Stability in the Storms

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By Tim Akano

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”.    _Charles Darwin (1809-1882)_

“Learn from yesterday,

live for today,

hope for a better tomorrow,

the thing important,

is to not stop learning,

Be patient and tough,

Someday, this pain will be useful to you.” _Albert Einstein (1879-1955)_

*The Opener!*

“… a body at rest will stay at rest until a net external force acts upon it and that a body in motion will remain in motion at a constant velocity until acted on by a net external force.” _Newton’s law of motion_

*The Stability in The Storms starts now…*

Where are the ‘EXIT’ signs?

Or when will things return to normal?

When are we landing, and at which airport?

What just happened?

What comes next?

Musing. Soliloquizing. Thinking aloud. Connecting the dots. Plotting the graphs…

Finally, the message is out.

It has finally dawned on all of us.

2020 has finally spoken…

It shouts “I am unique.”

“I am distinct”

“I am not your typical linear graph year”

Therefore, plotting the points and connecting the dots in 2020 require uncommon techniques, unusual insights and skilled graphing mental capacity, to clearly identify the exit signs.

Even then, of what use are the exit signs when the world is no longer a global village but one huge apartment complex consisting of 193 independent buildings with en-suite facilities?

If there is a fire outbreak in one unit, the entire world’s apartment complex becomes vulnerable within minutes, not hours.

Exactly what happened with Wuhan virus.

The enemy of cosmos is waging a back-to-back invisible world war in multiple locations, simultaneously. The numbers of victims keep rising, approaching the 10 million mark as casualty figures move northward to 500,000 with over 200 million job losses, 50% in the travel and tourism sector alone.

Both the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believe the pandemic could cost the global economy about $9 trillion, approximately 9.7% of the world’s economic output, greater than the economies of Japan and Germany combined and about 3.5 times the size of Africa’s economy.

As 30% of Americans protest over their inability to pay their house rent in the last three months (March-May, 2020), the CNN nicknamed it RENT STRIKE. Yet the war is unrelenting, but the world is already looking pitiably overwhelmed after only five months of battle. With all their nuclear weapons and cathedral-like military arsenals, America, China, Russia, UK and France have not been able to control the chaos. Is this the emergence of the uselessness of the traditional warheads and the coming of new heads of war? Time will tell.

Burundi, Brazil, Iran, Russia and Mexico seem to be experiencing what I call a factory-fitted-fatalities, especially Brazil, where death rate is about 1200 people every 24 hours (June 2020, CNN report). Even China that had earlier tamed the enemy from Wuhan is fighting a second wave outbreak in Beijing, its economic power house. Initial figures indicate that the China’s “W” may be bigger and bolder than the rest of the world.

Before Israel could think of going on ‘’water break’’, the second wave has forced it to close its schools again. Africa, which earlier appeared lucky and immune, has become the new epicentre, as it becomes the first continent to lose a sitting President to coronavirus.

If tomorrow No doubt, 2020 is a peculiar year, certainly, each of us will have poems to write, stories to tell, songs to sing and experiences to share “the day after the turbulence”. Then, like Elean Roosevelt, you can beat your chest and declare triumphantly:

“I lived this horror, I am a survivor, and I can take the next thing that comes along…”

You can’t wait? Yes, I know. Yours sincerely can’t wait, too.

Does anybody know where the world is headed? Where Africa is headed? Where Nigeria is headed?

More importantly, and at a micro-level, where are YOU headed?

Where is your business headed? What is the future of your industry and career?

Where is love or romance headed in the age of social distancing?

Is your business model obsolete in the redrawn world? Does it require recalibration or outright trashing? As a professional, are you parading an expired skill-set?

Guess what? Everyone is obsolete today, but at varying degrees.

The school teachers and university lecturers delivering lectures online with their old skill-set are not different from pilots using expired driving licenses to fly Boeing 787!  All teachers and lecturers need a new skill-set in modern classroom teaching by acquiring international certification called Modern Classroom Certified Teachers (MCCT).

The huge breakthrough of the last decade, the highly-celebrated Uber business model became obsolete overnight. The company quickly shifted its focus to ‘’Uber Eat’’. Thousands of enterprises have copied the Uber model to run Real Estate, Finance, Merchandise and FMCG operations. In just one year, a rework of the model beckons. Alternatively, they walk through the door of voluntary extinction.

