- Google Hosts 200 Nigerian, Kenyan Publishers
Google will this week host publishers’ summits in Nigeria and Kenya, where over 200 publishers from across the region will gather to explore an opportunity to better understand Google’s Publisher tools, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by an online ecosystem growing rapidly in both size and complexity.
According to the company, the summits are the largest hosted by Google in Africa, to date.
Through its summits, and other initiatives, Google said it was empowering publishers to make money online and drive traffic to their sites.
“In this way, the company aims to give publishers the necessary support to help them monetise their content online, thereby creating opportunities for the industry to leverage technology in the digital world,” Google said in a statement.
The statement also read, “The summits, which address the different issues being faced by publishers and advertisers, are designed to provide a more complete picture of the online ecosystem and the opportunities that lie ahead in 2017 and beyond.
“Key focus areas include the changing consumption journeys of online consumers as well as the tools available to publishers to optimise their benefits.”
It added, “With Google having achieved its 2016 goal of training one million young people in Africa on digital skills within a year, there is even a greater need for high-interest published content for online marketing as these web enthusiasts start their own ventures or assist other web entrepreneurs with theirs.”
The Country Manager, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said, “Google’s relentless commitment to the growth and development of the people and businesses in Africa is given expression through summits like this as we deploy tools and initiatives to support businesses and individuals in Africa to grow.”
According to her, Google enables publishers to sell their content directly to consumers through Google Play Newsstand, which now features some 4 000+ newspapers, magazines and blogs.
“And its search and ads services help publishers make money online and drive traffic to their sites. Google shared more than $11bn with its publisher partners in 2016,” she added.
In October 2015, Google joined publishers, analytics and ad tech companies and others to announce the Accelerated Mobile Pages project to dramatically improve the mobile web for everyone.
“Google believes preserving a robust and independent press is important for the society. When excellent journalism succeeds, we all do better,” Ehimuan-Chiazor said.
“This is why Google helps journalists use technology for reporting and acts as a collaborator and convener to listen and learn from those in the industry,” she said.
Other initiatives driven by Google to assist publishers include the Google News Lab, which collaborates with reporters and entrepreneurs globally to help build the future of journalism, partner on projects, and build and adapt tools like Google Trends to help them in their work. In 2016, Google trained over 100,000 journalists directly.
In February 2016, it opened Operation Shield — a tool for news orgs and human rights groups to protect themselves from the DDoS attacks — to all news organisations.
“We boost content discovery and understanding through diversity tags like ‘opinion’, ‘highly cited’, ‘local’ and ‘fact check’ along with tools like ‘Editors’ Picks’ in Google News to allow editors to highlight original news content they believe represents their organisation’s best journalistic work,” Ehimuan-Chiazor said.
OPay Urges Customers to Complete BVN, NIN Verification Following CBN Directive
OPay, a prominent financial services firm, has called upon its customers to finalize the verification of their accounts by linking their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) or National Identity Numbers (NIN) in accordance with the recent directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN, in a circular dated December 1, mandated all deposit money banks to enforce a ‘Post no Debit’ restriction on accounts lacking BVN or NIN.
Accounts without BVN would be placed under a ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ status from March 1, as outlined in the circular jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi and Haruna Mustapha, Directors at the Payments System Management Department and Financial Policy and Regulation Department, respectively.
OPay affirmed the CBN’s directive and emphasized the necessity for account holders to complete the verification process.
Dauda Gotring, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of OPay, emphasized the importance of a secure and seamless experience for customers.
He encouraged users to comply with the verification process, reassuring them of the company’s commitment to a smooth process and 24/7 customer support.
OPay provided multiple channels for customer assistance, including in-app self-service, WhatsApp, phone lines, and social media platforms.
The company’s commitment to inclusivity and technological advancement underscores its mission to enhance financial services accessibility across Nigeria.
MTN Group Ltd. Reports 90% Plunge in Profit Amid Nigeria’s Currency Woes
MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless service provider, has announced a 90% decline in its full-year profit following the plunge in Nigerian Naira.
The company revealed that its earnings per share for the year ending December fell to a range of 1.07 rand to 3.21 rand (approximately 6 to 17 US cents), a significant drop from 10.71 rand recorded in 2022.
The Nigerian naira, which experienced a 49% depreciation in 2023 and an additional 44% decline this year, has emerged as a significant factor impacting MTN’s financial performance.
As one of the world’s worst-performing currencies against the dollar, the naira’s instability has created a volatile economic environment, prompting concerns among international businesses operating in Nigeria.
The currency crisis, stemming from a shortage of dollars and exacerbated by policy missteps and corruption, has led to an exodus of multinational corporations seeking to repatriate earnings from Africa’s largest economy.
Nigeria, with its burgeoning young population and growing tech sector, has struggled to address economic dysfunction despite its vast natural resources.
MTN Group Ltd., which boasts approximately 77 million customers in Nigeria, historically derives a substantial portion of its earnings from the country.
However, the company’s shares plummeted by as much as 7.2% in early trading following the profit announcement, reflecting investor concerns over the challenging operating environment.
Despite the bleak financial report, MTN highlighted positive metrics such as a 45% increase in data traffic and a 49% surge in mobile money transaction volumes.
However, the company refrained from providing guidance on its earnings margins, further adding to uncertainties surrounding its future financial performance.
Analysts underscored the importance of regulatory stability and economic reforms in Nigeria to restore investor confidence and mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on companies like MTN.
As businesses navigate the economic landscape, the resilience of Nigeria’s currency and regulatory framework remains a critical concern for investors and industry stakeholders alike.
Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.
In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.
Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.
According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”
Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.
Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.
For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co
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