iEcoAfrica is a network of actors and entities embedding a culture of sustainability in the ecosystems around and inside organisations in Africa. Our value chain consists of sustainability communications, trade, investment and consultancy. We use varying communications medium, including Environmental, Economic, Social, Governance Reporting and Disclosure frameworks to communicate an organisations value creation. We build expertise in general management, guide practical experience and develop a network of skills and knowledge that offer the best returns to investors, customers and community stakeholders. Our Unique Selling Point is our ability to create project partners that deliver technical prowess, financing and stakeholder engagement that results in a social license to operate. Our current strategic focus is Agri-business and Renewable Energy Economies.
Future of the Paris climate agreement - panel
In the aftermath of the G7 Summit in Italy, and the US decision to withdraw from the accord, ODI convenes a global panel of experts to assess the future of the Paris climate agreement.
World Bank at DRC Mining Week: "pre-competitive geoscience knowledge essential to attract investor interest"
"There is a need to have access to pre-competitive geoscience knowledge and geological mapping suitable to identify prospective areas for attracting investor interest", says Francisco Igualada, Senior Mining Specialist, Energy and Extractive Industries (GEEDR) at the World Bank. He adds: "this is very important as many junior and mid-tier mining companies are unaware of the full mineral prospecting potential of a country, as a result of incomplete coverage of geological mapping, at the required scale, and associated geochemical and geophysical surveys."
Mr Igualada is a featured speaker at DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi from 23-24 June, focusing on the "Importance of geoscience data and information to ensure a sustainable DRC mining sector".
He explains further: "In DRC, thanks to the development of the PROMINES project, we are undertaking such a fundamental geological work. Of course, there are other challenging issues such as the availability of a digital mining cadastre that we have tackled as well through the development of the World Bank PROMINES project. Currently we are extending the DRC cadastre (CAMI) to other regions bringing more transparency and the principle of ‘first come first served’. This aspect, coupled with the Mining Code, is a key factor for effectively attracting investors, besides the DRC’s great geological and metallogenical potential."
The full interview with Mr Igualada can be viewed here: http://www.drcminingweek.com/WorldBankDRCinterview
Thousands are expected to gather for the practical annual mining and industrial expo again as the award-winning DRC Mining Week conference and exhibition returns to Lubumbashi, in the heart of the DRC’s mining hub, from 23-24 June. While retaining its main focus on mining, the event will also broaden its scope to include a focus on related and complementary sectors such as agriculture, energy and construction.
Industry recognition and support
As with previous editions of the event, DRC Mining Week has already secured the early and impressive support of the industry through the diamond sponsorship of Engen and the platinum sponsorships of Gecotrans, Sodexo, Standard Bank and Tenke Fungurume Mining, while Aggreko, Atlas Copco, Axishouse, Copperbelt Energy, Earth Networks, ERG, Ivanhoe Mines-New Horizons and Vodacom are confirmed as gold sponsors.
Earlier this year, DRC Mining Week was recognised for its support of the Kinsevere Community School Project in Lubumbashi when it was named a finalist in the Social Responsibility category of the AAXO ROAR Organiser and Exhibitor Awards, which honour excellence in the exhibition and events industry on the continent.
DRC Mining Week is organised by Spintelligent, a leading Cape Town-based organiser of exhibitions and conferences across the continent in the infrastructure, real estate, energy, mining, agriculture and education sectors. Other well-known events by Spintelligent include African Utility Week, Agritech Expo Zambia, Kenya Mining Forum, Future Energy East Africa (formerly EAPIC), Future Energy Nigeria (formerly WAPIC), Future Energy Central Africa (formerly iPAD Cameroon), iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum and EduWeek. Spintelligent is part of the UK-based Clarion Events Group.
DRC Mining Week:
Pre-conference Power Focus Day: 22 June 2017
Conference and expo: 23-24 June 2017
Site visit: 22 June 2017
Location: The Pullman Lubumbashi Grand Karavia Hotel, Lubumbashi, DRC
World Economic Forum to Support 22 Countries and EU in Doubling Investment in Clean Energy R&D by 2021
World Economic Forum to work with Mission Innovation, a commitment by 22 countries and the European Union, to accelerate global clean energy innovation to address climate change
Collaboration aims to support Mission Innovation by enabling public-private partnerships that enable a more sustainable, affordable, inclusive and secure global energy future
Mission Innovation includes the world’s leading economies, five most populous countries and represents over 80% of clean energy R&D budgets – members pledged to double governmental investments in R&D by 2021
Beijing, China, 08 June 2017 – The World Economic Forum and Mission Innovation, a commitment by 22 governments and the European Union to accelerate global clean energy innovation, will collaborate to support Mission Innovation’s goal of doubling governmental investments in clean energy R&D by 2021.
The aim of the collaboration is to encourage public-private partnerships which will have the greatest impact on three areas of investment – or Innovation Challenges – carbon capture; clean energy materials; and affordable heating and cooling of buildings. The Forum will support by driving engagement from industry, investors and its network of Technology Pioneers, a global community of trailblazing companies, to reduce the costs of low carbon energy solutions, making them widely available, affordable and reliable.
“Public-private partnerships are critical to fast-track innovation from early stage design to full scale-up. This is a critical time for energy innovation and we are delighted to be working with major governments in the quest to accelerate access to clean energy for everyone,” said Cheryl Martin, Head of Industries, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum Geneva.
“This partnership allows us to make the most of the clean energy momentum that Mission Innovation has created and collectively enable those participating to reach our aim of accelerating energy innovation in the private sector – which is at the heart of economic growth for many of the countries behind this,” saidLeonardo Beltrán Rodríguez, Mexico’s Deputy Secretary for Planning and Energy Transition.
Mission Innovation includes the world’s five most populous countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and the United States) and represents over 75% of global CO2 emissions from electricity and more than 80% of clean energy R&D budgets. Mission Innovation member governments have pledged to double R&D investment to reach over $30 billion a year by 2021. Details of each country’s plans are available here.
The announcement was made as ministers from all 22 member countries gathered in Beijing at theSecond Mission Innovation Ministerial and Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial.
Mission Innovation will convene energy innovation stakeholders at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2017, taking place in Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 27-29 June. They will also meet at the Strategic Dialogues on Energy Futures event, hosted by Mexico, on 12-13 September 2017.
To Save Healthcare Systems, Focus on Patient Outcomes, Global Health Leaders Urge
- Global leaders from the healthcare sector unite to appeal for a new model of healthcare delivery in response to rising costs and dissatisfactory patient outcomes. The value-based healthcare model would track and pay for healing, instead of treating, patients
- Signatories include the Chief Executives/Presidents of Kaiser Permanente, Medtronic, Novartis, Qualcomm Life and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, the Minister of Health of the Netherlands, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Service England and Harvard’s Michael Porter
- The model will be implemented in four pilot markets in 2017, beginning in Atlanta, USA, where the start was announced on 25 April, and later in the Netherlands, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China.
- Download the full report here
A diverse group of leading stakeholders in the $7.6 trillion global healthcare sector are calling for a major overhaul of healthcare systems, designed to deliver improved patient outcomes at lower cost. The proposal hinges on “value-based healthcare”, a patient-centric system that focuses on outcomes that matter to patients across the care spectrum. The recommendations are presented in a new World Economic Forum report, Value in Healthcare: Laying the Foundation for Health-System Transformation, released today in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, and to be implemented in four pilot locations, starting in Atlanta (USA) this year.
Shifting the focus of healthcare to outcomes would enable health systems to address the rising costs, the signatories say. “Value-based care represents our best chance at ensuring that health systems of the future can deliver those outcomes that matter to patients at sustainable, long-term costs,” said Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Global Health and Healthcare Industries at the World Economic Forum.
