Iyad Kamal is the Chief Operating Officer, Aramex International, a global provider of logistics and technology. Kamal spoke with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, about the importance of the Nigerian market to global business. He spoke on how the eCommerce sector can improve in the country.
How will you place the Nigerian ICT industry?
In Nigeria, we see telecommunications infrastructure has been very advance. Credit card usage is also increasing, even if there are challenges around it; cash-on-delivery is also permitted. I don’t think there are obstacles to doing good business in Nigeria. Mobile penetration is high and eCommerce services are getting bigger. So, the market here in Nigeria is actually ready for the new phase of technology growth. I don’t see why Nigeria should not be a major hub for mobile technology growth or eCommerce development in Africa. The fact remains that Nigeria has become highly important for global market.
What value and volume of business is Aramex bringing to the Nigerian system?
Aramex is bringing in the global network; this is because Nigeria is a global and important destination for businesses. The population here is huge and the atmosphere is still not volatile for doing buiness. So, for Aramex, Nigeria is a big partner. We are bringing in technology, business and the entire global community so that they can tap and add value to the ecosystem here.
We want people to enjoy the Aramex culture, which tends to differentiate us from competition. We shall also be very aggressive in investing in startups that can help to achieve Aramex vision in Nigeria. The startup can be a technology or logistic firms.
We shall aggressively tap business development in the country. Though we have partners, we are also going to deliver services individually. We shall partner with both IT and logistics firms to be able to get to every part of Nigeria. In another few years, we see Aramex becoming the logistics player of choice in the Nigerian market. This is based on the experience we coming with
Can we know more about your services?
We are talking about our expansion here in Nigeria, especially as it relates to the type of technology we are bringing into the country, especially in eCommerce. For us at Aramex, we have concluded that whatever technology being deployed in other markets, especially the advanced ones, we shall bring them here.
Now, on the consumer side, we have been able to develop an app. Aramex consumer app can be downloaded by consumers. It is for those who have ordered Aramex to help deliver the goods. So, the customer can track the goods online. With the app, he can purchase and pay for the goods online. The target is to improve consumer experience.
We have also launched courier app, where anyone can easily become Aramex courier. It is a mobile app, where you can easily with it becomea major part of Aramex.
We are also deploying a very big data engine technology in Nigeria, whereby all the information coming out from eCommerce, especially lastmile delivery process can be harnessed for economic growth. We have developed a vast technology that can easily analyse data to improve customer satisfaction.
You mentioned eCommerce, which of the players are you providing logistics solution for in Nigeria?
It is a combination. We targets both local retailers in Nigeria and international ecommerce players from across the globe, be it from USA, Europe, China and even South Africa that sees the Nigerian market as been critical for their business growth. We have solution from pick-up to lastmile strategy in Nigeria. We are opening up that solution and we have told clients that Nigeria is potential market for new services.
Do you have any relationship with market leaders including Jumia, Konga, Yudala and others in Nigeria?
We don’t do much business with them for now, but this is part of our strategy here. You see this eCommerce ecosystem is fast evolving and you will always see that you nee to work with them all from the smallest to the biggest. We all need each others. The market is big, so that strategy must fast and dynamic. We are focusing also on the SMEs.
Some of the solutions you are canvassing for, how fast do we see them impacting positively on the eCommerce sector?
This has to do with the direction of global trade. Today, it has become much easier to buy goods from any part of the world. Besides, clearances from across the globe are becoming easier for people. Countries globally, through our research are looking for ways to improve eCommerce, so they are becoming more accommodating, introducing new experience across board.So, where Aramex comes in, including other competition, is to make the entire ecosystem seamless without hitches for customers. We are deploying solutions that make the entire process simpler and faster for all to benefit.
A critical aspect of eCommerce is lastmile infrastructure and this is still a challenge in Nigeria, how is Aramex going to deal with this situation?
