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All you Need to Know About PMI’s 2022 Africa Conference Held in Lagos

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Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading association for project professionals, hosted over 300 delegates from 20 African countries at its recently concluded PMI Africa Conference 2022.

Executive Director, Anzisha Prize, Josh Adler,

L-R: Paul Omugbe, President, PMI Nigeria Chapter; George Asamani, Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Project Management Institute (PMI) and Joe Cahill, Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Project Management Institute (PMI) at the 7th annual PMI Africa Conference in Lagos.

The 2-day conference took place at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos and saw key stakeholders discuss the evolving nature of project management, the project economy, the impact of new technology, and the custom certifications PMI is developing to meet new demands in specific industries.

The highlight of the conference was the conversations around youth, led by the youth, for the youth who raised and discussed issues around entrepreneurship, education, and employability. The conference achieved its objective of promoting project management as fundamental to building thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems, high-performing workplaces, and societies.

Organised under the theme, “Sustainable Growth for Social Good,” all the speakers, which included Africa’s leading and inspiring thought leaders, educators, entrepreneurs and changemakers, agreed that for Africa to grow sustainably, strategic changes in education, national policies, youth empowerment and corporate culture are needed.

George Asamani, MD, Sub Saharan Africa, PMI, said that next year’s edition, the 8th PMI Africa Conference, will be hosted in Kenya in partnership with the PMI Kenya Chapter.

Noted South African journalist and Executive Director of Marketing & Communications, University of Limpopo, Victor Kgomoeswana, opened his keynote by quoting anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. Kgomoeswana reminded delegates of Biko’s words, “It is better to die for an idea that will live than to live for something that will die.’’

Kgomoeswana remarked that Africa is endowed with biodiversity, mineral resources, tourist potential and cultural heritage in abundance. In addition, the significant growth recorded in Africa despite the Covid-19 pandemic can be attributed to cross-border trade and internet penetration.

In his view, African leaders and changemakers must focus on developing a population with problem-solving skills.

“We need to change our perception and attitude. No goal can be achieved without good project management. It is a skill that should be instilled in basic education. All problem-solving today in Africa requires project management of some kind.”

Simi Nwogugu, CEO of Junior Achievement Africa, said that the youth on the continent need to develop 21st-century skills and cultivate a spirit of volunteering. The youth will have to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to stave off a talent crisis in the project economy.

“If entrepreneurship is not for you, skills like design thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and innovation can help you get the available jobs. Mentoring is also key because if you are working with the youth, especially teenagers, they need relatable role models. For this, we bring volunteers into the classroom. There is no single way to succeed; it is a combination of your talent and innovation the world needs that can provide an income.”

Odunayo Sanya, Executive Secretary, MTN Foundation, observed that funding is one of the drawbacks to entrepreneurship. To alleviate this, MTN Foundation, in partnership with the Bank of Industry, provides loans and has also launched the Y’elloPreneur programme.

Executive Director, Anzisha Prize, Josh Adler, an organisation builder with over 20 years of experience across business, education and non-profit sectors, pointed out the importance of examining the outcomes of entrepreneurial training. He observed that many graduates of entrepreneurial programmes don’t actually start their businesses after graduation.

“Many of these graduates still go out there to get jobs,’’ he observed. “They need to learn how to do project management and how to execute. We need to be honest with ourselves about the outcomes. We need better outcomes.”

During his closing remarks, Asamani said, “the region’s entrepreneurial potential hasn’t been fully explored – while the majority continue to be micro-enterprises operating in the informal sector, collaborations to scale this potential will only exponentially grow the impact of their efforts.

The PMI Africa Conference is a platform to build a foundation and bring together various stakeholders to pool their ideas over two action-packed days to contribute to turning Africa into one of the world’s leading entrepreneurial communities.”

“One way to accelerate the upskilling is to foster talent and bring government, partners in the private sector and volunteers to support this effort.”


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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MultiChoice Group Posts Loss in Q1 as Subscription Rate Dips

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South Africa’s TV giant MultiChoice posted a pretax loss of 706 million rand ($38 million) for the year ending in March, the company said Wednesday citing weak local currencies and a drop in subscribers.

The company is the subject of a takeover bid by France’s Canal+, which already holds more than 35 percent of MultiChoice’s shares.

“Volatile and weaker local currencies, power challenges in markets like South Africa, and a weak consumer environment due to rising inflation and high interest rates have created an extremely challenging environment,” MultiChoice said.

The loss followed a 921 million rand profit before taxes reported the year before.

It was compounded by a nine percent decline in subscriptions.

Business in South Africa suffered from 275 days of rolling power cuts, which discouraged potential subscribers without backup power, it said.

Group revenue was also down five percent to 56 billion rand, but the firm said that were it not for currency swings, it would have been up three percent.

Africa’s largest pay TV enterprise, said it would accelerate a cost saving programme, prioritise customer retention, leverage sports renewals and further develop local content.

Its Showmax video streaming business, which re-launched in February, was showing “encouraging early traction” with the paying subscriber base growing by 16 percent, the company said.

