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Business Africa Online Announces Its Strategic Advisory Board

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Business Africa Online (BAO) Board Members – Joy Harrison-Abiola, Amb. Olivier Arrindell and Prof. Remi Duyile

Business Africa Online very pleased to announce that Joy Harrison-Abiola, Amb. Olivier Arrindell and Prof. Remi Duyile recently joined its Strategic Advisory Board on the 15th of January 2021. Mrs. Joy Harrison-Abiola is a legal management professional with about 23 years’ experience in the legal industry. Currently, she is the Practice Administrator of a leading law firm in Nigeria, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun (“ACAS-Law”). Amb. Olivier Arrindell was the Managing Director of Financial Planning, Investor Relations, & Corporate Planning for Grace Aviation Holdings, LLC, and in December of 2019 was appointed as the CEO of Ava Airways by its Board of Directors. While Amb. Remi Duyile who was recently appointed into the Forbes Coaching Council is a seasoned Mentor, business owner and an influence strategist who is passionate about helping people maximize their potentials.

They join Business Africa Online in an exciting and challenging times as we continue to drive our omni-channel forward and build deeper relationships with our critical stakeholders to fulfill our vision of enabling emerging leaders and businesses especially in Africa.

“We are confident they will provide valuable perspectives as we continue to execute our strategy, build an agile brand and make greater impact.  We look forward to their contributions and are excited they chose BAO” said Alaba Ayinuola, Business Africa Online Founder and CEO.

Get to know them better in this recent interview.

Mrs. Joy Harrison-Abiola

Could you briefly tell us about yourself and current engagements?

My name is Joy Harrison-Abiola. I am a legal management professional with about 23 years’ experience in the legal industry.  Currently, I am the Practice Administrator of a leading law firm in Nigeria, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun (“ACAS-Law”). I am very passionate about leadership and business best practices. In 2008, I was instrumental in putting together the first law firm management development program (MDP) at the Lagos Business School (LBS) Pan-African University in collaboration with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) Lincolnshire Illinois USA. I serve in the leadership of the International Relations Committee of ALA.

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management Nigeria (ISMN). I am serving a two-year term as the President of the Association of Law Firm Administrators, Nigeria (“ALAN”). I started off my career about 25 years ago writing copy for an advertising company. Today, I still enjoy writing a great deal. It is therapy for me – Presently, I am a columnist with Thisday Newspaper. I am married with two sets of twins.

What excites you about our organization and attracted you to join our Board?

The entrepreneurial spirit BAO exudes, embodied in its founder is attractive. BAO is very future focused. That is also attractive. What is also attractive is its social impact agenda, its concerted efforts at collaboration and bringing together different segments of the society. Last but not least, its Pan-African focus – I am a strong advocate of preserving what is beautiful in our heritage even as we embrace globalization.

You are joining at a particularly challenging times (global pandemic) What are your expectations in terms of growth?

Crisis provides a good backdrop to excel. It puts values and vision to the test yes but its also a good time to thrive. I am optimistic.

What is your view on entrepreneurship as a catalyst for Africa’s development?

Entrepreneurs think differently. They have a mentality that can turn trash to treasures. Entrepreneurship, innovation, are therefore critical to any country’s economic development; and certainly Africa’s. Africa is the last frontier for global growth. Entrepreneurship will prise open sectors such as agriculture, mining, trade, tourism, financial sector etc. Entrepreneurs are playing an important role in creating wealth and reducing the unemployment rate in Africa. Entrepreneurship will enhance the standard of living of our people   Botswana and China are good examples to reference – It is a viable developmental agenda for Africa to pursue.

How do you relax outside work and what books do you read?

I love listening to Jazz music – John Coltrane, Louise Amstrong, Nat King Cole, Asa, Sade Adu, Bez, Michel Buble, etc. Leadership books – Robin Sharma, John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, Steve Murrell, etc. and of course my Bible.

Amb. Olivier Arrindell

Could you briefly tell us about yourself and current engagements?

Olivier Arrindell was the Managing Director of Financial Planning, Investor Relations, & Corporate Planning for Grace Aviation Holdings, LLC, and in December of 2019 was appointed as the CEO of Ava Airways by its Board of Directors. In this role, he is responsible and accountable to the Board of Directors for carrying out his duties and possesses a demonstrated track record in interacting with a policy board. Mr. Arrimdell plans, coordinates, directs, and is responsible for all activities associated with the operation of Ava Airways and its related economic development activities.

