Rising risk of failed seasons as climate change puts pressure on Africa’s farmers

With countries pushing agriculture to center stage, comprehensive report seeks ‘climate-smart’ approaches for vulnerable small-scale farms that produce most of Africa’s food

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (2 September 2014)—Small-scale family farmers across Africa— already struggling to adapt to rapidly rising temperatures and more erratic rains—risk being overwhelmed by the pace and severity of climate change, according to the 2014 African Agriculture Status Report (AASR).The analysis, prepared by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), with contributions from several African scholars, provides the most comprehensive review to date of how climate change will affect Africa’s smallholder farmers and highlights the most promising paths to producing more food, even in the midst of very challenging growing environments.

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Matching development challenges with tech solutions in the fight against extreme poverty

The goals of multilateral development agencies, United Nations and World Bank Group are laser-focused on the post-2015 development agenda, calling for transformative change by eradicating extreme poverty and raising economic prosperity for all.  This vision for a new era in development is rightly bold and ambitious, but cannot be delivered without fully embracing the transformative power of technology and innovation, including information and communications technology or ICT.

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Pursuing job creation, citizen engagement and government efficiency through ICTs in Nigeria

Nigeria’s Ministry of Communication Technology is
advancing a wide range of ICT initiatives,
​including a National Broadband
Development Plan. 

Nations cannot be competitive, innovate and generate tomorrow’s jobs without technology and digitally literate citizens. Similarly, organizations like the World Bank cannot achieve their objectives without fully utilizing the power and potential of technology. Here at the World Bank, we’re striving to reduce the extreme poverty rate to no more than three percent and boost income growth of the world’s poorest 40 percent by 2030. These goals cannot be achieved without fully embracing the transformative powers of technology and innovation.  

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Can Open Data boost economic growth and prosperity?

What interventions are needed by governments – and by the World Bank – to stimulate and support the realization of the economic benefits of Open Data for everyone?  How do we prioritize what kind of data is needed?  These were some of the simmering questions that were posed at last Wednesday’s World Bank Live event.  A collaborative effort among World Bank global practices and units – Transport and Information & Communications Technologies (ICT), the Development Data Group (DECDG), Open FinancesExternal and Corporate Relations, and others – this global policy dialogue event served as an opportunity to listen in on leading experts explaining and debating the latest evidence of the economic benefits of Open Data and how it can be applied to advance socioeconomic growth in the developing world.

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LynkMii Launches Global Online Business Directory.

An international, online business directory called LynkMii has been launched, offering members the opportunity to post free listings of companies on their website. Designed for Apple and Android devices, the service enables businesses to use the website, mobile-site and native apps to bring their goods, services and promotions to millions of users and potential customers.

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The Science of Social Impact Innovation: How to Deliver More Impact through Innovative Business Models

Rather than spend an inordinate amount of time and resources on planning what is inherently unknown and uncertain, socially-focused organizations like Panera Cares, Banco Davivienda, and Brigham Young University’s (BYU) Design Exploration lab quickly map out their assumptions, run experiments to test those assumptions, and adjust their plans based on their learnings. In this article, we explain and expand on how organizations of all kinds (whether they be large corporations, social ventures, or government agencies) have bought into the idea of using innovation and experimentation for impact; and how despite recent advancements of design thinking on the social impact front, the actual implementation of innovative ideas remains elusive for many organizations. The article further presents a more systemic model for social impact innovation: social impact models, which provide one possible solution by enabling social ventures to achieve a more robust validation of their new- and not-so-new-to-the-world ideas by mapping and strategies by mapping out each assumption and iteratively testing them in the field. With this article, the authors seek to provide a practical process for how to apply the model, and how to avoid the most common illusory validation traps, which together would allow socially-focused organizations to more frequently succeed and deliver more impact with their endeavors.

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The Innovation Funnel Fallacy

The traditional innovation process – consisting of a funnel coupled with project screening – suffers from several practical shortcomings and flaws. Overemphasis on the role of early stages, such as idea generation, overshadows subsequent phases of equal importance. The drive to feed as many ideas as possible into the funnel may cause congestion that slows down overall progress. Furthermore, the yield may be of low quality if ineffective gates allow too many infertile ideas to pass through the funnel. Processes may be inflexible and slow to react, especially if tied to the corporate planning calendar as often proposed. This is not to imply that these problems are inherent; they are instead the consequences of poor practices.