In April, Canal+, a subsidiary of the Vivendi group led by billionaire Vincent Bollore, made a firm offer to acquire all MultiChoice shares it does not currently own.

Upping an earlier rejected bid, it offered 125 rand per share, an amount deemed “fair and reasonable” by an independent board appointed by the South African firm.

Canal+ is present in 25 African countries through 16 subsidiaries, and has eight million subscribers, according to the French group.

Its stake in MultiChoice, Africa’s largest pay TV enterprise, has allowed it to gain a foothold in English-speaking and Portuguese-speaking nations across the continent.


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Interoperability between mobile money and card is enabling Africa’s access to the global financial system

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By Christian Bwakira, Group Chief Commercial Officer at Onafriq

Mobile money has exploded across African economies as an enabler of financial inclusion by bringing in large swaths of the population that remained unbanked into the fold to participate in economies across the continent.

According to GSMA’s 2024 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, registered mobile money accounts grew by 12% to 1.75 billion in 2023 while transaction values for international remittances via mobile money grew to almost $29 billion and merchant payments by 14% to around $74 billion.

Today, consumers can do anything with a mobile wallet that they can accomplish with a traditional bank account or card. In Kenya, where the mobile money market reached $133.2 billion in 2023 and M-Pesa holds a 96.5% market share, consumers can buy groceries from a grocer, purchase goods from the market, pay electricity bills or top up airtime with a simple code from M-Pesa. But, they’re not guaranteed to be able to do so outside of the country, region, or with international properties.

While many of the world’s largest digital merchants have started accepting mobile money payments, most international merchants still do not. This has meant that utilising mobile money in the global commercial space is cumbersome, resulting in a gap between financial inclusion locally within the continent and access to the global financial system. Essentially, this means that individuals using mobile money can’t do things like make payments on an international airline’s website or pay for a Netflix account, small businesses can’t purchase ads on social media platforms like Facebook or search engines like Google, and content creators can’t get paid by the social media platforms they make content on.

Fortunately, card scheme payment rails have the ability to bridge that gap as cards continue to be the preferred payment method for consumers and merchants alike. That’s why it’s imperative to move beyond the idea that African economies will not adopt cards because of mobile money and instead look towards increased interoperability between mobile money wallets and card networks.

Connecting Africa to itself and the world

Much like the continent itself, the payments environment in Africa is highly dynamic and diverse. Across individuals and countries, payment types can vary significantly, resulting in a splintered and disconnected payment ecosystem. For example, when purchasing from Takealot in South Africa, consumers have the option to pay by credit card, an electronic fund transfer (EFT) from their bank or use domestic-flavoured payment solutions such as PayFast, Ozow or Discovery Miles. However, international merchants or companies would have to integrate with each of these different payment service providers individually in every single economy on the continent in order to cater to a wide range of consumers, which is simply not feasible.

According to the World Economic Forum, the varied technical standards, laws and regulations that span countries across Africa contribute to the fact that historically many digital payment methods were closed loops and not interoperable with one another. Additionally, established mobile money interoperability in countries was usually limited to cases such as person-to-person transfers while merchant payments weren’t really considered.

But, advancements in payments interoperability technologies as well as strategic partnerships are facilitating the innovation needed to both achieve the desired convenience, speed and accessibility within the payments space while also enabling merchants to accept payments from and people to make payments to anyone .

Although before, people would need to transfer funds from their mobile wallet to a bank account and then use the bank-issued card to make a payment, this interoperability between the two legacy platforms—mobile wallet and card—means that both individuals and businesses are able to make direct payments by simply linking the two together.

Onafriq’s own partnership and subsequent acquisition of GTP, the number one processor for prepaid cards in Africa, in 2022 underscores the importance of card and mobile wallet interoperability by enabling participation in the global digital commerce environment, connecting traditional card scheme ecosystems such as Visa and Mastercard to the mobile money world.

Now, instead of a prefunded card where money can only be loaded on and not withdrawn, users can easily move money between their card and wallet. And, with digital cards, card networks can now be embedded directly onto the wallet app instead of carrying around a physical card. Even global players like Visa and Mastercard are realising that the only way to be successful in Africa is to play hand in hand with mobile money clients and cater to their needs – as evidenced by Mastercard’s $200 million minority stake in MTN’s fintech division.

Making borders matter less

As the world, and Africa, becomes more connected and digitalised, consumers are branching out in terms of where they’re purchasing goods from and merchants are catering to a more global customer base.

As such, African businesses and consumers alike should be able to make payments to any destination easily and through whichever payment channel they prefer. Cross-border payments need to become faster, cheaper, more transparent and accessible, while also ensuring their safety and security.

Payments interoperability between mobile money and cards will enable an ecosystem whereby you don’t need to link different payment methods, systems, and currencies to one another to ensure that no matter where you are, where you’re sending money to, or where you’re purchasing from, there is nothing standing in your way.

Ultimately, ensuring that these different payment products are able to understand and speak to each other is enabling a more inclusive and accessible financial services landscape, making it as easy as possible for people to perform transactions in a way that is both affordable and reliable.


