Good news for Tourism in Africa

We had a series of questions for Steuart Pennington as he reflected on the proud achievements for the African continent and its infinite possibilities after a four-day walk on the wild side at the Wild Coast.

Question: Has Ebola reinforced the negative stereotypes and narrative about Africa?

Answer: Ebola has had both a negative and a positive impact on travellers to Africa. On the negative side, it had an impact on tourism as there was a disruption in air connectivity because some airlines withdrew services to West Africa. It also stopped those travellers who are by nature anxious from visiting other parts of Africa that were not affected by the outbreak. On the positive side it showed how African governments and civil society could respond to a crisis in the spirit of Ubuntu.

Question: How has the narrative about Africa as a place to live in, work in and invest in changed over time? If yes, what has inspired this change?

gdp_growth

Answer: We have seen tremendous progress in the past two decades. In the same way that South Africa has normalised its relations with the outside world, so have other African governments become more investor friendly, which has resulted in a win-win situation with foreign direct investment in mines and farms prompting infrastructure spending on roads, rail and electricity, which has benefited the investors and the local communities. As an example think of the Nacala railway that links the central province of Tete in Mozambique with the deep water port of Nacala in northern Mozambique through Malawi. The driving force for the railway line was getting the coal from the Moatize coal field to market, but it also opened tremendous opportunities in tourism and agriculture as previously unconnected areas were linked with the world. This linking with the world is also one of the benefits of social media as the younger generation share their experiences. For instance I connected with a young American student as she asked whether it was safe to travel from Cape Town to Cairo. I said it was and her blogs encouraged others to follow in her footsteps as she did not have one anxious moment during her whole trip even though she traversed countries such as South Sudan. The reality is that Africa is rising in part because of the demographic dividend as we have a young vibrant population, although more needs to be done in education. That is why foreign direct investment has switched from exploiting natural resources to investing in retail, banking and education. Shoprite for example will almost double the number of new store openings in the rest of Africa this year to 35 from 20 last year. There will be ten African economies this year which will rank amongst the fastest growing in the world at above 7%, while the International Monetary Fund predicts between 6 and 7% growth for Sub-Saharan Africa. As to what inspired this change, I guess it started with China’s need to source raw materials for its factories, but it could not get these without investing in infrastructure. That engendered healthy competition amongst other countries so we have American, Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Russian companies competing for access to raw materials, while the international hotel groups have seen a demand for upmarket business travel hotels, which has prompted investment plans of some $2bn in new hotels. I am told that the value of repatriated funds from the African diaspora is US$60bn per annum, or around five times that of Chinese investment. That is why we have people like Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote investing in cement plants in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. The worry is whether other well-educated talented Africans are building their own businesses in Africa. On the political front there have been a similar number of changes. According to Freedom House the following changes have emerged over the past four decades: In 1972 there were three democratic elections as opposed to 40 post-2007; In 1972 there were 24 coups, there have been 5 post-2007, with 32 out of 54 Heads of State have been democratically elected, 24 are serving their first term and 16 their second term. In 2014 32 African countries were included in the Global Competitiveness Report, up from 20 some 12 years ago.

Question: Which companies/individuals/events would you say have inspired this change?

Answer: That is a difficult one as there are so many actors that have helped to change the perception regarding Africa. In that regard we should not discount what Nelson Mandela and our peaceful transition to a democracy meant for the rest of the continent. The second example of changing the narrative was that of Rwanda after the genocide of 1994. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and revenge, the Rwandans have embraced change and position themselves as the champions of reform, regularly topping the World Bank’s list of reformers when it comes to the ease of doing business.

Question: So what more still needs to be done?

Answer: The biggest challenge going forward is regional integration as although Africa consists of 54 countries most are small countries and need to link up the elephants in their vicinity. Almost 80% of African GDP is generated by only six countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. The Tripartite Free Trade Agreement, which was launched in Egypt in June 2015, pulls together three regional economic blocs, namely the Southern African Development Community (SADC); the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and we need more of that regional co-operation.

Question: How can the hospitality industry change the narrative about Africa?

Answer: What I am seeing is an increasingly fragmented travel market. There are the business travellers who want comfort and convenience in the major business centres. There are the leisure travellers who want value for money and a good time with their family and friends. Then there are the adventure travellers who seek out new experiences. All of these together provide the demand for a vibrant hospitality industry and it is the shared experiences of these diverse groups that will shape the narrative on Africa.