Aviation business model is obsolete, which is why Ethiopia Airlines is devoting 80% of its capacity to cargo business and charter flight.  Football matches are now played inside the stadium bereft of fans, meaning footballers need a new mentality to win matches. *For now, players would have to make do with simulated chants and crowd noises. In football, it could be goodbye to the vibrant crowd cheers. Welcome noise!*

Covid-19 lockdown has turned a lady banker friend to a successful chicken farmer and another lady lawyer friend has become a snail farmer. Hotels in Germany are now fitted with ubiquitous ceiling electronics health trackers to monitor and report, in real time, the health situation of guests. Barbers are hungry, lawyers are hurting, investors in entertainment, hospitality, education and newspapers publishing sectors are bleeding.

What a world!

One school owner converted her school premises to an apartment last week and auctioned all the teaching infrastructure. Everyone, everything, everywhere somehow needs a recalibration to remain relevant in the new milieu. Whereas, as at 2019, 31st December, 2+ 3 = 5, but today 2+3= 3 (June 2020).

If you know nothing, please know this:

Lean management is the road to survival.

Read that line again – Lean management is the road to survival

This is the age of minimalism, age of reason, and age of intuition, age of authenticity, age of audacity and age of resilience.

Although we are confronted with the same old algebra equation, that is:

ax² + bx + c= 0,

where a, b, c = known numbers; a=0; and

x= the unknown

But our old knowledge of factoring, completing the square and graphing is grossly inadequate today. Simply put, Homo sapiens are now at a critical juncture where they must either find the unknown x of survival using outside-of-the-box strategy. Alternatively, go the way of the dinosaurs that refused to change, go into gradual extinction, while ‘’strange aliens’’ inherit the planet earth.

It’s imperative we find the ‘x-factor’…

• If the United Nations does not locate the x of crisis management – global inferno becomes inevitable.

• If Africa does not find the x of development without debt, modern slavery is unstoppable.

• If Nigeria refuses to look for and solve the x factor in her leadership equation by 2023, the country may become history.

• Families that fail to look for the happiness x in the age of social distancing will pull apart.

• Businesses that are slow in discovering the innovation x will kiss Chapter 11, a kiss of death.

• Professionals that fail to acquire the new x’s skill-set will find themselves in the oversaturated labour market.

• If President Trump fails to find the winning x of uniting Americans behind KAG (Keep America Great), he will be pushed to the Outhouse from White House in November.

Why, you may ask…?

Think again. Why not!

« What if it turns out that there is no ‘post-COVID-19’ or ‘after COVID-19’ world?

« What if the present is our future and today is our tomorrow?

« What if the new normal becomes our normal, a way of life where COVID-19 becomes our invisible neighbour?

It is highly unlikely the lost world (2020) will be retrieved whole in its original shape, spread, structure, size and scope from the ’Black Hole’.

But, how prepared are you? Put differently- how fast can you adapt?

Life is no longer about the survival of the fittest but survival of the fastest (read: most adaptive) and the most fit.

Answers concerning the future of everything can be found in the survey conducted in May 2020 by Fortune Magazine. The CEOs of the 2020 Fortune 500 companies were interviewed. A total of 77% of the CEOs interviewed believe that the level of economic activities globally will take 2 years to return to the level it was before the pandemic.

What is that? It means that the world’s limo will be in reverse gear (negative growth) for the next two years before moving to the drive gear? In the same survey, 75% of Fortune 500 CEOs believe that the pandemic will accelerate technological transformation in their respective companies – a euphemism for more job losses.

When Fortune Magazine asked the 500 global CEOs which countries or regions they see as representing the best investment opportunity going forward: 2.6% chose India, Asia 11.5%, Europe 2.6%, China 9.0% and US 74.3%.

All of them have zero plans to invest in Africa despite its 1.3 billion consumers!

Is Africa doomed again in the new milieu?

Also, 60% of the CEOs believe business travel will become less frequent replaced by video conferencing, and 70% believe Boeing Company should be shut down. Meaning the travel and tourism industry can only survive with innovation.

