In order to expand and diversify, Coca-Cola has joined the African market in partnership with Chi Ltd, Nigeria’s largest juice and dairy maker. According to the African Business Review, U.S. consumption of soda has dropped by 25 percent, whereas Africa’s consumption of juice and soda has grown by 21 percent. Thus, it is no surprise that Coca-Cola wants to expand in Africa and open itself to non-soda markets in the process.

The merging of Coca-Cola and Chi Ltd will provide new employment opportunities, as well as increase investments into the Nigerian economy. Business Wire claims, “The agreement will allow both companies to leverage their respective investments and expertise to further drive innovation, optimize efficiency and strengthen route-to-market to accelerate growth and increase consumer availability and choice.”

Coca-Cola’s desire to diversify and join the African market is also based partly on the fact that the brand has come under fire recently for allegedly contributing to the obesity crisis. The World Health Organization has encouraged governments to place a tax on sugary drinks, similar to Mexico’s 10 percent tax.

However, by partnering with Chi Ltd, Coca-Cola can transform their market and adopt a new high-growth value dairy category. Nathan Kalumbu, president of Coca-Cola’s Eurasia & Africa Group, is thankful for this opportunity and states, “For more than 30 years Chi’s leadership has built a greatly admired business that has quickly grown to become Nigeria’s leading producer and distributor of value-added dairy and juice products and we are delighted to enter the next phase of our growth journey together.”

Coca-Cola wants to gain back the trust of consumers and Chi Ltd is one of Nigeria’s most admired companies in the domain of food and beverages. Chi Ltd’s products help cater to the diverse needs and palates of every segment of Africa’s dynamic population. Through the African market, Coca-Cola has a fresh start and Chi Ltd has the resources and connections necessary to succeed and expand.

Megan Hadley

Sources: Business Wire, African Business Review
Photo: Flickr

Facebook in AfricaIn late June, Facebook announced it would be opening its first African sales office in Johannesburg, South Africa. This office will serve to cater Facebook’s services to its growing markets across Africa.

Facebook in Africa will focus on spurring African businesses to advertise on the social media platform. The company hopes to strengthen its connection to the continent through this mission. It will shift applications, metrics and advertising toward African users, who overwhelmingly depend on mobile technology to access Facebook. Nunu Ntshingila, former chairman of Ogilvy South Africa, serves as the new head of Facebook Africa and is leading the sales office.

According to Ari Kesisoglu, Facebook’s regional director for the Middle East and Africa, Facebook is aiming to help businesses expand their reach across Africa to better connect companies to consumers. The social media platform has grown tremendously in the region, with 20% more active users in June 2015 than in September 2015. Over 80% of the current 120 million African Facebook users access the social media platform using mobile technology. Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, stated that with data service costs decreasing and more Africans accessing mobile technology, there is an immense amount of potential for Facebook throughout the continent. With over half of the company’s advertising revenue coming from countries outside of the United States and Canada, she said that the company hopes to increase advertising opportunities for African businesses.

In its initial stages, the office is set to work on establishing partnerships with governments, telecommunications companies and regional organizations. The company hopes that through these partnerships, it can better understand both the advertising challenges and technological barriers faced in the region.

Expansion efforts are primarily focused in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Facebook is also looking to increase usage in Ethiopia, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

This expansion is part of a similar initiative to help further expand Facebook’s reach across the continent. The company is striving to strengthen its connection to Africa in order to grant those in remote locations useful communication resources. The company’s partnerships with telecommunication companies allow easier and cheaper Internet access for basic services for those in remote areas. Along with Facebook’s project, it has also developed Facebook Lite, which is a simplified version of the actual website that was designed for smart phones still on the 2G network in remote areas.

According to TIME, the company has also launched “missed call ads” to better allow successful advertising in remote areas in Africa and India. When users click links to an ad, the advertiser instead calls the user’s phone and plays an audio ad rather than forcing the user to use up cellular data. The advertiser takes the cost of the call.

