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

From the Horse’s Mouth – Namibia

If you are planning on moving to Namibia, we may be able to assist. Feel free to contact us via info@relocationafrica.com or on 2721 763 4240, or visit our website here for more information.

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH **

Contributions by Mirinda Subes
Facts you did not know about Namibia (Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib desert along the Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital is Windhoek.)

 

1. How are birthdays celebrated?
Birthdays are celebrated well. People bake or buy cake, soft drinks and beer and prepare food and celebrate with family and friends.

2. When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?
With a smile and then a handshake or with a handshake and a kiss on both cheeks.

3. What languages are spoken in your country?
Afrikaans, English, Herero, Oshiwambo, Nama/Damara, Rukwangali, Tswana, German, Khoe Khoe Gowab.

4. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?
We use both – there is really no preference.

5. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Namibia?
We drive on the left-hand side of the road. The speed limit in town is 60km/ph and on the highway it is 120km/ph

6. How important is punctuality?
Extremely important – probably the German influence…

7. What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?
Local and International: Hip Hop, R & B, Soul, Afro-pop, House and Kwaito
Some popular local musicians:
Gazza –  watch,
The Dogg – watch,
Lady May – watch,
EES – watch

8. Are there any Traditional Dances?
Yes.
Oshiwambo – watch
Tswana (No video)
San – watch
Herero (No video)

9. What traditional Festivals are celebrated in your community?
Only a few of Namibia’s cultural events are open to outsiders. These include Independence day on the 21 March, which is probably the most important day on most Namibian calendars. Independence festivities occur in every village, town and city and will often include singing and dancing as well as the obligatory speeches by members of parliament.
Maherero Day occurs in Okahandja on the weekend closest to the 26th of August. Thousands of Herero people gather in traditional dress for a memorial service to their chiefs, this is a spectacular and fun occasion. If you are going to be in Namibia around this time its worth visiting this festival, tours are often arranged from Windhoek.
Namibia also has several German style beer festivals the two most notable being Oktoberfest which takes place in Windhoek during late October and WIKA (Windhoek carnival) which happens in April.

10. What are your seasons like?
With 300 days of sunshine on average per year, Namibia is truly a sunny place. Summer is from October to April and temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104º Fahernheit) which fall at night to cool levels. Average monthly temperatures range from 20 º C to 34º C in summer. Average minimum winter temperatures range between 6°C and 10°C and average winter day temperatures between 18°C and 22°C. The rainy season is from October till April.

11. Tell us an interesting fact about your President?
Hage Gottfried Geingob (born 3 August 1941 is the third and current President of Namibia, in office since 21 March 2015.
In 1967 Mr Geingob married Priscilla Charlene Cash, a New York City native, and the couple had one daughter Nangula Geingos-Dukes. He later married Loini Kandume, a businesswoman, in 1993. This was a high-profile marriage and resulted in two children, a daughter Dângos Geingos and a son Hage Geingob Jr. However, Mr Geingob initiated divorce proceedings against Kandume in May 2006, and married his third and current wife in January 2015.
Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium in Windhoek is named after him.

12. What are Namibia’s major industries?
Fishing, Mining and Agriculture. Namibia is rich in natural resources such as uranium, zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver, tin, marble and granite. The mining industry brings in half of the country’s foreign earnings.

13. How do people spend their free time?
Drinking and social gatherings

14. What do people drink?
Traditional beer, wine, home made ginger beer, whiskey, brandy

15. What is a popular local dish?
Oshiwambo Chicken, Mahangu porridge and dried spinach
The staple food of the north-central regions is mahangu (a kind of pearl millet that is cultivated in the northern regions). The grain is pounded in mortars with long wooden pestles and cooked into a stiff porridge, oshimbombo, to be eaten with a variety of accompaniments – from chicken, ondjuhwa; wild spinach, ekaka; and bean sauce, oshigali, to mopane worms, omagungu, when available.

16. What do you pay for? (USD1.00 = approx. N$12.58)
In a restaurant…
A cup of coffee – N$18.00
A Coca Cola – N$12.00
A 2-Course meal for 2 people – nothing extravagant – N$300.00
At a shop…
A loaf of bread- N$9.00
1 litre of milk – N$16.00

17. Security – in general?
Namibia is a very peaceful nation. People have freedom of speech and movement. Good security and infrastructure are in place, but do exercise caution at all times like in any other country.

** 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

Africa Check: No new evidence that 30,000 children are trafficked in SA each year

Home Affairs officials have put in place strict new travel regulations, which they claim will help prevent 30,000 children being trafficked each year. Africa Check previously found this number to be exaggerated. Has new evidence emerged? By KATE WILKINSON for AFRICA CHECK.

Are 30,000 children trafficked each year in SA? In October 2013, Africa Check investigated the claim and found it to be exaggerated and unsubstantiated.

Nearly two years later the statistic is again making news headlines. This time the South African government is citing it as a reason for introducing stricter regulations for children traveling into and out of the country.

How many children are trafficked in SA each year? Are the estimates reliable? And will stricter visa regulations help? We reviewed the evidence.

