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International Women’s Day 2022: The BAO 30 Inspiring Women On Breaking The Bias

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In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, Business Africa Online (BAO) hosts 30 Inspiring Women #BreakingTheBias. These 30 Inspiring Women were selected across different industries to speak on this year’s IWD 2022 theme #BreakingTheBias. And also to share how they are Standing Out and Standing Up. Excerpt. 

 

Deloitte Africa CEO-Elect Ruwayda Redfearn

“International Women’s Day is a timely reminder of the progress made over the past few decades around the advancement of women and improving gender parity. The day is also an opportunity to remind each other of the work that still needs to be done to realise the global goal of gender equality.” Read More.

Ngozi Oyewole MD/CEO NOXIE Limited

“As an entrepreneur I am always happy to tell my story and the barriers I face every time, and how I overcome them. Like they say “Your story is your strength and be shameless about the hustle “. Office furniture manufacturing is expected to be a male dominated industry but I thrive very well and pounding the ground even harder than the men…” Read More 

Dr. Anino Emuwa, Managing Director, Avandis Consulting & Founder Africa Women CEOs.

“Gender-balanced leadership is essential for inclusive economic development, societal advancement and the sustainability of our planet. Whilst women and men make great leaders, women face systemic barriers – from unconscious bias to cultural constraints and negative perceptions. We need to #BreakThatBias for the well-being of mankind. Happy International Women’s Day!”

Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founding Partner at Aruwa Capital Management

“International Women’s Day is a day to acknowledge, honour and celebrate women around the world across every level of society, for the contributions they make each day to society. Women as mothers, wives, CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, board members and everything in between. This year’s theme of #BreakingTheBias is a perfect way to remind society of the unconscious biases that still exist in society and the uphill struggle women have to face everyday to have a voice and to be heard. At Aruwa Capital we are very excited to be breaking this bias by having more women as capital allocators and empowering the next generation of female entrepreneurs by encouraging women to create their own tables rather than asking for a seat.”

Serah Katusya Managing Director, GroupM East and Central Africa & SSA Coordination Lead

“I AM WOMAN BY EMMY MELI”.

This song is a reminder to what we are as women, what I am as a woman, and despite all the beat down we get we keep rising, we keep winning, and with every stone thrown, we build up. Read More 

Mariam Kamel, Angel Investor

“With female entrepreneurship on the rise globally, it is no surprise that Africa boasts one of the highest regional proportions of female entrepreneurs, where 1 in 4 women run their own business. We can visibly see evidence of this in our daily lives.” Read More 

Dr Tebogo Mashifana, Head of Department: Chemical Engineering Technology, University of Johannesburg

“We grow up in societies where we are made to believe that a girl child cannot do some of the things. We get into the classrooms where different systems exist to say a girl child cannot do certain subjects. In the workplace, there are still positions that women cannot occupy. May we be the generation whose decisions are not biased because of gender. May we never discriminate against HER because she is a woman. May we be the generation that champion and create environments that break the bias toward women. Let us #BreakTheBias, it is everyone’s responsibility.”

Fatima Alimohamed, CEO of African Brand Warrior

“We are in 2022 and still asking for a world that is free of bias, discrimination and stereotypes. Clearly, there is some resistance for this not to have already happened. We know that half the sky is held up by women. So why can’t we live in an inclusive world by elevating women’s visibility instead of having us predominantly hidden?’ We all need to take action to #BreakTheBias and question society and demand more from them. We must break the bias and increase access to equity, safety, justice and recognition for every woman. We must not only celebrate every aspect of the social, economic and political achievements of women, every single day. But we must campaign for equality and openly call out gender bias. We must #BreakTheBias NOW.”

