Lincoln University Confers Gold Merit Award On Gov Gaidam For Work On Education Security

The Lincoln University College of Malaysia, based in Petaling Jaya near Kuala Lumpur, has conferred a Gold Merit Award on H.E Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam for working hard to improve education and security in Yobe State despite the ongoing, six-year old Boko Haram insurgency in the state.

The award was conferred on him today at the University’s 2018 Convocation Ceremony which took place at the Putra World Trade Centre in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Lincoln University’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Amiya Bhaumik said they are impressed that despite the insurgency in Yobe State, Governor Gaidam had forged ahead to rebuild, expand, and equip schools, including some of those earlier destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents, and take other measures to improve education in the state.

“Governor Gaidam has lived the philosophy of Abraham Lincoln of working for the good of humanity. He is not only working hard to nip the Boko Haram insurgency in the bud by partnering with the security forces in Nigeria, he is also working to provide education to boys and girls and, in conjunction with the federal authorities, to make sure that those girls that have been kidnapped are returned safely to their parents.

“For all the contributions toward the development of mankind in the field of education and the promotion of peace and harmony, Lincoln University College today honours Gov. Gaidam”, the Vice Chancellor said.

The Pro-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Datuk Bibi Florina Abdullah also lauded the governor, saying as an institution that is ‘going global’, Lincoln University was pleased to honour the governor.

On his part, H.E Gov. Gaidam said he was humbled to be so recognised with the gold merit award.

“I am humbled by the fact that this award is a recognition of my contributions, which you have assessed, to the promotion of security, peace, well-being and educational development of my State, Yobe State of Nigeria… I wish to say that this event has no doubt helped to further bring to light what we in Yobe State of Nigeria have been doing for the development of education and security”, he said.

The governor, who spoke about specific actions that he took to re-position the education sector, said his administration is willing to establish partnership with Lincoln University, especially given their renowned excellence in the field of medicine.

“There is the need for collaboration between this University and the Yobe State University fully established and funded by our administration…The Lincoln University College can also assist us with expertise in the running of our State University Teaching Hospital, Damaturu and the full take-off of the College of Medical Sciences in the Yobe State University”, he said.

In a chat with newsmen, Gov. Gaidam said following the sad abduction of schoolgirls at GGSTC Dapchi, he was initially disinclined to receive the award. “The sad incident in Dapchi is very devastating. And although the offer letter from Lincoln University came well before the Dapchi incident, I was disinclined to receive the award with what has happened with our girls in Dapchi. But since serious efforts are underway to get the girls back – and we are confident they will be released Insha Allah – I decided not to be discourteous to the University after having initially accepted the honour”, he said.

Providing context to the award conferred on the governor, the Provost of the Atiku Abubakar College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Nguru Dr. Abba Idriss, who was present at the ceremony, said Lincoln University picked Yobe State as an area of research interest following a conference paper he delivered under the title “Boko Haram Insurgency and its Effects on Education in Nigeria: The Case of Yobe State” in Pahang, Malaysia in April, 2017.

“The occasion was the 2nd International Conference on Humanities, Language, Culture and Business. Many Malaysian Universities were represented at the conference, Lincoln University among them. After I delivered my paper, Lincoln University decided to show interest by checking some of the issues I raised.

“In partnership with their representatives in Nigeria, they went to Yobe State on their own and looked at how Boko Haram negatively impacted education in the state. They also looked at what the government was doing to address the challenges, including those of rebuilding destroyed infrastructure and restoring vital services. They reckoned that the governor had done well in educational development and therefore decided to recognise him for the effort”, Dr. Abba Idriss said.

While in Malaysia, H.E Gov. Gaidam will also hold various meetings including with officials of the Malaysian Ministry of Education, the Selangor State Economic Planning Unit and the officials of a Rice Farming Company, Mardi Corporation, amongst others.

