Connect with us

Africa News

Going cashless is a priority for Africa tourism

Published

on

Although tourism in emerging markets grew from 30 percent in 1980 to 45 percent in 2015 Africa has not enjoyed the same growth rate. This, according to ELIAS AAD, VP, Government Solutions Lead, Mastercard Advisors, is due to security and the lack of going cashless.

Over the last eight years, travel and tourism has grown by 17.3 percent in the top ten fastest-growing global destinations.  This rate speaks to the rapid growth of tourism and how the industry, and an increasing priority for countries seeking for new growth opportunities. In emerging markets tourism grew from 30 percent in 1980 to 45 percent in 2015 and is expected to reach 57 percent by 2030.

Africa has not enjoyed the same growth rate, and although the continent offers a range of benefits, the sector remains largely an untapped opportunity. This is largely due to challenges facing the sector, including security concerns.

Recognizing the economic importance to mitigating the challenges was high on the agenda during the 2017 World Tourism Conference held in Rwanda earlier last year. Sector leaders discussed how to maximize opportunities and also reviewed the needs of the sector to reach its full potential.

The event was attended by tourism ministers from various African countries alongside tour operators, travel agents, hotels, airlines, some of the key private sector players. A set of challenges were identified and we broadly agreed that focusing on tackling them together, as industry leaders and the public sector, would make tangible differences to not only each of the African countries independently but also for the continent as a whole.

Easing of travel visa restrictions:

Current travel visa restrictions prevent even Africans from exploring their own continent. The ministers highlighted the complexity behind removing visas, especially considering that there are a number of factors, including security that needs to be considered. However, keen consideration and solutions as to how countries can circumnavigate the concerns around the need for travel documents will go a long way to feed into the decision to remove the need all together. By removing travel restrictions – particularly at an inter-African level – would boost the sector significantly.

Developing infrastructure that allows for easy travel

Lack of adequate infrastructure, whether air, road or water, makes it complicated to travel between destinations. One such example is a traveler trying to go from Kigali to Cape Verde – currently they need to take a number of connecting flights and routes – costly and a real issue for business travelers. As it stands, there is a critical need to further develop a strong airline and road network that connects African locations as well as consideration of smart ways to utilize existing infrastructure. This speaks to the importance of developing smart, connected, cities across Africa – technology will go a long way to boosting efficiencies that will have a long-term benefit on tourism.

Going cashless must be a priority for African economies

With 94 percent of retail transactions still in cash, there is a real need to displace cash given the countless benefits for consumers to shift behaviour. Additionally, benefits will benefit the sector and overall economy. Focus should be placed on:

·         Safety: Digital payments is far safer, and although in Africa the need still remains to have some cash available, it is important to develop a wider acceptance network that includes hotels but also tourist hot spots.

·         Customer experience: COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) has launched a program called from Cape Town to Cairo, providing travelers with a full itinerary to travel from, to and in-between these cities. The initiative is helping to take the pain out of having to carry multiple currencies when travelling. The collaboration highlights the importance of similar initiatives, and a closer relationship between countries.

·         Increased tourism spending: Hospitality providers and retailers benefit from higher footfall and greater purchase power from consumers given the ease of paying for goods digitally.

·         Contribution to GDP growth: A Moody’s study showed that increased use of electronic payments added 0.8 percent to the GDP across emerging markets and 0.3 percent for developed markets. This was driven by; higher potential tax revenue; lower cash handling costs; guaranteed payment for merchants; a reduction in the grey economy due to lower unreported cash transactions; and greater financial inclusion.

The reality is that these seamless experiences will only be realized once sound infrastructure is implemented.

Continue Reading

Africa News

Smart grids needed for Africa’s utilities

Power utilities across Africa should rethink their business models and how they manage and monetise their assets to keep pace with the changing energy ecosystem, says COLIN BEANEY, Global Industry Director for Asset-intensive and Energy and Utilities at IFS.

Published

on

Africa’s abundant natural resources and urgent need for power mean that it is one of the most exciting and innovative energy markets in a world that is moving rapidly towards clean, renewable energy sources. The continent’s energy industry is taking new approaches to providing unserved and underserved communities with access to power, with an emphasis on smart technologies and greener energy sources.

Power systems are evolving from centralised, top-down systems as interest in off-grid technology grows among African businesses and consumers. And according to PwC, we will see installed power capacity rise from 2012’s 90GW to 380GW in 2040 in sub-Saharan Africa. Power utilities are needing to rethink their business models and how they manage and monetise their assets to keep pace with the changing energy ecosystem.

Energy and utilities providers are transforming from centralised supply companies to more distributed, bi-directional service providers. They can only achieve this through the evolution of “smart grids” where sensors and smart meters will be able to provide the consumer with a more granular level of detail of power usage. This shift from an energy supplier to “lifestyle provider” will require a much more dynamic and optimised approach to maintenance and field service.

African companies must thus embrace digital transformation as an imperative. This transformation begins by embracing enterprise asset management to improve asset utilisation. The subsequent steps are enhancing upstream and downstream supply chain management; resource optimisation; introducing enterprise operational intelligence; embracing new technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and predictive maintenance; and becoming a smart utility.

Embracing mobility to drive ROI

Getting it right is about putting in place an enterprise backbone that accommodates asset and project management, multinational languages and currencies, new energies and markets, visualisation of the entire value chain, and mobility apps. Mobile technologies that support the field workforce have a vital role to play in driving better ROI from utilities’ investments in enterprise asset management and enterprise resource planning solutions.

Today’s leading enterprise asset management solutions feature powerful functionality for mobile management of the complete workflow of work orders – from logging status changes and updates, from receiving and creating new orders to concluding the job and reporting time, material and expenses. Such solutions are easy to deploy and intuitive for end users to learn and use.

