Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Tuesday, 05 November 2019 15:05

Trump in trouble as lady sues for defamation

A woman who accused the United States of America’s President Donald Trump of raping her more than 23 years ago in a New York department store sued him on Monday over statements he made in June denying that the attack occurred and criticizing her for coming forward.

E. Jean Carroll, a longtime Elle magazine advice columnist, said in a complaint filed in a New York state court in Manhattan that Trump lied about attacking her, and “smeared her integrity, honesty, and dignity” by concocting a “swarm of related lies” to explain why she would make the incident up.

Carroll’s account of the alleged rape at Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue, which she said occurred between the autumn of 1995 and spring of 1996, had been published in New York magazine in June, excerpted from her memoir released the following month.

“The lawsuit is frivolous and the story is a fraud – just like the author,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The story she used to try and sell her trash book never happened, period.”

Carroll’s lawsuit followed statements that Trump made after her account was published, including that he did not rape Carroll and had never met her, and that she was “totally lying” as part of an effort to boost book sales.

“I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” he told The Hill newspaper in Washington.

Published in World
Tuesday, 05 November 2019 14:29

Sudan mulls cash transfers to the poor

Sudan is discussing several scenarios such as cash transfers for poor people to accompany planned subsidies for food and other basic goods, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Monday.

Shortages of bread, fuel and medicine coupled with hefty price rises brought people out in protest and led to the toppling of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.

The economy has remained in turmoil as politicians negotiated a three year power-sharing deal between the military and civilians.

Hamdok told Reuters cash transfers were one scenario discussed to offset a cut in food and other subsidies.

Bashir’s government ran up enormous budget deficits by subsidizing fuel, bread and other products.

Hamdok gave no details but he said the plan included subsidies for drugs, medical services and education.

“The issue of subsidies is one of the most important and biggest challenges,” he said during a visit to the western region of Darfur where poverty is especially high after more than 15 years of conflict and violence.

In September Hamdok’s government announced a nine-month economic rescue plan aimed at curbing rampant inflation while ensuring supplies of basic goods. The plan would keep bread and petroleum subsidies in place until at least June 2020.

Hamdok, a technocrat and economist, also said Sudan was still in talks with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund about the 2020 budget year.

In August Hamdok said Sudan needed $8 billion in foreign aid over the next two years to cover its import bill and help rebuild its economy.

The transitional government has been working on removing Sudan from the U.S. sponsors of terrorism list to potentially open the door for investment. Its inclusion on the list makes it ineligible for debt relief and financing from lenders such as the IMF.

Published in Bank & Finance

Total E&P Nigeria Staff Multipurpose Co-operative Society Limited today launched a smart, mixed-use real estate in Victoria Island Lagos.

The high rise estate called La Definition overlooks Kuramo Waters.

It is the first of its kind to be certified under EDGE Sustainability in West Africa.

The estate is a pioneer of Green technology in West Africa and is the perfect case study of how a co-operative society can benefit members and communities.

La Definition estate is built by the co-operative society comprises the staff of Total E&P Nigeria Ltd, a local subsidiary of Total South Africa, the French multinational integrated oil and gas company.

La Definition sits on 22,000sqm of land located between the Kuramo Lagoon and Lagos beachfront.

The project is set to steeply increase revenue for members of the cooperative whilst improving the amenities available to the diverse population of Victoria Island, Lagos’ centre of business and commerce.

La Definition will feature some unique solutions to tackle the limited availability of grid infrastructure in Lagos including a water recycling system that will reduce demand for borehole water by up to 80% through the use of rainwater and greywater.

An energy centre is also planned based on the gasification of sustainable waste streams to produce very clean synthesis gas that will generate electricity and heat for the development with zero CO2 emissions.

Published in Business
Tuesday, 05 November 2019 13:19

Facebook rebrands in new logo

Facebook is wearing a new logo, a change the company said is meant to separate the wider corporation — and its subsidiaries like WhatsApp and Instagram — from the Facebook social network, sometimes known internally as the “big blue app.”

The move comes as Facebook faces criticism from lawmakers and advocates for its privacy practices, and concerns that the data collection that’s common on the Facebook platform may bleed over into its other businesses.

The new logo features plain capital letters, rather than the stylized blue “f” that has long been associated with the company.

“Today, we’re updating our company branding to be clearer about the products that come from Facebook,” the company said in a blog post.

“People should know which companies make the products they use. Our main services include the Facebook app, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Portal and Calibra. These apps and technologies have shared infrastructure for years and the teams behind them frequently work together,” according to the company.

“Over the coming weeks, we will start using the new brand within our products and marketing materials, including a new company website.”

Published in Telecoms
Tuesday, 05 November 2019 12:44

Lagos: Popular Balogun market gutted by fire

Some sections of the Lagos popular Balogun market have been razed by an inferno.

The Guardian reports that the market that houses various business ventures caught fire in the early hours of Tuesday.

The cause of the fire outbreak is still sketchy as at the time of filing this report.

