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WBAF announces ‘State of Global Entrepreneurship Ecosystem’; says COVID-19 pandemic will spark great disruption

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 19: Baybars Altuntas, chairman of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF), speaks during the WBAF at Swissotel on February 19, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

  • While times remain tough for start-ups, the crises have created opportunities for evaluation and optimisation for the post-COVID-19 reality, says Hauwa Yabani, WBAF’s Nigeria High Commissioner

An affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) is an international organisation contributing immensely towards easing access to finance for businesses from startup to scaleup, with the ultimate goal of generating more jobs and more social justice worldwide.

It is committed to collaborating globally to empower world economic development by creating innovative financial instruments for innovators, startups, and Small & Medium Enterprises.

World Business Angels Investment Forum

The Forum interacts with global leaders in all areas of society, first and foremost in business and political spheres, to help assess needs and establish goals, bearing in mind that the public interest is of importance. It engages a wide range of institutions, both public and private, local and international, commercial and academic to help shape the global agenda.’

WBAF’s operating structure presently comprises a Board, 30 High Commissioners, 119 Senators, 57 International Partners and 47 Faculty Members from 96 countries.

WBAF has announced key-findings of a global survey that included business owners from more than 81 countries and across multiple industries during a virtual World Press Conference on 1st July 2020 hosted by the WBAF Chairman, Baybars Altuntas.

For the first time since the Great Depression of 1929, every country, every society and every economy in the world has seen the impact on health, employment, finance, trade and business. Every report we see – from the World Bank, IMF, OECD, WEF, and NASDAQ – forecasts wide-ranging effects of this great disruption.

The latest IMF Global Financial Stability Report projects high market volatility, a collapse in risk asset prices, a reversal of portfolios and a deterioration of market liquidity. These global financial conditions clearly have greater effect on the entrepreneurship ecosystem than they would in non-pandemic times.

The World Bank predicts that the global GDP will shrink by 5.2% in 2020, the worst scenario since World War II, and nearly triple the contraction experienced during the 2009 recession.

A recent OECD Report also predicts massive global unemployment rates. The same report stated the expectation that starting in Q4 of 2020, recovery will be slow, and in many regions, returning to pre-COVID-19 levels will take 2 years.

Like other institutions, the World Economic Forum identified a number of key risks: 500 million people falling into poverty, a 3% drop in world output, an anticipated fall in global trade of up to 32%, and an estimated 40% drop in FDI.

One of its reports forecasts that bankruptcies will skyrocket, that many industries will fail, and that structural unemployment levels will be elevated for years to come.

The report of a NASDAQ Survey indicated that startup investors expect there will be a significant impact on investing activities and that this pandemic-induced environment will last between 1 and 2 years.

The WBAF’s global survey elicited opinions on issues in a variety of domains, ranging from financing, the workforce, business model realignment, and types of support that are needed during this turbulent economic period.

Comments:

A former Senior Advisor to the London Stock Exchange Group and now Chairman of the WBAF, Baybars Altuntas said that the WBAF is taking active roles in the global pandemic, key among which is the submission of a comprehensive policy recommendations report to the G20 leadership in order to alert policymakers about the urgent needs of startups.

Altuntas also expressed WBAF’s optimisms thus: “We are convinced that we will be able to present a better road map of post-pandemic times for startups, scaleups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and investors if a greater emphasis is placed on knowledge, which is central to the transition debate to a ‘new normal’.” We believe that simply keeping physical distance, washing hands, and staying at home is not enough to solve the challenging problems that entrepreneurs and the young generation will face after COVID-19 itself ceases to be a problem.” “We need better policies that are developed in the light of knowledge that can only come from the entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem.”

Also speaking was Professor Singh, a former Singaporean Parliament Member for 20 years and Founder of one of the world’s first unicorns. He chairs the WBAF’s Global Startup Committee.

According to Prof. Singh, “At this point, we would like to provide a summary of insights from other global surveys conducted by international organizations over the past few months that offer complementary views. Some focused only on one segment within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, while others attempted to get a more comprehensive picture. Overall, you will see that the WBAF findings are consistent with these other major surveys.”

Prof. Singh also observed that: “Ernst and Young Global completed an FDI investment attractiveness survey for Europe in May 2020 that was designed to help businesses make investment decisions and governments remove barriers to growth. Two of the key findings were related to the status of existing projects, specifically that 65% of existing foreign investments were proceeding as planned, 25% were delayed, and 10% were cancelled. The other important insight from this survey was that 66% expected a decrease in 2020 investment plans, while 21% expected a complete delay, and 15% anticipated a substantial decrease.”

