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Microsoft, Orange Unveil Africa SME Digital Transformation Plan

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Microsoft and Orange are collaborating to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa adopt digital technologies and further contribute to the economic development of the continent.

The pair announced their collaboration Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress, currently being held in Spain.

The deal with Orange Middle East and Africa (MEA) was sealed by Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office, which is focused on offering the company’s solutions to SMEs across 17 countries in MEA region.

Through this partnership, Microsoft and Orange aim to support 15,000 businesses throughout 2024, with an ambition to eventually reach one million SMEs, by providing access to technology, tools and support to accelerate adoption and promote digital inclusion.

In a statement, the companies said they will focus on three key areas:

  • using Orange’s distribution network to provide SMEs with access to Microsoft solutions, such as Microsoft 365, Copilot, Azure, and Dynamics 365, as well as facilitating the upskilling of Microsoft experts within each country;
  • preparing SMEs for digital adoption through training, marketing, and sales support programmes and adapting to modern work solutions; and
  • establishing a joint steering committee to oversee the performance of the partnership.

Jérôme Hénique, CEO, Orange MEA, stated: “This collaboration with Microsoft is a significant step in our commitment to support the digital transformation of African businesses.”

Lillian Barnard, president, Microsoft Africa, added: “SMEs are the engine of economic growth in Africa. By collaborating with Orange, we can help them adopt digital technologies and unleash their full potential to create jobs, stimulate innovation, and contribute to the economic development of the continent.”


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Ultimate Brand Faceoff as CVA 2024 Voting Closes 30th June

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Consumers show their loyalty for their preferred Brands in the ongoing voting for brands based on market experiences that is scheduled to close on 30th September 2024. In over 40 categories listed based on consumers nomination, Brands are contending for the top spots based on consumer preference.

The ongoing voting process is transparent and can be seen by anyone as the data is available on the consumer value awards website. In the telecommunication category (MNOS), MTN takes the Top spot having 46% of consumers vote in the category, Spectranet leads the Internet Service Provider Category with 80% of votes.

In the Table Water Category CWay overtakes Eva water who was the leading brand in the last month with Cway now having 37% of the vote in the category. This shows how competitive the voting is.

Some other brands have also moved up to be in the top spot in their categories, brands like fearless with 55% of vote in the Energy Drink category, Reload Multivitamin with 64% of vote in Multivitamin Infant category, cowbell with 55% vote in the Milk Skimmed Powdered category among others.

Akonte Ekine, Chief Executive Officer BrandXchange and Convener Consumers Value awards said the consumers are validating brand promises and it is a reward for promise kept hence the badge of honour from the Consumers which shows brand appreciation and a call to brand to wake up to the challenges of the economy and innovate to attend to the rising cost of living.

He commended the consumers for participating in the vote and call on more consumers to vote for brands as the closing date of 30th June is fast drawing near.


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Airtel Promotes Plastic Reduction at Employee Session to Mark World Environment Day

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Telecommunications network, Airtel Nigeria marked World Environment Day by hosting an insightful session aimed at educating employees on the practice of tackling plastic pollution. The event was held on Tuesday, 4th June, 2024, at Airtel Head office, Banana Island, Lagos.

Carl Cruz, Chief Executive Officer at Airtel Nigeria, represented by Femi Adeniran, Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, stated in his introductory remark that Airtel believes in leading by example, and has taken deliberate measures to ensure that the organization promotes a healthy environment.

“In line with this year’s global theme of “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience”, we are drilling down to focus on plastic reduction, waste disposal, and recycling, which are critical to achieving the goals being set by the global theme. These are not just environmental issues; they are pressing challenges that require immediate attention.

By reducing our plastic usage, managing waste efficiently, and embracing recycling, we can significantly lessen our environmental problems,” he remarked.

Environmental scientist and advocate Dr. Eugene Itua, who served as the facilitator at the event, shared insights on the pertinent strategies to adopt in combating plastic pollution.

His presentation covered a wide range of topics, ranging from the history of plastic use, the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on the environment and human health, and potential solutions to mitigate the pressing issue of plastic pollution.

“As the population grows, so does plastic waste. Since the 1950s, plastic use has become a norm, leading to the pervasive issue of micro plastics. These tiny particles, resulting from the degradation of plastic bottles left in the sun, enter our bodies through the food, water, and drinks we consume, thereby posing threats to our health,” he said.

