Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Which Other Ports Do LCB Worldwide ''Fumigate"?

Over the years, all manner of chemicals - including agricultural inputs such as pesticides - banned elsewhere in the world have been imported and sold in Ghana by unscrupulous businesses.

One would therefore assume that Ghanaian officialdom would ensure  that any company selected to carry out "fumigation" at our ports would be reputable and only  use inputs that meet European Union and U.S. (Californian) standards.

In other words that company must have a proven track record and must be able to list all the ports around the globe that it operates in and provides "fumigation" services for. The question is: When exactly will LCB Worldwide - and its paid Ghanaian cheerleaders - provide the media in Ghana with a detailed list of all the ports it operates in and for which it has contracts to provide "fumigation" services? Simple.

And whiles they are at it, surely, they must also tell the nation exactly who the Ghanaian shareholders and directors of LCB Worldwide Ghana Limited are? Their identities cannot be and must not be regarded  as confidential information - not when such an important service with huge public health implications should something go awry  is being provided by the company  for the nation: the fact that it will not cost taxpayers any money notwithstanding.

We must be sure that all those connected with a company providing such an all-important service are fit and proper persons to do so. Full stop. The more responsible sections of the Ghanaian media ought to  be definitely worried by the content on the website of  LCB Worldwide - particularly this:

You acknowledge and agree that:
Although we strive to provide on this Web site the latest developments relating to our products and services, and other information about our company, we do not warrant the accuracy, effectiveness and suitability of any information contained in this Web site. Each person assumes full responsibility and all risks arising from use of this Internet site. The information is presented "AS IS" and may include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. we reserve the right to make additions, deletions, or modifications to the information at any time without any prior notification.


This Web site may contain forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectation regarding future events and business development. Although some of the products and product lines have pending patents, none of the products or product lines have been approved by a regulatory authority including the F.D.A and are not approved for human use. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual developments or results could differ materially from those projected and depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the success of current research programs, results of pending or future clinical trials, ongoing commercialization of its products, regulatory approvals of pharmaceuticals, validity and enforcement of its patents, the stability of its commercial relationships, and the general economic conditions. We intend to update this site on a regular basis but assume no obligation to update any of the content. " End of quoted content from the LCB Worldwide website.

Ebeeii. How - when it is chemicals we are talking about? Haaba. Hmmm, Oman Ghana - eyeasem o: asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa. IMANI Africa is right to be worried about this development at our ports. What, arrogance. What reputable global company underpinned by corporate good governance principles will put out such arrant nonsense? We rest our case.

Please read on:

"LCB Worldwide
A Global Health Company
Improved Treatments, Fast Implementation
About Us

LCB Worldwide utilizes the unique in-house technical knowhow; human resources; latest cutting edge equipment; chemicals, as well as its financial resources to invest in the disinfection and decontamination of the world’s leading international container terminal ports and international airports without any financial burden to governments to have a more secure future for our children.
The Cost of Disease Outbreak

The social and economic impact of a major disease outbreak is evident and well documented by local State and international agencies. It is important to stress that much of the efforts made by the World Health Organisation have been towards policies that encourage the development of preventative strategies along with response systems. Once a contagious disease has a foothold in a particular territory much of the critical damage is already done. A large part of the problem is not the actual infection rate but the stigma and fear applied to a particular area or state in which the disease has been detected.

At LCB Worldwide we passionately believe that strong preventative measures that do not hinder the sectors to which they are applied are an obvious and critical measure to combat the actual spread of disease and raise confidence in the governing authority.

The public and its economic success is being must be protected and they must see this protection in action to prevent the issues associated with a loss of confidence.
LCB Ghana Contact Us Disclaimer

Copyright 2018"

End of culled content from the LCB Worldwide website.

McKinsey & Company/Chironga, De Grandis, & Zouaoui: Mobile financial services in Africa: Winning the battle for the customer

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Financial Services

Article - September 2017

Mobile financial services in Africa: Winning the battle for the customer
By Mutsa Chironga, Hilary De Grandis,  and Yassir Zouaoui
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To compete in Africa’s diverse mobile money markets, banks must offer distinctive mobile and digital services not only in payments and deposits, but across the spectrum of financial services.

Africa is the global leader in mobile money, which has become an important component of Africa’s financial services landscape. Mobile network operators (MNOs) have dominated mobile money services in Africa for the past decade. More recently, fintechs have established a solid footing in the market, and a number of banks are beginning to compete aggressively for the mobile banking customer. While some banks have chosen to “go it alone,” others are forming partnerships in hopes of reaching the market faster. This article outlines five paths banks can take to retain ground in the battle for the mobile customer in Africa.
Africa is the global leader in mobile money

Mobile financial services (MFS) span the full spectrum of financial services, from payments and current accounts, to savings, loans, investments, and insurance. Mobile money, which enables customers to send, receive, and store money using their mobile phone, is a subset of MFS that is provided mainly by telco companies. The underlying funds are typically held by a bank in a dedicated stored value account or a linked current account.

Just over half of the 282 mobile money services operating worldwide are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the GSMA. In Africa today, there are 100 million active mobile money accounts (used by one in ten African adults). This far exceeds customer adoption in South Asia, the second-biggest region for mobile money in terms of market share, with 40 million active mobile money accounts (used by 2.6 percent of adults)(Exhibit 1).
Exhibit 1
Africa is the world leader in mobile money

Mobile money now extends far beyond Safaricom’s initial M-Pesa offering, which enabled consumers and small businesses—many of which had little or no access to a bank—to send and receive money quickly and securely across great distances. Today, mobile financial services have expanded to include a broad array of financial services, including credit, insurance, and cross-border remittances, and M-Pesa now accounts for less than a quarter of MFS users in Africa.
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Despite the near saturation of certain markets, there is still ample room for growth in mobile financial services in Africa. In recent years (2013–16), the number of active mobile money users has grown by more than 30 percent annually. Furthermore, margins on payments in Africa remain among the highest in the world, at approximately two percent of the transaction value. Annual revenues can approach $29 per annum per active registered user (Exhibit 2).
Exhibit 2
Africa’s two leading mobile money providers earn $550 million and $200 million in annual mobile financial services revenues
The market has diversified as it has matured

Africa’s mobile money market has expanded and diversified in recent years. Providers today fall into one of five different archetypes, defined according to which segments of the mobile money value chain they cover (Exhibit 3).
Exhibit 3
Mobile money providers fall into one of five archetypes

    MNO-dominant. In this archetype, the MNO is responsible for most steps of the value chain, including the virtual telco network and the physical agent network and payments issuing and processing; a bank is the deposit holder. Beyond M-Pesa (26 million registered users in Kenya, of which approximately 73 percent are active), there are several other providers that have been highly successful in this category in Africa, including MTN Mobile Money, with 41 million registered customers (approximately 38 percent active) across 15 countries; Orange Money, with 16 million registered customers across 14 countries; and Tigo Money, with 8 million registered customers across 5 African countries.
    MNO-led partnerships. In this model, a banking partner supports the MNO in providing products beyond payments such as small consumer loans and deposits. The leading example is M-Shwari in Kenya, a partnership between Safaricom (Kenya’s leading telco, with a customer market share of nearly 70 percent) and CBA (a mid-sized bank in Kenya). This partnership reached 10 million customers within 18 months of launch, in part because it managed to cross-sell to users of Safaricom’s M-Pesa.
    Bank-led partnerships with MNOs. The best example of this model is Equitel, a partnership between Equity Bank and Airtel with over two million customers in Kenya. This service allows customers to send money from their accounts to any bank account in Kenya, take out loans, and maintain deposits. Equitel also offers services beyond banking, including airline ticket purchases and information on consumer-interest topics (for example, healthcare, education). In this case, the bank provides access to its agent network, as well as payments issuing and processing capability.
    Bank models including banking apps for smartphones and text-based money transfer services using basic handsets. These services typically require the sender to be a customer of the bank providing the service, while the recipient does not need to be a bank customer. FNB’s banking app is an example, with approximately two million active customers in South Africa.
    Fintech solutions. A successful example is Paga, in Nigeria, which has grown its customer base 81 percent annually, expanding from one million registered customers in 2013 to more than six million today. Paga, which processed $500 million in payments in 2016, is now a fully fledged payments company allowing customers to send money via their phones and pay for online purchases on merchant websites.

