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Alibaba Conducts Workshop for Rwandan Government Officials on Enabling a Digital Economy

Betty Tűndik

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– 12 delegates from the government of Rwanda participated in four-day workshop at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China to learn about FinTech, logistics, eCommerce and big data technologies

This week, delegates from the government of Rwanda completed the first New Economy Workshop held at Alibaba Group‘s headquarters in Hangzhou. During the four-day workshop, twelve government leaders met with Alibaba executives across multiple businesses to learn about the transformative impact and promise of a new digital economy as well as how to drive economic growth by accelerating digital finance, logistics, e-commerce and big data industries.

The New Economy Workshop program aims to empower participants to use their knowledge to continue supporting the development of Rwanda’s digital economy. Participants included the CEO of Rwanda’s National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), the Rwandan Ambassador to China and representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), Higher Education Council (HEC), Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA), Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda Energy Group (REG), and the Ministry of ICT & Innovation (MINICT).

The workshop follows the launch of the first African eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub in Rwanda witnessed by President Kagame and Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma last October. Under the eWTP agreement, the government of Rwanda and Alibaba committed to work together to strengthen the country’s economic development by promoting policy innovation and providing capacity building to empower the growth of Rwanda’s digital economy.

“At Alibaba we have seen first-hand the transformative impact digital technology can have in building an inclusive society. This New Economy Workshop is meant to not only provide capacity building to Rwanda’s policy makers, but also to inspire them to become advocates for Rwanda’s digital transformation and for the country’s technology entrepreneurs,” said Angel Zhao, President of Alibaba’s Globalization Leadership Group.

“The Alibaba ecosystem has enabled millions of people to participate in the global economy and improve their standard of living through the use of technology,” said George William Kayonga, Chief Executive Officer, National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB). “I see great opportunity for Rwanda to similarly build a digital economy allowing us to move rapidly up the learning curve using the Alibaba experience as our guide.”

This week’s New Economy training is the latest example of Alibaba’s ongoing commitment to support Rwanda’seconomic development:

  • In October 2018, the first African eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub was launched in Rwanda. Through this partnership, Rwanda and Alibaba work together to enable cross-border trade of Rwandan products to Chinese consumers and facilitate China outbound tourism to Rwanda.
  • In August 2018, fifty lecturers from Rwanda’s top universities attended the first Global E-commerce Talent (GET) Program organized in partnership with the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Council and the Rwandan Development Board. GET is a five-day course to boost the competencies of Rwandan university teachers and deepen their understanding of the e-commerce industry, so they can train future entrepreneurs.
  • In partnership with UNCTAD, Alibaba Business School is training 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets over five years. Two hundred of those entrepreneurs will come from Africa. Five Rwandan entrepreneurs have already graduated from the eFounders Fellowship program.
  • As part of eWTP collaboration, Alibaba Business School will host the first Alibaba Netpreneur Training program from March 2-13, 2019 for approximately 40 entrepreneurs contributing to digital transformation, who are currently operating in the Rwandan market, or are in the process of expanding to the Rwandan market. For those interested in participating, visit this page for more information and to apply now. Applications are open until January 20, 2019.

 

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Fintech

Experian A/NZ acquires Australian fintech Look Who’s Charging to bolster open data offering

Alexandru Marginean

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Source Photo: www.experianplc.com
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Consumers and financial institutions to benefit from richer data

Experian Australia & New Zealand today announces its acquisition of Look Who’s Charging, the Australian fintech startup which has solved the everyday frustrating problem of unrecognised bank transactions by providing instant clarification on the merchant behind a transaction.

Look Who’s Charging is integrated with a number of Australian banks, with their data available to millions of Australians directly within existing digital banking applications.

The move will combine Experian’s global open data solutions with Look Who’s Charging’s advanced enrichment capabilities. Following the recent legislation of Open Banking as the first stage of the Consumer Data Right (CDR), the deal will create a market leading open data platform in the Australian market that will have wide ranging benefits for consumers, businesses and financial institutions.

Experian’s present open data solution, built in the UK, facilitates 40% of all UK Open Banking application program interface (API) requests.

Andrew Black, Managing Director of Experian A/NZ explains how the acquisition enables Experian to provide organisations with a sophisticated aggregation and categorisation solution and granular insights for them to apply across their business:

“If a transaction is unable to be categorised accurately, it is often classed as ‘unknown’ which can result in decisions impacting consumers being based on limited data. This can have a big knock on effect if, for example, banks are using one platform to help a customer understand their own income and expenditure, and another to decide what loan they can afford.

With Look Who’s Charging’s enriched data integrated into our open data platform, we will be able to provide a uniquely accurate and comprehensive solution for the Australian market. This will help our customers lend more responsibly while enhancing their fraud checks and reducing their call centre traffic for unrecognised transaction queries, as well as ensuring consumers have a greater understanding of their financial situation.”

Over 1 billion transactions are enriched every single month through Look Who’s Charging’s platform to provide Australian consumers complete clarity on their spending.

“Look Who’s Charging’s forward-looking and problem-solving nature is aligned with our business and approach to innovation,” adds Mr Black. “We share the aim to help businesses and consumers make better and more informed decisions, and we are delighted to be working with a company who is truly having a positive impact on not only our financial services industry but Australian consumers too.”

Ben Elliott, CEO of Experian APAC commented: “The acquisition – our sixth investment in Asia Pacific since 2017 (following venture investments in Grab, Jirnexu, C88 Financial Technologies, BankBazaar.com and CompareAsiaGroup) – demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in this region and using our advanced data and analytics expertise to remove complexity from the lending process. Bringing Look Who’s Charging and our innovative solutions together will help Australian organisations, and ultimately consumers, as Open Banking standards are adopted in Australia.”

