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The growth of Africa’s digital market place is likel better than the mature markets of the developed world, making Africa desirable to companies looking to grow. (Image credit: Tim Reckman) Sulaiman PhilipThe future is here. It has taken 20 years for the active internet population to reach 2.9 billion; the next billion users will connect within a decade. For 40% of the world’s population, the web is at the heart of all commercial interactions.Understanding how people connect to their world helps business leaders and policy makers allocate resources and decide strategy. But the world – more so online – does not have one homogenous identity. Mastercard, along with the Fletcher School at Tufts, has been researching the growth of the digital economy since 2008. The Digital Evolution Index tracked the digital footprint of 50 countries and analysed the key drivers of and barriers to the countries’ evolution to a digital economy:– Demand (consumer demographics, income and internet access)– Supply (technology and infrastructure)– Institutional environment (governmental policy)– Innovation (environment for creating start-ups and the overall competitive landscape)South Africa ranked 33rd in the list of 50, the highest African country and second only to China in the Brics group of trade partners. Factors in South Africa’s favour, as identified in the index, included an 86% cellphone market saturation and the most developed telecommunications network in Africa, which is almost 100% digital. In terms of government regulations, plans to give broadband access to all citizens within the next five years helped to push the country’s score in the Break Out category higher. South Africa was also the fourth fastest growing digital economy behind China, Malaysia and Thailand.Ted Iacobuzio, the vice-president of global insights at Mastercard, explained that Africa’s greatest strength was that it had not followed the same path to a digital economy as other more established economies. “What is significant is that all four of the African countries measured (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt) share a common trait of moving at a high rate of speed towards digital evolution, demonstrating huge growth potential for e-commerce.”All the measured African countries – the other three are holding up the table – scored very low in comparison but they all have one thing in common – room for growth. Over the next 10 years there will be a billion new internet users, the majority of whom will be African. Africa, Iacobuzio explained, represented potential to businesses.Africa’s internet penetration stood at 16 percent (167 million people) in 2013, and is forecast to reach 50 percent (600 million people) by 2025, indicating that the online consumer market will quadruple over this time. The speed of digital growth in Africa points to the continent evolving a huge online market. Where established online users started off using the web to send mail and surf (maturing along with the digital space), users in the developing world are already e-consumers. They are used to interacting and transacting on their mobile devices; buying and selling goods online is the next logical step for this market.But what does this mean for businesses?Art Peck is the incoming chief executive of Gap Inc. The biggest challenge he will face is dealing with the collision of the digital experience with the shopping experience in one of the company’s 3 076 stores. He does not see the future as the death of bricks and mortar stores, but agrees that technology has redefined the whole customer experience. Technology, he explained to Buzzfeed News, “is really going to be the expression of the brand that most people engage with most significantly. How do you bring everything this device can bring into a store?”Understanding how his customers use the digital world is the biggest challenge facing Peck and other business leaders. It has changed the power dynamic in retail. “Visits to good malls are not down, but the number of store visits inside a mall are down, which says to me that people are planning their store visits as a function of their engagement with the brand.”Even in a mature economy like the US, businesses are still trying to figure out how to use the online space to sell. Peck understands that for consumers, the online experience is more democratic than visiting a store. Technology elevates the shopping experience; it’s the difference between visiting an outlet store and browsing the racks at a flagship big city store.Gap is a global brand and it is possible to dress in one of its labels from birth through to maturity. For a company like this, the Digital Evolution Index allows it to plan and devise ways to sell more to those customers by tailoring digital strategies to fit the digital footprint of each market.Not so long ago retailers measured traffic in terms of feet through the door. Things are changing, quickly. “The numbers are going in a way where, very quickly, the majority of traffic will be digital as opposed to people walking into our stores.”Companies will still struggle to understand the aspirations of a global audience but studies like the Digital Evolution Index does give them the ability to finesse the tools needed to speak directly to the audience.
