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Why UAE, others are interested in Nigerian market – Mairo Usman

From being a delegate in 2014, Mairo MT Usman is the representative of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Nigeria.  President Muhammadu Buhari was a guest of honour at this year’s edition of AIM held in Dubai. In this interview, she speaks on the benefits of the president’s visit, Nigeria’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), among others. Excerpts:

 Daily Trust: What’s the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all about? Mairo Usman: Annual Investment Meeting UAE is the world’s leading platform for foreign direct investment (FDI) and this is the 9th edition. Over 100 countries attend every year and it’s an opportunity to meet across the globe, as alliances and business connections are made.

DT: How have you been facilitating Nigeria’s participation in the AIM? Usman: I first went to the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai as a delegate myself in 2014 and consequently, I was asked by the Director General, Mr. Walid Farghal, to become their representative in Nigeria. The event is under the Ministry of Economy of Dubai and the patron is the ruler of Dubai, His Highness Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

All state governors are invited every year, parastatals, public and private sectors. I have been taking participants from Nigeria for the last five years and the attendance has been growing every year.

DT: AIM draws participants from across the world, can we replicate same in our country in line with PMB’s quest to diversify our economy? Usman: Diversification is key to the growth of our economy and I drew the attention of AIM to our mining sector. I therefore convinced them to invite our former Minister of Solid Minerals, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari, to attend because they only invite Minister of Trade and Investment.  Our minister was on the panel of ‘Invest in Africa’, so, I believe I have partly answered your question on how we can replicate UAE by diversifying. Tourism of course is a sector that needs serious investment and development and next year, I will definitely push to have our tourism potential showcased at the event.

DT: President Buhari was a guest of honour at the 9th edition. What has Nigeria benefited from it? Usman: President Buhari’s visit has further solidified the resolve of the UAE investors to come to Nigeria. Having the president give them his personal assurance, in terms of ease of doing business in Nigeria, has made them want to join hands with Nigeria to bring succour to our ailing power sector.

This will surely give them the kind of returns they are looking for and they are willing to invest in sectors like water projects, agriculture, education and healthcare. Security, population growth, climate change, which is leading to a lot of conflicts, especially the herdsmen/farmers clash, and border control are other sectors that have been discussed extensively for mutual collaboration.

DT: How are Nigerians faring in the UAE? Usman: Nigerians in the UAE are doing very well in terms of trading and in the food industry.  Our intellectuals are being absorbed in the tertiary education sector. Nigerians always excel wherever they go

DT: What’s your final note? Usman: Dubai did it and so can we, but the essential thing we need is a stable and focused leadership. We cannot continue to depend on fluctuating oil prices coupled with other sources of energy that now leads to less earnings from oil.

Source: Daily Trust

CBN blows $2.04 billion to defend the Naira in May as Reserves deplete

In its continued intervention in the foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) injected a cumulative sum of $2.04 billion to further sustain the improved liquidity and relative stability in the market.

According to the latest CBN’s monthly economic report covering the month of May 2019, Nigeria’s apex bank sold the whopping sum of $2.04 billion to authorised dealers in May, compared to $2.43 billion supplied in the previous month. This indicates a decline of 16.1%.

Key Numbers: A breakdown of the Central Bank’s intervention in the foreign exchange (FX) market in the month of May 2019 reveals that Interbank sales fell by 10% to $0.09 billion, to the level in the preceding month.

  • Currency sales to the Bureau De Change (BDC) rose by 6.3% and estimated at US$1.05 billion.
  • Swaps transactions remained unchanged from the previous month and it was estimated at $0.01 billion.
  • The average exchange rate of the naira to the US-dollar, at the inter-bank segment, was N306.95/US$, representing an appreciation of 0.003%
  • The average exchange rate at the BDC segment, at N360.00/US$, depreciated by 0.3% relative to the level at the end of the preceding month.
  • At the “Investors” and “Exporters” (I&E) window, the average exchange rate of the naira vis-à-vis the US dollar, was ₦360.74/US$ indicating that naira appreciated by 0.01%.