#DapchiGirls Release: Biggest Relief Of The Moment, Says MSSN

The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), has expressed delight over the release of schoolgirls earlier abducted at a school in Dapchi, Yobe State, describing it as the biggest relief of the moment.
In a press statement by the President of the students’ body in Lagos State, Dr. Saheed Ashafa, he congratulated the parents of the released girls and sympathised with those whose daughters yet to be released.
Recall that the Federal Government has announced the release of the girls abducted by the insurgents at Government Science and Technical School, Dapchi on February 19.
The insurgents transported the girls back to Dapchi in the early hours of Wednesday.
While expressing optimism that the remaining girls would be released, Ashafa urged that adequate security measures should be put in place to prevent a similar occurrence.
He appealed that security should be tightened in all schools across the country, adding that attention should be paid to the medical and mental state of the released girls.
He said, “We hail the return of the Dapchi Schoolgirls and rejoice with their parents for the biggest relief of the moment. We appeal that Nigerian girls should never again be abducted from their schools. This is because when incidences like this happen, government and organisations’ efforts to get more children in school is defeated.
“It sends a negative signal about education and parents/guardians will be scared that schools are insecure places for girls. The provision of a safe environment for education is very crucial and germane to the nation’s progress.”
Ashafa, who condemned perpetrators of the abduction, demanded that more resources should be deployed to the security of schools.

“Situations, whereby students are exposed to various degrees of security threats, are unacceptable. Government at all levels must deploy quality resources to address the issue of security pitfalls in schools and our country as a whole,” he added.

Pepsodent celebrates World Oral Health Day, Leads The Epic Fight Against Tooth Decay

Pepsodent, a leading global toothpaste brand in partnership with the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA) and the Federal Ministry of Healthcelebrated the World Health Day on Tuesday, 20 March, 2018 at The Arcade, Eko Club, Surulere, Lagos.

Themed ‘Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health’, the celebration was a culmination of events organised by the brand, focused on raising awareness on oral health and encouraging good oral care habits.

2,000 Nigerian children were joined by the Unilever Ghana Nigeria Leadership Team, Nigerian Dental Association President, Dr Bode Ijarogbe, representatives of the Lagos State Commisioner of Health, Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Honourable Minister of state for Health, Honourable Minister of Health, First Lady of Lagos state, President and Founder of Well Being Foundation Africa, HOFOWEM Initiative and other dignatories, in an epic global battle to combat tooth decay, by pledging to brush every day, morning and night.

“Tooth decay is a widespread disease that affects both adults and children, and Pepsodent has taken the lead to fight this disease, by teaching children from an early age, the habit of brushing right, morning and night, every day. Pepsodent intends on educating over 1.5 million Nigerian children in 2018.” said Bunmi Adeniba, Unilever Marketing Director Ghana Nigeria.

“The fight against tooth decay and other oral diseases is one we can win, as long as we keep spreading the message of good oral hygiene. As part of our continuous efforts to fight oral diseases in Nigeria, Pepsodent has partnered with the Federal Ministry of Health to educate 10 million school children by 2020, on the adoption of good oral care habits. We have recognised that children are powerful behaviour change advocates in their homes, often driving conversation and action with parents and peers around issues like this.” she concluded.

“We need to empower Nigerians to take control of their oral health, so that they can enjoy a truly functional and enjoyable lifestyle from childhood into adulthood, hence our support to Unilever Nigeria Plc. and our collective commitment to fight tooth decay in Nigeria,” said Dr. Bode Ijarogbe, President, Nigerian Dental Association.

 “It is important to note that the mouth must be healthy for the body to be healthy, and that is why we are on a mission to ensure that more people are aware of the need to take proper care of their mouth.” he concluded.

Oral diseases are amongst the most common diseases worldwide. It can be prevented by brushing twice a day (morning and night), with a fluoride toothpaste like Pepsodent.

The World Oral Health Day was celebrated in grand style by Pepsodent. There were free dental check-ups for everyone, various educative, entertaining and engaging activities like spelling bee, dance competition, talent hunt, oral health drama presentation by the children, amongst others.

