A New research in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters finds ice in the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland is more mobile than previously thought, as ocean currents and atmospheric winds are likely transporting the old, thick ice found there to other parts of the Arctic. As a result, ice mass in the area – the last place researchers think will lose its year-round ice cover – is declining twice as fast as ice in the rest of the Arctic, according to the new findings.
This visualization shows the age of the Arctic sea ice between 1984 and 2019. Younger sea ice, or first-year ice, is shown in a dark shade of blue while the ice that is four years old or older is shown as white. A graph displayed in the upper left corner quantifies the area covered by sea ice four or more years old in millions of square kilometers.
Il n’est pas possible de réaliser une évaluation objective du bilan des institutions financières participatives marocaines car nous ne disposons pas d’une stratégie nationale de ce secteur avec des objectifs mesurables.
Cependant, nous sommes en mesure d’apporter une première lecture du bilan à la base des réalisations commerciales des banques participatives depuis plus de 2 ans. Il est à noter qu’à ce jour, les parts de marché des banques participatives au niveau des dépôts et des financements ne dépassent pas 1% du total du marché bancaire marocain. Par ailleurs, les banques participatives, n’arrivent pas à régler la problématique du taux de couverture des financements par les dépôts non rémunérés, ce qui impacte leur compétitivité sur le marché. Finalement, pour l’instant, le positionnement des banques participatives et orienté vers les particuliers avec une concentration très importante sur le secteur immobilier.
A la lumière des expériences internationales et à la base de l’analyse des résultats des banques participatives marocaines, mes recommandations ont porté sur les points suivants :
Il est impératif de développer une stratégie marocaine de finance participative au Maroc et en Afrique. Cette stratégie couvrirait l’ensemble de l’écosystème de la finance participative (banque, assurance, marché des capitaux et social) et veillerait à la coordination et la cohérence entre ces différentes composantes. Sans une stratégie pareille, le pays ne tirera pas profit du potentiel de cette industrie au niveau national e continental. Il est à rappeler que tous les pays qui ont réussi dans ce domaine disposent d’une vision stratégique de la finance participative
Les banques participatives devraient placer les entreprises, en particulier les petites et moyennes entreprises, au centre de leurs intérêts et ce pour deux raisons. Premièrement, les services à l’entreprise génèrent une rémunération plus avantageuse et des encours plus importants que ceux adressés aux particuliers. Deuxièmement, l’impact économique, social et environnemental de la finance participative ne se réalise qu’à travers le financement des entreprises
En continuité par rapport au point précédent, les banques participatives devraient disposer d’un positionnement leader sur la finance éthique dite également durable et responsable. En effet, depuis la crise financière de 2008, les paradigmes fondateurs du monde financier sont remis en question. Par exemple, la finance est-elle un moyen ou une fin en soi ? Quels types d’intégration la finance devrait-elle avoir avec l’économie réelle ? La finance participative dispose des fondamentaux nécessaires pour non seulement répondre à ces questions mais aussi pour être un acteur de premier plan sur ces thématiques
Dans un monde marqué par la quatrième révolution industrielle, le positionnement sur les Fintechs (technologies financières) n’est pas un choix mais plutôt une obligation dans un marché financier tiré désormais, notamment, par l’intelligence artificielle, le mobile, les plateformes et la blockchain. Ce positionnement est d’autant plus pertinent pour les banques participatives car elles sont plus agiles car elles sont plus jeunes
D’une manière transversale, le marketing reste une pièce maitresse pour la réussite des initiatives présentées ci-dessus
In 1958, Theodore Levitt presented a confrontational discourse against Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), alleging that the business of business is “making money, not sweet music” and that CSR breaks the rules of capitalism and free enterprise. Today, CSR must be brawled not because it undermined free enterprise, but precisely because it largely contributed to its reign with unprecedented empowering mechanisms. While CSR was initially intended to regulate the wild and uncontrolled growth of private corporation, it has (un)predictably nurtured the very foundations of unstoppable-growth-led capitalism. Here are a few arguments why we believe this is dangerous:
CSR is short-sighted: As opposed to long-term strategies, CSR actions and programs are often limited in scope and depth. Because they are mostly driven by short-term visibility and results, their impacts on society or the environment remain, at best, superficial: Shallow impact.
CSR as an instrument for branding and public relations: When CSR is used as a marketing and sales argument, which has been the case for several large corporations, the underlying operational strategies are developed towards satisfying the central goal of profit maximization. Thus, CSR is exploited as a communication and branding tool, often found under the auspices of the Chief Communication Manager, the goal of which being to simply reinvent the message that serves to sell the same old goods and services made with the same old value chains and production systems: No strategic revamping.
CSR as a competitive advantage: One of the most widely advanced arguments for CSR is creating a distinctive competitive advantage. However, unless this advantage is sustained in time, it will add little value, if any, to the firm. For a specific resource to be a source of sustained competitive advantage, it ought to be valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable. CSR programs hastily engendered in corporate meetings are ordained to fail satisfying the four criteria simultaneously, thus questioning the real value to the firm –should that be the goal– of CSR: Not a source of competitive advantage.
