Tag: Technology

The Summer of Love in Europe

The Summer of Love in Europe

Views on the political dynamics of pro-European parties.

Along with sustainability, business and technology news, I like to keep informed on current international affairs. So, this post serves as an insight into the political dynamics in Europe.

The year 2017 appears to mark Europe’s summer of love.
Last year, following the Brexit and election of US President Trump, there was an overwhelming assumption that other countries, particularly Europe would follow suit in the wave of right-wing populism and nationalism.

History has shown us time and time again, that austerity breeds discontent towards migrants and the foreign. Some countries feared globalisation more than others, depending on the levels by which citizens, companies and countries around the world have become more interconnected through trade, investment and advances in technology.

Evidently, the political status quo and fear of mass migration triggered a global right-wing movement in Europe.


It was interesting to witness how the Austrian political showdown tried to emulate the unsavoury American style of debates, rhetoric and dirt digging. The far-right oriented Austria’s Freedom Party leader, Norbert Hofer put up a tough fight and retreated following a narrow win of the Pro-European Alexander van der Bellen, following the presidential elections on 4 December 2017.


Every country’s nationalist party should have a fair share of seats in the House of Representatives to protect the interest of tradition and domestic affairs. The Dutch nationalist Party for Freedom took it a step too far with constant feeds of anti-Islam propaganda, spearheaded by its sole member and controversial leader Geert Wilders. The world was surprised to learn of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy to win the general election, and this despite the opinion polls prediction to put the right-wing populist Party for Freedom in the lead for the election held on 15 March 2017.


The populist and nationalist-oriented party, True Finns had false hopes in winning the municipal election to draw out of the European Union and drive away all migrants. The National Coalition, a conservative but liberal and strongly pro-European Party eventually won the election held on 9 April 2017.


Effects of globalisation and prevalent anti-immigration rhetoric brought the largest far-right movement in Europe.
Marine Le Pen’s Front National party failed to live up to supporters’ expectations in a closely-watch French general election. Similarly experienced to the US presidential election of Barack Obama in 2008, newly elected French President and pro-European Emmanuel Macron brought hope. France dodged a right-wing nationalist bullet at the general election held on 7 May 2017.


Despite the burden of handling a steady flow of desperate refugees, Italy’s neo-fascist party, the Lega Nord lost its recent local election and prepared to charge ahead for the general election in 2018. Italy’s pro-European Democratic Party emerged as winners of the local election held on 25 June 2017.

Great Britain

Along with the American, British politics is truly show business for ugly people. Current Prime Minister and Conservative Theresa May faced a humiliating defeat against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn who won 10% growth voters confidence; an achievement last experienced in 1945. The recent election appeared to be more about inequality than the nationalistic movement that led to Brexit. According to multiple poll surveys, the average Labour voters represented high-income, and highly educated demographic and Conservative voters represented the working class with only secondary school education. Usually, it’s the other way round …
The UK general election held on 8 June 2017 was overwhelmingly voted by the British wishing to remain in union with Europe.


The nationalist-populist party Alternative für Deutschland along with all other alternative parties have a slim chance of moving German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the throne. Since 2005, the Christian Democratic Union has managed to bring the German economy to a leading position in the world, along with 6% drop in unemployment and a largely multicultural and family-oriented democracy.
Who in their right frame of mind wants to vote against a stable and predictable Merkel economy? We will find out in the German general election held on 24 September 2017.

Austerity breeds populism.

Across the world, people are fed up with the political status quo.  The effects of globalisation in Europe swing in favour of anti-immigration, anti-Islam and Euroscepticism. Also, emerging technology is to blame for the harsh transition of replacing labour with automation across all sectors.

Instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt through populist rhetorics achieve an abundance of votes in the short term. Evidently, love and sensibility trumps hate and ignorance in Europe. Many of us, including the most sensible right-wing conservative, can relate to the fact that immigration brings innovation and diversity.

The European Union brings security and international trade.

International trade which is associated with globalisation has been a practice for centuries. Countries need access to goods and service they don’t have or cannot produce. There are two ways to gain access; either through trade or conflict.
Which would way would you rather?

