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|Phones / Four African Apps Win In Huawei’s Apps UP 2021 Competition by BrandSpurNG: 10:31pm On Oct 26|
Huawei has announced the winners of the 2021 edition of the Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP), with four African Apps being recognised and celebrated.
Coresthetics walked away with one of the Best App Awards in the Middle East and Africa region, along with $15,000 in prize money.
UniAPS bagged an Excellent Student Award, with $5,000 prize money, while Droppa and Secura received Honourable Mention awards, which each come with $3,000 prize money.
“The Apps UP contest is a great initiative from Huawei, and I hope that we continue to encourage app developers to make apps that are beneficial to society.
“One advice (sic) that I have for developers would be to think more about your onboarding experience, and let users test it out to see what the app does and understand the problems they may face,” said Ahmad Abugosh, an Apps UP MEA judge and Director of Marketing & Learning Programmes, AstroLabs Middle East & Africa.
Other award winners include Real Car Race Game 3D: Fun New Car Games 2020, LittleAstro, and Scary Teacher 3D, each winning a Best Game Award, while Blind Assistant, Limit, and Emergency Buddy conquered the Best Social Impact App Award category. These winners will each be rewarded with $15,000.
The 2021 edition attracted more than 4,000 teams from over 200 countries entering the Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP).
All submissions were carefully evaluated based on their innovation, social value, business value, and User Experience (UX) by a jury consisting of leading industry experts.
The competition was concluded on October 10 with the public voting stage; public votes accounted for 10% of the final results.
The winners of the eight categories were:
Best App Award ($15,000 each): WashyWash, Handyman Calculation, and Coresthetics.
Best Game Award ($15,000 each): Real Car Race Game 3D: Fun New Car Games 2020, LittleAstro, and Scary Teacher 3D.
Best Social Impact App Award ($15,000 each): Blind Assistant, Limit, and Emergency Buddy.
Excellent Student Award ($5,000 each): Handyman Calculator, UniAPS, and The Muslim Diary
Honourable Mention Award ($3,000 each): Quran University an Educational Online Learning, STEPPI, Droppa, Secura, and MyTV+.
Tech Women’s Award ($5,000 each): AlMosaly.
Best HMS Core Innovation Award ($5,000 each): Blind Assistant, Limit, and Mobile Gamepad.
All-Scenario Coverage Award ($5,000 each): AlMosaly.
Adam Xiao, Managing Director, HMS and Consumer Cloud Service for HUAWEI Consumer Business Group MEA, said, “Creating functional, smooth, and intelligent applications is not an easy task, and through Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP), we aim to reward the developer industry for their outstanding contribution.
“This year’s competition was extraordinary due to the quality of apps submitted, and the new categories added garnered tremendous interest, particularly the Women’s Tech Award that saw over 600 submissions globally.
“We want to congratulate all the winners for their impressive submissions that aim to benefit our societies in different areas.”
The 2021 edition of the Huawei HMS App Innovation Contest (Apps UP) was launched in June and lasted more than 100 days. Submissions came in from all regions including China, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The competition’s total compensation summed up to US$1 million, with a reward of US$200,000 in cash prizes for each participating region.
The winners were announced at Huawei’s flagship annual developer conference, HDC, which saw a line-up of sessions exploring HarmonyOS, smart homes, smart offices, HMS Core and more on Huawei’s efforts in building a new ecosystem of limitless possibilities.
By the end of September 2021, the number of developers in Huawei’s ecosystem has reached 5.1 million, and the number of apps integrated with HMS Core has exceeded 173,000.
|Investment / Pension Funds Invested In Banks Rise To N2.05tn – Pencom by BrandSpurNG: 10:05pm On Oct 26|
The total amount of pension funds invested in banks by Pension Fund Administrators rose to N2.05tn at the end of July from N1.48tn in January.
The National Pension Commission disclosed this in its report, titled ‘Unaudited report on pension funds industry portfolio for the period ended 31 July 2021’.
It said total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme stood at N12.78tn as of the period under review.
The commission said the operators had invested a substantial part of the pension funds in the Federal Government’s bonds, treasury bills, and state government securities.
The PenCom report said some of the funds were invested in agency bonds, supra-national bonds, commercial papers, foreign money market securities, and open/close-end funds.
Other investment portfolios where the operators invested the funds are real estate investment trusts, private equity funds, infrastructure funds, cash, and other assets.
According to Agusto & Co, a pan-African credit rating agency, the Nigerian pension industry’s net assets are expected to hit the N20tn mark by 2023, recording an average growth of 18 per cent in the next three years.
It said in its 2021 insurance industry report that the growth in the pension industry’s managed assets had been largely driven by investment returns and additional contributions, to a lesser extent.
|Education / Nigeria Based Alabi Samuel Anjolaoluwa Wins The U21s Category Of The Canon Young by BrandSpurNG: 9:33am On Oct 26|
Nigeria-based Alabi Samuel Aniolaoluwa won the U21s category award; UAE based siblings Mishal and Mir Faraz, are the winners of the U16s category for their continued campaigning on environmental and social causes in the UAE.
Canon is pleased to announce the winners of the second edition of the Canon Young Champion of the Year Award, as part of the Global Good Awards , which celebrates the achievements of young people around the world who are driving social and environmental change. Nigeria based, Alabi Samuel Anjolaoluwa won the U21s category for his inspiring project, Students of Ibadan (https:///3npII07), which shines a light on the struggles faced by under-served students in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria.
The Global Good Awards recognises those campaigning for sustainable change by recognising and promoting exceptional work by individuals, NGOs and businesses on social and environmental issues. This year’s submissions came in from individuals across the world, with finalists from UAE, USA, UK, Nigeria and India.
The judges commended his project for using the power of visual storytelling to not only raise awareness of the challenges the students face, but for painting a poignant picture of the emotions that sit behind their stories.
At the virtual ceremony, UAE based siblings Mishal and Mir Faraz, were announced as the winners of the U16s category for their sustainability campaigning work, while Nigeria based Alabi Samuel Anjolaoluwa won the U21s category for his project Students of Ibadan.
Alabi Samuel Anjolaoluwa won the U21s category for his inspiring project, Students of Ibadan , which shines a light on the struggles faced by under-served students in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria. The judges commended his project for using the power of visual storytelling to not only raise awareness of the challenges the students face, but for painting a poignant picture of the emotions that sit behind their stories. The Students of Ibadan – birthed from the Fame Illuminate Project at which 19-year-old-Alabi Samuel Anjolaoluwa is a volunteer- was fitting as it tells the stories of young students while highlighting their pain and daily struggles.
Speaking about his project the young man explained that he focused on local government schools and students coming from low-income backgrounds. “I personally wanted to know what it was like to be a student in Ibadan. My image essay is meant to be an extension of their pain, stories and struggle of living and schooling in Ibadan. Seeing and capturing each of the student’s stories made me more human than just being a photographer.”
Appreciative of the students that he came across Alabi Samuel Anjolaoluwa said that the Students of Ibadan was an amazing project which allowed him to be relatable and connect with the youth of Ibadan.
Award winners will receive a Canon EOS 250D DSLR camera to support them to continue campaigning for sustainable change, while the other shortlisted finalists will each receive a Canon SELPHY Square QX10 mobile photo printer.
|Politics / First Solar Commercial Hub Births In Owerri by BrandSpurNG: 6:55pm On Oct 25|
As part of measures to give Owerri, the Imo State capital a facelift, the first multi-billion naira solar commercial hub has birthed in the state with the groundbreaking ceremony of the DENKA Business City project at New Owerri.
The project was started by the Board and Management of Solarcity Housing and Commercial Estate Ltd. (SOLARCITY H.A.C.E.), a real estate development company based in Abuja in partnership with Fidelity Bank Plc as project funders.
