Our Digital newsletter went out yesterday! I’m sharing it with all of you here so you can take a look.
Our Digital newsletter went out yesterday! I’m sharing it with all of you here so you can take a look.
Could Africa be the next hub of technological innovation? After exploring the concept in our article Silicon Savannah, we decided to investigate further.
With that in mind, we are beginning a series today written by an anonymous guest blogger. Although she was born in Canada, she lives in Africa in a position of importance now, and has for several years.
Her blogs will all have ‘From Africa’s Perspective’ in the title.
Enjoy her unique and informative viewpoint!
I hear you from here… Burkina what?
Burkina Faso. Capital Ouagadougou. Come on, it is not that difficult to pronounce. OUA-GA-DOU-GOU. There, you got it.
Burkina Faso, the country of the honest man in Mossi, the local language.
A small country in West Africa. Totally landlocked. Surrounded by Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Bénin, Togo and Ghana. Among the poorest countries on the planet. Ranked 181 out of 187 countries on the 2014 United Nations Human Development Index. Population 17 million. Maybe. In a country where traditionally mothers did not count their children until they reached the age of 5 given the high mortality rate, that number is at best an approximation. What is known is that the birth rate is only second to Niger, with 6 children per woman. Nearly 65% of the population is under the age of 24 years old.
The state of the infrastructure is sad. Water purification plants are obsolete and almost non-existent outside the two largest cities, Ouaga and Bobo Diolasso. Mind you, even in town, their state of order does not inspire confidence. You would never, unless you have a Montezuma’s revenge wish, use that water to brush your teeth.
Ditto for the electrical grid, which is experiencing increasing stress thanks to the urban migration. Power shortages are so common, be it during the rainy season or the hot season that nearly household has an generator. If only not too loose the meat in the freezer, or getting the bedroom aircon working so that you have a restful night. I am still amazed to see people at work, relatively productive, when the night temperature does not go below 30 degrees Celsius, and you know that they do not have an aircon or fan because they cannot afford it.
Outside the main cities, the roads are not paved. Mind you, they are not grated either. There is no road equipment for that sort of work. During and after the rainy season, which was quite generous this year, the state of the roads are impressive. Not by their smoothness. By the holes created by the traffic and the rain… well, ok, it is more like small pools, you are right. Those who can afford it have 4×4. Not for status, but for necessity.
Small cars get quickly damaged by the state of the road. Even our 4×4 got damaged by these bumps and holes. Believe me or not, we hit the bottom of the car and damaged something, not sure what. Will finally be repaired this week, thank you very much. That was quite a nasty bump. And no, we were not speeding. Well, I don’t think that 20 km an hour is speeding. Could be wrong -happened once before.
For 8 months on the year, the temperature varies between the low and high 30, even at 3 in the morning. For two months, it varies between the low and high 40’s, hitting 50 in May. Seriously. The Mossi say that it is during the month of May that Burkinabè understand that they have a common border with Hell.
The cold season lasts two months or so, December to February. Temperature can go down to 17 at 3 in the morning. This is when people wear their winter coat, their toques and mittens. Oh yes, it is cold on that motorcycle in the morning. Because motorcycles and bicycles are the most common mode of transportation for the majority of the population. There are enough cars to make driving a hell raising experience. Fighting for your place on the road with decrepit taxis and trucks and a large number of 4×4, with motos and bikes zigzagging among the traffic…yes, you do live the African experience.
I still have not determined if I prefer the hot season, without sand, or the cold season with its Harmattan winds, coming from the Sahel and bringing with it heaps of dirty sand and dust. In a part of the world where toilets are not common, the desert and the countryside are often the public latrine. The Harmattan brings its lots of disease. The most deadly is the meningitis, the second killer in young children, after malaria.
There is literally no garbage management of any sort. Yes, garbage is being picked up … and dumped somewhere. Mind you, recycling is heavy. There is someone going through your garbage to recuperate what can be of use. Plastic bags are everywhere. I keep joking about the plastic bags trees as the plastic bags often get caught in tree branches. Not funny, I know.
Life expectancy at birth is 56.34 years. Literacy rate is 28%; much lower in women. School attendance at high school is 26%, mostly boys as girls need to help in the house. The quality of education is poor. The average class size is 48. Larger in the country side. 81.1% of the population life below 2$ a day; 44.6% below 1.24$.
