SE Asia: eCommerce boom drives up mobile payment options

A recent Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA 2018 report highlights the explosive growth happening in e-commerce in Southeast Asia. SE Asia has long been seen as a challenging market for international brands to enter. Recent investments in infrastructure, improved regulatory conditions alongside rapid growth in internet and smartphone penetration open up the markets for foreign brands. With the growing acceptance of e-commerce, foreign brands no longer need to establish a local presence to target the Southeast Asian consumer. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2018 report, the SE Asia internet economy reached an…

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Blockchain-based land registries may help lift the poor out of poverty

Many developing countries don’t have a working system of tracking property rights, and what they do have can be fragile and incomplete. In Haiti, for instance, a large earthquake in 2010 destroyed all the municipal buildings that stored documents confirming many small farmers’ ownership of the land they worked. Even years later, many farmers didn’t have proof that they were landowners. People are still fighting over their land. This sort of problem – caused by natural disasters or not – is widespread, causing financial hardship for families in the developing…

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3 easy points to understand what makes Malta the “Blockchain island”

Malta has earned a well-deserved title of “Blockchain island” –  it is the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce blockchain regulations. The Maltese government views the blockchain technology as a whole, while other countries are typically looking at crypto and blockchain for short-term gains.  It’s fair to say that Malta legislators understand what the blockchain technology can offer in the long run. In July 2018 when the Maltese parliament passed the regulatory bills, Silvio Schembri, Junior Minister for Financial Services, tweeted: The 3 Bills that will regulate DLT have been…

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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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A Focus on Ageing in Emerging Markets

The developed nations in the West are often described as ageing and trying to focus on solutions for the challenges that come with it, while emerging nations are characterized as young, energetic and full of opportunity for the youthful population. Rapid advances in wealth, healthcare, nutrition and less physically intensive labour also impacts longevity. More people are living longer in developing countries and this is definitely a reason to celebrate, however this new reality also brings challenges that will need to be addressed. According to Helpage and The World Bank,…

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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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