Connect with us

Technology

African Development Bank’s digital skills training benefits women

Published

on

The goal is to expand the program to 130 centres of excellence across Africa over a 10-year period

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, December 13, 2019- After graduating from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria with a degree in Communication and Language Arts in 2016, Olashile Odetola could not find a job.

But an online learning program piloted by the African Development Bank has given her two “gifts”: digital skills and a sense of confidence.

Odetola, 31, was one of two thousand students who took part in the ‘Coding for Employment’ digital training program launched by the African Development Bank in partnership with technology firm Microsoft in April 2019 after successful pilots in Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. 46% of the students have been women.

Odetola said the skills she acquired from the coding program have made her more competitive in the job market. She was permitted to attend the training class with kids in tow – and was even nursing her last child.

“Never in my life would I have thought that I will have this opportunity. For the first time in my life, I feel confident in myself. I am now working from the comfort of my home in the digital field,”she told a packed auditorium at this year’s African Economic Conference (AEC), held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

After completing the five-week programme, Odetola now works providing annotation and labelling for an online company. “It’s helped me to support the family,” she said.

“When I saw this opportunity from the Bank, I jumped at it,” she said.

Her testimony drew cheers from scores of hopeful young people who had been invited to attend the conference. Her testimony was an illustration of the Bank’s ‘Jobs for Youth in Africa’ strategy, which aims to create 25 million jobs by 2025 and to equip 50 million African youth with competitive skills.

Also Read: Building A Digital Marketplace For ‘Made In Nigeria’: Interview With Ukaegbu Great Jr, CEO, Keanyi

“Jobs for Youth is operational and we seek to create impact. Not just any impact but impact that can be scaled. African youth deserve value — that is what the African Development Bank and her partners sought to create,” Uyoyo Edosio, program task manager at the African Development Bank, told the conference.

“We placed all our bets on the youth and for the first time, the private sector, non-governmental bodies and development institutions like the Bank were not speaking profit margin, we were speaking development,” Edosio said.

Overall, the goal is to expand the program to 130 centres of excellence across Africa over a 10-year period. The aim is to create nine million jobs and to empower young people to become innovative players in the digital economy.

“This is just one step on that journey to empower our youth in Africa to get the greatest jobs in computer science,” Rich Reynolds, General Manager at Microsoft Philanthropies Strategy, said of the Coding for Employment program.

Government ministers from Nigeria, Liberia, South Sudan and Eswatini attending the conference, commended the initiative as a pacesetter in tackling the enormous youth unemployment challenge the continent is grappling with. They outlined policies being pursued in their respective countries to address youth employment.

The AEC is hosted by the African Development Bank, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. This year’s theme was: Jobs, Entrepreneurship, and Capacity Development for African Youth”

Listen to Odetola speak about her experience: https://vimeo.com/379000815

African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

Technology

The Internet as an Investment Tool: How to Leverage It

Published

on

By Syd Dickinson

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a sudden throttle to an already expected recession. It is now looking to be a worse financial crisis than the 2008 debacle and the “Great Depression”. Despite that, financial experts note that this actually marks a great time for smart investments. With reduced financing costs and better market penetration opportunities among other benefits, investors can expect an active market that can still yield returns with the right tools.

Much of what is keeping the market active in this time of crisis is the advent of digital resources and the internet. If investors can tap into the well of the World Wide Web’s enterprises, then it can be the most valuable tool in their arsenal. After all, it carries all the necessary assets to leverage on the market.

News Sites and Social Media

Arguably one of the staples of modern media is the torrent of real-time updates that continuously get uploaded on a regular basis. Even with the advent of social media platforms, new consumption habits have changed, and the common public has come to expect quick turnouts with reliable information. As much of investment and trading is reliant on picking up on the most relevant news and market trends, being able to have a 24/7 connection to global numbers and updated data is truly valuable. Of course, what sites you need to follow will likely depend on where you’re situated or where your assets are concentrated. But even Google’s main news page can be a good place to glean some relevant insights. Global market news sites like Reuters and MarketWatch are great sources of information, as well as more regional pages like Business Africa Online.

