Digital First: ASEAN Countries Still Face Core Challenges

Children in indonesia studying with laptops

WASHINGTON DC– Homegrown Ride-Hailing APPS, intelligent traffic systems, advanced construction techniques, automated energy-consumption management all propel the innovation wave washing over the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indonesia’s vibrant digital ecosystem, for example, boasts more than 1,700 start-ups—among the world’s largest clusters of new firms. GO-JEK, to name one, evolved from a ride-hailing app to a platform for mobile payments and other digital services. In Singapore, Sea, the most valuable start-up in the region—worth several billion dollars—began as an online gaming company and branched out into mobile money and…

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Opinion: will local brands dominate emerging markets?

local brand brazil fizzy drink

The global market of consumer packaged goods is US$ 1.2 trillion and global brands are facing strong competition from local brands in emerging markets. And what’s the global companies’ strategy to remain in relevant in emerging markets? They act fast to acquire these established and already much profitable local brands. In India, for example, the government policy from the invasion of foreign brands made local brand Thumbs Up cola the country’s market leader. In the early 90’s, when the Indian government opened the market to multinationals, Coca-Cola was more than quick…

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Bitcoin trading in emerging markets: going “crypto native”

handshake between 2 people in Lagos Nigeria

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that emerging markets are more “bitcoin or crypto native“. And according to LocalBitcoins, 2018 was a great year for bitcoin trading especially in emerging economies – 4 out of the top 10 countries by bitcoin trading volume, were emerging markets. Here is a quick round-up of why Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) are going big: 4th Place Venezuela: Bitcoin and Dash go head-to-head Venezuela is not an emerging market but I wanted to highlight why this South American country embraced cryptocurrencies so well.…

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Electric cars in Africa: this could happen sooner than we think

Coming back from a trip to East Africa two impressions and one conclusion stayed with me: for the first time in decades there will be a electricity surplus in East Africa and Kenyans are great innovators (Uber watch out!). The conclusion: There is a great opportunity for electric vehicles! Electricity Coming from a supposedly “green” Germany, that still generates around 40% of its power from coal – it struck me that East Africa is almost completely based on renewable power with a diversified base: hydro, geothermal, wind and solar resources.…

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Latin America: 3 platforms changing the crowdfunding game

Everybody knows what “fazer uma vaquinha” or “hacer una vaca” in Latin America is – literally translated as “to do/make a cow” (don’t ask me why!) – it’s nothing more than what we know here as collecting money from different people to buy or do something. The primary form of crowdfunding. Here are 3 Latin American platforms running in the upfront of the crowdfunding game. Kickante – Brazil When in time of crisis, some businesses, like crowdfunding, grow and thrive. As you all must have hard, things are not looking…

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Brazil struggles to find a route to competitiveness

Why is everything so expensive in Brazil? I’m Brazilian and lived there most of my life and never understood it – until I came across this article by the Economist. Some of the main reasons are high taxation combined with a lack of competitiveness – the Brazilian Real ranks in 3rd place of most depreciated against the dollar in 2018, just behind the Venezuelan Bolivar. Not good news, not good news for Brazilians at all. According to a study by the Federation of Industries of São Paulo (Fiesp), a product manufactured in…

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How China and Brazil are investing in Africa

After the economic slow-down, inflation and recession – and perhaps, some most pessimistic might say, the eminent down-fall of BRICS, all eyes turn to Africa as the new best thing regarding investments. Brazil and China have already been investing heavily in Africa, but how and where these two countries are investing in the African continent are strikingly different. China has been investing in infrastructural development such as, building highways in Tanzania, financing electricity projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and constructing whole towns in Angola. Most recently, Ethiopia made the headlines as the first African Sub-Saharan…

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How urban farmers are revitalizing deprived areas of Brazil

São Paulo is a megalopolis with around 19 million inhabitants. Unsurprisingly, the city struggles to cope with the urban mobility issues caused by 7 million cars and poor public transport infrastructure. The real estate speculation made the city grow astronomically fast, without the necessary diligence towards urban planning; there are only a few parks and the lack of contact with nature and green areas is very apparent. Very few have caught onto urban agriculture. Even with its many problems there are hardly any initiatives, a handful at best are dotted around…

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Venezuela is fast becoming a ‘mafia state’: here’s what you need to know

Last week, Nicolás Maduro was sworn in for his second six-year term as Venezuela’s president. Maduro won the election off the back of international condemnation of vote buying and electoral fraud. While the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, called Venezuela’s government “illegitimate”, Maduro declared: Venezuela is at the centre of a world war led by the United States imperialism and its satellite countries. Such statements have become par for the course by a leader and government determined to frame Venezuela’s political, social and economic woes as a product of…

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