Opinion – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Mon, 15 Oct 2018 13:30:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 US policy towards immigrant children is not Policy, it is cruelty https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/11/us-policy-towards-immigrant-children-is-not-policy-it-is-cruelty/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/11/us-policy-towards-immigrant-children-is-not-policy-it-is-cruelty/#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 19:00:50 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=677086 Immigrants come to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America try to escape abject poverty and food insecurity in their own countries

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New York – On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy to the presidency and set the tone of his priorities. The elimination of illegal immigration to the United States, mainly from refugees fleeing from poverty and violence in Mexico and Central America was one. He didn’t say at the time that his policies included separating children from their parents, some of whom might never meet again.

Immigrants come to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America try to escape abject poverty and food insecurity in their own countries. In Mexico, 2016 data reveal that 52.3% of children over 11 years old live under the poverty line, and 9.7% live in extreme poverty. Among indigenous children, the figures are more startling. Near 80% of them live under the poverty line, and 18.9% show symptoms of chronic malnutrition, a reflection of their unhealthy quality of life.

In Guatemala, indigenous populations in rural areas are affected by lack of food and economic burden. Guatemalan children have the third-highest rate of stunting worldwide, an effect of chronic malnutrition. It is estimated that 49.8% of Guatemalan children are undernourished, a figure that increases to 69.5% in children living in rural, indigenous areas.

As in other Central American countries, stunting and malnutrition in Honduras children are major concerns, particularly for those living in rural areas. It is estimated that 75% of the Honduran population live in extreme poverty and 12% of households are food-insecure. In rural areas, chronic malnutrition can be as high as 48.5%.

In El Salvador, 16.3% of rural Salvadoran families cannot cover the costs of basic needs. 18.9% of children under age 5 experience chronic malnutrition, a figure that increases to 25.6% for those children living in rural areas. In addition, El Salvador is one of the countries with the highest presence of violent juvenile gangs called “maras”.

Nicaragua, which is going presently through a time of considerable social unrest, is considered one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Approximately 29% of households live in poverty, and 8.3% live in extreme poverty. The highest rates of child chronic malnutrition occur in what is called the northern Dry Corridor, with rates of almost 30%. According to the World Food Programme, 300,000 people are in need of food assistance.

Poverty in Central America is due to factors intrinsic to the countries themselves such as a modern form of feudalism, profound inequality, rampant government corruption, and to foreign interference. The U.S. has influenced their political and economic situation by helping to overturn democratic governments, as in Guatemala and Honduras, or supporting anti-democratic elements, as in the case of the death squads in El Salvador and the “contras” in Nicaragua.

This dismal picture of poverty and violence explains the desire of those people to seek better conditions for them and their children. “We leave our countries under threat. We leave behind our homes, our relatives, our friends. We are not criminals, we are people living in fear in our countries,” told Maritza Flores, a Salvadoran woman, to the BBC.

It is in this context that families come to the U.S., where children are separated in the border from their parents, in some cases permanently. More than 2,300 children were removed at the border between 5 May and 9 June 2018. Children are placed in shelters where they do not always receive the care they need. Separating from their parents produces considerable anguish and depression in those children, many of whom become violent and suffer psychological effects. The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics calls these policies “child abuse”.

President Donald Trump doesn’t hide his dislike for immigrants, both legal and illegal, and forgets the contributions immigrants have made, in all fields of activity, to the US. In the meantime, children become pawns for his policies on immigration. In his infantile view of the world, President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to realize that his decisions on immigrant children are not a policy, they are cruelty.

César Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award and two national journalism awards from Argentina.

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New look of Agora, Tahrir Squares https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/11/new-look-of-agora-tahrir-squares/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/11/new-look-of-agora-tahrir-squares/#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 18:00:17 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=677091 Social media is contemporary face of public space

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The French philosopher, Michel Foucault, stated that “space was treated as the dead, the fixed, the undialectical, the immobile. Time, on the contrary was richness, fecundity, life, dialectic.”

He also went on to say, “our era is the era of space, unlike the nineteenth century that was dominated by time.”

According to scientists and philosophers, there are different kinds of spaces, such as physical, psychological, social, inner, private, and public spaces. Public space is a space where people can communicate with each other, such as streets, transportation, and squares. The internet is recognised as a public space, as everyone has access to it. In the Victorian age, i.e., the period of colonisation, space was considered as a symbol of power; the more space you had, the more powerful you were. Recently, virtual space is seen as a metaphor for technology. Indeed, social media platforms like Facebook are conceived as a public space, much like Agora and Tahrir Squares, where people can find, or practice democracy, art, and a sense of community.

Hannah Arendt states that, “the political realm rises directly out of acting together, the sharing of words and deeds. Thus, action not only has the most intimate relationship to the public part of the world common to us all, but is the one activity which constitutes it.”

According to Arendt, Athens was the first city that supported the concept of public space, where people discussed everything about life such as politics, democracy, art, etc. Lately, Tahrir Square (Egypt), is considered one of the common typical representations of public space in the world.

During the current decade— ordinary Egyptians— not just the elite, gathered in Tahrir Square, to revolt twice against the corruption of the Egyptian governments, at the time of the 25th of January, and 30th of June revolutions.

Arendt also says that, “the polis was supposed to multiply the occasions to win “immortal fame”, that is, to multiply the chances for everybody to distinguish himself, to show in deed and word who he was in unique distinctness,” and, it is the space of appearance in the widest sense of the world, namely, the space where I appear to others as others appear to me, where men exist not merely like other living or inanimate things but make their appearance explicitly.”

In the light of these words, Tahrir Square is a typical example of a public space. For instance, after Mubarak’s departure, the square was filled with celebrations, and national songs. Also, poets started to participate making use of their talents, such as Hisham Jakh, who was the revolution’s most prominent poet.

Moreover, youth shouted phrases such asLift your head up, you are Egyptian,” and Everyone who loves Egypt, come and rebuild Egypt.”

Furthermore, women and men came to clean up the square, with the aid of the volunteers who brought food, tea, water, and medication for the protesters. This means that being part of public space is being part of existence.

Similarly, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are considered a public space, although they could be seen as a private space, since people choose their friends, posts, photos, and thoughts.

The convincing argument about considering social media as a public space, is that the main goal of social media is sharing information, and making new friends, among different cultures, from all over the world.

First, through Facebook, people in certain countries can protest against any government, or recommend successful strategies to help their communities.

For instance, a certain hashtag may exceed 10m shares in a few days. Additionally, skilled people share their talent, and distinctiveness on their profiles. For example, if they are singers, they can upload their videos to their Facebook friends. Moreover, similar to Tahrir Square, where no one can pass through it without thinking of the Egyptian revolutions, social media is a public space where people can eternalise themselves by typing posts in prominent pages, with a large number of followers ,to display their true responsibility towards their nations.

Unfortunately, a well-educated person who does not recognise social media as a public space may be wasting his or her time instead.

For example, a student, researcher, or professor may seclude himself or herself in a private room to conduct a research paper, however, ironically enough, he or she may receive frequent Facebook notifications every 30 minutes, or, he or she might even intentionally access his or her account to check what is going on in the world.

In conclusion, social media is the new look of public space .

Work citation:

Hannah Arendt, 1958, The Human Condition.

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Making the benefits of technology accessible for youth in Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/11/making-the-benefits-of-technology-accessible-for-youth-in-egypt/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/11/making-the-benefits-of-technology-accessible-for-youth-in-egypt/#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 14:00:15 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=677068 Microsoft remains committed to upskilling youth through its YouthSpark cash grants

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Digital skills are becoming essential for the jobs of today and tomorrow. From digital literacy to computer science education, these skills can open the door to greater economic opportunities, in future workplaces. Unfortunately, these skills are beyond the reach of countless young people in Egypt.

Microsoft believes in a future where every young person has the skills, knowledge and opportunity to succeed, and has made a commitment to impart digital skills to 10 million youth in the Middle East and Africa, in the next three years.

Its long-lasting initiative, YouthSpark, helps bring this to life by working to empower all youth to imagine and realise their full potential, by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The initiative achieves this through unique programmes and partnerships with governments, business and nonprofit organisations, such as Code.org.

For example, Microsoft partners with Code.org annually, during the Computer Science Education Week for Hour of Code (a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools, and increasing participation by women, and underrepresented minorities). This is a global movement attracting over 100 million students in 180 countries, and is an effort to spark an interest in coding. Hour of Code encourages students of all ages to try their hand at coding for an hour. For the past three years, Microsoft has released Minecraft tutorials, which students can make use of, to learn the basics of coding.

Partnering with the nonprofit sector

Across the Middle East and Africa, the nonprofit sector is playing an integral role in upskilling the region’s youth with the resources they need to be empowered in the digital economy. Through its YouthSpark cash grants, technology and resources, Microsoft helps these organisations to provide digital skills, and computer science education for all.

In keeping with this, Microsoft is partnering with 15 nonprofits, in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa this year, to install the resources and training needed to upskill 1.4 million youth in computer science.

YouthSpark cash grants are awarded to nonprofits with a mission that aligns with Microsoft’s focus on computer science education. The aim is to help increase the number of teachers and youth-serving organisations, which have the capacity to bring digital skills to youth. Over 13,000 educators will receive training to teach digital skills to youth, with the intention that at least 80% of the beneficiaries will represent underprivileged communities, and 50% will be females.

The proof of this approach lies in the nonprofits that have previously received YouthSpark grants, and as a result have been able to introduce new, or develop existing computer science education programmes, training and activities, for the youth they serve. With continued investments, they have also been able to expand these offers to reach a greater number of youth, and inspire excitement about computer science.

Driving CS education policy

The UNDP Egypt’s objective is to support Egypt’s vision for sustainable development for everyone, without exception, by developing innovative, people-centred solutions. The nonprofit was founded in 1953, and first partnered with Microsoft in 2003.

Since 2012, Microsoft Egypt partnered with the UNDP and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to launch the ‘Tawar w 3’ayar’ (develop and change) campaign, as part of the global YouthSpark initiative to upskill trainers and underprivileged youth, by providing access to digital skills, CS training, soft skills, and business training. It also provides continuous support for basic digital literacy training at youth centres, IT clubs, and schools in underdeveloped communities, all while creating awareness, and excitement for the digital era through youth empowerment.

Since the launch of the ‘Tawar w 3’ayar’ campaign, over 1,300,000 youth gained access to educational and employment services, more than 480,000 youth were trained, and over 130,000 available jobs were made available through 400 youth centres, across all Egyptian governorates.

The nonprofit plans to use this year’s grant to tutor more than 1,000 trainers in 500 centres, which will result in 300,000 youth being trained in CS technologies, 30,000 receiving digital literacy training, and 30,000 attending business training, to encourage them to start their own businesses.

Empowering youth to achieve more

In a world where digital skills are fundamental to success in so many environments, leaving people in the dark about this major part of their world amounts to an unacceptable gap in their education. 

Microsoft believes technology should be an equalising force in the world—inclusive, not divisive. Therefore, the company is investing its greatest assets—its technology, grants, people, and voice—to advance a more equitable world, where the benefits of technology are accessible to everyone.

For more information on Microsoft’s Digital Skills programme, YouthSpark cash grants, click here.

Khaled Abd El Kader, is the General Manager, Microsoft Egypt

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Opinion: 1.5 degrees — do we want climate catastrophe or not? https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/08/opinion-1-5-degrees-do-we-want-climate-catastrophe-or-not/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/08/opinion-1-5-degrees-do-we-want-climate-catastrophe-or-not/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:25:00 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=676588 The post Opinion: 1.5 degrees — do we want climate catastrophe or not? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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A new global warming report shows it’s still not too late to avert the worst impacts of climate change. It just boils down to whether we can muster the will to do so, thinks DW’s Sonya Diehn.The IPCC report is pretty clear: Half a degree makes a huge difference.

We've already warmed the world about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times — with disastrous effects. Our coral reefs are dying, sea levels are rising, species are going extinct and extreme weather is on the rise.

In 2015 with the Paris Agreement, virtually all the world's countries agreed to limit further warming to a maximum of 2 degrees, preferably 1.5 Celsius.

The new report, unveiled after years of crafting by the United Nation's scientific body, outlines how keeping further warming under 1.5 degrees could still save our coral reefs. The Arctic would only be ice-free one summer every hundred years, instead of every decade. Sea level rise by 2100 would be 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) less.

Overshooting 1.5 degrees would mean a vast difference in the frequency and severity of extreme weather — think back to the heat waves that scorched the Northern Hemisphere this summer. That could become the new normal.

In short, Earth systems we depend upon to sustain us would remain largely intact under 1.5 degrees of warming. Under 2 degrees, there's no certainty of that.

So, can we manage it?

Making it possible

The IPCC report outlines very clearly what steps would need to be taken to stick to that lower limit of 1.5 degrees. It's nothing short of a massive transformation.

Globally, we'd need to cut our carbon emissions nearly in half over the next decade. We'd need to reach "net zero" emissions by mid-century.

Energy production would have to shift quickly to renewables. Fossil fuels — especially the dirtiest, like coal — would need to stay in the ground.

Our transport would have to shift to e-mobility, powered by renewable electricity. We'd need to use our agricultural lands much more efficiently. We'd have to construct our buildings and our cities to be more energy efficient.

And of course, we'd have to change our lifestyles — especially in industrialized countries — to consume and waste less. It's all possible — the report outlines a roadmap for making this happen.

So actually, the question is not can we keep global warming under 1.5 degrees. The real question is, do we want to.

Wanting versus doing

The fact is, it won't be easy. Policy has not moved in step with science. Governments have demonstrated a pathetic lack of political will around climate action. There's been a disturbing global trend of people electing right-wing populists. Climate denialists are sitting in cabinets in some of the most powerful countries today.

Some say it will require nothing less than a mass popular movement — to elect politicians who prioritize climate change, to hold elected officials accountable, to block the power of the fossil fuel lobby, to pressure companies to divest.

Of course, many of us will have to make trade-offs as well. Fewer vacations involving flights; a smaller car; eating meat less often.

But when you really boil it down, do we actually have a choice? Do you want millions of people to lose their homes and their livelihoods? Are you and your family ready to personally face ever more heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall and flooding? Are you ready to see your own food security at risk?

If you care at all about the future, you should be ready to make some sacrifices now and take action to hold politicians accountable.

Are you?

