Category: GUEST BLOGGERS

The Scramble For Africa Has Moved On, But Britain Hasn’t

While the British media dined out on Theresa May’s Africa trip last week, Africans are still reeling from the reporting. Sky News captioned Uhuru Kenyatta as “president of Africa”, while the BBC gave the title he should have had, “president of Kenya”, to his rival, Raila Odinga.

There are a million metaphors in Britons declaring an African superstate based in Kenya – who knew our broadcasters were such pan-Africanists? – and declaring an Odinga coup. But the reality is that there is widespread cluelessness in Britain about the political and economic situation across the continent today, and it shows.

The royals have shown more interest in African countries than our elected political leaders have. While we have had to tolerate endless patronising and presumptuous slogans about how African economies will fill the gap left by the EU, it’s worth asking what it is that Britain really has to offer Africa.

The continent’s countries are growing, both in terms of their economies and their population, and – bucking the trend elsewhere in the world – are seeing job creation outstrip demographic growth. Most African economists differ on just how effectively that will translate into prosperity in the coming decades, but they tend to agree on two things. What Africa needs is greater regional integration, and a more intense focus on domestic manufacturing, especially agricultural machinery and goods for domestic consumption – moving away from the old colonial pattern of exporting raw resources and importing food, patterns that hugely benefited the former imperial powers.

Britain is hardly a role model in either respect. It is abandoning the EU, and has never recovered from the long-term decline in its manufacturing. Britain’s economy is based on service industries and consumer debt, a pattern that no one in Africa wants to reproduce, even if – with 40% of the continent’s countries now at high risk of debt distress – it is in significant danger of doing so.

Britain’s approach to Africa contrasts starkly with that of Germany, which is investing in more of the kind of industry African countries actually want.

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While May was honing her dance moves, Angela Merkel was offering manufacturing plants. The German chancellor, also on a working visit to the continent last week, agreed plans with Ghana – the nation Britain once considered its “model colony” – to establish a Volkswagen assembly plant, adding to the facilities it already has in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria.

To be fair, Britain is still a major investor in Africa, ranking way ahead of Germany and second only to the US. Both Britain and Germany have terrible colonial records on the African continent. But in Britain’s case, the pattern established in that era is highly relevant today. Post-independence, British policy was overtly geared towards encouraging exports to Africa that benefited the British economy, and definitely not towards helping African nations reduce their dependence on importing British products.

In some cases that’s beginning to change, but Brexit feels like a giant step backwards. The emphasis will now again be on how Britain can use Africa to prop up its own economy. When May announced that the UK will host the 2019 Africa Investment Summit, it’s hard to avoid the perception that Britain wants to increase its visibility relative to China. All eyes are on China because the nation currently exports eight times more goods to Africa than the UK and is the continent’s major investor in infrastructure, albeit with growing concerns about the unsustainable levels of borrowing – “debt trap diplomacy” – that it is creating in the process.

Visibility in Africa is important to Britain because this is still very much a relationship that evolved out of imperial domination. That’s obvious in the political choreography, which is undeniably clumsy and awkward, and, from Boris Johnson in particular, has at times been plain insulting. While China invests in African construction and infrastructure, which is key to real growth here, British investment is still concentrated in extractive natural resources – most of all, energy.

British companies still make an eye-watering amount of money out of these investments while ordinary Africans do very poorly. The cost of living in Africa is higher than comparative economies, and so, as a result, are labour costs, which makes it difficult for African countries to compete at manufacturing with, say, Bangladesh. And while African companies grow faster and are more profitable than their global peers, they struggle to achieve equity with foreign companies: not a single African-owned company is in the Fortune 500.

Africans I talk to are sceptical about grand pronouncements by foreign governments over deepening ties with the continent. It’s hard to ignore the pull of the natural resources that Africa has in such abundance: vanadium, diamonds, phosphates, cobalt, chromium and gold. History shows that extracting them does little to enrich ordinary Africans. What they want are investments that accelerate the growth and innovation African businesses are already pioneering.

