President Obama Signs Africa Electricity Plan Into Law

President Barack Obama has signed into law the Electrify Africa Act of 2015 which aims to brings electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, according to reports.

[Related: $1.8 Billion: President Obama Requesting Funding to Combat Zika Virus]

The act is part of the president’s flagship Power Africa scheme, an initiative to improve access to electricity through public-private partnerships. It has been up for approval by Congress for nearly two years. African governments, development partners, and the private sector are all involved in making the efforts reality.

The legislation would “improve the lives of millions in sub-Saharan Africa by helping to reduce reliance on charcoal and other toxic fuel sources that produce fumes that kill more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce of California said in a statement.  It would also “promote the development of affordable and reliable energy,” he added.

Experts estimate that it will cost $835 billion to connect the entire continent’s population to electricity by 2030, with a commitment by the Obama administration of $7 billion over time. Another $43 billion is being supplied via investment pledged from public and private partners.

Through the plan, “we can make great strides in addressing African energy poverty and promote inclusive economic growth for communities in Africa and at home,” Senate Democrat Ben Cardin said.

Other supporters of the legislation have echoed those sentiments, adding that the measures would greatly benefit the world at large.

“It is a direct response to the fact that today 600 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa—that is 70% of the population—do not have access to reliable electricity,” said Royce in a recent interview on the initiative.

Royce, a Republican, has worked with Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and others to push the legislation through both the House and the Senate since 2014.

Royce also indicated that the lack of electricity drives families in sub-Saharan Africa to use toxic fuels like charcoal instead and the high cost of energy in the region makes producing goods for export almost impossible. He reiterated that it is the United States’ interest to help Africa become one of the world’s great trading partners.

Bite Size Content is Fun and Easy to Digest for Readers

bite size content

Multi-task much? A recent study conducted by Microsoft Corporation found that the average human now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. A goldfish can focus for nine seconds. People are down to a mere eight seconds.

With so much information coming at us from screens of all sizes, this news shouldn’t surprise us.

So, what exactly does this mean for marketers?

One thing it means is that brands must strive to fully understand their readers when creating and/or sharing content. If not, their readers will quickly seek out — and find — other brands that offer them the content they prefer.

Column Five’s infographic for Marketo, explains why publishing “snackable,” bite size  content is a popular (and effective) content marketing strategy.

Bite Size Content: The Benefits

What are the main benefits for brands that create and publish bite size content for on-the-go consumption? In a nutshell, their readers can see it, scan it, and quickly share it.

More people are consuming content on their mobile devices, and they spend 60 percent of their time on social media. As screens become smaller and attention spans get shorter, brands must focus on feeding their audience the bite-sized content they crave.

Consider adding the following bite-sized content ideas to boost your brand’s content and social media marketing:

  • Regram/Retweet/Repost snackable content to save time and promote engagement.
  • Keep content fresh by using content surrounding current events, national holidays, and major sports events.
  • Use bite-sized content as a way to promote larger campaigns, giveaways, online events, etc.
  • When appropriate, serve “extra light” bites to your audience, such as GIFs, memes, and inspirational quotes.

Without a doubt, providing bite size content can satisfy your readers’ cravings and keep them coming back for more. Check out this infographic to learn more about successfully creating content for mobile audiences.

bite size content

Image: Column Five

This article, “Bite Size Content is Fun and Easy to Digest for Readers” was first published on Small Business Trends

Viacom and Snapchat Extend Advertising Deal

Viacom and Snapchat have reached an extension on a deal that will allow Viacom to sell advertising on the app’s behalf, according to reports.

[Related: Ad Week 2015: Celebrities, Industry Leaders, and Media’s Top Execs Gather in NYC]

Viacom will now have the right to sell against its own content on Snapchat and the app’s advertising inventory, a Snapchat spokesman told Reuters.

Snapchat’s “Live Stories,” which curate user posts in specific geographic locations or during large holidays, is included in the agreement, the spokesman added. Last year, MTV drew 12 million users to a Live Story for the VMAs, the Los Angeles Times reports, compared with only 5 million who watched the main telecast.

Viacom, which owns popular networks including BET, Comedy Central, and MTV, is the only television company to have this arrangement with the app, he said. Under the deal, Snapchat cannot sell ads for Discover channels or Live Stories that are tied to other media companies or made for outside the U.S.

“We believe we are a great fit,” Viacom Chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman told analysts on a conference call. “I don’t want to toot our own horn, but they saw in us the most forward-looking ad-sales group out there.”

