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Fidelity Bank to Develop SMEs Capacity in Non-oil Exports Sector

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In furtherance of its resolve to help Nigerian businesses build sustainable export capabilities, leading Nigerian lender, Fidelity Bank Plc, is set to host the 11th and 12th editions of its highly acclaimed Export Management Programme (EMP).

Launched in 2016, the EMP is targeted at preparing participants for real-time experiences in the international non-oil export markets and the broader export market at large.

The session typically covers a wide range of topics including Export documentation, Selection and Implementation of Supply Chain Management for Exports, Application of Export Development Business Processes amongst others.

Speaking on the programme, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, managing director, Fidelity Bank Plc, noted that, “As a leading supporter of small businesses, we introduced the EMP five years ago to bridge the knowledge gap in the export business locally and to help participants to compete effectively in the global export market.

Given the success we have recorded in the course of the programme and following the yearnings of potential participants, we decided to host an edition of the training in Kano for those who are unable to attend the session in Lagos.”

While EMP 11 is scheduled to hold at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Lekki, Lagos between 4 and 8 October 2021; EMP 12 would hold at a soon-to-be announced venue in Kano State from 11 to 15 October 2021.

The sessions would be facilitated by leading faculty from LBS, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) staff as well as experts in financial management and exports.

Fidelity Bank has over the years demonstrated its resolve to grow the non-oil export side of the economy through strategic initiatives and partnerships. For instance, the bank provided over N32.7 billion in credits to businesses operating in strategic sectors including rice, dairy, poultry, oil palm and cocoa in 2019.

The bank has also successfully leveraged strategic partnerships with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) under various industry targeted intervention funding programmes to enhance access to credit for eligible players in the agribusiness and non-oil exports space with the aim of addressing food security gaps and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.

“The benefits of supporting the non-oil sector of the economy cannot be overemphasized given the immense benefits that it provides to the economy and the nation in terms of providing much needed foreign exchange investments, increasing our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment generation.

This informs our decision to host the EMP regularly and we enjoin interested entrepreneurs to take advantage of this initiative to take their business to the next level,” Onyeali-Ikpe explained.

 


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d.light Provides 10,000 Solar Home Systems to Refugees

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d.light, the global provider of transformational household products and affordable finance for low-income households, is providing 10,000 subsidized solar home systems to refugees who have fled conflict in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and who are now living in refugee camps in Northern and Western Uganda.

The 10,000 units are part of a wider initiative to supply 23,000 solar home systems to Ugandan refugee communities.

The project is being funded by a USD$3.4M grant from Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), a body made up of business associations, companies and public sector agencies in Uganda: and Energising Development (EnDev), an international programme by the German, Dutch, Norwegian and Swiss governments to provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy for delivering social, economic, and environmental change.

The project began in April and is scheduled to run for 12 months. Funds from the grant are subject to results based financing (RBF) and d.light will only receive funding for solar home systems that have been installed.

Each solar home system from d.light features three high-efficiency LED lights, an FM radio with MP3 playback, mobile phone charging capability, and a portable solar flashlight.

Commenting on the news, d.light’s Managing Director for Uganda Douglas Gavala said, “With this grant, we can expand the important work we’re doing to improve living conditions for underserved refugee communities from South Sudan, the DRC and elsewhere who are living in refugee camps in Uganda.

“A solar home system significantly improves the quality of life and wellbeing of a household – whether it’s providing entertainment or letting a family stay up to date on local and global news on the radio or enabling children to continue reading and studying after dark.

“As well as benefits at home, d.light products also bolster household income in Uganda’s refugee settlements by extending working hours for tradespeople and small businesses, and providing an income for residents who work as d.light salespeople in the settlements.

“By providing high-quality solar products at an affordable price, we are improving the quality of life for displaced people while simultaneously encouraging economic activity at a grassroots level.”

 


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DG NITDA Reiterates Needs for Safe and Inclusive Digital Environment

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To forge strategic partnerships and collaboration for the advancement of Nigeria’s digital transformation Agenda, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa has reiterated the need for a safe and inclusive online environment responsible for human and Artificial Intelligence (AI) practices in country.

Inuwa made the statement while playing host to a team from TikTok who visited Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja to seek alliance towards bolstering the country, which aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu priority area of strengthening national security for peace and prosperity.

The DG stated that content moderation strategies will help in addressing online problems like hate speech, misinformation, and cyberbullying in relation to the protection of minors across the country.

“With the Code of practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries in place, this has helped in ensuring digital safety in accordance with global best practice and content moderation to enhance security”, he said.

He further noted that “no organisation or institution can operate in silos, we need each other for the actualisation of our goals and objectives towards services delivery and for the advancement of the Nation.”

Highlighting some critical areas, Inuwa stated that leveraging on the platform will advance the country through Digital Literacy 4 All (DL4ALL), Capacity Building, knowledge sharing, trainings, and curbing misinformation, digital safety with the aim of creating a safer cyber space and empowering online environment for Nigerian users.

