Laptop ban in Europe could cost airline passengers $1 billion

There’s a lot on the line as the Trump administration considers expanding its laptop ban to include flights from Europe.

New security measures could result in major logistical disruptions at airports, and airlines might face reduced demand for lucrative tickets. Passengers could be hit by delayed flights and higher costs.

“We think that it could impose an additional cost of more than $1 billion on passengers,” Alexandre de Juniac, head of the International Air Transport Association, said in a televised interview. “The Atlantic [route] is a big source of revenues and profits both for U.S. and European carriers. The impact could be significant.”

The annual $1.1 billion cost estimate from IATA includes the loss of productive time in the sky for business travelers and longer travel times.

European officials are scheduled to meet with their American counterparts on Wednesday to discuss aviation security, days after a potential expansion of the ban was first reported.

The U.S. introduced rules in March that require any electronic device larger than a smartphone to be carried in checked baggage on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa. (It cited intelligence suggesting terrorists could hide explosives in bigger devices.)

That means no laptops in the cabin — a major sticking point for business travelers.

Including Europe under the rules would be a dramatic expansion of the ban, and the aviation industry is concerned that additional resources would be needed to comply. Concerns have also been raised over the potential fire risk from storing large stocks of electronics in checked luggage.

On Tuesday, a US. official told CNN that various countries were “in a tizzy” over the issue.

Here’s why they’re worried: The route between Europe and the U.S. is the busiest international corridor in the world. More than 350 flights depart Europe for the U.S. each day, according to IATA.

If business travelers ditch flying in favor of Skype or conference calls, airlines could be forced to operate fewer flights.

Emirates — which was directly impacted by the original electronics ban — said last month it was cutting back on flights to the U.S. because of weak demand.

Expanding the ban to Europe would disproportionately affect U.S. airlines.

Delta Air Lines(DAL), United Airlines (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL) have the most to lose. British Airways would also suffer.

Combined, the four airlines account for nearly 60% of all nonstop flights from Europe to the U.S.

The broader U.S. tourism industry is also at risk.

The U.S. welcomes more than 14.5 million travelers from Europe each year — that’s 40% of all overseas visitors to America, according to research firm Euromonitor.

Most travelers from Europe are known to spend between $3,000 to $4,000 each time they visit the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association.

Visitors from Britain, Germany and France spend $31 billion each year on tourism and airfares to the U.S., according to the U.S. Travel Association. That’s 15% of all overseas tourism spending in the U.S.

By

Woman cleans a container in a river, Waija River , Accra Ghana

Technology can win the fight against illegal mining in Africa

In Ghana, “Galamsey” is currently a hot topic amongst media practitioners, policy makers and the general populace. “Galamsey” is a term used to describe small-scale illegal (gold) mining in Ghana whereas in South Africa its equivalent is known as “Zama Zama”.

The main determinant of small-scale illegal mining is the lack or absence of any of the following: land rights, mining license, exploration or mineral transportation permit, environmental clearance/permit or any other legislative mechanism that could guarantee legitimacy to the on-going operations.

Small-scale gold mining, illegal or not, can be operated on the surface or underground. It is a form of survival for about 10-20 million miners in 70 countries, including approximately 4 million women and children, most in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paradox is that, aside of being the world’s largest employer in gold mining and representing 90% of the gold mining workforce worldwide, small-scale gold mining produces 15% of the annual gold production. In Ghana¸ the total workforce in the industry is estimated to be more than 20,000, out of which 90% are Ghanaians.

This notwithstanding, the damages small-scale gold miners pose to the environment are innumerable – which make their operations a menace to both societal harmony and environmental sustainability. Further, small-scale (illegal) mining undermines investor confidence and seriously bothers on human rights issues such as child labor and worker safety.

According to Mercury Watch, small-scale gold mining is the single largest demand for mercury in the world. An estimated 1400 tons of mercury were used by Artisanal scale gold mining miners globally in 2011″. Meanwhile, mercury can contaminate the atmosphere and water at a very long distance. It is highly toxic, causing damage to the nervous system and mental stability of those exposed to it.

Regulations and other legislative instruments have failed to respond to the menace; but technology won’t. The gold mining chain is so sophisticated to the point it renders government regulations impotent.

The Gold Mining Chain

The sophisticated nature of the Gold Mining Chain will make it difficult to use policies and regulations alone as tools to fight the illegal destruction of the environment.
The sophisticated nature of the Gold Mining Chain will make it difficult to use policies and regulations alone as tools to fight the illegal destruction of the environment.

Technology won’t fail in the fight against the menace

In most cases, abandoned mine shafts are the easiest to access, making it difficult for law enforcement and mining companies to keep track of illegal gold mining operations.

  • Using Advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles For Policing

Advanced unmanned aerial vehicles or drone technology can help in offering a different way of policing by accurately gathering data from above that can be used as a guide in the monitoring and tracking of mining sites. By integrating advanced real-time mapping software (using Google maps for instance), digital cameras, audio recording devices and automated flight programs, drones can generate up-to-date maps that capture “what’s happening now”. This technology can also be configured and applied in a manner that is able to capture “what happened before” on any mining sites; where possible the drones can be deployed with other geo-based technologies to detect in advance explorable gold mining sites. The data gathered by the aerial vehicles will be transmitted in real time to a central remote database, which will be accessible to law enforcement agencies.

The data generated by these technologies can also give officials a broad view of how gold mining operations are impacting the environment – and all that are connected to it. For instance, these technologies can offer insight into all the processes involved in gold mining: how material is moved and redeposited as spoil and waste among others.

Mapping drone technologies offer a more effective way of policing the environment and clamping down on illegal operations thanks to their superior intelligence.