65% of the CEOs see the rise of Nationalism, decline of Globalisation and a decline in the global supply chains on the horizons. Meaning what? A Sinking China.

72% were of the opinion that government surveillance will become a global phenomenon. Which means the world will become one huge police state where citizens are monitored from cradle to the grave.

Also, compulsory vaccination is on the way. ‘Me, wearing microchips implants bar code of 666, God forbid’ – I can almost hear someone say from the background.

But the convergence is pointing towards that destination. The same way you embrace mobile telephone handsets, join Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp, is the same way you will wear the microchips implants when the time comes. Not to worry, it would be merchandised as a harmless, indispensable modern tool of protection and financial inclusion.

No microchips implants/vaccination, no entry

What would you do if (should I rather say ‘when’) you see the above NOTICE at the boarding Gate? Just asking. When last did you hug or peck somebody on the cheek, forehead or neck in the public?  When last did you allow your grandparents to carry your children? Why not? American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr Anthony Fauci told you to stop the habit and you obeyed 101%.

You think you are in control?

Think again.

There are powerful forces powering the universe in a predetermined direction. They are long term planners, meticulous and goal-getters.

Be prepared.

Furthermore, 50% of Fortune 500 CEOs believe that the concerns about the environment will fall as a result of more immediate focus on economic challenges. Does that mean the Paris Climate Agreement is due for the trash can? Or has President Trump finally killed it by withdrawing America membership?

Global politics? It’s a harvest of uncertainties!

The political landscape is shifting- alignments and realignments are happening at the speed of light. How will Israeli diplomatic filtration with China affect the balance of power between China and the US in the long run?

Rethinking Israel-China relationship…

Last week, Israel had to drop CK Hutchison Holdings conglomerate, a Chinese-related company based in Hong Kong, from building one of the biggest desalination water plants in Israel in compliance with President Trump’s body language. Besides, a Chinese Company, Shanghai International Port (SIP) has won the concession to run Israel port at Haifa for 25 years which America has beef with.

It matters because it was the Israeli’s MOSSAD that tilted the balance of power in America’s favour during the cold war with the old USSR, therefore, China considers Israel’s friendship as a top priority in its relentless quest for supremacy. Israel will have to weigh its options carefully and do the math before the handshake with China goes beyond the elbow.

Reviewing Europe-US/China relationship…

Europe (western) is contemplating divorcing America completely as the other Europe (Eastern) is looking Eastward – China. The French President, Emmanuel Macron has called for “…a European way with French-led European nuclear deterrent, a precondition for true independence from the US.”  Europe gaining independence from America?

The signs of cracks are obvious as the 46th G7 meeting earlier fixed to hold in Washington on June 12th, was aborted at the eleventh hour. Trump wanted Russia, Australia, India and South Korea as G7 members. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany hiding under the pandemic canopy, truncated the meeting. (Russia defeated Germany in WW2 – the hang-over effect is not over). But trust Trump, he does not suffer fools gladly. A practitioner of what I call “Mosaic Diplomacy” – you slap me gently and quietly; I slap you hard, openly and with effect. On Monday June 15th, President Trump announced: “US will be reducing the number of American troops deployed in Germany down to 25,000… we are protecting Germany and they are delinquent. That doesn’t make sense.”

Ominous signs from America…

What if the growing counter-culture race cold war in the US boils over and degenerates into an uncontrollable chaos between ‘Blacks/Muslims’ on one hand and the ‘Whites’ on the other? What if democracy fails in America in the November presidential election? Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Presidential hopeful has called on the US Military in advance to use force to “evacuate” President Trump from the White House in the event he loses the election and refuses to hand over power.

Military intervention in America? The thought of it alone is a new low in American democratic history.

Help, the World is against the Universe…

Amidst the health and economic pandemics, the global polity is boiling. On both hands today, the gloves are off among warring countries. Between North and South Korea. India and China. US and China. UK and China over Hong Kong. India and Indian Muslims. India and Pakistan. Taiwan and China.

The International Court (ICC) and US over Afghanistan human rights violation by American troops. Japan and China over Taiwan and two Japanese Islands which China lays ownership claim to.   Australia and China over the former’s insistence on full investigation of COVID-19 origin vis-à-vis China’s role in the global spread of the pandemic.