He added that the platform allows for creative expression through filters, stickers, and editing tools, entertainment and comedy are dominant themes, and informational videos on various topics are gaining traction which has become a launchpad for influencers and trends that can go viral.

Inuwa also explained that NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2.0 (SRAP 2024-2027) is structured around eight pillars which include; Fostering Digital Literacy and Cultivating Talents, Building a Robust Technology Research Ecosystem, Strengthening Policy Implementation and Legal Frameworks, Promoting Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure and Services, Enhancing Cybersecurity and Digital Trust, Nurturing an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Forging Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations, and Cultivating a Vibrant organisational Culture with an Agile Workforce.

In her earlier remarks, the Head of Government Regulation and Public Policy TikTok Nigeria and West Africa, Mrs Tokunbo Ibrahim has revealed that NITDA is one of its biggest and critical stakeholders in Nigeria that has an outstanding strides and performance in advancing the digital economy sector.

Ibrahim commended NITDA for its various initiatives, programmes, and policies set in place and aligns with that of TikTok, providing the opportunity were Nigerians use the platform to market, sell and export their products and services as well as talents to the outside world and make a living out of it.
She pointed out that there are projects and programmes that TikTok platform has forge ties of collaboration with, like the Africa creator hub where they do campaigns for tech creator, support, empower, and educate them on how to create contents and explore other sections of the platform, changing their narrative and adding values to what they are doing.

Ibrahim also added that TikTok platform considers online safety as one of its critical areas to secure the cyber space by providing an avenue for users to thrive and be productive in their various activities.

TikTok is currently running African mall to push the narrative of Africa to the world and creators are being equipped with information that they can create contents for products and services in Nigeria, thus can be exported to other countries of the world attracting investments


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Dr. Adesina, AfDB Group President Calls for Media Transformation to Uplift Africa’s Global Narrative

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Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group, delivered an impassioned plea for more balanced media coverage of Africa and its development, noting it was critical for changing false narratives.

Adesina said this on Thursday in a keynote speech to the All Africa’s Media summit in Nairobi, attended by nearly 300 participants from across the continent. He praised the crucial role the media plays in strengthening democracy and advancing inclusivity.

The Bank Group president said there were many positive developments in Africa yet the continent continues to suffer misrepresentations which undermine its economic progress and investment potential.

“Despite the significant progress within our continent, the prevailing media narrative often focuses on negative stereotypes, overlooking the substantial advancements and resilience Africa demonstrates,” he added.

Adesina said there was plenty of positive news to report about and highlighted the continent’s economic resilience regional and amid global challenges. He said that in 2023, Africa’s growth rate surpassed the global average, with 11 African nations ranked among the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Adesina referenced a 2021 Africa No Filter Report, which revealed significant adherence to outdated and negative clichés in media reports about Africa. “It’s time for change,” he declared. “We must reshape the narrative about Africa to reflect its true spirit and potential.”

He emphasised the critical nature of information and its ability to have a profound negative impact on development and investor perceptions even though an in-depth investigation by Moody’s Analytics had shown the continent was much less of a risk than many other continents.

“We must promote a balanced view that highlights both the challenges and the many successes of Africa. It’s about changing perceptions and showcasing Africa as a continent rich with opportunity and innovation.”

The Bank Group President also spoke about the challenges and transformations within the media sector, highlighting the impact of digital technology.

“The media landscape has dramatically shifted with the rise of the internet and mobile technology, leading to a proliferation of digital platforms,” Adesina declared.

“While this has democratised information, it has also complicated issues, the distinction between fact and fiction can become blurred.”

To counter unfair and unbalanced narratives, Adesina urged the creation of a powerful, globally respected African media and proposed strategic collaborations among regional financial institutions to support this cause, emphasising the need for media to act as a catalyst for development.

“We need to celebrate and promote the continent’s successes, turning the tide against the longstanding stereotypes that have clouded the global view of Africa… What you call yourself, is the name others will subscribe to you.”

“For as long as we continually denigrate ourselves and play into the hands of those who control the narrative about Africa, we will be stuck with a label that does not belong to us,” he concluded.

He highlighted the African Development Bank’s own successes which included maintaining a AAA credit rating and launching groundbreaking financial initiatives that have earned it respect as an innovative and successful multilateral development bank.

“We have proven that Africa can lead with innovation and strength in the global financial landscape,” the President remarked. “Yet, these achievements receive minimal attention compared to the persistent focus on Africa’s challenges.”

Adesina added that just one month ago, the Bank launched a landmark $750 million hybrid capital instrument, again with a Triple A rating, which was oversubscribed eight times. He described this as a huge “testament to the confidence and trust in Africa’s burgeoning financial capabilities.”

He pledged that the African Development Bank remained committed to supporting initiatives that would help the media present a more balanced and progressive portrayal of Africa and support its economic development.

In a discussion with Julie Gichuru of the Mastercard Foundation after his address, Adesina said Africa was blessed with energy sources, but millions remained without electricity. “This must change,” he said.

“We cannot industrialise in the dark, we cannot develop in the dark. Our children cannot be competitive in a world of darkness,” he concluded.


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