If Britain wants to be a friend to Africa, it needs to stop looking to the continent to boost its self-esteem – “the shared history and cultural ties” of which May talks allude to Britain’s imperial domination – and its coffers. African nations have no incentive to deal with nostalgia, particularly when nations such as China, Israel, Turkey and India are competing for access.

And if Britain is interested in Africa, as we are so often told it is, it shouldn’t have to wait for Brexit to ask what it is that African nations actually want, rather than simply presuming they are happy to provide a source of post-Brexit enrichment.

Article by Afua Hirsch was originally published in the Guardian.

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A Word Of Advice To Today’s Young Celebrities And Pop Stars – By Tunde Alabi- Hundeyin

I saw this post on the facebook wall of Tunde Alabi-Hundeyi, whom I call Uncle T, a former senior colleague from my days at Ogun State Television (OGTV) Abeokuta, Nigeria – and I knew immidiately it had to appear on my Guest Bloggers’ segment.

It is Uncle T, saying out loud what many of us are thinking about our young stars and celebrities today, whose main preoccupation seems to be the acquisition of – or the opportunity to have ridden in a private jet, the champagne lifestyle with as much foreign cash and women as possible.

While many of the images we see might be simple PR stunts and photo ops, these stars need to remember that many youngsters look up to them as some kind of role model and unfortunately, see their lifestyles as one to emulate.

It also gives the wrong imppresdion to up and coming artistes who might wrongly assume that the jet and champagne lifestyle is the reward of every artiste. The truth couldn’t be any further from this because not every artiste is going to have the success of Davido or Wizkid – who are still in the hey days of their carreer.

The next 20 years will determine if they are true evergreens.

Read Tunde’s article:

Have you noticed ?

All these young music stars now competing on who can best pose in a private jet with a glass of wine in hand and legs thrown out like they own the world.

Fake. Fake.

Non and I mean non of you has earned in your entire career enough to buy 1/4 of the cost of the engine of a private jet.

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What you should concentrate on now is how to invest. Eg in top of the line studios, concert arenas and hospitality, real estate etc

You should also pay attention to charity and giving back to society.

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How many times you seen someone like FEMI KUTI pose in a private jet. His investment in Shrine is yielding global dividend now.

Same with his father Fela. Obey, Decross etc.

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The reality of celebrity life is sometimes the lights in the hall dim earlier than you think or your fingers can no longer strum the guitar as it used to (courtesy Ed Sheeran)

Stardom just like sports celebrity doesn’t last forever.

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Sunny Ade has the longest career in music at the top in Nigeria today but can you remember the thousands that have been forgotten. Yet they too had all those international record deals and concerts.

The images you should also use to inspire your generation should be different .

What you give back to the society also has a spiritual payday.

A word is enough for the …..

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Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin is a veteran broadcaster, producer and the MD/CEO of Dudu Productions



Guest Bloggers Corner: Signs That Tell You You Are In A Lust And Not Love Relationship

Columnist Amanda Chatel writes:

I’m preparing to move to Paris for about a year or so. One of the major things this involves is getting rid of stuff that I should have tossed forever ago, but just haven’t yet. While tossing clothes and shoes is emotional enough in its own right, what’s really killing me the most is my “box of yesterday.”

True to its name, my “box of yesterday” is a nightmare collection of things from past relationships. I say nightmare, because who saves receipts from Brooklyn Bowl because it has an ex-boyfriend’s name on it? This gal. Who thinks it’s necessary to keep shreds of a ripped T-shirt from a wrestling match after too many martinis? Me, obviously.

The project of weeding through these things and deciding which is reasonable to keep and which solidifies me as a straight-up lunatic has forced me to face a fact: My last relationship, if we can even call it that, wasn’t love at all. Of course, at the time I was convinced it was love, as we all tend to think in similar situations, but in reality it was nothing but lust tangled up with infatuation, and because of it I was the most unstable, crazy, jealous, human being I’ve ever been. Looking back now, I blush at who I was, and that I was capable of such insanity because of a man.

 

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With those days officially in my past and locked there safely so I can no longer touch them, I can see more clearly than ever what I was experiencing. I was not in love with a guy whom we’ll call “C,” but in lust.

