Trading And Investing In & Out Africa

ISSUE 47 - VOL 1
MARCH 15 - APRIL 14, 2003

Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum
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Dear faithful reader,


Good strategic decisions and organization, thorough planning, hard work and efficient management are keys to success in any human undertaking.

To illustrate that assertion let us consider the example of the "surprising" outcome of the latest 31st America Cup.

I am not a sailor. Nor have I ever been on a sailing both for a regatta. However I did watched, as several thousand other people around the globe, the 31st edition of the America Cup that led to the victory of Team Alinghi / the Defi Suiisse. The victory of a team that came from a landlocked country - Switzerland - against a score of other teams originating from countries such as the United States of America, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand that have sea resorts and plenty of sea coastline.

I watched every race on my TV set and victory after victory of the Defi Suisse, I pondered about the reason behind their astonishing string of victories. I visited websites and read many reports about their preparation, their staffing policy and competition planning. Etc.

Obviously, their success has nothing to do with a miracle. It is simply the result of perfect organization, harmonious team collaboration, hard work and particularly good strategic decisions.

One of the seasoned competitor to the Defi Suisse, Larry Ellison, the software billionaire, head of the American team / Oracle BMW Racing - defeated 5 to nothing by Alinghi in the Louis Vuitton Cup, which clears the way to the final of the America Cup against Team New Zealand - recognized their supremacy and declared: "
The biggest surprise was how good Alinghi are. They are like a fine Swiss watch with some kiwis parts."

Praising his own team, Ellison continued: "Our guys sailed very well. It is just that they (Alinghi) sailed better." He added: "It is no fun coming second, but the best team won. It has been an honor to sail against a team like this and a joy to watch them. I had never encountered in my life a race team working so harmoniously with a so well tuned boat. They performed a helluva job"

Indeed, from the start of the 31st America Cup, in the Gulf of Hauraki, New Zealand, on October 31, 2002 till the end of the competition on March 3, 2003, the Defi Suisse won 28 courses out of the 30 they attended to; and lost only one. They prefer efficiency to panache. For instance, they refused to compete for the last race of the first round as they have already secured their presence among the four teams selected to continue into the second round. They even handed over the victory to the Italian Team / Prada, during the 4th race, in order to have one resting day more.

On March 3, 2003, at the closing ceremony of the America Cup, Bill Endean, the President of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron delivered the trophy to Ernesto Bartarelli, the President of the Defi Suisse / Team Alinghi. He declared: "You started from zero and in three years you achieved an incredible success."

On his part, Tony Thomas, the Director of Team New Zealand, that lost 5 to nothing against Team Alinghi for the competition final round, and that was also the previous winner of the 30th edition of the America Cup said to Bartarelli: "You came here fully and well prepared with a solid, high speed and competitive boat and you reached your objective."

At this point, you may be asking yourself what the victory of the Defi Suisse has to do with the economic development of Africa. There was not a single racing team from Africa listed for the event. So what? Yes so what.

However, there is a link between the economic development of Africa and the surprising outcome of the 31st America Cup.

The victory of team Alenghi / the Defi Suisse is a lesson of management efficiency, thorough organization, good staffing and perfect implementation planning. There is a lesson to learn from that victory for African countries in their battle to achieving economic development and bridging the gap with developed countries.

Please do keep in mind that the Defi Suisse is the team of a landlocked country that won over teams coming from countries with sea shores. The defi Suisse's head
Ernesto Bartarelli not only built and prepared the best boat for the competition; he had also hired the best collaborators, crewmen, navigators, helmsmen, skippers, to plan the event and man his racing boat.

These are actions we Africans should learn to emulate. We have to cease acting like "amateurs" in our undertakings, and always plan ahead. We have to stop the very bad political game of squeezing the wrong person into the bad place. Only professional experienced people should be hired and appointed to management positions. Staffing of hands also should be done on the same basis and training well organized.

The still persisting (in many African countries) sad behavior of appointing the wrong person to run state owned companies, had been the main reason behind the failure of many African state-owned companies Failure that triggered the painful Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) of mid 1985's.

The Defi Suisse's management planned ahead.
"You came here fully and well prepared with a solid, and competitive boat and you reached your objective." said Tony Thomas, the Director of Team New Zealand that lost to Alenghi for the final race of the America Cup.

Indeed, the manager of Team Alenghi / the Defi Suisse, Earnesto Bartarelli and his collaborators, did not took any aspect of the competition for granted. They planned thoroughly for every race and took strategic decisions to retire from a course or to hand over a token victory when necessary.