The project is a multi-use, multi-faceted project located at the heart of New Owerri which upon completion will become the commercial hub and focal point for business activities in Imo State.
The Executive Director (Operations) of SOLARCITY H.A.C.E, Sir Solomon Nwaoku who spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony gave a firm commitment that the project would be completed within 18 months.
He said that the commercial estate, occupying over 2.1 hectares of land, would comprise a mix of shops, offices and commercial apartments (two bedroom apartments and one bedroom apartments) to be sold to interested subscribers.
The location is ideally situated a few blocks from the popular Concorde Hotel, adjacent to Mimi’s Place and directly opposite the new Everyday Supermarket. It is also bounded in the north by the Imo State House of Assembly Complex.
Nwaoku explained that each of the shops and offices will be powered by solar energy adding that all the basic facilities including tarred roads, street lighting, water and on-grid electricity will be provided.
He said that Fidelity Bank would fund the construction of the project while Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) cooperative members are the major off-takers for the units.solar
His Eminence Dr. Patrick Acholonu, Igwe XII of Orlu in his remarks thanked the developers and the land owners for collaborating to bring this huge investment to Imo State. He highlighted that Owerri still remains the most viable destination in the South-east for real-estate business with Imo State being the fifth largest Gross Domestic Product (GPD) in the country.
He urged Imo indigenes to invest in the project by buying the units being offered for sale as such an investment will ensure quick returns and strong appreciation in property value.
Also speaking, the Imo State Commissioner for Budget, Economic Planning and Statistics, Hon. C. C. Osuala who laid the foundation stone for the project lauded the prosperity initiative of the current government of Senator Hope Uzodimma which provided the inspiration for investors to undertake the project.
The commissioner said that the project was in consonance with the present government’s drive to attract investments to the state and commended the project initiators for bringing a project that will bring financial impact of this magnitude to Imo State.
In his own remarks, the Imo State Commissioner for Works, Ralph Nwosu, expressed the government’s attraction to projects that improve city landscape and improve the urban status of Owerri.
He assured that the government will provide all necessary infrastructure required for the sustenance of the Business City, promising to use his office to improve on all access roads surrounding the project site.
Earlier, the chairman of Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA), Engr. Innocent Ikpamezie, confirmed that all due diligence protocols, statutory requirements and land ownership verifications had been concluded by the developers before the building plan approval was granted. He commended the developer’s seriousness and willingness to comply with all existing laws and regulations affecting the project delivery.
Other Speakers at the event include: Mr. Chukwunyere Amaechi, Director General of Imo Geographic Information Service (IGIS), CBN Cooperative representative, Fidelity Bank representatives and Chief Perry Nwanguma who represented the Nwanguma family – the land owners.
|Health / Alcohol Is One Of The Biggest Risks For Breast Cancer, Warns W.H.O by BrandSpurNG: 9:20am On Oct 25|
There is no safe level of alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer increases with each unit of alcohol per day, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
Alcohol consumption is one of the “major modifiable risk factors” for the disease, the WHO said during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The health body says breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer type in the WHO European Region, with 1,579 women diagnosed with breast cancer every day, and estimates that alcohol causes seven of every 100 new breast cancer cases in the European region.
“Many people, including women, are not aware that breast cancer is the most common cancer caused by alcohol among women globally,” said Dr Marilys Corbex, Senior Technical Officer on noncommunicable diseases, WHO/Europe.
“People need to know that by reducing alcohol consumption they can reduce their risk of getting cancer. It doesn’t matter what type, quality or price alcohol is.”
Europe has the highest rate
The WHO European Region, which comprises 53 counties, has the highest rate of new breast cancer diagnoses compared to any of its other regions.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said in 2020 that alcohol consumption was responsible for almost 40,000 new breast cancer cases in Europe.
The same data shows that breast cancer has become the most common cancer globally. More than two million new cases were estimated in 2020, with about 100,000 of these attributable to alcohol consumption.
“Simply put, alcohol is toxic. It harms every organ while it passes through the body,” said Dr Carina Ferreira Borges, Acting Director for Noncommunicable Diseases and Programme Manager for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs at WHO/Europe.
She recommended limiting the amount of alcohol and replacing alcohol with other beverages. She also urged nationwide policies that help to reduce alcohol consumption.
The WHO also recommends that countries make alcohol less affordable (for example increasing taxes), banning or restricting alcohol marketing across the media, placing health warnings on alcoholic beverages and reducing the availability of alcohol (i.e. regulating sale hours).
|Politics / Bank Customers, POS Operators Groan As Telcos Block 47 LGAs by BrandSpurNG: 3:13pm On Oct 23|
Telecommunication service subscribers in 47 local government areas in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states have been affected by the ban on telecom services in the areas by the Federal Government, findings by our correspondent have revealed.
This is as bank customers and Point of Sale operators in the affected areas groan over lack of access to banking services as the ban continues in the four states.
The Federal Government had imposed a ban on telecom services in Zamfara and parts of Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna states, following the spate of insecurity in the region.
In compliance with the directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission, GSM operators on September 3, 2021 shut down their 248 base stations in Zamfara State.
The ban was later extended to 13 LGAs in Katsina, 14 LGAs in Sokoto and about seven LGAs in Kaduna. Zamfara State which has 14 LGA had telecoms services restored in the Gusau capital recently, leaving the ban in 13 LGAs. This brings the total number of LGAs affected by the ban currently to 47.
The 13 LGAs affected in Katsina are: Sabuwa, Faskari, Dandume, Batsari, Danmusa, Kankara, Jibia, Safana, Dutsin-Ma,Kurfi, Funtua, Bakori and Malumfashi.
The 14 LGAs affected in Sokoto are: Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Gwadabawa, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah, Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno.
The seven LGAs reportedly affected in Kaduna are: Kajuru, Chikun, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Zaria and Zango-Kataf
Meanwhile, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, there are 2,177,431 voice subscribers and 1,592,746 Internet data subscribers in Zamfara State as of the first quarter of 2021.
In Katsina State, there were 5,096,874 active voice subscribers and 3,811,258 Internet data subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021, according to the NBS.
In Sokoto State, there were 3,215,534 voice subscribers and 2,329,133 Internet data subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021.
In Kaduna State, there were 8,608,198 active voice subscribers and 6,632,861 Internet data subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021.
The number of telecoms subscribers in the 13 LGAs in Katsina, 14 LGAs in Sokoto and seven LGAs in Kaduna affected by the ban could not be obtained from the NBS as there were no breakdowns of the figures on LGA basis.
A resident of Chikun, Kaduna, Mr Kenneth Okafor, told one of our correspondents on Thursday that he had to leave the comfort of his home at the Sabo Tasha area to Barnawa in the Kaduna South LGA to make and receive calls.
|Investment / Local Bourse Closes The Week In Green, NGX ASI Up 14bps by BrandSpurNG: 8:41am On Oct 23|
The Nigerian equities market closed positive at the end of today’s session as the benchmark index improved by 0.14% to close at 41,763.26 points.
This was mainly due to buy pressures in bellwether stocks such as UNILEVER (+9.85%LocalL) and TOTAL (+6.17%). Consequently, the YTD return improved to 3.71% as market capitalisation increased by ₦30.87 billion to close at ₦21.79 trillion.
The sectoral performance significantly strengthened as four of the five indices under coverage improved while the Insurance index declined by 1.75% on NEM (-8.57%). The Oil & Gas index, the biggest gainer, increased by 2.48% on TOTAL (+6.17%). The Consumer Goods, Banking and Industrial indices followed suit, rising by 0.31%, 0.29% and 0.04% on UNILEVER (+9.85%), ZENITHBANK (+0.20%) and WAPCO (+0.40%) respectively.
