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Opinion: Empowerment for Peak Performance (Pt.2)

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Sacrifice is the scar(s) we endure while we go through life with our crosses in the hope of earning our crowns.” — There is no such thing as a star without a scar! Every star has the scar of sacrifice on its limb. There is nothing else like it! It is just the ticket to unlocking the door to new possibilities. Contrary to popular belief, sacrifice requires your complete and total attention, as it is an intentional or deliberate act of provoking desired timely results without negotiating or dining with slothfulness and excuses. Don’t be fooled, sacrifice necessitates your complete and total dedication, as it is an intentional or deliberate act of provoking desired timely results without negotiating or dining with slothfulness and excuses.” – Tolulope A. Adegoke

Sacrifice means going the extra mile, paying the extra price, and taking the extra steps to deliver your mandates! Your extraordinary inputs determine your extraordinary impacts! You need to go the extra mile in your ‘disciplined’ life. You must pay the extra price for your ‘diligence’, then the star in you emerges! Do not envy success, envy sacrifice! Many around the world are embodiments of extra-ordinary potential and gifts, but have found themselves in fields that are different from their real (divine) calling (s). For example, some are gifted footballers by having found themselves in the engineering sector… Not until they subject themselves to the diligent sacrifices of football training and timing (age-wise), such people will not manifest or fulfil their original destiny. They would only be engineering stars by chance or by force. It takes sacrifice for the star in us to manifest!

You can not eat your cake and have it! You can not make an omelette without breaking eggs! Not even faith is a substitute for sacrifice. Vision is not a substitute for sacrifice! Sacrifice is a covenant requirement for every kingdom star! The Apostle Paul in the Book of Philippians1:21 (KJV) said: “For me to die is gain, for me to live is Christ.” I would rather die than allow anyone to make my glory in Christ vain. is a typical description of the term Sacrifice. Being crucified with Jesus Christ is a Sacrifice!

Every star has a story of sacrifice to tell!

“If you do not improve where we live, then you are a failure!” -Bishop David O. Oyedepo

The above means that you must wake up from your slumber and invest your time in creating the future that you desire! Until you do what others do not do, you will still remain in the same spot as others! You must therefore wake up and tell yourself the bitter truth and design for yourself a new programme and do not end the year without a schedule for next year and a lifetime goal… This would show that you are really a serious entity on a mission to save your world from its aches!

Even Jesus Christ, the most anointed, said in Luke12:49-50 (KJV): “I have come to set fire to the Earth… I have a baptism to be baptized with and now I am stretched until it is accomplished. ” Anyone that desires to have a “global impact” must pay a “global price”!

You can not have it until you pay its ultimate worth! You can not have your crown, not until you are done with the cross!

“Every seed of Abraham is a seed with global impact (Genesis22:17-18)” “And if ye are Christ’s, ye are Abraham’s seed and according to the promise (Galatians3:29).”

You are here on Earth for global impact; you are not here for survival! Global Impacts is about being a positive influence all across the world on humanity in your area of calling (s), chosen career (s) or field (s).

I strongly believe that you would manifest greater grace and positive impacts all across the world, all to the glory of God Almighty, if you were willing to pay greater prices than many great men have paid in the past in order to be the “moves” and “waves” of the “movements and trends” and affluence in their generation (s). Until you pay the greater price (s), you can not generate greater value (s). For whatsoever a man sows, he shall reap! What is only waiting for you in the future is simply your investment in today! We need to be prepared to at least start aspiring to do a few things we can do, then the grace will flow in on us to do more/greater! It is then that we would be able to soar higher than the Eagles because the skies would have simply been transformed into our starting point!

Ultimately, you must discover your area of calling or field, so as to be sure that you are not investing in the wrong direction. Your vision must be clearly defined so as to fully understand your mission and then empower yourself for possibilities in that field. According to 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV): “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Acquire relevant skills, apply spiritual knowledge and understand the needs of your environment in relation to your “Empowered Zero.”

Your ‘field’ is the ‘green pastures’ where your flocks feed through your properly “Empowered Zero”, which is harnessed or directed towards meeting the timely demands and needs of people, corporations, and nations.

Harnessing your ‘Empowered Zero’ is a full-scale methodological application in a bid to impart your world with the treasures that lie in your earthen vessel!

