image: pearsoncapitalinc.com
I have been invited to talk on financial investment next week on LoveWorld Television. The show airs on Wednesdays 8:00am to 9:00am and my talk/interview session will be for a slice of some minutes in between that hour span.

It is in preparation for the One-Day Course On Understanding And Profiting From Stocks event to hold on May 11, 2017. I hope you've registered (if you find it useful).

What would I be saying about financial investment?

Well, I would essentially be saying "delay gratification". Form the habit of spending just what is necessary and invest the rest. Don't compete with your colleagues on stuffs that cost you money with just emotional returns: expensive vacations, expensive car, expensive clothes, expensive gadgets and so on. Don't spend on things you would eventually have cheaply in the future if they are not a necessity.

I have friends who worry that they've not gone for a proper vacation outside the country. So they spend a large chunk of their savings on a vacation to an expensive European or American city. They have this left-behind mentality they feel compelled to fix. And there are those who just must live large. They must appear executive, drive executive cars, take executive foreign courses and live in executive houses. In the end, it is their bank accounts that bear the brunt. They earn and spend, then console themselves that what they've spent on were invaluable experiences and strategic personal branding things that would lead to multiple fold returns. I shake my head.

As far as growing wealth in a structured and logically sound way is concerned, spending way less than you earn is the foundation. Then you invest the remaining. You can't eat your cake and have it. If you can discipline yourself to live cheap and delay gratification for some years you will be able to fund your exotic dreams from cash flow from your investments without even touching the principal (original investment amount).

As an example, I am planning to have my investment pay for my house and office rent. I am almost there. So with just a 12% annual return on my investment I can forget about where my house and office rent will come from. And since I am still actively working and earning, it frees up more money for me to invest from my regular income. So in just a few years I can fund all vacations I want without touching my original savings/investment. And that is the logic behind delayed gratification.

Once you have taken up that new mentality, then you should proceed to doing the following:
  1. Have an emergency fund: Put away 3 to 5 months monthly living expense in a special savings account. I use the Diamond HIDA (high interest deposit account) for mine. This is the money you will need to draw on for unplanned expenses -- emergencies. It is very important. Once you take out of it, you must replenish as soon as you can, with higher priority than your other accounts.
  2.  Have an investment account: This is different from your savings account. And shouldn't be a bank account. If you have low risk profile, go for money market investment mutual fund or bonds mutual fund. You can try Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Limited. If you are more adventurous like me, then go for equity mutual funds (ARM Discovery fund or Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund) or open your own brokerage account to trade stocks yourself (I use Meristem and ARM). 
  3. Keep your expenses low as you grow your income and increase the portion you put away into investment accounts. Never let your expenses balloon as your income grows. Between 2012 and 2016 I have seen my income grow almost 10 fold yet you wouldn't notice any change in my lifestyle. In fact, my living expenses reduced. That way I was able to save/invest in just one year (2016) more than I had saved/invested in the prior six years. It wasn't easy resisting the temptation to buy new this and that, and go for an out-of-country vacation. And I am thankful I didn't because this year started on a rocky note and I have needed to draw heavily on last year savings to fund unplanned expenses with the tax authorities and account auditing amongst other emergencies. The comforting part is that I saved well enough last year to sail through easily and have formed the valuable habit of living cheap. I practically have no ego. You will see me walking down the road more often than you will see me driving. And when you are booked everyday and months ahead, there is nobody to try to please with fancy dressing and posh car. Interestingly, decision makers like confident down-to-earth consultants who have impressive portfolio of jobs over model-looking glossy talker. So I have never lost a project bid because I dressed cheap. Ironically, they seek me out rather than me going after them.
  4. Watch your investments! I spend a huge amount of time analysing the stock market and following the news about the companies I invest in. You have to keep ensuring that your great investment last year is still great today.
And those will be the tips I will be sharing some of.



I finally got around creating a video tutorial on how to install and explore the different functions of my Nigerian Market Data Excel App. You can watch the 15 mins video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq1x9dFrx7M 


I have been recently battling rising cost of maintaining this and my other applications. Which is a good problem. It is better to have something useful that people are interested in than to have something nobody wants. 

So I hope you've joined the train before we place a ticketing master at the entrance. You can easily install the app by following this text tutorial or visiting the app page.

