Monday, 23 October 2017

African Innovation Summit 11

Innovation: Addressing Africa’s Challenges

KIGALI, Rwanda, October 23, 2017/ -- Ihaba ( and the Government of Rwanda ( are pleased to announce that the second Africa Innovation Summit (AIS II) ( will take place from 6 to 8 June 2018 at the Kigali Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda. The AIS II will build on a very successful first Summit, and it will include activities before, during and after the Summit. The AIS seeks innovative and disruptive solutions for major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, and health systems. AIS II will be a three-day event and the program will include a set of plenary sessions on major thematic issues, over twenty facilitated workshops in focused workgroups to deepen the dialogue and to seek solutions to challenges facing African countries, as well as many side events and special programs. The Summit will also include Satellite events in three to five locations within the continent, an exhibition by 50 African SMEs and institutions with scalable innovative ideas, products and/or services, and a Youth Innovation Challenge. Leading up to the Summit, AIS will organize hackathons and blogs to mobilize practical popular engagement. Post-Summit, the AIS will work on a series of knowledge outputs, including policy briefs and book with case studies, as well as promote the implementation of the recommendations.

As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS II will bring together participants with the power to act, from all parts of the continent and elsewhere, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers and other government officials, Heads of the regional and continental organizations, CEOs of established firms, founders of start-ups, investors, academics, researchers, policy, science and technology experts, business angels, innovators as well as major thinkers with the aim of seeking solutions to challenges and mobilizing for collective actions.

Ihaba is a business development organization based in Cabo Verde with a mission of transforming Africa through incubating innovative ideas as well as actively engaging in building a conducive environment for innovation in Africa. The Government of Rwanda, under the leadership of His Excellency President Paul Kagame, has taken the lead in promoting innovation in Africa. As noted by Jose Brito, Managing Partner, Ihaba, “We are excited about the AIS II and looking forward to engaging everyone through this partnership with the Government of Rwanda to find innovative and scalable solutions to the challenges facing the continent.” Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of Youth and ICT for Rwanda, stated that “On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, we are delighted to welcome AIS delegates to Kigali for the continental event on innovation focused on finding answers to some of the perennial challenges facing our continent. This is in line with our national agenda to be at the forefront of finding creative solutions to our developmental challenges. The government of Rwanda is committed to working with Ihaba to ensure that the event is successfully hosted in the country”. Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, Director of AIS, indicated that the “AIS is not another event but the continental platform aimed at building the ecosystem for innovation in Africa in order to ensure Africa’s structural transformation.” AIS and the Government of Rwanda cordially invite all to come participate in the Summit and to join the movement to facilitate change in Africa from within.

To learn more visit, call: 238 262 0339 or email:

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Innovation Summit.

Olugbenga Adesida                         
Tel. +238 262 0339

Africa Innovation Summit

Investopedia/Deborah DSouza: Tesla Signs Deal to Build Wholly Owned Plant in Shanghai


Tesla Signs Deal to Build Wholly Owned Plant in Shanghai

By Deborah DSouza | Updated October 23, 2017 — 6:15 AM EDT

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Electric car manufacturer Tesla (TSLA) has signed a deal with Shanghai to set up a manufacturing plant in the city's free-trade zone, according to a Wall Street Journal report published on Sunday. The stock is up 2 percent in pre-market trading on Monday.

People familiar with the matter said the facility will be wholly owned by Tesla, a first for any foreign auto maker with operations in the country. Tesla would not have to share its profits or technology with a Chinese partner. However, it would most likely have to pay China's 25% import tariff and would not qualify for local subsidies.

The timing of the official announcement is still being discussed, but a spokesman reiterated that production plans in China would be clearly defined by the end of the year. The deal would still need the approval of Beijing, noted The New York Times.

Tesla tripled its sales in China to over $1 billion in 2016, even though its cars cost roughly 50 percent more in the country than they do in the U.S. Import duties increase the cost and shipping adds another $3,600 to the price tag, according to the company. Last month, a Piper Jaffray analyst said China could become Tesla's biggest source of revenue if it is allowed to manufacture in the country without a partner. “Undoubtedly, authorities envision an army of Chinese companies emerging to dominate the global EV market. But dig deeper and the landscape appears less daunting," wrote Alexander Potter in a note to clients. "We find most of China's EVs are chintzy in comparison to Tesla's products … and realistically Tesla's most capable global peers are probably years away from releasing locally-built luxury EVs.” (See also: Tesla Will Thrive if China Relaxes Rules: Piper Jaffray)
In June, Bloomberg reported that the car company had signed a preliminary agreement with Shanghai's government. China is the world's largest electric vehicle market, with half a million electric cars and buses sold in the country last year. The government provides attractive incentives to buyers and producers. It has been keen to promote the technology because it is looking to reduce dependence on oil imports, and it has been struggling with severe air pollution. It is also eyeing global market dominance in the industry.

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Investopedia: What is the difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics?

What is the difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics? By Investopedia Staff | Updated March 30, 2017 — 2:32 PM EDT


Microeconomics is generally the study of individuals and business decisions. Macroeconomics looks at higher up country and government decisions.

Macroeconomics and microeconomics, and their wide array of underlying concepts, have been the subject of a great deal of writings. The field of study is vast; here is a brief summary of what each covers:

Microeconomics is the study of decisions that people and businesses make regarding the allocation of resources and prices of goods and services. This means also taking into account taxes and regulations created by governments. Microeconomics focuses on supply and demand and other forces that determine the price levels seen in the economy. For example, microeconomics would look at how a specific company could maximize its production and capacity so it could lower prices and better compete in its industry. (Find out more about microeconomics in How does government policy impact microeconomics?

Microeconomics' rules flow from a set of compatible laws and theorems, rather than beginning with empirical study.

Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is the field of economics that studies the behavior of the economy as a whole and not just on specific companies, but entire industries and economies. This looks at economy-wide phenomena, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and how it is affected by changes in unemployment, national income, rate of growth, and price levels. For example, macroeconomics would look at how an increase/decrease in net exports would affect a nation's capital account or how GDP would be affected by unemployment rate. (To keep reading on this subject, see Macroeconomic Analysis.)

John Maynard Keynes is often credited with founding macroeconomics when he started the use of monetary aggregates to study broad phenomena. Some economists reject his theory and many of those who use it disagree on how to interpret it.
Micro and Macro

While these two studies of economics appear to be different, they are actually interdependent and complement one another since there are many overlapping issues between the two fields. For example, increased inflation (macro effect) would cause the price of raw materials to increase for companies and in turn affect the end product's price charged to the public.

The bottom line is that microeconomics takes a bottoms-up approach to analyzing the economy while macroeconomics takes a top-down approach. Microeconomics tries to understand human choices and resource allocation, and macroeconomics tries to answer such questions as "What should the rate of inflation be?" or "What stimulates economic growth?"

