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Can Africa Grow its Research Output?

Africa has the possibility to grow its research output and this has already occurred in some regions of the continent already, however there is much more to do.

What does Africa need

Africa is in need of more visionary people to help it realise its potential, it needs people that are willing to invest time, money and effort into research, and realising that Africa has the opportunity. For many years it has lagged behind and now is the perfect opportunity to make it a major player in the world and a person like Angolan Alvaro Sobrinho is someone that realises the potential of Africa and the future it can have.


With the vast improvements in science and technology over the past decade Africa has also seen a sharp rise in the number of higher education institutions around the content, this obviously has given a more educated and skilled pool of talent to work with in terms of research.

Having this influx of education is important for improving research output, however it must be noted that money is required to fund education and even more is required to fund research. There must be a reason to invest money into these institutions and Africa must become accountable by providing solid results to secure this funding


Resources have a potential for future investment in Africa, the continent needs to harness these natural resources to potentially fund its research and growth.

You only need to look at the resource booms being experienced by countries such as Norway and Australia to realise that rich natural resources can set you up. The Norwegians are a great example of this and have created a huge fund from the proceeds of oil and gas products, this fund was designed to outlive the supply of gas and oil in the country and will be used to restructure when and if the times comes to do this.

What is stopping Africa

Africa currently has a very low percentage of global research output and there are various issues that stop it from reaching its potential.

One of these issues is the role of government and the corruption that is known in many African countries, these countries must be transparent and take steps to reduce corruption and to ensure that funds are being allocated to the correct places.

Some would argue that the size of the many African nations causes problems, there is no unification and the borders can overcomplicate things, particularly with so many different countries. Perhaps some form of unification, similar to the EU for example, would benefit Africa and promote competition.

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3 key contractor traits


There can be no doubt that having an arsenal of specific skills at your disposal is a very important part of being a contractor. With so many gaps opening up in the UK economy, specialist workers are constantly being called upon by employers to fill in and get the job done when no one else can.

However, these job skills are not the only things a contractor needs to succeed as an independent worker. There are a number of personal traits that a freelance professional needs in order to reach the top of their sector, whether they work through an umbrella company or limited company.

The ability to adapt

Unlike those who ply their trade as a permanent employee, the life of a contractor is always changing. It could be every three months or every few years, but sooner or later you will be moving on to find a new contract and, ultimately, a new place of work.

The ability to adapt quickly to a different environment is an invaluable trait for a contractor to have. Although you will be familiar with your role and what you are required to do, each workplace will have its own way of doing things and the quicker you can learn this, the quicker you will be able to get on with your work.

As well as this, you will be required to forge relationships quickly with new colleagues. Ultimately, you have been brought into do your own project, but this does not mean you won’t have to interact with others and sometimes rely on them for help, and so making the effort to get to know those around you could make your role much easier in the long run.


You have been hired to fulfill a contract and that means the job has to be done in a certain amount of time. This may mean you end up working irregular hours in order to fulfill your obligation and so flexibility is very important.

Moving from one contract to another requires a great deal of flexibility on your part. You may have just finished one contract and are planning a holiday before the next one.

However, the opportunity comes along and you are presented with the job of your career – what do you do? Most permanent staff do not have to deal with this sort of issue but as a contractor you have to be flexible around your work. This is an extreme example but it is one that highlights how precious a freelancer’s time is.

One of the biggest positives of being a contractor is that you can be flexible about your working hours. This works both ways and can mean that sometimes it works in your favour and you can finish early. Other times you may be required to stay later and get the job done.


Stepping out of permanent, guaranteed work to a life of contracting is not easy at first, and it takes tremendous self-confidence and belief. Chances are you already have this – making that first step is the hardest – but the importance of confidence cannot be stressed enough.

When it comes to securing new contracts and finding work, confidence in your own skills can be the difference between landing the job and missing out to someone else.


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Forex: An Intro to Currency Trading

The foreign exchange market, also known as forex or FX, is one very fast paced market around. Forex trading used to only be available to the wealthy individuals out there along side with huge corporations and financial institutions. But with our good old friend the internet, many more people have access to exchanging currencies through online brokerage accounts.

