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Phones / UN: 3% Of The World’s Population Have Never Used Internet by postbox: 6:39pm On Dec 04
With report from the United Nation (UN), over 3 billion people have never used the internet, despite the covid-19 pandemic driving people online.
The UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimated that 96% of the 2.9 billion people who have not accessed the web live in developing countries.

The agency said the estimated number of people who have gone online rose from 4.1 billion in 2019 to 4.9 billion this year, partially due to a “Covid connectivity boost”. But even among those internet users, many hundreds of millions might only go online infrequently, using shared devices or facing connection speeds that hamper their internet use.

“ITU will work to make sure the building blocks are in place to connect the remaining 2.9 billion. We are determined to ensure no one will be left behind,” said the ITU secretary general, Houlin Zhao.

The number of users globally grew by more than 10% in the first year of the Covid crisis – by far the largest annual increase in a decade. The ITU cited measures such as lockdowns, school closures and the need to access services such remote banking as having an influence.

But the growth has been uneven. Internet access is often unaffordable in poorer nations – almost three-quarters of people have never been online in the 46 least-developed countries.

Younger people, men and urban dwellers are more likely to use the internet than older adults, women and those in rural areas, with the gender gap more pronounced in developing nations.

Poverty, illiteracy, limited electricity access and a lack of digital skills continued to challenge the “digitally excluded”, the ITU added.

“we have a small favour to ask. Millions are turning to the Guardian for open, independent, quality news every day, and readers in 180 countries around the world now support us financially”.

We believe everyone deserves access to information that’s grounded in science and truth, and analysis rooted in authority and integrity. That’s why we made a different choice: to keep our reporting open for all readers, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. This means more people can be better informed, united, and inspired to take meaningful action.

In these perilous times, a truth-seeking global news organisation like the Guardian is essential. We have no shareholders or billionaire owner, meaning our journalism is free from commercial and political influence – this makes us different. When it’s never been more important, our independence allows us to fearlessly investigate, challenge and expose those in power.


Celebrities / Wema Bank Signs Davido As Brand Ambassador by postbox: 2:11pm On Dec 04
Nigeria’s leading digitally driven financial institution, Wema Bank today announced the signing of Davido as Brand Ambassador for its digital bank, ALAT By Wema. The bank formalised the partnership at a ceremony on Friday, December 3 when the musician signed the dotted lines.
A few weeks ago, the multiple award-winning artiste raised N200 million when he posted his ALAT account before his 29th birthday and asked industry friends to donate. Subsequently, he personally contributed N50 million and announced plans to donate all funds raised to orphanages across the country.

On Friday, the innovative and customer-centric bank and the musician affirmed their partnership with Davido’s announcement as Brand Ambassador at its corporate headquarters in Lagos.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Managing Director/CEO, Wema Bank, Ademola Adebise, lauded Davido’s artistry, including his body of work and generosity, noting that it takes a genuine altruist to do what he did by giving away all the donations.

He added that Davido’s announcement as their Brand Ambassador affirms the bank’s strategic repositioning efforts and its youth-centric focus.

“We welcome you warmly to our great family, the home of innovators and enterprising people who meet our customer’s needs with innovative products and excellent services that fit their lifestyles and empower their aspirations. You are set for a good time with us, and we assure you this relationship would be mutually beneficial,” Adebise said.

Speaking on the brand ambassadorship and his association with Wema Bank and ALAT. Davido said, “I am excited to join the Wema Bank family and look forward to the great things we will achieve together.”

At the signing ceremony, Davido was taken on a tour of Wema Bank’s corporate headquarters in Marina, Lagos, and was hosted at a cocktail reception at The Wings Complex in Victoria Island.

Speaking at the end of the ceremony, the Head, Marketing Communications and Investor Relations, Wema Bank, Funmilayo Falola, thanked the artist and his management team, while affirming Wema Bank’s commitment to excellent service.


Phones / MTN, Airtel Gets Approval From NCC For 5G Auction by postbox: 9:04am On Dec 03
Three telecoms companies have qualified as bidders of the 3.5 gigahertz spectrum auction for the use of Fifth- generation networks in the country.
In a statement, the commission said the qualified bidders have also met the Intention to Bid Deposit as outlined in the Information Memorandum, and are MTN Nigeria Plc., Mafab Communications Limited, and Airtel Networks Limited.

SOURCE: https://brandspurng.com/2021/12/03/mtn-airtel-gets-approval-from-ncc-for-5g-auction/

Agriculture / Honeywell Flour Mills & FMN Set To Boost Nigeria’s Food Production With Merger by postbox: 5:27pm On Dec 02
Yesterday, Honeywell Group Limited (HGL) and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) announced the signing of an agreement that will see them combine FMN and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. The agreement was stated to be valued at ₦80 billion is subject to regulatory approval and will see Honeywell Group Limited transfer a 71.69% stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc to Flour Mills of Nigeria.
By joining forces, both companies will continue in their effort to boost Nigeria’s food production capacity but at a much higher level. Despite having so much arable land, Nigeria’s food production capacity remains insufficient to cater to its growing population of over 200 million people. The majority of this population growth is happening in urban areas. In 2020, Nigeria’s urban population was 52%. This section of the country’s population has grown steadily over the last 50 years from 18.2 to 52%.

This rising urban population also means an expansion in the volume of middle-income families, which implies a growing need for food that is easy to prepare. Experts predict that the market for ready-made meals will only continue to grow with the population. However, much of this is tied to an improvement in infrastructure and food production capacity.

Speaking about the transaction, Obafemi Otudeko, Managing Director of Honeywell Group Limited, said, “Today’s announcement is in line with the evolution of Honeywell Group and our vision of creating value that transcends generations. For over two decades, we have supported Honeywell Flour Mills to build a strong business with a production capacity of 835,000 metric tonnes of food per annum. Following the transaction, Honeywell Group will be strongly positioned to consolidate and expand its investment activities, including as a partner of choice for investors in key growth sectors.”

Nigeria is ranked 131st out of 190 economies according to the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business report. Even though Nigeria’s place in the rankings has improved in recent years, there is still a long way to go. Companies continue to face various challenges, ranging from poor infrastructure, inadequate power supply, a struggling agricultural value chain, increased cost of production, and so on.

All these challenges indicate the need for greater investment in the food manufacturing sector. This combination will help increase Nigeria’s food production capacity and eventually lead to more revenue from exporting finished goods, both of which will significantly impact the country’s GDP and make it more attractive to investors.

In the statement, Omoboyede Olusanya, CEO of Flour Mills of Nigeria, said, “The proposed transaction is aligned with our vision not only to be an industry leader but a national champion for Nigeria. We believe that this will create an opportunity to combine the unique talents of two robust businesses. As a result, we will have a better-rounded and more comprehensive skill set available to us as a combined diversified food business, thus enabling us to better serve our consumers, customers, and other stakeholders, whilst providing employees with access to broader opportunities.”

To further spotlight the potential impact of this transaction on the economy, it is worth noting that food manufacturing is one of the most prolific job-creating sub-sectors in Nigeria. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the food processing sub-sector has created at least half of all manufacturing jobs in Nigeria.

Flour Mills of Nigeria is the country’s largest flour miller, with a capacity of over 8,000 metric tons per day. The company introduced pasta production to Nigeria in 1999 and has expanded its production capacity from 40,000 metric tonnes to over 350,000 metric tonnes.

Combine this with Honeywell Flour Mills Plc’s production capacity, and this creates a new manufacturing champion in Nigeria. Just last year, Honeywell’s two-year-old pasta production factory in Sagamu delivered 138,600 metric tonnes of pasta and generated over ₦19.08 billion in revenue. Its Apapa and Ikeja plants also generated a combined ₦90.51 billion.

The scale of the proposed combined entity provides greater opportunities for the 17,000 direct and indirect employees and will potentially create many more jobs.

Honeywell Group intends to continue its journey of refining and growing its investment portfolio. This will see it consolidate in sectors where it currently operates, such as real estate, energy, financial services, and infrastructure. It also intends to announce more strategic initiatives in the coming months.


Phones / TECNO Shared Recent Breakthroughs In Mobile Camera Technologies by postbox: 11:58am On Dec 02
TECNO , a premium smartphone brand focusing on global emerging markets, outlined its latest technologies and achievements at a webinar entitled “Global Mobile Camera Trends 2022: Innovation Talk ”. The event was organized with Counterpoint. Webinar speakers addressed developments on mobile imaging technology.

TECNO, highlighted its advances in dark complexion imaging and recent breakthroughs regarding light sensitivity, image and video stabilization, zoom and high-resolution – powered by technologies such as RGBW and G+P, Sensor Shift and Telescopic Lens.

