Month: May 2019

Argentina abortion: Crowds gather to back pro-choice bill
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Argentina abortion: Crowds gather to back pro-choice bill

A large crowd has marched on the Congress building in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, to demand the decriminalisation of abortion.

Tuesday's march came as a bill was introduced to legalise terminations in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

A similar bill was defeated at almost the last hurdle last year when senators voted 38 to 31 against it.

Currently abortion in Argentina is allowed only in cases of rape, or if the mother's health is in danger.

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Thousands of women wearing green handkerchiefs, which have become symbolic of their fight to legalise abortion, chanted slogans and held up placards backing the latest attempt to get the bill made into law.

Advocates of the bill say getting it passed is an urgent public health matter as official figures suggest that illegal abortions are the leading cause of maternal deaths in Argentina.

The health ministry estimates that at least 350,000 illegal abortions are performed in Argentina every year but women's rights groups think that number may be much higher.

The founder of the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, Nina Burgo, said that the bill introduced on Tuesday was largely the same as that defeated last year but that it included some extra safeguards for women seeking an abortion.

The defeat of the bill in the senate last year – after it had been narrowly passed in the lower house – was a blow to pro-choice activists who nevertheless promised to introduce new legislation as soon as parliamentary rules allowed.

A documentary about the activist's effort entitled Que Sea Ley was recently screened at the Cannes film festival.

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Among those gathered to support the new bill on Tuesday were many young women.

High-school student Abril González told Reuters news agency that she hoped that legislators would "think of the lives of the girls that have died from Read More – Source

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AMI: What Makes Latin Americas Most Innovative Companies Similar?
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AMI: What Makes Latin Americas Most Innovative Companies Similar?

What: Americas Market Intelligence presented the results of its study on The State of Innovation in Latin America, which found important similarities between the strongest companies leading the innovation landscape in six Latin American countries.
Why it matters: Innovation is a necessity for staying relevant in Latin America, a region where competition is growing at an accelerated pace in all business areas.

Americas Market Intelligence has recently presented the results of a study titled The State of Innovation in Latin America: Lessons From Innovative Companies Across the Region. The report, which is based on in-depth interviews with 85 of the strongest companies in six Latin American countries, provides insight into the current state of the ecosystem and analyzes the factors that are driving innovation in the region.

As stated in the report, "innovation is no longer the domain of the technology industry, but a necessity for staying competitive for all businesses in the region." From financial institutions and fintechs to digital-native as well as brick-and-mortar, AMI's study shows that the most innovative companies have certain things in common. New technologies like AI, machine learning, biometrics and blockchain are one thing, but the other important ingredient is having "business models, processes, agility, collaboration and a purposeful corporate culture that welcomes and commits to innovation and creative problem-solving."

According to the study, the most innovative entities are: 1) those able to create and deploy innovations in payments and other business areas; and 2) those with the greatest potential impact on the advancement of electronic payments. With this in mind, AMI analyzed four conceptual pillars to rank the participating companies.

Source: AMI, The State of Innovation in Latin America

1. Internal Support For Innovation
AMI's study shows that Latin American countries are trying to include innovation in their culture. As disruptive start-ups take the stage, even traditional companies are modifying their paradigm to embrace the new standard, and though company verticals and markets vary, the report suggests that digital native companies and financial institutions rank higher for internal culture of innovation, while traditional brick-and-mortar merchants are struggling to change their core processes.

Some of the indicators of strong internal support for innovation have to do with the presence of an innovation department, an innovation lab, the number of available APIs, the percentage of open APIs as well as the APIs that were launched in the last year, and the number of partnerships with other fintechs or start-ups.

The most innovative companies have created explicit teams and spaces dedicated to promoting innovation, they have embraced the use of APIs and have partnered with as many as 15 different start-ups.

2. Execution
As stated in the report, the most innovative companies have not only incorporated innovation into the essence of their culture, but they have also shown an ability to quickly develop and deploy new features, products, and services. To decide which companies are doing it better, AMI analyzed three things: the number of proofs of concept developed in the past three years, the percentage of proofs that have been launched successfully, and the time elapsed between ideation and deployment.

The survey results show that the most innovative entities developed almost three times the number of payments-related proofs of concept (POCs) compared to the regional average. Among the most innovative, an average of 65% of these went live, compared to 55% of the average overall. And the time-to-market was also speedier—an average of 4.9 months compared to the regional average of 6.5. Among the quickest of executors is Rappi, which reports that proofs of concept are launched on a monthly basis; recent launches include Rappi Prime, RappiPay (a co-branded Visa credit card), QR codes and the nonstop onboarding of partner merchants.

Source: AMI, The State of Innovation in Latin America

3. New Technology
In order to understand innovation through the use of technology, AMI assessed how well and to what an extent Latin American companies have adopted new technologies in their industries, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, chatbots, digital wallets, biometrics, and tokenization.

According to the report, four out of five of the surveys most innovative companies use AI and machine learning, while 53% of all survey respondents do the same. Digital-based merchants such as Despegar.com, Cabify, Viajes Éxito, and Netshoes make about 80% of their sales online, while brick-and-mortar stores reported only 7% of their sales were made on digital channels. Moreover, 32% of respondents do not have a mobile app, while 26% of e-commerce merchants sales are made over a mobile device.

Survey results reveal that at the highest level, financial institutions adoption of new technologies is largely experimental. While they lead the region in the usage of data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots and blockchain, most are in exploratory phases.

4. Current Footprint and Potential Impact
The final "pillar of innovation" in the study has to do with companies' ability to adapt and scale. "Our most innovative Read More – Source

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