Regardless, both micro- and macroeconomics provide fundamental tools for any finance professional and should be studied together in order to fully understand how companies operate and earn revenues and thus, how an entire economy is managed and sustained.

If you are interested in learning more about economics, take a look at What is "marginalism" in microeconomics and why is it important? and What kinds of topics does microeconomics cover?

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Partners in Excellence Blog: Is Social Selling Missing The Digital Revolution?

Partners in Excellence Blog

Is Social Selling Missing The Digital Revolution?
Posted: 23 Oct 2017 03:58 AM PDT

Step back a little more than a century as electricity was being commercialized.  I’m sure in bars and meeting rooms, sales people and marketers were talking about how wonderful electricity was and what it could do to improve sales and marketing.  I can imagine conversations like:

    Sales person:  “We can now light up our displays at shows, so people can really see our products and how cool they are.  We could never do that with kerosene lamps or candlelight….”

    Marketing person:  “We no longer have to work in the dark, we can work longer hours, producing more content for you to hand out to customers.  Imagine all the brochures, flyers, data sheets we can produce…..”

    Customers were independently thinking:  “Now we can inspect these products more carefully, we can shine a bright light to make sure they are great quality….”

Roughly the same time, the telephone was coming into popularity.  Conversations probably were:

    Sales person:  “Wow, now I don’t have to actually see the customer, if they have phones, I can just call them up……We can start a movement called telephone selling….”

    Marketing people were probably equally excited:  “We need to get all their telephone numbers and start calling them every day about our products……”

    And customers were independently thinking:  “Imagine if they invented something like Caller ID, I could avoid all these annoying calls…..”  (OK, I’m getting carried away.)

Those sales and marketing people learned these tools, electricity and the telephone, augmented and helped everything they did in selling and marketing.  It shifted a lot of investments into leveraging these technologies.  For example, the concept of the “traveling sales person,” was changed somewhat, but still a very important element of sales execution. After all, our ability to connect and communicate is still far more impactful face to face.

But electricity and the telephone weren’t just about sales and marketing.  They revolutionized the way we live, the way businesses work, and created literally millions of new opportunities for business, societies, and people.

Fast forward to today,  sales and marketing people are engaged in the same conversations–not surprisingly on social media–LinkedIn, Twitter, SnapChat, Facebook, and thousands of other sites and blogs. Our customers are embracing their digital buying journeys as well.  They leverage digital sources throughout their buying process–both out of convenience, because of the abundance of information, and out of avoidance–the desire to put distance between themselves and sales people.

Our conversations are similar to those imagined conversations decades ago, they focus on how we leverage social channels to sell and market, and how our customers leverage these channels to buy.

Ironically, these discussions rarely capture the bigger implications of the digital revolution in which these social tools actually play a very small part.

Digital Business Transformation impacts every one in the world, it impacts and is reshaping our businesses, societies, and cultures.  Just like the previous industrial revolutions, virtually everything will change.  Business models, that were once very successful, are being shattered.  Everything we thought worked in the past is being challenged.

Our own organizations and our customers’ are challenged with making sense of the opportunity digital business transformation presents.

Focusing only on our customers’ digital buying journeys or our own social selling efforts limits our abilities to understand and address the opportunities and challenges of digital business transformation.  It restricts our thinking for our own businesses–both how we leverage these tools and the solutions we offer.  It restricts the value we create in helping our customers make sense of their own digital business transformation.

Yes, we absolutely have to engage our customers in their digital buying journeys, we have to leverage these tools in our own selling and marketing.  But we can’t  stop there, we have to re-imagine whole new businesses, completely new solutions, and completely new ways of serving and engaging our customers.

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Pension systems at risk of creating inter-generational equity issues

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index shows that South Africa needs to deal with issues of coverage, mandatory contributions and increased preservation to improve its pension system

NEW YORK, United States of America, October 23, 2017/ --

    Sustainability of some current systems is under threat
    Denmark maintains #1 position for sixth year
    Index expanded to include Colombia, New Zealand and Norway

Unsustainable pension systems in some countries need to learn from leading countries or risk creating intergenerational equity issues and disappointed retirees.

Now measuring 30 countries and covering 60% of the world’s population, this year’s ninth edition of the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index ( urges countries with unsustainable pension systems to take action now, rather than risk the need to take even more drastic action in the future.

Jacques Goulet, President of Health and Wealth at Mercer (, stresses the need for countries to address sustainability when considering pension reform.

“Increasing life expectancies and low investment returns are having significant long-term impacts on the ability of many systems around the world to deliver adequate retirement benefits both now and into the future,” Mr Goulet says. “These pressures have alerted policy makers to the growing importance of intergenerational equity issues.”

Mr Goulet says Japan, Austria, Italy, and France are examples of developed economies whose pension systems don’t represent a sustainable model that will support current and future generations in their old age.

“This is due to a combination of factors including a lack of assets set aside for the future, low labour force participation at older ages, and significant demographic changes towards an ageing population,” says Mr Goulet. “If left unchanged, these systems will create societal pressures where pension benefits are not distributed equally between generations.”

Author of the report and Senior Partner at Mercer, Dr David Knox, says it’s not all doom and gloom; every country can be taking action now to move towards a better pension system.

“The primary objective of the Index is to benchmark each country’s retirement income system so we can learn to understand what best practice may look like, both now and into the future,” says Dr Knox. “From our research, it is clear which countries are leading the way in providing sustainable pension systems with adequate benefits and what others can learn from them to improve. Denmark, Netherlands, and Australia are three such countries which, whilst taking different approaches depending on their starting point, adopt a strong multi-pillar approach as highlighted in the Index.”

Professor Edward Buckingham at the Australian Centre for Financial Studies ( says that the report tells us that Australia’s pension system is good but there is room for improvement.

“Without the immigration of young people from other countries our ageing locally-born population would face significant challenges funding their retirement. The reason is simply that as we live longer, healthcare and public service costs will escalate and our society, like others, will face pressure to fund the needs of the old at the expense of the young. Optimising the use of savings set aside for retirement is a perennial responsibility that demands strategic improvement of pension systems worldwide,” says Professor Buckingham.

“Besides demographic constraints the various frameworks we create to guide investment decisions include moral and ethical dimensions that will shape the nature of wealth creation and transfer. This report contributes a uniquely global survey which provides a basis for articulating the merits and faults of many different approaches to these challenges."

Supported by the Victorian Government and bringing together the best minds in Australia’s financial services and research expertise fields, the Index is testament to Victoria’s dominant position in the superannuation and financial services sectors.

Mr Ken Ryan AM, Commissioner for Victoria to Europe says, “with a strong financial services sector and deep talent pool, Melbourne continues to lead the way in funds management, a central part of any superannuation and annuities system. The 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, released in September, ranked Melbourne in 13th place reflecting the progress the Victorian Government is making to ensure Victoria is recognised as a leading global financial centre.”

