Towards the end of the year last year, I was invited to be a panelist at the Global Work Tech Scenarios 2050 South Africa Conference. At first, I was nervous to share my thoughts as I was not sure how they would be received, and I was not so sure about how my expertise in the field of Marketing and Communications would fit in the context of the future of science and technology. Quite often, the tendency is that we see science as a mutually exclusive subject that does not directly impact our daily lives – well at least that’s what I thought.
However, the more exposed I have been to this field,the more I realise how the different waves in science and technology have been shaping the cultural experience of society, for example, the way in which society communicates, shops and accesses information has changed because of the digital age. Attending this conference has further opened my eyes to this and as a result, has demanded that I think about the possibilities of the future and role of Marketing and Communications in this regard.
In preparation for the panel discussion, we were sent a document titled Future Work/Tech 2050 Global Scenarios. Using a future studies method, the case study thoroughly highlights potential scenarios that could emanate by 2050 as a result of global technological advancements. Additionally, the case study examines the effect these advancements will have on politics, economics and culture. Out of the three scenarios presented to us, the third one titled: If humans were free – the self-actualization economy resonated with me the most.
According to this particular future study, new technologies in the form of artificial intelligence will change the face of the job market as we know it today. By 2050, approximately 4-billion people will gravitate towards self-employment. This means, although new technologies might not necessarily support formal employment but, they may provide a conducive environment for alternative forms of employment to thrive. With this kind of economic shift, the study predicts that the percentage of people employed by corporations will decrease and there will be an increase in the number of self-employed individuals. The study also suggests that individual power will begin to increase relative to government and corporate power.
This economic shift which is a result of a technological revolution will also have a direct impact on global culture. Due to increased individual power, society will begin to embrace the concept of a self-actualized economy. Essentially, what this means is, individuals will begin to decide for themselves how to use their time, ponder on issues concerning their life purpose and find ways to express their purpose through work. As a result, a culture of self-awareness, creativity and purpose will culminate and this could also change the way in which people relate to brands. In a society where individuals are self-aware and are driven by the need to express self, one has to ask themselves how will this affect the way corporates market and communicate their brand to the public.
Corporate for many years has benefited from the existence of public relations, marketing and communications. This is because this field of study specialises in examining the behaviour of consumers or a particular target audience, understanding their needs and wants then, using various methods to mass communicate a particular service or product to a group of people for the purpose of profit.
In fact, Edward Bernays who is considered the “father of public relations” and known as nephew of Sigmund Freud,based the foundation of public relations on studying crowd psychology – which is a broad study of how an individual’s behaviour is influenced in a large crowd. Over the years, this approach has worked like a charm because the economic system of capitalism bred a societal culture of competitiveness, consumerism and the need for attaining material success in order to gain social acceptance. Therefore, corporate through public relations, marketing and communications, have been able to win over the loyalty of various publics by tapping into this.
However, if future studies are predicting a self-actualized economy by 2050, which will have us witness a decrease in corporate power and an increase in individual power. If the order of the day in society will be about exploring personal creativity, self-awareness and pursuing purpose as opposed to seeking material success for gaining social acceptance, it may mean that the field of marketing and communications may have to start finding a different approach to communicating brands to the public.
I therefore suspect that as opposed to a mass communication approach which groups people according to what they have – for example, using the living standard measuring (LSM) method to understand a particular target audience, a more personalised approach may have to be adopted. This means, brands may have to invest more time in scanning the environment of their target market, taking the time to understand what affects them, what they want, what they need, their deepest desires and fears. The changing consumer market will dictate that brands have the ability to engage as an active member of the community, and skillfully interpret their belief and value systems, and not just their physiological needs.
Previously, brands got away with simply marketing and communicating a product to push it in the market. This approach worked for years because the consumerist culture of that time was more about, what can a particular product or service do for me. However, this approach to a consumer of today seems detached. With the digital age which allows us to access information easily, there already has been a gradual increase in consumers who are more aware and have taken interest in the politics that govern how a brand operates. As a result, consumers confidently reject a brand that does not represent their beliefs or value system. This kind of consumer, unapologetic and self-aware is predicted to increase exponentially by 2050. For the brands that refuse to observe and listen, they will remain detached from the reality of their target audience and will find themselves preaching to the unconverted.
Arab central banks’ chief laud Egypt’s successful economic reform experience
Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer
CAIRO – 15 September 2019: Governors of Arab central banks and monetary institutions applauded Sunday Egypt’s successful economic reform, which helped restore investors confidence.
This came during the 43rd session of the Arab Central Banks Governors and Arab Monetary Associations, which kicked off earlier in the day at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) with the participation of over 200 Arab bankers, central banks’ governors, ministers, economic experts and officials of the Arab Monetary Fund.
Participants asserted that the Egypt’s economic reform experience over the past four years should be documented as a model to be followed by other countries.