  • Advanced Data Tracking Technology for Trucks, Excavators and other Mining Equipment

In Ghana for instance, significant deployment of heavy earthmoving equipment, plants and machines in the mining industry is primarily by the large-scale mines. Small-scale gold mining operations tend to be relatively unsophisticated and rely primarily on inexpensive equipment from Chinese manufacturers. Nevertheless, there is evidence of a growing deployment of heavy equipment by small-scale mines in their operations as evidenced by a news item that appeared in the State-owned Daily Graphic (Ghana) on 16 May 2014. The opening lines of the news item read “The Nungua Police Divisional Command has mounted a search for two men alleged to have stolen an excavator valued at 250,000 Euros and using it for illegal mining”.

Whilst earthmoving equipment is in demand for use in road construction, mining operations and in commercial as well as residential property development, gold mining makes up most of the industry. It is therefore important to subject the use of equipment such as bulldozers, tractors, excavators and dump trucks to efficient regulatory procedures and tracking mechanisms right from the Port. This is possible thanks to advanced Data Tracking Technologies. Data Tracking Technologies such as (Global Positioning Satellite system) are made up of hardware and software, which when used together determine the exact location of the vehicle/equipment, person and also other assets to which this system is installed and also record the exact position of the assets at regular intervals.

By regulation, industry operators will be required to install data tracking technologies to their equipment before they are deployed on the field. Failure to adhere to this requirement will automatically (by configuration of the technology) disable the equipment from any movement.

The data gathered by these technologies will be transferred to a remote central database only accessible to law enforcement agencies, just as in the case of the drones. The data will aid these agencies (for example the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, Ghana) in conducting mine inspections and compliance enforcement of the laws and regulations governing mineral operations.

Aside from offering a cheaper, more practical way to keep tabs on gold mining operations as well as other industrial operations that deploy heavy equipment, data tracking technologies and the ever-increasing range of software packages (such as video surveillance cameras) that accompany them can provide unique insights for effective policymaking.

The sophisticated nature of the Gold Mining Chain will make it difficult to use policies and regulations alone as tools to fight the illegal destruction of the environment. And whilst technology cannot ultimately be the answer, it can provide a great deal of the solutions.

By Isidore Kpotufe, CEO of Westcape

This report was commissioned by the Technology Intelligence Division of Westcape, a global online bank that makes access to financial as well as professional services cheaper. Westcape also trades in other technology powered-sectors such as global e-commerce, e-power technologies, business technologies among others (http://westcapestrategy.com/).   

 

Westerwelle Young Founders Programme 2017

Apply For Westerwelle Young Founders Programme 2017

Apply now for the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme 2017 and attend the Young Founders Conference in Berlin, Germany from 13 to 16 September 2017

The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding supports collaboration that transcends borders: between young entrepreneurs, executives and decision makers from around the world. The Foundation globally connects people and ideas and creates spaces for interaction and innovation. It fosters an approach that puts consensus over conflict and community cooperation over confrontation.

As part of the Young Founders Programme, the Westerwelle Foundation hosts an annual conference in Berlin: the Young Founders Conference. Its focus is to connect young founders from developing and emerging economies with each other and with the German startup scene. The participants of the Young Founders Conference 2017 will have the unique opportunity to meet and interact with successful German entrepreneurs and political decision makers and will join a network of like-minded outstanding young founders from developing and emerging countries.

During the one year long programme, you will get access to:

  • The Young Founders Conference in Berlin, 13 to 16 September 2017
  • A mentoring programme
  • Invitations and scholarships for entrepreneurship conferences
  • Online coaching and webinars
  • An international alumni network

The Young Founders Conference 2017 will take place in Berlin from 13 to 16 September 2017.

Travel and accommodation will be covered by the Westerwelle Foundation.

Applicants should:

  • Have recently (0-5 years) started a for-profit company with a scalable business model
  • Be based in a developing or emerging country or have a strong business focus on developing and emerging countries
  • Possess a good working knowledge of English

Please note that foreign applicants must possess valid travel documents (including a visa, if necessary) to enter Germany, and valid travel medical insurance.

To apply, please fill out the application form by 30 April 2017.

West Cape National Internship for Young Ghanaian Digital Enthusiasts

No 034/17

Only Ghanaians can apply to this internship program. If you are a foreigner, kindly visit this link; if you are a Ghanaian lady, this opportunity (click here) may interest you.

Description

West Cape Strategy Group (publicly traded as West Cape) is a rapidly growing global tech company based in Accra, Ghana that uses technological tools to solve Africa’s most complex problems. We deploy an unmatched combination of market data and technology to solve complex business problems and engineer innovative market solutions. We provide both commercial and free-to-access research on how technology is constantly affecting the public as well private sectors in Africa. At this time, we are implementing a project called Africa Tech Policy Forum –  a body of stakeholders whose functions are to research and design Africa’s next Tech Policy Proposals.

We are currently deploying the following products on the market:

West Cape: an online bank that makes access to financial as well as professional services cheaper.

EsiCom: an online store that trades in African goods and connects traders to global markets.

E-Power Africa: a disruptive technology that makes power management cheaper and simpler in Africa.

Our 2017 National Internship for Ghanaians (NIG-17) provides opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students as well as early-stage professionals across the country to intern with us for three to six months over the summer (and beyond).

Requirements

We require interns with expertise in research, web development (wordpress), digital media, social media, coding and programming.

Interns must be between the ages of 18-25.

Interns must have high analytical skills, be very well organised and action-driven.

Interns must exhibit professionalism, boldness and confidence.

Interns will work in teams with nationals from other countries.

Internship Benefits and Highlights  

Interns will have the opportunity to be part of Africa’s rapid technological revolution.