CSR looked once attractive to various managerial levels of the firm. Today, the concept is gradually wearing off, calling into question our basic understanding of well-being within and outside business organizations. Some enthusiasts have urged towards thinking in terms of a corporate version of the more inclusive paradigm of sustainable development: Corporate Sustainability. Increasingly more business models and frameworks are being developed in this arena, disrupting everyday the way we think about and approach the social responsibility of business. It is probably hard time we moved beyond CSR.
Idriss Aberkane, a French essayist, is known for his writings and
lectures on the knowledge economy and neuroscience. His lasted book “L’age de
la connaissance / the age of knowledge “is worth reading. The book seeks to
dismiss two contemporary paradigms: “Produce or flourish” and
“Nature or employment”.
The key takeaways from his last essay are the following:
Knowledge is more
valuable than natural resources. This statement is clear when looking at the
evolution of global companies ranking in the last two decades.
Fostering a knowledge economy should be the priority of any government: To support his argument, the author frequently uses the example of South Korea who own little natural resources yet is one of major global exporters globally thanks to Korean technological powerhouses. However paradoxical it may appear, South Korea exported 45 Billion USD worth of Processed petroleum oils in 2018 even though the country does not have oil reserves !
All revolutions /
radical innovations go through three stages: They are firstly considered ridiculous, secondly
as dangerous and finally obvious. Think of slavery abolition and labor rights
Knowledge dynamics follows three principles :
The exchange of knowledge is positive sum : “When we share a material good we divide it, when we share an intangible good we multiply it”
The exchange of knowledge is not instantaneous : Unlike physical good, the transfer of knowledge requires more time and energy
The combination of knowledge is not linear : “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”
Nature as a source of inspiration
and one of knowledge economy applications : Nature is the largest deposit of
knowledge on earth. The author is a strong supporter of Biomimetics, which is
the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of
solving complex human problems in locomotion, construction and architecture, structural
materials, optics and agriculture to name a few.
September 2019, UNICEF and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) launched an
innovative fund that aims at reaching millions of children currently in need of
humanitarian support in OIC countries. The idea of the fund was first announced
last April during IsDB’s 44th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors in Marrakesh
humanitarian needs are at critical levels and children are especially
vulnerable as they face the highest risk of violence, exploitation, disease and
neglect. To address this need, the Global Muslim Philanthropy Fund for Children
(GMPFC) will mobilize Islamic giving, including philanthropic and Zakat
resources, towards humanitarian and resilience development programs that ensure
the well-being of children. Projects include support for children in education,
health and nutrition, water and sanitation, early childhood development,
protection and youth empowerment. The fund will benefit from UNICEF’s on-the-ground
presence and experience in all OIC countries.
from IsDB did not come as a surprise. It confirms IsDB’s President past
commitments to position the bank as a catalyst in the achievement of SDG in OIC
countries. The launch of GMPFC is a good news for the Islamic finance industry
for two reasons. First, it sends a strong signal about the importance of
Islamic finance active involvement in social issues. There no doubt that
Islamic social finance has developed during the current decade, however, the
industry achievements in the social sphere so far are not enough to address
current social issues. Second, the GMPFC initiative confirms the Interest of
large international organization such as UNICEF in Islamic finance and demonstrates
that synergies with Islamic finance can play an important role in the
achievement of SDGs. In the past, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees) established a Zakat fund to alleviate the suffering of forcibly
displaced people in OIC countries.
The fund, that will be administered by IsDB, seeks to raise US$250
million from private and public foundations, Zakat agencies and individuals.
Although the fund purpose is clear, operational details have not been disclosed
so far. In the coming weeks, the Islamic Finance industry and will be waiting
for clarifications on the following questions:
What marketing approach
will IsDB use to convince individuals to donate to the fund knowing that
historically, IsDB has been dealing more with governments and businesses?
technologies will IsDB leverage to ensure transparency and efficiency?
What would be the fund
priorities in the first years and what are the fund commitments in terms of
impact (SDGs targets)?
What synergies will be
built with the impact investing ecosystem in order to make the philanthropic
funds more sustainable and more focused on income generating activities for
beneficiaries rather than on simple cash transfers?
This article was first published in Islamic Finance news Volume 16 Issue 41 dated the 16th October 2019.
Despite all the dire consequence of the 2008
financial crisis, it did help to question the paradigms of modern days’ finance
especially its role in addressing economic, social and environmental issues. As
a result, multi-lateral development institutions, think tanks, academic
institutions, regulators and financial players have undertaken various
initiatives aiming at integrating sustainability and finance into a unified
business model. The central focus has been to move beyond the “do well and then
do good” approach as in corporate social responsibility to a “do well while
doing good” approach that views sustainability as a strategic competitive
advantage. Nowadays, concepts like ESG (environment, social and environment) investing;
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Impact investing, mission-driven
investing and responsible finance are gaining traction both in developed and
developing countries and are even promoted by “traditional / orthodox” large
financial players ! However, the finance
and sustainability hype brought also confusion to investors looking for
“double bottom line returns”. Are these concepts similar? If not,
what are the differences between them? These questions are critical because the
proliferation of terms related to financing and sustainability creates
fuzziness that ultimately leads to inertia among investors and other market
players. Therefore, clarifying the different concepts is key to the development
of the impact finance industry.
