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Buhari tasks Universities on Entrepreneurial Training

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In order to further check the recent economic downturn and unemployment in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday called on Universities and other institutions of higher learning to re-focus their orientation towards an entrepreneurial-driven curriculum.

This, according to him, is with a view to creating jobs and also improve the capacity to train personnel which he said are needed to drive the government economic policies.

Buhari who stated this at the 41st Convocation Ceremony of the University of Benin in Edo state, noted that “As part of the efforts of this administration to address the burning issues of check the issue of youths unemployment in the country, our universities should to become more entrepreneurial in outlook while curriculum development should be industry driven with conscious efforts made to involve the industry. In the exercise it has been identified the university has the capacity to train the needed personnel to drive the various economic initiatives of the government.”

Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Onwuka, the President said though the ambition of the federal government remained the provision of qualitative education especially tertiary education for the nation’s teeming youths, this however requires the support of all stakeholders.

“If there is one thing Nigerians agree on, it is the fact that our educational system is undervalued; permit me to say at this point and very sadly too that the current standard of education in Nigeria has unfortunately succeeded in creating three classes of Nigerians; a minority that is well educated, a majority that is either mis-educated or poorly educated and those without education at all. This is not healthy for our country and concerted efforts should be made to reverse the trend”, the president pointed out According to him, “In a knowledge-driven 21st Century education is clearly the key driver of the socio-economic development and as we all know, the university is a major vehicle for the much deserved change in our society and in doing this, it must be responsive for the needs of its immediate environment.

“If Nigerian projection to be among the emerging economies after the BRICED countries Brazil, Russia, India and China, the university should take the centre stage, they should seek to be more entrepreneurial in outlook, each university is expected to identify its area of strength and lean on the support of experts within and outside this world to market those strong points.

“On the part of the federal government, I want to assure you of our determination to work assiduously within the limits of available resources to attain the desired change in the education sector and in doing this, government is not unmindful of the supporting roles of other stakeholders in the sector.

On the challenging security situation, Buhari said “it was as a result of activities of some misguided elements and groups, and what is worrisome is that our universities and our institutions of learning are not left out of this trend. Federal government note with dismay the incidences of bomb blasts and other related acts of terrorism in our institutions of learning and pledges its determination to put a final stop to this ugly trend as no responsible government will fold its arms and allow a system it took federal years to build to give over and allow it blown away overnight to the unwholesomeness activities of some elements in our midst.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase and Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie, renowned Consultant gynaecologist bagged Honourary Degrees at the well attended occasion, while a total of 11,020 students bagged different degrees.

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Standard Chartered Bank arranges a US$ 1.46 billion financing to fund the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Project

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The Government of Tanzania Ministry of Finance has signed a facility agreement with Standard Chartered (SC.com) Tanzania for a US$ 1.46 billion term loan financing to fund the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora.

Running approximately 550 kilometres long, the SGR project is one of the country’s biggest projects connecting Dodoma to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro and Makutupora. Once complete, the SGR Rail project will provide a safe and reliable means for efficiently transporting people and cargo to and from the existing Dar es Salaam Port.

According to the Tanzania Railways Corporation, it is expected that the railway will address current congestion challenges and decrease freight service charges by 40%, as the railway will be able to haul up to 10,000 tons of freight, equivalent to 500 lorries, per trip. It will also connect Tanzania to Burundi, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, thereby playing a key role in enhancing regional trade.

The project has already created more than 8,000 new direct employment opportunities for Tanzanians and has opened up opportunities for the local communities surrounding the project area to access social services such as shelter and food.

Standard Chartered Tanzania acted as Global Co-ordinator, Bookrunner and Mandated Lead Arranger on the facility agreement that is the largest foreign currency financing raised by the Ministry of Finance to date. The biggest component of financing comes from the Export Credit Agency Covered Facility(‘s) from the Export Credit Agencies of Denmark and Sweden.

Speaking at the event to sign off the deal, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Dr. Philip Mpango, commended and thanked Standard Chartered Tanzania.

“I am very delighted to sign off on this deal on behalf of the Government of Tanzania and its people. With the help of Standard Chartered and our partners, the project financing will further increase direct employment in Tanzania, and more importantly, enable our local communities the thrive as they will be able to gain access to wider social services such as food and housing.”

Mr. Mpango also commended and thanked the Governments of Sweden and Denmark, which were represented by their Ambassadors in Tanzania, for their confidence in the country’s economic growth. “These two nations, Sweden and Denmark, have shown us their true friendship not only in words but also in action. Please convey our country’s sincere appreciation to the Export Credit Agencies and lenders in your countries that have supported this signature project. As a country we shall honour our commitments as we have always done.” Hon. Dr. Mpango said.

In addition to thanking the Export Credit Agencies and lenders, Hon. Mpango also thanked the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), for supporting the project in partnership with Export Credit Agencies from Denmark and Sweden.

He added that the funding would enable the project to be completed in good time as per the set plans.

Mr. Sanjay Rughani, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Tanzania, said the deal signified investor confidence in the market and demonstrated Standard Chartered’s international network capabilities and commitment to Tanzania.