Joy Harrison-Abiola, Practice Administrator, Dentons ACAS-LAW

I was 16 and just gained admission into the University. My brother who was a year older was already in University. I could not wait to join him but a shadow was cast over my dreams. My father could not afford our fees. The advice when he went to borrow money from a good friend was, “let your daughter stay back. She will only get married anyway.” Well my Dad did not take the advice. Dad trudged on stoically and with his sacrifice and that of my dear Mother, my brother and I graduated. Dr. Henry Udueni- after a 3rd degree in the UK, sadly passed. I went on to my 2nd degree, started a 3rd and I’m here. I have the piviledge of seeing the joy and gratitude in my Dad’s eyes that he did not hold me back. To build inclusive environments, safe spaces for all to thrive, to break barriers and provide equal opportunity for growth, takes vision and true commitment. It takes my Dad. #BreakingTheBias

Dr. Christine Izuakor, Cyber Culture Hacker & Founder/CEO, Cyber Pop-up

“I’m excited about the #BreakingTheBias campaign because I believe that the first step to breaking bias is consciousness. A lot of bias is unconscious and you cannot break a habit you don’t even know exists. This campaign is a great start to shining a light on various elements of bias impacting women across domains.  It’s only then that we can do something to change it. Happy International Women’s Day!”.

Temi Marcella Awogboro, Investor, Founder and Board Director

“Regardless of gender, International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 is a beautiful moment to reflect on and celebrate the strides made in women empowerment globally. However, gender biases and stereotypes remain deeply ingrained in our families, homes, societies and organizations, influencing the way we see and treat our girls and women”. Read More

Vumile Msweli, Founder of Hesed Consulting

In celebrating International Women’s Day and reflecting on #BreakingTheBias as a career coach it is natural that I consider the workplace. I think of biases like female bosses are terrible or that women have glass ceilings and at times even glass cliffs. Read More

Oyetola Oduyemi. Senior Director, Public Affairs for Africa, The END Fund.

This International Women’s Day commemoration is another wonderful opportunity to celebrate women the world over. In the last one year, Read More

Onyeka K. Akpaida, Relationship Manager Africa at Women’s World Banking & CIO, Rendra Foundation

Feeling like an Elephant trapped in the body of an Ant, having great potential without the architecture, strategy or replication structure to actualize it; I spent my formative years seeing women give up Read More

Vuyolwethu Dubese, MEAL and Innovation Consultant, Angel Investor

“I operate at the intersection of democratising capital to African female founders. Designing the impact of that capital and ensuring that women (and small businesses) are funnelled to the top through strategic partnerships. This year’s International Women’s Day theme #BreakingTheBias is a way to highlight the opportunities available to enable women to break the bias. And to connect them to enablers of these ecosystems who have (and continue to) trail brazed. Network(ing) is one of the currencies you can give women to trade equitably. It is a long road ahead to ultimately break the bias that’s been tapestried onto women’s capabilities. But days like IWD and publications like Business Africa Online (BAO), continue to mark the necessary evil of the work that is being and has to be done”.

Dr. Adama Kalokoh, Founder of Impact Sierra Leone

#BreakingTheBias – This theme resonates with me so deeply because we all deserve a seat at the table. It does not stop there, we also deserve the right for our voices to be respectfully heard in and out of the boardroom. Read More

Izin Akioya: Multidisciplinary, Marketing Expert and Author

I could easily swap my book title Mum, Find Love Again for #BreakTheBias. The inherent messages are so in sync that I feel opportune to have launched my book this year. Ageism, sexism, inequalities, racism, abuse, are all steeped in biases. Biases remain the leading root cause of non-inclusion, and therefore sit at the heart of a sustainable gender equity strategy. Progress in gender equity, progress in attaining women’s rights over the coming decades will be contingent on how much progress is made. In dismantling unconscious biases and nuances that drive unequal behaviors and societies.

Affirmative action and increased access to education will provide more women with economic security and opportunity. Yet, these women will continue to contend with traditions, lifestyles and faith systems that entrench biases. As we #BreakTheBias, we redefine culture and shape a new meaning of life and living. I am excited to be alive in these times. I am more excited for a future where #BreakTheBias will no longer be necessary.

