- “SMEs, E-commerce Key to Nigeria’s Economic Development”
For Africa, particularly Nigeria to develop and take its rightful place on the world stage, concerted efforts must be made to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to boost economy.
The Managing Director for DHL Express, Sub Saharan Africa, Hennie Heymans made the remark recently at an interactive session with journalists at the company headquarters in Lagos.
Heymans observed that getting the SMEs going is Africa’s best bet to key into the global E-commerce industry and benefit from it immerse opportunities.
He stated that the beautiful thing DHL has observed in Nigeria is the resilience of the entrepreneurs in the country noting that the nation could have suffered when the oil price dropped down to $29, but for the amazing resilience of Nigerians.
Heymans said: “We have seen the effects of declining commodity prices… We saw SMEs just stepping up their roles. It means lesser reliance on commodities, which is critically important. It also means their diversification has gained traction in the local economy. As we get the entrepreneurs into the market, we are starting to see some real economic benefit from it.”
The DHL boss, however, noted that E-commerce seems to be the biggest conduit for getting the SMEs going forward at the moment.
He, therefore, expressed the company’s readiness to engage with authorities and other stakeholders to leverage DHL global experience to help them prepare for maximizing the opportunities that E-commerce represent in a better and quick manner.
He said: “Looking at the statistics at the moment, Africa makes up less than two percent of the global E-commerce space and we should make up to 19 per cent. That is a fantastic opportunity for Nigeria with 89 per cent Internet penetration”.
Speaking on support for SMEs, Heymans disclosed that one of the initiatives of the company is the training provided to them in the country.
He said: “From time to time we hold free training sessions where we help the SMEs understand what its means to take products across borders, what they need to look out for, and what are some of the mechanisms that they can apply and utilize in order to take themselves across border so that they can benefits.”
He also revealed that DHL has created a vertical channel within the organisation to deal specifically with E-commerce.
He, however, warned that the country needed to get the fundamentals in place first so that she could get it right. He believed that for governments across Africa to get it right, it would be advisable to look at some of the mechanisms needed first.
He said: “Because that is what turns ones from a gatekeeper to an enabler. Those are the basis we need to start off. And from an enabler perspective, it is important for government doing a meeting of the mind and start implementing some of the basis. For instance, Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), entry, customs system, transparency, I think those are the things that could open up the economy to really benefit from E-commerce”.
He also observed that infrastructure remains a challenge for Africa noting that without it, Africa governments would have to make alternative plans.
Sending positive signal about the country to others, the DHL boss said what is different about Nigeria is the incredible opportunity its offer to the world, noting that despite the economic hindrances, Nigeria continues to perform well and the company’s commitment has been cemented even deeper than before in the country.
Also speaking at the media chat, the regional Director West and Central Africa, Randy Buday, urged the Federal Government to place greater emphasis on agriculture saying the country has the arable lands, great growing seasons and the people to make Nigeria a great agriculture nation.
He lamented that most of their planes from Nigeria return to Europe either empty or return with pineapples, papaya, and mango from Cameroon, Benin, Togo and Ghana.
Noting that these countries are the one getting foreign exchange for their agriculture produce, Buday observed that Nigeria needs to make its agriculture work by providing aircrafts, trucks, cold storages and other infrastructures to sustain her crops and get them to the markets.
Behind Closed Doors: Microsoft’s Bid to Make Bing Apple’s Default Search Engine
Insiders have disclosed that Microsoft Corp. engaged in discussions with Apple Inc. around 2020 about potentially selling its Bing search engine.
The proposed deal aimed to replace Google as the default search engine on Apple devices, particularly iPhones.
People familiar with the matter, who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed that high-level executives from Microsoft held exploratory talks with Eddy Cue, Apple’s services chief, responsible for the existing search engine partnership with Google.
Despite these discussions, the deal never progressed beyond preliminary stages. This revelation has gained renewed attention in light of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice antitrust trial against Google, in which Apple and Microsoft are actively involved. The Justice Department is using Apple’s arrangement with Google as evidence of Google’s search market dominance.
Apple’s Eddy Cue defended the collaboration during his trial testimony, asserting that Google was the superior search option, emphasizing the quality of Google’s technology.