Dr. Eugene further stressed the urgent need to take a paradigm shift from the traditional “take, use, and dispose” approach to a more sustainable “reuse, recycle, reorient and diversify” principle, embodying the circular economy.

He concluded by urging Airtel employees to take proactive steps to prevent plastic pollution and safeguard the environment. In his words “To tackle the challenge of plastic pollution, we must adopt practices such as recycling and reusing. Without action, the average flow of plastics into the ocean is projected to triple by 2040.”

According to Airtel, several other activities have been put in place to encourage plastic reduction and proper waste management. These activities include strengthening of policies to ensure responsible plastic use within the company, organizing of clean-up initiatives and educational seminars, internal sensitization on reusable alternatives and responsible disposal of plastic items, and utilization of social media and SMS campaigns to educate customers about plastic waste management.

The world environment day event reflects Airtel Nigeria’s dedication to fostering environmental awareness and sustainability within its corporate culture and the broader community. In line with this commitment to the broader community, the organization is set to commission a facility newly constructed for the Green Fingers Foundation, a Non-Governmental organization dedicated to environmental protection and wildlife conservation.

 


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NIPC Launches Investment Certification Programme in Enugu

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The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, has launched the Enugu State edition of the Nigerian Investment Certification Programme for States, NICPS, a programme designed to prime the states to attract both local and foreign investments.

This came on a day the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, said the state was quick to grab the investment certification opportunity co-signed by the Federal Government and the United Nations Development Programme to boost the state’s attractiveness to investors.

Speaking during a working visit to the governor on the sidelines of the flag-off programme, the Executive Secretary of NIPC, Aisha Rimi, said the “NICPS aims to identify and promote the unique investment opportunities within each state, enhance the image of the states as attractive destinations for investment, strengthen federal and state cooperation on investment promotion, and improve the services provided to investors, ultimately boosting investment inflows, creating jobs, and increasing state revenues.”

She said the agency was quick to launch the programme in Enugu State given the vast investment opportunities in the state and governor’s drive to harness them and also revive the state’s moribund assets.

“With its abundant natural resources, vibrant agricultural sector, and burgeoning industrial landscape, Enugu State stands to gain significantly from this programme. The State government’s efforts under your leadership, particularly in revitalising moribund industries, developing industrial parks, and improving infrastructure, align perfectly with the objectives of the NICPS.

“We are particularly encouraged by the governor’s commitment to projects such as the recent signing of an MoU with Pragmatic Palms Limited and the rehabilitation of the state’s moribund industries, including NigerGas Co. Ltd, Niger Steel Company Ltd, and Sunrise Flour Mills Ltd, amongst others. These initiatives are crucial for encouraging investment and economic growth.

“An important factor in attracting investment is the availability and clarity of land titling. The Enugu Geographic Information Service (ENGIS) created by the present state government plays a crucial role in this area.

“ENGIS ensures that investors can confidently acquire and develop land by streamlining the land titling processes and maintaining accurate records.

“So, as we launch the NICPS in Enugu State today, I am confident that the programme will significantly enhance the State’s ability to attract both foreign and domestic investments. The NICPS will also build capacity for State officials and promote industrial and economic growth,” she stated.

Responding, Governor Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, reiterated the administration’s determination to transition the state from a civil-service state to a private sector-driven economy.

“When we sought to serve our people, we understood clearly that we must migrate them from a predominantly civil service state to a productive state that we must curate investment.

“So, we have to think outside the box on how we can drive investment that will create the economy that we want to leave behind for our people.

“Therefore, when your certification programme was introduced to us, we were quite excited because that was essentially going to irrigate the fertile ground we tried to provide for the investors.

“All of us here are marketing officers and investment officers for the state. Our appetite to have investors is insatiable. That is what we wake up every morning thinking of how to do.

“So, on behalf of a grateful state, we want to assure the NIPC that whatever is required of us as a government, we will leave no stone unturned until those last lines are met to open a floodgate of investments,” Mbah said.

Throwing more light on the programme, the CEO of the Enugu State Investment Development Authority, Dr. Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, said the state investment certification programme, when completed, would serve as a stamp of approval that the state is ready to receive and sustain investment.

“The certification gives NIPC the confidence that we are ready and it makes it easier for them to drive those investors to our state. And of course, it gives us an edge over the number of other competing entities, both states and nations.

“Investors will go where they are welcomed and the certification program will make us stand out in the crowd as one of the few places that you can say yes, they are ready, and then my investment is safe and I want to go there,” he explained.


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