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Empowering small businesses in Africa through digital communication solutions



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By Abiola Ibrahim; Account Executive – Infobip

The African small business landscape is brimming with potential. From active markets to innovative entrepreneurs, the continent represents a vibrant hub of economic activity. Yet, in this dynamic environment, standing out and reaching customers can be a challenge.

Abiola Ibrahim

This is where digital communication steps in as a powerful tool for unlocking growth. By harnessing digital communication, these enterprises can amplify their brand presence, engage with their target audience effectively, and drive sustainable development.

Embracing mobile technology and data analytics

Mobile technology has emerged as an important tool for enhancing communication efforts and connecting with target audiences across Africa. According to GSMA Intelligence, mobile connectivity is playing a significant role in driving socioeconomic progress in Sub-Saharan Africa. Businesses can capitalise on this trend by adopting mobile-based communication strategies to reach and engage with their customers. For example, leveraging SMS marketing campaigns or developing mobile apps tailored to local preferences can enhance customer engagement and drive business growth.

Harnessing the power of data analytics, businesses can optimise their strategies, refine their messaging, and drive meaningful interactions to stay ahead of the competition. By embracing mobile technology and data analytics, small businesses can create a strong foundation for their digital communication efforts.

Personalisation and customer-centric approach

In an era dominated by personalised experiences, small businesses must tailor their communication efforts to resonate with individual preferences. This is more than just reaching customers; it is about engaging them in a conversation tailored specifically to their needs and desires. This involves a multifaceted approach, integrating various elements such as video content, storytelling, SEO optimisation, and community building into their strategies. Through video content, businesses can visually showcase their products or services, providing a more immersive and engaging experience for their audience. Unlike the traditional marketing storytelling, often perceived as one-way communication with customers, businesses who wish to build deeper relationships with their customers need to create conversational experiences. These experiences enable personalised, two-way communication that goes beyond simply using customer’s first name. They humanise the brand, making each interaction feel tailored to the individual customer and demonstrating that the company understands their preferences, from product choices to preferred communication channels.

Strategic use of digital communication solutions

Some small businesses have attained success by being strategic with their digital communication activities. They collect and store data using Customer Data platforms and use flow building solutions to trigger event-based conversations with customers on their preferred channels. This approach enables businesses to automate communication towards their target audience, ensuring the delivery of relevant and personalised messaging. Such strategies have been adopted by different organisations across various sectors to encourage purchases by customers who have abandoned their virtual carts, automate customer loyalty reward programs, set up efficient account signup and verification processes, and send automated reminders to customers to take certain actions.

Establishing a strong brand presence and maximising limited resources

Establishing a strong brand presence is vital for small businesses aiming to differentiate themselves in the market. Focusing on elements such as production, place, people, promotion, and process, businesses can define their unique value proposition and resonate with their target audience. Engaging in local connectivity and community engagement further strengthens brand authenticity, fosters trust, and fuels organic growth.

Small businesses often operate with limited budgets and resources, making it essential to adopt a strategic approach to digital communication campaigns. By setting attainable goals, leveraging technology, and prioritising audience insights, businesses can optimise their investments and maximise returns. Embracing AI-powered tools for content creation, targeted advertising and data-driven decision-making, can help unlock the full potential of digital communication.

Future opportunities and innovation

Looking ahead, the future of digital communication for small businesses in Africa is filled with opportunities for innovation and growth. As AI continues to reshape the marketing landscape, businesses can harness its capabilities to drive personalised experiences, automate processes, and explore new avenues for engagement. By staying agile, adaptive, and forward-thinking, small businesses can position themselves as industry leaders and capitalise on emerging trends to drive sustainable growth and prosperity.

As small businesses continue to evolve and adapt to changing market dynamics, their ability to effectively communicate will be instrumental in redefining entrepreneurship in Africa, shaping a prosperous future for themselves and their communities. Understanding what clients want is more important than ever, as it helps build stronger connections and fosters customers loyalty. Effective communication that delivers the best results involves knowing the right time and place to engage with customers. These preferences are discovered by analysing customer data and setting up events that make the communication most relevant to them.