Why mobile carriers are winning customers

Even as banks and fintechs have entered the market, MNOs continue to dominate the landscape in terms of customer numbers, as shown in Exhibit 3. The most successful MNO-led mobile money launches (M-Pesa and MTN Money) have from five to ten times as many clients as bank-centric approaches (for example, FNB and Equitel).

While in many markets banks can rely on regulations to defend their deposit-taking capabilities, over the past decade MNOs have built scale and momentum in mobile payments on three pillars: 1) near ubiquitous distribution networks, 2) vast numbers of customers/strong market concentration, and 3) a superior client experience.
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Of these considerable strengths, distribution is the MNOs’ main advantage. Thirty-seven African markets have 10 times more registered agents than bank branches. In Kenya, for example, Safaricom has more than 130,000 agents where customers can cash in or cash out. By contrast, leading banks in Kenya, where agency banking has been highly successful, have approximately 15,000 agents.

Second, mobile companies have vast numbers of customers. For example, MTN, the largest telco in Africa, has 171 million customers, whereas leading pan-African banks (for example, Ecobank, Standard Bank, Barclays Africa) typically have between 11 million and 15 million customers. There are two primary drivers of telcos’ vastly superior client numbers. First, mobile phone penetration across Africa is on average 80 percent, twice the rate of banking penetration. In addition, telco is a much more concentrated industry than banking. The top five telcos in Africa have 60 percent of all telco customers in Africa, versus 22 percent for the top five banks in Africa.

Finally, a number of telcos have managed to develop a superior client experience early in the evolution of mobile financial services in Africa. M-Pesa’s client experience is remarkably simple: it takes only three inputs and six clicks to send funds, on any type of handset. Registration is straightforward; merchant acceptance is widespread, and there are no transaction fees on bill payments.
East Africa leading the charge

While demand for mobile money is evident across the whole of Africa, the availability of service is uneven from one market to the next. National markets fall into one of three categories based on the maturity of MFS (Exhibit 4). East Africa and Ghana, where penetration exceeds 1,000 mobile money accounts per 1,000 adults, are “mature” markets. (Some consumers hold more than one MFS account in order to circumvent limitations on interoperability, and some dormant accounts are included.) In “maturing” markets, MFS penetration is between 100 and 1,000 mobile money accounts per 1,000 adults, and growing rapidly. Among the “sleeping giants” (for example, Nigeria and Morocco), mobile money penetration remains below 100 accounts per 1,000 adults.
Exhibit 4
Africa’s mobile money markets fall into three groups

In “mature” markets, the regulatory framework has allowed a number of MNOs to compete with relatively small banks in a fragmented financial services market. For example, Safaricom had nearly 80 percent customer market share in Kenya when launching M-Pesa, while the banking systems in both Kenya and Tanzania remain fragmented, with approximately 40 banks each and less than 15 percent customer market share for Kenya’s largest bank.

In “maturing” markets, mobile money is gaining traction. These markets tend to have regulations allowing for MNO-led partnerships and prohibiting or discouraging agent exclusivity (as in Malawi). MNOs in these markets have also invested heavily for sustained periods before building scale. For example, Orange launched Orange Money in Cote d’Ivoire in 2008, but only saw real uptake in the number of active users in 2012.
Spurring digital banking in the Gulf Spurring digital banking in the Gulf
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Reasons for the slow uptake among the “sleeping giants” include the availability of alternative mechanisms (for example, Morocco has a sophisticated banking system with 60 percent banking penetration) and regulatory constraints (for example, the mobile money activities of MNOs are restricted in Nigeria, which has resulted in a highly fragmented market, with 18 companies holding mobile money licenses).
The future is mobile: How should banks respond?

MNOs currently have 100 million active mobile financial services customers across Africa, and McKinsey estimates that the total MFS opportunity approaches $2.1 billion or approximately two percent of total African banking revenue pools. While banks are doing a reasonable job of defending their share of banking revenues, the battle for the mobile financial services customer is on. To strengthen their position in MFS, banks should weigh their options and devise a plan that fits with their multichannel strategy for delivering consumer and commercial services. Banks can choose one of five approaches.

    Go it alone. McKinsey’s Finalta benchmark indicates that banks in a number of emerging markets are building strong momentum in digital financial services (including MFS). For example, banks in India achieve 25 percent of core product sales through digital channels, and banks in Turkey achieve 18 percent. A leading Indian bank captured 30 percent of sales through digital channels, which sets a high bar for banks in Africa. Garanti Bank’s iGaranti—a mobile-based set of financial services centered on an engaging app—is the type of initiative that can propel banks in this direction.
    Build a digital bank. A digital bank is defined here as a bank that predominantly uses mobile devices and the internet to offer banking services and has relatively limited branch distribution. Examples of digital banks have emerged around the world, including in China, Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Africa. For example, Airbank captured four percent of transactional market share within three years of opening in the Czech Republic. mBank in Poland has four million clients. McKinsey research shows that digital banks can have cost/income ratios that are 10 to 30 percent lower than that of their peer banks in a given market. Since digital banks tend to have compelling client value propositions centered on simplicity and price transparency, this is an attractive option for banks looking to counter mobile money disruption.
    Partner with a fintech. Fintechs in Africa have launched a number of mobile-first solutions that are building momentum. For example, BIMA offers mobile-based insurance services in four African countries and has approximately two million active clients. Paga’s mobile payments offering has six million registered clients in Nigeria. Jumo is using telco data to underwrite credit for clients across Africa.
    Partner with a non-telco, for example, African e-commerce business, tech company. In China, a number of ecosystems provide mobile financial services to hundreds of millions of customers. For example, Alipay has more than 800 million registered accounts for merchants using the Alibaba e-commerce platform. Alibaba is now a significant provider of SME financing in China thanks to the data on merchant transactions available on the platform. As another example, WeBank, an offshoot of Tencent’s WeChat, is using customer data on social media activity and contacts to help underwrite credit. Standard Bank has partnered with WeChat in South Africa to launch WeChat Wallet, enabling WeChat South Africa’s five million users to send and receive money and make payments.
    Partner with a telco. This has been a common path in Africa, including, as noted above, Equity Bank’s partnership with Airtel and Standard Bank’s partnership with MTN.