The Lakers want Thomas to mentor their young players, and they’re giving him rest and recovery time when he needs — mindful that he wants to go into this summer as healthy as possible.“I think he’s been judged pretty harshly with the fact that he missed that much time,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He’s playing good for us. I think with the more time he has just playing basketball, the better he’ll get as far as getting back to doing the things he was doing in Boston last season.”Walton speaks highly of Thomas, which suggests that the Lakers could be that one team Thomas is looking for.Games like Thursday certainly won’t hurt his cause. He came into the night averaging 14.3 points in 26 minutes on 37 percent shooting. Against the Heat, he shot 11 for 20, 6 for 11 from 3-point range.“If they give me a bigger opportunity, I’m capable of bringing more to the table,” Thomas said. “Until then I’m doing what I can. I’m getting as healthy as I possibly can. Every day I’m feeling a lot better. I’m just grinding it out and just trying to be ready for any opportunities that come my way.”ADVERTISEMENT Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Thomas went through pain of the emotional and physical kind with the Celtics a year ago, after his sister died in a car crash just before the start of Boston’s postseason run. About three weeks later, on the day Chyna Thomas would have turned 23, her brother — a day removed from oral surgery — scored 53 points to lead the Celtics past Washington.Not long after that, the Celtics shut the 5-foot-9 guard down because of the right hip problem.“Him being a competitor and a warrior, he made his injury even worse instead of putting his stock up there and saying ’I’m done, let me get ready for the next season so I can get a max deal,’” said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, a Thomas teammate in Cleveland this season. “He kept trying to fight and fight and fight for the city that he was playing for. So it’s a tough situation.“One thing I know about him, you don’t become a household name at 5-foot-whatever-he-is without having grit, without having toughness and without knowing you can overcome anything.”That’s the belief Thomas still has these days.He doesn’t think he can merely return to the level he was at last year. He thinks he can get even better. The challenge will be making someone else believe that this summer.“It’s ‘what have you done for me lately.’ That’s the league we’re in and I understand that,” Thomas said. “But if I’m given the same opportunity I was given in Boston, I would do the same thing. And that’s just what it is. My resume speaks for itself. What I can do on the basketball floor speaks for itself. I can’t do nothing but control what I can control, and that’s taking advantage of any opportunity I’m given and playing my heart out.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Nothing is certain now.He’s gone from a star in Boston to being cast aside in Cleveland and now finds himself as a backup with the Los Angeles Lakers, still trying to get healthy after hip surgery. If that wasn’t enough, there’s the added strain that what he does over these next few high-stakes weeks will go a long way in determining what he’ll earn and where he’ll play over the next few years.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“All you need is one team to love you,” Thomas said Thursday. “It’s like the draft all over again. You just need one team.”He averaged just under 29 points per game last season. And until Thursday night, when he led the Lakers to a 131-113 win in Miami over the Heat, he hadn’t scored more than 24 in any game this season. He couldn’t get on the floor until January while recovering from the hip surgery and lasted only 15 games with the Cavaliers before getting traded to the Lakers in early February. Thomas was the main piece that Cleveland got from Boston in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics, and his on-court Cavs tenure lasted roughly one month. Read Next FILE – In this Feb. 10, 2018, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas (7) gestures during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. The way Isaiah Thomas sees it, what awaits in free agency this summer is like what he faced when he was the last pick in the NBA Draft. “I only need one team to love me,” Thomas said Thursday, candidly opening up about his health, his past, his present and his future while he deals with a season that absolutely has not gone the way he envisioned. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez, File)MIAMI — Isaiah Thomas still feels like there’s time.He’s four months away from free agency, the wheeling-and-dealing period when — the way things were looking a year ago — he would be signing a contract worth well over $100 million, ensuring himself a level of wealth that would be well beyond what the player picked last in the 2011 NBA draft should have reasonably expected.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Lakers shred Heat defense, stay hot with easy win Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH AFP official booed out of forum John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments
Researchers have found that students who feel a greater sense of belonging with their peers, family and school community are less likely to become bullies. The findings suggest that parents and teachers should consider ways to create a supportive and accepting environment both at home and at school. “What we have found is that students’ perceptions of how supportive their school environment is has the power to alter bullying behaviour. This means that even acts of simple compassion and efforts to create an accepting and supportive space for students can help prevent bullying in schools,” said Chad Rose, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainFor the study, researchers analysed survey responses from more than 900 middle school students from rural schools throughout the US. The survey addressed their sense of belonging as well as bullying behaviour. The results indicate that the more a student feels like they belong among their peers and family, the more likely they will feel like they belong at school. In addition, the more they feel like they belong within their school community, the less likely they were to report bullying behaviour. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardThis indicates that parents might be able to play a proactive role in increasing their child’s sense of belonging at school by focusing on improving family belongingness. “If you have children with varying interests, it might be beneficial to suggest the whole family get together to attend each other’s events and activities, even if it does not please the whole crowd every time,” said Christopher Slaten, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri. The study suggests that one of the ways parents can increase a child’s sense of family belonging is to organise activities that cater to every child’s interests.
