#GamechangingEntrepreneurs; #DigitalEconomy; #eFoundersFellowshipProgramme; #UNCTAD
Africa, Nov 29 (Canadian-Media): Game-changing entrepreneurs in the digital and technology space are turning problems into business opportunities, creating jobs and improving lives, UNCTAD reported.
Prof. Patrick Awuah, Founder & President of Ashesi University with eFounder Martin Stimela, Founder and Group CEO of Brastorne Enterprises, Botswana. Image credit: UNCTAD
The transformative power of the digital economy is real and impactful.
In 2035, one third of the global workforce will be in Africa, according to estimates. Today about 85% of people on the continent work in the informal sector. Improving their fortunes requires a mindset change.
“Boosting the digital economy in developing countries will require a new way of thinking, including from entrepreneurs,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi says.
According to Dr. Kituyi, while many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries have yet to switch to digital technologies, a digital transformation is happening across Africa, led by SMEs and young entrepreneurs who are willing “to take a risk and pioneer new business models as game-changers.”
Making connections to markets
Take the story of Leah Uwihoreye, a Rwandan computer engineer, who founded Made in Rwanda, an e-commerce platform connecting women artisans to online markets.
She started the business after visiting her family’s village and realizing that many women were producing unique high-quality pieces of handicraft, but only selling them to the few foreign visitors who would sporadically stop by the village.
While these sales represented a key source of earnings for the women, the income was not enough to provide for a sustainable livelihood. "I believe that technology is a powerful tool to lift people out of poverty," says Ms. Uwihoreye.
In addition to her managerial role in the start-up, Ms. Uwihoreye is helping others harness the power of technology.
She trains women from remote areas of Rwanda to become computer literate and delivers regular talks to female university students to encourage them to embrace the digital economy.
And in South Africa, Basson Engelbrecht founded Hoorah, also an e-commerce platform.
"We aim to empower African entrepreneurs, including rural and informal vendors, by providing to them an online platform to sell, grow and expose their businesses," he said.
As e-commerce remains a relatively new concept to many, offering such services to small and informal vendors comes with some challenges.
"We had to make an extra effort to understand the constraints the vendors face, such as the lack of digital literacy and business management skills, to develop a service that would enable them to use our platform," Mr. Engelbrecht said.
eFounders Fellowship Programme
Ms. Uwihoreye and Mr. Engelbrecht are part of a cohort of 122 entrepreneurs in the digital and technology space who operate open platforms related to e-commerce, logistics, fintech, big data or tourism.
They joined the eFounders Fellowship Programme, a partnership between UNCTAD and the Alibaba Business School, which was launched in 2017 to mentor 1,000 entrepreneurs from developing countries over a period of five years to empower them to become champions for the new economy.
The programme started when Jack Ma, Alibaba Group’s founder and former chairman, became UNCTAD’s special adviser for young entrepreneurs and small business.
It offers a unique learning experience about the transformative impact of e-commerce and technology as well as follow-up sessions on lessons learned, including a two-week stay at the Alibaba Business School campus in Hangzhou, China, with site visits.
“The course was a mind-blowing two weeks,” said Derrick Muturi of Herdy, a Kenyan e-commerce platform that handles orders, payments and logistics for small-scale farmers and their customers. His key take-away lessons were the importance of having a clear vision and a business culture, alongside long-term planning and networking.
Thousands of jobs, millions in revenue
Since the inception of the programme two years ago, the businesses of the 122 fellows spread over 17 African countries have created 3,400 direct jobs on the continent and generated US$100 million in annual revenues. And these numbers are growing.
Some of the fellows, joined by other young entrepreneurs from the continent, gathered from 15 to 17 November in Accra, Ghana, where they had a reunion and attended the Africa Netpreneur Conference as well as the inaugural Africa’s Business Heroes Show.
During the exciting show, 10 candidates were selected to pitch for the Netpreneur Prize, with Nigerian entrepreneur Temie Giwa-Tubosun winning with her business, Lifebank, which delivers blood to hospitals in the country.
In the presence of a competent panel led by Mr. Ma, the show was a source of inspiration for many entrepreneurs across the continent and it invigorated the transformative power that young entrepreneurs have. “We are a new Africa,” said supermodel Naomi Campbell.
The event organized by the Jack Ma Foundation and partners, gave the fellows a platform to share their entrepreneurial journey in the high-level presence of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other dignitaries.
Pioneers and champions
In his message to the fellows in Accra, Dr. Kituyi urged: “As pioneers and champions for the new economy, you have a role to play to make transformations happen across the continent. With your background and experience, you have a lot to give and you owe this much to Africa.”
On 17 November, the upcoming entrepreneurs toured the business premises of two Ghanaian fellows.
First was Seyram Kofi’s e-commerce and logistics platform, Kikuu Express, where Kofi explained how clients could purchase goods online and have them delivered to local pick-up shops.
Then they went to the offices of Henry Cobblah’s Ahwenepa, an e-commerce platform for Ghanaian fashion, where a lively exchange took place among the fellows on issues such as delivery times of ordered products and payment methods.
“It is amazing to see the drive of the fellows and how they turn problems into business opportunities,” says Arlette Verploegh, coordinator of UNCTAD’s eFounders Fellowship Programme, who accompanied the fellows in Ghana.