Investor sentiment closed positive but lower than the previous trading session, as market breadth decreased to 1.21x from 1.28x. This was illustrated by the advance of 23 stocks, led by CUTIX (+10.00%) and UNILEVER (+9.85%) and the decline of 19 stocks, led by NEM (-8.57%) and IKEJAHOTEL (-7.83%). Activity level strengthened as total volume and value increased by 135.98% and 73.47% as investors exchanged about 510.19 million units of shares worth over N5.87 billion.
We expect bullish momentum to persist in the next trading session as the equities market still presents decent opportunities for investors chasing positive real return on investments.
There was quiet activity across the bond yield curve as 3 of the 4 bond yields under coverage closed flat while the yield on the FGN-JUL-2030 bond paper compressed by 2bps. The yields on the FGN-APR-2023, FGN-APR-2024 and FGN-JAN-2026 closed flat at 8.35%, 9.30% and 11.05% respectively.
Treasury bill yields for the 91 and 364-day papers closed flat at 3.76% and 6.87% respectively while the 182-day paper yield compressed by 76bps to close at 4.59%.
We expect a further decline in yields in the next trading session on the back of huge demand from investors and the deliberate efforts of the DMO to reduce borrowing costs.
*Local Bourse Closes the Week in Green, NGX ASI Up 14bps
*Quiet Activity across the Bond Yield Curve
*Bullish Sentiment in Global Stocks
*Positive Performance in the Commodities Market
*Bullish Performance in African Stocks
|Business / Surging Energy Prices May Not Ease Until Next Year by BrandSpurNG: 8:59pm On Oct 22|
An unprecedented combination of factors is roiling world energy markets, rekindling the memories of the 1970s energy crisis and complicating an already uncertain outlook for inflation and the global economy.
Spot prices for natural gas have more than quadrupled to record levels in Europe and Asia, and the persistence and global dimension of these price spikes are unprecedented. Typically, such moves are seasonal and localized. Asian prices, for example, saw a similar jump last year but those didn’t spill over with an associated similar rise in Europe.
Our expectation is that these prices will revert to more normal levels early next year when heating demand ebbs and supplies adjust. However, if prices stay high as they have been, this could begin to be a drag on global growth.
Meanwhile, ripple effects are being felt in coal and oil markets. Brent crude oil prices, the global benchmark, recently reached a seven-year high above $85 per barrel, as more buyers sought alternatives for heating and power generation amid already tight supplies. Coal, the nearest substitute, is in high demand as power plants turn to it more. This has pushed prices to the highest level since 2001, driving a rise in European carbon emission permit costs.
Bust, boom, and inadequate supply
Given this backdrop, it helps to look back to the start of the pandemic, when restrictions halted many activities across the global economy. This caused a collapse of energy consumption, leading energy companies to slash investment. However, consumption of natural gas rebounded fast—driven by industrial production, which accounts for about 20 percent of final natural gas consumption—boosting demand at a time when supplies were relatively low.
Energy supply, in fact, has reacted slowly to price signals due to labor shortages, maintenance backlogs, longer lead times for new projects, and lackluster interest from investors in fossil fuel energy companies. Natural gas production in the United States, for example, remains below precrisis levels. Production in the Netherlands and Norway is also down. And Europe’s biggest supplier, Russia, has recently slowed its shipments to the continent.
Weather has also exacerbated gas market imbalances. The Northern Hemisphere’s severe winter cold and summer heat boosted heating and cooling demand. Meanwhile, renewable power generation has been reduced in the United States and Brazil by droughts, which curbed hydropower output as reservoirs ran low, and in Northern Europe by below-average wind generation this summer and fall.
Coal supplies and inventories
While coal can help offset natural gas shortages, some of those supplies are also disrupted. Logistical and weather-related factors have crippled production from Australia to South Africa, while coal output in China, the world’s largest producer and consumer, has fallen amid emissions goals that disincentivize coal use and production in favor of renewables or gas.
In fact, Chinese coal stockpiles are at record lows, which increases the threat of winter fuel supply shortfalls for power plants. And in Europe, natural gas storage is below average ahead of winter, adding risk of more price increases as utilities compete for scarce resources before the arrival of cold weather.
Energy prices and inflation
Coal and natural gas prices tend to have less of an effect on consumer prices than oil because household electricity and natural gas bills are often regulated, and prices are more rigid. Even so, in the industrial sector, higher natural gas prices are confronting producers that rely on the fuel to make chemicals or fertilizers. These dynamics are particularly concerning as they are affecting already uncertain inflation prospects amid supply chain disruptions, rising food prices, and firming demand.
Should energy prices remain at current levels, the value of global fossil fuel production as a share of gross domestic product this year would rise from 4.1 percent (estimated in our July projection) to 4.7 percent. Next year, the share could be as high as 4.8 percent, up from a projected 3.75 percent in July. Assuming half of this increase in costs for oil, gas, and coal is due to reduced supply, this would represent a 0.3 percentage point reduction in global economic growth this year and about 0.5 percentage point next year.
Energy prices to normalize next year
While supply disruptions and price pressures pose unprecedented challenges for a world already grappling with an uneven pandemic recovery, the silver lining for policymakers is that the situation doesn’t compare to the early 1970s energy shock.
Back then, oil prices quadrupled, directly hitting household and business purchasing power and, eventually, causing a global recession. Nearly a half century later, given the less dominant role that coal and natural gas plays in the world’s economy, energy prices would need to rise much more significantly to cause such a dramatic shock.
Moreover, we expect natural gas prices to normalize by the second quarter as the end of winter in Europe and Asia eases seasonal pressures, as futures markets also indicate. Coal and crude oil prices are also likely to decline. However, uncertainty remains high and small demand shocks could trigger fresh price spikes.
Tough policy choices
That means central banks should look through price pressures from transitory energy supply shocks, but also be ready to act sooner—especially those with weaker monetary frameworks—if concrete risks of inflation expectations de-anchoring do materialize.
Governments should act to prevent power outages in the face of utilities curtailing generation if it becomes unprofitable. Blackouts, particularly in China, could dent chemical, steel, and manufacturing activity, adding to global supply-chain disruptions during a peak season for sales of consumer goods. Finally, as higher utility bills are regressive, support to low-income households can help mitigate the impact of the energy shock to the most vulnerable populations.
|Politics / NNPC GMD Mele Kyari To Outline The Benefits Of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act by BrandSpurNG: 10:11am On Oct 22|
Nigeria has made significant progress to reform its oil and gas industry in 2021, with progressive legislature being passed into law that not only restructures the domestic sector but provides a more attractive investment destination for international players.
Notably, with the passing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Nigerian government has positioned the country as Africa’s top energy market. At African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 in Cape Town, the benefits of the PIA will be outlined by Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The PIA comprises a complete overhaul of the administrative, regulatory and fiscal regime in Nigeria’s energy sector, restructuring key petroleum institutions in order to streamline processes and drive the country’s oil and gas industry expansion.
As the country faces challenges of declining oil production from mature fields, coupled with the reduced capital expenditure climate brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PIA aims to enhance the sector’s attractiveness for foreign investment, ensuring a market-driven regulatory environment that will accelerate the country’s industry developments.
Notable regulatory reforms implemented through the PIA include the creation of a new upstream regulator – the Commission – which will replace the Department of Petroleum Resources; the creation of a new Nigerian midstream and downstream petroleum regulatory authority; and the complete overhaul of the NNPC – to be replaced by the NNPC Limited which will operate on a commercial basis without government funding. Accordingly, Nigeria has placed transparency at the centre of its reforms.
Additionally, fiscal reforms include the reduction in the taxation and royalty-take of new/converted licenses from the prior regime; and the introduction of a hydrocarbon tax – to replace the existing petroleum profits tax. By incentivising investment, the government is focused on accelerating development across the entire energy sector value chain.
At AEW 2021 in Cape Town, a strong Nigerian delegation led by H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and Kyari will lead the discussion on the benefits and opportunities brought about by the PIA. With over 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 36 billion barrels of oil, Nigeria is well positioned to become a global energy player.
