CoreCard® Business Update: CoreCard partners with Al Ansari Exchange to offer multi-currency prepaid card processing in the UAE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CoreCard Software, DMCC. (a subsidiary of Intelligent Systems Corporation [NYSE American: INS]), the leading international provider of innovative prepaid and credit technology solutions and processing services to the financial technology and services market, announced today a partnership with Al Ansari Exchange, the UAE–based foreign exchange and worldwide money transfer company.

Under this partnership CoreCard is providing prepaid card processing services for the Al Ansari Exchange Visa Platinum Multi–currency travel card. This card can be used at any merchant worldwide that accepts Visa and can be loaded with any of seventeen different currencies making it the smartest, safest and most convenient way to travel whilst enjoying a wide range of benefits and exclusive offers.

This deployment also showcases CoreCard's ability to host its processing services in the cloud which allowed reduced deployment times whilst achieving the highest standards of resilience and the ability to easily scale to match a fast–growing business.

Mohammad Bitar, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Al Ansari Exchange, said: "Al Ansari Exchange puts great efforts into providing world–class services to its customers using the most advanced technologies and innovative solutions. We are pleased to collaborate with a modern platform such as CoreCard and integrate their technology into our systems to further enhance our customers' experience when using the Al Ansari Exchange Travel Card."

Lee Blair, General Manager for CoreCard in Dubai said, "This is a great day for the new CoreCard Dubai office. We are thrilled to bring CoreCard's market leading platform and processing capabilities into the region and are proud to be working with Al Ansari Exchange to provide such an exciting product to their customers."

About CoreCard

CoreCard Software, a leading provider of card management systems and processing services, offers an array of account management solutions to support the complex requirements of the evolving global financial services industry. CoreCard software solutions provide the market's most feature–rich and flexible platform for processing and managing a full range of card products including prepaid/stored–value, multi–currency wallets, virtual card issuing, instant financing, small loans, point of sale loans, fleet, credit, debit, commercial, government, healthcare and private–label cards as well as accounts receivable and loans. CoreCard is headquartered in Norcross, GA with additional offices in India, the United Arab Emirates and Romania. CoreCard is a subsidiary of Intelligent Systems Corporation [NYSE AMERICAN: INS].

For more information, email solutions@corecard.com, or visit www.corecard.com

About Al Ansari Exchange

Al Ansari Exchange, a leading exchange company in the UAE with the largest branch network, was founded in 1996. Its first branch started as an offshoot of a flourishing general trading business by the Al Ansari family, established primarily to meet the foreign exchange and remittance needs of the Al Ansari family's trading partners and customers.

The company has expanded to over 190 branches nationwide, making it the largest and most popular exchange company in the UAE today. It employs over 2,500 multilingual staff who serve more than 2.5 million customers every month. It is one of the first exchange houses in the country to have integrated innovation and digital technology into its systems and platforms. Its efforts culminated with the launch of Al Ansari Exchange Mobile App in 2018. Currently, the App is the highest–rated app among the exchange houses in the UAE on Google Play and the Apple Store with over one million downloads to date and more than 200,000 active users monthly.

For more information, please visit www.alansariexchange.com


Zoom Announces $100 Million Zoom Apps Fund

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) today announced the Zoom Apps Fund, a new $100 million venture fund created to stimulate growth of Zoom's ecosystem of Zoom Apps, integrations, developer platform, and hardware. Portfolio companies will receive initial investments between $250,000 and $2.5 million to build solutions that will become core to how Zoom customers meet, communicate, and collaborate. Zoom Apps, announced at Zoomtopia 2020, are leading applications that will bring productivity and engaging experiences directly into the Zoom platform.

Dozens of Zoom Apps are currently in development and are an important component in building the future of video communications. The Zoom Apps Fund will invest in developer partners with viable products and early market traction that will provide valuable and engaging experiences to our customers.

"I founded Zoom in 2011, nearly ten years ago. Without the support of early investors, Zoom would not be what it is today," said Eric S. Yuan, Founder and CEO of Zoom. "What I've learned over the past year is that we need to keep meetings productive and fun. My hope is that the Zoom Apps Fund will help our customers meet happier and collaborate even more seamlessly, and at the same time help entrepreneurs build new businesses as our platform evolves."