Interns will be presented a recommendation letter at the completion of the internship program.

Interns whose performance exceeds expectations would be offered permanent employment contract with West Cape.

Interns will be offered monthly remunerations to cater for their transportation needs.

And many more benefits depending on the interest of the intern.

Timelines and application process

We are currently accepting application till 26 April 2017.

To apply for the program, send a cover letter in addition to your CV to f.charles@westcapestrategy.com with the subject line: West Cape NIG-17. The cover letter should be addressed to:

Charles Frimpong

External Affairs Director, West Cape

No. 23 Akoto Bamfo Street, off Agbogba Road,

North Legon, Accra-Ghana

Logistics

West Cape will make provisions for all work-related expenses.

If you wish to contact West Cape for any clarification concerning the IIP-17, kindly send an e-mail to info@westcapestrategy.com or call: +233 24 240 5302.

West Cape National Internship for Ghanaian Young Females

West Cape National Internship for Young Ghanaian Females

No 033/17

Only females can apply to this internship program. If you are male, kindly visit this link; if you are a foreigner visit here.

Description

West Cape Strategy Group (publicly traded as West Cape) is a rapidly growing global tech company based in Accra, Ghana that uses technological tools to solve Africa’s most complex problems. We deploy an unmatched combination of market data and technology to solve complex business problems and engineer innovative market solutions. We provide both commercial and free-to-access research on how technology is constantly affecting the public as well private sectors in Africa. At this time, we are implementing a project called Africa Tech Policy Forum –  a body of stakeholders whose functions are to research and design Africa’s next Tech Policy Proposals.

We are currently deploying the following products on the market:

West Cape: an online bank that makes access to financial as well as professional services cheaper.

EsiCom: an online store that trades in African goods and connects traders to global markets.

E-Power Africa: a disruptive technology that makes power management cheaper and simpler in Africa.

Our 2017 National Internship for Ghanaians (NIG-17) provides opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate female students as well as early-stage professionals across the country to intern with us for three to six months over the summer (and beyond).

Requirements

We require interns with expertise in research, ICT and office administration.

Interns must be between the ages of 18-26.

Interns must have high analytical skills, be very well organised and action-driven.

Interns must exhibit professionalism, boldness and confidence.

Interns will work in teams with nationals from other countries.

Internship Benefits and Highlights  

Interns will have the opportunity to be part of Africa’s rapid technological revolution.

Interns will be presented a recommendation letter at the completion of the internship program.

Interns whose performance exceeds expectations would be offered permanent employment contract with West Cape.

Interns will be offered monthly remunerations to cater for their transportation needs.

And many more benefits depending on the interest of the intern.

Timelines and application process

We are currently accepting application till 26 April 2017.

To apply for the program, send a cover letter in addition to your CV to f.charles@westcapestrategy.com with the subject line: West Cape NIG-17. The cover letter should be addressed to:

Charles Frimpong

External Affairs Director, West Cape

No. 23 Akoto Bamfo Street, off Agbogba Road,

North Legon, Accra-Ghana

Logistics

West Cape will make provisions for all work-related expenses.

If you wish to contact West Cape for any clarification concerning the IIP-17, kindly send an e-mail to info@westcapestrategy.com or call: +233 24 240 5302.

International Internship for Asians, Americans and Europeans

No 033/17

Description

West Cape Strategy Group (publicly traded as West Cape) is a rapidly growing global tech company based in Accra, Ghana that uses technological tools to solve Africa’s most complex problems. We deploy an unmatched combination of market data and technology to solve complex business problems and engineer innovative market solutions. We provide both commercial and free-to-access research on how technology is constantly affecting the public as well private sectors in Africa. At this time, we are implementing a project called Africa Tech Policy Forum –  a body of stakeholders whose functions are to research and design Africa’s next Tech Policy Proposals.

We are currently deploying the following products on the market:

West Cape: an online bank that makes access to financial as well as professional services cheaper.

EsiCom: an online store that trades in African goods and connects traders to global markets.

E-Power Africa: a disruptive technology that makes power management cheaper and simpler in Africa.

Our 2017 International Internship Program (IIP-17) provides opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students as well as early-stage professionals from Asia, Europe, South Africa and USA to intern with us for three to six months over the summer (and beyond).

Requirements

We require interns with expertise in programming, coding, web development and technology research.

Interns must be between the ages of 18-30. Women are highly encouraged to apply.

Interns will work in teams with nationals from other countries.

Internship Benefits and Highlights  

Interns will have the opportunity to be part of Africa’s rapid technological revolution.

Interns will be presented a recommendation letter at the completion of the internship program.

Interns will be offered travel opportunities to some of Ghana’s historic sites on monthly basis.

And many more benefits depending on the interest of the intern.

Timelines and application process

We are currently accepting application till 28 April 2017.

To apply for the program, send a cover letter in addition to your CV to f.charles@westcapestrategy.com with the subject line: West Cape IIP-17. The cover letter should be addressed to:

Charles Frimpong

External Affairs Director, West Cape

No. 23 Akoto Bamfo Street, off Agbogba Road,

North Legon, Accra-Ghana

About logistics

Travel and accommodation expenses are to be borne by the intern. However, West Cape will make provisions for all work-related expenses.

We have partnered with one of Ghana’s most reputable travel agencies, Cedi Travel to facilitate all activities regarding travel and accommodation for the interns.

Visit website: http://ceditravels.com

Contact Cedi Travels:

Phone: 023 370 4470

E-mail: ceditravels1@gmail.com

If you wish to contact West Cape for any clarification concerning the IIP-17, kindly send an e-mail to info@westcapestrategy.com or call: +233 24 240 5302.

HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana

Akuffo-Addo to open 2nd Edition of Business Strategy & Innovation Conference

Communique 002/17 | West Cape

West Cape, an internet technology and business development firm that uses an unmatched combination of market data and technological tools to build and grow the business of its clients has secured partnerships with two of Africa’s leading business information providers to organize the second edition of the Business Strategy and Innovation Conference. The partners include Business Day based in Ghana and Financial Afrik based in Morocco and Senegal.

Business Day Ghana is a leading and trusted source of business news to the business community, policy makers, investors and international community.

Financial Afrik is the most authoritative financial publication in Francophone Africa providing timely information to bankers, business leaders, senior government officials and the International Community.

Business Day Ghana and Financial Afrik will help in marketing and mobilizing participations for the mega Conference in Anglophone and Francophone Africa respectively.

HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana
HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana

The Business Strategy and Innovation Conference is the Foremost Gathering on Innovations, Strategies And Business Growth In Africa. Launched in June 2016, the Conference brings together over 500 business strategists, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and policy makers to discuss the next big business strategies, technological innovations and policy ideas that will affect African businesses – negatively and positively.  The Business Strategy and Innovation Conference covers a wide range of sectors, trades and industries including Banking, Non-Banking, Education, Health, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Real Estate, Media, Technology, Entertainment and Oil and Gas. The 2017 one, which is the second edition is planned to come off from 28-29 June 2017, at Mensvic Grand Hotel, Accra-Ghana under the theme “Re-positioning Africa in the face of global uncertainty”.  The Conference is complemented with The Strategy Awards. Up to 10 African businesses will receive the awards in 10 different categories which include Best Business Strategy of the year, Best Customer Acquisition Strategy of the year, Best Technology Innovation of the Year, Most Competitive African Media of the year, Most Competitive African SME of the year, West African Business of the Year, East African Business of the Year, Southern African Business of the year, Best Financial Product of the year and Best African Startup of the year.

H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana is expected to grace the event as Special Guest Speaker. He will deliver a speech on the topic “Why sound policy matters in building a competitive tech-enabled economy in Ghana and beyond”.  The Conference will also receive support from the Government of Togo.

For more information on the event, kindly visit http://westcapestrategy.com/bsc.

Signed:

Elorm Esi Abusah, Chief Communications Officer, West Cape

E-mail : elorm@westcapestrategy.com

Phone : +233 234036027 / +233 541204595

Entities in this press

West Cape, http://westcapestrategy.com

Business Day Ghana, http://businessdayghana.com/

Financial Afrik, http://financialafrik.com/

 

Isidore Kpotufe, Chief Executive Officer of West Cape

West Cape, the Company that wants to Change Africa in 2017 and beyond

Communique 001/17 | New Year Statement (West Cape)

The West Cape Strategy Group, known under the brand name “West Cape” brings together a team of young and dynamic professionals with diverse backgrounds, experience and expertise who firmly believe in Africa and its potentials. It started as Africa Web Consult in late 2015 and since then, has been reinvented in order to withstand market dynamics, with the coming into being of the West Cape Strategy Group (West Cape). We now have a diversified portfolio of services that cover internet technology and business development.

2016 was a crucial year for us as we entered the market in a “test mode” coupled with some level of uncertainty. We organized the maiden edition of the Business and Strategy Conference (BSC) now known as Business Strategy and Innovation Conference in Accra, Ghana on June 3 2016. We started the implementation of the Ghana Hotel and Tourism Program, a concept we developed to help hotel and tourism businesses in Ghana to take advantage of the benefits of technological advancements in order to expand their operations.

The experiences of the previous year have proven that we stand to benefit as a business as we continue to innovate and disrupt in order to outperform market competition.

In 2017, we plan to occupy a bigger market share through greater brand visibility, strong technology infrastructure and increased profitability.

As a strategy, we have decided to commence the implementation of our “Expansion Drive” beginning October 2017 with Togo and Benin in focus. And by the end of 2020, we would have established a strong presence in two other countries, notably Nigeria and Ivory Coast – making it 5 countries of operations in 5 years.

And finally, we have made it a marketing strategy to increase our engagement level with potential prospects through the provision of relevant research-driven articles once every fortnight via our online platform, the West Cape Journal (http://westcapestrategy.com/journal/).

2017 will witness the second edition of our Business Strategy and Innovation Conference with the strategic partnerships of Business Day (Ghana) and Financial Afrik (Morocco), two of Africa’s leading business information providers. The Conference will also receive support from the Government of Ghana and that of Togo.

AfricaLearns, our CSR initiative aimed at advancing computer literacy in rural communities

We are of the firm conviction that of all the triggers of Africa’s development, technology remains the most potent and catalytic. Based on this conviction, we have decided to dedicate parts of profits to our AfricaLearns project, our CSR initiative aimed at advancing computer literacy in rural communities in countries where we operate. Our aim is to contribute to developing vibrant tech-driven knowledge economies in Africa that support inclusive development.

The Africa Tech Policy Forum – a body of stakeholders whose functions are to research and design Africa’s next Technology Policy Proposals is scheduled to enter into full operations by May 2017.

With a Diversified Portfolio of tech-powered business Services, Team members with varied expertise, Extensive Business and Political Network, Customer-centric technologies, Innovative Market-driven solutions and a Strong Appetite for growth and Expansion, we are poised to occupy 15% of Market share in Ghana by the end of 2018. Based on these same strategies anchored on a robust business model, we project to occupy a Market share of 10% in all our 5 countries of operations combined by the end of 2020.

Thank you!

God bless Ghana; God bless Africa!

