- Accenture to Boost Nigeria’s Economy with Tech Innovations
Having missed out in the previous industrial revolutions that have continued to shape developed economies of the world, Accenture Nigeria, a leading global professional services company, with focus on digital technology has demonstrated its new technology capabilities that will help Nigeria leverage the fourth industrial revolution, which is about knowledge economy.
The company, last week at its Lagos office, showcased its latest technology capabilities that will enable businesses across different sectors in the country, boost their productivity and efficiency through its recent innovations and investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), robotics and blockchain.
Addressing the media on its new technology initiatives driven by AI, VR, robotics and blockchain, the Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria Mr. Niyi Tayo, said: “Early this year, we predicted that in five years, more than half of consumers and enterprise clients will select products and services based on a company’s AI, instead of the company’s traditional brand. And in seven years, most interfaces will not have a screen and will be integrated into daily tasks.
These two predictions alone strongly suggest that companies must act now on developing their AI Journey.
”We want businesses in Nigeria, from banking to manufacturing, health, construction, education, retail, security, and other sectors to take advantage of the innovations we have created to improve their businesses. We believe as one of the biggest economy in Africa, the time to seize the future is now.”
Responding to the public fears that robots technology will lead to job losses, Tayo said there is clear evidence that points toward robotic automation in many cases being a complement for human labour, rather than a direct substitute. He asserted that mundane tasks were the ones being automated.
According to him, “Human effort becomes more valuable as it is focused on higher-level tasks, creativity, know-how, and thinking.”
Accenture early this year published a report, entitled the 2017 Technology Vision, which studied how artificial intelligence will affect banks going forward. Over 600 of the world’s foremost bankers were surveyed and asked a series of questions about the new technology and how it will change the way banks operate internally and how they handle their customers externally.
According to the report, from among the three quarters of the bankers surveyed, four out of five, believed that AI will become the primary way banks interact with their customers. This is in relation to customer service, and these bankers see AI technologies such as chatbots becoming increasingly essential for banks in the not-so-distant future.
Experts and academics in the technology industry were also among the individuals surveyed, which demonstrates how thorough Accenture’s study into the effects of artificial intelligence on the financial sector was. The bankers surveyed also agreed that AI would help to improve user interfaces and enable these companies to develop a more human-friendly customer service experience.
Oil Prices Recover Slightly Amidst Demand Concerns in U.S. and China
Oil Prices Continue Slide as Market Skepticism Grows Over OPEC+ Cuts
Global oil markets witnessed a continued decline on Wednesday as investors assessed the impact of extended OPEC+ cuts against a backdrop of diminishing demand prospects in China.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for Nigerian crude oil, declined by 63 cents to $76.57 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude oil lost 58 cents to $71.74 a barrel.
Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, agreed to maintain voluntary output cuts of approximately 2.2 million barrels per day through the first quarter of 2024.
Despite this effort to tighten supply, market sentiment remains unresponsive.
“The decision to further reduce output from January failed to stimulate the market, and the recent, seemingly coordinated, assurances from Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend the constraints beyond 1Q 2024 or even deepen the cuts if needed have also fallen to deaf ears,” noted PVM analyst Tamas Varga.
Adding to the unease, Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut its official selling price (OSP) for flagship Arab Light to Asia in January for the first time in seven months raises concerns about the struggling demand for oil.
Amid the market turmoil, concerns over China’s economic health cast a shadow, potentially limiting fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
Moody’s recent decision to lower China’s A1 rating outlook from stable to negative further contributes to the apprehension.
Analysts will closely watch China’s preliminary trade data, including crude oil import figures, set to be released on Thursday.
The outcome will provide insights into the trajectory of China’s refinery runs, with expectations leaning towards a decline in November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has added an extra layer of complexity to the oil market dynamics.
Discussions centered around the cooperation between Russia, the UAE, and OPEC+ in major oil and gas projects, highlighting the intricate geopolitical factors influencing oil prices.
U.S. Crude Production Hits Another Record, Posing Challenges for OPEC
U.S. crude oil production reached a new record in September, surging by 224,000 barrels per day to 13.24 million barrels per day.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a consecutive monthly increase, adding 342,000 barrels per day over the previous three months, marking an annualized growth rate of 11%.
The surge in domestic production has led to a buildup of crude inventories and a softening of prices, challenging OPEC⁺ efforts to stabilize the market.
Despite a decrease in the number of active drilling rigs over the past year, U.S. production continues to rise.
This growth is attributed to enhanced drilling efficiency, with producers focusing on promising sites and drilling longer horizontal well sections to maximize contact with oil-bearing rock.
While OPEC⁺ production cuts have stabilized prices at relatively high levels, U.S. producers are benefiting from this stability.
The current strategy seems to embrace non-OPEC non-shale (NONS) producers, similar to how North Sea producers did in the 1980s.
Saudi Arabia, along with its OPEC⁺ partners, is resuming its role as a swing producer, balancing the market by adjusting its output.
Despite OPEC’s inability to formally collaborate with U.S. shale producers due to antitrust laws, efforts are made to include other NONS producers like Brazil in the coordination system.
This outreach aligns with the historical pattern of embracing rival producers to maintain control over a significant share of global production.
In contrast, U.S. gas production hit a seasonal record high in September, reaching 3,126 billion cubic feet.
However, unlike crude, there are signs that gas production growth is slowing due to very low prices and the absence of a swing producer.
Gas production increased by only 1.8% in September 2023 compared to the same month the previous year.
While the gas market is in the process of rebalancing, excess inventories may persist, keeping prices low.
The impact of a strengthening El Niño in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean could further influence temperatures and reduce nationwide heating demand, impacting gas prices in the coming months.
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