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The Gambia’s Pathway to Prosperity

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Good Morning, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to express my appreciation to Minister Njie for the kind introduction. It is a pleasure to be here today in Banjul to speak to such a distinguished audience at this moment of new possibilities for The Gambia.

You represent a true cross-section of this society—reflecting many different interests but sharing the hopes of all Gambians. These hopes found expression in the peaceful political transition of 2017. In just two days here, I am struck with admiration by the energy, determination, and patience of this nation. You have embraced your country’s challenges and opportunities, and your efforts are beginning to bear fruit. What I have sensed is a road to hope and a bright future. Or, in other words, a pathway to prosperity. This is what I would like to address in the time I have this morning.

Let me first set the stage by offering a quick overview of the economic setting in sub-Saharan Africa and The Gambia. As you know, the region has benefited from solid growth over the past two decades. But the past four years have proven more challenging. We have witnessed a divergence of economic fortunes—with diversified, well managed economies continuing to grow and many resource-dependent countries encountering difficulties.

While this pattern has continued recently, we are seeing regional growth regain some momentum. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that growth in sub-Saharan Africa should accelerate this year to 3.5 percent from 3 percent in 2018. We expect it to expand at close to 4 percent over the medium term. This is good news.

We are very pleased to see that the Gambian economy has rebounded strongly. Growth in 2018 reached 6.6 percent and prospects for sustained growth are positive over the medium term. Inflation has dropped to just above 6 percent, and gross official reserves have increased to about 3 months of imports. This remarkable progress has been achieved through your government’s efforts to stabilize the economy with support from Gambians living abroad, the private sector, and international partners.

There also has been progress in developing infrastructure, which is crucial to ensuring sustained growth. The recently opened Senegambia Bridge, which I am going to visit later today, is a prime example of this progress. It is a symbol of The Gambia’s efforts to deepen economic ties to the rest of the region.

The bridge is also a good segue to the theme of my speech: The Gambia’s pathway to prosperity. As a road, it is a pathway in the literal sense. But it is also a pathway in figurative sense, symbolizing the role of enhanced trade and connectivity in building prosperity. At the same time, domestic policy efforts will be needed to build this pathway.

Enhanced trade is one pillar of the pathway to prosperity. Africa is now moving ahead with creating the Continental Free Trade Area, which The Gambia recently endorsed. This initiative has the potential to boost intra-African trade and growth across many dimensions. It can add jobs, foster competition, help increase investment, and spur the spread of knowledge and technology.[1] All of which could provide significant benefits to The Gambia.

The agreement itself, however, is but one step. To fully benefit from it, the significant nontariff bottlenecks to trade that exist across the region will also need to be tackled. These include infrastructure shortcomings, logistical costs, and other hurdles that hinder cross-border trade.

If these issues are addressed, regional trade integration can help maximize the returns on important public investment, such as the Senegambia bridge, and consolidate the recent pick-up in private sector activity and lending that is integral to sustainable development in The Gambia. On this point, it is important to note that this private sector-led growth needs to be supported through responsible lending by financial institutions to Gambian businesses large and small. Vigilant supervision of banks and other credit institutions will help to ensure financial stability in the face of growing private capital inflows.

Trade integration will also help frame the reforms of this country’s state-owned enterprises. In many cases, the long-term viability of those companies will depend on increasing their regional orientation.

Take the example of the energy sector. The stabilization of electricity output has contributed to your country’s stronger growth. So, the ongoing investment in the electricity transmission not only will link the Eastern and Northern parts of the country, it will also open doors to West Africa’s power networks by enabling cross-border energy trading, including under the flagship OMVG project uniting The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau with the aim of harnessing the water resources of The Gambia River Basin to produce low-cost renewable energy for the member countries.

In the same vein, investment to upgrade the port of Banjul could create a new trans-shipment hub for the region. Seen in this context, the Senegambia Bridge could be just one step in the development of the Trans-Gambia corridor within Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Regional integration and cooperation are particularly important for improving the structure of the economy and enhancing competitiveness. Let me offer two examples:

First, agriculture could be an important contributor to The Gambia’s pathway to prosperity. Regional trade integration and improved infrastructure will be key to growing this important sector of the economy.