In its current stage, the new office is working to develop effective solutions to advertising challenges in ways like these. The office hopes to explore other advertising methods that would be more convenient and useful for African businesses and users.

Arin Kerstein

Sources: BBC, Bloomberg Business, IT News Africa, IT World, TIME
Photo: Tafia Network

The new release of the Apple Watch has been incredibly successful. Now that many have purchased the new technology, analysts predict a revenue-generating marketplace of $22.9 billion by 2020.

Apple Watches, “Fitbits.” and other personal technology, coined “wearables,” are hardly considered vital to a person’s life. In fact, consumers purchase this technology for selfish reasons: to sleep better, exercise harder or work more efficiently.

However, what if “wearables” could be transformed and used for good in the developing world? Could these smart devices offer more than convenience? Could they be considered life-changing or even life-saving?

UNICEF has partnered with design firms ARM and Frog to launch the “Wearables for Good” initiative. The contest involves designing and programming a wearable device to offer a solution “to pressing maternal, newborn or child health problems.”

Two winners will be selected after the early August deadline, and each will receive $15,000 in funding and a “mentorship” from both ARM and Frog.

Technology used for health monitoring and education in developing countries isn’t new. UNICEF currently uses a small arm band to monitor children’s nutrition levels. Similar to a blood pressure cuff, the non-digital tape wraps around the child’s upper arm, measuring its circumference and changing colors based on how well the child is fed.

The Embrace bag, which resembles a miniature sleeping bag, protects premature and low-weight babies from hypothermia. It was built for families in developing countries to regulate infants’ temperatures as hospital infrastructure can be inconsistent.

Some technology has proven helpful in the developing world; yet, this initiative is meeting various challenges. How would information and data control be monitored? How do developers plan to approach the issue of battery life? This is one of the major issues that could seriously limit “wearables'” reach in developing markets. Access to electricity could be minimal or non-existent in parts of the world where the technology is to serve.

A proposed solution is developing and integrating low-power chips that run the wearable devices, Ian Ferguson, vice president of segment marketing at ARM, said. ARM serves as a chip developer whose current designs are found in many smart phones. Another solution is to move the data collected by the wearable device to the cloud in efforts to prolong battery life.

Another issue is the potential markets in developing countries. ARM CEO Simon Segars said he often hears from others that there is little money to be made in developing countries. Many believe that new technology will be misunderstood and useless in countries without education and established infrastructure.

The most encouraging comparison to the “wearables” market is the cellphone. Affordable cellphones have become widespread and transformative in many developing regions. They are used not only to communicate, but to open bank accounts, manage small loans and connect up to pay-as-you-go solar technology.

While the cost of new technology is decreasing, the potential for good is increasing. UNICEF’s initiative is a reminder that the latest in personal consumer technology might also provide increasing solutions to life-threatening problems for the world’s poor.

– Alison Decker

Sources: UNICEF, Forbes, CNET, Huffington Post, UNICEF
Photo: Voice oF America

Does WTO's Aid for Trade Reduce Poverty?
Aid for Trade is a holistic approach to incorporating developing economies into global trade networks by assisting them in increasing exports and market access. Aid for Trade was initiated at the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2005, and the program has since increased its scope to include building production capacity (financial services, businesses, and industry), trade-related infrastructure (communications, energy, transportation), and trade policy and regulations.

When the Aid for Trade initiative began, it was unclear whether it would receive funding or be successful. Now that it has been implemented for over a decade, it is time to reexamine the links between trade, development, and poverty reduction that Aid for Trade aims to strengthen.

The principle behind Aid for Trade is that increased trade should benefit inhabitants of developing countries, whether or not they are directly involved in the program. One Aid for Trade program teaches Ugandan farmers how to grow and process dried fruit to be sold into the European cereal market. The farmers involved should benefit from increased income, market access, and productivity, and Uganda should benefit from increased exports.