The Five Eyes and China over Hong Kong. Russia and Europe over Ukraine, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Britain and Europe over the unfinished Brexit Deal. Russia and US over Syria, Ukraine and the USD$ currency hegemony and other unspoken things.

Israel and Iran over Iran nuclear plant.  Iran and Saudi Arabia over who calls the shots in the Middle East politics. Syria vs. Saudi Arabia. Egypt and Ethiopia over the ownership of River Nile that Ethiopia has damned from its end. Egypt/Libya/Turkey/France over who controls Libya.  Israel and Europe over implementation of Trump’s administration “Middle East Plan of the Century.”

The United Nations (UN) has become Divided Nations (DN); Africa Development Bank (AfDB) is fast becoming America Divided Bank (ADB). Whereas, the other ADB, the Asian Development Bank remains 100% Asian in substance, execution and worldview. Japan (with 15% equity) and the Asian Tigers remain the soul and the spirit of ADB despite the 15% US stakes in Asia ADB. But the US wants an AfDB in America’s image.

Africa, stop being delinquent. Africa is still sleeping at 11:59am? Unbelievable!

It’s time to take ownership and confront the monsters. And they are legion.

*The monsters, the devil and the hell…*

The Devil and his 40 children (remember Ali Baba and the 40 thieves?) seem to be in their peak season globally right now – cooking chaos in 40 locations worldwide. China, America and Russia are openly or clandestinely fueling the conflicts. Call them the Devil’s 3 key accounts, if you wish?

« On the late evening and night of Monday 15th of June 2020, Mr. Devil organized a match on the Himalayas Mountain involving 500 soldiers: the match ended, China 1, India 0.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated, not by AK47  but killed with medieval tools like stones, iron rods, batons studded with nails by Chinese soldiers in vicious hand-to-hand combat. The quarrel is over the poorly defined Line of Actual Control (LAC), which lacks endorsement of the two countries but makes the de facto border. There is a strong call for revenge in India and for a boycott of Chinese-made-goods.

The Indian PM Narenda  Modi  had earlier vowed ‘’Indians soldiers killed in Galvan Valley will not die in vain’’. In response, President XI said:’’ China will CRUSH any military aggression from India decisively’’ The recently-signed $3billion arms deal by India may be an incentive for America to take side in the war. While China will have Pakistan, India’s long-time unrepentant enemy as an ally. China calls Pakistan ‘our iron brother’. There is a growing anxiety that the Indo-China border clashes could spark a nuclear WW3.

« On Tuesday 16th of June, 2020, the Devil’s eldest son organized a match between North Korea and South Korea that ended 1:0 in favour of North Korea.

On that day, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un wrecked a death knell on ties with South Korea by bombing the inter-Korean joint liaison peace office. As at Monday 22ndJune, North Korea had started setting up artillery positions on Jangjae Island and deploying troops to the demilitarized border of South Korea.

King Kim of North Korea was frustrated that his two meetings with Trump were barren. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute analysts estimate North Korea now has an arsenal of between 30 to 40 nukes – ten more than the 2019 estimates. David Helvey, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security Agency, said the United States remains in close coordination with South Korea to ensure readiness against North Korea’s threats. “As we’ve been starkly reminded in recent days, North Korea continues to present an extraordinary threat to the region and which demands our continued vigilance…”

Meanwhile, US has deployed three aircraft carriers in the pacific: USS Ronald Regan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz are all on patrol. The date for the second leg of the match will be announced by North Korea.

« On Friday 19th of June, at around 0400GMT, there was another match between China and Taiwan, and the referee was Mr. Devil’s second son. The match ended goalless- China 0, Taiwan 0.

Chinese Air Force with J-10 fighter jets approached Taiwan air defence identification zone for the fourth time in one week, not to deliver face masks and candies but to pull Taiwanese ears that ’no force on earth can stop the forceful annexation of Taiwan by China’. With made-in-America- F16 fighter jets, the Taiwanese Air Force ‘’responded’’ and China withdrew.

Taiwan is not a push over militarily. It has one of the best Air Force teams in the world. Nonetheless, its continuous existence as an independent nation-state is by the mercy of America and Japan.

