How blockchain could stop data plunder in emerging markets

As studies emerge predicting that between 40% and 60% of western companies revenue growth will likely come from emerging economies over the next ten years, the interest to gather and analyze Big Data coming from these markets also grows. Companies in developed economies are starting to increase their budget spending on data analytics in these markets with the objective of getting a better understanding of this largely unknown consumer psyche. It is estimated that over 60% of the world’s total data will be coming from EM in the next few…

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Why eCommerce in Africa hasn’t caught on and what webshops can do about that

I have attended several tech events where they invite so-called gurus and experts to explain the digital landscape in Africa, but I have never been satisfied with any of their answers as to why e-commerce has not caught on. It turns out the reason why a click on a user’s web browser doesn’t exactly translate into an actual sale is really simple — the shipping and billing information form. It seems to me that most African online shopping stores just Xerox existing templates that have worked in developed economies where the physical…

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Emerging Markets Have a Lot to Teach Us About Entrepreneurship

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are legendary American entrepreneurs. These giants’ success stories might make it seem as if the United States owns the market when it comes to the secrets of commercial success. I would argue the opposite is true: Developing nations and emerging markets have important entrepreneurship lessons to teach more affluent counties. Programs within Chile, India and Brazil, for example, have encouraged economic growth and entrepreneurship. These same efforts and principles could be applied to advance the United States even further. Government initiatives Government initiatives in emerging markets have played…

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Banking the unbanked in emerging markets

As countries progress, citizens migrate from remote villages to large cities and foreign countries. Their economic power rises and they participate in the global economy. People need to purchase food, pay electricity bills, top up transportation cards, arrange online services, buy overseas goods, repay loans, and send money to relatives. Unlike the U.S., however, where 93% of peoplehave banking options, many in developing markets do not. Globally, an estimated 2 billion adults lack access to formal financial services. The services that are available are typically cumbersome and expensive. To address this gap, fintech startups…

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The Impact of “Big Tobacco” on Emerging Markets

Smoking has always been a divisive subject. While in developed countries, health awareness, high taxes and advertisement restriction might have been the factors contributing for the decrease in number of cigarette sales, in emerging economies, tobacco companies seem to be cashing in more and more. Economic development means more disposable income and more wiggle room in regulations, and tobacco companies are well aware of that. Smoking in Numbers In 2015, global cigarette sales closed the year with $685.5bn, which amounts to 5.6 trillion cigarettes consumed, and 20.4% of the world’s…

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Rwanda: The Challenges of Social Innovation Delivery in Emerging Markets

Recently, I attended a startup accelerator pitch competition in Kigali where 10 teams pitched business solutions to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges faced by Rwandan youth. The top four teams received funding to further develop their ideas. In a country with a young population – 77% of the population is under 25 – and one of the highest fertility rates in Africa – 4.6 children born to every woman – youth SRH interventions are needed, and a pitch competition that encourages local youth to design these solutions is welcome.…

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How Big Data can make people healthier in Emerging Markets

Guest post by Will Greene In many emerging markets, reliable data on healthcare systems is limited or nonexistent. This makes it difficult to address urgent healthcare challenges in many countries. But a growing number of tech entrepreneurs and public health activists are finding ways to fill the data gaps. There are many gaps to address. Such healthcare systems and supply chains are not typically powered by modern IT systems. Large quantities of health data end up in paper records that are lost or forgotten. Undocumented cash transactions at hospitals and…

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Snapchat loses in emerging markets while Facebook wins

Every single day there are hundreds (if not thousands) of articles about how Snapchat will take over the social media world. Or, how Snapchat has revolutionized social media. When Snapchat launched Spectacles – glasses that record you Snapchat videos and stream them via Bluetooth into your phone – caused so much buzz I couldn’t even believe. News the new colourful Spectacles flooded my newsfeed – from tech savvy couples using it in the bedroom to a surgeon performing a live surgery using it. It seems that everyone in “the world”…

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Is Facebook Marketplace ignoring emerging markets eCommerce?

Yes, it’s happening. Facebook Marketplace has finally been launched. The Marketplace is a new feature inside the Facebook mobile app. The Marketplace comes as a response to marketplaces type sites like Craigslist and eBay. It works on the same principle where people can buy and sell goods, filtered by location. The new feature has been rolled out in the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The choice of these four countries does not come as a surprise – they are mature markets with high mobile internet penetration. My question is: Should Facebook…

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Innovation: Meet “Text Engine”, the Google with text messages.

I’ve had a smartphone since 2010. In developed countries, a feature phone is a memory of the past – a nostalgic thought about flip phones. However in developing and frontier markets, feature phones are still alive and well. Even in more developed places like Brazil, smartphone penetration among mobile users is still only between 30-40%. Even for those with smartphone in hand, data is very expensive and internet signals are unreliable. The lack of infrastructure is an everyday problem. But how do we bring information for those still using feature phones…

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