- Microsoft: Nigeria is Important Innovation Hub
Microsoft has said Nigeria remains an important innovation hub influencing the digital transformation of the entire sub-region.
Speaking yesterday at a media session to mark the fifth year of its 4Afrika Initiative, the technology firm said the scheme has been an innovation-enabler–both in Nigeria and across the continent since it was launched in 2013. It said it has achieved this by developing affordable access to the internet, digital skills and creating an environment that enables start-up success.
Regional Director, Amrote Abdella said: “Nigeria is an important innovation hub – one which is largely influencing the digital transformation of West Africa. As technology becomes a larger part of our lives, businesses and industries, it’s essential to ensure meaningful and inclusive adoption. This can only be achieved by ensuring that youth, entrepreneurs and governments have affordable access to the internet, relevant digital skills and opportunities for innovation. Our three-pronged approach is empowering every person and organisation to take advantage of the technological age.”
She said in partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), 4Afrika is supporting entrepreneurs in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in Nigeria and across the continent.
This support include providing access to cloud-based software, new markets, technical and business training, and 1:1 mentorship.
sify their service offering, and grow their revenue. They were also exposed to Diamond Bank, where they developed Dreamville on Azure, a digital financial platform that lets youth plan their future, save, chat and develop their financial literacy – all while playing games.
MyMusic has integrated new technologies including cloud, data analytics, machine learning and augmented reality. This has enabled them to expand their user base to over 700,000 users and build a more intuitive experience for their users, including song recommendations and chat bots.
“Microsoft 4Afrika has given us the capacity to scale to larger infrastructure and services. This has enabled us to grow and expand faster as a business. Having just received a grant from 4Afrika, we have been able to initiate our growth and customer acquisition plans. We now have the tools and resources to explore more innovation and expand the functionality and reach of our products,” Damola Taiwo from MyMusic said.
In 2016, local internet service provider Ekovolt received a grant through Microsoft’s global Affordable Access fund. With the funding, Ekovolt, who provide bundled packages of internet and enterprise solutions to SMEs – is expanding their solution to reach more small businesses across Nigeria.
Microsoft 4Afrika has launched two AppFactories – or Apprenticeship Factories – in Nigeria, in partnership with local partners Lotus Beta Analytics and Sidmach Technologies Limited.
The AppFactory equips ICT graduates with in-demand skills and experience in designing and deploying modern software solutions, turning them into highly sought after software engineers. There are currently 16 AppFactories across the continent – including in Ghana, Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mauritius – which have secured full-time employment for 85 per cent of its graduates.
The Interns4Afrika programme is also securing jobs for youth in Nigeria. Graduates are working in high ICT intensity jobs with local partners, including Wragby, Riby, Snapnet and Reliance Infosystems – with 85per cent of them being retained.
The 4Afrika Open4Business programme recently launched in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI). MITI is working with Microsoft to digitally transform the delivery of services to Nigeria’s investor community. MITI are vested in reducing the complexity, time and cost of complying with business governance and regulations, creating a more agile and investment-friendly environment and accelerating the pace of job creation.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) have also formed strategic partnerships with 4Afrika, to develop access, innovation and skills in its member states. 4Afrika works closely with these two organisations, empowering them to create policies and regulations that promote ICT growth.
“These are the kind of innovations that will let us leapfrog old infrastructure concerns and accelerate digital transformation,” says Banuso.
“Our approach through 4Afrika has been one of empowerment and collaboration,” adds Abdella. “We are empowering Africans to shape Africa’s future, by enabling people to get online, start businesses and thrive. It’s a people-centric approach, which recognises the local insight and innovative thinking of the individuals we work with here – rather than coming in with ‘global north’ mind-set.”
Since 2013, 4Afrika has established 15 TV white spaces connectivity projects in six African countries, reached 1.7 million SMEs, brought 500,000 SMEs online, trained over half a million Africans and supported hundreds of local start-ups, enabling them to secure $5.1 million in reciprocal funding.
Livestock Feeds Appoints Adegboyega Adedeji as Substantive Managing Director
Adegboyega Adedeji is the Substantive Managing Director
Livestock Feeds Plc on Monday announced it has appointed Mr. Adegboyega Adedeji as the company’s substantive Managing Director, effective from 2nd October 2020.
In a statement released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the company said Mr. Adedeji was the Acting Managing Director of the Company before he was appointed as the Managing Director.
It added that Mr. Adedeji was “formerly the General Manager, Sales and Operations responsible for all sales activities and the strategic development of the Company’s markets, along with new products portfolio generation and development.”
He graduated from the famous Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1996 and had his MBA from the University of Roehampton, UK in 2018.
He worked with Grand Cereals Limited as Regional Sales Manager before becoming their procurement manager. He moved to UACN Plc in 2007 as the Training Services Manager, a position held till September 2009 before he was transferred to UAC Restaurant.
