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Driving Ambition

The Big Cat At Ease With Africa’s Tiger

Jaguar has stepped into the SUV market and Mauritius was the ideal arena to test how sharp its claws are.



One would do a double-take on Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to launch their first-ever Jaguar SUV on the volcanic island nation of Mauritius. The island’s claim to fame is its perfect white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, luxury resorts and vast expanses of sugarcane. With about 1.3 million people, this picture-perfect getaway has everything going for it except market size. So what did Jaguar Land Rover see that other car makers are missing?

Mauritius sits in the middle of the triangle that connects Asia, Africa, and Australia. The small player has been selling this convergence point to position itself as the main conduit of trade between the three regions. At the backend, government reforms over the last three decades have ushered in economic policies that are increasingly friendly to investors. Political stability has supported growth, which surged to 3.7% in 2015 and is projected by the African Development Bank to touch 3.8% this year, at a time when many bigger economies are shrinking. The island has moved into lead position in Africa with its 46th ranking out of 140 economies in the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Report. This stellar economic performance has earned Mauritius the title of “Africa’s first tiger”. With strong economic fundamentals, Mauritius is the perfect cocktail of business and lifestyle. But can the Mauritians afford the luxurious life that the island has on offer?

The 2016 Wealth Report is annual appreciation of the size and growth prospects of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in Africa. Mauritius tops the rankings of the report as home to the richest population in Africa, with the average wealth of $21,700 per person. The island’s people are significantly wealthier than the average South African, with a per capita average wealth of $10,300, and Zimbabwe on the last rung with an average of $200 per person. According to the report, the wealth is supported by secure property rights, a vibrant financial sector, and the migration of a large number of wealthy individuals to the sun and sand of Port Louis and other emerging cities in Mauritius. So the fit of a launching a new luxury vehicle into a market already growing in the luxury market and teaming with HNWIs makes perfect sense. The big question was whether going into untrodden SUV territory was the right move for Jaguar?

Throughout the history of Jaguar, the idea of an SUV has either never crossed the minds of all the teams in the company since 1922 or the idea has been crushed every time it reared its head. But, with SUVs expected to account for every five new car sales by 2020, even Jaguar realized that it was time to venture into unknown territory.

The F-Pace was launched in Port Louis in an all-white-clad gaggle of top celebrities; the most influential, and affluent of Mauritius. The mid-size SUV is heating up the competition and looking to steal market share from dominant SUV players, like BMW and Porsche, while also not upsetting sister company Land Rover. The F-Pace will be going head-to-head with the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Porsche Macan.

The F-Pace is taking a bite at the market at an aggressive entry level price of $50,000, which will get you a 2.0-liter diesel engine, rear-wheel-drive and a manual gearbox. An eight-speed automatic will burn a $55,390-hole in your pocket. The R-Sport package has sportier design elements and 19-inch alloy wheels. For bigger engines, 3.0 liters start at around $75,000. Several of the guests at the glittery launch mentioned that they had been on the waiting list for the F-Pace for serval months and found the price competitive.

On the inside, the F-Pace has drawn inspiration from the XF and XJ family members. The screens and console are easy to navigate. Every F-Pace gets a standard eight-inch touchscreen in the center console, with further infotainment options available. My favorite functionality was the Wi-Fi connectivity that can connect up to eight devices.

The spaciousness of the F-Pace cannot go unnoticed. With well-thought-out hidden nooks for your handbag, cellphone, and sunglasses, it’s every woman’s dream. The cabin space is more than generous, with an almost flat roofline allowing passengers at the back to be as comfortable as those in the front. The F-Pace has built in practicality with sizeable boot space at 605-liter carrying capacity which, with folded seats, can extend to 1,740 liters. The panoramic sunroof allowed us to take in the light, sounds and splashes of color as we drove through Port Louis.

The F-Pace shows the evolution that the Jaguar Land Rover brand is undergoing. The car is young, sexy, and attractive. Jaguar’s iconic big cat emblem has also been overhauled for a younger look and feel. With Africa’s richest increasingly getting younger, increasingly open-minded, and daring, it makes perfect sense why Jaguar has taken on Africa’s Tiger in the Indian Ocean.

