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China to commit $1bn for Nigeria’s SEP

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Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said that China Exim Bank had promised to commit  one billion dollars for Special  Economic Zones (SEP) in the country.

Enelamah , who said this in Abuja on Thursday at a news conference,added  that the ministry was facilitating the setup of special economic zones throughout Nigeria.

He said that the Federal Government was understudying all the economic zones and industrial parks that being managed by different stakeholders.

“The good news is that the China Exim Bank says it is prepared to committee one billion dollars for special economic zone.

“So  there is going to be funding available as we begin to build on the industrial  centres and centres of excellence in the country,’’ Enelamah.

He said the ministry was running a feasibility study for the development of six Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) and securing funding in the budget for the first development phase to be launched in 2017.

“The specific goals include to help overcome the infrastructure disadvantages faced by local manufacturers, and promote the cluster effects gained by locating similar manufacturing businesses together,’’ Enelamah said.

He said the ministry was working with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to enhance investments and reverse the overall decline of FDI inflows.

“Key achievements include important investment promotion and protection agreements signed with Singapore and UAE and Investment roadshows undertaken in China, Germany, Singapore, Turkey, UAE, UK, and US.

“Also investors such as Nissan, Coca-Cola among others, have continued to express interest to expand investment in Nigeria,’’ the minister said.

He said a Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) had been created and monthly meetings had begun to monitor results achieved.

Enelamah said for industry, the ministry would broaden the scope and accelerate the growth of the manufacturing and industrial businesses, with a special focus on agribusiness and agro allied industries.

“This includes auto assembly and component manufacturing, mining, sugar, food processing, textile and garments, palm oil and leather,’’ he said.

Enelamah said that initiatives currently underway within the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) include the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) and a roadmap implementation with sugar, tomato, textile and garments.

According to him, to keep up with the rapidly transforming global economy, Nigeria’s digitisation has to be accelerated.

“The ministry digitalization initiatives currently underway include  the establishment of the Smart Digital Nigeria Economy project, as the baseline strategy for the digital-led growth of the Nigerian economy,’’ he said.

Enelamah said that the ministry was working in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other relevant government departments to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) through funding.

 

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Flux Panda Brings Live Stream Shopping to MENA Region

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Flux Panda Founder, Alexander Rauser

In response to the restrictions caused by the pandemic, Flux Panda was created to encourage businesses in the Middle East and North African region to utilize live streaming platforms to sell their products. The App combines the functionalities of an eCommerce website and live streaming app. Merchants upload the products they want to sell during the live stream, connect Flux Panda to multiple social media platforms with live streaming like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, and their customers can buy the products by clicking the buy button and entering their payment details.

“Our goal is to make the selling and buying process on live streams much easier and enable any business to own the experience. While many small and large businesses are already selling live on social networks, our solution fixes some key problems such as order management, real-time inventory, and customization capabilities. You could say we are similar to a platform like Shopify, but focused on live commerce.” says Alexander Rauser, Founder and CEO of Flux Panda.

The App offers a flexible pricing model to cater to small businesses, eCommerce companies, and even large retail brands. Currently, the Flux Panda partner network covers South East Asia, Central America, Africa and the Middle East with further expansion plans in 2021.

According to research by Coresight, live selling generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 and expectedly doubled in 2020 to $129 billion. Live selling has been popular in Asia for many years, even before the pandemic hit. The largest western fashion brands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton have already tried live stream eCommerce through China’s biggest marketplaces like Tmall and Little Red Book.

About Flux Panda

Flux Panda is a live selling solution established in 2020. It combines the functionalities of a multi-platform live streaming tool and an eCommerce website so viewers can view the details, add to cart, and pay for the items being demonstrated. It is the only solution where merchants can sign up and go live without any assistance or setup fees. It can be used by merchants with or without their own eCommerce site.

 

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aYo Uganda delivers value through pandemic

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Microinsurer aYo Uganda has underlined its commitment to the economic wellbeing of its customers in the country by paying out more than UGX 760 Million Shillings in 2020, through the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company offers Hospitalisation and Life Insurance Cover through its two insurance products, ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’. Commenting on the company’s performance, the CEO of aYo Uganda, Allan Lwanga, said consumer anxieties around Covid and its related economic challenges had heightened awareness of the need for protection and help in the event of either loss of life or hospitalisation.

“Despite the challenges brought about by the containment measures and an uncertain pathway of the pandemic including over three months of lockdown, the company was able to onboard up to 1 million new customers for the Recharge with Care product, and over 200 000 new customers for Send with Care products,” said Mr Lwanga.

Microinsurance is seen as a powerful enabler of financial inclusion in African markets, providing a much-needed social safety net that helps vulnerable people and particularly people with low incomes to stay afloat when the unexpected happens. This is particularly important in a developing country such as Uganda, where lower income households and informal traders have been hard-hit by the pandemic, as it has reduced their ability to generate an income.

aYo Uganda’s ‘Send with Care’ and ‘Recharge with Care’ products cater for all MTN subscribers. aYo Recharge with Care offers life and hospital insurance cover every time customers recharge their MTN airtime. Subscribers can sign up by dialling *296# on their mobile phones, and use the same process for filing claims. Valid claims are paid directly to the claimant’s mobile money wallet without any hassle. With Send with Care, aYo provides up to triple the amounts that customers have sent via MTN Mobile Money over the previous four months. Life cover pays out to their family in the event of their passing, and hospital cover pays straight into their MTN Mobile Money account if they spend one night or more in hospital due to an accident or illness. When customers send money, they simply select aYo Send with Care when prompted*, or dial *165*1*4#.

 

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CEO Corner

African Bank Appoints Kennedy Bungane, CEO

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African Bank New CEO, Kennedy Bungane (Press Release & Image: African Bank)

African Bank (“Board”) announces the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Bungane as the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as an executive director of the Bank and its holding company, African Bank Holdings Limited (“ABH”) effective 14 April 2021. The Bank confirms that the appointment of Kennedy was done in accordance with African Bank’s policy on the selection and nomination of executive directors, and in order to fill a vacancy as well as add to the skillset on the Board.

Kennedy brings over 20 years of banking experience with him, having started his career at Standard Bank in 1991, holding a number of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, CEO Corporate and Investment Banking for Standard Bank South Africa, and a member of the Standard Bank Group Executive Committee. After joining Barclays Africa in 2012 as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Limited and Head of Absa Group strategy, Kennedy led the sale of Barclays Africa Limited to the ABSA Group. More recently, Kennedy headed up the Phembani Group as its CEO. He also brings investment and strategic experience gained as the founder and chairman of Nokeng Telecoms and chairman of Idwala Capital.

Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School (USA).

Commenting on Kennedy’s appointment, the Chairman of the Board, Thabo Dloti, stated, “We welcome the appointment of Kennedy as the new permanent CEO. Kennedy has a keen sense for managing complex stakeholder issues. He has a proven track record in identifying and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results. His passion for the role that banking can play in transforming society resonated strongly with the Board.

As an experienced banker, he also critically has a good grasp of the strategic challenges facing the Bank, within a muted South African economy and competitive landscape, as well as the required regulatory and governance framework.

 

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