The Mobile World Congress which is one of the most important global events in mobile technology and innovation that supports the UN SDGs has announced a partnership with the World Bank to improve development through Big Data.

The MWC venue in Barcelona

The 2018 edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which took place last week in Barcelona, has reached remarkable results. Gathering more than 107,000 participants and 2,400 companies who exhibited their devices and business solutions, the event is known for the new technologies that are yearly presented to the general public. From self-driven cars to smartphones, and from smart homes to drones, everything seems to gravitate around electronics and software.

But there’s more to this than meets the eye. Last year, the GSM Association, representative of the mobile operators and organizer of the MWC, launched the initiative Big Data for Social Good, which gathers now 19 companies and foundations committed to supporting developing countries, foster education, improve the conditions of refugee camps and encourage startups that develop solutions to empower minorities.

This year, the MWC social good project took another step forward. With the motto of Creating a Better World, the 2018 edition heavily supported the Sustainable Development Goals. The GSMA partnered with Barcelona artists to illustrate the unique role Mobile is playing in supporting the SDGs and created visual characters to represent the mobile industry impact in supporting each one of the goals. The audience had the opportunity to learn about the SDGs and to know the role of the mobile industry to reach every one of them.

During the event, GSMA announced a partnership with the World Bank to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to communities and countries in need, fighting poverty and enhancing economic development. «With IoT and big data, we have the ability to provide insights that can be used across a wide range of applications, from agriculture to environmental protection and beyond», said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, praised the initiative and made a call for more stakeholders of the mobile industry to do more against poverty. He particularly mentioned the impact of the 5G implementation, planned to start in the US and China by the end of the year, on improving people’s lives. «We must ensure it will create new markets and jobs for the poorer countries. It’s urgent to rethink tech and connectivity roles and how they will create new drives of economic development», he said.

During the many conferences dedicated to the impact of technology on society, companies showcased projects and strategies to improve connectivity and inclusion through technology. Vodafone Foundation, for example, is installing emergency wifi networks in refugee camps and in areas affected by natural disasters. Oisin Walton, programme manager for the Foundation, showcased an education project that started in the Kakuma refugee camp, in Kenya, which consists of a digital classroom that is now spread to 31 schools in 4 countries. The project is a result of a partnership with the UNHCR. «There’s a huge potential to do things together. We believe in innovation as a combination of partnership models and technology solutions», he stated.

Many other companies focused on including and empowering impaired people, like MJN Neuroserveis, which developed a device that predicts an epilepsy seizure 1 minute before it happens, Wayfinder, an audio solution with geolocalization for blind people, and Iris Bond, which helps paralyzed patients to communicate through their eyes.

The EU launched a report with the latest results on employment and social situation in the region, bringing hope to the youth and all workers

The EU reported that employment continues to grow at a consistent pace in almost all Member States
The EU reported that employment continues to grow at a consistent pace in almost all Member States

Good news for workers, young and old within the EU. The European Commission has just reported that employment continues to grow at a consistent pace in almost all Member States, with an overall increase of 1,5%. More particularly, the Quarterly Review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe highlights the improved situation for the younger generation as for the first time, the Youth Unemployment Rate reached a pre-2008 crisis level. Despite being still very high, 16,9%, the rate decreased steadily and faster that overall unemployment, which reached 7,6% in the EU and 9,1% in the euro zone.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, commented: “The results are encouraging. More people than ever before in Europe have a job and unemployment has reached a nine-year low. And we see 2.2 million more employees with permanent contracts compared to last year. We need to continue on this path and improve the economic and social conditions for all. With the European Pillar of Social Rights, we have our roadmap towards well-functioning and fair labour markets that are fit for purpose in the 21st century. We would like to see it proclaimed together by Parliament, Council and Commission at the Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017.”

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

The income of households has also shown improvement with a greater income coming from work, while the increase in social benefits came to a halt.

On 26 April 2017, the European Commission presented the European Pillar of Social Rights, which sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. By this time, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to improve work-life balance of working parents and carers, and launched social partner consultations to modernise the rules on labour contracts and on access to social protection.

“If we want to avoid social fragmentation and social dumping in Europe, then Member States should agree on the European Pillar of Social Rights as soon as possible and at the latest at the Gothenburg summit in November.”, said Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission President.

One of the largest events in Central Asia, Expo 2017 Astana reveals the region to the world

Astana is one of the fastest-growing capitals in the world
Astana is one of the fastest-growing capitals in the world

Yuri Shurygin, a 38-year old Russian national, is the three-millionth visitor to the Astana Expo 2017, taking place in Kazakhstan’s capital city. The mark was reached on August 25, when Akhmetzhan Yessimov, Chairman of the event, congratulated Shurygin and offered him a special welcome gift.