 

The original article can be viewed here

From the Horse’s Mouth – Angola

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH **

Contributions by Inyene Udoyen
Facts you did not know about Angola (Angola is a southern African nation whose varied terrain encompasses tropical Atlantic beaches, a labyrinthine system of rivers and Sub-Saharan desert that extends across the border into Namibia. The country’s colonial history is reflected in its Portuguese-influenced cuisine and its landmarks including Fortaleza de São Miguel, built by the Portuguese in 1576 to defend the capital, Luanda.)

1. How are birthdays celebrated?
We celebrate birthdays by getting together for lunch or dinner. Very similar to the Mediterranean way of celebration.
‘Parabéns’ – Congratulations!

2. When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?
Men shake hands and Women and opposite sexes kiss once on both cheeks.

3. What languages are spoken in your country?
Predominantly Portuguese. Angola does, however, have 6 local languages and English and French are also spoken within the Oil Industry.

4. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?
We use the 24 hour clock.

5. What side of the road to people drive on?
We drive on the right-hand side of the road. Driving in Luanda: Watch

6. How important is punctuality?
This is very important to foreigners; locals, however, operate on African Time (TIA).

7. What types of music are popular?
Kizomba, Kuduro, Semba, and others. Some popular musicians are Mestre Dangue – Watch
Ary – Watch.
and Matias Damasio – Watch

8. Are there any Traditional Dances?
Kizomba is native to Angola. It is a genre of music with a romantic flow mixed with African rhythms. The Kizomba dancing style is also known to be very sensual – Watch
Kuduro is a type of music and dance developed in Angola in the 1980’s. It is described as uptempo, energetic and danceable – check this out – Watch

9. What traditional festivals are celebrated in your community?
Carnival is one of the biggest – Read this link to understand the celebration around Carnival. http://www.our-africa.org/angola/carnival

10. What are your seasons like?
Very Mediterranean – Summer is also the rainy Season from Oct – March and Winter never drops below 18 degrees Celsius. July is the coldest and January the hottest.

11. Tell us an interesting fact about your President – Jose Eduardo dos Santos?
José Eduardo dos Santos (born 1942) was a leader of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the second president of Angola following independence in 1975. He guided the country from a Marxist to a democratic socialist form of government.
President Dos Santos (nickname “Zedu”) was one of Africa’s youngest when he became President at just 37 years of age in 1979.

12. What types of industry do you find other than oil?
Diamonds, Coffee, and Agriculture

13. How do people spend their free time?
Luanda has great night life and lovely beaches.

14. What do people drink?
Local beer – Cuca – and Portuguese wine.

15. What is a popular local dish?
Fish Calulu, or Calulu de Peixe, is a traditional recipe made in Angola and São Tomé e Príncipe for a signature fish stew which combines delicious vegetables cooked in red palm oil with okra and sweet potato leaves. Typically served with funje, a mashed potato like substance made from cassava flour. It is unbelievably rich in different flavours and spices, and is one of the most popular dishes in Angolan cuisine for good reason.

16. Security – in General?
Security is usually pretty good with upswings during the end of year holiday period, but currently there has been an increase in petty crime due to the worsening economic situation.

** Meaning: From the highest authority. From the source.
Origin: In horse racing circles tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters. The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional ‘from the horse’s mouth’ is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, that is, the horse itself

We have Launched a New Product: The Power of Difference

DiversityIn my experience, I have managed multiple mobility programmes from a local, regional and global perspective as a service provider to large multi-national organisations. In every case, the decisions taken affect people and can directly influence the success of the business.

For this reason, Relocation Africa has designed in partnership with Contract SA a program which we believe will facilitate the commitment from the business towards the assignee/staff member who’s life is just about to be challenged and changed.  This program will give the assignee some invaluable tools on how to cope, manage and implement strategies to best utilise “The Power of Difference” that they hold to best benefit them as an individual and for the business.

In our 22 years of experience as a Global Mobility Specialist we have seen many pitfalls of relocating staff that were not equipped to handle the assignments successfully.  In identifying this we have carefully reviewed what we as a business could do to facilitate the success and experience of the assignee and the bottom line for business.

Often we get approached by business’s to facilitate a cross-cultural skills programs which generally focuses on culture, or the values and behaviours learned and shared by a particular group, (whether across countries, regions, industries, ethnic origins, organisations etc) – their “Cultural Profile”, learning about a countries, history, values, and cultural “assumptions” (like how Japanese workers are less direct than Germans) or differences in values (like how Americans have more individualistic values than those in China).  It may have even focused on differences in etiquette – like how in the US you can write on the back of a business card, but in Japan, that would be a taboo. 

