Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obsolete IT Curriculum in Nigerian Universities

There was a little noticed article in the Nigerian newspapers recently. Apparently the curriculum being used to teach the next generation of Emeagwalis in Nigeria is obsolete. This is probably not news, hence there was no call for a Senate/House of Reps hearing to discuss this finding or any noticeable outrage from public commentators.

Why is it that despite the huge increase in the price of crude oil and the booming African, specifically Nigerian economy, there is no noticeable progress in the education and health sectors? What would it take to fix the problems in these sectors? Do we need to call the colonial masters (the Brits, the French) back to help us revive these sectors? Even though that thought may be untenable to most Africans, the truth is that during the colonial era, we had good infrastructure and the system worked.

At a minimum we should be exceeding the standards (i.e., the system worked) set during the colonial era to honour the bravery of the great men and women that fought for national independence. The future of Nigeria, indeed Africa depends on these students that are being trained using obsolete curriculums. How are they going to compete in the global talent market?

Quoting Mr. Emeagwali: "Intellectual Capital Not Money alleviates Poverty" We hope our leaders are listening.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Investor Relations - Emerging Discipline in Emerging Africa

Per the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), Investor relations is a strategic management responsibility that integrates finance, communication, marketing and securities law compliance to enable the most effective two-way communication between a company, the financial community, and other constituencies, which ultimately contributes to a company's securities achieving fair valuation.

Investor Relations is a little known but rapidly growing discipline in Africa, though we are still behind the developed economies of Asia, Europe and North America. However the increasing globalization of African economies has resulted in local markets opening to global investors.

African companies are increasingly transferring their primary listings abroad or have dual listings, consequently local and international shareholders and stakeholders are demanding greater transparency and disclosure. The increasing complex regulatory environment, together with a global focus on governance, reporting and accountability is also accelerating the growth of the investor relations discipline. Investor Relations requires a robust understanding of the complexities of the financial markets and ample media savvy.

There will be a continued scarcity of experienced Investor Relations professionals for the foreseeable future, consequently many organizations are already training in-house staff to prepare them for this important role. Furthermore, we believe there will be more demand for Investor Relations professionals, as African capital markets become more mature, and investors and other stakeholders demand for more accountability, transparency and full disclosure increase significantly

For those interested in learning more about this discipline, you may want to swing by NIRI’s site, and the popular IR blog - Investor relations musings - devoted entirely to the practice of Investor Relations. Enjoy.