Research Resources

Adequate knowledge is what keeps investors from taking unwise risks and putting themselves in the red. Having access to the right resources is a must, if only to decrease the inherent risk that investment already brings. With the internet, various websites, applications, and learning platforms are right at an investor’s fingertips.

There are many trustworthy resources available now for both new investors and the more experienced ones. Among these is Dotdash’s popular online financial website, Investopedia. It’s not so much a news site but a finance education site and since its introduction in 1999, it has become one of the most regarded resources for encyclopaedic information on investment as well as relevant reviews, ratings, and trend reports.

Heat Maps

Another core factor for investors is market movement. Assessing the performance of different sectors and assets informs the modern investor of what their next viable move can be. This is where tools that can help investors to accurately monitor and visualize movement come in. FXCM’s trading heat map is very useful for investors and traders. It’s a reliable asset tracker as it covers historical market data and provides real-time market movements in various categories. This tool becomes even more essential for individuals who keep a diverse portfolio, as they can simultaneously monitor forex, cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, and more.

Analytics and Calculations Software

Active investment requires foresight that may have once taken years to develop. Though this learning curve still exists, there is a lot of software that makes the process much more accessible to the less experienced. Analytics tools aid investors in staying ahead of the curve, especially during a time when fluctuation can be volatile in core avenues of investment.

That goes hand in hand with investment calculators, which are crucial for private investors considering the value of their potential investments and how much return of invested capital they can expect. In fact, there are even government-funded digital resources like the South Africa’s compound interest calculator that investors can make use of.

According to The World Bank’s 2021 outlook report, economic growth is projected to grow after the widespread introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Strategic investment has become more accessible, and those who make use of the tools readily available in the digital landscape can expect to coast on this headwind.

By Syd Dickinson

Download BAO E-MAGAZINE

Continue Reading

Logistics

Digitalization in logistics – A user’s experience

Published

on

Geraldine Mamburu, Founder & MD PDQ Logistics (Source: Geraldine Mamburu)

In some cultures, children are sometimes named after events that would have taken place close to or during their birth.  Jokes around naming children Quarantine Buthelezi, Social-distance Moyo, or Pandemic Ndlovu, were circulating in 2020 and made for a good laugh, however, one couple in India took this a little too seriously and named their twin boy and girl, Corona and Covid.

Looking back, I do not recall ever coming across a proposal to name children after any of the variations around the word digital, after all, every second Point of View that was being released was around digitalization and digital transformation. It got me thinking, and realised that a lot of these terminologies are thrown about in the corporate space, but what does this actually mean to the end-user? How does the user interact, make use of, and appreciate digitalization?

Being in the logistics space has found me interacting with a lot more digital platforms over and above e-commerce, social media, and the all-so-dreaded-virtual-meeting platforms. My favourite most convenient app (which is currently the best thing ever since sliced bread in my books) has got to be Truck Fuel Net (TFN). TFN offers a cloud-based, real-time software management solution that helps me manage all my on-road refuelling and driver spend needs. Given that the bulk of operational costs in road freight is fuel, one must have their finger on the pulse and be on the constant lookout for the best price, over and above monitoring driver efficiency. The TFN Management system helps me decide, where, when, and how much the driver can refuel.

Sidebar – I’ve been driving a Ford Kuga 1.6 AWD for a few years (NB: No fire starter jokes allowed) and for such a small engine, that car can chow fuel – I’m talking 11 – 12km/100! I never used to fill up because it was painful watching all that money go down the drain. When I filled up the truck for the first-time round, let’s just say I needed to sit down because I felt a little dizzy.