« On Monday 22nd June, the Japan-Chinese match under the supervision of Mr. Devil’s youngest child commenced. First half: Japan 1, China 0.

China promised to respond to the Japanese decision to rename the two contentious Islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The Japanese City Assembly had passed a bill to change the name of the administrative area covering the islands to Tonoshiro Senkaku from October 1st. China would have none of that. It fired back: “the bill is a serious provocation to China’s territorial sovereignty, it’s illegal, invalid and cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu islands belong to China’’. The second leg of the match is fixed for October 2nd 2020 when Japan and China will put legs inside one pant.

« China-US Tango

This is the only other match for which Mr. Devil is personally taking full responsibility, besides the Indo-China match. America and China are the two world’s largest economies while India and China are the two most populous countries.

In Mr Devil’s reckoning, getting these three countries to implode militarily, economically and politically simultaneously would be tantamount to using just 3 stones ( countries) to destabilize 193 birds (or countries), instead of going after all the birds. Give it to the Senior Devil when it comes to smartness!

On Thursday 18th of June, President Trump said: “The US certainly does maintain a policy option under various conditions of a complete decoupling from China.” A complete decoupling which Trump is advocating is a recipe for global economic violence.

On Saturday June 20th 2020, a very serious new report was released in the US by security experts called Campaign Group Task Force on Homeland and National Security. Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, the Head of the Group was a former CIA Agent and Chief of Staff on the Congressional EMP Commission and served on the Staff of the House Armed Services Committee. He warned of the possibility of China using an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP)weapon that would plunge the US into darkness and kill hundreds of millions, that is, a nuclear Pearly Harbor style of attack by China.

Without electricity, America would be plunged into chaos which could lead to mayhem and famine – potentially killing millions.

According to Dr .Pry: “China has been preparing for such a strike for many years so it can use Super-EMP weapons alongside cyber-attacks to achieve its quest for global supremacy.”The report describes an ongoing relentless campaign of cyber bugs and hacking as the ‘’tip of the spear’’ in a Chinese offensive against the US.

As far back as May 14th 1996, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army newspaper had referred to this attack: “When a country grows increasingly powerful economically and technologically- it will become increasingly dependent on modern information systems… the US is therefore more vulnerable to attacks than any other country in the world.”

In March 2020, Chinese Military officers openly threatened to teach the US Navy ships some hard lessons for challenging China’s illegal annexation of the South China Sea by activating EMP attack.

Food is ready…but who is in charge?

From India, to Taiwan, Turkey, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, ASEAN nations, Iran, Syria and Hong Kong, China and America – in about 40 trouble locations worldwide, the Chef, Mr. Devil himself wants the “food’’ served as a global buffet – not à la carte.

Each country will eat to its heart desires – since all the 193 countries live under the same roof and in the same world’s apartment complex!

Perfect storm is when you ‘’top-up’’ the current C-19 pandemic with economic recession, flood pandemic, food shortage, earthquakes and global political crises such as we have today.

But I have a hunch that it will not rain – that the storm will soon give way to stability.

None of the frontlines in these crises – America, China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, North Korea, Iran, Turkey, Egypt etc is in a position to win a prolonged war. It took Hitler six years (15/2/1933 to 01/09/1939) to prepare Germany for WW2 – militarily, economically and politically. The idea to create a German Army of 500 million military men and a war-bullet-proof economy were conceived on his first day in the office in 1933.

With US$23 trillion debt, and a weak manufacturing sector, America is in no position to win any prolonged global war, without destroying its economy. The US had a robust manufacturing sector that gave it a strategic edge in WW2.

Not any longer.

Without made-in-China ventilators and face masks, the fatality rate in America would have been more horrendous, about half of the goods in the US stores are made-in-China, including 80% of their medical products. On the other hand, China’s economy, too, is highly vulnerable as it relies on the continuity of the global supply chains – any war outbreak will erode 40 years of China’s economic gains and China will crumble like a pack of cards again as it did in 1939.

As for Japan and Germany, Trump is right when he says Germany is “delinquent.”