In summary, the growth journey begins with building a community, getting to know your customers by collecting and analysing data, sending relevant information at the right time, and creating conversational experiences rather than talking at your customers.

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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


Oriental News 2024 Summit: Muda Yusuf to Lead Discussion on Nigeria’s Path to Green Economy Transition 



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Dr. Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Center for The Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, would drive discussion on Nigeria’s policy direction to establishing pathway towards economic recovery in line with global green economy initiative.

Muda Yusuf

Muda Yusuf

Yusuf, a renowned economist and former Director General, DG, of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, is the chairman of the 3rd National Conference being put together by Oriental News Nigeria, coming up on July 25th, 2024, at Radisson Blue GRA Ikeja, Lagos by 9am.

In recent years, economies all around the world have been experiencing a protracted slowdown driven by structural, global, and cyclical factors. Economic strategies that have been implemented to tackle recession and achieve rapid economic development have endangered sustainable growth by contributing to environmental degradation, global warming, and other negative repercussions.

Changing the paradigm to a green economy will boost natural capital stocks, safeguard the environment, and ensure social justice by providing practical tools and approaches to achieve sustainable growth while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

A transition to a green economy, however, faces challenges such as a lack of an appropriate policy framework, inadequate capital expenditure, varying levels of development, and resource endowments.

Therefore, for green sustainable development, newer business models, strategic changes and innovation in the use of resources, responsible and cleaner business practices, and green technologies are needed.

Above issues will form part of discussion to be spearheaded by Yusuf, who will further highlight challenges and how to accelerate the process.

Also, the Ag. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MD/CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, Abba Abubakar Aliyu, will be addressing key energy professionals and other government officials on the Agency’s current drive towards delivering clean and reliable electricity across Nigeria.

Aliyu, who has confirmed his participation at the conference will take audience through World Bank approved Nigeria Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project

At the event also, the Director General, D-G of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, would be x-raying key policies and options available in the country’s drive to strengthen her national economy while aligning with global push towards promoting green economy.

All of these will be the high point at the 3rd National Conference.

Oriental News Nigeria a leading digital media platform would gather key policy makers, Government and non-Governmental Organisations, industry experts in Nigeria’s financial sector to the conference which revolves around Nigeria’s Green Economy Initiative.

The theme of the 2024 Conference: ” Green Economy, Sustainable Growth and Infrastructure Transformation” considers various options available for Nigeria to sustain economic development and growth.

Sub-themes of the conference include, Green Finance, marketing, and supply chain, Strategies and Policies for a green economy, Renewable energy and Ecosystem for a green economy and Digital economy Entrepreneurship.

Agama, who has confirmed his attendance, expressed the belief that opportunities in terms of green economy are linked to the enormous possibilities for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, ecotourism, and coastal development.

Also, other stakeholders have highlighted that Nigeria’s commitment to harnessing its natural resource potential could make the country a pioneer in promoting green economy development, hence the choice of the theme of the conference.

The conference is segmented into two main broad areas, with the opening programme to address the key thematic topic through the guest speakers intervention and chairmans remarks with comments from participants which centers around the conference theme.

The second segment is round-table discussion through wider engagement by select professionals to discuss the main theme and sub-themes of the conference.

The conference will draw together and engage researchers, eminent practitioners, and policymakers from across the country who will form part of the plenary (Round-Table) session that will deliberate on the latest findings on practices and policies for a green economy and sustainable growth through strategic change and identify priorities for action by stakeholders to pursue the most promising policies and practices.

The conference will also serve as a venue where academic peers may exchange information, share experiences, collaborate, and develop management answers to pressing business issues.

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5 Core Business Areas where AI can Drive Revenue



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By Kehinde Ogundare, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria.

According to the United Nations, artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 – of which $1.2 trillion could be generated by Africa. With the potential to unlock significant growth and development in key industries across the continent, AI is fundamentally changing how businesses operate, driving innovation, improving efficiencies, and transforming lives.