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The Rise of Artificial Intelligence part 1:The New Power Within Reach https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/04/the-rise-of-artificial-intelligence-part-1the-new-power-within-reach/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/04/the-rise-of-artificial-intelligence-part-1the-new-power-within-reach/#respond Thu, 04 Oct 2018 15:50:51 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=676150 Each daily minute, 3.9m Google searches, 4.3m YouTube videos,13m text messages, 2.1m snaps, 1 million passengers on aeroplanes, $ 330,000 Amazon sales, 73,249 online retail transactions, 750,000 songs streamed, 49,380 Instagram photos, 159m emails sent 

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From truck drivers to lawyers, security guards to chief executive officers, web-marketing to neuroscience, artificial intelligence (AI) is coming to change people’s lives, major professions, and industries. It is happening, and is scaling up every day. Designing and developing AI solutions is becoming increasingly affordable, and it is not limited to any location, business discipline, or patented technology.

The ability to get actively engaged in the field of AI simply comes down to the fundamental capabilities that any established society, business, or group have access to; human intelligence, knowledge, and ability to make sense of available data. This might seem to be an oversimplified statement, but this is the reality that every individual engaged in a discipline affected or likely to be affected by AI should realise. However, this article is not intended to advocate the school of thought which warns that robots will take over the world, or that interest groups that think AI are a threat which will drive people out of their jobs. It is rather an attempt to put the topic into a reasonably realistic context, away from the hypes driven by some of the colloquial noises surrounding the topic.

This 10-part article also attempts to map out the topic in a simplified manner, and tackles the fundamentals of some issues that impact our daily life, or come to our news platforms, with respect to AI. It also encourages readers and professionals interested in the field to think of possible ways to take an active role in the field of AI, rather than wait for the winds of change to come. In other words, how do we start thinking of AI when dealing with business challenges and opportunities that we encounter every day?

The New Electricity?

Running a cooling system or a factory is impossible without electric power. By analogy, developing an AI-powered solution is nearly impossible without data. We are living in the age of the internet and big data. The world exchanges 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created daily (according to IBM data insights).  It might be helpful here to give the reader a sense of what this number means in terms of statistics. Each minute of the day, 3.9m Google searches are conducted, 4.3m YouTube videos are watched, 13m text messages are sent, 2.1m snaps are shared by Snapchat users, 1 million people are passengers on aeroplanes, $ 330,000 are spent on Amazon sales, 73,249 online retail transactions are made, 750,000 songs are streamed on Spotify, 49,380 photos are posted on Instagram, and 159m emails are sent around the world. 

The term AI was not invented recently and dates back to 1956 when it was first used by John McCarthy during a conference held about the subject. However, AI has made breakthroughs in many fields only over the recent years and is ongoing. Such AI significant advancement is due to two main factors.

First is the increasing quality and size of available big data. Second is that the computational power of processing and storing data have dramatically increased and have become extremely powerful. In addition to these two factors, algorithmic operations (we will talk about these later in detail) which are the key driving forces behind AI solutions have significantly improved.

In the past, success and accuracy rates of algorithmic operations on available data were running low due to limited computational powers. Now with increasing computational powers, AI algorithms’ performance is delivered with higher success, and efficiency rates.

Increasing the availability of data and computer powers helped the creation of very successful AI-powered solutions in many industries, and professions. AI has been recently described as the ‘new electricity’ by Professor Andrew NG, one of the leading AI scientists and the co-founder of Coursera (the popular open education platform).

In his analogy, he explained that a hundred years ago, when electricity first developed, it transformed many major industries. Nowadays, AI is forging the same impact, as it is transforming several major industries. It is very hard to imagine any significant industry immune from the influence of AI.

While the analogy seems to be perfectly vivid in our minds, I personally believe that big data is the new electricity and not AI. Without big data, which is now available in many different forms (as explained earlier), AI’s impact would have been limited. For example, some of Google’s outstanding AI achievements in deep-learning related projects (such as Google image recognition and Google translation) would not have become so successful without the billions of files, pictures, and videos available on Google’s platforms.

Likewise, Siri (Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant) has significantly improved because of the gigantic size of audio files available for processing using AI’s algorithms.

The robot Sophia, that has been recently introduced in many conferences giving logical answers to many basic questions, is powered with a cloud-based search platform, which helps the robot find the right answer to the question asked. These are just a few examples out of a myriad more. Imagine if today, all these applications are no longer updated with new data.

Most (if not all) of the sophisticated AI-powered applications cannot efficiently perform and evolve without continuing analysis of an update with new data. If new data is no longer available, an efficiency gap would exist between the evolving data, and AI performance.

This gap is likely to lead to decreasing efficiency of AI solutions over time, or cause the AI’s performance to become static at some point. Tackling the point from a different angle, the big data which AI needs to accelerate is mainly the work product of human intelligence. Therefore, simply put, AI evolves and become better as long as our human intelligence continues to feed it. Human intelligence also needs AI to become smarter and more efficient.

Therefore, the interface between human intelligence and artificial intelligence is a cycle that should contribute to a better future of humanity, if used properly.

Next Part: Meaning and Branches of AI.

Hani Abderasoul

CEO and Chief of Legal Analytics at Brightiom, California.

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Capital perplexed by world’s woes https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/19/capital-perplexed-by-worlds-woes/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/19/capital-perplexed-by-worlds-woes/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 12:00:48 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=673875 Technology seen as only profitable acquisition for investors in response to China’s achievements

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Any observer of the recent updates concerning the world’s economy will surely realise the extent of market grievances and investors’ concerns regarding their performance. The crisis was mainly triggered between the United States and China, where the latter launched on 28 March 2018 what is known as the petro-yuan, a gold-backed futures contract. That is why the US launched its firm policy to acquire as much as possible of the investors’ funds.

       

To be or not to be

The petro-yuan’s success became a matter of life or death issue for the US and China. Since the beginning of March, 14% of the market share of crude oil sales was acquired, then the currency war erupted.

Subsequently, the US’s attitude can be dealt with from two perspectives in my opinion: a reaction and a defence policy. As a reaction policy, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates, despite it being steep for the US because due to its positive reciprocity with interest on debt and its negative effect on the economy as a whole. Thus, what is the catch, you may ask? Raising interest rates was an incentive to attract capital, in fear of investments retreating towards China’s market or to emerging economies. This explains why the Fed indicated a gradual increase in interest rates of 3.5% by early 2020, in addition to an increase of 2% in the current year. In addition to the impact caused by raised interest rates, the US stock market is overvalued and faces high inflation rates. 

Bitcoin as Plan B

I believe that bitcoin is a US idea—where the US claims its inventors are anonymous—can be used as a Plan B in the event of US dollar depreciation. This can be argued by the unjustified increase in this currency specifically, unlike the rest of cryptocurrencies. Notably, there is a significant correlation between the virtual currencies and the dollar, depriving them of the most important feature, which is their independence from any economy.   

On the other hand, China encouraged dealing with virtual currencies and the government listed a ranking, where bitcoin came in number 11, signifying its unpopularity, whereas the cryptocurrency Ethereum topped the list. 

Currency war, future steps

The current currency war between the US and China resulted in the withdrawal of capital from both emerging and developing economies, due to the US’s high interest rates. In return, this pressured some countries to raise their interest rates, in order to reduce the withdrawal of the US dollar from their markets, such as Argentina. Another example of an emerging market was Turkey, which faced the same obstacle in addition to the US sanctions. Moreover, Venezuela’s currency is no longer in demand, until its value became worth zero, owing to a high inflation rate, which is expected to have a percentage to reach 1m.          

Where is the Capital heading?

In the chart (1), a sample of available investments was selected from: stock exchanges in China, the US, London, Egypt, and Argentina, with products such as oil and gold, in currencies such as the dollar against the euro, the sterling, and Argentina’s peso. The rate of return was selected as compared to the volatility or risk of each type of investment as of the beginning of the current year. Based on the aforementioned affiliations and economic problems of the currency war between China and the US, we find in all investments varying volatility rates in prices compared to negative rates of return, except for the US, China, Egypt, and oil in general. However, the rates of return in the stock markets of Shanghai and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, London’s stock market, the bitcoin, and currencies such as the sterling, euro, peso, and gold were all negative.

The investor is most likely to compare the return on investment to the risk-free rate, based on the volatility, also known as risk adjusted return. This enables investors to analyse from among various investments based on the Fed risk-free interest 2% rate. The following chart clarifies the investments based on the risk adjusted return:

From chart (2), we can examine that the highest risk adjusted return and the best investment opportunity are the futures of the petro-yuan contracts. This is owing to return rates reaching up to 71%, followed by crude oil up to 38%, trailed by the US stock exchange with 29% and 5%, respectively. Meanwhile, the return rate is expected to decline in the US stock market in the coming period, due to the overvaluation as previously stated.   

Analysing deeper, technology emerged as the best sector in the US stock market this year as Netflix, Twitter, and TripAdvisor are among the best performing companies according to S&P 500, while Microsoft, Apple, and Visa are the best performing companies, stated the Dow Jones. This explains the US’s reaction to China’s attempts to control US technology.
Technology, and its ancillary companies, is currently the only profitable acquisition for investors and the country, in response to what China is now achieving by acquiring increased crude oil through petro-yuan futures, representing 71% of worldwide crude oil market shares.

Ahmed Ezz is a financial and economic analyst

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What will future universities look like? https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/19/what-will-future-universities-look-like/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/19/what-will-future-universities-look-like/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:30:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=673874 Many years ago, people started looking for online learning solutions to replace or complement their on-campus education. However, there are some trends that started to rise in the past 10 years that worsens the status even more.

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Education is back as one of the hottest and widely discussed topics around the world. Since 2010, there has been more than $2.3bn invested in education technology companies in the US alone, while global investment within the sector reached over $9.5bn.

With almost 40% of American employers saying they cannot find people with the skills they need and UK. organisations spending almost £6.3bn on temporary workers, recruitment fees, and training, as a result of skills gap in the UK market, it is clear to everyone that the current education system is broken and needs a clear and deep fix. An action needs to be taken!

Many years ago, people started looking for online learning solutions to replace or complement their on-campus education. However, there are some trends that started to rise in the past 10 years that worsens the status even more.

Information overload and content explosion

More than 3m blog posts are published daily, and content is expected to increase 600% by 2020. It is crystal clear that there are huge amounts of content and that people have limited time and resources to make use of it all, simply because the average learner devotes less than one hour a week to reading.

Clickbait

Unfortunately, a huge portion of this content is not even meant to live beyond the moment in which it appears. Spam is everywhere and many authors and publications aim solely at taking a few shillings out of the public’s pocket. Some statistics claim that 9/10 of our present online literature is clickbait.

Rise of recommendation engines

Why listen to the same old radio if you can listen to personalised programmes and music with Spotify and Apple music? People are increasingly loving customised content and services as they do not have the time (nor the mental capacity) to choose for themselves. People value the context and relevance offered by recommendation engines and products, especially in the learning and knowledge discovery spaces.

These trends are set to accelerate now with the explosion of MOOCs and online education (supply) and the fact that professionals need to redevelop their skills every 12-18 months to cope with the market change and technology advancement (demand). Around 90% of CEOs believe that their company is facing disruptive change driven by digital technologies, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends.

It is clear now to everyone that the whole education ecosystem needs a fundamental rebuild. The learning experience has to cope with the dramatic shift in market demands and technology advancement. It has to be adaptive and personalised to the learner’s needs and goals and most importantly, it has to reduce the time wasted going after good quality content buried under layers upon layers of spam and clickbait. On top of all that, the learning journey has got to have a materialistic goal that can be used to measure the effectiveness of the learning process.

A career-oriented learning model that focuses on the right and relevant skills needed for the different career goals is what the world needs. And it started to turn into reality with many initiatives led by big names like Google, Coursera, and rising start-ups.

These initiatives are not just trying to fix a learning problem. They are creating a new university education model. A university for a better future for the upcoming generations. So the next time you are looking for a new lifelong learning app or a product to try, make sure this product is free of clickbait, serves a goal that you can measure and that it is personalised to your learning style and relevant to your own personal experience.

Ahmed El-Sharkasy is the co-founder and CEO of Knowledge Officer

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Afghan morass: how Afghan government controls 56% of country, Taliban controls rest of it https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/19/afghan-morass-how-afghan-government-controls-56-of-country-taliban-controls-rest-of-it/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/19/afghan-morass-how-afghan-government-controls-56-of-country-taliban-controls-rest-of-it/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 11:00:53 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=673821 More than 2,200 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, and the US has spent more than $840bn fighting the Taliban and paying for relief and reconstruction

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On learning that he was from Afghanistan, I asked my Afghan taxi driver in New York his opinion about the situation in his country. “Americans don’t get it,” he said adding, “they are not going to succeed in Afghanistan. My father was a warlord who fought the Russians, and I grew up in Afghanistan, so I know the situation there. I have a lot of respect for the Russian soldiers, who fought us fiercely. But I don’t have the same respect for the coalition soldiers who always overprotect themselves. They don’t seem to understand that we have fought for centuries against foreign occupation in my country, and we have always succeeded.”

The taxi driver’s assessment confirmed the strength of the Afghan soldier, able to fight with the most primitive weapons against the greatest empires on earth. When these soldiers feel their land usurped by foreign forces, their strength is multiplied. And this is just one of the obstacles confronting US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Matthew Hoh, a former Foreign Service officer and former Marine Corps captain who became the first US official to resign in protest over the Afghan war, had declared, “upon arriving in Afghanistan and serving in both the East and South (and particularly speaking with local Afghans) I found that the majority of those who were fighting us, and the Afghan central government were fighting us because they felt occupied.”

More than 2,200 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, and the US has spent more than $840bn fighting the Taliban and paying for relief and reconstruction. The amount of money the US has so far spent in Afghanistan is higher than what it spent, in current dollars, on the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild Europe after World War II.

Despite all these financial resources spent in Afghanistan, and even though the American military says that the Afghan government “controls or influences” 56% of the country, this control is limited to district and military quarters, while the Taliban controls the rest.

According to Afghan official statistics, the Afghan security forces outnumber the Taliban by 10 to 1. However, as recently as the second week in September, dozens of police officers, soldiers, and civilians were killed by Taliban insurgents in four well-coordinated attacks which even included one in Kabul.

 In the deadliest attack, the insurgents killed over 30 members of the government security forces in Baghlan Province, located in the north of the country. The casualties among the Afghan security forces have been significant. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, a US government agency, 6,785 Afghan police and soldiers have died in the first 10 months of 2016.

As there are increasing calls for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the real dilemma for the US is if it is worth to persist in what increasingly seems like an unwinnable war on this natural resources-plentiful country. The Taliban have indicated that they are ready for a second round of talks with the US.  

It is now time for both parties in this cruel war to put an end to what has been like a haemorrhage in the body of the Afghan people. Those who have failed in the past should be a sobering reminder to the troops now fighting in that country. Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires. It should more properly be called the end of an illusion.

César Chelala, MD, PhD, a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award, is the foreign correspondent for The Middle East Times International (Australia)

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‘Back to modernism time concept by Mr president’ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/12/back-to-modernism-time-concept-by-mr-president/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/12/back-to-modernism-time-concept-by-mr-president/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 07:00:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=672847 Modernism is the modern period of time in the European history that begins at mid-late 18th century. It was a time of great social, political, and economical changes.

