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Attracting international investment to accelerate Africa’s industrialization

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Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is essential for Africa’s industrialization: it brings improved know-how, modern technology, and access to international markets; however, it needs to be targeted and complemented by tailored strategies and policies to lead to inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID). This was a key conclusion of LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), during today’s high-level session of the 2018 World Investment Forum jointly organized by the African Union (AU), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and UNIDO. Director General Li also urged stakeholders to take advantage of opportunities and platforms presented throughout the UN’s 2030 agenda, the AU’s Agenda 2063, the AFCFTA and the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III).

“To mobilize investment, you need to understand what investors want,” said Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board. “Investors want speed and stability, in an economy that is predictable and stable, both in terms of legal framework and economic growth. Sustainability and long-term value are of great importance for them to bet on your economy.” “Growth needs both local and foreign companies; therefore follow the example of attractive countries and appeal to national and international investors,” added Director for Sustainable Economic Development at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hans Docter. “You also need more concrete incentives, such as business parks and entrepreneurship programmes to spur growth and create more cooperation opportunities.”

The potential of the recently-established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was also explored during the Forum; UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi noted: “Industrialization requires strategic partnerships that must combine political leadership and a framework and strategies to mobilize competencies.” “AfCFTA is the biggest opportunity for Africa, but for it to become, Africa must industrialize,” said Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen. Amelia Kyambadde, Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Co-Operatives, and Kayula Siame, Permanent Secretary of Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, both expressed their support for the free trade area.

The event brought together global thought leaders and decision makers to discuss new approaches towards mobilizing investment for Africa’s manufacturing and industry-related sectors. Indeed, investment in Africa’s manufacturing sector needs to rapidly increase to meet the aspirations of structural economic transformation and industrialization. However, declining global FDI and its focus on the extractive sectors in Africa are long-term concerns, and the participants discussed opportunities to reverse present investment trends, including the role of the international community in supporting the continent’s ambitions.

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AutoFlight presents V1500M – an autonomous passenger eVTOL aircraft

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Shaping the future of urban air mobility: The tech company AutoFlight shows an autonomous passenger eVTOL aircraft: the V1500M. It will change the face of personal air transportation. AutoFlight debuted its autonomous fixed-wing passenger electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (“eVTOL”) to the world at the China Airshow in Zhuhai.

With its sleek looks and innovative technology the V1500M doesn’t rely on runways and airports. It can vertically take-off and land anywhere anytime. Virtually any rooftop or flat surface becomes a vertiport. When it reaches a certain altitude, the power system turns on the dual prop pusher, so that V1500M is able to cruise at speeds of a fixed-wing airplane. And in low-altitude airspace, the all-electric design enables the aircraft to operate at a very low noise level. 

As the energy consumption in the fixed wing mode is much lower than in the multirotor mode the V1500M can fly much further than any pure multicoptor eVTOL.

Being able to fly without a pilot, the V1500M’s uses eight lifting motors to take off and land vertically like a multi-rotor aircraft, and fly as far as 250 km when carrying up to four passengers. At the moment, a safety pilot is still mandatory. Yet as technology advances and regulations become increasingly refined, that space can later be allocated to another passenger or extra luggage. 

“The V1500M is a milestone – not only for AutoFlight but also for the global development of the urban air mobility“, so Tian Yu, founder and CEO of AutoFlight. “Our company is committed to developing safe and reliable passenger eVTOL aircraft and helping to create a better mobility future.”

In terms of safety, AutoFlight with its rich experience in aircraft design, manufacturing and its dedication to make reliable flying cars, following aviation industry’s standards. The lifting rotor’s and prop pusher’s redundant power system guarantees that the aircraft could hover safely when two of the rotors malfunction. In case of one propeller failure, the other still ensures safe flight and landing. The V1500M also has an whole-aircraft parachute, which is designed to act as the last line of safety to protect passengers so they enjoy safe flying.

V1500M will accomplish its first flight in the near future. The goal is to certify the aircraft with the aviation authorities by 2024.

Tian Yu: “AutoFlight will keep contributing to the eVTOL industry. Through building safe, efficient, systematic R&D and AC processes, leveraging domestic and international resources and establishing partnerships across industries, AutoFlight strives to accelerate the practical implementation of eVTOLs in commercial applications and lead us into a better future with UAM.”  

With its tradition and the experience, AutoFlight aims to create cost-effective, safe, and reliable eVTOL

AutoFlight is one of the earliest tech companies in China to start making autonomous eVTOL, including large payload logistic and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Logistic UAVs were introduced first. They have now accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time and been tested in all kinds of extreme conditions.

AutoFlight owns proprietary intellectual property rights in key technologies such as flight control systems, electrical systems or other core components. They have obtained over 200 domestic and international patents for its self-developed modules including highly efficient electric motors, electronic control systems, and durable lightweight carbon-fiber composite materials. 

“Following our cargo-to-passenger-strategy we go ahead step-by-step but very straight forward“, says Tian Yu. 