These are lessons for Africans to learn from. Let us consider, for instance, what is happening now in West Africa with regards the management of the Ivorian crisis

The decision makers of Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, Togo and Benin [Click here to choose a country to visit] and even Cameroon - which is far away from the epicenter of the economic disturbance now existing in Ivory Coast - are scrambling either to reroute their imports / exports from the port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast or to attract and capture the flux of these imports / exports to their own harbors.

They are doing this only since September 19, 2003; the date from which the Ivorian political crisis finally turned ugly into a civil war.

However, it was obvious, to any international observer of the Ivorian political stage, that, since the beginning of the Ivorian political crisis in 1993, the crisis was portent of a great danger of degenerating into a civil war. Events occurring in Ivory Coast since 1993 were forerunners of the political and economic disaster that broke out on September 19, 2002.

You will agree with me that 10 years were really enough time period for above mentioned west African countries to plan ahead of the looming disaster in Ivory Coast and organize themselves in order to minimizing the negative impact of said crisis on their respective economy. In the contrary, they took no action in advance to reorganizing their transportation network. They routinely lived in "peace". They didn't act calmly in advance in order to spreading the restructuration costs over 10 years. They are now acting hastily and costly.

So you see, the victory of Team Alenghi / the Defi Suisse in the 31st America Cup is a real lesson of organization, planning and efficiency for African countries.

Let us conclude by mentioning that Switzerland, a landlocked country, does have a powerful high sea merchant fleet totaling some 20 vessels with a combined dead weight carrying capacity of about 800,000 deadweight tons, traveling the seven seas of the world and flying the flag of Switzerland. And that, northern European countries like Denmark, Norway and Finland have setup prosperous agriculture and agribusiness in spite of being covered by snow for 8 months out of 12 in a year.

These countries are organized and are used to planning ahead! In the contrary landlocked African countries are complaining of their landlocked status and many sub-Saharan African countries are plagued with recurrent drought.

There are solutions to these apparent economic hindrances as shown by Switzerland and northern European countries. One of the solutions against drought, for instance, is reforestation. How many African countries have implemented a reforestation policy since the independence day?

"CONTRIBUTOR'S GUIDELINES" are available here. You are invited to contribute to AFRICABIZ ONLINE MONTHLY ISSUE - with articles related to "How Africa Could Bridge The Developing Gap".

Many thanks for subscribing to Africabiz. See you on April 15, 2003.

Dr. B.M. Quenum
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Click for more on the collapse of Ivory Coast

Business Opportunities


Essential oils are odorous products obtained from natural raw materials such as leaves, fruits, roots and wood of many seasonal or perennial plants. They are generally of complex composition and contain alcohol, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, esters, ethers, and turpenes in varying proportions. An estimated 3,000 essential oils are known of which approximately 300 are of commercial importance. The majority of them are obtained from agricultural plants, but some 28 essential oils are collected in commercial quantities from wild sources listed here

World total production of essential oils is estimated at about 100,000 to 110,000 metric tons. [Source]. The major exporters of essential oils are the United States (US), the European Union (EU) and a number of developing countries, the most important of which are China, Indonesia, India and Brazil. In year 1998 the EU accounted for 52 per cent of the value of world exports, and the US for 13 per cent (UN's Yearbook1999). Developed countries are the main importers of essential oils, with the EU and the US accounting for 44 per cent and 8 per cent respectively in 1998 (UN's Yearbook 1999). Other big consumers are Japan, East European countries and China. For more Click here for Adobe PDF digital deliveries on several regional markets.

- Flowers and fragrance plants' industry is a sector with tremendous opportunities for African countries to have a share of the big pie of the international trade of essential oils. The reforestation policy - necessary in some if not all of African countries to solve recurrent drought problems - should be undertaken by planting trees species, which could be used as raw material for the production of aromatic oils. The most promising speculations are essential oils from : Geranium, Citronella, Lemon grass or Sweet calamus, Eucalyptus. Let's consider Lemon grass:

Lemon Grass Plant- Two specimens of lemon grass essential oils dominate the market : the one produced from the Cympobogon Flexnosus, a lemon grass originated from Eastern India, and the other produced from the Cympobogon Citratus (Western India); but the commercial distinction between the two kinds of lemon grass essential oil is quickly fading. The lemon grass essential oils are directly used in a wide range of low grade, inferior quality perfume and household products; they are also the main source for citral which is one of the raw materials used to produce ionones and vitamins A and E.

The lemon grass essential oils dominated the essential oils market over twenty years but suffered from the harsh competition of synthesized essential oils and the Chinese essential oil made from Litsea Cubeba (another raw material for citral).