Supporters of the appeal for a value-based healthcare approach include Omar Ishrak, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic, Joseph Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer, Novartis, Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School, Edith Schippers, Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport of the Netherlands, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Service England, Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Permanente, Rick Valencia, President, Qualcomm Life, and Christophe Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. It is the first time that such a diverse group of leaders have aligned on a system-level approach to healthcare reform. (See quotes below.)
The report suggests three foundational principles to provide the basis for value-based care:
- Measuring outcomes and costs, i.e. the systematic measurement of the health outcomes that matter to patients and the costs required to deliver them across the full cycle of care
- Focusing on population segments that are clearly defined, and the health outcomes and costs associated with them; and
- Customizing segment-specific interventions, developed to improve value for each population segment
Four key enablers of value in healthcare support and facilitate the reorientation of health systems around these three principles:
- Informatics – including shared standards and new capabilities that enable the routine collection, sharing and analysis of outcome data and other relevant information for each population segment
- Benchmarking, research and tools – including systematic benchmarking for continuous improvement; identification of variations in responses to treatment and of emerging clinical best practices; new data sources for research and innovation, and new approaches to clinical trials; and the development of sophisticated decision support tools for clinicians and patients
- Payments – including new forms of compensation and reimbursement that help to improve patient value
- Delivery organization – including new roles and organizational models that allow providers and suppliers to adapt to new opportunities and innovations, provide better access to appropriate care and engage clinicians in continuous improvement
The report emphasizes that national political leaders and policy-makers have a central role to play in accelerating the transition to a value-based health system, a point stressed by several of the signatories.
To put its recommendations in practice, the Value in Healthcare project has begun working with 20 payer, provider, supplier and government organizations in the US state of Georgia on a pilot project to create a comprehensive value-based approach to heart failure in the Atlanta metropolitan area. “As the Mayor of the City of Atlanta, I am excited to host the first pilot program to focus on value-based healthcare with the World Economic Forum and our private sector partners,” said Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta.
“Over the next several months, the Atlanta working group will design a roadmap for implementing value-based health care for patients with heart failure, and will then put our work to the test, and see real-world examples of how value-based health care can affect outcomes. We have a bold vision: to become a national leader in heart-failure survival in the United States while improving the quality of life and reducing the cost of care for our residents. This pilot program lays the groundwork for us to achieve this audacious, but attainable goal."
In addition to the Atlanta project, three more regional pilots will be conducted this year in the Netherlands, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China. The report and call to action were prepared by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Power & Electricity World Africa 2018
Power & Electricity World Africa 2018 celebrates its 21st Anniversary. The show welcomes over 8000 attendees and hosts a mecca of solution providers spanning 4 halls and thousands of square metres.
Power & Electricity World Africa is Africa’s largest and longest running power and electricity show. For 21 years we have helped shape the regional energy market through sharing knowledge, educating the market and facilitating influential meetings. Billions of dollars of business have either been initiated, influenced or concluded at this show.
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa (Pty) Ltd, ABB, GE, Barloworld Power, Siemens, MTU, Voith, IBM, Mott Macdonald, Solar World Africa, Yingli Solar, Vestas, SMA, Arup… just to name a few, have all leveraged Power & Electricity World Africa as their once-a-year opportunity to meet and do business with new and existing customers.
Year on year, the event provides our partners with access to over 800 African energy utility and IPP decision makers, who traditionally are difficult to reach. And most importantly, the show allows them to meet real buyers.
We are proud to have hosted utilities such as Eskom, STEG, Nampower, Zesco, KenGen, Tanesco, EDM, GridCo, Electricity Company of Ghana, TCN, VRA, ENE Ethiopian Electric Power, CEET, SNEL, Senelec, Sonabel, Nigelec, GRIDco and many others over the years. And we are proud to have welcomed back over 40 African countries for the 2017 edition of the event.
PEWA is the meeting place of Africa's power sector. Over 40 African countries attend this prestigious show. The conference brings together the brightest and most innovative minds that are shaping the way we generate energy and meet the growing demand. Delegates and VIPs flock to the conference to learn the latest developments, innovations and investment opportunities which will help them succeed in the energy industry.
Power & Electricity World Africa has been endorsed by Eskom for the past 7 years and continues to provide the meeting place for buyers, sellers and their partners to do the deals that drive Africa’s energy sector. This is THE place where buyers find solutions to their challenges. TENS OF THOUSANDS of executives and business leaders from across Africa have attended the show over the last 21 years.
INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT FOR POWER PRODUCERS AND UTILITIES, ENERGY USERS, DEVELOPERS, GOVERNMENT AND INVESTORS
"Does the Trump administration even think about Africa"?
The question on how the Trump administration’s policies will impact Africa was met with mixed reaction Wednesday during a briefing at the African Utility Week Conference underway in Cape Town.
The panellists, all leading experts in investment, grappled with questions like "does the Trump administration even think about Africa?" This amidst continuing speculation of US president Donald Trump’s policy plans for the African continent and growing concerns over the future of foreign aid projects and big projects steered as part of Power Africa under the previous administration. Vacancies in key senior portfolios for Africa fuels these concerns because a few months into his term Trump has not yet filled the position of assistant-secretary of state for African affairs. US media earlier reported J. Peter Pham as a favourite for this job.
On Tuesday leading investment analysts were also cautious on this topic.
Head of natural resources at Exotix Partners in the UK, Andrew Moorfield, said there is so much emotion in talks about Trump that he would rather focus on the “knowns” which are the markets. In Moorfield’s analysis there is some possible good news for African economies.
Moorfield referred to the low rate environment in the US. He said the last 12 months shows a post-Trump bump, but it is now falling again. According to him US rates is expected to remain low in the medium term with some consequences for Africa. This situation, he says, “creates a favourable and stable climate for African investment”.
This he explains is because investors generally reach for yield expectations for low and stable US rates also encourage investors to move to emerging and frontier markets because the stability reduces risk premiums associated with a potential flight to quality.
"The US dollar has been weakening since January, consistent with Trump’s stated preferences threatening foreign investor returns through continuing depreciation, "he explained.
It is common cause that one of Trump’s key plans is to invest in US infrastructure and this, Moorfield projects, will buoy commodity demand generally which will benefit African economies as demand for oil, gas minerals and metals will grow.
According to him Africa has lots of natural resources but is low on capital. “So if Trump executes his plan and invests in infrastructure the effect should be that it would buoy commodities and will benefit African economies.”
So the good news, says Moorfield, is that commodities have a wonderful multiplier effect. "And the multiplier effect is in the country of extraction, and that is Africa. So it can be a massive benefit."
Moorfield furthermore explained in terms of price recovery there can be a multiplier effect from a low base. "Commodities index at a low level and any price rises coming from a low base have an enhanced multiplier effect as they magnify the net revenue above the costs." He explains low interest rates will spur further investment in infrastructure including gas, mines and power on the continent. "So in this context opportunities will increasingly emerge to take advantage of an improving investment environment in selected African markets. Investors look for higher yields, and it is currently in the frontier markets."
Another panellist and author of the book "Frontier: Exploring the top ten emerging markets of tomorrow, Gavin Serkin told delegates four of the best ten places in the world to invest is in Africa. This includes Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Egypt. Responding to the question is the Trump administration talking about Africa; Serkin said he would hope so. "It looks like business as usual but I think there is a lot going on. I think it is on the radar, just down on the list.
Leading investment expert Jerome Booth in turn said investing in emerging markets is contrary to popular belief, a smart way to reduce risk.
Over 7000 decision makers from over 80 countries are attending the three day conference and expo where the latest developments, challenges and opportunities in the power and water sectors will be under the spotlight.
Over 300 experts will over three days discuss innovative solutions to the continent’s energy and water challenges and the exciting opportunities for utilities and industry players.