Each of these five options is a viable path for a bank. The choice depends on a variety of factors, including the bank’s starting position (for example, can the bank’s current systems be retooled or must they be replaced?), the available partnership options, and the bank’s track record in partnerships. The one path that is not viable is “business as usual.”

While financial services have until recently been the preserve of banks and insurance companies, MNOs and fintechs are giving banks a run for their money in Africa, particularly in the retail and SME segments. MNO-led innovations have enhanced financial inclusion in Africa, and now it is time for banks to develop their own distinctive mobile and digital services with an eye to protecting their leading role not only in payments and deposits, but across the full spectrum of financial services as well.
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About the author(s)
Mutsa Chironga is a partner in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office, where Hilary De Grandis is a specialist; Yassir Zouaoui is a partner in the Casablanca office.
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Fast Company/ Robert Safian: Thirteen Lessons Of Innovation To Guide You Through 2018

Fast Company

    02.28.186:00 am most innovative companies

Thirteen Lessons Of Innovation To Guide You Through 2018
What you can learn from this year’s exciting crop of World’s Most Innovative Companies.
Thirteen Lessons Of Innovation To Guide You Through 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook, photographed with outgoing Fast Company editor Robert Safian, on January 10, 2018, at Apple Park. [Photo: ioulex]

By Robert Safian 6 minute Read

I got my first glimpse of Apple’s newest product as the sun was coming up. It was just after 7 a.m. on a Wednesday in January, two days after Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, began moving into Apple Park, the company’s new spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino. As I was escorted around the gleaming structure, it occurred to me that it embodied everything Apple’s products represent: a glimpse of the future, and yet also something familiar—not science fiction, but a tangible vision made real.

When I sat down with Cook a while later, in a conference room labeled simply ceo, he talked about how central “humanity” is to Apple’s products, how tech specs and silicon advancements only matter if they enable users to improve their lives.

Apple has long been an icon of innovation. In an age of rapid change, what’s remarkable has been the company’s staying power. This year, it returns to the No. 1 ranking on our annual Most Innovative Companies list. Apple is the only business to have passed our editors’ criteria to make the list every year since 2008. Which does not mean that the company hasn’t hit roadblocks along the way; in fact, Cook was quite candid that innovation rarely unfolds in a straight line. While many outfits aspire to emulate Apple’s system, it’s the company’s adaptability that truly sets it apart. Apple’s culture combines intense effort, high standards, and a willingness to forge new paths, even if those paths may threaten the company’s existing products. Who else would get rid of disk drives that were central to personal computers? Or headphone jacks? Or a home button on a cell phone, as Apple has with the iPhone X?

This year’s Most Innovative Companies coverage is filled with inspiring examples of creativity, discipline, and positive change. It is our most robust edition ever, including top 10 lists in 36 categories, drawn from a research pool of thousands of companies all across the globe. (Many organizations nominated themselves through a new submission process this year.) What follows are 13 lessons that I compiled from this data set. Consider it a road map for the year ahead, a snapshot of what matters most in 2018’s fast-moving innovation economy.
1. DON’T LOOK DOWN . . .

Apple doesn’t obsess about its stock price, Cook says. Focusing on what he calls the “90-day clock” of quarterly earnings reports distracts from long-term strategies and investments that are actually the source of Apple’s success. Instead, the company is always looking out, toward the future. This may sound surprising, given the bang-bang pressures of today’s marketplace and Apple’s consistent history of at-least-annual product releases. But the deadlines that matter, Cook says, come from internal expectations. There is a balance between speed—a need and desire to keep improving—and patience: a determination to never release a product that falls short of self-defined standards for excellence and advancement.

Notably absent from this year’s list are Apple’s fellow tech giants Alphabet and Facebook. That’s because both, in different ways, found themselves over their skis this year—and stumbled. Neither one would describe themselves as supporters of fake news or biased, hate-infused content, yet they did not do enough to protect themselves or their users. Businesses today cannot hide from the consequences of their actions, even if those consequences are unintended. The rate of execution so prized by companies with engineering cultures may need to be modulated: We now know that fixing the problem after the fact, as live testing requires, can carry a significant cost.

Every business can be a platform for cultural impact, and not simply through soloed corporate social responsibility programs. Patagonia has had an exceptional year—financially, as well as in the realm of public opinion—because it has leaned into environmental activism. “Doing good work for the planet creates new markets and makes [us] more money,” explains CEO Rose Marcario, who has invested in new recycling and sustainable-materials initiatives while also challenging various government policies. CVS has thrived by removing products with “chemicals of concern” from its shelves, as well as unhealthy classes of food.

Why would a company willingly disclose its profit margin on each item it sells? Because Everlane isn’t embarrassed about what consumers will find out, and that in turn puts pressure on everyone else to be more open. Brandless has connected with buyers by eschewing the overt storytelling of traditional consumer packaged goods, in favor of clear, simple labels—and lower-than-the-competition pricing.

Marvel Studios has reinforced its leading position by betting on new kinds of heroes. Netflix has made it a priority to appeal to kids in Bangkok on motorbikes. Sephora has targeted products for a broader range of skin tones, including a crackling partnership with Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty brand.

Apple is hardly the only tech giant to benefit from an integrated ecosystem. Amazon has demonstrated that big doesn’t need to be slow, from its rapid Whole Foods integration to its rollout of new Echo devices. China’s Tencent, already a dominant player across chat, media, finance, and more, experienced 59% growth in revenue.

Spotify’s focus on music has so far fended off even rivals like Apple, with revenue up 52% and more than 140 million active users globally. DJI has turned drone making into an art. Compass Group has amassed enough heft in the food-services business that it is changing what we eat—for the better.

Sugarfina is redefining the idea of the candy store, while Diamond Foundry is disrupting jewelry by taking man-made diamonds mainstream. Even our sullen acceptance of traffic jams is being challenged by Waze.

Math geeks and tech firms aren’t the only ones deploying data in novel ways. Rover analyzes cues from its community to find better matches for pet care. Cava is injecting new efficiency—and joy—into the restaurant business. Syapse is taking cancer care to the next level, saving lives.

The machines haven’t taken over, but they are enabling new activities, from visual search at Pinterest to improved job listings via Textio to enhanced, real-time travel planning via Hopper. Even plumbers, caterers, and hairdressers can take advantage of AI, via the customer-and-job-matching algorithms of Thumbtack.

Smartphones are a core tool for healthtech insurgent AliveCor. They’re the epicenter of the cashless-payments boom, from India’s Paytm to small-business-fed Square. The NBA, too, is doubling down on in-your-pocket engagement.

As trite as it is true, dollars dictate action. Which is what makes a wave of new efforts to fix broken funding models so promising. Social Capital has taken aim at venture capital, while the Ford Foundation is going after philanthropy. The folks at GiveDirectly are putting millions behind a test of universal basic income.

Nintendo seemed to be losing the game wars, until the Switch reignited passion. 23andMe got hammered by the FDA, but has now regained momentum in genetic testing. We all have good days and bad days, moments of adulation and despair. What allows innovative organizations—and their leaders—to keep driving forward is the hope that tomorrow will bring even more satisfying, fulfilling achievements.

Check out the 2018 edition of the World’s Most Innovative Companies list.
A version of this article appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of Fast Company magazine.
About the author

Robert Safian is the editor and managing director of The Flux Group. From 2007 through 2017, Safian oversaw Fast Company’s print, digital and live-events content, as well as its brand management and business operations.