What does the future look like?

Some countries face a steeper path to system sustainability than others, and all start from a different origin with their own unique factors at play. Nevertheless, every country can take action and move towards a better system. In the long-term, there is no perfect pension system, but the principles of best practice are clear and nations should create policy and economic conditions that make the required changes possible.

With the desired outcome of creating better lives, this year’s Index provides a deeper and richer interpretation of the global pension systems. Having now expanded to include Colombia, New Zealand and Norway; the Index measures 30 systems against more than 40 indicators to gauge their adequacy, sustainability and integrity. This approach highlights an important purpose of the Index - to enable comparisons of different systems around the world with a range of design features operating within different contexts and cultures.

Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index by the Numbers

This year’s Index reveals that Denmark, in its sixth year running, has retained the top position with an overall score of 78.9, ahead of the Netherlands and Australia at 78.8 and 77.1 respectively.

Michael Prinsloo, Executive Head of Institutional Research & Product Development from Alexander Forbes says “South Africa’s pension system has several well developed pillars, many with high integrity as South Africa has a well-regulated and highly regarded financial sector, but it’s country rating has deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 in terms of the Index largely as a result of a decline in the adequacy score. The adequacy score deteriorated primarily due to a correction in the level of household savings as opposed to a change in the system. Notwithstanding this, South Africa will continue to score lowly in the “adequacy” category until issues of coverage, mandatory contributions and increased preservation are dealt with”.

Mercer South Africa CEO, Annemagriet Schoeman says “Retirement provision in South Africa remains a hot topic and will continue to be until the social environment improves to be more inclusive”.

New entrants to the Index, Norway and New Zealand, achieved credible overall index values of 74.7 and 67.4 respectively. Both countries were noted as having a sound structure, with many good features, but have some areas for improvement. Colombia, with an overall index value of 61.7, was noted as a system with some good features, but also a system with some major risks and shortcomings that need to be addressed.

A-Grades prove elusive in 2017 Index

In maintaining the integrity and relevance of the Index, two new questions have been included which has resulted in no country achieving the elusive ‘A’ grade. The first question addresses real economic growth in the sustainability sub-index, while the second question makes some allowance for voluntary pensions.

Naturally, the addition of a new question in the sustainability sub-index has resulted in the questions relating to assets and contribution levels having had their weightings reduced. Countries that have seen a significant improvement in their index value are those which have had high real economic growth during the last three years and where this is projected to continue during the next three years. These include China, India, Indonesia, Ireland and Malaysia. Conversely, countries with significant pension assets and high mandatory contributions but with lower real economic growth have seen a decline in their sustainability sub-index value. These include Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands.

“The Index is an important reference for policy makers around the world to learn from the most adequate and sustainable systems,” Dr Knox says. “We know there is no perfect system that can be applied universally, but there are many common features that can be shared for better outcomes.”

Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index – Overall index value results

The following table ( shows the overall index value for each country, together with the index value for each of the three sub-indices: adequacy, sustainability, and integrity. Each index value represents a score between zero and 100.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mercer LLC.

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Media contact:
Zanele Malaza

About Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index:
The Melbourne Mercer global Pension Index ( is published by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS), in collaboration with Mercer and the State Government of Victoria who provides most of the funding. Financial support has also been provided by The Finnish Centre for Pensions.

About Mercer:
Mercer ( delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organisations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 22,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies ( (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With more than 60,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $13 billion, through its market-leading companies including Marsh (, Guy Carpenter ( and Oliver Wyman (, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit

About the Australian Centre for Financial Studies:
The Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS) ( is a research centre within the Monash Business School. The Centre was established in 2005 with seed funding from the Victorian Government and became part of Monash University in 2016. Its research is mainly funded by a range of corporate partners and collaborators and is accessible, evidence-based and independent, and aims to inform public policy, community debate and industry practice. This report with Mercer is an important example of the research output.

The mission of the ACFS is to support the essential role of financial services in the economy through evidence-based research, insightful dialogue and meaningful collaboration across industry, government and academia. For more information, visit

Trade and Investment Victoria:
Trade and Investment Victoria ( leads the Victorian Government's strategy to increase the state's export opportunities as well as attract international business investment to Victoria to create Victorian jobs and grow the economy.

Through its global network of 22 Victorian Government Trade and Investment offices, Trade and Investment Victoria provides free professional investment advice and services to potential and existing overseas partners, helping facilitate investment and access to export markets.

Businesses looking to invest, explore commercial opportunities or create research linkages in Victoria should contact Trade and Investment Victoria for more information.

Victoria - The State of Momentum.

Mercer LLC

Investopedia: What is 'Investing'?


What is 'Investing'

Investing is the act of committing money or capital to an endeavor (a business, project, real estate, etc.) with the expectation of obtaining an additional income or profit. Investing also can include the amount of time you put into the study of a prospective company, especially since time is money.
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The income that results from investing can come in many forms, including profit, interest earnings, or appreciation. Investing refers to long-term commitment, as opposed to trading or speculating, which are short-term and often deal with heavy turnover and, consequently, a higher amount of risk.

Investing is the key to building wealth, but investing in and of itself is not enough. You have to invest wisely! Investing is risky, as the business you invest in could go down in value or even close down completely. It is important to research the business and analyze the risk of investing before putting money down. To learn more about how investments generate capital and why an investment might benefit you, read How Will Your Investment Make Money?

The term investing can also refer to time. For example, you could invest your time in working on a project or mentoring a promising young talent. In both of these situations, the same desired outcome applies as investing money: you're hoping to reap some sort of benefit. This benefit could come in the form of professional success (which can also lead to monetary profit) or the satisfaction of bettering another human being.
How to Invest

You can make an investment at a bank, broker, or insurance company. In many cases, these organizations pool the investment money they receive to make more large-scale investments, and each individual investor has a claim on a portion of the larger investment. You can also make an investment with a broker, who will handle the order in exchange for a fee or commission.

If you want to try your hand at investing but don't know where to start, read Investing 101: A Tutorial For Beginner Investors.
Types of Investment

There are two major kinds of investment: fixed income and variable income. Fixed income investment refers to an investment that bring in a set amount of interest income on a regular basis, such as bonds or fixed deposits. Variable income investment refers to business or property ownership.
History of Investing

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) first opened in 1792, and it remains today one of the world's leading exchanges. Most of the established banks that dominate the investing world began in the 1800s, including Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. In the early 1900s, the term investing was highly intertwined with trading, speculating, and other terms that are now seen to be more risky and refer to short-term endeavors. Around the 1950s, investing was distanced from these other terms and became known as a longer-term, more reliable way to purchase securities.