TECNO is Leading the Imaging Technology Innovation Trend

TECNO believes that by Q1 2022 it will have products on the market that will allow users to take studio-quality photos and videos without professional skills. New generation smartphones will enable users to create revolutionary expressive content with distinctive traits which is beyond the capability of traditional mobile cameras.

To achieve these breakthroughs, larger sensor sizes, image and video stabilization, high-frequency anti-shaking capabilities, and continuous lossless zoom will be focuses.

“Leading edge cameras is one of the pillars supporting TECNO’s success in global emerging markets. With ‘Stop at Nothing’ as our brand spirit, our team at TECNO Image Technology is continuously innovating to achieve breakthroughs in mobile imaging technologies,” said Li Jiangtao, Senior Director of TECNO Imaging Product and Head of TAIVOS™ Lab, “Looking ahead, TECNO continues to strive for excellence in AI-enhanced algorithms and software, as well as hardware specifications, to deliver cutting-edge imaging performance.”

TECNO shared several recent achievements in Mobile Camera Technology:

Significant progress in light sensitivity: Cameras on future TECNO phones in 2022 will be powered by a self-developed RGBW sub-pixel rendering algorithm that increases the light captured by the CMOS sensor by 60%. Light intake will be further enhanced by 30% thanks to the G+P (glass + plastic) lens technology, resulting in an overall 200% increase and bringing a revolutionary low-light imaging experience to consumers.

First Android phone to integrate Sensor Shift: TECNO also plans to release its Sensor Shift technology in 2022, making itself the first mobile phone brand in Android system to do so. Sensor Shift is an image stabilization technology that uses sensor movements instead of lens movements to compensate for vibrations. In the future, the control accuracy of TECNO’s Sensor Shift will reach 350% of the current level with further algorithm optimization. Then, consumers will be able to take studio-quality photos with more stability.

Concept Phone with a telescopic lens in Q1 2022: The telescopic lens has the advantage of large aperture and continuous lossless zoom. Consumers will benefit from better quality for profile and telephotograph, as well as its multi-purpose functionality. Moreover, compressed back focal length (BFL) design with motorized stretchable lenses will significantly reduce the thickness of the phone, integrating consumer’ demands for simple appearance and high performance. TECNO’s concept phone with a telescopic lens will come out in Q1 2022.

TECNO is renowned as the industry leader and standard setter for dark complexion imaging. It is a leader in emerging markets, to empower consumers to express their lifestyles through imaging innovation.


Investment / MTN Offers 575m Shares At N169 Per Share To The Public by postbox: 1:07pm On Dec 01
MTN Nigeria on Tuesday announced that it is o public offer of 575 million shares at N169 per share with effect from Dec.1 and closes on the 14th of December
Chief Executive Officer, Mr Karl Toriola, told Brandspur in Abuja that the “Retail Offer’’ which is to be delivered via a digital platform is the first in Nigeria.

Toriola said that by using the power of technology, MTN aims to facilitate the maximum possible participation by Nigerian investors.

He said that minimum subscription would be for 20 shares and subsequent subscriptions would be in multiple of 20 shares.

He added that it would include an incentive in the form of one free share for every 20 shares purchased.

“The offer includes an incentive in the form of one free share for every 20 shares purchased, subject to a maximum of 250 free shares per investor.

“The incentive is open to retail investors who buy and hold the shares allotted to them for at least 12 months, post the allotment date.

“The success and growth of MTN Nigeria is intrinsically linked to that of Nigeria and Nigerians,’’ he said.

Toriola said, however, that MTN had much more to do to support the evolution of an inclusive digital economy.

He noted that the company would continue to invest as it evolves into a truly digital operator capable of seamlessly integrating value across evolving telecommunications, digital and Fintech segments.

In his remarks, MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ralph Mupita, said the offer aligned with MTN Group’s strategic priority to create shared value.

“In the last 20 years, we have worked diligently to connect 68 million subscribers onto voice and data networks and ensure that we deliver the benefits of a modern connected life.

“With this Offer, we will contribute to further deepening of Nigeria’s equity market.

“It is the first in a series of transactions as the MTN Group implements its plans to ensure broad-based ownership by reducing its shareholding in MTN Nigeria to 65 per cent over time,’’ he said.

The CEO of Nigerian Stock Exchange Ltd., Mr Temi Popoola, expressed optimism in the offer by MTN, noting that there was no doubt in the success of the transaction.

Popoola said that the exchange had invested substantial amount of human resources to get this transaction to the present level.

He noted three key areas that the transaction would be beneficial to the capital market which were: investors’ confidence, number of investors exchange in the capital market and end-to-end digital transactions.

“One of the things that excite us about this is investors’ confidence. This will change the face of the capital market investment of the nation.

“For a long time we have spoken about the absence of retail in our capital market, particularly at the Exchange.

“We have spoken about the absence of certain demographic and geographic representation of Nigerians.

“This deal will address confidence, financial literacy and a lot of publicity that will come with this will drive this confidence.

“Part of our dream and hope is that this transaction will single-handedly change to multiples of what we have which is remarkable,’’’ he said.

Popoola urged to the media to enlighten the public through reportage on the importance and benefits of buying the shares.

He commended the Nigerian Communications Commission and other stakeholders for making the offer a reality.

He said that further details and full directory of authorised receiving agents could be found at www.mtnonline.com/PO.


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Travel / Tel Aviv: The Most Expensive City In The World by postbox: 10:12am On Dec 01
Tel Aviv, Israel, is now the most expensive city in the world to live in, according to a biannual report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Israeli city topped the EIU’s December 2021 worldwide cost of living index for the first time ever, climbing up from fifth place last year.

The EIU said that Tel Aviv rose up the rankings mainly because the Israeli currency, the shekel, had soared, “buoyed against the dollar by Israel’s successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout.”
Israel had one of the fastest Covid-19 vaccination programs in the world. According to figures from Our World in Data, 62% of Israel’s population were fully-vaccinated as of Monday. In early November, the Israeli shekel was up 4% against the U.S. dollar year-to-date, according to Reuters, but has since trimmed those gains.

Around a tenth of goods rose in cost in Tel Aviv, in the EIU’s latest research, which looked at the prices of over 200 products and services in 173 cities.

More broadly, the EIU said that the inflation rate of the prices it tracked had risen by 3.5% year-on-year in local currency terms to September 2021, up from just 1.9% in 2020. It said this represented the fastest pace of inflation in its index over the past five years.

Supply chain issues, fluctuations in currency exchange rates and changes in consumer demand led to this rise in prices for commodities and other goods, the EIU said. Transport saw the biggest rise in cost, with the price of gasoline per liter up by 21% on average in 2021, according to the research.

Upasana Dutt, head of worldwide cost of living at the EIU, said that prices were expected to rise further across many cities over the coming year, as pay increased.

“However, we are also expecting central banks to raise interest rates, cautiously, to stem inflation,” she said, adding that these price increases should, therefore, start to moderate from the current levels.

The French capital of Paris fell down to second place in the rankings, followed by Singapore. Rome, Italy, saw the biggest fall in the rankings, thanks to a sharp decline in the cost of groceries and clothing.


Business / Access Bank And Other Commercial Banks Earnings Hit N2.6tn In Nine Months by postbox: 1:47pm On Nov 29
Access Bank Plc. within the past nine months has hit the highest gross earnings of N693.1bn while Wema had the lowest gross earning of N63.08bn.
A total of N2.64tn in the first nine months of 2021 according to data collated from the third quarter earnings of the banks.

This is N132.64bn increase from what the banks made in the corresponding period of 2020. In 2020, the banks had a gross earning of N2.50tn.

The nine banks under review are Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria, and Fidelity Bank Plc.

Access Bank also witnessed the most growth in its gross earnings. The bank’s gross earnings increased by N100.3bn from N592.8bn in September 2020 to N693.1bn in September 2021.

Stanbic IBTC witnessed the most drop in gross earnings, with the bank’s earnings dropping by N36.7bn from N183.3bn in 2020 to N146.6bn in 2021.

In the period under review, Zenith had a gross earning of N518.67bn, an increase of N9.69bn from the N508.98bn it had in 2020.

GTB had a gross earning of N318.51bn in 2021, N11.45bn lower than the N329.96bn it had in 2020.

With a reduction in gross earning year-on-year Stanbic IBTC witnessed N36.7bn in gross earnings and fell from N183.3bn in 2020 to N146.6bn in 2021.

Sterling witnessed a N7.32bn increase in gross earning as its gross earnings rose from N101.85bn in 2020 to N109.16bn in 2021.