According to the Astana Expo 2017 organizers, around 15% of the visitors are foreigners, most of whom from Russia, Kazakhstan’s closest neighbor. Seizing the opportunity, Yessimov reminded that one of the goals of the event was to increase the tourist flow to the country. He also celebrated the mark which surpasses the initial expectation of two milion visitors at completion of the first three months of the exhibition, which was August 4th. “EXPO 2017 met our expectations completely. The exhibition not only boosted job openings, but also incomes” he added. The multiplication effect, he said, was felt by local busineses of all sizes, while the hotels occupancy rate has doubled.

The previous day, Kazakhstan’s national pavilion greeted its one-millionth visitor.

While the exhibition will end on September 10th, raising hopes for the numerous events that are yet to come, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s president, is said to have approved a plan for post-exhibition use of Expo 217 facilities, according to the local press. Three legacy projects are thus to take shape – the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC), the Future Energy international center for the transfer of green technologies and investment projects, and the International IT Startup Hub.

On September 5-7, Horyou will be hosting the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2017), at Rixos President Astana Hotel, to which hundreds of attendees are expected. (tickets here).

The Horyou’s 4th Edition of SIGEF will take place during EXPO 2017 Astana, in Kazakhstan. The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana. More information on and consult agenda or register your attendance.

One of the largest Eurasian region business meetings to be hosted in Astana from 24-26 August.

Opening ceremony  of Eurasian Week
Opening ceremony of Eurasian Week

Focused on investment and export potential of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Eurasian Week is a large annual business meeting aimed at developing the regional economy. The Forum offers opportunities for companies, entrepreneurs and investors to develop contact with other businesses and to discuss their development strategies in a context of global challenges. It will take place in the Congress Center annexed to the EXPO 2017 venue.

The organizers of the event expect to gather over 2,000 participants from 35 countries over international cooperative projects and business networking. It is also a dedicated space to discuss common regulations, get training and find supporters and funders for projects in various industries. On August 24th, the speakers will debate competitiveness and potential points of growth in the current economic scenario; the next day, the conference will cover free movement flows in EAEU and the 25th will be dedicated to the economy of the future.

Kazakhstan PM Bakytzhan Sagintayev
Kazakhstan PM Bakytzhan Sagintayev

The Forum’s speakers include: vice-prime ministers of EAEU member countries, members of EEC Collegium (ministers), officers of EAEU member countries’ ministries in charge of economic development, energy sector, communication, agribusiness and health, as well as heads of EAEU member countries’ regions and cities, officers of UN FAO, Unions and Association, and over 200 other business community officers and state agencies.

Throughout the 3 days of the event, an exhibition will showcase export opportunities, bringing together more than 300 companies from the Union Member States that have an export potential. The main areas of the exhibition will include energy, IT and telecoms, agriculture, food industry, transport and logistics, engineering and automotive industries, chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, metallurgy, mining, light industry, and wood processing. An innovative aspect of the Forum is that its participants will be able to invite any of the exhibitors for a bilateral meeting on the very site of the exhibition through an online appointment system.

The Horyou’s 4th Edition of SIGEF will take place during EXPO 2017 Astana, in Kazakhstan. The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana. More information on and consult agenda or register your attendance.

Have you thought of a world where nobody would have to be concerned about paying for their basic needs? The unconditional basic income (UBI) project, which will be submitted to a vote in Switzerland next month, addresses this controversial issue that has been the “talk of the country” for quite some time. And last week, hundreds of academics, executives, trade union representatives and the general public gathered in Zurich to discuss the UBI in connection to new technologies, disruptive work and a shrinking middle class, both in the developed and developing worlds. While attending for Horyou blog, I was very interested to see how the basic income discussion would fit with the concept of Spotlight, the global social currency created by Horyou. And I discovered that there are many people studying and working hard for more income equality all over the world.

Yanis Varoufakis - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Yanis Varoufakis – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

Named “The Future of Work”, the conference discussed alternatives for the current crisis of capitalism, marked by income stagnation, deflationary process and decreasing interest rates on a global scale. Renowned specialists such as Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Minister of Finance, and Robert Reich, former US Labour Secretary under Bill Clinton, were among the speakers.

First to speak was Robert Johnson, executive director of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, for whom the root cause of our society’s challenges is a mix of political pessimism, technological disruption and a political system whereby economic growth is powered and consumed by the wealthy few. “We are living under fear of social unrest caused by the increasingly precarious conditions for workers”, he said.

Robert Johnson - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Johnson – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

One of the signs of this precarity is the rise of sharing economy platforms like Uber and their impact on working conditions. A panel called Disruptive Work presented cases of companies like Uber and Zipcar, whereby members are proposed flexible conditions while not enjoying the same rights and income they would be in a “traditional” industry. “My father had one job in his life, I had six in mine, and my daughter will have six simultaneously”, said Robin Chase, co-founder of the car sharing platform Zipcar. She is optimistic about the new working model – according to her, 85% of people are not happy with their current jobs and the so-called “peer inc” companies can tap exponential learning and lead people to interesting jobs instead of automated ones.

