[Column] James Bayhack: How mobile service cloud can transform customer experience

Service, service, service. That’s been the call for businesses that want to keep their clients happy and turn one-time customers into lifelong fans. Now, however, the focus has moved to brilliant customer experience. But what does this mean? And why are we seeing the shift?  

Think about how you do business today compared to just a few years ago. Customer service was measured by metrics like how many rings there were before your service department answered. In addition, were your retail staff smiling and pleasant, and did your team respond to a customer email timeously? While customer service is still crucial, there’s a lot more to it in today’s multilayered, omnichannel world of business. 

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company or brand.  

From navigating the website to contacting customer service and receiving the product that they ordered, customer experience is the sum of every interaction the customer has with your company. It impacts their feelings and emotions, encompassing their entire customer journey. It also determines whether or not they come back. 

A recent report by integrated customer experience company Ajua found that 81% of Kenyan companies with strong capabilities for delivering customer experience are outperforming their competition. By contrast, 91% of customers will not do business with a company a second time if their first experience is negative.

Findings also suggested that certain industries have upped their CX game and are experiencing growth even in a pandemic. These include banking, insurance, retail, and food and beverage. In the Telco space, Safaricom ranked top in terms of customer experience.

So, some companies are getting it right. Now, the question is, how can you do the same? With such a broad range of expectations, how can you narrow down the most critical factors and eliminate friction where it matters most? You’ll be thrilled to know we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and the easiest solution lies in mobile service cloud.

Here’s how this smart technology helps to solve the most common customer issues.

Creating bulletproof CX in 6 key steps

Omnichannel Inbox

In a single, convenient inbox, you can manage conversations from all channels. This solves the issue of long wait times when customers have a problem or question as it places all communication in one place for easy reference and super-fast response.

It’s common for many customers to conduct research before purchasing something from your company, and checking different platforms is one way of doing this. Whether they trust you or not depends on the quality of information they find and your responses along the way. 

An omnichannel inbox allows you to deliver a brilliant customer experience on all channels. Don’t you agree that it looks unprofessional if you respond quickly via live chat but not at all via Facebook? When customers receive excellent service, they will tell their colleagues and friends about it.

Communication Stream

It’s important to communicate with customers wherever they feel comfortable and wherever they are likely to be. 

Remember, CX is built on the somewhat fickle foundation of customer perception. What makes one person irate may not bother another, so it makes sense to cover all bases. Communication can make or break your CX. Lengthy delays, inefficient processes, or insufficient access to information will have your customers rolling their eyes in frustration. 

Customer experience is about strengthening relationships with customers and building bonds through the use of technology.

Chatbots

It used to be considered bad form to chat with a customer via text or any automated platform, but today it’s the norm. In fact, it’s expected. 

Streamline repetitive tasks by automating them. Our system allows you to create your own chatbot to automate conversations and implement quick replies. Your team can serve customers better and more efficiently if you make service easier and faster for them, without weighing them down with unnecessary and unproductive conversations.

Chatbots can reflect the personality of your brand, answer FAQs, and direct customers to where they need to be. Fast. A super-efficient addition to your customer service team, they don’t require sleep so they’re even more perfect for those after-hours shoppers. Your customers will benefit from swift response times for quick questions or enjoy assistance from stress-free and focused staff.

Team Collaboration

The problem of disjointed communication between internal and external teams ends here, as do many customer frustrations.

Remote employees, global time differences, and communication with external parties can get messy and negatively impact your SLAs. And really, your internal communication choices shouldn’t impact your customer’s experience, should they?

Mobile service cloud alleviates this problem by bringing all players together in one place, allowing conversations to be automatically assigned based on skills, or snoozing conversations as needed. It’s like putting everyone in the same room at the same time, relegating forgotten messages or misplaced communication to a thing of the past.

Customer Profile

Develop customer profiles based on data from your CRM or Customer Data Platform. The integration of systems enables you to provide customers with a quicker, more personal service experience.

Data can be displayed right next to the customer’s questions, so there’s no need to search across multiple systems. Improve customer profiles by including all available data and getting more insights about customer impact.

