Elo Partners with FreedomPay to Transform the Digital In-Store Experience

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FreedomPay, the global leader in Next Level Commerce, and Elo, a leading global provider of interactive solutions and interactive display solutions, announce the integration of Elo's M60 Pay handheld computer with FreedomPay's secure commerce technology.

Built to accept today's popular payment and loyalty cards, the M60 Pay has a built–in EMV, magnetic stripe reader and NFC for cards with either chips or strips and digital contactless payments. The Android –based M60 Pay computer can transform from a mobile to a fixed POS solution with the optional docking station, expansion module and Elo touchscreen monitor.

Together, FreedomPay and Elo are reinventing the digital in–store experience by uniting Elo's innovative and interactive solutions with FreedomPay's industry–leading commerce technology platform to create a secure, frictionless, unified shopping experience for global consumers while supporting merchants with robust loyalty and data analytics capabilities.

"The M60 Pay makes decentralizing the checkout process and taking payments anywhere easy," said Craig Witsoe, CEO at Elo. "The partnership with FreedomPay will bring enhanced functionality and security to create a more personalized experience for consumers."

FreedomPay's Next Level Commerce platform offers many benefits to merchants and their customers, including:

  • The ability to unify commerce across properties, channels, and regions within a single open, fully agnostic, flexible platform;
  • A touchless ecosystem that supports contactless payments, QR technology, Apple Pay, and Google Pay; and
  • A fully integrated end–to–end solution enabling secure payments, identity–as–a–service, loyalty, and business intelligence.

"Consumers are looking continually for new payment functionality and greater customization when it comes to payments. The partnership with Elo will give customers secure and seamless checkout experience expected with FreedomPay coupled with the innovative and modular designed solutions from Elo," said Tom Durovsik, Founder & CEO of FreedomPay.

To learn more about the solution, visit FreedomPay at NRF booth #4250 or Elo at NRF booth #5803 to request a demo.

About FreedomPay
FreedomPay's Next Level Commerce platform transforms existing payment systems and processes from legacy to leading edge. As the premier choice for many of the largest companies across the globe in retail, hospitality, lodging, gaming, sports and entertainment, foodservice, education, healthcare and financial services, FreedomPay's technology has been purposely built to deliver rock–solid performance in the highly complex environment of global commerce. The company maintains a world–class security environment and was first to earn the coveted validation by the PCI Security Standards Council against Point–to–Point Encryption (P2PE/EMV) standard in North America. FreedomPay's robust solutions across payments, security, identity, and data analytics are available in–store, online and on–mobile and are supported by rapid API adoption. The award–winning FreedomPay Commerce Platform operates on a single, unified technology stack across multiple continents allowing enterprises to deliver an innovative Next Level experience on a global scale. www.freedompay.com

About Elo
As a leading global supplier of interactive solutions, #EloIsEverywhere. To date, Elo has deployed more than 25 million installations in over 80 countries. A new Elo touchscreen is installed every 21 seconds, on average, somewhere in the world. Built on a unified architecture, Elo's broad portfolio allows its customers to easily Choose, Configure and Connect & Control to create a unique experience. Choose from all–in–one systems, open–frame monitors and touchscreen monitors ranging from 7 to 65 inches. Configure with Elo's unique Elo Edge Connect peripherals that allow use–specific solutions. Connect & Control with EloView , a secure, cloud–based platform for Android–powered devices. EloView enables secure deployment and management of a large network of interactive systems designed to reduce operating costs while increasing up–time and security.

Consumers can find Elo touchscreen solutions in self–service kiosks, point–of–sale terminals, interactive signage, gaming machines, hospitality systems, point–of–care displays and transportation applications, to name a few. Learn more at EloTouch.com.


Jennifer Tayebi
Hill+Knowlton Strategies for FreedomPay
+1 734 395 0780

GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8730050)

Demography Doesn’t Care

The median ages of populations are expected to continue rising over the coming decades. East Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China. Credit: Shutterstock.

