germany and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. www.Mizuho-EMEA.com

Mariner Investment Group (www.MarinerInvestment.com) is a global alternative asset management firm that advises several direct and affiliated single and multi-strategy hedge funds, funds of funds, and other alternative investments services. Founded in 1992, Mariner and its associated advisers manage approximately $11 billion of assets through  offices in New York, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Philadelphia, Dallas, Harrison (NY), Rowayton (CT) and Summit (NJ).

www.MarinerInvestment.com

About Africa50

Africa50 (www.Africa50.com) is a pan-African infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable, environmentally sustainable, medium to large scale infrastructure projects, with a focus on the energy, transport, ICT and midstream gas sectors. Africa50 catalyses public

About the European Fund for Strategic Development

The new European Union EFSD Guarantee (http://EC.Europa.eu/growth/industry/innovation/funding/efsi_en) is part of the EU's ambitous External Investment Plan launched in 2017. The aim of the Plan is to encourage investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood region to promote growth and job creation. The Plan focuses on a number of priority investment areas, such as sustainable energy and connectivity; micro, small and medium enterprises financing; sustainable agriculture, rural entrepreneurs and agroindustry; sustainable cities and digitalization for sustainable development.

The European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) combines existing investment facilities and the

EFSD Guarantee instrument to leverage additional financing for investments in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood region.

About Mizuho International plc

Mizuho International plc (Mizuho International) (www.Mizuho-EMEA.com) is the London based securities and investment banking arm of the Mizuho Financial Group, Inc., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. With a primary focus on client based activities, its wide range of services includes sales and trading in both debt and equity securities, the underwriting of new issues and M&A advisory services. Mizuho International is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is a member of the London Stock Exchange and LCH.Clearnet Limited. Mizuho’s Structured Solutions team has structured and arranged SRT transactions across a wide range of internal and external issuer portfolios totaling £10 billion, with experience in granular and concentrated portfolios, asset classes, single/multiple currencies and structural features, across jurisdictions globally. Mizuho International also has an office in Frankfurt, Germany and in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. www.Mizuho-EMEA.com

SOURCE
African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

IMF Blog/Martin Čihák and Ratna Sahay: Women in Finance: An Economic Case for Gender Equality

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By Martin Čihák and Ratna Sahay

September 19, 2018

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A group of women attend an event in Sao Paolo to promote women’s participation in the financial sector: women account for 51% of borrowers in Brazil (Sebastio Mareira/Newscom)

Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, from depositors and borrowers to bank board members and regulators.

Our new study finds that greater inclusion of women as users, providers, and regulators of financial services would have benefits beyond addressing gender inequality. Narrowing the gender gap would foster greater stability in the banking system and enhance economic growth. It could also contribute to more effective monetary and fiscal policy.

Women on average accounted for just 40 percent of bank depositors and borrowers in 2016, according to IMF survey results published this year—the first time such data became available. Underlying these aggregate figures are large variations across regions and countries. For example, women accounted for 51 percent of borrowers in Brazil, compared with only 8 percent in Pakistan.


Growing evidence suggests that increasing women’s access to and use of financial services can have both economic and societal benefits. For example, in Kenya, women merchants who opened a basic bank account invested more in their businesses. Female-headed households in Nepal spent more on education after opening a savings account.

More inclusive financial systems can magnify the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies.

Such benefits illustrate why economic growth increases with greater access to financial services. The same benefits result from increasing female users of these services. More inclusive financial systems in turn can magnify the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies by broadening financial markets and the tax base.

When women lead in finance

What about the financial system itself? Does it matter whether women are represented among bankers and their supervisors?

In a previous paper, we showed that large gaps persist between the representation of men and women in leadership positions in banks and banking supervision agencies worldwide.

We found that women accounted for less than 2 percent of financial institutions’ chief executive officers and less than 20 percent of executive board members. The proportion of women on the boards of banking-supervision agencies was also low—just 17 percent on average in 2015.

As with users of financial services, we found considerable regional variation in the presence of women in banking leadership roles. Sub-Saharan African countries had the highest shares of female banking executives, while Latin America and the Caribbean had the lowest. Advanced economies were in the middle.

We found that the gender gap in leadership does make a difference when it comes to bank stability. Banks with higher shares of women board members had higher capital buffers, a lower proportion of nonperforming loans, and greater resistance to stress.

We found the same relationship between bank stability and the presence of women on banking regulatory boards.

What can explain these findings? There are four possible reasons why a higher share of women on bank and supervisory boards may contribute to financial stability:

    Women may be better risk managers than men;
    Discriminatory hiring practices may mean that the few women who do make it to the top are better qualified or more experienced than their male counterparts.
    More women on boards contributes to diversity of thought, which leads to better decisions; and
    Institutions that tend to attract and select women in top positions may be better-managed in the first place.

