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PMI’s 6th Africa Conference to Provide Learning and Networking Opportunities for ‘Africans to Learn From Africans’

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PMI’s 6th Africa Conference - Investors King

Now in its sixth year, Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Virtual Conference on 4 September will provide learning and networking opportunities for ‘Africans to learn from Africans’.

The theme of this year’s conference – ‘Africa: An Ecosystem of Changemakers’ – could, therefore, not be more relevant. Changemakers are the many people who need project-based skills and insights to get work done, tackle their challenges, secure career opportunities and realise their ambitions to improve livelihoods.

As a virtual event, this year’s Africa Conference on 4 September is an incredible opportunity for learning and professional development open to every African from across the continent and globally. You will hear perspectives from thought leaders and practitioners on opportunities across the continent and the skills that will continue growing in demand for project professionals. For example, findings from PMI’s 2021 Talent Gap Report has revealed that the global economy needs 25 million new project professionals by 2030 to help organisations turn their biggest ideas into reality. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the potential for economic expansion in the long term is encouraging. And the projected rate of PMOE (Project Management-Oriented Employment) opportunities ramping up at 40% growth from 2019 to 2030 – the largest globally.

Africa Conference will be a platform that empowers organisational leaders and professionals to create change. The conference is designed to acknowledge and further Africa’s project professionals and changemakers to the continent’s development. Driving the interest of attendees will be the renewed focus on the continent’s development opportunities and infrastructure.

Building on the success of last year’s conference which attracted more than 2,000 delegates, this year’s virtual conference is expected to attract more changemakers and project professionals than ever. The population of Africa has grown rapidly over the past century, making it the second most populated continent, with around 1.37bn people and a growth rate of more than 2.5% per year. This makes the continent fertile ground for new projects and investments.

The conference will provide hands-on, practical information and insights from keynote and session speakers selected for their expertise and passion.

Included in the programme will be Desmond Ovbiagele, award-winning Nigerian film director and producer of The Milkmaid Movie, who will share insights on leading projects in the world of cinema.

Renowned professor and organisational theorist Eddie Obeng will conclude the conference with a closing keynote on ‘Leading together to Successful Change’, highlighting how practitioners can harness the opportunities of our changing, complex, and ambiguous world through interdependent innovation and project delivery.

We also recognise that Africa’s young population will inevitably reshape the world of project management. For this reason, we have included a dedicated track focusing on youth enablement. One of the speakers for the youth track will be Aya Chebbi, the first African Union Youth Envoy, and she will speak on Intergenerational Co-Leadership for Africa’s transformation.

Participation in the conference will open opportunities for delegates to learn about the latest best practices, the challenges facing professionals and strategies being put in place to meet Africa’s demanding environment. Networking opportunities and the chance to interact with speakers will add significant value for delegates attending this year’s virtual conference.

With the continent emerging slowly from the shadow of a global pandemic, it’s time to raise greater awareness about the project management profession. The skills and knowledge that can be brought to bear to transform organisations and help them exceed customer expectations have never been more important than now. Africa is one of the youngest, fastest-growing regions globally, holding enormous opportunities for project professionals and changemakers.

By attending the 2021 Virtual Africa Conference, delegates will benefit from a 50% discount on their PMI membership.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Travel

High Altitude, Higher Prices: Domestic Airfares Jump 150%

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Arik Airplane - Investors King

Nigerian air travelers are reeling from a dramatic increase in domestic airfares with prices skyrocketing by 150% over the past year.

This surge has forced many passengers to reconsider their travel options, opting for road transport despite the risks involved.

Passengers like Dare Adepoju, who frequently commutes between Lagos and Abuja for business and family visits, have expressed frustration.

“It’s unsustainable,” he lamented. “With flights nearing N200,000 for just an hour, I’m exhausted.”

Social media is abuzz with similar sentiments. Akinloa Adejuwon tweeted about the tough choice between costly flights and unsafe roads, highlighting the dire situation many Nigerians face.

The fare increase is attributed to a limited number of operational aircraft. Airline Operators of Nigeria revealed that many planes are grounded due to maintenance needs and lack of access to foreign exchange for repairs.

The current situation sees airlines like Ibom Air and Air Peace charging up to N238,000 for a one-way ticket between major cities.

This price jump, from about N51,000 last year, reflects the severe challenges the industry faces.

