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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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PalmPay Named Among Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World by CNBC and Statista

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Africa-focused fintech platform, PalmPay, has been included in the 2024 edition of CNBC and Statista’s prestigious list of the “Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World.” This recognition underscores PalmPay’s rapid growth and significant contributions to advancing financial inclusion.

The CNBC/Statista list honours fintech pioneers significantly transforming the financial services industry through technology. More than 2000 companies were evaluated globally based on general and sector-specific KPIs to determine the final selection.

In 2024, some of the most influential fintechs in the world were included in the list, including Alipay, Nubank, Monzo, and Revolut. Six other African firms made the list: Flutterwave (Nigeria/US) – Payments; Kuda (Nigeria/UK) – Neobanking; MTN (South Africa) – Payments; Piggyvest (Nigeria) – Financial planning; and Yoco (South Africa) – Payments.

PalmPay has developed an integrated platform that caters to consumers and businesses in the African market. The startup, which has been operating since 2019, pioneered a unique model in Nigeria that provides financial services such as money transfers, bill payment, credit services and savings via a one-stop-shop fintech ‘superapp’ and mobile money agents.

This dual approach of easy-to-use digital banking, combined with offline touchpoints for those without smartphones, has contributed to driving financial inclusion in a market where more than 40% of adults remain unbanked.

In 2023, PalmPay announced a major milestone of reaching 30 million registered users on its smartphone apps and 1.1 million businesses in its network of mobile money agents and retail merchants. A third of PalmPay customers report that the platform was their first-ever financial account.

PalmPay has quickly grown to become a market leader in Nigeria thanks to its user-friendly interface, reliable transactions, and focus on driving market share through fee-free transfers and promotions. PalmPay processes 15 million transactions on its consumer app daily and maintains a 99.5% transaction success rate.

To achieve this scale in a market where 10% transaction failure rates were common, the company built out its payment infrastructure, channel integrations and transaction routing systems. In addition to its consumer wallet, PalmPay offers services to businesses that leverage the PalmPay platform via its suite of POS machines, APIs and checkout solutions.

“It’s an honour for PalmPay to be recognised by CNBC and Statista as one of the World’s Top Fintech Companies,” said Sofia Zab, Global CMO, “This recognition validates our unique approach to financial services and our commitment to driving financial inclusion. We are actively expanding PalmPay’s reach and offerings, ensuring more people have access to essential financial services and promoting economic development in emerging markets”

PalmPay operates in several key markets across Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, with plans to expand further in the region and other emerging markets. The company has global HQs in China and London.


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WiDEF Launches Round of Technical Assistance to help Close the Gender Digital Divide

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The Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF) announced today the launch of its second competitive round, this time inviting applications from large private sector enterprises seeking technical support to scale proven solutions to significantly close the gender digital divide.

Announced by the White House in March 2023, WiDEF is a joint effort between USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress on closing the gender digital divide, managed by CARE, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership and the GSMA Foundation.

This round of support takes the form of tailored technical assistance to scale products, services or approaches that can significantly increase women’s access to and usage of the internet. It follows WiDEF’s     first round of funding and support that closed on May 6th 2024 for local organisations.

The technical assistance on offer aims to help to unlock opportunities to significantly close the gender digital divide, rather than supporting an enterprise’s ongoing “business as usual” activities. Examples of the kind of technical support private sector enterprises might apply for might include:

–  Research into the principal barriers and needs of underserved segments of women to inform actions to better support them to access and use digital technology and the internet

–  Evaluation of existing products and services for women to inform their evolution and wider usage

–   Testing specific approaches and services to ensure they best meet the needs of underserved women

–  Product adaptation and iteration, including the analysis of service usage data, user feedback and further design research

Business modelling and support for scaling products and services

“From our experience, we have seen how the right technical assistance can truly help companies unlock impact at scale.

“Through this new round, we believe we can deepen the private sector’s contribution to the closing of the gender divide across low- and middle-income countries, in line with the GSMA Foundation’s unwavering commitment to addressing this challenge,” said Max Cuvellier Giacomelli, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA.

WiDEF will provide successful applicants in countries where USAID operates with tailored technical assistance for up to two years valued in the range of $50,000 to $150,000 USD. This support will be provided by the WiDEF Consortium and third-party suppliers engaged by WiDEF.

WiDEF aims to support commercially sustainable, scalable and evidence-based solutions to help close the gender digital divide. Successful applicants will need to articulate how their solution – and the technical assistance they draw on – will address at least two of the following core priority areas for WiDEF:

Improved access to affordable devices and online experiences

Increased availability of relevant products and tools

Elevation of digital literacy and skills

Enhancement of safety and security

Additionally, all applications will need to generate insights and data that expand the collection and use of gender-disaggregated research and analysis.

Full eligibility criteria and the application process can be found here. Applications are due by September 12, 2024.

 


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Reps to Donate 50% of Salaries to Fight Hunger

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House of Representatives at a plenary session on Thursday pledged to give up 50 per cent of their salaries for six months to address the hunger across the country.

During the session presided over by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu amended the motion, urging his colleagues to sacrifice 50% of their salaries. He made this plea when it was his turn to speak, seeking their support for this gesture.

“This government is doing its best but one year is not enough to address the challenges of this country. I want to plead with our colleagues to sacrifice 50 per cent for a period of six months.

“Our salary is N600,000 a month. I want to plead that we let go of 50 per cent of our salary for a period of six months,” Kalu said.

With each member paying N300,000 into a common purse, the legislative chamber will be contributing N108m monthly to the Federal Government and N648m for six months.


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