Good Morning, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to express my appreciation to Minister Njie for the kind introduction. It is a pleasure to be here today in Banjul to speak to such a distinguished audience at this moment of new possibilities for The Gambia.
You represent a true cross-section of this society—reflecting many different interests but sharing the hopes of all Gambians. These hopes found expression in the peaceful political transition of 2017. In just two days here, I am struck with admiration by the energy, determination, and patience of this nation. You have embraced your country’s challenges and opportunities, and your efforts are beginning to bear fruit. What I have sensed is a road to hope and a bright future. Or, in other words, a pathway to prosperity. This is what I would like to address in the time I have this morning.
Let me first set the stage by offering a quick overview of the economic setting in sub-Saharan Africa and The Gambia. As you know, the region has benefited from solid growth over the past two decades. But the past four years have proven more challenging. We have witnessed a divergence of economic fortunes—with diversified, well managed economies continuing to grow and many resource-dependent countries encountering difficulties.
While this pattern has continued recently, we are seeing regional growth regain some momentum. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that growth in sub-Saharan Africa should accelerate this year to 3.5 percent from 3 percent in 2018. We expect it to expand at close to 4 percent over the medium term. This is good news.
We are very pleased to see that the Gambian economy has rebounded strongly. Growth in 2018 reached 6.6 percent and prospects for sustained growth are positive over the medium term. Inflation has dropped to just above 6 percent, and gross official reserves have increased to about 3 months of imports. This remarkable progress has been achieved through your government’s efforts to stabilize the economy with support from Gambians living abroad, the private sector, and international partners.
There also has been progress in developing infrastructure, which is crucial to ensuring sustained growth. The recently opened Senegambia Bridge, which I am going to visit later today, is a prime example of this progress. It is a symbol of The Gambia’s efforts to deepen economic ties to the rest of the region.
The bridge is also a good segue to the theme of my speech: The Gambia’s pathway to prosperity. As a road, it is a pathway in the literal sense. But it is also a pathway in figurative sense, symbolizing the role of enhanced trade and connectivity in building prosperity. At the same time, domestic policy efforts will be needed to build this pathway.
Enhanced trade is one pillar of the pathway to prosperity. Africa is now moving ahead with creating the Continental Free Trade Area, which The Gambia recently endorsed. This initiative has the potential to boost intra-African trade and growth across many dimensions. It can add jobs, foster competition, help increase investment, and spur the spread of knowledge and technology. All of which could provide significant benefits to The Gambia.
The agreement itself, however, is but one step. To fully benefit from it, the significant nontariff bottlenecks to trade that exist across the region will also need to be tackled. These include infrastructure shortcomings, logistical costs, and other hurdles that hinder cross-border trade.
If these issues are addressed, regional trade integration can help maximize the returns on important public investment, such as the Senegambia bridge, and consolidate the recent pick-up in private sector activity and lending that is integral to sustainable development in The Gambia. On this point, it is important to note that this private sector-led growth needs to be supported through responsible lending by financial institutions to Gambian businesses large and small. Vigilant supervision of banks and other credit institutions will help to ensure financial stability in the face of growing private capital inflows.
Trade integration will also help frame the reforms of this country’s state-owned enterprises. In many cases, the long-term viability of those companies will depend on increasing their regional orientation.
Take the example of the energy sector. The stabilization of electricity output has contributed to your country’s stronger growth. So, the ongoing investment in the electricity transmission not only will link the Eastern and Northern parts of the country, it will also open doors to West Africa’s power networks by enabling cross-border energy trading, including under the flagship OMVG project uniting The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau with the aim of harnessing the water resources of The Gambia River Basin to produce low-cost renewable energy for the member countries.
In the same vein, investment to upgrade the port of Banjul could create a new trans-shipment hub for the region. Seen in this context, the Senegambia Bridge could be just one step in the development of the Trans-Gambia corridor within Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Regional integration and cooperation are particularly important for improving the structure of the economy and enhancing competitiveness. Let me offer two examples:
First, agriculture could be an important contributor to The Gambia’s pathway to prosperity. Regional trade integration and improved infrastructure will be key to growing this important sector of the economy.