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Fast Company/Ben Schiller: How A Bank Of All The World’s Genetic Codes Hopes To Save Nature

Fast Company
    02.28.186:00 am

How A Bank Of All The World’s Genetic Codes Hopes To Save Nature

The Earth Bank of Codes wants to collect the genetic sequence of the natural world–and let countries make money from the scientific breakthroughs that would result, rather than selling their natural resources.
How A Bank Of All The World’s Genetic Codes Hopes To Save Nature
[Source Photos: pialhovik/iStock, Muneeb Syed/Unsplash]

By Ben Schiller 5 minute Read

Traditionally, economic development and conservation have been at odds in the Amazon Basin. Businesses and governments have insisted on the need for jobs and valuable commodities like beef, timber, and hydropower. Environmentalists warn that logging, cattle ranching, and soy plantations threaten the region’s biodiversity and produce “savannization” in the world’s largest remaining tropical forest. Already 20% of the Amazon Rainforest has been cut down, reducing its ability to absorb CO2 and curb climate change.

But entrepreneur Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio believes there’s “a third way” out of the zero-sum dilemma. By registering the region’s biological assets on a public blockchain, he thinks he can spur a new, more environmentally benign economy. The Amazon’s plants and animals contain bounties of genetic code and potential biomimetic blueprints that could one day be used to create new drugs and textiles, artificial intelligence, and energy systems, he says. In the future, there may be less need to cut down so many trees and build so many harmful hydro-dams.
A New Bio Economy

“We posit that there is a multi-trillion-dollar innovation opportunity if we make these assets visible to entrepreneurs and corporations around the world. We can develop a whole new bio-economy based on these assets,” he tells Fast Company.

Castilla, chairman of Space Time Ventures, is creating an Amazon Bank of Codes (ABC)–an open, digital platform that maps biological assets and codifies rights and obligations related to their use. The aim is to open up innovation while protecting countries and communities who’ve been victims of so-called “biopiracy” in the past. When drug companies developed ACE inhibitor blood pressure drugs from Brazilian pit vipers, for instance, they sent little value back to the country of origin. The ABC looks to enforce the Nagoya Protocol, an international convention to promote fair access to genetic data.

“It’s not only about creating new markets and new products, but importantly being able to share a portion of those revenues and specifying there should be fair and equitable benefit-sharing back to those countries that originated the biological assets in the first place,” Castilla says.

The ABC is a pilot for a larger Earth Bank of Codes (EBC)–the global version of the same idea. Those projects are partnered with the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), which is sequencing the genomes of approximately 1.5 million living species. The EBP, announced in 2015, is the equivalent of the Human Genome Project, which in 2003 finally sequenced all 3 billion letters of genetic code making up human beings.


Castilla promoted the ABC and EBC at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF), in Davos. Several philanthropists and foundations were said to be interested in funding the projects, though the complex details of their co-operation still need to be worked out. Castilla and the WEF want to be sure that no private actor runs the show and that the rights of national governments and local people are protected. Without their cooperation in putting the biological data into the registry, it will be difficult for the project to move forward successfully.

“We’ll probably have to create a consortium such that they’re acting in the public interests appropriate to the democratic considerations of [the countries involved],” says Dominic Waughray, head of public-private partnerships at WEF, in an interview. “Philanthropists are more aware of the potential of synthetic biology. With development agencies, there’s more of a staging to go through in exploring the potential of these technological advances compared to how they’ve traditionally looked at biodiversity.”

So Much To Sequence

It’s easy to be skeptical that biological products can stand in for mining, forestry, and hydropower in the Amazonian economy. History is full of examples of conservationists and entrepreneurs foisting alternative industries on local peoples for noble goals. Coffee instead of coca. Saffron instead of opium. Seaweed instead of fish farms. But the EBC concept does have a lot going for it.

First, only about 0.1% of the world’s animals and plants have been genetically decoded so far, mostly common species like chicken and peanuts. There are hundreds of thousands of other species whose code could prove useful for bioengineering, Castilla says.

Then there’s potential for analyzing animals and plants for their patterns of behavior: Nature has been doing evolutionary R&D for millions of years. Potentially, the answers to many big global challenges–from how to get more freshwater, to how to get energy from the sun, to how to move cars around cities–could lie in better understanding and copying the natural world. For example, how some ant colonies move more efficiently than cars has interested traffic congestion experts and developers of autonomous cars.

“The potential for economic gain from sequencing more of nature for countries and for communities is that the value stream could provide the answer to the age-old question for the biodiversity community of how do we make sure a sustaining natural habitat is worth more than cutting it down and doing mining or forestry,” says Waughray.

Second, the Human Genome Project has been a massive success in economic terms, rivaling the bang-for-buck impact of public dollars spent inventing the internet or GPS. The HGP, an international initiative led by the U.S. between 1988 and 2003, has delivered more than $1 trillion in economic value, according to a report from the Battelle Memorial Institute, a private research group in Ohio. For every $1 spent on sequencing, it has delivered $178 to the U.S. economy in the form of new drugs and diagnoses (particularly in cancer), and jobs, it says. The EBP, led by Harris Lewin, an evolutionary genomicist at the University of California, Davis, is estimated to cost $4.7 billion, a little less than the Human Genome Project in today’s dollars.

A New Economic Model

Castilla argues that developing countries need to find new forms of economic advancement. As automation increases, poorer nations will no longer necessarily have a labor cost advantage over richer nations, so the latter won’t be able to outsource their manufacturing. The China model, in other words, won’t be easy to copy. The biological economy might offer an alternative.

But actually creating the ABC and EBC will be hard. Though natural history institutions, like the Smithsonian, hold hundreds of thousands of species samples ready to be sequenced, the rest will have to be collected. To cut costs, Castilla hopes to employ drones to pick out specimens in remote places and to use handheld sequencing devices to do on-the-spot decoding.

Other challenges are more political. The project needs to persuade governments to give land access to researchers and to share data in a common form. The hope is by using an open blockchain ledger, trust can be maximized all around. Once in the system, records will be inviolable and dictated by “smart contracts”—automated code that assigns rights and revenues automatically to title holders. In other words, it will be hard for someone to come along at a later stage to change the record.

Castilla expects the whole effort to take at least a decade to complete. “The Earth Bank of Codes needs to start somewhere, so we’re starting in the Amazon Basin,” he says. “To execute these two complex startups will take some time and some gray hairs.”
About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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Roaring to life: Growth and innovation in African retail banking

The McKinsey Global Banking report finds winning strategies among Africa’s top banks

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 28, 2018/ -- The McKinsey Global Banking ( practice has today published a new report on African Retail Banking - Roaring to life: Growth and innovation in African retail banking (

The report finds that Africa’s banking markets are among the most exciting in the world. The continent’s overall banking market is the second-fastest-growing and second most profitable of any global region, and a hotbed of innovation. Nearly 300 million Africans are banked today, a number that could rise to 450 million in 5 years. The report illustrates four segments of African markets – from the advanced markets like South Africa and Egypt, to fast-growing transition markets such as Kenya, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, to sleeping giants like Algeria, Nigeria and Angola, to nascent banking markets like DRC and Ethiopia.

