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Why Zimbabwe Is Not There Yet




Despite the ample investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, post-election setbacks challenge its economic recovery

Zimbabwe’s long-delayed economic turnaround may have been further pushed out after the army violently crushed protests following the country’s first elections without Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot box.

Investors sitting on the fence before the polls will most likely walk away while others may postpone any commitments until the resolution of the legal challenges launched by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, or take cue from international lenders, analysts say.

“It’s going to take years and not the months that we anticipated for the economic recovery,’’ says John Robertson, a Harare-based independent economist who has analyzed Zimbabwe’s economy since independence in 1980 when Mugabe first took power.

“It’s going to be very difficult to win any credibility after last week’s activities.’’

Zimbabwe’s first elections without Mugabe had raised hopes the country was on the verge of rebirth after the least violent campaigning in almost two decades. But those hopes were dashed days after the polls as Nelson Chamisa, leader of the MDC alleged “overwhelming’’ evidence of vote-rigging, and the military killed six people amid beatings in the MDC’s urban strongholds.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote and more than three quarters of parliamentary seats while Chamisa received 44% support, a number the MDC has dismissed, and challenged at the Constitutional Court. The case, which delayed Mnangagwa’s inauguration, was still pending at the time of going to press.

Mnangagwa, who had vowed a free and credible poll, had hoped to use its outcome to campaign for international support to rescue an economy that has more than halved in the last two decades, leaving more than 90% of workers unemployed.

READ MORE: Who Will Zimbabwe Vote For?

“In the short-term, sentiment will be determined by the outcome of the MDC’s challenge of the election results,’’ says Neville Mandimika, an economist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg.

“If their application is backed by solid evidence of blatant rigging, then it is likely that regional partners and sources of capital will hold back capital while the stalemate gets resolved.’’

International acceptance is key to the country’s hopes of winning debt forgiveness or restructuring an external debt of $11.3 billion at the end of last year, more than 80% of the country’s GDP. Combined with the domestic debt, the country is in debt distress and the situation is unsustainable, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Support from the IMF and other donors is critical for any government to solve one of the country’s most immediate and intractable challenges; a liquidity shortage that has constrained economic activity and forces Zimbabweans to queue for hours for the few available US dollars. The country adopted the US currency in 2009 after its own dollar collapsed as hyperinflation reached a record 79.6 billion percent in November 2008.

“The proper reintroduction of the Zimbabwean dollar is on the agenda of the current government, but it recognizes that there are certain conditions that must be in place for this to happen,’’ Mandimika says.

“Chief among these is ensuring that there are sufficient FX reserves which would allow for the central bank to manage the volatility of the currency, which is to be expected upon the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar.’’

Cognizant of this, Mnangagwa, a long-time ally of Mugabe has tried to distance himself from his former boss’s disastrous economic and political policies, promising economic reforms and reversing some of Mugabe’s key policies such as on black economic empowerment, foreign direct investment and property rights. After the elections and violence, he took to Twitter to call for calm, calling the violence “regrettable & tragic’’.

He will need to do more than that, and in particular, put together a credible cabinet and also clearly define the role of the military, according to Dianna Games, an independent analyst.

“Investors will more closely be watching the economic policies put and interventions put forward by the new government than who is actually in State House,’’ says Games.

“The choice of the cabinet will be watched closely by investors, particularly given the volatility in the past of Zanu-PF actions in sweeping aside investor agreements in the name of political expedience, particularly with regard to agriculture. A strong military presence in the executive may be a red flag.’’

The country has so much goodwill and potential to tap that a recovery is almost a matter of time, analysts say.

“Overall, I think there is little doubt that, despite an election tainted once again by allegations of rigging and violence, Zimbabwe is poised for some sort of economic recovery,’’ says Games. “There are many investment opportunities, the economy is resilient, there are many skills that could be brought back into the formal sector, there is experienced management in the private sector and Zimbabweans have proved to be innovative even in the hardest of times. These all bode well for a recovery although it may not be as swift as people hope for given the current challenges in the economy.’

– By Godfrey Mutizwa

Current Affairs

South Africa aims to finalize long-term energy plan next month: minister




South Africa is aiming to finalize a long-term plan for the country’s energy mix next month, and once that is done it will launch another round of renewable energy deals, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said on Wednesday.

“We are aiming for February,” Radebe told Reuters, when asked when the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would be completed. “Straight away after that we will launch more renewable energy contracts,” he added. -Reuters

-Alexander Winning

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Current Affairs

The Happiest Companies To Work For In 2018




Companies that keep employees happy aren’t just helping their workers—they’re helping themselves, since satisfied workers are more productive. In fact, a mutual fund that invests in companies with positive workplace ratings, Parnassus Endeavor, has beaten the market handily over the past 10 years.

What are the organizations with the happiest employees? Careers site CareerBliss launched its eighth-annual list of the happiest companies in America. It surveyed tens of thousands of workers and asked them to rate their employers on ten key factors, such as their relationship with management, workplace environment, compensation, satisfaction with job function and growth opportunities.

To see the top 10 happiest companies to work for, open the gallery below. For the full list of 50, see the end of this article.

Keller Williams Realty takes the top spot. The Austin, Texas company has 175,000 agents across more than 900 metro areas and claims to be the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count. A Keller Williams Realty employee wrote on, “One of the greatest benefits is how our company promotes from within. All employees are encouraged and supported to be in control of their growth and career paths.”