Now, with a regulatory environment that places an emphasis on stability and transparency, the country is bound to see an influx in foreign capital and international company participation. In Cape Town, Kyari will promote the PIA, emphasizing how Nigeria will serve as a trend for other resource rich nations looking to secure international investment.
“Nigeria has set an incredibly high standard for other African countries. By implementing a complete regulatory, fiscal, and industry overhaul, introducing key institutions and streamlining sectoral regulations, the government has positioned Nigeria as Africa’s most attractive energy sector. the passing of the PIA is exceptional.
This piece of legislature will usher in a new wave of investment and international participation in the Nigerian sector, and the government should be commended on this achievement. In Cape Town, we are looking forward to Mele Kyari going into detail on the benefits that the passing of the PIA will bring to the country. Kyari will advise on the NNPC restructuring, directly engage with investors, and promote the significant opportunities brought about by the PIA,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC).
AEW 2021, in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy DMRE, is the AEC’s annual conference, exhibition and networking event. AEW 2021 unites African energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development and promote Africa as the destination for energy investments.
|Politics / Trump To Launch New Social Media Platform TRUTH Social by BrandSpurNG: 9:23am On Oct 22|
Former US President Donald Trump has announced plans to launch a new social media network, called TRUTH Social.
He said the platform would “stand up to the tyranny of big tech”, accusing them of silencing opposing voices in the US.
Social media played a pivotal role in Mr Trump’s bid for the White House and was his favourite means of communication as president.
But Mr Trump was banned from Twitter and suspended from Facebook after his supporters stormed the US Capitol.
Social media firms were under pressure throughout Mr Trump’s presidency to ban him, with his posts criticised as insulting, inflammatory or peddling outright falsehoods.
Last year Twitter and Facebook began deleting some of his posts or labelling them as misleading, such as one in which he said Covid was “less lethal” than the flu.
They took the decision to ban or suspend Mr Trump after the January riots, which followed a speech in which he made baseless claims of electoral fraud.
Responding to the riots, Mr Trump called those at the Capitol “patriots” and showed no sign of accepting the result of the election, prompting Twitter and Facebook to rule that it was too risky to allow him to continue to use their sites.
‘Your favourite president has been silenced’
Since then he and his advisers have hinted that they were planning to create a rival social media site. Earlier this year, he launched From the Desk of Donald J Trump, which was often referred to as a blog.
The website was permanently shut down less than a month after it launched after attracting only a fraction of the audience he would have expected through established sites.
His senior aide Jason Miller said it was “just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on”.
An early version of his latest venture, TRUTH Social, will be open to invited guests next month, and will have a “nationwide rollout” within the first three months of 2022, according to a statement by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG).
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced,” wrote Mr Trump.
“Everyone asks me why doesn’t someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!” he added.
Donald Trump’s team is making a big deal of this. Yet there’s no indication that the new company has a working platform yet. The new site is just a registration page.
He wants to create a platform that rivals Twitter or Facebook, but that simply won’t happen.
By its very nature the platform is overtly politicised. It is not going to be a talking shop of ideas like Twitter, or a place the whole family is on like Facebook.
What it could be is a more successful version of other ‘free speech’ social media platforms like Parler or Gab.
Donald Trump clearly wants his megaphone back. He thinks this might be his ticket. But if he’s really going to be heard, he needs the Big Tech platforms to let him back on – and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
TMTG, which he chairs, also intends to launch a subscription video-on-demand service.
TMTG said its video-on-demand service would “feature ‘non-woke’ entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more”.
Mr Trump’s announcement comes months after his former aide Jason Miller launched another social media company called GETTR.
His criticism, that social media silences conservative voices, is shared by many Republicans, although Facebook data shows that figures such as Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, as well as outlets like Fox News and The Daily Caller, consistently appear among the site’s top performing posts.
Mr Trump retains a strong hold over the the Republican party. He has hinted that he will run again in 2024 but has made no formal announcement. He has also kept his profile up with public rallies.
|Politics / Nigeria’s Electricity Invoices Average ₦720 Billion Yearly - NBET by BrandSpurNG: 1:17pm On Oct 21|
Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc has stated that it processes an average of N60 billion worth of electricity monthly from the national grid, translating to about N720 billion every year.
|Politics / BOI Boss Under Fire Over Lack Of Knowledge On Loans ‘beneficiaries by BrandSpurNG: 12:06pm On Oct 21|
The Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BOI), Olukayode Pitan, came under fire in Senate Wednesday for not knowing identities of beneficiaries of loans given out by the Bank across the country.
The BOI boss ran into trouble while making submissions before the Senate Committee on Industry for 2022 budget defence.
Mr Pitan in his comments on loans given out by the Bank, claimed that they don’t know the loan beneficiaries, but the destination of the loan.
He said the loans are secured through bank guarantees provided by commercial banks on behalf of the beneficiaries.
“Loans are given to commercial banks that provide guarantees, which then forwarded the money to the beneficiaries,” he said.
Angered by his submission, the trio of Senators Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC Bauchi North), Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP Akwa Ibom North West) and Danjuma La’ah (PDP Kaduna South) , said that they are in dark about the activities of Bank of Industry in their Senatorial Districts .
Senator Danjuma in particular said, “I don’t know what is going on with Bank of Industry activities in my Senatorial district.”
Also, Senator Ekpenyong in reaction lamented that most of his Senatorial district members are unable to access loans from Bank of Industry adding Union Bank and United Bank of Africa (UBA) do not give Bank Gurantee to his people.
In addition, Senator Bulkachuwa said, “The MD/CEO, you made comments while trying to answer my questions on the distribution’s of loan beneficiaries. You actually said that you were not in the position to know, exactly where these loans are going to, with regards to the geopolitical areas of the country.
“Does it mean that the Bank of Industry does not know where the loans are going to and where the actual beneficiaries are located in the country?
“If you don’t know , we are interested in knowing where those loans go to.
“You, the giver of the loan should be more interested in the loan and where each kobo you give out is going and which part of the country is benefiting. You should be able to know. You should not leave it for the commercial banks to handle alone.
“Our interest is to know how the bank of industry is performing its duty in terms of ensuring that industries are spread across the country.”
Mr. Pitan however responded by saying, “The Senator misunderstood me. BOI knows where our money is. We know where every kobo goes to but not the beneficiaries because we are not the one determining the beneficiaries.
“The commercial banks are the ones that give guarantees because they are the ones that would finalise the process.
“They determine where the loans go but there is no loan that goes out of the bank of industry that we on our own, don’t analyse. It is a requirement every month for the bank of industry to provide the document. We know exactly where our monies are.”
The Committee chaired by Senator Tokunbo Abiru (APC Lagos East), also expressed dissatisfaction to meagre allocation for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises which are the real driver of economy in 2021 budget.
The Bank of Industry in 2021 budget released N165 billion to large enterprises in the country while Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises benefited N40 billion as at September, 2021.
But the Managing Director of BOI while defending the meagre allocation Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said most people in that level are not ready to repay the loan believing that the money is government money and they don’t have to pay it back.
|Career / DHL Express Is The #1 World’s Best Workplace (TM) by BrandSpurNG: 7:14pm On Oct 20|
DHL Express has been named the number one best workplace worldwide in the annual list published by Great Place to WorkTM (GPTW) in collaboration with Fortune Magazine.
The achievement rewards over ten years of continuous improvement and investment in its people, advancing from 8thÂ in 2017 to 1st place in 2021.
“Since 2009, DHL Express experienced an era of transformation guided by its strategy Focus. Within this strategy, we made it our purpose to motivate people working with us and to become the employer of choice,” says John Pearson, CEO DHL Express. “For a company of 111,000 colleagues operating across 220 countries and different modes, this was a brave move.
