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Corporate Citizenship

Siemens: Setting the Pace for Good Corporate Citizenship in Nigeria

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Siemens Nigeria CEO, Onyeche Tifase

Nigeria has the largest economy in Sub Saharan Africa driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and services.  It is however predominantly reliant on oil as its main source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. The Oil and Gas sector accounts for about 80% of total government revenues and 90% of export earnings. As Africa’s biggest exporter of oil, although Nigeria is well-positioned as a key regional economic player, socio-economic development has been constrained by inadequate power supply, insecurity, illegal cross-border trading, declining infrastructure, restrictive trade policies, prohibitive regulatory environment as well as pervasive corruption in the judiciary, legislature and other government agencies.

Over the years, the burden of responsibility for meeting these challenges eventuated by socio-economic development have fallen on businesses in Nigeria. The Organized Private Sector in Nigeria works collaboratively with key stakeholders to identify and prioritize initiatives which deliver sustainable value especially in the areas of environmental stewardship, healthcare, education, economic empowerment, capacity building and infrastructure development.

There are varying methodologies of engagement including charitable activities and contributions.  However, some companies have expanded beyond this narrow perspective by the integration of socially responsible practices into their core operations. Therein lies the relevance and value of the Siemens Business to Society (B2S) initiative.

Also Read: Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu, African Risk Capacity (ARC) CEO Shares Goals, Disaster Risk Solutions, COVID-19 and Future

Siemens support for sustainable development in  Nigeria  is driven by their widely acclaimed model Business to Society initiative which is focused on achieving  societal, economic and environmental advancements in the following areas: economic development, environmental sustainability, developing local jobs and skills, providing value-adding innovation, improving quality of life, and positive societal transformation.

Defining the Siemens “Business to Society” model, CEO, Siemens Nigeria, Onyeche Tifase said, “Our ‘Business to Society’ initiative represents the multidimensional ways we approach creating real value in the lives of Nigerians and Nigerian communities.”

“At Siemens, we appreciate how critical it is for businesses to impact on their stakeholders and society in a positive and sustainable manner. We are proud of our heritage and business in Nigeria, but beyond profits, we measure our success in the broader context of the significant value we have added over the last 50 years” she affirmed.

Since 1970, Siemens’ technology, products and services have contributed to driving the Nigerian economy. According to the latest Business to society (B2S) report prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), in 2019 alone, Siemens contributed a total of $562.5mn in Gross Value add (directly and indirectly) to Nigeria’s GDP through  constructive engagement with industries especially in the  Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and utilities sectors.

The B2S report also reveals that Siemens technology has contributed 9% to Nigeria’s operational power generation installed capacity. Furthermore, the widely acclaimed partnership agreement between Siemens and the Federal Government for the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) is set to upgrade the electricity grid network and increase operational capacity from 4,500 MW on an average currently, to 25,000 megawatts (MW). According to Tifase “This is a demonstration of our commitment at Siemens to make significant investments in providing value-adding initiatives to address challenges in Nigeria’s power sector”.

Siemens Nigeria remains a strong partner to the Nigerian government in developing local jobs and skills. The company has positively impacted employment with an estimated number of 48,000 jobs linked to Siemens’ business operations in Nigeria.

Furthermore, as part of their commitment to shaping societal transformation, Siemens is taking a leading role in supporting the government’s commitment to fight corruption and improve transparency in the public and private sector. The B2S report stated that Siemens Integrity Initiative (SII) has invested about $1.29mn in Nigeria to promote anti-corruption practices through capacity building and training. Says Tifase “Our social investment programmes have been designed to achieve the highest levels of stakeholder resonance and maximal benefits to the society”.

In addition to these initiatives, Siemens is ideally positioned to meet their goals of improving the quality of life for Nigerians and ensuring environmental sustainability through their partnerships and active participation in initiatives that will provide access to quality healthcare for up to 100,000 Nigerians and achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.

As an international company present in Nigeria over the last 50 years, Siemens has played a vital role in addressing Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges to ensure an ever-improving society for Nigerians today and future generations. “Siemens is fully aware of the imperative for businesses to impact positively on society and we remain passionately committed to the socio-economic development of Nigeria” Tifase concluded.

Credit: LSF|PR

NGOs - SDGs

ESSA: Women must have more leadership opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa to improve society for us all

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ESSA CEO, Lucy Heady (Image: ESSA website)

ESSA- There is a lack of evidence about the role of universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa in equipping women with leadership opportunities.  

Speaking during a press briefing to launch Education Sub Saharan Africa’s (ESSA) State of Women Leading Report, Dr Jennifer N. Udeh, Head of Programmes and Partnerships said through its Women Leading project, the organisation’s aim was to begin to fill this gap and to bring attention to the situation for women in sub-Saharan Africa by using data and evidence to improve practices within universities and colleges to support women. This includes both female academics seeking leadership roles in universities and colleges, and female students for whom leadership skills will be a critical factor in their success as they transition into work. As part of the Women Leading project, ESSA led a research phase which has included a desktop review, interviews with women, and a survey with over 400 female faculty, students and early career graduates.  

