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UNDP appoints African tech experts to steer its vision of leveraging 4IR technologies

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UNDP – The United Nations Development Programme announced a Technical Advisory Group comprised of prominent technology experts to steer its “Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution (AL4IR)” initiative. The initiative aims to drive the responsible adoption and use of emerging technologies for Africa’s transformation and growth.

The team of experts, drawn from leading global technology firms such as Google and Uber to inventors, lawyers, activists and social influencers, bring to the initiative a wealth of insights, ideas and expertise in technology-enhanced transformation across several key sectors, including healthcare, governance, education, food systems, elections, access to the internet, mobility and open data for sustainable development.

Through UNDP, the Technical Advisory Group will help steer a vision of strengthening an African-led 4th industrial revolution with a solid and resilient foundation anchored on five key pillars: data, technology infrastructure, skilling revolution, agile governance and sustainable energy. The experts will collectively enhance Africa’s role and leadership within the realm of the 4th industrial revolution through the co-creation of ideas and solutions with institutions and countries within the region.

“UNDP is betting on Africans to take the lead in the 4th industrial revolution. By harnessing and advancing technologies that can steer the continent towards achieving its development goals faster, better and through a greener approach, Africa’s role and leadership in this industrial revolution will not only transform lives and institutions but will also ensure that no one is left behind,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Regional Director for Africa.

Africa’s development is increasingly intertwined with new technologies that fuse the digital, biological, and physical worlds. The COVID-19 crisis presents opportunities for accelerated adoption of technologies – transforming ways of life, communication, governance, learning and work – ushering in a new era of social, economic and governance disruptions.

UNDP views technology not only as a tool but rather as an artefact for sustainable development and an accelerator of resilience.

“If we want to leverage technology for sustainable development and resilience, we must ensure that the foundations for the 4th industrial revolution are firm,” explained Alessandra Casazza, Manager of the UNDP Resilience Hub in Nairobi.

While technology is a driver of socio-economic prosperity, previous industrial revolutions significantly increased inequalities with disproportionate benefits and opportunities for early adopters and damage to our natural world. Therefore, data, energy, internet, skills and agile governance, are anchored on the premise that the 4th industrial revolution must gainfully and meaningfully benefit the African continent. The AL4IR initiative aspires to influence the development and use of technology based on a sound, inclusive and resilient foundation. As the youngest continent globally, Africa’s youth are drivers and creators of innovations and, as a result, are poised to benefit most from new jobs and opportunities that were previously inaccessible to them.

Ensuring that rapid and exponential changes do not exacerbate disparities and knowledge or information gaps (especially between governments and the private sector) could advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

UNDP commits to convene, connect and catalyze collaborative actions with partners towards accelerated uptake and responsible use of the 4th industrial revolution technologies for better development decision-making and action.

The 10-member Technical Advisory Group comprises of:

  1. Chrystal Rugege, Managing Director, Center for the 4th Industrial Revolution, Rwanda
  2. Titi Akinsami, Lead, Policy and Government Relations Lead for West and Francophone Africa at Google
  3. Ory Okolloh Mwangi, lawyer, investor and policy advisor
  4. Rapelang Rabana, Rekindled Learning, 4RSA
  5. Davis Adieno, Program Director, Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)
  6. Eniola Mafe, Lead, 2030Vision, World Economic Forum (WEF)
  7. Babusi Nyoni, designer and inventor
  8. Cezanne Maherali, Head of Policy, Middle East and Africa, UBER
  9. Nnenna Nwakanma, Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation
  10. Philip Thigo, Digital Partnerships Advisor, UNDP and Lead, Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Source: UNDP

 

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Press Release

Emil Ekiyor Named In “Indiana 250” Most Influential List

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Emil Ekiyor, Founder at InnoPower (Image: Supplied).

IBJ Media has named Emil Ekiyor, one of Africans in the Diaspora leading accomplished community leader and entrepreneur, in the 2024 Indiana 250, the annual list of the 250 most influential leaders in Indiana. The Indiana 250 Most Influential List, now in its third year, recognises the state’s most influential and impactful business and community leaders, representing public and private companies, law firms, universities, not-for-profit, government and community organizations. Mr Ekiyor, is recognised for his accomplishment as a community leader and entrepreneur dedicated to empowering African and African American communities. The list is available at Indiana250.com.  

