Down the Procurement Pub with Tejari, Oxygen Finance, Malawi’s X-Rays, eWorld and The 1975

Thanks to everyone who came to our Real World Procurement sessions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this week. Here is a picture of assorted Tejari folk, clients and me having a post-event celebratory beer at the Sofitel Hotel on the Palm, Dubai. For any other fans of Pointless (the BBC quiz programme), one real thrill of these events is meeting people from legendary Pointless countries - I actually talked to a lady from Turkmenistan! Another was from Uzbekistan, as well as folk from pretty much every Middle Eastern and North African country you can think of - very cosmopolitan.

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Breaking news! Oxygen Finance, who provide "a technology platform and professional services solution for buying organisations – allowing them to unlock value within their supply chains through paying suppliers ahead of contracted terms" has been acquired by private equity / asset investment firm Arrowgrass Capital Partners. Oxygen has a growing client base amongst UK local authorities (councils), and this should be positive for clients rather than anything to worry about. I also didn't know that Roberto Moretti had left the firm at the end of 2015 and Ben Jackson is now CEO - well done Ben!  (Don't know if Mark Hoffman is still involved?)  More on this next week.

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According to the Nyasa Times, the UK's Department of international Development (DFID) has withdrawn aid to the Malawi health service for the purchase of digital X-Ray machines until issues with procurement and potential corrupting are sorted out. Despite advertising for suppliers and requiring track record, the contract was awarded last year to a firm (Biocare) which had only been registered 3 months earlier. DFID wants an investigation into the contracting decision; in the meantime, no doubt the health of ordinary Malawians will suffer because of what certainly looks like corruption amongst officials and / or politicians. But DFID is quite right to suspend the aid until this is resolved.

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We were at eWorld too this week (Nancy -- not Peter, clearly! unless he has mastered the art of quantum teleportation for distances over 10 ft since Monday). A very busy affair and an impressive line up of presenters, workshops and interactive sessions with a bit of a laugh thrown in (Christopher Barrat of Greystone Partnership kept everyone entertained by making them blow raspberries and poke each other - that was before you jumped up and down and made silly noises -- but there was a serious theme behind it, Social Intelligence, which you can read about on Monday alongside other highlights). The exhibitors hall was adorned with just about every solution or service provider you would expect - it's a great event for discovering technologies and what then can do for you, and networking generally, whether with the experts, or your peers.

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When we saw The 1975 at the West End Centre Aldershot in February 2013, with about 100 other people, there was just the beginnings of a real buzz about the band. With their new and second album "I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it", getting very good reviews, and going straight to no 1 in the UK album chart, plus a performance here on the Jimmy Fallon Show in the US, they now look destined for mega-greatness. They also seem to have cracked the very difficult trick of appealing to both teenage girls and serious muso-type fans. One of my good friends, a serious musician and songwriter himself, told me he listened to one of their first album's songs 16 times trying to work out exactly how they got the particular drum sound ...! Anyway, here is that Fallon performance.

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