To empower in this context means to positively influence, affect or fuel something or someone or a place to become useful or better towards emerging/fulfilling or serving the real and full purpose for which it was originally created. You must come to understand that no one is indispensable, nothing lasts forever, change is constant and there is always room for improvement to be able to transit from Zero to Hero. Zero to Hero in this context is not limited or restricted to individuals or people alone, but it touches the corporate world and nations as well, thereby enlightening us that we can always be better, come what may!

Perkins and Zimmerman, 1995; Rappaport, 1981; Zimmerman and Warschausky 1998 mentioned that: “Empowerment is both a value orientation for working in the community (practical) and a theoretical model for understanding the process and consequences of efforts to exert control and influence over the decisions that affect one’s life, organizational functioning, and the quality of community life.”

The value of orientation of empowerment suggests goals, aims and strategies for implementing change. Empowerment provides principles and a framework for organizing our knowledge and lifestyle.

Empowerment is the capacity of individuals, groups, and/or communities to take control of their circumstances, exercise their might so as to achieve their own goals, and the process by which, individually and collectively, they are able to help themselves and others to maximize the quality of their lives. Also, it could be described as an intentional, ongoing process which is centred in the local community and involves mutual respect, critical reflection, caring and group participation, through which people lacking an equal share of resources gain greater access to and control over those resources.

Empowerment as a “process”

Empowerment is the process of obtaining basic opportunities for marginalized (underrated) people, either directly by those people, through the help of non-marginalized others who share their own access to those opportunities, or by divine order and impartation. It also includes actively thwarting attempts to deny those opportunities. Empowerment also includes encouraging and developing the skills for self-sufficiency with a focus on eliminating the future need for charity or welfare in the individuals of the group. This process can be difficult to start and to implement effectively, but it takes adequate readiness (preparation) and the ability to humbly follow directives and instructional guidance. Above all, it takes the ability to sacrifice your time, pride, planting your seed (s), exploring your potential, turning or furnishing your talents into skills and starting earning from them. These are simply cultivation processes of turning (empowering) your zero into being your HERO!

The word EMPOWERMENT is the combination of three cogent words, as stated here: EMPloy POWER for INCREAMENT-which simply means employing POWER for INCREAMENTS (that is, to be MORE). To employ means to engage or make use of something, while POWER equals ABILITY (to do). An increment is the degree to which something is made larger or greater. It could also be said to be the action or process of INCREASING, especially in quantity or value. It is something gained or added. We can, therefore, say that EMPOWERMENT is the engagement of the ability (that is, what it takes) or techniques to increase in value or quantity.

EMPOWERMENT is the intentional act of yielding to a course, for a cause, to be better or transformed from zero to HERO, from nobody to somebody, from nothing to something, from insignificance to significance, from raw to refined, from talents into skills, from mere skills into value, and from values to REWARDS!

Empowerment is the awakening of the giant that lies within us as individuals for the delivery of possibilities. It is an infinite exercise of working tenaciously to become better at something or to become a master, by intentionally subjecting oneself to learning at the feet of Masters the ‘HOW’ to becoming the ‘WHAT’ or the ‘THAT’ or ‘WHO’? To become ‘WHO’, then you must understand ‘HOW’.

We must understand that learning has its own ‘curves’ and ‘costs’. The Costs of EMPOWERMENT are:

  • Discipline
  • Working-Inputs
  • Sacrifice
  • Execution
  • Gratitude

 

Discipline: This is the first rule of empowerment (learning). We find so many human errors in our society today due to a lack of DISCIPLINE. Discipline means depriving oneself of his or her comfort zones by passing through what is required for the next phase in life in order to become better and greater at something or become a leading example in a specific area of life. There is no great man in life who is truly great who has not adopted discipline as a lifestyle. Discipline means subjecting oneself to authentic obedience at the feet of an instructor or mentor or instructions or rules.

Here, you are under instructions or tutelage set by conscience or by (man)-whatever that is learned must be adopted as a lifestyle to be more or become greater. There are values and virtues that are built either consciously or unconsciously, physically or spiritually during these processes. Among others, the following are the pillars of discipline:

  • Time Consciousness/Management
  • Appreciating the Costs of Values
  • Understanding the Price-tag on Values
  • Humility
  • The Power of Quietness or Silence (To listen swiftly and talk (less) smarter
  • Sleep (less)
  • Reading and Studying
  • Meditation
  • Financial Management (Saving More)
  • Embracing the Company Mentality (Shunning the ‘Crowd’ Mentality): Crowd means everybody, while the word company means just a selected few who align with your purpose, and at the same time maximizes your effects.