Burkina has been my country of temporary residence for the past three years. And is spite of these statistics and these facts, and many others, what impresses is the resilience of its people. Système D as we say in French, Système Débrouille. Vaguely translated as System Make it Work. And their use of technology.
I was asked if I would be willing to write a few articles on the state of technology in Burkina Faso. I thought it could be interesting. These will be based on my observations, my discussions with friends and people who know the area and are generous enough of their time to help me. It is by no means a serious analysis on the state of technology in the country and the region.
I don’t understand technology like those of you who will be reading these articles. But I will do my best to make them interesting and relevant… and they will be even more so if you help me identify subjects of interest…
The first couple of articles will focus on internet and telephone, both land lines and cell phones. Miracles are being worked here every day with the use of cell phones…
See you soon…
One of our newest members here at Planet4IT is Shaheerah Kayani. She brings with her a fresh new perspective of the latest technologies being used in both business and leisure.
She’s learning the ropes quickly here, and is set to soon take the Capital world by storm. With one eye on the job market and the other on the latest and greatest people, she’s the woman to go to for information on Job Search Strategies, Professional Resume Writing and Profile identification.
Shaheerah encourages you to give her a call here at Planet4IT, or if you prefer, to connect with her on LinkedIN for all of your placement needs.
Is Canada falling behind on global trade?
In a world in the throws of the Digital Revolution, the only constant is change.
There are a number of major trade regulation changes coming in 2014, unprecedented in both number and magnitude. These changes affect every company that imports into, or exports from, Canada or the U.S. Some of these regulations require new licensing, and others mandate significant software updates.
Getting trade right is important not just for the economic growth it can create in Canada, but for the signal it sends to North America’s partners. If North America fails to show leadership and surrenders the chance to be leading the way in the worlds most significant trade partnerships, others will step forward to fill the void. Now-a-days, thanks to the growing powers of Russia, India, Africa and Asia, that void would be filled within moments and be almost impossible to reclaim
Can Canada keep up in that face of all this competition?
Jim: Over the last few years our trading software has grown stagnant. Oh sure, the interface has gotten more colourful and interactive, but the core application hasn’t changed at all since it was bought. It’s like you bought a box with a pink ribbon on it. Eventually, the pink ribbon got tattered, so you but a shiny new yellow ribbon on it – but the repair was strictly cosmetic. The box was still the same. The software that the Canadian banks bought is that box. It was purchased from the late 1980’s to the year 2000. They were able to do whatever they needed to do in those time-frames, but they’vebeen lacking for anything new for the last 15 years. In other words, any changes have been strictly cosmetic.
Now you have giants on the marketplace that were never there before, and those original trading platforms were never made to handle these new behemoths. So the question Canadian traders have to ask is ‘am I happy making the money I’m making, or will these new competitors push me to the sidelines?”
With Russia, Asia and Africa coming into play, Canadian banks don’t know how to play the game anymore.
Jeremy: The Canadian trade foundation was based off of the 7.5 hour trading day. That model was based on the New York model. In Shanghai today however, those building never go dark.
When 7.5 hours was the norm, when the ‘bell ends’ traders would take all the results of that day, sum them up, then batch send them to the accountant department. Everyday they would do the same thing and be told by the start of the next trade day how they where doing. Now there is no break in the day for batch updates; you have to do it in real time. You don’t have an off hour to calculate – so your risk models are out of a jar.
Archana: The crash of 2010 is a constant reminder of the need and importance to bolster fall back mechanisms- where the modern systems can apply a hard stop to free-falling stocks. Business is much more complex now than the antiquated systems that were built several years ago. As Jeremy said, stocks are trading 24/7. There is a race to gain supremacy, be it in terms of the overall market reach, or its impact. Not only that, but we are in the midst of a global economy where exchange is happening in multiple currencies. We need a sophisticated system that can counter faulty trades. For us to stay afloat in all of these emerging markets and to be counted as a viable player, our technology needs to be modernized.
Later that same day sit down and compose your email. Remember if you were interviewed by a panel then you want to send a personalized email to each person. Your “thank you” should be sent out within 48 hours. Why??
Your email should be formal, starting with
The body of your email should be 3 or 4 paragraphs (4 maximum).
A few final things:
For some sample thank you letters, check out about.com at the link below.Sample Thank You EmailLast thing to do – cross your fingers and wait for your job offer.
Good luck job hunting
Lynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment. Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!