Monthly Archives: March 2016

39 Sir Alex Ferguson quotes to ignite the champion in you

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Growing up in Nigeria, you were either a Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool fan. Manchester United was my team back then, and still is. We consumed football for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When we were not glued to the TV screen cheering on our favorite teams, we were in the streets, often barefoot, practicing the skills we had just witnessed.

Sir Alex Ferguson was the mastermind behind Manchester United’s successive years of dominance. In his 39 years at the helm, he led Manchester United to 2 Champions League titles, 17 Domestic League titles, 14 Domestic Cups, and 2 Other European titles. I had the pleasure of reading his book, Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United, and below are 39 inspiring quotes in honor of his 39 glory years as manager of Manchester United.

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  1. “If you are leading people, it helps to have a sense of who they are- the circumstances in which they were raised, the actions that will draw out the best in them, and the remarks that will cause them to be spooked. The only way to figure this out is by underrated activities: listening and watching.”


  1. “It sounds simple to say you should believe what your eyes tell you, but it is very hard to do. It is astonishing how many biases and preconceived notions we carry around, and these influence what we see, or, more precisely, what we think we see.”


  1. “I always felt that our triumphs were an expression of the consistent application of discipline.”

Work Rate

  1. “When winning becomes a way of life, true winners are relentless.”
  2. “In a perfect world I would have filled every team-sheet with 11 men who had as much determination as talent. But life is not like that, and if I had to choose between someone who had great talent but was short on grit and desire, and another player who was good but had great determination and drive, I would always prefer the latter.”


  1. “For me drive means a combination of a willingness to work hard, emotional fortitude, enormous powers of concentration and a refusal to admit defeat.”


  1. “I cannot imagine how anyone, without firm conviction and deep inner beliefs, can be an effective leader.”


  1. “…Preparation had a lot more to do with our success than a few fortunate breaks.”
  2. “The way to win battles, wars and games is by attacking and overrunning the opposing side.”
  3. “On our own team, the best players tended to be sticklers for preparation. That’s part of the reason why they were good or great.”


  1. “There is a lot to be said for either picking, or being lucky enough to land, the right mentor. The best ones can change your life.”


  1. “Each player has to understand the qualities and strengths of their team-mates.”


  1. “Part of the way you develop excellence in an organization is to be careful about the way you define success.”
  2. “Winning anything requires a series of steps.”


  1. “You don’t get the best out of people by hitting them with an iron rod. You do so by gaining their respect, getting them accustomed to triumphs and convincing them that they are capable of improving their performance.”
  2. “Much of leadership is about extracting that extra 5 percent of performance that individuals did not know they possessed.”
  3. “Unless you understand people, it is very hard to motivate them.”
  4. “Another crucial ingredient of motivation is consistency. As a leader you can’t run from one side of the ship to the other. People need to feel that you have unshakeable confidence in a particular approach. If you can’t show this, you’ll lose the team very quickly.”
  5. “Anyone who is in charge of a group of people has got to have a strong personality….a strong personality is an expression of inner strength and fortitude.”
  6. “People perform best when they know they have earned the trust of their leader.”


  1. “Complacency is a disease, especially for individuals and organizations that have enjoyed success.”


  1. “A network takes time to develop. Part comes through the passage of time, part from the way you treat others and part from reciprocity.”
  2. “It’s easy to forget about the troubles of others but, if you take the time to remember, it goes a very long way.”


  1. “Don’t lie, don’t steal, and always be early.”


  1. “I have yet to encounter anyone who has achieved massive success without closing themselves off from the demands of others or forgoing pastimes.”
  2. “If you have two people of equal talent it will be the way in which they marshal their ability that will determine their eventual success.”
  3. “There’s only one way to enjoy a final and that’s to win it. Nobody ever remembers the losers.”


  1. “At some point in my life the desire and need to win outstripped my fear of failure.”
  2. “There’s some merit in getting defeated – even though I’d never want it to be a habit. Team members who are hungry for victory and take great pride in their performance will be eager to avenge defeat.”


  1. “Whether the audience is one person or 75,000, you need to assemble your thoughts, know what you want to emphasize and just say it.”


  1. “The greatest bosses also take pride in making sure that if employees who have served them well choose to leave, they go on to greater and better things.”


  1. “I just don’t believe that you can get the most out of people if they are perpetually afraid of you.”


  1. “My job was to make everyone understand that the impossible was possible. That’s the difference between leadership and management”

Decision Making

  1. “When you are in the football world, and I suspect in almost every other setting, you have to make decisions with the information at your disposal, rather than what you wish you might have.”