The Rise Of African Cybercities

The Rise Of African Cybercities

Disruptive Innovation and Technology in the Savannah

What does San Francisco Bay Area, Bangalore and Nairobi have in common? Each city is a leading tech hub in its continental region, where technology companies and savvy entrepreneurs groom within a startup ecosystem. Also known as cybercities, Silicon Valley (USA), Silicon Plateau (India) and Silicon Savannah (Kenya) have each significantly contributed to its nation’s economic growth. Also known as Cybercities, you will find a concentration of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, hackerspaces and other innovation labs striving for making an impact.

Cybercities tend to host a concentration of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, hackerspaces and other innovation labs striving for making a sustainable and positive impact on the economy, environment and society. Click here to see the World Bank’s infographic on tech hubs and incubators in Africa.

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.” African Proverb

Just like in any other country, cybercities cultivate digital entrepreneurship, connectivity, technology development, and most importantly innovative solutions.

Contrary to large organisations and public sector, Startups have a stronger sense of finding adaptive solutions to global challenges but struggle with the lack of financial means and infrastructure to launch sustainable products and services. Against all odds, tech hubs have mushroomed from a few too many in Africa’s emerging cities over the last six years.

International collaboration, grants, funding and impact investments keep the African Cybercities development steadfast. According to GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, technology startups based in Silicon Savannah received more than €38 million ($43 million, 2016) in funding. Meanwhile, Lagos, Johannesburg and Kigali are catching up with Nairobi as the leading African Cybercity.

Yabacon Valley or Silicon Lagoon – whichever name you prefer to call Lagos’ tech cluster – drives the leading knowledge-based economy in Africa, according to Demo Africa. Other scholars and institutions, bet on Johannesburg to lead the social enterprise movement in the near future. The fact is that it doesn’t matter where the largest tech cluster will be located on the continent. My interest lies in the ability of cybercities to create an enabling environment for Africa’s young population to channel their energy, idea and hopes.

I cannot emphasise this enough – the opportunities for firms and consultants to tap into the growing knowledge stock of Africa’s emerging markets are immense. All it takes is to find a local partner – an Aphropean Partner – to assimilate, adapt your offering to local needs and capture the largely untapped market.

Former US President, JFK once said: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction“. Expand on your internationalisation strategy, explore Africa’s consumer market and contact me and my partners for assistance before you take that leap.

CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa

CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa


Thursday 7 September 2017, 18:00-21:30
Salon Razumovsky, Vienna


Countless organisations across the world have voluntarily improved their corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance for financial reasons. Today’s global marketplace increasingly explores opportunities to trade with Africa’s emerging markets through profitable sustainability programs and CSR in view of strengthening skills, tackling climate change, erratic energy supply and weak infrastructure with focus on:
– Education and Training,
– Cleantech Solutions,
– Commercial Agriculture,
– Financial Services.

Why not extend sustainability efforts beyond national borders?
What role does technology play in launching a sustainability program?
What are the benefits and pitfalls?

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Chapter facilitates an open debate about Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa.
Together with a distinguished panel of academic experts and practitioners, we explore strategies that make social responsible international business operational by placing sustainability at the forefront.

WHEN? Thur, 7 September 2017 – 18:00 – 21:30

WHERE IS IT? Salon Razumovsky, Jacquingasse 57, 1030 Vienna

The purpose of discussing corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives across borders is to realise an alternative approach to penetrate the emerging markets in Africa.

The aim of #FOD17 is to help decision-making on sustainability initiatives, thus attract investors and brand loyalty by understanding sustainable business opportunities in emerging markets.
We will focus on Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in aspects of:
– its customs/culture and consumer expectations,
– opportunities to build local capabilities,
– challenges and pitfalls, and
– how to work with stakeholders to determine impact solutions in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.



Professionals and peers with a mutual interest in sustainability, international trade and relations:
Corporations, Entrepreneurs, Investors, Consultants, Academics and the Curious.

We place emphasis on promoting intercontinental experts and thought leaders based in Austria.


An exclusive and engaging panel discussion with four speakers moderated by the host to address key themes of intercontinental relevance.

The event ambience is in an intimate and international setting including:

– Language: English
Education: 60mins interactive panel discussion and 30mins Q&A
– Entertainment: drinks and snacks, music during networking period
– Price  €10 (students) – €20 (standard) including hors d’oeuvres and drinks (wine, beer, water, juice).