COVID-19 to Plunge Global Consumer Spending by 8.6 % in 2020
Global Consumer Spending to Drop by 8.6 Percent in 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every aspect of people’s daily lives, and consumer spending is no exception. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis caused considerable changes in consumer habits, forcing them to cut down their budgets and prioritize spending.
According to data presented by Stock Apps, the coronavirus outbreak is expected to cut global consumer spending to $44.3trn in 2020, an 8.6% plunge year-over-year.
$4.2trn Drop in Spending Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Falling consumer spending has significant effects on overall Gross domestic product (GDP) growth, considering it accounts for almost 70% of GDP.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, global consumer spending has witnessed steady growth for five years in a row, revealed Statista, IMF, United Nations, World Bank, and Eurostat data. In 2015, it amounted to over $41.5trn. Over the next twelve months, this figure rose to $42.5trn and continued growing. Statistics show that in 2019, consumers worldwide spent a total of $48.5trn, the highest amount in a decade.
However, the coronavirus crisis triggered a sharp fall in 2020, with global consumer spending expected to plunge by $4.2trn year-over-year. Nevertheless, statistics show the following years are set to witness a recovery, with consumer spending growing by 20% to $53.5bn in 2022.
Statista data also revealed that Switzerland represents the leading country globally, with over $40,000 in consumer spending per capita in 2020. Luxembourg ranked second with around $5,000 less than that. Iceland, Denmark, and Norway follow, with $34,300, $25,800, and $25,600, respectively.
60% of Consumers Changed their Shopping Behaviour
The McKinsey&Company survey showed consumers became increasingly cautious with their spending in 2020. Even after countries lifted lockdowns, many consumers still see their incomes fall, forcing them to reduce budgets and change shopping habits.
Statistics show that increased time spent indoors led to significant growth in consumer spending on groceries, household, and home entertainment. Brazil, South Africa, and India lead in this category, with up to 30% consumer spending growth. Major consumer markets like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and China witnessed around 15% grocery shopping growth in the first half of the year.
However, with consumers being mindful of their spending and turning to less expensive products, 2020 has witnessed a plunge in clothes and accessories, outside entertainment, services, travel, and transportation spending. Respondents in all countries said they cut down spending in these categories between 20% and 50%.
The McKinsey survey also revealed the COVID-19 outbreak triggered a significant change in the shopping mindset. More than 60% of consumers globally have tried a different brand or shopped at another retailer during the crisis, mostly for convenience, value, and quality.
In China and the United States, over 75% of consumers reported trying a new shopping method, and 60% plan to stick with it post-crisis. The United Kingdom and Germany follow with 71% and 54% of consumers who practiced new shopping behavior. In Japan, where lockdowns weren’t imposed, only 33% of consumers changed their shopping mindset.
Survival Fund: Buhari Commences Disbursement of N75 Billion Support Fund
FG to Commence Disbursement of N75 Billion Survival Fund to MSMEs
The Federal Government to commence the disbursement of N75 billion COVID-19 support fund to successful Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that applied for financial support under the National MSME Survival Fund this week.
On September 10, 2020, the Federal Government announced the introduction of two financial support schemes to support around 1.7 million small businesses with N75 billion.
According to Tola Adekunle, the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, who doubles as Project Coordinator, Survival Funds Scheme, payment disbursement to some of the beneficiaries of the schemes would commence this week.
He said, “Presently we are doing it in batches of 12 states to be able to monitor the scheme and as we speak now 12 states are ready. We are hoping that by the end of this week, we will be able to pay 12 states.
“We are starting with the artisans and it is 4,500 persons per state, plus 4,500 for transporters, bringing it to about 9,000 for each state. Right now, we have about 54,000 from 12 states.”
Asked by journalists when those on payroll support would start receiving payments, he said “By the end of this month.
“We want to ensure that the staff start getting their salaries and same for the second and third month.”
Adekunle explained that payroll support which was introduced under the survival fund to help businesses that employed between 10 to 50 people, will ensure 10 of the 50 employees are paid between N30,000 to N50,000 depending on their salaries. Payment, he said would commence by the ending of this month.
He said, “We now pay 10 of those people from among the 50 employees and we pay them between N30,000 and N50,000.
“But the minimum we pay is three staffs for three months to support their businesses and to ensure that we are helping businesses to augment their salaries.”
He, however, said the program ended on October 15 but states that were yet to meet their quotas were demanding extension. A demand he said was valid given that only less than 20 states have met their quotas.
“In my own opinion, it is valid but the decision lies in the hands of the committee and the project coordinator so I have to convince them based on data analysis,” he said.
Speaking on the total number of applicants for the payroll support, Adekunle said, “As at the day it closed, we had about 432,000 businesses that had applied. However, we have shortlisted less than 70,000 businesses that qualify and meet the requirements.”
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