Kwara Speaker Felicitates With Toyin Saraki As Special Advisor To WHO

The Wife of the Senate President and  Founder/ President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Barrister Toyin Saraki, has been urged to use her new appointment as the Special Advisor of the World Health Organisation (WHO), to make accessible  and affordable healthcare  delivery a reality in Africa.
The Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad,  gave the advice in Ilorin, while reacting to her appointment by the WHO.
Dr. Ahmad, in his congratulatory message to the Founder/ President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, noted the African continent was bedevilled with numerous health challenges, and expressed confidence that she would put her experience in working closely with Midwives on the front line, as part of the global every woman, every child strategy, to end  all preventable, maternal, new born and child deaths  by 2030, inform her advice at the World Health Organization.
The Speaker, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdul Rahman Sanni, expressed delight that her roles in finding enduring solutions to numerous health challenges in Africa, was being recognised  globally and enjoined her to see the new role as a challenge towards rededicating herself towards serving humanity better.
He also advised Barrister Toyin Saraki, to use her influence as a global Goodwill Ambassador for International Confederation of Midwives, to make significant impact in the WHO AFRO’s focused curriculum for the professional qualification education of Midwives and Nurses  in Africa, to further check the incidence of high mortality rate on the continent.
It would be recalled that the State House of Assembly, under the leadership of the Speaker, 2 weeks ago bestowed Ambassador of Kwara State, on Barrister Toyin Saraki, in view of her outstanding contributions towards infant mortality rate in Africa.

PAYSTACK Partners Truecaller To Drive Online Payment

Paystack has partnered with Truecaller to allow more merchants across Africa accept payments online in a frictionless and secure manner by leveraging Truecaller’s mobile identity product, Truecaller SDK.

The partnership will also provide powerful tools that businesses and startups across Africa can use to verify the mobile identity of their customers, and in turn, further help in creating more trust in the online payments landscape on the continent.

Paystack is one of Nigeria’s largest payments startups, processing nearly 20% of all online transactions in Africa’s largest economy. The company (the first Nigerian startup to get into the celebrated Y Combinator Accelerator) aims to allow merchants in Africa accept payments from anyone, anywhere in the world.

Previously, all merchants who wanted to accept payments with Paystack had to be registered with various regulatory bodies. In Nigeria, where the vast majority of businesses are unregistered, the requirement to be registered prevented many legitimate offline businesses from realizing the benefits of online payments.

The Paystack-Truecaller partnership means that in addition to Paystack’s proprietary merchant risk assessment checks, merchants can now verify their mobile identity via  Truecaller. Integrating Truecaller’s mobile number identity product as a verification mechanism strengthens the Paystack platform’s merchant verification process and also makes it possible to open up Paystack to the millions of unregistered businesses who were previously unable to accept online payments with Paystack.

In the words of Paystack CEO, Shola Akinlade, “This partnership with Truecaller allows Paystack to deliver on our promise of trust as well as a frictionless experience. We want to be able to guarantee that all businesses paid via Paystack are thoroughly checked for legitimacy and credibility. In a low-trust environment like Nigeria where many people are paying online for the first time, it’s important to deliver a safe, fraud-free experience, and this is a responsibility that Paystack takes extremely seriously.”

Shola adds: “We needed to balance the strong desire to open Paystack up to unregistered business against the equally strong obligation to protect the interests of customers. Customers need the firm assurance that every Paystack merchant they pay is a vetted business, and our partnership with Truecaller ensures that we can continue to be worthy of customers’ trust.”

In addition to using Truecaller as part of the merchant verification flow, Paystack will also be introducing Truecaller as a verification option for local developers and startups who want to verify the identity of their own customers on Paystack’s developer platform.