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Throughout history, the concept of time has constantly been changing. It differs from culture to another and from age to another. Scientists and philosophers have discussed the concept of time, whether it is linear or circular, with an end or without, or subjective or objective. Moreover, in the topology of time, there are questions always raised for study and discussion. For instance, can time be represented as a line, if it is, where does it begin and where does it end? Is it only one line or not?…etc. Indeed, the concept of time is dealt with differently in these two philosophical movements: modernism and postmodernism. The last four years are seen as a revival of modernism concept of time, which has been adopted by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Modernism is the modern period of time in the European history that begins at mid-late 18th century. It was a time of great social, political, and economical changes. It witnessed many revolutions, such as the French (1789-1799), American (1775-1783), and industrial (1870-1920) revolutions. The industrial revolution switched the agricultural society to an industrial one. Besides, rational thinking and scientific knowledge were regarded as the route to happiness, progress, and development. The modern concept view of time was linear and unidirectional, as modernists depended on the Newtonian vision of the universe as a giant clockwork mechanism with time marching forward. This means that everything progresses straightforward from past to future. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam advocate linear time, as they believe in the idea of the afterlife. Some writers and philosophers approved this approach, such as Seneca, Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, and St Augustine who emphasised that human experience is a one-way journey from genesis to judgment, regardless of any recurring patterns or cycle in nature. Linear time dominated science and philosophy in modern time. Scholars of modernism tried to analyse this movement with relation to social life. They reach the result that, if time progresses, there should be civilisation represented in happiness, freedom, and development. At that level, human beings should serve time, not time should serve them, ie there would be no new day without any successful achievements. Accordingly, human beings worked like machines, which were the typical representation of the industrial revolution in England.

On the other hand, postmodernism, the period we are in now, is argued by some to have started after WW2, whereas others situate its beginning in the 1980s or even 1990s (Virginia Matteo). According to Bauman, postmodernism time is the passage from solid times to liquid times. Accordingly, time is not considered as a linear progression; it may be repetitive, cyclical, and circular. Unlike modernists, postmodernists do not believe in the idea of progress of the world by the passage of time. For instance, postmodernism scholars can see Hiroshima’s bombing as a backward step that damaged humanity in Japan (1945). Furthermore, according to postmodernism, we should not serve time, ie what it is not done today, it can be finished by tomorrow.

President Al-Sisi always advocates the modern view of time. He determinedly asks the senior officials to finish their tasks at a definite time; and they do. There are many situations that reflect his approval of that movement’s concept of time. The first example is shown in Al-Sisi’s speech at the inauguration ceremony of the Suez Canal and Suez Canal Development Projects on 5 August 2014 at Ismailia governorate with General Kamel El-Wazir, president of the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces about the timed duration: only one year to finish the project. The president also, at that ceremony, said verbatim, “we have to race time as we are so late. We need to build up our country, and have a real hope of progress.’’ The second example is his discussion with the Minister of Transportation Hisham Arafat in a conference took place in 10th of Ramadan City about 700 meters left of the axis of Tema on the Nile. The minister’s answer was that “the completion of the axis should be during February, to be left 700 meters in the axis of the problem of expropriation.” The president did not agree with his answer and said, “will I be late for a full year because of 700 meters?!” and ordering, simultaneously, El-Wazir to finish the problem in one month. The third example is his speech with El-Wazir in another conference held in 2016 about finishing the Cairo airport development project after three months, rather than four months. Those are few examples that show that adopting the modern concept of time by our great president is the only survival method to save our economic ship from drowning in the horrible ocean of politics. He always says, “if we organise our work, we will finish it in the nearest time.” His words typically represent the modern view of time, which was an essential element in the British Empire ruling the world for two centuries.

Overall, the reader can approve any kind of these two approaches of philosophy. Our president adopted the modern view concept of time, which needs time’s service and hardworking persons. After serving and respecting time, Egyptians would achieve progress, civilisation, and freedom, which are our dreams in the upcoming years.

Ahmed Ramadan Abdraboh is a writer in Elfajr newspaper, and is in the third year at the English Department, Cairo University

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Memories of 9/11 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/11/memories-of-9-11/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/11/memories-of-9-11/#respond Tue, 11 Sep 2018 20:00:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=672848 That day, about an hour before the attack on the Twin Towers, he had finished his shift

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I remember vividly the terrible day when our lives (our world) changed forever. I was listening to the radio in my apartment, a few blocks from Ground Zero, when the plane hit the first tower. I could hear the cries from the street below: “Oh, no, no, no!” “Oh, my God!” I ran downstairs just in time to see the second tower crumble like a sand castle. It was 9:59 am. I joined others rushing to the spot when a large group of people came running back shouting: “Go back, go back, for God’s sake, go back!” We rushed back only to discover later that it was a false alarm, that there would be no more attacks on the towers after the second plane hit. Without fully understanding the significance of events, I felt that a relatively peaceful way of life had been replaced by a darker, more sinister one. A great sadness came over me.

Soon after, we learned the details of what had happened, and heard stories and saw pictures of those who had thrown themselves voluntarily to their certain death rather than remain trapped inside an inferno. Richard Drew, who photographed one of the iconic images of that fateful day, the “Falling Man,” the lonely image of a man falling to his death with one of the towers in the background, said recently that for him it was the image of the Unknown Soldier. An estimated 7% of those killed in the attack on September 11 did so by jumping into the void from their offices.

We also learned of the heroic behaviour of hundreds of firefighters who risked their lives and of the many other people who lost theirs. One of the firefighters was a 34-years-old Argentine by the name of Sergio Villanueva. That day, about an hour before the attack on the Twin Towers, he had finished his shift. But, like on so many other days, he had stayed behind to have breakfast with his colleagues. When they heard news of the attack, he decided to join his fellow squad members and went with them to the towers to help in the rescue efforts. Neither he nor his fellow brigade members ever returned.

We also heard heartbreaking stories about people we knew who were killed in the towers. One, the son of friends, had just enough time to call his brother and say, “Please tell Mom and Dad that I love them a lot as I love you,” before the line went dead. To this day his parents have not regained their joie de vivre. Or the employee of a large company who left the towers, called his wife to say he was fine after the first tower had been hit, then returned to retrieve documents from his desk and died when the fire ravaged his office.

What promised to be a peaceful September morning turned into a nightmare. As usual, that day (a beautiful diaphanous day with a very clear sky) my wife and I woke up about 7:00 am.  We had breakfast and she left for work on Long Island, about 45 minutes from home. I was planning to have a working lunch at United Nations headquarters.

After the second attack on the towers I tried to contact my wife at work. It was impossible to communicate by phone with her. I learned, however, that I could call Queens, where a medical colleague, Dr Juan Rivolta, lived. I wanted to see if I could communicate with my wife through him. I summarised what had happened. He thought I was joking, but changed his attitude when he heard the desperation in my voice and finally was convinced when I told him to turn on the TV.

Juan was able to communicate with my wife and told me that she was safe. When we spoke later that day she explained that soon after arriving at her college someone had called the office, so they turned on the TV and were able to witness the horror of the events taking place. Since virtually all roads leading to New York City were closed, my wife stayed at a colleague’s house for the next three days.

Satisfied that my wife was safe while I was still in a state of shock, I went to a nearby square and sat on a bench watching people hurrying to the scene. That state of shock stuck with me, like with many other New Yorkers, for months after the attacks. We could smell the pungent odour of burned materials, some of which certainly came from the incinerated bodies of the thousands of people who had perished there. One was Sean Rooney, whose last moments were described by his wife, Beverly Eckert. He called her from the 105th floor; he was unable to find an escape route; the flames were approaching ominously and, during his last minutes of life, he only managed to say “I love you, I love you.” Then, when the smoke prevented him from speaking, Beverly heard the terrible noise of something cracking, followed by the sound of an avalanche and a groan.

It seems impossible that anyone trapped inside the towers could have survived. Yet that is what happened to 20 people, including some firefighters and police officers and an administrative secretary of the Port Authority, Genelle Guzman-McMillan. As Matthew Shaer tells it in New York magazine, Genelle followed a group of colleagues to the smoke-filled stairway. As they descended, Genelle was certain that she would survive and could go down and meet her boyfriend, as they had planned. However, when the building collapsed, she suddenly lost her balance and was dragged to the ground floor surrounded by tons of cement and steel. Finally, she stopped, and felt something soft and warm under her—it was a dead person. She remained silent for 27 hours, praying and asking God for her life. A German Labrador named Trakr found her.

The shock people experienced as a result of the attacks perhaps mirrored the shock that Americans felt after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Such was the state of fear that the noise of aircraft crossing the sky was enough to frighten New Yorkers. Such fears led to unexpected reactions. A friend, an art teacher at a university in New York, told me recently: “Although I am a total agnostic I must confess that after the attacks I felt something strange, as if my house had been invaded by ghosts whose steps I seemed to hear at night. I was so frightened that I asked a Buddhist priest to exorcise my apartment and assure me that I was not going crazy. “

The attacks on the Twin Towers produced the most concentrated response to an emergency in the history of the United States. It is estimated that at least 100 emergency units and dozens of private ambulances headed to the scene to pick up the wounded and take them to nearby hospitals. At the same time, more than 2,000 police officers searched the towers and rescued survivors. But the weight of the response fell to the New York Fire Department, whose response to the events was truly heroic.

One of the lessons to be drawn from that tragedy is that violence begets violence and intolerance breeds intolerance. Unless there is a new approach to preventing terrorist acts we will continue to live under the threat of terror. Confrontation is not the answer. While it is easy to create enemies, it is much harder to understand the “other”, a necessary approach if we wish to eliminate conflict, and honour the desire for peace and security of all people in the world.

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Life devoted to searching for her abducted granddaughter  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/29/life-devoted-to-searching-for-her-abducted-granddaughter/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/29/life-devoted-to-searching-for-her-abducted-granddaughter/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2018 10:30:09 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=671029 On 20 August 2018, María Isabel Chorobik de Mariani (“Chicha”) died in La Plata, Buenos Aires Province. She was 94-years-old and for 42 years had been searching for her granddaughter Clara Anahí. On 24 November 1976, Clara Anahí had been abducted by the military when they took away her parents and later killed them. Since …

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On 20 August 2018, María Isabel Chorobik de Mariani (“Chicha”) died in La Plata, Buenos Aires Province. She was 94-years-old and for 42 years had been searching for her granddaughter Clara Anahí. On 24 November 1976, Clara Anahí had been abducted by the military when they took away her parents and later killed them. Since the day of her disappearance  De Mariani had been trying to find her granddaughter, and died without seeing her again.

De Mariani was one of the founders of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, a group of grandmothers united in their search for their disappeared grandchildren. They were victims of the reign of terror in Argentina under the military regime of General Jorge Rafael Videla (1976-1981). The organisation was nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize five times for their humanitarian work and achievements.

 

I met De Mariani in New York, shortly after the organisation was created, and where she had come looking for support for the group’s activities. In a dark winter afternoon, I asked her to give an example of the group’s activities in their painful search. She told me this,

 

“If a woman who has given birth in an Argentine concentration camp is ever liberated, the first thing she will ask her parents will be: Where is my child? So, what do we tell her; what do we tell our sons and daughters if we have not been able to find their children, from whom they have been separated? That is why this is a very intense and meaningful search for us. More than just based on our beliefs and sense of justice, our search is to a large extent motivated by the responsibility we feel towards our sons and daughters, the parents of our missing grandchildren.”

 

Many of the disappeared children were born in concentration camps to women who were pregnant at the time they were abducted by the military. Other children disappeared along with their parents. Many of the captured children were later put up for adoption, often to members of the same repressive military or police forces that had kidnapped them.

 

Since its inception in 1977, the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo have been relentlessly looking for their grandchildren and successfully located 127 children. I asked De Mariani to tell me about one of the cases they had solved. Her face lit up. “It was Beto!” she said and proceeded to tell me Beto’s story.

 

“Approximately a month ago, a man named Juan Carlos Juárez came to our headquarters in Buenos Aires to ask for our help in trying to locate his nephew, nicknamed Beto.” The child, whose real name is Sebastián Juárez, had disappeared in 1977, when he was three years old. At the time, Beto had been living with his mother, Lucinda, in Buenos Aires Province. When paramilitary forces abducted Lucinda at gunpoint, they left the child in a neighbour’s house, an older man fond of Beto. He kept Beto with him for a few days, and then took the child to a Juvenile Court Judge, who gave Beto to a foster family living in the area.

 

“We put together the information Beto’s uncle had gathered and what we found out” explained De Mariani, “and after an intensive search we were able to locate the old man who had sheltered the child after his mother’s abduction and disappearance. He told us what he knew of the child’s whereabouts, and with that information we were finally able to find out where Beto [now 10 years old] was. We went there with his uncle, and asked the woman who was taking care of Beto to let us see and talk to him. She didn’t allow us to talk to him, but we were able to see him through a barred window, a timid child with a sad face.”

 

After that initial contact, the Grandmothers made a series of inquiries and visited several judges to ask for their advice on the best way to deal with the case. By that time, Juárez’s sister, nicknamed Chichi, went to Buenos Aires and the judge gave her permission to talk to Beto. He developed a warm relationship with his aunt, who eventually collected all the documentation necessary to be granted custody of the child. After much travail, Beto was returned to his family.

 

“On the same day that Beto was back with his family,” continued De Mariani, “Chichi brought him to the Grandmothers’ headquarters in Buenos Aires. When Beto arrived, we gave him our corporate stamps to play with. He was playing with them when all of a sudden he saw the picture of a little girl we had been trying to locate. We were doing press releases about her case, which is very important because we found out that she had been adopted by a man who was the head of one of the most infamous death squads operating in Argentina. That man is now a fugitive, and has taken the girl and the rest of his family with him,” De Mariani paused for a few seconds and the continued.

 

“I was sitting next to Beto when he asked who this girl was. His aunt, with great sensitivity, told him, ‘she is a girl who has disappeared, and the Grandmothers are now looking for her as they were looking for you.’ He didn’t say anything, continued stamping papers and said, ‘First they get rid of them [the children] and then they look for them.’ I was taken aback by Beto’s words. I explained to Beto that this girl had never been abandoned by her family, and that her grandmother had been desperately looking for her. He continued playing silently, occasionally looking at me with those big, wonderful eyes of his. I then took a picture out of my wallet and told him, ‘See? I am also looking for my granddaughter; her name is Clara Anahí. I love her dearly, but I cannot find her and bring her back to me.’ I said to him that many nights I cry out of frustration, and then I explained to him as clearly as possible the process, by which children were made to disappear. He listened to me attentively, but still he did not say anything.

