The secular backlash against Charlie Hebdo

as explained by South African Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee in an essay in his book Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship (published 1996) – The Intellectual Rational, secular intellectuals are not notably quick to take offense. Like Karl Popper, they tend to believe that I must teach myself to distrust that dangerous intuitive feeling or conviction…

Let them speak English

Pakistan Today | 3 Oct 2014 Imaduddin Ahmed The professional elite of Pakistan have a monopoly on English medium-schools and therefore on global competitiveness “And where in India are you from?” asked the hostess of an upscale restaurant in Kigali, Rwanda. “I’m Pakistani,” I replied. “Pakistani?!” she exclaimed, “But you’re so polished!” Shocked as I…

Did you know that North Africans captured 1 million+ white slaves?

Flags of skulls on green backgrounds terrorised the shores of Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, England, Wales, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia, Georgia, the Netherlands and Germany, as North Africa pirates captured 1-1.25 million whites slaves from the 16th to the 19th centuries. White Gold by British historian Giles Milton is a book that puts paid to the…

Not too dissimilar

Aman ki Asha | 20 Aug, 2014 The News | 20 Aug, 2014 Translated into French, Urdu Wagah border, between West and East Punjab in Pakistan and India Until I moved to Pakistan for a few years after graduating from college in California, I wouldn’t say that I saw my Indian or Indian diaspora friends as…

Colonial porn – Winston Churchill, Nobel literature prize winner

Published in 1908 when Winston Churchill was 34 – yet to become the British Prime Minister, to be awarded the literature Nobel and to be knighted by the Queen – My African Journey brings us into the colonial mind, and shows us how it makes allowances for brazenly racist statements. ‘It is unquestionably an advantage that…

African (frontier market) risks associated with PPP infrastructure

and how they can be mitigated. Compiled by a PPP transactions advisor to Rwanda (me). Barriers to private investment in African infrastructure: Country political risk –          Eg. medium or high likelihood of terrorist attacks, war, corruption, riots, strikes Risk of expropriation Payment risk Insolvency for state off-takers such as state utilities Inflation/currency depreciation Currency convertibility Risk…

Is your local public-private partnership going to be a happy one?

By Imaduddin Ahmed and Shilesh Muralidhara The East African | January 11, 2014 Partnerships can be wonderful. They can also be disastrous. So, too, is this the case with partnerships entered into by governments and businesses for the delivery of public goods, which can either lose countries millions of dollars per project or initiate virtuous…

Stories private equity is looking for in Africa

Businesses: –    The business model is scalable –    There is a compelling case that there is large latent/unmet demand for the product/service –    Competition is underperforming/non-existing and barriers to entry are high –    Competition for financing a given firm is low (don’t want to enter a bidding war) –    Strong personal relationships with management –  …

Land of a thousand hills

Imaduddin Ahmed delights in the charms of a transformed Rwanda The Friday Times | July 05 – 11, 2013 – Vol. XXV, No. 21 Rwandans greeted outsiders well into the nineteenth century with hails of arrows. And who could blame them? The first European to the area – an officer of the British Indian army…

African cleavages

New to Sub-Saharan Africa but bitten by the private equity bug that says invest to capture its growth? Visualising SSA as one monolithic entity and having difficulty in breaking it into digestable parts? Here are a few cleavages to consider to get you going. Distinguish consumer markets with a lot of growth potential (economic growth…