Grand Challenges Canada, an organization funded by the government of Canada, supports start-ups from low- and middle-income countries all over the world.

This year, they welcomed 5 African start-ups in the list of 20 start-ups that they will fund in 2020, and that focus on fighting COVID-19 pandemic.

The projects include: South Africa’s Praekelt.org – the company provides pro bono solution to empower citizens with the right, best possible and crucial health information and supports the national response of the health systems; Healthy Entrepreneurs Canada – ensures the delivery of essential health products and information to the places where people would have no access to the essentials otherwise; Zimbabwe’s Friendship Bench – providing safe space for the communities affected by COVID-19 by sustainable community based psychological interventions that is evidence-based; Kenya’s Hewa Tele Limited-working on providing oxygen for patients in need; and North Star Alliance – providing healthcare for mobile workers and the communities they interact with;

How to replicate Canada’s success in tech/start-up industry

In 2019 Canada was in the list of top 10 countries of the world with the biggest economies. The rapid growth of Canada’s economy is partially due to the support the country shows to the technological and digital undertakings. Canada actively supports fintech and the digital economy. The country is focused on the digitalization of conventional industries.

In 2019 Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry the honorable Navdeep Bains released a digital charter which is a set of principles and a strategy the country will follow in order to ensure a safe transition of the conventional industries to the digital world.

Another important point of the digital charter is the safety and equality of the users of digital services. The principles outlined in the charter will ensure equal access to digital technologies as well as high security when it comes to personal information. A great example of an industry transitioning to the digital world is the casino industry. iGaming is becoming increasingly popular, new products and games are offered regularly.

In 2017 the government asked the industry to start accepting cryptocurrencies. This change turned out to be crucial for the industry. As the iGaming platforms started accepting cryptocurrencies and offering the accounts to the international users the industry started booming. Bitcoin and Ethereum are just a couple of the cryptocurrencies that Canadian iGaming platforms allow.

Even Canadian online casino real money platforms started the new era with crypto as they have transformed the competition fully. This symbiotic relationship between online gambling and cryptocurrencies supported the growth of both industries.

This also meant a bigger contribution from both iGaming and cryptocurrency industries to the country’s budget and support for the further economic growth of Canada.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 Funds Management Framework; a New Benchmark for Donations?

All countries face the difficulties of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic at this moment. The humanitarian help and funds can easily be appropriated by corrupt governments or mismanaged and misdirected. Developing countries were hit hard by the COVID-19 and not all of them manage to deal with the pandemic by using their resources in the best possible way.

However, the more successful ones aim to improve preventive measures and overall readiness to tackle the pandemic. In a situation like this, mismanagement and appropriation of humanitarian funds are even more unacceptable. The Nigerian government was asked to work on a transparent platform where people could see the humanitarian donations made to help Nigeria tackle the pandemic and create a qualified body to ensure that the funds would be efficiently managed.

The federal government of Nigeria met the expectation of people and released Framework for the Management of COVID-19 Funds in Nigeria under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF). The main account for donations to Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) is in the Central Bank of Nigeria. President Buhari approved additional accounts for the COVID-19 donations in 5 banks: in Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa, and First Bank.

Real-time access to details of receipts for any use of the funds from any of those accounts is provided. The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will publish a Daily Treasury Statement for COVID-19 with the details of all donations and spending.

There are still some concerns, for example, the fact that the citizens still do not know how much has been donated before these measures were taken. Yet this initiative is a step towards more understanding and trust between the government and the citizens.

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