I am almost done with my technical readings around Python and R. Very soon I will start building more real life projects I can delight you all with. The current material I am reading is as boring as my university lecturers' handouts, that it is almost a sleeping pill. Once I begin reading it, it is a silent fast count-down to sleep. This has greatly slowed me down. I am sure, though, that it would be worth the hard work.

Have a wonderful week ahead!


Culled from: https://www.chathamhouse.org/academy/fellowships/africa#
Apply at: https://fellowships-chathamhouse.icims.com/jobs/1024/academy-africa-fellowship/job

Citizenship

The fellowship is open to citizens of Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, or South Africa. 
Applications will be accepted from applicants holding dual nationality which includes one of these countries.

Education

It is required that the applicant holds a completed BA degree or equivalent, Masters degree with an international focus is preferred.

Career

The fellowship is aimed at candidates at the mid-stage of their career and who come from academia, NGOs, business, government departments, civil society or the media. They should possess knowledge of, and an interest in, one of the policy-related challenges laid out in the research topics in ‘Research Topics.’
The recruitment round for 2017 is between 3 April and 31 May, applications made outside of this period will not be considered. Apply using our online application portal.
The fellow will receive a monthly stipend of £2,160.  Modest provision is made for the costs of relocation, fieldwork, and possible publication costs.
A fellow’s time will be split between three key areas: 
  • Completing a personal research project of the fellow's own design undertaken with the guidance of a Chatham House expert, (approximately 50%).
  • Contributing to the ongoing research activities of their host research team and other Chatham House teams as appropriate (approximately 20%).
  • Participation in the Academy’s Leadership Programme (approximately 30%). The Leadership Programme is a key part of the Academy fellowships. It provides fellows with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, network and self-awareness, which they can then draw upon in their future careers as effective leaders in their field. 

Leadership Programme

All Academy fellows participate in, and contribute to, the Academy’s Leadership Programme which encompasses the following components:
  • Intensive induction week
    Academy fellowships begin with an intensive five-day induction week at Chatham House to become familiarized with the elements of the fellowships and the Leadership Programme, meet their host research programme, and have their first personal development coaching session.
  • Weekly discussion seminars
    These sessions highlight the principal substantive and skills-based areas the Academy believes vital for informed and effective international leadership. Fellows are expected to contribute to and learn from one another’s experience.
  • Global Introductions off-site visits
    These half-day visits take place approximately every two months and allow fellows to meet with leaders and senior decision-makers from a variety of sectors. Previous visits have included the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Standard Chartered, and Thomson Reuters.
  • Leadership workshops
    Every two months fellows participate in half-day workshops focusing on specific aspects of leadership such as ‘Leadership in a new role’ and ‘Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship’
  • Project presentations
    Fellows present updates on their research projects which  help fellow develop presentation skills, provide a valuable forum for peer-review and to think about and analyse issues outside their own area of expertise.
  • Personal development coaching
    Fellows join the Academy seeking to grow their self-awareness through monthly one-on-one sessions with a dedicated coach, with whom they set personal development objectives which they work to meet during their fellowship and beyond.
  • Media training
    Fellows learn how to interview effectively on television and radio, culminating in a mock interview from which they receive feedback on their presentation style and any areas of improvement
  • ‘Leaders Who Lunch’
    Academy fellows will have priority in participating in the ‘Leaders Who Lunch’ series giving them the opportunity to discuss leadership experiences and lessons in an informal setting with acknowledged leaders from government, business, media and the non-profit sectors.
  • Career mentors
    Fellows have the option to have an external career mentor during their fellowship. Mentors are independent of the Academy and Chatham House and are picked individually for each fellow based on their career objectives.
The fellowship is for a 10-month term from mid-September 2017 to mid-July 2018.
The fellow will be based full-time at Chatham House, London.
Fellows are hosted by and based in research teams at Chatham House. During the fellowship, the fellow will conduct a research project of their own design which falls within the research topics below.
The parameters for the research topics have been designed in broad terms to allow applicants to devise a project that appeals to their own research interests.

