[Video] Kofi Annan launches 2014 Africa Progress Report
Africa’s rich natural resources offer a unique opportunity for a breakthrough in improving the lives of Africa’s citizens, says a major new report launched by Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General.
However, too often these resources are plundered by corrupt officials and foreign investors. Rising inequality is also blocking Africa from seizing that opportunity, the report shows.
The 2014 Africa Progress Panel report, Grain, Fish, Money: Financing Africa’s green and blue revolutions, calls on Africa’s political leaders to take concrete measures now to reduce inequality by investing in agriculture.
It also demands international action to end what it describes as the plunder of Africa’s timber and fisheries.
The report calls for a “uniquely African green revolution” that adapts the lessons provided by Asia to African conditions.
Africa currently imports US$35 billion worth of food because local agriculture is dogged by low productivity, chronic under investment, and regional protectionism. Increased investment in infrastructure and research could dramatically raise the region’s yields and the incomes of farmers.
Meanwhile, eliminating the barriers that restrict trade within Africa could open up new markets.
While critical of African governments, the Africa Progress Report 2014 also challenges the international community to support the region’s development efforts.
It highlights fisheries and logging as two areas in which strengthened multilateral rules are needed to combat the plunder of natural resources.
Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing has reached epidemic proportions in Africa’s coastal waters. West Africa is conservatively estimated to lose US$1.3 billion annually. Beyond the financial cost this plunder destroys fishing communities who lose critical opportunities to fish, process and trade. Another US$17 billion is lost through illicit logging activities.
Chaired by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, the 10-member Africa Progress Panel advocates at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. The Panel releases its flagship publication, the Africa Progress Report, every year in May.
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.