The most well-known and successful investor today is Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and renowned philanthropist. His name is usually near the top of the world's wealthiest people list.
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Video Definition

An investment is an asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or will appreciate in the future. In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or will be sold at a higher price for a profit.
BREAKING DOWN 'Investment'

The term "investment" can be used to refer to any mechanism used for the purpose of generating future income. In the financial sense, this includes the purchase of bonds, stocks or real estate property. Additionally, the constructed building or other facility used to produce goods can be seen as an investment. The production of goods required to produce other goods may also be seen as investing.
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© 2017, Investopedia, LLC. Feedback All Rights Reserved Terms Of Use Privacy Policy O. Hernæs: Greatness requires focus
Innovation – Finance – Technology

Greatness requires focus

By Christoffer O. Hernæs
October 23, 2017 0 Comments Banking, Fintech


Ever since I started analyzing how technology and new business models would significantly impact financial services, I’ve been eager to put that knowledge into action. Now that I’m in position that enables me to do that I need to focus mye time accordingly.

In my time focusing on fintech I have transitioned from a management consultant, to VP of innovation of strategy at SpareBank 1 to now been responsible for business development, innovation and IT as Chief Digital Officer at Skandiabanken. Going forward my focus will be:

Attract, recruit and retain top digital talent. A vital component to survive in a digital age, is having the right competence. According to a survey conducted by CapGemini, 90 percent of responding companies were lacking necessary digital skills. We are already well positioned, but we are seeking to strengthen ourselves across all areas, and we are actively looking for the best digital comptence. In short: We are hiring!

Open banking will define the financial service industry in the future, and we will do our part. This development emerges out of a perfect storm of shifting customer behavior, regulatory changes, the threat from digital ecosystems such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, and the quest for new business models are driving banks towards the inevitability of open banking or banking as a platform. APIs are at the heart of open banking. If executed correctly propose to increase innovation, foster collaboration, extend customer reach and lower costs compared to existing legacy systems. Key concepts in open banking is to use open source technologies to enable third-party developers to build financial applications on top of the banks’ existing infrastructure as well as integrating third party data in the digital services available at the bank.

At Skandiabanken we are exploring both ends of the scale. When we allowed our customers to integrate their cryptocurrency holdings through Coinbase to our online banking platform, it was to take the first step towards exposing third party data in the digital banking experience. Soon we will launch our developer portal at, where customers can develop their own front-end applications based on their own data. Make sure to sign up to get early access.

Democratizing wealth creation. Through our stake in Quantfolio we aim to build and launch the frst and leading robo advisory platform in Norway, while at the same time leverage this success story to accelerate Quantfolio as the leading vendor of turnkey AI investments components for banks and wealth managers across Europe. Through machine learning algorithms, Quantfolios solution provide automated, sophisticated AI advice to a wide range of banking customers. As chair of the board in Quantfolio I look forward to participate in this journey. Download our savings app to get access to our robo advisor as soon as it launches.

SMEs have long been an underserved segment, lacking good digital solutions, access to capital and attention from banks. In the second quarter of 2018, Skandiabanken will exoand our reach to launch a digital only offering for SMEs of the future. Make sure to sign up to get early access here.

The landscape for payments is constantly evolving. In order to base decisions on facts and qualified assumptions, it is important to have a map that matches the terrain. Will the endgame be a fragmentation or a consolidation? How and when will non-banking players enter the playing field, and what is the end game for payments? From a banking perspective, payments is a central component in the customer relationship, where a significant share of the customer interaction is through payments and transactions.

A core banking solution rigged for the future is crucial to stay competitive in a digital banking world. Utilizing a cost efficient national digital infrastructure and standard solutions for commoditized areas is key to keeping IT cost low. This requires a constant focus on re-evaluating previous strategic choices as yesterday’s differentiator is the commodity of tomorrow. In addition to scale and cost efficiency, it is equally important to maintain a flexible architecture that acts as a catalyst for innovation and enables short time to market for new solutions and services.

Compliance. You cannot work in a bank without dealing with compliance. With PSD2, banks are required to open up their infrastructure. In short, the directive states that banks need to offer payment APIs to third party-providers of financial services, also known as TPPs (Third Party Provider) under the XS2A (Access to account) rule.

Pursuing a traditional compliance approach to PSD2 sets banks at risk of becoming mere utilities, while ownership of the customer relationship shifts to third parties. PSD2 is also expected to increase IT cost as well as reduce retail payment revenues. Despite the concerns, PSD2 acts as a catalyst for open banking, and should be viewed as an opportunity for incumbents.

The wealth and asset management space in Norway will soon have to adopt to MifID II and Retail Distribution Review (RDR). Key takeaways from the UK market shows that the implementation of RDR has led to an advisory gap, leaving 5,5 million banking customer “underadvised”. This strongly favors self-service platforms and players such as Nutmeg has seem tremendous growth following the implementation of RDR in 2013.

GDPR is set to come into effect sometime in 2018 and require all organizations in the EU to comply to strict guidelines when it comes to consumer data and privacy.  The rules will strengthen individuals’ property rights over their own data, and hold businesses accountable for the use of data so that digital solutions are designed with privacy as a integral principle. Among the requirements is the “right to be forgotten” – where users always have the right to withdraw his or hers consent to use personal data, and data portability – where the user can export and transfer their data to alternative suppliers of choice. If not compliant to this regulation, companies risk to be faced with fines by up to four percent of a company’s global revenues.

These regulations are set to change the prerequisites for digital banking. At the same time, technology offers new possibilities to stay compliant in areas like AML that previously required a great deal of manual work.

Fintech cluster. Last week we recieved the official news that Finance Innovation is acknwlodged as Norways first industry cluster for fintech. The cluster will act as a catalyst to launch new initiatives in research, education, innovation infrastructure and internationalization, and is the result of a joint effort between more than 20 banks and tech companies in Bergen that have aligned to create a fintech hub to push a global innovation agenda amid growing collaboration between banks and startups in Norway.

These are just some of the areas that take up my time and attention these days. Being a listed company in a competitive environment, I can unfortunately only share what is already official information or insight based on public available sources.

With this in mind, even I have to acknowledge my own limitations and focus my time going forward. As a result I will reduce the frequency and predictability of my blog posts. I will still share my insights and opinions on my blog, but not as often and not as predictable. Make sure to subscribe to my updates in order to get the latest news when I find the time to post news.
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Marriott International Debuts Four Points by Sheraton in Tanzania

Located steps away from the famous Clock Tower, known to mark the center point from Cairo to Cape Town, it is easily accessible from both Arusha as well as the Kilimanjaro International Airport

ARUSHA, Tanzania, October 23, 2017/ -- POINT 1: Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) ( today announced the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel, marking the debut of the brand into Tanzania. Founded in 1894, The Arusha Hotel, has emerged as a city landmark playing host to many dignitaries and well known personalities over more than 120 years. Rebranded after renovation, the hotel retains its unique charm reminiscent of a bygone era and a fabled past.