To learn more about the Zoom Apps Fund visit zoom.com/fund and read our recent blog post.

About Zoom
Zoom is for you. We help you express ideas, connect to others, and build toward a future limited only by your imagination. Our frictionless communications platform is the only one that started with video as its foundation, and we have set the standard for innovation ever since. That is why we are an intuitive, scalable, and secure choice for individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises alike. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ:ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Visit zoom.com and follow @zoom.

Zoom Press Contact
Colleen Rodriguez
Global PR Lead
press@zoom.us


Challenges with Skill Development Programmes During the Pandemic

Skill development programmes in India had to rethink their models to tackle the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic

Skilling programmes already face issues with the delivery of training and achieving the desired learning outcomes. Moving them online may in fact worsen learning outcomes. | Picture courtesy: Flickr

By External Source
HYDERABAD, Telangana, India, Apr 19 2021 – India’s evolving Technical and Vocational Education and Training ecosystem (TVET) faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the national lockdown, organisations had to remain shut for 7-8 months, until September 2020.

This ecosystem is made up of a range of players, including vocational education providers such as schools and higher education institutions; short-term skill development programmes supported by corporate philanthropy and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC); public and private Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), among many others.

Though internet accessibility has increased from 27 percent to 50 percent in the past five years in India, a majority of the youth who attend skill development programmes have very limited access to smartphones and data connectivity

All of these have faced an uphill task in reaching their customers, ensuring quality delivery of training, and connecting trained youth with jobs. And there have also been many lessons along the way, with different entities experimenting and adapting to the constraints posed by the pandemic.

 

How the pandemic impacted the skill development ecosystem

Delivery of training went online, widening the digital divide

Most skill development programmes in the country follow a classroom-led delivery model. Because of this, many faced huge infrastructure and human resource-related challenges while moving their operating models online overnight.

On the one hand, participants from low-income families didn’t have access to digital infrastructure. On the other, trainers were not equipped enough to deliver virtual training, particularly while doing so from home.

Though internet accessibility has increased from 27 percent to 50 percent in the past five years in India, a majority of the youth who attend skill development programmes have very limited access to smartphones and data connectivity. At Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (DRF), our skilling programmes are primarily designed for unemployed youth from low-income families, with schooling until the 10th or 12th grade.

We have found that prior to the national lockdown being announced last year, 25-30 percent of our students did not own smartphones. The pandemic has widened the digital divide between these students, and those who have access to resources. Reaching them through any kind of online programme was difficult.

 

Few jobs, and the challenges of commuting

Job placements—a key indicator of success for all short-term training programmes—were adversely impacted when the lockdown began to be eased across the country. This was mainly due to a few things.

First, there was a negative impact on the demand-supply chain, which meant there were few job openings.

Sectors such as retail, hospitality, and tourism, for instance, were severely affected and had fewer job openings compared to healthcare, banking and financial services, information technology-enabled services, e-commerce, and logistics.

Second, the fear of getting infected with COVID-19 forced some students and their parents to defer placements.

Third, a lack of transport facilities, especially public transport, which is the preferred mode for a majority of Indians, made commuting to workplaces difficult for even those students who had received a job offer.

When cities started opening up, the local transportation cost (such as shared auto fare) tripled, creating further difficulties for students, especially in entry-level jobs which pay between INR 10,000-15,000. In our programmes, many youth who were in dire need of employment, preferred to join hyperlocal jobs, rather than travelling long distances in the absence of affordable transportation.

 

Funding ran dry

The funding sources for all government-sponsored programmes were largely unavailable during September-October 2020, when the lockdown was extended. This created a lot of stress on small skill development organisations and as a result, they were forced to downsize their project staff.

Many of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) foundations I know of have provided a lot of flexibility to their nonprofit partners to try new approaches, including virtual delivery and extending digital infrastructure support during this time.

This is so they can ensure that the impact of the lockdown on their skilling programmes is minimised.

As we are still in the midst of the pandemic, it seems that re-building the government funding pipeline may take some more time.

The phase one launch of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 3.0 in January 2021 is a welcome change as it will revitalise government-sponsored skilling programmes to some extent. But the pandemic has also created an opportunity for CSR and private foundations, for industry (through apprenticeship programmes), and for employers to play a bigger role in creating a skilled workforce for the country.