V1500M’s Key Specifications
Aircraft length10.3 m
Wingspan12.8 m
Fuselage height3.1 m
Maximum take-off weight (MTOW)1500 kg
Typical seating 3 – 4 
Cruise speed200 km/h
Flight range (fully seated)250 km

About AutoFlight

AutoFlight is a global high-tech startup, born in China, specializing in developing and manufacturing autonomous aerial vehicles. AutoFlight’s mission is to provide safe and reliable aerial logistic systems and urban air mobility solutions for human society. By leveraging new technologies in aviation, new material, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, and 5G, AutoFlight actively drives development in eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) industry.

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Critical Decarbonization Technologies Need at Least “10x” Investment

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Breakthrough technologies such as hydrogen-based fuels, bioenergy and carbon-capture storage solutions are needed to hit the global goal of zero emissions by 2050.

To scale these technologies and take them to market, at least a tenfold increase in investment is needed, according to the How to Finance Industry Net-Zero report.

Released by the World Economic Forum and Oliver Wyman, the report outlines how to address the supply-and-demand-side gap and take these technologies to the next level.

Part of the Forum’s Financing the Transition to a Net-Zero Future Initiative, the report brings together input from over 50 financial institutions and the public sector. Their focus is on how to steer capital to breakthrough technologies and drive a more sustainable future.

Key findings:

· The innovative blending of capital supported by an enabling ecosystem is needed, where different sources of public and private capital are brought together in technology-specific financing blueprints. To do this effectively, mechanisms that activate collaboration among multiple stakeholders are necessary.

· Transformative business models are essential, where industry participants and capital providers work together to establish new contracts and ways of doing business to increase the probability of commercial success.

· Targeted public intervention is critical, focused on the design of incentive schemes rewarding early movers adopting innovative technological solutions and de-risking schemes to mitigate investment risks unique to these innovative solutions.

The challenge ahead is significant, but not insurmountable,” said Derek Baraldi, Head of Sustainable Finance and Investing, at the World Economic Forum. “If executed thoughtfully, the mobilization of finance to breakthrough technologies presents a tremendous investment opportunity. This study found that there is a real appetite from industry for thoughtful partnership and collaboration between private and public capital providers.”

“Organisations have announced ambitious pledges to finance the transition to net-zero but the progress made to date is not enough,” added Ted Moynihan, Managing Partner and Global Head of Industries, Oliver Wyman. “There is a huge gap in financing of early-stage decarbonization technologies, which will be absolutely critical to achieving our targets from 2030 to 2050. With more research breakthroughs coming, we are now in a vital moment to accelerate the mobilization of capital towards decarbonization technologies in hard-to-abate industries.”

By proposing an initial set of financing approaches and de-risking solutions, the report seeks to initiate an important discussion on how to rapidly accelerate the deployment of capital towards breakthrough technologies.

The report launched at the Mission Possible Partnership event Supercharging Industrial Decarbonisation. It brought together public and private sectors from shipping, aviation, and steel. The Mission Possible Partnership will share learnings across these critical industrial sectors and present sector-specific blueprints for industrial decarbonisation.

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Russian MES App Claims Best Free Mobile Study Product

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The popular Russian app for education and learning, the MES diary, has reached the finals of the GESS (Global Educational Supplies and Solutions) Edutainment Awards – electronic diary for students and parents. The mobile software from Russia will vie for first place in the Best Free App/Software category.

The MES Diary is already very popular in Russia: a million people use it. With the help of this app, parents receive push-notifications with their child’s grades for the day, homework for all subjects, monitor children’s attendance, monitor the child’s nutrition in the school canteen and their purchases from the cafeteria: study the composition of dishes in the school menu, set up a list of “prohibited” products and daily spending limits. In the near future, on the MES Diary app, there will be the possibility to order hot meals from the cafeteria menu of the educational organization. A voice assistant can be connected to the app, and all information about the child’s timetable, homework and grades can be heard. Users can also chat with teachers if needed, and parents can create an absence notification in the app in just a couple of minutes.

For students, the MES Diary app is more than just a timetable and grades, it is a complete digital learning environment. The e-diary is part of the digital educational platform “Moscow E-School” developed by two Moscow departments – Education and Science and Information Technologies – in 2016. The platform’s users have free access to more than two million items of educational content. This year another 45 thousand educational materials and tools, interactive presentations, project and research tasks, virtual laboratories and tests in different subjects will appear on the platform. Teachers from different regions of Russia, major Russian publishers, and IT companies are involved in completing the MES library. The electronic knowledge base can be accessed 24 hours a day and from anywhere in the world – this played a huge role during the pandemic, when many schools of the world had to switch over to a remote format. Thanks to the MES system, Russian students were able to continue their studies at home without losing access to textbooks, educational materials and communication with teachers.

The number of users of MES services amounts to over 2.8 million people – among them approximately 60 thousand teachers, 1.1 million schoolchildren and over 1.7 million parents. The MES electronic diary in Russia is presented in two versions – a web version and a mobile application available in App Store and Google Play. It was the mobile version that reached the finals of the GESS Edutainment Awards, which awards educational products, resources, services, as well as the best educational institutions and teachers. The international competition involves 59 countries and 800 digital products, educational projects and teachers are up for grabs. Winners will be announced at the GESS Dubai conference in November 2021.

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