Full birth certificate to ‘protect children’

The South African Department of Home Affairs started enforcing new travel regulations in June 2015. Children under the age of 18 must now carry their full, or “unabridged”, birth certificate when crossing SA’s borders. This shows the names of both parents.

A month before the regulations came into effect, director-general of the department, Mkuseli Apleni, briefed Parliament on the new travel requirements. In his presentation he was reported to have claimed that an estimated 30,000 children were trafficked through SA every year.

His presentation stated that one of the benefits of requiring minors to travel with an unabridged birth certificates was “protecting (them) from child trafficking”.

23 victims detected by government in last 3 years

Unfortunately there is little data and research on the prevalence of child trafficking in SA. This is partly because it is extremely difficult, and in most cases impossible, to quantify how many cases go undetected. Available research only sheds light on detected victims.

Marcel van der Watt, lecturer and researcher at the University of South Africa’s department of police practice, told Africa Check that no one knew how many children were trafficked in SA each year.

Researching the matter previously, we found that the International Organisation for Migration reported assisting 306 victims of trafficking in the southern African region between January 2004 and January 2010. Of these, 57 were children. In 2011, they reported assisting 13 victims in SA, but did not state how many were children.

In its 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated that “the police reported to have detected 155 victims of trafficking (of all ages) during the fiscal years 2011/12 and 2012/13” in SA.

When asked whether new evidence of child trafficking cases have emerged since, associate professor at the African Centre for Migration and Society Jo Vearey directed us to a parliamentary question answered by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in June this year.

Gigaba said his department had recorded no instances of child trafficking between 2009/10 and 2011/12. Between 2012/13 and 2014/15 they had detected 23 victims.

Regulations won’t reduce child trafficking – experts

The director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria, Professor Ann Skelton, has said her centre believes the new requirements are “far too broad” and that “the inconvenience to ordinary people far outweighs the actual risk of trafficking”.

Liesl Muller and Patricia Erasmus, both attorneys at Lawyers for Human Rights, previously told Africa Check that the measures will not prevent child trafficking.

“Real human traffickers don’t follow legitimate and documented methods of travel but cross the border in illegitimate and clandestine circumstances. The regulations won’t prevent this,” they said.

Conclusion: The claim remains exaggerated and unsubstantiated

The Department of Home Affairs recently told Parliament that its new travel regulations would help prevent an estimated 30,000 children being trafficked in the country each year.

While the true extent of human trafficking is unknown, no evidence supports the claim. The Department of Home Affairs reported that they had detected 23 cases in the last three years.

The government must act to prevent the horrifying act of child trafficking. However, policies and interventions must be based on sound research and accurate estimates, not exaggerated claims.

This article was originally posted on the Daily Maverick website and can be viewed here.

Intercultural Competence needed at the top

Cross-cultural training often focuses on those undertaking international assignments, rather than on senior decision-makers.

Dr Barbara Gibson, a consultant and lecturer in intercultural communication and global business, shares research findings she presented at this year’s EuRA Congress, arguing that failure to address intercultural competence at CEO level can hinder organisations from achieving strategic objectives in non-domestic markets.

In the increasingly global world of business, more and more companies of every size are doing business beyond their domestic borders. Unlike in the 20th century, when international business was the realm of the mega-corporation, and companies tended to progress slowly through identifiable stages of domestic to international to multinational to transnational, today many companies are global from start-up, and many global players are small and medium enterprises.

For smaller companies, the percentage of company resources focused on international markets means the stakes are higher. Even for the large, well-established multinationals, increased globalisation and worldwide competition have added pressure to be as successful outside their domestic markets as they are at home. But companies both large and small still often encounter cultural barriers that result in lost contracts, failed joint ventures, disappointing performance, regulatory and legal difficulties, and other challenges.

With a background that includes more than 25 years in corporate communication and business strategy, I had observed at first hand how many companies – including large global players – were often not achieving objectives outside their domestic markets. I often saw what I felt was a lack of intercultural competence at the top of the organisation. I had begun to suspect that ‘ethnocentricity rolls downhill’, and I wanted to find a way to help companies achieve success globally. So I decided to undertake a PhD in intercultural communication, focusing my research on the intercultural competencies needed by global CEOs.

What I found was that few studies actually examined the top level of management, leaving a gap in understanding which intercultural competencies are needed at the strategic level, where decision-making that determines the company’s success or failure in non-domestic markets takes place. Little is known about CEOs’ own perceptions regarding cultural challenges in their day-to-day jobs, or about their own capabilities in dealing with them.

The purpose of my study was to gain insights into the strategic-level intercultural challenges faced by companies doing business internationally, and identify the competencies needed by CEOs, in order to help companies to overcome cultural barriers to achieving their strategic objectives.

In total, I interviewed 28 CEOs of businesses operating in a global context. Companies represented ranged in size from fewer than ten employees to more than 200,000. Those interviews generated approximately 24 total hours of digital audio recordings, which were transcribed verbatim, resulting in more than 250,000 words of textual data available for analysis.

