Lisa Hurley shares her thoughts with Business Africa Online (BAO) on this year’s IWD 2022 theme: #BreakingTheBias.
“I was a feminist before I even fully knew what the word meant. I was always that child who challenged “the way things are,” asked difficult questions, and pushed back. So as a lifelong feminist, of course I support International Women’s Day and everything it stands for. It celebrates and amplifies women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements around the globe. The day is also meant to shine a light on gender inequality, and to magnify the focus on increasing gender parity.
This year’s theme is “Break The Bias.” Its 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.”
But as I scroll through the International Women’s Day coverage, I feel concerned. As a marketer, I appreciate the power of a compelling visual; of a movement to rally behind, so one part of me loves the #BreakTheBias photos that people are posting with their arms crossed in front of them.
However, the other part of me feels like I’ve seen this before, particularly as relates to socio-political movements of this kind. Women, Black people, and other marginalized communities are offered Black squares on #BlackoutTuesday, as well as:
- Pink merchandise instead of actual legislation.
- BLM murals instead of actual police reform.
- Rainbow capitalism instead of actual grassroots support.
It feels distressingly performative.
Don’t get me wrong, visual signals matter. Being seen and represented matters. Changing the literal and figurative landscape matters. But we must be vigilant about not becoming complacent, and being satisfied with implementing this (arguably) easier aspect of activism.
So, on this International Women’s Day, I invite you to absolutely strike a pose. But I remind us all that after that, we must actually do the work. We can pose, and we can post, but we must also make sure that women are safe, are seen, are paid equitably, and more. The work is the path forward to help us #BreakTheBias.
Lisa Hurley is a writer, speaker, and activist whose work focuses on anti-racism, texturism, and destigmatizing introversion. She is also a passionate advocate for inclusion, equity, and gender equality. Lisa is the Editor-At-Large of Linked Inclusion™, co-host of Real Talk on Racism, co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast, and a member of the Black Speakers Collection. She has been quoted in Forbes, Essence, and Fast Company, is a contributing writer for No White Saviors, and was selected as one of pocstock’s The Future of Black America Top 50 Leaders for 2022. Lisa is always interested in sharing meaningful conversations! Feel free to connect with her on social media.
Onboarding Strategies Transforming Businesses in Africa
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.
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.
Commercialisation of NNPCL and Corporate Governance
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
How Darlyn Okojie Solved Cross-Border Transactions With An Expanding Business
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.
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.