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Entrepreneurship is the Key to Unlocking Economic Development on Our Continent…..Tony Elumelu

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 5,000 African entrepreneurs, private and public sector leaders and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem convened in Lagos on Thursday, October 25, 2018 for the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum. The event which is the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, is a unique opportunity for bringing together young business talent, creating dynamic networks and transmitting the message to policymakers that a vibrant and responsible private sector will deliver economic transformation.

Now in its fourth year, the Forum marked the graduation of the 2018 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, following a rigorous nine-month period of training, mentorship and funding, which brought the total number of beneficiaries of the Programme to 4,470, with over 300,000 applications received to date.

One of the highlights was the unveiling of TEFConnect, a revolutionary digital community that brings together the complete entrepreneurshipecosystem across Africa and beyond, including entrepreneurs, investors and the broader business community on one platform, connecting them digitally with three vital elements for success – capital, market and business tools. Africa is riding a wave of rapid technological driven change in payment systems, education, agriculture and infrastructure and TEFConnect fulfills a critical role in linking entrepreneurs across the continent.

Commencing with a series of goodwill messages from key stakeholders in the investment, governmental and development communities, the event featured a pitching competition, panel discussions, as well as a vibrant interactive session between His Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo and the entrepreneurs, moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu. It also featured a session on the role of the private sector in the economic development of Africa with Dr. Awele Elumelu, TEF Trustee, Founder, Avon Medical and Gavi Champion for Immunisation in Africa; moderated by CNNMoney Africa Correspondent, Eleni Giokos. Parminder Vir, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation also unveiled the TEF Impact Documentary, featuring success stories of the Tony Elumeluu Entrepreneurs.

Tony Elumelu reiterated his commitment to championing Africa’s economic development by supporting and training a new generation of entrepreneurs, whose successes can transform the continent, delivering opportunity, job creation and social impact. ‘Africa’s future is in African hands’ he stated.

“Our Foundation and its unique approach of training, mentoring and funding has proven that entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking economic transformation of our continent. I believe so strongly that success can be democratized and if we can match ambition to opportunities, this extraordinary generation can achieve anything,” said Tony Elumelu.  “With TEFConnect, we have created a tool, that provides a digital platform to host ideas, champion success and demonstrate Africans ability to use the most advanced technologies to take charge of their economic destinies.”

His Excellency, President Nana Akudo-Addo of Ghana underlined the importance of galvanizing the broad entrepreneurship eco-system, calling on public sector representatives to encourage, support and replicate the work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in their respective regions.

Speaking on the importance of putting the right policies in place, President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “Nothing is changed or developed on its own. People must get up, speak, have discussions and change the dialogue”.

Since its inception, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered African entrepreneurs across the continent with a $5,000 non-refundable seed grant, a bespoke training programme designed specifically for the African environment and access to a dedicated group of mentors, significantly contributing to economic growth, job creation and revenue generation

The Forum was attended by key players in the private and public sector including Governor, Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulahi Abubakar; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nike Akande; Former Governor, Cross River State, HE Donald Duke and Former Governor of Anambra State, HE Peter Obi, among others.