The conference ends Thursday.
Written by: Alicestine October
Close Skills Gaps to Prepare Africa's Workforce for Tomorrow's Jobs
- Every year for the next three decades, 15-20 million increasingly well-educated young people are expected to join the African workforce
- Employers across the region identify skills gaps as a major constraint to their ability to compete in the global economy
- In South Africa alone, 39% of core skills required across all jobs will be wholly different by 2020, while 41% of jobs in South Africa are susceptible to automation
- Read the full report here. For more information about the World Economic Forum on Africa, please visit wef.ch/af17
With more than 60% of its population under the age of 25, sub-Saharan Africa is already the world’s youngest region and, by 2030, it will be home to more than one-quarter of the world’s under-25 population. As this young population – the best-educated and globally connected the continent has ever had – enters the world of work, the region has a demographic opportunity. But the region can only leverage this opportunity by unlocking latent talent and preparing its people for the future of work.
A new report launched by the World Economic Forum aims to serve as a practical guide for leaders from business, government, civil society and the education sector, and finds that the region’s capacity to adapt to the requirements of future jobs leaves little space for complacency. While a number of African economies are relatively underexposed to labour market disruptions at present, this picture is changing rapidly. This window of opportunity must be used by the region’s leaders to prepare for tomorrow.
Key findings from the report, which includes new data from LinkedIn, are:
- While it is predicted that 41% of all work activities in South Africa are susceptible to automation – as are 44% in Ethiopia, 46% in Nigeria and 52% in Kenya – it is likely moderated by comparatively low labour costs and offset by job creation. Despite this window of opportunity, the region’s capacity to adapt to further job disruption is a concern.
- Employers across the region identify inadequately skilled workforces as a major constraint to their businesses, including 41% of firms in Tanzania and 30% in Kenya, while others say they feel less pressure (9% in South Africa and 6% in Nigeria). However, this pattern may worsen across the region in the future. In South Africa alone, 39% of core skills required across occupations will be wholly different by 2020.
- This skills instability often stems from the fact that many jobs in the region are becoming more intense in their use of digital technologies. Average ICT intensity of jobs in South Africa increased by 26% over the last decade, while 6.7% of all formal-sector employment in Ghana and 18.4% of all formal-sector employment in Kenya occurs in occupations with high ICT intensity.
- Some of the most common types of higher-skilled employment on the continent include business analysts, school teachers and academics, commercial bankers, accountants, human resources, marketing and operations specialists, customer service specialists, advertising professionals, information technology workers and software and app developers, according to LinkedIn’s data.
“Across the continent, substantial potential exists for creating high-value-adding, formal-sector jobs in a number of areas. However, to realize this potential, closer dialogue between education providers and industry is needed to align and optimize the region’s demand and supply of skills,” said Nicolaas Kruger, Chief Executive Officer of MMI Holdings and Chair of the Africa Skills Initiative.
The initiative, part of the broader efforts of the Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work, serves as a platform to help change this. It provides new insight, brings together business efforts to address future-oriented skills development and supports constructive public-private dialogue for urgent and fundamental reform of education systems and labour policies to prepare workforces for the future of jobs. The Africa Skills Initiative is inviting businesses in partnership with government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to make quantifiable commitments to skill, upskill or reskill 1 million people by 2018 and 5 million people by 2020 in Africa, the Middle East and other regions.
“The data show that, to prepare for the future of work, the region must expand its high-skilled talent pool by developing future-ready curricula, with a particular emphasis on STEM education; increase digital fluency and ICT literacy across the population; provide robust and respected technical and vocational education; and create a culture of life-long learning, including the provision of adult training and upskilling infrastructure,” said Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender and Work and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.
Africa's Prosperity Tied to Powerhouse Pair South Africa and Nigeria
- Size does matter: The fortunes of Africa are tightly bound to those of its two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, and the continent will not prosper unless they succeed
- Global economic shocks, notably the commodity price crash, have hit both of these countries and they must learn from the setbacks and set about fostering growth in new ways
- Switching from a heavy reliance on foreign investment to more intra-African trade is a clear priority
- Follow the 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa at http://wef.ch/af17
Tackling Africa’s massive social challenges is impossible without harnessing and coordinating the power of its two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, said Kuseni Douglas Dlamini, Chairman of Massmart Holdings, South Africa, at the World Economic Forum on Africa, which opened today in Durban. Dlamini pointed out that the two economic powerhouses together contribute 60% of the gross domestic product of sub-Saharan Africa. “Africa cannot succeed unless they succeed,” he added.
However, neither South Africa nor Nigeria is currently on a high-growth path. The global slowdown has clearly had a profound effect, but the countries’ leaders need to consider whether they have fully applied the principles of inclusive and sustainable growth. One example of effective leadership would be a redoubled effort at regional integration. At present, only 10% of all Africa’s trade is intra-African – the lowest ratio of all continents in the world. If this could be boosted to 20% it would make meaningful inroads into creating jobs and tackling poverty.
Haruki Hayashi, Executive Vice-President and Regional Chief Executive Officer, Europe and Africa, Mitsubishi Corporation, United Kingdom, said that South Africa and Nigeria should be “leaders, drivers and role models” for other African countries. This does not necessarily mean they shouldn’t be competitive – after all, the African market is a huge one with many trade and development opportunities for both. Hayashi said that policy consistency, political stability and turning back the tide of corruption are imperatives to South Africa and Nigeria assuming a leadership and mentoring role on the continent.
Danladi Verheijen, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Verod Capital Management, Nigeria, said that diversification of economies is a priority for many countries, but particularly for Nigeria, given its heavy reliance on its oil resources. He said oil has been seen as fuelling the Nigerian economy, but it should instead be seen as “lubricating” it. “Quick wins” are important to kick-starting growth away from current low levels.
Geoffrey Qhena, Chief Executive Officer of the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, said that Africa’s larger economies could, counter-intuitively, benefit from global moves towards protectionism. Rather than remaining reliant on imports in many sectors, countries like South Africa and Nigeria with the capacity to build new industry and manufacturing sectors could do so – with obvious long-term benefits for themselves and their neighbours. It might be important to collaborate on such initiatives and leaders need to engage and iron out their differences regarding impediments to cooperation.
The 2017 World Economic Forum on Africa takes place on 3-5 May in Durban, South Africa, under the theme Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership. The meeting convenes regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to explore solutions to create economic opportunities for all. It will also provide insight from leading experts on how Africa will be affected by the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly in terms of safeguarding the region’s economies from negative disruption and exploiting opportunities for further growth and development.
The Whole Spectrum: A Holistic Approach to Climate Resilience
Climate change is a growing threat to global stability and national security. Decades of fossil fuel combustion and unsustainable land use have contributed to carbon dioxide levels in the planet’s atmosphere that are higher than in the past 4 million years. With so much carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere, the planet is getting warmer. Last year—2016—was the hottest year on record and seas around the world have already risen an average of nearly 3 inches. We are already experiencing increased impacts from extreme events, such as floods and drought: while it is difficult to attribute any one event to the broader phenomenon of climate change, Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines caused 6,100 deaths, displaced 4 million people, and damaged 1.1 million houses in 2013, with an estimated financial cost exceeding US$7 billion.
Climate change also magnifies existing risks to health and livelihoods, particularly in developing countries, which can drive refugee flows and conflict over basic resources, such as food and water. Poor people are more susceptible to climate-related diseases such as malaria and diarrhea. Higher food prices caused by climate-driven declines in agricultural productivity also threaten food security in poorer regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Absent climate-informed development policies, climate change could force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
Addressing the global climate challenge requires a multifaceted and holistic approach, and DAI has been at the forefront of helping clients around the world reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Our approach works across the entire spectrum of climate change mitigation and adaptation, supporting countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas to develop and implement international and national policies that catalyze individual action, such as increasing microfinance for climate-smart farming in Kenya or improving water use efficiency in Thailand. We translate and communicate scientific evidence and atmospheric modelling to inform action-oriented development programming, and bridge hard climate science with local knowledge. We also help governments and the private sector meet their commitments to reduce their carbon footprint and green their supply chains.