 

What’s next? Virtual, blended, or self-learning?

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in self-learning apps and virtually delivered programmes. But maintaining the same quality of training with a digital delivery model is a challenge. There are logistical issues, then there are issues with the trainers’ approach to engaging students digitally, and of course the commitment of participants to learn online.

Skilling programmes already face issues with the delivery of training and achieving the desired learning outcomes. Moving those same solutions online may in fact worsen learning outcomes. Additionally, we saw that during the lockdown, the impact of the training course varied based on the nature of the course that was delivered online.

It is easy to delivery theoretical concepts online, but practical sessions still require classroom support. So, ‘foundational’ courses might see better outcomes than those that teach ‘technical’ skills online. Based on our virtual programme learning, we think there is a huge opportunity to create quality digital training solutions for this segment of youth, with a trainer-assisted programme that can be delivered in a local language.

 

What we did, and what we learnt

Agility, using digital technology more, diversifying our funding portfolio, and investing in a Training of Trainers (ToT) course, helped us survive the crisis as well as create something new.

At DRF, we were able to quickly transition to and manage all key processes of our ‘core employability skills’ training programme online. However, in case of our healthcare skilling programmes it was difficult for trainers to deliver classes online due to the ‘technical’ nature of the courses and the practical elements involved.

We changed our outreach strategy while on-boarding students for virtual classes by clearly explaining to them how a virtual class will be delivered, through videos. We also encouraged students and their parents to arrange for smartphones at least on a temporary basis. We made training available at a discounted fee, which enabled them to buy required data packs to avail of the virtual training.

Investing in a ToT course was very helpful. We trained our trainers to deliver virtual training effectively; we developed short videos on core modules in vernacular languages; we delivered training virtually through Zoom in the first half of the day, and utilised the second half to keep students engaged through WhatsApp.

We also used our learning management system to administer assessments and share videos of core modules that students used for self-learning. Additionally, we held online meetings with parents and conducted extra sessions every Friday, which also contributed to achieving good learning outcomes.

On the funding side, having a diversified funding portfolio helped us to survive. Our long-term CSR partners supported us to manage our ‘core employability skills’ programme online, however, our healthcare skilling programme, which is supported by the government, was completely shut until the end of September.

In a recent study we conducted with the participants who were attending our virtually-delivered training, we found that 40 percent were comfortable attending the programme online (despite being given the option of in-person training).

This insight helped us design a digital delivery model, which has now been tested at scale with more than 10,000 participants. We have been able to do this without deprioritising our classroom-led model, which is still very relevant for a sizeable portion of the youth we work with.

Pranav Kumar Choudhary is the director of operations at Dr. Reddy’s Foundation. 

This story was originally published by India Development Review (IDR)

 

A Growing New Health Crisis Focusing on Emergency Rooms, Medical History & Vaccines

Samah Ghalloussi, one of the entrepreneurs interviewed for the article with a worker of the French Red Cross. Credit: French Red Cross

By Angel Mendoza
PARIS, Apr 19 2021 – This year’s World Health Day on 7 April was an opportunity for three entrepreneurs to share their insights and reflections on a rather complex year due to the health crisis and comment on their experiences developing impactful products and services in this sector.

Emeric Lemaire, co-founder of Arkhn, Samah Ghallousi, CEO of AALIA.tech and Antoine Noel, co-founder and director of Japet, are all either associates of Liberté Living-Lab, (a tech for good innovation space hosting a multi-actor collective) or members of Tekhné, a start-up acceleration programme.

The annual World Health Days help to raise public awareness of a wide range of topics, and thus provide an opportunity to highlight three health issues, whether they concern professionals or the general public: medical data management, inclusion in the health sector, or the challenges of back health.

The health crisis has highlighted the problems of accessing and managing data in the health system. Some of the most striking examples of these problems include the poor management of the number of patients attending emergency rooms, limited access to medical history and therefore the risk factors linked to patients, as well as the recent administration of vaccines.

Emeric Lemaire, co-founder of Arkhn, whose mission is to enable more efficient and ethical access to hospital data, shares some lessons learned during this pandemic.