Based on evidence in our paper and related literature, we find that the observed higher stability is most likely due to the beneficial effects of greater diversity of views on boards, as well as discriminatory hiring practices that lead to hiring better qualified or more experienced women than men.

Our findings strengthen the case for financial inclusion of women to enhance economic growth and foster financial stability.

We need more research and better data to explain how to achieve these benefits and to identify the conditions that facilitate the entry of women into leadership roles in banks and supervisory agencies.

We acknowledge important contributions from previous co-authors Papa N’Diaye, Adolfo Barajas, Srobona Mitra, Annette Kyobe, Yen Nian Mooi, and Seyed Reza Yousefi, as well as from the Financial Access Survey team in the IMF’s Statistics Department.

This blog post is the first in a series stemming from the IMF’s research on gender. Posts on technology and productivity will follow.
Related Links:
Ending Harassment Helps #TheEconomyToo
Banking on Women Leaders: A Case for More? IMF Working Paper
Chart of the Week: Educate Girls and Women to Boost Equality
By IMFBlog| September 19th, 2018|banking, Finance, Financial markets, Gender issues, inclusive growth
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African Development Bank President Adesina urges Canada to be present at Africa’s investment table

Adesina made the call while meeting with 80 leading representatives of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Commerce in Toronto

TORONTO, Canada, September 19, 2018/ -- African Development Bank President (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina, on Wednesday urged Canadian business leaders to “be part of the action and seize investment opportunities on the continent.” Adesina made the call while meeting with 80 leading representatives of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

Promoting the Bank’s upcoming Africa Investment Forum (AIF), scheduled for 7-9 November 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Adesina said, “Canada must not be missing at Africa’s investment table. It is time to change the lens through which Africa is perceived and to make clear distinctions between perceived and real risks.”

AIF will bring together global private capital and investment funds, sovereign wealth funds and the private sector, for what is primarily being billed as a transactional marketplace to bridge Africa’s $68 - $170 billion infrastructure gap.

Stella Kilonzo, Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum; Timothy Turner, African Development Bank Group Chief Risk Officer; Garreth Bloor, Managing Director, Glenheim Venture Capital; Chris Clubb, Managing Director, Convergence Blended Finance; Hakan Gunay, Senior Director of Finance, Skypower Global, were among panelists  discussing investment and blended finance options in Africa at the event.

Addressing participants, Bank Executive Director, David Stevenson explained that the Forum was “about deals and getting things done and not a talk shop.”

Adesina, who is leading a high-level delegation alongside Stevenson, Executive Director for Canada, China, South Korea, Kuwait and Turkey, also met with Reeta Roy, President/CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, to discuss synergies for supporting youth employment and access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

Earlier in Ottawa on Tuesday, Adesina announced a $1 billion synthetic securitization transaction at Canada’s National Press Theater.

Although securitization is routine for commercial banks, it is cutting-edge for development finance institutions. The African Development Bank is the first Multi-Lateral Development Bank (MDB) to use this game-changing innovative financing mechanism. Room2Run, structured as an impact investment, will enable the Bank to increase its lending to spur economic development and social progress across the continent.

 “Africa has the most promise, the greatest natural resources, and the world’s youngest population. But we also have the world’s most persistent infrastructure deficits. The African Development Bank has the strategy to address these infrastructure finance gaps—and Room2Run gives us the capacity to make it happen,” Adesina said.

The landmark transaction was concluded with the Mariner Investment Group and Africa50.

At Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Adesina exchanged views with Diane Jacovella, Deputy Minister of International Development and Leslie E. Norton, Assistant Deputy Minister, Sub-Saharan Africa Branch at Global Affairs.  The two parties explored areas for further partnership between the Bank and Canada, including support for the Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative.

In a keynote address at the Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa on Africa’s economic situation, President, Adesina said, “Some ask the question whether the Africa rising story is over. Well I don’t think Africa was ever down.”

Adesina told partners and employees of Global Affairs, “The continent is not different from other parts of the world that pass through episodes of growth spurts and dips. The narrative on Africa should not be determined outside of Africa. Africa must control its own narrative,” he noted.  The event was hosted by David Morisson, Canada’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Later, meeting with African ambassadors, the Bank President commended Canada’s leadership role in helping advance Africa’s economic agenda. He acknowledged the ambassadors’ collective commitment and support in promoting Africa as an investment destination of choice.

Adesina wrapped up the Ottawa stop with a bilateral meeting with Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Internal Trade Diversification, where he again made the case for increased investment on the continent and urged Canada to look to Africa as a new trade destination in line with its diversification agenda.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Media contact:

Nafi

SOURCE
African Development Bank Group (AfDB)