Here’s what I learned from it all. If you recognize yourself in any of this, I suggest you run like hell. Now.

1. There’s more fire and less stability

Love — real love — is about commitment and communication. These two important components lead to stability within a relationship. Of course, fire can be part of the equation, but when there’s lots of drama, chaos and more emotional gut blows than butterflies, you’re looking at a lustful situation.

2. You focus more on the outside than inside

I could stare at C for hours. I was so enamored with his beauty. To me, he was gorgeous from head to toe without a single flaw to be found. I was obsessed with his beauty, and relished in the fact that I got to be seen in public with him and got to “tap that” at the end of the night.

3. You prefer the fantasy

From the beginning, I knew C and I didn’t have a future. We were far too similar to have been able to conduct a grown-up relationship, and he was never going to want me the way I wanted him. With him, I acted younger than I was for far longer than I should have — the drinking, acting out, immaturity and irresponsibility were quadrupled when we were together. I didn’t want a “grown-up” life with him; I loved the days on end of debauchery that allowed me to escape from reality.

 

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4. Why aren’t we having sex right now?

Although I loved talking to C, because we did have so much in common, whenever we were together just hanging around or watching a movie, I’d always catch myself wondering, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?” I’m serious. I couldn’t give a damn about the ending to whatever movie was on, if it meant we were having sex instead.

5. You’re not friends

C and I were not friends. For a long time we called each other “best friend,” but the truth was I was in lust, and he was just waiting for something else, something, to use his words, better. Despite knowing that, the lust kept me coming back for more.

6. Intimacy doesn’t exist

Although cuddling can be really satisfying and comforting when you’re in love, when you’re in lust a body against you just feels like dead weight. You’re also likely to ask yourself again, “Why aren’t we having sex right now?”

7. You experience intense neediness

If I didn’t get the attention I needed from C on a daily basis, I felt like my world was falling apart. Was he texting with someone else instead? Was he not home, as he said, but out with someone else? Having sex with someone else? Why isn’t he answering my calls? It was exhausting, to say the least.

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8. The feeling is conditional

Anyone who’s been in love can attest to the fact that love is unconditional. Lust, however, is not. Lust is steeped in gratification without concern to anything else. I could easily sleep with someone other than C and not feel a twinge of regret, but if I were to do the same to the man I love, I’d never forgive myself. Lust has blurred boundaries as to what’s right; love kicks those blurred lines into place.

 

Many people end up in marriages where their lust has been mistaken for love and they wonder why they end up hating each other after a few years. I discovered my ex and I were not friends and we didn’t particularly like each other hence the constant fighting and hostility in the marriage. But the sex was great and even when we were not speaking, we always managed to get the sex going and unfortunately, we mistook this for love. At the end of the day, removing sex from our marriage, we discovered we had absolutely nothing in common.

When a choice of a partner is based more on the pre-set list of physical attributes such as weight, height, looks, colour over more mental. Emotional or some will even say spiritual connections, then the relationship’s entire foundation will rest solidly on lust rather than love.

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To All Prospective Parents In Law: Read This Before You Call The Wedding Planner (Guest Bloggers Corner)

I came across this article by Funke Egbemode purely by accident and I thought I just had to have it on this site. I was most drawn to it mainly because it highlights many of the points that I have personally highlighted on my radio show “Baroness Js World On Naija FM”

Marriage is becoming a risky business by the hour. Instead of enlarging the family, it is reducing it. When your son or daughter marries, you expect grandchildren as dividends. Now, your initial investment gets liquidated in a pool of blood, without recourse to you. One infuriated sick and weak girl just grabs a kitchen knife and carves up your son in a flash, ripping out your heart and dreams of being surrounded by happiness in your old age. One silly boy in a moment of uncontrollable blinding fury stabs your daughter in the throat, leaving you reeling in that kind of pain no parent can recover from. Wives killing their husbands. Husbands killing their wives.