“What drives me every day is our belief in people and their ability to deliver excellence for our customers and each other. Congratulations to all colleagues who make this possible, and thanks to those who participated in this year’s survey. I have never been prouder to be part of this company.”
DHL Express attaches great importance to valuing the work of its employees. The transformational Focus strategy was one of many innovative DHL programs that the award has recognized. DHL Express’ Focus strategy is geared towards Deutsche Post DHL Group’s goal of becoming the employer, investment, and provider of choice for the world. Key to its success is a program called Certified International Specialist (CIS).
In 2009, the CIS program was introduced to accelerate the cultural and developmental DNA based on customer focus and trust. It includes inspiring training and engagement content delivered by senior leaders with the business encouraging, recognizing, and rewarding vital behaviors.
“One of the key elements of our strategy is focused on the people who work for DHL Express. Without the engagement of our great people, we would not be able to deliver the excellence to our customers as we do today,” says Regine BÃ¼ttner, Executive Vice President HR, DHL Express.
“We are very proud of how our initiatives and HR efforts around the elements of Digital People, Developing People, Diverse People, Healthy People, and Giving Back to People have evolved and that our dedication is paying off. “Deutsche Post DHL Group takes pride in DHL Express being the #1 World’s Best WorkplaceTM 2021.
Our colleagues who connect people and improve lives all around the globe are our biggest asset and their engagement and motivation is the prerequisite for sustainable success. DHL Express is a role model for people focus and employee orientation and an inspiration for all of us,” explains Thomas Ogilvie, Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “I am more than excited that our employees awarded us with the best rating in this year’s Great Place to WorkTM survey.”
DHL Express Is The #1 World's Best Workplace (TM) - Brand Spur
DHL Express attaches great importance to value the work of its employees.
During the global pandemic, the pressure on logistics people was intense. The recognition as World’s Best WorkplaceTM 2021 is a testament to the strength of the DHL Express culture. The confidential survey assesses employee experience across fairness, credibility, respect, pride and camaraderie. Initiatives and programs that reinforce company culture are also audited for the survey.
The GPTW survey recorded increased staff motivation and engagement levels, surpassing the company’s 93% score in 2020. DHL Express focused on job security and staff well-being throughout this challenging period, ensuring employees remained safe, connected, and supported. “While it’s never been more critical to be a great place to work For AllTM, it’s also never been more difficult,” says Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to WorkTM. “DHL Express has proven that when you deliver for your people, they deliver for your customers. 94% of DHL employees say their customers would rate the service they deliver as ‘excellent,’ outperforming the global benchmark of 86%.
“To be recognized as a World’s Best WorkplaceTM, companies must rank first on Great Place to Work’s Best WorkplacesTM national lists. This recognition is based on confidential survey data that assesses employee experience in trust, innovation, company values, and leadership. Companies are also rated on how well they create a For AllTM workplace experience that includes all employees, regardless of who they are or what they do. This year, COVID-19 put the spotlight on physical and mental well-being for both employers and employees.
|Politics / Dr Adesina Assures Nigeria Of Bank's Strong Support To Achieve Food Security by BrandSpurNG: 12:27pm On Oct 20|
The President of the African Development Bank Group , Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, received a high-level Nigerian delegation led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar on Monday.
The meeting follows on the heels of an address by Dr. Adesina last week at a mid-term ministerial retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Adesina and the Nigerian minister discussed means of tackling growing concerns about the country's food security.
Adesina said the Bank's strategic support for Nigeria's food production would be hinged on five factors: support, scale, systemic, speed, and sustainability.
He added, I want to assure President Buhari that the African Development Bank will provide his government with very strong support to tackle the country's food security challenges.
Inflation in Nigeria is high, at 16% or more. Of course, the biggest share of the consumer price index is the price of food, at almost 65%. So, if we can drive down the price of food, of course, we can drive down inflation.
Adesina urged the Nigerian minister to concentrate on building the correct team and tactics to optimize the country’s farming seasons. He said that dramatically increased food output will result in lower food prices, which will in turn lower inflation rates.
Abubakar said his consultative mission to Abidjan was at the instruction of President Buhari.
Our mission is to examine ways Nigeria could enhance food production, lower food prices, and create wealth, the minister said.
Abubakar welcomed the Bank's proposed strategy and described it as a landmark one that would spur Nigeria's food supply production. It will reverse the ugly trend of a sharp increase in prices of food in the country. I am pleased with the Bank's strategy to facilitate the production of 9 million metric tons of food in Nigeria, and to support us in raising self-sufficiency. The Bank's Special Agro-Processing Zones initiative is a laudable one and Nigeria is grateful.
Citing successes in Sudan, Adesina explained how the African Development Bank had supported the country with 65,000 metric tonnes of heat-tolerant wheat varieties, cultivated on 317,000 hectares.
It took two seasons to do this, he said. Change will not happen in years. You will see change in seasons. Sudan now produces 1.1 million metric tons of wheat. The same thing happened in Ethiopia in just two seasons with the production of 184, 000 hectares of wheat, he added.
In response to Bank successes in Sudan and Ethiopia, Abubakar said: This gives me an additional measure of confidence. If you can do it in Sudan, you can equally do it in Nigeria. Not just in wheat, but also rice, maize, and soybeans.
The African Development Bank will provide Nigeria with support through input delivery, including highly improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, and an integrated input delivery platform.
Extensively discussed at the meeting was the Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone initiative as an effective medium-term plan for revolutionizing Nigeria's agriculture value chain.
Adesina said: The task, responsibility, and challenge of feeding Nigeria rests on your shoulders. You will receive maximum support from me, and the African Development Bank for the responsibility that President Buhari has given you. You will not be alone.
He added: The Bank stands ready to fully support and help Nigeria in the next farming seasons. So, we must make sure things turn around. The president must succeed, and Nigeria must succeed. Agriculture must succeed.
Abubakar thanked the African Development Bank for its support and said the meeting gave him reassurances of what Nigeria can achieve with the Bank's support in the farming seasons ahead.
The minister also called for the Bank's support to recapitalize the country's Bank of Agriculture.
Both parties set up a task force team to develop a plan for accelerated implementation within the next 60 days.
Also at the meeting were a member of Nigeria's National Assembly, Hon. Munir Baba Dan Agundi, Chair of the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions; the African Development Bank's executive director for Nigeria, Â Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. Oyebode Oyetunde; Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford; Senior Special Advisor to the President of the Bank on Industrialization, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran; Director General of the Bank's Nigeria Country Office in Abuja, Lamin Barrow; the Bank's Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industries, Martin Fregene; the Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Atsuko Toda; and senior officials from Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
|Politics / USAID Awards $3.5 Million To Fund Bicycles In Sub-saharan Africa by BrandSpurNG: 6:33pm On Oct 19|
The United States Agency for International Development announced two awards totaling $3.5 million for the Bicycles for Growth Initiative. This program aims to improve sustainable access to affordable bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa.
With USAID support, J.E. Austin Associates and World Bicycle Relief will work together to increase mobility in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa by developing and demonstrating means to rapidly increase bicycle uptake for individuals who cannot afford or do not have access to other transportation – thereby facilitating the opportunity for higher incomes, and better health and education outcomes.
Many communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa struggle to access health services, education, economic opportunities, and basic social services due to long distances and limited transportation options. For rural communities, these challenges are particularly acute. Walking is the main mode of transportation in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Bicycles can provide an affordable, accessible, reliable, and efficient alternative to walking, offering more carrying capacity and easier access to necessary destinations.
More than 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural residents must traverse long distances without access to roads or transportation to commute to work, transport goods to market, travel to school, or obtain medical care.
