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Paulette Watson on International Women’s Day 2022 Breaking The Bias

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Paulette Watson, MD/Founder, Academy Achievers (Image: Supplied)

Paulette Watson thoughts – This year’s International Women’s day theme: #BreakingTheBias is really important for me as a black women and also the #BeMe digital inclusion program of raising one million females aspiration in Science Technology engineering maths related careers.

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) sector is growing fast, and the supply of skilled STEM workers can’t keep up with demand. According to the World Economic forum – Future of jobs 2020, there will be 55 billion digital/tech jobs in 2022 and beyond. Yet our black girls from poorer backgrounds are vastly underrepresented in the tech industry. A recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Diversity and Inclusion in STEM found that 65 per cent of the STEM workforce are White men compared to around 43 per cent of the UK’s population at the last UK. 

If our black girls are not digitally equipped, then they will be displaced and this will have a negative strain on our local economy.  I understand the immediate challenges that are faced amongst these girls, because they have told me, (Mental health issues, lack opportunities, feeling socially isolated due to covid), I have spoken to key stakeholders, myself and leaders from Academy Achievers sit on BAME community groups across the London boroughs, I am also a member of Newham Independent advisory board and Newham Working Partnership, where we recognised what the transformation will look like. 

Similar challenges exist in the creative sector. The Arts Council’s 2019-20 ‘Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case’ showed London has the highest percentage of Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse staff, at 19 per cent of the total workforce. However, this is still a significant under-representation where London’s population is approximately 40 percent Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse.  

Furthermore, our #BeMe mentoring focusing on BAME/BME girls getting into tech has more of an edge – according to the McKinsey report (Diversity wins: How inclusion matters 2020) suggests that having diverse and inclusive teams have been shown to be better able to radically innovate and anticipate shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns.  

#BreakingTheBias is all about ensuring that our black girls are the ones who create and design the algorithms so that we can rid the oppressive algorithms, unrealistic and unconscious biases that plague our tech community. Let’s make it happen #BreakingTheBias #BeMe

 

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Press Release

The State of AI in Africa: 2022 Report

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The State of AI in Africa Report launch was held on the 14th June at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Pretoria, South Africa and co-hosted by the World Economic Forum Centre for the 4IR South Africa and City of Tshwane. This 32-page report will appeal to analysts, enterprises, channel managers, governments, VCs or investors, NGOs, Embassies, trade missions and regional promotion agencies who are seeking deeper insights about the dynamics of this rapidly growing frontier tech market.

A key finding was just how cross cutting this technology is, with South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya dominating this sector and AI impacting at least 120+ separate market segments across Africa. Privately owned SMMEs or Micro businesses make up 75% of this sector, 40% of which were founded in the last 5 years, showing the importance nation states need to place on supporting their local tech ecosystems.

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It’s also attracting serious capital, with Tunisian AI start-up InstaDeep receiving $100m USD Series A funding earlier in 2022.  The global AI market is also projected to grow from $387 Bn USD in 2022 to $1,394 Bn by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 20%. Bradshaw concluded, “It’s a positive sign that this technology and the growing regional AI start-up ecosystems can win big across Africa if these trends continue.”

A copy of the report can be obtained online here.

The AI Media Group is a South African based industry analysis, publishing & business events consultancy specializing in the 4IR or smart tech sector in Africa. They are curators of AI Expo Africa, the continent’s largest B2B/B2G Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) trade show and publishers of Synapse, the first quarterly trade magazine charting Africa’s 4IR innovation journey. The group also runs AI TV which hosts discussions on trends in AI and 4IR technologies with local, regional and global thought leaders.

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Digital Asset Marketplace in a Web3 Economy with Chains CEO

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The digital asset landscape has been evolving over the past decade since blockchain technology made it possible to exchange value digitally. This was not previously possible before the launch of the Bitcoin network by Satoshi Nakamoto due to the double-spend problem.

A crypto exchange is effectively a marketplace where people buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The first well-known example of such a platform was Mt Gox which appeared in 2010, created by Jed McCaleb who is also co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Stellar – a payment network blockchain ecosystem focused on enabling low-cost cross-border transactions. The exchange imploded when it got hacked for hundreds of thousands of bitcoins and following that, many other exchanges started popping up, promising better security and liquidity.

The industry has evolved since then. Now there are hundreds of crypto exchanges – centralised and decentralised, custodial and non-custodial, from peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Paxful to order-book based exchanges such as Binance. These digital asset marketplaces also offer different services from spot to futures trading, savings products, NFT marketplaces and so much more.

Chains.com hopes to become one of the new market leaders by introducing a comprehensive offering that amalgamates all the different crypto products and services into an all-in-one platform. In this interview, Anderson Mccutcheon, CEO of Chains.com gives insights into the future of crypto marketplaces. Excerpts below:

 

BAO: How would you best describe Chains?