In partnership with clients such as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), DAI has translated policy into action through real-world solutions. Our experience has shown the following approaches to be critical:
1. Bridge science and local knowledge to help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is already causing shifts in agricultural planting seasons, fish migrations, and the timing and availability of critical water resources for drinking and irrigation. DAI is downscaling sophisticated climate modeling to help communities better plan for the future while integrating their local knowledge into the development and implementation of adaptation strategies.
Through the USAID-supported Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change project, for example, DAI facilitated community vulnerability assessments and the implementation of adaptation activities—such as water harvesting and the use of climate-smart rice varieties—that benefit 30,000 people in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. On the Coastal Community Adaptation Project, DAI supported local communities in 12 South Pacific Island nations to conduct climate change risk and asset mapping and then build climate-resilient infrastructure projects that benefit more than 20,000 islanders. DAI has also built adaptive capacity in environments as diverse as Indonesia, Kenya, and Nepal.
2. Expand climate-smart agriculture and catalyze finance for business models that reduce pressures on forests and land-based emissions. Agricultural production and land use conversion account for 24 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which makes it critical to reduce slash-and-burn farming and lower the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of key global commodities such as palm oil, livestock, wood products, and rice. Changing practices requires establishing appropriate incentives along the entire value chain; DAI applies economic drivers to encourage better environmental stewardship that reduces pressure on forests and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks to USAID’s ProParque project in Honduras, for example, eco-friendly fireplaces that run completely on sugar cane pulp rather than firewood have reduced production time by half—delivering both an economic and environmental benefit to local producers. On DFID’s Strengthening Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in Kenya Plus project, DAI worked with microfinance institutions to increase investment in climate-smart dairy, cassava, maize, and sorghum value chains, which increases farmers’ resilience to drought and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Again, we have employed our approach—incentivizing sustainable agriculture and reducing deforestation—with positive results in various contexts, from Indonesia and the former Soviet Union to the Philippines, Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Liberia.
3. Drive investment in clean and renewable energy and energy-efficient technology to accelerate the transition to a green economy. Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development, yet 1.2 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.7 billion rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking, which is associated with approximately 3.5 million deaths annually from indoor air pollution. In more developed countries, outdated and inefficient systems that burn fossil fuels contribute to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. DAI’s approach is to drive investment in clean and renewable energy and energy-efficient technology by removing barriers to investment and collaborating with governments and the private sector to create the enabling conditions for clean energy to flourish.
On EBRD-funded sustainable energy financing programs in Poland and Morocco, DAI provided technical assistance to credit facilities focused on financing energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy investments worth €270 million. The Polish program achieved energy savings of 166.4 GWh/year and avoided carbon dioxide emissions of more than 100,000 tons/year. DAI has catalyzed finance for clean energy and energy efficiency in Honduras, Kenya, Somalia, and elsewhere.
4. Move communities beyond subsistence and create safety nets that build household resilience to shocks and extreme events. Insurance company Swiss RE estimates that total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2016 was $158 billion, with approximately 10,000 people losing their lives. Climate change increases the risk of weather-related extreme events—such as droughts, cyclones, and floods—which disproportionately harm the most vulnerable communities, such as those in Africa’s Sahel region. DAI takes a holistic approach to increasing resilience by helping communities move beyond subsistence and reinforcing the base of economic, social, and environmental resources required for communities to recover from disasters and help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
In northeast Kenya, for instance, we are managing a cash transfer program that scales up financial assistance from a base of 100,000 households to up to 375,000 households when the first signs of drought occur. Building household resilience to climate change is a feature of our work in Honduras and elsewhere in Central America, for example, as well as on a global basis.
5. Enable local-to-global access to climate and weather data that informs decision making and thereby reduces risk. Climate change science backed by data from satellites and other sources continues to enhance our understanding of changes in precipitation, temperature, droughts, and other environmental phenomena. With this increase in data comes an equally crucial need for timely and reliable transfer of knowledge on climate and weather to inform decision making around issues such as flood evacuations, hydropower operations, and agriculture planting windows. DAI is a leader in translating and communicating climate data, and packaging it for high-level and grassroots decision makers.
Through the SERVIR Demand Activity, for example, DAI inventoried climate decision support products, identified gaps in services and market demand, and worked with USAID and NASA to design products to “link space to village.” On the Regional Climate Change Program in Central America, DAI created a climate information platform—CentroClima—where regional leaders and other stakeholders access climate change data and decision support tools to make more informed adaptation decisions. Through CentroClima, DAI also helped develop the Coffee Cloud app, which connects decision makers around daily and seasonal forecasting for coffee crops, and reports outbreaks of diseases such as rust that affect coffee beans. In Indonesia, the APIK program (Adaptasi Perubahan Iklim dan Ketangguhan, or Climate Change Adaption and Resilience) is also collaborating with Indonesia’s Agency for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics to improve public understanding and dissemination of weather data, including flood alerts.
Securing Our Future Together. Significant progress has been made over the past decade to raise global awareness, shift mindsets, and begin to tackle in a pragmatic way the complex problems—environmental, economic, agricultural, health- and security-related—that together constitute the global climate challenge. DAI’s practical experience supporting government, private sector, civil society, and community partners in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resilience has contributed to a broader understanding of the complexities of climate change and its impact on people and their environment. If we are to rise to the threat of climate change, we will need to make continued progress on multiple fronts—from science and policy to mitigation and adaptation actions—and we will have to do so on a global and collective basis, from national and international government bodies to individual citizens. The stakes are too high for anything less.
As DAI’s Global Practice Leader for Environment and Climate Change,Jonathan Randall leads business development, technical assistance, and project management with a focus on climate change, environment, natural resource management, and water resources.
UNCTAD: Special Issue of its Investment Policy Monitor on the promotion of investment in the digital economy.
The digital economy – the application of internet-based digital technologies to the production and trade of goods and services – is becoming an ever more important part of the global economy. In many countries, this is reflected in digital development strategies and investment promotion priorities.
For the World Investment Report 2017 on Investment and the Digital Economy, UNCTAD examined to what extent digital development strategies address financing needs. It also conducted a survey of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) on investment promotion and the digital economy.
This Special Issue of the Investment Policy Monitor presents the findings of these two studies. Key findings include:
* The development of the digital economy is a key objective for almost all countries. Many countries and economies have adopted digital development strategies. An UNCTAD survey of the investment dimension in more than 100 digital development strategies shows that almost all such strategies acknowledge the need for investment.
* However, hardly any strategy contains a specific 'investment chapter'; most strategies discuss investment needs only at a general level. Less than 25 per cent contain details on investment requirements for infrastructure, and less than 5 per cent on investment needs beyond infrastructure, including for the development of digital industries.
* Policy measures to promote investment proposed in digital development strategies tend to focus on improving the enabling (sectoral) regulatory framework. Other measures include incentives and general facilitation, digital standards, and clusters and incubators for digital business development.
* Less than half of digital development strategies explicitly consider foreign investment as a source of finance. Investment promotion agencies mostly do not feature in the plans.
* Responses to a separate UNCTAD global survey of IPAs confirm that they are generally not involved in the formulation of digital strategies. Nevertheless, for most IPAs, the promotion of investment in digital infrastructure, digital firms, and the development of linkages in the digital sector, are priority objectives.
* However, while incentives and facilitation measures are frequently proposed in digital development strategies, only a minority of IPAs confirms the availability of investment promotion instruments for the digital economy.