The report finds that Africa’s top quintile banks – the so-called “winners” - are simultaneously 4 times more profitable and over 2 times faster growing than bottom quintile banks. The report’s key findings are that these “winners” are defined by employing one or more of five winning practices: 

    Draw the right map. In Africa, geography matters. About 65 percent of African banks’ profitability (measured by RoE) and 94 percent of their revenue growth are attributable to their geographic footprint. Importantly, the report highlights a shift in exchange-rate adjusted revenue pools North Africa, East Africa and West Africa, and away from South Africa.

    Right segments, compelling offers. We find that 70 percent of revenue pool growth will occur in the middle segments, defined as earning between US$ 6,000 and US$ 36,000 in annual income. The mass market – individuals earning less than US$6,000 per annum – accounts for 13 percent of the growth, but is the fastest growing segment. Whichever segment banks choose, having the right proposition is key. Our survey of 2,500 banking customers in 6 African countries finds that 25 percent of customers choose price as the most important factors in choosing banks. Equally important is convenience, also cited by 25 percent of customers. Service is the third most important factor, selected by 12 percent of customers. We also find huge cross-sell opportunities – while 95% of Africans have transaction products, fewer than 20 percent have lending, insurance, investment or deposit products.

    Leaner, simpler banking. While African banks’ cost: income has been falling, we find that this is due to rising margins for banks, and their cost-to-assets ratio has actually been worsening. At 3.6 percent, Africa has the 2nd highest cost-to-assets ratio in the world. However, rapid efficiency gains are possible, and we spotlight eight African banks that have made strides in efficiency in the last five years, through a combination of three levers – end-to-end digitisation; sales productivity improvements fuelled by advanced analytics; back- and middle-office optimisation.

    Digital first. 40% of Africans prefer to use digital channels for transactions. In four major African countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola – a higher proportion of Africans prefer the digital channel for transactions to the branch channel. Given low branch density in Africa, banks need to employ a digital first approach. The report hones in on four themes of innovation emerging in Africa on digital – end-to-end digital transformations (e.g. Equity Bank); partnering with telco companies (e.g. CBA in Kenya or Diamond Bank in Nigeria); building a digital bank (e.g. ALAT in Nigeria); and building an ecosystem (e.g. Alipay in China).

    Innovate on risk. African banking still has the second highest cost of risk in the world. Poor data availability is part of the problem: 11 percent of Africans are on credit bureaus, compared to in excess of 90 percent in advanced markets. However, we are seeing innovations such as banks partnering with data and analytics fintechs like Jumo to improve credit underwriting; banks partnering with telcos to leverage telco data to issue small-ticket loans on mobile; and players employing payroll lending across countries.

This new report draws on the experience of McKinsey’s partners and colleagues serving banks across Africa; McKinsey’s Global Banking Pools research; a proprietary database of the financial performance of 35 of Africa’s leading banks; a survey of executives from 20 banks and financial institutions across Africa; and a broad-based survey of 2,500 banking customers from 6 African countries – South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Angola and Kenya.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of McKinsey & Company.

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Media contact:
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+27 833 205 675

About McKinsey & Company Africa:
With a presence in Africa of over 20 years, McKinsey & Company ( has offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. We shape strategy and strengthen operations for players in major industries, and help deliver better outcomes in education and health care, in over 40 African countries. McKinsey has delivered over 1400 projects across the African continent.

McKinsey & Company O'Brien: Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau and the evolution of the ad unit


Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau and the evolution of the ad unit

During a WHOSAY event, Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau discussed the bank's future as more of its own media company, as well as the evolution of the ad unit and being its customers' financial "wingman."
Mike O'Brien
Date published
February 27, 2018

    Display Advertising

One of the world’s largest financial institutions, JPMorgan Chase is obviously known more for money than media. But CMO Kristin Lemkau still sees, and is excited about, the bank’s future as more of its own media company.

Since anyone can put anything on YouTube, digital technology has democratized distribution. Chase already has that and now they’ve got content, too, including a self-produced show called “Kneading Dough.”

“We’re not just looking to get our ads out there, although our ads are good,” Lemkau told NFL sportscaster Erin Andrews at a WHOSAY event during the ANA Masters of Marketing. “We want to have real shows where people understand why Chase is there and I don’t have to put my ad in the middle of someone else’s money episode.”

erin andrews interviews kristin lemkau
“The evolution of the ad unit”

Lemkau explained that in the past, when brands ran ads on TV, people were generally going to watch them. Before Netflix, Hulu and even TiVo, you watched shows when they were on. Changing the channel to skip ads meant potentially missing a few minutes of the show.

That’s obviously no longer the case. Last year, Facebook found that 94% of people use their smartphones while they watch TV, so you can’t even guarantee that people are even watching whatever they’re watching.

“Most advertising is still interrupting someone’s experience. That’s why you’ve got people blocking ads and skipping over ads and things that are tricking people into watching their content,” said Lemkau. “Where there are ways that Chase can actually be a part of the show, not in a product placement, I’m going to hold up my credit card. But where if people are interested in making the most of their money, we have a right to be there, and the consumer will accept it.”

The evolution of the ad unit represents that switch from interruptive to permissive. Lemkau considers Google and Facebook to be examples of the latter. Scrolling is easier than changing the channel; if you don’t want to watch an ad, you’re not going to.
“People don’t care if it’s branded if it’s good”

“Kneading Dough” features people like tennis legend Serena Williams and Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James. On the surface, they don’t seem particularly relatable, as two of 2017’s highest-paid athletes. However, both come from humble beginnings and became very rich very young, and subsequently made financial mistakes just like everyone else.

“They have a very different set of wealth than your average person, but their journey has been the same and people loved watching it,” said Lemkau.

“People don’t care if content is branded, so long as it’s good,” she added.

To her point, YouTube’s third-top trending video from 2017 was seven minutes of guys landing tricky shots, throwing ping pong balls into cups. That video was actually sponsored content from Oreo to promote the brand’s Dunk Challenge. More than 115 million people have watched it and it’s still not even the top ad from last year. A Samsung India spot takes that honor, having racked up more than 208 million views.
“We want to be the wingman”

The content’s main theme is not saving you money, a standard financial marketing tactic Lemkau finds patronizing.

People think about money in terms of spending and saving and managing,” she said. “Our brand purpose is to help you make the most of your money and the key phrase here is ‘your money.’”

Being their customers’ financial partner means only advertising in the right places. Lemkau famously championed brand safety by removing Chase ads from fake news sites. She’s also reduced the number of sites the brand advertises on to 5,000. From 400,000.

The entire strategy is to give people the products, advice and tools to make their best financial decisions, and only giving those on the websites that make sense. At the same time, Chase recognizes that the decisions are ultimately the consumers’.

“This is about helping you make the most of your money,” she says. “We want to be the wingman.”

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ClickZ Logo Weiser : On the Front Lines of Sea-Level Rise, Sewage Treatment Plants Adapt

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On the Front Lines of Sea-Level Rise, Sewage Treatment Plants Adapt

Some coastal sewage treatment plants are beginning to experience challenges from climate change, such as backflow from seawater and potential discharge problems. Two experts explain how facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area are addressing these risks.
Written by
Matt Weiser    
Published on
 Feb. 26, 2018
This so-called “horizontal levee” was built along the San Francisco Bay shoreline in a partnership with Oro Loma Sanitary District, Castro Valley Sanitary District and several environmental groups. It uses native plants to hold and filter treated wastewater while also serving as a buffer against sea-level rise.Jack Hogan, Arup

Rising sea levels are expected to cause all kinds of trouble in coastal communities, from eroded shorelines to flooded buildings and roads. One of the areas showing the most pressing vulnerability, however, is sewage treatment plants.

