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AFEX Launches 100,000MT/ year Grain Quality Enhancement Centre to Mark World Food Day

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AFEX, Africa’s leading private commodities market player, on Friday, marked World Food Day 2022, with the launch of a new 100,000MT/ year Grain Quality Enhancement Centre and 30,000 MT storage capacity warehouse at Zaria-Kano Highway, Kaduna, Nigeria.

The plant represents AFEX’s renewed commitment to infrastructure investments that cut post-harvest losses, strengthen quality and standardisation criteria in grain value chains, and improve the livelihoods of primary producers who are able to earn higher income on better quality grains.

The plant, which has an annual capacity of 100,000MT, meets the challenges of grain quality enhancement through cleaning, grinding, heating, drying, packaging, and storage services for maize, paddy rice, and soybean.

“Over the years, we have seen a growing demand for grain commodities in the animal feed, food, and drink industries. However, 3.5 trillion naira  (circa US$8 billion) is lost annually after harvest because the national storage capacity can only accommodate 5 to 7 percent of agricultural produce.

At AFEX, we believe that the grain quality enhancement centre will help meet that demand, support the closure of quality and quantity gaps, maximise income returns for smallholder farmers, and increase access to markets that will benefit key players in the value chain and society at large.

The activities in the processing plant will include quality and quantity checks, packaging, storage, and other processes in the value chain,” said Ayodeji Balogun, AFEX CEO.

In 2021, AFEX expanded into East Africa to replicate its early successes in Nigeria and to enable seamless access to pan-African commodities trading across Africa while bolstering its food security.

It followed with a $1 million loan program in July this year, to provide Kenyan farmers with access to crop seed and fertiliser, allowing them to mitigate rising commodity prices.

Just like every other effort, this historic milestone on World Food Day in Nigeria aligns with the United Nations SDG goals 1, 2 5, 8 and 12 as AFEX continues to work towards resilience and sustainability of the agricultural supply chain to alleviate poverty by ensuring that farmers and growers get a better deal for their produce, everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food, and that no one is left behind.

The 100,000 MT/ year Grain Quality Enhancement Centre is a product of AFEX’ partnership with the Kaduna State Government of Nigeria and the USAID-Funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub.

Speaking   on   the   commissioning   of   the   AFEX   Grain   Quality   Enhancement   Centre, His Excellency, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai said “I am happy to see this new development in the agricultural value chain.

Oftentimes, when farmers harvest their produce, they sell quickly at low prices to prevent post-harvest loss and in return, they never get the best value.

With this centre, AFEX has closed the gap in preparation, cleaning, and logistics, helping farmers to sell at the right price.

“I am grateful to all the partners behind AFEX, USAID-Funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, AGRA, for collaborating on this project and enhancing access to a structured and ready market for farmers and job creation for Nigerian youths,” he concluded.

All around the world, excessive post- harvest losses impact negatively on food security. To alleviate the problem In Nigeria, this new facility will strengthen food supply chains, boost grain prices for producers and serve as a reliable source for processed grain meal and hulls in the growing markets whilst bolstering food production in the country.

Essentially, by depositing commodities in the warehouse, farmers will be able to pay for the processing services and have access to buyers on the AFEX platform at a higher price.

Since 2014, AFEX has built a robust network of warehouses to support the growth of agricultural commodities and provide offtake agreements to farmers at market prices with a same-day payment model. Currently, in Nigeria alone, AFEX has a footprint of over 100 warehouses across 23 grain-producing states which accounts for over 300,000 MT of the total national storage capacity. They have reached over 430,000 farmers and traded over 1 million MT of commodities to transform rural households and boost economic prosperity.

With more efficient pricing mechanisms and transparent, fair distribution fees, agricultural producers working with AFEX benefit from significant – and often life-changing – savings on taxes, charges, transportation costs, and better storage/disruption.

 


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CBN Resumes Forex Sales to BDCs with $20,000 Ceiling to Each Licensee

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) resumed dollar sales to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators on Thursday July 18, with a planned disbursement of $20,000 to each licensee.

The apex bank said the forex injection is expected to curb forex distortions, boost liquidity in the market and stabilise the naira.

In a circular to all BDC operators and the public, the CBN said it “observed the continued distortions in the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.”

The circular was signed by Aliyu Mahdi for the bank’s Acting Director of Trade and Exchange Department.

