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BBC Business Daily


The view from the top of business, presenting a clearer view of the business world, through discussion with people running companies.

The view from the top of business, presenting a clearer view of the business world, through discussion with people running companies.
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The view from the top of business, presenting a clearer view of the business world, through discussion with people running companies.




What next for Africa's richest woman?

Isabel dos Santos faces charges in her native Angola. The daughter of the former long-time president is accused of corruption after a leak of documents. Ed Cropley, former Reuters sub-Saharan Africa bureau chief, discusses what could happen next. Mark Hays from the campaign group Global Witness explains why the role of international banks and accountants in the scandal shouldn't be a surprise. Tom Keatinge from the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank, argues that countries like the...


The products used again and again and again...

Why don't more manufacturers embrace the principles of the circular economy? It's a pertinent question, given the dire state of the recycling industry. Manuela Saragosa speaks to one company that has already implemented the principles of the circular economy. Cardboard box manufacturer DS Smith tracks its products throughout their life, and can reuse the fibres they contain up to 25 times, according to the firm's sustainability lead, Sam Jones. So why don't more manufacturers do the same?...


Mapping paradise

Katie Prescott revisits the efforts of the Zanzibar government to chart its territory by flying drones across the African spice island. A year ago she met planning minister Mohammed Juma, the brains behind this ambitious project that aims to clarify land property rights, provide information to local residents about the location of services and amenities, and help the government plan everything from flood management to urban redevelopment. Katie catches up with Edward Anderson of the World...


Cities at a standstill

How strikes and protests affect the economies of major cities. Will Bain visits Paris to see how strikes on the transport network are affecting local businesses, while Ed Butler speaks to author and former Hong Kong civil servant Rachel Cartland about the economic impact of anti-China protests in the region. (Photo: Protests against the policies of French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris in January, Credit: Getty Images)


Being watched at work

The monitoring of employees in the workplace is becoming commonplace. Ed Butler speaks to Sean Petterson, boss of StrongArm Technologies, a company that monitors construction and warehouse workers to reduce workplace accidents. Griff Ferris from the anti-surveillance campaign group Big Brother Watch explains why workplace monitoring could be imposed without employees' consent. Brian Kropp from the advisory firm Gartner questions the value of all the data being generated by monitoring...


Insomnia and the smartphone

Modern tech is accused of interfering with our sleep, keeping us up late anxiously staring at our phone screens. But could a phone app provide the cure? Roughly one in three people in most developed countries typically tell surveys that the suffer from insomnia. The BBC's Laurence Knight is one of them. He seeks the advice of sleep physician Dr Guy Leschziner of Guy's Hospital in London, who explains how sleep and anxiety can become a vicious circle. The good news is that there is a new...


Microworkers teaching robots

How the rise of 'microwork' is helping develop artificial intelligence. Ed Butler speaks to New York Times reporter Andy Newman about his experience on Mechanical Turk - the Amazon-owned platform that offers tiny jobs for tiny wages. Microworker Michelle Munoz explains how she makes a good living from online microwork in Venezuela. Ronald Schmelzer, analyst at Cognilytica, an AI market research firm, explains why data-labelling tasks common on microworking sites play a central role in...


Where has all the good soil gone?

Soil degradation is reducing crop yields and adding to climate change. It's a big headache not just for farmers, but for all of us. But fear not, as Ed Butler heads to a wheat field in eastern England where farmer Simon Cowell thinks he has a simple, counter-intuitive solution to the problem: Cut back on fertilisers and pesticides, and plough less. He claims it restored his land in two years. But if it's this simple, why isn't everyone doing it? And what happens if we don't do anything? How...


The power-hungry internet

Why our growing use of technology is a threat to the planet. Ed Butler speaks to Ian Bitterlin, a visiting professor at the University of Leeds in the UK and an expert in the data centres that underpin the internet and use vast amounts of energy. Ruiqi Ye, a climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace in Beijing, explains why data centres are adding to the climate change problem. Halvor Bjerke from Norway's DigiPlex, the Nordic region’s leading data centre supplier, tells us why putting...