Located steps away from the famous Clock Tower, known to mark the center point from Cairo to Cape Town, it is easily accessible from both Arusha as well as the Kilimanjaro International Airport. Nestled within three acres of lush tropical gardens, it sits snugly in the central business district of the city, within the shadow of the majestic Mount Meru forming the perfect gateway to the popular Serengeti Northern Safari Circuit and to Mount Kilimanjaro.

POINT 2: “The entry of the Four Points brand into Tanzania is a significant addition to our rapidly growing footprint in Africa and reflects the strong traction the brand is gaining in the region,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Tanzania has long been on the global travelers’ bucket list and the Four Points brand with its blend of stylish comfort and genuine service offers an ideal choice at an honest value.”

POINT 3: Designed for the modern traveler with an emphasis on approachable design, the 106 room Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel, features spacious and modern rooms including suites. It also offers an all-day dining, a coffee shop and houses the famed Hatari Bar, named after John Wayne’s safari epic. The bar is believed to have been frequented by the actor during his stay in Arusha while he was shooting for the film. Today, guests can experience the brand’s signature Best Brews™ program featuring an array of local beers and watch their favorite sports matches while unwinding with friends and colleagues within a storied past.

Other facilities include an outdoor pool and a state of the art fitness center. It will also soon add a poolside bar. With 5500 square feet of flexible indoor meeting space and sprawling, verdant gardens, the hotel is an ideal venue for meetings of any size as well as elaborate social events and weddings.

Reflecting the brand’s promise to provide what matters most to today’s independent travelers, the hotel offers the brand’s defining touches, including the Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed, complimentary bottled water in all rooms, fast and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and energizing breakfast with fresh coffee helping guests enjoy their day from start to finish.

"Our vision is to reinvent the definition of travel, transforming the hotel into a preferred choice for guests whether on business or adventure,” said Upjeet Singh Sahota General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel. "We are committed to creating memorable guest experiences by combining the signature brand experience with the hotel’s rich history, unique character and the city’s local attractions."

POINT 4: Four Points has proven to be a global hit with its distinctive identity and ability to meet the increasing demands of the modern, everyday traveler. The brand is experiencing incredible growth momentum having recently crossed the 200th hotel milestone globally. In East Africa alone, the brand debuted in Kenya earlier this year with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, Hurlingham and is gearing up to open two more hotels, Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport and Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salam in the next few months.

For more details, log on to

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Media contact:
Anjali Mehra
Director of Public Relations, Africa

About Four Points:
Four Points by Sheraton, part of Marriott International, Inc., includes more than 200 hotels in nearly 40 countries and territories. At Four Points, travel is reinvented and guests can find the timeless style and comfort they’re looking for with genuine service and everything that matters most, all around the world. Four Points hotels can be found in big urban centers, by the airport, near the beach, and in the suburbs. Each hotel offers a familiar place with an authentic sense of the local, and friendly genuine service where guests can relax and unwind, watch local sports, and enjoy the brand’s Best Brews and BBQ™ program. Four Points is proud to participate in the industry’s award-winning loyalty program, Starwood Preferred Guest®. Members can now link accounts with Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® at for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer. To learn more, visit us online ( and stay connected to Four Points on Facebook (

About Marriott International:
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) ( is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,200 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 125 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit In addition, connect with us on Facebook ( and @MarriottIntl on Twitter ( and Instagram (

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Dr. Mercola: Moringa Goes Mainstream

Moringa Goes Mainstream

    October 23, 2017 • 686 views


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    A bona fide superfood, moringa leaves are packed with essential amino acids and impressive amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and natural plant compounds, which naturally translate to protection against toxins and disease
    Aside from food use and the nutritional and medicinal advantages, moringa leaves can also be used as a biofertilizer, and the seeds can act as a water purifier
    One company used moringa to start a nutritionally based company called Kuli Kuli, making bars, powder and other products from the leaves after discovering in the Peace Corps that the leaves helped increase flagging energy
    Examples of moringa’s nutritional benefits include chlorogenic acid, which research indicates may help balance blood sugar after meals, and quercetin, which may help lower your blood pressure

By Dr. Mercola

The moringa tree may not be one that’s familiar to the average American, but in tropical and subtropical areas surrounding the Himalayas, as well as India, Asia, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, it’s earned favorable ratings for multiple reasons.

There are many reasons why moringa has been dubbed a “miracle plant,” although in some regions the large tree is called “horseradish tree” or “drumstick tree.” In the areas of the world like those listed above and many others, it’s the most important nutrition source available, and has been for centuries. It’s also earned a reputation as a traditional herbal medicine.

Multiple uses for every part of the tree, including the seeds, leaves, flowers, fruit (pods), bark and roots, make the Moringa oleifera tree remarkably notable and valuable, as it’s effective as a medicine and food (described as having a “spicy green flavor similar to Matcha”1) and has many other uses one might not think of immediately in terms of a viable agricultural endeavor.

Two examples are the leaves, which can even be used as a biofertilizer, and the seeds can act as a water purifier. Further, the tree’s unique phytochemicals form a natural defense mechanism against pests that might attack it, as well as environmental stress, and it not only grows rapidly, but also tolerates drought — undoubtedly an asset in the areas it grows — plus the leaves can be harvested year-round.

As a food, it’s reached and even surpassed superfood status, as Moringa leaves are packed with essential amino acids (meaning your body can’t produce them on its own and they must be ingested from an outside source) and impressive amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and natural plant compounds, which naturally translate to protection against toxins and disease.

In fact, Lisa Curtis, a Peace Corp volunteer-turned-entrepreneur, discovered that moringa leaves relieved the lackluster nutritional options she experienced working in a rural village in Niger. Locals picked moringa leaves off the trees, mixed it with a regionally popular peanut snack called kuli kuli, and she found her energy returning. Asked to describe moringa, she explained:

    “It’s a thin tree with leaves around one-third the size of spinach. These delicate green leaves provide a complete protein with all nine amino acids, and are high in iron and vitamins. People talk about broccoli helping fight cancer and being anti-inflammatory. Moringa has those same benefits, but your body can digest it more easily.”2

Commercial Moringa Takes the Superfood Worldwide

Curtis partnered with Kellogg’s VC (venture capital) arm called Eighteen94 Capital to produce her own “Kuli Kuli, a Moringa Superfood Company,” based in Oakland, California. The startup produces moringa bars, powders and energy shots through some of the nation’s largest natural foods-oriented grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Costco, CVS, Target, Safeway-Albertsons and thousands of smaller ones.

She had initially planned to go through the Niger localities as a moringa source until an al-Qaida terrorist attack by a West African offshoot led to an evacuation within 48 hours, and her Peace Corps-based moringa project was literally forced to pull up roots.