During his career, Mr. Arrindell has been instrumental in several initiatives including the development of Antigua & Barbuda’s new International Airport and many others, in addition, he has led the communications efforts around Grace Aviation’s company’s investment negotiation with investment partners and debt offerings. Most recently, he played a key role in the development and communication of Ava Airways balanced capital deployment strategy plan for its commercial airline plans which have resulted in favorable terms and conditions through a dividend principle policy.

What excites you about our organization and attracted you to join our Board?

What attracted me to your organisation is the fact that it is under the management and lead by young bright Africans. One of my goals is to give guidance and support Africans, Diaspora, Investment and community.

You are joining at a particularly challenging times (global pandemic) What are your expectations in terms of growth?

The current global pandemic is relevant to the growth and situation. I believe the expectation should organic. That’s growing organically regardless the pandemic. There are opportunities in challenging times.

What is your view on entrepreneurship as a catalyst for Africa’s development?

I believe that entrepreneurship is the machine that will move Africa forward. Government and African leaders should support the development of these entrepreneurs with policies that support the ecosystems.

Prof. Remi Duyile

Amb. Remi Duyile is a seasoned Mentor, business owner and an influence strategist who is passionate about helping people maximize their potentials. Remi’s unique value proposition is her ability to excel in Corporate America to the pinnacle of her career and transition to a successful serial entrepreneur with intentional impact. She enjoys the support of her loving husband and friend of 28 years plus and their adorable grown children of repute.

Remi is a certified trainer, Les Brown Platinum Speaker, and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. She is also an author of the book titled “Perseverance the winning key to your destiny”

She has invested in herself in the area of human capital and personal development from a successful corporate executive who was the cynosure of eyes due to her commitment to mentorship and career growth of others to better serve the needs of individuals and business leaders in quest of growth and sustainability in their life journey. 

Remi is a certified human behaviour consultant with specialization in the DISC personality profile assessments for individuals, professionals, businesses and religious organizations.

She currently serves as a commissioner in the great state of Maryland USA, sits on several local and international boards in influential capacities for impact.  Member of the National Coalition of 100 Black women and other Notable associations. As a serial entrepreneur with social impact, she doubles up as President and CEO of Image Consulting Group and Founder of Legacy Premier Foundation in the USA.

Remi’s passion, dynamism, energy and the power in her story is evident in all her engagements with her clients. She is so fired up to helping develop leaders with succession and transformational leadership mindset so they can fulfil purpose, pay it forward and leave a legacy.

She is an example of faith, hard work, perseverance leading to countless blessings. Remi enjoys the support of her loving and supportive husband with her amazing adult children.

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Press Release

The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at the MIT launches Foundry Fellowship for entrepreneurs in Africa

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The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT has launched the Foundry Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind leadership program for accomplished entrepreneurs who are considering their role in shaping the future of the African innovation ecosystems in which they work and live. At an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journeys, Fellows will learn from MIT faculty, connect with investors, and expand their network of peer innovators. The Fellowship is open to entrepreneurs working and living in Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal.

Building on the MIT ethos of Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand), the Foundry is a place where entrepreneurs come together to reflect on their achievements and shape their futures as leaders in business, investing, and governance. The program includes an interactive online curriculum followed by a three-week immersive session that brings the cohort together to explore innovation-driven ecosystems.

The Foundry Fellowship presents a unique opportunity to bring MIT resources and knowledge to these critical innovation ecosystems and, importantly, also offers MIT an opportunity to learn from successful leaders and their innovative solutions.

Professor Fiona Murray, Faculty Director of the Legatum Center, described this opportunity to expand MIT’s innovation network “[as] a moment for the Fellows to reflect on [their entrepreneurial] journey that also allows us to learn from them. They can use this experience as a stepping-off point as they move to the next stage of ecosystem-wide leadership.”

