Monday April 22, 2019
Monday, April 22, 2019
Monday April 22, 2019

African Daily Voice

Sudan’s military council vows to hand over power to people

African Daily Voice

Moroccan int’l agriculture fair attracts many exhibitors, visitors

African Daily Voice

Egypt seeks to benefit from Beijing’s technological development: PM

African Daily Voice

Malawian Airlines gets new aircraft, introduces more flights

African daily Voice

Zimbabwe government allocates US$310 million to facilitate the devolution programme

The Nation (Nairobi)

Kenya Begins Early Campaign in Bid to Win Seat on UN Security Council

TAP – Tunisia

TAP, KUNA sign co-operation agreement

The New Times – Rwanda

After New Zealand, others too should hand over Genocide archives

Something significant happened last week in Kigali – New Zealand handed over to the Rwandan government files related to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The timing was of particularly momentous as Rwandans are observing, for the 25th time, the Genocide against the Tutsi which claimed over a million lives.

The handover is significant because the documents add to huge volumes of archives and other evidence that prove beyond reasonable doubt – if there was any – that what happened in Rwanda was a meticulously planned genocide that was systematically implemented across the length and breadth of Rwanda, with the Tutsi the targeted group.

For starters, New Zealand was one of the countries that tried to get the international community to intervene to stop the slaughter in Rwanda but the pleas of its permanent representative to the United Nations fell on deaf ears in the Security Council whose most influential members did not want to acknowledge that a genocide was taking place because they would be legally liable for not preventing/stopping it.

Rather than heed Amb. Colin Keating’s call, the Security Council instead significantly scaled down its peacekeeping mission in Kigali, withdrawing troops even in situations where marauding militia, armed with machetes, clubs and other traditional weapons, and guns, had encircled helpless refugees ready to pounce at the earliest opportunity.

While the harm has already been done and what happened cannot be reversed, 25 years later, the least that the UN and its member countries can do is to hand over all the archives related to the Genocide in their possession and help apprehend and bring to book fugitives out there that continue to take advantage of the indifference of their host countries to propagate Genocide denial and ideology.

It is a well-known fact that several countries, including France and United States, have in custody large volumes of classified documents with important details about the Genocide against the Tutsi. They should not only declassify these archives but also hand them over to Rwanda because they contain the history of Rwanda and would help the country on its continued journey of healing and reconciliation.

Similarly, New Zealand’s gesture should serve as an example to the United Nations, which continues to hold onto crucial Genocide archives in a custody of its court – International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals – and hand them over to Kigali because this is part of our heritage and history, and is key to forging the country’s future.

The New Times – Rwanda

The digital revolution’s silent majority

By: Edoardo Campanella

Statistics can hold brutal truths. We are constantly told that innovation is occurring faster than ever, yet the data coming out of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution suggest that it is anything but revolutionary. Among advanced economies, productivity growth is the slowest, it’s been in 50 years.

This “productivity paradox” is often attributed to measurement problems or lags following the adoption of disruptive technologies. But another possible explanation is that public debates about technological trends tend to be dominated by the companies and entrepreneurs that are shaping them. The voices of the vast majority of companies that are struggling to keep up with technological change (or actively resisting it) are going unheard.

Acknowledging this underrepresented perspective is essential to understanding why the digital revolution isn’t showing up in the data, and why it may yet stall. Simply put, buzzy talk tends to rely on biased generalisations. For all of their purchase on the public imagination, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Big Data, and humanoid robots fall within the remit of only a handful of firms. The attention these technologies receive is wildly disproportionate to the scale of their development and adoption. As Dan Ariely of Duke University joked back in 2013, “Big data is like teenage relationship: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”

The dynamic is easy to discern. Journalists chase juicy stories. Investors seek attractive returns. Consumers try to anticipate the next technological fad. Social networks, global media, and international conferences amplify the voices of disruptors who have an interest in inflating their own prospects. And as the information cascades, the ranks of believers grow. The rumour becomes the rule.

Consider the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest annual report on emerging labor-market trends, which is based on a survey of large, multinational corporations. It contends that by 2022, a substantial increase in investments in machine learning, data analytics, new materials, and quantum computing will boost demand for data scientists, AI specialists, and robotics engineers, to the detriment of existing professions.

The problem is that the WEF’s population sample is hardly representative of the real economy. Across OECD countries, firms employing more than 250 workers account for just 7 per cent of all active firms and employ less than 40 per cent of the workforce. And while the authors of the report acknowledge this bias, their conclusions still amount to dangerous generalisations. Their jobs of the future have nothing to do with the immediate employment needs of the vast majority of small- and medium-size enterprises that are still operating within the framework of the Third Industrial Revolution.

Similarly, an OECD study finds that the labor productivity gap between firms at the technological frontier and all other firms has been widening sharply over the last decade. Many of the advanced technologies one hears so much about in the media remain unexploited by a non-trivial share of companies, which suggests that we have a long wait before even the most revolutionary innovations start driving GDP.

It has been said that general-purpose technologies like electricity and the personal computer tend to boost productivity not immediately, but around 25 years after their inception. Yet it has now been 32 years since the Nobel laureate economist Robert Solow observed that, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in productivity statistics,” and we still do not see the computer age in the productivity statistics. Why should AI be any different from the PC in this respect?

Ignoring the perspective of technological laggards can have far-reaching policy implications, especially if techno-boosterism (or alarmism) diverts attention from pressing problems facing education systems and labor markets in the here and now. If governments start allocating more resources to train the high-skilled professional elite of tomorrow, they could foster even deeper inequality today.

Of course, cynics might dismiss the “losers” as having little to add to debates about technology: at best, they will fill the roles created for them by the digital vanguard; at worst, they will be forced out of the labor market altogether. But it is worth remembering that smaller firms, even if they face economic headwinds, still have the political power to push for tougher regulation of new technologies that threaten their existence.

A global giant like Uber knows this all too well. Over the years, it has encountered strong resistance from small groups of well-organised taxi drivers who were never invited to gatherings of the global elite to contemplate the virtues of the platform economy. By the same token, the “left-behinds” across the world’s advanced economies are now taking their revenge by bringing anti-trade, populist parties and politicians to power.

To avoid an even worse backlash, and to develop a better appreciation of what the Fourth Industrial Revolution actually entails, one must understand where all firms – not just those at the top – stand with respect to today’s disruptions.