Most wastewater plants release treated sewage into a convenient river or bay. As a result, those in America’s coastal cities were built at or near sea level, so effluent can be discharged by gravity flow. But as sea level rises, gravity flow may not work any more. Seawater could also upset the delicate chemical process and cause corrosion that destroys plumbing and electrical systems.

In California, a draft study commissioned by the Bay Area Association of Clean Water Agencies examined the risk of sea-level rise to 37 sewage treatment facilities around the Bay. It estimates 2.2ft (67cm) of rise in the level in 50 years, and 6.2ft (189cm) in 100 years. It found 15 facilities are already vulnerable to sea-level rise, and 12 more will be at risk over the next century.

To learn more about how these facilities are adapting, Water Deeply talked to Jason Warner, general manager of Oro Loma Sanitary District in San Lorenzo; and Anna Roche, climate change and social projects manager at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Water Deeply: Is San Francisco experiencing wastewater problems now because of sea-level rise?

Anna Roche: I wouldn’t say this is something we are seeing on a regular basis. There have been one or two instances during the winter of 2016–17. We had a combination of a very large storm with a storm surge, during a high tide, and at that point we did see a higher level of saltwater intrusion into the system than we would normally expect.

I don’t know if you can specifically point to sea-level rise in those cases. But we’re just faced with this additional combination of events that create that perfect storm of things building on each other.
Water Deeply: Oro Loma built a ‘horizontal levee’ in response to sea-level rise. How did that come about?

Jason Warner: Well, I can either drive sheet pile or build a concrete wall around our facility to protect it from rising water. And I can very quickly protect our facility. The problem is, a fair number of our customers would be underwater. So I don’t think just protecting the expensive assets of the treatment plant solves the problem.

Out here on the Hayward shoreline, from San Leandro down to about Fremont, a bunch of people have been working together, talking about how to respond to sea rise: business owners, Audubon Society, Save the Bay, park districts, the Hayward City Council. This concept of the horizontal levee emerged out of that. It combines a FEMA-certified flood control levee with a long, broad slope in front of it.

The slope is vegetated and absorbs energy from wave action. The vegetated slope provides critical upland habitat along the bay edge. The elements work together to provide a lower-cost, resilient and habitat-friendly approach.

In 2015, staff and volunteers from Save the Bay planted native vegetation on a “horizontal levee” built at Oro Loma Sanitary District’s wastewater treatment plant in San Lorenzo, California. The project is designed to provide wildlife habitat while also protecting the treatment plant from sea-level rise. (Photo Courtesy Save the Bay)
Water Deeply: What happens to wastewater systems when seawater enters them?

Roche: We’re trying to understand how influxes of salt water affect the biological process in our system. Will that have an impact? We’re not completely clear on that right now. We’re also concerned about water getting into places where it shouldn’t be, shutting down systems or not operating the way they’re supposed to.

The steps we’re taking now are to reduce the risks. We’re installing backflow preventers, for example, as a step to reduce the interim term risk of that.

Our combined sewer discharges sit at a level where they’re above the high-water line most of the time. Well, that high-water line is going to go up as sea level rises. We anticipate it will get to a point that our discharge will be not as effective as it is now. Because of the hydraulic head it’s coming out against, at some time we’ll have to start pumping. If things exist as they are today and we have 3ft (0.9m) of sea-level rise, more than likely we’ll be pumping. Because of the different sea level rise projections, it’s hard to really know when.
Water Deeply: Tell me about the seawall project San Francisco is planning.

Roche: We are proposing a low-profile, buried seawall to protect wastewater infrastructure associated with our Oceanside Treatment Plant, which is close to Ocean Beach. It is an area that has been experiencing chronic erosion since the early ’90s. So we’ve been trying to come up with an adaptive strategy to address it, which includes managed retreat, beach nourishment and hardscape to protect our infrastructure.

One of the strategies is a low-profile structure to protect the most seaward piece of equipment in this area, called the Lake Merced Tunnel, built in the late ’80s as part of a clean water program. It’s a 14ft (4.3m)-diameter tunnel that captures both sewage and stormwater, and transports it to the Oceanside Treatment Plant. The reason it’s such a large tunnel is to address storms, to give the system enough time to hold that water and deliver it to Oceanside before it gets discharged out to the deepwater ocean outfall.
Water Deeply: Do you feel your industry is doing enough to prepare for sea level rise?

Warner: The narrative that wastewater plants aren’t doing enough doesn’t give the industry enough credit. We’re being very thoughtful about the new infrastructure we’re installing, and making sure we’re considering sea rise in all our programs.

An example is our overall capital investment program. We list all projects, maybe $70 million over 10 years. We have a checklist for each project that asks, “Are there sea-rise concerns?” It’s definitely front and center to make sure we don’t create more trouble by building new facilities in vulnerable locations.
climate change horizontal levee sea level rise sewage treatment
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Diverted River Sustains California Wine Country, but It’s Killing Salmon

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Matt Weiser is a contributing editor at Water Deeply. Contact him at or via Twitter at @matt_weiser.

Why Nutrient Pollution May Become a Threat to San Francisco Bay Health
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E&E News/Jean Chemnick: Slaves were given an island over 150 years ago. Then Irma struck

E&E News

Slaves were given an island over 150 years ago. Then Irma struck
Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter Climatewire: Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Three children sit on a white wall after being evacuated from the Island of Barbuda. Photo credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/Associated Press

Children evacuated from Barbuda outside a temporary shelter in Antigua in November. Victoria Jones/PA Wire/Associated Press

Last year's devastating hurricanes may have swept away one of the world's few examples of slavery reparations.

The 1,800 residents of Barbuda can trace their ancestry to slaves who worked on the Caribbean island to the late 17th century, when it was a supply station for sugar cane plantations. When abolition arrived more than 100 years later, their former masters, the British Codrington family, abandoned the tiny dot of land, and the slaves used it to develop a method of cooperative land ownership that has supported them and their descendants through the generations.

"They weren't called reparations then, but we're using that term now," said Diann Jeffers, a Barbudan who lives in New York City. "We came to know it that way, because we wanted the land to be passed down, to ensure continuity."

And now Hurricane Irma has opened the door for change.

Barbuda shares a country with a larger and more economically developed sister island, Antigua. And many leaders there, including Prime Minister Gaston Browne, have long held that the post-slavery land rights enjoyed by Barbudans inhibit the island's ability to attract economic investment. That makes the island dependent on federal handouts from Antigua.


"All that I can tell you is that each month, the central government of Antigua and Barbuda has to pay all the costs of the local government on Barbuda, and all the costs associated with its operations," said Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the United States, in a recent interview with E&E News.

Reshaping the island's ancient land ownership system has long been flirted with. But Barbudan opposition made it politically difficult. Then Irma crashed into the island Sept. 6, destroying an estimated 95 percent of the buildings on the 62-square-mile outcropping and driving its inhabitants to shelter on Antigua.