In this post, I will focus on explaining the
difference between ESG, SRI and Impact investing terms. Although, there are
many others similar concepts used in the financial markets, the chosen terms
are the most common.
ESG refers to the environmental, social, and
governance practices of an investment that may have a material impact on the
performance of that investment. The integration of ESG factors is used to
enhance traditional financial analysis by identifying potential risks and
opportunities beyond technical valuations. However, the main objective of ESG
valuation remains maximizing financial performance.
Socially responsible investing goes one-step
further than ESG by actively eliminating or selecting investments according to
specific ethical guidelines. The underlying motive could be sharia compliance,
personal values, or political beliefs. Unlike ESG analysis, which is
valuation-centered, SRI usually uses ESG factors when applying negative screens
on the investment universe. For example, an investor may wish to avoid
companies engaged in firearms production, child labor or gambling.
Similar to SRI, impact investing also considers
social and environmental effects. However, the difference is that impact
investments are only made in companies, organizations or funds where the main
purpose is to achieve positive impacts, alongside a financial return. In
general, SRI is more concerned with negative screening whereas impact investing
is more concerned with positive screening.
As part of the current initiatives to bring finance to its natural orientation, stakeholders (especially regulators) should not omit to take active steps to clarify the different concepts under the impact finance umbrella. Although, this effort looks pretty basic but it is much needed to transform the enthusiasm on impact finance into a more meaningful transformation.
This article was first published in Islamic Finance news Volume 16 Issue 39 dated the 2nd October 2019
How may Africa harness the potential of thousands of its young social innovators and social entrepreneurs in an impactful and efficient manner? Which patterns can be envisaged to expand social impact through sound and informed scaling strategies?
These are the questions I investigated during my participation this September 2nd– 4th to the 11th edition of the International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) hosted by the Yunus Center for Social Business and Health in Glasgow.
As much as I wanted my contribution to solidly draw on theoretical strands –ISIRC being recognized as the world’s leading interdisciplinary conference on social innovation research, I had the explicit aim of contributing to this collective wisdom by exploring practical solutions with an eye on the peculiarities and contextual specificities of Africa and its local economies.
Today, the African economy does not create enough wealth to meet the pressing needs of its societies in terms of job creation, education, healthcare and human development. Despite the steady economic growth of the continent over the past decade, African governments have failed to translate this growth into positive social welfare based on inclusive and sustainable development. The weight of poverty and unemployment is prevalent in most countries, compounded by civil wars and political instabilities. UNDP experts argue that not only do inequalities deprive the poor of the positive effects of growth, but they also undermine efforts to reduce poverty. It is clear today that such macroeconomic indicators as GDP growth rate usually used to describe the situation of African countries do not faithfully reflect the social reality of the continent or the conditions of poverty in which most African citizens are being trapped. A paradigm shift has become necessary to overcome these structural problems. Social innovation can play a key role in supporting national social policy and adapting it to the new societal challenges.
A new wave of passionate, visionary and impact-driven individuals are bravely entering the space vacated by the two historical players: the State and the private sector. These intrepid leaders, referred to as social innovators or social entrepreneurs, are transforming, every day, the way we approach solution design to pressing social problems. But how might innovative but isolated solutions benefit to millions of populations in need of these innovations in the absence of well-rounded scale-up strategies? Which scale-up mode is most preferred and why?
I argue that scaling-up social innovation “inspirers” in Africa will multiply social impact down the value chain. Thus, I present a conceptual framework for scalability under two modes: concentrated vs. fragmented. In the concentrated (or conglomerate) mode, inspirers collaborate under the auspices of a few regional mega-inspirers that coordinate development activities including incubation, financing and capacity building for the burgeoning social enterprises. The fragmented scenario represents a pattern of multiple small and geographically scattered players working and growing independently. I construct a system dynamics model that simulates the two scenarios and measures the social impact created under each of them.
Results suggest that while fragmented scale-up generates higher impact in the first few years thanks to agility and adaptability factors, this trend is quickly overtaken by the concentrated scale-up strategy which yields the highest impact in the medium and long terms. This is explained by the positive loop created through synergy and collaboration between players under the conglomerate mode. In other terms, when synergistic capabilities are low (due to institutional, legal, or governance constraints), it is better to adopt a fragmented scaling approach. However, as regional integration is becoming a priority in the geopolitical agenda of most African countries, cooperation, co-creation and synergy must and will be a driving force of the next growth patterns. Under this high-synergy pattern, concentrated scaling maximizes social impact and becomes, thus, the most preferred route for scaling up social innovation impact in Africa.