F.B. International’s Weekend Digest is an easy-to-read breakdown of what we’re reading and highlighting from the past week.
More from this week’s theme: Cybersecurity in Manufacturing
Image from WSJ | Deloitte
What our team is reading this week:
Each week, the team at F.B. chooses an article to share. These are not necessarily related to international business, but are some “good-reads” we think you may enjoy.
Fabrice Bonvoisin, President
In our area of international business development, every day we have to digest a lot of information related to various parts of the world, be that a specific country or a geographical area. Over time, that’s what gives us the ability to appreciate the trends, anticipate what may affect them in these markets, and better advise our clients. After so many years following the development of Africa and the Middle-East, I was happily surprised to see the headline “Africa, As The Next Growth Miracle” on the cover page of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ review. The article, published in the September 2018 issue of Smart manufacturing, is a transcript of an earlier podcast with Ed Hightower, who wrote “Monitoring Africa: Sustainable Automotive Industrialization” (link below).
For many years, a T1 automotive supplier called Africa the “Big 3’s forgotten market,” meaning that Detroit did not pay attention to what was going on in the region besides some outsourcing to South Africa. To me, this article means that the recent efforts of Morocco are starting to echo in the U.S. For many years South Africa was the main headliner for the region and the main hub from which one could enter local markets. Today, more countries are emerging in that role, and Morocco is leading the way. To prove it, you may have see the Wall Street Journal’s article published last month announcing “Car Makers Turning North Africa Into Auto Hub” (https://on.wsj.com/2xUZKKX). A summary is available on Morocco World News’ website at (https://bit.ly/2Cs19ME). And it is across many industries. Morocco has the world’s largest solar power station, it has a growing aerospace manufacturing hub, a green technology policy encouraging investment and innovation, and traditional agro-industry. Japan, China and India have been aggressively developing their footprint all across the continent for many years–part of this was to secure access to local natural resources, part was to layout a prime position in anticipation of this giant potential market and likely compete against France’s historical positions.
Africa should be definitely on the top list of all business development executives. In his July message, U.S. Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel (ret.) to Morocco acknowledges that the country is on the move, and is trying to figure out how the U.S. can help its development (https://moroccoonthemove.com). However, the U.S. trade and Development Agency has already allocated numerous grants to support the country’s economy in sectors like liquified natural gas, aerospace, and energy, mining and many more (https://bit.ly/2Oa1biw). As a result, I believe that Morocco–the very first country to establish diplomatic ties with the U.S.A. at its formation–is becoming a genuine economic opportunity to consider for the future.
Hassan II Mosuqe in Casablance | Photo by Fabrice Bonvoisin
Ruby Blau, Marketing Associate
Digital Transformation is a buzzword across sectors and industries. In manufacturing, they’ve been figuring out how to reconcile automation with robots and robots and with not cutting too many jobs–this has been a hot topic for decades now in blue-collar work. But could automation threaten jobs in the service industry, specifically in the hotel industry?
As hotel chains like Marriott begin using facial recognition software to check guests in and flirt with the idea of putting an Amazon Echo in each hotel room, how can hotel workers feel like they have job security? Can unions help, or is a technological takeover inevitable? This New York Times article presents the issue, interviews hotel employees, and compares the impending digital revolution in hospitality to the transformation in other industries.
Balint Homonnai Varga, Assistant Project Coordinator
Jerome Jarre wears a lot of hats: comedian, celebrity, social media star, and more. It is sure that he could be any one of those things if he wanted to, but he is more. This man is always happy, ambitious, and he cares about the world; the man has strong principles.
The French entrepreneur and humanitarian has been actively helping refugees in Somalia and Myanmar. Recently, Jerome posted a fresh list of results from investments that flooded into his Go Fund Me pages to help the Rohingya population (refugees) in Myanmar. The Rohingya Refugee Camp is the biggest refugee camp in the world, with 1.2 million people. I wanted to write this post for the weekend digest and share the results and the go fund me page, where you can help support the project.
Results (Duration: 10 months):
- 3,180 refugees employed
- 3,028 houses built
- Every house received a solar panel for energy
- Every house has concrete walls, 2 fans, and 2 chandeliers
- The houses combined host more than 20.000 people
- 91 water wells built
- Trained and employed refugees so they learn how to maintain the wells in the long-term
- 200 broken wells repaired
- Donations support a clinic in the middle of the camp
- Sewing project to train and employ women in the camp
- Oven-building project for houses that need one
- Co-created soccer fields with other associations
Image from Go Fund Me campaign
Link to Go Fund Me Page: https://www.gofundme.com/love-army-for-rohingya
Events you may be interested in next week:
- October 5th: A Conversation with Hon. Evan Wallach. 17th Annual Dominick L. DiCarlo U.S. Court of International Trade Lecture sponsored by the Center for International Law, The John Marshall Law School. Presentation by Hon. Evan Wallach, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 1:30 – 3:00 p.m., The John Marshall Law School, 315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago. No charge; advance registration required. For information & registration, please see: https://bit.ly/2RkwCEn
- October 9th: Protecting Your Product En-Route and Ensuring You Get Paid. Luncheon program sponsored by the Madison International Trade Association. Presentations by Michael Howard, Managing Director for the Central Region, Export-Import Bank of the United States, and Ursula Wegrzynowicz, President, Emelev, LLC. 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Fluno Center, 601 University Avenue, Madison, WI. MITA Members – $35 (by October 2; $45 thereafter); Non-members – $50 (by October 2; $60 thereafter). For information & registration, please see: https://bit.ly/2QovVZC
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Ruby is the Marketing Associate for FB International LLC. Ruby focuses on supporting the marketing, social media, and business development efforts of FB International’s clients.
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