Price Fluctuation

Currencies are destined to fluctuate, but in general, the daily fluctuations in the forex market are pretty small. Many currency pairs will change up or down less than one penny a day, which is a representation of less than a 1% change in the currency’s value. This is why so many people are drawn to this type of market, because it is one of the less volatile around these days. With that said, many speculators out there are relying on the high amount of leverage available to increase the value of any potential changes. With higher leverage, there can be a lot more risk involved. But, since there is 24 hour trading and deep liquidity, brokers on forex are able to make movements more meaningful for traders (due to making high leverage the industry standard.)

Extreme Liquidity and High Leverage

Since there is so much liquidity and high leverage available, these two factors alone have helot in spurring the rapid growth of the market and have made the market a very ideal place for traders around the globe. It’s convenient when you can open and close positions within minutes or hold a position for months. One aspect of this market is that currency prices are based on supply and demand and are not able to be manipulated so easily since big players like central banks are not allowed to move any of the prices at will like in other markets.

Trading on the forex market can seem a bit daunting at first, but with research and education you can start feeling more comfortable about jumping in and exploring the world of currency trading. If you need more assistance, ThinkForex hosts live events and trading seminars which are a way for traders to gain experience and learn more about trading. There is plenty of opportunity in the forex market for investors. But, if you want to be successful, you must understand how the market works and the general basics behind the movements in currency. Start slow, and keep learning- perhaps you will become an expert in no time!

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Scientific and Business Growth in Africa

Over the past years, Africa has grown into a real contender in the scientific and business worlds. With such a large population and many economic issues of its own to deal with, Africa would love to be fully scientific independent. And with the rise of many prominent African businessmen and philanthropists, this soon may become more than just a dream. Many are fighting for the independence of Africa’s scientific ventures as well as its role in the business and trade worlds. As Africa embraces science and technology as part of its economy, it will continue to grow and provide new possibilities for its people.

So what could scientific independence actually do for Africa? Well first, it could majorly improve the education system here. There are so many children whose families cannot afford to send them to school, and many villages which don’t even have a school for children to attend. Mobile technology has the ability to provide educational access to children who might not otherwise have it. Using science and technology, children can have the ability to learn without the necessity of a formal classroom or teachers.


Dr. Alvaro Sobrinho is one of the most successful businessmen from Angola, who is currently inspiring all of Africa to achieve scientific independence. He witnessed his country grow its economy exponentially, and plans to continue his vision for the rest of Africa. You can watch part of Sobrinho’s speech about his vision to get more of an idea for who he is. Under the inspiration of leaders such as him, young Africans are being encouraged to take the future of their continent under their responsibility. The fields of science, technology and business are emphasized in higher education, so Africa can train a new generation of scientists to continue this great work.

So why do Africans seek scientific independence? What can this actually do for Africa? Why is the science agenda so strong here? With scientific independence, Africa can sustain itself for years to come. The goal is to train future generations in the areas of science, business and technology so that the economy will be constantly growing from within.

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Injured whilst traveling for business?

When you travel for business one of the last things on your mind is whether or not you will get injured. The thoughts that are usually running through your mind are related to closing that all important business deal, saying good bye to your family and making sure that you make your flight! The scary fact is that a lot of people find themselves sat in accident and emergency when they are away on business.

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A frightening statistic is that accidents are responsible for over twenty percent of deaths among people that travel overseas. The number one cause is heart related, but accidents are the likely reasons for young people dying whilst overseas. Too many of us focus on minor issues such as disease or even terrorism, in reality it is an accident that will be your down fall.


Accidents occur from the following:

–        Violence

–        Injuries caused by accident

–        Road and traffic related accidents


Obviously you can try to avoid these accidents by taking the necessary precautions, but sometimes preventative measures do not work. So I believe that the thing that business travellers should be focusing on is how to cope with injuries and what they should do in the aftermath.