 

He then went to an office next to ours, where our secretary [Nora] works. Beto saw her typing on a big electric typewriter, something he had never seen before. Our secretary is not an abuela [grandmother]; she is the only young person working in our headquarters. They quickly developed a good rapport.

 

Nora asked Beto if he would like her to type his name. He agreed, and for the first time in his life Beto saw his full name in print. He looked at it with curiosity, and asked Nora if she would mind adding something after his name. She said that she would not and Beto asked her, “Please write ‘Now’”. Because the word by itself didn’t have any meaning Nora proceeded to ask him, “Now what?” Lowering his head, Beto responded, “Now Beto is free.” 

César Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award for “Missing or Dead in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims,” which was published as a cover story in The New York Times Magazine.

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Agility (part 2) https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/16/agility-part-2/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/16/agility-part-2/#respond Thu, 16 Aug 2018 08:30:36 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=669955 In the previous article, we looked how important it is for Egypt to have an economy that is resilient to external and internal shocks without unnecessarily constraining the change, innovation, openness, and flexibility necessary to create a sustainable growth. The challenge for policymakers is to find the right balance; and to help them do this, …

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In the previous article, we looked how important it is for Egypt to have an economy that is resilient to external and internal shocks without unnecessarily constraining the change, innovation, openness, and flexibility necessary to create a sustainable growth. The challenge for policymakers is to find the right balance; and to help them do this, we think it important they consider an emergent concept: agility.

Most often applied to the corporate sector (the Agile Corporation), agility is also relevant to the wider macro-economy because, at its heart, it reflects the way the world is, not what we would like it to be. Part of the reason that central planning is a poor method of economic management is that economies are inherently unstable and unpredictable. These inherent characteristics mean not that it is hard to predict what will happen to an economy, but that it is impossible.

The multi-disciplinary academic field that studies this is derived from mathematics, natural, and social sciences and sees the economy as something called a complex adaptive system (CAS). In this view, economies are systems and they are complex, because the behaviour of the system cannot be predicted by aggregating the behaviour of each of the component entities. They are adaptive, because the entities in the system self-organise, react to events, and make decisions on their future behaviour based on their own prediction of the future state of the system. In addition to economies, we see CAS in areas, such as political systems, social networks and, of course, the internet.

When applied to microeconomics, CAS analysis shows that, for one example, competitive advantage is always temporary. Disruption can come from new technology, from changing demand patterns, from regulation, and from over or under-supply of key inputs, and the firm cannot know where it will be disrupted, only that it will be. Firms that are built on the model that they can capture competitive advantage in one area forever will inevitably be replaced. The examples of this are legion: digital imaging destroyed the photographic film industry, health concerns will finish the tobacco business, climate change is killing coal extraction, and the fishing industry is facing an uncertain future in the face of fish stock collapse. At a macro-policy level, this pattern exists too: no government can plan an economic mix that guarantees sustainable competitive advantage. 

The solution to this problem (the proponents maintain) is to create agility in the economy. To put forward a set of policies, strategies, and incentives that create an economy, which is able to quickly and efficiently react to internal and external changes whilst at the same time mitigating the negative social impact of those changes. The key then is for policymakers to consider not what an economy should produce, but how it should be organised. 

Modern economies organised on the basis of certain uncertainty allow rapid repurposing of key resources, particularly people, to reflect the fact that disruption is inevitable, and the goal is not to resist this disruption, but to move to the next iteration of the economy as quickly and with as little social pain as possible. 

Economic sector diversification is a necessary, but not a sufficient strategy. Flexible labour markets are another, alongside comprehensive, and functional social safety nets and re-skilling. Better education of workforces, good core infrastructure, and a stable financial system are others. And Egypt has made and is making big improvements in all these areas—more so than many other developing and developed countries. 

Where Egypt could also place emphasis is on two factors that a recent study of the relative recovery times of US states post-2008 highlighted. Those locations with the highest number of self-employed people proved to be the most agile—with the fastest recovery times and the highest post-crisis growth.  Equally, those with the most decentralised decision-making infrastructure recovered quicker and better than those with highly bureaucratic systems. 

Governments everywhere love to centralise—Egypt as much as any. However, the more that real economic decision-making, regulation, and oversight can be conducted at the micro-level and not the macro-level, the more agile, and therefore more fit for the inherent unpredictability that is the true character of the Egyptian economy, and of every economy.

Author is consulting editor to Euromoney Conferences; the opinions in this article are his own.

 

Richard Banks, Consulting Editor, Euromoney Conferences

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Argentina at a crossroads https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/13/argentina-at-a-crossroads/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/13/argentina-at-a-crossroads/#respond Mon, 13 Aug 2018 08:00:58 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=669400 Seeds were there, spreading in basement, rotting structures, preparing final collapse

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A new and widespread corruption scandal implicating businesspersons with former Kirchner administration officials, may have unforeseen consequences for Argentina’s future as a democracy. The recent conviction of former Vice President Amado Boudou to five years and 10 months in prison for crimes committed while in office may still offer some hope for the country.

Corruption is certainly not new to Argentina. It has been chiselled into Argentina’s political landscape since the beginning of the 20th century and acquired pandemic intensity after General Juan Domingo Perón’s governments.  Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, spoke of Argentina’s society pervasive ‘moral illness.’

Cheating has been the unspoken public policy in school, on taxes, and when paying bills and fines. This social conduct has soiled the roots of the country’s political system and produced its most spectacular finale with the Kirchners’ government. Néstor Kirchner was Argentina’s President from 2003 to 2007 and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner from 2007 to 2015.

This should not come as a surprise, however. The seeds were there, spreading in the basement, rotting the structures, preparing the final collapse. How can anybody explain, otherwise, the bloodthirsty repression carried out by the military, during the 1970s, without considering its previous acceptance by civilian political circles? How is it possible that people disappeared in broad daylight by military tactical commandos, without legal complaints except for a few human rights groups?

How could it also be explained that the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) terrorist attack that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires in 1994 could occur, without considering the possible connivance by officials from former president Carlos Menem’s government? Or how could one also explain Alberto Nisman’s assassination? He was the special prosecutor in the AMIA case and was assassinated the day before he was to testify in the Congress denouncing the Kirchner administration’s corrupted agreement with Iran. In that agreement, Iran and Argentina reportedly exchanged oil for immunity for Iranians suspected to have been involved in the AMIA attack.

Those disparate events were simply the consequence of corruption at all levels of Argentina’s society. The policy of decade-long complicity between politicians and judges not only allowed these events to remain unpunished, but condoned bribery as a channel for resolving any investigation of a corrupted system.

 

In the last scandal, it became known that the driver of one of the main officials in the Kirchner government filled eight notebooks with detailed explanations of meetings, people involved, places, and bags with money. The notebooks implicated not only major members of government, but several wealthy businesspersons.

Is there any chance for Argentina to eliminate the chronic illness of corruption in its social life? After all, it seems easier to give up any resistance than to begin a disproportionate fight against a disease that has accomplices at all levels of society. However, as it happens when we are confronted with injustice, we may either give up any hope or maintain our resistance, believing that we deserve a better future.

Italy fought with success a similar corrupted system with the ‘Mani Pulite’ (clean hands.) This was an Italian nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption that led to the demise of the so-called ‘First Republic.’ Several politicians and businesspersons committed suicide after their crimes were uncovered. Brazil has recently produced ‘Lava Jato,’ a similar approach, which presents a chance to get rid of widespread corruption in that country.

It is now up to Argentinian judges to use this opportunity to put a final stop to Argentina’s endemic corruption. Opportunities like this one are rare, when there are desperate voices from the population demanding justice.

César Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award for ‘Missing or Dead in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.’ Alberto L. Zuppi, is an Argentine attorney and professor of law, author of ‘AMIA: An Ongoing Crime,’ Red Penguin, 2018.

 

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Egypt allows domestic gas to Gaza as Israel blocks transfer of fuel https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/06/egypt-allows-domestic-gas-to-gaza-as-israel-blocks-transfer-of-fuel/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/06/egypt-allows-domestic-gas-to-gaza-as-israel-blocks-transfer-of-fuel/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 19:00:36 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=668781 Cairo held talks between Hamas, Fatah to reach reconciliation, long-term ceasefire with Israel 

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Egypt has allowed “some 250 tonnes of domestic gas” to Gaza nearly a month after Israel shut down its only goods crossing and prevented the transfer of fuel into the strip, a Palestinian official told Anadolu news agency on Sunday.

The agency quoted Khalil Shakfa, the head of the General Authority of Petroleum, saying that “some 250 tonnes of domestic gas has been allowed into Gaza.”

Meanwhile, Sky News Arabia reported that “11 trucks of domestic gas on Monday entered Gaza through Salah al-Din Gate, located near Rafah crossing,” according to sources.

However, the Egyptian authorities have not confirmed or denied the reports yet.

Last Month, Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after preventing fuel and gas from transferring through the Kerem crossing, allowing only foods and essential medicines to cross.

After a week, it announced that it will partially reopen the crossing, explaining that the full return of the crossing activities is conditioned to the Hamas movement’s commitment to a complete cessation of firing kites carrying firebombs into Israel.

The gesture came amid the heaviest flare-ups between Israel and Gaza factions, as both exchanged fire through the past few months in the most violent hostilities since the 2014 Gaza war.

A ceasefire had been reached in July, brokered by Egypt and the UN between the two sides, but the violence continued.

Egypt has recently intensified its efforts to reach a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah. Last week, the two factions announced that they held several meetings with top Egyptian officials, including General Intelligence Service Chief Abbas Kamal, in Cairo to resume talks and discuss a new proposal presented by Egypt. However, no final decision has been reached yet.

The new Egyptian proposal aims at reaching a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah and a long-term ceasefire deal to last for several years; it could extend to seven years.

In October 2017, the rival Palestinian faction signed a reconciliation accord in Cairo after Hamas agreed to hand over the administrative powers of Gaza, which it dominated since 2006, to the Fatah-backed government. However, since then, the talks have stalled.

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Opinion: Venezuela on the verge of imploding https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/05/opinion-venezuela-on-the-verge-of-imploding/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/05/opinion-venezuela-on-the-verge-of-imploding/#respond Sun, 05 Aug 2018 13:56:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=668612 The post Opinion: Venezuela on the verge of imploding appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Reports of an apparent attack on President Nicolas Maduro leave more questions than answers, except for one: The only one benefiting from all this is Maduro himself, writes Uta Thofern.Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has claimed at least 20 coups or attacks against him, but not a single one has done him harm. To the contrary, his regime emerges from every actual or supposed attack stronger than before, regardless if carried out by foreign “imperialists” or his country’s own “far-right” opposition.

This latest incident, claimed by the “Soldiers in T-Shirts” movement, shows that Venezuela finds itself not only in a grave political and economic crisis, but that it has arrived to the era of “fake news.” It’s hardly clear if Maduro really was attacked by a drone. The Associated Press news agency quoted firefighters as attributing the explosion to a gas tank in an apartment.

Maduro exploits every new incident as cause to carry out additional witch hunts against the opposition, insult his neighbors, like Colombia — and of course purge his own ranks and those in the army. Each incident further distracts from increasingly unbearable problems in the country.

Gas cheaper than water

The apparent attack happened during a parade marking the 81st anniversary of Venezuela’s National Guard — and three days following his announcement of a new gasoline policy, which itself strangely took place during a power outage that left the capital, Caracas, in darkness for hours.

Gas subsidies have since been coupled with a government-sponsored car census, with only census participants receiving the subsidy. A fill-up in Venezuela costs less than one euro cent, but most of the gas needs to be imported from other large oil producers because Venezuela’s own oil industry is in ruins.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced that the country should expect inflation this year to reach 1 million percent. The Venezuelan government said it would knock off five zeros from its currency, the bolivar, after it had already planned in March to knock off three. Even inflation gets ahead of a dictator’s planning.

Starving children

The Venezuelan government subsidizes many other items aside from gas: energy, local transport, food and medicine, all things the country lacks because Venezuela doesn’t generate the currency it needs for imports. What’s more, the “Bolivarian Revolution” has paralyzed Venezuela’s own production capacities. There are countless reports of sick people going without care in dilapidated hospitals, starving children, smuggling mothers and desperate emigrants.

Read more: Motorists line up for scarce petrol in oil-rich Venezuela

Government attempts to counteract all this leaves it looking increasingly helpless, because it is helpless. Venezuela is so fundamentally wrecked that it will take decades for the once-richest country in Latin America to return to at least a minimum standard of living akin to its neighbors. The newly announced partial easing of exchange rates will not suffice; soon enough, even the most loyal followers of the late President Hugo Chavez, who founded the Bolivarian Revolution, will have difficulty making ends meet.

There is hardly anything more dangerous for a government than to end subsidies, as many examples around Latin America, and in Venezuela itself, show. Maduro knows this, no matter how unavoidable it may be. His regime is steering Venezuela straight towards the edge of a cliff.

This does not justify an attack on him, but nor is there any reason for one. Any number of die-hard successors stand behind him with nothing to gain, and everything to fear from regime change. Everything points to an implosion: It is only a matter of time before the so-called socialism of the 21st century collapses in on itself.

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Resilience of Egyptian economy in face of global crises, internal shocks (Part 1) https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/02/resilience-of-egyptian-economy-in-face-of-global-crises-internal-shocks-part-1/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/02/resilience-of-egyptian-economy-in-face-of-global-crises-internal-shocks-part-1/#respond Thu, 02 Aug 2018 09:00:20 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=668307 The 2018 Euromoney Egypt Conference is subtitled “Resilience and Agility”. In advance of the event, to be held at the Ritz Carlton in Cairo on 4-5 September, it is important to set out what we mean by those terms and why we think they are interesting and relevant for Egypt. In the second article, I …

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The 2018 Euromoney Egypt Conference is subtitled “Resilience and Agility”. In advance of the event, to be held at the Ritz Carlton in Cairo on 4-5 September, it is important to set out what we mean by those terms and why we think they are interesting and relevant for Egypt. In the second article, I will look at agility, but we start with resilience.

The World Bank defines resilience as the ability of a nation’s economy to resist economic shocks and to recover quickly when those shocks occur.

Egypt, more than most countries, has suffered a number of external and internal shocks that have strongly impacted its economy. Most recently, of course, were the oil price rises of 2009-2011 and the two revolutions of 2011 and 2013. These events significantly affected Egypt’s economy for different reasons, but in similar ways. Only now, in 2018, have we seen the macro picture finally stabilise—although there have been many positive milestones along the way—and the return of growth at a necessary rate of more than 5%. But there are still structural challenges in Egypt’s economy, such as dependence on imported food, which will persist and mean the economy could be vulnerable to sudden external events. That is why it is so important to understand the concept of macroeconomic resilience.

