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Alerzo Group CEO Joins Other Founders to Chart Way Forward for Retail Business in Nigeria



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In line with promoting Nigeria’s retail sector through technology, founders of tech startups, stakeholders and enthusiasts converged for several panel discussions, exhibitions, learning and networking at the Lagos Startup Week (LSW).


The six-day event which was held from July 25 to 30 in Victoria-Island, is the sixth edition and witnessed over 3000 attendees and 100 speakers.

One of the sessions on day four, which centred on ‘Future of Consumers and Consumers Trade (Payment, Retail and Trade)’ had Alerzo Founder/Group CEO, Adewale Opaleye;  Paystack Startup Programs Lead, Nubi Kay; Klump CEO, Celestine Omin; TeamApt Business Lead, Temitayo Ajao and CEO of BUMPA, Kelvin Umechukwu as panel discussants.

Opaleye noted that the theme of the discussion was very important to talk about as there was a need to encourage retailers to move away from the old way of doing things to embracing technology.

He, alongside the panelists highlighted a number of gaps in the retail sector, which the imploring of technology, collaboration of different tech Startup founders and harnessing of their areas of expertise could help solve.

“At the end of the day we all need partners. We need to come together to achieve great things, we need to consolidate on what each of us has done really well and bring fantastic solutions,” Opaleye pointed out.

He stressed how it is necessary for retailers not to shy away from technology, while narrating Alerzo’s strides in solving the problems in the retail sector, as it owns over 400 vehicles which it uses in delivering fast moving goods (FCMG) to customers.

Also, how it has geo mapped areas of coverage and helped develop softwares to provide banking solutions to customers.

“Retailers need to move away from the old ways of doing business to embracing technology…To provide a solution to the problem of logistics we ended up doing something unthinkable by buying a fleet of vehicles and owning our warehouses.

“We also developed our software. We do deliveries within four hours of order because we own our entire vehicles. After sometime we noticed that a lot of our retailers go home with cash. So we ended up building bank solutions for our retailers,” stated Opaleye.

On what influenced the logistics aspect of owning a fleet of vehicles and not working with existing logistics firms, Alerzo Group CEO made clear that the tech firm wanted the best for its customers.

He stated: “No one has built efficiency the way we want it so we do delivery in four hours versus other players that do it the next day. That is a very key factor for us and as we scale up the business we are looking for partners hoping to key into our vision to actually offer quick and same day delivery to all our retail partners.”

Speaking on what the future holds, he expressed hope as he buttressed: “There is a very bright future for space. Retailers are waking up to understand that it is high time technology would change most of the problems.

“This at the end of the day makes the lives of consumers very easy because they would have products when they want them.”


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Africa to Pilot Drone Delivery to Enhance Rural Healthcare



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Medical technology company Siemens Healthineers will collaborate with German drone manufacturer Wingcopter to pilot an integrated drone delivery solution for healthcare facilities throughout Africa.

The two-way drone delivery system transporting blood samples, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals to improve access to sample analysis, will enable faster treatment for rural communities, says the company.

During the pilot, Wingcopter will operate battery-powered drones covering a range of up to 75kms ‘while maintaining the cold chain at all times’.

Siemens Healthineers and Wingcopter announced the partnership after signing an agreement ‘to develop and roll out an integrated drone delivery solution to transport various laboratory diagnostics materials as well as other medical supplies in Africa’.

Also, Wingcopter intends to ‘train and upskill local young people, creating jobs and perspectives in the fast-growing drone industry’.

In doing so, Wingcopter says, it is following the company’s approach in Malawi, where operations are run by an all-local, majority-female crew.

A joint statement from the company reads: “The combination of Siemens Healthineers’ Laboratory Diagnostics testing capabilities and Wingcopter’s drone delivery services will provide improved diagnostics and faster treatment.

“The solution will adopt the latest in digital technology provided by Siemens Healthineers and Wingcopter from highly automated drone delivery to Laboratory Information Systems, which will accurately track and report results directly to the patients.”

Ole Maloy, managing director of Siemens Healthineers Middle East, Southern & Eastern Africa, said: “Our partnership with Wingcopter will look to bridge the existing gaps in healthcare infrastructure, providing equitable and affordable access to diagnostic testing and medical supplies.”

Tom Plümmer, CEO and co-founder of Wingcopter, added: “We are convinced that we have found the perfect partner for our bold ambitions to improve and save the lives of millions of people on the African continent and beyond. Partnering with Siemens Healthineers will bring us a big step closer to the goal we are working tirelessly towards – to make a real social impact worldwide for those who need it most through fast, reliable and sustainable drone delivery networks in the sky.”

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IFC, Partners Support BUA with $500M Facility to Boost Industrialization, Jobs in Nigeria and Sahel



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IFC yesterday made its largest-ever investment in northern Nigeria, providing a financing package alongside African and European partners to BUA Cement Plc to help the company part-finance and develop two new, energy-efficient cement production lines that will create up to 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.

IFC’s $500 million financing package includes a $160.5 million loan from IFC’s own account, a $94.5 million loan through the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP), and $245 million in parallel loans from syndication partners; the African Development Bank (AfDB) – $100 million, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) – $100 million, and the German Investment Corporation, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) – $45 million.