Numbers Explained: The lower sales of FX in the month of May was as a result of less demand for FX at the inter-bank segment, a 6.3% decline. The reason for the decline may be as a result of low demand for forex at the interbank level, possibly due to the delays, policy, and other bureaucratic issues.

Unlike the interbank segment, demand for FX surged at the BDC segment. This means that the Central Bank had to increase its supply of forex to ease pressure on the Nigerian Naira. This reflected in the depreciation of the exchange rate on this segment, signifying a surge in the demand for FX for the month under review.

On the other hand, the fragility of Nigeria’s exchange rate system was further established as the Central Bank increased the supply of forex to the all-important I&E window where foreign investors trade. Accordingly, the naira exchange rate appreciated by 0.01% in the I&E segment in the month, indicating strong stability in the segments likely occasioned by an oversupply of FX by the Central Bank.

Source: NairaMetircs

What Makes People Successful in Real Estate?

One of the components of building a successful career is called modeling. Modeling is patterning your behavior after someone who perhaps you admire and has built a career you would like to emulate. This is particularly valuable in real estate, where newer agents can seek out the advice and wisdom of those with more experience.

Modeling, in essence, is learning what a person has done to become successful and taking similar steps. Are there traits that these successful agents share? What do they have in common? How do they approach life and their careers? What separates them from the crowd? Just what makes these individuals, apart from others, successful in real estate? When you put together all of the best traits and mindsets that make up the brokers and agents you admire the most, the path toward success becomes a little bit more clear.

Successful Agents Know What They Want

Since everybody defines success somewhat differently, “success” is what you deem it to be. For many, it is a financial standing or stability. For others, it is the satisfaction of helping people. Others may define success as the perfect balance between professional and personal achievement.

Initially, success may be closing on that first property. It eventually may reach a home or multiple properties per month. Success may be having your own brokerage or having others work for you. It may involve owning several investment properties. The point is that you need to take the time to decide how you will define success. Most successful agents know what the success level is for them and where they currently stand in relation to those goals. A combination of short-term and long-term goals can keep people motivated while still looking to the horizon.

Successful Agents are Always Learning

Those who achieve a certain level of success in real estate understand the importance of continual learning. It is not just learning from experience, it is also proactive and intentional research. Successful real estate professionals read books, watch videos, attend seminars, listen to podcasts, read blogs, and more. They are expanding not only their knowledge but their horizons.

There’s an almost endless appetite to learn about this industry, the latest trends, tactics, and strategies. Successful real estate professionals seem to have a thirst for learning that has become second nature. Even the most seasoned veteran knows that no one knows everything and those who regularly seek knowledge put themselves in the best position to succeed.

Successful Agents Sweat the Small Stuff (but not too much)

Successful agents seem to know when even small details can make a big difference. It may be a part of a previous conversation, a seller’s goal they only mentioned once, or a birth date or anniversary. It could be extensive knowledge of current and upcoming businesses and developments in a specific neighborhood. Clients and colleagues alike will notice.

Of course, stressing out about every single detail is seldom productive. On the other hand, paying close attention, using good listening and superior note-taking skills are powerful tools in real estate. Successful pros know when, where and how to use them.

Successful Agents Are Honest With Themselves

Those who are successful in real estate know there is no real place to hide. They understand the buck often stops with them and no excuses will suffice. Did you give your best effort this month? Did you do as much as you could for every lead, prospect or customer? Is there room for improvement and where? What can you do differently? What is keeping you from moving up to the next gear?

When agents can identify where there is room for improvement, they can take prompt action to grow or resolve any issues that arise.

Successful Agents Fail

Successful agents fail because they are constantly trying. Stumbling is part of growing and pushing yourself to the next level. If there is a successful real estate professional out there who has never missed the mark on even one occasion, a statue needs to be built in their honor.

Obviously, you don’t want to fail 100% of the time, but if you’re too afraid of failure, you may never find just how far you can go. Do not fear success and do not fear failure. When failure happens, make sure to learn from it and move forward accordingly.

