12 February 2011

Lions on the Move - a new Africa being born?

Egypt freed itself from a dictator because people claimed back their power. Protesters shouted "we are the people", the same acclamation that brought down the Iron Curtain when people in former Easter Germany protested for their freedom. It also reminds me to the United Nations Charter starting with "We the People".

While Egypt culturally belongs to the Arab world, it is an interesting cross-roads also to Africa and the West. History is being written and it seems more and more people are awakening... what does it mean for Africa and the world?

As blogged earlier, since I arrived for a new project in South Africa last year, I felt that change is in the air. This was further confirmed during a trip to Ethiopia last month. A lot of development and construction is going on, the Chinese are building a new African Union complex and the diaspora is coming back from the USA to start businesses.

If we look at the bigger picture about events on and around the continent, the signs make up a puzzle, imperfect but nonetheless we can see a path, a journey towards freedom. Just some examples: independence of African states (mainly 1950s-70s), end of cold war 1989 (which affected many African countries), end of apartheid in South Africa 1994, "first African-American" US president Obama 1998, first FIFA World Cup in Africa 2010, South Sudan separation 2011, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Libya 2011. What next?

This list is of course incomplete to give a full picture of a very diverse continent with 53 states where poverty, disparity and dictators remain in several regions. However, with omnipresent communications technology and a rising collective consciousness the trend is clear: people increasingly take ownership and demand fair political leadership, jobs and economic opportunities.

Africa's economic and social outlook is positive: The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just recently spoke about "winds of change blowing throughout Africa" and "the new narrative for Africa is a story of growth". Africa is expected to be the the fastest growing region in the world, only behind Asia. A recent McKinsey study paints a similar opportunity-rich picture calling African countries "Lions on the Move".

As the beginning 2011 is bringing change so rapidly, watch out for the rest of the year and 2012. Africa and the world are changing so fast, we better are open for it. As we have seen in the examples of Libya and Ivory Coast, the new era comes with some 'birthing pain' and old structures need to crack open for new energy to emerge. Rather resisting, can we embrace the coming change? As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

If you want to read more about the new, positive Africa emerging, you can for example follow Africa Good News, AfricanLoft and, of course, this blog Business4Good. Or best, see for yourself and visit the over 50 countries of Africa.

10 February 2011

The "Social Entrepreneur Empowerment" Series

Ever since my decision to use business acumen for higher development goals, I have been fasinated about sociel entrepreneurs. Thousands of hidden champions around the world combine business approaches with social, environmental and spiritual objectives.

This decade seems to bring out even more of inspired entrepreneurs and conscious business people. Ryan Eliason seems to be of them because he is organising the free "Social Entrepreneur Empowerment" Video Series.
"What if you could combine the love, integrity, vision, and leadership of Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr. with the entrepreneurial business savvy of Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey?

What if you could download their wisdom into yourself? Imagine the bigger game you could play!
From www.socialentrepreneurempowerment.com
The series started 8th February with Ashoka founder Bill Drayton (hear the replay at Everyone a Changemaker). Bill talks about what makes an social entrepreneur, the rapid change of our times and how we are all changemaker in this world. Clear, down to earth and inspiring. "We are right at the tipping point" and "what is the new paradigm?" There is a LinledIn Group called Social Entrepreneur Empowerment Network with follow-up dicussions.

There are live streams until 17 February 2011 and the talks are anytime available as replays at http://www.socialentrepreneurempowerment.com/replays/

03 February 2011

The Top 100 Thought Leaders in trustworthy Business Behavior

Via the World Business Academy's newsletter I came across the list of "The Top 100 Thought Leaders in trustworthy Business Behavior 2010" by Trust Across America.

The list seems to focus on US only, so dozens of international leaders are missing which is a pity in a globalized world where ideas and information spread across the globe quickly. Nonetheless this is a good start and many thinkers with global influence are among the ranks.

Some of the candidates I have found inspiring are Stephen Covey ("7 Habits of highly effective people"), Hazel Henderson (working on wealth metrics beyond GDP) and the leaders around Net Impact. I am sure you might discover many more authors of inspiring books, founders of institutes and companies.

Enjoy exploring the list at: The Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior

For 2011, I would almost expect Deepak Chopra with his new book "The Soul of Leadership".
Who have you found a most inspiring thought leader but missing in the list?