Connect with us

Tech News

Attracting international investment to accelerate Africa’s industrialization

Newsroom

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Comments

Tech News

Artificial intelligence: Tackling the risks for consumers

Newsroom

Published

on

Artificial intelligence and automated decision making processes can pose certain threats to consumers. Find out how the European Parliament wants to protect them.

What is artificial intelligence and why can it be dangerous?

As learning algorithms can process data sets with precision and speed beyond human capacity, artificial intelligence (AI) applications have become increasingly common in finance, healthcare, education, the legal system and beyond. However, reliance on AI also carries risks, especially where decisions are made without human oversight. Machine learning relies on pattern-recognition within datasets. Problems arise when the available data reflects societal bias.

Artificial Intelligence in decision-making processes

AI is increasingly involved in algorithmic decision systems. In many situations, the impact of the decision on people can be significant, such as access to credit, employment, medical treatment, or judicial sentences. Automated decision-making can therefore perpetuate social divides. For example, some hiring algorithms have been found to be biased against women.

How to protect consumers in the era of AI

The development of AI and automated decision-making processes also presents challenges for consumer trust and welfare. When consumers are interacting with such a system, they should be properly informed about how it functions.

The position of the Parliament
In a resolution adopted on 23 January, the internal market and consumer protection committee urges the European Commission to examine whether additional measures are necessary in order to guarantee a strong set of rights to protect consumers in the context of AI and automated decision-making.

“We have to make sure that consumer protection and trust is ensured, that the EU’s rules on safety and liability for products and services are fit for purpose in the digital age,” said German Greens/EFA member Petra De Sutter., chair of the internal market and consumer protection committee.
Next steps

MEPs will vote on the  resolution in mid February. After that it will be transmitted to the Council and the Commission. The Commission should present its plans for a European approach to AI on 19 February.

Continue Reading

Tech News

APEC Advances Digitization of the APEC Business Travel Card

Newsroom

Published

on

Officials from APEC member economies break new ground in digitizing the APEC Business Travel Card scheme, seeking to modernize the process and make it easier for cardholders in the region to travel with the development of a mobile application.

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme facilitates short-term business travel within the APEC economies by streamlining the entry process at ports of entry within the region. Approved applicants are issued with a card that serves as the entry authority to fully participating economies.

“We continuously seek to improve the system and make it easier and more secure for cardholders to travel around the region,” said Kimberlee Stamatis, Convenor of the APEC Business Mobility Group who oversees the scheme.

The mobile application will include security features such as user verification, the use of watermarks and disabling of screenshots within the mobile application to ensure authenticity of the cardholder.

“Additional security features for the mobile application further hinder fraudulent replication and misuse, and protect the personal details of APEC Business Travel Card holders,” she added.

Additionally, the mobile application will provide cardholders and airport officers real-time information on the status of the travel card. Cached information will also be accessible for a period, in the event that the holder is not able to go online while they are traveling.

“The service will be offered to new applicants from fully participating economies, and we are exploring ways to enable existing cardholders to request the mobile application when they apply for a card renewal, which is required every five years,” Stamatis explained.

Further discussions are underway to ensure that the mobile application caters to the needs of both cardholders and airport officials. The APEC Business Mobility Group will work on the pilot version of the application with the expectation to launch it in November 2020, during APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Malaysia.

Depending on member economies’ preference for either the mobile application or physical card, the service is expected to be ready for use in early 2021.

Nineteen APEC economies are fully participating members to the ABTC scheme: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; the Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; and Viet Nam; Canada and the United States are transitional members.

Transitional members’ cardholders will not be able to use the mobile application, however, their existing processes will remain unchanged.

The APEC Business Travel Card scheme reduces travel costs between APEC economies by 38 percent. Businesses pay 27 percent less in application fees and 52 percent less in immigration processing.

Continue Reading

Tech News

Preparing Dushanbe for a New Digital Era

Newsroom

Published

on

 “Preparing Dushanbe for a New Digital Era” was the theme of a workshop held on February 4th and hosted jointly by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Hukumat of Dushanbe City, the State Unitary Enterprise (SUE), “Smart City Dushanbe” under the Hukumat of Dushanbe City, and the World Bank. Participants included leading Korean experts in the field of digital transformation and smart cities, as well as high-level Government representatives of the Republic of Tajikistan, development partners, the private sector, and civil society. 

“Living in the era of digital transformation has many benefits and challenges. As this is a high priority for us, we are expanding our work with development partners on digital transformation. South Korea is the first country that comes to mind as an example of best practices and expertise in the deployment of smart cities and the ability to increase the vitality of urban areas. For us, Korea’s experience gained during almost three decades of building smart cities is extremely valuable,” said Yusuf Majidi, Deputy Minister of Finance of Tajikistan. 

Smart city technologies allow city officials to interact directly with both the community and city infrastructure, and to monitor what is happening in the city and how it is evolving. ICT is used to enhance the quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services, reduce costs and resource consumption, and increase interaction with citizens. Smart city applications allow for better management of urban flows and enable real-time responses. In doing so, a “smart city” increases the efficiency of public services provided by city authorities, uses scarce resources more effectively, and improves citizens’ quality of life. 

“In this process, the Government is an enabler and a regulator, but digital transformation and smart cities can only be delivered with the active participation of the private sector, and by ensuring tangible benefits for the private sector,” added Jan-Peter Olters, World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan. 

The keynote speaker was Dr. Jong-Sung Hwang, Master Planner, Busan National Pilot Smart City, and Lead Researcher at the National Information Society Agency (former Chief Information Officer of Seoul), who shared the Republic of Korea’s extensive experience in developing smart cities. Oleg Petrov, Senior Digital Development Specialist at the World Bank, provided an update on the proposed Digital CASA Tajikistan project and its role in supporting the Government to build the foundations for a digital economy and the “Smart City Dushanbe” initiative.

This event was a key milestone in developing the Smart City initiative in Tajikistan, a key element of the Digital Economy 2040 Concept and Digital CASA Tajikistan Project. The World Bank confirmed its commitment to providing support to Tajikistan in building the required infrastructure to increase Internet bandwidth and speed, support the required adjustment and modernization of the institutional telecommunications environment, and develop the most critical applications aimed at increasing the efficiency and transparency of public services.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Newsdesk1 hour ago

Somalia Eligible for Assistance Under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative

The Executive Boards of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank met, on February 12 and 13, respectively, to...

South Asia3 hours ago

Kashmir burns as lockdown continues

The valley is on fire again, and it is engulfing the whole region. It is not just about Pakistan or...

Environment6 hours ago

Why Australia’s 2019-2020 bushfire season was not normal, in three graphs

Data from satellite sources assembled by the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) World Environment Situation Room confirms that the wildfires...

Eastern Europe9 hours ago

Russia’s Changing Economic Attitude towards Abkhazia & Tskhinvali Regions

Looking at the arc of separatist states on the Russian borders, there have recently been interesting developments which might signal...

Africa11 hours ago

Violence in North and West Africa increasingly targeting civilian and border areas

Violence in North and West Africa is increasingly targeting civilian and border regions as today’s conflicts involve non-state actors with...

Finance12 hours ago

Few Must-Have Invoice Templates Every Freelancer Should Own

Freelancing is undoubtedly one of the highly paid professions in the world nowadays. It totally depends upon the skill set...

EU Politics13 hours ago

Future ACP-EU Partnership

What is the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries? The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is...

Trending