The Nigeria’s perspective:

WBAF and Nigeria

Presenting her perspective with regards the report, the WBAF Nigeria High Commissioner, Hauwa Yabani, said: “as with all other affected countries, Nigeria is facing enormous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on all sectors of the economy.With an economy that is highly dependent on global crude oil demand for foreign exchange and government revenue, the crash in crude oil prices has devastated public finances, further exacerbating the situation.” The resort to state-wide lockdowns to control the spread of the virus led to a major slowdown of economic activities. But that, “while times remain tough for start-ups, the crises have created opportunities for evaluation and optimisation for the post-COVID-19 reality.”

“Start-ups that are resilient, repositioning technology as a major enabler and participating in various capacity building programs are increasing their chances not only of survival but also of attaining sustainable growth. Start-ups in some sectors such as health sector, logistics and other essential services have seen spikes in the demand for their products or services, but have struggled to meet the demand due to the corresponding funding requirements which are not readily accessible.” “It is not surprising that some start-ups have had to fold up while others are grappling with appreciating the importance of digital literacy, establishing online presence to retain or gain new customers and utilising the various emerging transaction channels.”  

“The general expectation in Nigeria is that the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually wither, as the Ebola, Zika, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) viruses have in recent years. However, the socio-economic impact on the economy, especially on the start-up ecosystem, will remain for long after especially for those that fail to adapt to the new normal. It is a time for optimistic pragmatism.”

The key findings of the May 2020 WBAF survey can be summarized as follows:

  • 52.22% of respondents expected their funds would last 3-6 months without any additional funding; 29.6% reported that their current funds would last more than 3 months.
  • 41.1% of respondents reported a > 50% drop in market demand for their services or products.
  • 63.1% of startups that participated in the survey plan to change their business model in the post-pandemic business cycle; 36.1% of respondents have definite plans to pivot their business during this business cycle.
  • 46.5% of respondents believe that the impact of the pandemic will last 6 months to a year; 11.3% believe it will persist beyond 2 years.
  • 39.90% of respondents reported a drop in the valuation of their business, but 21.67% reported an increase.
  • Funding, demand, and workforce represent 37.93% of the challenges startups face, with funding ranking highest.

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PIN, 13 other rights advocates condemn persistent arrests of journalists, threats on media freedoms in Zimbabwe

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PIN

BY: Chisom ADA

Paradigm Initiatives “PIN” and thirteen other global rights advocates have expressed great concern over the growing trend on threats on media freedoms and arrests of journalists and activists in Zimbabwe in recent months.

The statement was signed by Liberia Information Technology Student Union; Association des Utilisateurs des TIC – ASUTIC (Senegal)  Centre for Legal Support in Gambia; Equip Africa Integrated Development Initiative; AfroLeadership; Villes et Communes Magazine; Paradigm Initiative; Gambia Cyber Security Alliance; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ); Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA); Afrotribune; Association for Progressive Communications and The Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Coalition of organisations and institutions defending and working to advance human rights in the digital age, said these attacks bear no regard to Zimbabwe’s obligations to:

“Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to protect the right to freedom of expression including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice or through any media whatsoever;

“Sections 61 and 62 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of the media;

“Sections 57, 58, and 59 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which ensure the rights to privacy, freedom of assembly and association and freedom to demonstrate and petition;

The Coalition reminded the Zimbabwean Government of its obligations to the following regional instruments on freedom of expression; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Windhoek Declaration, African Platform on Access to Information and the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression.

The Coalition noted in the last few days, the increase in random arrests, detentions and questioning of journalists and activists in the course of executing their duties.

“Specifically, in a space of seven days, we noted the arrest and detention of Hopewell Chin’ono – a respected journalist on July 20th, Jacob Ngarivhume- an opposition activist on July 20th and Blessed Mhlanga- a senior journalist on July 25. We are deeply concerned by the recent raid of the Journalist Mduduzi Mathuthu’s home and arbitrary arrest of his sister in connection with his whereabouts on July 30th 2020 ahead of a planned protest on the 31st of July 2020. These sustained attacks on journalists are a disregard for media freedoms.

“We are cognizant of  the Press Briefing on Zimbabwe by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Liz Throssell who expressed the UN concern over the arrests on 24 July 2020 condemning the suggestive acts that authorities in Zimbabwe are  using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

“We take note of the 44th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/44/L.18/Rev.1  which reaffirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular, the right to freedom of opinion and expression;

“We, therefore, echo the  laid out guidelines laid out inof Principle 20(1) and (2) of the Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information In Africa (the Declaration) adopted by the African Commission On Human And Peoples’ Rights at its 65th Ordinary Session held From 21 October to 10 November 2019 In Banjul, Gambia that the government of Zimbabwe must guarantee the safety of journalists and other media practitioners and take measures to prevent attacks on journalists and other media practitioners, including murder, extra-judicial killing, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearance, kidnapping, intimidation, threats and unlawful surveillance undertaken by State and non-State actors.