“Even if the past year has been very hard for our society because of the health crisis, there are some positive realizations for the future of the health system. In particular, some governments have taken measures to increase the resilience of hospitals, including investment in research and in their information systems: this is one of the main missions of the Segur (consultation of French healthcare system stakeholders), ” said Emeric.

According to Emeric, proper data management would help to better control the Covid-19 pandemic. Firstly, because access to medical information is vital for understanding the Covid-19 virus and the development of treatments/vaccines.

Secondly, this would greatly benefit research, which requires rapid data access in order to recruit patients for clinical trials.

Finally, from an organisational point of view, efficient and accessible data management allows for better monitoring of bed distribution and the construction of efficient propagation models.

Credit: French Red Cross & Aalia tech

Despite the pandemic, Arkhn has grown and is now supporting around ten hospitals. The teams are developing a digital platform that facilitates access to all the data collected in health care institutions.

They are deploying a standard data warehouse in each health care institution which is accessible through a universal interface (an API – Application Programming Interface – using the FHIR standard, an international reference for medical IT). This centralises data from existing software, which is difficult to access at present.

Enabling data access in this way has a number of advantages namely for research purposes (setting up cohorts, conducting clinical research), for improving the capacity of care teams and maximising their efficiency (monitoring patients’ progress, rapidly searching for medical information) and also for promoting the shared access of the data by the hospital’s partners (software publishers, pharmaceutical companies, etc.).

This year’s challenges? “To learn the lessons of this health crisis in order to build a health system more efficient for everyone and better able to respond to such pandemics.”

For Samah Ghallousi, Managing Director of AALIA.tech, there remains a major challenge in health care: inclusion. A real public health problem exists, on which AALIA.tech is working, which involves accessibility through language.

During the pandemic in France, an issue transpired whereby a whole population that did not speak French well enough struggled to understand prevention messages and even access health care.

“There are already often basic communication problems between doctors and patients, which means that some patients do not always understand their treatments and how to take them correctly. When a patient does not speak French or does not speak it well, the problem is even more complex.”

“If we are unable to translate messages into their own language, they will be less likely to manage their health correctly, which could lead to their condition becoming more aggravated or even worsened without the proper care and attention.” said Samah

AALIA.tech has therefore launched its product, currently in beta testing, to help emergency services by offering a voice assistant via an application that translates the health professional’s questions into the patient’s native language.

This technology takes into account the medical and cultural context of the patient, and allows for a fine-tuned understanding by not restricting the doctor to a list of questions, and not limiting them to a pre-established artificial language. The assistant has also been developed into an audio version to also help those who cannot read.

Back problems, common among workers, are even more likely to develop among the large number of home-based workers, who are often poorly equipped at home for extended periods of sitting. According to the medical journal The Lancet, an estimated 540 million people worldwide are affected by lower-back pain.

“The annual cost of back pain is more than €1.4 billion each year for the social security system. It is therefore essential to find solutions for people who suffer chronically from back pain as they represent 80% of the expenses. It is also essential to take preventative action to avoid entering this vicious circle,” said Antoine, co-founder and director of Japet.

One of the main themes of the last World Health Day is the “Mobilisation of all public health actors”, especially those who are not necessarily considered. According to Antoine, the mobilisation of companies is essential, as many risk factors are linked to professional activity.

To combat musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), Japet has designed exoskeletons for the labour market. This “Wearable Medicine” is defined as the combination of medical science and modern robotics.

The start-up markets its exoskeletons in France, Germany, South Korea and Hong Kong, and this year Japet intends to multiply its partnerships in Italy, as well as in several Asian and South American countries.

In addition, in the specific context of the epidemic, Japet is one of the many players who have mobilised. In 2020 they joined the French Red Cross accelerator to promote the integration of new occupational health solutions, and in particular to help staff working on the front line against the pandemic.

 


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NeoTX Announces FDA Clearance of IND for Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Naptumomab Estafenatox (NAP), its lead Tumor Targeted Superantigen Candidate

REHOVOT, Israel, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NeoTX Therapeutics (NeoTX), a clinical–stage immuno–oncology company, announced today that it received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Company's Investigational New Drug (IND) application for naptumomab estafenatox (NAP). NeoTX is developing targeted anticancer immunotherapies utilizing its proprietary Tumor Targeted Superantigen (TTS) platform. NAP, the company's lead TTS molecule, binds a genetically engineered bacterial determinant to the tumor surface while simultaneously activating and expanding tumor specific immune cells. NAP has demonstrated preliminary safety and anti–tumor activity in early–stage clinical trials in solid tumors.

