Monday, August 25, 2008

8th night in Kigali

Thursday 21 of August

Eva teaches her last classes on global organization, but is feeling a bit low energy because of a bug she caught the night before. I talk about motivation theories and pay for performance.

The morning class is a third-year full-time class with students who are active and interested, around 20 of them are there. There nice and friendly professor Dr Ibrahim who received both his education and wife in Indonesia sits in the back of the class listening.

I ask the class what they think about performance contract: would they want to have a performance pay or a fixed salary?

Few of them want a performance contract; most say a fixed salary. They want security and government jobs provide a steady and safe outcome. Whereas private employers do not always pay, they say. They all claim, however, that wealth confers status in Rwanda. Finally I asked them what chances were that they would get a job at all after graduation. Most of them said 50/50 some even claimed that there was only a 30% chance. Starting your own company is tough, too, there is very little infrastructure to support entrepreneurial activities, unlike Silicon Valley. In the evening, the wonderful part time class of Human Resource students came in force, with Professor Ibrahim thanking participating in the discussion this last session. I asked this group who actually decides in the household, who has control: the women, the man or both? Everyone had their view. Finally the older and as Professor Ibrahim explained the more responsible of them all said that the control in the household was more complicated. He explained and I interpreted what I thought he meant by referring to the Greek saying that the man is the head but the woman is the neck: she can turn that head any way she wants. Everyone agreed.

I asked them what they have been taught about motivation, one student said, not much but they know about Maslow’s hierarchy!

The same morning, Paul lectured at the Private Sector Federation (PSF) about IPOs – a subject of particular interest to them – and market design. The recent oversubscribed IPO of Safaricom had the members interested in how IPOs work and whether IPO auctions are a good idea.

Eva and Paul had lunch at the Flamingo again, this time joined by two PSF staff: director Emmanuel Hategeke and Molly Rwigamba, director of capacity building and employment. Also at the table was Dr. Taranza Ganziro, the founder/owner of a printing company and an investment firm, and his very lovely public relations assistant Jacky.

We talked about Jacky’s hair, which she has done in Kigali every 2 month. (see picture). The hair styles of the Rwandan women are very interesting and vary a lot. I have not yet figured out if the different styles signified a particular identification, but I suspect that it does.

In the afternoon Eva gave a talk at the PSF. The audience was a 20 some group of bureaucrats/managers from the organization. We spoke about the lack of skill graduates coming out of the school system in Rwanda, and the difficulty of the labor market to allocate jobs to the graduates. And how potentially difficult that may be for the Rwandan society to deal with, a bunch of ambitious, aspiring educated and frustrated unemployed young women and men.

We also spoke about motivation and how difficult it is to make employees work hard. I said that firing or threatening to fire people that do not work hard usually is an effective instrument, and in particular in governments sectors where continuous performance contracts are rare. Finally we talked about the entrepreneurial climate. I asked: Is a climate of experimentation and questioning/challenging ideas and thoughts common in Rwanda? The answer was: no, one does not challenge people’s opinions or views in public. Although the Rwandans think freely, they may often keep their views to themselves. Someone joked: “the truth will set you free.”

Thursday night Paul and I went to India Kashana for dinner again.

Andre, Andrew and two others men were sitting chatting along through the evening. At Another big table a birthday was celebrated. The room was all of a sudden darkened and the waiters dressed in red uniforms, see picture, came out and sang happy birthday songs in different languages. That is what is so nice with Kigali, it is a small place and you are almost always likely to run in to people you know, even as foreigners.

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