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Swiss Investment Company CV VC Builds Up a Blockchain Ecosystem in South Africa

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Venture Capitalist looks for Early-Stage Startups in Africa

  • Zug-based investment company CV VC opens an office in Cape Town and appoints Gideon Greaves as Managing Director Africa
  • African startups can immediately apply for the incubation program in Switzerland
  • The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) signed an agreement to contribute to the establishment of a blockchain ecosystem in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 8 July 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- CV VC (Crypto Valley Venture Capital), a Swiss investment company, has been successfully investing in early-stage startups from around the world for two and a half years. These companies develop products, applications and services based on blockchain technology. After having opened CV Labs in Zug, Vaduz (Liechtenstein) and Dubai, CV VC is now opening its first office on the African continent in Cape Town. 

South Africa as most promising blockchain & technology location
More and more blockchain applications are being implemented across the African continent. According to the 2020 Global Crypto Adoption Index, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria have the highest rates of crypto and blockchain adoption worldwide. It was highlighted that there is a very high understanding of the potential of this technology in South Africa in particular.

CV VC’s goal in Africa, together with partners from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and local stakeholders, is to invest in 100 startups that have the potential to tackle the challenges of the African continent over the next four years. The SECO signed a special agreement with CV VC. The joint project aims to support the development of an independent ecosystem in South Africa by transferring know-how and experience from Swiss Crypto Valley to serve as a hub for Africa.

CVVC is seeking to leverage upon the aspirations of the Swiss Government, which is setting a foreign policy focus on its Africa Strategy. “The region is becoming increasingly important, also for Switzerland,” says Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, referring to Africa’s significant political, economic, cultural and scientific potential.For this reason, CV VC is opening an office in Cape Town in close cooperation with local stakeholders, such as co-working spaces, entrepreneurs, investors, authorities and universities.

“We are happy to start our Africa chapter with an initial foothold in South Africa, a thriving hub for entrepreneurs, developers and creatives and an already well-established startup and technology ecosystem. With the experience and know-how from Crypto Valley, including infrastructure providers, an enabling regulatory framework and our global network, we will be able to accelerate growth for blockchain startups and grow the blockchain ecosystem in all of Africa”, said Mathias Ruch, CEO and founder of CV VC. 

Gideon Greaves,
Managing Director Africa, CV VC

CV VC has appointed Gideon Greaves as its new Managing Director Africa, located in Cape Town. “I’m incredibly excited to be a part of CV VC’s journey into Africa. Being a leapfrog population, we are in a prime position to adopt this disruptive technology and I believe this continent can lead the crypto and blockchain charge”, commented Gideon Greaves.

In close cooperation with the University of Zurich, the Swiss Embassy in South Africa will establish a blockchain chair at the University of Johannesburg in September, financed in equal parts by Switzerland and South Africa. 

 Four successful blockchain-based African startups in the CV VC portfolio 

CV VC has created a bespoke incubation program and invested in 27 blockchain startups from Switzerland, Europe, the Americas and Africa. Four of them have African roots:

  • Math for Money aims to create a financially independent future generation by teaching children basic math and introducing positive financial behavior from a young age. The Math for Money app allows parents to easily administer pocket money after gaining insights into their child’s math process. Children get incentives to use their time wisely and gain knowledge at the same time.
  • Entrepreneurs and business owners often face a time-consuming and complicated process when starting a new online business. With Xion, you can skip this business scrutiny that comes with it. The Xion platform caters to merchants by helping them manage customers, subscriptions, and sales, with minimal effort to sign up and use only two code lines.
  • The Earth is currently facing the largest mass extinction in human history and solutions to this problem are not moving fast. Wildcards allow individuals to transparently and easily ‘adopt’ an endangered animal and contribute to sustainability through a fun and engaging platform. The platform is a highly liquid NFT marketplace.
  • Accelerating impact investing is critical for the challenges the world is facing. Proof of Impact is a data intelligence platform that makes impact data accessible to maximize return on investment. Proof of Impact will help impact investors transform static impact data reporting into a cost-effective, real-time, dynamic digital solution. Proof of Impact is on a mission to make impact data accessible and measurable both for investors and impact providers.

To promote the blockchain startup ecosystem in Africa, the CV VC Africa Advisory Board will be launched with high-profile individuals from the sub-Saharan region (South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Congo and other countries). As its first member, Cape Town-based entrepreneur and co-founder of Proof of Impact, Fleur Heyns, will help connect CV VC with business, political, academic and community figures. CV VC already has a Global Advisory Board, chaired by Philipp Rösler, former German Vice-Chancellor and Director of the World Economic Forum. 