The apex bank said that eligible BDCs would be allowed to purchase a maximum of $20,000 at a fixed rate of N1,450 to the dollar. The rate is pegged to the lower band of the previous day’s trading rate on the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window.

BDCs are permitted to sell dollars to eligible end-users at a maximum margin of 1.5 percent above the purchase rate from the CBN.

To ensure compliance, BDCs are required to make Naira payments into designated CBN accounts and submit necessary documentation for disbursement at specified branches in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, and Awka in Anambra State.

The CBN attributed the decision to the widening gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates, which it blamed on distortions in the retail end of the market. The bank expressed hope that the move would also help to reduce pressure on the naira.

Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) President Aminu Gwadabe said the new dollar injections in the market will induce liquidity and stabilise the naira.

He added that the move has already impacted positively on the Naira, which appreciated from N1,640/$ to N1,570 /$ at the parallel market.


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Henry Naiho Bags Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment Personality of the Year Award

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An IT egghead / expert who has contributed immensely to the development of the sector in Nigeria and beyond has emerged winner of outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment personality of the year award at this year’s Africa’s Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership Award.

Henry Nwapali Ndidi Naiho emerged winner of the highly coveted African Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership award of Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and youth Empowerment Personality of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding contributions, mentorship and innovative support and contributions to the ICT space in Africa and Nigeria by African foremost and leading ICT paper.

The event held on Saturday 25th May at Four Points by Sheraton was themed: “Artificial Intelligence: The Good, The Complex and The Anticipated”.

While receiving the award Naiho said: “l dedicates this award to my family and the teeming youths that sees me as their role model and mentor. ‘’Your believe in me, is your calls and shout outs that fire me up the more. He said excitedly.”

Henry Naiho is an experienced technology business leader with strong IT and Telecommunications technical knowledge, UX/UI and entrepreneurial mindset,; he has over 26years cognate experience in ICT, with  high expertise not limited these areas: Project, Programme & Portfolio Management, Customer and User Operations Management, ICT, Transmission, BSS, Software Development etc., Network Planning, Implementation, Operations & Maintenance, Stakeholder Engagement and Management, Team Build, Performance and Management, Business Processes, Analysis & Analytics.

He had an enviable work stint so far, here are some select positions with organizations, he was the Senior Project Manager (IT), Sasol Plant) South Africa, Group Lead, Technology Transformation & Operations, Userlytics Group, South Africa, Regional Operations Manager  (South Africa & Africa Operations): Stratosat Datacom Pty Ltd, South Africa, Quality Management (Projects & Operations).

He was also at Zain Mobile Limited, West Africa (AKA Airtel Africa) as the Regional Manager, Transmission Network implementation & Operations. Regional Transmission Engineer, (Implementation, Operations & Maintenance): Globacom Limited, Nigeria. Naiho’s diverse academic background in physics, Tech-management and vendor-specific certifications, has equipped him with uncommon expertise to provide cutting-edge solutions to clients across various sectors.

His entrepreneurial spirit, driven by a desire to provide solutions to human needs, empower the youths which he said is fire in his bone, has led him to represent top brands like Ericsson, Huawei, Motorola, and Microsoft.

Through his brand, Naiho offers a range of services, including business processes, human capital development, business research, technology harnessing, and corporate sustainability solutions. He has continuously updated his skills to ensure his brand remains relevant, meeting and exceeding client needs for best satisfaction and experience. Naiho’s achievements are a testament to his dedication and expertise. He has implemented numerous solutions using technology to streamline business processes, improve efficiencies, and effectiveness.

He attributes his success to his ability to be resilient, tunnel vision, flexible, and adaptable, qualities he believes are essential for thriving in the industry.

According to him, “As a Fibre optics engineer, I have published research papers on Fibre optics resilient and solutions for survivability.

“ I have also obtained 5G certifications, demonstrating my commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies.”

He added that his expertise in process improvements, operations management, and technology has made him a sought-after professional in his field.

His Counsel for Youths seeking a career in ICT: Naiho’s advice to youths seeking a career in this field is straightforward: “Pursue your passion, invest in continuous learning, and seek ways for continuous improvements.

“The industry offers opportunities for growth and development, and with dedication and hard work, you can build a successful career like mine.”

As a role model, Naiho’s career trajectory serves as an inspiration to youths, demonstrating that with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals and build a successful career in the IT, Telecommunications, Quality, and Operations Management industry.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Naiho emphasized that the adoption of innovative technological solutions is no longer optional but essential for businesses seeking to enhance efficiency and maintain a competitive edge.

