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AXA Mansard Empowers Female SMEs with Financial, Digital Skills

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AXA Mansard, a member of AXA has empowered 200 female Small and Medium Enterprises with financial literacy and digital business skills.

In collaboration with SME 100 Africa, the two-day training, which was held in Lagos, is part of AXA’s lined-up programmes to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day.

Speaking, Olusesan Ogunyooye, Head of Marketing AXA Mansard, said the training was aimed to empower female SME owners with skills to improve business output and position them for the increasing economic opportunities available in an increasingly digital marketplace.

Ogunyooye noted that the move was in line with AXA Mansard’s sustainability agenda, explaining that the company was convinced that support for women through its inclusive protection programmes was pivotal to its purpose of acting for human progress by protecting what matters and its mission of moving from being a payer to a partner.

He further said that focusing on digital skills was important because the company realised the importance of digital skills to the growth of the SME sector in Nigeria and wants to ensure that women were empowered enough to be a consequential part of that growth.

“It’s almost trite to say that SMEs are the engine for economic growth, especially in developing countries like Nigeria, where over 45 million adults are business owners. What needs to be continually discussed is how Nigeria is going to unlock that potential for economic development and how much of that potential will be unlocked by women and for women.”

“For us at AXA Mansard, we are aware that digital will play a major role in unlocking these current opportunities and Nigeria’s economic future. So, to ensure that women are equally represented in unlocking these future potentials, that’s why we have collaborated with SME 100 Africa to support them in developing the required skills”.

“Our choice of digital and financial literacy skills is deliberate. We understand the power of the duo. We understand that helping these SMEs with the skills to attract more customers will be a faster means to empower them.

“We see that they have amazing products and services, but they need to understand how to attract value for themselves by attracting the right customers, and you will agree with me that virtually all customer segments are online in one way or another today.

“So, if we can empower them with digital business skills, we would have helped them with the heavy lifting of trying to find and attract customers”. Ogunyooye explained.

According to him, AXA Mansard believes that for the world to experience progress truly, there must be an equitable distribution of creation and access to opportunities for men and women. This quest for balance informed the SHE for Shield initiative, a women-centred inclusive protection programme of AXA Mansard.

SHE for Shield is a group of initiatives designed for the Nigerian woman. The goal is to see them grow, add value, and help them mitigate risks at every step.

According to the company, research has found that access to health care is one of the most important things to Nigerian women, regardless of their economic segment. They desire to be financially independent, secure, and respected in the community.

 


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History as Nigeria Launches Mew 5-in-1 Meningitis Vaccine

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Nigeria has launched the new Men5CV vaccine, which offers protection against five strains of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria (meningococcus) responsible for meningitis.

History as Nigeria Launches Mew 5-in-1 Meningitis Vaccine

Nigeria becomes the first country globally to launch the vaccine, which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Men5CV vaccine rollout is a significant advance in the fight against meningitis, as it provides broader protection than the previous vaccines.

It shields against the major strains A, C, W, Y and X of meningococcal bacteria in a single shot. Existing vaccines sold in Africa are only effective against strain A.

The introduction of Men5CV is particularly crucial for Nigeria, one of the 26 hyper-endemic countries in Africa, which recently experienced an outbreak leading to 1,742 suspected cases.

In response, a vaccination campaign was conducted in March 2024 to reach more than one million individuals aged from one to 29.

The vaccine’s development, spanning 13 years, was a collaborative effort between PATH and the Serum Institute of India, with funding from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The Men5CV vaccine utilises the same technology as the MenAfriVac vaccine that has eradicated meningococcal A epidemics in Nigeria.

In July 2023, the WHO prequalified the meningitis vaccine, branded as MenFive. It went on to issue a formal recommendation for its launch in October.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, provided funding for the vaccine and emergency vaccination activity, and allocated resources for the Men5CV rollout in December.

The vaccine is now available for outbreak response through the emergency stockpile managed by the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision.

Mass preventive campaigns involving the Men5CV vaccine rollout across sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘Meningitis Belt’ are expected to commence in 2025.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. WHO director-general, stated: “Meningitis is an old and deadly foe, but this new vaccine holds the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving many lives.

“Nigeria’s rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030.”


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NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians to EU Ban on Dex Soap

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National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has alerted Nigerians on the ban on Dex Luxury Bar Soap (No 6 Mystic Flower), by the European Union (EU).

NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians to EU Ban on Dex Soap

The notification is contained in a public alert with No. 012/2024, signed by Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general, NAFDAC, and issued to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.

“The product does not comply with the cosmetic products regulation; it also contains Butyphenyl Methylpropional (BMHCA), which is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its risk of harming the reproductive system.

“It also causes harm to the health of unborn children and may cause skin sensitisation.

“It is as a result of the defective nature of the product that the EU banned it.

“The products is not in NAFDAC database; importers, distributors, retailers and consumers are to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain,” she said.

NAFDAC boss urged marketers and consumers to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the product, stressing that product’s authenticity and physical condition must be carefully checked.

She enjoined members of the public in possession of the product to discontinue sale or use, and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.


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EFCC Discovers Fraudulent COVID Funds, World Bank Loan in Poverty Ministry

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has discovered shady dealings involving COVID-19 funds, World Bank loan, as well as Abacha recovered loot at the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Humanitarian Affairs.

EFCC Discovers Fraudulent COVID Funds, World Bank Loan in Poverty Ministry

In a Sunday statement, Dele Oyewale, EFCC spokesperson, said the funds were released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute poverty alleviation programmes.

The anti-graft agency said its recent investigation into the affairs of the ministry led to the recovery of N32.7 billion and $445,000 so far.

The EFCC added that “suspended officials” of the Ministry were linked to the fraudulent practice, saying those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far,” the statement reads

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid-19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.”

Recall that, Betta Edu, suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, announced she has no link with the N30 billion purportedly recovered by the EFCC.


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