Retailing with Clicks

CNBC Africa's Gugulethu Cele talks to Sean Ashton and Liam Hechter from Anchor Capital about Clicks, a leading South African pharmacy, health and beauty retailer with 500 stores and 390 in-store dispensaries.

How Dangote Petrochemical Refinery will drive Nigeria’s economic diversification

At a recent press briefing the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote engaged the media on critical issues around the Dangote Petrochemical Project, located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos.

He speaks on the essence of free trade zones, economic strategy of the petrochemical refinery for Nigeria, forex issues and how it keys into the economic diversification plan of the federal government of Nigeria.

WHY FACEBOOK FOUNDER, ZUCKERBERG ARRIVED NIGERIA UNANNOUNCED


Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, yesterday, arrived Nigeria unannounced. The 32-year-old tech enterpreneur surprisingly made a sudden visit and inspection of activities at the Co-Creation Hub, Yaba Lagos.

His arrival to Nigeria is not unconnected to the ‘Facebook for developers’ workshop’ for Nigerian engineers, product managers and partners holding today in Lagos. The event is expected to help the engineers build better applications and monetise them more effectively. Before his arrival, it was earlier announced that the company’s Director of Global product Partnerships, Nigeria’s Ime Archibong was to lead speakers to the event where Facebook would unveil a ten-year roadmap that can help improve Nigeria’s economy Facebook is an online social networking service based in Menlo Park, California, United States, which Zuckerberg and his fellow Harvard College students and roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes formed on February 4, 2004. After its initial public offering, IPO in February 2012, Facebook began selling stock to the public three months later, reaching an original peak market capitalization of $104 billion.
On July 13, 2015, it became the fastest company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to reach a market cap of $250 billion. As of March this year, Facebook had hit over 1.65 billion monthly active users out of which 7.1 million people are daily users from Nigeria. This makes the country Africa’s biggest user of the social media platform. However, Vanguard gathered that it was for security reasons that Zuckerberg’s plan to visit Nigeria and his eventual arrival was kept top secret. A close source who spoke to Vanguard said: “It was a top secret and nobody was meant to know before his arrival. It was actually for security reasons but now that he is here, he would be able to interact with tech professionals and other Nigerians today in a press conference at Eko Hotel and Suites tomorrow (today).” Being his first trip to Africa, Zuckerberg on arrival met with developers and partners, and also explored Nollywood. One of his first stops on the trip was to visit a ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, known as the Silicon Valley of Nigeria where young developers learn how to code and develop their solutions while looking for mentors and angel investors.
 At CcHub, Zuckerberg met with developers like Temi Giwa, who runs a platform called Life Bank that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria. Life Bank saves lives by mobilizing blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in the country, and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed. Thrilled by level of technology development at the CcHub, Mark Zuckerberg, said, “This is my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be meeting with developers and entrepreneurs, and learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. The energy here is amazing and I’m excited to learn as much as I can. “The first place I got to visit was the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in Nigeria.”
SOURCE: VANGUARD

Doing Business in Africa - Kenya - Agriculture and Infrastructure Development

Kenyas oldest colonial legacy is its tea and coffee industries, two commodities which to a large extent have escaped the global economic meltdown. A drought as well as continued demand are the reasons companies in this sector are seeing profits soar.

Growing Business for Senegalese Farmers

More than 100 rural farming and commercial agriculture businesses will benefit from a new World Bank-supported project that will help to transform agriculture, boost sustainable land management, and engage and employ local communities in agribusiness enterprises.

ANGST AS NIGERIANS FEEL PAINS OF INCREASING HARD TIMES

Monday, August 29, 2016

These are not the best of times in Nigeria. Long before July 21, 2016, when the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, officially confirmed that the country was 'technically in recession,' it had been an arduous battle for survival for citizens, organizations and governments at all tiers.

The first half of the year was rough.

In spite of government's assurances, Nigerians weathered the storm, bracing the challenge of petroleum scarcity, epileptic power supply amid increase in electricity tariff, removal of subsidy on petrol, hike in cost of food, goods and services, unprecedented scarcity of tomatoes, skyrocketing exchange rate of the naira to a dollar, backlog of unpaid salaries and mass retrenchment of workers.

Government kept repeating that the tide would turn once the 2016 budget was passed and the second half of the year would be better for the country and its citizens.