Here are 3 useful tips if you are injured whilst travelling for business:

Consult a professional

First things first, you should always seek the advice of a health professional. Even if you think that you have a minor injury you should always go and see a doctor, you never know how serious it could be. When you are overseas you will not have the support group of you family, friends or co-workers, so you must find support in the form of a health professional. Always make sure that you get official documentation to prove the injury or medical condition that you had.. It is always better to be safe than sorry, never take any chances with your health.


Inform your company

Once you are safe and well the next step is to call your office to inform them about the injury that you have suffered, they should always be kept in the loop about any incidents whilst you are travelling for business. There are two reasons for doing this; firstly it will cover your back if they make any complaint or begin a disciplinary process because you have been unable to carry out all of your work duties. Secondly, it means that they will be able to help with any insurance claim that you may make for hospital fees or other costs.


Call a lawyer 

Ok, so you don’t want to sue your company but what if they are at fault for your injury? If they are the ones to blame for any injury that you received then they are liable to pay the damages. A Denver lawyer came out recently saying that there are a huge number of business related injuries that go unclaimed, there is no reason why you should be one of those people. I firmly believe that if someone is at fault for an injury that could affect you in later life then they should be held accountable.

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A guide to getting riled up for competitive action

Up and down the country every week there are different sports teams competing against one another, be it in football, cricket, darts or even bowls. People cross that line and go up against many other likeminded competitors and these contests can sometimes get a little heated when the pressure is ramped up. However, with virtually nothing riding on the games, what makes people so heated at times?

There is no real easy answer to this question but some get so-called ‘white line fever’ during competitive sports. This doesn’t come quite as naturally to others and a fine line exists between competitive spirit and being aggressive.

Here are some suggestions on how to create some healthy competitive spirit in your sports team, improve your team’s performance and get more supporters:

Play alongside your friends

We all have competitive instincts or drive – it is more deep-seated in some – and many games will make the most of this to ramp up the level of fun, excitement and involvement. Playing alongside friends can help to quickly generate a sense of teamwork – as people tend to know their friends’ strengths and weaknesses. Friends are also likely to provide one another open and honest feedback – which is clearly important in a fast moving competitive sport.

Give yourselves a chance by practising

Of course it doesn’t matter how competitive you and your team mates are if you don’t at least take part in some regular practice and improve your skills. You can be as competitive as you like but if you’re no good then it doesn’t really matter. So try and get a strong allegiance together with your team mates by holding regular training sessions.

Get the local community behind you

If you set up a sports team in a community that doesn’t have too many of them, it should be easy to garner some interest from people that live there. However, you won’t get any interest if you don’t get out into the community to tell people what you are up to, so take the time to reach out to local businesses and enquire whether they would like to sponsor the team.

Companies are always looking for new ways to gain additional business and interest, which could play into your hands. Contacting the local press to gain exposure for your team is also a good way to get people behind your team. If you have some support then it is much easier to garner your competitive spirit.

Get kitted out in the same outfits

Whatever sport you play, you will want to generate a strong team spirit and there is no better way to do this than by all having sponsored kits. As outlined above, you could identify local businesses that would be willing to emblazon their brand on your kits.

Promotional items such as hoodies and fleeces will help to make people feel part of a real team and when you are crossing that line you will want to do so as part of a team rather than a group of individuals.

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Contractor and full-time employee: What are the differences?

Many professionals consider the idea of becoming an independent contractor. The perks of being your own boss while potentially earning more speak for themselves. But what are the real differences between freelancing and full-time employment? Anyone who may be considering becoming a contractor should consider these factors before making the decision.

More responsibility

As an independent contractor you have a greater responsibility in terms of your work. You will no longer be representing your company, you will be representing yourself. As your own boss you have to ensure that your standards are exceptionally high.

Where as a full-time employee will generally work for the foreseeable future on their current contract – yours will end and your next job may be determined on how well you have performed for your last client.


A particularly big difference between full-time employees and contractors is the salary. Contractors will generally earn much more as freelancers than they will as an employee.

The main reason for this is due to tax regulations. Contractors actually get more of their salary than full time employees do. Contractors can also claim expenses on their work related items such as laptops etc. This also works for travel and accommodation expenses.