Successful Agents Are Goal-Oriented

Successful real estate professionals know the power of goals. They also understand that goals should be set for each of the steps it takes in reaching a sale, not just sales themselves.

Setting goals along the way allows you to achieve success by creating a stepping stone. As they are reached, your ultimate sales goals can be reached. The goals you have will be influenced by where you are in your career. These smaller goals may include:

  • Number of new contacts made each week
  • Emails or phone calls made each day
  • Community-related events attended each month
  • How many times you ask for a referral each month

Set these goals to your own comfort/challenge level and track them. Keep records of your “personal best” for each category you track. This is particularly useful in real estate where closing is a relatively infrequent occurrence. It’s certainly fine to have a goal of “X closings by the end of the year,” but setting these smaller, achievable goals that can be monitored help breed future success. At some point, these goals might include “recruit X stellar agents this quarter.”

Becoming a Successful Agent

It can be simple to look at someone with 20 years of experience and see their longevity as a cause of their success. It is more likely their habits were the cause of their success and longevity in the industry. When you pay attention and see how these successful agents think, conduct themselves and take care of business, you can get a clearer understanding of what it takes.

Successful agents know what they want, are detail-oriented and are always learning. They are honest with themselves, are not afraid to fail, and they set and monitor realistic yet challenging goals. There’s a lot to be learned and it starts by simply paying attention.

Our global house-price forecasts

Ten years ago a housing bust caused the deepest recession in generations. Since then, ultra-low interest rates and an increasing abundance of credit have pushed house prices back towards or beyond their pre-crisis peaks. As a result, in some markets policymakers are beginning to worry that boom could once again turn to bust. The long housing rally in Australia is coming to an abrupt end: prices there fell 8% in the year to the end of March. Appreciation has also slowed markedly in Britain, Canada and New Zealand during the past year.

Could another crash lurk on the horizon? To estimate this risk, The Economist has created a statistical prediction model for house prices. It uses data on macroeconomic conditions, market fundamentals and historical home values to peer 18 months into the future. As an article in our print edition this week shows, the model performs well when back-tested against the past.

Although it would not have anticipated the magnitude of the extreme boom and bust of the mid-2000s, it would have foreseen a sharp reversal in the trend. For example, ahead of the financial crisis, when prices were growing at 8% a year in America, our model would have expected house-price growth to slow to just 0.3% a year 18 months later.

Looking ahead, the model is currently rather sanguine about the likely paths for home values across ten rich world countries, thanks to the persistence of low interest rates and ample credit. The average of its median forecasts for price growth in the year to the end of June 2020 is 2.3%. The model expects prices in Australia to level off rather than continuing to decline. Only in Italy are values more likely to fall than to rise.

Source: Thr Economist

Mortgage rates sink to a 31-month low after Federal Reserve expresses uncertainty about the economy

Mortgage rates hit their lowest levels since November 2016 on the heels of the Federal Reserve meeting last week.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.73 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.84 percent a week ago and 4.55 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has fallen in seven of the last nine weeks.

The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.16 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.25 percent a week ago and 4.04 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average fell to 3.39 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.48 percent a week ago and 3.87 percent a year ago.

“Rates have fallen consistently over the past several weeks, and that trend continued in the days following the Fed’s suggestion of a near-term cut to the federal funds rate,” said Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economist.

As expected, mortgage rates tumbled soon after the Federal Reserve met last week. The central bank left its benchmark rate untouched but expressed concern about inflation, slowing global growth and a trade war. The Fed does not set mortgage rates, but its actions influence them.

Rates also weren’t helped by recent economic data.

“Tuesday’s disappointing release of consumer confidence figures — the lowest reading in nearly two years — pushed treasury yields down, and mortgage rates followed suit,” Speakman said. “Looking ahead, the risk to rates is to the upside. Markets are increasingly confident that this week’s G-20 summit will yield a trade agreement between the U.S. and China, something that many believe will boost spending and support global economic activity. Rates also would likely rise if inflation data, due Friday, show meaningful improvement.”