A system where a basic income would guarantee people’s survival would give everyone freedom to chose a meaningful job without having to work hard to make ends meet. For the critics of the project, it would lead to a situation where many people would be discouraged to work at all. Some experiments made in Africa, India and Germany, however, show the opposite. Michael Faye, co-founder of the non profit GiveDirectly, shared his experience with cash transfers in extreme poor villages in Africa. “The only social group who stopped working were children”, he said. “There is no evidence that they become lazy and spend the money on drugs and alcohol. In fact, people go back to school and start working for the community”. The same phenomenon happened with the Mein Grundeinkommen experiment in Germany – from the 36 people who benefitted from a cash transfer which guaranteed their survival, only one spent it on luxuries. “Most people changed jobs and started spending more time with their children”, says the executive Amira Yahia.

Robert Reich, who worked as a US Labour Secretary and now is a professor at UCLA, is one of the biggest supporters of the project. “Even the Silicon Valley is starting to be interested in the basic income project. Companies are concerned about people not being able to afford the products that they manufacture, as the middle class is shrinking”, he said. In his opinion, a basic income would create an aggregated demand that would address such issues as inequality and social insecurity. “The central question is not economic but ethical. Who is the government working for, and who has the influence and power? How do we use the abundance and distribute the gains produced by society?”, he asked. Reich is not convinced about the effectiveness of a basic income, but believes it is “inevitable” to create a system which promotes the circulation of income.

Robert Reich - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Reich – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

The closing speech was Yanis Varoufakis’. Famous for his controversial statements about capitalism and the financial system, he stated that the social democracy tradition is dead and that capitalism has been agonizing since 2008. “The new system transfers the value of production towards the financial sector that remains insolvent. This created a deflationary process and today, half the global economy is on negative interest rates”. Varoufakis went on to explain that the working class can no longer ensure itself through social insurance, as youngsters find it very difficult to find full time jobs, and wages are stagnating. “This is aggravated by the fact that low wage routine jobs would be rapidly replaced by artificial intelligence”.

The basic income, according to him, is a necessary tool to stabilize society. “The struggle is ethical as we need to overturn the dominant paradigm of capitalism. The basic income is a dividend for the collective production market, it is about giving money to the underserving, to the rich, the surfers, people who are collectively producing wealth”, he advocated. At the same time, a redistribution of wealth would benefit central banks as well by working as a counter deflationary tool, and promote the creation of value at work, as people would have the right to turn down a job they don’t feel connected to. “We need to create a system which aggregates capital and creates a stream for everyone. It’s a trust fund for all our children”, he concluded.

Written by Vivian Soares

Special thanks to Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and Neopolis Network for all the support and pictures.

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The Horyou community embraces more than 1,000 organisations and 220,000 users from more than 180 countries.

Most organizations involved in social good and humanitarian projects have experienced the challenge of finding capital to promote impactful actions within their communities. In this area, like in many others, we see money flowing from big companies and foundations to big NGOs and associations – and they are surely doing a good job – but we also see small and medium sized organizations who are tireless in their efforts to make a difference in the world through their humanitarian projects with lesser support and funding.

This unevenness has been of major concern to Horyou since its inception, when it begun building its social network for social good.

Horyou has since grown to embrace 180 countries with a community of 1,000 organizations and 220,000 users around the world, becoming an expression of the diversity of civil society at a global level. Horyou now has enough experience and means to take its mission to the next level by creating Spotlight, the First Global Social Currency.

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Engaged and active organisations on Horyou platform will increase their chances to receive Spotlights from Horyou proprietary algorithm.

In a world where social disparities are widening due to speculation and greed, technology is a powerful tool of citizen empowerment. Spotlight intends to bring inclusiveness to the ones who are bringing positive change to the world by reconciling capital and social media. Our goal is to connect great companies and people who want to leave a legacy to the world through positive actions with associations who are, in real life, doing good.

With the Global Social Currency, the first of its kind, Horyou’s goal is to connect innovative and CSR corporations with people and organizations who make great efforts to leave a positive legacy to the world through their involvement in social good.

In the past few years, we have seen a significant development of the concept of crowdfunding, whereby single contributions, however small, are important to the edifice under construction. Horyou’s aim is to go even further in the process of inclusive access to capital.

By connecting its members with committed organizations on its social network platform, Horyou seeks to broaden funding opportunities for social good.

Spotlight will be funded by Horyou’s individual members as well as by its partners: firms, corporate foundations, institutions and innovative start ups. Each Horyou member can provide and/or get support from any other member in the form of one or more Spotlights. The platform will include a proprietary algorithm that is set to redistribute a significant share of the capital received from Horyou’s partners to the most active users and organizations.

Associations and social actors can – and should – use the Horyou community at their own benefit, by communicating their projects and actions and sharing each other’s causes. Social media engagement and activity are keys to receive Spotlights from Horyou’s community members and algorithm.

Connect for good with Spotlight!

Contributions from the Horyou Team. Compiled by Vivian Soares.

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