Working-Input (Within): This simply means working within the boundaries of knowledge and wisdom for depth of understanding. Another word for it is input. In the process of learning or empowerment, there is usually a curve, where you ultimately surrender what you think-you-knew for things you need to know to be soaked into your being. You accumulate knowledge, you become soaked in it. It is a process of chasing after knowledge and being soaked in it. It is a process of chasing after knowledge for excellence, so as to be chased by success at every point of execution or delivery (that is, working-out what you have learned or acquired. This is also a point of yearning after ‘Clarity’, which is one of the DNAs of MASTERY or ‘Understanding’. This is the process of studying and meditating on it for deeper REVELATIONS, because it is Revelation that gives understanding. If you do not want your life to end in RED (danger), you must READ and STUDY! Revelations come first, before ELEVATION! Knowledge is LIGHT, and LIGHT is LIFE!

There are many people with stature, volume and age who lack LIGHT (understanding)… It is light that separates a dullard from a genius! It is light that separates a pupil from the master. The light you carry matters in life-it is what determines your level in reality, it determines your level of command in core aspects of life. Being that you have gained mastery, you have become a MASTER!

Light is CLARITY, it is MASTERY (and this is the state of the authentic). This is the time to avoid any pattern of distractions so as to enjoy and engage the light that you are about to access from this article for Peak Performance to deliver possibilities for people, corporates and nations at large.

Relentless Commitment to Daily Growth is the key to global relevance. I refer to it as the White-Belt Mentality-this is when you write in a journal daily, meditate, focus, reflect, ponder, and handcraft your days intentionally for positive outcomes. If knowledge is power, then learning is your Super-Power! Knowledge isn’t just power, it is profit! Empowerment improves you enough to be irresistibly NEEDED. That is, when you are loaded with relevant information that solves problems, you will be a force to reckon with. Even if they do not like you as a person, the solutions you carry will make you attractive enough to be their only CHANCE of survival!

The fact is, anybody can be empowered; in fact, everybody needs EMPOWERMENT-the more we learn, the more fit we are to lead others and EARN. Any zero can become a HERO, and any HERO can become a greater HERO! That is why great companies are not relenting in being better to be greater-they all want to be MORE-they are not satisfied with little, they are expanding so that the people under them can become more and better as well (that’s why their brands are simplified, accessible, and affordable).

The day you become satisfied with little is the day you start to become little! Never settle for convenience over destiny! A lot of destinies are hanging on your shoulders for survival; if you refuse to dare more, it means that you are only living for yourself alone-there are destinies attached to your values, virtues, and presence on Earth! To be consistently better, you need to seek knowledge every time, regardless of your age or level of attainment in life. That is why you have a group of people you keep who are wired to charge or spur you on to be better and to maximize your effectiveness. We also need to maximize our connection to the internet. A wise owner of a laptop puts his or her system on Auto-Update. Why? To get updated and upgraded with the latest versions of software online for maximum output and efficient delivery of services. As human beings, we get upgraded, updated by knowledge through Wisdom for Understanding and maximum delivery so as not to be stuck in yesterday! The knowledge or anointing of yesterday is not enough for today! Today is today! What you have acquired today with sweat may become obsolete tomorrow if you fail or refuse to upgrade to the latest version of thoughts, reasoning, and know-how.

 

Sacrifice: This is definitely not a strange word to the majority across the world, especially the great minds who are great mines. Sacrifice simply means‘ surrendering what you have in order to secure or receive what you NEED! It means surrendering WHAT you are so as to become WHO you desire to become! It also means surrendering WHAT you are in order to become WHO you desire to be! It simply means surrendering where you are so as to arrive at WHERE you desire or need to be. Therefore, sacrifice means letting go of your WANTS in order to have your NEEDS met! Children (little minds) give offerings, while Kings (great minds) offer SACRIFICES! We give up ‘WHAT’ we WANT when we NEED POWER! Power is a necessity in this journey of life in order to fulfill destiny or divine purpose. For every sacrifice, there is a scar (this scar connotes the cost of the sacrifice). The scar is what decorates your being. It tells your stories in your glory. I would say that, ‘Do not envy success… kindly envy SACRIFICE! The volume of sacrifice determines where you will surface (that is, appear), either at the peak or beneath. Sacrifice is the covenant requirement for every next level of greatness. It cracks the code for each level of greatness and unravels mysteries. It shakes the Heavens and causes Divinity to intervene in Humanity!