Current Affairs

Ethiopia’s First Female President On Plans To Combat Covid-19 And Resuscitate The Economy



Ethiopia’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, spoke to FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil, on the country’s plans to combat Covid-19 and resuscitate one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Zewde, listed as one of Africa’s ‘50 Most Powerful Women’ in the March issue of FORBES AFRICA, says while the virus didn’t warrant the nation going into complete lockdown, it has hit some sectors of the East African country’s economy, affecting its GDP growth.

In early May, the government announced a package to bolster healthcare spending, food distribution, rebuild SMMEs, etc to support the country’s most vulnerable. Zewde also shares her views on women in the front lines, as well as reimagining education.

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Driving Ambition

The Master Strategist: How Mteto Nyati Developed A Reputation As A Turnaround Specialist And Ethical Leader



What is the one formula this business leader thinks is critical to transforming companies and society?

Mteto Nyati was born from humble beginnings in Umtata, a poor town in the Eastern Cape, a province of South Africa, during the height of apartheid, but he refused to allow his circumstances to define him.

By remaining true to himself from an early age, embracing who he is, a term he describes as personal mastering, focusing on the things he can change and sticking to his core values of family, fairness, excellence and integrity, his career has rapidly progressed.

The mechanical engineer has held various leadership positions at the South African operations of multinational companies, such as IBM and Microsoft where he has fine-tuned and refined his leadership style to become a master strategist, developing a reputation as a turnaround specialist and ethical leader.

From Microsoft, Nyati joined pan-African telecommunications network provider MTN and in 2017, South African-listed Allied Electronics Corporation Limited (Altron), where he is currently CEO.

The highly self-aware and introverted businessman has transformed Altron into a serious contender in the technology space globally with plans to expand into the Netherlands, Malaysia and India.

In less than three years, he has more than doubled Altron’s valuation taking it to just over $642 million. 

His success has not gone unnoticed. In 2019, he won the Business Leader of the Year award at the CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLAs) and the IPM CEO Special Award from the Institute of People Management.

Dressed simply but elegantly, in a navy blue blazer and light-blue shirt, the author of the number one best-seller, Betting On a Darkie, with candor shares his secrets of success with FORBES AFRICA.

With acuity, the story-teller says his success lies firstly in his team. 

“It is really not about one individual, it is about building a capable team of people.”

 To do this, you need to find the best people, surround yourself with them, and not be afraid to hire those that are even stronger than you in different areas, he adds.

Nyati asserts it is something he has done in almost all his jobs.

Secondly, he attributes his accomplishments to strategy.

“You always need to know where the company is going, your strategy is critical,” he remarks.

“But you need to design the strategy with others and give it time.

“I take at least three months.”

Why? Because it takes time to engage with various stakeholders, from customers to employees.

The inclusiveness of that process is also very important, says Nyati, as is “making sure that not one stakeholder but various stakeholders including your customers” are part of your strategy formation process so that the strategy you come up with is relevant for the company and talking to what your customers are looking for.

In developing his strategy, Nyati talks to employees and gets them to ask some tough questions like ‘where are we failing, where are we missing opportunities’?

The erudite CEO feels speaking to employees is crucial as they know why customers are frustrated.

“If you don’t ask and find out from them, you won’t be able to pick up that information,” asserts Nyati.

It is also critical, he adds, as “then the strategy that you come up with becomes a strategy that the employees can relate to because in reality, it is a strategy that was formed by them.

“When you go and present and say ‘these are the areas of focus, we need to concentrate on this, we need to fix this and fix that’, the things that you are talking about are the things they told you need fixing so they will embrace the strategy quickly.”

This formula, however, was not something Nyati followed throughout his career. 

“It is something that grows. You learn, you try this, you try that and you read about how other people are doing things so over time, I have come up with some kind of formula but it is not how I used to do things 20 years ago, it is something that has been built over a period of time,” he reveals.

Asked if it was something he finessed at Altron, Nyati responds, “no, not at Altron, not at all. I would say that it would be at Microsoft”, which at the time was dealing with multiple challenges from staff to customer retention.

“The practices that I am talking about I used at Microsoft, the same way that I did it at MTN to try and address the challenges. I did not change anything when I came to Altron but I started putting together this formula at Microsoft,” he says pensively. 