* The results of the two surveys suggest that policy coordination, between investment authorities on the one hand and ministries and public institutions charged with digital development on the other, can be improved.
Considering the pressing need to increase investment in digital infrastructure and businesses, policymakers in charge of investment, on the one hand, and digital development, on the other, should work synergistically. The forthcoming World Investment Report 2017, on Investment and the Digital Economy, will provide policy recommendations on how to strengthen the investment dimension in digital development strategies.
For more details on these and other findings I invite you to download the Special Issue of the Investment Policy Monitor here
Global CEOs Call for Greater Disclosure of Climate Risks
- Heads of major global businesses urge G20 nations to formally accept and act on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure, chaired by Michael Bloomberg
- The business leaders, convened by the World Economic Forum, argue that companies should disclose the material financial risks they face from climate change in an open message to the G20
- They say this is critical in delivering the Paris Agreement and the stability of financial markets
- The statement with signatories is available here and http://wef.ch/environment
Geneva, Switzerland, 21 April 2017 – The heads of major global businesses are urging G20 governments to formally accept that companies should disclose climate-related financial risks.
The 27 business leaders were convened by the World Economic Forum and include the chief executive officers of global banks, consumer goods and utility companies.
They are asking G20 leaders to act on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), an industry-led body chaired by the UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Together, the business leaders represent $4.9 trillion in assets under management and almost $700 billion in total revenue.
In an open message, they say that climate change is not only an environmental problem but also a business one. Improving disclosure of the material financial risks companies face from climate change is critical to the financial stability of markets and would enable greater investment in low-carbon and climate-friendly opportunities.
The message is timed as G20 finance ministers meet in Washington DC for the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.
The business leaders stress that G20 support would “send a strong signal that government leaders desire more transparency from business on the short- and long-term impact of climate change on their operations’”. They added that they “welcome the current TCFD recommendations and will actively support their successful implementation”.
They believe that universal agreement on climate disclosure would help investors make more informed long-term decisions while highlighting the financial risks of the physical impacts of climate change and liability risks that may arise from inaction.
“There are real financial risks associated with climate change and financial opportunities for companies in transitioning to a low-carbon economy,” said Richard Samans, Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda, Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum Geneva. “One of the biggest risks to market stability and performance is asymmetry of information. Increasing companies’ disclosure of their climate risks – and standardizing that disclosure – will go a long way to addressing this current market failure and will help governments deliver the Paris Agreement.”
It would also create greater visibility on how companies are managing these risks and where they are able to take advantage of new opportunities. Greater visibility of climate risks would help an orderly transition to a low-carbon economy.
The group said that risk disclosure was not a climate change panacea but should be part of a suite of complementary approaches to recalibrate the financial system to support the transition to low-carbon economies, citing the need for effective carbon pricing and the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies.
Below is a list of the business leaders. Quotes from them are available here.
- Oliver Bäte, Chairman of the Board of Management (Chief Executive Officer), Allianz SE
- Jean-Louis Chaussade, Chief Executive Officer, Suez
- Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chief Executive Officer, Solvay
- Oleg Deripaska, President, UC Rusal
- José Manuel Entrecanales Domecq, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Acciona
- Sergio P. Ermotti, Chief Executive Officer, UBS Group
- J. Erik Fyrwald, Chief Executive Officer, Syngenta International
- Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Iberdrola
- Bernardo Gradin, Chief Executive Officer, GranBio Investimentos
- Stuart Gulliver, Group Chief Executive, HSBC Holdings
- Ralph Hamers, Chief Executive Officer, ING Group
- Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman, Arup
- Isabelle Kocher, Chief Executive Officer, ENGIE Group
- Xiande Lee, Chairman of Jinko Solar Co., Ltd.
- Vineet Mittal, Chairman, Avaada Group
- Alex Molinaroli, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Controls
- Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC
- Christian Mumenthaler, Chief Executive Officer, Swiss Re Group
- Pierre Nanterme, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Accenture
- Eric Olsen, Chief Executive Officer, LafargeHolcim
- Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever
- Eric Rondolat, Chief Executive Officer, Philips Lighting
- Feike Sijbesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board, Royal DSM
- Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Enel SpA
- Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Schneider Electric
- Sandra Wu Wen-Hsiu, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd.
- Ion Yadigaroglu, Managing Partner, Capricorn Investment Group.
"The solar off-grid grid space is fascinating. Like telecom it is an example where development and private interests are fully compatible."
Exclusive interview with Harald Hirschhofer, Senior Advisor, The Currency Exchange Fund (TCX), The Netherlands. Harald is organising a TCX Risk Mitigation workshop during the F&I Forum at African Utility Week, taking place in Cape Town from 16-18 May, and will address attendees on "Understanding of risks and their pricing – how can the supply of long-term local currency financing and hedging be improved?"
1) Let’s start with some background about your respective organisations and your role there?
TCX is a unique global provider of innovative currency hedging solutions. We have a very strong development focus and over the past 10 years we have protected millions of borrowers in frontier and emerging markets from the horrible financial consequences on their firm and household budgets from sudden exchange rate depreciations. I am working very closely with our CEO to develop new strategic initiatives to promote local currency financing, both within the domestic financial system as well as cross border from DFIs or private investors.
2) What is the most exciting project you have worked on in Africa so far?
The solar off-grid grid space is fascinating. Like telecom it is an example where development and private interests are fully compatible. Mobile banking applications have created new credit channels and even the poorest can now build a credit history and gradually accumulate assets. However, the gap between the local currency receivables and the hard-currency funding of the sector are still an Achilles heel. TCX is working with the leading firms, such as M-KOPA, and industry associations like GOGLA to reduce such systemic risks. These firms should be financed in local currencies, or if that is not possible, reduce the fx mismatch.
3) What did you learn from the investments that did not do so well?
Well, TCX does not provide funding. We are providing risk management tools like swaps and forwards to all kind of investment projects around the world. Like with any other type of insurance provider, having losses is part of our business. Our losses protect our clients. For example, we lost more than US$40m in one day when the Central Bank of Azerbaijan could not defend its peg anymore, but that probably saved thousands of local firms and borrowers from heavy financial difficulties.
4) What in your view is the biggest misconception that people have about investing in Africa? And about renewable energy?
I think there is too much fear about the uncertainty of some renewable business models which drive up credit spreads. For example, solar technology is well tested now, project implementation risks are low in many countries, and pay as you go schemes work with low default rates. Bankers do not yet fully appreciate this. More needs to be done to share performance information of existing firms and train bankers and investment officers. An industry association like GOGLA is well placed to make progress in this and we at TCX would certainly like to contribute.
5) Which countries on the continent are doing the right things? Where are the opportunities?
Many countries have understood that a stable and modern regulatory, legal, and judiciary environment combined with stable macro-economic policies are critical for development, especially for capital intensive sectors. We must do more in standardization of contracts and processes across Africa, learning from more advanced countries. Africa is in the unique position to leapfrog, or as some of my African friends say, to jump like an antelope across older technologies. Let us mobilize the solar and fintec entrepreneurs and empower then to find new solutions for the benefits of all. I hope that vested interests and stranded assets will not be allowed to stand in the way of new and better technologies.
6) You are organising the TCX Risk Mitigation workshop in the F&I Forum at African Utility Week this year. What will be your message to attendees and what can they expect of this workshop?
Do not speculate! Entrepreneurs should strive to only accept those risks in their business model which they are able to somehow control and manage. For example, project implementation risks, supply risks. Risks which they cannot influence should be insured and the insurance costs made part of the cost envelop. FX risk, which manly consists of market fluctuation and in-convertibility risks, is one of those risks, which should be eliminated from the business model. Otherwise, an otherwise healthy firm and its customers and funders can suffer huge losses, because of events which lie completely out of their control. Think of the copper price in Zambia, or the Tuna bonds in Mozambique. We still need to make a lot of efforts in awareness building and deepen the understanding how modern financial instruments like those offered by TCX can help. The Risk Mitigation workshop at African Utility Week is an opportunity to make progress.