 

Execution: This simply means’ To Work-it-Out! It is the process of giving birth to the knowledge acquired through the volume of light (understanding) that we carry or have received. This is the output of what has been put-into you over time (that is, engaging the knowledge which you have been soaked with). This is where knowledge turns into formulas through Understanding (Light) by Wisdom. This is where you make it happen on the field called REALITY… We gather ability through knowledge, and we transform it into REALITY based on the level of understanding which we have or carry, then profit from it through Wisdom! When life tells you NO! Ask yourself, what am I capable of? Winners do not quit or make excuses. Winners only EXECUTE continuously till they get it right! The likes of Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, among others, had their share of trying moments, their moments of pain which they burned as fuel to acquire the gains we all celebrate today. These ones didn’t give up on the light they carried or carried, rather, they illuminated or kept illuminating the world through continuous practice. Though they may have failed or failed severally, there is always a Bounce-Back-Power for every true winner, which is fostered by strong-will or DETERMINATION.

The majority across the world are not usually interested in the ‘HOW’ (process), but in the ‘WHAT’ (results or happenings). For example, WHAT happened? WHAT did he/she do? What did he say? WHAT did he give? WHAT did or does he/she have to offer? Because the majority are only interested in what has been or is achieved, they are not interested in knowing the HOW (PROCESSES/COST) of what it took or took to be WHAT or WHO. Only a few with great depth would ask ‘HOW’ he/she made it, or HOW he won the election… The steps he took, the people he aligned with, the sacrifices he offered, the disciplines he adopted as a lifestyle, the ‘helps’ rendered that attracted divine assistance or intervention, the favours he requested, the sleepless nights, the hours of meditation, his Think-tanks (technocrats).

Small people want summaries, and only want to live on survival. They do not have time to ‘go and grow through the processes of becoming… They only want their cakes NOW, just like ESAU in the Holy Bible, who sold his birthright because he was hungry and in a haste to satisfy his belly without bothering to have an understanding of what it would cost him to lose the treasure that lies within his being!

The point of execution is always an opportunity to showcase what you have been cooking through the tool of knowledge. It is an opportunity to show off and show up! It is an opportunity to tell the world that I AM HERE-though I have been here, but it has been behind the scenes. Cooking is the right application of HEAT! It is therefore time to serve your MEAL (Products or Solutions) to the world!

Execution is the process of giving birth to what was conceived in the process of learning. Just like a pregnant woman who has been pregnant, it is natural to expect her to deliver after nine months of carrying the fetus (baby) in her womb. The same thing goes for you and me; it is time for us to deliver the future because it lies within us. Ideas are conceived within us, packaged as information, encrypted in the knowledge that man absorbs to deliver his generation at every point of need during execution. Being pregnant is not enough, delivery is a must! The same goes for learning; being soaked in knowledge is not enough, but execution (putting it into good use) is what is expected of all true learners. The Holy Book reveals, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19). This means that everything, everyone is waiting for you to show up and deliver the FUTURE (Treasures or Solutions) that lies within you as a deliverer, which has been deposited in you for your generation (s). If you do not show up (Manifest), your generation may be bound or be in bondage for years. Just like Moses (a Jew) who grew up in Pharaoh’s Palace (in Egypt). He assimilated the doctrines, he was soaked in the Egyptian traditions (knowledge) for years. After so many years, before Moses showed up for the Israelites, they were all in captivity of the Egyptians. So, if you do not show up (that is, birth the knowledge, wisdom, understanding of the skills, values, virtues that you have been soaked in and nursing over the years), you might be holding your generation (s) to ransom! You may not get it right at first, but be free to try again, again and again; there will be a day when you will get it right and gain from the rewards that come with it (through the pains which you have burned as fuel through determination and strong-will). Get up, go to work and work it out! Destinies are waiting for you; your generation is waiting for you to show up! Take responsibility as David did against Goliath! The anointing upon your life isn’t just a blessing, but a responsibility on your shoulders to birth solutions that will deliver your generation, even the ones yet unborn. Therefore, instead of being a container of blessings, I charge you now to be a channel, so that these solutions can flow through you to others. Execute and Excel!