Most evaluations of the effectiveness of Aid for Trade programs take place within 18 months of a given program’s initiation. This is not enough time to measure whether the program has truly been successful at reducing poverty in a sustainable way. Additionally, evaluations often do not take into account a program’s impact on those not involved; how did the fruit-growing education program impact farmers who did not receive additional training and support?

A new study on European trade assistance aid, commissioned by NGOs Traidcraft and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, suggests that there may be “hidden losers” to Aid for Trade initiatives. For example, South African fruit growers increased exports to Europe after trade sanctions were lifted. They earned higher wages and improved their standard of living. However, the demand for cheaper fruit also caused some growers to lower wages and to replace full-time employees with temporary, often migrant workers, who did not enjoy the benefits.

The study also found that the majority of trade assistance goes to middle-income countries rather than to the least developed countries (LCDs) that Aid for Trade is directed towards. Little evidence exists to prove Aid for Trade’s effectiveness in reducing extreme poverty; this is likely a result of short-term program evaluations that take place before real impact can be measured, as well as lack of donor interest in, and therefore funding for, impact evaluations.

Overall, there are many obstacles to determining whether or not Aid for Trade has been successful thus far. More thorough, accurate, and long-term evaluations of poverty rates are necessary in order to determine the tangible successes or failures of Aid for Trade.

– Kat Henrichs

Sources: OECD, International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, The Guardian
Photo: European Commission

Climate Change Hits Hard in China
The world is changing in optimistic ways. Rates of malnutrition have halved in twenty years, infant mortality has halved in fifty years, and literacy rates have increased 33 percent in twenty-five years. The efforts of an international infrastructure founded on aid and education are paying off.

But there is still more progress yet to be made.

In 2013, global climate change is an irrefutable fact of life. Comparable to the important work of anti-poverty advocates is the work of environmentalists. As our world changes, experts have recommended that industrialized nations cut their carbon emissions greatly in order to stabilize the planet’s temperature and control some of the long-term implications of that shift.

These cuts are not only for developed nations, however, but also for those whose markets are still developing.

“Though global warming began with industrialized countries, it must end—if it is to end—through actions in developing ones,” writes The Economist. Particularly implicated are the economic giants of Asia – India and China, with The Economist citing that India, “accounted for 83 percent of the worldwide increase in carbon emissions in 2000-11,” with China claiming a quarter of the globe’s current carbon emissions.

Climate change is nothing new and has been happening steadily since the Industrial Revolution, with the past ten to twenty years seeing some of the fastest rates of change during the anthropocene. Members of industrialized nations have the privilege of heating, cooling and water upon demand that most of the world does not, and may not have noticed the shifts in seasonal weather patterns that have been occurring. Therefore, while developed nations have cultivated a culture of excess, life has only gotten harder for the lives of those in developing nations since the Industrial Revolution.

Now, however, officials have recognized that the facts are the facts and that we’re all in this together.

In a new book titled “Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change,” by Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian, the authors raise the point of the responsibilities of developing markets to expand responsibly while developed markets must constrain themselves into sustainable practices.

“The trouble, as the authors admit, is that emissions cuts will also be costly for China and India. Messrs Mattoo and Subramanian estimate that if the two countries were to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2020 (compared with doing nothing), their manufacturing output would fall by 6-7 percent and their manufactured exports by more than that. As still relatively poor countries, they are less able to bear the pain.”

While all of us bear the blame for the state of our planet, it’s the duty of governments to care about climate change and for both local and international communities to take action. Sustainable technologies, reducing the waste of valuable resources such as food and energy, and investing in sustaining the biodiversity we still have left are all great ways to start, and projects that we can all be a part of.

So, Borgen readers, this author’s advice? Pick up the phone and call your representatives. Make a difference and be part of a solution.

– Nina Narang

Source: The Guardian
Photo: China Daily