However, rates tend to pause during a holiday week. Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that nearly three-quarters of the experts it surveyed say rates will remain relatively stable in the coming week.

“With the June Fed meeting behind us, markets are focusing on the upcoming G-20 meeting and trade negotiations between China and the U.S. heading into that meeting,” said Michael Becker, branch manager at Sierra Pacific Mortgage in White Marsh, Md. “Treasury yields and mortgage rates have been level to slightly higher since the Fed meeting. It looks like they are consolidating at current levels and are awaiting news on trade negotiations to make their next move. Because of this, I think mortgage rates will be flat in the coming week.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications picked up. According to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — increased 1.3 percent from a week earlier. The refinance index rose 3 percent from the previous week, while the purchase index slipped 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 51.5 percent of all applications.

“Mortgage rates fell again for most loan types, leading to a 3 percent weekly increase in refinances and a 92 percent jump year-over-year,” said Bob Broeksmit, MBA president and CEO. “For home shoppers, the housing market this summer has been a mixed bag. Purchase applications — while up 9 percent from a year ago — have recently declined on a weekly basis. Affordability challenges, tight supply and some unease about the direction of the economy continue to slow some would-be buyers.”

Source: Washington Post

The Latest: California lawmakers reach housing agreement

California’s governor and legislative leaders have agreed to reward local governments that make it easier to build houses faster and punish those who don’t.

The proposal finalized on Thursday is in response to the state’s housing shortage, which is driving up costs and sending more people to the streets.

The plan would reward local governments deemed to be “pro-housing” with more than $1 billion in housing and transportation grants. It would also let the state sue local governments who do not comply, which could include court-imposed fines of up to $100,000 per month. The court could impose additional penalties.

The proposal still must pass both houses of the state Legislature.

The agreement is part of the final package of bills around the state budget. Newsom has until midnight Thursday to act on the budget bill.

California’s governor is running out of time to act on the state’s nearly $215 billion operating budget.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has until midnight Thursday to make a decision on the budget, which lawmakers passed earlier this month.

This is Newsom’s first budget since he took office in January. It includes a $21.5 billion surplus, the largest in at least two decades following years of budget cuts because of shrinking revenues.

Newsom has not said whether he will sign the budget. He could also veto it entirely or veto parts of it. Newsom and state lawmakers are still negotiating about other bills that direct how the money will be spent. But Newsom called those outstanding bills “small issues.”

Source: By The Associated Press

100 organisations, 100 years of affordable housing!

On the occasion of the 2nd International Festival of Social Housing and in conjunction with the “History of Social Housing in Europe” exhibition organised by USH – L’Union Sociale pour L’habitat, Housing Europe and AVS – Asociación Española de Gestores Públicos de Vivienda y Suelo, organised a celebration of more than 100 federations and social landlords, active for 100 years and more.

Welcoming remarks came from Cédric Van Styvendael, President of Housing Europe and Jerónimo Escalera Gómez, President of AVS, and last but not least, Carine Puyol of USH who presented the exhibition itself, and which can be found online here.

Champions time” – 100 providers with over 100 years of history

A small gift in the form of a clay plaque marking “100 years housing those in need” done in the traditional Andalucian style was given by AVS to the 100 year old federations and their members to celebrate their long histories and renew their commitment for years to come.

Limited profit housing cooperation EBG (Gemeinnützige Ein- und Mehrfamilienhäuser
Baugenossenschaft reg. Gen. m. b. H.
) of Vienna, founded in 1910, and represented by Alexander Gluttig were the first to accept their gift.

Followed by GBV (Österreichischer Verband gemeinnütziger Bauvereinigungen) the Austrian Federation of Limited-Profit Housing Associations represented by Dr. Gerlinde Gutheil-Knopp-Kirchwald. Their stock represents about a fifth of the total Austria housing stock and about 40% of multi-family housing.

Björn Mallants represented VVH (De Vereniging van Vlaamse Huisvestingsmaatschappijen) the representative umbrella organsiation of Flemish social housing companies. The total number of managed dwelling units by Vvh members: 150,000.

