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科技公司在“被看轻和低估的”非洲看到了巨大机遇

柯问思(Beth Kowitt) 2019年06月12日

非洲多样性的细微之处对想从这块大陆上获利的公司来说至关重要。

对于渴望从非洲创新革命中获利的公司和投资者来说,要牢记一件很重要的事情:全球人口规模第二的大陆并不是铁板一块。

“当我们讨论非洲时,经常体会不到非洲多样性的细微之处。”6月3日在伦敦举办的《财富》全球最具影响力的商界女性峰会上,Facebook的非洲区负责人努努·尼辛基拉表示。后来她补充说,非洲有54个国家和约2000种语言,“问题和机遇都是多样化的”。

尼辛基拉表示,Facebook作为科技公司,在非洲的最大目标是把人们带入互联网。Facebook在非洲大陆拥有1.45亿用户,通过手机访问的用户比例高于其他任何地区。“从根本上说,非洲的互联水平仍然不够。”她补充说,非洲的潜力部分在于人口比较年轻,城市也非常密集。

就像在世界上其他地区一样,Facebook在非洲也在努力应付平台上虚假错误传播的问题。“虚假信息在全世界都是很重要的话题,我们承担了重大责任。” 尼辛基拉说。“我认为永远没法说,问题终于解决了。”她表示,公司通过当地各种合作伙伴查验事实,审核内容,也越发擅长利用人工智能在内容发布前检测违反政策的不当言论。

Ovanba Solutions的联合创始人及总裁维奥拉·卢艾琳也将人工智能当成重要工具,Ovanba Solutions主要为非洲和其他新兴市场的中小企业提供短期资本。该公司创建了开发了聊天机器人,帮助不熟悉传统商业术语的客户。“金融包容性方面,不管技术多先进,如果客户没法互动就属于浪费时间。”她说。

聊天机器人会问一些问题,比如上周你卖了多少货物,剩下多少存货,而不是问当前的资产负债表状况,卢埃林说,勾画出企业的财务状况很容易,而且不必让客户走进银行战战兢兢地填写申请表。

“如果用对方听得懂的语言交谈,”她说,“将可能获得很多数据存储库里没有的细节,因为非洲经常被看轻和低估。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

For companies and investors eager to profit from Africa’s innovation revolution, there’s one key thing to keep in mind: The world’s second-most populated continent is far from monolithic.

“It’s so often that when we discuss Africa, we don’t get the granularity of the diversity of the region,” said Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook’s head of Africa, speaking from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International summit in London on Monday. With 54 countries and some 2,000 languages, “the problems and the opportunities are equally diverse,” she later added.

Ntshingila said that as a technology company, Facebook’s biggest aim in Africa is to bring people online. Facebook has 145 million users on the continent with the highest percentage accessing the social media site via mobile phone compared to any other region in the world. “Fundamentally, we still have a region that is under-connected,” she said, adding that part of Africa’s potential is its young population and highly dense cities.

Just like in every other region of the world, Facebook in Africa is struggling with the spread of misinformation on its platform. “I think it’s been a huge topic around the world and one we take huge responsibility for,” Ntshingila said. “I don’t think we’ll ever get to a place where we say, finally we’ve sorted it out.” She said the company does fact checking through various partners in the region, content moderation, and is getting better at using A.I. to detect inappropriate speech that goes against its policies before they post.

Viola Llewellyn, co-founder and president of Ovamba Solutions—which provides small and medium enterprises in Africa and other emerging markets with short-term capital—is also using A.I. as a critical tool. The company created a chatbot to assist customers who might not be fluent in traditional business terms. “When it comes to financial inclusion, no matter how sexy technology is, if customers can’t interact with it, it’s a bit of a waste of time,” she said.

By asking questions such as how much did you sell last week and what is leftover, rather than what is your current balance sheet, Llewellyn said that you can create the financial picture of a company without requiring a customer go into a bank where they might feel intimidated in filling out an application form.

“If you start to talk to someone in their own language,” she said, “you’ll get the detail that a lot of the data repositories just don’t keep because Africa is frequently undercounted and underestimated.”

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