Interview with H.E. Dr. Ambassador Tal Edgars


Brief Profile

H.E. Dr AMBASSADOR TAL EDGARS

He is an award winning and well known business authority, diplomat and a cutting edge thinker with an outstanding record in planning, managing and executing some of the highly successful private and public sector initiatives in Africa, Europe, America and Asia. He is a new venture creation expert and Africa’s leading authority in interagency coordination, knowledge of foreign policy community, innovation policy, Growth and Competitiveness Practice, complex negotiations, strategic foresight, turnaround, government affairs, brand strategy, entrepreneurship and the hot debate on Africa Rising and its opportunities. He sits on the board of several companies and NGOs.

He is currently the Chairman GBSH Consult Worldwide, Ambassador MDG Task Force and Security Council at United Nations, Global Ambassador Nation Builders International in Cameroon and African International Development Ambassador at NAD and African International Achievers (Awards), UK.

He sits as an African Justice Foundation Honorary Advisor & Member to Board of Advisors under Cherie Blair CBE, QC, Global Strategic Advisor to the African Women Entrepreneurship Programme under Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Member of the Global Advisory Council on the World Marketing Congress and an Executive Director to a number of companies.

He is also a mentor on the board of the Outside Counsel and Everwise San Francisco, Sable Accelerator in San Francisco in which his role involves inter-alia, the promotion of dialogue and partnership building for sustainable development with governments, the international community and other major key stakeholders.

His personal and business sphere of influence includes Presidents and Heads of States across several continents to whom he provides confidential strategic advisory services.

Dear H.E. Dr. Ambassador Tal Edgars,

I congratulate you and GBSH Consult Worldwide team on receiving the well deserved award “SOUTH AFRICA– LEADING CONSULTANCY FIRM OF THE YEAR” by Acquisition Finance Magazine (ACQ) at its ACQ5 Global Awards 2014.

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions.

What unique ideas and solutions can GBSH Consult Worldwide offer to African countries?

First off, thank you for the kind words. The award is a source of great pride for our global team and represents the most credible benchmark in our industry.

GBSH Consult offers a comprehensive range of next generation technologies and world best practices in consulting. GBSH Consult and its affiliates through an international network provides strategic foresight advisory and consultancy services, programme management, project management, grants management, technical programme design and implementation, managing demand-led technical support and investment promotion and capital sourcing services.

We offer insights and understanding into the varied complex interaction amongst markets, policies and technology. We enable our clients, whether a leading international company, a multilateral organization, state agency or an SME, to make confident decisions when areas in market, political, regulatory and technological forces come to bear.

How can your innovations affect people’s lives and what do you need to effectively implement your ideas in Africa?

GBSH Consult was established with the objective of stimulating and intensifying innovation in order to improve economic growth and the quality of life by developing and exploiting advancements in strategic foresight and technological innovations. We support the development and commercialization of competitive technology-based services and products. In this case, most countries can use this new age thinking to develop new industries, develop sustainable jobs and help diversify their economy.

a)     Through consultancy – We help nations & companies achieve deep-rooted change in the organisations and systems that are vital for economic growth and effective public services.

b)     In health – By putting in place robust financial management, reliable supply chains and effective administration and systems, we help our clients build strong health systems.

c)     In economic growth – We strengthen public sector institutions and support business growth to enable countries and communities to grow and prosper.

d)     Through supply chain management– We build strategic supply chains to deliver value for money goods and services worldwide.

e)     Through financial services – We provide cash management, payment, trade and investment services to support development of emerging markets.

f)      In public financial management– We work with countries to transform their public financial management systems and manage grants for donors and foundations.

Both the governments and private sector have a role to play in creating a more conducive environment for innovation and that entrepreneurial innovation to flourish. Be it from buy in to regulatory environment, I believe that this would make our work together much easier.

Can information technology and especially internet technology impact or even improve the lives of people in Africa? What should be done here?