Link to interview online: http://www.african-utility-week.com/TCX-HaraldHirschhofer-interview
More interviews like this: http://www.african-utility-week.com/expertinterviews
More about African Utility Week: http://www.african-utility-week.com/pressreleases
Why There Is No Role for Storytelling in Your Sustainability Report
We recently presented on “The Role of Storytelling in Corporate Reporting” — a subject that many organizations struggle to address properly.
Our view on the subject is straightforward: A report is not for storytelling.
Very few stakeholders spend time reading dense, formal corporate reports, and those that do want two things:
- An explanation of how sustainability and/or CSR create long-term value for an organization and its many stakeholders
- Data (evidence) to supports these claims
The audiences who read formal sustainability and/or CSR reports are not concerned with the touching, human-interest stories that resonate with audiences on websites, social media and elsewhere.
That doesn’t mean that reading these reports can’t be an engaging experience. It just means that the majority of report readers are interested in engaging with a different type of content.
Here are a few tactics to make reports interesting for the people who actually read them (For a deeper dive into the different audiences of sustainability, check out our piece on the evolution of sustainability reporting — it includes tips, insights, and examples of how to meet the needs of a few specific stakeholder groups):
The business case
During our session and throughout the conference, we noticed an interesting theme: Many of the people we spoke with and heard from mentioned a spike in interest in ESG-related content from analysts, investors and business leadership. The business community at large is increasingly becoming concerned with how ESG and/or sustainability can contribute to the long-term value and/or viability of a business.
However, although interest from the investment community seems to be increasing, there’s still a gap between the information that these readers are looking for and what companies actually provide (PWC, EY, BlackRock and others have been touting this disconnect for a couple years now). Investors, analysts and business leaders have a limited appetite for the majority of content that typically ends up in a sustainability report; what they desire is more information than most companies provide about how sustainability relates to strategic alignment, company goals and value creation.
If they want to know more about how sustainability positions an organization for long-term growth, why would we keep this information from them? The business case for sustainability is the most important narrative of a sustainability report — and will make your report an engaging read for those who are interested.
Explain why sustainability is core to the viability of your business, describe external environmental and social trends that impact your bottom line, and show how sustainability helps your organization navigate the bumpy waters of business. How do your strategic pillars and key material issues align with your business strategy? What goals and targets have you set, and what is your progress against them? Be transparent and explain why you’re progressing well against some and not others. Investors will read attentively.
Less is more
For the record, just because there is value in a reporting narrative doesn't mean your report should be a 100+-page document. Unless you’re being paid to read a report, the odds are you’re not going to read it cover to cover. Honestly, when was the last time you read an entire report?
All of us are inundated with far too much content these days and have very little time to take it all in. As is often the case, less is more. A business case for sustainability can be conveyed in less than 20 pages. Keep it simple, impactful and visual. An overview of your sustainability strategy is enough to pique the interest of the reader to want to dive deeper, if need be. Many companies are increasingly taking a “modular” approach to reporting, with an overview or summary document as the centerpiece supported by a variety of supplemental materials such as videos, infographics, single-issue fact sheets and reports. This approach allows organizations to provide a menu of digestible content in ways that meet the needs of their various stakeholder groups.
An integrated approach
Of course, we can’t fail to discuss the merits of integrated reporting. From a reporting standpoint, there’s no more effective way to frame sustainability/CSR inside of an organization’s business case than combining non-financial and financial information into a single narrative.
However, we heard from many organizations where this simply wasn’t possible — for a variety of reasons. If an organization is not in a position to integrate reports, they should not assume that the investors will think to look for and read a sustainability report. Instead, consider integrating the business case narrative into existing investor relations communications — your corporate site, annual financial reports, investor decks, targeted email campaigns, roadshow presentations, quarterly calls, etc.
Sustainability/CSR reports as we know them are not aligned with the needs of the diverse audiences of different corporate stakeholders — yet many businesses feel handcuffed by the limitations of their team’s resources, capacity and budgets to meet the requirements of ever-evolving reporting standards.
To overcome these challenges, we need to think differently and to remind ourselves that most successful sustainability communication presents specific audiences with information that focuses on what’s most important to them — and presents that information in ways that resonate with that group. For the readers of your formal report, the audience’s priorities are extremely clear — cut right to the business case.
If these users want storytelling, they’ll be able to find it on your website.
Jeff Sutton is Vice President of Client Strategy at thinkPARALLAX, a communications consultancy dedicated to building brands with purpose. Jeff has worked alongside leading business and brands in the U.S, UK and Canada, helping them transform for the… [Read more about Jeff Sutton]
ZNFU: "Zero rate agriculture needed to make Zambia breadbasket"
"The only way we can achieve the status of being a breadbasket is to zero rate agriculture" says Mr Jervis Zimba, President of the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU), the owners of the upcoming Agritech Expo Zambia, in Chisamba from 27-29 April.
In the run-up to the fourth edition of the massive open air farming exhibition in the heart of Zambia’s farming hub, Mr Zimba says the main challenge facing farmers today is the cost of production that is becoming higher while returns are becoming lower.
"The farmers have no control over the prices and therefore their returns are always diminishing," Mr Zimba explains, "and we are engaging with Government how to reduce the cost of production. And we have always told Government, if you want agriculture to be the mainstay of the economy, then instead of introducing this tax and that tax, they need to zero rate agriculture completely. If there is a zero rate for a couple of years we will see investments coming through. We are hoping that in the next budget perhaps, they can lend us an ear. The only way we can achieve the status of being a breadbasket is to zero rate agriculture."
The ZNFU President says the region has struggled for the past two seasons because of the drought, adding "but this year we seem to have a good season and therefore I think in terms of maize, which is our staple crop, we should be able to have some surpluses for exports. Of course, generally, the outlook for the region seems to be good as all the countries might post slight surpluses or reduced imports from markets that we have been importing before."
Passion and patience for agri
Mr Zimba, who has been a fulltime farmer since 1992, says he inherited his love of farming from his parents, who were also teachers. "Agriculture is purely a passion” he adds, “if you have no passion for agriculture, and patience, you can never, never like it."
The ZNFU President encourages farmers of all scales to visit Agritech Expo at GART next week, to which entry is free: "We as ZNFU are pushing the agenda of diversification. Most of our farmers are small scale, and they want to grow maize, cotton and soybeans. But now we are seeing that our farmers are trying to diversify to other crops. And we are looking at the issue of mechanisation, getting away from the old traditional way of doing our work."
The full interview with Mr Zimba is available here: http://www.agritech-expo.com/ZNFU-interview2017
In the heart of Zambia’s agri-hub
Agritech Expo at GART in Chisamba will once again offer free, interactive workshops offering practical advice as well as live demonstrations to help farmers combat challenges such as the armyworm, explore new technologies such as aquaculture as well as learn from experts on improving efficiency of operations and yields on their farms.
Last year, the event drew a record-breaking attendance of 17 605 visitors. This year even more small-scale, emerging and commercial farmers are expected to descend on the GART research centre where the latest farming products and services will be showcased. The three-day expo will furthermore feature an even greater international presence with international pavilions from Germany, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the UK and France already confirmed.
As in previous years, Agritech Expo enjoys extensive support from the agri industry with well-known suppliers AFGRI and John Deere returning as platinum sponsors again. Confirmed gold sponsors are Action Auto, Agricon, BHBW, Case Construction, Case Agriculture, Gourock and SARO.