Paystack already makes three verification options available to developers – the ability to verify the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of customers (BVN is an identifying number issued by Nigerian regulators), the ability to verify bank account details, and the ability to verify card details. Truecaller will be a fourth, new verification option, and the impact of this will be to create more trust in the payments flow for African businesses.

A typical use case would be a micro-lending app. In addition to their in-house customer verification steps and use of Paystack’s proprietary verification tools, the Paystack-Truecaller partnership now allows the makers of the lending app to verify the true identity of borrowers by their mobile identity, i.e. with their phone number.

Over 50 million Africans use Truecaller, and the app has helped helped Nigerian users block over 13 million calls and 25 million spam SMS, monthly. In November 2017, Truecaller announced plans to deepen the collaboration with the business, startup and developer ecosystem in Africa, and the partnership with Paystack represents a strong move towards helping African businesses leverage the power of Truecaller’s mobile identity platform.

Truecaller Head of Global Developer & Startup Relations, Priyam Bose, underscored the importance of this groundbreaking partnership: “Paystack is enabling the growth of a vibrant online payment ecosystem and the digitization of businesses for Nigerian economy. Truecaller is excited to play a strong role in this vision by enabling tools that increase trust and enable frictionless payments across Africa, powered by Paystack.”

Silicon Valley Women Tech Leaders Visit Nigeria for Week-Long Mentorship Program

A 16-member delegation of senior women technology executives and professionals from Silicon Valley, California are visiting Nigeria from March 18-23 as part of the TechWomen program.

They represent organizations as diverse as Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Mozilla, Autodesk, WomenCollegeTech, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Juniper Networks, as well as Fairrer Samani Group, Northgate Environmental Management, Jessica Dickinson Goodman Consulting, and the Institute of International Education.

Members of the delegation include Ms. Larissa Shapiro, Head of Mozilla’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Division, and Twitter’s Senior Software Engineer, Ms.  Elizabeth Deng. Ms. Deng, a computer science graduate of the University of Southern California co-organized “Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program” for the micro-blogging website in 2017.

Dr. Leedjia Svec, Director WomenCollegeTech and former Director of Programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, alongside Ms. Maile Smith, Principal Geologist/ Chief Operating Officer at Northgate Environmental Management, are part of the travelling delegation.

A 16-member delegation of senior women technology executives and professionals from Silicon Valley, California are visiting Nigeria from March 18-23 as part of the TechWomen program.

They represent organizations as diverse as Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Mozilla, Autodesk, WomenCollegeTech, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Juniper Networks, as well as Fairrer Samani Group, Northgate Environmental Management, Jessica Dickinson Goodman Consulting, and the Institute of International Education.

Members of the delegation include Ms. Larissa Shapiro, Head of Mozilla’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Division, and Twitter’s Senior Software Engineer, Ms.  Elizabeth Deng. Ms. Deng, a computer science graduate of the University of Southern California co-organized “Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program” for the micro-blogging website in 2017.

Dr. Leedjia Svec, Director WomenCollegeTech and former Director of Programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, alongside Ms. Maile Smith, Principal Geologist/ Chief Operating Officer at Northgate Environmental Management, are part of the travelling delegation.

Jumia Launches Annual Mobile Report

A recent report on the Nigerian Mobile Sector by Africa’s leading e-commerce company Jumia, has revealed an 11% increase in the number of Nigerians who visited the Jumia Website via their mobile phones – 79% in 2017 versus 71% in 2016. Meanwhile, those who used their desktop computers or laptops dipped to 18% in 2017 compared with 29% in 2016.

The report also shows that in 2017, 70% of Nigerians preferred the cash on delivery option, compared to 28% & 12% for credit/debit cards and mobile money options respectively.

Speaking at the launch of the Mobile Report in Lagos, CEO of Jumia Nigeria Juliet Anammah, described the upward shift from desktop to mobile as a positive development. She attributed the increase in the number of mobile phone users to the multiplicity of affordable smartphones, especially the Asian mobile brands which continue to build on their Africa-specific strategy by introducing lower price points’ smartphones adapted to the profiles of African users. She also listed a growing market for second-hand devices and the increasing use of social media sites (active social media users) as contributing factors.