This key area grants your team the information they need to assist a customer, no matter what platform they come from. All data is immediately available to all employees no matter where they are, which, let’s face it, makes you look good!

Statistics

Customers are the lifeblood of a business. This is why corporations are concentrating on how to develop new business and, importantly, retain existing customers. However, if you don’t know where a problem lies, you won’t know how to fix it. 

Identifying and addressing customer issues can be prevented by using reporting tools that uncover metrics that directly impact your business. Other vital statistics such as ‘response time’ or ‘availability’ highlight how your team is coping with their responsibilities and where improvements can be made. The data in these reports is invaluable to improving customer experience and deep-diving into customer experience metrics.

As effective as your management team may be, they can’t be omnipresent. But having real-time access to your channels, your team, business partners, and any other stakeholders you care to track gives you information worth its weight in gold. 

Boost customer service today!

Businesses that adopt a customer experience strategy enjoy success in key areas: their churn rates are reduced, they increase brand loyalty, and revenues are increased. Surely those advantages are worth exploring?

Ultimately, good customer experiences are the most effective form of marketing with the highest ROI. Successful businesses are simply those with happy customers.

ames Bayhack is the Director of sub-Saharan Africa at CM.com

Oracle expands global cloud footprint to meet continued triple-digit growth

Oracle has announced plans to expand its cloud region footprint to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services worldwide.

Over the next year, Oracle will open 14 cloud regions with new locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia.

 Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile. Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base. OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud. With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates. The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it. Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

High Availability, Disaster Protection, and Dual Region Cloud Strategy

OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services, while its physical and virtual network design maximizes performance and security. For example, each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centers for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures. Some regions (Ashburn, Phoenix, Frankfurt, and London) provide further resilience to entire data centers through multiple availability domains (ADs), which each contain three fault domains.

For business continuity and compliance requirements, Oracle’s unique dual-region cloud strategy enables customers to deploy resilient applications in multiple geographically separated locations—without having sensitive data leave the country. To help customers plan data center deployments to meet application requirements and optimize their cloud infrastructure, OCI’s provides a no cost inter-region latency dashboard that provides insights into real-time and historical latency for Oracle Cloud regions around the globe.

Sustainability

Oracle is committed to sustainability and has pledged to power all Oracle Cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Several Oracle Cloud regions, including regions in North America, South America, and Europe are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and all Oracle Cloud regions use state-of-the-art energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.

As part of its renewable energy clean Cloud initiative, Oracle reused or recycled 99.6 percent of its retired hardware in FY21 while strictly adhering to Oracle’s data privacy and security practices.

Cloud Regions Deliver All Cloud Services and Multicloud

Oracle Cloud regions support every Oracle service and feature and are available to customers anywhere in the world. This includes Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications.

OCI’s extensive network of more than 70 FastConnect global and regional partners offer customers dedicated connectivity to Oracle Cloud regions and OCI services—providing customers with the best options anywhere in the world. FastConnect provides an easy, elastic, and economical way to create a dedicated and private network connection with higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more consistent performance versus public Internet-based connections.

In addition, OCI and Microsoft Azure have a strategic partnership that enables joint customers to run workloads across the two clouds. This partnership provides a low latency, cross-cloud interconnect between OCI and Azure in eight regions (Ashburn, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Jose, Vinhedo and Frankfurt), federated identity for joint customers to deploy applications across both clouds, and a collaborative support model. Customers can run full stack applications in a multi-cloud configuration, while maintaining high-performance connectivity without requiring re-architecture.

They can also migrate existing applications or develop cloud native applications that use a mix of OCI and Azure services.

www.oracle.com

Nokia and ATU to speed up digital transformation and the knowledge economy in Africa

Nokia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) to drive digital transformation and the knowledge economy for socio-economic development across the continent.

The two parties will leverage the power of telecommunications, including 5G networks, to connect the unconnected and identify innovative use cases, as well as business models.

In addition, the MoU will lay ground for both organizations to better help governments shape telecom policy, develop talent and promote inclusion and diversity. This includes women, as well as the underprivileged in both rural and urban areas.
 