President Muhammadu Buhari eventually signed the budget on May 6, raising the hopes of turnaround with the injection of government funds across critical sectors of the economy.

With four months left in the year, it's a stark reality of a depressed economy staring Nigerians in the face as strange things are reported daily.

Organized and petty crimes have been on the increase, unsecured pots of soup have become endangered species, sale of human blood and organs for economic reasons is rife, and frustrations have given rise to rampant cases of domestic violence, child abuse and suicide.

The hunger is so widespread that poultry farmers confess to skipping meals for their birds as the cost of feed has risen by 100 per cent.

Even in the president's home state of Katsina recently, there was a massive scramble for unwholesome grain when the truck conveying bags of the suspected poisonous grains for destruction broke down in a village.

When persuasion failed, authorities had to engage the help of task force to retrieve some of the poisoned grains in a bid to avoid devastating consequences.

The new economic reality is affecting the lifestyle of Nigerians.

Today, an exchange of pleasantries is incomplete without the word 'Change' in reference to the evocative slogan that brought the present administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to power.

The standard reply to any untoward situation in the country is 'Chanji', the street version of APC's motto - change.

A public affairs commentator based in Kano State, Aminu Muhammad Ofs, last week recounted his experience of the times, which has gone viral on social media.

He said: "I was sitting with a guy who sells tea when an elderly man came and said 'Give me 'Buhari's mixture'. Without saying anything more, the man was given some tea and small bread for a sum of N40.

I was baffled, so I asked the seller what the man meant by 'Buhari's mixture'. He explained that it means tea without milk plus a small loaf of bread.

"Again the next day, I stopped by a small kiosk to get a battery for my wireless computer mouse. While I was leaving, a guy came who said: 'Give me Buhari and Osinbajo. I waited to see what he meant and the seller handed him garri and groundnut.

"I inquired from the seller, who explained that garri is the street term for President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is groundnut, while Senate President Bukola Saraki is sugar, slang for the staple foods the poor can afford."

Before now, Lagos State was often referred to the city that never sleeps, because it is known for its hustle and bustle from dawn to dusk.

The wind of recession has blown all that away.

The bustling nightlife is disappearing in the Centre of Excellence, as the city practically shuts down and becomes a ghost town once it is 10p.m., even on weekends.

Due to the harsh economic conditions in the country, Nigerians have developed some clever methods of dealing with the tough circumstances.

According to a public opinion survey by NOIPolls, released on August 10, 2016, 97 per cent of the respondents said the recent economic realities have had a negative effect on the wellbeing of the average Nigerian.

Some survival methods discovered by the polls include cutting down on household expenses and luxury items, resorting to prayers and hoping for a miracle, engaging in subsistence farming, adjusting feeding patterns in place of the regular three-square meals.

A businessman, Emeka Obinna told The Guardian that he has had to adjust the feeding patterns of his family.

"I have a family of six, with several other dependents. That's the only way we are managing to survive. No more three-square meals. It is either breakfast and dinner, or lunch and dinner. So, it is the 1-0-1, 1-1-0 or 0-1-1 formula I am operating now with the little resources at my disposal," he said.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Nigeria admits the country is in technical recession

Nigeria's Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, has expressed hope that the country's economy would pick up in the third quarter of 2016. He told a news conference after a meeting of the National Economic Council. His comments come after Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance, told Nigeria's senators that the country is technically in a recession.

Economy in deep trouble -Soludo


Friday, August 26, 2016

Former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Chukwumah Soludo yesterday said the economy is in deep trouble considering the reduction in per capita income and dwindling Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said the economy had compressed by 50% in the past year.

With inflation already at 16.48 per cent and still rising, most Nigerians are finding it increasing hard to meet their basic needs, as the economy entered into full blown recession following two quarters of consistent negative growth.

His comment on the economy came barely 24hours after another ex-CBN governor and Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, expressed regrets on the policies of government.

But speaking in Kaduna yesterday in his lecture at the fourth progressive governance lecture series of the Progressives Governors' Forum in Kaduna, Soludo said the collapse in the oil prices was a blessing for the country to start a new beginning.

His lecture was titled: "Building the economy of states: Challenges of Developing Inclusively Sustainable Growth". It was organized by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) governors.

Soludo stated for instance that the GDP has been compressed to 50 per cent from $578 billion after the rebasing programme of 2014 to $290 billion due to huge deterioration in key economic indications, while per capita income has also dropped from $3,100 to $1,500. He noted that this has to be urgently addressed by economists if the country is to survive the harsh realities and continue as a going concern.