 

Gratitude: This is a state of authentic, it is a state of bliss, it is a natural force or lifestyle that preserves and perfects our outputs (efforts) and blessings. Gratitude means Gr (eat) ATTITUDE, which means-an attitude that is exclusive to only GREAT Minds who have the depth to look back at what they were and the Mighty hands that picked them up to arrive at where they are at the moment. Small minds make small people- Small people are not usually grateful, they complain about everything, they don’t have clear minds and are not free in spirit. Gratitude is an attitude that, when adopted as a lifestyle, takes us to great altitudes in life. The first step of GRATITUDE is-ACKNOWLEDGING The Maker, God Almighty in all things. Secondly, CELEBRATING your teachers or mentors who have invested time and energy in imparting you with the light (understanding) that they carry. Thirdly, Celebrate and Appreciate your Supporters (they believed in you when others couldn’t, even when you thought you couldn’t. These ones inspired you to, then you did it! Lastly, celebrate yourself for dedicating yourself to the achievement of success. Take a break, travel, rest well, eat well, have fun, then go back to studying for the next phase or level of success. Re-engage the formulas for success, that is, the cost of empowerment, again and again, to be more and greater and better!

 

Re-examining your life

It is very important that you know and must have an understanding of where and why you need improvement, then go after relevant knowledge that treats or solves your weak areas… An unexamined life is not worth living! A dis-empowered life will remain an imprisoned life-it is not worth living. Maximize every condition you go through to be better and for the well-being of mankind. Be responsible, even in tough-times… Never lose your head in tough times, never lose your heart at all times. Empowerment builds your vision.

VISION is powered by the following sights:

  • Eye-sights
  • Insights
  • Hind-sights
  • Fore-sight
  • Mind-sights

VISION enlightens and opens you up to illuminate mankind, thereby translating them into the true light from the darkness. You are an embodiment of treasures/solutions; I charge you to UNLEASH! I charge you for Man-ifest! Any determined zero can become a hero! This book would further explain the ‘HOW’ to you with relevant examples towards becoming POSSIBLE where you have been described as IMPOSSIBLE! You must therefore read, study and follow the teachings in it to the end. You will become an ABILITY in motion in the delivery of possibilities for people, corporates and nations! It is your vision that determines the extent or size of your mission. Friends, we are on a mission. I encourage you to power your vision with light. 119: 130 reveals: “The entrance of the words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

With the above, you are on a journey to global relevance that will culminate in you emerging as the greater HERO you desire to become in your generation! Simply drop your pride and enjoy the ride to your heroic destiny! The world needs a hero they can believe in. You do not need to be a demi-god to be a hero, you just need to believe that you are one. It’s all within you! You are an embodiment of treasure. Please do not call it trash! Dreams come true only when you work it out! You can be far better than the exemplars used thus far. Yes! You can be greater!

Don’t be fooled, sacrifice involves your full attention and absolute dedication, as it is an intentional or deliberate act of provoking desired timely results without negotiating or dining with slothfulness and excuses.

It is not easy to be easy: the principles of sacrifice can not be displaced, replaced, nor broken if greatness must be achieved on this earthly plane. It is the law of seedtime and harvest.

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Atiku Inaugurates PDP PLWD Campaign Council, Cautions Against Voting APC

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Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar (GCON) has told Persons Living With Disabilities, PLWD, not to vote the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.

The former vice president who stated this while speaking at the inauguration of PDP’s Persons Living With Disabilities National Campaign Council, said the APC has failed to implement the persons with disability’s law despite the passage of the bill by the National Assembly.

His words: “APC has refused to implement the PLWD law and you have no reason to vote APC again. I really want you to identify your membership and tell them to vote for a party that has recognized you and has given them a special place which is PDP.

“Let me congratulate you on your inauguration into our presidential campaign council as well as the celebration of World Disability Day. You contribute your own quota to the economy and we in the PDP recognize you and that is why we have given you a special place in our party’s constitution and campaign council.