There have been a constant commercial disputes over lemon grass essential oil because of the uncertainty created on the market by India which uses a great portion of its production (750 tons /year) for its home consumption and exports the remaining to former USSR under barter agreement. Nowadays, the Republic of Guatemala is the leading exporter (250 tons). China is on the market for 80 to 100 tons per year. USA and former USSR import each around 70 tons per year; the United Kingdom 65 tons; France and Japan 35 tons each; and West Germany around 20 tons.

Selling prices fluctuate according to the quantity of lemon grass essential oils put on the international market by India. India's brands are sold around US dollars 17 per kilo against 9 per kilo for Guatemala's brand.

Based on the
amount of hard currency generated by the international trade of essential oils, one can have an idea about what African countries could gain from entering the market. They can undertake needed reforestation of their national territories by planting trees that are suitable to the production of essential oils and therefore kill two birds with one stone.

The production of essential oils will provide to any African country, which takes necessary economic and financial measures to entering the market, first local finished products / raw materials for the establishment of national pharmaceuticals and perfumes industries; and second, increase its reserve of foreign currency.

The production of essentials oils is also a complement to the former delivery dedicated to nutriments and supplements pharmaceutical ventures here described as essential oils from Lemon grass provide the basic raw material (citral) for the production of Vitamins A and E.

1- Essential Oils Desk Reference
By Essential Science Publishing (Hardcover - Oct 2007)
2- The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Over 600 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Recipes
By Valerie Ann Worwood (Paperback - Mar 1, 1993)
3- The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind & Body
By Colleen K. Dodt (Paperback - Jan 3, 1996)
4- Essential Oils Pocket Reference 3rd Edition (Spiral Bound 2004, 3rd Edition) (Spiral-bound - 2004) - Unabridged
5- Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils
By Carolyn L. Mein (Paperback - Sep 1, 1998)
6- Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide: Building Immunity, Increasing Longevity, and Enhancing Mental Performance
By D. Gary Young N.D. and Ronald M. Lawrence M.D. Ph.D. (Hardcover - April 1, 2003)
7- Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils2006 10th Edition
By Connie and Alan Higley (Spiral-bound - 2006)
8- Magical Oils by Moonlight: Understand Essential Oils, Their Blends and Uses; Choose the Appropriate Day
By Maya Heath (Paperback - April 2004)

Adobe Acrobat Reader is available here

For more details on the international trade of Essential Oils visit following link

More on essential oils

Control Your Desktop


If a crash does occur when you are busy teleconferencing or chatting with a friend, it may be very annoying if you have to go through the normal process of restarting the system altogether in order to unfreeze your computer.

You can avoid that painful Restart process if you have an utility called CyberLat RAMCleaner installed.

In addition to its ability to smoothly managing Read Only Memory (RAM) as explained in delivery 23, CyberLat RAMCleaner has the potential [CTL + Alt + F4] of Killing / unfreezing crashed applications, releasing their allocated RAM and therefore avoiding the Restart of the system.

Cyberlat RAMcleaner is here available.

More on  crash control

Freebie Of The Month


At the office, when you use your desktop, you are leaving plenty of traces on your hard drive about websites you visited and files you opened, documents you read. Etc.

This happens because Windows Operating Systems and Internet Explorer Browser have score of helpful features that make your computing and surfing experiences very user friendly:

- Windows lists the recently viewed files so that you can re access them easily.

- Internet Explorer prompts you with previously used entries while you fill in a form online.

- It remembers previously visited websites and displays them all on a drop down menu each time you try to type something new in the address bar. Etc.

Yes that's great. However there is a price to all these amenities. You are exposing your privacy to anyone who may have access to your computer.

At home you are safe for sure, but what about the office. A colleague may be entitled to run your computer when you are not present and the bog boss may also pry into it to see if you are solely concentrated on your job.

Yes, thanks to the user friendly features above briefly outlined, anybody who has access to your computer can pry into what you were doing both on your system and online. The documents you worked on, the images you viewed, the applications you used, the websites you visited, even the files or text you searched for.

If you do not have a complete control of the access to your computer, you better watch out in order to keep trouble at bay and protect your privacy.

There are plenty of utilities around which help you stay put. Many will cost you few bucks. One of them, MyPrivacy, is free. It helps you routinely maintain your privacy from prying eyes.

MyPrivacy assist you efficiently:

- Cleaning up the AutoComplete & IE histories.
- Deleting Temporary download and and Temporary Internet files.
- Managing cookies.
- Clearing the lists of recently used files.
- Clear up Windows Run / Find Files /Search Text /
- Remove Media Player Recent File and URL list menus. Etc.

You can disable AutoComplete and AutoSuggest options. There is even an option to configure Windows Media Player not to display the list of recently accessed files.

The choice of the level of privacy you want to achieve is completely yours. Click here to get MyPrivacy by OmniQuad


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