Application for the startup incubation program in Switzerland

Early-stage startups building applications based on blockchain technology will join the global CV Labs incubation program in Zug, Switzerland. The next program starts at the end of September. Applications are open via cvlabs.com/incubation. The five most promising projects will be invited to the program in Switzerland or virtually, depending on the pandemic situation. The selected startups will receive an investment of up to USD 125,000.

In addition, investors can participate in the growing startup portfolio of the Zug-based company through investment products launched in cooperation with Swiss Asset Manager partners. The first “Technology for Tomorrow” certificate has just been launched.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Crypto Valley Venture Capital.

Media contact:

Samantha Seewoosurrun
samantha@perpetualmotionltd.com

CV VC AG
Mathias Ruch, Founder and CEO of CV VC mathias.ruch@cvvc.com
Gideon Greaves, Managing Director Africa of CV VC gideon.greaves@cvvc.com

Notes to Editors:
High-resolution photographs of the CV VC Labs and the team, and the CV VC logo, are available for download at the following link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1MKLO-cYMaI9NK-d8YdXF4Rv6Sj4YV_hX?usp=sharing

About Crypto Valley Venture Capital
Based in Zug, Switzerland, the private investment company invests in crypto and blockchain companies at all stages of development.

CV VC is an early-stage venture capital investment firm focusing on startups that build on blockchain technology. The company offers seed funding and an incubation program for promising startups in exchange for equity.

CV Labs are a unique ecosystem and co-working spaces in Zug, Vaduz and Dubai along with additional partner hubs all over the world. These spaces are tailored to the needs of blockchain companies and regularly host networking events. It is an ideal starting point for startups participating in the CV Labs incubation program.

The CV Summit and Crypto Valley Week bring together innovative startups, industry experts, investors and companies experimenting with distributed ledger technology.

CV Maps is the first online directory of the rapidly growing blockchain ecosystem in Crypto Valley and other regions. The continuously updated database contains over 1,200 companies.

For more information, please visit www.cvvc.com.

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Nestlé launches RE Pilot Project empower informal waste reclaimers

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Food-manufacturing company hosted the official launch of its RE pilot project in Tembisa, Gauteng on Saturday, 18th September 2021

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 22 September 2021,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- In celebration of National Recycling Week and Let’s Do It World Clean-up Day 2021, Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region joined forces with Kudoti, a waste tech start-up, to launch its ‘RE-Imagine Tomorrow’ pilot project in Tembisa to demonstrate how the circular economy is a viable solution for tackling the waste problem.

By working with Kudoti and Destination Green, the implementation partner and buy back centre, Nestlé will enable 100 waste reclaimers to use technology to track the amount of waste collected and find buyers through Kudoti’s technology platform and network. The waste collectors will be empowered and trained on how to make an income and will receive a monthly stipend through a subsidy by Nestlé. Training will include business and finance education to equip the waste reclaimers to further boost their incomes along with the provision of physical resources such as protective gear. One of the other elements contributed by Nestlé will be the purchase of a forklift to further assist the operation in the long run. The ‘RE-Imagine Tomorrow’ pilot project will be a phased intervention for the community of Mqantsa, Tembisa. The beginning of the phase is about awakening a focused increase of waste collection through the informal waste reclaimers. Engage will include educating the community on rethinking their relationship with waste and reducing their own waste footprint. Finally, the sustain phase will bring to life repurposing by creating beauty out of waste for the benefit of the community through public furniture created from the waste collected. The circular economy model aims to use waste streams as secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling. This approach is expected to achieve efficient economic growth while minimising negative environmental impact.

Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR), adds, “Informal waste reclaimers play an important role in the management of waste. It is important that we appreciate their role as heroes and find ways in which we can empower them further as we strive for a waste free future. This pilot project is part of our broader RE sustainability initiative which focuses on the pillars of rethink reduce and repurpose. Through working with a tech start-up, waste collectors, recyclers and the community, we believe we are engaging key stakeholders in the waste management cycle to be able to RE-imagine tomorrow. We hope that through this pilot project our partners and the community of Tembisa will see that there are opportunities that can be found in what we see as waste.”

The RE initiative encourages society to RETHINK, REDUCE and REPURPOSE. The RETHINK pillar is about encouraging broader society to rethink its relationship with the environment. Nestlé will educate the public about ways to change their behaviour to serve the environment through responsible practices such as recycling. The REDUCE pillar highlights Nestlé’s commitment towards reducing its environmental impact to zero carbon emissions by 2030. Lastly, the REPURPOSE pillar focuses on upcycling and reusing materials which are crucial to driving a circular economy. 

“Through this initiative, we hope to drive a paradigm shift by formulating and implementing solutions that will safeguard the environment. We hope that initiatives such as RE will encourage people not only in Tembisa, but across the country, to play their part and RETHINK, REDUCE and REPURPOSE,” concluded Tohlang.