Curtis admits she was heartbroken. At loose ends and back home in the San Francisco Bay area, she noticed several then-little-known superfoods such as chia and quinoa being marketed in her local grocery stores. It got her wheels turning, and the concept grew from there. Her next challenge was how to bring moringa to her, rather than building the business in the Niger region as she’d first envisioned.

After putting a business plan together and recruiting a few corporate-minded friends, crowdfunding through the site Indiegogo in June 2013 to help raise the first $53,000, and test marketing at some of her regional farmers markets, Curtis’ new enterprise took off.

The test-market product started with moringa bars — soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and vegan to reach the largest portion of the population. Before long, they developed a moringa powder with pineapple, coconut-lime or lemon, and richer flavors such as cocoa and almond butter to make smoothies, soups and savory dishes.

Another perk is that the company invested in an organization in Ghana that worked with women’s groups to market their moringa powder in the U.S. Rather than the allegedly savvy natural foods markets being based more on the east and west coasts as expected, Curtis found the biggest success for the company’s moringa powder was in Florida among the Latino community, which was already familiar with moringa’s anti-inflammatory benefits.
The Moringa Nutritional Profile

Some may find the term “superfood” a little dubious because it’s now used so often, but when you take a look at what moringa offers in the way of nutrition, you may be surprised. The unique collection of nutrients contained in the leaves is a good start, even when compared with some of the healthiest foods you can eat. According to, in 100 grams or 1 cup of moringa leaves you get:

    “More iron than spinach (5.3-28.2 mg versus 2.7 mg in spinach), more vitamin C than oranges (120-220 mg versus 69.7 mg per orange), and more potassium than bananas (1324 mg versus 422 mg per banana).”3

In case you didn’t feel like doing the math, that’s 25 times more iron than spinach, 12 times more vitamin C than oranges (a whopping 157 percent of your daily requirement) and 15 times more potassium when compared to bananas. If that’s not enough, there’s also nine times more protein than yogurt, 17 times more protein compared to milk and 10 times the vitamin A of carrots. In addition, Healthline notes that one cup of moringa leaves contains 19 percent of the RDA in vitamin B6. The site also explained:

    “The diets of people in developing nations sometimes lack vitamins, minerals and protein. In these countries, Moringa oleifera can be an important source of many essential nutrients. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re taking Moringa oleifera as a supplement, taking it in capsules won’t supply large amounts of nutrients. The amounts are negligible compared to what you are already getting if you eat a balanced, real food-based diet.”4

Beta-carotenes in moringa also include the powerhouse quercetin, which may help lower your blood pressure5, and chlorogenic acid, which research indicates may help balance blood sugar after meals.6
America Is Seriously Veggie Deprived, but Moringa Can Help

According to the Kuli Kuli website, only 4 percent of the veggie-deprived American population is getting the recommended daily requirement. In fact, the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance 2015 Report Card7 divulged that, excluding fried potatoes, vegetable consumption in the U.S. had declined by 6 percent over the previous five years. To remedy the problem, just 1 tablespoon of moringa powder, which you can add to soups, sauces, smoothies, dips, desserts or even Popsicles, equals one daily serving of vegetables.8

The aforementioned antioxidants are a powerful aspect of moringa, because they fight the free radicals that bring on sickness and disease, generated by exposure to things like chemically laced cleaners, flea and tick powders and sprays used for pets and lawn fertilizers touted to keep your lawn weed-free.

High levels of exposure to those and myriads of other toxins, in addition to stress and many other causes, create the oxidative stress that leads to many chronic diseases. To combat the statistics, one study shows that just 1.5 teaspoons of powdered moringa leaves daily for three months “significantly” increased antioxidant levels in study subjects’ blood.

The same study showed that the fasting blood sugar levels of 30 women dropped by 13.5 percent, leading researchers to conclude that the antioxidants in moringa have “therapeutic potential for the prevention of complications during postmenopause.”9 In fact, studies are showing that moringa also has the potential to protect against arsenic contamination. Many foods, including rice, have been rendered toxic due to chemical contamination during previous agricultural practices.

Over time, ingesting even small amounts of arsenic can cause serious health problems, but the leaves and seeds of the moringa plant may prove protective.10 However, some studies caution that the effects were found in animal studies and that the same benefits aren’t guaranteed in humans,
Studies Based on the Benefits of Moringa

Three of the science-based health benefits of moringa continue the theme of the way the compounds in the leaves positively impact people with high blood sugar, which in time can exacerbate other problems such as heart disease. That’s why scientists are taking a serious look at how this plant can keep levels at manageable limits.

One of the compounds in moringa leaves is isothiocyanates, also found in vegetables like arugula, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, broccoli and horseradish, all known to dramatically lower breast and colorectal cancer risks,11 as well as help prevent weight gain and insulin resistance, according to animal studies.12

Inflammation is a problem because it can reveal the basis for a number of serious conditions, but studies also show that moringa is effective in relieving it. Several fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs have had the same effect, and it may be the widespread benefits again of isothiocyanates.13 Moringa also has a positive effect on optimizing cholesterol levels, reducing several disease risks.14
Caveats to Moringa Consumption

According to Curtis, some of the moringa products, including powder, coming out that may claim to be organic have been shown through testing to contain pesticides and heavy metals, and further, have a bitter taste. Healthline notes the leaves may contain what are called antinutrients, which studies say can reduce the absorption of minerals and protein.15

Another thing to look at might be that, according to, moringa is not recommended for pregnant women as studies show it may have anti-fertility and abortifacient effects;16 however, New York Times best-selling author Dr. Michael Greger writes on the same website that if you see moringa for sale, “If it’s comparable in price to other healthy vegetables like broccoli, I’d give it a try.”
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Dr. Mercola: Bananas and Avocados Can Prevent Heart Attacks

Bananas and Avocados Can Prevent Heart Attacks

    October 23, 2017 • 945 views

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banana and avocado
Story at-a-glance

    Inadequate potassium and/or magnesium may increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, but eating one banana and an avocado every day may prevent one of the precursors of the disease: hardening of the arteries
    A new study showed that vascular calcification was relieved in animal studies; mice given the highest levels of potassium had more pliable arteries
    One study shows that intracellular concentrations of magnesium and potassium are closely related, and their ratios in your cells involved in causing symptoms of cardiac arrhythmias due to hypokalemia, aka low potassium, and, arguably, other heart-related disorders
    Bananas are high in potassium, and avocados contain impressive amounts of magnesium, so they as well as other foods can go a long way toward preventing and alleviating heart-related issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease

By Dr. Mercola

If you're fairly familiar with the vitamins and minerals in the most common fruits and vegetables, you may be aware that in bananas and avocados, potassium and magnesium are notable ingredients in both of them. Like all foods, these two powerhouse fruits (because both are fruits rather than avocados being a vegetable) have many other things to offer, but scientists have recently announced that both foods have the potential to prevent heart attacks.