Signed:

Isidore Kpotufe

Chief Executive Officer

How Technology is Decentralising Financial Services Globally

How Technology is Decentralising Financial Services Globally

By Zina Kumok, Investopedia

For several years, the finance industry has been witnessing a huge shakeup. New, fast-moving financial technology firms—rather than traditional banks and investment managers—are changing how people spend and save money. These upstarts have exposed older companies to revolutionary technology and a consumer-based focus that users are responding to in droves. And they have already changed how big companies manage and introduce products.

Executives surveyed in the 2017 World Fintech Report by technology consulting firm Capgemini said that non-traditional financial services firms provided a better customer service experience, were more convenient to use, and provided a better value for the money. These are just some of the ways that fintech has improved the landscape of finance—and possibly changed it forever.

Fintech’s Revolution

Less than a decade ago, mobile banking was limited to checking the total balance in one’s account. Nowadays, most major banks have their own mobile apps where customers can deposit checks, transfer funds and send money to friends and family. Chase Quickpay has become popular in the same way that Venmo and Facebook have made paying back friends easier than ever. Fintech has made managing finances simpler and more relatable to everyone. It has made financial freedom something that more people can attain.

For example, 20 years ago, a financial advisor was something only those with large investment portfolios could afford. Meg Bartlet, president of Flow Financial Planning, said this is one of the biggest changes to come about from the rise of fintech companies. “It used to be that financial planning, especially fee-only financial planning, was effectively available only to wealthy people,” Bartlet said. “A lot of costs were involved in providing tailored investment and financial planning services, and so the service was expensive.

The advent of robo-advisors has made it possible for anyone to start their own retirement account with tailor-made suggestions on where to store their money. Plus, robo-advisors typically charge lower fees than most traditional advisors and have smaller minimum requirements. Fintech companies also focus on attracting huge numbers of individual users while traditional companies tend to want larger companies as clients.

Programs such as Acorns have made investing something people can do as easily as swiping right on Tinder. Digit has capitalized on micro-saving and allowed people to save without setting up a savings account at a brick-and-mortar bank.

It’s no wonder that these startups are shaking up the finance world. More than 40% of executives from The Fintech World Report said that their company culture makes it difficult to change or be inventive. Another challenge for traditional firms is finding the money to pay for new ideas. Maybe being more upfront with fees charged to customers could help; CFA and CFP Mark Struthers of Sona Financial said many traditional financial firms make it hard to figure out their pricing structure while fintech companies are more transparent.

“Most fintech goes out of its way to tell you what you are getting, but not traditional financial companies,” Struthers said. “It’s because fintech has nothing to hide; traditional finance does.”

The Bottom Line

Research shows that fintech firms have changed the financial services climate, although some industry folks still claim that fintech firms are a passing fad. While the upstarts’ overall influence remains to be seen, consumers should expect more innovation and, perhaps, fewer traditional companies operating as they have been since their inception. Traditional firms that don’t want to be left behind technology-wise should consider adding more fintech programs to their offerings and increasing budgets for this realm. Executives with startup and tech experience will likely be prioritized over traditional candidates seeking employment at financial services firms—they’ll be seen as more capable of driving older enterprises into the new fintech landscape.

Source: Investopedia.com

MWeb Connect

South Africa: Internet Solutions Agrees to Buy MWeb Connect

Internet Solutions, a pan-African communications service provider, has announced that through its parent company, Dimension Data, it has entered an agreement to acquire the business of MWeb Connect for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities in SA and shareholders. If successful, the transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

The company will provide “an improved and streamlined customer sales experience, starting with a new-look MWeb home page which will launch at the end of March

“MWeb is one of South Africa’s largest consumer ISPs and this acquisition will immediately give Internet Solutions a presence in the large and rapidly growing consumer market,” says Internet Solutions Managing Director, Saki Missaikos.

“A truly digital world is dependent on quality connectivity. It is the building block upon which the promise of automated cars, ‘smart homes’, virtual offices, and Internet of things will achieve mass adoption. We believe that broadband has the power to reshape the world in which we live and work. It offers faster and more dynamic ways of doing business, and is playing a critical role in improving the provision of services for consumers across many sectors such education, health, transport, and social services to name a few,” Missaikos says.

Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWeb says: “For nearly 20 years MWeb has been connecting people and, like Internet Solutions, technology is at the core of our business. MWeb and Internet Solutions have been laying the foundations for a connected world for many years and we have a common vision of providing seamless connectivity for the consumer at home, on the move, in the office, and in public spaces.

We believe that the full potential of technological advancements will be realised by ensuring that everyone has access to quality, affordable, secure, and reliable connectivity.”

Source: Business Times Africa

DIGITAL BANKING

How Credit Unions Can Leverage Digital Banking To Propel Growth

People love digital services … because they are easy to use and delivers great customer experience. However, the pace of change expected of Credit Unions in the form of enterprise upgrade and level of sophistication in service delivery is unjustifiably lagging.

By Ellah Makuba

Since the introduction of the Credit Union concept in 1955 (cuaghana.com), the socio-economic role executed and the contribution to poverty alleviation especially in deprived and less-endowed communities has been immeasurable. Credit Unions have been the backbone of “nano-economies” in localities where traditional commercial banks have shied away in the past. The over 500 Credit Unions in Ghana have indeed tended well to the financial services need of low-income earners and the financially disadvantaged in society and the positive implications are bare-evident.

However, the pace of change expected of Credit Unions in the form of enterprise upgrade and level of sophistication in service delivery is unjustifiably lagging. Without a doubt, core challenges persist, and the quarters responsible for the needed growth and advancement of the sector are indeed taking unprecedented steps to reposition and situate Credit Unions in their rightful space. The not so long ago introduction of the Credit Union Legislative Instrument (L.I 2225) has in a contributory fashion set the tone for concerned actors to push for various growth agendas. And one of the trending and embraced areas of banking which Credit Unions have evidently failed to prioritize is digitization, automation, and the concept of Digital Banking.

