Connect with us

Uncategorized

How to Build More Connected & Inclusive Cities

Published

on

Carlos Menendez is president, Enterprise Partnerships, for Mastercard

By Carlos Menendez,

Carlos Menendez is president, Enterprise Partnerships, for Mastercard. In this role, Mr. Menendez is responsible for expanding the company’s operations globally with partnerships in the Smart Cities, Retail, Travel and Banking space. In this piece, he looks at ways to build more connected and inclusive cities.

When thinking about the cities of the future, I know that they will be more connected, and I strongly believe that they must be more inclusive.

We can’t have the Internet of Everything without the Inclusion of Everyone. Already today, a growing number of cities are using smart technologies to better connect people to places and to each other – and more importantly also connecting people to opportunities for better and safer lives.

Unfortunately, what still causes a significant amount of friction in our cities and prevents inclusive growth is the dominance of cash. In fact, close to 85 percent of all consumer payments in the world are still done with cash or checks.

This means that far too many people are trapped by default in an informal economy. They lack the financial services to guard themselves against risk, save for themselves, plan for their children’s futures, and build better lives.

Two years ago, Mastercard set a global goal to bring 500 million people into the financial mainstream by 2020. And we’re well on our way to doing that.

In just a few short years, we have helped connect more than 300 million people through partnerships with banks, governments, retailers, and NGOs.

We’re also working with our partners to enable and grow 40 million small merchants and micro-entrepreneurs because it’s not just individuals that are too often trapped in a cash economy – stores lose billions of dollars every year to leakage and theft.

Success Factors For Future Interconnected and Inclusive Cities

It’s no secret that the world is becoming more urban. The UN estimates that within the next generation, the number of people living in cities will jump from 50 percent today to almost 70 percent.

Already today, cities are grappling with the challenges that come with their growth. Congestion, pollution, and poverty are features of many of the world’s major cities, and it will take a collaborative effort by the public and private sector to meet these challenges.

We have seen progress, and there are some common themes around how we can leverage technologies and partnerships to move toward more connected, more inclusive cities.

Transforming Public Transportation

The key approach is to tackle those sectors in our cities that have high levels of everyday cash usage, and one of these areas is mass transit.

About 65 percent of all urban transportation is still paid in cash, which adds up in significant operational costs to transport providers and puts drivers and passengers at risk of getting robbed.

In over 100 cities around the globe (including London, Singapore, Bogota and New York), Mastercard users are paying their train or bus fare simply by tapping their card or swiping their phone.

Only a couple of weeks ago, Sydney became the first city in Australia to introduce contactless payments for public transport – no more queuing in front of tickets booths, topping up cards, or fumbling for cash.

In London, already 40 percent of daily pay-as-you-go journeys on the city’s underground, buses, and commuter rails are paid by contactless cards/phones – which has dropped Transport for London’s cost of selling tickets from 14 to 9 percent of the fare and has saved them over 100 million pounds in cash related costs.

Once payments are digitized, data insights help city governments better understand and connect with their citizens. In Chicago for example, UI LABS, is bringing technology and transportation providers together to find ways to better balance transit supply and demand across a city.

When people use their cards for public transport, this can help form a habit of paying electronically in shops and stores as well which can be a critical factor for enabling broader financial inclusion.

For instance, those living in a cash economy face significant risks when it comes to putting away money for savings. This lack of savings then makes it challenging for people to access lower priced weekly or monthly tickets, instead of more expensive daily tickets.

This is why a few weeks ago, the Government of Mexico City announced its plans to launch a debit card that can be used for both transit payments as well as every day purchases, and potentially social disbursements.

Empowering Small and Micro Businesses

Another critical angle to building more inclusive cities is to focus on the role of small businesses and how to connect them to electronic commerce.

In most parts of the world, small businesses account for well over 90 percent of all enterprises. However, small and micro entrepreneurs have historically been underserved when it comes to their ability to accept electronic payments. For a small market vendor, bigger tickets and additional sales from someone using their card instead of cash are important steps on the economic ladder, which are typically followed by better access to credit.

There are various ways to address this. One is by turning a seller’s mobile phone into a payment terminal. Masterpass QR, which is already available in eight countries in Africa and Asia, is a new electronic payment option that lets customers pay for goods and services from their mobile phones by scanning a QR code displayed at a store’s checkout.