The awards will support research on the supply, demand, and supporting systems for access to bicycles in Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. Based on the results of the assessment phase, the teams will implement pilot projects in four to six localities across two of these countries with the goal of reducing barriers to increased supply and uptake of low-cost, durable, and adjustable bicycles. The Bicycle for Growth Initiative represents a simple, but effective approach to addressing a common development challenge.
|Politics / World Bank Breaks Record With $157bn Support For 100 Countries In 2021 by BrandSpurNG: 6:12pm On Oct 18|
At the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings last Friday, the Development Committee specially praised the World Bank Group (WBG) for its largest crisis response in history.
The panel of 25 members, comprising Ministers of Finance or Development, represents the full membership of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The body said through the 2021 fiscal year, the World Bank committed $157billion to protect the poor and vulnerable, expand social protection, support businesses, and preserve and create jobs.
More than 100 countries gained from emergency health response and reinforcement of health systems, a communique made available to DAILY POST read.
The committee said global economy is experiencing an uneven recovery, with uncertainty about the path of the pandemic.
Also, low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs) continue to see high COVID-19 caseloads, risks of new variants, vaccine supply bottlenecks, and obstacles to vaccination.
The experts decried how the pandemic reversed progress on the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity in a sustainable manner, as well as on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They regretted than an estimated 100 million more people have fallen into extreme poverty, millions of jobs lost, while informality, underemployment, and food insecurity have increased.
On measures to suppress the coronavirus damages, the body hailed the World Bank for saving lives, restarting economies, financing the purchase and distribution through COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). There have engagements in 55 countries.
The WBG, IMF, WHO, and WTO task force were encouraged to leverage global partnerships; scale up production; rapidly disburse financing to facilitate deployment and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines; and finance critical testing, diagnostics, and treatment.
“We also support the task force’s work to promote and report on country readiness and actions to address bottlenecks. We recognize IFC’s role in boosting vaccine production and supporting medical equipment manufacturers in developing countries, including through its Global Health Platform.
“We also commend MIGA for increasing private sector investments. We ask the WBG to continue exploring innovative solutions that can mobilize private financing to developing countries.”
Noting that all nations face risks including pandemics, natural disasters, and climate-related events, the commission urged them to formulate stronger policies, mechanisms, institutions, and resources to bolster resilience.
The World Bank was tasked to continue providing flexible, rapid financing for the most vulnerable, including in small states and FCV situations.
The institution is expected to harness knowledge and lessons learned, while addressing and monitoring such risks as food shortages, malnutrition, cybersecurity threats, and increased due diligence on supply chain disruptions.
The Development Committee wants the World Bank to remain engaged in strengthening crisis prevention, preparedness, and response, and to play a role in global health architecture.
“The WBG should continue supporting a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery, in line with longer-term objectives for sustainable development.
“Climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation have compounded the pandemic’s effects on poverty reduction, inequality, human capital, migration, gender equality, FCV, and food security, with small states, LICs, and MICs all showing acute vulnerabilities.
“With resources scarce, the WBG, along with other IFIs, should advise on essential reforms, help enhance equitable domestic resource mobilization and the quality of public spending, combat illicit financial flows, foster an enabling environment for private and public investments, and work to strengthen institutions.”
The statement thanked Ms. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Barbados, for her guidance and leadership as Chair of the Committee during the past year.
Ms. Azucena Arbeleche, Minister of Economy and Finance of Uruguay, will lead the group for the November 2021–October 2022 period.
The next meeting of the Development Committee is scheduled for April 22, 2022, in Washington, DC.
|Politics / FG To Support MSMEs Access Credit At Single Digit by BrandSpurNG: 6:01pm On Oct 18|
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) has pledged to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access credit at a single digit rate.
The Minister of State for FMITI, Mrs Maryam Katagum, said this on Friday when members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) visited her in Abuja.
According to her, there is a lot of commendation at the recent retreat Mr President had with the ministers for the MSMEs.
“In his closing speech, Mr President specifically said that every support will be given to ensure that MSMEs have access to credits.
“That is what we always preach and we will give every support to the MSMEs as the engine of economic growth to have access to credits at single digits,’’ Katagum said.
The minister, who pointed out the critical role MSMEs play in growing the economy, said this role was further heightened during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Even the woman selling groundnut or `akara’ couldn’t come out to practice her passion and everybody felt the effect of the lockdown.
“We have to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for interventions that were provided for MSMEs during the lockdown.
“And once it was identified to put in some mechanism to stop the economy from going under, our ministry is one of the ministries asked to make submissions to see how to keep the economy going and ensure free flow of goods and services across the country.
“Our proposal was very easily accepted and the sum of N75 billion was allocated and we made a lot of progress.
“Average Nigerians appreciated the efforts and we have seen them giving their testimonies and right now we are on the last track which is the guaranteed off-take scheme,’’ the minister said.
She appealed to the association to identify innovative ways that the Federal Government can assist MSMEs.
“As partners your association has to start thinking of new innovative ways that we can assist MSMEs, it’s not just the finance.
FG To Support Msmes Access Credit At Single Digit
“Some when you give them the money, they don’t know what to do with the money so you need to intensify the capacity building and sharing of information to know what is happening and where,’’ she said.
Earlier, the President and Chairman of the governing council of NASME, Dr Abdulrashid Yerima, expressed the association’s commitment to deepen the relationship with the ministry.
Yerima appreciated the ministry for including NASME in various committees set up by the government to support the development of MSMEs in Nigeria.
He, however, sought the appointment of members of the association to the boards of parastatals under the ministry and solicited the ministry’s support for inputs into human capital development for the association.
“Our association serving in the board of revenant agencies under the ministry will help us to make informed inputs into the policies of the agencies that impact MSME growth and development in Nigeria.
“Also support for capital development for our association is crucial for development of skills and manpower to upscale MSMEs especially NASME,’’ Yerima said.
|Politics / UNDP Africa Director Calls For More Investment To Accelerate Nigeria’s Growth by BrandSpurNG: 5:16pm On Oct 17|
Concluding an eight-day official visit to Nigeria today, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, emphasized the urgency in seizing critical opportunities to accelerate Nigeria's sustainable development.
During her visit, Ms Eziakonwa met with H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari, H.E. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, and other senior leaders at both Federal and State Government level “ emphasizing the importance of leveraging wealth creation through investing in women, youth, the creative industry and the private sector. The mission included a multi-city visit to the north-east, Abuja, Owerri and Lagos.
Starting with crossing the Cameroon-Nigerian border by foot into Borno State, the Assistant-Secretary General witnessed firsthand the impact that Federal Government and Borno State – led stabilization efforts have had on the most vulnerable people in north-east Nigeria where Ms Eziakonwa inaugurated infrastructure serving borderland communities in the Lake Chad Basin (Cameroon and in Nigeria), such as a police station, barracks and new immigration and border control offices as well as housing for immigration officers.
Stabilization efforts are working. I was in Banki less than a year ago and being there again last week I was struck by the transformation the town and people living there have undergone, explained UNDP's Regional Director. Police and customs officers were proud to be back to serve people in the community, who, in turn, have expressed they now feel more secured. Through our joint stabilization work, we can reduce needs and strengthen support to humanitarian action.
In Abuja, Ms Eziakonwa met with H.E.Â President Buhari, to reinforce UNDP's support to Nigeria's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its plans to speed up sustainable development in the Decade of Action focused on climate change, wealth creation, youth employment, and women's participation in politics.
UNDP Africa Director Calls For Increased Investment In New Approach To Accelerate Nigeria’s Development
Nigerian authorities and people have immediately responded to the pandemic and we are proud to have supported the procurement of forty percent of the equipment needed for the response as a One UN's effort, highlighted Ms Eziakonwa. However, the pandemic is not over yet, and we must now redouble efforts to address the global inequality evident in vaccine famine. Vaccines must be available to all those who wish to take it.
Ms. Eziakonwa commended the Federal Government for launching the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS),Â mandated to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years emphasizing the fundamental role the private sector plays in Nigeria.