LeBron James might remain the best player in the NBA. He might remain the most valuable. He might even remain a player around whom a team can build a perennial Finals contender. But the question right now is, “Can LeBron remain this good for the rest of the season?” Because this LeBron is very close to as good as we’ve ever seen, in ways we’ve never seen before.Just so everyone’s clear at the top: James is not the sun-eater he was in 2012-13, with the third and greatest of his Miami Heat teams. He may not be quite as incontestable as he was at the end of his first tenure in Cleveland, when he won back-to-back MVPs and dragged meager rosters on long and doomed and occasionally brilliant playoff runs.But James is posting career highs in true shooting percentage (66.4), 3-point percentage (41.6), assist percentage (42.9) and block percentage (2.6). His free throw percentage (77.3) is the second-highest of his career. He’s shooting 80.7 percent within 3 feet of the basket and going to the rim about as often as he ever has. He has created more shots for teammates than anyone but Russell Westbrook, according to data from Second Spectrum, and he’s done it while playing 37 minutes per night — a heavy load for a player in his 15th season (who has also logged more than 200 playoff games).The easy answer to the obvious question — How? — is that his jumper is falling. According to data from Second Spectrum, James is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 58.8 on step-back shots and 63 on pull-up jumpers — his two most common shot types after brute-force drives. Those dwarf his normal rate of makes on those shots over the last three seasons.The large and sensible parts of the brain say this is unsustainable. That it’s fun to watch James play-act past glories while understanding that the underlying foundations have shifted, moved on — that James’s MVP-level start is a mirage of risky habits and clustered luck. The smaller, more rascally regions wonder: What if this is how LeBron goes late-Jordan?James is one of the most amorphous stars I’ve ever watched from season to season. In various offseasons over the past decade, he’s picked up a post game, lost and recovered his 3-point stroke, added sneaky perimeter dribble feints and pivots, and refined the drive-and-kick game to its most basic and brutally effective elements. Who’s to say he hasn’t gone out and added the step-back midrange game that Michael made art and Kobe made genre fiction?I mean, just look at this:I’ve been watching LeBron for a lot of years, and I don’t remember him looking so fluid on those shots, so smooth through the hips and shoulders. That shot has always been available to him, it’s just always looked more calculated than natural — a computer making an arcane chess move more than a master moving in on the hunt. Now, it looks more graceful, a little tighter in the footwork. They aren’t suddenly perfect shots — there’s still the occasional (and occasionally more than occasional) wild launch from 35 feet or with a foot on or just inside the line, but they look better in aggregate. Maybe it’s easier to see it like that because it’s going in; that’s one danger of applying the eye test.But it also makes sense given how well James has shot both from distance and point-blank. There’s simply more room to maneuver in the midrange if defenses must treat him as a 40-percent 3-point shooter and an 80-percent finisher at the rim — while also playing the lanes because he’s passing more than ever. That’s going to remain true for as long as James is canning 3s like this and remains unstoppable at the rim. The jumper can come and go, but it has been relatively steady since it went missing in 2015-16. The drives are more reliable.The Cavs score 125 points per 100 possessions when James drives and finishes himself, passes to a teammate for a shot or is fouled (or he makes a turnover), and 118 points per 100 possessions on scoring chances that come from multiple passes after a James drive, according to Second Spectrum. Both rank first among players with at least 100 drives this season, and both are unlikely to change as long as James remains unstoppable, crashing into defenders and creating space where the defender had previously been standing.One caveat: This isn’t the indomitable James. The onslaught is not exactly unrelenting. The pitch is not fevered. James is finding more success driving to the rim, but he’s also drawing fouls at a career-worst rate — his .294 rate of free throws per field goal attempt is down considerably from his career average .418 — and his turnovers are a hair under his career worst (from last season). These may be clues that James’s underlying skills have tailed off and his results will soon follow. Or they may be evidence that LeBron isn’t actually trying yet.His defensive numbers confirm that he hasn’t returned to his peak. The Cleveland defense has been nearly 11 points better per 100 possessions when he sits, and ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus has him in the negatives, below James Harden and Kyle Lowry. RPM is famously skewed toward defensive-minded big men, but James has historically performed much better in the stat. So, no, James isn’t the clamp-down bear trap he was in his Heat years. But he’s in the top 40 for shots defended (a good sign he’s not getting blown out of plays) and opponents are shooting just a 46.6 effective field goal percentage against him (a very good number). While he’s giving up “good” shots (expected value 52.8 eFG percentage, adjusting for who’s shooting, which is one of the worst figures in the league), he’s depressing value on those shots by 6.2 eFG percentage points, sandwiching him between standout defenders like Kevin Durant and Paul Millsap once he’s actually engaged in the play.We expect more from James because we’ve seen more from him. We’ve seen him slip from the best player in history to merely the best at this moment, and so his deficiencies call out in a way other players’ do not. Maybe he’s playing catch-up defense these days, or not drawing fouls the way he used to, or not willing Jae Crowder into making his wide-damn-open 3s. But 15 seasons into his career, he’s still getting better, and so far this season, the pieces he’s added have more than made up for the ones that have fallen away.Check out our latest NBA predictions.