BL (Danmarks Almene Boliger) in Denmark was represented by Solveig Råberg Tingey. In Denmark, 1 out 6 people live in social housing.

Céline Reynaud, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Est Metropole Habitat shared how they aim to “participate in construction of a city with good life, conditions that are consistent and balanced” and who “place innovation at heart of its mission to invent new ways of living, in collaboration with inhabitants and partners”.

Laurent Ghekiere represented USH, whose original aim was to build a permanent link between different federations of social housing. In 2019, it has a role in national representation, information, support and assistance and to members and finally, a mission of reflection, analysis and study on all subjects related to housing.

Stéphane Dauphin and Bertrand Bret accepted the gift on behalf of Paris Habitat, founded in 1914, today managing around 120,000 homes.

Patrice Vitteaux accepted the prize on behalf of Polylogis, a French independent social landlord, with a turnover of €496 million and workforce of 1,260 people.

French not-for-profit public housing company Savoisienne habitat was represented by Samuel Rabillard. Savoisienne habitat focus on tailor-made quality and believe that the cooperative ideal is to ensure the best safety and protection of buyers.

German company Bauverein Halle was represented by Guido Schwarzendahl. Established in 1910, today they have more than 7,500 dwellings in four cities.

Özgür Öner accepted the prize on behalf of GdW (Bundesverband deutscher Wohnungs- und Immobilienunternehmen e.V.), the Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies. GdW represents nearly 30% of all rental flats in Germany, about 1.2 million of which are social housing.

For over 125 years, The Iveagh Trust, represented by Gene Clayton, has offered has offered affordable rented housing to people on low incomes and has been a vital part of the architectural and social fabric of Dublin city.

Marcello Mazzù represented ATC (Agenzia Territoriale per la Casa), founded in 1907 and currently managing a housing stock of 30,000 units.

Marcello hung out on the podium for another while to accept the prize on behalf of FEDERCASA, the Italian Federation for Public Social Housing, who represent 80 public social housing companies and have done so for over a century.

Robin van Leijen represented Dutch housing association Welbions. In the Hengelo and Borne municipalities, 1 in 4 residents live in a Welbions home.

AFWC (Amsterdamse Federatie van Woning Corporaties) was represented by Egbert de Vries. AFWC’s nin housing associations own 42% of the total amount of dwellings in Amsterdam, offering an average rent of €488 a month.

José María Escolástico Sánchez accepted the gift on behalf of Viviendas Municipales de Bilbao, a local autonomous organisation attached to the housing area of Bilbao City Council.

Felipe Castro Bermúdez-Coronel represented Emvisesa Sevilla, who value “legitimacy, transparency, responsibility, innovation, quality and continuous improvement”.

Finally, Rebecca Omorgie accepted the gift on behalf of the Federation of Swiss Cooperatives (Wohnbaugenossenschaften schweiz ostschweiz regionalverband der gemeinnützigen wohnbauträger), who added a valuable additional view that we usually lack at EU level.

Summing up, as host of the event Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe noted that it is clear from the individual stories of dedication from those organisations represented, that the sector continues to adapt to new challenges posed by  societal changes as it has done also over the last 100 years illustrated in the “History of Social Housing in Europe” exhibition. What the discussions that evening and throughout the festival also showed is that with the wrong policies, the capacity of systems to meet challenges, even those with a strong history, can be drastically weakened in a very short time. The right policies are vital to achieve resilience.

Source: Housing Europe

A Guide on How to Establish Important Connections at 13th AIHS

It’s important that if you are going to take the time away from work to attend a conference like 13th Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS), you know exactly how to maximize it!

The Abuja International Housing Show can be a game changer for your brand and business. More importantly as a participant, if done the right way can prove to be a gold mine of opportunities. Whether you are going to attend the show’s conference sessions, the exhibition or to make sales, you have to be prepared.

There are things that successful professionals do at AIHS that helps them make the most out of the event. And this piece will show you how.

