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Author: BBC World Service

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The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
357 Episodes
Will Jumia and other online retailers overcome a lack of infrastructure, wealth and consumer trust to conquer the African market?Jumia is widely seen by investors as Africa's answer to Amazon and Alibaba. It launched its shares onto the New York Stock Exchange in April. But despite a billion-dollar valuation and rapid sales growth, the company is not yet turning a profit. Ed Butler speaks to Kinda Chebib at Euromonitor Digital, as well as Aanu Adeoye, managing editor at Nigeria's leading online technology magazine, to understand the challenges facing Jumia and other ecommerce platforms, not least the problem that many customers do not trust its delivery people or payments systems.Jumia's Ugandan CEO, Ron Kawamara, tells us why he is confident that these problems can be overcome. Meanwhile Daniel Yu, founder of the rival business-to-business platform Sokowatch, explains why he draws inspiration from the success of similar firms in China, India and other developing countries.(Picture: A Jumia delivery man looks at his phone as he sits on a transporter in Abidjan, Nigeria; Credit: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)
Helping Africa feed itself

Helping Africa feed itself


Much of east Africa has the potential to be a food basket for the region. But 250 million Africans remain undernourished and many depend on international food aid. That aid is often tied to donor countries export plans, there are wars, drought and famine made worse by climate change. Amy Jadesimi of the Nigerian logistics hub Ladol explains the impact that globalisation and aid dependency have had on African farmers. So what can be done? We hear about the success of the Africa Improved Foods project, started 2 years ago in Rwanda. (Photo: A fruit seller woman poses for a photo at a market in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Credit: Getty Images.)
Turkmenistan's authoritarian president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow mysteriously vanished for a few weeks, while his country faced economic crisis. Then he reappeared. What happened?Ed Butler asks what is going in this Central Asian nation, considered one of the world's most secluded after North Korea. The president's life and superhuman deeds normally dominate state television, so did his brief disappearance from the airwaves herald ill health or a fall from power? If so, who might succeed him? And how will any new leader tackle the gas-rich country's cash crisis and food shortages?The programme includes interviews with Bruce Pannier of Radio Free Europe, Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch, Ruslan Myatiev of, and Adam Hug of the Foreign Policy Centre.(Picture: Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow performs his song Karakum on state television; Credit: Hronika Turkmenistana via YouTube)
Share buybacks are when a publicly-listed company uses some of its spare cash to buy up shares in itself, in order to drive the share price up and benefit shareholders. The practice has become so common that the amount of buyback money extracted from corporations exceeds their profits. Rita McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, explains how stock buybacks emerged. But are stock buybacks a good idea? Is it perhaps better to use that money to grow the business in other ways? And crucially, with so many executives paid in shares, is this just a way for them to maximise their own take? Nell Minnow of Value Edge explains why she thinks buybacks are ripe for abuse. But Ken Bertsch, Executive Director of the Council of Institutional Investors says buybacks don’t need to be totally reined in, but can be used for good.Photo: Getty Images
A few years back 3D printing was seen as the ground-breaking technology that promised a new industrial revolution. The revolution has not arrived yet. So, were we sold a lie? Or did the hype just get the better of us?Ed Butler talks to Sarah Boisvert, a co-founder at Potomac Photonics, a micro-fabrication company in the US. She explains why the buzz about 3D printing, invented back in 1980, really started to take off only some five or six years ago. She says that the 3D revolution is not untrue, it's just that the hype around it kicked in a little too soon.Ed also visits a start up called Climate Edge which manufactures meteorological equipment and supplies weather data for farmers in Africa. And without printers like this one, its lead designer Gabriel Bruckner says, it probably wouldn't exist.The US research and advisory firm, Gartner has coined the term "The Hype Cycle", describing a five-stage process around any new technology, which invariably seems to involve disillusionment before ultimate widescale adoption. Pete Basiliere of Gartner believes 3D printing is a classic case in point, with only a few industries taking it up.PHOTO: 3D printer creating a hand. Copyright: Getty Images
A new idea has emerged in the business world over the last few years: maybe employees should take time off whenever they feel like it, and get paid while they do it. Lila MacLellan from online business site Quartz explains why, with people ever more expected to be available around the clock on email, phone or in the office, it might be better to leave it to the worker to decide when they do and don’t need time off without having to justify it. Some companies have embraced this idea. Dr Amantha Imber at Inventium and Felicity Tregonning of Spacelab explain why their companies have decided to let employees take as much time off as they want. But not everybody is convinced. Ben Gateley explains why his company scrapped just such a scheme after seven years.(Picture: A white sand beach on the island of Koh Phangan off the coast of Koh Samui. Picture credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Vanuatu's sacred drink

Vanuatu's sacred drink


Kava is a traditional drink that's popular across the Pacific. It's made from the root of the Kava plant. Proponents say it's a recreational beverage that helps with anxiety. Vivienne Nunis visits the tiny nation of Vanuatu, which hopes to scale-up its Kava industry and significantly boost exports. But not everyone thinks that's a good idea. Producer: Sarah Treanor. (Photo: Kava grower Nicole Paraliyu holds a young plant. Credit: Chris Morgan/BBC)
Radical toilets

Radical toilets


What can music festivals teach us about toilet technology? Vivienne Nunis tries out some portaloos at a music festival in the UK and asks if the same technology can help address a shortage of clean toilets around the world.(Photo: Loowatt toilets at Wilderness Festival in the UK, Credit: Loowatt)
A Brexit game of chicken

A Brexit game of chicken


Is the UK's government really serious about a 'no-deal' Brexit? Ed Butler speaks to Brexit blogger Professor Chris Grey and Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform, about what Prime Minister Boris Johnson's strategy really is. Maddy Thimont-Jack, senior researcher at the Institute for Government, explains why parliament may not be able to stop a no-deal Brexit even if it wanted to, and Alan Soady from the UK's Federation for Small Businesses, explains why planning for such an eventuality is so difficult.(Photo: Boris Johnson, Credit: Getty Images)
How to be ambitious

How to be ambitious


We hear about the negative effects ambition can have, and the tools you need to relieve them, with Neel Burton of Oxford University. Author Rachel Bridge defends the thesis of her book 'Ambition: Why it's good to want more and how to get it'. And what happens when you decide to re-direct your ambition? Joe Udo tells his story of becoming a stay at home dad.Also in the programme, writers Elizabeth Schenk and Hana Wallace discuss the results of a project they launched looking at the careers of their old university sorority members. Plus, top tips on achieving your goals from Peter Gollwitzer, experimental psychologist at New York University.This programme was first broadcast on 1 Aug 2017PHOTO: Little boy in a superhero costume. Credit: Getty Images
Comments (9)

Yves Laingui

very interesting and it's definately high time the traditional methods of teaching and learning change. Finland is another good example of how they teach kids in this project type of learning.

Aug 11th



Apr 22nd

Matthew Clementson

The American was just as incoherent as it is to listen to Trump. He also had the same ability as Trump, that is to continue to lie when caught out.

Feb 15th

Elisee Kamanzi

great episode! Hits close to home.

Dec 20th

Valentin Ursan

That language sounds in the background was not Romanian language sorry...

Nov 30th

Entario Widjaja Susanto

I love AI

Apr 19th

Arindam Seth

Where is today's episode?

Mar 7th

Evan He

Love it~~~

Nov 9th

Ming Gao

my daily commute has been made less painful thanks to this podcast! good job. one question though: every episode gives photo credit but I've never seen those I miss something?

Sep 21st
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