Wema also witnessed a N5.25bn increase. Its gross earnings rose from N57.83bn in 2020 to N63.08bn in 2021.

UBA had a gross earning of N490.3bn in 2021, an increase of N35.9bn from the N454.4bn it had in 2020. Union bank had a gross earning of N121.8bn in 2021, an increase of N3bn from the N118.8bn it had in 2020. Fidelity had a gross earning of N174.35bn in 2021, an increase of N19.32bn from the N155.03bn it had in 2020.

In Access ‘Group unaudited results for the nine months ended 30 September 2021’, Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe, attributed the growth in the company’s gross earnings to an increase in net interest income.

He said, “The group achieved a 17 per cent y/y growth in gross earnings to N693.1bn (9M 2020: N592.8bn), leading to an improvement in the profit after tax y/y to N121.9bn (9M 2020: N102.3bn).


Politics / $10m Launch Of Solar Financing Facility Begins In Nigeria by postbox: 10:54am On Nov 29
A Nigerian impact investment company, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions, and Global Alliance for People and Planet have announced the launch of a global aggregated procurement programme for renewable energy companies, supported by a $10m financing facility, in Nigeria.
Speaking with the Managing Director of Innovation for the Alliance, Eric Wanless, he said, “We are excited to launch the DART program in Nigeria as an important part of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, which is accelerating the transition to renewable energy access for all, reducing emissions and creating jobs.

“Aggregating the procurement of standardized DRE products will ensure low-cost, reliable, and clean energy is empowering people and businesses in Nigeria.”

According to the statement, the equipment finance facility for Nigeria is seeded by matching investments of $5m from All On and The Alliance respectively.

Also the new Demand Aggregation for Renewable Technology programme would ensure that affordable, high-quality solar products reach the communities most in need in Nigeria, before piloting the programme in four additional countries in Africa.

“The programme aims to accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond by combining demand pooling and aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, access to affordable finance, and coordinated logistics processes to unlock economies of scale for solar companies and achieve cost savings for end users,” it said.

It said the All On-managed finance facility would provide debt funding for solar companies already approved by the Rural Electrification Agency for the Nigeria Electrification Program to purchase lower-cost solar equipment through the DART.

“We are particularly excited about this deal which will inject much-needed capital into the renewable energy


Politics / 31 Firms Benefit From N2bn MSME Fund In Edo State by postbox: 10:34am On Nov 29
Thirty one firms have benefitted and also offer letter being sent from the N2bn MSME Fund from the Edo State government in cooperation with the Bank of Industry.
Governor Godwin Obaseki established the Edo State MSME Fund to assist qualifying Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Edo State with financial and support services.

The investment is envisaged to benefit over 50,000 firms in Edo State.

.Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, Managing Director of the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EDOJOBS), who spoke on behalf of Governor Godwin Obaseki at the handing over of the offer letters, said the fund is the result of collaboration between the Edo State Government and the Bank of Industry to help grow and develop businesses in the state.

Seebuck Leather Ventures, Prospect Farms, MS Above Enterprise, EDHIR Global Nigeria, and Global Ehimax Trading are a few of the companies that received the funding


Business / Like Nigeria’s eNaira, Tanzania Set To Launch Its Digital Currency by postbox: 7:13am On Nov 28
According to a statement issued by the Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Florens Luoga, the African nation is reportedly making plans to issue its own central bank-issued digital currency (CBDC).

Tanzania Prepares To Launch Its CBDC
As many African nations continue to tap into the digital currency initiative, Tanzania may be finally ready to follow suit too.

According to a report by Bloomberg on Friday, Florens Luoga revealed that Tanzania may be taking a cue from Nigeria by fast-tracking its plans to roll out its own CBDC. Luoga insists that plans are ongoing for the launching of the digital shilling — Tanzania’s currency since 1966.

But Tanzania will not be in a haste to launch the CBDC. According to the governor, the country is presently planning to research more deeply into digital currencies, as part of its efforts towards launching properly. All things being equal, the success of the current plans would mean that Tanzania would become one of the pioneering African countries to roll out a CBDC.

Who’s Next To Issue Out A CBDC?
It looks like quite a good number of industry experts are predicting China to be the next major economy to launch its CBDC. The central bank of China had started its digital currency testing since April 2020 and is planning an even bigger trial during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

But Luoga insists that Tanzania’s drive to launch the digital shilling was informed by Nigeria’s successful launch of its own CBDC, the eNaira. Nigeria successfully launched the eNaira last month, becoming only the second CBDC to be fully accessible to the public, right after Bahamas — which launched its own central bank digital currency, back in October 2020.

Meanwhile, at the moment, cryptocurrencies remain banned in Tanzania following a directive from the country’s apex bank in November 2019, declaring the digital assets ‘unrecognized by local law’.


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Business / Bolt In Partnership With MAX, Set To Help Drivers Own Vehicles by postbox: 6:42pm On Nov 27
Bolt has announced its partnership with Metro Africa Express (MAX), in an effort to expand vehicle financing programme within Nigeria.
In a statement disclosed by MAX’s Chief Financial Officer, Guy-Bertrand Njoya.

He stated that “Leading ride-hailing platform, Bolt has partnered with Metro Africa Express- (MAX) the largest vehicle subscription platform for low-to-zero emission vehicles in Africa – to expand the Bolt vehicle financing program in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

He said the scheme is part of Bolt’s commitment towards enabling drivers to own vehicles with low equity repayment with support and improve earnings for drivers while allowing them to maintain flexibility as vehicle owners.

According to Njoya, Bolt partnership with MAX will launch a lease-to-own framework for e-hailing drivers to lease a vehicle and pay in installments until full ownership is secured.

Mr Njoya further explained that the partnership will help Nigerian drivers to increase their efficiency by accessing a variety of value-add services which include access to low-to-zero emission vehicles; licenses and permits, insurance; affordable health coverage, and other financial products.

In his remarks, , Bolt’s country manager, Femi Akin-Laguda said; “We launched our vehicle financing scheme early this year to enable drivers to own a car or motorbike with low equity repayment and have decided to expand the scheme to create opportunities for more prospective drivers.”

As regards the partnership with Max, he said we are looking to expand our commitment to helping drivers on the Bolt platform to earn more and at their own pace, either driving full time or part-time.

“Drivers are fundamental to our business operations, and it is important to provide solutions that ensure that driving on Bolt is flexible and profitable because improving partner earnings is fundamental to sustaining the trust and loyalty that we have earned over time,” he said


Politics / The Top Five Most Prospective African Countries To Watch by postbox: 6:35pm On Nov 27
With a landmass bigger than India, China, the US and Europe combined, few doubt the scale of the African continent and its resources. However, until recently, only some have seen it as the growth market that it is fast becoming.

Africa has grown its economy by five per cent annually over the last decade. With its population steadily growing towards two billion, the continent is projected to have the largest workforce by 2040. Also, with a collective GDP of $2.6 trillion by 2020 and $1.4 trillion of consumer spending, many see the impact of around 500m new middle-class consumers.

After witnessing its worst recession in half a century in 2020, Africa’s economy is forecast to grow at a healthy pace of 3.8 per cent in 2021, driven by rising global demand as restrictions are eased, untapped market opportunities, a rebound in commodity prices and a rise in oil prices.

While Africa’s vastness and diversity allow for entrepreneurship to flourish across communities, it also poses challenges to creating universal solutions for issues such as poverty and food security, because each country has its unique capacity for innovation. For instance, while Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya ranked in the top 10 fastest growing economies worldwide in 2020, the continent still holds some of the poorest nations in the world.

African economies are not the same in design. We have the oil exporters: Nigeria, Angola, Libya and Algeria; and the more diversified economies found in Egypt, South Africa and Morocco. Then there are countries transitioning from agricultural to manufacturing and service economies, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Cameroon.

In a bid to diversify away from resources, several nations have been pushing hard to grow other sectors of the economy. For example, while Nigeria remains very much an oil-exporting economy, its service sector now accounts for 60 per cent of its GDP. Its film industry, Nollywood, was valued at $3.6 billion in 2016 and is projected to be worth $6.4 billion by 2021.

In Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil exporter, fishing, agriculture and manufacturing growth now means that a third of government revenue comes from non-oil sources. After the success of m-Pesa mobile payments in Kenya in 2007, many African states have become world leaders in fintech adaptation.

In addition to government support, Africa is attracting global investors due to its vast resource base and untapped market options. Recently the UK pledged to invest $4.5bn in Africa by 2022, which is expected to create jobs and accelerate economic activities.