Most professionals look forward to AIHS because they are certain they will get new business from it; they know exactly how to work a room and walk up to a stranger like an old friend; they are a magnet for business cards because they aren’t the sleazy schmoozer types; they are the people who everyone wants to sit next to at lunch.

Pros seem to effortlessly manage the schedule, land VIP coffees and kill it at after-parties.

First Tip: Your Assets
AIHS Conference pros not only have the skills to rock the event, they also have an arsenal of tools at their disposal. Before you go to the event, make sure you have the following in place:

Your Badge: One of your most important, but often overlooked, assets for AIHS conference and exhibition is your badge. It is your first impression. It is your conversation starter. It is your calling card. It is your key to interactions. Before leaving, double- and triple-check that your name and company is spelled correctly in the conference system. This way you won’t show up and discover a mistake. You also might consider bringing your own badge, lanyard or pins to add. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone who has added something interesting to the boring traditional badge.

Insider Tip: If you have an opportunity to add a conversation starter to your badge, do it! For example, you can write your favorite quote on the back of your badge so if it flips over, there is still something interesting there. You can add a conversation starter below your name. Sometimes badges allow you to add an interesting fact–never pass up an opportunity to add an additional element to your badge. It will make YOU easier to approach.

Your Contact: At AIHS, if someone wants your information, you definitely can give them a business card, but you also want to be able to bump or pass someone your info phone to phone. This is especially helpful if someone wants to grab drinks later. We highly recommend having a professional contact for yourself in your address book that you can text someone quickly. This ‘conference contact’ should have just your phone number, email, website and maybe social media info, such as your Twitter or Instagram handle.

Your Business Card: Hopefully this is obvious, but bring a TON of cards–more than you ever think you will need. Don’t be that person who runs out and needs to use a napkin instead.

One other big thing to think about with your business card as an asset. Be honest: Is your business card boring? AIHS Conference pros have interesting, conversation-sparking, memorable business cards because they are getting so many at once. If you can, we highly recommend having your picture on your business card, so people remember who you are when looking at it later.

2. Pitch Perfect

Most people have one elevator pitch that they use for everything. This is a MISTAKE for conferences. You want a conference-specific elevator pitch tailored to the people you are meeting. This will help you be more relevant and more memorable.

How do you tailor your pitch for a conference? You have options. You can say, “My name is Lagbaja, and I’m mortgage investor at a mortgage finance company called Mortgage Lead.”

Before you arrive at the conference, write out a few specific variations of your pitch. Especially if you are attending the trade show and exhibition behind a booth. You want your elevator pitch also to be your sales pitch for your booth. For example, when you are marketing a product to clients at the show, your pitch can be like this: “We’re a home and office furniture company running a promo for our new clients. Want to try it?”

3. Offer Don’t Ask

Some participants do not perform very well at the conference because they believe that conferences were about asking. Some participants just want to get more business cards and contacts, but that can present them to be too needy.

Participants have to discover the power of the offer. It is best to let other connections at the conference know that you have something beneficial to offer them. That will trigger their interest because they too are looking out for what to benefit.

4. Don’t Be Isolated

Ensure to be early at the events. Don’t pass up the opportunity to get to a session five minutes early and sit at a partially full table or block of seats with people. Don’t pick the empty table or the row of empty seats! You are missing the best networking opportunity. When you sit down at a table, you can ask an easy context come on, “What made you sign up for this session?” or “How’s the lunch?” or simply, “What brings you here?”

5. Get In and Stay In

Once you’re in, you want to stay in. Staying in is how to keep the conversation going. These tips work whether you are standing at a booth or chatting with someone in the bathroom line. First, use conference-specific conversation starters, such as:

What did you think of the keynote?

Have you learned anything really interesting so far?

Which break-out session are you going to go to?

Any booths I should stop by in the Exhibition Hall?

Second, use killer conversation starters. Please DO NOT ask them what they do or where they are from. These are ridiculously boring and YOU are more interesting than that. Once you have had some casual chit chat, use one of our killer conversation starters, such as:

“Worked on anything exciting recently?” This is a better way to ask someone what they do.