Founder of Look Who’s Charging, Stuart Grover, said: “We are extremely excited to combine the technology and data we have built to support the Australian banks with Experian’s market leading open data technology. We are very proud to have built Look Who’s Charging from an idea, born from the frustration of unrecognised transactions to a product which helps millions of Australian consumers, in under 4 years.

With Experian’s scale, we have an opportunity to help solve more of the immediate problems faced by Australian consumers and financial institutions, whilst the Look Who’s Charging solution is also rolled out to other key markets around the world.”

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Fintech

Canadian Fintech iCASH Surpasses $100M in Loans Funded

Alexandru Marginean

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Photo Source: www.apple.com
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Company Celebrates Three Years of Revolutionizing Consumer Lending in Canada

Canadian financial technology company iCASH is celebrating three years of successful lending operations by surpassing $100 million in consumer loans. In this short time, the company has funded more than 200,000 loans and helped thousands of people to obtain support and alleviate financial stress.

“Reaching this milestone with the help of our customers has helped us fulfill our pledge to provide an improved financial experience for Canadians,” said Rachel Birtwistle, Director of Operations at iCASH. “Almost 50 percent of Canadians live pay-cheque to pay-cheque, and many of them are shut out of mainstream banking due to poor credit, a thin credit file, or income volatility. We understand that consumers are not simply a credit score, and that past financial mistakes do not necessarily affect their capacity to repay a loan. iCASH’s primary goal is to help Canadians break their debt cycle in a fair and affordable way.”

iCASH was the first lender in Canada to offer both a real-time loan application and the settlement of funds via e-transfer within two minutes of approval. They were also the first to offer instant loan assessments, providing customers with an immediate approval and eliminating the stressful waiting period typical for other creditors.

Currently, the iCASH app has been downloaded more than 125,000 times, while the website is regularly visited by thousands of Canadians. The company aims to offer a reliable escape from a cycle of debt.

“It’s all about helping people to better cope with and manage their finances, including the very real financial struggles that many Canadians face every day,” said Birtwistle.

The iCASH app is available on Android and iOS. For more information, visit icash.ca.

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Fintech

BridgeMark Strategies Forms Strategic Alliance With Chalice Financial Network To Deliver Comprehensive Advisor Transitions Support And Services

Alexandru Marginean

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Photo Source: https://www.bridgemarkstrategies.com
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Leading Third-Party Transitions Consultancy and M&A Advisory Firm for Independent Wealth Management Space to Provide Solutions Designed to Maximize Preparedness in Post-Reg BI Regulatory Environment for Chalice’s Member Financial Advisors

BridgeMark Strategies (BridgeMark or “the firm”), a leading third-party advisor transitions consultancy and M&A advisory firm for the independent financial advisory space, announced today that it has formed a strategic alliance with Chalice Financial Network, a Software-as-a-Service-based member-benefit organization. As part of the new strategic alliance, BridgeMark Strategies will offer its services and solutions on a discounted basis to Chalice’s community of over 48,000 independent financial advisor members.

Led by Jeff Nash, a 25-year wealth management industry veteran, BridgeMark serves as an unbiased source of guidance and support for independent financial advisors, encompassing those looking to move between independent broker-dealer or RIA platforms, establish their own RIA, sell or buy a practice, or maximize growth opportunities by recruiting new advisors to their business. The firm leverages its extensive experience and unparalleled connections across the financial service space – spanning over 80 IBDs and RIAs – to help advisors make the most informed decision possible about the best steps to take to meet the current and future goals of their businesses.

Mr. Nash, BridgeMark CEO and co-founder, said, “BridgeMark is proud to partner with Chalice Financial Network, whose mission of providing independent advisors with access to the best possible services is completely aligned with ours. We look forward to a long collaboration with the Chalice team and their advisor members.”

Chalice’s members will gain access to BridgeMark’s comprehensive set of transition support and solutions, which are especially relevant to financial advisors managing between $50 million to $750 million advisory and brokerage assets, an often overlooked and underserved segment of the industry. Such advisors typically struggle to find unbiased consultation and advice, since most of the information they come across is provided by the firms attempting to recruit them.

BridgeMark’s entire set of services include:

  • Broker-dealer research and transition support: For advisors actively seeking to transition, BridgeMark helps them to understand their needs, wants and dislikes, then narrow down their list of options to a handful of possible destination firms. BridgeMark helps evaluate pros and cons of firms and then negotiates the most favorable transition incentives.
  • RIA transition support: For advisors considering starting or joining an RIA, BridgeMark helps to evaluate the pros and cons of the move and, if advisors choose that route, it assists in custodian evaluation and negotiations.
  • M&A support: For advisors actively looking to sell their businesses or merge them into other practices, BridgeMark uses its broad industry networks to identify potential acquisition or merger partners, then negotiate terms and help advisors close deals when the time arrives.

With the SEC recently having adopted Reg BI, advisors can rely on BridgeMark to serve as a trusted ally and counselor as they contemplate what the new regulatory landscape means for their business.

Chalice CEO Keith Gregg said, “We are thrilled to make the transition services that Jeff and his team provide more accessible to our members. Particularly for smaller practices that may not command the scale and attention that bigger offices do, having a resource like BridgeMark in their corner gives them crucial information that levels the playing field and ultimately empowers them to make the best strategic decisions for their business and their clients.”

Media Contacts:

Joseph Kuo / Andrew Wang

Haven Tower Group

424 317 4851 or 424 317 4859

jkuo@haventower.com or awang@haventower.com

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