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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 28 December 2016

Image: Alamy

Flights of fancy

RwandAir has been on a long spending spree this year. Its latest delivery, an Airbus A330-300 series Umurage, touched down in Kigali on 1 December and more new aircraft are coming in 2017. The airline is finally showing the sort of ambition that it needs to make its long-touted leap to the US and Europe. Meanwhile, its new 737s make RwandAir one of the very few carriers on the continent to offer onboard wifi – a competitive edge in east Africa, as carriers look to move in on troubled Kenya Airways’ business. Intra-Africa traffic is set to grow very quickly, second only to Latin America globally. And while RwandAir’s ascent has pivoted on its home country’s impressive growth – bringing trade and talent to the door – a young and up-to-date fleet can also make it shine.

Image: Getty Images

In the pipelines

Canada’s banking sector, which fared so well during the global financial crisis, has done little to defend against the dwindling fortunes in the country’s oil industry and the underperformance of the Canadian dollar. Central to reinvigorating that, according to Justin Trudeau’s government, is one of the most contentious issues in Canadian politics: pipelines. Despite the shelving of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by Barack Obama (president-elect Trump has vowed to look at the project again), Trudeau has given the greenlight to two new projects: the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3. But Trudeau’s language so far has been careful: his government’s commitments to boost the renewable-energy sector and to cut greenhouse-gas emissions have been rallying cries. Balancing those with the demands of Big Oil will be a significant test for him in 2017.

Image: Getty Images

Risky business

With Donald Trump entering The White House and key elections taking place across the EU – including in France and Germany (the two biggest economies still committed to the bloc) – few businesses will be looking forward to 2017. That said, certain sectors are gearing up for a busy period. Top of the pile are consultants, who will be in high demand as the UK begins negotiations surrounding the country’s exit from the EU. According to a survey of consultants published in November by Source Global Research, 55 per cent expect consulting use to increase. The long-term outlook is less rosy. When asked how they felt about the next 18 months, 48 per cent felt negative, compared to just 24 per cent who had positive expectations.

Grow with the flow

Korean and Japanese men are a cut above when it comes to preening and pampering but male grooming is set to grow across the rest of Asia. Gentlemen’s Tonic, a traditional barbershop and spa founded in London in 2004, plans to open in Jakarta and Manila and add a second outlet in Kuala Lumpur to meet demand in the Malaysian capital. Likewise, there is an opportunity to stock shelves with a wider variety of high-quality, chemical-free skincare products. The men in Monocle’s Hong Kong bureau are looking forward to the Asian expansion of Melbourne’s skincare label Hunter Lab. “Next year is all about growing awareness of Hunter Lab in the Asian market by partnering with premium, like-minded retailers,” says Elliot Waldron, founder of the brand, which is currently on sale across Australia. “We see the shift to natural skincare continuing and taking a much bigger slice of the market.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Andrew Urwin

2016: business in review

Monocle 24's Daniel Giacopelli, presenter of The Entrepreneurs, is joined by a panel of experts to look back at the year's most fascinating business trends.

From Monocle Films

Alpino special: Slovenian ski-makers

With hi-tech production at the heart of its business, Slovenian brand Elan has carved a reputation at the forefront of ski design. Monocle Films heads to the mountains to visit its factory and learn about its past, present and future.

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