The research was conducted at the University of Alabama and was published in the journal JCI Insight.1 In fact, scientists have revealed that if you eat a banana and an avocado every day, you could eat yourself right into protection from heart disease, or more specifically, the atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries that often leads to a series of disorders, NDTV2 reported.

Additionally, it may also lower your risk of arterial blockages, which often necessitate surgery. It's the potassium in these foods that can alleviate a large part of the burden, the study indicates. The animal study found it reduces vascular calcification, one of the complications of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.

Mice were fed alternate diets containing low, normal or high levels of potassium, and those with the highest levels had substantially more pliable arteries, while those given lower amounts had much harder arteries. It works the same way in humans. When you include foods in your diet that contain good amounts of these minerals, these symptoms are alleviated, particularly the stiffness in arteries seen as a precursor to cardiovascular problems.

Problems occur because the stiffness in arteries can cause your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body. Artery calcification is just one of the problems that having a consistent amount of adequate potassium in your diet can help prevent, and all of them are serious and related conditions:

    Heart disease
    Metabolic syndrome
    Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Calcification and What It Means for Your Arteries

Calcification is a buildup of calcium in your tissues, organs or blood vessels. As it's in the process of forming, it can call a halt to the necessary process that keeps your body working as it should. According to Difference Between:

    "Arteriosclerosis is a defect occurring in the artery (blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood) walls. It refers to hardening of the normally flexible walls due to loss of elasticity of the arterial musculature. When young, the arteries are flexible due to the presence of a protein called elastin.

    As age advances, there is loss of this elastin causing thickening of the arterial walls. Atherosclerosis is another condition that refers to the deposition of fat plaques and cholesterol globules within the arteries causing narrowing of the lumen of the arteries."3

The scientists noted that vascular smooth muscle cells, or VSMCs, contribute to vascular calcification in atherosclerosis and that "Arterial stiffness has become an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, representing an important health problem for the nation as a whole."4

According to their research, vascular calcification may be more culpable in aortic stiffening than scientists originally thought. In fact, a 2009 study is even titled "Vascular calcification: the killer of patients with chronic kidney disease."5 The study noted:

    "Previously considered a passive, unregulated, and degenerative process occurring in the arterial media, vascular calcification has now been demonstrated to be a highly regulated process of osteochondrogenic differentiation of vascular cells."6 Further, VSMCs were found to produce "extracellular matrix proteins" that actually caused the arterial calcification process to happen faster.

People With Less Potassium Have Higher Risks

It's no secret to the scientists that potassium plays a crucial role in staving off arterial calcification and related diseases. In fact, previous studies have made it clear that the association between low blood potassium levels and death from either chronic kidney disease7 or metabolic syndrome,8 while clear, hasn't been investigated thoroughly. The study made something else clear: that "appropriate dietary potassium intake improves those pathological conditions."9

The researchers also noted that, whereas the direct influence of dietary potassium on the development of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis hadn't yet been "established and characterized," for the first time they'd been able to produce evidence that potassium was the key. While consuming too much of it can cause problems, too, such as a stomachache, nausea and/or diarrhea, according to International Business (IB) Times,10 it's clear that what you eat directly influences your risk of these serious diseases.

That's why, for these diseases, especially, bananas and avocados are two of the foods containing the potassium that can lower your risk. In response to the study's findings, Dr. Mike Knapton from the British Heart Foundation observed that "With more research, we might be able to see if the disease forms in humans in a similar way and develop treatments."11
Magnesium and Potassium: Interrelationships in Regard to Health

When it comes to maintaining a healthy heart, as well as properly functioning kidneys, nerves and muscles and blood pressure regulation, having an adequate intake of magnesium on a regular basis is key. Because it's the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, on which more than 600 functions hinge, getting the right amount to avoid a deficiency is critical.12 But there's more to it than that. The National Academy of Sciences assessed the role of several nutrients, including magnesium, and observed:

    "Magnesium has been called 'nature's physiological calcium channel blocker.' During magnesium depletion, intracellular calcium rises. Since calcium plays an important role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, a state of magnesium depletion may result in muscle cramps, hypertension, and coronary and cerebral vasospasms.

    Magnesium depletion is found in a number of diseases of cardiovascular and neuromuscular function, in malabsorption syndromes, in diabetes mellitus, in renal wasting syndromes, and in alcoholism."13

"Classic" symptoms of low magnesium include muscle spasms, unexplained fatigue, irregular heart rhythms, eye twitches and even anxiety, but those that can be difficult to spot until after it's established that low magnesium levels are what's causing the problems. Studies show that problems such as asthma and osteoporosis may also be involved, along with symptoms that indicate possible related deficiencies, including potassium.

In response, experts recommend that individuals with these symptoms assume that low levels are likely the problem and begin remedying it immediately by concentrating on higher magnesium intake, either through supplementation or food, and maybe both. One of many reasons is that the body begins stripping magnesium and calcium from your bones during what is called "functioning" low magnesium. Ancient Minerals explains:

    "This effect can cause a doubly difficult scenario: seemingly adequate magnesium levels that mask a true deficiency coupled by ongoing damage to bone structures. Thus experts advise the suspicion of magnesium deficiency whenever risk factors for related conditions are present, rather than relying upon tests or overt symptoms alone."14

One study shows that intracellular concentrations of magnesium and potassium are closely correlated, and the ratios in your cells are what's important, not the concentrations, and hypokalemia, aka low potassium, "can be induced by the same mechanisms and are often clinically related to one another,"15 especially as they relate to cardiac arrhythmias and, arguably, other heart-related disorders and diseases.

The upside is that when you begin ingesting adequate potassium and magnesium — bananas and avocados would be a great start — the above symptoms can be reversed, i.e., regulation of blood sugar, better sleep, less stress, improved mitochondrial function and increased energy.
Bananas: An Example of the Adage 'You Are What You Eat'

Bananas are a very popular tropical food, known for being an easy-to-carry snack that doesn't require refrigeration and can remain clean while you eat it thanks to its convenient peel. Besides high amounts of potassium, one fairly small banana (about 101 grams) provides a good amount of fiber, Nutrition Data16 reports. Vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also plentiful, as are proteins, copper and manganese.