Saibatu Mansaray, Former White Senior Executive and US Army Major Rtd)

As an African and Muslim woman who moved to the United States at 20 years of age and immediately joined the United States Army. I understand the bias I carried with me into a foreign land and the military. Everyday, questioning myself given my background. Read More

Chinedu Rita Rosa, Wine Export Consultant & CEO/Founder, Vines By Rosa

International Women’s day is a day to reflect and take account of our progress as Women. Celebrating Women from every work of life and culture. With a special emphasis on #BreakingTheBias, that as women, we face everyday. Enjoying our femininity and embracing our power, knowing that every obstacle that stands in our way can be overcome. Standing up Tall, Proud and as Equals in our own rights with no Bias and barriers to keep us from our goals.

Morenike George Taylor, Group MD, Flux Group

“We live in an imperfect world and the sooner we understand that the better. We can start working on how to improve and one area that we need to focus is to remove the bias against women. Women have traditionally been viewed as the weaker sex. We have more men as Presidents, Vice Presidents, CEOs of companies and Members of Parliament than women. This needs to change. Women have the power, potential and prowess to excel in any role. More women should be considered for roles in top leadership. It’s time to break the bias.”

Lisa Hurley,  Editor-At-Large of Linked Inclusion™

This year’s theme is “Break The Bias.” It’s goal is to help us “imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.” So, Read More

Abimbola Adebakin, CEO Advantage Health Africa

I look forward to a world that is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Women are so powerful when we choose to step into the fullness of our strengths and capabilities. And we have got to create a more enabling environment for women to do just that. We must empower and encourage more women to show up, speak up and show forth. 

Women must also begin to take the plunge and show up where it matters. We need more women to take their place everywhere, with skills as their superpower. The world is more beautiful when we all show up and work together. The outcome is indeed unfathomable when we all, no matter race, gender or social class, can show up in our truest, empowered form.

We must realise that different persons have different circumstances and require different resources and opportunities to BECOME. We must choose to fix the playing field and #breakthebias. We all have a role to play in creating the bias-free world we desire, from schools, to workplaces, to politics, to entrepreneurship. I choose to EMPOWER women. I choose to #BreakTheBias. Do you?

Margaret Adekunle, Founder & CEO, CLC

I am a woman who is fearless and unbelievably strong. There are so many forces that work against Black female entrepreneurs. Access to capital and support is the biggest piece. Society can make things extremely difficult for Black female professional/business owners in different ways such as being labelled “unpromotable” because of who you are not which has nothing to do with your skills or maliciously cancelling a business contract which is well planned out. Against all odds, Black women are strong, smart and have the ability to wither the storm and come out stronger and more successful. 

Advice to Black women

  • Never cry or worry about the past. Just focus on what you want to achieve
  • Always remember that those that really want you to win, will always find a way to help you win without excuses.
  • Keep in mind that you’re built differently.

#BreakTheBias 

Hermine Mbondo

As the founder of B4brand, a storytelling-driven marketing agency based in Toronto, Canada, breaking unconscious bias in marketing and advertising is a commitment to create truly diverse and inclusive content from an authentic voice that resonates with the audience. This goes far beyond simply using diverse imagery and brands must challenge existing stereotypes and biases to do better in order to build genuine connections with their audience. – 

Perpetual Kendi, Founder ADDLESTON PR & Laute Luxury Wines

Imagine a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination, a world where difference is valued and celebrated. Where we collectively #BreakTheBias.There are key terms used. Conscious and unconscious bias. The term “unconscious bias” describes our tendency to classify others through characteristics that are not valid. We can break the bias in our communities, workplaces, schools, colleges and universities. As we celebrate women this year, breaking bias is limited to our mental attention and we can all #breakconsious and unconscious bias towards our women.