In Owerri, in partnership with both Imo and Abia State Governments, Ms Eziakonwa launched a socio-economic revitalization project to support 11,000 people across both regions to strengthen then economic capacities of communities affected by the pandemic. Support will go to livelihoods support, business continuity, improving food security and social cohesion as well as support for start-ups companies.
In Lagos, Ms Eziakonwa inaugurated Nigeria's first Accelerator Lab, which will offer opportunities for young people to accelerate and scale up home grown solutions to Nigeria's development challenges. With the private sector, she witnessed a renewed commitment to support youth entrepreneurship and empowerment including through the Jubilee Fellowships Programme.
What I have witnessed in Nigeria, and last week in Cameroon, is a dynamic Africa. Empowering people, particularly women and youth, facilitating their endeavors, and scaling up the transformative innovations they develop, is the only way to support Nigeria and its people in their unique development path towards a more inclusive and sustainable future.
|Politics / CBN Supports Lagos Blue Line Project With ₦60 Billion by BrandSpurNG: 7:15am On Oct 16|
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Thursday that it had supported the Lagos State Blue railway line project with N60 billion to facilitate ease of passengers movement and that of businesses in the state.
|Politics / Nigeria Retains Third Most Attractive Investment Destination In Africa by BrandSpurNG: 7:51pm On Oct 15|
Nigeria has retained its spot as the third most attractive country in Africa for foreign investment in 2021 according to the Absa Africa Financial Markets Index 2021 report.SOURCE:https://brandspurng.com/2021/10/15/nigeria-retains-third-most-attractive-investment-destination-in-africa/
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|Health / COVID-19 Pushes Global Debt To $256 Trillion - IMF by BrandSpurNG: 6:59pm On Oct 15|
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed global debt to a record $255 trillion in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Director, Fiscal Affairs Department of the Fund, Mr. Victor Gaspar, disclosed this during a virtual press conference, on the Fiscal Monitor, as part of the on-going World Bank/ IMF Annual Meetings, in Washington.
His words, Because of COVID-19 and policies put in place to respond to it, debt levels increased to high levels. High and rising level s of public and private debts are associated with risks, financial stability and public finances.
I want to start with global debt. Given that we now have preliminary data for global debt for 2020. Global debt has risen to 256 trillion in 2020. That is $27 trillion above the level in 2019. This increase is by far the largest on record.
Advanced Economies and China contributed more than 90 per cent to the accumulation of the worldwide debt in 2020. The remaining Emerging markets and Low-Income, developing countries contributed only around 10 percent.
An increase in public debt in 2020, according to him, was justified by the need to respond to COVID-19 and the need to reduce its social and economic consequences.
Mr. Gaspar said, however, that debt was expected to decline this year and next. He said that policy advice must be tailored toward the evolution of the pandemic with economic development and prospects, as well as, country characteristics.
The director said that advanced economies had the prospects of soon returning to pre-COVID growth, with China and the United States of America, standing out with early and strong recovery.
In contrast, he said that many Low-Income and Developing Countries would suffer persistent negative growth relative to the pre-COVID prospects, driven by shortfalls in revenue, which would aggravate poverty .
Mr. Gaspar identified global challenges facing humanity at present as: the Great Finance Divide, Great Vaccine Divide and climate change, requiring global action.
He said that global recovery remained uncertain and held back by the availability of vaccines.
According to him, the IMF and other international organizations have put out a plan with a price tag of $50 billion with the objective of vaccinating at least 40 per cent of the population of every country before the end of this year.
He said that the decision was taken because it was estimated that the failure to contain the epidemic could cause the world in excess of $5 trillion over the next five years.
|Politics / Digital Lab Africa Honours Africa's Top Digital Arts Innovators by BrandSpurNG: 5:35pm On Oct 15|
The 5th Digital Lab Africa awards will celebrate top African digital arts innovators at the Fakugesi Digital Arts Festival on 18 October at 6pm GMT (Paris/Johannesburg), 5pm WAT (Lagos), 7pm EAT (Kampala, Nairobi).
Digital Lab Africa, which is in its 5th year, is an incubation hub for emerging Digital Arts innovators in animation, video games, extended reality (AR, VR) on the continent. Emerging digital arts talents are offered a foundation to fast track their project development and are supported by the DLA creative industries ecosystems in the countries of Africa, France and the world.
Digital Lab Africa is aimed at celebrating the digital arts innovators who have been selected as part of this year's incubation programme. The winners were chosen from more than 140 applications from 30 African countries. The winners were selected based on their artistic, technical and financial criteria in the following five key categories: music, immersive realities, video games, animation and digital art.
The French Embassy in Nigeria is our special supporting partner for this Digital Lab Africa 2021 event highlighting their support for Nigerian digital creatives.
Eduardo Cachucho, DLA Programme Manager Says, The Digital Lab Africa (DLA) remains one of the most exciting opportunities for digital creatives in the countries of Africa. Now in its fifth year, the DLA has an alumni group of 48 recipients of incubation, showcasing the best minds and projects in digital from across the continent. This year's seven projects from five countries range from an AR museum showcasing Africa's rich cultural heritage to a video game of an intrepid businesswoman from Lagos delivering food – there's something for a curious mind in each project. We are also looking forward to sharing more about our DLA 2022 opportunities which will launch in February 2022.
The DLA Awards event on the 18th of October will bring to the forefront inspirational and insightful stories from diverse emerging African digital artists. Our guest speakers are Senegalese curator and cultural Advisor Delphine Buysse and Nigeria's Hugo Obi, founder of gaming studio Maliyo Games will share their insights on the state of digital creativity on the continent.
The event will be streamed live on YouTube (Digital Lab Africa) and Facebook (Digital Lab Africa, Faka ugesi, Tshimologong Precinct, French Embassy in Nigeria)
Digital Lab Africa Honours Africa's Top Digital Arts Innovators
Digital Lab Africa is an initiative of the French Institute and the French Embassy in South Africa and is supported by the Agence Franaise de Developement (AFD), the French Embassy in South Africa, THE French Embassy in Nigeria, SACEM, TV5Monde as well as a network of incredible partners. The programme is managed by the South African innovation hub Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct since 2016. It has supported 48 digital artists since its inception.
Below are brief info and links this year's DLA winners:
Please find more information about each project here.
Ssagala Ndugwa from Uganda “ Founder of Sheepish, an animated adult series following the adventures of two small-time hustlers as they try to make it big in a town determined to keep them small
Brian Wilson from Nigeria has developed a series called Aminah's journey. It is about a young Hausa girl who tried to make her way to safety after a violent attack on her village by Boko Haram terrorists
Godisamang Khunou from South Africa developed an immersive piece called Black Women and Sex. It is about the tension between black women, and the politics of sex
Arome Ibrahim from Nigeria is the creator of Virtual Africa, a virtual arts museum on mixed media and immersive technology, showcasing Africa's rich history in arts.
Karen Andriamamonjy from Madagascar created Kalanoro, a third-person platform adventure game that also explores Malagasy folklore
Ifeanyichukwu Obi from Nigeria created Mama Julie, an infinite Isometric 3rd runner game cantered around Mama Julie who runs through the streets of Lagos to deliver food to her customers
Ismael Daouda Nouhoun from Togo is the brain behind action-packed video game, I can Transform. It is a video game available on Android and Web. The game contains and advertising, platforms that promotes products, services and music.
|Politics / IMF Increases Nigeria's 2021 Growth Prospect To 2.6% by BrandSpurNG: 2:39pm On Oct 14|
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has increased Nigeria's growth prospect to 2.6 per cent and 2.7 per cent for 2021 and 2022, respectively, despite reducing the rate of global growth prospect due to the COVID-19 Delta variant.
|Politics / NPA Repositions Seaports For Intra-Africa Trade by BrandSpurNG: 12:36pm On Oct 14|
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said it is repositioning all seaports in the country to be efficient and reliable gateways for maritime trade as the nation prepares to tap the enormous benefits inherent in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.SOURCE:https://brandspurng.com/2021/10/14/npa-repositions-seaports-for-intra-africa-trade/
|Politics / AMCON Gets ₦1.6 Billion Funds Recovered By EFCC by BrandSpurNG: 11:12am On Oct 14|
The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), has received a total sum of N1, 667,582,605.04 recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) between 2017 and July 5, 2021.
|Car Talk / Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Wins Motor1.com Star Award For Best Value by BrandSpurNG: 10:58am On Oct 14|
The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid has won the inaugural Motor1.com Star Award for Best Value.