Every day, we transport goods worth millions of Rands. It goes without saying that the safety and security of the driver, the goods we carry, as well as the trucks themselves, is of paramount importance. TFN’s solutions enable us to run a cashless operation. In the road freight sector, cargo, equipment, and increasingly drivers, are all targets for criminals and if we can take one incentive out of the equation, the better off we are.

Whilst on cashless operations, I would like to give SANRAL a standing ovation. Now, now, before your eyes roll all the way to the back of your head, let me just say that we might have qualms as “Gautengers” about how they went about the e-toll saga, but their app is such a lifesaver! With an e-tag fitted on the vehicle, I can manage my account quickly and securely. The app works in real-time, allowing me to be kept informed of my spend on vehicles. And lo and behold when I do forget to top up (because …you know …admin), I immediately get a notification the moment my funds are depleted, allowing me to top up immediately whilst the truck is still on route, contributing to a seamless operation. Well done SANRAL. Sometimes the government does get it right …sometimes.

The South African logistics sector contributes about 12% towards the GDP, according to Stellenbosch University and the World Bank. Of that percentage, approximately ¾ is attributed to road freight alone. With such modestly generous figures, it’s encouraging to see various organisations come up with digitally inspired solutions to cater to this industry.

This brings me to my most used platforms, Car Track and Tracker. I can only assume that before the advancement in technology, one must have had to have a great deal of faith, composure, and trust. Not to say that we no longer require these skills, but the ability to log onto these apps and be able to get real-time updates on the exact location of a customer’s goods in transit certainly prevents a blood vessel or two from popping (in the event that you cannot reach the driver.) As for Google Maps, it goes without saying, that this is the backbone of my interaction with these tracking platforms.

There are a bunch of other digital platforms such as Linebooker that I am still to explore as the business continues to grow. However, it’s been interesting to know that before we start thinking self-driven trucks (think of that one scene from Terminator, were the machine is operating the truck…but I digress) and other seemingly complex technological advancements aimed at this industry, there are still digital channels that make the day to day operations in logistics that much easier.

What other digital platforms are you using or have you heard off that have made a world of a difference in the logistics space?

Article by: Geraldine Mamburu, Founder & MD PDQ Logistics

Download BAO E-MAGAZINE

Continue Reading

Technology

Three African-American Female Engineers Who Changed Our World

Published

on

Image source: Pexels

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) produce innovation that drives us forward as a species. Despite the fact that women and people of color have often been at the forefront of new discoveries, their representation within the STEM fields is historically low.

As culture progresses in understanding toward the value of a diverse workforce, those seeking out the future leaders of STEM are reaching out to underrepresented populations – specifically, women and people of color. One such outreach is ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day’, a global campaign established by the National Society of Professional Engineers.

The event, which takes place this February 25, is run by teachers, volunteers, and STEM professionals, and includes engaging engineering-based learning activities that encourage young women to develop problem solving skills and indulge their interest in science and engineering.

The road to their future success was paved by the intrepid women who came before them, including these three remarkable African-American female engineers:

  • Kimberly Bryant: Seeking to create an inclusive technology learning space for young women of color, Ms. Bryant created the not-for-profit coding camp Black Girls Code. As of late 2019, the organization has 15 chapters, and Ms. Bryant has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion as well as one of 2013’s 25 Most Influential African Americans in Technology.
  • Dr. Patricia Bath: An early pioneer of laser surgery for cataract treatment, Dr. Bath was the first female member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first female African-American surgeon at UCLA Medical Center, and the first female leader of a postgraduate ophthalmology training program.
  • Alice Parker: A housewife from New Jersey, Mrs. Parker developed and filed a patent for a gas-powered central heating system inspired by cold coastal winters. Her filing came before both the Women’s Liberation Movement and the Civil Rights Movement, a remarkable achievement for an African-American woman during her time.

More stories of African-American female engineers and  female leadership in engineering can be seen here:

To discover more about Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, visit NSPE online.

Download BAO E-MAGAZINE

Continue Reading

Ads

Most Viewed