When we probed into whether Nigeria needs a stronger naira, we mentioned that GDP per capita is a more effective way to measure an economy. Based on steady growth in GDP per capita over the last decade, here are the top five most prospective African countries to watch.

Aided by an extremely favourable tax regime, the GDP per Capita in Mauritius is equivalent to 72 per cent of the world’s average. The financial sector remains one of the main drivers of Mauritius’ economy – notably through cross-border investment activities and banking services. Between 2011 and 2020, Mauritius improved its GDP per capita consistently from $8123.6 to $10,644. Mauritius is such a politically and socially stable economy that it is ranked 21st among the most peaceful countries in the world. Also, the country recently signed a trade agreement with China, making its transportation and financial sectors even more prospective.

In 2011, the North African country’s GDP per capita stood at $2948.84. Since then, it has witnessed constant growth in its GDP per capita, save for 2020. Morocco’s GDP per capita is expected to reach $3,240 by the end of 2021. According to Trading Economics, it is projected to trend around $3350 in 2022.

Morocco’s economy benefits largely from political stability. In less than a decade, Morocco rose from 114th to 53rd on the ease of doing business rankings. Global Data expects Morocco to be the fastest-growing major economy in Africa.

Since 2000, Rwanda’s economy has grown at an impressive average of six per cent year over year. The East African country is reaping from the efforts it has made to improve its operating environment. Rwanda ranks second in the world for ease of property registration, behind only New Zealand. Rwanda’s GDP per capita maintained an upward trend from $630.93 in 2011 to $834.39 in 2020. Trading Economics expects Rwanda to become wealthier than ever next year, with its GDP per capita around $870 in 2022 and $890 in 2023.

Kenya is one of the leading tech hubs in Africa. Nicknamed the Silicon Savannah, Kenya’s economy has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, growing between five to six per cent. According to the World Bank, it is one of the world’s top performers in Starting a Business and Getting Credit.

Kenya moved steadily from a GDP per capita of $1,202.12 in 2011 to $1,513.44 in 2019. Despite the economic downturn of 2020, it stood at $1,475. The East African country’s GDP per capita is projected to reach $1550 in 2022 and $1600 in 2023.

Cote D’Ivoire
Regarded as Francophone West Africa’s economic hub, Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans. Despite a dramatic economic decline in 2020, GDP per capita stayed slightly below the previous year’s record high. Between 2011 to 2020, its gross GDP per capita steadily ascended to $2,310 from $1,526. Analysts expect Ivory Coast’s GDP per capita to reach 2330.00 USD by the end of 2021. They also project $2360 in 2022 and $2400 in 2023.

Written by Oluwatosin Ogunjuyigbe


Politics / CBN Retains 11.5% Lending Rate by postbox: 12:09pm On Nov 26
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has left the Monetary Policy Rate unchanged at 11.5 per cent.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this after the committee’s two-day meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.

Announcing this at the committee’s decision, Emefiele said that the parameters have supported he growth recovery.

“The MPC believes that the existing parameters have supported the growth recovery and should be allowed to continue for a little longer for consolidation to achieve the committee’s mandate of price stability conducive for growth.

“Therefore by unanimous vote, the MPC voted as follows, one, retain MPR at 11.5 per cent; retain the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; retain the CRR at 27.5 per cent; and retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

Other parameters left unchanged are the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio at 27.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

He noted that the Committee believed that tightening or losing the rates at this time would be unfavourable to the country’s economic recovery.


Car Talk / Charging With Audi by postbox: 7:44pm On Nov 25
A well-developed charging infrastructure forms the very backbone of electrified mobility. That is why IONITY is investing around 700 million euros to install more than 5,000 additional fast-charging points by 2025.

As such, the joint venture – in which Volkswagen, with its Porsche and Audi brands, has a stake – is creating more than 1,000 locations for fast charging at up to 350 kW. A new flagship concept from IONITY and the new “Plug & Charge” functionality available on Audi e-tron models are also designed to enhance convenience and the charging experience.

Whether it’s charging options at home, route and range planning, or the multitude of different providers and access to charging stations on the road, e-mobility raises questions that confront newcomers to the world of electric vehicles.

As a premium supplier, Audi takes a holistic approach and has had its customers’ needs in the field of electric-powered mobility in mind since the launch of the Audi e-tron in 2019. For example, when it comes to home charging solutions, Audi advises customers and even arranges an installation service upon request.

In addition, Audi has access to more than 280,000 charging points across Europe through its e-tron Charging Service and is committed to expanding the use of green power. Furthermore, IONITY – in which Volkswagen, with its Porsche and Audi brands, has a stake – continues to expand its charging network in Europe.


Business / Zinox Bags 2021 Technology Company Of The Year Award by postbox: 5:35pm On Nov 25
Leading integrated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) giant, Zinox Technologies Ltd. has been crowned the pioneer 2021 Technology Company of the Year by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella organization of all Information Technology professionals, interest groups and stakeholders in Nigeria.
Zinox was accorded the award at the National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA) held at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

The well-organized event had the crème of personalities in the Nigerian tech sector in attendance, including the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat who represented the Lagos State Governor at the event. The Deputy Governor was also honored with the Fellowship of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).

Notably, the Technology Company of the Year award marks another addition to a long list of local and international honours and recognitions received by Zinox in its two decades of exceptional leadership and disruptive dominance in the ICT ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa. Interestingly, the latest award comes on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the company.

On hand to pick up the award was Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, who was physically present at the event.

Speaking at the well-attended event, NCS President, Prof. Adesina Simon Sodiya, hailed Zinox as a force to be reckoned with in the global ICT space, even as he described the company as a leader in the Nigerian tech space and a fitting winner of the pioneer Technology Company of the Year at the NITMA awards.

Furthermore, the University don, who doubles as the Head, Information Security and Intelligent Computing Group, Department of Computer Science, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State noted that the landmark strides recorded by Zinox in the technology space since inception has served to inspire many other entrepreneurs.

In his acceptance speech while receiving the award, Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group, commended the organizers of the event for a well-orchestrated event.

Additionally, he expressed gratitude to the NCS, which he described as his professional constituency and the planning committee of the NITMA awards for nominating Zinox for the much-coveted Technology Company of the Year award. Also, Ekeh thanked the members of the NCS for voting for the company and considering it a worthy winner of the award.

‘‘On behalf of the Zinox Group, I am grateful to the members of the NCS and the organizers of the NITMA awards for this award. This recognition is another prestigious one which will serve to further energize the management of the company in its task of putting Nigeria on the global technology map,’’ he stated.

The event also witnessed the award of professional and honorary fellowship conferment on a few deserving awardees, as well as the launch of the NCS Innovation and Development Fund.


Business / Multichoice, SBC, Lacasera, Access Bank, Others Shine At Brandcom Awards 2021 by postbox: 10:08am On Nov 25
Brands under the corporate entity of MultiChoice, Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC), The LaCasera Company, Access Bank and others stood out like stars at the Brandcom Awards 2021 for their outstanding performance in their industry.

Also, four industry achievers were honoured, and they were all inducted into the Brandcom hall of fame. They four doyens are Seni Adetu, Founder/GCEO, First Primus West Africa Limited; Udeme Ufot, Group Managing Director, SO&U; Yomi Badejo-Okusanya ,Group Managing Director, CMC Connect Burson Cohn & Wolfe; and Ayo Oluwatosin, Group Managing Director, Rosabel Group.

The Brandcom Award which is in its third edition was held at the D’Podium Event Centre and had the crème de la crème of the industry. It was a night of fun and laughter and can best be described as a night of prestige, integrity and credibility.

For the Corporate brands award category, MultiChoice’s DSTV emerged Most Outstanding Brand of the Year as well as The Most Outstanding Pay TV Brand of the Year.

Similarly, its TV Reality show, Big Brother Naija emerged Most Engaging TV Content of the Year; as well as The Most Engaging Reality TV Show of the Year.

Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC) brands also won big with Pepsi emerging the Most Outstanding Carbonated Soft Drink Brand in Consumer Engagement; also for its ‘for the love of it’ campaign, Pepsi clinched the Most Outstanding CSD Campaign of the Year; Superkomando Energy Drink won Most Outstanding Brand Launch of the Year; and 2sure Soap & 2sure Liquid wash emerged Most Outstanding Brand Extension of the Year.

The LaCasera Company brand, Smoov emerged Most Outstanding Chapman Drink Brand of the Year; Nirvana campaign on ‘Headline of Innocence’ clinched Most Outstanding Social Impact Campaign of the Year; La Casera won Most Outstanding Brand Refresh Campaign of the Year; and Bold Drink won Fast Rising CSD Brand of the Year.