Anderson: Chains is a MetaFi platform, aimed at the next generation of web3 users. A single account, connected to multiple products, that are connected to multiple blockchains. Our goal is to cater to users that want to utilise cryptocurrency and NFT products, without having to learn the underlying technology.

BAO: There are already many crypto projects offering launchpads, exchanges and marketplaces. Why does space need a platform like Chains?

Anderson: For the same reason the world needs an Apple and a Samsung. A Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Variety and competition breed excellence and better results for users. We see what happens in markets where few players dominate – innovation slows down and users get locked into mediocre products.

BAO: Is Chains an open-source project and are you building on or integrating with any public blockchains?

Anderson: We are integrating with multiple blockchains that are open to various degrees. We natively support ETH, Polygon, BSC and TRON, with our generation-1 products. We will definitely be introducing more support for more blockchains and products in the immediate future.

BAO: What are the components of the Chains blockchain ecosystem? Can you share some key insights into your technology stack?

Anderson: Chains is not a technology company. Just like Coinbase isn’t. We are a product company that uses hundreds of technologies at any given time. We are part of the Amazon Activate program and our centralised services are mostly AWS-powered.

BAO: Are you looking to bring NFTs to your ecosystem in the future? In what ways will NFTs be used within your ecosystem?

Anderson: NFTs are an integral part of our ecosystem. We are conducting one of the biggest NFT allocations in the world with the Deep Space Society GEN-0 drop. 1 million NFTs allocated on Polygon.

BAO: What is a CHA token and can you describe its utility or tokenomics?

Anderson: It’s a utility token that is the backbone of our product ecosystem. Not using CHA and using Chains would mean paying more fees, not having access to certain stages of token sales and advanced marketplace features. 

BAO: When can people expect the token sale?

Anderson: We are currently in the pre-sale phase, an opportunity that hasn’t presented itself in years where those who believe in the project can buy into a blue-chip ICO. It’s been a long time since a CeFi/MetaFi platform has conducted a token sale in this way for early adopters.

BAO: Is the sale subject to any regulatory oversight and will you be accepting accredited investors?

Anderson: Yes. We have successfully completed SEC 506c compliance, meaning we are not only compliant, but we can market openly to accredited investors from the US.

BAO: Currently you have one of the most popular whitelists in the entire crypto space, what do you think makes a good crypto project?

Anderson: A strong team, a financial model that has been tested and proven to be working, a multi-year roadmap and a track record of delivering.

BAO: What is vCHA and how can people earn or acquire some?

Anderson: vCHA is a non-currency issued to our early adopters. You can accumulate it by registering, filling out your profile and inviting others to the platform. vCHA is converted into a permanent discount on the platform (which includes the upcoming CHA token sale) , which is the equivalent of staking $5000.

BAO: What can the community expect next from your roadmap?

Anderson: Launchpad comes first. Our goal is to showcase our ability to deliver world class products that can serve hundreds of thousands of users. Prism, our Analytics product, will also be launching this year, and will set a new standard for what a portfolio and asset tracking system should look like. 

 

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Press Release

Bridgia Joins Google Education Integrated Solutions Initiative to Take the Industry Closer to Africa’s Higher Institutions

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Bridgia, which connects African higher institutions to the industry to drive innovation and student skill development, has announced it has joined the Google for Education Integrated Solutions Initiative. The call for higher education; to be more responsive to industry needs is a global one. It is evident in the increased industry demand for graduates with innovation and technology skills. Industry linkage offices such as Career Services in most African universities typically lack access to digital resources and supporting services to support their objectives.

Google for Education Partners are a select group of companies recognised for their capabilities to deliver digital services to students and educators. Bridgia, focused on Africa, is now among this group of partners. Bridgia’s platform provides industry insights, resources, and programmes to make the industry more accessible to Africa’s Higher Institutions.

Bridgia’s Co-Founder/CEO, Segun Ogunwale, commented: “We are delighted to progress from being a Google Cloud Partner to a member of the Google Education Integrated Initiative. This collaboration provides us more opportunities to leverage Google for Education’s resources. And reach to provide easy access to the Bridgia’s platform for students, faculty, and staff members in Africa’s higher institutions.” 

At Bridgia Africa, we believe Africa’s future lies not in its abundant mineral resources but rather; in its young, agile, and booming human capital. Its goal is to support the transformation of Africa’s human resources to human capital by providing resources and opportunities. To strengthen Africa’s higher education system while building talent pipelines for the global world of work.

Bridgia’s aim to achieve this by connecting Africa’s higher institutions to the industry to provide access to information, resources and career opportunities in collaboration with industry partners. Its mission is to champion innovation, employability and development of talent pipelines in African higher institutions. These are achieved through widened access to industry information, programmes, and opportunities. For students and faculty in collaboration with institutional and industry partners.

 

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