According to the Ghanaian Times newspaper, “internet access has made it possible for people to stay at home to transact business online and online banking today, has emerged as a major channel to supplement face-to-face banking” (ghanaintimes.com.gh). Backbase & Efma also emphasizes that “people love digital services … because they are easy to use and delivers great customer experience”. Without a doubt digitization, automation and leveraging the internet is the new order and not walking the path is losing out on huge market opportunities.

In a recent presentation to the Ghana Credit Union Managers Association (GHACUM) annual conference held at the Training School of the Ghana Co-operative Credit Unions Association (CUA), I had the opportunity to speak to a gathering of Credit Union Managers on the topic “New Trends In Digital Banking” and successfully drove home the need to embrace the new order in banking. Without a doubt, the house shared the conclusion that digital banking is the present and will constitute the core of service delivery in future banking. What was also obvious during the deliberation was that, only a fraction of Credit Unions in Ghana have adopted some form of digital banking. And for the few in mention, the journeys to incorporate the full strand of digital banking platforms is clearly yet to begin.

The issues militating against Credit Unions in this digital direction are known, understood and to a large extent resolvable. What however seem fundamentally worrying is that, Managers and Board of Credit Unions are lacking in their ability to conceive of the growth opportunities that digital banking throws out on its path. Whilst to some, it is a matter of not knowing how digital banking can be relevant to the members (credit Union customers) they serve, to a good majority the challenge bothers on the reluctance to depart from legacy systems and “how we have always done things around here”. Whilst the benefits of going digital was well demonstrated and acknowledged, it was obvious that only continuous education and relevant workshops in that regard can drive the necessary change. Some of the insights shared with the participants were indeed impactful and embracing.

The changing landscape of banking globally creates a sense of urgency in embracing and delivering banking services through unlimited customer touch points (omni-channel). Technology is defining everything given the fact that added facilitation by the internet has made us more connected than ever before globally. Thanks to technology advancement and the affordability factor created by China, the mobile is the most widely adopted device globally (over 6.8 billion). Ghana has over 35 million mobile phone users as against a population of about 27 million generating about 128% penetration rate. This is a telling statistics explaining why banks are increasingly leveraging the mobile phone to deliver greater banking experience and to get hold of a wider audience as well in a cost-contained manner.

The customer is an ever evolving solution-seeker. Changing lifestyle is driving the search for financial services that saves them time, money, hassle as well as keeps them safe. These are core value drivers in the banking space and it is proven that digital banking delivers these benefits in a manner that increases customer experience. This possibility is also largely driven by the availability of willing collaborators, such as financial and technology firms, who are interested in leveraging their expertise to create the digital platform for financial transactions.

Strategically, digital banking presents growth opportunities for Credit Unions. Own research and analysis conducted in the sector revealed that, one out of every two Credit Union members also holds an account with another commercial banking institution.  It was also estimated that of the Credit Union members that also operates accounts with commercial banks, the share of business ranges between 30-40% in favour of Credit Unions whilst the rest is transacted with commercial banks. Whilst other reasons such as proximity accounted for this outcome, it was increasingly clear that there were other core factors. Interview with sampled respondents of the survey clearly pointed to the fact that the combination of the level of digitization and automation to offer prompt and extended array of transactional banking services is a key factor. This is because most if not all Credit Unions, although doable, are unable to deliver such required service and as such are stacked in the limited and slow banking services afforded by the legacy systems in place.

If this were to change, greater fortunes will follow. Credit Unions do not only stand to benefit from increasing their stake in members’ wallets (even as their businesses grow to demand higher level banking services), but also the opportunity to break the tradition of targeting only the illiterate, semi-literate and the low-income earners in communities. Thus, going digital can significantly appeal and result in the capture of market share in the affluent and educated segment of the banking population. The possibility of banking the elite and well-endowed in society can only be boosted with fundamental change in operating model of Credit Union Organizations to incorporate digitization and automation. By embracing digital banking, Credit Unions stand to eliminate costly back-office transaction processing, record fewer errors and have access to wider geographical audience. To members they stand to benefit from lower transaction cost, 24/7 service availability and own-time banking flexibility. Without a doubt, the growing time-pressured lifestyle means that convenience is everything to the consumer of financial service and if that can be delivered with digital banking, Credit Unions are undoubtedly set for growth.

Given the financial muscle of Credit Unions, a good advice will be to consider riding at the back of commercial banks in a strategic partnership mood in the arena of infrastructure sharing. This has the impact of significantly minimizing the associated cost and cash flow implication. However seeking such partnerships requires internal systems and processes of Credit Unions to be set sound; digitization and automation shall undoubtedly become a key demand.

Whilst embracing digital banking creates wave of growth opportunities, it is important to acknowledge the repercussion of doing otherwise.

1. Digital banking is gradually becoming a threshold capability in competitive banking. Credit Unions not possessing this baseline capability thus place them in a disadvantageous position opening them up to attacks from the competition.

2. Banks are searching for growth from non-traditional customers and they are leveraging digital to capture far-away customers that previously were outside their purview. Going digital is thus Credit Unions’ best bet to fight them off.

3. Without meaningful digital base, Credit Unions are ill-prepared and ill-placed to benefit from crucial alliances and collaborations.

4. Financial services are increasingly shifting online, and in the end digital banking will rule every available space. If Credit Unions are not there at the time, where will they be?