Multi-award winning Agritech Expo
Agritech Expo Zambia recently won two coveted awards at the AAXO ROAR Organiser and Exhibitor Awards in Johannesburg which honour excellence in the exhibition and events industry on the continent. Agritech Expo won for Best Trade & Consumer Exhibition +12000 sqm and for Distinction in Social Responsibility.
The expo has an outreach programme at the local Golden Valley Basic School, where, with the assistance of numerous event sponsors, it is assisting the school with much needed infrastructure upgrades, equipment supplies and management of the school’s farm.
Agritech Expo Zambia is owned by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and is organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. Other well-known agri events by Spintelligent include Agritech Expo Tanzania and Agribusiness Congress East Africa.
Agritech Expo Zambia 2017:
Dates: 27-29 April 2017
Location: Gart Research Centre, Chisamba, Zambia
In Pursuit of Big Data: An Analysis of International Funds Transfer Reporting
Based partly on a detailed study of IFTR requirements in six countries – Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Norway and Romania – this paper asks whether IFTR requirements are necessary and proportionate, and therefore whether their impact in limiting fundamental rights can be justified. It concludes that, while IFTR requirements have intelligence value and are a feasible and likely cost-effective option, decision-makers should carefully explore a number of regulatory considerations as well as alternative policy options.
This paper recommends that policymakers take into account the following eight key issues when considering the adoption of IFTR requirements in their jurisdictions:
- Compare apples with apples: This paper assesses a range of policy and regulatory considerations for policymakers. While international experiences are useful, they cannot replace detailed national assessments. The population, financial sectors, social policy needs, crime risks and ability to enforce compliance differ greatly between countries. It is important for policymakers to avoid comparing apples with oranges.
- Benchmark success: One of the key challenges faced by countries implementing bulk data collection measures, such as IFTR requirements, has been the ability to produce compelling evidence demonstrating the success or value of the policy. Better articulation of the indicators of success, particularly where those indicators require nuanced, qualitative assessments, is vital at the outset of policymaking.
- Explore alternative options: Policymakers should consider alternatives to IFTR requirements and determine whether they might adequately meet the identified tactical, operational and strategic analysis needs of FIUs. Several other methods are discussed in this paper.
- Balance national security interests with protection of individual rights: Benchmarking success and arguing the need for IFTR requirements above and beyond alternative options, which have less impact on the right to privacy, are important in taking an informed position that balances national security interests with the protection of individual rights.
- Adopt robust data-protection measures: Sound justification should underpin the need for any agency to have access to IFT data and the purpose for which they may be used. Policymakers should consider oversight mechanisms, including the option of an independent body responsible for this.
- Consider adopting a reporting threshold: Monetary thresholds for reporting may be useful in mitigating resource burdens for both FIUs and financial institutions. However, they can also have consequences that diminish the value of IFTR requirements. Countries should assess their crime risks and consider whether reporting thresholds inhibit the detection and disruption of high-risk crimes.
- Assess IT capabilities: An investment in IT will be necessary, and may also be crucial in limiting resource impacts on both FIUs and financial institutions. Policymakers should assess the ability of their country’s financial institutions, particularly small and medium-sized institutions, to access and use technology to promote compliance with reporting requirements.
- Support remittances and financial inclusion: Policymakers should ensure that IFTR requirements work to complement, not conflict with, remittance and financial inclusion objectives. Reporting thresholds and IT solutions might assist in mitigating the impact on resources for remittance service providers.
Could blockchain technology revolutionise development?
A new IDS Rapid Response Briefing unpicks the hype around blockchain, with a ten-point checklist for development policymakers and pracitcal examples of how the technology could be applied.
Image: BTC Keychain / Flickr
Begin to read about blockchain and expert commentators will often include phrases such as ‘the potential to be more transformative than the internet’ and ‘turning traditional banking systems on their head’, but what is the mysterious ‘blockchain’ and the more well-known 'bitcoin'? This is what the new IDS Rapid Response Briefing ‘Blockchain for development – hope or hype?’ seeks to answer, along with some practical examples of how it can support development and how to discern if and when the technology could offer positive alternative solutions, or potentially cause more harm than good.
The potential use of blockchains has attracted widespread attention from the media, the IMF and governments, including the UK Government’s own Chief Scientific Advisor. With the reported potential to replace powerful financial institutions it also has the potential to offer new ways to track aid and tackle corruption, facilitate smart-aid contracts and cut costs for international payments. The briefing cautions against thinking blockchain could have all the answers however, asserting that components for successful innovation – including the use of blockchain - are ‘technical feasibility, business viability and human desirability, all of which come together within social, cultural, political and economic settings that ultimately determine contextual achievability.’ The aim is to achieve a place where all these components interconnect in to a space of ‘grounded innovation’.
With many possible benefits to be gained from blockchain, such as achieving greater transparency in the dispersal of aid and more decentralised systems, the research suggests development policy makers should give the technology careful consideration. As the briefing also states however, with any new technology it will not be a silver bullet and policy makers must look carefully at the pros and cons of applying blockchain technology, and ultimately be hopeful, but avoid the hype.
Development Malpractice In Ghana
By Kevin Starr
Last week, I went to see a water organization called Saha in northern Ghana. Saha works in hot, flat country where hard seasonal rains are followed by long dry spells. There are few year-round streams, and underground water is impossibly deep, so villages collect and store rainwater in big, open ponds known as dugouts. These ponds are unprotected, and the water people take home is liberally seasoned with the excreta of various two- and four-legged animals. It starts out bad and gets worse as the dry season goes on.
Saha has a great fix. They find entrepreneurial women in local villages, and set them up with a chlorinating business that uses simple materials and simple procedures. The women collect water in a barrel and add alum, a cheap and easy-to-get chemical that binds with sediment and clarifies the water. The clear water goes into a big plastic tank. When the tank is full, the owner drops in a precise number of chlorine tablets—available in nearby markets—and opens for business. Saha provides every household in the village with a 20-liter plastic bucket equipped with a lid and a tap, and customers pay a little more than two cents to fill it. At four liters per person per day, two days of clean water for a family of five costs about a nickel.
Saha makes it really easy to get clean water that will stay clean. The water is affordable even for the very poor, and the business sits right next to the dugout. Pairing the residual effects of chlorine with the protection of a well-designed container prevents recontamination. The fact that these are profitable businesses using local materials keeps the whole ball rolling.
And Saha does rigorous ongoing monitoring, with systematic collection and analysis of random water samples from business and homes. They’ve set up businesses in a hundred villages so far, and all are still running. In random checks of all businesses, 99 percent of the water coming out of the tap is clean—free of bacteria—and 98 percent of the Saha home containers have clean water in them. Those are the best numbers I’ve ever heard of in the industry, but the Saha team is not satisfied; they believe they can—and should—do better.
Saha is a not-for-profit. They realized a long time ago that to hit a price that all can afford, they would have to subsidize the cost of the initial business set-up and the ongoing monitoring support. Here’s the thing, though: That subsidy works out to about 13 bucks per person for 10 years of clean water. Jaw-dropping.
When we went out to see the work, the first few Saha businesses looked great: lots of customers, decent profits, equipment in good order, homes with full containers of clean water. Then we got to a village called Kulaa, where the business was on the verge of failing after two years of struggle. I thought we were going to hear about the difficulties of overcoming long-held customs or the challenges of running a business when you’re barely literate, but instead we sat under a tree talking to a slightly dazed-looking woman who told us of an exhausting uphill battle against the forces of good intentions.
She’d gotten off to a reasonably good start—she’d mastered the business, every household in the village had a Saha container, and her customer base was growing. So far, so good. Then people from the government came through (that’s who people thought they were, anyway) and distributed ceramic filters—a sort of bowl mounted on top of a 50 liter plastic bucket—for free to every household. Everybody started using those filters instead of buying Saha water, but by about six months in, most of the filters had either broken or clogged. The filters could be cleaned, but nobody knew how, and of course there was no way to replace ones that broke. (The buckets remained useful, though—we saw one serving as a nice little clothes hamper.)