Access Bank Plc also won big, clinching Best Brand in Sustainability; Most Outstanding Sustainability Team of the Year (Financial Services); and Most Outstanding SME Friendly Bank of the Year.

Some of the agencies that excelled at the awards include: Noah’s Ark named Most Outstanding Creative Advertising Agency of the Year; while GDM Group emerged Most Outstanding Marketing Innovation Group of the Year among others.

Also, individuals and top brand handlers were honoured for their outstanding performance in the year under review. Some of the awards are Most Outstanding Corporate Communications Professional of the Year (Financial Services) won by Amaechi Okobi, Group Head, Communications & External Affairs, Access Bank Plc; Most Outstanding Corporate Communications Professional of the Year (PAY TV) to Caroline Oghuma, Executive Head, Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice Nigeria among others.

Speaking on the award, Joshua Ajayi, Convener of Brandcom Awards and Publisher of Brand Communicator said, “We are indeed happy at Brand Communicator, to have taken up the challenge of creating a respectable platform that recognises and rewards excellence in this very vibrant industry.

“Distinguished guests, we have always felt this industry deserves better, hence we came up with the maiden BRANDCOM Awards in 2019. This year, we have expanded the scope and categories of the awards to make it bigger and much more prestigious.
“In line with our tagline of Prestige, Integrity, and Credibility, we had a panel of assessors set up to painstakingly review our nominations. The result is all the agencies, brands, and individuals here present to receive one form of recognition or the other for their performances this year despite the challenges and peculiarities that came with the year 2021.”


Education / Rockgarden Foundation Names Bursary Award After Bolaji Esan by postbox: 10:13am On Nov 24
Rockgarden foundation has named her Bursary Award for less privileged children after Bolaji Esan, the Founder of Brand Spur who passed away three months ago. Bolaji Esan was an ally to the dream and it would therefore be a great way to keep his memory alive.

Rockgarden Foundation is on the verge of contributing to this course by helping indigent children get quality access to good training right from an early age.

The foundation has an initiative of sending children back to school rather than having them give financial excuses for being in the street. We give out stationery, books, socks, school bags, and other basic schooling materials to these children every year and this year is no different.

Prior to his Death, he was easy going and he believed in doing good deeds to everyone around him. A visionary and an award-winning entrepreneur whose passion for developing businesses and talents knew no bound.

The Bursary which was given during the month of October is to help children of indigent families reduce the burden of expenses required to keep children in school so as to ensure they are not withdrawn from school.

Bolaji Esan was a great lover of children and had spent himself so much in keeping the less privileged in school. He was ever supportive of the foundation, so in his memory, we gave bursaries to five indigent children who had been kicked out of school.

By doing this one of the students who had been out of school for a while was taken off the streets and back to school.

The bursary award has been given to five students so far and there are plans to expand it to many more students and children in the future.

The foundation has also agreed to enroll Uche in a government secondary school after his encounter with our foundation. The Principal was kind to us and very glad to have someone like Uche being helped back to school. He wrote his entrance examination, got placed in a class and the foundation took care of all his bills.

Our goal is to see Uche and the other children finish their secondary school education and even get to higher institutions, no matter what it may cost.

We are not alone in this course, therefore we will not forget to mention the support gotten from Bolaji’s friends during the outreach. You all have been amazing and the foundation is super grateful for your support. Also, to all our donors all over the country, we say thank you. Thank you for believing the vision of our foundation and helping these young ones back to school.


Phones / NCC: Less Than 3000 People Use Special Numbers In Nigeria by postbox: 9:44am On Nov 24
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that less than 3,000 individuals are using the Special Number Service (SNS), which was introduced 15 years ago.

The NCC, because of the lackluster growth, is taking steps to ensure sustainability, profitability and fair competition in the SNS segment of the nation’s telecommunications sector.

To institute viable growth, the commission held a stakeholders’ forum on the ‘Determination of Call Termination Rate for Special Numbering Service Providers in Nigeria.

Representatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), SNS providers and other stakeholders attended the forum, held at the Conference Room.

While addressing the participants, Yetunde Akinloye, director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis at NCC, said the meeting was convened following the extensive work of a committee set up by the commission to look into the issues and complaints emanating from the SNS segment of the telecoms market. A key concern was the perception of the high cost of delivering services to end-users in the SNS segment.

“The SNS has been in existence for the past 15 years, with some licensees actively engaged in the segment. However, we have noted some observations and complaints from different quarters on the use of these numbers. We have observed, for instance, that there has been no effective utilisation of the numbers,” she said.

Also speaking during the meeting, Bako Wakil, director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, lamented that the SNS segment of the market has not been fully maximised because of the cost elements involved.

Conversely, he said, if the cost could be reduced, there would be greater benefits from economies of scale. “So, there has to be a way of making people use the service more if the price is appropriate.”


Business / Totalenergies Introduces Open Banking To Service Stations, Rural Areas by postbox: 6:28am On Nov 23
TotalEnergies Marketing Nigeria Plc has announced that in conjunction with InTouch and other partners, it has deployed “Touch Point” to over 385 stations.

Touch point, it stated, is a mobile payment financial-inclusion solution, which it offers to capture the banked and unbanked populations in rural, sub-urban and urban communities nationwide including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Kaduna.

“There are currently five service bouquets being offered at the stations – Airtime, Data, Bills Payment, Cash Deposit and Cash Withdrawal. TotalEnergies journey as a company has, over the years, evolved beyond a fueling station to a solutions provider and hence, this value-added service offering.

“This partnership is in furtherance of our effort to offer convenience to our customers and live up to our commitment of being a one-stop service station where customers can access various goods and services across the country.“

Touch Point offers our customers, convenience, a 7-day accessibility to a variety of services and a brand name that is trusted.

“In view of the growing need for the integration of banks and other financial institutions with innovators and customers in the financial services space and the increasing adoption of Application Programming Interface (“API”) based integrations in the industry, TotalEnergies has partnered with organizations from different sectors of the economy to provide Touch Point, a robust financial solution that can be enjoyed in more than 385 stations nationwide with the plan to expand our footprint in the nearest future,“ it stated.


Travel / Norway Launches Its First Electric Cargo Ship by postbox: 10:57am On Nov 22
Zero emissions and, soon, zero crew: the world’s first fully electric autonomous cargo vessel was unveiled in Norway, a small but promising step toward reducing the maritime industry’s climate footprint.
By shipping up to 120 containers of fertilizer from a plant in the southeastern town of Porsgrunn to the Brevik port a dozen kilometres (about eight miles) away, the much-delayed Yara Birkeland, shown off to the media on Friday, will eliminate the need for around 40,000 truck journeys a year that are now fuelled by polluting diesel.

“Of course, there have been difficulties and setbacks,” said Svein Tore Holsether, chief executive of Norwegian fertiliser giant Yara.

“But then it feels even more rewarding to stand here today in front this ship and see that we were able to do it,” he said, with the sleek blue-and-white vessel moored behind him in an Oslo dock, where it had been sailed for the event.

The 80-metre, 3,200-deadweight tonne ship will soon begin two years of working trials during which it will be fine-tuned to learn to manoeuvre on its own.

The wheelhouse could disappear altogether in “three, four or five years”, said Holsether, once the vessel makes its 7.5-nautical-mile trips on its own with the aid of sensors.

“Quite a lot of the incidents happening on vessels are due to human error, because of fatigue for instance,” project manager Jostein Braaten said from the possibly doomed bridge.

“Autonomous operating can enable a safe journey,” he said.

While the distance the Yara Birkeland will cover may be short, it will face many obstacles.

It will have to navigate in a narrow fjord, and sail under two bridges while managing currents and heavy traffic from merchant ships, pleasure craft and kayaks, before docking at one of Norway’s busiest ports.

The next few months will be a learning period.

“First of all, we have to detect that there’s something there. We have to understand that it’s a kayak, then we have to determine what to do with that,” said Braaten.

“Currently, large vessels don’t do much with a kayak. They can’t do much. They can warn, but they cannot manoeuvre away” or reverse to avoid an incident.

Autonomous navigation will require a new set of regulations that do not exist yet.

On board the Yara Birkeland, the traditional machine room has been replaced by eight battery compartments, giving the vessel a capacity of 6.8 MWh — sourced from renewable hydroelectricity.

“That’s the equivalent of 100 Teslas,” says Braaten.

Despite that, the sector has seen a rise in recent years.

International and domestic shipping and fishing combined, the industry emitted more than one billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018, up from 962 million tons in 2012, according to the latest figures from the International Maritime Organization.