In this day and age, the role of technology in improving lives of people cannot be underestimated. The entire notion of the digital divide has affected development adversely.  Technology is the touchstone of development. The acquisition of advanced technologies helped boot-strap China and India out of economic doldrums in a generation. Africa has always been perceived as having been left behind. Now, as technological innovations spread across Africa, many innovative ways of using technology are transforming nearly every sector of life.

I believe that some steps are crucial in ensuring that technology can enable long term development on the African continent.

a)     Transform the educational system which is now focused on paper certification and producing job seekers into one that can create a generation of innovators. The system must emphasize critical futuristic thinking, apt technical skills, computer programming and entrepreneurship.

b)     Build incubators that encourage innovations that focus on demand-driven applications that can be turned into viable businesses.

c)     Governments need to start massive investments in people and technology that support environments able to foster development and transform Africa’s business environment.

I believe that effective government of the future is a social network, where we can quickly determine the interests and contradictions by using technology, and develop effective strategies. What do you think about this?

Well said. Quite recently in Addis Ababa, the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa-2014 (STISA-2024). This sessional paper will address six critical socio economic priority areas: eradication of hunger and ensuring food & nutrition security; disease prevention and control and ensuring well-being; communication, live together- build the community and; wealth creation.

I believe that this decadal continental strategic framework of the STISA-2024 will accelerate Africa’s transition to an innovation-led knowledge-based economy within the overall framework of the AU Agenda 2063. However, this calls for a political will and financial commitment from Member States that goes beyond the Khartoum declaration of 1% GDP spending on research and development.

How can the innovations offered by GBSH Consult Worldwide affect education of people in Africa? I believe that this is one of the bases of everyone’ happiness.

GBSH Consult aims to lead a programme of interventions over the next decade to drive Africa’s transformation towards a knowledge-based economy. Innovation and foresight being our watchwords.

Our innovative agenda on education and skills aims to provide the latest thinking on the critical importance of education and highlights what can be done in each African country. Our innovations and strategies critically review existing and new ideas, strategic perspectives and frameworks on education through relevant analyses and case studies. It explores the distinctive array of social benefits of different programmes and interventions and related evidence of return on investment.

We believe our value-added is on conceptualizing and describing innovative, plausible, scalable, compelling and high-impact solutions that will provide access to education, strengthen educational quality, improve workers’ skills and increase equity – across income level, gender and other demographic subgroups.

What are the qualities a person must possess to be successful in business?

John Maxwell could not have said it any better when he quoted “ Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential”.

In business one needs to possess certain qualities which if put to practice consistently can guarantee a total transformation. These simply are:

a)     Ambition and drive with unstoppable determination to carry you through the rough patches.

b)     A personal seal of excellence through disciplined work ethic and high standards for quality.

c)     Be courageous and action-oriented

d)     The right attitude or to most, self-confidence.

e)     A spirit of servant leadership where you have the ability to make decisions regardless of popular opinion in accordance with your business vision, while inspiring those around you to follow through on the direction you set in motion.

f)      Creative Flexibility – to think on one’s feet and change when necessary.

g)     The inherent desire to understand and help people, putting their needs above your own.

h)     Giving back

And my last question:

What does happiness mean to you?

People have agonized over the answer to this deceptively complex question which is subjective. It bears a different meaning to different people.

To behaviorists, happiness is a cocktail of emotions we experience when we do something good or positive. Neurologists’ term happiness is the experience of a flood of hormones released in the brain as a reward for behavior that prolongs survival. Tenets of several religions, happiness indicates the presence of God. While each of their own definitions differs, each touches on a similar cord that we must all realize.

To put it quite simply, happiness to me is anything that can bring a smile to someone’s face.

Thank you very much for your answers. I wish you all good health, happiness, and well-being, so that your unquenchable energy and great talents could change our beautiful world for the better.

Sincerely,

VG

 


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