The MoU was signed in Nairobi, Kenya, by John OMO, Secretary General at ATU and Rajiv Aggarwal, Nokia Representative and Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia.
 
Announcing the partnership, Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia, said: “We remain keen on supporting Africa’s digital transformation journey and by collaborating with the ATU, we strengthen this commitment. We will leverage our global technology expertise and insights on policy matters to positively impact the universal socio-economic development in the continent.”
 
Co-signing the MoU with Mr. Rajiv, John OMO, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), said: “Our vision is to make Africa a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society by enabling universal access to ICT systems and services across Africa. Collaboration with a global industry leader such as Nokia is therefore crucial in this regard and will help us accelerate towards a digital transformation and knowledge economy.”
The MoU framework is guided by six tenets designed to facilitate this acceleration. These are:
•    Sharing of best practices on telecom technology trends and developments
•    Identification of innovative industrial use cases toward the Fourth Industrial Revolution
•    Recommendation on implementation of emerging technologies and business models
•    Promotion of connecting the unconnected with broadband
•    Development of emerging talent for digital innovation
•    Promotion of inclusion and diversity

Nokia has a long history of collaboration with international organizations and bodies across the globe. Regionally in MEA, Nokia recently partnered with UN Women to promote inclusion and diversity in Middle East and Africa.

Nokia is also working with UNICEF as part of a shared-value partnership in Kenya to connect schools with broadband and empower children in rural as well as disadvantaged urban areas.

In November 2020, Nokia supported the Forge Academy in South-Africa with the launch of a fully inclusive artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help students to become entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.

www.nokia.com

www.atuuat.africa

Introducing Incentro Africa Google Bootcamp: Now available online for free

Incentro and Digicloud have organized a Google bootcamp for both professionals and students. The bootcamp will be run by Google certified engineers and architects from both Kenya and South Africa.

Successful students at the end of the program will sit for an exam and get Google Cloud Certified – attaining one of the most coveted industry recognition, allowing them to validate their expertise and take their careers to the next level. Incentro will also provide the successful candidates with an opportunity to join the team for at the Nairobi office, that will deliver great Google Cloud solutions to the African market.

See program details in the attachments below:

Google Cloud Architect/Security Engineer
Google Collaboration Engineer

This bootcamp is perfect for both undergraduates pursuing an I.T. related degree or diploma or an I.T. professional looking to advance their careers.

Interested?

Sign up by completing these exams and forward the results to googlebootcamp@incentro.com.

Registration closes on 15th September.

See you online! 

For any questions reach out to Matthew Munyiri – matthew.munyiri@incentro.com.

Global cloud computing services industry to reach $937.5 billion by 2027, report

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Cloud Computing Services estimated at $313.1 Billion in the 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of $937.5 Billion by 2027, growing at a Compound annual growth rate, CAGR, of 17% over the analysis period 2020-2027.

Infrastructure as a Service, one of the segments analyzed in the report, is projected to record a 18.4% CAGR and reach US$449.3 Billion by the end of the analysis period. 

After an early analysis of the business implications of the pandemic and its induced economic crisis, growth in the Platform as a Service segment is readjusted to a revised 16.2% CAGR for the next 7-year period.

The Cloud Computing Services market in the U.S. is estimated at US$84.2 Billion in the year 2020. China, the world’s second largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$222.5 Billion by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 22.1% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. 

Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 12% and 15.1% respectively over the 2020-2027 period. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 13.4% CAGR.

In the global Software as a Service segment, USA, Canada, Japan, China and Europe will drive the 14.2% CAGR estimated for this segment. These regional markets accounting for a combined market size of US$57.7 Billion in the year 2020 will reach a projected size of US$145.7 Billion by the close of the analysis period.

China will remain among the fastest growing in this cluster of regional markets. Led by countries such as Australia, India, and South Korea, the market in Asia-Pacific is forecast to reach US$145.6 Billion by the year 2027, while Latin America will expand at a 16.8% CAGR through the analysis period.

www.researchandmarkets.com

[Column] Caroline Mukiira: Hybrid Cloud: The catalyst for increased financial inclusion in Africa

Africa has made huge strides over the past decades towards the financial inclusion. The digitization and simplification of money management has especially proved to be a sturdy vehicle in making headway in this regard.  

