In a statement issued in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Hon. Gbagi, described Ambassador Gambari as the newly appointed Chief of Staff as a man of character and excellence, Diplomatic understanding, whose outstanding academic accomplishments would stir the nation in the direction of meaningful progress.
“When I heard about the appointment of Ibrahim Gambari as the new Chief of Staff, I was completely impressed by the President’s choice.
“Without a doubt, he is a square peg in a square hole. In fact, while I served as a foreign officer in Hong Kong, he was my boss as the Foreign Affairs Minister at the time.
“From my dealings and personal interactions with him, I can attest that the new Chief of Staff is a man of solid character who insists on excellence at all times.
“Also, given his academic accomplishments, I have no doubt that he would bring about an impactful transformation in every aspect of our national life,” the former minister
Barrister. Gbagi is also a criminologist, entrepreneur, lawyer and philanthropist. He is presently working on a major national project and has been a force in states’ affairs in the South South of Nigeria.
|African Guarantee Fund Announces Response to Economic Impact of COVID-19|
|Fund Unveils COVID-19 Guarantee Facility Aimed at Reducing Financial Uncertainties Resulting from the Pandemic|
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18, 2020/ — African Guarantee Fund (www.AfricanGuaranteeFund.com) for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF), has today announced its COVID-19 response aimed at reducing the uncertainties facing financial institutions in Africa as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. AGF’s COVID-19 response is built on the imperative need for commercial solutions over and above the regulatory efforts already provided by the various central banks and governments in the continent.
African Guarantee Fund’s response sets the platform for economic stabilization, followed by an economic revival through AGF’s newly developed COVID-19 Guarantee Facility that will, firstly, provide more comfort to financial institutions to restructure facilities that become non-performing because of COVID-19 and, secondly, provide commercial stimulus to the financial sector with the aim of mitigating the deterioration of SMEs’ perceived risk.
Commenting on the announcement, AGF CEO, Mr. Felix Bikpo said, “The consequences of COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have escalating negative effects on SMEs in Africa both on the supply and demand sides. Consequently, we must assume that there follows a deterioration of these SMEs’ creditworthiness. This is likely to increase the cost of credit for the financial sector which will surely increase their reluctance to finance the SME sector if there is no external stimulus. It is because of this that we must develop a commercial response in addition to the regulatory responses given by the different central banks and governments in the continent. Therefore, in line with our mandate we have launched the COVID-19 Guarantee Facility.”
AGF will also continue to use its technical assistance support to increase the capacity of financial institutions in their risk assessment of SMEs during the crisis period. This will allow analyzing the impact of the pandemic on the financial institutions, so as to forge the best possible responses to adapt effectively.
The African Guarantee Fund recently received a third time AA- Rating by Fitch, which was first assigned in November 2017, a first for a guarantee fund in Africa.
“This exceptional rating is a sign of confidence and trust in AGF’s operational excellence, particularly now that financial institutions are in need of cushioning to continue lending to SMEs, who hold the key to the economic recovery of their respective countries,” concluded AGF CEO, Mr. Felix Bikpo.
Since inception, AGF has boosted SME lending in Africa by issuing guarantees to financial institutions thereby unlocking loans worth USD 2.5 Billion.
|Mastercard Builds on COVID-19 Response with Commitment to Connect 1 Billion People, 50 Million Small Businesses, 25 Million Women Entrepreneurs to the Digital Economy by 2025|
|Programs like the Mastercard Farmer Network and Kasha are connecting people across East Africa|
|NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18, 2020/ — Extends effort beyond 500 million financially included over the past five years; Maximizes technology, partnerships to deliver aid, insights and access to businesses and communities; Programs like the Mastercard Farmer Network and Kasha are connecting people across East Africa.
The health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have highlighted the critical need to support vulnerable populations, many of whom are disproportionately impacted. In this time of global crisis, Mastercard (www.Mastercard.com) has expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses.