On Sunday, I visited Radville Farms, outside Banjul and their processing plant and transit facility near Yundum airport. It was great to see how automation and advanced irrigation techniques are helping to produce high-value and high-yielding crops, boosting exports, and providing high-value employment for many skilled workers, especially women.
In the future, weather tracking, satellite imaging and other sophisticated technological solutions (including artificial intelligence) will be needed to modernize agriculture. They will help to create a farming sector that is more environmentally attuned and resilient to climatic shocks. This is especially important for small and fragile ecosystems like The Gambia’s. Agriculture will then be better able to meet national goals of food self-sufficiency and creation of new export markets.
Second, tourism and other services also remain essential to your future. Regarding tourism, it is great to see The Gambiaattracting record numbers of visitors. New hotels, roads, and other amenities will attract more tourists and will help rebrand your country’s tourism offerings, including by branching out into eco-tourism and water sports. The ongoing expansion of transport infrastructure will facilitate tourism, including better connections to the region. These connections, importantly, will also allow goods to move around the region and help develop trade-related services, including re-exports.
Regional economic integration and cooperation will also strengthen The Gambia’s external position. Exports, private capital inflows, and remittances from Gambians working abroad are rebounding and are likely to increase further with regional integration. This will help build foreign exchange reserves and strengthen confidence in the Dalasi.
So, there are grounds for optimism about the economic outlook. The gains we are witnessing will support your efforts to improve the quality of life for all Gambians. We are already seeing progress in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates, and so much more is envisaged under the National Development Plan.
This highlights that, beyond regional integration, there are other important areas of reform to move The Gambia along the pathway to prosperity, which are also key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to highlight three areas:
First, unlocking financial support from donors is one critical challenge. This can be addressed by resolving The Gambia’sunsustainable public debt situation. In this regard, I am pleased to report that at a recent roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C., most creditors indicated support for debt relief. Your government and its advisors are following up on this development.
Second, fostering inclusive growth and addressing social needs is another priority. This means attacking poverty through programs aimed at aiding vulnerable households and creating jobs for unemployed youth. By lowering debt service costs, debt relief can also create budget room to address these needs as well as other budget priorities, including the reform of state-owned enterprises.
Third, strengthening the rule of law and increasing accountability and transparency will also be crucial steps toward sustainable growth. The Janneh Commission revealed the extent of financial mismanagement and misappropriation during the previous regime. More focused efforts will be needed to recover stolen domestic and foreign assets.
The IMF joins the rest of the international community in applauding the governments’ commitment to transitional justice reform through the work of the Commission of Enquiry and the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, and the recently established National Human Rights Commission. We also note the plans to establish an Anti-Corruption Commission.
We also join the international community in support of the security sector reforms, which are essential for modernizing the state and strengthening the rule of law.
To conclude, I would like to discuss the role of the IMF.
The Fund provided emergency support in 2017 and is continuing our engagement through a Staff-Monitored Program. In the future we may be able to move to a medium-term program with concessional financing.
In addition, along with international partners and supporting countries, the IMF is strongly committed to helping The Gambia strengthen key institutions, including by providing our technical expertise and training.
It is essential that the assistance of the international community, including the IMF, is closely linked to your country’s development priorities. Please be assured that we stand ready to listen to your ideas and proposals—and to provide all the help we can.
We look forward to working with you as you proceed along your pathway to prosperity.
Thank you for your time and attention. I am happy now, together with IMF colleagues, to answer any questions you may have.
SOURCE International Monetary Fund (IMF)
YAO Network: The Blockchain Paradise Developers Have Been Waiting For
Permissioned blockchain? Private blockchain? Public blockchain? Fret not for YAO Network accepts them all. YAO Network is a cloud service paradise for new blockchain projects looking for a community to nestle in and make their homes there. By integrating cloud computation with decentralized computation, the YAO Network is able to support computation eco-platforms of multiple blockchain networks, maximizing the utility of all participants while helping projects to achieve their technological targets and generate value.