Generally, economies or sectors, which are more closed to international influences, are far less impacted when global shocks occur. To some extent, this was the case with Egypt in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008. Due to tight restrictions on what international assets Egypt’s banks could hold, there was no financial crisis in Egypt in 2008, as there were limited local vectors of transmission for the global contagion to spread. True, Egypt suffered macroeconomic slowing as a result of the recessions across the developed world, but there was no systemic financial crisis as there was elsewhere in the region. Much credit is due to the Central Bank of Egypt for making financial sector stability a priority before the crisis hit.

Resilience to international shocks can therefore be created within an economy by limiting the exposure of sectors to international competition, by creating very high regulatory requirements for companies and financial institutions, by slowing the pace of change, and by protecting domestic market participants. But that sort of resilience brings with it slow growth, and therefore a relative decline in living standards and opportunities available to the people. It also protects inefficient incumbents from leaner, meaner competitors.

The flip side, therefore, of isolationist resilience is that it causes a drag on long-term growth rates and, as importantly, the ability of the economy to recover quickly from any shock.  And shocks aren’t always externally generated, as Egypt found out in 2011. Whilst the nation proved resilient to the GFC, it did not to the Arab Spring.

Compare the economic performance of the US post-2008 with that of Egypt post-2011.  The US went into a savage and painful recession causing a large budget deficit and unemployment to peak at nearly 10%. The year 2011 brought a similar impact to Egypt’s economy, but it took much longer to recover. The same things that had protected Egypt from the 2008 crisis (regulation, protection, rigidity) hindered its ability to recover quickly from a domestically generated economic shock.

But the laissez-faire economic model of the US with all its creative destruction and minimal social safety net is not appropriate for Egypt. So the challenge for policy makers, therefore, is to find the right balance between resilience through prophylaxis and resilience through enhanced recovery speed.

That, as we all know, is not an easy task. It also one that the best minds in Egypt have been focusing on for the past five years—with a good deal of success. There is, however, one new strand of thinking which may provide further insight to enable both public and private sector leaders to approach this challenge from a new direction, and that is the concept of agility.  We will cover that in the next piece.

Richard Banks, consulting editor for Euromoney conferences, the opinions in this article are his own.

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Opinion: EU risks being left behind after GMO ruling https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/opinion-eu-risks-being-left-behind-after-gmo-ruling/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/opinion-eu-risks-being-left-behind-after-gmo-ruling/#respond Wed, 25 Jul 2018 20:37:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=667492 The post Opinion: EU risks being left behind after GMO ruling appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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The EU’s top court has ruled that gene-edited crops fall under the same tough laws as GMOs. While good news for opponents of such products, it’s a setback for genetic research on the continent, says DW’s Fabian Schmidt.Had gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 been exempt from the same stringent guidelines in place for conventional genetic technology, it would have represented a big opportunity for scientists.

It would have meant a chance for plant cultivation to finally catch up with research in the United States, which is currently leading in the field of “green” genetic engineering, and close the giant technological gap between the two continents.

But that’s unlikely to happen now in the wake of the ruling by the European Court of Justice. Instead, it’s an affirmation of the decisions made years ago by large industrial research companies such as BASF to move their crop research divisions overseas. Those companies that have yet to do so will sooner or later follow suit.

Read more: Is CRISPR-Cas9 ‘genetic engineering’ at all?

And it will also follow that green genetic engineering will continue to be perceived by the public as evil, when primarily, it is an optimized form of plant cultivation. In principle, CRISPR-Cas9 does nothing other than what happens in nature: create alterations in select genes among the millions of genes in the genome of a plant. The mutations that result are no different than those that spontaneously occur in nature.

A natural process

Ever since humankind moved from being hunters and gatherers to agriculture and raising livestock, people have always altered organisms for their benefit. This has, of course, altered our ecology. Some plants have prevailed over others. Some lines have died off, and others have emerged. It’s called evolution. The new thing about genetic engineering is that biologists today are able to achieve considerably better, faster results than the animal and plant breeders of the last millennia.

This never used to be a problem. We humans have bred domestic pigs, dairy cows, extra big cherries and sweeter grapes. We’ve changed the genetic makeup of wild boars, cows, wild cherries and grapes to better suit our purposes — because it was good for us, and because it tasted good. At the same time, we’ve evolved into modern human beings. So why is everything now suddenly wrong?

The new gene editing method known as CRISPR-Cas9 is much closer to processes found in nature than the transplantation of genes from one organism to another. It’s so close that the resulting mutations can’t be identified as artificial. The latest reports that the use of CRISPR-Cas9 also leads to undesirable mutations are not surprising. That’s a common feature of plant cultivation and evolution — it’s a part of life that cells mutate.

Genetic engineering’s image problem

Perhaps it’s part of human nature to mistrust our own capabilities. A lot of people have an uneasy feeling when they hear the words “genetic engineering.” Can the sorcerer’s apprentice retain control over the powers that he unleashes? The honest answer is probably, yes — just as we have in the past. But for the opponents of genetic engineering, that answer is unconvincing. Their rejection lies deep, just as we see an anti-modernist, anti-industrial attitude taking hold in society.

Read more: Is gene editing the key to food security in a warmer world?

Trade, of course, continues to take its cue from the mainstream. For supermarket chains, it’s all about sales figures and ensuring that customers feel comfortable buying their brands. Ecological awareness is growing — the main thing is that it says “organic” on the label.

The labeling requirement now extended to CRISPR-Cas9 products will be pure poison for consumer perception. A transgenic potato variety — even if it is very healthy — or a transgenic rice enriched with natural vitamins will not stand a chance on market shelves in affluent Western societies. No retailer will want to risk putting such products with the “genetically modified” label on their shelves. And no farmer will want to grow such products if they fear they will not sell. In this way, we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to develop better, healthier food products and to allow farmers to make a better living by growing crops that are more optimally adapted to dry conditions, for example.

That doesn’t mean that CRISPR-Cas9 will cease to develop. On other continents, people are less ideological in this debate — so Europe will continue to lag behind.

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For banks, 2018 is year of data https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/for-banks-2018-is-year-of-data/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/for-banks-2018-is-year-of-data/#respond Wed, 25 Jul 2018 14:00:44 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=667335 We are often told that regulation and technology are the key drivers of change in banking. This maxim remains true, but can distract from a more critical insight. In 2018, regulatory reform and technology innovation will continue to reshape banking. But the changes they enable are being propelled by forces so profound and far-reaching as …

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We are often told that regulation and technology are the key drivers of change in banking. This maxim remains true, but can distract from a more critical insight. In 2018, regulatory reform and technology innovation will continue to reshape banking. But the changes they enable are being propelled by forces so profound and far-reaching as to require a fundamental rethinking and reconstruction of banks’ business models and operational structures, placing data at the core of both.

We know PSD2 and APIs will combine to make the client data held by banks more mobile and accessible. However significant, this is just one example of a much more transformational change. With so many of our economic interactions now being conducted via digital means, more data are being generated—and in more places—than ever before. This represents a shift in how financial value is generated, exchanged, and recorded, and calls for data-oriented business models if banks are to avoid being marginalised.

In agrarian, pre-cash economies, value was exchanged and generated through nodes such as markets with a restricted number of participants and interactions, and few links between these nodes. These decentralised models, which required limited data exchange, were replaced by centralised ones as financial interactions meshed with the levers of government (eg treasury departments, central banks, tax authorities, etc), which collectively dictated the rules of financial intermediation and dominated its data flows. Today, however, we’re seeing the emergence of a distributed model, whereby governments oversee a framework that allows economic actors to choose how value is transferred from a range of competing options, leveraging technology innovations such as APIs and blockchain. In this distributed model, consumers and platforms are the nodes in the network, connected with APIs to access, exchange, and mesh multiple data flows.

In this digital economy, banks have access to more data, but a less complete picture of client activities and needs. Digitisation’s impact in other industries is well-established, but in 2018 it will become much more evident in banking. Over the next 12 months and beyond, we see three “mega-trends” as pointing the way to the future needs of clients and the changes banks must undertake to remain relevant.

The first mega-trend that will continue to drive change in banking business models is the rapid service digitisation that has transformed multiple industries over the past decade. These services leverage technology innovation to provide greater speed, choice, and simplicity to users, with implications for banks’ traditional role in the financial value chain. As more services to consumers and businesses are delivered digitally, a more diverse range of data flows are being generated, while banking services are increasingly integrated into the back-end of third-party value propositions, meaning banks risk losing control and visibility of client data and relationships.

Having reduced margins and overturned business models elsewhere, service digitalisation is now directly impacting banks, most notably through regulatory support for “open banking,” our second 2018 mega-trend. With the second EU Payment Services Directive entering force, regulators are encouraging competition from fintechs, primarily weakening banks’ traditional control of account and transaction information, while facilitating—explicitly or implicitly—new entrants in fields such as wealth management and lending. By unleashing new forms of competition and decentralising data, the new framework empowers firms that can use it to deliver value to the consumer, forcing banks to adapt operationally and strategically.

While PSD2 gives customers control over which service providers may manipulate their banking data, it is just one example of the power shifts in the new distributed data model of financial value. This third mega-trend of 2018 is driven by the increased volume, diversity, and mobility of data flows in the digital economy, but is also supported by regulatory reforms that reflect the importance of data and digital identity in the exchange and reporting of financial value. The EU General Data Protection Regulation, for example, not only governs how companies store and use data harvested from consumer interactions, but also offers opportunities for consumers to monetise their digital assets, via their new rights to grant or withhold access to their data history.

For decades, banks have held privileged access to client data, but their siloed structures have often frustrated efforts to create a joined-up view of the client and their future needs. Although service digitisation across multiple sectors and interactions has generated a treasure trove of data, banks are ill-equipped to maximise this opportunity. Few have the processes or infrastructure to effectively capture, store and analyse transaction data; moreover, it represents a fragmented and fast-declining share of client activity. There is a real risk of further margin compression as banks’ value-add becomes less clear to the end-user.

There is an alternative for banks with the resolve and vision to change. In sector after sector, platform-based approaches are being adopted by incumbents in response to digital disruption. Though models vary, a key attribute is the ability to combine resources and relationships into a flexible value proposition that leverages data to inform future service development. By consolidating data from multiple retail partners with transaction information, perhaps in a budgeting app, banks can provide real insight and value, which are rewarded with loyalty and transaction fees. To do this, banks must not only reassess their data management, aggregation, and analytics capabilities, but also develop new relationships and value propositions.

The pace of regulatory change in the finance sector might have slowed down, but 2018 will not mean a return to business as usual. Year 2008 was not just the year of the financial crisis, but also marked the dawn of an era of digital transformation that is reshaping our economic and social lives, and now placing data at the centre of new business models. Banks have long-known that effective data management is key to cost reduction and operational efficiency through greater automation, as well as effective defence against cyber-security and other financial crime threats. The distributed data markets of today’s digital economy—driven by the combined force of innovations such as blockchain, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence—represent a more fundamental shift. As such, 2018 will be a critical year in the reshaping banks’ data management strategies, operating infrastructures, and business models.

Christopher Truce is the Head of Fintech at Saxo Bank

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Growth potential in emerging markets is unaffected by rising dollar https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/growth-potential-in-emerging-markets-is-unaffected-by-rising-dollar/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/growth-potential-in-emerging-markets-is-unaffected-by-rising-dollar/#respond Wed, 25 Jul 2018 13:30:19 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=667323 The decline in emerging-market currencies since March is the result of the dollar rally. However, emerging markets are still benefiting from synchronised growth in the global economy. That momentum provides a good opportunity to move back into this asset class. The year 2018 started well for emerging markets, until they peaked on 20 March. Since …

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The decline in emerging-market currencies since March is the result of the dollar rally. However, emerging markets are still benefiting from synchronised growth in the global economy. That momentum provides a good opportunity to move back into this asset class.

The year 2018 started well for emerging markets, until they peaked on 20 March. Since then, they have suffered a severe correction, while the dollar has rallied equally significantly against the main emerging currencies. Once again, a rising dollar has been accompanied by a decline in emerging markets. Emerging-market countries remain dependent on action taken by the Fed and movements in the dollar. The strength of the US currency is making dollar-based financing more expensive for companies in those countries, and prompting monetary-policy adjustments in many economies.

Since the end of March, emerging currencies have fallen 10% on average against the greenback, but have not seen any decline against the euro or sterling. These currency movements highlight the strength of the dollar, which is mainly the product of the US economy’s relatively strong growth and the Fed’s monetary tightening rather than any real weakness in emerging currencies. In euro terms, the MSCI Emerging Markets index is down only 5% year-to-date, while the MSCI World index is up 3.5%.

Synchronised growth in global economy

In sector terms, cyclical stocks—ie those exposed to the current upward phase of the economic cycle such as oil, gas, and commodity stocks—are holding up well during this correction, as are more defensive sectors like pharmaceuticals. Emerging-market sectors performing less well at the moment include finance, manufacturing, and telecoms. If concern about global growth were behind the current correction, defensive stocks would have outperformed. The fact that they have not shows the resilience of global markets so far.

Some countries are benefiting from rising hydrocarbon prices, and numerous emerging-market cyclical stocks have held out well against the correction. This situation is likely to continue as long as the strong dollar does not significantly weaken the current phase of synchronised growth. Confidence levels among consumers and businesses remain historically high, supporting that scenario.

Although political problems in Turkey, Argentina, and Brazil are weakening their economies, the damage has not yet spread elsewhere. New US sanctions against Russia in early April came as a surprise and adversely affected the Russian market. However, relations between Washington and Moscow are improving and a bilateral summit is being organised, which should help optimism to return to the Russian market. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia and Argentina look likely to be added to the MSCI Emerging Markets index in May 2019, which will put those countries’ stocks on the radar of major investment funds.

Mathieu Nègre is the head of Global Emerging Equities, Union Bancaire Privée.

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President Al-Sisi’s difficult dialogue https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/president-al-sisis-difficult-dialogue/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/25/president-al-sisis-difficult-dialogue/#respond Wed, 25 Jul 2018 13:00:07 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=667320 Within days, a new session of the Youth Conferences will be held. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will attend and participate in the conference. The upcoming conference may be difficult and held at a critical time. The question is why? The conference will be the first appearance of Al-Sisi after the decisions made to increase the …

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Within days, a new session of the Youth Conferences will be held. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will attend and participate in the conference. The upcoming conference may be difficult and held at a critical time. The question is why?

The conference will be the first appearance of Al-Sisi after the decisions made to increase the prices of electricity and fuel. The past period included a long absence of the president, who would be seen every week either before the opening of a project or to inspect opened projects. During these appearances, he would direct some messages to the people.

Hence, Egyptians are waiting for the president’s appearance to justify to them the reason for these increases and when they will be over, as well as when citizens will reap the fruits of the reform programme.