18:00    Reception, Networking
18:30     Welcome and Debate Introduction
18:40     Debate Round One
19:00     Debate Round Two
19:20     Debate Round Three
19:40     Audience Q&A
20:10     Debate Conclusion
20:15     Drinks & Canapes Reception, Networking



#FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue is an event series for entrepreneurs, executives and professionals exploring the opportunities in Africa’s emerging markets. A panel of leaders of thought and practice exchange views on matters concerning business, technology and current affairs in the context of profitable sustainability.

Frontiers of Dialogue helps to expand the understanding of the African consumer, their needs and trends. Participants interact and build relations to actively engage on the internationalisation of their business to the top economies of Sub-Saharan Africa.


Previous topics of #FOD17 included:
Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017)
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017)

Making Profit & Sense of Sustainable Agriculture

Making Profit & Sense of Sustainable Agriculture


Thursday 9 November 2017, 18:30-21:30, Salon Razumovsky, Vienna


At this Frontiers of Dialogue (#FOD17), we are hosting a conference involving academia, civil society, the public and private sector at large across the whole agricultural value chain, which special focus on Making Profit And Sense Of Sustainable Agriculture in Africa.

WHEN? Thursday 9 November 2017

WHERE IS IT? Salon Razumovsky, Jacquingasse 56, 1030 Wien


  • To encourage meaningful dialogue and effective participation;
  • To provide concrete food for thought;
  • To highlight CSR initiatives and sustainable development programs in Africa;
  • To create opportunities to network within sector of interest;
  • To foster intercontinental economic cooperation and business partnerships.


  • TBD

Professionals and peers share a mutual interest in international trade and relations: entrepreneurs, executives, consultants, academics and the curious.

We place emphasis on promoting intercontinental experts and thought leaders based in Austria.


An exclusive and engaging panel discussion with four speakers moderated by the host to address key themes of intercontinental relevance.

The event ambience is in an intimate and international setting including:

  • Language: English 
  • Education: 60mins interactive panel discussion and 30mins Q&A
  • Entertainment: drinks and snacks, music during networking period
  • Price  €10 (students) – €20 (standard) including hors d’oeuvres and drinks (wine, beer, water, juice).


18:30 – 18:00    Registration, Welcome drinks
18:00 – 19:00    Panel Discussion
19:00 – 19:30    Q&A
19:30 – 22:00    Networking, Connecting and Socialise


#FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue is an event series for entrepreneurs, executives and professionals exploring the opportunities in Africa’s emerging markets. A panel of leaders of thought and practice exchange views on matters concerning business, technology and current affairs in the context of profitable sustainability.

Frontiers of Dialogue helps to expand the understanding of the African consumer, their needs and trends. Participants interact and build relations to actively engage on the internationalisation of their business to the top economies of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Previous topics of #FOD17 included:
Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017)
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017)

Rita Isiba, Aphropean Partner

Rita Isiba, Aphropean Partner

Rita Isiba, Aphropean PartnersI am Rita Isiba, founder of Aphropean Partners,  a marketing professional specialising in sustainability, an advocate of corporate social responsibility and best known as the brainchild of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, an event series to bridge Africa’s emerging markets with DACH region based SMEs.

Through my professional life, I have supported organisations from different sectors across Africa and Europe. I have crafted a broad base of expertise that helps organisations formulate sustainability into business strategy and performance evaluation.

I combine my deep interest in global business, emerging technology and current international affairs to monitor market trends in consideration of social, economic and environmental dimensions. This certainly helps to manage and promote sustainability-driven projects that meet the bottom line.

In 2016, I ventured out to establish Aphropean Partners based on the realisation of Europe’s increasing appetite to expand beyond continental borders. I cater particularly for the German-speaking region of interest to trade sustainability solutions suitable for Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.

In response to the rising demands of enterprises in Europe seeking to grab a share of Africa’s emerging markets, I engage with stakeholders by:

  • Conducting market analysis on and off site;
  • Promoting sustainable products and services;
  • Providing business development activities.

Through various marketing channels, I share #AphropeanViews (news) on the developments in business, technology and current affairs.

And I curate events.

You may have heard or attended #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, an event series featuring distinguished panellists, who provide market insights, technical know-how and research evidence with focus on profitable sustainability initiatives.

I am certified in Knowledge Management, Peacebuilding & Conflict Resolution, Equality & Diversity. Also, I hold a combined Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and European Studies from the University of Hertfordshire, Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Edinburgh Business School, UK.