“As a school dedicated to the development of principled, innovative leaders who improve the world, MIT Sloan looks forward to welcoming the Legatum Foundry Fellows to Cambridge and to the MIT community,” said David Schmittlein, John C Head III Dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

A Collaboration between the Legatum Center and The Mastercard Foundation 

Through this collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, the Foundry Fellowship will deepen the impact of leaders who are solving complex problems, creating jobs, and bringing essential services to millions through innovation-driven business models.

With the world’s fastest growing youth population, Africa is home to 4 of the world’s top 5 fastest-growing economies, has the fastest urbanization rate in the world, and has a rapidly expanding middle class predicted to increase business and consumer spending. Innovation and entrepreneurial solutions are a critical component to continued growth and prosperous people and societies across the continent. Africa’s entrepreneurs are building businesses that offer lessons in inclusion, sustainability, and value creation that extend far beyond the continent. As a global network of entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders, the Legatum Center’s Foundry offers a platform for leaders to share their stories and consider new ways to extend their impact in their local ecosystems and around the world.

Dina Sherif, Executive Director of the Legatum Center says, “To propel Africa forward and remain competitive globally, we need innovation-led entrepreneurship and robust African entrepreneurial ecosystems. The Foundry Fellowship supports African entrepreneurs to transition to entrepreneurial leaders who work with various stakeholders to strengthen and improve their ecosystems.”

The Foundry Fellowship is a competitive program for outstanding entrepreneurial leaders working in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. The Legatum Center will accept nominations from May 3 – May 20, 2021. A nomination is not required to apply; entrepreneurs are invited to submit an application directly. All nominees and applicants must submit a completed application by 11:59 PM EDT on June 10, 2021 to be considered for the program.

Nomination and application information is available at The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship

An initial cohort of 15 Fellows will be selected for this fully-funded program.

 

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AI Expo Africa, Wesgro, and Zindi launch the Deepfake Africa Challenge

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AI Expo Africa, in partnership with Wesgro Film and Media Promotion and African Data Science competition platform Zindi, has launched the Deepfake Africa Challenge in a bid to raise awareness about deepfake media, tools and ethics on the African continent.

Deepfakes have been prominent in the news in the last two years as the tools and platforms that allow for such content to be produced are widely available and easy to use by both skilled and casual users.

While some deepfakes can be used to create fun, viral videos or new synthetic applications such as digital avatars that have multiple applications, they also can be used to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with the potential to deceive with subsequent negative impacts for people, organisations and wider society.

Dr Nick Bradshaw, founder & CEO of AI Media the company behind AI Expo Africa, stated, “The objective of the challenge is to create convincing deepfakes to highlight the power of this synthetic media, illustrating its creative potential for exploitation for both positive and negative outcomes and focusing debate about its ethical use or mis-use in an African context. We partnered with Zindi as they have the largest community of Data Scientists in Africa, and Wesgro Film Unit to tap into the award-winning creative industry based in the Western Cape, South Africa. This challenge is open to both creative and technical talent across Africa. We look forward to seeing the outcomes from the submission.”

Wesgro Film and Media Promotion head Monica Rorvik commented, “Deepfake media can have negative outcomes. This challenge serves as an opportunity and platform that we can leverage during this interesting time of the “Pandemic of deep fakes” – and by working together, and checking facts, we can learn together and gain some herd immunity.”

Zindi co-founder and CEO Celina Lee stated “Deepfakes are fast becoming a challenge of our time. Through the Zindi platform we are seeking to tap into the collective insights and creativity from twenty-six thousand African data scientists to shine a light on this topic and create debate about the potential harms these media and tools can do from a uniquely African perspective.”

Submission and evaluation

Submissions are welcome from across the African continent and from relevant communities including researchers, developers, content creatives and film makers. The winning submissions of the Deepfake Africa Challenge will be showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE between 7 to 9 September.

Submissions for the Deepfake Africa Challenge can be either video or audio based. Each submission should be no longer than 90 seconds in length (MP4 or MP3 preferred final format). The content submitted must not be offensive or harmful in anyway and any submissions deemed to contravene this rule by the judges will be immediately rejected.Winners must be citizens of an African country and must be residing in Africa.All entries will be judged as follows:
  1. Artistic creativity and relevance to the challenge topic
  2. Level of innovation used in the process to generate the content
  3. A short explanation of platforms, tools and techniques used to generate your submission will greatly enhance your submission and are encouraged so we can build a picture of the most common tools and techniques used

The judging panel will be made up of representatives from Zindi, The AI Media Group and Wesgro. The judge’s decision will be final.