Research topics with the Africa Programme
 

Iran’s role in sub-Saharan Africa
Ensuring a steady supply of uranium for its nuclear programme, the export of armaments and the use of Africa as a transit point for supplying its partners in Lebanon and Palestine have all been paramount to Iranian engagement on Africa.  Although Iran remains mired in a number of active and ideological conflicts closer to home, Africa is likely to become increasingly attractive to a newly empowered post-sanctions regime in Tehran. This research would build on the Africa Programme’s existing project on emerging powers’ engagements in Africa, and examine whether and how Iran’s engagement with African countries is changing.
Africa’s maritime security and development
Maritime security in Africa is threatened by complex and interlinked crime, including piracy and armed robbery at sea, the overexploitation of fisheries, oil theft and the smuggling of illicit goods. The African Union has identified the continent’s maritime domain as a key driver of economic growth and social development and created the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy to promote protection and sustainable exploitation of the African maritime domain for wealth creation. This research would explore how African governments can enact policies that favour the emergence of a blue economy, and make the sea a key driver of development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Decentralization and local governance structures in sub-Saharan Africa
In recent years, an increasing number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have gone through decentralisation processes and held local elections. The prime objective of the decentralisation process is to improve the efficiency of governance; however, as some countries have demonstrated the process can be derailed, particularly if there is a lack of clarity over division of responsibilities. This research would track the strengths and weaknesses apparent in local governance arrangements in sub-Saharan Africa. It would support better understanding of how strong elected local governments can contribute towards improving efficiency of state delivery and democratic accountability, and how the international community can better engage with African local structures. 
For more information about the work of the Africa Programme and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the International Security Department
 

Cyber security in Africa
The research will be aimed at informing policymakers of improved approaches to cyber security in Africa. This project is based on the need for a multi-faceted approach to combating cyber-crime, providing effective measures against criminal activities to reduce harms, whilst promoting enabled gains and dividends through an improved digital economy to encourage users to better manage their cyber hygiene.  This project will aim to build an evidence base of research on the extent, trends and causes and contributing factors to cyber vulnerabilities of the digital economy in Africa.
More information about the work of the International Security Department and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the Energy, Environment and Resources Department
 

Access to sustainable energy – governance, incentives and capacities needed to achieve it
SDG 7 commits the world to achieving “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.  International donors have enthusiastically embraced this agenda with high-profile schemes such as ‘Energy Africa’ and ‘Power Africa’. Yet although the focus is on growth and increased supply, sustainable energy access means not only installing greater capacity, but also creating the supply chains, market mechanisms and governance regimes to ensure that this supply delivers what is intended. Linked to our innovative work on improving energy for displaced people, EER is seeking research proposals (either at the national or regional level) that identify and help enable sustainable energy access goals – both in terms of business models, and the governance and policy changes that would be needed to support them.
For more information about the work of the Energy, Environment and Resources Department and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the International Law Programme
 

African perspectives on international law
African governments may differ from those in the West and elsewhere in their perceptions and approaches to various aspects of international law. There is evidence of this, for example, in attitudes to international criminal institutions, to the jurisdictional reach of national courts, and to the institutional relationship between the African Union and the United Nations. Project proposals should focus not so much on the academic discourse stemming from ‘third world approaches to international law’ but on solutions which encourage the universality of international law. This project would complement the International Law Programme’s existing work on rising powers and international law.
For more information about the work of the International Law Programme and the context for this research topic, please click here.
Should you have any further queries please contact us at africafellowships@chathamhouse.org.  

The Africa Fellowship is a joint initiative between Chatham House and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation

This Saturday is our Nigerian Excel Users Meetup date and, interestingly, I am part of the organizers.



All the slots have been taken and we had to say "No" to people who wanted to bring along friend(s) so we can accommodate those who directly registered.

The agenda for the day is set in a very unconventional way to encourage more informal interactions than formal presentations.

Start Time: 10:00am

1) Introduction and networking (20 mins) 

2) General Discussions pt 1(Your Excel Journey, career advantage, Excel pet peeves, ideas, the esoteric, 40 mins)

3) Presentation 1 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins) 

4) Presentation 2 (25 mins) +  Q & A (10 mins) 

5) Break (10 mins) 

6) Presentation 3 (25 mins) + Q & A (10 mins) 

7) Presentation 4 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins) 

8) Break (10 mins) 

9) Presentation 5 (25 mins) Q & A (10 mins) 

10) General Discussions pt 2 (Your Excel Journey, career advantage, Excel pet peeves, ideas, the esoteric, 40 mins) 

11) Close (5 mins)

End Time: 3:00pm (There will be drinks and snacks.)