By Joseph Chamie
PORTLAND, USA, Jan 16 2023 – Demography doesn’t care about such things as national strikes over pension retirement ages, public protests about contraception and abortion rights, sexual orientation, habits and preferences, political ideology and party affiliation, dress codes and head coverings, and religious identity, beliefs and practices.

Demography is basically about the mathematics of human populations, i.e., births, deaths, migrations, ageing, morbidity, sex ratios, mobility, size, change, growth, distribution, density, structure, composition, life expectancies, biological, social and economic characteristics, etc.

Demography is relatively straightforward, visible and equitable. For example, in every human population a person is born an infant at age zero, ages one year every twelve months, and eventually over time faces death, too often earlier rather than later unfortunately.

Between birth and death, a wide variety of demographic phenomena or transitions typically occur in human populations. Among them are surviving infancy and childhood, passing through puberty, finding a mate, having offspring, migrating to another place, falling ill or becoming disabled, and experiencing ageing.

Over the many centuries of human history, the interactions of those various demographic phenomena and transitions have resulted in today’s world population of 8,000,000,000. That extraordinary number of human beings now inhabiting planet Earth is due in large part to the record-breaking rapid growth of world population during the 20th century.

World population reached the one billion milestone at the start of the 19th century in 1804. The 20th century then ushered in what turned out to be the century of rapid demographic growth. World population nearly quadrupled from 1.6 billion at the start of the 20th century to 6.1 billion by the century’s close (Figure 1).


Source: United Nations.


In addition to that unprecedented rapid demographic growth, the world’s annual rate of population growth peaked at 2.3 percent in 1963. Also, by 1990 the world’s annual population increase reached a record high of 93 million.

The unprecedented growth of world population that took place during the 20th century was simply the result of births greatly outnumbering deaths with mortality rates dropping rapidly, especially during the second half of the past century.

The world’s fertility rate in the 1960s, for example, was about five births per woman and births outnumbered deaths by nearly three to one in the 1980s. Life expectancy at birth increased dramatically, increasing from about 45 years in the middle of the 20th century to about 65 years by the end of the century.

The current demographic situation for the world is different from the exceptional rates, levels and changes of the past century. For example, the growth rate of world population in 2021 was about 0.8 percent, or nearly one-third the peak level in 1963.

In addition, the annual increase of world population in 2021 was about 68 million, or about three-fourths the level in 1990. Also, the median age of the world’s population, which was about 20 years in 1970, has increased by 50 percent, reaching 30 years in 2022.

The world’s fertility rate is now about 2.3 births per woman, or about half the level 60 years ago. In addition, approximately 100 countries have a total fertility rate below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman.

Furthermore, the fertility rates of some thirty countries in 2021 were less than 1.5 births per woman. Several of those countries had fertility rates that were approximately half or less than the replacement level, including China at 1.16, Singapore at 1.12 and South Korea at 0.81 (Chart 1).


Source: United Nations.


As a result of below replacement fertility rates, the current populations of some 60 countries are expected to be smaller by 2070. The total population decline of those countries over the next 50 years is projected to be more than a half a billion. Among the countries with the largest declines in their populations are China (-340 million), Japan (-35 million), Russia (-22 million), South Korea (-16 million) and Italy (-15 million).

In addition, many countries are expected to experience substantial declines in the relative size of their populations. Many of those countries are projected to have population declines of 10 percent or more over the coming four decades. For example, the relative decline in population size is expected to be 22 percent for Japan, 21 percent for South Korea and 18 percent for Italy (Figure 2).


Source: United Nations.


At the other extreme, the populations of two dozen countries, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the world’s population, are expected to more than double by 2060. Those projected population increases by 2060 include 106 percent in Afghanistan, 109 percent in Sudan, 113 percent in Uganda, 136 percent in Tanzania, 142 percent in Angola, 147 percent in Somalia, 167 percent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and 227 percent in Niger (Figure 3).


Source: United Nations.


