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Mainstreaming disability in ICT adds to value chain

By KHETHIWE NKUNA, Head of Corporate Citizenship and Inclusion & Diversity Lead for Accenture, Africa



Left to right: Khethiwe Nkuna, Head of Corporate Citizenship and Inclusion & Diversity Lead for Accenture, Africa, Percy Maimela graduate from the EmployAbility Cadet Programme and Lyn Mansour, CEO of KLM Empowered.

Every eight in hundred people in South Africa are living with disability. This is according to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) which states that the national disability prevalence rate is 7.5%, translating to nearly 4.3 million South Africans who are disabled. As defined in the Employment Equity Act, people with disabilities are “those who have long-term or recurring physical, sensory, or mental impairment which substantially limits their prospect of entry into or advancement in employment” (EE Act no. 55 of 1998). Although 4.3 million is a significant number, they make up much less than 1% of all people employed in our country, and with the employment rate already low, their prospects are even lower. Why could this be?

Discrimination against people with disabilities is still entrenched in today’s society, especially in the workplace and as such, they are either not fully accommodated, or are left entirely out of employment opportunities. This discrimination often starts earlier than when they enter the labour market. Many of them are not able to access certain courses, especially at the tertiary level for different reasons. Schools may not be disability-friendly or may not offer special teaching options; thus excluding many students from the education system and further reducing their chances of employment. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) already taking over the workplace, one can only imagine how increasingly challenging it may get to find employment without the necessary skills needed for the future of work, particularly for someone with a disability.

Success story – disability is still EmployAbility

At Accenture, developing skills has always been a priority. We welcome people with different capabilities, perspectives, and experiences because we believe that this diversity emanates in novel ideas and approaches to business challenges, a higher level of innovative thinking and more varied tactics that help achieve greater levels of success.

Our Skills to Succeed initiative – launched in 2009 to advance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities – is one of our proudest accomplishments. It addresses the global need for skills that open doors to employment by drawing on two of Accenture’s unique capabilities: our training talent and our ability to convene powerful partnerships.

On recognising the need for specialised future skills training for people with disabilities, Accenture initiated the EmployAbility Cadet Programme. This three-year programme which benefits ten learners living with disability offers accredited training to pursue career opportunities within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

The participating candidates receive not only formal education but also practical experience and mentoring in a real work environment, so that they are confident and knowledgeable, able to interact comfortably in any working environment, grow their business skills and establish a strong work ethic. Each graduate will complete an 18-month internship programme in the Delivery Centre within Accenture Technology. With this, we believe they will be empowered, highly motivated, skilled digital artisans. This practical approach is the best way of attracting and retaining people with disabilities into the ICT sector and ensuring that the programme creates sustainable and career-focused employment as opposed to ad-hoc temporary work opportunities.

Through the EmployAbility Cadet programme, Accenture has successfully supported disability inclusion in the ICT sector. As we kickstart the countdown to 50 years of adding meaningful value to South Africa, the success of this initiative is highly celebrated. Over the course of the three year learnership programme, candidates completed a project management qualification (NQF4), advanced project management (NQF5), as well as a National Certificate in Information Technology.  During the same period, the learners obtained practical experience and the opportunity to put the theoretical knowledge into practice. On 4 December 2019 the first intake of the EmployAbility Cadet Programme graduated.

Disability inclusion adds to the value chain

Accenture unlocks Africa’s abundance for all, improving the way our world works. This is reflected in our core values and comes to life daily through the decisions and actions of our people. By creating opportunities that impact the lives of South Africans positively for 50 years as champions of business and workplace transformation, we have been intentional in making disability inclusion in the workplace a priority. In the 2018 financial year alone, we spent more than R38 million on skills development for black employees and learners with disabilities, and our goal is to develop leadership and management skills, as well as professional skills associated with specific career paths.

We proudly support the Leonard Cheshire Disability Soweto Livelihoods Resource Centre. This is a community-based rehabilitation programme of Cheshire Homes South Africa in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability International. The centre has been set up to help people with disabilities fully participate in sustainable livelihoods and opportunities. It aims to promote inclusive and sustainable development through mainstreaming disability in the workplace. It focuses on enhancing their capabilities with training, work exposure and placement in different sectors and industries.

Unlocking ability in all people for the future

In 2015 the SAHRC produced the Disability Toolkit on “Promoting the Right to Work of Persons with Disabilities” for the private sector. The Toolkit is intended to promote awareness and assist employers in the private sector to advance the right to employment for persons with disabilities. This, along with Government’s Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policy aims to ensure that all South Africans can participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy. Accenture fully supports this and believes that to build a sustainable economy, the private sector must work together with the government to maximise the potential of the country’s people and enterprises.