Experts say it’s a huge deal for Viacom which has seen drops in revenue and the move is a hopeful one in terms of boosting ad sales. Viacom’s shares fell Tuesday, according to reports, more than 10% to $36 a share—a new 52-week low.

“This deal between Viacom and Snapchat is a major step forward in the evolution of the marketplace, made possible by our shared focus on young audiences and Viacom’s content expertise, proprietary targeting, custom marketing solutions, industry-leading sales force, and our global strength,” Dauman said.

No details of the financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Georgetown University Hosts Inaugural African Business Conference

Georgetown University hosted its first-ever African business conference in Washington, D.C. The three-day event, called “Africa Rising: Business In Action,” was hosted by Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in conjunction with the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s African Studies Program, and it began Feb. 6.

[Related: [EXCLUSIVE] Updates from President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit]

“The purpose of this event is to showcase the growth and impact of the private sector across the African continent and facilitate a discussion on opportunities to continue this success,” wrote event organizers.

The conference featured six panels discussing issues including financial and business opportunities, cultural shifts and technological advancements, and more than 20 executives and leaders of the African diaspora from companies and organizations including Coca-Cola, World Bank, Atlas Mara, Abraaj, Emerging Capital Partners, IHS Towers, Standard Bank, and Okayafrica participated. Check out updates from the event below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Content, Get Paid With CEWEBITY

Data shows that Instagram users post more than 200,000 photos per minute; YouTube gets 72 hours of new video uploaded per minute, and there are more than 200 million e-mail messages sent every minute. Everyday users are creating tons of new content—why not get paid for it? Now you can, with a new platform, CEWEBITY.

“In a world where tech companies make billions off of amazing user content they haven’t produced—likes for photos, blogs, and audio mean nothing once you log out—there is a clear problem and a constant struggle for people to monetize their original online [content],” says Jameson Bennett, CEWEBITY co-founder.

[Related: Madison Jaye Talks Building a Career In Media and Developing a Brand]

CEWEBITY is a free profit center fan page. Users create a profile, connect their PayPal account, and start posting their original content including photos, articles, and audio. They then can receive quarterly payments for “likes” and listens. CEWEBITY users can also set up digital storefronts to buy and sell merchandise.

For founders Bennett and Scott McKenzie, CEWEBITY is a way to encourage citizen journalism and help eradicate poverty by offering people a way to make residual income. The two even want to eventually offer users health and dental care insurance through the platform.

“Content has value. This platform will put pressure on other apps to pay users for their contributions. Our goal is to employ the world. With CEWEBITY, we rightfully pay users for the content they create and introduce everyday people to residual income. This definitely helps podcasters, comedians, artists, smartphone photographers, and bloggers monetize their brand,” says McKenzie.

The founders are committed to featuring unrestricted original content on the platform. The site has plagiarism checks and any unoriginal content is removed.

Launched in November 2015 at New York University’s Tech808 Conference, the iOS app will be completed in Spring 2016. The Web app is live and currently in beta.

 

Microsoft Board Chair John W. Thompson’s ‘Fireside Chat’ a Highlight of Wall Street Project Annual Gala

It has officially been announced that Microsoft Corp. Chair and CEO of Virtual Instruments, John W. Thompson, will speak and be honored at the 19th annual Rainbow Push Wall Street Project Economic Summit in New York Feb. 16–18, 2016, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Thompson is a trailblazer who makes diversity and inclusion a priority, breaks barriers, and develops the best talent for business success.

Founded in 1996 by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., the Wall Street Project advocates for equal opportunities for culturally diverse employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers in the financial sector, while challenging corporate America to end the multibillion-dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers. Hundreds of corporate executives, minority entrepreneurs, and community leaders are expected to convene during the three-day economic summit as Thompson will be featured in a “fireside chat” during the event gala on Feb. 17, 2016.

Thompson is CEO of Virtual Instruments, a tech company that delivers the industry’s leading analytics platform for IT Infrastructure Performance Management, VirtualWisdom®. He formerly was Chairman and CEO of Symantec Corp., a company he transformed into a leader in security, storage, and systems management solutions.

He joined the Microsoft board in 2012 and was appointed to replace founder Bill Gates as Microsoft board chair in February 2014.

In addition to honoring Thompson, the Wall Street Project Economic Summit will also honor entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hospitality and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television; and Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed healthcare organization in the U.S.