Importantly for organisations operating in parts of the continent with poor telecoms infrastructure, connectivity is not an issue. The solutions work offline and synchronises when network connectivity is available. Users can work on any device—laptops, tablets, and smartphones—commercial or ruggedised.

By ensuring that field technicians have easy access to information and processes, the mobile solution enables technicians and maintenance engineers to easily do the following tasks:

·         Create a new work order on the fly and log new opportunities

·         Access both historical and planned work information when requested

·         Permit customers to sign when the job is completed

·         Capture measurements and inspection notes on route work orders

·         Create new fault reports on routing

·         Facilitate documentation through photo capturing

·         Provide easy access to technical data and preventive actions.

The power of mobility allows the engineer to be the origin of all data capture on a service event. They can easily inquire on asset history, record parts used or parts needed for repair, record labour hours, and expenses as they occur, and any notes of repairs performed. When coupled with workforce management tools, such solutions unlock significant productivity gains for utilities who are trying to get the most from their workforce and assets.

Continue Reading

Africa News

How machine learning can save your life

Over 11000 people died during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.The virus hopped between Guinea, Leone, Nigeria and Liberia, before making its way to the UK and US. But what would have happened if analysis and machine learning stepped in to help solve the problem, asks ANESHAN RAMALOO of SAS.

Published

on

Over 11000 people died during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.The virus hopped between Guinea, Leone, Nigeria and Liberia, before making its way to the UK and US. But what would have happened if analysis and machine learning stepped in to help solve the problem, asks ANESHAN RAMALOO of SAS.

But what if we could have predicted the outbreak months before it happened, buying us time to take proactive measures to contain it and curb its spread?

With access to overwhelming volumes of data, the computational power needed to store and analyse this data in real time, and sophisticated algorithms that can find patterns in the data and alert authorities to health problems before they become, well, problems, pandemics don’t have to be as devastating as they have been in the past.

In fact, with advanced data analytics, we can better manage any disease – long-term, short-term or pandemic – resulting in better patient treatment, more efficient use of resources and cost savings.

It’s been done before.

By analysing data from social media, blogs, online forums and keyword searches, we were able to predict the 2012-2013 US flu season three months before the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued its first official warning.

Imagine the impact if the same analytical power was applied across the entire healthcare spectrum – not only on a national and global level, but right down to the individual level.

Data evolution

In the past, health workers relied on manually intensive, paper-based systems to record infections and deaths during disease outbreaks. Not only was it easy for errors to slip through but because the data was anecdotal and historical, authorities did not get a complete understanding of the reach and impact of the outbreak.

During the Ebola outbreak, the CDC adopted a mobile data collection system that enabled health workers to instantly submit information to a database via text messages. This low-cost method of information gathering not only resulted in fewer errors but also allowed analysts to draw up detailed maps of population movements, which made it easier to understand how the disease was likely to spread, and where to set up treatment centres.

While this was certainly an improvement on the paper-based systems of old, the drawback was that mobile data was historic and did not provide researchers with the ability to track developments and population movements in real time.

Data-driven action

But mobile phones are just one source of data. Today, health authorities can overlay thousands of data sources – including social media, health and physician reports, keyword searches, media reports, transactional data from retailers and pharmacies, airline ticket sales, geospatial data and more – to not only better manage diseases and outbreaks when they do happen, but to see them coming months in advance – and what could happen if we don’t act on the information.

By mining structured and unstructured data, we can track the movements of infected populations and who they come into contact with; we can measure the success of containment policies, education campaigns and treatments – and what to do if they’re not working; we can determine the effect of weather and other environmental factors on the spread of diseases.

Never before have we been able to act on information to save lives, not just during pandemics but through better understanding and treatment of diseases.

Personalised treatment

Until now, standard treatments for diseases such as cancer and HIV have been applied to all patients, regardless of their unique profiles and with little understanding as to why some people respond well to certain treatments and others don’t.

But by analysing and creating ‘medical maps’ of individuals that take into account their anatomy, physiology, DNA, RNA and chemical composition, doctors can prescribe personalised treatments that have a greater chance of success.

There are many other benefits of data analysis in healthcare:

·        Personalised treatment can result in fewer hospital admissions and can produce faster results and better experiences for patients;

·        By better understanding the impact of lifestyle and diet on health, medical aid providers can educate their members with the aim of improving their health, which could result in cost savings for both the provider and the member;

·        Governments can use data to develop proactive approaches to protecting and promoting public health, to prioritise services and to find ways to cut costs so that they can provide healthcare to more citizens.

·        By sharing data and results from clinical trials and combining that data with academic, patient and industry data, medical researchers can better understand the genetics of viruses, why some strains are more deadly than others, and why some people are more resistant to viruses. This could spark innovation and generate new insights that ultimately improve treatment and outcomes.

AI and machine learning

As the use of intelligent algorithms, machine learning and natural language processing becomes more entrenched in advanced data analytics, technology will increasingly supplement the skills of humans to produce faster and more accurate medical diagnoses.

We’re already seeing successful applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in predicting relapse in leukaemia patients and in distinguishing between different types of cancer.

Machine learning can extract valuable insights from unstructured data like clinical notes and academic journals to provide even larger datasets that will transform the medical industry into a proactive front against diseases.

There are plenty of doomsday theories about how machines will supersede our intelligence and rise against us. But there aren’t enough stories about the potential of data analytics, AI and machine learning to supplement human skills and knowledge to drastically changes lives for the better – and even save them. Right now, it’s looking more likely that machines will actually help us to live longer – and I don’t know many people who would object to that.

 

  • ANESHAN RAMALOO, ‎Data Scientist and Senior Business Solutions Manager at SAS.
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2018 World Wide Worx