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May the 4th Industrial Revolution Leave No Child Behind (Pt. 2)

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Currently, the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) is merely a buzz word that has not been put into context. Judging by the recent establishment of the Presidential 4IR commission and various government initiatives to engage with foreign investment, the public and private sector, it is quite obvious that the future of South Africa’s socio-economic landscape will be highly influenced by this wave. Therefore, if we intend on driving socio-economic development through industrialisation, we need to take on a more inclusive, accessible and relatable communication approach.

We ought to think carefully about how we should be informing and educating the public about (a) What the 4th Industrial Revolution phenomenon really means (b) how does it impact the country’s economy and market because ultimately, this has ripple effect on (c) the skills required and will define future jobs and market opportunities.

If we don’t, we run the risk of leaving people behind and having a public majority that is not prepared to embrace the winds of change.

I therefore propose that as we begin to embrace the wave of 4IR which is characterised by merging the physical, digital and biological. The following solutions should be considered:

Unpacking 4IR through mass-communication platforms

As a point of departure, we must ask ourselves, how are we using our mass-communication platforms to unpack the 4IR? In my view, there needs to be more of a concerted effort to synergise government policy (National Development Plan) and the South African public broadcaster. What policy puts emphasis on should somehow find expression through a mass-communication platform like the SABC. The objective? To increase public understanding, drive public engagement and influence public discourse.

Of course, the role of the South African public broadcaster in this regard would not be to turn into a propaganda machine but, to start a conversation that will assist in increasing public understanding so that the general public is made aware of the developments happening around them and how they affect their lives. During the 90s and early 00s, SABC programming was extremely entertaining but educational and informative. I think of TV programmes like Soul City which weaved health and social issues into real-life stories. Sponsored by the Department of Health, BP, UNAIDS and the Department of Land Affairs, they discussed issues on HIV/Aids, housing and land, depression and youth sexuality to name a few.

More investment in entertaining and educational programmes that contextualise 4IR are some of the key initiatives that should also be considered that will ultimately contribute towards public understanding.

The importance of supporting black science organisations

While organisations like SAASTA and the CSIR have played an instrumental role in taking science, technology and innovation to communities through outreach programmes and exhibitions, they cannot reach all black South African communities. While initiatives like SciFest Africa and the National Science Week are equally important, they take place once a year and we all know, knowledge is more meaningful when it is shared and taught consistently.

Therefore, in addition to what already exists, the growth of more impact-driven black science awareness organisations should be encouraged and those that already exist, should continue to be supported.

Over the past two years, I have seen a growing number of black scientists and engineers mobilizing themselves to either create or join organisations that ensure black communities are educated and are prepared for the 4IR wave. This level of community mobilisation for science awareness is important in order to maximise reach, address challenges unique to the community of interest and monitor impact.

Also Read Lillian Barnard: Tech Enthusiast And First Female Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa

Establishment of science, innovation and languages centre

Finally, as part of consistent learning, community-based science, innovation and languages centres should also form part of science awareness. Organisations like Inspire Foundation Group (IFG) Africa have done an excellent job by establishing such centres which provide Maths and Science learner’s access to academic assistance, career guidance and have designed fun programmes which encourage critical thinking, science communication and innovation.

Similarly, the US Embassy through its Mae Jemison centre based in Mamelodi, have taken on the same approach, thus making science learning accessible. When you plant centres of this nature in communities, you do not only make science and technology facilities accessible but, you inspire outside of the classroom, application based learning.

When we are more intentional about how we communicate information as a country, we indirectly give our people the opportunity to mobilise and educate themselves so that they make informed decisions. When we fail to do this, we disempower the majority, leaving them in limbo. I pray that in the wake of 4IR, the latter will not be the fate of the South African child.

 

Credit: Chumisa Ndlazi (Marketing and Communications Professional)

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South Africa’s first ever blockchain-based property register pilot

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The pilot study area consists of almost 1 000 properties located in four sites in Makhaza, Khayelitsha

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 6, 2019- The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), research consultancy 71point4 and Seso Global have partnered to develop South Africa’s first blockchain-based property register. The pilot study area consists of almost 1 000 properties located in four sites in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. All the properties are Government subsidised properties that have not yet been registered on Deeds Registry.

According to Daniel Bloch, the CEO of Seso Global, a blockchain property registry company, this will be the first working example of a blockchain-based property registry in South Africa. Aside from creating an immutable record of who owns which house, the Seso platform facilitates and records transactions such as sales and transfers out of deceased estates and integrates with third parties who facilitate transactions, including mortgage lenders. “For the time being, property owners will record these transactions at the Transaction Support Centre, a walk-in housing advice office created by CAHF and 71point4 located in the area. But over time, we will record transactions through the Seso app” says Bloch.

