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Digital4Development Hub launched to help shape a fair digital future across the globe

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will officially launch the Digital4Development (D4D) Hub in the presence of representatives from the five Hub-founding EU Member States, under the German EU Council Presidency. The platform gathers key stakeholders from EU Member States, private sector, civil society and financial institutions in a Team Europe spirit with several objectives: scaling up investments in the digital transformation of partner countries; promoting a comprehensive values-based rulebook for a digital economy and society worldwide; and promote a stronger and more strategic EU engagement in international digital partnerships.

Ahead of the launch, President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how much our lives depend on digital technologies. With the Digital4Development Hub, Team Europe is building strong ties across the globe to make the digital revolution an opportunity for everyone.

Complementing the participation of five Heads of States and Government of Germany, France, Belgium, Estonia and Luxembourg, six more EU Member States (Finland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden) already signed the Letter of Intent to join the D4D Hub together with public institutions, industry, civil society and academia.

The “African Union-European Union D4D Hub”, the first operational regional component, will be launched during the High-Level Panel on the European Union–African Union Partnership on Digital Transformation. It will operate as a strategic tool to advance multi-stakeholder dialogue, joint partnerships and investments in the African digital economy.

The European Union has decided to build back better by dedicating 20% of the EU’s recovery plan to the digital transition. Today’s announcement shows that we share this ambition for a better digital future after the pandemic also with our partners around the world”, said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market. “This will help close the global digital divide and grow the digital economies of Europe and Africa together.”

 “The digital economy will be a key driver of inclusive sustainable development in Africa only if we bridge the digital divide, including the gender divide. The launch of the AU-EU Digital4Development Hub is a milestone in our partnership with the African Union to work towards this goal”, stated Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships.

Ahead of its official launch, the AU-EU D4D Hub has already been hard at work, supporting the deployment of the European digital response to COVID-19.

As part of the Team Europe global response to COVID-19, over €60 million of EU funds have been redirected towards immediate digital response measures to support partner countries to build longer-term resilience of their socio-economic systems.

With 20% of the Next Generation EU Recovery Plan dedicated to the digital transition, in the framework of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the EU will scale up its investments in digital partnerships with Africa.

Participants at the High-Level Panel on the European Union–African Union Partnership on Digital Transformation stressed the importance of safeguarding Africa’s digital and data sovereignty and welcomed the EU-AU Data Flagship as a game-changer for the development of the African data economy. The African-European Digital Innovation Bridge (AEDIB) is a key tool to connect the digital innovation ecosystems, strengthen the collaboration and foster exchanges between neighbouring continents.

Background

The creation of the “African Union – European Union D4D Hub” will be based on the recommendations of the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force Report (EU-AU DETF). It includes already five EU Member States, EU industry and key African partners such as the African Union and Smart Africa.

The D4D Hub will launch a series of African-European multi-stakeholder initiatives, boosting the rollout of the African Union’s own Digital Transformation Strategy, which was adopted earlier this year. The EU-AU Data Flagship and the African-European Digital Innovation Bridge are among the first of the D4D initiatives.

The D4D Hub will also be the main channel to operationalise the Team Europe approach in digital transformation, positioning the EU with its human-centric digital economy model on the world’s digital map.  

In this context, and under the patronage of the European Commission and of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Smart Development Hack, launched in April 2020, gathered more than 1000 innovative digital solutions to help facing the emergency. The nine best ideas obtained financial and technical support to proceed to the implementation phase.

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Earth Observation Data Could Represent A Billion-Dollar Opportunity For Africa

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Earth observation [EO] data provides a billion-dollar opportunity for economies on the African continent, one that could create jobs and build new resilience after COVID-19.

The newly released report Unlocking the Potential of Earth Observation to address Africa’s critical challenges lays out the multiple economic benefits from EO data. The report was written in collaboration with Digital Earth Africa, an initiative that is a world first in providing freely accessible data that maps the entire African continent.

This report marks the first known time the potential impact of EO for Africa has been quantified. According to estimates, EO could be worth up to $2 billion a year thanks to:

1. A strengthened EO industry. Improved use of EO data could lead to an extra $500 million in yearly EO sales along with new job opportunities and increased fiscal revenues.

2. Boosted agricultural productivity. Better data could potentially be worth an extra $900 million a year, thanks to water savings and productivity gains for farmers, not to mention reduced pesticide usage.

3. Better regulation of gold mining activity. Data allows countries to crack down on illegal mining, providing a potential savings of at least $900 million from reduced environmental damage and fiscal evasion.

The report shows the opportunity available in EO data to strengthen economies and reach sustainability goals. EO data can help governments make more informed decisions regarding water, agriculture, food security and urbanization. Advancing new collaborations between public and private efforts can incentivize data sharing to develop EO industries on the continent even further.

Dr Adam Lewis, Managing Director of the Digital Earth Program welcomes the findings of the report as the first of its kind to quantify the potential benefits of the program. “Through collaboration with key partners both within Africa and across the globe, we have made significant progress in turning this potential into a reality. Over the last 12 months the program has met a number of milestones in improving access to data and services within Africa. Working with Amazon Web Services as well as international space agencies and the private sector, we have been able to provide access to locally stored analysis-ready satellite data within Africa.” Adam said.