Executing Lean Growth Strategies

The Business and Leadership website noted that lean thinking, customer development frameworks and business model innovation are transforming how new products are built and how growth strategies are developed. These frameworks help organizations design products that customers need and help reinvent their business models. Lean offers ways to cut work time and eliminate waste. Customer development takes a customer-centric approach to understanding customer needs and problems.  The term ‘business model’ means the design of a business.  Business model innovation  looks at how a business reinvents itself in order gain competitive edge.

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SA research project launched into using fuel cells for commercial airliners


A research partnership has been launched in South Africa in a quest to make air transport more environmentally and economically sustainable. Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Systems, the National Aerospace Centre and Airbus are working together on research into using fuel cells on aircraft.
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SA, SKA partners developing a new African network of telescopes

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor says the partnerships with the eight other African nations that will host remote stations of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope remain strong and the countries are developing a new African network of telescopes. South Africa partnered with Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia to host the world’s largest radio telescope.
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Learning from developing countries in strengthening health systems: an evaluation of personal and professional impact among global health volunteers at Addis Ababa University¿s Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (Ethiopia).

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Learning from developing countries in strengthening health systems: an evaluation of personal and professional impact among global health volunteers at Addis Ababa University¿s Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (Ethiopia).

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UK, SA launch multimillion-rand research and innovation partnership

South Africa and the UK have launched a multimillion-rand fund to spark more innovation, science and technology in South Africa and more widely across sub-Saharan Africa. The governments of the UK and South Africa, as well as private companies and nongovernmental organisations have committed R140-million a year to the UK-South Africa Newton Fund. A memorandum of understanding has been signed for the first three years of the programme. “It’s a milestone in science and innovation cooperation …
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Coffee genome sheds light on the evolution of caffeine

Enzymes that help produce caffeine evolved independently in coffee, tea and chocolate, say scientists who have newly sequenced the coffee plant genome

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The newly sequenced genome of the coffee plant reveals secrets about the evolution of man’s best chemical friend: caffeine.

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The Alternative Investment Market And The Financing Of Technological Innovation

The Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is characterized by the presence of numerous firms operating in sectors with a high rate of technological innovation. In this research we will deal with IPOs about companies active in the sector of Information Technology and Software & Computer Services. The purpose of the research is testing the market’s ability to attract the listing of new companies in these sectors and to examine the following questions:
1) Have the IPOs about economic sectors examined a concentration in specific periods?
2) Have firms’ average size, the average capital raised on the market and the share of capital on average placed with the initial offer, at the time of listing, changed during the analysed periods?
We consider three periods. The first, from the birth of the market (1995) until the speculative bubble (2001), which follows the so-called dot.com boom. The second, from 2002 to 2007, beginning of the severe economic and financial crisis, and the third from 2008 until June 2013.

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A Practical Review of Mechanism Design: How Implementable Is It Within The Nigerian Context? Investigating the Role of PPP on Social Outcomes in Nigeria

According to statistics of the Federal Ministry of Works Nigeria (2012), total road network in Nigeria currently stands at approximately 195,000 Kilometers, with the Federal, State and Local Governments responsible for 22, 21 and 51 percent of this network respectively. In another report, The Central Bank of Nigeria (2011) also states that Nigeria needs to invest at least 100 billion dollars on roads in the next ten years. This study explores how social needs are realized within the public private participation (PPP) scheme in Nigeria. The study also situates public private partnership, in the Nigerian procurement and project operation context. The study’s objectives are achieved by revisiting the mechanism design paradigm (through reviewing the historical evolution of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Nigeria) and its impact on social goals as developed by Tirole and Maskin (2008), within the Nigerian context. Data on credit provided to the private sector as a percentage of GDP were used as proxies for PPP involvement from 1960 to 2010 although some years of data were missing. The method of estimation used included ordinary least squares, linear mixed effects models and seemingly unrelated regression estimation methods, which all allow for the investigation of relationships between a set of unrelated weakly exogenous variables, with the mixed effect method particularly suitable for iterative optimization processes. The findings show that cost implication concerns and the choice of the social function has an effect on PPP. It was also found that the electoral process which determines the social function mattered in the project selection stage and had significant effect on the PPP formation process.

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