In Kenya, Mastercard is partnering with Unilever to simplify the way smaller stores order and pay for their goods with a wholesaler.

Today, this is a very cash intensive process. Digitizing this process will give small entrepreneurs better access to funds, facilitate inventory ordering and management, and provide better sales insights about their business.

Partnering with Governments

Like businesses and individuals, governments make and receive payments. And many governments around the world choose electronic methods for things like procurement, social benefit payments, or tax collection. Electronic payments are not only more efficient and more transparent, they’re also a great way to lead by example.

At Mastercard, we have partnered with over 60 governments globally to deliver more than 1,600 scalable cashless programs in various cities and communities around the world.

In the Middle East and Africa, we have joined forces with public institutions on solutions that link a government identity with payments and enable people to become financially included on a massive scale. In Egypt, the government plans to extend financial inclusion to over 54 million citizens through a digital National ID program.

But what’s most important for many people, is that this may be the first time they see their name printed on a financial instrument. This gives them a financial identity, and it may give them the first chance to move out of the cash economy into the formal economy.

Technology as the Great Enabler

Simplifying access to public transport, empowering small and micro businesses, promoting cashless programs – what these three areas have in common is that technology works as a great enabler. While the know-how exists to solve many of the world’s most pressing problems, no one can meet these challenges on their own.

It takes partnerships across businesses, governments, NGOs and academia to advance more connected and more inclusive cities – and to build healthier, safer and more prosperous communities.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Uncategorized

Sanitise Economy, Curb Debtors Via Technology, Ekeh, Zinox Boss

Published

on

Leo Stan Ekeh, serial digital entrepreneur and chairman, Zinox Group

Leo Stan Ekeh, Africa’s leading technology entrepreneur, has charged the Federal Government to leverage technology in reducing to the barest minimum the growing incidences of corporate debts and usher in an era of unprecedented boom and sanity in the Nigerian economy.

 

He made this assertion while delivering the Guest Lecture at the maiden edition of the 2018 Nigerian Online Merit Awards (NiOMA) held in Lagos recently.

 

Ekeh, chairman of the Zinox Group, who disclosed that technology will resolve much of the contemporary problems facing the Nigerian state if holistically applied, noted that the country will benefit immensely if the government turns to technology in its search for lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the economy.

 

According to Ekeh, the recent revelation by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) that, about 350 Nigerians account for 80 per cent of its N5.4 trillion debt portfolio and the refusal of majority of these debtors to liquidate their indebtedness is an issue that can be easily resolved through the application of technology if there exists accurate data of how these debts arose.

 

In his opinion, it could also be that the government at different levels are partially responsible for some these debts, especially if they were unable to meet their obligations to some of these corporates.

 

Ekeh acknowledged that the present debt profile should be a case study for upcoming entrepreneurs or part of the issues to be dissected by data analysts on why some of these businesses failed, noting that this may also reveal a lot of insider compromises on the part of the lenders so that sincere lessons could be learnt and better structure and systems put in place to avert a recurrence.

 

“Working in concert with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for enforcement purposes, AMCON can leverage a simple technology application that makes it easy to access the bank balances of debtors across all the various banks in Nigeria. This will be a mandatory requirement for the extension of loans and credit facilities and will foster more responsible borrowing as the lenders can easily debit the accounts of borrowers upon due date to recover sums extended.

 

“This will not only reduce the growing profile and negative trend of corporate debts, with its attendant detrimental effect on the economy but will also expose many Nigerians who are publicly hailed as billionaires but who are only living large off depositors’ money, while frustrating further lending to start ups,” he stated.

 

Disclosing the many ways he has relied on technology to ramp up efficiency in his various businesses and simplify complex processes, Ekeh revealed that by next week, he would be trying out a new Enterprise application that will simplify transaction with bankers, irrespective of the numbers.

 

“This application will give us control over all of our bank accounts instead of relying on bank staff to implement our instruction at their convenience.”

 

He also disclosed that the new warehouses widely reported as recently acquired by e-commerce giant Konga were equipped with digital cameras with data analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities which can easily detect fraud and random inconsistencies such as a change in the appearance of an individual or item captured on entry into the facilities. Most importantly, these cameras are cloud based.

 

Urging the government to commit more resources to technology in resolving the unemployment challenges and drive the nation towards rapid development, Ekeh cited the influence of technology in the political space which has reduced post-election litigations from 87% to about 33%, noting that this will further reduce to 11% or thereabouts with the adoption of electronic voting, if funded by the government.