Anammah further hinted that “the mobile industry continues to play an increasingly important role in the socio-economic development of the African region. As Nigeria swiftly becomes a mobile first country, with mobile phone penetration currently at 84% of the population, Jumia is doing its bit to close the gap with sales initiatives such as Jumia Mobile Week.”

This year, the stage is set once again for the biggest sale of mobile phones, beginning March 19th through 25th. This is a mobile-phone-only one-week-long sales event dedicated to opening up our customers to a wide range of mobile devices at half the normal prices. “We believe that, by end of 2018, at least every Nigerian will have access to a mobile phone,” added Anammah.

In his remark, the Chief Transformation Officer of MTN Nigeria Olubayo Adekambi identified “the expansion of E-commerce into a dual business model that blends the physical and the digital to create an ecosystem between brands and consumers across the two worlds”, as among the major factors fueling the increase in adoption of smartphones.

In order to ensure rural dwellers have increased access to ICT devices such as smartphones, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has created an IT Innovation hub, which has the capacity to produce e-literate groups from low skilled or low paid workers, unemployed people, and those with disabilities who do not have access to these ICTs.

“NITDA has seen in ICT the potential to change new and old forms of economic activity. We’ve created e-Learning Centres to further enrich the rural communities’ quest for learning and for continuous after-school reading and learning by both the students and teachers, among other initiatives,” noted the Government’s Agency Director General – Dr. Isa Ali Pantami.

The 2018 Mobile Report launch also had other Telecom & IT experts in attendance; as well as a host of Jumia brand partners, such as Techno, Infinix, Samsung etc.

Whistleblowing: Nullify Sack Of Lecturer, AFRICMIL Urges Education Minister

The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), has called on the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to urgently intervene and void the sack of a lecturer, Mr Joseph Akeju, whose appointment was terminated by the governing council of Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos, for exposing corrupt practices at the institution.

Mr. Akeju, a Chief Lecturer in the Department of Accountancy at Yabatech wasdismissed for seven years for using his position then, as bursar, to expose corrupt practices at the College.

Although he was recalled in 2016 after the Minister of Education gave the directive for his immediate reinstatement, Akeju who has worked for 31 years at Yabatech may be denied his entitlements due to the recent termination of his appointment by the college’s governing council, just a few days to his retirement.

In a letter signed by its Coordinator, Chido Onumah, AFRICMIL, a civil society organisation committed to creating awareness and advancing the safety of whistleblowers, said it was imperative for the Minister of Education to look into the case of Mr. Akeju as any step taken to deny him his entitlements as a patriotic and upright retiring public servant will spell doom for the fight against corruption.

 AFRICMIL expressed sadness over Mr. Akeju’s predicament and urged the Minister of Education to protect the interest of the lecturer who had blown the whistle against corruption.

According to AFRICMIL, Akeju’s recent dismissal by the management of Yabatech was pure vendetta to prevent him from getting his entitlements.

“Mr. Akeju is due for retirement from public service on 20th of March, 2018, but the chairman of the governing council, in a glaring act of desperation, perfected a scheme to deny him a dignified and honourable exit with the purported dismissal,” the letter noted.

AFRICMIL described the dismissal of Mr. Akeju as “vengeful, malicious and unjust,” noting that the action of the governing council of Yabatech was unmistakably a retaliation for Mr. Akeju’s outspokenness on the mismanagement and lack of openness and accountability perpetrated by the current governing council.

AFRICMIL said the continuous intimidation of Nigerians who have chosen to expose corruption will not only be a setback for the anti-corruption fight, but will also make it difficult for anyone to blow the whistle.

MRA Urges Speedy Presidential Assent To Digital Rights And Freedom Bill

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill into law as soon as he receives it from the National Assembly, saying it is the most practical way for his Administration to demonstrate its support for Internet freedom for Nigerians.