The former CBN boss who further observed that the collapse of oil is a privilege for a new beginning for Nigeria, stated that the current recession was structurally and politically induced and that the APC-led government must stop the blame game and start on a clean slate.

Soludo, a foremost economist, noted that agriculture, which is currently receiving massive attention from the Federal and state governments, may not afterall, serve as a means of economic diversification because many people will be forced out of the business when mechanised farming is fully implemented. "Nigerian economy has been massively compressed by 50 per cent. GDP is being compressed to 50 per cent from $578 billion to $290 billion while per capita income has also dropped from $3,100 to $1,500. "The transition to a Nigerian economy without oil cannot be sustainable by merely pumping money into the system. If the aggregate demand is on one side, we have other things on the other side to consider in order to be able to sustain our economy," he said. According to him, no state can develop sustainably if the overall governance and economy are in crisis, stressing that Nigerian economy in terms of the dollar has collapsed by about 50 percent.

"Nigeria is facing unprecedented and tremendous political and economical challenges with global and local dynamics. Regardless of these challenges, opportunities and possibilities abound if we address some fundamental issues. The key to achieving this is to have a development plan that is anchored on realizing inclusive and sustainable growth.

He therefore, recommended the restructuring of the economy from consumption-driven to production-based and consistency in micro-economic policies.

"Encouraging fiscal federalism in ways that allow states to have greater control of their resources, evolution of a master plan for mass export-oriented industrialization that answers the economic questions and realities of today," he said.

At the forum, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Nigeria has what it takes to be a great nation, but the desired positive change cannot be achieved except public servants take responsibility for the transformation of the country.

This is even as the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said the worst job in Nigeria today is to be a governor.

Osinbajo said: "We have what it takes to make a big difference. Like I said in Kano some few minutes ago, we have the capacity in this country to make a great nation. I don't believe there is any country, especially on the African continent that has resources, men and material that we have.

"But a lot will depend on us, the public servants, whether we are elected or appointed, we are the ones that can make a difference in this country. If we as public servants, see ourselves as being responsible for transforming our society, we see ourselves as being the hope country and continent need, then perhaps, the change is really possible. But, without us taking responsibility, very little can happen.

"The challenges that many states in Nigeria face today are not self-inflicted, some are historical, they are legacy challenges, but then, we are required to come to the table with fresh ideas to solve the problems. Some of the problems are not problems we can solve in few months or even years.

"We have the next few years to transform this country and I hope we would be able to make that change. Am sure the states here are the ones to make that change," Osinbajo said.

El-Rufai said Nigeria is facing an unprecedented economic crisis most of which arose from the circumstances of the present and past.

The governor, who also said the worst job in Nigeria today is to be a governor, lamented," we are left to redeem inherited problems. We don't have a hand in them, but we have a duty to solve them".

El-Rufai, however, expressed hope that Soludo's lecture will throw more insights into problems that will help the states to get out of the current fiscal crisis.

In attendance at lecture were Governors of Ogun, Lagos, Kaduna, Bauchi, Plateau, Kebbi, Borno, Adamawa, Osun, Zamfara and Imo states. While those of Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa, Katsina and Oyo states were represented by their deputies.

Reacting, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Frank Jacobs, said Soludo's comments were very accurate. "At the moment, many companies are shutting down every day while many are managing to remain in business. It is that bad. Unless there is a drastic change in the policy of government, the unemployment condition in the country will take a turn for the worse,'' he said.

Also, Sam Willie Ndata, the doyen of stockbrokers, said said it is not only him that has been talking about it, but every other person has been saying the same thing. The country has not been going the way it should go and the government had better sit up and do the proper thing and get the experts to run the government

"If he knows what to do, he should do it fast before everybody dies," Ndata said.

Also commenting, a former deputy governor of the CBN and social commentator, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, said: " I wouldn't say that I am satisified with the present economy. We need a stimulus package. I have mentioned stimulus package before. I agree with the Emir of Kano as well as Professor Soludo because they have a point. We need a greater and more vigorous leadership. The President has the opportunity to come out with new ideas, the opportunity to be innovative. He should also build a coalition of the transformation of the economy. Right now we are not happy."

