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AstraZeneca Set to Use AI to optimise Reforestation Programme in Africa

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AI deep learning model to monitor tree health, long-term survival and carbon sequestration; Commitment to plant and maintain up to six million trees in Kenya in support of climate action, human health and community resilience.

As part of its flagship AZ Forest programme, AstraZeneca has made a pledge to plant up to six million trees in western Kenya. The new project, announced at COP28, builds on the company’s recently expanded African reforestation initiatives in Ghana and Rwanda.[1] AZ Forest Africa is part of AstraZeneca’s broader commitment to plant and maintain more than 200 million trees across six continents by 2030, in recognition of the strong connection between human and planetary health.[2]

The reforestation in Kenya will span six counties in the west of the country, adjacent to the Rift Valley, covering more than 3,500 hectares of land. The project will be amongst the first to use an advanced AI deep learning model to analyse drone footage and satellite imagery to monitor tree growth and health, while also quantifying levels of carbon sequestration.[3]

Designed using a science-based approach and harnessing new technological innovations, the programme aims to promote long-term tree health, increase biodiversity of flora and fauna, and generate an economic boost for local communities.

The role nature-based solutions can play in addressing the climate-health crisis is a top agenda item at COP28, with the climate summit placing a focus on the progress made since the Glasgow Declaration of COP26 to end deforestation.[4,5] New research has underlined the impact that reforestation and the protection of existing trees can have in tackling climate change, potentially sequestering up to 226 gigatonnes of carbon.[3]

Juliette White, Vice President Global Sustainability, AstraZeneca, said: “The link between planetary and human health is clear.

“Investing in our natural world through tree planting and conservation, and limiting deforestation, are some of the most effective preventative health steps we can take.

“By expanding AZ Forest to Kenya, we are progressing our commitment to deliver reforestation at scale, with a science-led approach that benefits both the environment and local communities.”

AstraZeneca is working with world-leading experts to design and deliver its AZ Forest programme including with Earthbanc and the Green Planet Initiative 2050 Foundation (GPI2050) for its Kenya project. Indigenous and productive tree species will improve soil health and local crop yields, while produce including leaves and honey will benefit the local agroeconomy.

More than 5,000 local farmers and local community members will be engaged in the project, which also aims to support a groundbreaking reforestation ambition from the Kenyan government.[1]

Her Excellency Rachel Ruto First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, said: “Climate change affects us all and tackling it requires concerted action from governments, individuals, and business.

“We welcome AstraZeneca’s approach to reforestation: working with local communities to ensure economic benefits for people that match the positive impact on the planet. This initiative will contribute towards Kenya’s goal to plant 15 billion trees over the next decade.”

Tom Duncan, CEO, Earthbanc, said: “This land regeneration project in Kenya is a very exciting opportunity that we are pleased to support in collaboration with our partners. Earthbanc is committed to bringing private sector climate finance to accelerate and scale reforestation to meet the challenge of climate change.

“The AZ Forest initiative brings significant co-benefits with its focus on circular bioeconomy, sustainable communities, ecosystem health and sustainable markets.

“We are looking forward to this project launch and demonstrating that we can all play a part in the global effort towards planetary regeneration.”

Aside from Kenya, AZ Forest’s global programme which aims to span 100,000 hectares worldwide continues apace.[1] In Ghana, almost three million trees have been planted this year taking the total to over four million since the project began in 2021.[6] The project has engaged 1,200 farmers across 23 communities.

While in Rwanda, 6,000 farming households are signed up to the project, with 16 community nurseries established to grow a range of indigenous and fruit tree species. Planting is set to start in the coming months with a target to plant around 5.8 million trees across 21,000 hectares, in what is one of the largest forest restoration initiatives in Rwanda.


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5 Tips Small Business Owners Need to Grow their Business Online

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Small businesses are embracing digitalization and catering to their customer needs through a variety of online channels. With new technologies emerging such as artificial intelligence, there is no time like the present to help your small business grow by taking advantage of the online world.

GoDaddy in this article shares five tips to help your small business grow with an online presence.

It starts with a domain name

When getting started, check availability of domain names for the desired name. A domain name can be considered a business’ piece of real estate and identity on the internet. It is a way for customers to easily find a business online.

Choosing and registering a domain name for your business that’s memorable is increasingly important in an expanding digital marketplace, as it helps to shape your online business identity. If the .com extension is not available, there are many new extensions available, such as: .shop; .co.; .photography; .tech, to name a few, for you to consider which can help define your business. After choosing a domain name register it with a reliable hosting provider right away.

Build a website

Websites help create visibility for small businesses and act as a home base for your business on the internet, even if you have a brick-and-mortar store. A website can help consumers easily find your business, learn about your product offerings and services, and contact you for more information.