Answers require transparency and bold decisions to address the negative effects of the reform programme and achieving justice in distributing burdens on all segments of the society, each based on their abilities to handle these burdens. As for the expected heated discussions, many questions require clear answers related to policies and timings. No one needs general or unclear answers anymore. We need to understand why there is a delay in improving the quality of the services offered to citizens despite the technological revolution and why we do not utilise it. Until when will we remain unable to solve the mystery and allow this deadlock to control the political scene as we approach the parliamentary elections next year and local elections that we do not know when will be held and according to which election system. No one knows where the youth who participated in the presidential qualification programme are for the leadership positions in all sectors of the state.

When will Egypt overcome the stage of the “World Cup’s zero” and reach a stage of an honourable representation in the case of reaching the finals, unlike the early exit and the misfortune of Russia’s World Cup.

Why would Qatar organise the 2020 World Cup and Morocco prepares to organise the championship and we would not? This is because we are still in the World Cup’s zero stage. When we requested to organise the World Cup during the era of former President Hosni Mubarak, we discovered we are not qualified for organising such an event. We do not have a clear system for anything. In other words, we do not have a manual for any service or sector. Everything is random and lacks quality. Even in terms of the state itself, no one knows which political or economic system we are using at the moment. No one knows until this moment the date of the upcoming parliamentary elections or which system it will be held according to.

No one knows who will run in the next presidential election three years from now. Unfortunately, we are still living in the phase where this is a semi-country. Yes, the country’s institutions and stability are back, but the institutions lack efficiency, and there is no security. Citizens are subject to looting and violence. Children are still getting kidnapped, and corruption is everywhere.

Mr president, what I propose is a dialogue you would not hear in a conference. A dialogue on coffee shops, transportation, and homes. People are waiting for so much from you. It was you who decided to take this responsibility, but you and the army decided to take it alone and the burden is too big to be carried alone and the challenges are growing.

Why you do not let the people participate in carrying that responsibility with you? Talk to them and let them talk to you so the dialogue can be mutual and the consequences would be handled by everyone rather than you alone.

Mr president, you have accomplished so much work during the first presidential term, and this cannot be denied, but achieving loyalty and instilling it is more important than building a bridge or a road. Open the door for political parties and civil society inquisitions. Allow them to present their ideas and discuss them with you for the sake of public interest. Not everyone who criticises or opposes you means evil.

Mr president, the people have chosen and supported you because they found someone to save the country at a difficult time, so all segments of the society who are standing beside you want to see this scene again, but this time in a national dialogue for all segments and classes.

Hussein Abdrabbu is the Editor in Chief of Al-Borsa newspaper.

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An insatiable salesman https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/19/an-insatiable-salesman/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/19/an-insatiable-salesman/#respond Thu, 19 Jul 2018 06:30:55 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=666637 Unexpectedly, a casual incident brightened my life. It was one of the most interesting meetings I had during a recent trip to my native province, Tucumán, located in the north of Argentina. There I met Roberto Espeche, a local notary with a fascinating life history. I met Roberto when I was in a restaurant with …

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Unexpectedly, a casual incident brightened my life. It was one of the most interesting meetings I had during a recent trip to my native province, Tucumán, located in the north of Argentina. There I met Roberto Espeche, a local notary with a fascinating life history.

I met Roberto when I was in a restaurant with some friends. At one point, a tall man wearing glasses and a smile, walking, and talking with some difficulty, approached the table. When my friends introduced us, the first thing he said to me was, “Do you want to buy my book?” Disoriented by such frankness, I only managed to sketch a negative response. Unperturbed, he continued, “It does not matter. I give it to you as a present. Somehow, I’m going to get my money back…” Later that evening, Roberto and I were having dinner together at a nearby restaurant. It was a great dinner, with delicious dishes, and accompanied with a very good French wine. Of course, I paid the bill.

That day, and in later days, between talks with him and with other friends, I was able to reconstruct his history. Roberto was born in Tafí Viejo, a small town near the city of San Miguel de Tucumán, the largest city in the northwest region of Argentina, and the capital of the province of Tucumán.

From his childhood he was a very good student and in elementary school he became a standard bearer representing his school group. His life passed without major incidents until on 28 June 1986, when he was only 13 years old, he had an accident that would turn his life around.

In a hurry to get to a training session at his rugby club, he ran out of his house when trying to pass in front of a bus; he was hit by a neighbour’s car. She was terrified and thought she had killed him.

Roberto was taken to a sanatorium where, three and a half months later, he was discharged and was able to return home. He had suffered multiple injuries, from which it took him years to recover. For more than a decade he carried out rehabilitation sessions for basic functions, such as walking, maintaining balance, recovering fine motor skills, and speaking without major inconveniences. However, the injuries in his brain caused a loss of his inhibitions, which sometimes caused, even now, difficult social situations.

Years later, fate would again put him to a test. His beloved daughter Martina, one year old, had a very serious accident, where she almost drowned. The accident, however, left her with neurological lesions even more serious than those her father had suffered. It seems that his experience had prepared him to be able to help his daughter reintegrate into family life—very important for her recovery. Roberto, with commendable integrity, did not cease his efforts in trying to help her.

All these trying events generated in him the need to relate all these experiences in a book. He counted on this with the extraordinary collaboration of Jorge Daniel Brahim, editorial director of the magazine El Pulso Argentino. The result was “With Perseverance: My Life as History”, a book where his passage from darkness to light was appropriately reflected. More than 6,200 copies of his book have already been sold—an extraordinary figure if one takes into account that they are the result of Roberto’s personal efforts and his great talent as a salesman. Moreover, a more complete third edition has already been printed.

I witnessed Roberto’s ability as a salesman when, on one occasion, we were having coffee in Las Palmas, a downtown restaurant. Roberto, as always, had a backpack with several copies of his book. At short intervals he would get up from our table and offer his book to new clients when they entered the restaurant. At a certain moment, I saw a couple come in whom I thought were professionals, since they came loaded with several books. I then said to Roberto, “Look, Roberto, that couple seems to be potential clients for you.” Immediately, he answered me, “Don’t worry for me, César. I am an insatiable salesman. I am like a shark; when I smell blood, I know exactly how to attack my prey.”

Another recent incident confirmed Roberto’s tenacity in selling his books. Some friends in common told me how, on one occasion, Roberto lost his balance and fell backwards to the ground. His editor tried to lift him from the floor without being able to do so. A passer-by who saw the scene approached and tried to help in lifting him. For a few dramatic seconds, Roberto seemed to have lost consciousness. As he opened his eyes, as soon as he saw a new and strange face, the first thing he said was, “Do you want to buy my book?”

Dr. César Chelala is a writer from New York, winner of several journalism awards.

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Supreme Court candidacy crisis https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/18/supreme-court-candidacy-crisis/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/18/supreme-court-candidacy-crisis/#respond Wed, 18 Jul 2018 19:00:01 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=666598 The decision made by US Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy to retire at the end of June has raised a crisis to choose an alternative for him in the American Supreme Court, which is the second battle that US President Donald Trump is getting into after his success in choosing Republican judge Neil …

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The decision made by US Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy to retire at the end of June has raised a crisis to choose an alternative for him in the American Supreme Court, which is the second battle that US President Donald Trump is getting into after his success in choosing Republican judge Neil Gorsuch as a substitute for the late Justice Antonio Scalia.

The US Supreme Court is composed of nine members. They include a chief justice and eight associate justices. They do not have a retirement age, which means they remain in service for life. The American constitution stipulates that the American president must present a candidate after the death of a judge. The candidate must get the approval of the majority of the senate. Even though the American constitution requires only 50% approval, the senate can still delay the appointment unless a candidate receives 60 votes from a total of 100.

The Republicans have a very slim majority of the Senate seats—51 compared to 49 for the Democrats—with expectations for the rate to decline to 50 or 49 during the upcoming days as a result of the absence of Senator John McCaine.

Former Justice Anthony Kennedy was born in Sacramento, the capital of California. His father was one of the state’s members in the House of Representatives. Kennedy joined two of the most sophisticated universities in the world. He earned a political science degree from Stanford in 1958, and then he joined Harvard and earned his bachelor’s degree in law in 1961. Afterwards, he continued his political journey, joined the Republican Party, and worked as a professor of constitutional law. During that period, he assisted Ronald Reagan, the governor of California at the time, to work on the tax connection law. With a recommendation from Reagan, former President Gerald Ford chose him as a judge at the Federal Court of Appeals in 1975.

When Reagan was elected president, he nominated Kennedy to the Supreme Court in 1987, who was sworn in the following year. Kennedy was married to a teacher and had three children, including a lady in a leading executive position at the Ballet Affair Council in New York. Reagan knew that Kennedy was always the wise voice in making decisions. He belongs to the conservative current, which tends to reach conservative interpretations of the constitution. Perhaps the issue of freedom of women to control their bodies completely, including abortions, is one of the most controversial issues.   

Later, on a Tuesday morning (Cairo time), President Trump announced nominating a judge of the Court of Appeals in Washington, right-wing Republican Brett Kavanaugh, for the empty seat in the Supreme Court to follow Justice Kennedy. It was a choice that raised concerns, especially for the Democrats. Kavanaugh is 53 years old; he was a graduate of the Washington School of Law before he joined Yale University. He had previously worked as part of the judicial investigation team led by independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr in the investigation of former Democratic President Bill Clinton, known as the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He was chosen by former Republican President George W Bush to serve in the White House, during his presidency. He was very famous for his conservative tendencies and his support for more immunities for the president of the United States to prevent him from being held accountable, during his term of office and his opposition to the right to abortion.

What makes the issue more complex is the nearing midterm election planned to be held in November, in which roughly one third of the senators will be chosen. The balance of power is expected to change in the Senate, where Republicans currently have a majority; hence, Trump knows well the importance of speeding up the procedures to specify his candidate for the Supreme Court, noting that the Democratic opposition in the Senate will want revenge against the Republican Party for choosing Neil Gorsuch to follow Justice Scalia, who died during former President Obama’s second term and whose chair remained empty because Republicans rejected every candidate Obama presented, until Trump came and managed to have Gorsuch’s nomination passed. Trump managed to be one of the few American presidents lucky enough to choose two Supreme Court justices out of the nine in one presidential term, given that the Supreme Court justices remain in position for life.

Reasons for conflict, three essential elements that determine its importance

The first is that the Supreme Court justice remains in position for life and cannot be eliminated. If we take into consideration the age of Kavanaugh, who is 53, we see that he could be expected to remain in his position for a long time. This might reinforce the domination of the conservative Republicans on the court’s trends, as they would become the majority in the court by a ratio of 5 to 4.

The second is that the Supreme Court has very broad powers, on both the legal and political levels. If we merge Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Administrative Court, and all their specialties, we would find ourselves standing before the American Supreme Court with all its great powers.

The third is that the American constitution, by nature, is very brief and short, influenced by the circumstances of its inception with the aim of adding the necessary flexibility and balance between the federal legal system and the various systems of the 50 states, leaving out most of the legal rules that reveal the judicial practices and trends, something upon, which the legal and American system is based as one of the countries of unwritten laws, which necessarily means that the personality of a judge, as well as his ideological and legal trends, have a huge impact on issuing verdicts and interpreting the constitution, as well as other tasks that the Supreme Court handles.

Finally, if President Trump won a new presidential term, he would have a chance that no American president has had before. So far, he has chosen two Supreme Court members out of nine, which is a number subject to increase, given that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Justice Stephen Breyer are in their nineties, which increases the chance of a need to replace them either because they request it or because of death.

Mohamed Samir is the spokesperson of the Administrative Prosecution Authority, a lecturer on political regimes and Comparative Constitutional Law. He is also a visiting professor at several American universities.

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Zionist entity succeeds in sowing seeds of sabotage in our societies through social media https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/18/zionist-entity-succeeds-in-sowing-seeds-of-sabotage-in-our-societies-through-social-media/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/18/zionist-entity-succeeds-in-sowing-seeds-of-sabotage-in-our-societies-through-social-media/#respond Wed, 18 Jul 2018 18:00:57 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=665839 Several years ago, the intelligence services of the Zionist enemy established an integrated e-team whose mission is to create sectarian strife between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Muslims and Christians in the Middle East, and among the Palestinians themselves. This specialised team created pages and groups on social media, named after famous Muslim and Christian personas, …

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Several years ago, the intelligence services of the Zionist enemy established an integrated e-team whose mission is to create sectarian strife between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Muslims and Christians in the Middle East, and among the Palestinians themselves. This specialised team created pages and groups on social media, named after famous Muslim and Christian personas, and with Jihadist, Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic names, which are all in fact fake. They all come from one place, and that is the hall with many computers owned by the Zionist enemy’s intelligence service.

Unfortunately, due to hatred and sectarian discrimination that is based on ignorance and backwardness among Muslims and Arabs, and due to the conflicts among Palestinian parties, the enemy’s intelligence managed to feed and strengthen this hatred among Arabs successfully. We can easily find one of these fake accounts online on social media now.

Looking at the great successes of these Zionist groups to spread hatred and conflicts among Arabs, recently, terrorist Avichay Edrei honoured a group from Unit 8200, which is affiliated to the second greatest remote eavesdropping, jamming, and espionage body after America. Years ago, it started spreading on social media and starting pages under various names. This unit recruited thousands of young men and women to spread the Zionist ideology and intoxicate the culture and ideology of Muslims and Arabs, as well as sabotage their morals, human values, and social traditions. They work very quietly with cunningness and intelligence to spread rumours, lies, and propaganda. They target activists, well-educated individuals, media personas, writers, thinkers, and patriotic, national, and religious leaders to fuel sectarian strife.

Unit 8200 (יחידה 8200, Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim) is the unit of the Zionist military intelligence body responsible for collecting intelligence information. It is referred to as SIGINT.

Unit 8200 can be seen in military Zionist publications as the central unit responsible for leading the electronic warfare in the Zionist army, affiliated to the Zionist intelligence.

The recruited individuals working in this body consider their work as patriotic and a national mission to keep the Zionist entity strong, while our Arab sons and daughters and social basics easily drift with this sectarian strife and allow themselves be used as tools for this malicious war.

 Major General Mohamed Abo Samra—Palestinian Politician/historian and head of Al-Quds Centre for Studies, Media, and Publishing.

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Opinion: The Nelson Mandela in us all https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/18/opinion-the-nelson-mandela-in-us-all/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/18/opinion-the-nelson-mandela-in-us-all/#respond Wed, 18 Jul 2018 01:24:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=666594 The post Opinion: The Nelson Mandela in us all appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Nelson Mandela would have turned 100 today, and political copycats are falling over themselves to add a bit of his luster to their own bespoke suits. But Claus Stäcker asks, What role does Mandela have in society today?Barack Obama praised Nelson Mandela as the “moral compass” of his political career long ago. Obama spoke about that at length while addressing fans at Johannesburg’s cricket stadium during his current trip to Africa. For a five-figure sum, enthusiasts could buy a seat at his dinner table to hear more. It remains to be seen just where Mandela’s needle will point Obama.