But apparently responding to attacks on Buhari's economic policies, royal fathers yesterday urged Nigerians who have ideas on how to revive the economy to communicate the Presidency in writing.

SOURCE: THE SUN

Africa, Agriculture, Value Chain, Development

This short film is meant to show the positive change that the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable project has brought about in the agricultural sector in Lesotho, especially with the use of greenhouse farming.

NECESSARY STEPS FOR SETTING UP YOUR ONLINE STORE


Starting your own online store can look like something huge and stressful to do, whereas, it doesn’t take so much to start and run your own online store as it may seem. With all the ideas and necessary steps you need to take in place, it might not take you more than a little period of time to set up your own online store.

KEEP IT SIMPLE:  it’s best to choose a theme with a simple, conventional design and mobile functionality to give your shoppers the best user experience. Fancy banners and animations may seem like a good idea, but for many ecommerce stores, this ultimately distracts from the main purpose which is selling your product. Keeping a simple, clean design will place the focus where it belongs and be more visually appealing to your customers.

PLACE CONTENT: the next thing to do after setting up your design is to fill it with content. Your return policies, terms and conditions are content that must be in place on an ecommerce store. Be sure to include encouraging content that would help buyers while purchasing a product.

ADD YOUR PRODUCTS: the next step is to include your products. There is probably no store without products, methods of payment and delivery options if necessary.

With these crucial steps taken care of, you can start marketing and selling your products, while still having the option to make additional upgrades and improvements to your store when needed. By launching your ecommerce store, you’ll have already cleared one of the biggest hurdles to your sales success.

Strengthening farm-agribusiness linkages in Africa

Talking African agriculture with Dr Marie Yomeni, Cassava Commodity Specialist, IITA at the 7th African Agriculture Science Week.

ODE TO 'CASHLESS'


Friday, August 26, 2016

The key question about Patrick Dele Cole's sermon (Tuesday, August 23, page 18) vilifying the policy to implement the 'cashless' monetary scheme in Nigeria is whether it was intended as a joke, or whether the learned Ambassador is sincere when he poses the fundamental premise of his thesis – that the initiative represents a "clueless" line of thinking. As to whether the scheme would succeed in what it was principally set up to achieve – the reduction of corruption in Nigeria, he is obliged to concede "probably".

"Cashless" was introduced by the Obasanjo civilian administration, arguably the most progressive in post-independence Nigeria, and spectacular in its telling decisive war against corruption. In recalling that Obasanjo was supported by the most educated team of political functionaries in the affairs of state, it is not easy to draw an inference that his administration should be written off as "clueless" in its decision to create an appropriate palliative to address fraud and corruption.

Ambassador Cole bases his overall opposition to the supposed prohibitive costs of applying scarce foreign reserves, with a near-comatose Naira, to import the technology and foreign expertise that would be required to make the scheme work. He also quotes the well-worn excuse that "cashless" is a Western "marketing tool to keep us poor", having failed to observe that the system is at an advanced stage of development in most of the ready-made societies – in the Orient (most notably in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan) and in Denmark – where it is in full operation. It is not because these countries are "clueless" that they adopted the scheme.

That Nigeria has developed essentially as a consumer nation since independence has nothing to do with her current economic quagmire. Our economy has enjoyed moments of buoyancy even in our 'excessive' consumption. It is all about corruption, of a flagrancy that has been a by-word in the world public gaze for the past half century, elevating the country to the No.1 position in that realm of human weakness. At the height of the President Jonathan administration, the erstwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron summoned a meeting of the G7 group and addressed the central theme 'NIGERIA'. He revealed that $100 billion had been realised from oil proceeds in the past two years, and asked, "Where is the money? Where is the improvement?"

This was just a tip of the iceberg of the scale of plunder, as witnessed by President Buhari himself when, in the course of his war to recover these stolen funds, he was moved almost to tears on being presented with the obscene figures of looted funds over the last decade. The visiting US Secretary of State, John Kerry, reported that the cancer of corruption is costing the world $2.6 trillion per annum. If just 10% of this sum is attributable to past Nigerian corruption, the costs of entrenching "cashless" should not be written off if seen in the light of a long-term investment which, set against the country's overwhelming potential, would be overcome with net profit through the drive and sound policies of a strong, disciplined leadership. Nigeria may be in recession, but still remains credit-worthy, and would enjoy foreign support (most notably from China) of any scheme that would pursue a policy of nation-building.

