We would like to thank Social Enterprise Academy South Africa and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa for inviting The Hub to partake in this year’s series of workshops on Non-Profit Sustainability and Income Generation at No.7 Restaurant & Kick4Life Hotel & Conference Centre! We had fun wrapping up the series on November 22, 2018 when we, and our classmates, […]

via Social Enterprise Academy Pitch Day — The Hub

From December 18-22, 2018, The Hub hosted Lehlohonolo Tlhaole from Two For Designs for a workshop on stop motion animation. He was assisted by Anna Cai from Morija Arts Centre. The group animated ‘Girl Child’, a story by Mats’eliso Moruthane from our WordPower 2018 magazine. She wrote ‘Girl Child’ at a workshop on storytelling at The Hub […]

via Animation Workshop: ‘Girl Child’ — The Hub

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The African Union announced the launch of a new agency this week dedicated to the rapid development and growth of film and TV industries across the continent. The establishment of the African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission (AACC) was the product of concerted and long-running lobbying efforts that began with talks in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2003.

The push was spearheaded by the Kenyan government, the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers (known by its French acronym, FEPACI), the African Union Commission, and representatives of film industries in a host of countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.

“We wanted a lot of buy-in from the different countries,” says FEPACI’s Christine Githiomi. “Without the support of these countries, this kind of initiative would not be happening.”

Among the key goals of the AACC will be a concerted effort to create and strengthen organizing bodies at the national, regional, and continental levels; to push for more cross-border cooperation; and to develop local TV and film industries, both as a way to spur economic growth and to push a broader cultural agenda of fostering peace and promoting a positive image of the continent.

While the full framework will be put before members of the African Union later this year, FEPACI says that the medium-term goal is to grow the pan-African film sector from an estimated 5 million jobs, contributing $5 billion to annual GDP, to 20 million jobs, contributing $20 billion to annual GDP.

As part of what FEPACI calls a “five-program ecosystem,” the group is mobilizing an estimated $410 million in public- and private-sector funds to boost filmmaking capacity on the continent and across the diaspora.

“Some countries are more advanced in film than others,” says Githiomi. “The idea of making this an African Union initiative is to try to bring up all the different [industries],” so that “this organization is going to support you wherever you are.”

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Mobile phone technology is changing banking

Once you are connected, mobile money services are exciting. From your mobile phone you can buy several services that used to require a physical visit to an agency during business hours. Buying electricity, which usually runs out when the agencies are closed, has never been easy; and so is paying for satellite television, buying mobile phone airtime for self and others, paying merchants, or transferring funds to friends and relatives. In a way, telecommunication companies (telcos) world wide have created transaction intermediation as a form of automating physical transacting between users and service providers.

Trundling through payment chores usually involves going to a bank branch or ATM, cashing out and visiting each of the agencies to pay for your services. There is one to the bank and several others to service agencies. In Lesotho Mpesa (Vodacom Lesotho) and EcoCash (Econet Telecom) have eliminated visits to participating service providers and that is a huge convenience; at least initially. It is not before long, however, before the visit to the bank is needed to cash up in order to load up the Mpesa and EcoCash wallets with money. To be able to transact on these services, one needs to load up with cash first and that is an important inconvenience that remains.

Mobile money has brought mobile telcos into the finance industry, previously the purview only of banks. But the banks are fighting back and want a share of the transaction intermediation now being exploited by telcos. Their online banking and electronic financial transfers (EFT) reach only those bank customers with reliable internet connections, which in Lesotho is a tiny fraction of customers. To extent their reach into transaction intermediation, banks are offering wallet services running on mobile phones. These bank-provided wallet services eliminate that remaining inconvenience of visiting the bank because money can be transferred directly from bank accounts into bank-operated transaction accounts.

The infusion of technology into the financial sector is already transforming both the banking and telecommunication sectors. By encroaching into financial intermediation, the telcos now have to undergo some form of financial regulation. Telcos could bring into intermediation the unbanked public that would otherwise never get to know a bank branch. For the banks, this would be free deposit mobilization from people who would be too remote for banks to reach out to. As the proportion of mobile-based transactions increase, banks will dispense less cash and this will have implications on physical bank structures and staff competencies with falling front office accommodation need and rising demand for back office work.

Financial and social media technology could ultimately transform the banking industry as we know it.

Hotels are useful because with one phone call to a published number, one can find a place to stay in an unfamiliar town. In that same town there are many residential rooms which are available to stay in, but you cannot know about because they are not advertised. What if there was a mobile application that brought together potential guests and residential hosts together in manner that undermines the need for a hotel? The technology company Airbnb already provides such a service and there are fears that it would ultimately disrupt the hotel industry. Uber, a technology company, uses a social media mobile application to link volunteer drivers with riders in a manner that is disrupting the taxi industry as we know it. Their underlying approach is to bypass the traditional “middle man” or intermediate and link suppliers directly with customers.

There are already technology firms that are developing bypass technology in finance and there are now fears within the industry that banking is facing an irreversible disruption. Are these fears legitimate?

These ideas seem quite remote for an economy like Lesotho. On the other hand does the experience with mobile money not suggest that leapfrogging is possible?