In my personal time, I volunteer my expertise as a consultant in strategic planning and operations management to NIDO Europe, a non-governmental organisation in pursuit of Nigeria’s national development. Also, I am a member of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

I consider myself as an amateur anthropologist and love to travel and explore cultures and food.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritaisiba/

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

DI. Festus O. ImarhiagbeFestus Imarhiagbe is an Agricultural Consultant and Agribusiness expert. He studied Agricultural Economics, Farm Production and Management at the University of Agriculture, Vienna in Austria.

He is currently a Lecturer/an Instructor in Agribusiness Courses in the College of Agriculture and Sustainable Development at Cuttington University, Suakoko in Liberia.

Festus went on Sabbatical leave to support the Liberian University under the sponsorship of USAID. He was a Project/team leader in farm management and subsidy department of agricultural marketing board (AMA) under the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Vienna Austria.

Key qualification in Agricultural economics, farm production and resource management; personal/team leadership management and counselling

He is specialised in plant biology, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, new agricultural-based products and commercialization of new crops (Agribusiness development); Entrepreneurship and Microenterprise, Value Chain Analysis in Commercial Agriculture and in agricultural marketing, quality production and sustainability.

He is also involved in animal feeds formulation, preservation and conservation; new applications of plants for food, flavor, fragrances, health and nutrition, dietary supplements, natural plant products and herbs.

He has served in teaching education and as co–worker in several projects along with studies, consultant (agricultural assistant) for the farmers support projects in Nigeria¸and also currently involved in several projects which seek to enhance economic opportunities in the developing countries, especially in Liberia, such as the establishment of the Agricultural Training Center (ATC) in Bong County, Liberia.

Jesse Ojobor, MSc, BSc

Jesse Ojobor, (M.Sc., B.Sc.) Jesse Ojobor is an International Expert on Industrial Resource Management, Cleaner Production, Optimization and Energy Efficiency. He is currently working within the Environment Branch at the United Nations Industrial Development organization (UNIDO) HQ, Vienna.

He has acquired over ten years professional working experiences in project conceptualization, development, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation with a particular focus on industrial waste management, water management, pollution hotspot analysis, resource efficiency and cleaner production.

He obtained his Master of Science (M.Sc) Degree at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering and a Bachelor of Social Science (B.Sc) Degree in Geography and Regional Planning at University of Benin, Nigeria.

He has a solid track record in the delivery of technical cooperation projects, with specific expertise in the Sub-Sahara Africa region while acquiring knowledge and competencies within the Middle East, Arab Africa (MENA) and Asia Pacific regions.

Jesse has also developed programmes on Agribusiness and Rural Entrepreneurship Development; Poverty Reduction Human Security and Post-Crisis Rehabilitation; Women and Youth in Productive Activities which have been implemented in seventeen countries across the globe.

Naomi Morishita, MSc, BSc

Naomi Morishita Naomi Morishita is a doctoral student at the TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Institute of Construction & Technology, Research Center for Building Physics & Sound Protection.

Her dissertation topic develops vernacular Syrian adobe architecture as a basis for developing energy-efficient transitional post-war housing incorporating recycled rubble. She completed her Master’s of Science at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Wien in Building Science & Technology (2010), and her Bachelor of Architectural Science with a Building Science major at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada (2003).

Ms. Morishita has over seven years of research experience in the fields of sustainable construction and energy-efficient buildings. She has been involved in international and regional interdisciplinary research projects relating to total energy use in buildings, on-site renewable energy production, building greening, energy-efficient construction, and energy-related occupant behaviour. She studied the influence of energy-related occupant behaviour on residential thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort on total residential energy use in summer.

She has given lectures to international professionals and university students about architecture, building physics, and thermal comfort. Since 2014, she has been involved in the curriculum development and organisation of the Green.Building.Solutions international summer university program. She has published in international conferences and peer-reviewed journals and also assists academics at all levels with technical writing in English for publication.

Ms. Morishita’s practical experience includes on-site construction management and architectural design services. She has lived and worked in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, and Austria. She speaks English and German fluently, as well as French, Japanese and Slovak. She currently lives in Vienna.

Waste Business is Serious Business

Waste Business is Serious Business

Waste management is not a new concept in Africa. In fact, recycling and disposing of waste for profit is rather a promising business opportunity for a continent of more 1.2 billion people. In Europe, where waste disposal and water treatment is centred on economic impact, Africa weighs its focus more on economic (profit) and social impact (health).

