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Nestlé: more women in the workplace make business sense

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In the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR), Nestlé aims to bring the Gender Balance Acceleration Plan to life through its multi-pronged initiatives

ACCRA, Ghana, March 8, 2019 — Nestlé has launched an ambitious Gender Balance Acceleration Plan ‘From Aspiration to Action’ https://bit.ly/2UmlZ57 as part of its activities to highlight International Women’s Day 2019.

The world’s largest food and beverage company believes that a gender balanced workforce makes business sense as it helps to boost innovation and performance, which as a result, better serves the needs of its consumers.

Nestlé’s Global CEO Mark Schneider announced the company’s acceleration plan to make gender balance a priority, based on three pillars: bold leadership, an empowering culture and a set of enabling practices.

In the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR), Nestlé aims to bring the Gender Balance Acceleration Plan to life through its multi-pronged initiatives, such as trainings to raise awareness on gender biases, career development and mentoring programmes for women, gender-sensitive succession planning, offering breastfeeding rooms and nurseries at work, as well as the implementation of its Maternity Protection Policy. https://bit.ly/2Hlsq4O

Driving innovation

At Nestlé CWAR, increasing the number of women in the workforce and boosting gender balance is helping to drive innovation.

Bunmi Etty-Mfon, Total Performance Management Manager for Technical at Nestlé CWAR, who has led factory efficiency for over eight years to deliver safe, quality products in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, has encouraged and experienced this herself.

“When there’s a good mixture of men and women, team-building activities tend to be more balanced, helping to develop greater empathy among individuals and teams. Diversity stimulates greater effort from everyone, leading to improved decision-making.

“Also, as the majority of consumers in our region are women, it gives us great perspective to lead in innovation,” she said.

Rahamatou Palm, Category Manager for our Nescafé business in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo and Benin – and a member of the Cluster Management Committee of which half are women – agrees that diversity is key for the company’s growth.

“Gender balance is important to complement the thinking between men and women, leading to more productive debates and innovative decisions. It also fights against discrimination to ensure a better, and more dynamic workplace,” she emphasised.

Improving the company’s performance

Nestlé CWAR is also actively enhancing the company’s performance by increasing the number of women in departments that traditionally hire men.

To close the current gender gap, the Technical and Supply Chain Management departments are looking to recruit a majority of women as graduate trainees, and include at least one female candidate in the final interview stage. Efforts are also being made to increase the number of women working in factories across the region.

Ibukun Ipinmoye, Factory Manager of the Flowergate Factory, which includes the first 100% female production line in Nestlé Nigeria, has noted an increase in productivity.

“We soon realised that the female production lines are very productive thanks to their highly committed and collaborative spirit and their careful handling of the equipment. Gender diversity has helped to boost productivity,” he said.

“As a result, we plan to introduce female operators to more complex lines to utilise their multitasking skills, and aim to hire female management trainees to 80%.”

Gbenga Oladunjoye, Factory Manager for Nestlé Ghana, has also seen improved performance in his team.

“My team is more productive, with readily available good talent and a wide diversity of ideas. Women have helped to ignite creativity, offered various perspectives and improved our business,” he said.

Gbenga, who oversees the Tema facility and is part of the Country Management team, added: “They mostly make the decisions to buy products for their families so having women at Nestlé makes business sense.”

Overcoming biases

However, creating gender balance on the factory floors or in offices does not come without some obstacles. Pressure to conform to gender stereotypes, resistance from men, adapting work patterns to family life and maternity commitments, and the shortage of females in certain fields like engineering, are just some of the gender balance challenges that working women face.

Julia Atta, Production Manager for Milks in Nestlé Ghana, was appointed as the first female production manager for Nestlé CWAR last year – marking a milestone for the company in the region.

She explained that she went into this ‘non-traditional’ line of work for women to change mind-sets and make an impact. But this came with its challenges.

“For any women in a male-dominated environment, even a genuine reason can become a woman’s excuse. For example, I felt I had to turn down an opportunity to go into production because I got pregnant, even though factory management made me an offer. At the time, I was unsure it was the right decision to join, as production was not seen as an ideal environment for my ‘condition’,” Julia said.

“Thanks to the support of management, I had another opportunity to take up a role outside of the country for five months. However, others made me feel like I had made the wrong decision to leave my young child behind – but I was determined to make it work.”

Today, Julia heads the milk production and technical team, leading the production, quality, safety, cost and delivery of 130 tonnes of evaporated milk a day, while also developing her team of junior and senior employees.

Women leaders inspiring other women

Creating a solid pipeline of female talent across all levels enables more women to climb up the career ladder to top positions, which has a ripple effect of encouraging other women to achieve their goals.

“Being a career woman is never a burden or added responsibility, but a platform to inspire and motivate the people you are lucky enough to impact,” Julia continued.

“When a woman is appointed in a leadership role, some people believe this is because of a gender balance strategy and not based on merit. It must be based on non-discrimination, equal opportunities, competence and providing the right support for both men and women in the workplace. This is how we will be genuinely able to highlight and remove the roadblocks to career advancement at work,” she added.