The storm is consistent with the kind of supersized hurricanes scientists say could be more common as the oceans warm due to climate change.

In the wake of Irma, the Browne government has been criticized for the slow pace of Barbuda's recovery. Many houses are still not connected to water or power six months later. Meanwhile, work on a new airport runway has continued, a move many Barbudans see as an invitation to tourism development, supported by Antiguan officials. The government has also moved to amend the Barbuda Land Act — the law that in 2007 codified the post-slavery land-use system, limiting land ownership to descendants of Codrington's slaves and specifying that much of the island must be available for that community's traditional economic activities, including farming, hunting and fishing.

In December, with most Barbudans still not home, Browne and Barbudan Sen. Arthur Nibbs, who supports the changes, circumvented usual notice procedures to bring a bill before the nation's Parliament that would allow Barbudans to purchase small plots for $1. But it would also make the greater part of the island available for other uses — with less local oversight.

The amendment has now passed both legislative chambers and will become law any day, when the nation's Governor-General Rodney Williams signs it.

Sanders, the ambassador, declined to say why the expedited legislative process was pursued. Plans to place it on the legislative agenda were made public only through an unauthorized press leak.

John Mussington, principal of Barbuda's secondary school and an outspoken opponent of the plans, accused the prime minister of employing a "shock doctrine." Mussington, who said he was forced off the island by national security forces following Irma, said the evacuation was part of the government's plan to weaken opposition.

"In their state of weakness, you pulled this on them in terms of changing their land rights system when you knew they would be least likely able to defend themselves and resist attempts," Mussington said of Browne's government.
Barbuda's slavery past

The system of land ownership that Browne and his supporters are seeking to replace is similar to the "family lands" systems that exist in other former British West Indies colonies. It guarantees Barbudans perpetual ownership of the island by making it impossible for outsiders to purchase land, a provision that Mussington and others say is necessary to prevent land values from rising to the point where a relatively poor native population would quickly be priced out.

"This would affect me and my descendants in that there would not be much left for us to pass down to our descendants," said Jeffers, a health care union consultant living in the Bronx who, like many Barbudans, maintains strong ties to the island.

Besides promising them a home, the communal land system also provides Barbudans access to "the grounds" — land they can use on a rotating basis to supplement their diets and incomes.

Jeffers remembers her grandmother leaving every morning on the family donkey to tend her sweet potatoes, peas and other crops designed to flourish in Barbuda's bad soil.

"I remember my grandmother saying, 'I'm going to my grounds,'" she said.

The local council is tasked with allocating land for resident fishing, crabbing and other seasonal activities. Soldier crabs migrate in the spring months, so that's when islanders collect crab roe to make a dish called "soldier fungi," which has African roots. Hunting and fishing are also practiced sustainably and allow the local population to avoid paying a premium on imported protein.

"This would help to subsist us when people couldn't find work, when the hotels weren't open, when you retired and didn't have an income," said Jeffers, who says she makes the journey home several times a year. "It would help you to live. We lived off the land. What these developments and projects would do is totally change our way of life."

Browne views the Barbuda Land Act as unconstitutional and contends that the island belongs to the nation as a whole and not to Barbudans alone. The ancient system of land ownership has rendered Barbuda a "glorified welfare system," he told The New York Times in a recent interview.

Changes to the ancient system will help open Barbuda to business, he said. Barbuda currently has a sharp limit on the duration of leases to outside companies. Meanwhile, Antigua welcomes cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts. Browne has not been shy about expressing his hopes for a post-Irma Barbuda.

"You cannot run a country on sentimentality," he said. "We're saddened by the extent of the damage, but there are opportunities to be exploited."

Browne did not respond to requests for comment, but he has told other news organizations that his amendment will give Barbudans the "option" of gaining individual control over their land, not rob them of rights.

Browne and Sanders contend that Barbudans live at the expense of Antiguans, but there are few published figures to support that claim. The island does have its own local government funded by the Antiguan and Barbudan government in St. John's. Sanders stated that before the storm, there were 300 Barbudans on the government payroll as cleaners, out of about 1,600 full-time Barbuda residents.

But he declined in an interview to answer questions about how public services and salaries provided to Barbudans compared with those provided to other regions of the country. Publicly available budget documents for Antigua and Barbuda don't provide separate line items for Barbuda. And while they agree that the government is a very large employer on the island, Barbudans note that they pay taxes, too.

Orlando Morris, a spokesman for the Barbuda Council, said the government in St. John's provides a percentage of Barbuda's budget. He said national coffers this year provided about 40 percent of public spending on the island, or around $10 million.
Slowly rebuilding

Barbudans say the government response has been painfully slow since Irma, especially given the millions of dollars in international aid and insurance payments the country has received to help with the process.

"Five months and basic services are still not restored, that's a serious problem here," said Mussington.

The government claims that power has been restored to the island, but while power poles are up and transmission infrastructure is in place, the public utility has prescribed expensive upgrades to homes' electrical systems before they can be connected. Morris of the Barbuda Council said the upgrades — which will be made at homeowners' expense — are necessary because most of the wiring on the island is very old.

Residents say running water is intermittent; Morris said it's connected but is sometimes turned off for repairs.

Between 300 and 500 Barbudans have come home despite the damage. Some sleep in tents in their front yards. But there have been sharp incongruencies in the recovery that underscore tensions between the two islands.

When Mussington reopened his school without permission, St. John's dispatched truancy officers to retrieve his students, who were meant to be in school on Antigua. And last month, national security forces on the island kept local Barbuda Council officials from entering their office building.

Meanwhile, nongovernmental institutions and international organizations are filling in the gaps for the needs of those returning.

China Aid and the United Nations Development Programme ran afoul of Browne on a recent fly-in when the prime minister was angered to see "UNDP-China Aid" stickers on houses they were re-roofing. He demanded they be taken down, insisting they didn't give the national government enough credit for the work it was doing on the recovery.

Stephen O'Malley, the UNDP representative overseeing work on Barbuda, said the island's recovery was always likely to be slow.

"There are real logistical constraints in this story," he said. "It's a difficult task for the government."

Building materials must come through Antigua, traveling the 30 miles to Barbuda via a limited and overstressed ferry system. Work crews have to be brought to the island and fed and sheltered. The Browne government is paying to shelter storm victims in Antigua and for their security.

Morris stressed that the resettlement in Antigua is expensive, and it continues to feed and shelter hundreds of unemployed people.

Sashagay Middleton, a marine ecosystems consultant with a nonprofit contracted to the Antiguan and Barbudan Department of Environment, has found herself organizing meals, counseling services and subsidized ferry rides for returnees. She also helps their children access tutors while the schools remain closed.

"We're not set up to be a disaster relief fund, but given the situation in September, we recognized that a lot of donors wanted to channel funds through [nongovernmental institutions] rather than government," she said.

Middleton, who is originally from Jamaica, said local residents were frustrated with Antiguan politicians' response to the crisis, which she characterized as flying into the island with an entourage, looking around and leaving — generally without speaking to any of the inhabitants.