By itself, the Yara Birkeland’s contribution to global climate efforts will be just a drop in the ocean — eliminating 678 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year churned out by the redundant trucks.

And experts don’t expect electric vessels to become a universal solution for the industry any time soon.

“Electricity has a ‘niche’ use, in particular for ferries as these are often short and stable routes, possibly on coastal and river transports. But it’s not well-adapted for long ocean crossings,” said Camille Egloff, a maritime transport expert at Boston Consulting Group.

“Not only would (a vessel) need to be autonomous for long distances but you would also have to equip ports with battery chargers. So there are technical and infrastructure challenges that would need to be coordinated,” she said.

While dozens of electric ferries already criss-cross the fjords of Norway — a major oil and gas producer which is paradoxically also a leader in electric transport — ocean liners will have to rely on other technologies to go green, such as LNG, e-methanol and hydrogen.


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Politics / IMF: Nigeria’s Economy To Grow By 2.6% by postbox: 10:38am On Nov 22
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the Nigeria’s Economy is set to grow by 2.6%.
In a statement following a mission to Africa’s largest economy, also repeated its long-running calls to scrap costly fuel and electricity subsidies and said some reforms were needed as soon as possible.

The fund, which had said it was likely to revise up its 1.5% growth projection for 2021, said the pace of recovery was still limited, given Nigeria’s rising population.

“This is just above the population growth rate, implying stagnant per capita income in the medium term,” it said.

It said annual growth of 2.6%-2.7% was likely over the medium term.

“Major reforms in fiscal, exchange rate, trade and governance are needed to alter the long-running lacklustre growth path,” it said.

Nigeria’s economy grew just over 4% in the third quarter, the statistics office said earlier this week, the fourth consecutive quarter of growth. However, the third-quarter growth rate slowed compared with the previous quarter.

The IMF warned that Nigeria faced “significant downside risks” in the near term due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as tenuous domestic security.

But the fund’s most urgent calls related to subsidies and foreign exchange.

Nigeria imports virtually all its fuel despite its status as Africa’s largest oil exporter, and rising oil prices significantly boosted its import bill.

With the Central Bank efforts to close the gap between Nigeria’s multiple naira rates, the IMF said more action was needed.

“The mission advised a move to a unified and market-clearing exchange rate without further delays,” it said.


Business / Pacegate Limited Partners Polaris Bank by postbox: 10:00am On Nov 22
Pacegate Limited, a leading manufacturer of UN Certified Steel Drums and distributor of Adipro Lubricant Additives and Polaris Bank have jointly collaborated to promote inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, as enshrined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.
The intervention is aimed at driving human capital development and combating climate change in Nigeria through provision of essential school supplies such as; school bags, pens, books, sandals, and uniforms to over 1,400 schoolgirls in secondary schools in Kano, Lagos and Imo States respectively.

According to the world’s leading research for Climate change solutions— Project Drawdown, the provision of education for the girl child is one of the solutions which has a positive, longlasting impact in addressing the effects of global warming. As knowledge broadens the horizon of the girl child, imparting the understanding of their boundless potential, extends beyond solely nurturing children. Education provides the much-needed safety net and resilience for girls and women alike to navigate their role in the world and make better life choices, which will positively impact climate change.

Speaking on the initiative, Mr. Umesh Amarnani, Managing Director of Pacegate Limited, thanked Polaris Bank for supporting the vision to help young schoolgirls across the country.

“As the world continues to deal with the effects of global warming, it is essential for us as an organisation to contribute our quota in moving the needle forward and this became vital for us to take a closer look at engaging the girl child as a pivotal part of tackling this issue,” he added.

Commenting at the event, while speaking to the reason for the Bank’s involvement in the project, the Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Innocent Ike, disclosed that, “Polaris Bank will continue to increase her footprints across communities in Nigeria to ensure the promotion of inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all while creating an enabling environment for growth of businesses. We welcome partnership opportunities with the core objective of delivering social value for the underserved in the country.

An excited beneficiary and student at the Opebi Junior Grammar School, Nwagu Happiness, while expressing her appreciation said that the provisions from Pacegate and Polaris Bank are well received. “We are very grateful for these bags and other gifts. The items will be of immense value to us. We promise to put them to good use,” Nwagu concluded.

Urging the beneficiaries on the need to make the donors proud, the Principal of the School, Mrs. Omolara Awosan who was represented by the Vice Principal (Admin), Mrs. Olutade Taiwo, said “the donations you receive today are complementing the efforts of your parents over your education and these investments should yield positive results from you. I implore you to take advantage of this kind gesture from Pacegate and Polaris Bank to become proud ambassadors of this school”

Earlier in the year, Polaris Bank took its Feminine Hygiene Campaign (an advocacy and capacity building initiative on menstrual hygiene for girls) to 9 secondary schools in three states across North Central & North East geopolitical zones of the country respectively. The feminine hygiene campaign was embarked on to address knowledge gap, correct unhealthy hygiene practices among secondary school girls; as well as identify the environmental school challenges affecting the effective management of feminine hygiene promotion in schools to enable girl-child education.

Additionally, Polaris Bank’s CSR footprints and interventions for women-focused and other societal issues in the nation include the implementation of specifically tailored initiatives such as provision of free breast cancer screening to over 20,000 women in partnerships with Care Organization Public Enlightenment (COPE), Nigeria’s leading breast cancer NGO.

Equally involved in this strategic partnership is PEARL, Pacegate Energy and Resources Limited, an indigenous local content company that provides fluids and chemical solutions to various sectors of the Nigerian Economy.


Sports / Afrosport Commences Test Transmission In Nigeria by postbox: 2:27pm On Nov 20
Millions of sports fans in Nigeria will step into a new world of sports entertainment with the launch of Afrosport TV on the Free TV DTT network.

Afrosport will be sub-Sahara Africa’s first 24-hour free continent-wide sports channel in Nigeria, delivering a quality and depth of service that is usually found only on Pay TV channels, such as Supersport or StartTimes. Rolling out in Nigeria, with the intention of developing a presence across Africa and the diaspora, Afrosport is driven to change the narrative around Free-To-Air (FTA) sports provision on the continent, by delivering bespoke content to an underserved and passionate fan base.

Speaking at the launch of the channel, Co-founder and Director, Andy Howes stated, “Africa has some of the best Pay TV sports delivery in the World, that is vital to rightsholders and fans alike. Afrosport will seek to focus on the 90% of fans who are not able to subscribe to Pay TV and allow them to participate in the enjoyment of the best of sport.”

“There is both a compelling commercial and moral reason for Afrosport to exist. Commercially, with a potential audience in Nigeria of more than 150 million people, Afrosport provides a method of communication that is essential for brands to market their products and will be an essential component for rightsholders – both global and local – to establish a strong following for their products.

“Morally, when you consider the powerful role that sports has played in societies, it is only right that a continent that has given so much enjoyment to the world of sports through its sons and daughters over the past 100 years and still continues to do so currently should not face exclusion for a majority of its population when it comes to viewing and enjoying sport.

Fellow founder, Rotimi Pedro added, “Many will never get the chance to attend a World Cup, go to the Olympics, or attend a match at Wembley or watch a NBA game at the Staples Centre, and the TV is the closest that they will get to enjoying collectively what is experienced in arenas around the world. Afrosport’s aim is to inspire a billion dreams”.

Free TV is the public private partnership, backed by Nigerian broadcast regulator/government and INVIEW, and will be the default FTA platform as the long-awaited Digital Switch Over (DSO) moves into gear with the roll out across the country, including Lagos, Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Enugu, Oshogbo, and Abuja. Currently in over 1,000,000 TV homes with a target of over 25 million in the next 12 to 18 months.


Politics / NNPC Signs $1.04 Billion Facility Loan With AFREXIM by postbox: 2:18pm On Nov 20
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed a $1.04 billion facility loan deal with the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) for petroleum exploration in the country.
The transaction comprises a Pre-Export/Shipment Finance Facility underpinned by a Forward Sale Agreement (FSA) and Offtake Contracts from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation acting as the Borrower and Seller was concluded 16 November in Durban during the second intra-Africa trade fair, which opened on 15 November and runs until 21 November.

The agreement is backed by oil cargoes, and under it NNPC will deliver 35,000 barrels per day (BPD) of crude oil, it said.

Speaking with the President Afrexim, Mr. Benedict Oramah said the loan represented a balanced approach to development and climate, noting that Africa contributes just 4% to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Stopping development for parts of Africa today to achieve a clean environment for the whole world tomorrow is utterly foolhardy,” Oramah said.