The next big thing

How easy is it to predict where tech will take us in the next decade, and have we hit a plateau in the pace of innovation? Manuela Saragosa speaks to author and artist Douglas Coupland, who retells how a mind-bending run-in with a Google research team left him convinced that the next huge development hurtling towards us like a meteor is what he calls "talking with yourself". Science fiction predictions of the future are notoriously wayward - where are the hoverboards and ubiquitous fax...


Brand Meghan and Harry

Royal brands and the value of the monarchy. Manuela Saragosa speaks to the BBC's royal correspondent Jonny Dymond about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to move away from the royal family. David Haigh from the consultancy Brand Finance outlines the value of the British monarchy to the economy and discusses what Harry and Meghan might do next. Mauro Guillen, professor of international management at the Wharton School in the US, discusses the economic impacts of monarchies around the...


OK Boomer...

Are millennials being given a financial raw deal by their parents' generation? And who do the Baby Boomers expect to pay for their retirement? Manuela Saragosa looks at the intergenerational contract - the promise that the younger generation will see an improvement in their living standards, in return for which they will care for the older generation in their old age. But is the contract broken? Many of those born in the developed world in the 1980s and 1990s face inflated housing costs and...


North Korea: Suffering under sanctions?

How does North Korea raise foreign currency, and are the toughest economic sanctions in the world actually having any effect? Ed Butler looks at one of the country's major sources of income - migrant workers. According to Artyom Lukin, professor of international relations at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, the workers who used to frequent his hometown of Vladivostok have been shooed away by the Russian authorities. But analyst Lee Sang Hyun of South Korea's Sejong Institute is...


Uber and Lyft vs California

A battle is looming over the future of the gig economy. A law classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as employees came into force in California on 1 January, but the ridesharing giants say their drivers are independent contractors, and proposed their own laws. Ed Butler speaks to Edan Alva, a Lyft driver in San Francisco and a member of the advocacy group Gig Workers Rising, and to Stacey Wells, spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect App-Based Drivers & Services – the group sponsored by Uber...


The US and China in 2020

How the battle of the superpowers might unfold this year. Ed Butler speaks to Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, Linda Yueh, economist and author of The Great Economists, and Ngaire Woods, professor of global economic governance at the University of Oxford, and founding chair of the Blavatnik School of Government. (Photo: Chess pieces representing the US and China. Credit: Getty Images)


LA's housing crisis

Regan Morris looks at the housing crisis in LA where around 60,000 rough sleepers bed down each night. In a city of sky high rents and scarce availability, are dormitories the answer for young professionals struggling to rent or buy a place of their own? We take a tour of the city's 'pod' accommodation which houses multiple men and women in one room for $50 a night. We also look at zoning - a controversial policy which designates specific areas on the sidewalk for rough sleepers and would...


The workplace re-imagined

As a new decade dawns, Elizabeth Hotson asks if workplace design needs to be rethought to make work a more positive experience. We visit London-based customer finding company, MVF, which allows employees to bring their dogs into the office. The canine theme is continued at Sanity Marketing, where a Chihuahua called Lola calls the shots in the morning meeting. We try out the giant slide in the office of cloud computing company, Rackspace and visit The Wing which provides a work space for a...


Rights of nature

In July 2019 Bangladesh took the unusual step of granting all its rivers “legal personhood”. It was the result of a long fight by environmental campaigners, alarmed by the damage done to the country’s vital river system by pollution and the effects of climate change. But does passing a law recognising that nature has rights, just as humans do, automatically guarantee its protection? According to its supporters, the movement for the Rights of Nature is an expanding area of law, but are those...


Phosphates and the disputed corner of north-west Africa

Phosphate mining is crucial to global food production, given that phosphorus is an essential ingredient in commercial fertilisers. By far, the largest reserves of the world’s phosphates are in Morocco. And while Morocco is the third-largest miner of phosphates, a small percentage of its production comes from the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Morocco considers the territory as part of its country, something the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front vehemently...


Reinventing capitalism

Can corporations be repurposed to prioritise society and the environment over profit? Ed Butler discusses the question with BBC Business Editor Simon Jack, who says he sees signs of real change. With a climate emergency upon us, many people in business and finance appear to be having a genuine change of heart about economist Milton Friedman's famous maxim that the corporation's sole purpose should be to maximise shareholder value. Perhaps corporations have other responsibilities too? Among...