The ceramic filter episode killed Saha’s initial momentum, but the business survived, and things were starting to look up when some American church group blew into town with a truckload of LifeStraw Family gravity filters. Distribution was hit or miss, but most households managed to get one. The LifeStraw Family filter is a bit fiddly and slow, and the filter must cleaned just so, but villagers seem to have made an effort to use it (“What the hell, it’s free!”). Who knows how much the church group did to train people to use and clean the filter, but it wasn’t enough (it never is). We managed to find three of them, only one of which was in use. Two had broken and no one had any idea how to get them fixed or find another one. The one that was still in use had clogged and the owner didn’t know how to clean the filter element. Somehow he was still getting water through it, though, and while the water was still turbid, he – reasonably – figured it must be clean enough to drink. It wasn’t. We tested the water in the lab – it was positive for E. coli and coliforms, which means there was shit in it.
Then—then—some other NGO came through and gave the village a “backpack” water filtration thingy. It’s a big blue plastic box with carrying straps, a hose coming in from the pond, and a little tap coming out. I think there is a sand filter inside. We trooped out to the pond to see it. The water coming out of the tap was clear, but it came out slowly. It took a full minute to fill a 1500 cc container. That translates to about 13 minutes to supply the 20 liters one family needs to get through the day. That means that the hundred or so households in the village would need about 22 hours to fill their containers, even if they were willing and able to wait in line around the clock. Absurd. Oh, and we tested the water; it was clean coming out of the tap, but when we tested it in the homes, it was contaminated.
In sum, this village has seen four water interventions. The last three didn’t work, and each of them managed to screw the one that would have. It’s a tawdry story that does all-too-good of a job illustrating some basic principles of development, namely:
1. There is a huge opportunity cost to failure. When you do something stupid, you either a) wreck something that is working or could have worked, or b) or blow the people’s one chance to get anything ever. Once a well is drilled, a clinic built, or a program delivered, an NGO or government official checks a box, and future resources go somewhere else. Failure is worse than nothing.
2. Most “training” for end users is useless. Some guy came by my house the other day to teach me how to keep the wifi up and running. The next day, I screwed it up. So it is for things like water filters. If a product or technology intended for consumers requires “training,” it’s probably going to fail.
3. It’s all about follow-up. If you can’t provide repair and replacement, if you can’t monitor performance over time, don’t do it. If you can’t make a strong case that, say, two years from now, things will still be working—and in a way that inspires confidence that it will work over the long haul—don’t do it. Stuff breaks in ways you can’t even imagine, people use things in completely unpredictable ways, and unintended consequences rule supreme. The devastation of lake ecosystems in Africa from fishers repurposing fine-mesh mosquito nets is a fine example of the kind of debacle that could be avoided with some decent monitoring over time.
I could go on, but these are the big rules that were violated in poor Kulaa. This is development malpractice: Kids died because of a series of ill-conceived projects. If you designed them, you’re responsible. If you implemented them, you’re responsible. If you were part of another organization, recognized this was bad, and said nothing, you’re responsible. And perhaps most of all, if you fund crap projects like this, you’re responsible, whether you’re a church group, a foundation, a development agency, or the government. We can’t keep doing this.
So. If you see something, say something. If you become aware of someone planning/doing/funding stuff like this, talk to them, educate them, dissuade them. Do it respectfully and thoughtfully. If that doesn’t work, call them out in whatever forum you can. If they work for you, fire them. Make them accountable. Don’t let these things happen. Don’t let yourself become cynical. Do something.
In the end, what really set Kulaa up for failure was its proximity to Tamale, the biggest town in north-central Ghana, and one where NGOs are the primary growth industry. Kulaa is poor, but it’s easy to get to—you can do your ineffective training and be back for a refreshing Coke by early afternoon. The villages where Saha thrives are the ones farthest out, beyond the reach of other development NGOs. That pretty much says it all.
Kevin Starr (@mulagostarr) directs the Mulago Foundation and the Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program.
Source: Stanford Social Innoation Review
What makes a CEO 'exceptional'?
By Michael Birshan, Thomas Meakin, and Kurt Strovink
We assessed the early moves of CEOs with outstanding track records; some valuable lessons for leadership transitions emerged.
New CEOs face enormous challenges as they start assembling a management team and setting a strategic direction in today’s volatile environment. To provide some guidance for transitioning CEOs, we looked at the experiences of exceptional CEOs, those defined as the very top performers in our data set of roughly 600 chief executives at S&P 500 companies between 2004 and 2014.
Our focus was on the top 5 percent of the CEOs in our sample as a whole whose companies’ returns to shareholders had increased by more than 500 percent over their tenure. We contrasted this group both with our full sample and with a subset of CEOs whose companies achieved top-quintile performance during their tenure as compared with their peers.1
The exceptional group includes some leaders who managed remarkable performance in part due to unusual circumstances, for example, by guiding a company through bankruptcy proceedings and then returning it successfully to the public markets. It also includes CEOs who were able to deliver the highest returns through strategic repositioning and operational discipline over many years, within more normal industry and economic conditions. Overall, the exceptional CEOs were neither more nor less likely to be found in particular industries, to lead companies whose size differed from the mix in the broader S&P 500, or to join particularly high- or low-performing companies. Here are three lessons that emerged from close scrutiny of these exceptional leaders.
The outsider’s edge
In our earlier research, we found that on average, CEOs who are hired externally tend to pull more strategic levers than those who come from within and outperform their internal counterparts over tenure. Our research on exceptional CEOs reinforced this finding: these CEOs are twice as likely to have been hired from outside the company as the average CEO in our data set (Exhibit 1), and roughly 1.5 times as likely to have been external hires as the other top-quintile CEOs.
Still, 55 percent of the exceptional CEOs were internal hires. Clearly, insiders can move aggressively and achieve outstanding results. Doing so often means cultivating an outsider’s point of view to challenge the company’s culture with greater objectivity and overcome the organizational inertia that sometimes limits an insider’s span of action.
The findings offered additional insights on how CEOs may gain a clear-eyed perspective for action. In our sample as a whole, CEO’s joining low-performing companies derived the biggest benefits from conducting a strategic review. Our exceptional CEOs did not join struggling companies in disproportionate numbers, but they were significantly (about 60 percent) more likely to conduct a strategic review in their first two years on the job versus the average CEO in our sample (Exhibit 2).
Informed by this view of the company’s past—and potential future—performance, this elite group was bolder than other top-quintile CEOs, far surpassing them in the average number of strategic moves they made in their first year. Changing strategic direction typically requires freeing up resources, often in part by cutting costs in lower-priority parts of the company. While cost-reduction programs are, according to our earlier research, a no-regrets move for all CEOs, the exceptional CEOs were significantly more likely to launch such initiatives than the average CEO, thereby building strategic momentum.
In our research on CEOs overall, organization redesign appeared to be a critical part of the typical high-performing CEO’s tool kit, and management reshuffles were particularly important for CEOs taking over lower-performing companies. Our sample of exceptional CEOs, though, was less likely than the average CEO to undertake organizational redesign or management-team reshuffles in the first two years in office. This could be a function of the strategic game they were playing: they may have inherited high-performing companies (which can be hurt by reshuffles) or prioritizing, since there are only so many initiatives and changes that organizations and people can absorb in a short space of time. Indeed, since the exceptional group contained an above-average proportion of outsider CEOs launching fundamental strategic rethinks, the data may reflect a sequencing of initiatives, with structural change following strategic shifts.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly - April 2017