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Commercial partnerships • Africa • Ago 2020

2020 Winners of Fintech Challenge

Ecobank Group announces 2020 Winners of Fintech ChallengeAll 10 finalists were officially inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme to explore commercial partnerships with the pan-African banking giant • Nokwary, Ukheshe and Growth Factor wowed the jury to claim the three prizes on offer on the day; all 10 finalists were officially inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship programme to explore commercial partnerships with the pan-African banking giant

Ecobank Group today announced the winners of its Ecobank Fintech Challenge after an exciting virtual event streamed live from Accra Ghana.

Nokwary Technologies, edged out the rest of the finalists to emerge winner of the competition. The first and second runner up spots were taken by Ukheshe Payment and Solutions Growth Factor Technologies respectively. The 1st to 3rd place winners will receive cash prizes worth US$10,0000, $7,000 and US$5,000 respectively.

Nokwary, from Ghana, is a fintech that uses AI to promote financial inclusion. Its AI Powered banking solution offers an opportunity for users to carry out transactions in a language to which they are familiar to using popular social media channels like Whatsapp.

South Africa based Ukheshe, which came in second, provides a bridge between the card and the cash economy. It has created the world's first card acceptance platform that allows unbanked merchants/traders to accept and make digital payments.

In third place, Growth Factor is a fintech company that provides trade financing solutions designed for Micro-Small/Medium Entities (MSMEs) in order to encourage financial inclusion and growth. Its Nvoicia solution solves cash flow issues caused by delayed payments for SMEs, by enabling them to get paid in 24hrs when dealing with credit clients.

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO congratulated the winners for their innovation and welcomed all the 2020 fellows: "The quality of the products and pitches we saw in the final this year were amazing. Clearly it is evident that Banking in Africa is moving onto a new dimension with these Fintechs leading the way. That is why we are so proud to have had them in this year's competition and are excited to engage further with them over the next year. It is our expectation that we will build a few lasting partnerships which will help improve the lives of Africans all over the continent."

Dennis Asamoah Owusu, CEO and Cofounder of Nokwary Technologies commented on his victory: "I was beyond excited. Our company is rather young and to be recognized like this on such a stage was really exciting as well as a validation for our focus on creating inclusive technology right from the start. It is also very encouraging to note that a major bank like Ecobank places such a premium on inclusion and is willing to back and promote innovative and cutting-edge technologies towards that purpose. We are looking to work together with Ecobank to bring an AI-first digital banking platform over WhatsApp, as well as other innovative solutions to Ecobank's customers."

This year's Finalists made it through an extremely competitive pool of over 600 applicants across Africa, Europe, North America and Asia. All ten (10) finalists have officially been inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship, a one-year program which will give them the opportunity to explore opportunities for commercial partnerships with the Ecobank Group, and to possibly launch and scale products across Ecobank's 33 country markets in the continent. • 8/20

Services • Chat Desk • Ago 2020

Shaking up the growing Call Center industry

Chat Desk is a digital contact center solution that helps agents resolve customer queries and obtain customer insights in real-time using chat channels for live agent support • The solution addresses the growing consumer demand for easy and personal experiences by transforming the traditional call center with one simple integration. 

For decades, businesses have spent significant resources on the call center experience – generating 265 billion customer service calls each year – and most of this investment does not create desired outcomes for businesses or consumers. It's cost prohibitive and doesn't provide customers with the experience they expect," said Jeppe Dorff, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Clickatell. "Chat Desk addresses some of the biggest customer experience challenges today. It enables consumers to communicate on the chat channels they are most comfortable using, while enabling organizations to easily integrate chat to deliver the very best customer experience and not break the bank."

A complete end-to-end chat solution, Clickatell's Chat Desk enables live agents and their supervisors to communicate with customers over popular chat platforms such as WhatsApp, tracking tickets and chat histories. 

"Our clients connect with each other all day, every day with instant messages," said Shaun Kotwal, Head of Standard Bank Wealth and Investment, South Africa. "By providing Clickatell's dedicated Chat Desk, we can deliver a service that is more personalized than ever before – right where our clients are already communicating. A service that is not only simple, but also secure." 

By integrating chat channels within Chat Desk, businesses lower the demand on costly, traditional voice channels and enable agents to resolve multiple chat requests simultaneously, lowering the cost per resolution and increasing customer satisfaction, Dorff explained.

Chat Desk's real-time reporting and analytics provides agents with the ability to view customer sentiment and insights, and access customers' outstanding and historical tickets. With these features, agents efficiently manage customer escalations by easily transferring inquiries to correct departments or specialized agents.  

"Studies have shown that just three percent of customers enjoy using IVR (interactive voice response), yet 80 percent of interactions can be resolved by automation and engagement," added Dorff. "Chat Desk addresses this divide with a solution designed to delight customers and build brand loyalty."

Additional key benefits of Chat Desk are its capabilities for supervisors. Chat Desk empowers supervisors to effectively manage agents by monitoring their activities, performance, productivity, and workload in real-time. Through Clickatell's Flow,a visual workflow editor, agents can also identify the most frequent queries and where resources like interactive FAQs and other self-service options are sufficient. Chat Desk is cloud-based for fast deployments and instant updates, significantly lowering the risk for organizations. • 8/20

 


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Energy • AI + 5G • Ago 2020

Reshaping Oil and Gas Industry through Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and 5G

Undoubtedly, the oil and gas industry has entered an extremely difficult period and is witnessing changes, the likes of which have not been seen for over a century • Huawei drives the intelligent transformation of the sector

Last month the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020 — exploring 'Data to Barrel' — was successfully hosted online. The summit gathered together global customers, industry partners, and thought leaders — including representatives from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Schlumberger SIS, and the former Chief Information Officer (CIO) of French giant TOTAL — to share their experiences of helping oil and gas companies increase profits while cutting costs, creating added value through digital transformation. Key suggestions on how the industry can overcome challenges at this particular point in time, adapting to the new normal of the pandemic and post-pandemic periods, were also fully explored.

