The questions Trump's administration are asking about Africa
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made certain policies very, very clear. The Wall. Banning Muslims from entering the country. Reduced trade with China. However, he rarely spoke about US-Africa relations. African policymakers and speculators were left without any clues as to what Trump had planned for African issues such as trade, aid and immigrations.
Until now. A four page list of Africa-related questions, sent from the Trump transition team to the State Department, has been uncovered. Long-time Africa specialists are alarmed, they say that the framing and tone of the questions suggest a US retreat from development and humanitarian goals, while at the same time attempts to push business opportunities across Africa.
Questions from the unclassified document include:
- “How does US business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese?”
- “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen?”
- “Why should we spend these funds on Africa when we are suffering here in the U.S.?”
- “We’ve been fighting al-Shabaab for a decade, why haven’t we won?”
- “Most of AGOA (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act) imports are petroleum products, with the benefits going to national oil companies, why do we support that massive benefit to corrupt regimes?”
- “We’ve been hunting Kony for years, is it worth the effort?”
- “The LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) has never attacked US interests, why do we care? Is it worth the huge cash outlays? I hear that even the Ugandans are looking to stop searching for him, since they no longer view him as a threat, so why do we?”
- “Is PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) worth the massive investment when there are so many security concerns in Africa? Is PEPFAR becoming a massive, international entitlement program?”
- “How do we prevent the next Ebola outbreak from hitting the US?”
SOURCE: [New York Times]
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.