Yet, more work needs to be done as only 34 percent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have a bank account and 350 million people are still unbanked. In Kenya, financial inclusion as of August 2020 stands at 82.9%, an improvement from 26.7% in a decade, while the commercial banking industry is the fourth largest in Sub-Saharan Africa but there’s still room for growth.  

Technology has been at the heart of financial inclusion in Africa and today we’re seeing how technology trends are evolving much faster than imagined. The pandemic has accelerated the pace, and we have seen digital transformation initiatives within the sector compressed from years to months.  

Building the right platform 

With the evolution of technology, banks are pivoting their platforms towards open ecosystems and the secure sharing of data with third-party applications from fintechs and online financial service vendors to increase access to banking services to the masses. The 2021 IBM CEO Study – that drew on input from 3,000 CEOs across 26 industries and nearly 50 countries – has found that such ‘platformification’ of banks is here to stay. 

Home to over 150 fintech companies, Kenya has one of the biggest and most developed fintech ecosystems in the African continent, owning to the proliferation of mobile phones and the rise of mobile money alongside technologies such as hybrid cloud and AI to name a few.  

Innovation through a secure cloud 

In highly regulated industries like the financial services sector, increasing financial inclusion for the unbanked is a juggling act between security and compliance together with innovation, and hybrid cloud is the answer to the conundrum.  

Hybrid cloud can help banks and fintechs cope with the hurdles of compliance, security, and innovation while meeting customer expectations and venturing into new services. As banks become platform providers, hybrid cloud adoption lowers the total cost of technology ownership and improves operational efficiency – promoting innovation, aiding in the development of new business models and supporting more fulfilling customer engagements.  

While the cloud offers clear advantages to banks and most are actively using cloud services, few have actually moved mission-critical regulated workloads to the cloud to date. In many cases, this has been due to concerns about whether cloud environments complied with stringent security and regulatory requirements.  

Meeting industry requirements 

If banks are going to guard against fraud and criminal activity while delivering on their promises to digitally sophisticated customers, they have to build their platforms on technology solutions designed to meet regulations of the financial service industry. 

In response to this, IBM launched Cloud for Financial Services – a financial sector specific cloud offering – which features built-in security, regulatory and compliance controls that help minimize risks for banks integrating with third party independent service vendors (ISVs), fintechs and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers.    

IBM has also been investing in confidential computing research and technologies for over a decade, and the solutions provide greater assurance that data is protected and visible only to its owner and no one else. This means banks can now be as compliant on the cloud as they are within their own data centers, and they can demonstrate compliance on a continuous basis. 

As we continue in the journey to financially include more of our people across the African continent, the future of banking across Africa is dynamic and exciting.  

With the right technology partner such as IBM and being cloud-ready, financial services institutions can build a strong ecosystem of partners – be it fintechs, startups – to offer an array of services at a quick pace and lower cost to entice the unbanked to the digital economy. 

Caroline Mukiira is the General Manager, IBM East Africa

Internet Exchange Points are critical in lowering connectivity costs in Africa, Internet Society report

A new report published by the Internet Society outlines the state of Internet interconnection in Africa and the critical role Internet Exchange Points (IXP) play in improving access and lowering costs.

The report, entitled “Moving towards an interconnected Africa: the 80/20 Initiative,” examines the Internet ecosystem in Africa.

There is an urgent need to increase Internet access across the continent, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, fewer than 1 in 5 households have Internet access.

 Reliable and affordable Internet access also fuels economic growth. A recent study estimates that the Internet economy has the potential to contribute up to USD180 billion to Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

An IXP is technical infrastructure where multiple networks, including Internet service providers, mobile operators, enterprise networks, research and education networks, e-Government services, and content delivery networks (CDNs) come together to connect and exchange Internet traffic.