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BUSINESS

Refinery: FG Will Source Forex from Dangote…Emefiele

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The Federal Government will soon start sourcing foreign exchange (forex) from Dangote Group, as soon as the latter’s refinery, petrochemicals and fertilizer projects come on stream.
This potential reversal of roles was disclosed by the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, after he spent over four hours touring the ongoing Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals, Fertilizer projects and Dangote deep-water jetty at the weekend.
Emefiele toured the project sites in the company of the President/CE of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Deputy Governor of the CBN, Aishah Ahmad; Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Olakunle Alake; Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries, Mr. Devakumar Edwin; and the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje.
The CBN governor premised his comment on the huge forex earnings that are expected to accrue from the export of the petrochemical and fertilizer products from the Dangote refinery and fertilizer plants by the time the fertilizer plant begins operations in May this year, and the refinery takes off as planned in 2020.
Mr. Emefiele, who commended Aliko Dangote for the volume of work done on the Dangote projects since his last visit over two years ago, also enthused that the refinery and fertilizer projects would help Nigeria to create thousands of Jobs and check importation of fuel by the federal government; thereby saving government huge amounts of forex currently being spent on fuel import.
He added that about 55 to 60 per cent of Nigeria’s spending on foreign exchange for the importation of petroleum products and food items would be saved when the Dangote Refinery come on stream. Emefiele said one third of Nigeria’s spending on forex will also be retained when the Dangote Refinery is completed.
Emefiele described the Dangote Refinery as transformational project for Nigeria, which totally keys into the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari on self-sufficiency in petroleum products, conservation of forex and diversification of the economy. “I am sure by that time, the CBN will be begging Dangote to sell its dollars to the bank,” he said.
He noted that the completion of the refinery would make Nigeria self-sufficient in the production of refined products and also make the country to be among the league of exporters of petroleum products.
Emefiele declared the CBN’s support to any company or individuals who are ready to invest in the transformation of the Nigeria economy. “We are ready to support in Naira and also ready to provide foreign exchange for any investor who is ready to support Nigeria’s transformational agenda.
“I use this opportunity to repeat that we are ready to support any individual like Aliko Dangote who is willing to invest in this country. We will continue to support companies that display the determination to support the CBN. I feel so delighted and I am happy this is happening in my own life-time and I am sure you are all so happy.”
Speaking also, President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the project would definitely transform the Nigerian economy. “We have a couple of projects at hand and we will continue with these transformative projects. The biggest problem we have in Nigeria is that we currently import more than we produce like any other African countries. But, by the time we finish our fertilizer plant, Nigeria will be the largest exporter of fertilizer in Africa. We will also be the largest exporter of petrochemicals and the largest exporter of petroleum products in the whole of Africa. This is a major transformation.”
He said the 3billion Standard Cubic Feet gas pipeline and other Dangote Projects are geared towards Nigeria’s economic transformation.
Dangote commended CBN for its moral support to the refinery project. “There are lots going on in Nigeria. We want the CBN to support us like what it did in cement sector, which made Nigeria not only self-sufficient in the production of cement, but it became an exporter of the product. Today, Nigeria will not even import cement because we no longer have capacity for importation of cement,” he added.
In a presentation made to the CBN governor, Group Executive Director at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, disclosed that the company’s target is for a significant portion of Nigeria’s crude oil production to be refined domestically, rather than imported, thereby creating jobs within Nigeria, and bringing a halt to the current importation of refined petroleum product.
Edwin said the refinery is going to provide over 100,000 indirect employment through retail outlets. He said the refinery is designed to meet Euro V grade, which is the highest standard in the world, hence products can be exported to any part of the world.
“It will be well diversified and able to process Nigerian crude, African crude and crude from other parts of the world. In terms of evacuation routes, two crude oil single point mooring (SPM) buoys and three multi-product SPMs will be located within the Atlantic Ocean to transfer crude oil to a calling tanker.
“The 2-Line Dangote Fertilizer Complex, consisting of Ammonia and Urea plants, is conceived to be one of the world’s largest fertilizer plants with a total capacity of 3 Million Tonnes per Annum of Urea fertilizer. Therefore, the Dangote Fertilizer is positioned to bridge the gap between local demand and national capacity. Dangote Fertilizer Plants will produce Urea that will assist farmers boost their crop yields through easy access to fertilizer,” he added.
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#FirstBankIssaVybe is a case study for any brand – Folake Ani-Mumuney

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In ecember 2018, FirstBank promoted a social media campaign tagged #FirstBankIssaVybe, #DecemberIssaVybe. It involved massive ticket giveaways to premium events in Lagos including the FirstBank sponsored Burna Live. Over 500 mostly VIP tickets, which cost from N15,000 to N50,000 – were given away and money raised for Down Syndrome when tickets to Burna Boy’s concert were slashed to N125.

The Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications of FirstBank, Folake Ani-Mumuney explains why #FirstBankIssaVybe was a success and what other brands can learn from it.                                                                                                                            

What is the concept behind #FirstBankIssaVybe and #DecemberIssaVybe?

#FirstBankIssaVybe was a variety performance for us. FirstBank, which has always been your partner in enabling your dreams, takes not just your financial well-being into consideration but your entire well-being by enabling opportunities for families to come together to celebrate. We supported concerts, plays, fashion, food etc. In all of those different expressions, we were making sure we supported our heritage, the value systems we believe in and created opportunities for families to bond across generations. The carefully curated experiences spoke to our ethos, what we believe in and what Nigerians would appreciate. We were not just concentrated like some other brands on specific areas, or just one name; we were true enablers across the raft, and offered variety

Why sponsor events in arts and entertainment?

We are making sure we look at so-called alternative jobs. That’s what the First and Arts platform does, beyond being the repository of our values and heritage which we mustn’t lose. We are creating jobs through entertainment and contributing to the GDP of Nigeria. In the last statistics which I think was in 2017, the creative industries contributed a good 2% to the GDP. They can contribute a lot more. We must diversify the economy and this is one of the reasons we enabled the arts and entertainment.

Why just concerts in Lagos and not nationwide?

