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Coding must be compulsory, at all levels: Adesina tells Mo Ibrahim Governance Week

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Information technology must not be the exclusive privilege of the elite

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 8, 2019 — African Development Bank  President Adesina, on Friday, pleaded for Africans to embrace technology, and governments to urgently move away from “investing in the jobs of the past, but rather in the jobs of the future. A future that is just around the corner.”

Adesina was addressing a debateentitled: The New Tech Era: Job-killer or Job-creator?organised by Africa Report and Jeune Afrique as part of the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Governance Week. The debate took place in the Sofitel Hotel in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

“The people who control data, will control Africa. Coding must be compulsory, at all levels. The currency of the future is going to be coding,” Adesina said. “Information technology must not be the exclusive privilege of the elite, we must democratize technology,” he added.

Panelists included Pascal Lamy, board Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and past Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Eric Kacou, an Ivorian businessman and co-founder of ESP Solutions; Chioma Agwuegbo, a Nigerian tech specialist and Zyad Liman, publishing director of Afrique Magazine.

In his welcome remarks, Mo Ibrahim urged the panelists to think about ways to address the “tsunami of young people entering the job market.”

In response to that call to action, Kacou insisted on the need for “a change in mindset to move from BBC or Born Before Computers to rethinking education to teach people how to learn and help them solve problems.”

Panellists acknowledged the critical role the tech industry can play in Africa’s economic transformation through the continent’s digitization. However, they agreed on the urgent need to upgrade the skills of the past, to do it fast, and move away from the social fear of technology.

Research has shown that if governments harness the full economic potential of just the internet, Africa could add $300 billion to its GDP by 2025. Also, 70% of all jobs will have an ICT component by 2020.

Opportunities to transform Africa through technology are endless.  In agriculture, drones can monitor crops, Artificial Intelligence can speed varietal selection, and the Internet of the Things can control smart irrigation systems. Block chains can also aid food traceability.

“We must grab the opportunities…We must democratize technology. Africa should prepare itself. Digital technologies, including Artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchains, 3D printing, are already upon us,” Adesina concluded.

The three-hour interactive session ended with members of the audience calling for accelerated policy reforms and creating an enabling environment for innovative technology to thrive. The issue of data protection, identity protection and fake news and how to turn population into assets, topped discussions.

The African Development Bank has already made big strides in building skills in technology and innovation with its Job for Youth programme. In all, 234,000 new coders and 130 Coding Centres of Excellence are being created for Africa to participate in the supply side of the digital economy. The programme is not restricted to coding. The Bank is working with partners in the private sector, such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, to build technical literacy and arm people at all educational levels with the skills they will need going forward.

To ensure there is a general reskilling of Africans, the Bank has invested EURO 70 million in a technology park in Senegal, to create a regional cluster of tech businesses in francophone Africa.  The tech park is expected to contribute to the diversification of Senegal’s economy, creating 35,000 direct and 105,000 indirect jobs.

Additionally, the Bank has invested in several funds such as the TLcom TIDE Fund, Partech and African Technology Ventures to overcome the challenge of access to finance for tech entrepreneurs.

The Bank has also provided a US$30 million loan to the Rwandan Government to contribute to the innovation economy through the Rwanda Innovation Fund, focused on funding Tech-Enabled SME’s and to develop Rwanda’s entrepreneurial/innovation ecosystem capacity.

The Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend kicked off in Abidjan on Friday. Adesina is joining Africa’s most influential leaders and thinkers for this event, which celebrates the continent’s leadership, debates issues of critical importance to Africa, and charts the way forward for the region.

 

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

Technology

KuBitX Creates Africa’s first usable Stable Coin among other milestones

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Over the past few weeks we at KuBitX have been busy fine tuning our blockchain solutions while also working to raise some operational funding to help us go full blast with our marketing and scaling plans. The good news is that our efforts are finally paying off and you can rest assured we are taking this project further into the mainstream, where it needs to be. Remember KuBitX is all about adoption and inclusion?

In the past few months, we have also been working on how to ensure our supporters get the best value for their contributions. We understand one of the ways to do this is to bring more utility and relevance to our native exchange token (KBX – KubitCoin)  and a number of business decisions have been made regarding the way forward especially when it comes to listing and getting it into the hands of more people both in crypto and the mainstream. We will talk more about KBX later but let us first discuss our issuance of Africa’s first usable stable coin.

Naira Stable Coin (NGNX)

Stable coins. We have all heard of them but they have either been associated with scandals or are typically merely used for trading against crypto pairs. We believe this amazing innovation of blockchain technology can be put to better use such as facilitating real life merchant payments, instant currency swaps and cross-border remittances. It is for this reason that we created NGNX, Africa’s first usable stable coin — a digital asset pegged 1:1 to the Nigerian Naira.