In addition to the projected decline and growth of national populations, the age structures of countries worldwide are expected to become substantially older. Many countries have attained median ages in 2020 above 40 years, such as France at 41 years, South Korea at 43 years, Italy at 46 years and Japan at 48 years.

The median age for the world is expected to increase from 30 years today to close to 40 years by 2070. In some countries, including China, Italy, Japan and South Korea, the median ages of their populations by 2070 are projected to be 55 years or older

The median ages of populations are expected to continue rising over the coming decades. The median age for the world, for example, is expected to increase from 30 years today to close to 40 years by 2070. In some countries, including China, Italy, Japan and South Korea, the median ages of their populations by 2070 are projected to be 55 years or older.

Demographic ageing in the 21st century constitutes a major challenge for societies and economies. The consequences of the demographic realities of older population age structures and increasing human longevity are likely unavoidable.

In particular, the ageing of populations is contributing to strains on fiscal revenues and spending on pensions and healthcare for the elderly. Despite the ageing of populations and increases in human longevity, official retirement ages for government pension benefits have remained largely unchanged at comparatively low ages.

In France, for example, the official pension retirement age is 62 years, which is well below the retirement ages of many other developed countries. Despite criticisms, protests and a scheduled national strike from worker unions and leftist opponents, the French government has unveiled a pension overhaul that proposes gradually raise the retirement age to 64 years by 2030.

Also, a mounting crisis for a growing number of countries worldwide is illegal immigration. Neither governments nor international agencies have been able to come up with sensible policies and effective programs to address the mounting illegal immigration crisis.

A major factor behind the rise of illegal immigration is the large and growing supply of men, women and children in sending countries who want to migrate to another country and by any means possible, including illegal immigration. The number of people in the world wanting to migrate to another country is estimated at nearly 1.2 billion.

In conclusion, too often many choose to ignore, deny or dismiss today’s demographic realities, such as population growth and decline, demographic aging, declining fertility, rising life expectancy and increasing illegal immigration.

Rather than acknowledging, addressing and adjusting to the challenging consequences of the demographic realities of the 21st century, many are turning to protests, strikes, demonstrations, and balderdash. Demography, however, simply doesn’t care about such things.


Joseph Chamie is a consulting demographer, a former director of the United Nations Population Division and author of numerous publications on population issues, including his recent book, “Births, Deaths, Migrations and Other Important Population Matters.”


African Journalists: More Training & Resources will Boost Climate Change Coverage

Environment reporting is expenseiv; it needs a lot of traveling and risk-taking. Journalists reporting at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last year. Credit: Africa Renewal

By Kingsley Ighobor
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 16 2023 – At the end of a five-minute newscast from a makeshift studio in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the venue of COP27, Cotonou-based journalist Ghyslaine Florida Zossoungbo was able to provide real-time information to her compatriots back home in the Republic of Benin.

Zossoungbo reports for Benin ODD Television, an online platform dedicated to promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in her country.

On this day, she had found a small corner in one of the pavilions at COP27 sat on a high stool behind a laptop while a camera perched on a tripod a few feet away.

At the conference, Zossoungbo and other journalists, even those from big established media institutions such as CNN or bloggers clutching an iPhone but with a large social media following, ran briskly after celebrities and world leaders or just about anyone who had anything significant to say about climate change.

And at the end of each day, they immediately churned out climate change content to audiences globally.

Kingsley Ighobor

Yet, despite Zossoungbo’s best effort to report on the climate crisis, buoyed by new public information technology, she says climate change reporting in her country—perhaps also in rest of Africa— is fraught with challenges.

“We are the only media institution that regularly reports on the climate crisis because we are focused on SDGs,” Zossoungbo says. “Other media concentrate on politics and other issues.”

She adds: “People can see that there is something happening to the weather because of the floods and drought, but they don’t yet understand what it is in its full context. So we keep talking and talking about it.”

In Cameroon, explains Killian Chimton Ngala, a journalist with multiple accreditations, “Climate change doesn’t often make the front pages of newspapers or lead in television or radio news.”