You can work out what you would potentially earn as a contractor by using a contractor salary calculator.


As a contractor, nobody will pay you if you take a holiday or if you are ill. The client you work for only pays for the work you do for them. This is not necessarily a bad thing however as a contractor enjoys certain tax advantages (as discussed earlier) so in the event you have to take a day off your extra earnings will cover you.

Generally your hours will be much more flexible as a contractor. As long as the work you are being paid to do is finished on time of course!

You will be responsible for arranging your own pension arrangements. A full time employee will have the option to take on their companies pension scheme but as a freelancer you will have to set your own up. This gives you more control over how you save and what you contribute to your pension.

More choice for contractors

Contractors have the ability to pick and choose where and when they work. Working for yourself means you can select the best job available to you at the time. It also means if you want an extended break, you can take one with very little hassle.

The nature of contracting also means that there is constant change. You will be working in multiple different sites or offices throughout the year. This generally means a new challenge is always around the corner for a contractor.

Paperwork and taxes

Contractors run their own business and with any business there are forms to fill out and regulations to follow. It is down to you to make sure extra time is dedicated to administration tasks and paperwork.

You are also responsible for your own taxes, however services such as umbrella companies can help you with this. An employee has all their tax deductions and National Insurance Contributions calculated for them. As the head of your business you will now have to work out your own. This may even mean hiring a licensed accountant to make sure they are done correctly.

For those contractors who do not like the idea of excess paperwork and complicated tax forms there is also the option of an umbrella company who will take care of it for you.

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How to find the business for you

Making sure you’re happy with your job is arguably one of the most important things you can do in life.

After all, you spend so much of it actually at work that it makes sense that you at least owe it to yourself to be happy while you’re doing it.

While it used to be money that talked, recent research by the Institute of Leadership and Management found that job enjoyment was the main motivator for the majority of the 1,000 workers it surveyed.

If you’re unhappy with your current post and are looking at moving to pastures new, it’s therefore important that you don’t make the same mistake again. If you do end up in another role that you’re not happy with, then chances are you’ll be doing the same thing all over again before too long.

What went wrong?

One of the first steps you should be taking when thinking about which company you’d like to work for next is deciding exactly why it is you want to leave your current post.

By doing this, you are automatically narrowing the parameters of the kind of job you are looking for – making the whole process much more defined and limiting the chances of falling into the same trap once again.

While sometimes this may be difficult to put your finger on, chances are that if you’ve already made the decision to leave, you probably know what’s gone wrong. Sometimes salary is the issue and you feel like you are worth more than what you’re getting. Another common problem might be that you don’t like the lack of input you have into your own work – you want to have more control of your own role and be more creative.

Dwindling career prospects, overzealous managers, increasing workloads – the list is endless.

Flexibility is often another issue for many employees. With more businesses taking advantage of things like cloud computing technology and teleconferencing services, sometimes it is hard to stomach if the company you work for is remaining rigid in its approach to working from home policies.

Do your research

Now that you’ve established what you want to avoid, the next thing to do is to research all you can about the kind of companies you think you’d like to work for.

There is generally quite a lot of information out there about what a certain firm may be like to work for via the internet and entering such a question into Google can be a good place to start.

Similarly, LinkedIn is a good resource to take advantage of and can often give you an answer either way as to whether you think the job you’re thinking of applying for is for you or not.

When you end up getting to the interview stage of the process, don’t be afraid to ask your interview any burning questions you may have left as well. Not only will this hopefully help you make your mind up, but it will also give your prospective employer a more in-depth insight into what issues are important to you.


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Must-Have Features in a Home Office

Are you thinking about starting your own business, freelancing, or working part-time hours from home? You’re not alone, as an increasing number of workers are telecommuting at least part of the week. Yet working from home can be a real psychological challenge if you don’t have the tools you need to succeed. Rather than simply working from the dining room table, it’s worth thinking about creating your very own home office. Whether this is located in the corner of your guest bedroom, a walk-in closet, or the attic of your house, there are a few features that can boost productivity. 