“What are you looking forward to the rest of the day?” This is better than asking someone “How are you?”

“Who is the most interesting person you have met here?” This is a great way to build your network.

6. Know Your Limits

If you are not an extrovert, don’t try to be! Even if you are an extrovert, we all have limits. The worst way to do a conference is to try doing it all, even when you’re exhausted or out of your element. Do you do better one-on-one? Then setting up coffees at conferences is going to be way more productive for you than attending a break-out session. Do you love late nights? Then host an after-party! Knowing your limits also applies to food, sleep and timing too.

When you are ready to wrap it up, give them a genuine compliment, such as, “It’s been a pleasure talking to you.” or “I loved hearing about your business idea.”

Then cue them to the exit with a follow-up item, such as, “I’ll follow-up with you on email.” or “Hope to see you at the after-party tonight.” or “Pass me your business card and I’ll find you on LinkedIn.”

Finally, the handshake is a really clear cue and will get even the most persistent person to realize that you want to make a lasting impression. Smile, stick out your hand and give a nice send-off with well wishes, such as, “Good luck today.” or “Break a leg in your workshop.” or “Safe travels.”

7: Network with AIHS Mobile App and Our Social Media

Maximizing a conference doesn’t just happen at the conference. It can also happen online. Make sure to download to AIHS Mobile App on Google store and make new virtual connections with like minds and businesses.

Use the event hashtag! If you are on Twitter, you can get so many new followers by using the event hashtag. Jump on the hashtag during keynotes and workshops. Post pictures and thank you’s. This gets you tons of new followers and activity.

If you can thank the organizers and conference planning committee, do it! They work really hard to put on events and very rarely get thanked. Who knows? You might be chosen as a speaker for next year/

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

Rwanda: World Bank Reaffirms the Country’s Low Debt Distress Risk Status

Rwanda’s debt level is at 32.9 per cent of GDP, which is below the critical threshold of 50 per cent.

Rwanda is one of only four countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with low risk of debt distress, the World Bank has said.

The Bank rates countries’ risk of distress, which is categorised as high, moderate, in-distress, or low.

Aghassi Mkrtchyan, a Senior Economist at the World Bank, said Rwanda maintains a low debt distress through careful borrowing, proper loan management and high economic growth.

He was speaking to The New Times on the sidelines of 14th World Bank Rwanda Economic Update in the capital Kigali.

This comes at a time a majority of countries on the continent are said to be incurring more debt than they can handle partly due to terms of debt.

Rwanda’s debt level is at 32.9 per cent of GDP. 32.9 per cent is below the critical EAC threshold of 50 per cent.

Other low debt distress countries in Sub-Saharan Africa include Senegal, Tanzania, and Senegal.

The Ministry of Finance said in March that the country is able to keep its debt level low largely because of prioritisation of strategic projects and quality of the financiers.

The Government prefers concessional loans as opposed to market value loans, it said.

A concessional loan is credit that is extended on terms that are substantially more generous than market loans and are usually from international development financiers such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.

The loans have low interest rates and long grace periods with the possibility of further review.

On the other hand, market value loans are not only expensive but have shorter payment durations.

The share of concessional loans in the total debt stock stood at 63 per cent as of end 2018.

Mkrtchyan said that Rwanda still has room to borrow more to finance development projects given that recent investments have shown a high return on investment.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in March said that Rwanda has shown prudent management of its debt while it continues to register notable progress in sustaining high and inclusive growth.

The economy grew by 8.6 per cent in 2018 driven by robust activities across different sectors of the economy and it is expected to grow by 7.8 per cent in 2019.

The World Bank Rwanda Economic Update released Tuesday confirmed that the economy expanded at 8.6 percent in 2018, adding that the headline inflation remained low at 1.2 percent as of March 2019.