That "cashless" even saw the light of day was because President Obasanjo was a powerful leader. The high-level conspiracy that has since stalled its progress to barely a snail's pace has succeeded because President Jonathan was weak. President Buhari's military orientation, firing decisive qualities of leadership, could now 'frog-march' the system into forward motion - even though the scheme has basically remained in place. Cash withdrawals from the bank have remained limited to N150,000 daily. Many customers in most of the shops and supermarkets nationwide pay for their purchases with credit cards - in tacit salutation to "cashless".

It is a striking fact that with the removal of cash from the system in surrender to card technology and the electronic banking system, fraud and corruption - crime as a whole, in fact – would be reduced by some 90%. This would carve a smooth new path to relative peace in the land, freedom of movement, mutual co-operation, with human endeavour pursued with a sense of security in a generally conducive atmosphere.

Ambassador Cole's protestations that "cashless" would only "begin to make sense" with massive investment by the West and Nigeria in education "for the next 15 years", suggesting indirectly that only good education holds the key to the eradication of corruption, are answered with reference to the fact that almost all the big names now caught in the recovery net do not have the excuse of a poor education - having schooled in some of the West's most reputable establishments.

It would be a pointer to crass naivety to suppose that a practice that has gone through to the blood, bone and marrow of the Nigerian 'spirit' could be 'exorcised' by mere moral education on the evil of corruption. Nor should it be supposed that a sustained period of recovery, punishment and mop-up of excess cash to enforce pecuniary management would see any lasting improvement after the re-creation of a buoyant economy. Jealousy makes a man foolish, and a woman more subtle!

The finishing touch in the recovery of stolen funds would be to find a way to permanently close the door against the opportunity to perpetrate fraud and corruption. "Cashless" holds that answer.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Tourism Investment Opportunities In Nigeria

The presentation of the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs Sally Mbanefo, on the Tourism Investment Opportunities In Nigeria at the Mexico Seminar On Business Opportunities In Nigeria.

IMPROVING COMMUNICATION AT WORK


Communication is tough between people, yet it’s crucial if there’s going to be a team work. It is easy to know that lack of proper communication can reduce the quality of output of any business or company. As a small start up, communication is quite easy and limited to few people, but as a company grows, keeping in touch with everyone becomes a major challenge. Here are some tips for improving communication.

DOCUMENTATION: As a team member, have it at the back of your mind that people’s attention span is short, don’t expect anyone to have a proper record of everything you say. Documentation is key in work places. This will ensure and give evidence that you have communicated appropriately. Documenting and writing down information being passed down to you and which you have passed across is a good approach to working efficiently.

KNOW PEOPLE PERSONALLY: it is also important to get to know your colleagues personally if you intend to communicate effectively. A work place comprises of people from different backgrounds and different values. Knowing what is important to certain people makes it easier to communicate with them both within the work area and beyond. Don’t force people to reason or communicate the way you do. Difference in values should be welcome and managed.

KEEP DOORS OPEN: in most organisations, bosses and managers like to keep closed doors and distance from staff. This doesn’t necessarily have to be so. Keeping an open door is a good approach to freedom and communication. Having access to your bosses and co workers makes it easier to communicate and manage a business or company.

ORGANISING MEETINGS: It is also important to organise meetings within staff or say department for bigger companies from time to time. Talking together on a table also give people the opportunity to communicate and share their thoughts, opinions and ideas in the presence of everyone.

As the saying goes, people quit their bosses not their jobs. Communication is a crucial determinant of the possibilities of a company retaining valuable staff and giving them the proper opportunity to get the job done.

Big Story: Focus On Challenges Of Nigeria's Food Security Pt 1

Talking about the challenges facing the Agricultural sector in Nigeria and many other African countries. The insecurities in the food production sector and other factors that is contributing to poverty in the nation.

20 SHIPPING FIRMS LEAVE NIGERIA OVER LOW BUSINESS


Friday, August 26, 2016

Groaning under intense hardship imposed by poor government policies and global economic crunch, over 20 shipping firms have exited the nation's shores.

This is coming as Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN) lamented that over 3,000 workers have already been laid off by various shipping companies, terminal operators and logistic companies, owing to lack of financing and poor import policies of the Federal Government.

The workers also blamed the massive retrenchment on the inability of the Federal Government to meet its joint venture obligation with the international oil companies which are major partners with the marine logistic companies.