Gbenga Oladunjoye, Factory Manager at the Tema facility in Nestlé Ghana, emphasised that women at Nestlé inspire other women to follow suit, and said: “They enhance inclusiveness, advance opportunities and give hope to women worldwide that they can achieve the same too.”

Building a strong pipeline of talent is key to gender balance

Embracing diversity and increasing the number of women in leadership roles and in the workforce all make business sense at Nestlé CWAR – and for the company worldwide. This is part of its commitment to enhance gender balance in its workforce and empower women across the entire value chain. https://bit.ly/2HcBib0

But this just doesn’t stop here. To help achieve this across the board, organisations need to build a solid and balanced pipeline of talent and invest in women’s education and training to create and instil diversity at all levels, and in all functions.

“We recognise that gender balance, women’s rights, education for women and women’s empowerment are critical to Creating Shared Value   https://bit.ly/2CT2H3h – our approach to how we do business in creating value for both our shareholders and for society,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé CWA Ltd.

“It is also key to contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls  https://bit.ly/2q90yr9 – and we encourage other companies to also make gender balance a priority,” Mr Ejel concluded.

–  Nestlé CWA Ltd

Press Release

Insurpass Partners AXA Mansard To Provide Easy Access To Health Insurance Coverage For More Nigerians

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Insurpass, an insurance technology company has partnered with AXA Mansard, a leading player in the insurance and asset management sector to provide access to affordable insurance coverage for emerging customers in Nigeria.

The partnership will leverage Insurpass’ Open Insurance API to provide easy access to AXA’s health insurance products such as Malaria-care, Malaria-care plus, Easy Care, and so on.  AXA’s Malaria-care provides quality malaria test and treatment to customers at various accredited partner pharmacies nationwide. Malaria-care plus provides cashback on customers’ hospital expenses when placed on admission for 2 or more nights and pays life insurance benefit to the customer’s beneficiary in an event of a customer’s death. Easy Care provides comprehensive health coverage and gives customers access to over 1000 hospitals nationwide.

Insurpass, in its drive, to deepen insurance penetration, increase financial inclusion and break the barrier to accessing insurance coverage in Nigeria. Through its plug-and-play API infrastructure and embedded insurance model will enable other service providers ranging from Banks, Health-techs, Edu-techs, and various point-of-sale agents to enroll customers for this health insurance scheme. The company also promises coverage to the base-of-the-pyramid consumers who live in rural areas. And do not have access to smartphones or internet service, as it will enable them to access healthcare insurance. Through thousands of point-of-sales agents who already carry out mini-financial activities around their neighborhoods.

Speaking about the partnership with AXA Mansard, Gloria Agboifoh, Head of Partnership and Business Development at Insurpass stated that, “Insurpass at its core is committed to breaking the barrier to inclusive insurance in Nigeria and bringing innovative and affordable insurance closer to the very people that needs it the most and this partnership goes a long way in bringing the company closer to its goal of democratizing access to insurance coverage starting with health insurance”.

In the same vein, Mr. Alfred Egbai, Head, Emerging Customers and Digital Partnerships Group at AXA Mansard, stated that “our aim is to create innovative products that cater for the needs of our customers. We will therefore continue to strive to ensure that these products are easily accessible, this is why we have partnered with Insurpass to achieve this objective”.

Insurpass, provides an API-driven insurance infrastructure-as-a-service solution that enables companies across various sectors to embed insurance products and back-end insurance components into any web, mobile app, or USSD channel through its Open Insurance API.

AXA Mansard is registered as a composite company with the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM). The Company offers life and non-life insurance products and services to individuals and institutions across Nigeria whilst also offering asset/investment management services and health insurance solutions through its two subsidiaries – AXA Mansard Investments Limited and AXA Mansard Health Limited respectively. The parent company was listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in November 2009.

Customers can also access affordable insurance products on their devices when they log on to BimaCred an online platform powered by Insurpass.

 

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Press Release

Wärtsilä reaches 7GW installed power capacity milestone in Africa

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Wärtsilä’s Energy system integration night (Image: Wärtsilä)

With over 600 power plants commissioned in 46 African countries, Wärtsilä confirms its position as a leading provider of power generation solutions in the continent

The technology group Wärtsilä first began its Africa operations in Tanzania back in 1975. Since then, the group has delivered more than 600 installations, supplied power plants in 46 countries, generating 25% of the national electricity supply in over 25 countries. Total installed capacity now exceeds 7.4 GW of which one-third is covered by operation and maintenance contracts. Today, Wärtsilä is the undisputed leader in the medium-speed power engine market in Africa.

This strong track record, built up over decades, has its roots in a dedicated local presence combined with the capability to bring together international expertise to build groundbreaking energy solutions.

Wärtsilä’s Industry Firsts in Africa

With more than 650 employees and service hubs located in Kenya, South Africa, and Senegal. Wärtsilä is proud to have contributed to many industry firsts. These include Africa’s largest gas engine power plant on the Kribi coast of Cameroon with 216MW capacity, as well as Africa’s highest installation, the 175 MW power plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, sitting at 1,700 meters above sea level.