"This FDA clearance is an exciting milestone for NeoTX," said Asher Nathan, Ph.D., chief executive officer of NeoTX. "Preclinical and preliminary clinical studies have demonstrated that NAP has potential in combination with other treatment modalities. Non–small cell lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, and we are looking forward to assessing NAP in the clinic in combination with chemotherapy as a potential new treatment option after failure of current standards of care."

The Phase 2a open label trial will evaluate NAP in combination with docetaxel in 35 patients with checkpoint inhibitor pretreated, advanced or metastatic non–small cell lung cancer. The primary endpoint is objective response rate as measured by RECIST 1.1 criteria. The trial will also evaluate safety, duration of response, progression free survival, overall survival, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

About NeoTX
NeoTX is a clinical–stage immuno–oncology company which is developing targeted anticancer immunotherapies utilizing its proprietary Tumor Targeted Superantigen (TTS) platform. TTS binds a genetically engineered bacterial determinant to the tumor surface while simultaneously activating and expanding tumor specific immune cells that are then redirected from the periphery to the tumor to mount an effective response. The company's lead TTS molecule, naptumomab estafenatox (NAP) is currently in clinical development for advanced solid tumors. For more information, please visit www.neotx.com.

Media Contact:
Cait Williamson, Ph.D.
LifeSci Communications
(646) 751–4366
cait@lifescicomms.com


Nyxoah Announces Submission of Draft Registration Statement For Proposed Public Listing in the United States

REGULATED INFORMATION
INSIDE INFORMATION

Nyxoah Announces Submission of Draft Registration Statement For Proposed Public Listing in the United States

Mont–Saint–Guibert, Belgium "" 19 April 2021 "" Nyxoah SA (Euronext Brussels: NYXH) ("Nyxoah" or the "Company"), a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative solutions to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), today announced that it has confidentially submitted a draft Registration Statement on Form F–1 to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) relating to the proposed public offering of its ordinary shares in the United States. The number of ordinary shares to be offered and the price for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. The public offering is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.

This announcement is being made pursuant to, and in accordance with, Rule 135 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. Any offers, solicitations or offers to buy, or any sales of securities, if at all, will be made in accordance with the registration requirements of the Securities Act.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS DEEMED BY THE COMPANY TO CONSTITUTE INSIDE INFORMATION AS STIPULATED UNDER THE EU MARKET ABUSE REGULATION (596/2014).

Contacts:
Nyxoah
Fabian Suarez, Chief Financial Officer
fabian.suarez@nyxoah.com
+32 10 22 24 55

Gilmartin Group
Vivian Cervantes
vivian.cervantes@gilmartinir.com

Attachment


Kenya’s Poor Need Different Lockdown Restrictions to Survive, Scientists Urge

Joseph Lowasa Baraka at his vegetable and fruit kiosk in Nairobi. During Kenya’s coronavirus lockdowns traders opted to stay away from congested market places and prioritised more secure digital platforms. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

Joseph Lowasa Baraka at his vegetable and fruit kiosk in Nairobi. During Kenya’s coronavirus lockdowns traders opted to stay away from congested market places and prioritised more secure digital platforms. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

By Isaiah Esipisu
NAIROBI, Apr 19 2021 – After Joseph Mandu lost his job because of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, he would still wake every morning and leave his home in the City Carton slum in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. But instead of heading to the restaurant he worked at as a pool-table attendant, he would walk around City Carton searching for odd jobs to earn an income so he could pay for the food his family needed to survive.

“I tried to find something to do because my wife could not understand a fact that I was totally not able to provide for the family.

“With schools closed, all our five children were there in our single room and they needed food, water – which can only be bought – and soap, among other things, that were beyond my affordability,” Mandu told IPS, noting that he also owed his landlord Sh2000 ($18) in monthly rent.

Mandu is not alone in the need to provide for his family.