IXPs enable the local exchange of Internet traffic instead of using expensive international transit routes. This not only makes Internet access much more affordable but also improves the quality of access by providing more direct network connections. Access speeds for content can be up to 10 times faster with an IXP because traffic is routed locally versus international transit routes.

According to the Internet Society report, the number of African IXPs has increased by 58 percent over the past eight years, from 19 in 2012 to 46 in 2020. In addition:

More than half of the countries in Africa have an IXP; six countries have more than one.

The most developed Internet ecosystem is in South Africa followed by Kenya and Nigeria . These countries have the most interconnected networks and have succeeded in exchanging 70-80% of their traffic locally.

IXPs provide significant savings by localizing Internet traffic. The report shows that a network can save up to $240,0000 per year by connecting to a local IXP.

The presence of content delivery networks has increased significantly and the amount of locally available content and demand for content hosting has increased.

The new report expands on a 2020 analysis of IXP growth in Kenya and Nigeria and provides an overview of the evolution of Internet interconnection on the continent by examining a country in each of the six subregions: Angola (Southern Africa), Burkina Faso (Western Africa), Democratic Republic of Congo (Central Africa), Egypt (Northern Africa), Mauritius (Indian Ocean), and Rwanda (Eastern Africa).

“Thanks to the continued work with partners over the years, we have many more sustainable IXPs that exchange a considerable amount of Internet traffic in Africa. But there’s still work to do to ensure that more Internet traffic is exchanged on the continent,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Vice President for the Internet Society, a global nonprofit organization promoting the development and use of the Internet.

“A key success factor for IXPs is that governments understand the value that Internet infrastructure provides, which encourages the adoption of policies and regulations that enable Internet ecosystems to thrive,” added Bekele.

Since 2008, the Internet Society has been working with the African Internet community, including community groups, technical experts and policymakers, to improve local Internet infrastructure by helping to establish IXPs and strengthen the trust and cooperation between those that build the Internet. The overall goal is for 80 percent of Internet traffic in Africa be exchanged locally, and only 20 percent routed from outside the continent.

The report can be downloaded here

www.internetsociety.org

[Column] Setumo Mohapi: Finding the right cloud strategy for your business

2021 will be the year defined by business’ attempt to recover, build better resilience and restructure their operations following a tumultuous year of change as a result of the global pandemic.

The ability to adapt to the new world of work and the additional challenges that now lie ahead in 2021 will be the defining factor for those who will maintain business success – and those who won’t.

Although companies had previously set long term goals for their digital transformation, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions to ensure business continuity and sustainability.

Hybrid cloud has provided enterprises with a trusted and capable foundation to adapt to changing market needs.

In a hybrid cloud landscape, there are five key reasons that amplify the case for adoption:

Hybrid cloud brings agility, business resilience and continuity to the fore

Agility has always been a crucial outcome for most if not all enterprises. The ability to innovate and respond to changing market conditions is vital. Yet the speed, scale, and intensity of the impacts of Covid-19 has exposed certain deficiencies that may not have been considered. In our experience, it is often the case that the infrastructure and services requirements for transformation of the end-to-end network are understated when planning deployments of cloud solutions. The hybrid network that supports hybrid cloud deployments and services must not be the single point of weakness for organisations that require the full-stack capabilities to support agile, yet resilient businesses. The hybrid network must be programmable, flexible and allow for methods of consumption and billing that are standard in the cloud world. 

Hybrid cloud brings security and compliance complexities

As distributed workloads become the standard, and the security attack surface expands and potentially becomes as dynamic as the dynamic hybrid intelligent infrastructurte in the network and across the hybrid cloud environment, the overall response to the new security challenges must be equally up to the task. From conceptualisation and design of IT interventions, integration of OEM solutions, and finally, full-stack operations within the enterprise, organisations have to adopt the mantra  of secure by design, covering cloud, infrastructure, access, application and data security enabling business continuity seamlessly.  In this respect, embedded security moves from being a cost centre to being the critical transformation enabler under shared organisational responsibility.