The report also forecasts favourable economic outlook with growth expected to be in the range of 7.6 to 8 per cent annually

Source: New Times

The next economic crisis could cause a global conflict. Here’s why

The response to the 2008 economic crisis has relied far too much on monetary stimulus, in the form of quantitative easing and near-zero (or even negative) interest rates, and included far too little structural reform. This means that the next crisis could come soon – and pave the way for a large-scale military conflict.

The next economic crisis is closer than you think. But what you should really worry about is what comes after: in the current social, political, and technological landscape, a prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising income inequality, could well escalate into a major global military conflict.

The 2008-09 global financial crisis almost bankrupted governments and caused systemic collapse. Policymakers managed to pull the global economy back from the brink, using massive monetary stimulus, including quantitative easing and near-zero (or even negative) interest rates.

Image: UN

But monetary stimulus is like an adrenaline shot to jump-start an arrested heart; it can revive the patient, but it does nothing to cure the disease. Treating a sick economy requires structural reforms, which can cover everything from financial and labor markets to tax systems, fertility patterns, and education policies.

Policymakers have utterly failed to pursue such reforms, despite promising to do so. Instead, they have remained preoccupied with politics. From Italy to Germany, forming and sustaining governments now seems to take more time than actual governing. And Greece, for example, has relied on money from international creditors to keep its head (barely) above water, rather than genuinely reforming its pension system or improving its business environment.

The lack of structural reform has meant that the unprecedented excess liquidity that central banks injected into their economies was not allocated to its most efficient uses. Instead, it raised global asset prices to levels even higher than those prevailing before 2008.

In the United States, housing prices are now 8% higher than they were at the peak of the property bubble in 2006, according to the property website Zillow. The price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio, which measures whether stock-market prices are within a reasonable range, is now higher than it was both in 2008 and at the start of the Great Depression in 1929.

As monetary tightening reveals the vulnerabilities in the real economy, the collapse of asset-price bubbles will trigger another economic crisis – one that could be even more severe than the last, because we have built up a tolerance to our strongest macroeconomic medications. A decade of regular adrenaline shots, in the form of ultra-low interest rates and unconventional monetary policies, has severely depleted their power to stabilize and stimulate the economy.

If history is any guide, the consequences of this mistake could extend far beyond the economy. According to Harvard’s Benjamin Friedman, prolonged periods of economic distress have been characterized also by public antipathy toward minority groups or foreign countries – attitudes that can help to fuel unrest, terrorism, or even war.

For example, during the Great Depression, US President Herbert Hoover signed the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, intended to protect American workers and farmers from foreign competition. In the subsequent five years, global trade shrank by two-thirds. Within a decade, World War II had begun.

To be sure, WWII, like World War I, was caused by a multitude of factors; there is no standard path to war. But there is reason to believe that high levels of inequality can play a significant role in stoking conflict.

According to research by the economist Thomas Piketty, a spike in income inequality is often followed by a great crisis. Income inequality then declines for a while, before rising again, until a new peak – and a new disaster. Though causality has yet to be proven, given the limited number of data points, this correlation should not be taken lightly, especially with wealth and income inequality at historically high levels.

This is all the more worrying in view of the numerous other factors stoking social unrest and diplomatic tension, including technological disruption, a record-breaking migration crisis, anxiety over globalization, political polarization, and rising nationalism. All are symptoms of failed policies that could turn out to be trigger points for a future crisis.

Voters have good reason to be frustrated, but the emotionally appealing populists to whom they are increasingly giving their support are offering ill-advised solutions that will only make matters worse. For example, despite the world’s unprecedented interconnectedness, multilateralism is increasingly being eschewed, as countries – most notably, Donald Trump’s US – pursue unilateral, isolationist policies. Meanwhile, proxy wars are raging in Syria and Yemen.

Against this background, we must take seriously the possibility that the next economic crisis could lead to a large-scale military confrontation. By the logic of the political scientist Samuel Huntington , considering such a scenario could help us avoid it, because it would force us to take action. In this case, the key will be for policymakers to pursue the structural reforms that they have long promised, while replacing finger-pointing and antagonism with a sensible and respectful global dialogue. The alternative may well be global conflagration.

Source: WeForum

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