Connect with us


How to Build More Connected & Inclusive Cities



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.


Canon showcases cutting edge technology at CABSAT 2018




By peter oluka

Canon showcased its latest industry-leading innovations at CABSAT 2018, the leading broadcast, satellite and creative media event in the Middle East and Africa region.

The leader in imaging solutions also provided visitors with the opportunity to experience its full range of security solutions, Pro Video portfolio and professional imaging products first-hand at dedicated shooting areas and end to end workflow scenarios.

At the three-day event, Canon unveiled the latest additions to its Pro-Video segment with the launch of its 4K XF Series cameras, XF405 and XF400, which is in addition to the recent launch of the EOS C200, the 4K compact digital cinema camera from the esteemed Cinema EOS range. Under the XA series, XA-11 and XA-15 mark their entry into the region along with the low light network camera with remarkable performance, the ME20F-SHN.

The company also presented evolved and seamless workflow solutions that enable more efficient and cost-effective production for broadcasters and filmmakers.

Speaking about the event Roman Troedthandl, managing director – Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA) said, “Canon’s presence in CABSAT, which is considered to be one of the most important events in broadcast and media technology regionally and globally; is integral to showcasing our commitment towards playing a vital role in the cinema industry. Celebrating the incredible potential of filmmakers in Africa, Canon is set on clearing any hardships they may face enroute, through offering all the necessary technical and technological support they require, and this year we are going even further and extending our participation towards supporting young and aspiring filmmakers.”

“We also understand that there is an increasing integration of 4K into mainstream television dramas, documentaries and movies, and we are committed to continually evolving to meet the fluctuating needs of broadcasters and filmmakers with the latest additions to our innovative Cinema EOS series. As well as consistently strengthening and enhancing our partnerships with Tier 1 partners in markets like Nigeria, Morocco, West Africa and Egypt while hand in hand expanding our presence through an extended network of Tier 2 partners in Egypt, Nigeria and Morocco,” Troedthandl added.

Designed to benefit broadcasters and filmmakers alike, The EOS C200 is the first Cinema EOS camera to feature the revolutionary Cinema RAW light format which provides the same flexibility in colour grading as Cinema RAW in a smaller file size, enabling filmmakers to record internally to a CFast 2.0™ card.

Canon Team at the conference

Delivering incredible low-light performance and perfect for critical surveillance operations, the ME20F-SHN produces full colour and Full HD resolution images in limited light scenarios and packs in network capability and built-in video analytics into a lightweight and compact body. These innovations also support the convenience of seamless network integration with the ability to fit directly into existing workflows.

In addition to showcasing its full range of 4K, Full HD and HDR products, Canon also provided broadcast and cinematography professionals with a variety of end to end workflow scenarios including shooting experiences as well as review and editing processes. The ecosystem of videography was brought to life via a touch and try product section, dedicated shooting areas of Maasai Mara and a bakery area, a security zone and a chroma key area. Canon had also teamed up with the global leader in manual and robotic camera support systems, Vinten, to demonstrate the versatility of the ME200 and C200.

“Canon is set on becoming even more than a technical partner to customers in the African continent. We understand that the region is flourishing and becoming one of the rapidly growing media markets in the world; thus, we will continue expanding our footprint in the market via encouraging young talents and catering to their technical as well as support-related needs.” Said Somesh Adukia, sales & marketing director B2C – Canon Central and North Africa (CCNA). “We are very excited to be hosting a specific panel discussion during CABSAT that tackles the future of the filmmaking industry in Africa, as well as reviving our support to the youth by engaging them in a Canon Filmmaking Challenge; one of many initiatives which have been set to further support the filmmaking ecosystem in the region” He added.

Bringing the event to a successful closure, Canon awarded the shortlisted filmmakers for their efforts in bringing their stories to life. The announcement was made during the panel discussion which covered the future of the filmmaking industry in Africa alongside 3 prominent actors Injy El Mokkadem from Egypt, Omar Lotfi from Morocco and TY Bello from Nigeria.

Where the first-place winner, (Youness Hamiddine) from Morocco was awarded a (5D Mark 4) Canon camera. The second place winner (May El Hossamy) from Egypt and the third place winner (Ifeoma Nkiruka Chukwuogo) from Nigeria have both also received a (6D Mark 2) Canon camera.