Balogun market is one of the busiest and biggest in the state.

Published in World

Narratives are essential. Humans are, after all, “helpless story junkies”. Business and economic success depend much more than is commonly acknowledged on getting the narrative right. And if there is a narrative where getting it right or wrong matters hugely, it is the narrative about Africa’s industrial development.

Africa is the poorest continent. It is likely to be the most affected by climate change. It is the continent where terrorist groups are spreading fast.

Therefore, African industrialisation is essential. Unfortunately, the dominant narrative is that Africa has been de-industrialising, even prematurely. In this narrative, it is also questioned whether Africa can ever industrialise. African countries have even been advised not to try. The World Bank’s “Trouble in the Making” report concludes that manufacturing is becoming less relevant for low-income countries.

Fortunately, a very different narrative is possible. In a recent paper, I argue that Africa can industrialise because of three factors. These are “brilliant” new technologies enabling digitisation, smart materials and 3D-printing; a more vibrant entrepreneurship scene; and Africa’s growing middle class (as measured by the share of households that earn between $11 and $110 per person per day), which supports the continent’s first generation of indigenous tech-entrepreneurs.

Consider therefore the following narrative: More than 300 digital platforms, mostly indigenous, are operating across the continent. There are also more than 400 high-tech hubs, and more are being added. In addition, venture capital funding into African tech start-ups increased ten-fold between 2012 and 2018.

Moreover, manufacturing has more than doubled in size in real terms since 1980. And since 2000, manufacturing value added has grown at more than 4% a year. That is double the average between 1980 and 2000 (numbers from the Expanded African Sector Database).

As a result, total employment in manufacturing in 18 of the largest African economies (for which there is data) grew from roughly 9 million in 2004 to more than 17 million by 2014. That is an 83% increase in ten years. The proportion of labour in manufacturing for Africa as a region grew from roughly 5% in the 1970s to almost 10% by 2008.

So, how will these trends shape the future? I argue that they will result in three varieties of industrialisation.

Three varieties

The first variety can be labelled “acquiring traditional manufacturing capabilities”. This variety is implied by Overseas Development Institute researchers Karishma Banga and Dirk Willem te Velde. It will be experienced by countries and sectors where technological change is too fast and complex to benefit immediately. These countries and sectors will need time to first put complementary investments in place, while at the same time continuing to promote traditional labour-intensive manufacturing.

The second variety, “fostering sectors with the characteristics of manufacturing”, is elaborated in a recent UNU-WIDER book. Here it is argued that service sectors can take up “the role held by manufacturing in the past”. In many countries, services such as ICT and telecoms, tourism and transport, financial and farming services can lead to productive development.

The third variety, “resurgent entrepreneurship-led industrialisation” is based on my earlier work. I point to the growing list of achievements of African countries in terms of high-tech manufacturing. For example South Africa leads in advanced manufacturing in having one of the world’s largest 3D-printers, used to manufacture parts for the aviation industry.

Different combinations of these varieties will dominate in different countries. For example, Kenya is already experiencing the simultaneous development of high-tech financial services alongside growth in traditional manufacturing, such as food processing and textiles, as well as clusters of advanced manufacturing. While every country’s pathway will be a unique combination of these varieties, what they will have in common is that progress will require that they deal with the impact of new technology, especially digitisation, on manufacturing.

To ensure momentum is maintained, the narrative about industrialisation has to change. As Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari pointed out, neither land – the core resource of feudalism – nor physical capital – the core resource of 20th-century capitalism – will be decisive for competitiveness in the future. Instead, data and data science, free information flows, ICT (data) skills, and decentralisation of decision-making will be the decisive factors.

What needs to be done

With an outdated story that gives up on manufacturing, Africa will fail to close the huge digital gap it still faces. The gap is reflected in the fact the continent contributes less than 1% of world’s digital knowledge production. To reduce this gap, African countries will have to start by expanding internet access and use. If internet use across the continent can be expanded to the same rate as in high-income countries, 140 million new jobs and US$2,2 trillion could be added to GDP.

What must be done to change the narrative? What do African governments need to do? The first is that its leaders need to start telling more stories about the future than about the past. Perhaps, like China’s leaders, they can even be inspired by science fiction. British best-selling author Neil Gaiman relates how China started to embrace science fiction after sending a delegation to

“the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.”

Helping to imagine the future of African industrialisation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently stressed that fact that Africa is one of the early adopters of mobile telephony and moreover that the continent needs to aspire to more:

We need to focus on the new technologies that are going to revolutionise the world, and we need to be ahead of the curve.

This is the right narrative. It is necessary, although not sufficient for African industrialisation. For this, words need to lead to actions. And some consistent actions, at least for a start, would be for African governments to refrain from creating stumbling blocks for their brave new tech-entrepreneurs, such as curbing access to the internet, restricting digital information flows, under-investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, neglecting data-privacy legislation, and restricting the rights of women to work in manufacturing.The Conversation

 

Wim Naudé, Professorial Fellow, Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT), United Nations University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Business
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