Customers want to pay for goods and services, transfer money to relatives and friends, apply for loan, and check their account balances without having to make a trip to the Credit Union office. And only digital banking can deliver these service needs. Notwithstanding, the approach to digital banking must be strategic and different depending on the growth agenda of Credit Unions. Cautiously noting, there is no one size fits all approach. Assessing internal readiness; systems, processes, and people is paramount. According to McKinsey, “we estimate that digital transformation will put upward 30 percent of the revenues of typical bank……. in play, particularly high-turnover products such as personal loans and payments. We also estimate that banks can remove 20 to 25 percent of their cost base by leveraging this digital shift to transform how they process and service. Put together, the economics of a digital bank will give it a vast competitive edge over a traditional incumbent. It is fair to say that getting digital banking right is a do-or-die challenge”.

Credit Unions have waited way too long to change with the times. Customers are evolving and they will stay loyal to Credit Unions that know them and make banking convenient and easy. The benefit of going digital and the threat of not doing so bother on the survival of Credit Unions and must be taken serious. The digital banking journey may be one that will take years to travel but the first step must be taken today; thus thinking it.

Ellah Makuba is a banking professional with over 5 years experience with particular interest in strategy work.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the West Cape Strategy Group or official policies of the company.

training

How an African Tech Policy can help African Startups tackle the top 3 digital priorities of the continent

The West Cape Strategy Group has been advocating for a concrete Policy direction for the flourishing technology and innovations sector in Africa. Alan Akakpo, Project Director at West Cape takes his turn to highlight how an African Tech Policy can help African Startups tackle the top 3 digital priorities of the continent.

African startups can lead the way in taming what experts refer to as the change monster – the inability of various sectors of society to adapt to emerging transformative technologies. African innovations will only be driven by a policy agenda capable of addressing the continent’s top most digital priorities.

Mainstreaming technology into the educational system: the long-term goal

Digital literacy has to be purposefully integrated into the academic curricula because Africa’s leapfrogging to the fourth industrial revolution will not be possible with the conventional pen and pencil approach. Some countries like Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Rwanda are adopting practical approaches to build the human capital that will meet the demand of knowledge-economies. But others are spending citizens’ taxes on transitional strategies that will bring about everything except tectonic shifts in the economic landscape. Benchmarking apps, digital tools and frameworks can be developed by African startups. It will go a long way in pulling forward those African countries that are lagging behind. Mainstreaming technology into the system also reduces the cost of access to educational infrastructure while improving the quality of educational contents.

Technology as an infrastructure: the medium-term panacea

Alan Akakpo, Project Director at West Cape SG
Alan Akakpo, Co-Founder of Westcape

This is a resolute stand we have quickly taken at West Cape SG. To me, this is the topmost digital policy priority for the continent. Africa requires bold experimentation and tech-based investments into broadband networks, electronic manufacturing projects and acquisition of tangible tech megatrends and gadgets. This is the how we can boost national and regional tech capacities that will translate into the exponential development of innovation hubs and the offering of top class services. Here, advocacy and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are the most effective tools.

Digital jobs: the short term confidence builder

We agree that digital economy has to be captured in the continental framework and flexible regional strategies have to designed and implemented rapidly. It is not the case yet. Hypothetically, the Governments are not knowledgeable about the urge and the strategies to put in place. It is nonetheless important that African Startups take the lead in sharing information about digital job opportunities.

It is estimated that the work of professions like financial analysts, doctors, journalists, accountants may be partly or completely automated by 2025. In Africa, businesses do not really know what to make of such research findings as there is very little insight generated on future job prospects and the impact of transformative technologies on our industries. African startups should take collective actions to come out with more commercial form of research, generate and document practical knowledge about the needed technological drivers of growth and job creation on the continent.

For instance, the 419 epidemic – a type of scam – has been hitting some African countries so hard that internet users may have developed serious risk aversion for African digital products. 419 can be rebranded through a positive agenda and a comprehensive labor substitution strategy that will concur to shaping a better digital ecosystem for the continent.

What we are doing

West Cape SG is committed to ensuring the development of technology infrastructure in Africa through the Africa Tech Policy project (Learn more about the Project here)

To know more about the Africa Tech Policy, send us an e-mail at info@westcapestrategy.com with the subject line ATP.

Technology Infrastructure

Notes 2.0: Technology is an Infrastructure, Not a Service

I have started a blog on the West Cape Strategy Group’s website called “Notes 2.0”. It is a less than 500-word article I will be publishing every Thursday on Technology and Innovations, Entrepreneurship and Business, Economy and Politics among other topics. I hope you enjoy it.


By Isidore Kpotufe / CEO of West Cape Strategy Group.

The Minister of Finance of Ghana, Hon. Seth Terkper has indicated that the Ghanaian economy in 2017 will to a very large extent be driven by the Oil and Gas sector, with the coming on board of the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN) fields which started producing oil in August, this year, together with the Sankofa Field which is expected to start production in August 2017.

Now, I cannot understand why the government would choose to ride on such a bumpy road. Ghana is not alone. Other African countries, including Nigeria heavily rely on Oil and Gas for revenue mobilisation. But global dynamics indicate strong uncertainty for oil price stability going into 2017.

Africa has offered many of the best examples of just how transformative Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) can be in terms of development over recent years, from the spectacular success of mobile banking, to smart apps now being used across the entire continent for tracking and preventing malaria, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, to distance learning opportunities at every level of education, and to telecentres that help preserve and enrich the cultural lives of rural and remote communities.

Indeed, it is striking to note that over 90% of African governments do not see Technology as an Infrastructure, thus fail to put in place the relevant support policies.