To look at this, you have to dissect the entire issue. We need not to have Aramex delivering the entire process. It is possible to select three or four couriers that are specialised in those areas. It is also possible to select another 20 couriers that focus on the rural areas, especially outside Lagos.
The whole issues revolved around getting the experts in those fields, then make them a sub of you and let them deliver the services on your behalf of the company.
Goldman Sachs Revised Down Brent Oil Forecast for Q3 2021
Goldman Sachs Group, an American multinational investment bank and financial services company, has revised down its Brent oil price projection for the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 by $5 from $80 per barrel previously predicted to $75 a barrel following the surge in Delta variant COVID-19.
The investment bank predicted that the surge in Delta variant COVID-19 cases will weigh on Brent oil price in Q3 2021 even with the expected increase in demand.
However, the bank projected a stronger second half of 2021, saying OPEC+ adopted slower production ramp-up will offset 1 million barrel per day demand hit from Delta.
Goldman said, “Our oil balances are slightly tighter in 2H21 than previously, with an assumed two-month 1 mb/d demand hit from Delta more than offset by OPEC+ slower production ramp-up.”
The leading investment banks now projected a deficit of 1.5 million barrels per day in the third quarter, down from 1.9 million barrels per day previously predicted.
Therefore, Brent crude oil is expected to average $80 per barrel in the fourth quarter, a $5 increase from the $75 initially predicted and the bank sees 1.7 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter.
“The oil market repricing to a higher equilibrium is far from over, with the bullish impulse shifting from the demand to the supply side,” the bank said.
Goldman added that even if vaccinations fail to curb hospitalisation rates, which could drive a longer slump to demand, the decline would be offset by lower OPEC+ and U.S. shale output given current prices.
“Oil prices may continue to gyrate wildly in the coming weeks, given the uncertainties around Delta variant and the slow velocity of supply developments relative to the recent demand gains,” it said.
Oil Extends Gains on Thursday on Expectations of Tighter Supplies
Oil prices rose about $1.50 a barrel on Thursday, extending gains made in the previous three sessions on expectations of tighter supplies through 2021 as economies recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Brent crude settled at $73.79 a barrel, up $1.56, or 2.2%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled at $71.91 a barrel, rising $1.61, or 2.3%.
“The death of demand was greatly exaggerated,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Demand is not going away, so we’re back looking at a very tight market.”
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed this week on a deal to boost oil supply by 400,000 barrels per day from August to December to cool prices and meet growing demand.
But as demand was still set to outstrip supply in the second half of the year, Morgan Stanley forecast that global benchmark Brent will trade in the mid to high-$70s per barrel for the remainder of 2021.
“In the end, the global GDP (gross domestic product) recovery will likely remain on track, inventory data continues to be encouraging, our balances show tightness in H2 and we expect OPEC to remain cohesive,” it said.
Russia may start the process of banning gasoline exports next week if fuel prices on domestic exchanges stay at current levels, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said, further signalling tighter oil supplies ahead.
Crude inventories in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer, rose unexpectedly by 2.1 million barrels last week to 439.7 million barrels, up for the first time since May, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed.
Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma crude storage hub and delivery point for WTI, however, has plunged for six continuous weeks, and hit their lowest since January 2020 last week.
“Supplies fell further by 1.3 million barrels to the lowest level since early last year, theoretically offering support to the WTI curve,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Gasoline and diesel demand, according to EIA figures, also jumped last week.
Barclays analysts also expected a faster-than-expected draw in global oil inventories to pre-pandemic levels, prompting the bank to raise its 2021 oil price forecast by $3 to $5 to average $69 a barrel.
RES4Africa, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank Encourage African Youth to Find Green Energy Solutions to Community Challenges
The second Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year Award today acknowledged energy innovation from across Africa that can accelerate the green transition and improve economic opportunities.
Backed by the RES4Africa Foundation, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank the yearly competition encourages young energy entrepreneurs from across the continent to develop projects that expand enegy access, enable greater use of renewable eneryg and accelerate sustainability.