Some of the companies that have already made an exit include Mitsui O.S.K Line, Nippon Yusen Kasha, Taiwan's Evergreen Line, Messina Line, Hapag-Lloyd and Gold Star Line (GSL), among others which were forced to withdraw from the West Africa route due to growing losses as a result of declining volumes.

The President, Dockworkers Union of Nigeria (DUN), Anthony Emmanuel Nted, yesterday bemoaned the poor state of the ports, terminal and work environment in the maritime industry.

Nted revealed that about 20 shipping firms have left the shore of the country because of low traffic occasioned by government importation policy.

According to him, Nigeria as an import-dependent country cannot suddenly ban the importation of the principal goods being generally consumed in the country.

"Hence, the current government policy on importation though with the best intention seems to be wreaking more havoc on the economy and ought to be reviewed urgently," he said.

He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to review the ban on the importation of rice, wheat, vehicle spare parts and industrial machinery until the nation is able to produce for local consumption. He added that the failure to do this would encourage smuggling, diversion of ships to neighbouring countries, idle ports, retrenchment of workers, unemployment and general loss of revenue to government.

According to him, some of the employers of Intels and other logistic companies, which render services to the IOCs are being faced with financial challenges and therefore forced to retrench workers.

He said: "The non-payment of cash calls by government to these oil companies as per their joint venture agreements has been a major setback to the funding of the service of our employers (the logistic companies) and consequently responsible for the massive retrenchment of our members."

But Nted decried the alleged moves by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to sack a section of dockworkers, tally clerks and onboard security men.

He lamented that the volume of vehicles imported into the country through ports has collapsed to an all-time-low, with the consequent loss of thousands of jobs in the industry.

This was attributed to the duty regime introduced since 2014 and the implication of the new exchange rate for duty calculation, which has made the importation of cars and trucks too expensive.

"In the last two years the number of vehicles in Nigeria has shrunk by almost two-thirds, while the volume of cars smuggled through Cotonou continued unabated," he said.

Also, the Maersk Supply Service, a part of Danish shipping and offshore energy conglomerate Maersk Group, is apparently adopting austerity measures as it moves to reduce its Offshore Supply Ship Vessel (OSV) fleet by 20 in the next 18 months, even as it plans to reduce its crew pool by 400 offshore positions.

The company said that the divestment plan was a response to vessels in lay-up, limited trading opportunities and the global over-supply of offshore supply vessels in the industry.

The Chief Executive Officer of Maersk Supply Service, Jorn Madsen, said: "We are facing unprecedented market conditions, and regrettably we have to further adjust our crew pool. It is an unfortunate, but necessary step to safeguard the future of our company".

He said: "One of Maersk Supply Service's prime objectives is to attempt to restore the supply demand balance in the offshore supply market. This is why the vast majority of the divested vessels will be recycled or modified by their new owners to compete outside their present segments."

Madsen said as a consequence of the fleet reduction and the flagging of existing project vessels to the Isle of Man registry, around 400 crew members would be made redundant as a "necessary step to safeguard the future" of Maersk Supply Service.

"The decision was taken in an attempt to improve the efficiency of the company and to stabilise the liquidity and cash flows. The redundancy process is expected to be completed by the end of September 2016," he stated.

 SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Mining in Zambia, Opportunities and Challenges

A Documentary that worked on as Co-producer under Loyola Productions Zambia. It looks at Mining in Zambia and how the Mining industry can contribute the attainment of Development Goals. This Documentary has been packaged for The Ministry of Mines with Support from United Nations Development fund ahead of the UN General Assembly 2015 which will agree on the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals as the successors to the Millennium Development Goals. The Documentary Highlights some of the challenges in the Mining sector but focuses more on How the sector can continue to help with the attainment of the Sustainable development Goals.

FUEL YOUR PASSION, PROFIT FROM IT


The easiest way to make money is to do something you are passionate about. Everyone is passionate about something, you might not just have discovered what you are most passionate about yet, but trust me, there is that one thing you love to do, there is something you feel most comfortable doing. You can make so much money from fuelling your passion and going in the direction of your dreams.

COVERT YOUR PASSION INTO A SKILL: there are so many things you would love and know how to do but you might not really make good money from what you are passionate about if you do not make the effort to convert it into a skill. You can choose to seek professional help or you put some sort of effort into developing your passion into a skill. You just need to ensure it becomes a skill you can monetize. For example, if you love fashion and love to dress well, you can think of a way to convert this passion into a skill, you can learn how to design and make outfits, you could even decide to shop for people. You need to make your passion a skill if you want to make from it.