And the presentation topics are (fuller details available here):

  1. Lean Six Sigma with Excel by Mr. George Aremu
  2. Centograqs by Mr. Omisile Kehinde Olugbenga
  3. ModelOff International Excel Based Competition by Mr. Charles Otoghile
  4. Excel vs Power BI vs Python vs R by Michael Olafusi
  5. VBA Coding Best Practices - a 'copy and paste' test case by Mr. Adeniyi Adeyinka

To be part of our future activities, you can join the meetup group at https://www.meetup.com/Nigerian-Excel-Users-Meetup/ 


After Excel 2003 there was Excel 2007, then Excel 2010, Excel 2013 and now Excel 2016. But from now on Excel is no longer updated in 3 - 4 years cycle. There is now Office 365 and with it Excel is updated almost monthly with both major and minor features.

There are many new features beyond the new formulas and chart types I have once talked about. In this month's webinar I will be taking you through the new features you should explore in the new Microsoft Excel. A few might be available in both Excel 2013 and non Office 365 Excel 2016. But for the webinar I will be using the most updated version of Office 365 Microsoft Excel.

You should join us at:
Venue: YouTube live, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdnGCKoUsm4 
Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017

You can also be join the webinar directory so you'll always be in loop of future webinar announcements.

Thanks!
There are data analysis tools built to make working with most data analysis work easy and not 100% code writing. Some even pride themselves on being completely point and click. Unlike the vanilla R and Python, you can use them a lot more like you use Excel or any other graphic user interface (GUI) driven software.

The most popular among these tools are Orange, Knime, RapidMiner and Weka.





I have previously checked out Knime in 2015 but didn't attempt much with it. This time I will use them all on some live jobs I have got. I will be testing them intensely and going through their strengths and weaknesses.

I will also be sharing my findings with you all. If you want to follow along you can install them too or just wait for my posts to determine which would suite you best.

Financial Markets Intelligence (FMI), http://fmionlineng.com/, have put together a one-day course on profiting from the stock market for newbies to intermediate learners.



The program billed for Thursday May 11, 2017 at the Enugu hall of NECA House in Alausa is packed with insights on how to navigate the stock market using the Financial Times and the Bloomberg Terminal; how to invest during recession and how to analyse companies.

Participants are going to be involved in practical sessions and a case study to help hone their investment skills.

Speakers billed for the event include Bloomberg and Financial Times quoted Economist and analyst, Sewa Wusu and Editor of BusinessDay, Anthony Osea-Brown who had stashed experiences in UBA, Bank PHB and other capital market operators before pitching with BusinessDay.

Also speaking on the day is Michael Olafusi an independent investor and data analysis consultant who has profited substantially in shares by investing in the Nigerian stock market.

Convener of the event and Lead Consultant of FMI, Kirk Leigh, says the event is a natural follow up to the stock market and economy insights he gives every Monday on the LoveWorld Plus TV show, This Morning, and should help aspiring investors get a deep sense and feel of the market as one way of creating multiple stream of income.

Interested participants can call Kirk Leigh directly on 08023943970 or 08057115997 to register. (Also make sure you tell him you got to know about it from Michael Olafusi 😉)

Culled from: https://undg.org/undg-data-visualization-contest/
Appy at: https://undg.org/undg-data-visualization-contest/


The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) Data Visualization Contest, sponsored by Tableau, is offering the opportunity for data scientists to showcase their skills by analysing and visualizing data from the new UNDG Transparency Portal.
The UNDG Transparency Portal displays data from UNDG members that are currently publishing to International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard. The objective of publishing to IATI standard is to improve the transparency and openness of aid, development, and humanitarian resources in order to increase their effectiveness in tackling poverty.
You can create a data visualization across any theme, country or region that combines UNDG data (through the UNDG Transparency Portal) to other agency datasets such as World Bank and Human Development Report data. Examples of datasets that can be used for this contest include, but are not limited to:
Preference will be given to visualizations that highlight new trends and insights into the sustainable development goals and indicators. For more information on sustainable development goals, click here