Kehinde Ogundare, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria

Businesses of all sizes that have already invested in AI are reaping its benefits, from increasing business productivity and agility to improving customer experience and decision-making with McKinsey noting that AI leaders are outperforming their industry peers by a factor of 3.4.

But if businesses are to make the most of the opportunities offered by AI, it’s also important that it be deployed in the areas where it will have the greatest impact. Here are some areas and subsequent examples of how businesses can use AI within those areas to drive revenue.

1. Finance and billing

One of the most obvious places AI can help drive revenue in a business is in finances and billing. Having an accurate, up-to-date overview of finances can help an organisation know when to invest in growth, for example. And if a business wants a steady revenue flow, it must send out bills, invoices, and payment reminders on time.

Here, AI can help in several ways. When it comes to expense bills, for example, an AI tool with built-in image recognition would allow a business to scan its bills with the system, then auto-generate the amount, place, date, time, and category of expense, helping save loads of time and effort. For billing, meanwhile, AI can greatly speed up the onboarding process for new clients by automating large parts of it. AI-powered tools can also extract relevant information from invoices, including customer details and product descriptions, and automatically populate billing systems, creating further efficiency.

2. Lead prioritisation

Another key area is new business leads. More specifically, AI can help assess the calibre of leads that the sales team is bringing in. After all, two or three great leads can be more beneficial than 10 weak ones.

Using a points-based system, AI can help score leads according to their quality. That allows the sales team to better evaluate which leads are worth pursuing. In turn, that should allow them to make more sales at a more meaningful level.

3. Improved customer experience

Customer experience (CX), rather than product or price differences, has been the major differentiator for businesses for some time now. Customers are willing to spend more, are more likely to stay loyal, and recommend a business to friends and family if they have a good experience with it.

Businesses, therefore, need to pull out more stops than ever to ensure that their customer experience really stands out. Here again, AI can be helpful. Take sentiment analysis, for example. AI can help identify the most disgruntled customers, allowing customer success teams to focus on their needs and turn their experience of the business around.

4. Better targeted marketing

The most effective marketing today is highly personalised and targeted. AI can make it significantly easier to achieve the level of targeted personalisation necessary for marketing success today. Once integrated with a company’s data, an AI marketing tool can create and hone personalised marketing content based on each individual customer’s CRM data.

5. Enhanced employee productivity

There is a strong correlation between employee productivity and revenue. Employee productivity is in turn driven by positive employee experiences. The more productive your employees are, the higher your revenues and profit margins will be. AI can help improve both productivity and the overall employee experience by automating repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on the kind of meaningful work that drives increased revenues.

Embrace AI, but use the right providers

While AI can add immense value when it comes to driving revenue within organisations, it’s also critical that businesses know what they’re getting into when embracing AI. That means doing comprehensive background research and ensuring that they choose tools that meet their needs and adhere to privacy best practices.

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NBC Grants C54News Nod to Operate in Nigeria



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National Broadcast Commission (NBC) has granted approval to Future One Africa Television (FOA TV), a pan-African television station, to begin operations.

NBC Grants C54News Nod to Operate in Nigeria

This followed a significant investment of $7 million by Idris-Etanami Abiodun Usman, network’s CEO, to establish a state-of-the-art broadcasting facility.

With NBC’s approval, C54News is now cleared to launch its innovative programming, showcasing the diversity and richness of African cultures, talents, and experiences.

The network promises to deliver high-quality content, including news, documentaries, entertainment shows, and more, catering to a diverse audience across the continent.

FOA TV’s cutting-edge technology and creative approach aim to redefine the television landscape in Africa, providing a platform for African voices, stories, and perspectives to shine.

The network has assembled a team of experienced professionals, including renowned journalists, producers, and presenters, to drive its vision forward.

As C54News prepares to take over the airwaves, audiences can expect a fresh and exciting broadcasting experience that reflects the complexity and beauty of Africa.

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