The benefit of the blockchain solution is that it allows the data to be stored in a decentralised, secure database that can be updated without any loss of historic data. This means there is a secure, back-to-back record of all transactions that is completely tamper-poof. Eventually the vision would be to integrate this record into the Deeds Registry when other impediments to transfer have been removed.

South Africa has a serious titling problem. According to Kecia Rust, the CEO of CAHF, the government has built over three million RDP houses since democracy. But CAHF’s analysis of deeds office data indicates that only 1.9 million of these properties have been registered. The National Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (NDHSWS) estimates that the title deed backlog for RDP properties built prior to 2014 currently stands at 511 752. These properties were given to beneficiaries, but no title deeds were registered and handed over. At the same time, there is a backlog of 351 470 title deeds on newer properties.

Registering these properties so long after they were built and handed over to subsidy beneficiaries is an administratively complex task. In some cases, original subsidy beneficiaries are no longer living in the properties. Some beneficiaries might have passed away, some might have tenants in their properties while others have sold their houses informally.

“To create a register of property owners we first had to go door to door to find out who lives in each property and to establish how they came to be there” says Melzer, founder and lead consultant at 71point4. “We hired a team of 17 enumerators and trained them to collect information and capture supporting documents. Thankfully we can leverage smart phone to collect the data, but it still requires a significant effort. It took us two months to cover these areas.”

But the effort is well worth it. Properties in the area sell for over R200 000 informally – and would sell for more if they were listed on a trusted registry and were ‘bankable’. This would enable buyers to obtain mortgage finance and create affordability. Without access to mortgages, buyers have to pay cash for a house, or use an expensive unsecured loan. There are also significant benefits to the City of Cape Town of being able to access an accurate and up-to-date record of property ownership. Without it, the City cannot collect revenue from households in the area who are not indigent nor can City departments facilitate building plan approvals.

Next steps

In many cases in the pilot areas, the original beneficiary is still living in the property. “We hope that these properties can be registered in the deeds registry within a few months, and we are working closely with the City of Cape Town to facilitate that” says Melzer. “Where the beneficiary no longer lives in the property, we are in the process of tracing the beneficiary to confirm information we have gathered on who owns the property. We will also be working closely with the City on a resolution process where ownership is disputed.”



It will take some time before all the required information has been collected and validated. It will also take time for validated properties to be registered on the deeds registry.  In the meantime, we will enable property owners and occupants to keep those records up to date.

“We will also be using Seso’s platform to manage other client service requests that come to the Transaction Support Centre from all over Cape Town” says Rust. “These include helping clients to regularise informal sales and wind up deceased estates. Going forward, as the country moves towards an electronic deeds registry, we hope the lessons we have learned will provide valuable evidence to inform the development of accessible, secure, affordable and efficient mechanisms to facilitate property market transactions. This is important across the market, but particularly in entry level segments of the market where existing mechanisms are simply too costly”.

CAHF, Seso Global and 71point4 have a working agreement to extend this pilot into other areas and use cases. There are hundreds of thousands of RDP properties around the country where no primary transfer has taken place. In addition, in many areas where title deeds were issued, property owners have transacted informally, which means there is no longer an accurate record of ownership at the deeds registry. Blockchain-based solutions can help there too.

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

Blockchain can also enable households who live in informal settlements and rural areas to record and maintain land records and secure their rights. “We are very pleased with the pilot results. We think the solution we have developed is scalable, and replicable” says Bloch. That does not mean it is easy but, says Melzer “blockchain technology together the potential value we can unlock makes it worthwhile”.

Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF).

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Orange confirms its ambition to achieve digital inclusion for all, opens its second Orange Digital Center in Dakar

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Following on from Tunisia, Senegal will be home to the second Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East

DAKAR, Senegal, October 24, 2019 – Today, in Dakar, Senegal, Orange is inaugurating its new concept of a place entirely dedicated to innovation, an “Orange Digital Center”. Several personalities attended the launch, including: Ms Ndèye Tické Ndiaye Diop, Minister for the Digital Economy and Telecommunications; Mr Dame Diop, Minister for Employment, Professional Training and Craftsmanship; Mr Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Africa and Middle-East; Ms Christine Albanel, Head of CSR, Diversity, Partnerships and Philanthropy for Orange, Deputy Chair of the Orange Foundation and former Minister; and Mr Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel.

Following on from Tunisia, Senegal will be home to the second Orange Digital Center in Africa and the Middle East. With a surface area of 2,000 m² on six floors, the Orange Digital Center in Dakar will be the first of its kind in West Africa. Working as a network, these places allow experiences and expertise to be shared between countries and offer a simple and inclusive approach to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and to support the local digital ecosystem.

The purpose of the Orange Digital Centers is to bring together several strategic programmes under the same roof: coding school, Solidarity FabLab, Orange Fab and Orange Digital Ventures Africa, the Group’s investment fund. All of the programmes provided are free-of-charge and include digital training for young people, startup acceleration, and guidance for project owners and investment in these projects.