European entrepreneurs and businesses have made substantial progress in turning waste into a resource. Some initiatives are promoting sustainable ways of waste management, along with frameworks that drive environmental performance. Europe INNOVA estimated that resource efficiency improvements all along the value chains could represent an overall savings potential of €630 billion per year for European industry.

We do not have a clue what the saving potentials are for African industries. Nobody has figured it out. We can agree the abundant opportunities for job creation and poverty reduction by creating new markets for recycling products for as long as possible. In addition to an improved environmental performance of Africa’s biodiversity and water quality, people reap the health benefits from appropriate waste disposal and water treatment.

On 4 May, #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue panellists share insights on the role of technology driving environmental performance, key trends, the opportunities and challenges this presents in African countries. Get inspired and engage with Vienna’s international community by reserving your place.

Looking forward to your comments and a fruitful debate at the upcoming #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue.


Rita Isiba
Your Aphropean Partner

PS.: Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook for updates, news and views.

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology

This event took place on 2 March 2017.

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with the Universität Wien, Global African Diaspora Research Platform, the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Chapter Central Europe, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Kenyans in Diaspora Austria invites you to join #FOD17 FRONTIERS OF DIALOGUE.

WHEN? Thur, 2 March 2017 – 17:30 – 21:30

WHERE IS IT? Kleiner Hörsaal, Universität Wien, Universitätsring 1, A-1010 Vienna, Austria

WHY?  Understanding that emerging technologies disrupt the traditional way of doing business plays a huge role in driving efficiency and cost reduction combined with sustainability practices. Also, individuals benefit from the convenience and low-cost alternatives that disruptive innovations bring. It is important to create awareness of disruptive technology concepts in order to adequately plug into the opportunities, particularly in Africa’s emerging markets.

At this #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, we facilitate an open debate about Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology with a panel of intercontinental thought leaders and practitioners from the civil society, public and private sector.

We will close this inclusive discussion with an opportunity to network over drinks and canapés.

Our panel involves an exciting line-up of leaders of thought and practice from academia, civil society, public and private sector:


Annabella Johnson, Technologist and ICT Expert specialising in Humanitarian Affairs


Jacobs Edo, Business Transformation Expert and Author

Prof. Dr. Michael Heiss, Open Innovation Expert at Siemens and TU-Wien

Dr. Alain Nkoyock, Author, Scholar, Technologist at UN. Founder & President of Think Tank CABAC

Rita Okechukwu, Network Infrastructure Engineer, Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

#FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue aims to shed light on mastering the role of disruptive technology and innovation for sustainability strategies in Africa’s emerging markets.

What we will cover:

  • Key trends moving environmental technology forward in Africa’s emerging markets
  • Challenges faced in improving environmental performance: lessons learned
  • Opportunities for cooperation and transfer of environmental  technology


18:00 – 18:30 Registration and refreshments
18:30 – 20:00 Panel Discussion + Q&A
20:00 – 22:00 Connect over drinks and canapés

Places are limited so to avoid disappointment register now.

6 reasons why you should join Frontiers of Dialogue

  1. Discover from leading experts in academia, private and public sector with international exposure;
  2. Great opportunity to ask questions and share your opinion;
  3. Get up to speed on key trends and issues affecting the way of business and work;
  4. Develop your knowledge for new ideas and approaches in business or work;
  5. Connect offline and meet professionals with international in spirit based in Austria;
  6. Have a great time after working hours with an inspiring mix of great people, music, drinks + snacks 🙂


More and more companies in Europe are seeking collaborating African partners to help tap into opportunities in Africa, and its complex environmental and social value chain challenges.

Rita Isiba, founder of Aphropean Partners established #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue out of a desire for a continuous, accessible event for Austria’s international community working towards profitable sustainability. Discover trends and current affairs impacting the future of business, technology and sustainability in Africa.

The concept is pretty straightforward:
After work drinks and 90-minutes inclusive panel discussion or keynotes on key themes centred around the business, technology and current affairs on the first Thursday of every other month.

The goal is to bring together bright minds to actively exchange views from an international perspective on a wide range of subjects to inspire and provoke conversations that matter for business, work and a sustainable world.

We place emphasis on promoting intercontinental leaders of thought and practice based within the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Events are recorded and held in the English language.


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