Another first, the KivuWatt power plant in Rwanda, is the first ever power plant to use the naturally occurring methane from lake Kivu to generate electricity and reduce the environmental risks associated with such high concentrations of gas. Today’s power output is 25 MW but future planned expansions to this project will increase capacity by an additional 75 MW.

Wärtsilä’s reciprocating gas engine technology and innovative energy management systems play an important role in response to Africa’s growing demand for flexible and reliable electricity. Small to medium size projects can be used to establish microgrids in remote regions. Their flexibility means that they can work hand in hand with renewable energy resources. Output can be ramped up at the same rate as wind or solar output fluctuates. One example is the 15 MWp hybrid engine-solar PV power plant for the Essakane gold mine in Burkina Faso: The combination of low-cost renewables with flexible engine solutions enables energy intensive industries to enter an era of more cost efficient and climate friendly operations.

Africa’s Future, Beyond Energy

No single project is the same. As a leading international EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company, Wärtsilä has a history of providing unique power solutions to meet the specific challenges of its clients. As well as to extend educational and economic benefits to local communities when delivering on projects such as Tasiast in Mauritania and Ndola in Zambia

For Wärtsilä, EPC also means Experience, Proven and Compliant. These projects have helped several nations accelerate their development and increase their standard of living, not to forget the many jobs created across the continent. At the heart of each project is local engagement, training and transmission.”, said Fabien Cadaut, Marketing & Communications Manager, Africa, Wärtsilä Energy.

This is why Wärtsilä has proudly joined forces with Ambitious.Africa, an initiative working to connect the youth of African and Nordic countries. To foster upcoming talent and co-create a more equal and sustainable future. Through this association, Wärtsilä can actively connect students, entrepreneurs, start-ups, financiers, and other stakeholders from across two continents. And provide them with the knowledge, skills and training they need to bring about real and lasting change.

As another example, Wärtsilä provides local institutions in Senegal with hands-on training and support for talented students often struggling to find their place in working life. This is part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. Another recent contribution was made in support of solar energy unit installations in informal settlements in the Western Cape. The households in these settlements are either connected to an illegal and unsafe electricity source or have no access to basic electricity.

As recent contracts such as the 120 MW power plant project in Gabon. The 90 MW gas conversion project in Senegal, and renewed O&M contracts in Nigeria demonstrate, Wärtsilä is committed to accelerate broad-based electrification across Africa.

 

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Investment

Asilimia secures $2 million to build the financial infrastructure of Africa’s informal economy

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Asilimia founders and employees (Image: Asilimia)

Asilimia, a startup that is building the digital infrastructure to connect African MSMEs to the formal financial economy, has secured $2 million. To grow its team, deliver new services and expand into new markets in East Africa. The startup raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from a wide range of investors, including two-time unicorn founder, Fredrik Jung Abbou (co-founder of Kry and Lendo), Norrsken Impact Accelerator and other prominent founders from across Europe.

It also raised $1 million in a debt round that included Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners. The pre-seed funding will support team growth and expansion while debt funding will enable Asilimia to extend credit to MSMEs, providing much-needed financing to help them scale their businesses.

Asilimia is on a mission to build the digital financial infrastructure of Africa’s highly fragmented and paper-based informal economy, and address the $360 billion credit gap that is impacting the continent’s 150 million MSMEs. Despite contributing approximately 38 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, lack of consolidated data means MSMEs are considered as high risk, leaving them locked out by traditional financial institutions.

And even in a country like Kenya that has a higher financial inclusion rate than most of the continent due to the advent of M-Pesa, most MSMEs still use pen and paper to record their transactions, and 30 percent of their profit is spent on mobile money transaction fees.

Asilimia has built an affordable and easy to use digital platform that formalises payments, revenue collection and accounting for business owners. Making it easier to monitor their business activities in one place. Using just their mobile phones, business owners can record their expenses and sales. Track pending payments and gain financial insights through a simple dashboard that is more efficient than using pen and paper. They can also connect their personal mobile money accounts and save up to 90 percent on transaction fees.

This consolidated and verifiable business data de-risks business owners. Making it easier for them to access a range of financial services, including insurance, savings and loans to meet their specific needs, accelerate their growth and support development in their communities. The startup is growing at 30 percent week on week, and the app is used an average of 90 times per month per customer.

According to Tekwane Mwendwa, CEO and co-founder of Asilimia, “Africa’s informal businesses are the backbone of its economy and we want to unlock their GDP to drive further growth and development across the continent. Our focus over the last few years has been to build a solution that works and this new funding will enable us to take it into new markets and impact the lives and livelihoods of more business owners.”

Asilimia was founded by Tekwane Mwendwa and French entrepreneur Morgane Kablan to build the first financial infrastructure of the informal economy in Africa. The startup was incubated in the prestigious Station F programme in Paris. And it has also been through the Norrsken Impact Accelerator programme.

Funda Sezgi, co-founder and Managing Director at Norrsken Impact Accelerator said, “MSMEs play a vital role across Africa and making it easier for them to succeed is great for the continent as a whole. Tekwane and the team have built a solution that works and we are delighted to be supporting them as they drive prosperity in a key sector for the African economy.”

 

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