Paulette Watson, MD/Founder, Academy Achievers

This year’s International Women’s day theme: #BreakingTheBias is really important for me as a black women and also the #BeMe digital inclusion program of raising one million females aspiration in Science Technology engineering math related careers. Read More 

Sally Kimangu, CEO Destination Imagination Africa

Individually, I think we’re all responsible for the way we think and the way we behave – all day,  every day. As women, it’s high time to let go of the stereotypical and societal beliefs that we  have clung onto which is limiting our impact in society and the world at large. Change is the only thing that remains to be constant, with reference to this year’s theme as we  commemorate International Women’s Day – 2022, I believe we can break bias in our  communities, workplaces, schools, universities and all works of life. We just need to make  conscious efforts in order for us to move ahead and level the playing field. 

Onyinye Udokporo, CEO of Enrich Learning

This year’s international women’s day theme, #BreakingTheBias is a significant one. Why? Because for as long as I can remember, there has always been one, or in some cases, several bias against women. Read More

Victoria Trochoux, Serial Entrepreneur & Keynote Speaker

We are a human force that nurtures and uplifts the world. Let us not wait to be hailed for our grace, courage and determination. As Talleyrand aptly said, “Where so many men have failed, a woman can succeed. Therefore, let’s break the prejudices and stereotypes, let’s be masters of our destiny because there’s a bigger dream for us #BreakTheBias

Natalie Nkembuh, Founder of Evolve Media Holdings Limited

Women can move mountains when they work together to support each other, co-create and give everyone the opportunity to take a step further towards attaining set goals. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked. An inclusive society where women feel at home just like men in key roles and decision-making positions, at the level of access to institutions and finance will go a long way to ensure this.

The BAO Inspirining Women #BreakingTheBias is proudly supported by Aruwa Capital Management, The Flux Group and Vines By Rosa. All female-led companies making a huge impact.

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Onboarding Strategies Transforming Businesses in Africa

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By Darlyn Okojie (Photo: shutterstock)

People are the most important aspect of any organisation. Whether they are your team members or your customers, they remain a critical component of your organisation. As a result, how you onboard; recruit, welcome, and manage has a significant impact on their performance.

Employee onboarding is the process of smoothing the transition from new hire to team member. A great onboarding system causes your team to be productive and engaged as quickly as possible because they feel welcome and connected to the culture.

It also helps your organisation to generate goodwill, increase retention, and ultimately create value in the form of employee productivity and loyalty.

Here are features of a great onboarding that is transforming businesses from zero to 100 in Africa;

Making a great first impression

Your first impression or how you welcome a new employee forms the foundation of their perception of your organisation. Take note of the peculiarities of the position vacant, and provide a welcoming system that suits this position. A tech startup should not present a new developer or programmer with voluminous physical paperwork to fill out; this type of onboarding demonstrates disconnection from this specific employee. Instead, new hires in this kind of field should be engaged via digital platforms and software.

New employees’ welfare

Also, welcoming new team members with welfare packages demonstrates how thoughtful you are and how much they are valued. Most religious organisations understand this concept of onboarding, they prepare a first-timer pack for newcomers. This pack typically includes snacks and information about the organisation. 

Some organisations budget some funds for transportation or data support for new team members. This helps to get things started on a great note, especially for those who have been out of work for some time.

A welcome kit for new employees is always a good idea for onboarding. Memo.Africa provides this as one of its products and services. With a single click, you can have a welcome kit delivered to your newest hire to make their transition into your organisation as smooth and memorable as possible. Memo.Africa will have their package delivered to them whether they are physically or remotely working in other cities, countries, or even continents. This type of gesture instills in new hires a sense of commitment and the need to go above and beyond for the organisation.

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Give team members tailored experience

Just as the onboarding process or experience should be an expression of your organization’s brand and culture, it should also be specific to the role your new employee will be taking on. Every irrelevant, extraneous question or process on a generic screen leaves a negative impression of your organisation’s brand. Every missing detail and wasted effort frustrate your new employee.

You need a solution that makes it easy to offer every employee a personalized experience that can be updated as needs arise. One of the ways of achieving this on a large scale, is to create a tailored experience for various departments in your organisation. Most people in the same department or unit share similar career demands and needs. Hence, it is easier to reach a larger number of people with tailored experience through this approach.