Hybrid cloud is a driver for cost efficiency                                    

A more efficient total cost of IT operations is the biggest driver of hybrid cloud adoption, and it’s easy to see why. The shift to a distributed workforce model has meant people require access to both data and applications in new, different, and often complex ways – and organisations want to enable that in not only a cost-efficient manner but in a high-performance environment too. SD-WAN has emerged as a more cost-effective way of connecting to the cloud but it’s critical to note that optimising traffic flows across multiple connectivity options requires proper architecture and ongoing analysis and management.

Hybrid cloud simplifies internal operations through automation

It is complex to implement, but hybrid cloud ultimately simplifies internal operations through automation and streamlines the management of IT resources. This increases overall efficiency by reducing the time spent by IT teams on managing supporting infrastructures. To take advantage of hybrid cloud, understanding exactly what works in any given scenario, as well as how and where it can fulfil the needs of a particular business model is crucial. Mixing public and private cloud leverages the best of both worlds, each for different reasons and of course, different workload priorities.

Hybrid cloud offers business and IT leaders the chance to meet changing business demands head- on. While continuity and business resilience are fundamental, improving customer experiences and growing revenues still features highly on the list of business objectives.

You don’t have to go it alone

The role of partners also brings to light not only how much organisations rely on their partners’ skills and expertise, but how they drive greater efficiencies through the provision of integrated and flexible intelligent platforms and automation, led by cloud solutions. With more and more enterprises shifting a majority of their IT infrastructure to various third parties, customers can now fully benefit from the guidance and strategic counsel offered by vendors that are specialising across the OEM ecosystem.

“We believe that no two clouds are the same, and as such that no two implementations or approaches should be identical. Each cloud offering must be developed to serve a specific need and to answer a specific question.”

Setumo Mohapi is the Chief Go-to-Market Officer for Dimension Data 

The UN Food Systems Best Small Business competition: SMEs and startups time to shine

Listening to the diverse voices of small businesses – from cafes to farmer cooperatives, digital start-ups, and veterinary surgeries – is a key component of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit process to identify bold, new solutions for improving food systems.

Small businesses around the world that help provide healthy food that is good for the environment, good for their communities and create jobs for people locally are being invited to share ideas and suggestions for how their countries and economies can maximize their positive impact.

To help showcase the most inspirational small businesses from all regions of the globe in the coming months up to the Summit, which will be held in New York in September 2021, we are inviting any small agri-food business with an interesting story to tell to take part in the The UN Food Systems Summit competition ‘Best Small Business: Good Food for All’.

There are currently a number of competitions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – this is in itself not unique. But every single application will play its role as we listen to what you have to say as we uncover your story in how your business and employees are leading the charge for more sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems, and how you can be supported to scale up your trades sustainably.

We will be selecting not just 5 or 10 finalists but 50 winners from around the world. Why? So we can portray the rich diversity of agri-food businesses that contribute to a dynamic global food system. We want to hear your story, your journey as a business, the successes you are proud of and the challenges you have overcome. The last year, 2020, has been a particularly difficult year for many businesses in the agri-food sector as they have had to adapt and pivot their approach in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whilst a number of businesses have sadly succumbed during this challenging period of movement and transport restrictions, closures and changes in consumer demands, many have shown great resilience. A resilient global food system for 2030 is what the United Nations Food Systems Summit is striving for. Covid-19 will not be the only challenge to be overcome. We already have a pandemic of obesity in many regions of the world. And our changing climate will provide added pressures for all. So what do you do that is inspirational? How do you see the future of food and the role you play in providing a healthy, nutritious global population?

By being selected as one of the 50 winners, you will be receive worldwide media attention as we spotlight your business. The announcements of the competition finalists will be made at the Pre-Summit in late July, where SMEs will be playing a key role in what is being called the ‘People’s Summit’. Between July and September’s Summit, where governments will gather, we will continue to maintain the momentum of print and social media coverage of each of the 50 finalists.

Each winner will receive a US$2,000 cash prize and you will be awarded with a badge to show that you have been chosen as one of the top 50 UN 2021 Good Food for All Best Small Businesses, which can be used in marketing and promotional materials.