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Born in Nigeria, Emil embarked on an educational journey to the United States at age 15. He excelled academically and athletically in high school, earning a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida. As a college football team captain, Emil demonstrated stellar leadership and strategic skills. He went on to have a six-year professional football career with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Upon retiring from the NFL, Emil transitioned into entrepreneurship and community leadership roles.

Emil currently serves as CEO of InnoPower Indy Inc., driving innovative community empowerment programs. He has also served as President of the Indianapolis Black Expo Indy chapter and Indy Youth Sports, while serving on nonprofit boards like Friends of Education, Teach for America Indy and the Boys Scouts of America.

With a commitment to advancing black talent and closing wealth gaps, Emil brings collaboration, innovation and courage to his community leadership. He continues to create sustainable change as a beacon of hope for African and African American communities.

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Press Release

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy to Showcase I-PHILANTHROPY Platform at 2024 IMBW @ RALLY

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Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) Chairperson, Thelma Ekiyor Solanke (Image: Supplied).

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) is set to introduce its groundbreaking I-PHILANTHROPY platform at a high-profile roundtable discussion during the 2024 innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, taking place on August 27-28 in Indianapolis. This landmark event, hosted by NPO Chairperson Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke, will explore innovative solutions for creating access to capital in disenfranchised communities.

I-PHILANTHROPY is a cutting-edge digital solution that leverages technology to support Nigerian small business owners and create unprecedented access to capital for micro-enterprises. The platform’s success in Nigeria offers a promising model for addressing similar challenges faced by underserved communities in the United States.

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“I-PHILANTHROPY represents a paradigm shift in financial inclusion and support for micro-enterprises,” said Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke. “We’re excited to share our experiences at innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY and explore how this model can be adapted to empower disenfranchised communities in the USA.”

The roundtable will discuss:

– I-PHILANTHROPY’s impact on capital access for Nigerian micro-businesses.

– Potential applications of the model in US minority communities.

– Strategies for engaging diaspora and global participants in local economic development.

– Opportunities for international collaboration in supporting grassroots entrepreneurship.

This showcase is a highlight of innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, a premier event that combines innoPower’s focus on empowering minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovative solutions to global challenges. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

“The I-PHILANTHROPY platform aligns perfectly with our mission to foster growth and success among minority-owned businesses,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder at innoPower. “This roundtable offers a unique opportunity to learn from international best practices and explore new strategies for addressing capital access challenges in our communities.”

Erica Schweyer, Executioner at RALLY, added, “By bringing together diverse voices from technology, business, and philanthropy, we aim to catalyze transformative ideas that can have real-world impact on disenfranchised communities both in the US and globally.”

 

Sign up for the Roundtable and receive a 88% discount https://innopower.formstack.com/forms/imbwdiscount

 

About Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO):

NPO is at the forefront of leveraging technology for social good in Nigeria. Their I-PHILANTHROPY platform is revolutionizing how global participants can support Nigerian micro-enterprises and contribute to local economic development.

About innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY:

This collaborative event combines innoPower’s focus on fostering growth and success among minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovation and transformative ideas. It brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

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Press Release

Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank to fund underserved MSMEs in Nigeria

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Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank Nigeria Plc to reach underserved MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) at scale. By providing long-term capital and capacity building to unbanked and under-banked companies in Nigeria, the investment is expected to support sustainable private sector development and inclusive growth.

Nigeria, with a population of 230 million, has an unemployment rate at a staggering 33%. Additionally, over half of the rapidly growing population is below the age of 30, which further exacerbates the need for job creation and workforce development. As Nigeria also copes with a multitude of crises, including insecurity, food shortages and inflation, the resilience and power of MSMEs is critical to driving sustainable development and reducing poverty.

Swedfund’s investment aids in advancing sustainable private sector development, encouraging inclusive growth, and expanding access to finance. Access Bank, known for its strong market presence and with a committed MSME strategy, serves as an effective partner to reach MSMEs in need of financing in Nigeria, says Kitanha Toure, Regional Director of West Africa at Swedfund.

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Access Bank is systemically important and well-positioned to reach a significant number of MSMEs in Nigeria. Swedfund’s investment will contribute to direct and indirect job creation and other tax-generating activities as well as improved access to finance for rural and underserved groups, female- and youth-owned companies.

Access Bank is eligible to meet the 2X Criteria, a global baseline standard for gender finance, and recognised as the best SME bank for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

The loan is part of a syndicate led by the Dutch development finance institution, FMO, with a total value of USD 295 million. The syndicate consists of other Nordic and European development finance institutions such as BII, BIO, Finnfund and Norfund.

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