The 2022 Elantra Hybrid demonstrates Hyundai's commitment to expanding its eco-focused lineup of products.
Its dramatic exterior and high-tech interior both succeed at getting a strong emotional response from customers. But the Elantra Hybrid still prioritizes fuel economy, with an impressive EPA rating of up to 54 mpg combined.
We thank the editors at Motor1.com for this award. Based on research, we know that fuel economy remains a top purchase consideration, said Ricky Lao, director of Product Planning, Hyundai Motor North America. The Elantra Hybrid delivers up to 54 mpg combined to meet their demands while delivering a striking design and advanced technologies.
It was difficult to select just one winner from this group of competitors, but the 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid ended up offering the best blend of creature comforts, driving competence, economical motoring, and aggressive pricing to get the nod, said Motor1.com Senior Editor Brett Evans. For the owner who wants something comfortable, distinctive, and well-priced, it's hard to improve on the Elantra Hybrid.
An Elantra Hybrid by the Pacific Ocean on Nov. 9, 2020.
Test Criteria for the 2021 Motor1.com Star Awards
Motor1.com's first annual Star Awards considers all new vehicles that have been rated by its team of expert editors. Using a Star Rating system, Motor1.com chose finalists for eight awards (Best Adventure Vehicle, Best Electric Vehicle, Best Family Vehicle, Best Luxury Vehicle, Best Performance Vehicle, Best Truck, Best Value, and Editors Choice).
The final roster of finalists included 17 different vehicles from 12 different automakers.
Motor1.com gathered the contestants for a week of in-person testing in Santa Clarita, California, spending time on the country roads, at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park, and on dusty mountain trails gathering impressions of each product. The team's expert editors discussed the pros and cons of each product before voting for winners in each category.
Hyundai Motor America
Hyundai Motor America focuses on Progress for Humanity and smart mobility solutions. Hyundai offers U.S. consumers a technology-rich lineup of cars, SUVs, and electrified vehicles. Our 820 dealers sold more than 620,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2020, and nearly half were built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
|Phones / Tecno To Launch Android 12 On Hios 8.5 For Camon 17 And Phantom X by BrandSpurNG: 9:30am On Oct 13|
With the public release of the much anticipated Android 12, the TECNO CAMON 17 will be amongst the first few phones to deploy the major update.
The update will overhaul a number of major aspects, including software infrastructure, security and privacy, connectivity, user experience, gaming and more.
Android 12 will be deployed on TECNO’s upcoming HiOS 8.5 for CAMON 17 and PHANTOM X, which millions of users will enjoy shortly.
Stephen Ha, general manager of TECNO said: “ TECNO has always been committed to providing users in emerging markets with cutting-edge technologies synchronized with industry trends and continuously optimizing the experience of using our devices. We are excited about Android 12’s updates, which bring a more convenient and personalized experience to consumers ranging from a newUI design to comprehensive security and privacy protection upgrades.”
TECNO CAMON 17 has enjoyed high consumer demand ever since its inception. It is the digital generation’s choice of phone for taking selfies, thanks to its 48MP selfie camera capturing the beautiful details with an added professional finish. The embedded AI technology can elevate selfie through accurate algorithms which can identify features based on gender and adjust the environment light to make the user front and centre of the shot.
TECNO To Launch Android 12 On HiOS 8.5 For CAMON 17 And PHANTOM X
The wide selection of user-friendly tools help users personalize the images they want to portray. Armed with a 5000mAh battery, 6GB+128GB of memory storage, 90Hz high refreshing rate at 6.6 inch FHD Screen, CAMON 17 is a dependable companion of many across the world, and the Android 12 update will definitely be a welcome addition.
The customized HiOS8.5 will be launched simultaneously on CAMON 17 with the update of Android 12.By the end of this year, global users of CAMON 17 will all receive a push on the Android 12 version upgrade.
Based on the new Android 12, HiOS 8.5 will be redesigned to feel more responsive and intuitive for users, who will be able to experience more unified themes across apps and even devices. For example, widgets will appear more rounded and accessible in Android 12, so that users can retrieve information with ease.
Regards to privacy protection, HiOS is also further optimized. The Za-Hooc security concept, which integrates software and hardware, was newly launched last year and attracted a lot of attention among fans. Newly adapted clipboard notifications and approximate locations with Android are worth looking forward to.
Last but not the least, on HiOS8.5, functions related to game performance will be further optimized, and the barrage features and call rejections that have always been users’ attention will also continue to be optimized. All of these means HiOS 8.5 will be far more than expected.
|Business / Exxonmobil To Build Large-scale Plastic Waste by BrandSpurNG: 9:33am On Oct 12|
ExxonMobil plans to build its first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas and is expected to start operations by year-end 2022.Â
By recycling plastic waste back into raw materials that can be used to make plastic and other valuable products, the technology could help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment. A smaller, temporary facility, is already operational and producing commercial volumes of certified circular polymers that will be marketed by the end of this year to meet growing demand.
We've proven our proprietary advanced recycling technology in Baytown, and we're scaling up operations to supply certified circular polymers by year-end, said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. Availability of reliable advanced recycling capacity will play an important role in helping address plastic waste in the environment, and we are evaluating wide-scale deployment in other locations around the world.
The new facility follows validation of ExxonMobil's initial trial of its proprietary process for converting plastic waste into raw materials. To date, the trial has successfully recycled more than 1,000 metric tons of plastic waste, the equivalent of 200 million grocery bags, and has demonstrated the capability of processing 50 metric tons per day.
Upon completion of the large-scale facility, the operation in Baytown will be among North America's largest plastic waste recycling facilities and will have an initial planned capacity to recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year. Operational capacity could be expanded quickly if effective policy and regulations that recognize the lifecycle benefits of advanced recycling are implemented for residential and industrial plastic waste collection and sorting systems.
ExxonMobil To Build Large-Scale Plastic Waste
ExxonMobil is developing plans to build approximately 500,000 metric tons of advanced recycling capacity globally over the next five years. In Europe, the company is collaborating with Plastic Energy on an advanced recycling plant in Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France, which is expected to process 25,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year when it starts up in 2023, with the potential for further expansion to 33,000 metric tons of annual capacity.
The company is also assessing sites in the Netherlands, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Canada, and Singapore.
To meet customer demand for circular polymers, ExxonMobil has obtained certifications through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC Plus) process for several of its facilities. ISCC Plus is widely recognized by industry as an effective system to certify products that result from advanced recycling using mass balance attribution of plastic waste.
To help address the need for increased collection and sorting of plastic waste, ExxonMobil formed a joint venture with Agilyx Corporation, Cyclyx International LLC, focused on developing innovative solutions for aggregating and pre-processing large volumes of plastic waste that can be converted into feedstocks for valuable products. Cyclyx will help supply ExxonMobil's advanced recycling projects, and will aim to do the same for other customers.
ExxonMobil is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, which is focused on accelerating investment in safe, scalable and economically viable solutions to help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment through a portfolio of projects that has grown to more than 30 ongoing projects across several countries.
|Car Talk / NAICOM Set To Announce New Price For 3rd Party Motor Insurance by BrandSpurNG: 9:44am On Oct 11|
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) will soon announce a new price for Third Party Motor Insurance.
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