Tag Archives: Africa

AgroDiaspora relaunched

Three years ago, we proposed the AgroDiaspora project to the French Quai d’Orsay “Africa Forum, 100 innovations for sustainable development”, in partnership with African SAP specialist STATIM. It wasn’t accepted, probably because it wasn’t enough ‘grassrooted‘. We did a very similar project though for Lithuania Institute of BioTech, which was a success. We helped grow a network of connected Lithuanian life scientists and biotech experts around the World.

It may also have inspired Romania’s namesake AgroDiaspora initiative :

The Romanians who work in this area abroad can contribute not only through investments, but also through their experience and working methods acquired – they need to be well-informed about the opportunities existing in Romania.

#ThinkLandscape is taking place today at COP22, and the question of financing sustainable development in Africa is the tough nut to crack.

African farmers need access to finance and sustainable development. Could Africa’s Diasporas -with their funding and expertise- be part of the solution ?

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of sociolinguistics software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.
Reach us at: contact@namsor.com

About FDI Magnet

FDI Magnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services.
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Diaspora investing for sustainability?

Picture credits: UNCTAD.

The UNCTAD World Investment Forum is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya – gathering about 6000 trade and investment professionals from both private and public sectors.

For many countries, diaspora and expatriate networks are essential. This is not just the case for developing countries. Did you know that France, for example, is a top-5 recipient of remittances (with India, China, Philippines, Mexico) ? France receives more money transfers from its expatriates and migrants, than its total outflow of remittances plus its international aid for Africa together. Remittances have become as essential to the French State budget as they are for many countries of the South.

However, for developing countries, the diaspora is not just essential but often vital: remittances fuel consumption, but also contribute to education and health. What about productive investments and funding for infrastructure projects ? What about startups financing ?

We’ve asked #WIF2016 #UNCTAD14 participants on Twitter their view on how best  diasporas could invest in their home country to contribute to sustainable development goals (SDGs). Those are the results:

2016_FDIMagnet_UNCTAD14

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) comes first.

How easy is it for a country to attract Foreign Direct Investment from (or via) its diaspora? Well, it’s not easy.

But we’ve thought it through and made it easier for Investment Promotion Agencies to reach out to their diaspora and expatriate networks.We use the ‘big data’ to map international business networks and we design targeted approach to diaspora engagement (by geography, by sector), combining real world events and digital communication.

Please, inquire if you think this could useful for your country, your region or your city.

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of sociolinguistics software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.
Reach us at: contact@namsor.com

About FDI Magnet

FDI Magnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services.
Follow @FDIMagnet, join the LinkedIn group

 

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#GlobalDiasporaDay – looking back at EMM4Dublin and JNDA2016

Today 23rd of June is #GlobalDiasporaDay.

If you follow the link above, you will reach a collection of 14 diaspora conversations, featuring our contribution at EMM4Dublin – the conference organized by ICMPD which took place in Dublin in May, in collaboration with the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DiasporaMatters. This is a short summary of our contribution (in English).

Just before, in Bordeaux, took place the Journées Nationales des Diasporas Africaines. This is a short video of our contribution at JNDA2016 (in French).

Both conferences were amazing events offering opportunities to share best practices on Diaspora engagement. In Bordeaux, as well as in Dublin, we could hear practical stories on the benefits of Diasporas for economic development of the home and host countries.

About NamSor

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of Name Recognition Software (NamSor sorts names). NamSor mission is to help understand international flows of money, ideas and people.
Reach us at: contact@namsor.com

About FDI Magnet

FDI Magnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services.
Follow @FDIMagnet, join the LinkedIn group

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After BusinessFrance, France launches AfricaFrance

France took the bold step of naming yet an other international business initiative with an English name: AfricaFrance.