Members of the community and waste reclaimers, along with Nestlé, Kudoti and Destination Green took part in a clean-up in Mqantsa, Tembisa on Saturday, 18 September to strengthen their collective contribution to a waste-free future for the community.

Members of the community and over 20 waste reclaimers, along with Nestlé, Kudoti, Destination Green and members of the media took part in a clean-up in Mqantsa, Tembisa on the day to strengthen its collective contribution to a waste-free future for the community.

For more information on RE programme visit www.nestle-esar.com/re

To see the video of the official launch of the RE pilot project in Tembisa, CLICK HERE

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Weber Shandwick.

Contact Londiwe Mbokazi
Tel: 078 838 9735
Email: lmbokazi@webershandwick.com

About Nestlé
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 187 countries around the world, and its 291,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality for everyone, today and for generations to come. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2,000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favorites like Ricoffy. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.

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Ghana teachers embrace digital learning

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·    Switch to all-virtual model enables teachers from all 16 regions to take part in Train-the-Trainer sessions
·    Survey reveals teachers wish to continue virtual model even after pandemic subsides
·    AfriCanCode Challenge mobilises youth enthusiasm for digital skills

ACCRA, Ghana, September 22, 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- Despite the dual challenges of low internet penetration and a switch to virtual teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in Ghana have embraced the opportunity to learn 21st century digital teaching skills during this year’s Africa Code Week Train-the-Trainer campaign.

Ghana has a fast-growing population that more than doubled from 14.2 million people in 1989 to 28.8 million people in 2017. Nearly 39% of the population is under the age of 15, a demographic dividend that the Ghanaian government aims to harness through improved education opportunities for all its youth.

Speaking at the launch of last year’s Train-the-Trainer activities in Ghana, Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Yaw Adutwum, said: “Coding is not just a skill. It’s a different way of teaching and a different way of learning that puts the student at the centre of the learning process.”

More than 39 000 teachers in 37 countries were mobilised during the 2019 Africa Code Week. This year, with an all-virtual format due to the impact of the pandemic, Africa Code Week is taking place in all African countries, including a month-long series of virtual coding sessions that took place across the continent from October until December. 

Teachers embrace digital learning opportunity

Francis Ahene-Affoh, SVP at the DreamOval Foundation, says there was a high level of interest in the Train-the-Trainer sessions this year despite the challenging conditions of the pandemic. “We had to switch to an all-virtual teaching model supported by SAP master trainers from around the world, as well as our network of local partners. Teachersfrom all regions in Ghana registered and participatedon the virtual training. Teachers from as far as Fumbisi in the Builsa south in the Upper East region of Ghana. This is an opportunity for an inclusive training, ensuring every teachers irrespective of location benefits from the coding training. This year’s training targeted 800 teachers. In 2020 alone over two weeks, we trained 1080 teachers from across the country.”

A survey conducted by the DreamOval Foundation of participating teachers revealed many would choose to continue with online learning in future. “While the majority of participants at this year’s Train-the-Trainer sessions were from the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, this year’s virtual learning model also enabled teachers from every part of Ghana to participate,” says Ahene-Affoh. “We believe this indicates a need for virtual teaching to continue even when the pandemic subsides, as the travel to attend training sessions in person can be an obstacle to teachers’ participation.”

Internet connectivity continues to be a challenge in Ghana, and few teachers have access to laptops. “Despite not having resources, more than half of teachers surveyed joined the sessions via their mobile phones. This level of commitment and passion for teaching and digital skills development is hugely encouraging as we work to prepare the country’s youth for participation in the digital economy,” says Ahene-Affoh.

Mobilising youth in continent-wide coding challenge

A recent addition to Africa Code Week activities is the AfriCanCode Challenge, a continent-wide coding challenge calling on youth aged 8 to 16 to compete in a competition. The competition was launched in September last year in partnership with SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile and Irish Aid.

According to Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, Africa Code Week’s 2019-2020 youth ambassador in Ghana, interest in the AfriCanCode Challenge has been high among Ghanaian youth. “Despite low levels of internet penetration in Ghana, young aspiring coders from across the country have taken up the challenge. Through teamwork, problem-solving and newly-developed coding skills, youth are putting forward their vision for what the future of education holds for the continent.”

Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, says: “While the pandemic has upended the lives of learners and teachers across the continent and disrupted schooling, it has also created opportunities. The growing urgency to provide learning through digital channels is driving greater interest in digital skills among learners and teachers alike. Teaching young kids to code is a gift that will endure for decades to come. If we harness our most precious resource – our abundance of youthful talent – Africa will go from strength to strength in 2021 and beyond.”