In a statement in Lagos, MRA applauded the leadership of National Assembly for the speedy passage of the Bill by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and urged them to ensure that a clean copy reaches the President for signature in the shortest time possible in order to bring their efforts to fruition.

The Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on December 19, 2017, was similarly passed by the Senate earlier this week, on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), described the proposed Law as “a strong piece of legislation that seeks to effectively protect the rights of Nigerians on the Internet and in the digital environment in accordance with the global norms and standards that Nigeria has helped to establish.”

Calling on President Buhari to assent to the Bill without delay and thereby demonstrate his willingness to protect the rights of all Nigerians online as they are protected offline, he said: “The Bill provides a comprehensive framework for the advancement, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet and in the digital environment, consistent with Nigeria’s regional and international obligations under various international human rights instruments, some of which Nigeria has led in bringing into being by co-sponsoring”.

For instance, Mr Ojo said, “Nigeria played a leading role on the global stage in 2012 when it led in co-sponsoring the landmark Resolution on the Promotion, Protection and Enjoyment of Human Rights on the Internet at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, alongside Sweden, the United States, Brazil, Turkey and Tunisia, wherein it was affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.”

Observing that the resolution has brought Nigeria tremendous respect and acclaim from around the world, he urged the President to sign the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill “in keeping with the groundbreaking direction and guidance which this Resolution provided to the global community on human rights online.”

In addition, Mr. Ojo said, the Digital Rights and Freedom Act will help boost an innovative environment for Nigerians, as well as accelerate the country’s development in the digital age by allowing all Nigerians take maximum advantage of emerging opportunities, adding that this will be beneficial to the government and its efforts to ensure the economic growth of Nigeria including though its recent Enabling Business Environment initiative.

Mr. Ojo added that: “The Bill, when it becomes Law, will bring Nigeria’s domestic law, policy and practices with regards to the protection of human rights on the Internet into conformity with this international norm that we were central as a nation in developing and bequeathing to the global community.”

MRA also called on all other stakeholders, especially the media and civil society actors, to lend their voices to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill by advocating for speedy presidential assent and subsequently, to monitor its implementation and ensure that its provisions are applied in practice.

Mr. Ojo said: “This piece of legislation will ultimately impact the personal and professional lives of every Nigerian who is connected to the Internet as well as those who will be connected in the future. It is therefore essential for all stakeholders to contribute to this process in every way possible including through advocacy, by writing about it, facilitating discussions and debates, playing their roles in ensuring its implementation and encouraging other members of society to do so as well.”

He also praised Paradigm Initiative for leading and coordinating the multi-stakeholder efforts that characterized the development and drafting of the Bill and resulted in its speedy passage by the National Assembly, saying it has once again demonstrated the power of civil society to positively affect the fortunes of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Buhari’s Visit: Lawmaker Urges Gov Wike To Make Friends For The People Of Rivers

Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Andrew Uchendu, has urged Governor Nyesom Wike, to take advantage of the proposed visit of President Muhammadu Buhari, to start making friends for Rivers people across borders.
In a statement released to journalists in Port Harcourt, Senator Uchendu, who noted that past political leaders of the state maintained a cordial relationship with the centre, said it was unfortunate that Governor Wike is taking a different route.
He said: “Historically speaking, our erstwhile political leaders have always worked amicably with the centre. The only exception was during the last admnistration, when we realised that our own was not prepared to look into our problems.
“I am surprised that a visit by the President which date is yet to be fixed is generating unnecessary negative remarks from a governor who is supposed to be courting fruitful relationships for his people beyond the state. Politics should not be played to this extent.”
Senator Uchendu, who is the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, further stated that the Federal Government, having embarked on developmental projects within its responsibilities that would have direct impact on the lives of citizens in the state, deserve some level of coorporation from the governor.
“To the best of my knowledge, the centre has commenced construction of the Bodo-Bonny Road which was in the planning phase for forty years; work has started on the proposed eight-lane Port Harcourt-Aba Express Road; the reconstruction of the Port Harcourt International Airport has also been accelerated, and the development of the Bonny Seaport is now receiving the required attention. These are strategic projects, unlike the short-term and motorpark-like projects of Governor Wike.
“I would therefore, advise the governor to relax and wait for the official date of the visit to be announced so that he would give the President a befitting reception, not just for his own interest, but for the overall good of Rivers people. We need friends across the Niger now more than ever before,” Senator Uchendu opined.