Reporting context

Ngala’s experience is that “Climate reporting often lacks context. When journalists report on flooding, for example, they don’t necessarily link it to climate change. They usually focus on the event and the impact.”

Without a perspective, climate change reporting becomes a complex concept for many, particularly the grassroots population.

Ngala provides an example of such reporting: “Not long ago, fighting broke out in communities in Cameroon’s far North Region, between Choa-Arab cattle herders and Mousgoum farmers, over dwindling water resources.

Many people died in the conflict, and a top government official decided to visit the area.

“Do you know how journalists reported the story?” Ngala asks rhetorically. “They all reported that the minister had admonished the communities and asked them to be peaceful.

“Yet, when you look at it, why were the communities fighting? It’s because the village stream was drying up, and community dwellers and cattle herders had to fight for the limited water, a consequence of changing weather patterns.

“If you ask many people in Africa why their lake is drying up or why they are experiencing frequent droughts, some will not even know, let alone advocate for solutions.

“Take the drying up of Lake Chad, which is forcing herders in northern Nigeria and Cameroon to migrate down south. The farmers in the south believe the herders are coming to take over their lands. The resulting fight has claimed many lives,” he laments.

Why then is the media not robustly telling the climate story as it should be?

Need for training

Ngala blames it on lack of resources and training.

“Environment reporting is expensive; it needs a lot of traveling and risk-taking. It does not come cheap. Many media organisations in Africa find it unaffordable. For instance, they cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars to sponsor reporters to cover COP27,” says Ngala.

There are very few trained environment reporters in newsrooms, he says. As a result, climate change reporting does not yet receive the attention it deserves.

“Media managers would rather send reporters to cover politics, which drive sales, than to report on issues related to the environment, unless it is a major disaster. They would rather send reporters to cover our President’s trip to Addis Ababa than to COP27,” she says.

External sponsors

Ngala was one of several African journalists sponsored to cover COP27 by climate-focused organisations particularly in Europe and North America.

For example, the Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP) fellowship programme, an Earth Journalism Network (EJN) project managed by Internews and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, brought Ngala and five other African journalists to Sharm El Sheikh to cover COP27.

They were among 20 journalists (out of over 500 who applied) from low and middle-income countries sponsored under the fellowship.

The fellowship package comes with training on “quality reporting on developments at COP27,” according to an EJN announcement, adding that Africa accounts for 2-3 per cent of global emissions but bears the brunt of the climate crisis. Therefore, African journalists must continue to report on the impact of the crisis and hold governments accountable.

“It was a rigorous application process,” says Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbeh of the Liberia-based Power FM and Television, also a fellow.

“But for the fellowship, I would not be here [COP27]. I applied for the fellowship because coming here for two weeks would have cost thousands of dollars, which my organization may not afford.”

Climate content

The symbiotic relationship between media content producers and content consumers is complex.

The perceived interest of the audience may influence content production even as the agenda-setting role of the media involves guiding audiences to focus on particular issues.

It leads to the point that African journalists have not yet effectively linked climate change issues to citizens’ socioeconomic well-being.

“That’s the point,” retorts Ngala. “Journalists report on the environment in isolation of other economic development sectors. You can see why, in many countries, the economic affairs ministries do not consider the climate crisis a part of their portfolio. It is often the preserve of underfunded environment ministries.”

“There is a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the climate crisis,” explains Mwika Bennet Simbeye, acting Managing Editor of the Times of Zambia.

“Journalists tend to instinctively focus on day-to-day problems—all the political drama and bread and butter issues,” says Simbeye.

Agreeing that training and increased financing resources will boost climate reporting, Paul Omorogbe, the Chief Correspondent of the Tribune of Nigeria, is optimistic.

“I believe the situation is gradually changing. In Nigeria, climate crisis reporting is slowly but steadily gaining prominence in the media. We are getting there.”