Knowing the difference can be quiet useful.  It can give you a sense of how you’re supposed to act in a foreign setting, especially when you have no idea where to start. It can also help you understand why others from a different culture behave as they do. But in my experience, the mistake many companies make is thinking that knowing cultural differences is enough — that discovering the key differences is all you need to master to be effective across cultures.

If the problem your employees face is that they simply don’t understand cultural differences, a solution focused on defining cultural differences makes all the sense in the world. But if, like in most instances, the real problem is that your employees can’t adapt and integrate their behaviour across cultures, these solutions focused simply on differences likely won’t give you the bang for your buck that you’re expecting.

Most employees are sent on assignment due to their Technical competence and as HR practitioners you know that this is certainly not going to make for a successful assignment as only 18% of their skill required to make a successful assignment is their technical ability.  Adaptation makes up 16%  and 66% is the  ability to integrate that makes a SUCCESSFUL ASSIGNMENT.  

The Power of Differnce Workshop/Introduction to Diversity, participants get introduced to the fundamentals of diversity management, learn and practice intercultural skills, and how to deal with differences constructively.

The power of my Host Nation

This part provides information on the country and city the expat is moving to. This includes history, geography, language, tourism attractions, cuisine, communication, transport, education, medical facilities, social and business norms, safety and security and practical contact information. Candidates will receive a visual presentation of expat-popular residential areas and housing options including rental and cost of living information.

Being powerful in my host nation

Here we deal with culture shock and tapping into personal power. Candidates get to understand the dynamics of culture shock, and identify it as a means of positive personal growth. An effective tool that shows candidates how to tap into the power of difference completes the three parts of the day.

Interactive and experiential methods make this an engaging and effective workshop that sets candidates up for success; and an action plan equips them with steps for a powerful assignment.

This workshop can be tailored to suit individual / team/ family needs.  Please contact us for pricing on tailored options – info@relocationafrica.com

Angola: A relief in sight for expatriates accommodation cost?

 

Angola Housing

Written by: Jacob Kuh

One could hardly anticipate that after twenty seven years of civil war, Angola will become an expatriate destination immediately after the end of the war. The civil war shattered the country’s administration, economy and infrastructures. The country did not have some basic services and needs when the war ended in 2002. The lack of such services and needs did not deter expatriates to consider Angola as a destination.

 

The civil war prevented an entire generation from accessing education. At the end of the war, the country needed to be rebuild but locally, the man power was lacking. It is possibly why the country turned to man power importation. As such, the needed skills could be sourced outside the country to build the country’s economy that revolves around the exploitation of minerals such as oil and diamond.

 

The importation of man power came with the need for adequate accommodation for expatriates. Considering the consequences of the long civil war, Angola did not have enough “expatriate type accommodations” to satisfy expatriates’ accommodation needs. The soaring number of expatriates increased the demand for accommodation and rental prices sky rocketed.

 

In 2012, 5% increase for rental prices for the year 2013 was predicted. The increase was not only due to expatriates presence, but also to the “Angolans nouveaux riches” who sought expatriate type accommodations. The renting of up market properties by local could definitely mean a continuous increase for the coming years as the demand may keep increasing.

 

However, in 2014, a decreased was observed in the property market in Angola. Expatriate type accommodation price seems to divert from the increase curb as the 2012 data may have signalled. During 2014, 2% decrease in rental prices was registered and it is anticipated that there will be 2.5% decrease in rental prices in 2015. The construction of new properties is responsible for the decrease in rental prices.

 

The current decrease does not seem to be having an impact on expatriates housing budget. Indeed 2% of USD 20000 the price of some properties in Angola is just USD 400 and this may explain why Angola still remain the most expensive destination in Africa in general and rental accommodation in particular. Nevertheless, if we continue to have more properties coming in the rental market, rental prices may continue to shrink and this may be some relief for expatriates.

For more information on accommodation costs in Angola or other parts of Africa please contact Andrew@relocationafrica.co.za or Jacob@relocationafrica.co.za

What this clip below to get a sense of the development in Angola.

 

Change to the Online Appointment Scheduling process for Via & Permit Applications for South Africa

As of Wednesday 26th August 2015 the Online Appointment Scheduling process is transitioning to a new pre-payment system.

See attached for more information. Change to the online appointment scheduling process for Visa and Permit Applications

For more information or assistance with South African Immigration contact tracy@relocationafrica.co.za