Mandela was no saint. Still, next to him every well-known personality shrank to size. Mandela exhibited equal respect for musicians and presidents, queens and prison guards. By the time he was released from prison, after 27 years behind bars, he had become a global brand, an idol the world over, a projection overladen with expectations. Suddenly, he stood there upon the world stage and he seized the opportunity. Unlike others, he had a vision and a moral compass, as Obama so rightly recognized.

Read more: Nelson Mandela’s mixed legacy

Not vengeful despite unjust imprisonment

Mandela described his seemingly endless years in prison as a “university behind bars.” During that time he became neither angry nor a populist. He says he learned humility, patience and tolerance there. Some critics, such as the radical recruiter Julius Malema, the head of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) so popular among South Africa’s poor, say that he learned too much thereof. Malema and his people preach a dangerous brand of reverse racism, but they also have a strong argument: After two decades, not all South Africans are afforded the same chances of success. Nowhere in the world is the chasm between rich and poor greater than in South Africa. Wealthy locals and elite Europeans there live in high-security villas, “gated communities” that are hermetically sealed and police-protected miniparadises. On the other end of the economic spectrum, locals and migrants are locked in a brutal xenophobic struggle.

Meanwhile, we in the West are no longer so far removed from that reality. Gated communities are springing up across Europe like never before. The rich hide in their villas and politically correct middle-class citizens in their suburbs while entire neighborhoods in European cities mutate into socio-political hotspots, giving rise to parallel worlds.

The gap between rich and poor is widening. In Germany, where the state is collecting historically high sums of taxes, the education gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Children from socially disadvantaged families are born into a situation in which they can never catch up. If that gap keeps growing in prosperous Germany, how are other, less prosperous societies expected to cope?

Egoism on the march

Today, Mandela’s ideals are running into a wall of egoism across the globe. Until recently, an entire presidential clan plundered the state coffers of his home country with impunity. From Ankara to Budapest, and Moscow to Washington, egocentric leaders are calling the shots. At the same time, the decades-old success model of a social market economy and representative democracy seems to have lost its bearings, and social cohesion is crumbling as a result.

Of course every society must ask itself how generous it can afford to be. Or whether it is being taken advantage of. If its rules and laws can be accepted and maintained. How much foreignness it can tolerate. And whether asylum rights are being granted to the wrong people. Nevertheless, the immigration debate in Europe has deteriorated into one solely concerned with distribution, into a kind of self-defense debate. Raise the walls and close your eyes! And then head off to your yoga class to get in touch with your inner self.

Society’s rhetoric has come to the point that it does not even bother to disguise this new erosion of solidarity. Political language has become cruder than ever and is at times dehumanizing. Our lack of empathy for others is nothing less than shocking.

How much solidarity can and will the world exhibit?

No wall can stand in the way of the desire for a better life. Yet not everyone can flee; many must remain and find solutions right where they are. And Development Minister Gerd Müller’s budget will never be big enough to provide those solutions. Still, the big Mandela question today is: How much solidarity can we – must we – provide? Nelson Mandela’s greatest feat was to transcend ideology. To be able to listen to others and refuse to view those with different opinions as enemies. Thus he, a black man, became a role model for whites, communists, business leaders, Calvinists and Muslims.

Of course one can bemoan the fact that there are no Mandelas in the world today. But on this Nelson Mandela International Day, one question may be enough to alter that flawed formulation: How much Nelson Mandela resides in each and every one of us? What are we willing to do? Are we prepared to give up some of our own wealth, and if so, how much? Or would we rather use sharp elbows to make sure that we get our spot on the spaceship?

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Artificial intelligence, business intelligence both indispensable tools for digital future https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/07/artificial-intelligence-business-intelligence-both-indispensable-tools-for-digital-future/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/07/artificial-intelligence-business-intelligence-both-indispensable-tools-for-digital-future/#respond Sat, 07 Jul 2018 16:15:10 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=665282 In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution that has swept the globe, and most certainly in the Middle East, significant technology advancement has completely upended how businesses operate. Accelerating innovation and growing automation technologies have become widespread, and our region is making a concerted effort to embrace, adopt these technologies, and consolidate its position …

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In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution that has swept the globe, and most certainly in the Middle East, significant technology advancement has completely upended how businesses operate. Accelerating innovation and growing automation technologies have become widespread, and our region is making a concerted effort to embrace, adopt these technologies, and consolidate its position at the forefront of digitisation.

Key assets of the fourth industrial revolution, also commonly referred to as Industry 4.0, include artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, financial technology (fintech), robotics, and analytics. Experts say that this revolution will touch almost every facet of our day-to-day lives, from the manufacturing of goods to the provision of everyday services.

Both AI and business intelligence (BI) are industry game changers for the region as it ambitiously changes its traditional and siloed work landscape. Analytics lies at the very core of this transformation, as the data fed to and produced by our everyday devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets are already in massive circulation. This forms the basis of BI, a crucial ingredient for a solid foundation of deep business insight and intelligent enterprise operations, as businesses strive to be consistent with the regional digital agenda.

Today’s regional news agenda is overflowing with stories of many business entities adopting AI and implementing BI, both of which are key drivers in strategic government plans. In line with this, several AI-enabled projects have been announced across a number of industries, which will aid in digitally transforming the Middle East.

There has clearly been a paradigm shift as governments and businesses across the Middle East adjust to the global movement towards AI and advanced technologies. In a nutshell, they are faced with either being part of this technological disruption or being left behind.

IDC indicated that the spending on cognitive and AI systems in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach $114.22m in 2021. 

Digital transformation is a key driver across all national agendas of the region and its benefits can be felt in all sectors covered. For example, digital transformation of the government sector will mean faster execution of government initiatives and will help achieve efficiency and productivity while doing so. It is now more crucial than ever to leverage the power of big data and advanced analytics to boost productivity and increase efficiency. The same also applies to the private sector as well.

Prime examples include local ministries using AI in infrastructure and road projects, to help cut down on cost, time, and manpower, as well as boost safety and efficiency, along with automating equipment. The retail industry is also keen on using AI and BI to understand customers’ mentalities and their path to purchase, as this enables retailers to provide consumers with personalised shopping experiences and options best suited to their tastes, according to data collected from them, while they were in the store.

Technology experts have identified that the demand for both AI and BI is growing in the Middle Eastern market, as it aims to catapult itself out of using outdated technologies and accelerate towards prosperity. Time is of the essence for them to introduce and implement technologies, primarily AI and BI, which are productive, secure, and efficient.

Once this is achieved, the entire region can reap the benefits of such efforts, making local and strategic national visions a liveable reality for all citizens, residents, and respective beneficiaries alike. This will be a living testimony for the region being less dependent on oil, as it diversifies its revenue sources over the next decade or so.

In short, the Middle East is on the cusp of being a robust hub of innovation as it demonstrates strong commitment towards fully implementing its vision, while investing heavily to become future-ready and as equipped as its counterparts in the game.

Alaa Youssef, Managing Director – Middle East at SAS

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Balkan Egyptian community represent last link of a long chain https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/05/balkan-egyptian-community-represent-last-link-of-a-long-chain/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/05/balkan-egyptian-community-represent-last-link-of-a-long-chain/#respond Thu, 05 Jul 2018 19:59:37 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=664984 A scientific research about historical and anthropological aspects of Balkan Egyptians is important not only for the members of Balkan Egyptian community, but also for other people in the Balkans, Europe, Mediterranean lands, and of course in Egypt. Such research is important and for the development of scientific thought and to resolve many issues related …

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A scientific research about historical and anthropological aspects of Balkan Egyptians is important not only for the members of Balkan Egyptian community, but also for other people in the Balkans, Europe, Mediterranean lands, and of course in Egypt. Such research is important and for the development of scientific thought and to resolve many issues related to them.

The antiquity of the Egyptian community in the Balkans can testify on the number of toponyms, which reveal the presence of people with origins from Egypt. Indeed, in scientific literature a great number of toponyms can be found, which are evidenced in various monographs or archaeological maps, dating back from the Neolithic times through the Iron time, Ancient period, Hellenistic period, Roman period, Byzantium until Ottoman time.

In historical, archaeological and other sources, there is a large number of data and evidence for the presence of this community in the Balkans. With the usage of the cultural-historical method and clarification of historical, archaeological, and other facts, by searching this community in the context of historical and social processes, we came to the conclusion that the reason for Egyptian colonization in the Balkan Peninsula is the exploitation of mineral wealth, especially metal.

For that reason, the Egyptian Pharaoh Sesostris came until to the “Thracians and the Scythians.” The historical continuity we found in several migratory movements of this Egyptian colonist, which can be followed through the legends of Danaus, Aegyptus and Cadmus, as well as from the other myths and legends from the mythological period, which help us to gain some knowledge about the movements and the social positions of Egyptian colonists.

From this period are dated the first temples that respect Egyptian gods in the Balkans. The time of Macedonian imperialism and conquests of Alexander the Great, confirms that relations between Egypt and the Balkans in Ancient and Hellenistic period were very strong, primarily through the legends of Osiris (or Zeus) and his son Macedon, the legend of conception of Alexander’s mother Olympia, Alexander’s declaration as successor of Ammon and decedent of pharaohs, as well as his behaviour afterwards.

From the time of the Roman period, we can find solid archaeological findings related to Egyptians cults in the Balkans, as well as knowledge about the presence of Egyptian population in the Balkans, which “deals with their crafts and knew how to stay isolated in their communities.”

With the establishment of Christianity and the development of the Eastern Roman Kingdom or Byzantium, in a fight for the supremacy of the church, and of course through the church with the empire, the decisions for judgment of Monophysitism in the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451, certainly had its negative consequences on the population with Egyptian backgrounds in Balkan areas. In Medieval period data relevant to this community gives us the Archbishop of Ohrid Archdiocese Teophylact in the XII century.

With the development of the so-called “scientific opinion” and the ideology of “progress,” affirmed by the national-romantics of the XIX century, based on the so-called Aryan model, racial prejudices against the Balkans Egyptian took the “scientific” dimension. Bearing in mind that a great number of Balkan intellectuals from the 19th century were educated at universities in Western Europe, sarcastic racial prejudices and stereotypes against Balkan Egyptians not only was not improved, but also “in a scientific way” from the collective memory was deleted, a fact the in the Balkans lives population with origin from Egypt.

Denying the presence of Egyptians and Semite-Hamitic elements in the Balkans and Europe, and their systematization in a group of gipsies/Roma, was and is an epistemological principle of numerous European schools, but and strategic policy of some countries and international organizations until today.

Balkan Egyptians are spread across almost all Balkan Peninsula, in small or large, local or regional communities with the awakened or unawakened ethnic consciousness. The greater part can meet in the southern and southwestern part of the Peninsula. They live in Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. To our knowledge across the Balkan Peninsula Balkan lives over 1 million Balkan Egyptians with awakened or unawakened ethnic consciousness.

Nowadays, Balkans Egyptians do not have their own unique language. They can speak either “native” or “mother tongue” language of the locality where they live or of the district from which they migrated in any closer past. In many cases, members of this community in the Balkans are bilingual or polyglots. This linguistic phenomenon is explained by the fact that they are living as a stationed ethnic minority surrounded by other ethnic majorities, in cities or villages, where ethnic contacts are direct and intensive, and it is causing the linguistic assimilation or the acceptance of the majority language.

The analysis of the ethno-culture in the Balkans and among which the Balkan Egyptians culture, primarily the spiritual culture, shows that two important cultural components are present: one is the so-called Mediterranean, and the other Indo-European. Mainly, they are in a symbolic link and sometimes are very difficult to distinguish, and even more difficult to separate. The deepest and most extensive archaeological, ethnological, and cultural researches are confirming this hypothesis, in a much broader cultural garden, by revealing the Mediterranean lines as older and indigenous, while the Indo-European as younger and incoming. Comparative anthropology of the people from the Mediterranean reveals strong ties between Egypt, the Middle East, and the Balkans, from where according to the opinion of the majority of the scholars’ agriculture and livestock were brought in the Balkans and Europe. It can be said that nowadays members of the Balkan Egyptian community probably represent the last link of a long chain, which stretched from the behind, linking the Balkans with the Near East and Egypt.

Rubin Zemon

Special adviser of Macedonia prime minister for multicultural society and inter-cultural relations

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Op-ed review: Blaming EFA, bad management for Egypt’s ‘humiliating’ World Cup defeat, exit https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/27/op-ed-review-blaming-efa-bad-management-for-egypts-humiliating-world-cup-defeat-exit/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/27/op-ed-review-blaming-efa-bad-management-for-egypts-humiliating-world-cup-defeat-exit/#respond Wed, 27 Jun 2018 16:46:51 +0000 https://eklutdvotyzsri.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=664154 Egypt’s successive defeats in the World Cup dominated writers’ op-eds on Wednesday

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Egypt’s successive defeats in the World Cup dominated writers’ op-eds on Wednesday.

In a piece titled the “Mondial Scandal”, published in state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, Farouk Goweida described Egypt’s loss as a tragedy caused by corruption in the sports business and the turning of the event into a purely commercial and advertising profit-maker.

As for the newspaper’s writer Samir Shehata, there were several “non-innocent” actions done, including by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), which according to him, could not have genuinely failed to assess the political exploitation of the national team and its star Mohamed Salah by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Moreover, the planned but miscalculated showy visit of Egyptian actors to the World Cup backfired, attracting public criticism.

Chaos was the cause of Egypt’s defeat, according to sports critic Hassan Al-Mestekawy in the privately-owned newspaper Al-Shorouk. He blamed the EFA for not only choosing Grozny as the team’s training base, but for failing to properly respond to criticism and making false statements about whose responsibility it was.

The writer further pointed to incidents suspected to be caused by corruption, including one where the FIFA was looking into why thousands of Egyptian seats remained empty during the first match against Uruguay, highlighting a local problem with ticket sales on the black market, making Egyptian fans “the only ones on Earth having to suffer to get a ticket for a big game.” Al-Mestekawy also criticised the team’s coach, Hector Cuper.

Emad El-Din Hussein, Al-Shourouk’s editor-in-chief, opined that harsh criticism should not be fully directed at the team, but rather at the management and training, which were obviously neglected, calling on EFA board members to resign, not only because of the many accusations they faced, but also as a gesture to step up to the technical and ethical responsibility for what happened.

Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Mohamed Amin said the team is not to blame alone, but that there should be investigations into several corruption possibilities by other entities.