Why did we start off with NGNX? Nigeria boasts the highest population, highest youth population and highest mobile device penetration in all of Africa. It has the biggest economy and it’s teeming youth population are strong adopters of crypto — an evidence which can be seen in the volume of Bitcoin traded by Nigerians monthly. By creating this Naira pegged asset, we are not only helping more mainstream people to embrace certain applications of Blockchain tech, we are also facilitating further adoption of the technology and thus helping it mature better and faster in our own way. Our NGNX will be “swappable” in real time with other pegged tokens we plan to create once all the business and audit procedures are set in place.

Today, people who own NGNX can currently use it on KuBitX PROW to:

  • Send XLM to their peers in any part of the globe
  • Receive funds from their peers across the globe via XLM swap pathways. More pathways are being created starting with other countries in Africa.
  • Pay for airtime, internet, entertainment, utility and other services for over 3000 merchants in Africa’s largest economy
  • Fund their KuBitX Exchange account to exchange for other kinds of assets listed on the Exchange.

Fiat Payment Gateway Integration on Exchange

A major challenge crypto adopters in Africa and other emerging markets have is the difficulty in obtaining the top crypto (BTC, ETH, XLM etc) or the fact that they usually buy them at a premium, and often with steep transaction fees. Since we pride ourselves in helping adoption and fostering inclusion, we have decided to integrate a fiat payment gateway to the Exchange so that people can more easily invest in promising assets and projects they want without losing time and money due to the volatility in a high frequency trading environment. Our fiat gateway also ensures people can buy assets closer to the real price without having to pay the steep 2–3% fees being offered by the likes of MasterCard or Visa. It is another way of showing how much we care about how much we can give to our community and not merely what we can take from them.

Also Read Interview With Doja Culinary Company CEO, Onaopemipo Dara

Currency Conversion on KuBitX Exchange

For the sake of ease and convenience of portfolio management, we have added currency conversion to the settings so that our users can decide to see the prices of assets as well as their wallet balances in any of the currencies we have made available most notably the NGN, KES, ZAR, UGX, USD, GBP, RUB, EUR and CAD.

Exchange Liquidity

You may have noticed the reduction of the available trading pairs on the exchange, but you will have also noticed that the available pairs are coming alive. In the following weeks, we will be working to ensure there is more liquidity for the projects listed on the exchange. We do not believe in listing every project out there, we only want to list the most viable ones we can access. As our operations stabilise even further, we will be conducting community voting events as well as initial exchange offerings to bring on board high quality projects for our esteemed users.

Bonus referrals and Loyalty Discounts for payments using KBX

We believe in giving back, we cannot emphasize this enough. For this reason we will be giving back money to our users whenever they or their referrals pay for their bills on KuBitX PROW. When a referred person pays a bill, the referrer gets 5% of the transaction fees. A referrer is also eligible to earning 3% of the transaction fee of his/her downline’s first referral. People will always pay bills so we believe this is a good way for mainstream adopters of our KuBitX PROW to earn passive income.

In addition to the bonus referral payments, we have also negotiated discounted transaction fees for our users when they pay their bills on the PROW using our KBX tokens. This helps the user get a good deal as well as adding more utility to the token itself which benefits all owners.

Work is also ongoing to allow our esteemed community to be able to stake their KBX tokens for periodic rewards. More information will be provided on this at a future date.

One more thing (One Big Partnership)

We signed a huge deal to co-create something that can change the way funds/value is moved across Africa by people and especially mainstream businesses. We are super excited about this partnership and we believe it is positioning us further in an influential place within Africa and beyond as far as Blockchain innovations is concerned. We will share more details of this after the Easter break.

Yet one more thing (#BWCLagos19)

Women across Africa attended the maiden Blockchain Women Conference held in Lagos, Nigeria which was attended by the likes of Eric Annan (KuBitX CEO) and Reggie Middleton (Veritaseum CEO). At the event, KuBitX CEO pleaded with Africans to let go of a scarcity mentality and start collaborating to build strong and meaningful blockchain projects so that in the next few years, Africans can look at themselves as Blockchain solutions co-creators and not merely consumers as has been the typical trend with past major technology waves. When also puzzled about why KuBitX was giving so many top notch features out so cheaply, Eric Annan responded to say

“we are focused in bringing value to the entire continent, because Africans have been saddled with exorbitant charges, poor customer support including random unexplained closure of accounts by some platforms. We are more concerned about the people and the value we can bring them, hence we will continue to strive to make it easier for the continent to have easier access to useful and reputable digital assets in the coming months. We plan to do this with features such as card payment and direct bank deposit. This is only possible as a result of our commitment to strategic synergies and partnerships with the mainstream”

Thanks for your patience and support so far. Keep supporting us as we work to bring you value both in how we serve you as well as how we make KuBitX bigger and stronger. We have a few other things cooking which we would only be at liberty to share once all the background and paperwork has been completed. For now, the team will just keep doing what they know best — work, innovate, collaborate,deliver, improve, rinse and repeat.