The financing, announced during the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, will allow BUA, Nigeria’s second largest cement producer, to develop new production lines in northern Nigeria’s Sokoto State.

The plants will run partly on alternative fuels derived from waste and solar power. Each will produce about three million tons of cement annually when complete, serving markets in Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

Investing in northern Nigeria is integral to IFC’s strategy to promote sustainable development in underserved regions. This includes areas with limited opportunities and a need for increased private sector engagement. The new plants will provide local developers with a reliable and affordable source of cement, and bolster the construction of essential infrastructure, fostering economic growth and prosperity for the region.

The project is expected to create about 1,000 direct jobs and 10,800 indirect jobs. Direct jobs include those in manufacturing, engineering, and advanced automation systems. Indirect jobs include those in the cleaning, maintenance, mining, and transportation sectors.

“BUA is delighted to partner with IFC and other esteemed institutions in securing this $500 million facility to develop energy-efficient cement production capacity and strengthen our equipment and logistics capabilities in northern Nigeria.

“In line with our commitment to sustainability and ESG principles, this investment will create jobs and contribute to economic and infrastructural development within Nigeria and the greater Sahel region.

“We are particularly pleased to have successfully gone through the rigorous process with IFC, AfDB, AFC, and DEG, which validates our responsible business practices. By focusing on greener fuels and enhancing our equipment and logistics platform, BUA Cement is building a foundation for sustainable infrastructure growth and a more inclusive society,” said Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman and Founder of BUA Group.

“We are pleased to join with our partners to support BUA with an investment that will boost industrialization, create jobs and deliver economic growth in northern Nigeria, a region with significant economic potential,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.

The financing package announced by IFC and its partners will also allow BUA to replace some of its diesel trucks with vehicles that are run partly on natural gas, over time producing fewer emissions.

As part of the project, IFC will also advise BUA on developing a gender inclusive workplace strategy that creates more opportunities for women across its operations.

“Following an initial $200 million investment in BUA Group in 2021, we are proud to play another key role in this landmark manufacturing project set to transform the construction sector in northern Nigeria and the entire country.

By investing in this project, we are sustainably building Nigeria’s local manufacturing capacity, empowering local communities and creating employment opportunities. AFC is committed to working with our partners to accelerate development impact through infrastructure solutions that support value addition, industrialization, and job creation throughout Africa,” said Samaila Zubairu, CEO & President of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

“The African Development Bank is pleased to be partnering with IFC and BUA on this expansion project as it is aligned with our priority strategies of industrializing Africa and improving the quality of lives of Africans through the increase in cement production which will lead to the development of additional affordable housing and critical infrastructure in Nigeria and neighboring West African countries, while supporting the use of cleaner energy at BUA’s Sokoto facility” said Solomon Quaynor, Vice President – Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization of African Development Bank (AfDB).

“DEG’s mission is to be a reliable partner to private sector enterprises as drivers of development and creators of qualified jobs. We are pleased to contribute to this transaction together with our development finance partner institutions.

Together we support BUA in its transformation towards a more sustainable production by implementing innovative technology. The significant reduction of CO2 emissions and the creation of decent jobs in a region with many vulnerable households are key factors for DEG’s financing,” said Gunnar Stork, Senior Director at DEG.

The investment in BUA is part of IFC’s strategy to promote diversified, inclusive growth and job creation in Nigeria, where IFC supports the manufacturing agribusiness, healthcare, infrastructure, technology, and financial services sectors. IFC has an active investment portfolio of $2.3 billion in Nigeria.

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Kaspersky Releases a Utility for Operation Triangulation Malware Detection on iOS



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Following the report on the Operation Triangulation campaign targeting iOS devices, Kaspersky researchers have released a special ‘triangle_check’ utility that automatically searches for the malware infection. The tool is publicly shared on GitHub and available for macOS, Windows and Linux.

At the beginning of June 2023, Kaspersky reported about a new mobile APT that has been targeting iOS devices. The campaign employs zero-click exploits delivered via iMessage to install malware and gain complete control over the device and user data, with the ultimate goal of hiddenly spying on users.

Among the victims were Kaspersky’s own employees; however, the company’s researchers believe the scope of the attack extends far beyond the organisation. Continuing the investigation, Kaspersky researchers aim to bring more clarity and further details on the worldwide proliferation of this spyware.

The initial report already included a detailed description for self-checking compromise trail mechanisms using the MVT tool. Kaspersky has publicly released on GitHub a special utility called ‘triangle_check’.

This utility, available for macOS, Windows and Linux in Python, allows users to automatically search for traces of malware infection and therefore check whether a device has been infected or not.

Before installing the utility, the user should first do a backup of the device. Once a backup copy is created, a user can install and run the tool. If indicators of compromise are detected, the tool will show a “DETECTED” notification that confirms the device has been infected.

The ‘SUSPICION’ message indicates detection of less unambiguous indicators – pointing to a likely infection. A “No traces of compromise were identified” message will be shown if no IoCs were detected at all.

“We are proud to release a free public tool that allows users to check whether they were hit by the newly emerged sophisticated threat. With cross-platform capabilities, the “triangle_check” allows users to scan their devices automatically,” commented Igor Kuznetsov, head of the EEMEA unit at Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) “We urge the cybersecurity community to unite forces in the research of the new APT to build a safer digital world.”

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