On Sunday, I visited Radville Farms, outside Banjul and their processing plant and transit facility near Yundum airport. It was great to see how automation and advanced irrigation techniques are helping to produce high-value and high-yielding crops, boosting exports, and providing high-value employment for many skilled workers, especially women.

In the future, weather tracking, satellite imaging and other sophisticated technological solutions (including artificial intelligence) will be needed to modernize agriculture. They will help to create a farming sector that is more environmentally attuned and resilient to climatic shocks. This is especially important for small and fragile ecosystems like The Gambia’s. Agriculture will then be better able to meet national goals of food self-sufficiency and creation of new export markets.

Second, tourism and other services also remain essential to your future. Regarding tourism, it is great to see The Gambiaattracting record numbers of visitors. New hotels, roads, and other amenities will attract more tourists and will help rebrand your country’s tourism offerings, including by branching out into eco-tourism and water sports. The ongoing expansion of transport infrastructure will facilitate tourism, including better connections to the region. These connections, importantly, will also allow goods to move around the region and help develop trade-related services, including re-exports.

Regional economic integration and cooperation will also strengthen The Gambia’s external position. Exports, private capital inflows, and remittances from Gambians working abroad are rebounding and are likely to increase further with regional integration. This will help build foreign exchange reserves and strengthen confidence in the Dalasi.

So, there are grounds for optimism about the economic outlook. The gains we are witnessing will support your efforts to improve the quality of life for all Gambians. We are already seeing progress in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates, and so much more is envisaged under the National Development Plan.

This highlights that, beyond regional integration, there are other important areas of reform to move The Gambia along the pathway to prosperity, which are also key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to highlight three areas:

First, unlocking financial support from donors is one critical challenge. This can be addressed by resolving The Gambia’sunsustainable public debt situation. In this regard, I am pleased to report that at a recent roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C., most creditors indicated support for debt relief. Your government and its advisors are following up on this development.

Second, fostering inclusive growth and addressing social needs is another priority. This means attacking poverty through programs aimed at aiding vulnerable households and creating jobs for unemployed youth. By lowering debt service costs, debt relief can also create budget room to address these needs as well as other budget priorities, including the reform of state-owned enterprises.

Third, strengthening the rule of law and increasing accountability and transparency will also be crucial steps toward sustainable growth. The Janneh Commission revealed the extent of financial mismanagement and misappropriation during the previous regime. More focused efforts will be needed to recover stolen domestic and foreign assets.

The IMF joins the rest of the international community in applauding the governments’ commitment to transitional justice reform through the work of the Commission of Enquiry and the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, and the recently established National Human Rights Commission. We also note the plans to establish an Anti-Corruption Commission.

We also join the international community in support of the security sector reforms, which are essential for modernizing the state and strengthening the rule of law.

To conclude, I would like to discuss the role of the IMF.

The Fund provided emergency support in 2017 and is continuing our engagement through a Staff-Monitored Program. In the future we may be able to move to a medium-term program with concessional financing.

In addition, along with international partners and supporting countries, the IMF is strongly committed to helping The Gambia strengthen key institutions, including by providing our technical expertise and training.

It is essential that the assistance of the international community, including the IMF, is closely linked to your country’s development priorities. Please be assured that we stand ready to listen to your ideas and proposals—and to provide all the help we can.

We look forward to working with you as you proceed along your pathway to prosperity.

Thank you for your time and attention. I am happy now, together with IMF colleagues, to answer any questions you may have.

SOURCE International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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The Rising Global Impression of Manipal’s AUA, College of Medicine

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Manipal’s American University of Antigua (AUA), College of Medicine is on their mission to execute the promise of addressing the global shortage of physicians. AUA is proclaiming their worldwide presence with each association and partnership.

AUA, the top medical school in the Caribbean has been securing its highest rank among the best medical schools consistently. The medical graduates of AUA are licensed to practice in all the 50 states of the United States of America. And now with agreements with various medical schools and hospitals in other countries, AUA is spreading its wings far and wide enabling the dreams of numerous students aspiring to take up the medical profession.

Recently, an agreement has been signed between American University of Antigua and Warwick Medical School with the purpose of enabling students of AUA’s College of Medicine transfer to WMS to finish their medical degree. This partnership between both these prestigious universities aims at nurturing a diverse academic community to propagate global medical health propelled by their promise of delivering nothing but excellence.