Areas of business impact

My first research question focused on whether the intercultural competence of the CEO has an impact on their success in achieving business objectives. The interview data was analysed to examine where, if at all, culture comes into play at CEO level. The findings clearly indicated that cultural challenges impact the CEOs in the study and that the CEOs’ intercultural competencies do have an impact on their ability to achieve their objectives in a number of areas, the top five being managing their top teams, conflict/negotiation, decision-making, hiring, and ethical issues.

Five key intercultural competencies

Based on those identified areas of business impact, I analysed which intercultural competencies are most likely to contribute to success or failure. In total, the data revealed 351 instances of competencies evident or lacking across all 28 interviews.
The findings identified five key intercultural competencies needed at the CEO level.

These were:

  1. Cultural self-awareness, defined as an awareness of one’s own cultural influences, tendencies and biases, and awareness of how one’s own culture may be perceived by members of a different culture.
  2. Cultural sensory perception, defined as the ability to recognise when cultural differences are in play, utilising a range of senses to spot verbal and non-verbal cues. (Although this competency is frequently referred to as ‘intercultural sensitivity’ in the literature, that term is also frequently misinterpreted as something akin to political correctness, so I coined this new term to better describe the sensing nature of this competency).
  3. Open-mindedness, defined as the ability to suspend judgement based on one’s own cultural biases and accept that other ways of thinking and behaving may be just as valid.
  4. Global perspective, defined as viewing the business from a transnational perspective, rather than as domestic first, rest of world second.
  5. Adaptability, defined as the ability to change one’s behaviour, communication style or business strategy as needed to fit the circumstances.

Analysis also found associations between specific competencies and the identified areas of business impact, providing possible insights into which competencies may be most critical, depending on the current strategies, challenges, and stage of business of the company.
By far the most-referenced source of culture-related challenge for the CEOs in the study was that of managing and motivating their culturally diverse top management teams. They experience problems building trust and loyalty cross-culturally, and motivating team members from other cultures with different value systems from their own. They encounter difficulties gaining the feedback needed to make sound decisions due to cultural differences in communication style, and at times they are tripped up by cultural differences in specific practices or attitudes.

The competencies most associated with the impact area of managing in the data were cultural sensory perception and adaptability. Those who are successful seem to rely more on their ability to sense that something is not working as intended, paying close attention to both verbal and non-verbal signals. Once they sense a problem, they can gather more culture-specific information and adapt their behaviour or strategy.

The findings revealed that culture impacts CEO success in dealing with conflicts, and in negotiating. Although not an everyday challenge, the narratives regarding this area of business impact often revealed incidents where the consequence of not understanding the cultural issues at play was complete failure (that is, the negotiation ended, the deal was lost). Therefore, where the CEO is involved in intercultural negotiation, either on a frequent basis or in areas of high strategic importance, this impact area becomes more important. Cultural sensory perception appears to be the most critical competency in this area, to avoid abrupt failures that are the result of being blindsided by cultural differences.

The competencies associated in the data with decision-making include cultural sensory perception (the most frequently associated), adaptability, global perspective and open-mindedness. Issues raised were not solely around whether or not decisions made were the ‘right’ ones, but also around the CEO’s ability to adapt to culturally-different decision-making styles, particularly when the CEO is the cultural outsider compared with the majority of the top management team and employees.

Hiring the right people for key roles in foreign markets, while not an everyday occurrence, is critical to a company’s success. As one CEO in the pilot study explained, the inability to hire the right people in foreign countries is one of her company’s greatest barriers to growth. While several competencies were associated with this impact area in the data, the highest association was with cultural self-awareness, particularly the ability to recognise one’s own cultural biases.

The competencies most associated with dealing with ethical issues were cultural sensory perception, open-mindedness and adaptability, and it seems that all three are required in this area, in this order. Without the ability to recognise that cultural differences are in play and the ability to suspend judgement, one is not able to adapt. While this interplay is probably present in other areas to some extent, it seems particularly strong in this impact area, due to deeply held beliefs and values.

Conclusions

The study has provided a clear indication that CEOs working in a global business environment do perceive that cultural challenges impact their success in a number of strategic areas, and that specific intercultural competencies are needed. This has implications not only for current CEOs, but also for boards of directors and others involved in CEO selection and succession planning, and for HR and communication professionals responsible for executive development.

For those working in the relocation field, perhaps the most notable findings from the study are those related to how intercultural competencies are developed. The most frequently cited source of learning by the CEOs was living and working abroad, with several noting that it was essential to avoid living in an ‘expat bubble’.

Development appears to come frequently from informal relationships, and from the opportunity for mentoring moments as failures occur. This would indicate the need to move away from one-shot training and pre-move orientation toward programmes that provide ongoing support throughout an overseas assignment, and possibly to move away from expat enclaves toward full cultural immersion.

For an extended version of this article, see the Summer 2015 issue of our Europe digital magazine, out July

For further information visit: bgibson@culturalresolution.com

This article was originally posted on the Relocate Global website and can be viewed here.