The extended commitment builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 related health and economic challenges facing individuals all over the world, including in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Financial inclusion remains key to unlocking the potential of Sub-Saharan Africa, and will become crucial as we support Governments in driving long-term, sustainable economic recovery. Digital transactions are both safe and efficient and giving access to these for as many people as possible, is an important part of supporting the most vulnerable parts of the population through the current situation. Our focus right now – beyond philanthropy – is to steadfastly continue collaborating with governments and private sector partners on solutions that are safe, viable, and most importantly, socially impactful for communities across the region,” said Raghav Prasad, Mastercard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa.
At the 2015 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, Mastercard committed to bring 500 million excluded individuals into the financial system. It achieved that goal through more than 350 innovative programs across 80 countries.
The Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion (www.Mastercard.us) – the technology company’s first lab focused on financial inclusion – is committed to empowering millions of Africans through the use of public-private partnerships, and the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions. One such solution is the Mastercard Farmer Network, a mobile platform that improves market access, increases price transparency and digitizes payments to connect small farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
East Africa is also served by Kasha, an e-commerce platform optimized for women’s health and personal care. It offers confidential and convenient service, online/offline digital ordering and delivery to both urban and low-income rural areas. In Uganda, Mastercard launched Kupaa in partnership with UNICEF Uganda and the country’s Ministry of Education. It enables parents and caregivers to pay school fees and other school expenses with their mobile phones securely, easily, and in small payments when they are able, easing the burden of lump sum payments.
Mastercard also expanded its partnership with Unilever to create Jaza Duka (fill up your store) – a digital program for micro-merchants in Kenya with more than 18,000 duka owners already registered. The program provides a micro-credit eligibility recommendation to Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), which can then assess a retailer’s credit worthiness and extend credit for stock purchases.
Additional efforts include ongoing work on government disbursement solutions, wage digitization of private sector workers, solutions for gig workers, scaling efforts with fintechs, digital platforms and digital wallets/apps, solutions addressing needs of the financially vulnerable and the expansion of CityKey and Community Pass programs.
This announcement builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to support an inclusive recovery by leveraging the company’s technology, capabilities and reach. That work includes:
|DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, May 18, 2020/ — FRD-e is now available for emergency deployment on ICs worldwide. Production of the first 30 FRD-e’s has started this week. These devices will be shipped worldwide to countries including Romania, Ghana, Tanzania and Brazil.
After 5 weeks of development, the first low-cost devices are ready and available to provide an additional solution to the worldwide need for respiratory equipment. The FRD-e is an initiative of the Dutch company Stogger, intensivist Hugo Touw of the Radboudumc and app building company Cosmicnode. The initiators created the device in order to help hospitals all over the world in need of additional, easy-to-use and low-cost ventilation equipment. A breathing balloon is already positioned above a bed of every IC patient. What has been added is a device that can take over the manual use by a nurse or doctor for 24 hours a day. The device can also be used with an app. Please watch the video in which intensivist Hugo Touw explains how the FRD-e works (link: https://vimeo.com/400057735). The video has been viewed already over 80,000 times.
Easy to control with an app
By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Federal Government has commended manufacturers in the country in their commitment in sustaining production of essential commodities despite the lockdown and curfew put in place to curtail the spread of Corona Virus otherwise known as COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, commended the manufacturers and captains of industry in Abuja at the weekly briefing of the Committee on Sustainable Production and Delivery of Essential Commodities During COVID-19.
Engr. Battah Ndirpaya, Manager, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) of the committee, who represented the minister said despite initial challenges faced by manufacturers and industries, they were able to ensure adequate production and distribution of essential items like food items, medical and pharmaceutical products.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Ibrahim Haruna, Deputy Director (Press), Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the minister said the intervention of government in ensuring free flow of the essential commodities as recommended by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was a major encouragement to manufacturers.
He, identified inter-state restrictions and curfew as one of the major obstacle against the free-flow and movement of essential commodities, even as he called on transporters of essential commodities to desist from the habit of smuggling passengers into states of destinations to avoid running into serious troubles.
The aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neoghbourhood to provide easy banking services
LAGOS, Nigeria, May 18, 2020/ — Ecobank Nigeria has reiterated that its agency banking scheme, also known as Xpress Points, is building entrepreneurs and pushing financial inclusion to the large unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. The Ecobank Xpress Point enables eligible Agents to carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) and earn commission on every transaction processed. The consumer experience is very good as customers can do simple deposit, payment and transfers in their own neighbourhood rather than travel for hours to a bank branch. Ecobank Xpress Points is also a channel that can be used for the deployment of national social intervention programmes of the Government.
The aim of the Xpress Point is to let every Nigerian and household have access to Ecobank services within their neoghbourhood to provide easy banking services.
Speaking in Lagos, Nike Kolawole, Head, Agency Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, said unemployed and retired persons should avail themselves the opportunity to earn extra income by keying into services offered by the bank as Xpress point agents. According to her, the Ecobank Xpress point which are in various neighbourhoods across the country, are well positioned to facilitate basic financial transactions, with the process and services simplified to attend to a broad spectrum of the society.
She further disclosed that agency banking in general, brings about economic and youth empowerment by way of job creation and earning extra income, adding that small savers can easily do their savings at home or near their home. This leads to financial inclusion of the underbanked in the country.
For now, Ecobank has over 43,000 agents across Africa. The agents carry out financial transactions on behalf of Ecobank and earn commission per transaction processed. Xpress Points can also be used as a channel for the deployment of national social intervention programmes, especially at this time that we are fighting the impact of lockdowns due to the COVID-19.”
Kolawole listed the services offered by the Xpress point agents as; cash in, cash out, fund transfer, bills payment, airtime recharge, remittance and account opening, among others. She added that the services are available for “sole proprietors, partnerships, co-operative societies, microfinance banks, companies with large distribution network – like petrol stations, FMCGs, telecommunication companies, super agents, aggregators and unregistered businesses such as petty traders, hair saloon and others.”
Ecobank boasts of a bouquet of digital channels comprising solutions aimed at delivering convenient, accessible and reliable financial services. For instance, users of the bank’s USSD code, *326# carry out transactions without paying session charges. The USSD platform, *326#, makes it possible to open an Xpress account and Xpress Save account instantly. The bank’s mobile banking app, Ecobank Mobile offers the option of generating a virtual card; this comes in handy as customers are continually turning to web payments for their shopping and payments. The Ecobank virtual card offers the flexibility and convenience of creating a shopping card that is not linked to a customer’s account but is fully capable of carrying out online payments. The virtual card can also be shared with loved ones as a gift card for their own shopping.
|This Smart delivery application allows each customer to place an order based on the available stock and select its date and place of delivery|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, May 18, 2020/ — Digital Afrique Telecom (DAT) (www.DigitalAfriqueTelecom.com) announced the successful launch of a Smart delivery app to enable businesses to simplify their order and delivery process.
This Smart delivery application allows each customer to place an order based on the available stock and select its date and place of delivery. Besides, one can control its order status in real time.
DAT makes the life of both customers and businesses simple. A company can now save time and money through this innovative app when it comes to generating extra business with a delivery service.
Simplice Anoh, founder and CEO of DAT, emphasized: “The Smart delivery app is bringing together customers and businesses on a whole new level of delivery service experience. Consumers can remain safe at home in these critical times and receive their order while businesses keep track of their sales objectives”
Smart delivery is also geared to manage the delivery staff, knowing in real time who is delivering what and calculating at the end of the day the stock depending on each order delivered. The delivery person in charge can also notify the customer via the app when the order is being delivered and even call him or her when necessary.
To make the difference, DAT has connected its innovative delivery application with a whatsapp chatbot where customers can place an order following the steps dictated by the automated whatsapp account. A QR code is generated at the end of the order and linked to the app automatically to trigger the order.
The Smart delivery app gives every business the opportunity to follow in real time via a back office the orders, the stock and most importantly the sales generated by the delivery activity.
Simplice Anoh added: “Service oriented businesses who benefit from the Smart delivery app can keep their customers happy especially during this difficult time where every new source of revenue is welcomed”
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