ESSA initiated a women leading project following the recognition of a stark disparity between men and women in leadership positions in universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa. ESSA in partnership with Association of African Universities, Population Reference Bureau and Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, formally National Council for Tertiary Education had conducted a study of the demographics of faculty in Ghana and reveal that only 8% of professors at public universities were women.  

Women she said, must have more leadership opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa to improve society for us all. Whilst this is not unique to education, ESSA believes that academia can set the bar.  

Women still face barriers to leadership, including socio-cultural expectations, limited access to mentorship and networking opportunities, unhelpful working environments and policies and barriers relating to mindset. The Covid-19 pandemic is also particularly impacting women.” She added. 

The State of Women Leading Report captures insights from existing research and the current perspective of women who are at different stages in their leadership journey. She emphasized that the specific objectives of the report are to unlock the potential of female leaders in education, by contributing to the understanding of the current state of women’s leadership, including current barriers preventing women transitioning into leadership,  existing solutions aimed at supporting and increasing women’s participation in leadership  and possible solutions going forward Additionally she stressed that women are underrepresented in leadership in sub-Saharan Africa in all sectors including tertiary education and more can be done to ensure gender parity. 

“Our research has highlighted conceptual skills as the most important skillset for leadership development of women in all sectors e.g., critical thinking/decision-making/problem solving/analytical abilities, logical reasoning. This is followed by skills relating to Leadership ethics and values, e.g., integrity/trust/empathy/emotional intelligence/self-awareness/self-confidence. It also points to four key types of further support that will have a high impact on leadership development for women. These are: scholarships, leadership training and development programmes, gender sensitive organizational/structural policies and networking programs and opportunities.” She said. 

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In her closing remarks, she extended a word of thanks to the project sponsor Dubai Cares, individuals and partners organisation who took part in the research  

“Your engagement and support have been invaluable in bringing this research to completion. ESSA’s contribution to unlocking the potential of female leaders is in supporting and working with universities, colleges and organisations, to understand the evidence and co-create solutions. Just as we have done through this research and the subsequent stakeholder workshop that we hosted in June 2021. Our ambition is to continue to identify issues and bring together evidence of what works and what is needed to drive change. We will do this through continued partnerships, stakeholder consultations and engagement. We look forward to continuing this work with you all and building on what we have started… we hope the state of women leading report is useful to all organisations and policy makers seeking to engage and contribute to research and the improvement of practices, to increase women’s participation in leadership 

ESSA is a charity improving education in sub-Saharan Africa so that young people achieve their ambitions and strengthen society. We support university and college leaders, employers, policymakers, and young people to turn evidence into practical solutions and maximise resources. By working together, we can improve education policies and delivery. 

Click here to access the event recording https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/NXaTsLroo2YPpi3DcoSdJ9mGzCHJjA0ERe2ZRKTU2s9pg8WR8J5OhB2aTmgc5WKmpiNFBcgOSmCy_K2-.M43EzZ_TPe8d8RtK 

 

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Philanthropy

Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) to Kick Off Its 10th Anniversary with 2021 Global Summit Series

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Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) is set to mark its 10th anniversary with the BPM 2021 Global Summit Series, which kicks off August 3, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm EDT, in the U.S. with virtual events continuing in Africa, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, and worldwide. The series will culminate on August 31st with Reunity, an international Black women funders power and wellness summit in collaboration with the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University.

Featured speakers include Ford Foundation president Darren Walker; CNN political analyst and former member of South Carolina House of Representatives, Bakari Sellers; ABC News senior legal correspondent and co-host of The View, Sunny Hostin; Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of Gbowee Peace Foundation, the Honorable Leymah Gbowee; and faith leader and activist Reverend Naomi Tutu.  

Registration is open. Sign up and see the global keynote speaker line-up at bit.ly/FundBlackSummit2021.

Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland, founder of BPM, Reunity, and Women Invested to Save Earth (WISE) Fund says, “Our 10th anniversary is a testament to the tenacity of Black people worldwide. Our resolve is strong to advance our culture of giving and promote fair access to private capital, including philanthropy and venture investment.  Economic justice is the last frontier in the Civil and Human Rights Movement.  We hope the U.S. and the entire world will join the celebration in August and press on to make equity real, starting by signing the  Black Philanthropy Month Global Black Funding Equity Pledge.”

