Visualization of fiber infrastructure in Africa and population density, showing unserved regions. Total population is estimated for each 10,000 km2 hexagon; those with populations below 100,000 are excluded. Source: WorldBank.org, Network Startup Resource Center, TeleGeography and European Commission
Despite some progress, “much of Africa is still unconnected, and large populations cannot fully realize the benefits of connectivity,” concludes a World Bank working group on digital development in Africa.
The data map it produced shows that “approximately 45% of Africa’s population is further than 10 km (6.2 miles) from fiber network infrastructure,” and “about a third of the population remains out of reach of mobile broadband signal in sub-Saharan Africa.”
To double connectivity in Africa by 2021 will require an investment of $9 billion, with another $100 billion needed to reach universal broadband access by 2030, the World Bank Group examined in an October report, Connecting Africa Through Broadband.
Demand for delivery services is slated to grow by 78% over the next decade, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.
As demand for delivery services grows — same-day delivery demand has increased by 36% annually — so does its impact on the environment and congestion in cities. The number of delivery vehicles is on track to increase by 36%, delivery emissions by 32% and traffic congestion by 21% in urban areas over the next decade, the report says.
Left unaddressed, these issues could mean longer commutes for city dwellers, crowded roads and reduced air quality due to increasing traffic from freight trucks and commercial vehicles.
A solution to these concerns should consider business priorities along with urban-logistical and environmental concerns. A number of options have been proposed, including electric vehicle regulation, nighttime deliveries, load pooling and multi-brand parcel lockers. “Such a scenario could reduce [carbon dioxide] emissions by 30%, congestion by 30% and delivery costs by 25% by 2030 when compared to a ‘do nothing’ baseline,” the report says.
Businesses worldwide will suffer supply chain disruption as biodiversity loss reaches alarming levels — even if they don’t rely directly on sourcing products from nature, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.
More than half of global GDP results from moderate or high dependencies on nature, and many supply chains have “hidden dependencies” on nature’s biodiversity, the report explains, meaning an industry’s supply chain operations may rely on nature to a much greater extent than the industry itself.
The graphic above shows six industries that receive at least 85% of their direct value without significant dependence on nature (chemicals and materials; aviation, travel and tourism; real estate; mining and metals; supply chain and transport; and retail, consumer goods and lifestyle), however, more than half of the value of their supply chains results from a moderate-to-high dependency on nature.
“Business leaders have a crucial role to play” in responding to the world’s deteriorating biodiversity, the report argues. It recommends adopting a risk management approach for “systematically identifying, assessing, mitigating and disclosing nature-related risks to avoid severe consequences.”
Larger corporations stand to learn from social improvement organizations in how they approach problem-solving and create tangible change: They address some of society’s most difficult issues by tailoring solutions to communities.
More than 600 million people have benefited from social entrepreneurs’ work, be it from gaining access to clean water or finding opportunities to pursue education, according to a report from the World Economic Forum, which convenes for its Annual Meeting this week. “Extraordinary impact has been achieved where the traditional approaches of markets … have failed to empower and include communities,” the report notes.
Organizations understand the structures and interconnectivity of issues in the communities they work in and aim to address them through “contextually relevant models,” rather than from a broad, theoretical perspective, the report says.
It calls this the “decade of delivery” for the SDGs. As more businesses incorporate social positions and impact into their identity and purpose, they have the opportunity to explore alternative models of creating social change, for which local organizations have provided the blueprint.
Failure to effectively tackle climate change is raising alarm bells among macro-level risk experts. Respondents to the Global Risks Perception Survey, published by the World Economic Forum in its annual Global Risks Report, identified climate inaction as the leading global risk, as illustrated in the above interconnections map.
Climate change is seen as having a causal effect on other global challenges, such as involuntary migration, as more than “20 million people a year have been forced from their homes by extreme weather such as floods, storms, wildfires and hotter temperatures,” according to the report.
The climate crisis has also strained geopolitical dynamics across the world — for example, melting Arctic ice is causing “tension between countries already at odds over unresolved maritime and land boundaries,” the report says.
Further, climate change is triggering biodiversity loss at an alarming rate, intensifying health risks: The report notes “an estimated 50,000–70,000 plant species are harvested for traditional or modern medicine, and around 50% of modern drugs were developed from natural products.”
“Nature-related risks are undervalued in business decision-making,” it says, as “the destruction of nature will inevitably impact bottom lines.”