Expanding its reach, AUA has entered into a new articulation agreement with Royal Crown College of Business and Technology Inc. to increase the scope for students to fulfil their passion to become physicians. “We are pleased to partner with Royal Crown College and provide their successful students the opportunity to continue their medical education at AUA,” said AUA President Neal Simon.

According to the agreement, after the successful completion of the premedical program or prerequisite courses at Royal Crown College, qualified medical students will be eligible to complete their first two years of medical study at AUA in Antigua and Barbuda, and the last two years in AUA’s affiliated hospitals in the United StatesCanadaUnited Kingdomand India.

The next recent and proud partnership has been sealed between AUA and Yeovil District Hospital, Great Britain. “Learning from the professors and physicians at Yeovil District Hospital and performing rotations under the talented professionals there provides our students an enhanced clinical experience, as well as the opportunity to study in Great Britain” said AUA President Neal Simon.

This agreement allows qualified AUA students to complete their clinical rotations at Yeovil District Hospital, located in Somerset, England. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a medical degree from AUA, a Yeovil District Hospital graduate certificate program transcript and a Yeovil District Hospital certificate of completion.

A similar agreement was recently signed between AUA and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.  This agreement too enables qualified AUA students to complete their core and elective clinical rotations at UHCW, Coventry, United Kingdom. Students who successfully complete their clinical rotations from UHCW, and fulfil all other requirements to graduate from AUA, will receive medical degree from AUA, UHCW graduate certificate program transcript and a UHCW certificate of completion.

Further, on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, it was a matter of pride for AUA College of Medicine to have hosted the ninth mid-year conference of the Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) at AUA’s campus. GAPIO is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering physicians of Indian origin providing affordable healthcare, contributing to local and regional community development and helping reduce health inequalities on a global level.

The goal of this collaboration was to gather physicians of Indian origin to initiate connections, share ideas and learn through a singular platform. Sessions on recent developments and advancements in cardiology, the metabolic syndrome like obesity and diabetes, nephrology with a focus on transplants and neurology were an integral part of this conference. The event also included sessions on artificial intelligence in healthcare, Vedic Wisdom – leadership in medicine and reaching the unreached and global opportunities in healthcare.

“The conference is in celebration of India’s vital contributions to global healthcare – a matter AUA commemorates,” said AUA President Neal Simon. “As a university that strives to advance the field of medicine and shape physicians who come from underrepresented minorities, we are honoured to host the event.”

 

SOURCE Manipal’s American University of Antigua (AUA)

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Kneron Debuts Edge AI Chip, Bringing AI to Devices Everywhere

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Amidst the fierce competition in the world of artificial intelligence dominated by global tech companies, an AI startup in Taiwan has emerged as the pioneer in the field of edge AI. Kneron was founded by a young Taiwan native Albert Liu, and received funding from renowned investors including Himax, Qualcomm, CDIB, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and Horizons Ventures, the private technology investment arm of Mr Li Ka-Shing. Today, Kneron is unveiling its ground-breaking 3D artificial intelligence solution and edge AI chip.

Named after its release date of May 20th, Kneron’s debut AI Chip “KL520” has the best-in-class power efficiency only consuming a few hundred mega-watts, bringing AI computation power to edge devices for various applications.

Building Global Partnerships to Bring AI to the Masses

Further to the KL520 edge AI chip release, Kneron is also announcing partnerships with industry leaders to bring their chip into our everyday lives. Partnerships include fabless IC maker Etron Technology Inc., US-listed company Himax Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: HIMX), enterprise PC OEM AAEON Technology Inc., 3C solution provider Alltek Technology Corp, renowned ODM players Pegatron, as well as 3D sensing provider Orbbec, and IC design house Datang Semiconductor.

Founded in 2015, Kneron is headquartered in San Diego. Founder Albert Liu graduated from National Cheng Kung University, received his PhD from UCLA, and subsequently worked at Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and MStar, developing advanced AI systems.

Proprietary Reconfigurable Architecture to Bring Efficient AI Solutions On-Device

The KL520 edge AI chip is a culmination of Kneron’s core technologies, combining proprietary software and hardware designs to create a highly efficient and ultra low-power Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Running AI computations on the end device will help generate real-time insights without relying on the cloud.