The Oil and Gas Industry Faces Upheaval: Huawei is Positioned to Help

In the first half of 2020, due to the global economic downturn amid the spread of COVID-19, international oil prices fell to a low of 30 dollars per barrel. In May, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures prices even turned negative, a historically unprecedented event. Undoubtedly, the oil and gas industry has entered an extremely difficult period and is witnessing changes, the likes of which have not been seen for over a century.

Huawei has been working hard to help oil and gas customers cope with these current challenges. David Sun, Vice President of Huawei's Enterprise Business Group and Director of the Global Energy Business Department, noted that, over the past decade, Huawei has partnered with customers in the oil and gas industry and together witnessed oil prices peak at 120 dollars per barrel, as well as fall to that low of 30 dollars. Along the way, Huawei's role has changed — and upgraded — with the support and help of oil and gas companies. Evolving from a vendor that simply provided switches, routers, and network devices, to becoming a full partner dedicated to providing digital transformation solutions, Huawei works with partners and customers alike to jointly promote the application of 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and big data in the oil and gas industry. It continues to explore new technologies and applications, where solutions to the current challenges lie.

Indeed, using elastic computing, big data analytics, AI, and cloud data centers, Huawei has already helped oil and gas customers achieve digital transformation, promoting the construction of intelligent oilfields and increasing oil and gas reserves.

Working with partners, Huawei planned and built a computing AI platform for an industry customer, to implement AI training and big data analytics. This has, in turn, led to an increase in both oil and gas reserves and in production. Indeed, solutions have been implemented in various scenarios, including artificial-lift fault diagnosis, well-logging and reservoir identification, and seismic first arrival wave identification, extracting significant value from underutilized — formerly 'useless' — data.

In the words of Dr. Mohamed Akoum from ADNOC: In an era of change for industries around the world, ADNOC continues to drive innovation and embed advanced technologies across its value chain to optimize performance, boost profitability and build resilience.

New ICT Technologies Reshape the Oil and Gas Industry: Huawei Offers a Wealth of Experience

Today, 150 years after the first successful extraction of oil from a drilled well, accessible underground oil resources have been all but exhausted. Oil companies, by necessity, are therefore now exploring deep-water, pre-salt, and unconventional reservoirs.

At 60 years old, Daqing Oilfield — the largest oilfield in China, situated in Heilongjiang, the country's northernmost province — has faced enormous challenges in terms of reserve replacement, stable production pressure, cost reductions, and efficiency improvements.

At the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020, Zhang Tiegang, former Deputy Chief Engineer of the Exploration and Development Research Institute at Daqing Oilfield, explained that seismic exploration technologies to detect oil and gas reserves have been the method of choice for most oil companies. Increasing seismic exploration while decreasing well drilling, he noted, has become a new measure widely used in the industry. However, high precision and massive data processing have brought their own challenges to seismic exploration and oilfield exploration and development. With a single seismic exploration work area now expanded to over 2000 square kilometers, the volume of data collected through the broadband, wide-azimuth, and high-density seismic data collection technology has exceeded 1 TB per square kilometer.

To help Daqing Oilfield address these issues, Huawei built a dedicated oil and gas exploration cloud. The cloud data center improves computing power by eight times and has similarly improved prestack seismic data processing capability by five times, from 400 square kilometers to 2000 square kilometers, matching work area requirements. Elsewhere, AI and big data capabilities have been used to re-analyze 10 PB of the customer's historical exploration data, to mine new value from it and support extraction decision-making, bringing huge additional value to the oilfield.

Huawei is empowering a wide range of industries through 5G networking. In the oil and gas industry, 5G technologies are changing the operation modes of seismic data collection. Huawei has put 5G network features to work — including high bandwidth, wide connectivity, and low latency — to help achieve high-speed backhaul of seismic data, reducing the manual cabling workload and significantly improving the efficiency of seismic data collection.

Elsewhere, Huawei 5G networks are already being used in oilfields and stations to support robot inspection, drone inspection, and Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications.

Additionally, the Huawei Horizon Digital Platform helps oil and gas customers break down legacy siloed service systems and quickly release service applications as micro-services, to meet the complex and changing needs of the industry. For example, Huawei has deployed an enterprise cloud for SONATRACH, the national state-owned oil company of Algeria. The cloud-based solution manages and coordinates multiple data centers, eliminates resource silos, and greatly improves overall operation efficiency.

As a global ICT solutions provider, Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every oil and gas company. At the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020, Wang Hao, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Oil & Gas Development Department for Huawei's Enterprise Business Group, said that Huawei will use ICT as a new engine to work even more closely with industry customers in challenging times. Indeed, Huawei is already working with 19 of the top 30 oil and gas companies, in 45 countries and regions around the world, helping them achieve digital transformation. Ultimately, this will bring more benefits to the upstream, more security to the midstream, and more value to the downstream.

Such innovative ICT technologies — AI, cloud, edge computing, and 5G — will reshape the oil and gas industry. As David Sun concluded at the Huawei Oil & Gas Virtual Summit 2020: "According to IDC's latest survey, Chinese industrial users see Huawei as the digital transformation leader, ranking number one. In the future, we hope to share Huawei's digital transformation capabilities and experiences in China's oil and gas industry with global customers, to help achieve ever greater business success." • 8/20




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