  1. “Any leader is a salesman – and he has to sell to the inside of his organization and to the outside. Anyone who aspires to be a great leader needs to excel at selling his ideas and aspirations to others.”


  1. “Bonuses get spent. Medals are forever.”


  1. “If you need one person to change your destiny, then you have not built a very solid organization.”


  1. “If you want to build a winning organization, you have to be prepared to carry on building every day. You never stop building – if you do, you stagnate.”


  1. “It’s one thing to have confidence in your own abilities. It’s a completely different challenge to instill confidence in others.”


The Most Interesting Thing About Investing in Africa

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by Chuki Obiyo and Ozii ObiyoMostInterestAfrica-624x415



What is the most interesting thing that you have done, seen, or heard about investing in Africa? Think about it. Better yet, this e-book gives unique insight into how others have thought about it. From executives at some of the largest companies in the world to young professionals just starting out in their new careers, the topic of investing in Africa makes for a good debate and an even better conversation.

In the course of human history, Africa has gone from the cradle of civilization to the last frontier of the global economy. Ah…Ah…Africa, the protagonist of the first and next chapter in the story of human success? To read about Africa is to learn about our shared origin, and more importantly, to decide on how we get to our shared future. Reading is an investment in time, thought, and action. This book gives you an opportunity to invest in Africa by experiencing the most interesting things others have done, seen, or heard about investing in Africa.

There are so many things to learn about investing in Africa. This book explores some of the most interesting things contributed by people from different backgrounds. Each contributor was asked to answer a series of questions about an African investment project broken down into three sections: Situation, Action, and Result. In turn, we developed our proprietary methodology to analyze each project and we refer to this methodology as the Business Idea Metric (BIM). The BIM uses a weighting scale to evaluate the labor, infrastructure, and capital requirements for an investment idea or project.


For the labor requirement, we look at factors such as low, medium, or high skill and assign a value of 10, 30, or 50 accordingly.

For the infrastructure requirement, we examine factors such as electricity/utilities, construction permits, property registration, transportation, and technology, and attach a value of 10 for each factor accordingly.

For the capital requirements, we consider the amount of capital needed to get the project off the ground from $0-100, $101-1000, $1001-10,000, $10,001-100,000, and over $100,000 and assign values of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 based on the given spend levels.

We have received very positive feedback on our BIM methodology and its LIC (labor, infrastructure, capital) ingredients as a unique way to not only evaluate current projects but to also help prioritize future project ideas for viability. Please see below for one of the investment projects that we profiled from our work. In this write-up, we classify each profile by the contributor’s name (so please continue to watch this space for more project profiles).

We now welcome you to enjoy the reading experience of exploring the most interesting things about investing in Africa.


Wasili Mfungwe, MBA
Wasili Mfungwe, MBA is an international market analyst and consultant with expertise in economic research, ALM, stress testing, equity research, and business intelligence.  He obtained a Bachelor’s of Social Science Degree in Economics and Sociology (Bsoc Eco) from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College and his MBA from Edinburgh Business School (Heriot-Watt University).  He has particular interest in African business development, research, and econometrics.

Investment: Restructuring a corporate loan to promote a public good
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM)– the main electricity generator and distributer in Malawi had a loan with Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) to the tune of MK3 billion (R79 million). The repayment of the loan was hampering the implementation of a program to revamp Malawi’s energy sector in order to provide more reliable electricity, create better non-outsourceable jobs, and improve the lives of everyday Malawians.

Standard Bank Malawi Limited stepped in to restructure the loan which ESCOM owed to DBSA. The DBSA loan was secured by a zero coupon note issued by Investec in favor of ESCOM with a maturity value equal to the loan principal. Standard Bank ensured that ESCOM was able to get the highest discounted value for the note which, as part of the restructuring, was being sold before its maturity in June 2019. Standard Bank also advised ESCOM on the various structuring options and negotiated with DBSA and Investec on behalf of ESCOM, discounting the promissory note through its structured sales team and using the proceeds to partially repay the loan. Through its global markets team, Standard Bank built and remitted a total of R37.5 million on behalf of ESCOM to repay the outstanding amount of the loan. Standard Bank’s Investment Banking team structured and negotiated the prepayment with DBSA without any break costs being applied.

“Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services.”
– Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001


The transaction has helped to engineer a smooth implementation of the energy sector revamp program. In addition, Standard Bank ensured that ESCOM saved R1.5 million in interest payments per month, leading to improvements in its free cash flow position. The transaction has also helped eliminate forex and interest rate risk for ESCOM.

Investment: Restructuring a loan to a corporation to promote a public good
L = 50
I = 50
C = 50
Business Idea Metric: 150


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