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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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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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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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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