Happy Easter Holidays

From KuBitX Team

 

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SWOT Analysis Of Nigeria’s FinTech Industry | Taiwo Oyekanmi

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Fintech (Financial Technology) is a new innovation aimed at improving the delivery of financial services. Nigeria is a large country with a huge population of which about 40 percent of the population does not have access to financial services. However, due to some underlying factors such as the cost of operations, commercial banks cannot be situated in the nook and cranny of the population hence the opportunity for Fintech industry. Below are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats of Fintech Industry in Nigeria.

STRENGTHS

1) Quality Service: Compared to traditional financial institutions, Fintech startups deliver better quality service. Nigerian Fintech startup financial institutions operate at a tenth or less of the cost of traditional banks which makes it able to offer enhanced benefits to customers.

2) Supports: Fintech is capable of supporting other businesses financially without the inconveniences associated with conventional banking institutions.

3) The Fintech industry displays more openness & transparency in their transactions in the financial sector.

WEAKNESSES

1) Lack of regulatory framework specially designed for them.

2) Inadequate data protection and privacy in Nigerian Fintech space.

OPPORTUNITIES

1) Progressive growth in the peer to peer lending sector.

2) Next Generation Payment of Fintech is supported by the Nigerian government and its agencies as evidenced by its Payment Systems Vision (PSV).

3) Entry of blockchain into the financial industry.

4) Ease access to formal financial systems by members of the economy.

5) Fintech startup is classified as a pioneer by the Nigeria Federal government.

THREATS

1) Unfavorable government regulations

2) Low access to funding and investments

3) Cybercrimes

4) Excessive borrowing and high personal debt accumulation.

Also Read TeamApt Secures Switching License From CBN To Power Payment Infrastructure Solution, AptPay

 

Author:

Taiwo Oyekanmi

Research Analyst
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Facebook artificial intelligence (AI) researchers create the world’s most detailed population density maps of Africa

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New AI-powered, high-res maps to help humanitarian aid and relief agencies better assist people in need

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 9, 2019 – Facebook is working closely with key non-profit and research partners to use artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to address large-scale social, health and infrastructure challenges in sub Saharan Africa. These efforts range from rural electrification in Tanzania to vaccinating people in remote corners of Malawi.

Facebook is applying the processing muscle of its compute power, its extensive data science skills and its expertise in AI and machine learning to create the world’s most detailed and accurate maps of local populations. Facebook also partners with Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) to ensure that this effort leverages the best available administrative data for all countries involved.

The Boston-based Facebook team uses advanced computer vision and machine learning to combine satellite imagery from Digital Globe with public census data and other sources to create detailed population density maps of Africa. Using Facebook’s machine learning capabilities, Facebook started developing population density maps to provide better tools to support connectivity efforts around the world. No Facebook data has been or will be used in the project and the census and satellite data used contain no personally identifiable information.

High-resolution satellite imagery already exists for much of the world. However, prior to Facebook’s mapping project, it would have required countless hours for volunteers to comb through millions of square miles of pictures to identify which contained a tiny town or remote village.

The Facebook team used AI to solve that problem, efficiently crunching through data at a petabyte scale. For Africa alone, for example, the computer vision system examined 11.5 billion individual images to determine whether they contained a building. The team found approximately 110 million buildings in just a few days.

“Having started my career at USAID working on malaria control, I have witnessed first-hand the critical role that accurate data plays in the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts,” says Laura McGorman, a public policy manager at Facebook. “What’s exciting about projects like these that they provide an opportunity for our company to contribute to these efforts through our expertise in data and machine learning.”

In Malawi, the Missing Maps Project used these AI-powered maps to filter out the 97% of the terrain that is uninhabited. This helped to coordinate the efforts of 3,000 Red Cross volunteers in Malawi who visited roughly 100,000 houses in just three days to educate people about measles and rubella vaccines

“The maps from Facebook ensure we focus our volunteers’ time and resources on the places they’re most needed, improving the efficacy of our programs,” says Tyler Radford, executive director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, which is part of the Missing Maps Project.

In addition to assisting the Red Cross and Missing Maps Project in Malawi, the maps have been used by aid groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap. In Tanzania, Facebook’s AI-powered maps helped kick-start efforts to bring renewable electrification to rural areas.

To understand which locations would benefit most from decentralized energy solutions, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team collaborated with the Reiner Lemoine Institut and Integration Environment and Energy to combine Facebook’s population maps with detailed data on settlement locations and structures from OpenStreetMap.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team personnel then travelled to villages identified as high priority and conducted surveys to understand the populations’ electricity needs. The results of these surveys were provided to agencies involved in rural electrification, helping mini-grid operators choose the most appropriate locations to begin the work.

The Facebook population density maps project now aims to keep adding new continents and countries.

– Facebook

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