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Can we save the planet by growing the service sector? | Business & Economy

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Anyone living in a major city in 2020 has likely noticed a new feature in the urban landscape: Tech campuses where the academic and the entrepreneurial come together to transfer physical and cognitive tasks from workers to computers. The tech industry is also increasingly visible in places far away from centres of growth – shipping centres for online merchants are replacing high street shops and coal mines in small towns across the Western world.

For many, these crystalline new buildings, together with the tech industry’s promise of offloading manual and cognitive labour onto machines, represent a new “green” vision of growth in which corporate value rapidly expands, but causes minimal greenhouse gas emissions or land destruction.

In the developed world, Big Tech has led much of the economic growth of the 2010s, while industries typically seen as dirty – like agriculture and manufacturing – have retreated. The belief that a transition towards services is the economic conclusion of development, and could grow our economy cleanly in the 21st century, is central to the sustainable development agenda. From the United Nations and OECD to more radical proposals from the extreme ends of the political spectrum – clean or green jobs are considered vital to charting a way to a clean and prosperous world for all. 

But booming tech industries have also spurred affluence and consumption among its well-paid workers. This shopping spree is almost never accounted for in assessing the environmental friendliness of economic sectors. Can we still claim the tech industry is “clean” if we consider the environmental impacts of the affluence it generates? 

In study published in June, we attempted to answer this question by modelling the global economy in a way that attributed the environmental impacts of workers’ household consumption to the industries that employ them. This enabled us to more fully measure the environmental cleanliness of different industries, and better understand the ramifications of growing one industry over another.

We found that services like tech industries were as damaging to global climate, land, and water as agriculture and manufacturing when household consumption was included in the accounting. This is because tech is labour-intensive, and its numerous workers tend to be affluent consumers, whose habits cause large environmental impacts. By contrast, sectors typically seen as “dirty”, like farming and manufacturing, generate less affluence, and thus encourage less consumption and environmental damage. 

The hidden environmental impacts of workers’ consumer habits applied not only to the tech industry. They followed high-wage service jobs wherever we looked. Public sector industries like education, healthcare, and government administration were just as high-impact per dollar created as tech. The bulk of environmental impacts can be traced to consumption by service workers because they pay out half of all wages globally, with the highest proportion of highly paid workers of any sector. Those workers may not degrade the environment directly through their jobs, but still consume impactful foods, goods, and travel.

In other words, services may appear “clean” when using incomplete accounting, but in reality are as dirty as any other sector. This means that a booming service sector cannot reduce the environmental impacts of our economy, unless its workers consume less. Our data further undermine the dubious idea that economic growth, even if led by “clean” sectors, can be green.

Exponents of the knowledge economy propose seemingly airtight logic: If humans can produce unbounded knowledge and innovation, then infinite growth on a finite planet is possible. But people in tech cannot eat software, nor do they take virtual vacations. No job can really be green in an over-consumptive economy, so employing more people in services can only reduce the toll on the planet if paired with lighter living. 

Sustainability is not about where we work or what parts of the economy we grow. When the vast majority of what is produced is destined for household consumption, both “green” and “brown” jobs lead to environmental degradation. To achieve a sustainable economy, we need to revise our concept of the good life, reconsider our economic model, and live lighter. If not, a sustainable future is a fantasy. 

The views expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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