If we invested only $25bn today in developing the BASIC (and I mean basic) Technology Infrastructure and ecosystem of 10 African countries, we would have created MILLIONS of jobs in the next 10 years and grown the economy of Sub-Sahara Africa by 10 folds. The GDP of Africa is almost equivalent to that of France.

However, unfortunately, African governments have not seen the innumerable opportunities in the ICT sector yet.

Someone has to take an action.

Join us at the Africa Tech Policy Forum:

There are no adequate policy incentives to motivate African Tech entrepreneurs to match up to the continent’s ICTs challenges. The West Cape Strategy Group together with other partners is championing the cause of a common Africa Tech Policy. Learn more here

About Isidore Kpotufe

Isidore is a self-trained idea entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of West Cape Strategy Group, an Internet Technology and Business Development Firm that’s changing how governments and private sector do business in Africa. Learn more about him

Follow on twitter @freeisidore

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Isidore Kpotufe at 2016 AfriLabs

How to Develop Efficient Technology Infrastructure in Africa

West Cape SG took part in the 2016 AfriLabs Annual Gathering 

The West Cape Strategy Group (West Cape SG) took part in the 2016 AfriLabs Annual Gathering held at the Alliance Française, Accra, Ghana from 25 to 27 October 2016. Themed “Making Tech Ecosystem count”, the 2016 Annual Gathering brought together members of AfriLabs and other stakeholders in the tech ecosystem in Africa to learn the latest tech insights, discuss policy actions and build partnerships.

AfriLabs is a pan-African network of 40 technology innovation hubs in 20 African countries. It was founded in 2011 to build a community around the rapidly emerging tech hubs in Africa.

West Cape SG’s CEO, Isidore Kpotufe and Project Director, Alan Akakpo represented the company. Isidore Kpotufe moderated a session on the role of governments in building efficient technology infrastructures in Africa. Members of the Panel were drawn from AfriLabs, Civil Society and Private Sector. Some questions that featured in the panel discussion included:

  1. What’s the role of Technology and Innovations in economic growth?
  1. How can Tech Hubs drive the innovations that can lead to economic growth in Africa?
  1. Should we continue to focus on Agric as the “backbone” of our economies?
  1. What is the biggest role governments can play in building or supporting existing innovation hubs as a support to start-ups and entrepreneurs?
  1. What approach would you recommend in getting African governments to buy from tech start-ups?
West Cape SG's CEO, Isidore Kpotufe (middle) moderating a panel at the 2016 AfriLabs Annual Gathering, Alliance Française / © West Cape SG
West Cape SG’s CEO, Isidore Kpotufe (middle) moderating a panel at the 2016 AfriLabs Annual Gathering, Alliance Française / © West Cape SG

Isidore mentioned that his outfit was committed to ensuring the development of technology infrastructure in Africa through the Africa Tech Policy project (Learn more about the Project here). He mentioned that West Cape SG is working towards an improved and favorable Policy environment where African tech entrepreneurs easily thrive to meet local demand for ICT products and compete globally.

Entities in this Press

West Cape Strategy Group 

The West Cape Strategy Group is a leading integrated service provider based in Ghana that specializes in Internet Technology, Technology Research, Business Strategy, Corporate Training and Brand Identity Management and Development.  Learn more here

AfriLabs 

AfriLabs is a pan-African network of 40 technology innovation hubs in 20 African countries. Learn more here

Youth Development

Dusk Capital completes Personal Development workshop for the youth in Ghana

From 09-10 September 2016, Dusk Capital Limited, an investment banking and financial advisory firm and its sister organization Dusk Foundation organized a personal development workshop for the youth. The workshop came off at the SRC Conference hall of the University of Ghana and formed part of their 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility program.

The exercise, which covered topics such as career development, grooming, savings and investment, communications, CV writing and job hunting brought together over 30 participants. Participants came from diverse backgrounds.

Prior to holding the event, the CEO of West Cape Strategy Group, the company that manages Dusk Capital’s online presence and brand strategy, Mr. Isidore Kpotufe said: The workshop will shed lights on critical factors that pose threats to the development of young people in Ghana and it promises to be transformative.”

In a conversation with the organizers, Constance Adjei, one of the participants at the workshop admitted that until she attended the event, she was “ill-informed” about 80% of the issues covered at the workshop.

All the participants surveyed expressed similar sentiments regarding the quality of both the content and facilitators of the workshop.

The workshop was facilitated by seasoned career development experts and professionals, notably Mr. Bernard Osei–Tutu and Mrs. Yvonne Ohui MacCarthy, respectively CEO and Corporate Affairs Manager at Dusk Capital Limited. Interventions also came from staff of the organizers.

Dusk Capital used the workshop as a platform to extensively educate the participants on financial literacy. Mrs. Yvonne Ohui MacCarthy announced that her outfit was ready to financially support young people with catalytic entrepreneurial ideas.

Inspired, supported and empowered, the participants were convinced they had attended probably the best workshop of the year.

The exercise was largely covered by the local media.

—–

Singed: Elorm E. Abusah, West Cape Strategy Group

For Dusk Capital Limited

September 14, 2016

Accra, Ghana

Entities in this press

Dusk Capital Limited

Dusk Capital Limited is the next frontier Company for Investment Banking and Advisory Services in West Africa and beyond. The firm is managed by an experienced team made up of top Investment Professionals and Consultants with in-depth knowledge and experience in Securities.

Dusk Foundation

Established in 2013, Dusk Foundation is a private non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to complex global issues through education and various contributions. It is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Dusk Capital Limited

West Cape Strategy Group

The West Cape Strategy Group is a consultancy that specializes in Corporate Web and Graphic Designs, Brand Identity Management and Development, Internet Technology, Business and Strategy Services.