India? India is known as the world’s cricket champion – but war is not a cricket game. Those hawks in India calling on President Mordi to strike China in retaliation should think twice. Unlike in 1939 at the beginning of WW2, the world today completely interwoven such that any major dislocation in India or South Korea or China or Twain or the US will have catastrophic consequences on the entire globe. To that extent, the current equilibrium will be sustained for a long time to come, I believe.

To achieve sustainable global stability, there is a need for the creation of a new super structure on top of the current UN Security Council tagged GLOBAL 3 Partnership for Peace (G3PP), that is, America, China and Russia. Imagine the negative impact of politics of exclusion.

In the 1930s, Germany was treated as an outsider by the G4 (France, Italy, Japan and UK), with disrespect. In its attempt to assert its power, Germany plunged the world into a senseless WW2 where 85 million people perished, that is, 3% of the then world population of about 2.3 billion (1940 estimate).

The suffering which 7.8 billion people in the world are going through today is as a result of dog-eat-dog power struggle and the quest for supremacy among the G3 coupled with certain irreconcilable differences between President Trump and the American Establishment together with the international power bases (London, Rome +2 others). To correct the “mistake of 2016”- all is fair in war. Nothing more.

America should accord China the respect of a “colleague” super power, going forward. And China, too, should handle its new status of a super power with the utmost sense of responsibility.

Of internal bully and regional tormentor…

Today, China is an international bully and Russia a regional tormentor. Because China woke up late, primitive behaviours are the hallmark of some of its foreign policy in Asia and Africa. A situation whereby China keeps intimidating its neighbours – India, Taiwan, Japan, ASEAN countries does not augur well for global stability. Finally, Trump should be as wise as serpent, if he fails to handle the American establishment with wisdom, his re-election ambition may end up in tears for him. He should know better: ‘those people’ have a long memory!

From the foregoing, the severity of the global crises confronting the world is apparent. Then, how do we achieve personal and business stability amidst the storm? How do professionals reinvent themselves? How can entrepreneurs power their businesses out of recession to rebound from downturn? What strategies work in turbulent times? How do we make the most of whichever airport we find ourselves at the end of this flight?

In general terms, this season calls for minimalism, authenticity, and audacity. Using very little to achieve much.

For the professionals in corporate organizations, seven things are necessary, three are essential to be a layoff survivor.

1. Act, dress, walk, work, talk, smile like a survivor. Demonstrate confidence and cheerfulness as no wants to be in the trenches with gloomy colleagues surrounded by an air of melancholy. If you must tell a story – tell us a cheerful story, one that inspires the team and lifts up the mood of the organisation. Don’t become a conveyor belt for rumours about your organisation.

2. Skill- up and keep your eyes on the future, anticipating critical customer needs – meet and surpass those needs. Be positively versatile. As an Accountant, get interested in sales, as a Marketer, get interested in cost reduction projects.

3. Empathize with your boss, give him/her hope – pray for him in your quiet moment. Leadership is a lonely, sometimes, a thankless task. Be a productive Force and a Unifier in the organisation. The company needs only the unifiers in these strange times.

4. Become a Corporate Citizen- attend all in-formal and casual meetings, drop your gadgets and get out of your office to help your colleagues in accomplishing their tasks and take along sweets, candies and kola nuts to share.

5. Volunteer to lead New Initiatives that will enhance the business survival cum profitability.

6. The environment blesses those who bless the environment. Bless your work place and you will be blessed, too.

As for business owners who are on board of the turbulent FL2020, don’t exaggerate your plight. About 7.8 billion passengers are all on the same flight – only that the seat numbers differ. And we are all “first-timers”- including the 85-year old Warren Buffett, the 3rd richest man in the world. Richard Branson, one of the richest men on planet earth is on the same flight. He’s on Exit window, seat 324A lower deck)

Virgin Australia Holdings, one of his companies, was the first Asia airline to file for bankruptcy (now under the Deloitte management) due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. The company collapsed under the debt portfolio of $6.8 billion with $450 million owing to staff. Yes, Virgin Australia couldn’t pay its staff according to the Deloitte report. The founder, Richard Branson is still drinking his English black tea on this flight. Jeff Bezos is on board on seat 1A apartment, enjoying his $145 billion wealth with his new girlfriend – but the first 15 years of Amazons’ existence were unprofitable and shareholders stressed Bezos big time.