With recognition at the outset from the United Nations as part of its Global Decade for People of African Descent and with proclamations from 30 governmental bodies, BPM has built momentum, having been celebrated by 18 million worldwide across 60 countries since 2011. Valaida Fullwood, creator of The Soul of Philanthropy and a BPM co-architect notes, “BPM has used the power of social media to celebrate the community giving that binds Black culture everywhere, while also calling on the ‘powers that be’ to institute principles and practices that accelerate funding equity.”

The BPM 10th anniversary continues its tradition of using high-impact technology to convene influential Black civic, business, and funding leaders with people from all walks of life to build community and practical action plans for funding equity and impact.  BPM co-architect, Tracey Webb, founder of the pioneering giving circle Black Benefactors, emphasizes that “BPM brings together Black and allied leaders of all backgrounds to remind the world that we too are philanthropists and that our giving traditions matter. We need funders from foundations and corporations to see and fund us too.”

BPM stands out for the diversity of Black people, worldwide, integral to its leadership and summit series. BPM Africa Chair Thelma Ekiyor, founder and chair of Afrigrants Foundation states, “Even though they manifest differently in the Motherland than in our Diaspora, anti-Black racism and neocolonialism on the continent still pose barriers to funding for effective recovery and development in our communities.  We are proud to join with our brothers, sisters, and allies worldwide to celebrate our collective potential and call for Black funding equity.  We are fortunate that the Nobel Peace Laureate, the Honorable Leymah Gbowee, is our BPM Africa keynote speaker to inspire a new vision for 21st century Black funding equity.”

Reunity – the only global Black women’s funders network that inspired BPM and organized its first summit—has played a critical role in advancing the global Black philanthropy movement.  Although not always acknowledged or written into the funding field’s history, Black women have been at the forefront of Black philanthropy as well as leading calls for racial and gender equity and intersectional funding.  Mojubaolu Okome, City University of New York professor and African diaspora giving scholar, asserts “From esusus to the new Black-led venture funds, people of African descent throughout the U.S. and world continue a rich tradition of finance innovation that benefits all of society.” Okome, an original Reunity leader, adds, “As Reunity marks its 20th year of Black women’s innovation for all, we hope the world will join us as we work to build better from the continuing devastation of the COVID era.”  

The Reverend Naomi Tutu, faith leader and activist, has long participated in the summits and will return in 2021 with a session on spiritual wellness for women leaders.  “When a crisis hits, women are often hit first and hardest, as we give everything we have to care for our families, communities, and the world.  Reunity is a time for us to be well, while doing good and to strengthen the global sisterhood as we work to advance humanity in this time of struggle and hope.”

Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) is supported by a growing list of sponsors and partners, including our Signature Charity Partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; event talent partner, The b’elle group; Indiana University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute at The Lilly School of Philanthropy; and global regional chairs, Foundation for Black Communities (Canada); Afrigrants Foundation (Africa); The Puerto Rico Community Foundation (Caribbean); and The Bãobá Fund (Brazil).  The full sponsor and partner roster list will be released in early July. Registration for the BPM 2021 Global Summit Series opens today!

 

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Corporate Citizenship

Nissan South Africa rolls out COVID-19 vaccines to its employees and service providers

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Nissan South Africa employee (Image & release: Nissan South Africa)

Nissan South Africa (NSA), in its bid to help curb the spread of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in parts of the country, the automotive manufacturer will vaccinate its employees and service providers at its Rosslyn-based plant.

The free vaccination rollout plan is line with the South African Department of Health’s national programme, which aims to achieve population immunity by the end of 2021.

Nissan South Africa’s Country Director Kabelo Rabotho said the automotive manufacturer has always placed people first and continues to be committed to keeping their employees and families safer from the impact of the virus.

“I am pleased that our Nissan South Africa medical station has been registered as a COVID-19 vaccination site, allowing us to vaccinate employees and service providers on-site. Vaccination on-site will follow the same phases as the national government in terms of the age groups permitted to register and be vaccinated over a specific time period,” he said.

To ensure proper storage, handling and administration of approximately 5 000 COVID-19 vaccines, NSA has partnered with Dis-Chem through OHS Care to secure and store the vaccines for us and deliver the required quantities to our plant,” explains Shafick Solomons, NSA Plant Director and COVID-19 Task Team Chairperson.

Brenda Knoetze and mother (Image: Nissan South Africa)

In complying with the South African national vaccination rollout plan, NSA has also applied for access to register interested employees on the Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) for their convenience. This move will allow NSA to register as many employees as possible.

“Our medical team has been trained on how to use and administer the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to the vaccination rollout, Nissan will continue to support employees with COVID-19 information awareness, providing basic hygiene tools such as face masks and personal hand sanitiser,” confirms Shafick.

“To date, all our COVID-19 countermeasures have been grounded on information from credible resources and partners. To this end, we stand with the Health Ministry in encouraging everyone to get vaccinated when the opportunity arises. Mass vaccination will ensure that we better manage the spread of the virus in our community and country,” concluded Kabelo.

 

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