Nigeria recently overhauled the laws underpinning its petroleum sector for the first time in two decades, which it hopes will spur development of its oil and gas industries.

It has struggled to boost oil production in recent months, due in part to underinvestment, while developing its comparatively neglected gas sector is a top priority of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria, along with other petroleum producers, has struggled to find attractive exploration funding as lenders shift away from fossil fuels due to climate concerns.

It also relies on petroleum for 90% of its foreign exchange and roughly half its national budget.


Celebrities / Pasuma, Amokachi, Falilat Ogunkoya Thrill Fans, As Adron Games Kicks Off by postbox: 2:09pm On Nov 20
The annual sporting event organized by the foremost real estate company, Adron Homes and Property has flagged off today with many sporting and entertainment lined up at the International Stadium, Sagamu, Ogun State.
Fuji music sensation, Alhaji Ajibola Pasuma provided a sensational opener for the game with thrilling vibes to mark the 6th edition of the Adron game.

The annual event put together by ADRON homes for its staffs nationwide, is aimed at promoting and implementing a healthy work force, while also enhancing unity and bonding amongst members of staff.

Also in attendance were many Nigerian sporting heroes such as; Daniel Amokachi, Austine Eguavoen and Falilat Ogunkoya.

The sporting event which was officially declared opened by the GMD of ADRON homes and properties, Aare Adetola Emmanuelking said this year’s event will be a special one, aimed at promoting and implementing a strong healthy workforce, which is very key to organizational growth and impactful workforce.

“Sports is very a powerful tool that unites the world and it is foreseeable in every sphere of life, that is why the ADRON games is very important. He said, “the ADRON games, will continue to grow bigger and stronger every year and in future; be like an Olympic event” he added.

The event will be keenly contested by all Adron regional offices nationwide in sports such as; Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Badminton, track and field, Thug of war, table tennis and lots more. The aim is to accrue winners across all gaming activities which comes prizes.


Car Talk / Details About The All-New, All-Electric Toyota Bz4x by postbox: 7:41pm On Nov 18
Toyota’s all-electric bZ4X made its U.S. production model debut today. As a leader in electrification, Toyota’s introduction of bZ4X represents the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles to be introduced under the global “Toyota bZ” brand umbrella.

Once the rubber hits the road, Toyota bZ4X will have a manufacturer-estimated range of up to 250 miles for XLE front-wheel drive models.

“With zero emissions and an exhilarating drive, the bZ4X is hitting the market at just the right time as we expand our already comprehensive electrified product lineup,” said Mike Tripp, vice president, Toyota Marketing. “As a human-centered company, Toyota remains committed to offering customers a diverse portfolio of products to meet their individual needs and move us toward a carbon neutral future.”

bZ4X joins an extensive lineup of Toyota electrified vehicles that, in total, accounts for more than 24% of Toyota’s total U.S. sales volume. These include hydrogen fuel cell electrics, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. Toyota envisions a future in which carbon neutrality is achieved through the practical marketization of a portfolio of products with advanced, alternative-fuel and zero-emission powertrain technologies.

Toyota plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025. This future lineup will feature 15 dedicated BEVs, including seven carrying the bZ (Beyond Zero) brand moniker. This diverse portfolio of electrified products will help propel Toyota toward its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Hi-Tech and Emotional, Both Inside & Out

Based on the design theme “hi-tech and emotional,” the all-new, all-electric SUV offers styling that is as bold and modern as the vehicle itself. The front view of the bZ4X has an aero-dynamic design, and the curved shape of the front bumper expresses a certain uniqueness from other vehicles. The large hammerhead shark-like shape that runs from the hood to the top of the headlamps gives bZ4X a sleek silhouette. The rear design exudes a powerful stance, thanks to the combination lamps, rear hatch and bumper’s trapezoidal theme that extends all the way to the tires.

The futuristic, edgy styling extends to the interior with premium finishes resulting in a distinctive look. With every detail purposefully engineered to create a sense of connection, it offers a driver-centric design that makes you feel like you’re one with the car. The unique instrument panel and precision-placed MID screen expands the vehicle’s feeling of space, while also helping to keep driver’s sight lines up and on the road. Soundproofing glass and wind-noise reduction features create a quiet refuge from the world outside.

With the roominess one would expect from an SUV, the bZ4X interior offers a spacious and relaxing seat for passengers. The accessible USB ports (A and C) offer power and connection points in convenient locations. The panoramic roof provides a feeling of openness and brings the outside environment into the vehicle. Passengers will feel pampered, with abundant legroom for front and rear seats as well as copious side-to-side space in the rear.

Intuitive, Focused Driving with Off-Road Performance

The bZ4X offers the off-road performance you’d expect from a capable SUV, coupled with the smooth and fun driving performance inherent in an all-electric vehicle.

Built on the BEV-dedicated e-TNGA platform, a first for Toyota, the bZ4X achieves impressive driving performance thanks to the high-capacity Lithium-Ion battery pack placed flat under the floor, which gives it a low center of gravity. Impressive handling is due in part to the battery cross-framing structure, which adds to overall vehicle rigidity. The adoption of a lightweight body structure partially made of high tensile steel, as well as the enhancement of frame components around the battery pack and the forward and rear suspension also contributes to the agile responsiveness of bZ4X. In addition, a redesigned accelerator pedal creates a smoother feel when accelerating and decelerating coupled with an intelligent throttle with slip suppression to provide impressive control on slippery roads. And, when you combine that with a new AWD system with X-MODE®, an available standout feature for bZ4X and a Toyota first, you get an exhilarating, yet comfortable, driving experience suited for everything from daily driving to light off-roading. Another impressive feature of the AWD system is Grip-Control, which leverages motor drive characteristics to achieve capable off-road performance – exceeding expectations at every turn.

The engineering team also focused on features that maximize energy-saving and cruising range for year-round driving (particularly in winter settings). In addition to aerodynamic design choices and body weight reduction efforts, the following systems and equipment were adopted to reduce energy consumption, especially power used for heating in cold climates:

Heat pump system for both heating and air-conditioning
Seat and steering wheel heaters
Front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater (first for Toyota)
Performance + Peace of Mind

Determined to offer performance that also focuses on safety and peace of mind, Toyota aimed to develop a BEV that offers many years of satisfied ownership. This includes the consideration of overall driving range, particularly in cold climates, and targeting a battery capacity retention of 90% after 10 years of ownership.

In terms of battery safety, Toyota added many measures to help ensure cell integrity was protected. A non-conductive coolant runs through separated flow channels to maintain optimal battery temperature. The battery pack housing is designed to withstand a collision from any angle due to its frame and cross-bracing design.

bZ4X will be the first to feature the latest Toyota Safety SenseTM safety package (TSS 3.0). This system has been improved by expanding the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera. Toyota has enhanced the performance of each function and added new functions to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the Pre-collision system has been improved to offer Low-Light Cyclist Detection, Daytime Motorcyclist Detection and Guardrail Detection. Also, lane recognition is enhanced to add improved functionality while in Lane Tracing Assist mode.

The goal of TSS is to help prevent accidents, further reduce traffic fatalities and injuries and ease the burden on drivers.

Intuitive Tech

The bZ4X is loaded with intuitive tech features. Owners will enjoy a user interface that offers interaction through sight, touch and voice. With a Drive Connect trial or subscription, the bZ4X offers navigation that uses map information from the cloud to obtain traffic information and parking space availability in real time. Digital key gives owners the ability to lock, unlock and start the vehicle with a tap of a smartphone. Designed to make life more convenient, digital keys can also be handed over between smartphones, making it easy for family and friends to borrow and lend vehicles remotely. Other features of the trial subscription include BEV specialized services such as charging station info, driving support info and vehicle driving range.

Other notable features include:

Over-the-air (OTA = wireless) software updates: Software updates to improve performance are also possible for Toyota Safety Sense and the multimedia system without needing to visit a dealership
Compatible with high-output chargers worldwide (capable of 80% charge within one hour)
Safety for the Environment

By strengthening measures to help prevent and detect signs of battery failure, and introducing new technologies, the bZ4X adopted a design and a multiple monitoring system that is intended to provide safety and security of the vehicle’s battery system.

This includes:

A meticulous production process that helps eliminate contamination of battery components and ensures battery durability
Redundant monitoring of battery voltage, current and temperature designed to detect signs and occurrence of abnormal heating to help prevent overheating
Utilization of a high-resistance coolant circulation system, which can help prevent fire from short circuits even if there is leakage of the battery’s liquid coolant
Integration of the high-capacity battery pack within the floor of the body frame structure designed to protect in the event of a collision


Phones / iPhone Users To Be Able To Repair Their Devices Themselves by postbox: 6:04pm On Nov 18
An announcement has been made on Wednesday by Apple that its customers will be allowed to repair their devices themselves where genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals needed for repair will be supplied by the company to individual consumers.
It will be noted that Apple’s ‘self service repair’ will first be available in the US, beginning from January, and then expand to other countries over 2022.