So if I don’t win – why should I apply? Well, step 1 of the competition is a short survey of just a few questions. These responses will be part of a report, which will be drafted and presented at the Pre-Summit in July. The final report will be shared at the Summit in September. We want to listen to the voice of SMEs so that they can be heard. What can we all do and what needs to be done to better support SMEs from across the world to transform food systems for a better tomorrow.

Will you apply? Let us choose you and let the world know why you are making a difference! Let us share your voice, your story and, together, let’s show what Good Food for All for 2030 is really all about.

Apply here!

www.un.org

DP World launches e-commerce platform in Rwanda

Trade enabler DP World has launched DUBUY.com, a global wholesale e-commerce platform. DUBUY.com is available first in Rwanda with plans to expand across Africa and around the world.

DUBUY.com adds digital trading corridors to the physical corridors DP World has built across the African continent with its investment in ports, terminals, and logistics operations. DUBUY.com is partnering with local businesses and the Rwandan Government to help unlock access to global markets for small and medium-sized local enterprises, using DP World’s end-to-end integrated supply chain services to fulfil orders for export and to receive goods.

The platform also enables global companies to find and serve new trading partners in Africa, opening access to fast growing markets.

Online marketplaces are a significant opportunity for economic growth in Africa which today accounts for less than 0.5 percent of global eCommerce according to the United Nations Conference on Development and Trade.

The combination of DUBUY.com with DP World’s physical logistics infrastructure and data-driven logistics solutions will solve some of the key challenges to the growth of eCommerce, including reliable fulfilment, secure financial transactions, and the movement of goods.

Pan African digital payments provider DPO Group has also been brought on board, bringing its extensive experience of supporting payments for businesses of all sizes across Africa.

Clare Akamanzi, CEO, Rwanda Development Board said, “DUBUY.com will make the previously impossible, possible, for many Rwandan entrepreneurs to trade with the UAE – and beyond. People and companies everywhere are turning to technology to fuel their post-pandemic recovery and improve access to global trade. World class eCommerce platforms backed by innovative, reliable logistical networks can lead the charge, transforming how business is done across the continent.”

DUBUY.com is the first online store created for all Rwandan licensed exporters, importers, and manufacturers. In Rwanda DP World has already invested in a logistics hub which offers container handling, cold chain, and bonded warehouses. DP World Kigali enables trade as a key gateway to the heart of Africa and connecting to Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam on the Indian Ocean. The addition of DUBUY.com will empower business owners in Rwanda and help realise the country’s vision of becoming a digitally enabled African economy, while also accelerating recovery from COVID-19.

Mahmood Al Bastaki, Chief Operating Officer of Dubai Trade World, added: “DUBUY.com represents a new model of partnership with the UAE, designed to strengthen the existing potential in Rwanda, opening businesses and markets organically, by enabling trade and supplying innovation. This technology allows home grown businesses to become international manufacturers and exporters – by linking them with new markets in Africa, the Middle East and eventually the rest of the world. In Rwanda, this includes the promotion of valuable exports like tea, coffee, and horticulture, through a network which significantly upgrades the country’s supply chain logistics – both in urban and rural areas; as well as providing access to new digital tools that will help local businesses prosper. We’re not just building in Rwanda; we’re building with Rwanda – for Rwanda.”

Alongside DP World Kigali, DUBUY.com is partnering with the Rwanda Development Board, the National Agricultural Export Board, as well as industry associations representing coffee, tea, and horticulture. These relationships will help design and coordinate last-mile logistics solutions that reduce the cost of transport, cut delays, mitigate post-harvest losses, and increase farm family incomes.

The DUBUY.com platform offers a one-stop-shop, ensuring all transactions on the site are secure, from onboarding only trusted suppliers through to integrating leading payment service providers, like DPO Group.

There are pre-negotiated, heavily discounted shipping tariffs in place, with weekly console boxes moving between origin and destination with guaranteed transit times, incentivized shipping costs. The shipping methods are also customized according to the scale of each transaction and the urgency of shipments.

This all adds up to create a platform which is agile, responsive and will enable Rwandan entrepreneurs to fully benefit from the advantages of increased access to world markets.

www.dpworld.com

www.rdb.rw

www.dubuy.com