You'll want to watch your sugar intake, however, as bananas are an example of a fruit with high amounts of natural fructose; one 7-inch-long banana has 12.4 grams. However, just as the potassium content is good for you, IB Times lists a number of advantages to adding a small banana as a snack choice (or dozens of dishes that incorporate them):

    Bananas help balance your blood sugar level because they don't raise your glycemic index.
    Unripe bananas have proven beneficial for people with insulin sensitivity as they contain 15 to 30 grams of digestive-resistant starch.
    Eating bananas can help maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
    High-potassium foods can help lower your risk of developing kidney stones.17

Bananas are a wonderful addition to smoothies, making them creamy and delivering a tropical vibe, but they're also great sliced with organic raw nut butter, aside from just enjoying one for a healthy snack.
Avocados: Impressive Nutritional Profile

A single avocado provides very impressive nutrients that positively impact nearly every part of your body, but especially your heart and arteries. Fiber is a big one, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. To start the litany of how well avocados reach your dietary reference intakes (DRI), or how much you need to provide you with the optimal amounts, Nutrition Data18 provides data on the major nutrients one avocado contains and the percentage of daily values:

Fiber — 54 percent

Folate — 41 percent

Vitamin C — 33 percent

Vitamin B6 —26 percent

Vitamin K — 53 percent

Pantothenic acid — 28 percent

Magnesium — 15 percent

Potassium — 28 percent

Avocado slices are excellent on sandwiches and salads, topped with mozzarella, basil and black pepper, mixed with salsa and chopped papaya or with poached eggs.

Other foods containing magnesium include greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard, crucifers like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, seeds and nuts, fatty fish, such as mackerel and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, specific spices such as fennel, basil, cloves, chives and cilantro, fruits including papaya, watermelon, raspberries and strawberries, and grass fed yogurt.

Good potassium sources include beet greens, carrots, cantaloupe, oranges and most of the foods listed above. If you've experienced any of the symptoms listed, upping your intake of these foods can likely improve them and may serve to relieve other problems as well.
+ Sources and References
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We Must End The Sexaul Harassment Robbing So Many Ghanaian Women Of Their Dignity

Misogyny is alive and well in Ghana, alas. It is one of the reasons why one of the biggest societal problems that hinders the transformation of our homeland Ghana into a prosperous society, sexual harassment, is seldom discussed openly.

Everywhere one turns in Ghana, one hears anecdotal stories of important men in high positions in both the public and private sectors, who either rape or demand sexual favours from their female colleagues.

It is one of  the areas of our nation that the National Review newspaper that one will soon be publishing, will focus on - in addition to fearlessly and creatively fighting those destroying what is left of our country's natural heritage. Ditto aggressively tackling the high-level corruption slowly bleeding Mother Ghana to death, in imaginative fashion.

For the information of the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media,  the template for the fight against sexual harassment in Ghana, can be found in the U.S. media's ongoing  focus on that dreadful global societal menace, which demeans the dignity of so many  females across the globe.

We must condemn, in no uncertain terms,  the unpardonable, unspeakable  and abominable cultural monstrosity that enables powerful and influential men (yes, the vast majority of those who sexually harass their fellow citizens in Ghana, happen to be males) to cause untold harm psychologically to so many women in Ghana.

As our contribution to starting a national conversation (in the Ghanaian media) about how to effectively deal once and for all with this totally unacceptable cruelty that robs the dignity of so women in Ghana, today, we have  culled and posted  a Washington Post piece by Renae Merle, entitled, "Wall Street may have its own Harvey Weinstein problem".

Finally, this is 21st century Africa (for heaven's sake). All those guilty of sexually harrassing others must be exposed and prosecuted in the law courts - and either they themselves or the entities they work for made to pay appropriate sums in compensation to their victims in addition to being jailed. The time has now come for the more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media to lead the fight to end the sexual harassment that robs so many Ghanaian women of their dignity. Haaba.

Please read on: 

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Wall Street may have its own Harvey Weinstein problem
By Renae Merle October 22 at 3:44 PM

Fidelity Investments chairman and chief executive Abigail P. Johnson interviews former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg about innovation at the Boston-based HUBweek earlier this month. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Fidelity Investments, one of the world’s largest investment firms, has pushed out two high-level executives over the past few weeks amid sexual harassment complaints, according to two people familiar with the allegations.

Former portfolio manager C. Robert Chow resigned earlier this month and Gavin Baker, a prominent tech fund manager, was fired by the company in September, according to the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the cases. Chow and Baker could not be immediately reached for comment. Their dismissals were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Fidelity declined to comment on specific employees, but spokesman Vincent Loporchio said in a statement that its policies “prohibit harassment in any form.  When allegations of these sorts are brought to our attention, we investigate them immediately and take prompt and appropriate action. We simply will not, and do not, tolerate this type of behavior.” Fidelity has also hired an outside consultant to review employee behavior in its stock-picking unit, according to one of the people familiar with the allegations.

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Chow was accused of making inappropriate sexual comments to colleagues and Baker allegedly harassed a 26-year-old employee. Both worked in the company’s powerful stock-picking division. An unnamed spokesman for Baker told the Wall Street Journal that he “strenuously” denies the allegations.

The allegations come amid heightened sensitivity to sexual harassment complaints in corporate America.  Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was recently fired as the head of his company after reports emerged that he had harassed dozens of women over decades. And on Friday, the New York Times reported that former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly secretly settled a sexual harassment allegation with a network contributor for $32 million.

Wall Street, meanwhile, has long fought its reputation as a place where women and minorities struggle to succeed. None of the country’s leading publicly-traded banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup or Bank of America — have ever been led by a woman.  Last year, Bank of America was accused of running a “bros club” that underpaid female executives. Women account for just 2 percent of financial industry chief executives, according to research by Catalyst, a nonprofit group. They hold about 29 percent of executive or senior-level positions in the industry.

Fidelity operates in the asset management world where such concerns have also lingered. Women and minorities are locked out of some of sector’s most lucrative positions, managing just 1.1 percent of the $71.4 trillion of the industry’s assets, according to a study commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Bella Research Group earlier this year.

Fidelity is somewhat unusual in the financial world. It is led by a woman, Abigail P. Johnson, who has been chairman and chief executive since 2014. Johnson’s grandfather started the firm, and she owns a significant share of the privately-held company, according to Forbes, which estimates her net worth at more than $17 billion.

Johnson is considered one of the most powerful women in finance from her perch at Fidelity, which has more than $6 trillion in assets, including the retirement accounts of millions of Americans. It also has several women in senior leadership positions, including Kathleen Murphy, the president of personal investing, which controls more than $2 trillion in customer assets.

The company held an emergency meeting last week in the wake of dismissals of the two executives, according to a personal familiar with the allegations. Brian Hogan, president of Fidelity’s stock-picking division, stressed the company’s intolerance of inappropriate workplace conduct during that meeting, the person said.

“Fidelity remains committed to providing all associates with an outstanding work environment and we will always work hard to ensure that we take swift and appropriate action when an individual violates our policies, and more importantly, our values,” the company’s statement said.

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Renae Merle covers white collar crime and Wall Street for The Washington Post.
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End of culled Washington Post article by Renae Merle.