Consumers comfortable with repairing their own devices will soon get access to tools, parts, and manuals for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series’ devices, and the list will eventually include Mac computers (the ones with the M1 chips).

Apple service centres are also known to not entertain service/repair requests if the devices have been opened or accessed by others. Also, if the device has been opened up by any non-authorised personnel or service centre, it loses the warranty coverage.

The idea behind such a strict set of rules for repairs is understandable to an extent as repair support might be offered by those who do not have access to original Apple components, and swapping them with replacement parts can cause irreparable damages.

Representing the Company, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said the phase will focus on the most commonly serviced modules

“The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year,”

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,”

He also stated that Apple will set up a new store that will offer more than 200 individual parts and tools for repairs. Most of these, for now, will be the ones needed for common repairs on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 devices.

Customers can place an order for parts and tools on this store. Those customers who return the used parts for recycling will get credits towards their purchase.

As encouraging as all of this sounds, Apple added in the announcement that the self service repair feature is meant for individual technicians who have the knowledge and experience of repairing electronic devices. For others, going to an authorised repair provider is still the “safest and most reliable way to get a repair”.

Apple already has more than 5,000 authorised service providers and 2,800 independent repair providers. The self-repair option comes as a great advantage to customers since the company-authorised repairs are often quite expensive and sometimes unnecessary unless the damage is significant.


Business / Tony Elumelu Foundation Funds 5000 African SMEs by postbox: 12:43pm On Nov 18
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading philanthropy empowering African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, has selected 4,949 entrepreneurs from across Africa for its 2021 Entrepreneurship Programme.

The 2021 beneficiaries were selected from a pool of over 400,000 applications, based on their innovation, performance, and growth potential to create jobs and eradicate poverty on the continent. Consisting of both new start-ups and existing small businesses, the 2021 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs have undergone world-class business training, mentorship and coaching and will have a life-time access to the Tony Elumelu Foundation alumni network.

Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu shared, “To you young African entrepreneurs – work hard, dream dreams, and be very disciplined. You must continue to think of impact. The entrepreneurship journey is not linear – there are ups and downs, but by staying focused and resilient, ultimately success will come your way. The future of our continent is in your hands. What you do as entrepreneurs will go a long way in lifting Africa out of poverty. I am happy that our female entrepreneurs are doing very well, with 68% representation this year.”

He added: “To our African leaders – these young, intelligent, energetic hardworking, resilient Africans are ready to go. We need to keep creating the right enabling environment to enable our young ones to succeed. We must realise that their success is success for all of us on the continent. We must prioritise them because nations and continents that prioritise their people, succeed. To my fellow business leaders, let us realise that in the 21st century and beyond, it is about impact, legacy and about how we work together to power people out of poverty. It is such a great feeling to see 5000 young Africans also commence their own entrepreneurial journeys today.”

Speaking at the event, Director-General, International Cooperation and Development, European Commission, Mr. Koen Doens stated: “I remember very well, a few years ago in Brussels when I first met Tony Elumelu at one of the events his Foundation was organising. Both of us were struck by how there was such a clear match between his vision on how he could support African entrepreneurship and the European Union’s own vision on how we wanted to support African entrepreneurship. Ever since, our partnership has embodied this same spirit that ultimately African growth cannot neglect the huge potential, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit that harbours so many Africans, especially young people and women. I am extremely glad our partnership is moving into this active stage, and I am very glad that over 2400 women will benefit from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s training programme, and will get seed capital to support their ideas. I am extremely happy that at the European Union, we are able to be part of this great endeavour and to support it.”

Also speaking at the event, Assistant Administrator, UNDP/Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa stated: “Our partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation on youth entrepreneurship is informed by our belief that Africa will only succeed when young Africans are given the opportunity to excel. This is what has inspired us to invest more than $20 million in emerging African entrepreneurs since we entered into our partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Our joint ambition is to empower 100,000 young African entrepreneurs over the next ten years across Africa, recognising that entrepreneurship is the only way dreams can be realised.”

Speaking, Secretary General, OACPS, H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti stated: “On behalf of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), I would like to heartily commend the Tony Elumelu Foundation for this extraordinary achievement. We are proud to have partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and our longstanding partner, the European Union to unlock the potential of 2420 young African women through this TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, providing mentorship and funding, to grow and sustain these small businesses.”

Speaking on the panel with Mr. Elumelu, 2015 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneur, Hauwa Liman, Founder of Afrik Abaya, shared: “I am always proud to say that I am from the inaugural cohort of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. My business is located in Kaduna, Nigeria. I benefitted from this Programme in 2015, and it opened up lots of doors and opportunities. It is not just about the seed capital, but what really fascinates me about the Programme is the knowledge. I call it a mini-MBA programme, because from the ideation stage it teaches you how to really articulate your business, and it gave me my first business plan. The network, visibility and opportunities are endless. My entrepreneurship experience cannot be complete without the Tony Elumelu Foundation. I will start exporting soon courtesy of the Foundation. We now employ ten permanent staff and an additional eight staff on a commission basis.”

Tony Elumelu Foundation CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, concluded the event stating: “Today, we have trained ten times more young African entrepreneurs than we have trained from 2015 to 2019 combined. Today in 2021, we will be paying out a record US$24,750,000 directly to the hands of African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries. This is impact.”

Since its inception, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has now funded a total of 15,847 entrepreneurs who have created more than 400,000 direct and indirect jobs and counting. Through TEFConnect (https:///3qLruxA), the Foundation’s proprietary digital platform, it has provided capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages, to over 1.5 million Africans.


Business / Airtel Africa Attracts Three Investors After CBN’s Approval by postbox: 12:10pm On Nov 18
Telecommunication Giant, Airtel Africa PLC, stated on Tuesday that three investors, Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), TPG, a U.S. private equity firm, and Mastercard have increased their investments in Airtel Money to $500 million.
This disclosure was made in a notice signed by the group company secretary, Simon O’Hara, posted by the Nigerian Exchange Limited and seen by Brandspur

Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Ltd, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa, had on Monday announced it had received approval-in-principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria to operate as a super agent in Nigeria, barely one week after it got a similar nod from the industry watchdog to start a payments service bank.

The fund raising follows previously announced investment transactions by the three firms between March 18 and July 30, 2021.

Mastercard, TPG and QIA have invested previously in the secondary purchase of shares in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV ( AMC BV), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa.

Earlier this year, Airtel Africa put the valuation of its mobile money business on the continent at $2.65 billion.

In the latest round, Mastercard increased its shares in the company by investing $25 million, while TPG and QIA invested $50 million each, summing up to $125 dollars.
“With these second closings, Airtel Africa will have received a total of $500 million cumulative proceeds from the minority stake sales in Airtel Money from the three investors,” it said.

“As previously reported, the proceeds from these secondary stake sale transactions will be used to reduce group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.”


Politics / Electricity Consumers Not Required To Pay For Meters Under NMMP - NERC by postbox: 12:03pm On Nov 18
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission says under the National Mass Metering Programme electricity consumers are not required to pay directly for the meters issued to them.

This is contained in a statement NERC issued in Abuja on Monday.

“We wish to reiterate that the NMMP designed to provide all consumers of electricity with meters is a policy intervention of the Federal Government supported by the Central Bank concessionary loans to Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCoS).

“This laudable initiative is still very much on course as a total of over 900, 000 units of meters have so far been installed under the takeoff scheme without any payment by benefiting consumers.

“While this doesn’t cover many of the unmetered customers, we are pleased to inform electricity consumers that the next phase under which about four million units of meters would be procured from local meter manufacturers has commenced,” it said.

NERC and electricity albatross
The Commission further stated that pending the conclusion of the NMMP procurement processes and the commencement of manufacturing and installation, consumers may decide to acquire a meter from the Meter Asset Programme, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

NERC said that the regulatory framework approved by the commission under MAP/NMMP Regulation provides for refund of the cost of meter through energy credits to the customer at the time of vending.

The commission said that the recently issued notice by the commission on the adjusted cost of the meter was designed to protect consumers from arbitrary pricing by MAP.

According to NERC, this is in the context of recent changes in macroeconomic parameters affecting the cost of production.

NERC advised that clarification be made from its Public Affairs Department on any regulatory matter to avoid misinforming innocent consumers.


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