“They change mindsets through their business models in which data play an important role and educate consumers on the use of online platforms and apps, and so much more,” Ms. Verploegh said.
She added: “What strikes me the most is their passion to support vulnerable groups and those working in the informal sector. These young entrepreneurs have the ability to change the socio-economic landscape and help get things right, if they receive proper support from the public sector and investors.”
#Berlin; #UN; #InternetGovernanceForum; #SDGs; #ITU
Berlin, Nov 28 (Canadian-Media): It is “critical” to prioritize technologies that are most needed for sustainable development, a high-level UN official told the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on Wednesday in Berlin.
Addressing how the world can reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Digital Age, Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said that the power of information and communication technology (ICT) for good, can only be harnessed if people have “a real sense of public trust, security and stability in the digital space.”
He drew attention to technologies and the Internet, which he maintained “have transformed information sharing, revolutionized industries, saved lives and advanced development”.
UN. Image credit: Twitter handle
While new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things can help achieve the SDGs and improve the lives of all, Mr. Liu flagged the need to “continue to showcase how they can make meaningful contributions” to the global goals.
“The IGF is one such important platform”, he said, while noting others, such as the DESA-organized Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“Each forum has a unique role to play and that they complement each other”, he said, and called the Internet and ICTs “cross-cutting enablers for SDGs”.
But these enablers not only come with challenges but often create new ones, including digital divides, cybersecurity, internet privacy and online human rights protection.
And there are also unforeseeable risks that impact the future of work, global security, and people’s trust and well-being in a digital society.
Breaking down silosTo overcome risks and challenges and ensure that no one is left behind, Mr. Liu advised following the recommendations by the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
“The IGF must respond, through the UN’s convening role, to bring everyone together – regardless of the stakeholder groups or backgrounds”, he said.
And it must continue engaging with high-level decision-makers from Governments and the private sector, as well as technical experts and civil society.
Turning to the expanding network of over 120 national, regional and youth IGFs, Mr. Liu spelled out that engagement on a local level is “critical” to understanding the issues and resources available in all communities.
We need to optimize these partnerships and capacity development opportunities -- Liu Zhenmin
He stated that “the complexity of the internet does not allow for siloed approach or the unification of problems and solutions”.
“We are even more fortunate to have them as partners to guide our vision towards a safe and accessible Internet for all”, said Mr. Liu.
“We need to optimize these partnerships and capacity development opportunities”.
Today’s challenges - including rising inequality, uneven growth, climate change and fast-paced technological change - demand a collective effort and a stronger multilateral response.
And while the Internet and technology are critical for achieving SDGs, we must “continue to come together to discuss everyone’s concerns”, he stressed.
In doing so, he said the technology could truly benefit all humankind and, together, we can “make sustainable development a reality”, concluded the UN official.
#Google&Facebook; #World'sDominantInternationalCorporations; #AbuseHumanRights; #AmnestyInternational; #HumanRights
New York, Nov 21 (Canadian-Media): Google and Facebook, the world's dominant internet corporations were accused by the Amnesty International, London-based global rights group's new report, of being incompatible with the human right privacy including freedom expression and the right to equality and non-discrimination, media reports said.
Based in United Kingdom and founded in London in 1961, Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization with a focus on human rights.
In the field of international human rights organizations, Amnesty has the third longest history, after the International Federation for Human Rights
Amnesty International Official Logo
The report said the company's use of algorithmic systems to create and infer detailed profiles on people interferes is a breach of privacy of human rights.
Amnesty called on governments to legally guarantee people's right not to be tracked by advertisers or other third parties rectify current regulations and privacy-shielding measures.
Both Facebook and Google disagree with the Amnesty International report that their business practices "are inconsistent with human rights principles."
#California, #UnitedStates; #LaunchOfApple'sNewPrivacyWebsite
California (U.S.), Nov 6 (Canadian-Media): Apple's expansion of its new privacy website provides more explanations about its commitments but its policies and practices remain unchanged, media reports said.
The new site Wednesday is part of Apple’s ongoing push to distinguish itself from its rivals such as Google and Facebook, the later of which is more data-hungry and advertising-fueled .
Apple’s privacy website is mostly a users’ guide with papers on how to prevent apps and other third-party services from unnecessarily tracking users’ location and behaviours.
Many of the new privacy enhancements were announced earlier as part of Apple’s iOS 13 software update for iPhones. Changes include the ability to sign in to third-party services with an Apple ID account rather than Facebook’s or Google’s, plus more notices and warnings about apps tapping location data.
Toronto, Nov 3 (Canadian-Media): New privacy tools that let you automatically delete data-related to searches and location history were introduced by Google earlier this year, media reports said.
"And this is significant because in the past you'd have to manually go in there and press the button to delete your search data. That's something that most people will probably have never done,” said Brian Chen, consumer technology reporter at the New York Times. "Now that you can automate this process, you can have your data clear out every three months or 18 months and that will just purge your history."
Ability to auto-delete YouTube Searches was added by Google in September.
Google also allows you to turn off all tracking from Google and YouTube searches.
"That could affect the way that you get search results, they may not be as personalized based on what you're interested in, so in general Google doesn't recommend that you do that. But that is an option,” Chen told me.
A lot of these tools, such as Maps, Search and YouTube, for various Google products are in a web tool called My Activity.