Our investment efforts are crucial to grow the pool of future skills available to the South African market, help people secure employment and start businesses and, ultimately, to sustain Accenture’s success as a high-performance business. This year Accenture has once again achieved a Level 1 B-BBEE status and performance. Our transformation initiatives go beyond B-BBEE compliance, and we are proud to invest in people and causes that make people prosper.


Second-hand smartphone market booms

The worldwide market for used smartphones is forecast to grow to 332.9 million units, with a market value of $67 billion, in 2023, according to IDC



International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, to reach a total of 206.7 million units in 2019. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. A new IDC forecast projects used smartphone shipments will reach 332.9 million units in 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.

This growth can be attributed to an uptick in demand for used smartphones that offer considerable savings compared with new models. Moreover, OEMs have struggled to produce new models that strike a balance between desirable new features and a price that is seen as reasonable. Looking ahead, IDC expects the deployment of 5G networks and smartphones to impact the used market as smartphone owners begin to trade in their 4G smartphones for the promise of high-performing 5G devices.

Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, says: “In contrast to the recent declines in the new smartphone market, as well as the forecast for minimal growth in new shipments over the next few years, the used market for smartphones shows no signs of slowing down across all parts of the globe. Refurbished and used devices continue to provide cost-effective alternatives to both consumers and businesses that are looking to save money when purchasing a smartphone. Moreover, the ability for vendors to push more affordable refurbished devices in markets in which they normally would not have a presence is helping these players grow their brand as well as their ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories.”

Worldwide Used Smartphone Shipments (shipments in millions of units)

2018 Market
2023 Market
North America39.022.2%87.226.2%17.4%
Rest of World136.877.8%245.773.8%12.4%

Source: IDC, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023, Dec 2019.

Table Notes: Data is subject to change.
* Forecast projections.

Says Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phones: “Although drivers such as regulatory compliance and environmental initiatives are still positively impacting the growth in the used market, the importance of cost-saving for new devices will continue to drive growth. Overall, we feel that the ability to use a previously owned device to fund the purchase of either a new or used device will play the most crucial role in the growth of the refurbished phone market. Trade-in combined with the increase in financing plans (EIP) will ultimately be the two main drivers of the refurbished phone market moving forward.”

According to IDC’s taxonomy, a refurbished smartphone is a device that has been used and disposed of at a collection point by its owner. Once the device has been examined and classified as suitable for refurbishment, it is sent off to a facility for reconditioning and is eventually sold via a secondary market channel. A refurbished smartphone is not a “hand me down” or gained as the result of a person-to-person sale or trade.

The IDC report, Worldwide Used Smartphone Forecast, 2019–2023 (Doc #US45726219), provides an overview and five-year forecast of the worldwide refurbished phone market and its expansion and growth by 2023. This study also provides a look at key players and the impact they will have on vendors, carriers, and consumers.

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Customers and ‘super apps’ will shape travel in 2020s



Customers will take far more control of their travel experience in the 2020s, according to a 2020 Trends report released this week by Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel industry.

Through independent research with thousands of global travellers – including 500 in South Africa – hundreds of travel professionals and interviews with leaders of some of the world’s biggest travel brands, Travelport uncovered the major forces that will become the technology enablers of travel over the next decade. These include:

Customers in control

Several trends highlight the finding that customers are moving towards self-service options, with 61% of the travellers surveyed in South Africa preferring to hear about travel disruption via digital communications, such as push notifications on an app, mobile chatbots, or instant messaging apps, rather than speaking with a person on the phone. This is especially important when it comes to young travellers under 25, seen as the future business traveler, and managing their high expectations through technology.

Mobile takeover

With the threat of super app domination, online travel agencies must disrupt or risk being disrupted. Contextual messaging across the journey will help. Super app tech giants like WeChat give their users a one-stop shop to communicate, shop online, book travel, bank, find a date, get food delivery, and pay for anything within a single, unified smartphone app. Travel brands that want to deliver holistic mobile customer experiences need to think about how they engage travellers within these super apps as well as in their own mobile channels.

Retail accelerated

In the next year, research shows, we will see an accelerated rate of change in the way travel is retailed and purchased online. This includes wider and more complex multi-content reach, more enriched and comparable offerings, more focus on relevance than magnitude, and an increase in automation that enables customer self-service.

“How customers engage with their travel experience – for instance by interacting with digital ‘bots’ and expecting offers better personalised to their needs – is changing rapidly,” says Adrian Roodt, country manager for Southern Africa at Travelport. “We in the travel industry need to understand and keep pace with these forces to make sure we’re continuing to make the experience of buying and managing travel continually better, for everyone.”

Read the full 2020 Trends report here: 2020 Trends hub.

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