It doesn’t mean France is about to ditch the Francophonie, but it could mean that it takes a pragmatic approach to English language being the language for business. It could also indicate that France business community, represented by MEDEF International, will be more proactive to invest beyond Françafrique in English-speaking African countries currently driving growth in Africa. The project takes the form of a foundation, AfricaFrance, headed by Lionel ZINSOU and endorsed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fernand Braudel, in his book a Grammar of Civilizations, mentioned the “linguistic joke played on Black Africa by the colonization: instead of gaining one international common language, it got two”. The map below, prepared using NamSor technology from a large database of company directors in Africa, shows that the linguistic divide is also very current in business and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

2015_FDIMagnet_AfricaFranceA challenge for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be to promote this new brand on traditional and social media, as currently searching for AfricaFrance on Google returns totally orthogonal results, compared to the message the Quai d’Orsay would like to convey.

AfricaFrance was launched this morning very much as a ‘top-down’ approach, when the United-States and the United-Kingdom have built successful bottom-up approaches in recent years, directed towards the local elites in Africa or the global African Diasporas.

Will this particular initiative encounter a more durable success than last year event ‘African Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development‘, which failed to deliver practical results? How will AfricaFrance maintain and gain traction once the African leaders are back in their home country?

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Further reading:

About FDIMagnet,

FDIMagnet is NamSor™ offering for Investment Promotion. We use our unique data mining software to offer differentiated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) services:

–   Diaspora Direct Investments (DDI)

–   Smart Investors Targeting & CRM

–   FDI Targeted Communication

Follow @FDIMagnet, join the LinkedIn group or email us at contact@fdimagnet.com

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Africa Forum – 100 innovations for sustainable development – LAST CALL

The deadline to submit applications to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s call for projects ‘Africa Forum, 100 innovations for sustainable development‘ is today. Below is our joint contribution with STATIM Technologies, a consulting firm based in Congo Brazzaville.

20131015_AgroDiaspora_KX_vF

STATIM Technologies and NamSor™ Applied Onomastics have submitted a project for consideration, responding to a call for projects by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs ‘Africa Forum, 100 innovations for sustainable development’.

The AgroDiaspora eXchange project is to build a knowledge database and community website that will list,
-on one side: (1) transformation projects in the field of agriculture (2) financing needs (3) local resources
-on the other side: the resources of the African Diaspora to bring (1) expertise (2) support to financing requests (through contacts and credibility)

This tool will help measure the ability of the local development projects to address the challenges of climate change. It will generate an ecosystem between the African diasporas and the local communities. It will offer an opportunity for leading scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs of the African diasporas to contribute positively to the development of Africa, not just with remittances but also with expertise and coaching.

The main objectives are: To put in relation local projects with the potentialities of thousands leading biotech and agro scientists of African heritage around the world. To improve the success rate of local projects through coaching and external expertise. To generate clusters and improve the overall attractivity of agricultural transformation projects in Africa in terms of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

About

Africa Forum, 100 innovations for sustainable development is an initiative of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to gather, during the Elysée Summit, African innovators who contribute to sustainable development, African entrepreneurship and inclusive growth, and help satisfy the needs of populations.

STATIM Technologies is a consulting firm based in Congo Brazzaville specialized in Enterprise IT, mainly SAP and Business Analytics, with clients such as TOTAL EP, ENI.  STATIM organized the first SAP Forum in Africa.
http://www.statim-technologies.com/statim-technologies/

NamSor™ Applied Onomastics is a European vendor of specialized data mining software (recognition of international names) to mine the big data and analyse the global flows of ideas, money and people.
http://namsor.com/

This Press Release in PDF:
20131015_AgroDiasporaKnowledgeXChange_PressRelease.pdf (English)
20131015_AgroDiasporaKnowledgeXChange_PressReleaseFR.pdf (French)

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Monitoring western investments in Africa [2/2] : a mapping of French vs. English director names

Note to the reader : this article was written on the 6th of January for the March 2013 Feature of the Month, that is before the French military intervention in Mali (Opération Serval).

With this map of French and English business communities in Africa, we complete an earlier post about that immense continent.