ICRC Partners with Tony Elumelu Foundation to Create Economic Opportunities in Conflict Prone Regions
Lagos, NIGERIA, September 12, 2019; At the just concluded Forum organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), key speakers Tony O. Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) proffered entrepreneurship as the most sustainable solution to accelerating Africa’s transformation. During a one-on-one conversation at the event, both speakers called for a new private-sector-led approach to humanitarian development in Africa.
While speaking at the Forum, Peter Maurer commended the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s private-sector-led approach as the gold standard of humanitarian development in Africa focused on impacting lives at scale and transforming the continent.
Mr. Maurer said: “On one side, it is important that we assist and protect people when they are disrupted by violence and war. But what brought me together with Tony is not the white shirt and the blue suit, it is his deep conviction that with longer and protracted conflict we need to bring people much earlier into independence.”
He added: “We need, more than ever, in the most fragile, violent parts of society to show the pathway to independence and to a dignified life and this goes with income-generating activities, productive activities, with small businesses. This is why we partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation”.
On his part during the discussion themed “Private Sector Partnerships with Humanitarian Organisations: Putting People First”, Mr. Elumelu commended Mr. Maurer’s leadership and the decision to partner with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to eradicate extremism and violence.
He said: “Through the partnership between TEF and ICRC, a lot is happening that shows the catalytic impact of your vision. Ours was the first ever partnership that ICRC had explored using a different approach to humanitarian development, from the angle of empowering the private sector. Today, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has partnered with AfDB on empowering 1000 beneficiaries, UNDP which started with 1000 entrepreneurs and has now been scaled up to empower 100,000 African entrepreneurs starting with the Sahel region.
The most important thing is that we give economic hope and opportunity to our people and reduce the cases of fragility that we see across the continent.”
In 2018, ICRC and the Tony Elumelu Foundation partnered to sponsor 200 entrepreneurs from the North East and Niger Delta regions of Nigeria to catalyse and accelerate transformation while scaling impact in conflict-prone areas. The intervention is built on the existing Tony Elumelu Foundation’s USD 100 million commitment to empower 10,000 young African entrepreneurs in 10 years across the continent. Driven by the economic philosophy of Africapitalism, it represents a bottom-up approach with the goal of creating millions of jobs and increased revenue on the continent.
The ICRC Forum took place in Lagos yesterday and gathered key stakeholders in government and humanitarian development to explore alternative approaches to impacting lives on the continent. Present at the event were Princess Aderemi Adebowale, representing the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Mr. Babtunde Paul Runwase, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Juan Luis Coderque Galligo, Head, New Financing Models, ICRC; and Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation; amongst others.
World Bank funds 2nd phase of Takaful, Karama by $500M
Marina Wes, the new country director of the World Bank in Egypt – Photo by Ahmed Maarouf/Egypt Today
CAIRO – 12 September 2019: Egypt signed on Wednesday, Sept. 11 an agreement with the World Bank to finance the second phase of the Social Security Nets Support Project, Takaful and Karama, by $500 million.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Regional Director of the World Bank in Egypt Marina Wes.
Nasr clarified in a press release that the agreement is part of a $8 billion portfolio between Egypt and the World Bank.
She stressed that this project is an important part of the most important indicators to be followed up with the World Bank, which was announced at its annual meetings in Washington, which is investment in human capital.
Nasr expected that all components of this project will contribute to improving the income of Egyptian citizens.
She pointed out that this agreement came within the framework of projects and discussions that took place between President Abdel Fatah al Sisi, and the new president of the World Bank, who chose Egypt as the first destination in the Middle East.
The minister pointed out that the first phase of Takaful and Karama program contributed to the coverage of about 2 million families, or about 9.5 million citizens, revealing that the project reached beneficiary families in all governorates, and that women represent 88 percent of the total beneficiaries so far.
Based on this additional funding, the project will strengthen the social safety nets for an additional three years based on its achievements and willexpand its geographical scope, Nasrclarified, noting that the second phase is expected to include 12.8 million citizens, to reach 22.3 million.
The minister added that the additional funding will be allocated to develop the productive social protection network and employment program under the name of “Forsa”, and will continue to apply health and education considerations to the beneficiary families.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly explained that the signing of a second financing agreement comes to develop the program and works to expand its activities to shift from cash support only to productive support. This is addition to the transfer of assets and sustainable economic activities, which will achieve great returns for the beneficiary families.
Waly noted that the ministry has always worked to benefit from international experiences and practices in this regard, and from the recommendations of the international assessments.
“The objectives of the project have already been achieved in its first phase, and the funding for this phase has ended.We are working to provide highly concessional financing over a long period of more than 35 years, with a grace period of up to 5 years,” Minister Waly stressed.
For his part, the regional director of the World Bank in Egypt explained,“Through this project, we will continue our commitment to support Egypt’s efforts to develop human capital and create jobs, which are essential for the success of its reform program.”
Wes pointed out that the project reflects the World Bank’s commitment to promoting human capital development through effective social safety nets targeting eligible groups.
She said the project came in line with the World Bank Group’s partnership with Egypt and the expanded regional strategy for the Middle East and North Africa to promote sustainable and inclusive growth through development of skills and livelihood opportunities for women and youth.
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