Blanket containment measures imposed by Kenya’s government to control the coronavirus pandemic have denied poor slum dwellers access to sufficient nutritious food and livelihoods, according to early findings from an ongoing evidence-based study to assess the impact of COVID-19 on dietary patterns among households in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

The study noted that urban slum and non-slum households are impacted differently by the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore differentiated policies and solutions are needed to address food security, nutrition and the livelihoods of these two consumer groups.

The researchers, led by scientists from the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), are now calling on the Kenyan government to consider the unique challenges that people living in urban slums face before imposing blanket measures to curb the spread of the disease. 

“Through this study, we have seen that about 90 percent of households in the slums reported dire food insecurity situations, and are not able to eat the kinds of foods they prefer such as indigenous vegetables and animal sourced foods like milk and eggs, which had been more affordable and accessible before the pandemic,” Dr. Christine Chege, the lead researcher on the project, told IPS. The Alliance provides research-based solutions to harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives in a climate crisis.

The study found that more than 40 percent of slum households lack employment and their average monthly household income is $78.

  • Scientists collected primary data from 2,465 households in the Kibera and Mathare slums, as well as from middle-income residents within Nairobi city.
  • Household dietary diversity scores were calculated based on 7-day food consumption recalls.
The City Carton slum in Nairobi, Kenya. An ongoing study by scientists from the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has found that more than 40 percent of slum households lack employment and their average monthly household income is $78. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

The City Carton slum in Nairobi, Kenya. An ongoing study by scientists from the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has found that more than 40 percent of slum households lack employment and their average monthly household income is $78. Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

So far, the government has turned to policies such as curfews, social distancing and closure of eateries, bars, churches to contain the spread of the virus. As of today, Apr. 19, Kenya has reported over 151,000 COVID-19 cases.  

But the current measures to restrict spread of the virus has had a direct negative impact on livelihoods of tens of thousands of urban slum dwellers across the country.

Generally, slum dwellers live in crowded single-roomed, shanties where a number of households share bathrooms, sinks, and water points. There is little or no space for children to play and social distancing is impossible. 

They also do not have personal means of transport and so many have to use crowded public transport, which includes the use of motor bikes that sometimes carry up to three passengers on a single bike.

For these communities sanitisers remain a luxury. And some people use one disposable mask for more than a week — not for protection against COVID-19 infection, but to avoid the wrath of law enforcers who are reportedly using it as an excuse to distort money, particularly from the poor.

One respondent from Kibera slum told researchers that she was on antiretroviral therapy for HIV but she was not able to eat a balanced diet, as advised by her medic.

These are just some of the reasons why slum dwellers, according to the study, need differentiated containment measures that will not completely deny them access to food and livelihoods.

While the findings note that non-slum households may benefit from a decrease or cap on rising food prices to improve their food security and nutrition, for slum dwellers the solution is different and perhaps more complicated.

Researchers instead recommend strategies and interventions to assist slum dwellers in earning an income as a solution, first giving them economic empowerment in order to access nutritious foods.

“Once they are empowered economically, a second intervention would be towards lowering food prices,” said Chege.

According to Joram Kabach of Twiga Foods, a company that currently supplies fresh fruits and vegetables from over 20,800 farmers across this East African nation straight to more than 30,000 small-scale vendors via mobile technology, there is need for the government to partner with the private sector to bridge the gap between food and nutrition security for slum dwellers, and containment measures for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the pandemic period, we observed a sharp increase in our daily turnover from Sh13 million ($18,200) to Sh35 million ($318,200),” said Kabach.

“This means that in line with the government guidelines for social distancing, traders opted to stay away from congested market places and prioritised more secure digital platforms, where orders are made via mobile phones and products delivered at doorsteps with much reduced human interactions,” he told IPS.

In that regard, he observed that the government could cushion slum dwellers by offering them food vouchers, which can be redeemed from structured vendors who belong to structured platforms such as Twiga Foods. The company is also participating in the ongoing study.

Chege said she hoped that the research would influence policy design and implementation to include vulnerable poor consumers in the slums.

  

Kibali Goldmines Rejects SOKIMO Claim

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kibali Goldmines SA (Kibali) said today it had learned that SOKIMO SA was attempting for the second time to extort certain benefits from the company by filing new proceedings with the commercial court in Kinshasa. SOKIMO is a 10% shareholder in the Kibali gold mine which is operated by 45% owner Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:GOLD) (TSX:ABX) with the remaining 45% held by AngloGold Ashanti.