"They don't feel that the government is looking out for them," she said.
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Grist Magazine/Eric Holthaus: Meet the teens schooling us on climate

Grist Magazine
Robin Loznak
coming of age

Meet the teens schooling us on climate
By Eric Holthaus on Feb 27, 2018

Generation Z — millennials’ younger brothers and sisters — are increasingly finding their voices in the Trump era, expanding media-savvy campaigns for racial equality and gun control to encompass climate change. A group of high school students are now planning a nationwide series of climate marches on July 21, when they will confront lawmakers in Washington, D.C., with a list of their demands for a livable climate.

“I’d say I do about three hours of conference calls every single day,” says the lead organizer of the march, Jamie Margolin, a 16-year-old high school sophomore in Seattle. “I’m not new to the climate activism world.”

It’s true. Margolin is one of 13 young plaintiffs suing Washington state government for not taking sufficient action to address climate change. She frequently spends lunches answering emails instead of hanging out with friends. And the Seattle teen is not an anomaly: Statistically, young women of color like Margolin are the demographic most engaged on climate issues.

Margolin started planning the upcoming climate march, which she calls “Zero Hour,” last August, after the Trump administration announced its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. She recruited Mrinalini Chakraborty, head of strategy for the national Women’s March, to help the students file for permits and plan logistics. Now, the organizing committee includes dozens of youth from Connecticut to California. The official website for the march launched last week.

Now, the group is drawing inspiration from the teen-led movement for federal gun control in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Margolin was particularly impressed when the Parkland students confronted lawmakers about accepting money from the NRA — which produced some predictably awkward stammers. Her team is considering making similar demands for politicians to refuse money from the fossil fuel industry.

The fervor of Parkland activists as they take their fight to national and state officials gives Margolin confidence that Zero Hour is on the right track, she says. For her, her youth and gender are natural assets in the fight against climate change. “I’m a 16-year-old Latina girl,” she says, “I can help.”

Despite the recent uptick of attention, youth environmental activism isn’t new. There have been youth factions at the United Nations’ annual climate conference, for example, since the beginning of that process nearly 30 years ago. And over the past week, I’ve heard from dozens of young people from around the country who want to see more aggressive climate action.

Therese Etoka, a 17-year-old climate activist from Boise, Idaho, grew up with an awareness about the increasing frequency of wildfires. She now focuses on making actionable demands from those in power, including (successfully) testifying before the Idaho State Senate in support of stricter classroom science standards, on the day of the Parkland shooting. She sees the similarities between NRA and Exxon influencing policy, and sees it as her job to speak up before it’s too late: “This cannot be normal. We’ve had it.”

Edgar McGregor, also 17, often tweets about his anxiety from living in drought-prone southern California. He has been teaching himself climate science to understand what might be in store for his home state in the future.

“Teenagers like me have often wondered how to combat climate change,” McGregor recently tweeted. But he believes activism alone no longer works: “The ones who are speaking out must be the ones that change … and do the work themselves.”

It seems as though fearlessness among teenagers who haven’t yet reached voting age is one symptom of the cultural and environmental anxieties their generation is steeped in. Scientists agree that the world is fast approaching — and perhaps already past — key climate turning points, and that actions in the next few years will have centuries-long ripple effects. Combine that near-inevitability of radical environmental change with a federal government that holds climate denial as an official position — and you’ve got a generation that accepts radical political change as the only reasonable option.

“The powerful thing about youth is that I don’t have a hidden agenda,” says Margolin. By default, teenagers’ only vested interest is their future. “I don’t get paid for this, I’m not lobbying on behalf of anybody. I’m only doing this because it feels so urgent.”

As Margolin watched the students from Parkland make bold and unflinching demands for a world that values their safety, disregarding both the conservatives who double down on thoughts and prayers and the older liberals who say they’ve seen this fight before, she saw the common ground clearly.

“The Parkland youth are asking for their right to live without the fear of gun violence, and we’re asking to live without climate chaos, and without that fear,” Margolin says. “We’re both just asking to live.”

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Bloomberg/Lisa Fu: Debt-Conscious Millennials Are a Threat to Credit Cards

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Debt-Conscious Millennials Are a Threat to Credit Cards
By Lisa Fu
Tue Feb 27 11:00:00 2018

    Just one out of three carries plastic; prefer cash, debit
    Financial crisis, student loan debt have scared off age group

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Millennials have been accused of disrupting many industries, from newspapers to brick-and-mortar stores. Credit cards appear to be next in line.

Just one out of three millennials carries plastic, according to a survey, compared to the majority of older Americans. In addition, a Fed survey found the 18 to 24 demographic preferred to pay cash more than others. And if they do carry a card, it tends to be of the prepaid or debit variety, TD Bank found.

None of that bodes well for banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. or payment networks like Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., since the fees they earn from debit card transactions are less than those earned via credit cards. The 2008 global financial crisis and ballooning college tuition may have also scared some millennials away.

"They experienced the Great Recession just as they were beginning school or starting their career, pondering about buying a home," said Erin Currier, Director of Financial Security and Mobility at Pew Charitable Trusts. "They’re very sensitive to this life experience."
In Debt

Millennials are more likely than older generations to have student loans to pay. About 41 percent of them held such debt, according to a 2015 Pew report. That compares to, at their peaks, 26 percent for Generation X; 13 percent for Baby Boomers; and 3 percent for the Silent Generation.

And the burden is heavier, too: From 1990 to 2015, student debt for the typical college bachelor’s degree increased about 164 percent, according to Education Department data.

Those big obligations could explain millennials’ aversion to borrowing, Currier said. Over time, they may never grow as comfortable with credit cards and debt as previous generations have, she said.

TransUnion confirms millennials carry fewer cards and have lower balances than Gen-Xers did when the latter group was aged 21-34, thanks in part to legislation limiting the marketing of credit cards on campus and the subsequent boom in the use of debit cards. Millennials have also increased the use of auto and personal loans, TransUnion found, at the expense of credit cards.

Take Bo King, a 26-year-old who applied for his first credit card about a year ago. He grew up cautious after watching friends and family pile up thousands in debt. King, who works in retail, has been using a debit card since turning 18, but knew he would need a credit history to be able to buy a house.

“I’ve always been skeptical about getting a credit card,” King said. Eventually, though, “I saw it as a necessary evil."
Millennial Needs

It’s an evil some millennials will shift to from prepaid and debit cards as they get older, according to a study by payment processor TSYS Merchant Solutions, which shows credit cards becoming the preferred method of payment after age 25.

That’s the saving grace for the card companies. A breakdown of balances by age suggests that the older people get, the more they rely on credit cards. A FICO study showed 18- to 24-year-olds had an average balance of just over $2,000. With 25- to 34-year-olds, the number almost doubled, said Ethan Dornhelm, vice president of Analytics and Scores from FICO.

“As millennials grow older and more affluent, the ownership of credit cards and the need for and desire for credit cards will increase,” said Solana Cozzo, VP of Prepaid and Financial Inclusion at Mastercard.

They’re not only expected to change their spending habits when they have children, but they’re also more likely to be in tune with the awards credit card companies bestow, like airline miles and cash back on purchases.

Perhaps the issuers should tie rewards to student loan debt. Sam DeMario, a 20-year-old finishing his undergraduate degree, has been putting off getting a credit card until he can earn a bit more money and start paying off his school bills.

"Once I’ve been accepted into a graduate program and have a stipend that I can report as income, I don’t see a reason not to have one," he said.

— With assistance by Jennifer Surane

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