Apple’s partnership with Google, initiated in 2002, had grown to become highly lucrative, earning Apple between $4 billion to $7 billion annually by 2020.
This financial aspect, coupled with concerns about Bing’s competitiveness, played pivotal roles in Apple’s ultimate decision not to acquire Bing.
While Bing was briefly used as the default search engine in some Apple features between 2013 and 2017, including Siri and Spotlight, Google ultimately remained the preferred choice. In court, it was revealed that Microsoft had considered a multi-billion-dollar investment in its relationship with Apple in 2016, but this attempt was unsuccessful.
Eddy Cue’s testimony underscored Apple’s belief that Google’s search technology was unmatched, signaling that Apple had no plans to develop its own search tool.
This differs from Apple’s approach in other areas, where it competes directly with Google in mapping software, voice assistants, and operating systems.
In retrospect, Apple’s dalliance with Bing serves as a fascinating chapter in the tech giants’ intricate web of partnerships and rivalries.
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max Owners Complain of Overheating Issues
Some of the first owners of Apple Inc.’s latest offerings, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, are feeling the heat – literally.
Reports are pouring in from frustrated customers who claim that their new devices are prone to overheating during usage and charging, casting a shadow over Apple’s flagship product.
Complaints have flooded Apple forums and social media platforms, with users expressing concern over the device becoming uncomfortably warm while gaming, making phone calls, or using FaceTime.
The issue appears to be exacerbated when the phone is plugged in for charging.
Apple’s technical support staff have been inundated with calls on the matter and have been directing customers to an older support article on managing hot or cold iPhones.
This notice suggests that overheating may occur during intensive app use, charging, or initial device setup.
Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, has remained tight-lipped regarding these complaints, leaving users speculating about the root cause of the issue.
As the iPhone accounts for a substantial portion of Apple’s revenue, any product flaws are scrutinized intensely. While some problems can be resolved through software updates, others may fade with time. Apple usually subjects its products to rigorous testing to catch potential pitfalls before mass production.
The overheating issue could be related to the iPhone setup process, which can be processor-intensive, particularly when re-downloading apps and data from iCloud.
Users have also suggested that certain background apps, such as Instagram or Uber, might exacerbate the problem.
Videos of users measuring the phone’s temperature with thermometers have surfaced online, with one user reporting, “iPhone 15 Pro Max gets really hot easily.”
However, it’s not a universal problem, as some users have reported no issues or found that using a protective case mitigated the heat.
This development follows recent complaints about the FineWoven material used in iPhone 15 cases, highlighting potential quality concerns with Apple’s latest product offerings.
TikTok Faces Regulatory Storm in Indonesia as Minister Calls for E-commerce Split
Teten Masduki, the Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, has emerged as a vocal critic of the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok.
Masduki’s relentless complaints about TikTok’s dominance in the Indonesian e-commerce market have set the stage for a seismic regulatory shift that could have far-reaching consequences.
Masduki, a former activist who once took on government corruption, has been disrupting official meetings to raise concerns about TikTok’s impact on local players. This groundswell of criticism has culminated in sweeping regulations that force TikTok to split payments from shopping in Indonesia, a move seen as a significant blow to TikTok’s e-commerce aspirations.
Under these new rules, social media companies in Indonesia are barred from handling direct payments for online purchases, effectively requiring TikTok to either create a separate app for payments or risk being shuttered in Indonesia entirely.
The regulations, stricter than anticipated, have already had a chilling effect on the e-commerce market, benefiting local champions like GoTo and Sea.
While TikTok has pushed back, arguing that the separation of social media and e-commerce hampers innovation, the Indonesian government remains firm in its stance, aiming to protect smaller enterprises and voters as elections loom on the horizon.
This clash underscores the challenges TikTok faces in its pursuit of e-commerce dominance and sets a precedent for other countries in the region. As TikTok’s meteoric rise in regional e-commerce continues, governments are increasingly assessing whether the platform benefits or harms domestic merchants.
For TikTok, the challenge lies in finding a solution that appeases authorities while allowing it to continue its growth. The repercussions of this battle in Indonesia could reverberate throughout Southeast Asia and beyond, shaping the future of social media-driven e-commerce.
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Teten Masduki’s bold stance against TikTok may just be the opening salvo in a much larger struggle for control of the e-commerce arena.
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