“We are delighted that John Thompson, Sheila Johnson, and Bernard Tyson will be joining us, for they represent what the Wall Street Project is all about and working to accomplish,” says Rev. Jackson. “Thompson leads one of the most powerful tech companies in the world, while Tyson heads the largest healthcare organization in the country. At the same time, Sheila Johnson is the consummate entrepreneur and philanthropist who not only co-founded BET and became a billionaire, but who went on to build a hospitality company that stands apart due to her keen business sense and astute leadership. Each is an example of what we can accomplish when diversity is a priority as a business strategy. That is what the Wall Street Project is all about. It is not an end in itself, or a means to an end, but an evolutionary process,” says Jackson.

In addition to its honorees, the Wall Street Project Economic Summit will feature the following speakers: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services; the Honorable Michael Frerichs, Treasurer for the State of Illinois; the Honorable Scott Stringer, Comptroller for the City of New York; and the Honorable Kurt Summers, Treasurer for the City of Chicago. Also confirmed to participate are John Rogers, president, CEO, and chief investment officer, Ariel Investments; Suzanne Shank, president and CEO, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.; Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Senior Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church.

Register now to attend the 19th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit to be an advocate for prosperity and change. For more information on the Summit and the work of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund, be sure to visit www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org.

Microsoft Board Chair John W. Thompson’s ‘Fireside Chat’ a Highlight of Wall Street Project Annual Gala

It has officially been announced that Microsoft Corp. Chair and CEO of Virtual Instruments, John W. Thompson, will speak and be honored at the 19th annual Rainbow Push Wall Street Project Economic Summit in New York Feb. 16–18, 2016, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. Thompson is a trailblazer who makes diversity and inclusion a priority, breaks barriers, and develops the best talent for business success.

Founded in 1996 by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., the Wall Street Project advocates for equal opportunities for culturally diverse employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers in the financial sector, while challenging corporate America to end the multibillion-dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers. Hundreds of corporate executives, minority entrepreneurs, and community leaders are expected to convene during the three-day economic summit as Thompson will be featured in a “fireside chat” during the event gala on Feb. 17, 2016.

Thompson is CEO of Virtual Instruments, a tech company that delivers the industry’s leading analytics platform for IT Infrastructure Performance Management, VirtualWisdom®. He formerly was Chairman and CEO of Symantec Corp., a company he transformed into a leader in security, storage, and systems management solutions.

He joined the Microsoft board in 2012 and was appointed to replace founder Bill Gates as Microsoft board chair in February 2014.

In addition to honoring Thompson, the Wall Street Project Economic Summit will also honor entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hospitality and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television; and Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed healthcare organization in the U.S.

“We are delighted that John Thompson, Sheila Johnson, and Bernard Tyson will be joining us, for they represent what the Wall Street Project is all about and working to accomplish,” says Rev. Jackson. “Thompson leads one of the most powerful tech companies in the world, while Tyson heads the largest healthcare organization in the country. At the same time, Sheila Johnson is the consummate entrepreneur and philanthropist who not only co-founded BET and became a billionaire, but who went on to build a hospitality company that stands apart due to her keen business sense and astute leadership. Each is an example of what we can accomplish when diversity is a priority as a business strategy. That is what the Wall Street Project is all about. It is not an end in itself, or a means to an end, but an evolutionary process,” says Jackson.

In addition to its honorees, the Wall Street Project Economic Summit will feature the following speakers: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services; the Honorable Michael Frerichs, Treasurer for the State of Illinois; the Honorable Scott Stringer, Comptroller for the City of New York; and the Honorable Kurt Summers, Treasurer for the City of Chicago. Also confirmed to participate are John Rogers, president, CEO, and chief investment officer, Ariel Investments; Suzanne Shank, president and CEO, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.; Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Senior Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church.

Register now to attend the 19th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit to be an advocate for prosperity and change. For more information on the Summit and the work of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund, be sure to visit www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org.

9 Years Ago Today President Obama Made History

Nine years ago today, a little-known senator named  Barack Obama announced his presidential candidacy in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, IL. Today, that senator goes by President Obama, also known as the leader of the free world.

Earlier this afternoon President Obama returned to Springfield for the first time since he kicked off his campaign nine years ago. In a speech focusing on bipartisan solutions, Obama called for a “higher form of political discourse.”

 

He also alluded to the media’s tendency to chase soundbites while ignoring the true challenges faced by the American people.

He wrapped up the hour-long speech with a call to action regarding voting rights. Stressing the importance of voter participation, President Obama challenged state legislatures to work to increase constituent participation in the political process.