In conclusion, these are some of the strategies helping businesses get the most from new hires. Regardless of the size of your organisation, whether you are a solo entrepreneur, you need this knowledge to interact with customers, or you are a startup or an established business, you need this information to engage both your employees and customers. With just a click, Memo.Africa will take this burden off you. Regardless of where your customers or employees are in the world, Memo.Africa will reach them.

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Commercialisation of NNPCL and Corporate Governance

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NNPCL Unveiling (Images: Supplied)

Commercialisation is the reorganisation of enterprises wholly or partly owned by the government in which such commercialised enterprises shall operate as a profit-making commercial venture without subvention from the government.  Corporate Governance is the interaction between various participants (shareholders, board of directors, and company’s management) in shaping a corporation’s performance. The term corporate governance has become a well-accepted corporate parlance all over the world and this is because of the vital role it plays in today’s economy in terms of fostering economic growth, sustainable development and for the growth of a healthy corporate sector.

On Tuesday July 19, 2022 President Muhammadu Buhari officially unveiled the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 to enable it run effectively and compete with its global peers and allow private investors own shares in the new company. With the recent historic passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 (the PIA). There have been significant changes introduced by the Act. They are: 

  1. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is taking on a new legal status as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL). it is changing from a government agency to a limited liability company. The Act provides for incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 as a private company limited by shares. NNPC will assume the assets, interests and liabilities of the former Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. This is provided under section 54(1) of the PIA Act. 
  2. NNPC Limited will carry out petroleum operations on a commercial basis like private companies in Nigeria. This is provided under 64(a) PIA 2021. The idea is that NNPCL should run as a commercial entity, driven to make profits like any other company without recourse to government’s funds and generally be regulated by the CAMA. 
  3. Also, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) will eventually be listed on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), to enable Nigerians and investors own shares in NNPCL. When this happens, we can say NNPC has been privatised. For now, it has not been privatized yet. 
  4. Section 55(3) PIA 2021 provides that ownership of shares of NNPCL are vested in the Government to be held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and the Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated in equal portions on behalf of the Federation.
  5. PIA provides for corporate governance standards.

Section 61(1) of the PIA expressly provides for CG. It provides thus: “Members of the Board of NNPC Limited shall discharge their responsibilities in accordance with highest standards, practices and principles of Corporate Governance”.

The principles of CG are also provided under CAMA 2020. In accordance with the provisions of PIA 2021, NNPC Limited would generally be regulated by the CAMA, therefore other corporate requirements applicable under CAMA will also apply to NNPCL. This means that principles of corporate governance under CAMA are applicable to NNPCL. 

In the same vein, Section 62 of the PIA provides that Members of the Board of NNPC Limited shall discharge their responsibilities in accordance with the highest standards, practices and principles of corporate governance and shall ensure that its annual audit is conducted by an independent, competent, experienced, and qualified, auditor. Section 63 of the PIA also provides for specific responsibilities aimed at enhancing the commercial operations and best governance structure of the NNPC Limited.

Also, principles of CG are provided under the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018. The code is aimed at institutionalizing corporate governance practices.

Since section 61(1) of the PIA provides for compliance with CG principles, it can be reasonably implied that NNPCL might choose to comply with principles of CG under the NCCG 2018.

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The code provides for 28 principles, sixteen (16) of which relate to the Board of Directors and Officers of the Board; 4 concerning risk management, whistle blowing and audit processes ;3 on relationship with shareholders; 2 on ethical conduct of business (which extol establishment of policies and mechanisms for monitoring insider trading, related party transactions, conflict of interest and other corrupt activities); 1 on sustainability and 2 on transparency. The summary of these principles of corporate governance in Nigeria is on how to make those in the management of the companies more accountable, responsible and sensitive to the interest of shareholders, the interest of creditors and members of the public.