Young finalists from across West, East and Southern Africa presented their innovative ideas to expert judges from the RES4Africa Foundation, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank.
The 2021 edition of the Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year Award has arrived to its final steps. Today, the eight young African innovators selected as finalists out of nearly 50 applicants presented to the international public their disruptive projects for the first time. The presentation took place during the event Public Competition for the MGA Young Talent of the Year 2021 finalists, and represents a preparatory step for the announcement of the three winners, that will be held the 28th of September in the framework of the Precop26.
The three entities strongly believe that renewables and innovation will be the response to the climate changes and energy deficit that Africa faces. In this deeply needed path towards its just energy transition, the continent can and must rely on one of its most precious resources : its youth. With this joint initiative, RES4Africa, Enel Green Power and the European Investment Bank put together their efforts to support those young people from all Africa countries who are committed and motivate to create a real change in their communities.
These are the finalists identified by the selection committee, who publicly presented their project ideas and among which there are the three future winners:
• Adekoyejo Ifeoluwapo Kuye, 26 years old from Nigeria, introduced a project focused on a sustainable cold chain for food;
• Alex Makalliwa, 31 from Kenya, presented his initiative of electrical tricycles for heavy loads in Nairobi;
• Benson Kibiti, 34 also from Kenya, performed an overview on an PV-powered trolley for heating up food and providing power;
• Lucas Filipe Tamele Junior, 24 from Mozambique, focused on waste management, biofertilizers and biogas;
• Matjaka Ketsi from Lesotho is 28, and presented an initiative aiming at building solar-powered Learning Centres for rural communities;
• Shedrack Charles Mkwepu is instead 26 and comes from Tanzania: he designed a system that allows farmers to control irrigation and other soil parametres from a mobile phone;
• Carol Ofafa, 32 from Kenya, proposed the installation of a PV system for health facilities;
• Kumbuso Joshua Nyoni, 34 from Zambia, envision an integrated Water-Food-Energy model for PV power and a water pumping system.
The webinar benefitted from the presence of Salvatore Bernabei, President of RES4Africa and Head of Enel Global Power Generation, as well as of Maria Shaw Barragan, Director of Lending in Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, Asia and Latin America, European Investment Bank. They introduced the objectives of the MGA Young Talent of the Year Award, while reflecting upon youth’s impact on the just energy transition.
Moreover, after the finalists’ presentation, a final feedback was provided, with closing remarks, by Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General at RES4Africa Foundation, Carmelo Cocuzza, Head of Corporates Unit, European Investment Bank, and Silvia Piana, Head of Regulatory Affairs Africa, Asia and Australia Area at Enel Green Power.
“The ability to generate innovation will be a fundamental driver to pave the way for a transformation that goes well beyond the dynamic of the Energy sector” commented Salvatore Bernabei “We are here give voice and visibility to young talents, innovators, entrepreneurs promoting the best innovative ideas to stimulate socio-economic progress from within and free the creativity of the younger generations in designing the Africa of tomorrow”.
“Increasing energy access and enabling more sustainable energy use is crucial to unlock opportunities for communities across Africa. The finalists in this year’s Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent Awards all demonstrate inspirational and innovative thinking that combined world-class energy expertise with unparalleled understanding of local energy needs and all deserve to win. The European Investment Bank is pleased to join RES4Africa and Enel Green Power to support talented young innovators and encourage them to become green energy leaders of the future.” said Maria Shaw-Barragan, European Investment Bank Director for Global Partners.
RES4Africa Foundation (Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa) envisions the sustainable transformation of Africa’s electricity systems to ensure reliable and affordable electricity access for all, enabling the continent to achieve its full, resilient, inclusive and sustainable development. The Foundation’s mission is to create favourable conditions for scaling up investments in clean energy technologies to accelerate the continent’s just energy transition and transformation.
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