Our method of anthroponomical classification can be summarized as follow: if a company director were to become an Olympic athlete (after a bit of training of course), judging from his name only and the publicly available list of all ~150k Olympic athletes since 1896, would he most likely run for France or for Great-Britain ?

Françafrique versus Commonwealth in Africa (2013)

The illustration should be straightforward to read. In the map above and left, areas in blue have the highest proportion of directors with a French name (FR). In the map above and right, areas in red have the highest proportion of directors with an English name (EN). The synthetic map below shows areas almost exclusively French, almost exclusively English and also some areas where French and English business communities are likely to compete (FR vs EN).

What does this map tell us? It visually confirms what the historian Fernand Braudel, in his book a Grammar of Civilizations, called the “linguistic joke played on Black Africa by the colonisation: instead of gaining one international common language, it got two”. It also tells us that this divide remains actual, affecting the way European and American companies do business in Africa now and in the foreseeable future.

Can onomastics be useful to monitor western Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Africa? I believe so. As explained in an earlier post, European companies -for example- demonstrate little diversity at the top: Greek companies have Greek directors, etc. Large foreign subsidiaries will have expats on the Board of Directors, nominated by the head office, most likely of the same nationality. There are limitations to this approach, of course: the accuracy of name classification itself (normally within a 75%-95% range). Also, investments from the USA, still the world leading economic power and a melting pot, are difficult to distinguish from other sources of investments using onomastics only. But it would probably work well to monitor -for example- Japanese, Russian or Chinese investments in Africa.

London-based fDi Markets (of the Financial Times) is the leading database on cross border investments. Focused on developing countries, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) provides is own statistics. UNCTAD data was used to build the heat map China Foreign Direct Investment in Africa (2005) illustrating Sherpa’s 2011 post “China in Africa: South Africa Joins BRICs Summit“.  If I could put my hands on a revised version of this map, I would be curious to compare it with an onomastics view and that would make a great material for a later post.

[read this thread in French]

[added on 1st of March 2013 – great maps of European FDI in Africa, by the NationalPost of Canada, January 2013 : Out of Africa – Did the Colonial Powers ever Really Leave?]

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Monitoring western investments in Africa [1/2] : a mapping of Italian vs. Portuguese director names

Can onomastics be useful to monitor Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) across the globe?

Global and local media, as well as the social networks and the Internet, often give signals of cross-border investments in the making. Large databases exist with extensive information about company directors and ownership structure. However it is increasingly difficult to put a nationality on a global firm : it may be historically a US company, registered in an offshore tax haven, with more than half its employees in India, and half its revenue in Europe.

As explained in an earlier post, European companies -for example- demonstrate little diversity at the top: Greek companies have Greek directors, etc. Large foreign subsidiaries will have expats on the Board of Directors, nominated by the head office, most often of the same nationality.

Onomastics can be useful, but there are limitations : the accuracy of name classification itself (normally within a 75%-95% range). Also, investments from the USA, still the world leading economic power and a melting pot, are difficult to distinguish from other sources of investments using onomastics only. But, to monitor -for example- Japanese, Russian or Chinese investments in Africa, this approach could provide valuable insights.

International Business Communities in Africa (Italian vs. Portuguese)

International Business Communities in Africa (Italian vs. Portuguese)

As an illustration, we consider the African continent : for 39 countries (out of 54), we listed the company directors of the largest companies. How many of these ~70k people have an Italian name or a Portuguese name? In the map above and left, areas in green have the highest proportion of directors with an Italian name (IT). In the map above and right, areas in red have the highest proportion of directors with a Portuguese name (PT). The synthetic map below shows both business communities and where they are likely to compete against each other.

On a later occasion, in partnership with our friends onomastics.co.uk, we will visually explore the current state of the French and English business communities in Africa, and attempt to answer two questions (1) do onomastics reflect the linguistic heritage of the colonisation, Françafrique vs. Commonwealth (2) which areas are currently -from a business perspective- exclusively French, exclusively English, or a battleground for healthy economic competition?

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