Prizes

1st Place Winner: Complimentary ticket to join AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE (including 1x return economy flight & 4x nights hotel stay B&B courtesy of Radisson Blue to join us at AI Expo Africa 2022). The 1st Place Winner’s flight is eligible to delegates joining from outside the host city capped to $1000 using economy class fare. Expenses and visas are not included.

2nd and 3rd prize winners to receive 1x complimentary ticket to AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE.

Top 3 placed winners will have work showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 along with write up and press mentions.

Timeline

The competition closes on 30th July 2021. Final submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM GMT 30th July 2021. Winners will be notified and announced by 17 August 2021 with the winning submissions being showcased at AI Expo Africa 2021 ONLINE between 7-9 September.

The challenge organisers reserve the right to update the content timeline if necessary.

 

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Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa

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Lami team and press release (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)

Lami Technologies, a Kenyan insurance technology (insurtech) company that aims to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Kenyans, announced today it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding.

The round was led by Accion Venture Lab’s seed-stage investment initiative that provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.

Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses — including banks, tech companies, and other entities to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API. Lami can also be used by partner businesses to manage their own insurance needs. Lami connects partner organizations, such as the e-commerce platform Jumia, with underwriters and allows them to offer a superior customer journey. Through its API, users can get a quotation for motor, medical, or other tailored insurance products in seconds, then customize the benefits and adjust the premium to suit their needs, get their policy documents instantly, and claims are paid in record time.

Lami’s services are enabled by its flexible insurance rating engine and direct integration with several parties and insurance companies. Lami co-designs innovative products with its underwriting partners to enable businesses to offer unique insurance products to their underlying customer base, with flexible options that meet their needs and cash flows, such as monthly medical policies for startup employees.

Jihan Abass, CEO & Founder of Lami (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)

Jihan Abass, CEO, Lami, said: “This funding will allow us to invest in hiring more people, improving our technology, and growing our presence across Africa as we can continue to address the persistent insurance gap. At Lami, our vision is to help improve the financial resilience of millions by making insurance products more accessible and affordable for underserved populations. By enabling our business partners to offer customized insurance solutions, we are helping them provide more value to their customers while enabling large volumes of users to access insurance, often for the first time.”

Africa’s insurance market currently stands at a 3 percent penetration rate, except for South Africa, and is facing modernization and innovation challenges. Most insurance providers on the continent fail to offer flexible, affordable and tailored insurance coverage to provide a safety net for the African consumer. Low insurance uptake is partly due to the traditional distribution and administration of policies, mainly relying on brick-and-mortar channels where policies are sold and processed manually. This results in a longer processing cycle, poor customer satisfaction, and higher distribution costs.

Lami’s digital insurance platform leverages cloud computing, automation, and third-party service providers such as emergency and valuation, or identity and asset verification databases, to offer a comprehensive ecosystem for the businesses they partner with to develop, distribute and manage highly streamlined and competitive insurance products that are designed to meet their customers’ needs.

Since its inception, the insurtech startup has sold more than 5,000 policies and has partnered with more than 25 active underwriters, including Britam, Pioneer, and Madison Insurance, distributing more than 30 products available including medical, motor, employee benefits, and device insurance. As an innovator in the digital insurance space, Lami aims to continue diversifying its business by looking for new partners and building on its core technology.

Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion Venture Lab, said: “Ninety-seven percent of Africans lack access to insurance — a financial safety net that can help them build resilience against economic shocks. Lami helps address this need for consumers across Africa through its innovative approach that leverages technology and partnerships to help any business develop and sell insurance.”

“At Accion Venture Lab, we’re excited by how Lami is using technology to create a pathway for customers to purchase insurance that is specific to their needs. By embedding customized insurance within businesses that customers know and trust, Lami is making insurance accessible for underserved populations in Africa and enabling them to build financial resilience. “said Ashley Lewis, Africa Director, Accion Venture Lab

This investment highlights the strong commitment of all organizations to ensuring that financial services are made accessible and affordable for the underserved.

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