Capt. Roland Iyayi, a senior member of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, pointed to the shortage of aircraft as a primary cause.

“Making forex available to airlines is crucial for resolving this crisis,” he stated.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, passengers continue to hope for relief. The aviation sector’s future hinges on addressing these issues, ensuring safe and affordable travel for all Nigerians.

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Education

Southern States Skeptical as NELFund Disburses First Loans

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University - Investors King

The National Education Loan Fund (NELFund) officially launched on Wednesday, a significant step in providing financial aid to students across Nigeria.

However, the initiative faces skepticism, particularly from the southern states.

President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the first tranche of funds, amounting to N32 billion, aimed at empowering Nigerian youth and breaking financial barriers to education.

The NELFund portal has registered 164,000 students, with 103,000 applying for loans.

Despite the promising start, many southern states remain doubtful about the fund’s implementation.

Akintunde Sawyerr, NELFund’s Managing Director, acknowledged these concerns, citing data challenges in verifying indigent applicants as a primary hurdle.

Sawyerr highlighted the lack of comprehensive data needed for credit assessments. The fund relies on bank verification numbers (BVN), National Identification Numbers (NIN), and educational institution data to determine eligibility.

More applications have been received from northern states, where students have shown greater confidence in the fund.

Sawyerr pointed out that skepticism in the south might stem from uncertainty about the program’s viability.

NELFund offers two types of loans: educational fees paid directly to institutions and upkeep loans for student stipends.

The focus is currently on government-owned institutions to ensure a smooth rollout.

President Tinubu emphasized education as a critical tool against poverty and insecurity, linking the nation’s challenges to a lack of educational opportunities.

He reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive growth through education.

As NELFund continues its rollout, efforts to address data issues and regional skepticism will be crucial. By building trust and ensuring transparency, the program aims to support more students nationwide and foster a fairer society.

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Travel

UAE Lifts Visa Ban on Nigerians, Introduces N640,000 Non-Refundable Application Fee

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially lifted the visa ban imposed on Nigerian passport holders, effective July 15.

However, this positive move comes with a substantial caveat—a new non-refundable visa application fee of N640,000.

The announcement, made following bilateral discussions between Nigerian and UAE authorities, ends a prolonged period of restricted travel between the two nations due to diplomatic disputes and financial issues.

New Visa Regulations

Under the new guidelines set forth by the UAE government, Nigerian passport holders seeking to travel to the Emirates must adhere to several stringent requirements:

  1. Application Fee: Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of N640,000 for visa processing. This fee represents a significant increase compared to the previous $100 fee before the ban.
  2. Document Verification Number (DVN): Before applying for a visa, applicants must obtain a Document Verification Number (DVN). This number is valid for only 14 days from issuance or until the visa application is processed, whichever comes first.
  3. Application Process: The application process for UAE visas remains stringent, emphasizing the importance of meeting all specified criteria to enhance the chances of approval.

Public Reaction and Outcry

The introduction of the N640,000 visa application fee has sparked widespread criticism and public outcry among Nigerians, particularly on social media platforms. Many have expressed their discontent, labeling the new fee as exorbitant and financially burdensome, especially in light of economic challenges facing the country.

Social media users have taken to various platforms to voice their concerns:

  • @firstladyship: “It is obvious the UAE don’t want Nigerians. They reluctantly unbanned the Nigerian passport, but slammed a hefty N640,000 on Nigerians. Guess what? The money is nonrefundable & has expiration date. This is see finish.”
  • @Peco3D: “This is just extortion in fine words. Shameless.”
  • @Comr_lucky1: “This is exploitation and shameful if allowed by Nigeria government.”

Government Response

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, announced the lifting of the visa ban and emphasized that Nigerian passport holders are now eligible to apply for visas to the UAE.

The government has acknowledged the concerns raised by citizens and assured them of continued engagement to address the issue.

Background

The UAE had imposed the visa ban on Nigeria approximately two years ago amid diplomatic tensions and financial disputes.

Efforts to resolve these issues included discussions and negotiations between the Nigerian and UAE governments, leading to the recent breakthrough in visa restrictions.

Despite the imposition of the N640,000 visa fee, the lifting of the ban represents a step forward in diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the UAE, potentially paving the way for enhanced bilateral cooperation and economic ties.

As Nigerian travelers navigate these new visa regulations, reactions continue to pour in, reflecting the broader impact of international relations on individual mobility and economic opportunities.

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