“Technology offers a plethora of tools designed to optimize business operations, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve overall efficiency,” said Naiho. “Organizations that fail to integrate these tools into their processes risk falling behind their more tech-savvy competitors.”

Naiho highlighted several key areas where technology can significantly impact business processes, including automation, data analytics, and cloud computing.

Automation, he noted, can take over repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic activities. “By automating routine tasks, businesses can reduce human error, save time, and increase productivity,” he explained.

Data analytics is another crucial area where technology can drive substantial improvements. “Businesses today generate vast amounts of data. Properly analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, operational inefficiencies, and market trends,” Naiho pointed out.

He added that using advanced analytics tools can help businesses make more informed decisions and tailor their strategies to better meet customer needs and expectations.

Naiho also emphasized the importance of cloud computing in streamlining business processes. “Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency. They enable businesses to access their data and applications from anywhere, facilitating better collaboration and continuity,” he said.

To maximize the benefits of these technologies, Naiho urged businesses to be adaptable and open to change.

“The key to leveraging technology effectively is to remain flexible and continuously seek ways to improve. This requires a culture that embraces change and encourages innovation,” he stated.

Also, Naiho called on regulatory bodies and the government to support the technological advancement of businesses by creating conducive policies and infrastructure.

“The government and regulators play a crucial role in fostering an environment that supports technological adoption. By engaging with industry stakeholders and aligning policies with technological advancements, they can help businesses thrive,” he remarked.

Naiho’s insights shed light on the imperative for businesses to leverage technology to streamline their operations.

His call to action serves as a timely reminder that embracing technological innovation is critical for achieving operational excellence and long-term success.

With a PhD (in view), Fellow of some prestigious institutions, Post graduate in Business Administration, Strategy, Management and Programme Management, and a B.Sc in Physics garnished with industry specific certifications in SAP, TOGAF Standard 9.2 complete, 5G Technology, Architecture and Protocols, 5G Planning and Design, 5G Open RAN and Private Networks, Design Thinking, User Research, User Experience Management, User Accessibility, Product Management, AWS Solutions Architect , ISO QMS 9001:2015, ISO OHAS 45001: 2018 and lots of other vendor specific (Ericsson, Huawei, Harris etc.).


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Zoho Partners with She Code Africa to Empower and Upskill Women Through Specialised Training on Zoho Creator

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Zoho, a global technology company, is partnering with She Code Africa (SCA), a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering and upskilling African women in tech. With this partnership, Zoho will conduct Train the Trainer sessions for SCA Academy trainers to introduce them to Zoho Creator, the company’s low-code app development platform.

Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager, She Code Africa (SCA).

These trainers will subsequently train more students, associated with SCA, to build powerful applications using low-code to solve actual business problems.

The upskilling sessions will be provided as part of the ‘Young Creators Program’ (YCP) run by Zoho Creator. As part of the program, Zoho will host 30 female trainers from the SCA Academy and will conduct a three-day in-depth training session about building enterprise-grade applications with low-code technology.

The training will take place at the Zoho office in Lagos, Nigeria. The trainers will also receive free access to the Creator platform for one year, along with training material.

“At Zoho, we believe in supporting local communities by upskilling and hiring local talent, empowering local businesses with our technology, and promoting responsible and sustainable development.

“Our growth strategy, known as transnational localism, embodies these values. In continuation of this commitment to support progress at the grassroots, we are partnering with She Code Africa to equip Nigerian students with critical tech skills,” said Kehinde Ogundare, Country Head, Zoho Nigeria.

“The ‘Young Creators Program’ aims to bridge the technical skill gap and support talent-building for our youth who will be the next generation of leaders and professionals.

“We are glad to partner with Zoho to help our trainers learn the latest advancements in low-code technology, and then pass on the knowledge to our other students,” said Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager.

Launched globally in 2022, the Young Creators Program is a training program aimed at equipping future business leaders with advanced digital skills and fostering innovation in technology. The program brings value by providing access to Zoho Creator’s powerful platform to help participants build custom applications in a simple and seamless manner without extensive programming knowledge.

Beyond skill development, the program boosts confidence, fosters personal growth, and opens doors to further opportunities in the technology industry. The program has trained more than 2000+ students on Zoho Creator globally, enabling participants to earn program completion certificates and exciting prizes.


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