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How did our innocent babies become murderers? How did we miss it? What did we do wrong, or failed to do that is filling our doorsteps with shoes of mourners and our once happy homes with wailings and gnashing of teeth? Did the Bible not promise that our children will surround our tables and that we will not cast our young? So, what is going on? It is bad enough that more and more young marriages are failing. It is already a sad testimony that more women are becoming breadwinners and telling our sons when to snore in their own beds. But this added blood and gore and loss and unending pain… Or are you not worried?

Sure, the latest tragedies happened far from you but they are really closer than you think. If you still think these recent spousal murders do not really concern you, take a look at your daughter, your son and tell yourself you can vouch for the spouses they will end up with. And if your children are already in their 20s and of marriage age, swear you are not a teensy bit concerned about the suitors milling around them. That fine-boy-no-pimples full of smiles and politeness, does he have anger issues? Is he a keeper, a reaper or a taker? That babe who is already calling your son ‘Ayo mi’ (my joy) or ‘honey’, can you trust her with your greatest treasure, your brilliant caring son?

There is no retirement age for parents. We are parents for life. Our job is cut out for us and we must do it with all our heart and might. There is really no short cut. This is our calling until we are called home by He who chose us for this assignment as daddies and mummies. Of course, the temptation to hand over our daughters and our parenting jobs over to our in-laws the day we give them out in marriage will always be there. But it is a temptation we must resist as soon as the effects of red wine champagne wears off. Yeah. Wine-carrying, celebrated destination wedding ceremonies with the captains of industry and 10 governors in attendance is what it is, just another party. The marriage itself begins the following day. And let’s not forget that the young bride and groom had lived a protected life up until their wedding day. They were chauffeured to primary and secondary schools, assisted in picking their universities. Their NYSC postings were arranged by daddy. Their first jobs too via daddy’s connections. This is the first time they would be taking huge steps on their own. They probably will still be using daddy’s mechanic and mummy’s travel agent and caterer. Don’t bother denying it. We are all guilty of over-parenting. We all look forward so much to the days our children will get married that we forget there are things we must do, that is, beyond the small chops and assorted meals from here to China.

Raise your hand if you did a proper background check on your son’s wife before the wedding. Seriously? Yeah.

Let me stress this point then. You must investigate your daughter’s suitor, your son’s intended. Don’t be overly excited by the diamond ring he gave her or the rich family she comes from. You must do your research. You must ensure you are not handing over your treasure to a pig who’ll go play in the mud with it. Most parents hardly ever do that background check before calling the wedding planner. Is he abusive? Does she throw flower vases at television sets? Does his father beat his mother? Is her mother cantankerous? Before you fix the wedding date, make sure you are not funding a ceremony that will put your child in an early grave. That is the pre-wedding warning.

 

 

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However, marriage is the critical point. While I think it is a sin to meddle in your children’s marriage, I also think it is a crime to push our children into the deep end of the pool without providing life jackets. Parents should let new couples totter, falter, fall even but be there to help them back on their feet. Watch from a distance but watch you must, keenly, discreetly, wisely. The fear of failure and what the society would say make a lot of new couples die in silence. Without being intrusive, nudge your daughter or daughter-in-law to speak freely. Call her to accompany you to a party you don’t want to attend alone. Start a topic that will help her open up. It could be a new television series, a movie with a relationship or marriage theme. And being a busy politician or high flying executive is not an excuse. I open such topics with my girls while they are helping me pick an evening dress, do my make-up or while we are watching a movie that I had picked for that purpose. I have also had such intimate talks with my son as he drove us to church.

Fathers, let your son-in-law accompany you to events, golf course, church, mosque. What’s wrong with an occasional barber-date together? Get your grooming Saturday in sync. It helps you see through what they may be trying to hide without asking probing questions. You have gained an extra child and that should be an advantage.

Stop by unannounced occasionally too and make such visits brief, very brief. Take along gifts. Those unannounced visits help you to catch them without rehearsed speeches. Hug the wife, she will wince or grunt if she has been kicked or punched. Does she have puffy eyes, discoloured cheeks or walking with a limp? If every time you go there, there is always a story why a piece of furniture is broken or cracked, one of them may be violent, hurling coffee mugs at the television or kicking flower vases.