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Ergonomic Furniture

Even if you’re only working part-time from home, you’ll be clocking in a fair number of hours per week in your office. It’s worth taking the time to choose a comfortable chair that you don’t mind spending time in. Position your chair to the desk at the right height so that your arms are placed at a comfortable and safe angle for typing, drawing, or writing. Splurge on an extra back pillow or a foot rest if needed.

The Right Technology

The type of office technology you need will depend on your business. Almost everyone who works from home will need to have computer access, however, so that should be one of the first orders of business as you set up your office. Whether it’s a laptop or a large desktop computer, be sure that you have a desk to accommodate it, a speedy internet connection, and the software you need to conduct your business.

Sturdy Shelves

You’ll need to have easy access to files, supplies, and reference materials in your office. A filing cabinet can be useful for papers, but for other items you’ll also need a shelving unit. If you’re converting a guest room into an office, you can place this in the closet to conserve space, or you can install shelves directly into the wall near your desk.

Adequate Lighting

One of the major complaints that many employees have about working in an office building is the lack of natural light. If you’re shopping around for a home on sights like Homesales, lighting is probably one of the most important features you look for. Keep this in mind as you’re setting up your office. It’s best to put your desk near a source of natural light, and add a few desk lamps here and there for good measure.


Along with natural light, you can bring a bit of the outdoors into your office with a few houseplants on the windowsill or on top of your desk. Greenery can have a calming effect on people, may boost creativity, and requires little maintenance.

Ultimately, the right type of office space for you will depend on your working style, your business, and the space you have to spare. Yet even in the most bare bones setup, the features listed above can help create the type of atmosphere that’s conducive to getting the job done. You can then personalise this to best suit your needs.

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The importance of understanding how your credit score works

According to a recent BBC report (, almost all UK adults have a credit rating produced by one of the three main credit reference agencies. This, coupled with the fact that we live in a world which is increasingly dependent on credit, highlights precisely how important it is for consumers to fully understand how their credit rating affects the ability to obtain credit, and how scores can be improved in order to facilitate easier access to credit – whether it’s a mortgage, automobile financing, or a loan to help keep things ticking over.

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In this article, we’ll take a look at what a credit score is, and how it determines an individual’s access to credit.

What is a credit score?

Credit, by definition, is money borrowed under the premise that it will be paid back (in full, and often with interest) within a specified time period. Lenders use credit scores as a method to work out the probability of a potential customer paying back the funds they wish to borrow.

Credit scores are worked out by credit reference agencies, by scrutinising the credit payment history of an individual, the length of their credit history, whether they have any outstanding debts and how often they make new applications for credit, amongst other criteria. Since different reference agencies use different criteria, it’s possible that an individual’s credit score may differ slightly from agency to agency, although the main risk factors in each application are likely to remain the same.

Why is a credit rating important?

In an increasingly cashless society, many of our transactions are based on credit. Something as innocuous as a missed payment on a mobile phone contract can have repercussions when it comes to obtaining credit for more important purchases, such as vehicle financing or even a mortgage. Poor credit can prevent an individual from being issued with a credit card for everyday purchases, and some banks may even be reluctant to allow those with extremely poor credit to open a current account, although such circumstances remain rare.

Whilst most creditors do their best not to shun those with less than exemplary credit scores, it’s important to remember that lenders are faced with a certain degree of risk when providing credit. Consumers with poor credit ratings provide a greater deal of risk, which ultimately means that they face paying higher premiums that someone with a good credit score – often drastically so – highlighting the importance of keeping a keen eye on your credit rating.

How do I improve my credit score?

The first step to improving your credit rating is to obtain a current copy of your credit score from CreditExpert.  The information contained in an Experian credit report is typically available on a 30 day trial basis, and provides all relevant information, including your individual credit score (ranging from 0-999) and an outline of your credit history.

This information is the blueprint for making improvements to your credit score. Regardless of whether it involves arranging to fulfil any outstanding repayment agreements or simply rectifying errors on your file, gaining access to your credit report can provide you with the insight needed to begin making positive changes.

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