Egypt was not the only Arab country with poor performance in the World Cup, which stirred mockery and criticism on social media. Talal Salman wrote about the idea of how much the Arabs’ football performance said about their political future in a piece for Al-Shorouk. Salman said the Arab public was left disappointed and feeling behind, and that despite some competence shown occasionally, it was not enough to keep the four Arab teams in the World Cup, because it takes careful strategic planning and long-term training, which Arabs should learn from.

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Loans: Who is to blame?       https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/06/loans-who-is-to-blame/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/06/loans-who-is-to-blame/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 13:30:33 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=661815 The government borrows money to meet its short- or long-term needs when there is a budget deficit. This is called debt. So, debt is a bill paid by coming generations in cases of obtaining loans for the purpose of narrowing a budget deficit without aiming to finance development projects. Or it may be a bill …

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The government borrows money to meet its short- or long-term needs when there is a budget deficit. This is called debt. So, debt is a bill paid by coming generations in cases of obtaining loans for the purpose of narrowing a budget deficit without aiming to finance development projects. Or it may be a bill paid by the current generation in cases of obtaining loans to spend on projects with future returns for the benefit of upcoming generations. There are two economic theories regarding loans; the first calls for reducing debts as they burden future generations with their interest rates. Meanwhile, another theory assumes that higher debt is better than taxation. Which is correct? Let us see what can be found through history. 

Egypt has had foreign debt since the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha, who depended on external financing (loans) to achieve economic development. The foreign debt kept mounting until Egypt became unable to repay its debts in the 19th century, resulting in Britain’s intervention in the economy first, then occupation later.

Debts continued to increase until the second world war, accompanied by a rise in reserves, due to Egypt’s supply of services and products to the Allies and lower imports. As a consequence, Egypt’s debts were repaid while the reserves remained under the British government’s supervision. 

In 1940, Egypt began to import and opened its doors again to foreign debt, but not as much as previously so as to cause concern. Meanwhile, during the reigns of Al-Sadat and Mubarak, the foreign debt scaled up without having complete information on it—until now—and it is even different from debt outlooks, due to the increase in debt’s volume and the confidentiality of some information.

Yet, it was announced in 1974 that foreign debts reached $3bn and moved up to $16bn in 1980. During the 1980s, the real GDP (GDP minus inflation) doubled and exports increased. In 1987 the debt -to-GDP ratio equaled 1 (100%), and then debts rose to $46bn in 1988. Thus, Egypt entered—like many other countries—the late 1990s with debt burdens. Why?

Certainly, whenever a country’s foreign debt increases, pressures practiced by its creditors grow. In the 1980s, Egypt tried to negotiate with the IMF and Paris Club as representatives of some creditors. However, we were surprised (as Egyptians) by the IMF’s tribute to the financial position in Egypt with a hopeful outlook for the country’s future. The IMF granted Egypt another loan to help with an economic reform programme. That programme was divided into two parts: internal and external. The external part addressed the trade deficit and called for the floatation of the Egyptian pound (during the 1990s), in order to increase exports. Meanwhile, the internal part called on the government not to interfere in the budget deficit and price controls through subsidies. It also advocated privatisation (a well-known concept that was later improperly applied) of non-productive public sector-affiliated companies. Moreover, the Paris Club agreed to reschedule debt for carrying out the programme proposed by the IMF.    

Although there was a real desire for economic reform by the government, it was forced—to a large extent—to reject a big part of the proposed reform programme (following the example of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser). This may be attributed to people’s sensitivity towards any foreign intervention in Egypt’s economy or affairs, perhaps inherited from their ancestors after the agony they suffered during the period of British intervention.

Of course, the IMF does not care about Egyptians’ feelings and sensitivity—with the growing debt and poor economic situation—especially after government’s acceptance to receive the loan, so it had to commit to its terms. The government tried to discuss certain factors, such as slowing down the implementation of economic solutions and non-intervention of the IMF in certain aspects that may lead to political instability. We have seen some signs of the IMF’s intervention, such as reducing the budget deficit by 10% and controlling the prices of oil products, cotton, and others. Indeed, prices of products increased while imports declined. However, the IMF and Paris Club were still unsatisfied with the pace of implementing the economic reform programme, which was inconsistent with the government’s promises.

Apart from details, Egypt entered the first decade of the millennium facing many economic challenges. The GDP growth rate, for instance, was inconsistent with the population growth rate and inflation was diminishing income greatly. It is true that government tried to solve these problems, but further reforms were needed.

Egypt’s debts have increased significantly from 2015 to date, registering a total foreign debt of $82.9bn (or 36.1% of GDP). Although that rate is still safe, as it has not exceeded international standards, many see a problem in such an increase and see that the government should lower it.

It is known that the foreign debt ratio of developed economies is higher than that of emerging or developing economies, especially after the global crisis that started in capitalist markets and led those countries to resort to more debt. Specifically, the ratio of the US’ foreign debt to GDP is 104%. Likewise, the ratio of public debt to GDP reached 240.3% in Japan. In fact, this issue raises some questions: how could these countries still progress despite their incredible volume of debts? Is debt the key to their success? Or it is the reason behind other countries’ economic deterioration? Can the developed countries (eg the US and Japan) be considered a special case? What does special case mean?    

If we take into account the false assumption that we should not compare ourselves to these developed countries, let us take the Kingdom of Jordan as an example. Jordan has a successful story with the IMF, although it does not have enough important resources such as water and oil. The kingdom’s economy is based on three main pillars: workers’ remittances from abroad, exports to Arab Gulf countries (which helps the kingdom meet its needs of oil resources), and aid from neighbouring countries.      

The real economic reform in Jordan started with an agreement between the IMF and the government. The main pillars of the economic reform programme were similar to those that should have been applied in Egypt during the same period (the 1980s). Unfortunately, the Gulf war affected the Jordanian economy. The aid from Gulf countries plunged in addition to the return of Jordanians working abroad, which pushed the unemployment rate up and decreased workers’ remittances. However, Iraq supplied Jordan with all its oil needs after 1991. That point in particular was the cornerstone of the Jordanian economy’s recovery. It is worth mentioning that Jordan adopted a privatisation policy as a partnership between the public and private sectors, unlike the deplorable policy applied by the government in Egypt.

Eventually, the analysis of a economy’s performance and the impact of debt on it is subject, as with anything else, to a simple principle: the optimal distribution of resources and wealth. In the era of Muhammad Ali Pasha, loans were directed to achieve economic development in Egypt by utilising them in long-term production and investment projects, even if we saw during the monarchy era a misuse of debt through using it in reducing the budget deficit without long-term production or investment projects. All the British occupation did was adopt the optimal use of resources (including debt), resulting in debt repayment in the 1940s. Then, Egypt fought in all the successive wars with the reserves that were there since then. The country borrowed again in the 1970s, as mentioned above, to face another debt increase, also mostly spent on the budget deficit without long-term production or investment projects.

Loans are a tool that cannot be judged, but a country’s use of it and how far it commits to reform plans is what determines whether debt is bad or good. 

Ahmed Ezz is a financial and economic analyst

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Opinion: What we say when we talk about race https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/22/opinion-what-we-say-when-we-talk-about-race/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/22/opinion-what-we-say-when-we-talk-about-race/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 10:04:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=660169 The post Opinion: What we say when we talk about race appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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On the surface, Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding had all the glitz and glamour you would associate with such an occasion. But now accusations of racism-tinged media coverage have taken some of the shine off the gloss.It was a wedding fit for a (new) duchess: In one of the biggest TV events of the year, an estimated two billion people tuned in to watch Meghan Markle marry Prince Harry on Saturday in a joyous, if somewhat unusual, celebration. And media across the world were scrambling to examine every angle of the Meghan and Harry story.

Read more: Royal Wedding: The world flocks to Windsor for Prince Harry and Meghan’s big day

Unsurprisingly, not everyone got it right. German public broadcaster ZDF came under fire for what was deemed racist remarks during its wall-to-wall coverage of the wedding; the journalists mused over the texture and styling regime of Meghan and her mom’s black hair and repeatedly referred to the bride and her guests as exotic. Viewers and Twitter users were not amused. ZDF said in a statement that it takes those concerns seriously.

Read more: Royal wedding: German broadcaster ZDF accused of racism in its coverage

To be clear — this was a wedding fraught with questions of culture, race, and gender. Consider Meghan Markle, a successful American actress and a biracial divorced woman, challenging centuries-old tradition in a deeply staid institution. Consider the ceremony itself, featuring a black bishop, supportive of LGBTQ rights, delivering a rousing sermon; and then a black choir performed “Stand By Me.” This was new and fresh, and as Karen Attiah, a Washington Post editor, said, an “overt celebration of black American culture.”

But Meghan and Harry aside, this is about what we say when we talk about race. And media — journalists in particular — bear a crucial responsibility in setting the tone. After all, if we aren’t careful with our words, why should anyone else be?

Exotic, for example — a term I myself, an American journalist of Sri Lankan Tamil extraction living in Berlin, have been on the receiving end of time and again in Germany — is best reserved for tropical fruit and safari animals, not people. This isn’t just semantics, either. Words are laden with history and meaning and context, and “exotic” smacks of the post-colonial coverage still scattered across media and culture in both the US and Germany, the two societies I call home.

And it is indeed important to note that Germany is not alone here. America is hardly a paragon of post-racial identity politics — think s***hole countries and Fox News calling Lebron James “barely intelligible.” Racial biases in media coverage — particularly towards black men — have come sharply into focus in the past few years with the police killings of Michael Brown and Philando Castile and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

That’s why it’s equally, if not more important, to talk about what lies beneath our words: our understanding of minorities, people of color, and underrepresented groups. As long as newsrooms do not reflect the societies they serve and represent, biases and stereotypes will inevitably creep into their reporting.

The news outlets I worked for in the US actively sought to diversify their newsroom staffs, yet the numbers — in 2015, minorities made up only about 12 percent of the workforce according to the American Society of News Editors — are still troubling. In Germany, where at least 20 percent of the population have immigrant roots, the trend is even more pronounced. It’s difficult to find concrete numbers on newsroom diversity in Germany, but various research has identified the need to create more inclusive media outlets. As DW’s newsroom has continued to diversify, our storytelling has grown richer, more nuanced. Frankly, it’s gotten better. And while we’re here — diversity of gender, economic class, and political views are also crucial to balanced coverage.

Including a spectrum of political views is vital, but only as long as it’s constructive. We’ve seen members of the right-wing in particular arguing for the right to cast off the “thought police” shackles and break taboos on race and identity. But what does that look like? German public broadcaster MDR recently attempted to host a talk show reflecting on political correctness in our political and public sphere. The title of the show was “Are we allowed to say ‘N*****’ today?” Oh, and the commentators invited to debate the topic were, inexplicably, only white Germans. (An uproar ensued and MDR had to cancel the show).

So let’s talk openly about words and what they mean, and race and what constitutes racism — but on an even playing field, where minority voices are well-represented, and words are not wielded as weapons. That leads to constructive dialogue. Who knows, maybe Meghan and Harry gave us the impetus we needed.

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Serving growing need for higher education https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/serving-growing-need-higher-education/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/serving-growing-need-higher-education/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 10:30:42 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=657653 The demand for higher education around the world is growing. By 2030, according to UNESCO, the number of enrolled students is expected to more than double to over 414 million. Serving that population and others requires extraordinary energy and imagination, strategic thinking, and innovation. The need for quality higher education is especially important in the …

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The demand for higher education around the world is growing. By 2030, according to UNESCO, the number of enrolled students is expected to more than double to over 414 million. Serving that population and others requires extraordinary energy and imagination, strategic thinking, and innovation.

The need for quality higher education is especially important in the Arab region as a whole, whose youth make up is the highest proportion of the youth population in the world. While the Arab world expects to widen its educated talent pool by 50% by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum, opportunities are out of reach for far too many of the region’s 105 million young people.

This means thinking differently about the kinds of institutions and the approaches to teaching and learning that will best accomplish this mission. Given the scale of need, the region could not build enough brick-and-mortar colleges fast enough. However, the advancements in online higher education make it possible to optimise existing educational resources and tap into increasingly sophisticated and flexible online degree programmes and courses that match or even exceed the traditional classroom experience.

New digital tools allow us to assess and serve the variety of ways that students absorb information and develop understanding. With a growing body of data, we can better understand how to help struggling students and provide individualised learning that allows students to work at their own pace and achieve better outcomes. Far from the early days when students simply watched a recorded lecture, today online students experience courses comprised of short learning modules, dynamic problem-solving and experimentation, interactive simulations, and real-time feedback.

And we know that Arab youth are well-positioned for this kind of learning: a recent student survey conducted by the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) found that 90% of Arab high school and university students are confident in using online resources for academic work, and over 55% spend at least three hours on the internet every day.

Recognising the opportunity to increase access for the widest number of qualified students, the AGFE and Arizona State University (ASU) joined forces to offer 550 scholarships to high-achieving Emirati and Arab youth under 30 years old to complete their master’s degrees online. The Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars (OLS) Programme offers scholarships in 28 specialisations, ranging from business analytics and construction management, to systems, industrial, and electrical engineering, to early childhood education, nutrition, and sustainable tourism.

As a global leader in online education, ASU offers courses developed and taught by world-class professors who are focused on student success, both academically and professionally. The master’s programmes represent the ongoing commitment by ASU to expand its diverse and increasingly global student body, as well as the AGFE’s dedication to help train a new generation of Emirati and Arab youth who can continue to pursue their careers while tending to family and other responsibilities. This flexibility enables access for talented youth who previously lacked the opportunity to continue their education internationally.

In addition to offering a high-quality education, students enrolled through the Open Learning Scholars programme also benefit from academic counseling and coaching, one key reason ASU online students—over 30,000 worldwide—have one of the highest completion rates at over 90%.

Attainment of college and advanced degrees represents the single clearest predictor of social and economic mobility. Across the OECD countries, adults with a university degree earn on average 56% more than those with only a high school diploma. Evidence across the globe also finds that university graduates have lower rates of unemployment, better health outcomes, and longer lifespans. 

This focus on education could not be more critical, both for the lives of individual students and for the positive development of society more broadly. Given the accelerating economic and technological transformations around the world, those who will prosper and meaningfully contribute to society must be creative, adaptive learners with the lifelong faculty to learn new skills and concepts, embrace new ways of thinking and learning, and pursue new careers. This is both the promise and responsibility of higher education.

The continuing evolution of high-quality online education—and the expanding investment in new digital tools and capabilities—makes it possible to provide access to higher education on a global scale. This is a great reason to be optimistic about dramatically increasing the number of Arab students with higher education credentials.

Michael M Crow is the president of Arizona State University, ranked the most innovative university in the US for three straight years by US News & World Report

Maysa Jalbout is the chief executive officer of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, a privately funded foundation based in Dubai

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