The YAO Network was built for a vision: to benefit developers and to help enterprises achieve much more, freeing the successes of blockchain technologies for all to enjoy. This vision grounds the design of YAO Network’s architecture as the platform seeks to establish a comprehensive service and utility computation platform where Pareto optimality is achieved amongst developers, enterprises, and overall public utility.
Like many other blockchain platforms out there, technology remains a key factor in determining a platform’s functionality. The YAO Network certainly has a strong pillar of support in its robust technical infrastructure to achieve its goals.
1. YAO Network integrates multiple computation paradigms in utility computation.
The YAO Network platform effectively combines three computational paradigms, cloud computing, decentralized computing and encrypted computing, to meet the demands of different applications and create maximum computation utility.
Cloud computation has been gaining massive popularity as a computational model in many enterprises and the public. The advantages of cloud computation are numerous. It saves cost for enterprises, developers and the public while offering flexible workload deployments, which enhances the overall utility of both individuals and society.
Recognizing the advantages of cloud computation, the YAO Network platform makes cloud computing the only carrier of all service and computation units in the blockchain. Cloud computing is not only utilized for deployments and encrypted computation of centralized applications, but also widely applied in decentralized blockchain networks.
2. YAO Network standardizes decentralized and centralized computation units based on cloud computation.
Different computation units have been designed for various types of applications to promote the usage of blockchains in the public domain. YaoLet is the solution designed by the YAO Network for decentralized applications, while BuildPack is its equivalent for centralized applications designed based on PaaS. The entire architecture is rested on these two solutions alongside other services. As YaoLet and BuildPack are both multiplexed; developers and service providers can participate in the sharing of YaoLet and BuildPack and reap the rewards through corresponding YAO Network reward system.
3. YAO Network allows softwares to define blockchain through topological orchestration and virtualization.
Most computations are no longer an isolated and individual computation unit; they have complex interconnections that are unified by a topological structure. This combination of computational units is achieved through topological orchestration.
On one hand, new services and components can be combined and orchestrated by existing computation units. On the other hand, various infranets in blockchains can also be orchestrated to establish corresponding nodes and services. Most blockchain architectures like YAO Network take on a modularized approach where interledger general blockchain protocols are made viable through plugging and unplugging every component and service as well as modularizing operations. The blockchain network becomes the virtual superposition of peer-to-peer networks, making it possible to define new blockchain network models and service models through virtual and abstract orchestrations.
4. YAO Network supports multiple blockchain network architectures and paradigms including public blockchains, permissioned blockchains and private blockchains.
The blockchain network within YAO Network supports three types of blockchains, namely public blockchain, permissioned blockchain and private blockchain. They can be broken down into shared and exclusive nodes based on the extent of its isolation. Enterprises and developers can build on shared blockchains or create their own exclusive blockchains on the YAO Network platform. Another alternative would be to classify the blockchain network based on its testnet and mainnet, and their applications.
5. YAO Network maximizes utility of developers, enterprises and the general public.
YAO Network is a one-stop blockchain service platform for blockchain service consumers, developers and enterprises to share innovations both in public and private. One of the biggest hurdles blockchain has yet to overcome is its low adoption rate and thus the YAO Network has provided blockchain PaaS services for developers to utilise and a platform where they can release their blockchain products directly to blockchain service providers. This forms a healthy supply and demand ecosystem as iterations of blockchain products are incubated or eliminated based on practicality and impact. Those that are proven viable will unite and form a larger blockchain ecosystem and platform.
Developers even earn the chance to make some profits through the YAO Network. The network rewards developers when their creations are utilised by others. In addition, the YAO Network has three specific function modules in terms of product modality: blockchain marketplace, enterprise aggregation and solutions, and developer community. This forms a trinity that works together to serve both developers and enterprises. Driven by supply, YAO Network solves the scarcity of blockchain comprehensive services by connecting and bridging between developers and enterprises, in order to establish a healthy and organic ecosystem where all participants have maximum utility within the system.
6. YAO Network has high inclusivity in the system.
A well-designed architecture should have open interfaces. Every layer delivers its own functions, and is connected to each other through the same cross layer interface. The YAO Network system is designed based on important principles including openness, security, technology neutrality, verifiability in the future, interoperability, scalability, modularization, manageability and dependability, to achieve inclusivity in the system.