“Some persons have said the number of persons with disability in Nigeria is 19million, 20 million or 25 million, but let’s assume you are 20million. If we get all of you to vote for us, we don’t need others then. So really, you are important to us.”

Inaugurating the PLWD campaign council, the national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, said the party is inaugurating the council simply because the PDP understands the pain and value of PLWDs.

He said: “I am happy that it is out party that is giving these special people this opportunity and if you look at our party, you will find persons with disability in top positions.

“We have a senator who is PLWD, we have a NWC member who is a PLWD, we have a state assembly member as well, and our governorship candidate in Niger, who by God’s grace will win the gubernatorial election. So I want you to take this opportunity seriously and ensure our victory.

On his part, Grand patron of the PLWD council, Hon Isa Liman Kantigi noted that Nigerians have no alternative than to go with PDP if they don’t want the country auctioned.

He said: “It is on record that PLWD don’t leave polling unit until they vote, and their votes count, therefore, I want to urge you all to ensure you participate fully in all campaign and mobilization program to ensure our candidate wins the 2023 presidential election.”

Giving his remarks, the DG of the PDP PCC, Governor Aminu Tambuwal who was represented by the DDG of the council, Senator Liyel Imoke noted that the PDP recover agenda is an all inclusive agenda.

He also proposed that the D in PLWD should be changed to Determination.

Ephraim Balarabe, a member of the PLWD campaign council in his goodwill message said this is the first time persons with disability are being recognized in Nigeria, adding that it has shown that the unifier tag of Atiku Abubakar is not mere words.

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Which Are Africa’s Most Tradable Countries? The Answer May Surprise You

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By Joel Popoola

Here’s an exploration of the best places in Africa to do business, and they are not necessarily the first countries you might think of.

When we talk about the best places in Africa to do business, all too often we focus exclusively on the continent’s most established economies – South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya. And as a proud Nigerian I am as guilty as that as anyone!

Which is why new research into the most tradable countries in Africa is quite so interesting – some of the best places in the continent to do business are not necessarily the ones you’re thinking of.

The latest African Trade Barometer, produced by Standard Bank – one of Africa’s biggest – suggests that British businesses should in fact be taking a closer look at Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and even Angola.

The survey ranks nations on economic stability, governance, infrastructure and trade openness – using both quantitative data and a comprehensive survey of businesses of all sizes from across Africa.

Result show Namibia, Uganda and Angola competing with more established economies such as Ghana and South Africa when it comes to tradability, with Tanzania praised for its government support for trading activities – based around President Hassan’s efforts to engage world leaders and develop its international relations – Uganda for its export and import prospects, and Angola for its infrastructure and ease of trade with foreign markets. Angola’s booming chemicals and processing sector in particular seems to be taking advantage of global trading constraints.

Zambia is rated highly for its improved economic stability, no doubt the impact of a relatively new government’s approach to the economy – which has lead to 80% of businesses expecting their turnover to increase in the next year.

As a long-term believer in the link between good governance and business confidence and growth – and has developed the digital technology to improve the transparency and accountability of elected officials in Nigerian –  it is gratifying to see successful elections in Kenya, Angola and Zambia, and the change of president in Tanzania, have lead to improved business attitudes throughout these nations and their neighbours.

British businesses need to start thinking more about Africa – especially if they want to take advantage of the coming African Continental Free Trade Area. This will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world, a single market of over a billion consumers and a combined GDP of over US$3 trillion – although there is no shame about British businesses being in the dark about the agreement, the figures show that only 3% of Mozambique businesses are!

Even where tradability is less strong, there are opportunities for British business – power outages remain a severe infrastructural obstacle to trade – particularly in Nigeria, South Africa and Mozambique. But that means opportunities for British businesses to tackle these issues here and across the continent.

The results also show African businesses seeking to import fewer goods directly from China with the greatest decrease occurring in Angola, Mozambique and Namibia.

This is undoubtedly the result of China’s Zero Covid policy with which has seen ports and businesses shut down to stop the spread of the virus – leaving African traders looking elsewhere to avoid supply chain interruptions. Why not Britain?

The figures are not all good for Africa. The figures indicate that interest rate rises in the United States have increased borrowing across many African markets, negatively impacting business confidence – particularly in Ghana where a combination of inflation and poor liquidity has adversely impacted the country’s ability to import.