“We are proud to support Digital Earth Africa’s efforts to make Earth observation data more easily accessible to African nations,” said Ana Pinheiro Privette, Lead for Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative. “Through the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative, Amazon is making available petabytes of Earth observation data, which provide valuable insights for communities to manage climate impacts including increased floods and droughts.”

Valuing the impact of EO is an emerging practice globally, with recent reports covering the Asia Pacific, Australia, the European Union and the UK, but this is the first such report for Africa. The report was developed following examination of the readiness of African countries to effectively and efficiently grow their geospatial capabilities, integrated with study of the potential economic benefit of EO data adoption on specific sustainable development focus areas.

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Data-Driven Operations Are Key to Future of Manufacturing

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In the near future, manufacturing companies will collaborate in hyperconnected value networks in which data-and-analytics applications drive productivity, new customer experiences and societal and environmental impact. A new white paper, Data Excellence: Transforming Manufacturing and Supply Systems, released today presents the challenges for manufacturers and provides the steps to overcome them.

According to the report, nearly three-quarters of 1,300 surveyed manufacturing executives consider advanced analytics to be critical for success and more important today than three years ago. However, only a few companies capture the full value that data and analytics can unlock to address manufacturers’ most pressing challenges. Less than 20% of surveyed participants prioritize advanced analytics to promote either short-term cost reductions or longer-term structural cost improvements. Only 39% have managed to scale data-driven use cases beyond the production process of a single product and thus achieve a clearly positive business case.

Surveyed manufacturers cited various challenges that impeded their efforts to further scale and implement data-and-analytics solutions within their plants and across networks:

  • They struggle to prioritize the right value-adding use cases from a broad range of applications
  • They have not put in place technological enablers, such as data security or advanced algorithms
  • They lack critical organizational enablers, such as skills and capabilities and effective internal governance

This study by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), features insights from a unique community of 40+ manufacturing organizations and leading academics and public sector representatives, identifying six priorities to capture value from data and analytics in manufacturing:

  • Define a data-to-value strategy and roadmap
  • Incentivize internal and external ecosystem partners
  • Build capabilities to capture and use data
  • Implement an open platform to unlock data silos
  • Enable connectivity for low-latency, high-bandwidth data flows
  • Ensure data security and privacy

“These findings will help accelerate our journey to support companies in devising a path forward to reach the next level of data-based manufacturing excellence, build trust among manufacturing, suppliers and customers, and unlock new value through the development of new data-driven ecosystems,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production at the World Economic Forum.

“Manufacturing is on the verge of a data‑driven revolution,” said Daniel Küpper, Managing Director and Partner of BCG and a report co-author. “But many companies have become disillusioned because they lack the technological backbone required to effectively scale data-and-analytics applications. Establishing these prerequisites will be critical to success in the post-pandemic world.”

As a next step, the community is co-developing a Manufacturing Data Excellence Framework, which comprises value-adding applications as well as technological and organizational success factors. Companies will be able to leverage this framework to accelerate the development of globally connected manufacturing data ecosystems.

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World Bank Group and CES Announce Global Tech Challenge Winners

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image: ces.tech

World Bank Group and CES announced the winners of the Global Tech Challenge at CES®2021.

The result of a partnership between the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the World Bank Group, the Global Tech Challenge was launched at CES 2020 to reward scalable and innovative technological solutions in three main areas: digital health in East Africa, resilience in India and gender equality around the world. Technology solutions that helped communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic were also prioritized.

Selected among over 1,000 applications, three winners were selected for gender equality, 10 for resilience and 17 for digital health. More details about the selected innovations can be accessed here for health, resilience and gender equality.

Global Tech Challenge winners will have the opportunity to access financial and/or technical assistance to pilot and scale their solutions on the ground with private sector companies, governments and within development projects financed by the World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries.  

“From closing the digital divide to building resilience in the face of natural disasters or pandemics, innovation can solve some of the most pressing development challenges. The World Bank Group is pleased to support impactful programs focused on bringing equal access to connectivity to women in developing countries and to recognize cutting-edge solutions such as AI-enabled robots to rebuild homes in post-disaster areas. Now is the time to scale up solutions that have proven effective, so that no one is left behind in the new digital era,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure.

“Disruptive technologies are a fundamental driver of economic growth and job creation—and key to solving development challenges around the world. At IFC, we are proud to support the private sector in bringing these technologies to emerging markets, with innovations that range from portable ultrasound devices that can detect COVID-19 to medical tools that provide real-time cardiac diagnoses even in remote areas,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer at IFC.

We are thrilled to be continuing our work with the World Bank so the world’s best and brightest innovators at CES can collaborate with the World Bank Group to enter new markets, provide solutions and aid in development,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Owned and produced by CTA, CES 2021 will be an all-digital experience connecting exhibitors, customers, thought leaders and media from around the world. CES 2021 will allow participants to hear from technology innovators, see cutting-edge technologies and the latest product launches, and engage with global brands and startups from around the world. For over 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation, and CES 2021 will provide an engaging platform for companies large and small to launch products, build brands and form partnerships.

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