Kibali said SOKIMO had withdrawn its first claim of this kind after it had been shown to be without foundation. Kibali also rejects the current proceedings on the basis that it was similarly spurious and without substance, and would seek its dismissal as it had done with the previous claim.

Kibali has operated for the past 12 years under a joint venture agreement with a clear dispute resolution mechanism which in these instances had been ignored by SOKIMO, the company said.

Enquiries:
President and CEO
Mark Bristow
+1 647 205 7694
+44 788 071 1386
Investor and Media Relations
Kathy du Plessis
+44 20 7557 7738
Email: barrick@dpapr.com
Website: www.barrick.com


Leaders to Gather at Coach Africa’s ‘African Excellence Summit 2021’ to Share Vision for the Future of Africa

KAMPALA, Uganda., April 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Coach Africa is proud to welcome attendees from all corners of the continent for Africa's #1 virtual business summit – African Excellence Summit 2021.

The African Excellence Summit is an initiative of Coach Africa which aims to enhance African excellence by promoting a purpose–first mindset. With over 30 speakers, the summit aims to gather leaders from the public, private and development sectors to drive Africa's transition towards a purpose–first economy anchored on excellence and leadership.

"Africa is going through a period of change," says Dr. Norah Njuba Bwaya (PCC), Founder of Coach Africa Limited and executive coach with over 30 years of working experience. "The time for Africa is now. We're excited to be bringing together entrepreneurs, policy and decision–makers from across the continent to showcase a new vision for the future while demonstrating the significance and value of a purpose–first economy."

The three–day summit provides organizations, coaches and entrepreneurs a platform for discussion around key themes related to Africa's development, including:

  • 22nd of April: Purpose–First: Creating an Africa Where Everyone Wins
  • 23rd of April: The role of coaches/coaching in advancing the leadership cause for African Development
  • 24th of April: How to monetize your genius? The Opportunities for Building your own virtual empire, your message matters!

Registration is still open for the African Excellence Summit 2021, but remaining space is filling up quickly. Visit www.africanexcellencesummit.com to learn more.

About Coach Africa

Coach Africa supports African Excellence by building exceptional leaders: Leaders in different capacities and walks of life who are walking the path of reimagining what can be; leaders who stand for the betterment of their individual growth and collectively as a Continent; and leaders who use their transformational journey to help transform society. Our purpose is to build leaders with the capacity to exponentially inspire others. Leaders that are motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by a conviction and ignited by a purpose. We believe African people both on the Continent and in the diaspora, share not merely a common history, but a common destiny.

Coach Africa … where Excellence is past, present and the future!

For More information, contact: Eileen Walusimbi Oloya
Director Coach Africa Academy eileen@coachafrica.org
www.africanexcellencesummit.com


Colombia Gives Nearly 1 Million Venezuelan Migrants Legal Status and Right to Work

Colombia hosts the highest number of migrants and refugees from Venezuela. Credit: Tomer Urwicz.

By External Source
Apr 16 2021 – Colombia will grant legal status to all Venezuelan migrants who fled there since 2016 to escape their country’s economic collapse and political crisis.

The bold new policy – which will give nearly 1 million undocumented migrants rights to legal employment, health care, education and Colombian banking services for 10 years – is driven by both empathy and pragmatism, says Colombian president Ivan Duque.

“They’ll likely stay for more than a decade,” Duque told NPR on March 3, 2021. “So it’s better to…open them the opportunity to contribute also to the Colombian economy.”

Documenting and absorbing so many migrants – who often arrive on foot, with only a handful of personal belongings and no valid ID – has been a challenge. Even rich countries like the U.S. struggle to handle mass migration

Venezuelan arrivals to Colombia are not confined to refugee camps, so they live scattered across the country. Documenting and absorbing so many migrants – who often arrive on foot, with only a handful of personal belongings and no valid ID – has been a challenge. Even rich countries like the U.S. struggle to handle mass migration.

But in some ways Colombia – itself no stranger to political strife and displacement – is uniquely prepared for this migration crisis.

 

History of conflict

Colombia has received the brunt of the exodus from neighboring Venezuela since 2015.

When many other South American countries closed their borders with Venezuela, Colombia offered a series of two-year permits giving about 700,000 Venezuelans the right to work and access to health care between 2017 and 2020.