NNPC has not done great financially over the years. It seems to have only been profitable in 2 (or 3) years, out of its 45 years of existence. Despite being a major source of revenue, the oil sector lags other sectors in terms of GDP contribution. One of the reasons is that CG culture in NNPC has been very poor over the years. While it is commendable that the PIA has been enacted, it is important to note that if the principles of CG are not complied with by NNPCL, NNPCL might fail to achieve its aim . For instance, companies like Baring (UK), WorldCom, and Enron (USA) failed due to poor CG. In Nigeria, the last two decades witnessed the failure of many financial and non-financial firms such as Intercontinental Bank Plc., Oceanic bank limited, Nitel and Vodafone due to poor corporate Governance.

A good corporate governance culture is critical for any corporation of a developing economy like Nigeria. However, in virtually all the reported cases of corporate governance failures in Nigeria, poor CG largely is facilitated by corruption. This is because the managers of rule breaking firms are often politically-connected to top government officials or may bribe their institutional regulator to evade sanctions. Other problems relating to poor corporate governance in Nigeria include abuse of shareholders’ rights, lack of commitment on the part of the Board of directors, lack of adherence to the regulatory framework, weak monitoring systems, lack of transparency and lack of disclosure. Corruption hampers sustainable development, which makes it one of the principal challenges for companies and governments. Also, enforcement of the code by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) appears to be weak or non-existent in Nigeria.

To promote corporate governance in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), there must be a fair and accountable public governance by the Board of Directors and shareholders, effective implementation of the principles code, NNPC Ltd should be allowed to function better as an independent entity, devoid of government interference and control.

As much as the commercialisation of NNPCL and other significant changes in the PIA is a step towards economic growth and development, NNPCL can only achieve its goals and missions of making profits as well as economic growth by complying with the standards of corporate governance. Good governance culture and the principles of CG will indeed help strengthen the NNPCL and increase the confidence of the investors or shareholders in the Energy Sector in Nigeria. 

Written by: Temitope Olowolafe, a Law Graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.

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How Darlyn Okojie Solved Cross-Border Transactions With An Expanding Business

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Darlyn Okojie, Founder at Rugs and Floors (Image: Supplied)

Darlyn Okojie has never been a big dreamer, however, she is a strong believer in the power of hard work and sheer grit. “If I could think it then I could do it’’. Her personality has also made her realise that she loved being around smart people, especially those that inspire me to do more,.

Daryln has a friend who is a co-founder of an organization with operations in four African countries. In December 2020, he visited her and she was so excited about her growth and all she had accomplished with Rugs and Floors (at this time it was just Rugs and Floors Lagos). Darlyn showed him her books, but his reply was shocking. He asked her a barrage of questions e,g Can you produce your own rugs now? What would it take for you to supply outside Nigeria? Can you brand and customise rugs now? What makes you different from everyone else? How do you plan to expand? What’s your target for next year?

His question made her realize that although she had achieved a lot, there were still a myriad of opportunities to explore. She then listed all the questions he had asked, and it gave her a clear version of what she could accomplish. So she started doing her market research, studying different markets and ways to expand my business. A few months after the fateful conversation, Darlyn travelled to Kenya and then Turkey and started exploring the international market and her supply chain. As she started expanding her base, new challenges started arising. By the time she had expanded to a new market, she met her biggest challenge yet: cross-country payments. 

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Darlyn started off by dealing with the local money changers in these countries, which meant she had to go through the strenuous process of changing Naira to Dollars and Dollars to the local currency. Then, November 2021, she heard about Wise from a friend for the first time and decided to try them out. However, due to restrictions on forex made by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she couldn’t even open the account until she was out of the country. But as soon as she was out of the country, she opened a Wise account and it was life-changing for her as well as Rugs and Floors Africa and Memo Africa.

Wise allowed her to open 10 local accounts in different countries and she could perform transactions in various currencies including, British pounds, Euro, US dollar, Australian dollar and Turkish lira. Any business owner knows that handling finance is quite tasking, and conducting transactions across borders is hell. You can never predict the conversion rate.

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