Today’s interview is with H.E.Dr. Ambassador Tal Edgars. Ambassador Edgars is the President, Founder and Group Chairman of GGKAfrica, GBSH Consult, Edgars International, Tal Edgars Media Franchise, Poetry over Music Network, and an author of several books. Some of his many awards include the Strategy Meritus Award 2012, the 2011 Yahoo Voices Visionary of the Year, and the Who’s Who’s Historical Award in 2009. 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, Executive Director to Sandown Corporate UK, ProDiverse Legal Nigeria. Mentor on board the Outside Counsel and Everwise 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. In addition to being the Global Ambassador to the Nation Builders International in Yaoundé and UN MDG Task force Cameroon & Security Council, he holds a Doctorate in Strategic Foresight, Diplomacy & Security Intelligence.
Tayo Rockson: First of all, it is an honor to be interviewing you right now Ambassador Tal Edgars.
Ambassador Edgars: The pleasure is mine. I’m happy to do it.
TR: Now you are a man of many talents. I am going through your list of accomplishments now and they could honestly fill this page. Why don’t you tell me who Ambassador Edgars is? How would you describe your self and what is your story?
Ambassador Edgars: Thank you Tayo. First and foremost I consider myself a global change agent who transforms mindsets into the potential we have in business, government and personal capacity. I am truly fascinated by what Africa offers and what it can do but unless we start actioning the pervading dynamics in our political, social and economic pillars then we suffer the result. I am a champion for alternative leadership which is firmly rooted in the youth and building their capacities to understand what the future for Africa which is the next frontier holds for them. Above all I am all about mentoring and inspiring others into unlocking their potential.
TR: Great, love it. Going back to some of your accomplishments, I noticed that you do a bit of everything from working with Sub Saharan countries to brand strategy to consulting, what is your goal in life? Take over the world? Haha
Ambassador Edgars: A bit of everything is a bit too much Tayo (laughs). My goal in life is to use my position and capacity to empower others but also becoming a solution to what we all can do. There lies acres of diamonds under everyone’s feet and my goal is to show them how to mine them. In doing so, I hope to encourage them to become leaders and not followers.
TR: What is the best way not to fall into the “Jack of All Trade” trap? By this mean how can one build so many skill sets and abilities while simultaneously mastering them?
Ambassador Edgars: I believe that there can never be a “Jack of All Trades”. Simply, one must be introspective and identify how their current roles go with skills they offer. That way they build a strong connection of how each role brings specific advantage to the industry.
TR: Agreed. Being a fellow African I especially admire your commitment to growth in Sub Saharan Africa; what would you say is the biggest hindrance to growth there now?
Ambassador Edgars: Sub Saharan Africa has come a long way and even with each upcoming threat to growth. What you must admit is that we have all learnt and are using those problems to suit up to new solutions. Most countries are showing signs of economic progress, reflecting the implementation of better economic policies and structural reforms. These countries have successfully cut domestic and external financial imbalances, enhancing economic efficiency. They have given greater priority to public spending on health care, education, and other basic social services. In addition, there has been a growing movement toward more open and participatory forms of government that encourage cooperation between the state and civil society.
Several underlying factors can affect the rate of output change. Key among these are the rate of investment, increase in the size of the workforce, and changes in economic policies. A country’s macroeconomic policies will affect its growth performance through their impact on certain economic variables.
For example, a high rate of inflation is generally harmful to growth because it raises the cost of borrowing and thus lowers the rate of capital investment; but at low, single-digit levels of inflation, the likelihood of such a trade-off between inflation and growth is minimal. At the same time, highly variable inflation makes it difficult and costly to forecast accurately costs and profits, and hence investors and entrepreneurs may be reluctant to undertake new projects. Likewise, given that financial resources in the form of domestic savings and foreign grants and loans are limited, a larger budget deficit will mean that more of those limited resources must be devoted to financing the budget deficit. Fewer resources will thus be available for the private sector. If the fiscal deficit increases to an unsustainable level, private investors’ perception of country risk is likely to become increasingly negative and hurt private investment.
Finally, outward-oriented trade policies are conducive to faster growth because they promote competition, encourage learning-by-doing, improve access to trade opportunities, and raise the efficiency of resource allocation.
The evidence for sub-Saharan Africa suggests that the recent economic recovery was underpinned by a positive economic environment influenced.
TR: That was very deep and insightful. I am going to transition into a lighter topic here as this interview comes to a close. With your position as an Ambassador, you must speak a lot of languages. How many do you speak?
Ambassador Edgars: To be honest I have not been keeping track but I speak fluently 12 languages
TR: 12?! WOW!
Ambassador Edgars: Yes and still counting.
TR: Very impressive!
Ambassador Edgars: Thank you very much
TR: So it can’t be all work for you, what do you do to unwind?
Ambassador Edgars: I exercise body, mind and soul frequently so as to keep at ease with all that I do. I read a lot. Engage with intellectuals when I can. I spend time with my kids and give back by mentoring others. Also I love good old music Tayo.
TR: Haha you can’t go wrong with that! When it is all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
Ambassador Edgars: That is a very good question. I want to be remembered as the man who did not stand by to effect change but believed that together with others he could effect change regardless of the condition and so evidently lived by the saying “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder
TR: Love it! If you could give a younger version of yourself any piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Ambassador Edgars: I think I would tell a younger version of me… Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Most times when you have been through the cycle of the business world you get to second guess your next move not knowing that sometimes the light is worth the candle. I usually tell a person the best test to know that your idea is great is when it scares the hell out of everyone. Watch the likes of Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg. The list is endless. Their initial thoughts on what they were building might have sounded close to sheer madness.
Also I would not tell the younger me to not wait to change the world but start by changing that which is within your reach.
TR: Fantastic! What are you working on now and where can we find out about what’s next for you?
Ambassador Edgars: Well Tayo as you asked earlier I refer back to “am working on taking over the world” (laughs). Anyway to find out more on what I am working on find me on www.linkedin.com/in/taledgars/ orhttps://twitter.com/TalEdgars or www.gbshconsult.com