Together with the new legalization plan covering 1 million additional migrants, nearly all the roughly 1.7 million Venezuelans who have come to Colombia since 2015 will have some form of legal status. New arrivals who are legally processed in the next two years will also be covered.

Colombia is not wealthy. But Colombians understand better than many what it means to be driven from your home.

Over 8 million of Colombia’s 50 million people have been displaced by ongoing civil conflict since the 1990s. At least 1 million moved into neighboring Venezuela, seeking safety and opportunity. A government peace agreement with the FARC guerrilla group in 2016 quelled but did not end violence in Colombia.

Because of this history, international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and World Food Program have worked in Colombia for decades. Today, the U.N.‘s refugee agency and International Organization for Migration are leading a group of 73 international organizations and agencies to align their work with Colombia’s national humanitarian efforts. The group works in 14 states across Colombia, providing assistance that ranges from distributing COVID-19 hygiene kits to enrolling migrant children in school.

 

Humanitarian networks adapt

The Colombian government also has some 50 agencies dedicated to helping Colombians displaced by armed conflict. Now many are adapting that experience to help Venezuelan migrants.

Since 2019 we have interviewed over a dozen government officials, lawyers and civil society representatives in two Colombian “departments,” or states, that have received high numbers of Venezuelan migrants: Atlántico and Norte de Santander. This work was part of a broader study on how countries manage mass migration.

At the religious charity Secretariado de Pastoral Social-Cáritas, part of the Catholic Archdiocese of the city of Barranquilla, in Atlántico, the longtime director said the migrant situation today looks a lot like it did decades ago when Colombia’s civil conflict peaked in the Atlántico region, with people wandering around, not knowing anyone and not sure what to do or where to go. Then as now, they slept in the parks and on the streets.

“We already lived it in the ’90s,” said the director of Pastoral Social.

Back then, the group helped the Colombians displaced by fighting to find food and shelter. Now many of its clients are Venezuelan.

The nonprofit Opción Legal – an umbrella organization that manages refugee programs for the U.N. – has a similar origin story.

At its start 21 years ago, staffers worked in some of the most difficult conflict regions in Colombia, training the nonprofits that help displaced Colombians in accounting and legal processes, among other technical functions.

Now Opción Legal offers Venezuelan migrants free legal advice about getting Colombian health care and education, among other services. Using a nationwide network of 22 Colombian universities developed over many years, it trains students and professors to extend the reach of its legal support programs to Venezuelan migrants.

 

Troubles ahead

In 2019, nearly 80 million people across the globe – mostly Syrians, Venezuelans, Afghans and South Sudanese – were driven from their homes by crime, climate change, chronic poverty, war, political instability and disaster, according to the U.N. – an all-time high. Many will spend years or decades waiting for a permanent solution, whether that be settling locally, returning home or finding a new country to make a life.

Colombia’s new legalization plan reflects an assessment that Venezuela’s collapse is a long-term challenge and that integrating migrants is a better solution, economically and socially, than trying to keep out or expel them.

Colombia is being internationally applauded for its humanitarianism. But equipping hospitals and schools to handle the needs of this rapidly growing and often very needy population will require a lot of money. And most of it will have to come from the international community, because Colombia does not have the money to do it single-handedly. Yet the Venezuelan migrant crisis is a chronically underfunded area of humanitarian work.

The legalization plan also risks inflaming anti-migrant sentiments in Colombia. Particularly in border areas, some blame rising violence on migration – though evidence shows Venezuelan migrants are more likely to be crime victims than perpetrators.

And Colombia still has domestic migration problems of its own. Dissident FARC members, other guerrilla groups, drug cartels and insurgencies continue to battle over territory and resources, displacing 70,865 more Colombians last year alone.

The Colombian government is betting that the U.N. and international agencies will help it fulfill its ambitious goal of welcoming 1.7 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

If it works, that money would improve government services for all Colombians, too.

Lia Castillo, Liss Romero and Lydia Sa conducted research, documentation and analysis for this story.The Conversation

Erika Frydenlund, Research Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University; Jose J. Padilla, Research Associate Professor, Old Dominion University, and Katherine Palacio, Assistant professor and data analyst, Universidad del Norte

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.