And if you discover that one of them is abusive, don’t expect them to sort it out on their own or with their pastor. An abusive wife or husband is a sick person. He needs help. She needs to see the appropriate doctor, it is an emergency. If the abusive partner refuses to get help, retrieve the one that belongs to you to safety. My mother used to counsel that a safe small corner on earth is better than a big space in the grave. You cannot fold your arms and hope she will stop slapping your son while she graduates to stabbing him. If he has pushed her down the staircase once and you leave her there, who will you blame when your church elders arrive with sober faces to break the news of your daughter?

Of course I know my pastor, and many other pastors reading this, will object to my ‘retrieve-your-child’ solution but I prefer my pastor chides me to him telling me ‘it is well’ later. God forbid. If a sick spouse gets help, the marriage can get back on track and everybody gets a chance to live happily ever after. And read the Bible too.

*Funke Egbemode is a columnist,  Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, New Telegraph Newspaper. She is also the President of Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE)

EXERCISE WILL NOT HELP IF WE DO NOT CUT OUT SUGAR AND CARBS FROM OUR DIET

In a fascinating and scorching editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three authors argue that the myth that exercise is the key to weight loss – and to health – is erroneous and pervasive, and that it must end. The evidence that diet matters more than exercise is now overwhelming, they write, and has got to be heeded: We can exercise to the moon and back but still be fat for all the sugar and carbs we consume. And perhaps even more jarring is that we can be a normal weight and exercise, and still be unhealthy if we’re eating poorly. So, they say, we need a basic reboot of our understanding of health, which has to involve the food industry’s powerful PR “machinery,” since that was part of the problem to begin with.

 

The major point the team makes – which they say the public doesn’t really understand – is that exercise in and of itself doesn’t really lead to weight loss. It may lead to a number of excellent health effects, but weight loss – if you’re not also restricting calories – isn’t one of them. “Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%,” they write. “However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.”

Plus, in the last 30 years, exercise has stayed about the same, while overweight and obesity have skyrocketed. So something else must be at play – like the type of food we’re eating. That part has gotten steadily worse over the years, as highly-processed sugary foods and sodas have taken over as our go-to choices. “According to the Lancet global burden of disease reports,” they write, “poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.” This is a disturbing statistic. But it gets worse.

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Exercise must be combined with a change in eating habits to result in weight loss and great health

The related and larger issue is that even normal weight people who exercise will, if they eat poorly, have metabolic markers that put them at very high risk of chronic illness and early mortality. “Up to 40% of those with a normal body mass index will harbour metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.”

 

And the crux of the issue is this: We’re continually “fed” the idea that all that’s behind the rise in obesity is lack of exercise, or sedentariness. There have certainly been a lot of studies and popular articles suggesting that sitting is our downfall. Instead of effective messages about diet and health that science actually knows to be true, “members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting,” the team writes, “and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise. This false perception is rooted in the Food Industry’s Public Relations machinery, which uses tactics chillingly similar to those of big tobacco.”

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“Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%,

What we know to be true is much simpler: “Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger,” the write. “Fat calories induce fullness or satiation.” For every additional 150 calories in sugar (i.e., a can of soda) a person consumes per day, the risk for diabetes rises 11-fold, regardless of how much or little we exercise. The single most effective thing people can do for their weight, they write, is to restrict calories – and even more, restrict carbohydrates.

So if this is all true, and research seems to suggest it is, how will it change? It might take quite a lot of work to shift our psychology around food, especially since advertising is so saturated with the message that carbohydrates are good for us. The celebrity endorsements might need to be tweaked, the authors say, and certainly the way foods are advertised and, perhaps, created, need to be shifted. The public should be repeatedly hit with the message that whole, natural foods, where possible and affordable is the best way to go. If you’re trying to lose weight, reduce your calories (especially sugars) – don’t think exercise alone will cut it. And even if you’re normal weight, you can’t subside solely on junk and stay healthy.

The authors end with this powerful finale: “It is time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s Public Relations machinery. Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet.”

 

**Article by Alice G. Walton