Other centers are expected to open by the end of the year in Jordan,Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, with yet more in 2020 in Morocco and Egypt. Ultimately, similar organisations will be deployed in all the countries within Orange’s footprint in Africa and the Middle-East as well as in Europe.

Also Read: The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Event Live in Johannesburg

“I am very proud to open the second Orange Digital Center in Dakar, after the one in Tunis. As the main contributor to the digital ecosystem in Senegal, Sonatel supports the emergence of a creative and flourishing ecosystem that provides digital players with the opportunity to imagine ways to create and prosper. These new spaces are dedicated not only to students, young people with and without diplomas and young people changing career, but also to entrepreneurs reflecting the ambition to promote a strong and innovative digital economy for the country’s socio-economic development”, explains Sékou Dramé, CEO of Sonatel.

“We are working in close collaboration with all the stakeholders, including governments and academics, to strengthen the employability of young Africans and to encourage them to run businesses and to innovate in their countries. Our ambition is to deploy this initiative outside Africa, from the south to the north, by opening Orange Digital Centers in France and Europe. For the moment, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan and Cameroon will follow in the next few months and in 2020 Morocco and Egypt then all the countries in the Africa and Middle-East zone will have their own Orange Digital Center” adds Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Africa and the Middle East.

Christine Albanel meanwhile states: “The Orange Foundation’s mission, in the countries where it operates, is to provide everyone with a chance by leveraging digital technology. The Orange Digital Center in Dakar illustrates our ambition to make digital inclusion the key focus of our social commitment. The Solidarity FabLab and the coding school, which are part of the Foundation’s and CSR’s inclusion programmes will enable many young people to develop new digital skills and will set them on the course to employment.”

Orange is present in 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it had 123 million customers on 30 June 2019. With sales revenue of €5.2 billion in 2018, this area is a strategic priority for the Group. Orange Money, its mobile-based money transfer and financial services offer is available in 17 countries and has 45 million customers. Orange, a multi-service operator, benchmark partner of the digital transformation, provides its expertise to support the development of new digital services in Africa and the Middle East.

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KnowBe4 Africa goes continental with Cyber Security Africa

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KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 21, 2019- KnowBe4 Africa is proud to announce that we are partnering with Cyber Security Africa as our African distributor. KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa and offer a necessary solution to the threat of cybercrime in growing economies.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Cape Town, African business owners flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to a successful operation, with 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East experiencing a cyberattack in the past year.

Stronger together 

The distribution agreement between KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa will allow for relationship building as well as provide local support on the ground for channel partners and end users. Considering the rapid rate of digital transformation in African countries, it’s vital that employees develop a security culture that will benefit them both personally and professionally.

Cyber Security Africa was the top choice as a continental distributor and has quickly established itself as an industry-leading Value-Added Distributor with a single-minded focus – the mitigation of information security risk for their clients. They focus their attention on niche, generally complex and certainly relevant security solutions that can utilized by organisations of all sizes and sectors. Lead by Martin Britz, Cyber Security Africa prides itself on being small enough to remain agile and large enough to apply a dedicated approach to each client experience.

For this new venture, Martin is assisting in the North and Central African regions. Gayle Britz will serve as the KnowBe4 champion and care for the SADC region. She guides a highly experienced team that includes Femi Ibine in West Africa, Susan Ndungu and Gladys in East Africa along with Andrew Ajuchi in Nigeria. Together, the Cyber Security Africa team will be able to provide support to business in close to 20 countries across the continent.

Cyber Security Africa founder, Martin Britz, believes great things are on the horizon for the fledgling partnership. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our keen understanding of this ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, with all its technologies, innovations, threats and solutions, positions us as “future-proof” to clients, while maintaining availability to attend to their more immediate needs. The offering from KnowBe4 Africa is unique and it’s exciting to be able to offer local training content that will have big benefits for African businesses.”

Also Read The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Event Live in Johannesburg

Transforming security culture 

At the heart of this partnership is an authentic desire to empower and protect the greatest assets of any business: its people. Both KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa focus on minimizing cyber risk for clients by educating their employees on how to spot threats like phishing, social engineering and training them with general information security practices. This fortifies the clients’ cybersecurity posture, saving them time and money while also drastically reducing the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.

Anna Collard, managing director of KnowBe4 Africa firmly believes in securing a human firewall and creating a culture of security awareness in the digital age. “The human factor has become very important to the security of the organisation. People need to understand that if they use technology, they have to be cognisant of the risks. Organisations can support this understanding by investing in training that’s relevant, targeted and memorable. Training that can sustainably transform the company’s security culture.”

Whether it’s an SME, a healthcare institution or even a manufacturing business, there’s no doubt that all organisations will come to understand the importance of security awareness training. We certainly know that Africa is ready to make smarter security decisions, every day.

 

 

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