Having taken firm control of the steering wheel at Altron, Nyati wants to help the company that operates in seven African countries, and a few outside of the continent, become more global so that it gets a significant amount of its revenue and profits outside of South Africa.

He also wants Altron to become a paragon of an inclusive society.

Reflecting on this, Nyati says he wants to “demonstrate that you can have an entity where regardless of who you are – black, white, Indian or colored – we can have these people working together towards a common goal and being able to do great things. We need to show our country there is value in diversity, there is so much value in embracing everybody and that is what I am trying to do in Altron and I am amazed at how the people of Altron have embraced that strategy themselves and they are pushing and helping us do great things.”

More broadly, he would like to awaken the giant within society, something he has already started at Altron.

“We have got so much as individuals we can offer but we are playing way below our potential as human beings,” elucidates Nyati.

That is something this meliorist would like to change.

If he can lift that game and help individuals see their own potential and act on that potential, regardless of their background, Nyati says he would have achieved his mission in life. Ponder that. 

Monique Vanek

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Driving Ambition

How To Successfully Negotiate Your Salary




With unemployment at a low 3.6%, American workers have been enjoying a candidate-friendly market, and many have used it to their advantage. According to a recent survey by recruiting firm Robert Half, 54% of job seekers negotiated for a higher payout before accepting their most recent position. Of those who didn’t ask for more, nearly one fifth said it was because they felt uncomfortable doing so.

“Anyone who has the experience is in demand,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. “Everybody should feel comfortable negotiating compensation today.”

Negotiating can be intimidating, but with a little preparation, job seekers can be better equipped to walk away with what they’re worth. Here are three keys to a successful salary negotiation, plus what to do if the hiring manager doesn’t budge. 

1. Do Your Research

While hiring managers often discuss pay with candidates early on in the hiring process, with 35% of respondents reporting that the subject of salary came up in their first in-person interviews, McDonald advises against negotiating before an offer has been made. If salary range does come up, use that as the starting point to research industry averages for the role at hand, using online resources like Glassdoor’s salary tools and Payscale’s salary calculator as your guide. Another form of compensation that’s worth considering is benefits. A flexible work arrangement or student loan reimbursement, for example, may not pad your paycheck, but they are perks that could boost your bank account. Whatever you do, don’t overshoot—that could be a turnoff. Flexibility and knowing your market worth is key, he says. 

2. Establish Your Must-Haves And Your Nice-To-Haves

Before you go into a salary negotiation, determine what you need and what you can do without. “If you’re interviewing for a new role, or if you’re going to your current employer for the annual salary review, know what your priorities are,” McDonald says. “Take the emotion out of it and be really in tune with what’s important to you.” Not being able to articulate what matters most can cost you a few extra thousand dollars, or even the position itself. 

3. Practice Makes Perfect

There’s no better way to calm prenegotiation nerves than to practice. McDonald recommends role-playing with trusted colleagues, mentors or recruiters so that you can get feedback from those who have been on different sides of the table. As you craft your pitch, remember to make liberal use of the words “we” and “us.” “It’s always good to try and join the parties when you’re negotiating,” McDonald says. Something as simple as “There are a few things that I’d like us to discuss” can demonstrate to the hiring manager that you’re a team player. For instance:  

“I’m so thrilled that you’ve extended an offer and I’m really enthusiastic about the role! I know I’d be the right fit for the [co. name] team and based on what we’ve discussed during the interview process, my background and experience align really well with the expectations of the job. I’m hoping we can discuss the offer you presented because based on my research, the salaries in our area for [job title] are typically around [number]. I’m confident you’ll be pleased with what I’ll bring to the role and organization and I’m looking forward to contributing.” 

Next Steps

It is unlikely that your negotiation will end with you receiving an immediate “yes,” so leave by offering to continue the conversation. If the hiring manager doesn’t follow up regarding your request or just won’t budge, ask yourself if you can still afford to take the opportunity. If the answer is no, tell the company right away. “Don’t ghost the opportunity,” McDonald says. “Regardless of how it all turns out, always be professional, always be courteous, always be objective.”

Samantha Todd, Forbes Staff, Leadership Strategy

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