“We also wish to highlight 24 other attacks on media practitioners as documented by the MISA Zimbabwe between March 30th and July 21st  2020 when Zimbabwe went on lockdown. Since then, 3 other journalists were reportedly harassed by the State security agents in Zimbabwe as at 26 July 2020. Journalists including Frank Chikowore and Samuel Takawira are facing prosecution and charged with violating social distancing regulations after attempting to interview three opposition youth leaders who had been abducted and assaulted by alleged security force agents.

“We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to cease this obvious clampdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly especially leading up to the planned July 31, 2020 protest action. We refer to the Ministerial statement dated July 25, 2020, issued by Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services- Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa, that explicitly states that Hopewell Chin’ono was not arrested for exposing corruption but rather for “using his social media accounts to incite Zimbabweans to violently overthrow the Government”. We wish to remind the Zimbabwean authorities of the aforementioned rights of citizens to assemble and protest peacefully; and the duty of law enforcement officers to provide the necessary protection during such times.

“We call for the Government of Zimbabwe to withdraw all malicious prosecutions against media practitioners and to release  Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, and to drop all charges against Frank Chiktowore and Samuel Takawira.

“Further, we call upon the Government of Zimbabwe, especially during this crucial time of the COVID-19 pandemic- a matter of life and death, to respect and guarantee media freedoms by ceasing the unfair and unjustified intimidation of journalists to silence dissent. In addition, to avoid using the cover of ‘violating lockdown restrictions’ to mount violent attacks on media practitioners, at a time when citizens depend on them for news and information”, the statement reads.

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COVID-19: Google Doodle promotes wearing of mask

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Google Doodle
Google wear a mask Doodle

BY: Chisom ADA

Google is running a COVID-19 mask Doodle on 4 and 5 August to reinforce the messaging that wearing masks can save lives, in the midst of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the globe.

Google wear a mask Doodle

Google wear a mask Doodle

The Doodle went live across 60 countries including Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya at 3pm on Tuesday, 4 August.

The Doodle clicks through to a COVID prevention Search Results page.

Google is using the Doodle to promote protection of one’s self and others around them by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions.

Google also offered the follow advice provided by local health authority like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
  • Calling in advance allows your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This protects you, and prevents the spread of viruses and other infections.
COVID-19

COVID-19 statistics Nigeria, global

Masks

Google added that masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others.

“Masks alone do not protect against COVID-19, and should be combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene. Follow the advice provided by your local health authority”, the global tech giant said.

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Nanosatellite and Microsatellite market worth $4.8 billion by 2025

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Nanosatellite

The Nanosatellite and Microsatellite market is expected to grow from USD 1.8 billion in 2020 to USD 4.8 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.3% during the forecast period.

The satellites are used for several applications, such as communication, earth observation & remote sensing, scientific research, biological experiments, academic training, reconnaissance, and various other applications by the defense, intelligence, civil, commercial, and/or government users.

Continuous advancements in the miniaturization of technologies, such as electronics, low-mission costs, and the increasing use of satellite constellations, are major drivers of the market, says MarketsandMarkets in the report.

Some of the prominent key players are:

  • GomSpace (Denmark)
  • Lockheed Martin (US)
  • L3Harris (US)
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation (US)
  • AAC Clyde Space (Scotland)
  • Planet Labs (US)
  • Tyvak (US)
  • NanoAvionics (US)
  • Innovative Solutions In Space (Netherlands)

Earth observation and remote sensing to account for the largest market size during the forecast period

Nanosatellites and microsatellites have brought novel opportunities for earth observation and remote sensing using inexpensive small satellites to capture images of the earth and gather specific data.

Nanosatellites and microsatellites are expected to play a major role in remote sensing missions due to their enhanced computational and communication capabilities, along with competencies in making decisions about the time and data to be shared.

Successful programs to develop and examine advanced hyperspectral imaging systems compatible with nanosatellite and microsatellite missions enable small satellites to generate high-quality complex images.

The commercial vertical to account for the largest market size during the forecast period

The geospatial technology using earth-imaging small satellites for agriculture, education, intelligence navigation, mapping, and other uses, has driven the commercial sector in the past decade.

Nanosatellites or microsatellites help commercial companies gather global real-time data and distribute the same at lower prices to customers across a wide geographic area.

Nanosatellites and microsatellites are used for commercial purposes, such as communication, in the form of voice, data, and videos, internet communication, and video chat. Between 2013 and 2017, almost half the nanosatellites were launched for military or civil missions and the remaining half for business purposes.

North America to account for the highest market share during the forecast period

North America accounts for the highest market share in the nanosatellite and microsatellite market.

The country leads in the adoption of nanosatellites and microsatellites and offers great opportunities for the overall growth of the nanosatellite and microsatellite market. North America has always been an early adopter of new technology or software, and the North American market grows at a faster rate initially as compared to any other region.

The demand for nanosatellites and microsatellites in North America is being driven by the booming digitalization across industries along with surging demand for earth observation satellites.

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