In particular, KL520 is equipped with a unique reconfigurable architecture which allows the chip to run a number of different convolutional neural networks (CNN) based on different applications, regardless of its kernel size, architecture requirements or input size. In turn, the chip is able to achieve a very high MAC (media access control) efficiency, a key metric for efficient computation. This software innovation allows the chip to dynamically adjust its function based on applications needs, in order to achieve maximum efficiency. The KL520 is also equipped with a proprietary compression technology that is able to compress a large AI neural network into a very small footprint to process on the edge device, without sacrificing large amounts of power.

Kneron’s software and hardware innovations are truly a breakthrough in the development of edge AI. By bringing elements of reconfigurability and compression onto the chip, the KL520 is bringing AI computation to various end-devices that operate under low-powered environments.

Features and targeted applications for the KL520:

  • Low-powered with a small physical footprint
  • The KL250 can run alongside a main chip as a co-processor; will not need a replacement chip
  • For smart door lock applications, KL520 includes two ARM Cortex M4 CPU, which can serve as the main processor.
  • Balances the need of performance, power and cost to bring the best solution for edge applications
  • Applicable to various 3D sensor technologies such as structured light, dual-camera and ToF, and Kneron’s exclusive 3D sensing technology
  • Well-suited for applications including smart locks, security cameras, drones, smart home appliances and robotics

During the product launch event, Kneron’s Founder and CEO, Albert Liu said: “We are determined to deliver the best-in-class edge AI solution to the market. The results that we have achieved over the past four years are very promising, and we are proud to receive recognitions from industry partners for our innovations.”

Liu also mentioned that Kneron will be releasing its second-generation chip during Q4 this year, targeted toward the surveillance and security market. The team will also be exhibiting at CES Asia 2019 in June, showcasing Kneron’s latest products to partners and potential customers.

SOURCE Kneron Inc.

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Core Strengths® Launches First-of-its-Kind Talent Effectiveness Platform to Improve ‘Relationship Intelligence’ (RQ)

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Core Strengths, globally recognized for its award-winning SDI 2.0 assessment and strength-based training programs, today released its Talent Effectiveness Platform, an end-to-end solution that provides talent management and development professionals the tools to improve relationships, build better teams, and coach for performance across the organization. The new solution applies the science of relationship intelligence to strengthen relationships across the organization.

Our clients from Fortune 500 enterprises to nonprofit and governmental agencies have been instrumental in the development of this ground-breaking platform. Long-time client CO-OP Financial Services was an early beta client for the platform. Dave Ragan, Manager, Talent Development at CO-OP Financial Services, credits Core Strengths for helping evolve his program into one that focuses on achieving results and aligning to the corporate objectives. “The new platform is a game-changer for the organization and our program,” Ragan said, adding, “We are seeing the impact well beyond the classroom and becoming a part of our company culture.”

“The best organizations invest in their people through training, and understand the direct connection between employee development, higher performance, and retention,” said Dr. Tim Scudder, Author and Principal at Core Strengths. “Despite their best intentions, talent development and management professionals have a difficult time sustaining the insights gained from traditional training programs to practical, everyday interactions. This new platform pays off quickly in the hyper-connected workplace as it provides ongoing relationship intelligence. It puts the power of SDI 2.0 insights in the hands of every member of the organization.”

Introducing the new Core Strengths Talent Effectiveness Platform, where leaders can:

Improve relationships
Create quality interactions where problems get solved and work gets done.

Build better teams
Bring talented people together and align them toward a common goal. Illuminate individual differences to encourage clear communication, healthy opposition, and better decision-making.

Coach for performance
Get real-time insight to help managers the most from everyone’s strengths and empower people to be responsive to challenges and opportunities.

The assessments in our platform give people a common language that promotes understanding and improves communication. We identify people’s strengths and the underlying motives that drive them. This awareness leads to a culture of inclusion and collaboration.  Our talent effectiveness platform enhances this perspective and provides specific language suggestions for the in-the-moment conversations, emails, texts, and meetings where relationships grow, problems are solved, and progress gets made.

Teams can use the platform to refresh their understanding of one another, and conflicts can be redirected toward a more productive interaction in the moment. The Team Strengths Portrait offers a snapshot of the perceived versus actual culture of a team, and helps define steps towards the ideal.

The Core Strengths Talent Effectiveness Platform is now available. For more information about the product, please visit www.corestrengths.com/products/platform.

 

SOURCE Core Strengths

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