For more information about Africa Code Week, please visit www.africacodeweek.org 

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.

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Africa should rethink business models for impact and sustainability

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Article by Babatunde Oyateru

Corporate Identity Crisis

NAIROBI, Kenya, 15 September 2021-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-It is no secret that humans anthropomorphise everything; perhaps it is down to the urge to make things more relatable or our need to recreate.

Whatever the case, many inanimate, abstract concepts now bear personalities. Because of this, we can think of organisations with personas, and we argue that they should be responsible corporate citizens. In recent times, there has been a tension between the different personalities we have imbued our corporations with, which has resulted in an identity crisis if you will.

Is the corporate goal of an organisation solely to return a profit to its shareholders, or should it be purpose-driven and respond to wider societal needs at the expense of robust profits?

As the world confronts the fragility of the current consumption-based economic system with the attendant environmental effects and perpetuating inequality, it has turned more and more to sustainability and societal impact as a possible alternative.

The conversation on sustainability, however, has not sufficiently addressed the dichotomy presented by attempting to create impact economies with corporations not designed to deliver impact.

What is in a Name?

Corporations are largely delineated into two broad categories: those driven by profit and those driven by social impact. Those driven by profit are usually pragmatic and efficient, with little concern for other indices beyond the bottom line.

Companies motivated by social impact defy maximising profit and aim to improve the quality of life. What is becoming evident however, is that the delineation cannot be absolute.

Private corporations can no longer pursue profit while ignoring the social, political and environmental effects their business has. Neither can Impact or development institutions claim to be adherent to social goals but promote inefficiency in delivering their services.

Best practice seems to be shifting to the middle-ground, a hybrid between the need to run profitable enterprises which have a broader impact on the communities they serve.

Thought leaders like Dirk Schoenmaker, the Rotterdam Professor of Banking and Finance, have called for an impact economy that recognises these often-divergent urges and coalesces them to improve corporate citizenship and improve the quality of life of customers, end-users, consumers and ultimately the country.

Achieving this Impact Economy is often easier said than done, as corporate citizenship is often reflective of the economy and regulations of a country.

Redefining the Structural Space

Most companies conduct their business either in a market economy where the government provides public goods, such as health, education and security and regulates economic activities. However, private companies are geared towards profit-maximisation and usually at the expense of a more profound impact.

Or companies operate in a state economy where the government controls the production of private and public goods ostensibly to ensure broader service provision but usually at the expense of efficiency and individual enterprise.

In Africa, where the distinction between the private and public sectors is becoming less obvious and more transparent and where private corporations that thrive do so with considerable government incentivisation, it is often difficult to tell the difference between the two systems.

What is clear is that either system or a combination of both have contributed to environmental degradation, economic inequality, and reduction in the quality of life in Africa.

A possible solution to this will be redefining the economic structure and, by extension, the companies they foster; Schoenmaker refers to this as the Impact Economy.

The Impact Economy coalesces the distinct features of the market economy and those of the state economy which seeks broader participation of both the public sector and the private sector in the provision of goods and services.

This model actively encourages considering the common good and general welfare without sacrificing the self-sufficiency and growth of private enterprises.

Striking the Right Balance

Admittedly, the impact model appears self-indulgent and wistful, but it is not without precedent. Indeed, development financial institutions (DFIs) and development agencies are founded principally on the ideals of impact investing and sustainability, all while funding their operations.

It is little wonder that most of these institutions are openly financing the achievements of the relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their industries and have done so while promoting profitability.

Recently JP Morgan committed itself to invest in the SDGs and launched a DFI in 2020 that has so far channelled $146bn to development projects worldwide.

This is not to suggest that striking a balance between a shrewd investment philosophy, greater risk appetite and a mandate for development and profit is easy- just that it is possible and already exists in some ways.

To be fair, it may be asking African governments to take on more than they are able for now, but this is one of the specific roles DFIs can play.

DFIs demonstrate the delicate balance needed for impact investment and advance the conversation on repurposing African organisations for impact and sustainable development.

DFIs can also revisit what states should consider a public good; for instance, decent and affordable housing should be regarded as a public good in the same way education and health services are. Making these distinctions will broaden the space for impact investment as well.

The SDGs, if achieved by 2030, will serve all of humanity but perhaps Africa more than most. As countries task themselves with closing the SDG funding gap which stands at $2.5trn according to a UNCTAD report, they should also be concerned with reshaping organisations to help deliver them.

About the author:

Babatunde Oyateru is a Communication and Development Professional who heads Communication and External Affairs for Shelter-Afrique, a Pan-African DFI. He is also a Doctoral Candidate in International Relations

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of Shelter Afrique.

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