 

“Technology does not lie; it is either you are right or wrong. With technology, you can do unimaginable things. You don’t even need to go through the four walls of a University to acquire quality education,” Ekeh enthused.

 

The Zinox Chairman who spoke on the theme – Leveraging the Internet Revolution to leapfrog Nigeria’s development – affirmed that Information Technology will disrupt the Nigerian economy positively by the year 2023, creating immense opportunities and new wealth for many Nigerians.

 

Noting that this will happen irrespective of the status of leadership at the helm of affairs in the country, Ekeh urged attendees at the event to prepare for the coming disruption.

 

While appreciating the organizers and Publisher of News Express, Mr. Isaac Umunna, Ekeh who received the ICT Icon of the Year award at the event also seized the opportunity to recognize the media for the long years of support in spreading the ICT gospel, even as he declared his intention to stand down from participation at many of such future events in order to allow the younger generation and his son, Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, founder of Yudala to take the stage as he believes they have better global education and exposure to lead the nation to the digital promised land.

 

Among dignitaries in attendance at the event was former Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe who chaired the event; Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan; Publisher of the Guardian Newspapers, Mrs. Maiden Ibru; former Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University and Chairman, Editorial Board of the Guardian, Prof. Wale Omole and Editor, Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Eze Anaba, among others.

 

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Mobile Operators Commit to Common Approach to IOT Security

Published

on

The GSMA has announced that global mobile operators have committed to adopt and implement the GSMA IoT Security Guidelines.

The guidelines outline best practice and recommendations for the Internet of Things (IoT) security for the entire IoT ecosystem and set out a comprehensive security assessment scheme to help ensure IoT services are protected against IoT security risks. There will reach 3.1 billion IoT connections by 2025, according to GSM A Intelligence.

“For the IoT to flourish, the industry needs an aligned and consistent approach to IoT security. Our guidelines encourage the industry to adopt a robust set of best practices that will help create a more secure IoT market with trusted, reliable services that can scale as the market grows.

“The mobile industry has a long history of providing secure services in licensed spectrum and by implementing these guidelines, we can help ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the market,” commented Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA.

The GSMA IoT Security Guidelines are targeted at IoT service providers, device manufacturers, developers and mobile operators and provide best practice for the secure end-to-end design, development, and deployment of IoT solutions across industries and services.

They address typical cybersecurity and data privacy issues associated with IoT services and outline a step-by-step process to securely launch solutions to market.

They are supported by an IoT Security Assessment scheme that provides a checklist to support the secure launch of IoT solutions into the market and keep them secure throughout their lifecycles thereby creating a sustainable IoT ecosystem that is designed for end-to-end security.

Both the GSMA IoT Security Guidelines and IoT Security Assessment also cover the fast-growing Low Power Wide Area or Mobile IoT technologies, LTE-M and NB-IoT.

 

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

BoICT Explains Why Glo Won Most Innovative Award

Published

on

Organisers of the Beacon of ICT Awards, Communications Week Media, have said that Globacom won the Most Innovative Player Award at the 2018 edition of the awards because it pioneering most of the innovations in the nation’s telecoms industry.

Giving the explanation while presenting the awards to Globacom,  Ken Nwogbo, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer of Communications Week Media, reiterated  Globacom’s consistent role as the pioneer in Nigeria’s telecom space in the area of innovation and service quality.

According to him, “Glo has remained consistent in pioneering most of the innovations we have in the telecoms industry today, both in voice and in data services.

Glo Café, Borrow me Data, Campus Booster, E-top Up and Easy Share are among the recent products which have offered unparalleled experience for telecom subscribers on the Glo network. Many of the respondents who took part in the poll said this was why they voted for Glo as the Most Innovative Mobile Player”.

Nwogbo further explained that winners in the various categories were decided by readers of Communications Week in an online survey conducted by the magazine from November last year to March 15, 2018.

The Beacon of ICT Awards was instituted to reward the vision and efforts of individuals and companies that have contributed to the growth of the ICT industry in a particular year.

The main objectives of the awards are to evaluate and recognize standards of excellence in the country’s quest for growth and development in the use of ICT and to ensure that ICT professionals are provided a basis for recognizing and validating outstanding contributions.

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.