Mastercard, Vconnect Aim To Empower MSMEs Across Nigeria

Mastercard has partnered with Vconnect, Africa’s leading online business listing service, to empower Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as part of a shared commitment to drive financial inclusion and literacy in Africa.

Nigeria will be the first market to benefit from the partnership, which will be rolled out over a three year period. Vconnect will work closely with Mastercard and its partners to provide MSMEs with Mastercard’s mobile payment solution, Masterpass QR. Additionally merchants will have access to an array of digital tools that will help to enable their online presence, ensure effective business management and provide access to finance.

“With access to Masterpass QR, these merchants will be able to accept fast and secure digital payments, removing the need for cash,” said Omokehinde Adebanjo, Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard. “Additionally merchants will be given access to skills that have the potential of helping the business owner to develop a sustainable business.”

Vconnect currently has a community of over one million MSMEs registered on its database. These businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of the economy.

Naveen Luthra, Head of Growth and Partnerships at Vconnect, added, “We are thrilled to partner with Mastercard to ensure we are working together to support Africa’s growth. This collaboration represents what is possible when we combine global capabilities with firsthand experience.”

According to the World Bank, MSMEs make up approximately 60 percent of employment and 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in emerging economies, indicating the vital role in economic development. In Nigeria MSMEs comprise about 96 percent of the country’s businesses.

However, these business owners often battle to access finance, with approximately 70 percent of smaller businesses in emerging economies lacking access to credit loans. Combined with a lack of critical financial literacy skills and gaps in infrastructure, many businesses fail.

“Through this partnership, we aim to bring about improvement in the way these businesses operate to drive growth and new opportunities,” said Adebanjo.


Aboke Of Ibadan Land Lauds Sabrina For Sponsoring Oke’badan Festival

Aboke of Ibadan land, Chief Ifasola Ifamapowa has lauded EuroGlobal foods and distilleries Ltd, the maker of Sabrina for their generous donation and support at the recently held Oke’badan festival.

Chief Ifamapowa made the commendation during a ceremonial visit by representatives of EuroGlobal foods and distilleries Ltd to his Beere residence in the spirit of the festival.

Aboke, who is the convener of the festival, said it is an annual event that brings sons and daughters of Ibadan land home to celebrate their roots and pay homage to the founders of the city, thereby keeping memories alive and teaching the young ones the importance of their culture.

He appreciated makers of Sabrina brand for adding glamour to this year’s edition of the festival. “Sabrina is a popular brand in this city, and being part of this year’s celebration, the brand has proved itself as worthy partners. I am grateful for the kind support that EuroGlobal foods and distilleries Ltd has offered to make the celebration memorable,” he said.

Aboke urged Sabrina to continue to collaborate with the organizers to make it a success and a festival to reckon with for the social and economic development of Oyo State.

Marketing Head, EuroGlobal Foods and Distilleries Ltd, Devanshu Seth, said Sabrina sponsored Oke Ibadan festival which is a key festival among the people of Ibadan and the world as a whole to underscore the company’s commitmentto entrenchment of the cultures and traditions of Nigeria.

According to him, “the gesture is a way of giving back to a state that has provided our brand with friendship and conducive environment to thrive.”

EuroGlobal foods and distilleries, makers of the popular Sabrina brand, also has in its stable other exciting brands such as Seaking, Power Biters, Sona Biters, Maltonic, and Czar Ice.

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