INSTRUCTIONS AND SUBMISSION

Develop a summary of your data visualization that explains:
  1. Choice of topic/theme
  2. How the dataset was obtained and sources
  3. Any cleaning, parsing, and analysis you performed on the dataset
  4. How data visualization improves/highlights a new understanding of the topic
  5. Any conclusions or inferences that can be made from the data visualization
The summary should not exceed 500 words and must be in English.
To create a visualization using Tableau:
  1. Download Tableau Desktop Profession, the product used by authors to create and publish dashboards. Tableau Desktop is available for both iOS and Windows PCs.
  2. Use the special key below provided by Tableau exclusively for the UNDG contest to activate the software.
  3. This key is valid till : 
  4. Create an account on   to publish your final Dashboard submission: https://public.tableau.com/s/ 
  5. Once a dashboard has been published, it is accessible via a web browser.
  6. Need inspiration or want to see the art of what’s possible?  Check out the Tableau Public Gallery https://public.tableau.com/s/gallery
To create a visualization through other means, publish it at a link and follow the guidelines below to submit your work.
All participants must submit an online web-based visualization.
The link to your online visualization must be submitted here
Please note: visualizations can be changed/edited before the deadline.
Deadline to submit visualization is April 30, 2017.

RESOURCES

The following resources from Tableau to provide more information about the type and quality of data visualizations expected from this contest: Tableau Public Greatest HitsStarter Kit,  and two recorded sessions on Tableau Training: The Science of Visual AnalysisIntroduction to Calculations
Visit UNDG Transparency Portal GitHub wiki page for data sourcing and related materials.
More information can be found here.
I have been reading some select books just to arm myself for the task of using machine learning and time series for analysing investment opportunities in general and specifically to carry out algorithmic trading.

As usual I will share the most tangible aspects of my learning and findings. But the key books I have been using are:

  1. Advanced Algorithmic Trading by Michael L. Halls-Moore
  2. Machine Learning with R by Brett Lantz
  3. Mastering Python for Finance by James Ma Weiming

The most important one is the Advanced Algorithmic Trading one. I bought it with the source code. Paid a hefty amount in Naira terms. I hope to use it to quickly get a good real life feel of making investment recommendations, portfolio balancing, risk management and automated trades though first with US financial markets before adapting for Nigerian markets.

Besides these books there are some 13 other books I use. I try to get a more context rich knowledge of the different data science methods by reading up lots of books. I find books more structured and in-depth in their presentation of knowledge. Then I use video courses to learn a few more tricks and solidify the theories I learned from the books.

At the pace I am going, I should be done with my targeted reading in three weeks and then fully concentrate on coding and practice,which are the aspects more interesting to share.

I am most motivated by the practical use of the knowledge I am gathering and the huge financially rewarding opportunities of using data science to make financial investment decisions in our little covered/analysed financial markets.

Even if you get easily bored by the technical side of it all, you can be sure you'll enjoy the practical application side I will present. I intend to put my hard earned money into the models and watch them fail or succeed.

Today I experienced outage on my company website, stocks web application, cloud server and all other services I have hosted on Microsoft Azure. And the reason? My $150 spend limit per month was exhausted. 




I tried increasing my spend limit and then I was hit with an unexpected problem. Somehow, they wanted me to put in a US bank issued credit card with a valid US address. And they made it clear that it is impossible to change the country without having to create a new Azure account.



After spending an hour reading other people's frustration online with the absurd restriction on changing the billing country I decided to check if it was possible to open a US bank account online as a non-resident foreigner.

I checked out all the banks people mentioned online that they used and had success with. Unfortunately, many of them have discontinued opening bank accounts to non-residents who don't have SSN and are not physically in the US.

In the end I found one that was more accommodating -- EverBank. It is a small US bank heavily tilted to online banking and a lot more accommodating. In less than 10 mins I was done filling the forms for the account opening. The only rigorous step is that they require physical mailing of IRS W8 tax form, passport copy, utility bill for address verification and a bank reference letter directly from my bank.




I will try to get them done. And according to the information on the account opening status that is all they require to finalize my account opening. I only hope that I can ask for a US billing address. I plan to give them a call next week to see if I can use my US virtual address as the billing address attached to the debit card they'll give me.