May 19, 2020

Zimbabwe protest leader calls for international help

Zimbabwe protests
Evan Mawarire Zimbabwe protest
Zimbabwe shutdown
Zanu PF protest
Polycarp Kazaresam
2 min
Zimbabwe protest leader calls for international help

The head of Zimbabwe’s popular protests has asked the international community to put pressure on autocrat Robert Mugabe and his government. Baptist pastor Evan Mawarire wants to push Zanu-PF to “listen to its own citizens”.

Last week Mawarire called for a one-day shutdown, paralysing much of Zimbabwe. The pastor told the Guardian that there would be further demonstrations next week (lasting two days) if the demands of his #ThisFlag movement were not met.

The demands include the dismissal of corrupt ministers, payment of delayed salaries and the lifting of roadblocks that citizens claim the police use to extract bribes.

Last week’s protest saw streets deserted and businesses closed in Zimbabwe’s capital (Harare) the southern city Bulawayo and elsewhere. These were Zimbabwe’s most widespread demonstrations of dissent in recent years.

Observers say the pressures on 92-year-old Mugabe and on Zanu-PF are huge. Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, has led the former British colony since independence in 1980. Several controversial actions, such as stripping white farmers of land over a decade ago, have caused significant economic disruption. In 2009, hyperinflation forced Zimbabwe to adopt foreign currencies, largely the US dollar, after its own collapsed. Zanu-PF won an election amid widespread rumours of vote rigging in 2013.

Currently, the government is struggling to finance its $4 billion (£3.1 billion) annual budget, and soldiers, police officers, doctors and teachers are being paid weeks in arrears. Foreign investment and donor support has subsided and China has not been forthcoming with anticipated aid. In April, the government halved its 2016 growth forecast to 1.4 percent. Independent economists believe this estimate is optimistic. Additionally, a drought threatens up to 4 million people with famine.

Organisers of the protest say they fear an aggressive response from the authorities. Protesters clashed with police in several locations, many were injured and more than 100 demonstrators were arrested.

Mawarire is hiding to avoid arrest, but there are fears that he will be detained or abducted. “They are stubborn and full of pride,” the pastor said of the government. “Their instinct is to threaten, intimidate, arrest and detain. They have shown that again and again. But we are a non-violent movement. That’s very, very important. It’s a confrontation of truth.”

Government officials have labelled the protesters “terrorists” and blame foreign powers for sabotaging the economy and stirring unrest.
 

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SOURCE: [The Guardian]

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Tapoly
Insurance
Leadership
Digital
Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

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.

 

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