“As a leading international Bank for Africa, with over 100 years of being in Tanzania, the African continent remains a key corridor not only for Standard Chartered but also our global clients. We are delighted to have reached this milestone in Tanzania to fund the SGR project that will deliver massive benefits to Tanzania and support the government’s 2025 vision of making Tanzania an industrialised country.” Mr. Rughani said.

Mr. Rughani added that the Bank will continue to leverage its unique network reach, and the credibility it has built over time, to further position Tanzania as the go-to destination for investments.

Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Standard Chartered Africa and the Middle East said the deal signified the benefit of our unrivalled network capabilities into the region. “There is considerable appetite from the global investment community into Africa, with 80 percent of our top Corporate & Institutional clients using our Africa and Middle East network.  For Standard Chartered, Africa remains a priority for our business and clients, and we are proud to be able to use our expertise to support the Government of Tanzania with the finance needed for the SGR project.”

The sign off ceremony was also attended by the Ambassador of Denmark to Tanzania, H.E Mette Norgaard Dissing-Spandet and the Ambassador of Sweden to Tanzania, H.E Anders Sjoberg.

In attendance was also H.E Robert Mengoni, the Ambassador of Italy to Tanzania and Mr. Calumm Mcallum, Country Director, International Trade – for the British High Commission. The Country Manager for the Africa Development Bank Dr. Alex Mubiru and Resident Representative for the IMF in Tanzania, Mr. Jens Reinke also attended the event.

Other key Government Officials included the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr. Doto James, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Tanzania responsible for Economic and Financial Policies, Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila, and the Director General of the Tanzania Railway Corporation, Mr. Masanja Kadogosa.

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CSR: Ikeja Electric donates medical equipment to Ikorodu General Hospital

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Ikeja Electric Plc (IE), Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution company has donated an ultramodern phototherapy machine and clinical supplies to General Hospital, Ikorodu, as part of its CSR activities towards improvement of healthcare.

At the presentation held at the hospital, Ikeja Electric team comprising staff from the Headquarters in Ikeja and Ikorodu Business Unit presented the items to management of the Hospital in Ikorodu. The company’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Mrs. Enobong Ezekiel, expressed the Disco’s unwavering commitment to positively impact on lives and give back to the society.

Mrs. Ezekiel said: “Ikeja Electric is a customer centric organization and it means that we are also committed to ensuring that we make impact on communities where we operate; that is why we are here. Today is significant to us too, as the entire world is celebrating love. For us at Ikeja Electric, our theme this year is ‘Clean Love.’ So, we are celebrating pure love and saying ‘no to drugs’, as well.

“Being here today is motivated by love. And to donate the phototherapy equipment and clinical items to the Paediatric Unit is something significant that will add value to what already exist in the hospital. Ikeja Electric has also come to appreciate the management and staff for providing healthcare services to the neighbourhood and residents of Ikorodu town. We love the fact that you are our customer. And we have come to do our community service.”

While commending Ikeja Electric, Dr. Olufunmilayo Bankole, the Medical Director, General Hospital Ikorodu said: “Ikeja Electric today gave us a donation of a phototherapy machine. As a hospital we are really elated to receive them, we are very happy that we have other organizations who like to partner with government to make healthcare service in Lagos State much better than it is currently”.

“That phototherapy machine given us today is going to serve a lot of children in treating Jaundice. And we believe that if we are able to treat more people, we will be able to have a better health in our population in Lagos State. This phototherapy machine is going to go a long way in making a difference in the lives of these children.

“We want to say congratulations to Ikeja Electric. This is a noble cause. We know if they continue to do this as well as other agencies or individuals, who would like to partner with government to improve healthcare services in Lagos state, we will really welcome them to Ikorodu General Hospital.,” she added.

Speaking on the PCSR initiatives, Felix Ofulue, Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, said: As a business, we are very passionate about giving back to the society in which we operate. A lot of people know us as power distribution company, but beyond that there are many other things we do.

“One of them is CSR, which is predicated on three pillars – education, empowerment and health. This is one of the interventions for us to give back to the society. The selection of today is very deliberate because it is a day when love is expressed all over the world and we felt that this is another way of demonstrating love especially to children in Ikorodu,” he explained.

The presentation of the medical equipment and clinical supplies was done at children’s ward of the hospital.

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Tony Elumelu Foundation Disburses First Tranche of $5m Partnership Commitment from African Development Bank

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Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has congratulated the African Development Bank (AfDB), and AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship, with the disbursement of $2.5million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. $2.5m was released today, with the remainder expected to be disbursed to the entrepreneurs in Q12020.

The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursement from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 2,648entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly, and further accelerates the economic empowerment generated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation significantly increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiaries of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme rising from its annual commitment of 1,000, to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.

 With its commitment to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and develop young entrepreneurs, AfDB joined the growing listof global development institutions benefiting from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s unique model of identifying, training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa. The partnership demonstrates the implementation of the AfDB’s ten-year“Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy, launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million meaningful jobs across the continent.

The partnership illustrates TEF’s willingness to share its infrastructure and know-how, with others who share the missionto empower young African entrepreneurs and TEF’s goal of creating millions of jobs, as well as generating

 billions in revenue, to catalyse economic growth across the continent.

 

The Foundation is currently accepting applications to the2020 cohort of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on TEFConnect.com, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.

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