Continue Reading


TrillzApp Unveiled, Assists Event Managers Harness Feedback



By peter oluka

A robust and smart mobile app that uses location technology to give users notification of events happening in their location and based on interests, TrillzApp has been launched.

In addition to aiding users to book events seamlessly online, TrillzApp which was developed by five students, was designed to help users keep tabs on happenings in their area while helping them express their thoughts about events through ratings, comments and chats.

Chatting with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, Stanley Ezeh, TrillzApp’s team lead, Critical Analyst, Business co-founder, said, “TrillzApp solves a number of needs, namely: keeping track of events and opportunities in particular areas; connect with people and places in a particular and seamless Ticket sales and event management. Furthermore, it helps event organizers get feedback from attendees.”

He said that the app taps from the power of Google Maps; gigantic map software that has a number of applications and has been designed to be used in various apps that require map services. “TrillzApp only uses some features of the Google maps to further assist users in getting directions to venues of events and happenings among others. Google maps has no local content for events; neither does it provide an avenue for users to interact with one another. Therefore, we are in no form of competition with Google”, Ezeh added.

The Team Lead who explained that TrillzApp beta version was launched in November 2017; in December of the same year, the app was out of Beta.

However, the only available version of the app is Android version. “iOS version will be released soon”, he told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, but without stating that “Sponsoring the TrillzApp project hasn’t been easy especially as we are students. Initially, being part of the Roar Nigeria Incubation Hub was supposed to be a plus to us since we were promised funding, support, training and mentorship, but due to unknown logistic and administrative reasons, these promises have barely been fulfilled and the funds have not been disbursed to us.

“Because we were determined and passionate to make an impact in our society by helping young people discover opportunities, events and happenings in different locations, we devised various strategies to help us raise funds on our own.

“We often had to skip meals and deprive ourselves of certain luxury and privileges to be able to squeeze out money from our meagre monthly allowances from our parents. Sometimes, we had to do some extra jobs for friends to get funds to complement funds raised from family”.

Continue Reading


Queen Elizabeth (II) Honours Interswitch Chairman, Ken Olisa with Knighthood



Sir Ken Olisa the recently appointed Chairman of Interswitch has been honoured with knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.


The Nigerian-born British Businessman and Philanthropist has been recognized, amongst other notable individuals, in Queen Elizabeth (II)’s New Year Honours.


Sir Olisa is a British businessman with a career in technology that commenced at IBM and spans well over 40 years.


He founded and led the technology merchant bank Interregnum and is also the founder and chairman of Restoration Partners, an independent boutique technology merchant bank, reputed as architects of the Virtual Technology Cluster model.


He is currently a Director of Thomson Reuters.


In 2015, he became the first black Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London having been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen.


By this development, Olisa, the first British-born black man to serve as a Director of a FTSE-100 business is now officially honoured with a Knighthood for services to Business and Philanthropy in the United Kingdom.


An advocate of social inclusion, he is Chair of the Shaw Trust, supporting the disabled and chronically unemployed to find work; founding Chair of the Powerlist Foundation, supporting future leaders from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and disadvantaged backgrounds; a former Governor of the Peabody Trust; and a former Non-Executive Director of the West Lambeth NHS Trust.


Mitchell Elegbe, Group CEO of Interswitch, Commenting on the development, said that “Sir Ken has distinguished himself in professional and social spheres with a remarkable pedigree of service in the public domain.


“A leading light and embodiment of the maxim, “Do well, and do good”, He has not only charted an impressive course across the business terrain, but has also done notable social good; actively championing, and investing in many charities and non-profit organizations which work to mitigate the disadvantages faced by so many in his society.


“We are extremely proud of this most recent recognition and knighthood by The Queen for his services, and it is a great way to start the new year, both for Sir Ken and for Interswitch.”


Interswitch founded in 2002, is active across the entire payments value chain and currently processes over 4 billion unique transactions yearly, with a value of over USD 38 billion.


A recognized leader in the payments space in Nigeria, the company has sustained impressive business growth in recent years, garnering acclaim from Deloitte and others as one of Africa’s fastest growing technology business.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.