Source: Africa Renewal, United Nations

IPS UN Bureau


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Africa’s Vast Arable Land Underutilized for Both Cash and Food Crops

A new conversation is needed about food production in Africa. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

A new conversation is needed about food production in Africa. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

By Joyce Chimbi
NAIROBI, Jan 16 2023 – Concerns are rife that while Africa is growing more crops, these are not for food and that on the current trajectory, present food import costs into Africa, now estimated at 55 billion US dollars a year, could double by 2030.

Three crop species-maize, wheat and rice meet an estimated 50 percent of the global requirements for proteins and calories, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Yet despite Africa’s expensive agricultural sector, the continent’s maize, rice, and wheat account for 7, 5, and 4 percent of the world’s production, respectively. But experts say pitting food crops against cash crops is not the right conversation to have.

“The most productive conversation should be firmly centered on how to support farmers to produce more food for everyone and to export even more as this will improve the farmer’s quality of life and get themselves out of poverty,” says Hafez Ghanem, former regional Vice President of the World Bank Group and a current nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution.

He tells IPS the mistake many countries made after independence was to try to ensure cheap food for people in the cities by keeping farmgate prices low and by trying to coerce farmers into producing certain food crops. The result was that the farmer became poor. If the farmer is poor, they cannot produce, and in the long run, everybody becomes poor and hungry.

“No country can produce all the foods that it needs. We will have to export some and produce some. If we start increasing yields for cereals, for instance, through increased use of quality seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation, farmers can produce more food crops without interfering with cash crops production, and the farmer will be richer.”

According to the Africa Agriculture Status Report 2022, “for Africa, accelerating the transformation of our food systems is more vital than ever. Africa has a few other incentives for transforming its food system; with one of the most degraded agricultural soils in the world and increasing droughts, Africa will face significant exposure to water-related climate risks in the future.

At least 90 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural population depends on agriculture as its primary source of income. More than 95 percent of agriculture is reliant on rainfall, according to the report.

The report finds that the consequences of unpredictable rainfall, rising temperatures, extreme drought, and low soil carbon will further lower crop yields exposing Africa’s poorest communities to increasingly intense climate- and water-related hazards with disastrous results.

Ghanem does not believe that the issue of food security in Africa is a consequence of producing too many cash crops. The real issue, he says, is two-fold.

“The first part of the issue is that, in general, the productivity of land under cultivation for both cash and food crops is low. We need to increase land yields for both cash and food crops. The solution, I do not believe, is to stop exporting cash crops to produce more food,” he explains.

The second part of the issue, he says, is the challenge presented by climate change, and “we need to do much more to make agriculture more resilient to climate change.”

He says that concerns that there is the prioritization of cash crops over food crops are misplaced, “think about the profile of farmers in Africa. We are talking about very smallholder farmers. In countries such as Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, farmers are making much more profits producing cocoa or coffee than producing rice, for example.“We cannot ask our farmers to produce crops that are lower yielding and therefore less profitable.”

Any solution that we propose for food security, he cautions, has to bear in mind that the most food insecure and poorest people in Africa are in the rural areas.

Against this backdrop, experts such as Ghanem see no conflict between the production of food and cash crops, saying that Africa has vast lands to produce both. Outside of countries such as Egypt and other countries in North Africa, he says the rest of the continent has vast and available arable land.

Data by FAO shows Africa is home to an estimated 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. Ghanem, therefore, says the solution is to facilitate farmers to irrigate their lands and access high-quality seeds and fertilizer.

Africa needs about $40 to $70 billion in investment from the public sector and another $80 billion from the private sector annually to sustain food production on the continent, according to Africa Agriculture Status Report.

Ghanem says investing in technology that can produce critical inputs such as fertilizer and climate-resilient high-quality seeds will prove highly productive in the future.

Take, for instance, fertilizer which is expensive because it is imported. He lauds the establishment of some of the world’s largest fertilizer-producing companies in Nigeria and Morocco, calling for such investments in other parts of the continent.

Ghanem says subsidies for farm inputs such as fertilizer are not the solution and that producing inputs that farmers need in-country or at least on the continent will set the agricultural sector on a resilience path to greater productivity, enough food for all, and profitability.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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