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IHS Nigeria, NSCDC’s synergy on protection of critical national assets and infrastructure

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By Lere Ojedokun

A secure environment is essential for political, economic and social activities to flourish in every society. It enables the government to focus on formulation of policies that can stimulate economic growth, provision of basic amenities for the citizens, and building essential infrastructure that can drive national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

 

Businesses and investors (local and foreign) are more likely to invest in an economy where their operations, assets and operations are protected from crimes such as theft and vandalism, terrorism, and other security threats.

Reasons include the fact that an effective and efficient security system will reduce the cost burden on the government and businesses, allowing for more funds to be directed towards product research, development projects and economic growth initiatives.

With the rising global security threats occasioned in part by the advancement in technology and increasing activities of terrorists and other non-state actors, defence and security receive huge votes in annual government budgets in many countries, including Nigeria.

In Nigeria, the protection of essential physical and virtual Critical National Assets and Infrastructure (CNAI) consisting of systems, assets, and networks are prioritised by the federal, state and local governments because they have direct and indirect impact on our daily lives. These include roads, airports, seaports, railways, electricity grids, transformers, transmission cables, oil and gas pipelines, water supply facilities, schools, hospitals, government buildings, courts, national defence and security institutions, custodial facilities, and international travel passports, among others.

Equally pivotal for Nigeria’s security and socio-economic growth are the essential physical and virtual telecommunication infrastructure that drives our nation’s functioning communication, security, and general well-being of Nigerians and foreigners resident in the country. The physical infrastructure includes telecom towers, fibre optic cables, and power generators at cell sites. The virtual infrastructure such as digital networks, information systems, and data repositories underpin crucial operations such as telecommunications, financial transactions, emergency response coordination, and national defence, and internal security.

Theft, vandalism and destruction of telecom’s physical and virtual assets ranked among the nagging challenges faced by telecom operators and infrastructure companies in Nigeria. With Information and Communication Technology (ICT), of which telecom is a significant driver, contributing 16.66% to Nigeria’s real GDP in Q4 2023 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the protection of telecom infrastructure and assets cannot be overemphasised.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is the lead federal government security outfit with a mandate to protect and safeguard Critical National Assets and Infrastructure across the country.  Commandant General of the NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, recently reaffirmed that any act of destruction or vandalism of our CNAI would have debilitating effects on the national economy.

Thus, recently, IHS Towers, one of the largest independent owners, operators, and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world by tower count, took a bold step by donating ICT equipment to NSCDC during a visit to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

The gesture, according to IHS Nigeria’s Associate Director, Government Relations, Fatima Ibrahim-Haruna, was to enable the security agency to scale-up effectiveness and efficiency in its operations by leveraging technology to adequately tackle insecurity challenges and threats in the country. While commending NSCDC for its efforts at protecting the nation’s CNAI, she added that the donation of the ICT equipment underscored the commitment of IHS Towers to promoting the wellbeing of people and communities, in line with the core pillars of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Ibrahim-Haruna noted that IHS Towers owns over 16,000 towers across Nigeria and pledged the company’s continued collaboration and partnership with NSCDC, as well as other strategic institutions to foster a sustainable future for Nigeria. She added that IHS Nigeria would further support the agency by upgrading its ICT Centre.

“Telecom infrastructure is integral to national security by supporting communication for defence operations and intelligence activities, financial institutions, healthcare, education, aviation, commerce and many other sectors that rely heavily on telecommunications for their daily operations. Disruptions in telecom operations can lead to significant economic losses, affecting productivity and growth. Ensuring security and protection of telecom infrastructure helps prevent espionage, cyber-attacks, and other security threats that can undermine national security and economic stability,’’ she stated.

The NSCDC Commandant General, Dr. Audi, commended IHS Nigeria for the ICT equipment and reiterated the unwavering commitment of the security outfit to ensuring adequate safety of lives and protection of critical national assets and infrastructure in the country.

“Maintaining law and order, and most importantly safeguarding all critical national assets and infrastructure in the nation is a core mandate to which NSCDC is irrevocably committed, as the lead agency in this regard,’’ he affirmed, while restating that critical assets and infrastructure were pivotal for national security, economic growth and social order.

Audi added: “It is against this backdrop that NSCDC has mapped out different strategies to nip in the bud all activities of economic saboteurs vandalising government properties and critical national assets and infrastructure. As a lead agency in the protection of CNAI as contained in the National Security Document, we remain resolute, and call on other critical stakeholders and security agencies to collaborate with NSCDC for maximum protection of CNAI.’’

The Commandant General assured the delegation from HIS Nigeria of the agency’s continued partnership with IHS Towers by ensuring there is no obstruction to its operations.

Telecom infrastructure is essential for fostering innovation and technological advancements. Telecom infrastructure provides the backbone for emerging technologies like IoT, AI and 5G, which drive economic development through creating new opportunities for individuals, businesses and countries. Critical services such as national security and intelligence, law enforcement, emergency response, healthcare, education, financial transactions, among others depend on reliable telecommunications. Therefore, protecting telecom infrastructure like other critical national assets and infrastructure will ensure these services are made available without disruptions and the economy will be the best beneficiary if this can happen.

Ojedokun, a brand strategist and development expert writes from Lagos.

 


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