A well-designed professional looking website can offer an engaging customer experience with the use of text along with photo images and video. Having a website gives you control over the messaging about your business and can serve as a hub by linking with your social media channels.

Listen to your customers

The growth of your business is directly related to customer satisfaction. Listen to your customers and pay attention to the needs of your target market. Identify their problems and pain points. How can your offerings act as a solution? Is it possible to develop new products to help solve these problems? Engage for customer feedback and keep an eye on customer behaviour changes and audience interests.

Develop a business support system

By developing a strong business support system, entrepreneurs can benefit from new ideas on ways to address a particular issue or ideas for growth. In addition to close family and friends, consider mentors and business coaches who can provide relevant insights into your business.

Review your business plan

Many entrepreneurs make a business plan at the beginning of their business journey, but do not take the time to revisit it from time-to-time. So, analysing aspects of that business plan like target audience and competitors, examining cash flows and what can make the business profitable, while also checking timelines to reach business goals is all equally essential to help ensure continued growth of your business.


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TECNO Pledges to Transform 100 Football Fields in 5-Year Initiative

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In a bold and visionary move, TECNO Mobile has announced a groundbreaking initiative to renovate 100 football fields across AFRICA over the next five years.

This ambitious project, aimed at enhancing community infrastructure and promoting the beautiful game, reflects TECNO’s deep commitment to the spirit of football.

Notably, TECNO’s dedication to the sport is evident with its recent sponsorship at the just-concluded AFCON 2023, where the brand left an indelible mark on the global football stage.

TECNO Mobile’s association with football reached new heights as the brand proudly sponsored the recently concluded AFCON 2023. As a prominent sponsor, TECNO not only showcased its commitment to sportsmanship but also provided a platform for fans to experience the thrill of the game.

The AFCON sponsorship was more than just a marketing endeavor for TECNO – it was a testament to the brand’s belief in the power of football to unite communities and ignite passion.

Building on the energy and enthusiasm generated by the AFCON sponsorship, TECNO has embarked on a transformative journey to renovate and uplift football fields across diverse communities.

The pledge to renovate 100 fields across Africa over the next five years is a tangible expression of TECNO’s dedication to fostering a love for the sport at the grassroots level.

TECNO’s initiative goes beyond mere field renovation; it is a holistic approach to community development. By creating modern, well-maintained football fields, TECNO aims to provide spaces that encourage physical activity, nurture talent, and foster a sense of community pride.

These fields are hubs for social interaction, where families and friends can come together to celebrate the joy of sportsmanship.

As a brand synonymous with cutting-edge technology, TECNO brings its innovative spirit to the football arena. The renovated fields will integrate innovative solutions and modern amenities, aligning with TECNO’s vision of infusing technology into every aspect of life, including sports.

TECNO’s sponsorship at AFCON 2023 and the pledge to renovate 100 football fields underscore the brand’s unwavering belief in the transformative power of football.

As the fields undergo a metamorphosis over the next five years, TECNO invites everyone to participate in this remarkable journey.

This journey goes beyond the boundaries of sport to leave an enduring impact on communities, fostering a legacy of unity, pride, and passion. In TECNO, football isn’t just a game; it’s a bridge that connects hearts and builds a legacy for generations to come.

 

 


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IFC Partners with Triggerfish to Boost Africa’s Animation Sector

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In order to support the growth of Africa’s creative sector and to bring local African stories to the world, IFC has signed a collaboration agreement with Triggerfish, a globally recognized animation studio founded in South Africa.

Triggerfish creates premium animated content for prominent global studios such as BBC, eOne, Lucasfilm, Magic Light Pictures, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Company.

The collaboration agreement will bring IFC’s market expertise to help Triggerfish with its growth strategy so that it can expand its operations, creating new jobs and opportunities in Africa to upskill local talent, particularly for women and youth.

“We are thrilled to be working with Triggerfish to set the stage for a new chapter of growth,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC Managing Director. “This partnership underscores IFC’s commitment to unlock the potential of creative industries and support economic development and job creation in Africa, particularly for women and youth.”

Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest said: “At a time when the demand for local African content is booming, this partnership with IFC is a significant step that will propel the growth of the local animation sector and position the industry to reach its true potential.”

The global animation and VFX market was valued at US$ 167.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$ 401.0 billion by 2030, according to a study by Report Ocean.  The sector in Africa faces problems realizing its potential because of challenges accessing funding, a lack of cutting-edge technology, and limited distribution networks.

The partnership with Triggerfish is another important milestone in IFC’s commitment to support the creative industries sector in emerging markets.

IFC recently signed an agreement with Sony Group Corporation to identify investment opportunities in companies in the creative industries in Africa to support new economic opportunities and create jobs. In June, IFC committed up to $75 million to DNEG, a world-leading visual effects and animation company in India to expand its cutting-edge VFX and animation services.

 


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