Releaf VP Sourcing – Ayodeji Jayeoba (left), Nteranya Sanginga – DG, IITA (Middle) Ikenna Nzewi – CEO, Releaf (Right) (Image: Supplied)
Releaf, an agtech startup that develops proprietary hardware and software solutions that makes African farmers and food factories more efficient and profitable, has partnered with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to improve growth and sustainability in oil palm production in Nigeria and across Africa.
The partnership will enable the startup and the award-winning research-for-development organisation to explore ways to increase oil palm yields, deploy the best intercropping mechanisms, and work with fabrication and mechanisation experts to foster further innovation and development in Nigeria’s smallholder-driven oil palm sector.
Despite having 80 percent of market share, 4 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria’s oil palm sector are unable to maximise the opportunity available to them. Due to relatively low yields and limited access to adequate processing equipment. Releaf has invented Kraken – West Africa’s most advanced palm nut de-sheller. Which can process up to 500 metric tons of palm nuts per week to produce premium palm kernel products at 95% purity, better than the 88% industry standard. Releaf also works with farmers to improve their output. By encouraging the adoption of best practices to increase their yield. And supporting farming activities that are good for the environment.
In the early 1960s, Nigeria was the world’s largest oil palm producer with a global market share of 43 per cent. Today, it contributes less than two percent of total global production. IITA will support Releaf with soil fertility analysis, access to its facilities, oil palm management programmes and leaf analysis for improved productivity. The partnership will also explore how insect waste can be recycled into organic waste that can be used to fertilise oil palm or as a source of nutrition for livestock.
According to Ikenna Nzewi, CEO and co-founder of Releaf, “IITA has a long and rich history of working with international and national partners to impact agricultural value chains. And we are really excited to be partnering with them. IITA also represents the beginning of the journey that led me to co-found Releaf and I am grateful for the opportunity to take this relationship forward. Oil palm is one of our most ubiquitous plants and we must continue to develop technology to improve its sustainable impact on rural communities’ livelihoods.”
IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga said, “We are really impressed by what Releaf has already achieved in such a short space of time. I recall our first meeting with Ikenna in 2015 and it is great to see what that first encounter has led to. Investing in research and development is always a great advantage for everyone. And we are looking forward to working with Releaf to explore more ways to add value across the agricultural value chain.”
Insurpass Partners AXA Mansard To Provide Easy Access To Health Insurance Coverage For More Nigerians
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.
Wärtsilä reaches 7GW installed power capacity milestone in Africa
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.
Honeywell Group and Flour Mills of Nigeria Sign Agreement to Combine Flour Mills of Nigeria with Honeywell Flour Mills
Honeywell Group Limited (“HGL”) and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (“FMN”) today announced that they have signed an agreement for the proposed combination of FMN through its affiliates and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. (“HFMP”), a portfolio company of HGL. At a total enterprise value of NGN80 billion, HGL will dispose of a 71.69% stake in HFMP to FMN. The proposed transaction will combine two businesses with shared goals and create a more resilient national champion in the Nigerian foods industry, ensuring long-term job creation and preservation. A combination of FMN and HFMP will bring together two trusted and iconic brands, creating a food business that is better positioned to benefit the growing Nigerian population and leverage opportunities stemming from the African Continental Free Trade Area (“AfCFTA”).
The key highlights of the proposed transaction are as follows:
- HGL will dispose of a 71.69% stake in HFMP to FMN based on an enterprise value of NGN80 billion. The final equity price per share payable will be determined based on HFMP’s adjusted net debt and net working capital at the date of completion.
- The proposed combination is subject to approval from the appropriate regulators.
- The complementary transaction combines FMN’s market-leading offerings that include grain-based foods, sugar, starches, oils, spreads and breakfast cereals with HFMP’s market leading diverse and differentiated range of carbohydrate products.
- Stakeholders would benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population.
- The scale of the transaction provides employees of the consolidated company with more career development opportunities in a larger organisation, with the potential to create more jobs in the economy as it will have more brands and categories, and a larger and more geographically diverse footprint.
- Customers across the nation will benefit from access to a wider product range and a robust pan-Nigerian distribution network, accessing greater number of points of sale supported by enhanced customer-focused sales teams and redistribution capabilities.
- The combination will also serve as a catalyst for an even stronger stream of innovation that is focused on local content offerings.
- The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.
- Nigeria presents vast opportunities, particularly in light of the country being the largest market on the continent as well as a signatory of AfCFTA.
- HFMP’s listing will be retained for the foreseeable future. Minority shareholders of HFMP will be treated fairly and in line with capital market regulation. Further information will be provided within the required channels and timeframes.
Commenting on the transaction, Honeywell Group Limited Managing Director, Obafemi Otudeko said: “Today’s announcement is in line with the evolution of Honeywell Group and our vision of creating value that transcends generations. For over two decades, we have supported Honeywell Flour Mills to build a strong business with a production capacity of 835,000 metric tonnes of food per annum. Following the transaction, Honeywell Group will be strongly positioned to consolidate and expand its investment activities, including as a partner of choice for investors in key growth sectors.”
Omoboyede Olusanya, Group Managing Director of Flour Mills of Nigeria, said: “The proposed transaction is aligned with our vision not only to be an industry leader but a national champion for Nigeria. We believe that this will create an opportunity to combine the unique talents of two robust businesses. As a result, we will have a better-rounded and more comprehensive skill set available to us as a combined diversified food business, thus enabling us to better serve our consumers, customers and other stakeholders, whilst providing employees with access to broader opportunities.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.