Sneaker king Nike ranks second. It remains one of the most valuable brands in the world, and it’s navigating a big transition as more consumers shop online. In June it announced its “NIKE Direct” initiative—the company is trying to sell more of its products directly to consumers through its website and own stores, rather than rely on traditional retailers like Foot Locker.

Adobe is the fourth happiest company, according to CareerBliss. The Silicon Valley tech giant invented PDFs and launched them 1993. It claims PDFs have led to a 91% reduction in environmental impact and 90% cost savings when compared with paper-based processes. And Adobe’s Photoshop software is used by 90% of creative professionals. “The atmosphere is highly collaborative and energizing. People have always been friendly and helpful; very professional,” wrote one employee on

Pharmaceutical giant Amgen ranks fifth. Arthritis drug Enbrel is its top-selling product, bringing in nearly $6 billion in sales last year. “The work-life balance is great, fantastic daycare on campus, lots of smart co-workers,” wrote one CareerBliss reviewer. “Working for Amgen was very rewarding to see the positive impact we made in patients’ lives,” reported a West Coast employee.

Full List: The Happiest Companies to Work for in 2018

  1. Keller Williams Realty
  2. Nike
  3. Total Quality Logistics
  4. Adobe
  5. Amgen
  6. Chevron
  7. Intuit
  8. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  9. PNC Financial Services Group
  10. TruGreen
  11. CIGNA
  12. Starbucks
  13. Apple
  14. Quicken Loans
  15. Leidos
  16. Qualcomm
  17. iGATE
  18. The Vanguard Group
  19. Citrix Systems
  20. Kaiser Permanente
  21. Chase
  22. Pfizer
  23. Fidelity Investments
  24. American Income Life Insurance Company
  25. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  26. American Express
  27. GE Capital
  28. Merck
  29. American Airlines
  30. Microsoft
  31. Cisco Systems
  32. Nordstrom
  33. Exxon Mobil
  34. Alcatel-Lucent
  35. CenturyLink
  36. Bank of America
  37. The Walt Disney Company
  38. Wells Fargo
  39. Oracle
  40. Citigroup
  41. Broadcom
  42. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies
  43. DirecTV
  44. Dell
  45. Symantec
  46. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  47. ABC News
  48. CareFusion
  49. Spectrum
  50. Verizon Communications
    – Jeff Kauflin

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Current Affairs

5 Questions You Should Never Ask During A Job Interview





So, you think you’re acing your job interview.

Your interviewer seems to like you. You like your job interviewer. The camaraderie couldn’t be better.

Then comes the proverbial: “So, what questions do you have for me?”

Whether you’re interviewing for a job at Google or joining your local small business, the questions that you ask your interviewer matter. It’s your opportunity to showcase your talents, knowledge, and judgment.

Here are 5 questions that you should never ask during a job interview (and three more that you should).

1. “So, how much will I get paid?”

This seems like a no-brainer, but for some reason, interviewees still think the question is fair play.

That said, it is a fair question. After all, you need to know how much you’ll be paid before you take the job. While that’s true, the interview is not the time to discuss salary.

If you receive a job offer, you can discuss salary at that time.

2. “How much vacation time will I get?”

Again, your vacation and personal time might be an important part of your calculus when deciding to take a job offer.

However, asking how much vacation time you’ll get demonstrates you’re focused more on time off than working.

Like salary, your vacation and other benefits should be reflected in the job offer. You can ask all the questions related to salary and benefits at that time. You can also schedule a follow-up session with the human resources department for a benefits deep-dive.

3. “How quickly can I get promoted?”

Climbing the ladder of your potentially new organization is admirable.

However, don’t assume during the interview that you have the job. It’s important to understand options for movement – both upward and lateral – within the organization. If you plan to work at this organization, it’s essential to understand your career trajectory.

You don’t want to come off as entitled. This question may convey to the interviewer that you think you already have the job (when you don’t).

4. “Why did the company fire so many people last month?”

It’s never a good sign to read about layoffs.

This is especially true when you may be joining an organization after a big headcount reduction.

It’s a fair question, and you should understand the details. However, the job interview is the wrong time.

When you receive your job offer, you can have a frank conversation with your manager about the layoffs, the rationale, whether additional layoffs are expected and other related information to fortify your understanding.

Before accepting a job, make sure to understand if the headcount reduction is expected to be ongoing or if it was a one-time occurrence.

5. “So, who do you consider your competition?”

Instead of asking your interviewer about the competition, spend the time asking questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and also show that you’ve done research prior to your interview.

Before the interview, you should have conducted due diligence on the competitive landscape.

That includes understanding key competitors, relative strengths and weaknesses, the supply chain, key opportunities and threats, barriers to entry and other pertinent market dynamics.

You’re better off weaving this information into the interview, rather than asking during the question period.

3 Questions That You Can Ask During An Interview

Here are three potential questions that you could ask during your job interview:

1. “What are the best attributes of the company’s culture?”

  • Show your interest in company culture.
  • Understand the key values that set this company apart.
  • Learn more about the company’s mission and value proposition.

2. “How much is collaboration across departments encouraged?”

  • Determine whether collaboration is promoted internally.
  • Learn more about ways in which collaboration helps create value for employees and customers.
  • See if the interviewer can share concrete examples to further your understanding.

3. “What would you like the person that you hire to accomplish over the next 6-12 months?”

  • Learn about your interviewer’s goals for the position.
  • Understand expectations.
  • This will give you insights because the question is specific to the role and shows your ability to think longer-term.
  • -Zack Friedman

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