YAO Network embraces existing and future blockchain applications and is committed to establishing a comprehensive computation platform with multiple blockchains, multiple computational paradigms and integrated utilities.
SOURCE YAO Network
New Research Reveals SafelyYou’s AI-Enabled Fall Detection Reduces Need for Emergency Service Care in Dementia Care Facilities
Real-time fall detection using SafelyYou’s artificial intelligence-enabled video recording reduced the need for emergency services by a staggering 80% in dementia care facilities, according to research results published in the American Journal of Managed Care. The study closely examined the impact of SafelyYou’s memory care-focused technology to detect falls, videotape falls and notify care staff so that video review of the incident could occur immediately after each fall.
“According to the Alzheimer’s Association Report (2016), fall injury is the leading cause of Alzheimer dementia–related hospitalizations, with $5.3 billion in annual cost to Medicare,” said Glen Xiong, Advisory Board Member for SafelyYou. “In residential care facilities, individuals with dementia fall, on average, four times per year and twice as often as other residents. Falls often go unwitnessed. Due to uncertainty regarding the seriousness of each fall, facility staff frequently activate local emergency medical teams to examine the residents, and such visits often result in emergency department visits.”
The study, supported in part by a National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging Small Business Innovation Research Grant, was conducted with enrolled participants on June 1 to Aug. 31, 2018. Fall incidents and outcomes were routinely recorded for facility residents, and facility staff reviewed the falls in real time, immediately after each incident, for study participants.
Among 147 falls in the control group, 52 (35.4%) resulted in EMT visits and 36 (24.5%) resulted in ED visits. In contrast, the intervention group had 83 falls, with 13 (15.7%) and seven (8.3%) resulting in EMT and ED visits, respectively. There were relative reductions of 75% in EMT visits and 80% in ED visits.
The AI-enabled camera fall detection system coupled with staff review of fall videos led to more accurate identification of serious falls and incidents compared with less serious falls, such as when a resident intentionally moved to the ground but did not fall.
“Using emergency services less frequently leads to lowered healthcare costs and stress for everyone,” said George Netscher, CEO of SafelyYou. “Speaking with families and hearing the testimonials is really the very best part of our day.”
Metadata.io Emerges as MarTech Force with Rapid Company Growth and Leader Position in G2 Crowd Summer 2019 Momentum Grid® Report for Account-based Execution
Metadata.io (https://www.metadata.io/), the AI-powered account-based advertising platform for predictable B2B lead generation, today announced it is fast rising as a leader in the MarTech industry based on customer satisfaction. As a second-place Leader in G2 Crowd’s Summer 2019 Momentum Grid® Report for Account-based Execution, Metadata helps CMOs deliver a qualified pipeline to sales organizations by generating a predictable flow of inbound MQLS from within their target accounts.
Metadata customers like Nutanix, Nexmo and others have repeatedly won awards for best performing campaigns on LinkedIn and Facebook. They are among a growing list of early adopters that are achieving the industry’s top benchmarks in customer acquisition and ROAs using Metadata.
See the full Summer 2019 Momentum Grid Report here: http://bit.ly/2xGyaA5
“Our ranking is 100 percent attributed to our sophisticated customer base who bravely adopted early AI technology and achieved great ROI multiplier through automation and experimentation,” said Gil Allouche, CEO of Metadata. “Together, we are transforming marketing operations with AI. With Metadata, B2B marketers gain unprecedented ROI from digital investment, in a more predicted, measured fashion.”
“Our investment with Metadata empowered us to automatically target and convert sales-qualified leads that not only impacted revenue, but completely automated and simplified the execution of our account-based campaigns,” said Rob Bethell, Marketing Manager at RStudio.
For the quarterly Grid Momentum Report, G2 Crowd rates products based on reviews gathered from the user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. The Momentum Grid for Account-based Execution is based on scores calculated using the G2 Satisfaction algorithm and G2 Momentum algorithm from reviews collected through May 29, 2019. In the Summer 2019 momentum report, Metadata showed strong growth in reviews, social and web.
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