With our partners, #DecemberIssaVybe, we were trying to curate across the country as a whole. In previous years we were fortunate enough to identify one or two events we knew were going to take place in other cities. Waka the Musical in 2017, I believe, was taken to Abuja but in 2018, Queen Moremi the Musical which was from the same production company was not. If it were, we definitely would have supported it. We were not as fortunate (as in previous years) in identifying partners who understood what we were trying to do. I think, increasingly, we would like to see a situation where, across the country we see as much (events) as we see happening in Lagos. A good 80% of the events during this past Christmas were Lagos-centric.

How do you make it up to your customers and followers in other parts of Nigeria?

On events outside Lagos, in the past we have sponsored the Igue Festival in Edo State, and for a number of years, we were headline sponsors of the Calabar Carnival in Cross River State. We still make sure our branch within that region actively participates in the carnival even though we are no longer headline sponsors. Some of these events may be powered by branches in those regions and not spearheaded from the centre but we do make sure everybody feels us

What was your criteria for brands (eg: Burna Boy) and events you chose to partner with?

We have demonstrated we have a knack for spotting trends in the creative industries. We identify those we wish to partner with for that year and they end up being the biggest names. As the foremost bank, based on our experience overtime, it should be expected. So any time you see us beginning to push a play or an alternative expression like spoken word or fringe theatres like Freedom Park, just know that person or trend is going to blow.

Would you regard IssaVybe as a success and what do you owe your success to?

It was a tremendous success because we reached a lot of our customers and had amazing feedback from social media. The engagement we had is worthy of a case study for any brand. I have an amazing team. And how they did all of that the whole of Deecember: up all night at the concerts and plays, and then the next day, they kept on going. I just think all of that was the vybe.

Going forward, how does FirstBank hope to capitalise on the publicity gained from IssaVybe?

It was not a publicity stunt. It was actually supposed to be something that would deepen capacity and appreciation of the various genres that I talked about. What we did was cross-pollination: For those who ordinarily would go to concert, when we engaged them, we were also telling them, “Don’t do only concerts; do financial literacy as well.” It was really about making sure we opened people up to new experiences. FirstBank has become the defining curator for December experience

Do you have other promos planned for each month or is this just a one-time thing?

Yes, we do. It is not that we have just started but we have always done. Throughout the course of the year, there’s a very rich and robust calendar of different things.

Will these be tied to your 125th anniversary?

This year we are definitely going to be celebrating 125 years. If you look globally, how many countries can claim and boast of having an institution over a 100 years. We want Nigerians to be proud to say actually, we have a home grown brand that stands tall with other companies out there at 125 years. We are a bank and a brand that has demonstrated, within its DNA, it knows how to reinvent itself and remain relevant through all ages. We are still at the forefront of technology and innovation through all the things we do. Very true to our name, we have introduced a lot of things first. I think there’s reason to celebrate 125 and everything we do this year would be around it.

Why the sudden push for a young, hip brand image –through #FirstBankIssaVybe for example?

What we push for is to remain around for the next 125 years. It is not necessarily about appearing cool but enabling everybody to succeed, young and old alike. We are a bank for all generations.

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Banking

Microsoft 4Afrika partners FirstBank to support SMEs

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, together with Microsoft 4Afrika, will host a free-to-attend event for SMEs in Nigeria, designed to promote technology adoption and skills development.

The event will serve as an official launch of the new partnership between Microsoft 4Afrika and FirstBank, following a memorandum of understanding signed earlier in June 2018. The partnership seeks to build the capacity of local SMEs and accelerate their digital transformation, by providing them with exclusive and tailored non-financial solutions. Participants will be exposed to skills development resources, access to business networks and an educational platform.

According to Taiwo Shonekan, Head Customer Experience and Value Management, First Bank of Nigeria Limited: “This partnership with Microsoft enables us to deliver a portfolio of non-financial solutions to our SME customers. We have over the last 125 years supported SMEs in building their business, whilst contributing to the national economy. This partnership is a landmark step in our quest to leverage the influence of technology in businesses, especially in today’s digital age.”

“With this partnership, FirstBank customers can buy Microsoft products at discounted rates in the local currency – the naira – as this seamlessly aids technology adoption, skills and capacity development among SMEs in Nigeria,” she adds.

Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative and the keynote speaker for the event says: “For SMEs, integrating technology into their operations is no longer an option, but a necessity for future growth and success. We’re looking forward to engaging in discussions that explore how technology can extend reach to new markets and improve productivity, which results in better customer service, more competitive offerings and the ability to act with agility.”

Across the continent, Microsoft 4Afrika is forging partnerships with several players in the SME ecosystem – from banks to telcos – to enhance SME offerings and reach a broader audience.

“Technology and the relevant digital skills today play such an integral role in business success. We’re working with organisations to extend this support to as many SMEs as possible, ensuring not only their success, but the growth and competiveness of our continent in an increasingly digital world.”

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