*By the way, what’s your seat number?*

The best advice I have received so far during this COVID-19 pandemic was the one giving by the Chinese richest man, Jack Ma, Founder/CEO of Ali Baba:

*2020 is your profit. Be Thankful*

The United Nations says about 150,000 people die daily- even before the C-19 pandemic of heart attacks and others. Albert Einstein the greatest Scientist of all time is right: *…in the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity*

From the management point of view, there are certain steps which might help.

§ One, Cost reduction and increased efficiency- centralization and rationalization.

§ Two, more marketing activities are required during a downturn.

§ Three, efficient management of the Finance fundamentals is key. Going forward, I think it is an insult to refer to Cash as a King. No, Cash is no longer a king, Cash is the EMPEROR, the Grand King – the Big Boss!  Ask Boeing or Virgin Australia. Ask all the bleeding businesses worldwide. Cash is to business; what blood is to life. “Oga CASH, na baba o…”

§ Four, 4th industrial revolution technologies are business-enablers.

§ Five, seek Transient Advantage. Survive today, anyhow. Hang on to something, however transient.

§ Identify quickly a unique opportunity, mobilize resources to capture the opportunity before competition. To that extent, you should think about ARENAS not industries, set broad strategies and let people quickly experiment, embrace metrics that support entrepreneurial spirit, focus on organisation experiences and competence.

§ Build and tap into your friendship ecosystem for help, shun in-human right-sizing rather, seek for a win-win handshake, build scientific process and system around numerous initiatives.

§ Search for new opportunities that are commercially viable, the low hanging fruits.

§ Pray.

From the survey conducted by Fortune Magazine, it’s apparent that the world has zero plans for Africa’s transformation. Therefore, Africa needs to become self-reliant. Africa intra trade is a mere 2%, as against Europe’s 67%, America’s 47% and Asia’s 61% (UNCTAD, 2015-2017)

Africa’s money is for the nourishment of both the Western and Asian countries. This must stop through deliberate economic policies and legislation. What stops the whole of Africa from adopting Kenya Tea as African tea, Ghana chocolate, South African wine, Ivory Coast coffee as ours?

Africa should stop importation of English and Chinese tea and coffee, French and Italian wine and Switzerland and British chocolate.

Dangote and LaFarge can meet all the cement needs of Africa and Africa Alliance, a South Africa-based Infrastructure Development Group of companies can substantially meet most of the Housing needs of Africans.

Why don’t we then promote and encourage Africa Entrepreneurs like Dangote, Mo Ibrahim, Adebayo Ogunlesi and Gregory Ezegbe among others to drive Africa’s modernization?

Implementation of Africa’s single currency and crypto currency – AFRO COINS and AfTCA are the first baby steps Africa should take in its quest for transformation. This can reduce unemployment and poverty by 50% within 3 years.

The total trade from Africa to the rest of the world averaged $US 769 billion between 2015 and 2017 (UNCTAD). Imagine how many jobs Africa could have created if Africa countries had traded among themselves.

Africa should develop and distribute its own ant-coronavirus vaccine – otherwise in future Africans may be turned into products with serial numbers to be monitored remotely. Heaven helps only those who help themselves. America will not use China’s vaccine on its 330 million citizens, likewise, China will not use America’s vaccine on its 1.4 billion population.

Why should foreign vaccines be used on the 1.3 billion Africans?

Our secret weapon is our brethren in the diaspora (about 170 million) – let us enact AFRICA DIASPORA ACT to woo economically-viable 20% blacks back home with special incentives.

In conclusion, notwithstanding your current seat number on this flight and the airport you may find yourself at the end of this turbulent FL2020, never lose these 5 things:

• your faith,

• your courage,

• your smiles,

• your passion and

• your confidence.

After the storms, comes stability.

The darkest hour is just before dawn.

The great genius, Albert Einstein, had you in mind when he wrote:

‘Be patient and tough, someday, this pain will be useful to you’.

The Future is Bright, still.

Be still.

Now, what time is it?

*Tim Akano, THISDAY Life Lessons Advisor, is MD/CEO, New Horizon Systems Solution

(www.timakano.com  timakano1@gmail.com