Nonetheless British businesses need to open their eyes to the potential of Africa – and look beyond the usual suspects.

The UK government has negotiated a number of free trade agreements with African countries and trading blocs since it left the European Union creating significant opportunities for African consumers and companies, not least in our 24 English speaking countries – and the International Monetary Fund has predicted that over the next five years, half of the world’s ten fastest growing economies will be in Africa.

Joel is  a software entrepreneur, and Chief Executive of political engagement app Rate Your Leader.

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Food for Living: Celebrating Another Wonderful Milestone

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

It is with great pleasure I wish to share with you the goodness of the Lord in my life. You may be wondering what this goodness of God in my life is. Yes, the goodness of God in my life is the celebration of my entire being on earth. You may also be wondering what the special thing about my life is. Yes, I will tell you; it’s my birthday! I can’t thank God enough for the great things he has done for me, especially the life and blessings he has bestowed on me. It is not because I am the most righteous, handsome, hardworking, strongest etc., that I am alive. It’s just because of the grace of God upon me and His awesome faithfulness.

That explains why I chose CeCe Winans track “The Goodness of God” as a favorite line to buttress how grateful I am to him and the universe. Today calls for a sober reflection, but most importantly, it calls for gratitude to God for making me come this far. I’m quite aware of the fact that many people who arrived on planet earth on the same day with me are no longer on the surface of the planet. Some are married with kids, have accomplished careers, and are celebrated globally, while some are still confused and still trying to find their path to life.

And so, in whatever position you find yourself, I just want you to take a moment to reflect about your life and you will see that you will find something to be grateful for, and if you don’t see any reason you should be grateful, be happy you are alive. As you may rightly know, when there’s life, there’s hope. The problem many people have is that they don’t practice gratitude and appreciation.

Birthdays are for celebration. There’s always something to celebrate about life. Personally, when I look at the trajectory of my life, I can say for a fact, I’m not the smartest person, but favour and grace found me. I say this because if anyone truly knows my background, they will hardly believe there’ll be light in my family. The turning point was education.

My late parents didn’t have the opportunity of going to school, but they knew the value of education and ensured my siblings and I had a decent education. Why am I saying this? If anyone had told me I will ever be a globally celebrated author, I might not have believed it; If anyone had told me I will be a prolific and creative writer the world will read on a daily and weekly basis, I might not have believe it. If anyone had ever told me I will ever be interviewed by the New York Times, I might not have believed it. If anyone had told me I would be a favourite television guest, I might not have believe it. Being interviewed by News12 about my book, I will say, it’s one of the biggest achievements I have attained in recent times.

You may be wondering why I am saying all this, well, the reason is quite simple, it’s a huge milestone for me judging from where I started. This is a man who worked as a security officer for many years in New York City despite being a graduate of New York Law School. I was given little or no chance of surviving in the United States of America, especially New York City because of my horrible writing skills and how the system operates. I never gave up hope.  I still persevered.

Birthdays to me call for gratitude and reflection. To say, I am not grateful is the highest act of disservice to God and humanity. I am particularly grateful to God, my late parents who instilled in me the right virtues and training, my family, friends and the universe who have conspired to make me who I am today.

As I look back from where I started to where I am today, I’m glad I’m not where I used to be. The best way to express my profound gratitude and appreciation is by taking some wonderful lines from the amazing Goodness of God” lyrics from CeCe Winans where she stated “your mercy never fails me;  I will sing the goodness of God; All my life you have been faithful and so good; I will sing of the goodness of God. You have led me through the fire. I have known you as a father and friend.”

How do I begin to explain the mercy of God upon my life?  How He saved and provided for me in the presence of my enemies. His grace is utterly sufficient for me. As mentioned earlier, there are certain things that happened to me which made me realize that it’s not by my power, might or ability, but just the mercy of God upon me. That’s why I am not ashamed of talking about the goodness of God in my life. It is pertinent to note on this birthday of mine, I have decided to dedicate my life to God and work according to his purpose for me. This is particularly because I have been through the trenches, but God saw me through even when men were trying to humiliate me. In recent times, the relationship I have with God is that of a father and friend. This singular act has made me so vulnerable to God.

In conclusion, as I look forward to more prosperous years, I toast and pray for more wisdom, understanding, grace, favour, direction, protection, provision, blessings, and more especially good health and prosperity. Amen.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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