THINK OF MONETIZING YOUR PASSION: after acquiring and fuelling your passion appropriately, it’s time to consider ways of making money from your passion. Either by developing products or rendering of services, there are always ways to give people value from your passion thereby getting a price in return. There are several ways you can make money from your skill. It includes: developing a product, rendering of services, consultancy, blogging and freelancing, invention and innovations and so many other ways.

STAY FOCUSED: be certain it takes more than your passion to get the big break you desire. Hardwork or rather smart work is a must. Your passion, ideas and creativity is the stage, the effort and attitude you put towards making it a reality is the fuel. Talk to people in similar fields, learn, be informed and give it all it takes.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO GROW: it’s important that you know that process is a progress and success is rather a journey not a destination. Don’t be a perfectionist. Be ready to learn and grow on the venture. Don’t be rigid, be flexible and appreciate change. Don’t be complacent, endeavour to aim higher and set bigger goals.

There is no room for success in the comfort zone. Your passion might be a raw precious stone, your effort and passion is still needed to polish it out.

Investment Opportunities in the Zambian Poultry Sector

As a strategy to contribute to improved investment and competitiveness of the Zambian poultry industry, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Harare in conjunction with AgriProFocus Zambia and the Poultry Association of Zambia commissioned a market study on investment opportunities to inform the Dutch businesses that have interest in investing in the Zambian poultry industry.

In the poultry sector lie different investment opportunities. This video highlights these opportunities, the costs of investments, expected returns and the Poultry Companies seeking the different investment opportunities.

Notwithstanding lack of data on Zambia’s poultry imports and exports, the market study established that the Zambia poultry has been growing steadily for the past five years averaging around 8 % and 20% for broilers and layers annual production respectively. The rapid poultry production increase is attributed to a number of factors such as national population increase, disposable income rise buoyed by growing middle income class, investment in poultry breeding, production and processing as well as increasing poultry feed ingredient of maize and soybeans.

FG, WORLD BANK BOOST SMES WITH BIG PLATFORM


Thursday, August 25, 2016

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, through the Ministry ofIndustry, Trade and Investment, FMITI, has concluded plans to boost Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs in Nigeria, with the introduction of the initiative tagged- Business, Innovation and Growth, BIG Platform.

With adequate support by the World Bank, the FMITI, in a statement on its website, seeks to grow SMEs in Nigeria, along the lines of sales, as well as providing employment opportunities for Nigerians.

The statement read: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, (FMITI) with the support of the World Bank seek to grow small businesses in Nigeria. These businesses will be boosted along the lines of sales and employment, so that we can eventually grow our economy and reduce our dependence on crude oil.

“This initiative is called the Business, Innovation and Growth (BIG) Platform and it is operationalized in the Growth and Employment (GEM) Project.

“The FMITI and World Bank have identified five sectors that have high potential for growth in Nigeria; and these are the sectors that will be accessing the support the BIG Platform will be offering. The sectors include- Construction, Entertainment, Hospitality, Information and Communication Technology, ICT and Light Manufacturing (Including Agro processing).

“The participating businesses will receive support in the following ways: Free Technical Assistance: Including training and consulting services and possibly; Grants: Available in 5 categories: Equity, Matching, Performance, Institutional, Innovative.”

Explaining how Nigerians can register for the BIG Platform initiative, the statement stated: “The steps to accessing this support is: Log on to the BIG Platform (www.bigportal.org.ng), create an account and register your business, Attend an induction workshop and Access the various services available on the BIG Platform”

It added: “We welcome existing Nigerian businesses operating within the aforementioned sectors to register their business on the BIG Platform to benefit from this project.”
SOURCE: VANGUARD

Big Story: Waste To Wealth Pt.2

A report on how waste is managed, recycled and processed to generate income for business owners.

Big Story: Waste To Wealth Pt.1

A report on how waste is managed, recycled and processed to generate income for business owners.

BUILDING YOUR BRAND'S CREDIBILITY


Credibility is key to run a business, especially an online business. An online venture without credibility cannot stay long in business. Customers need to trust your brand if you are going to be a success. Strong brand credibility can help everyone from e-commerce stores to freelancers earn and keep their online customers' trust. 

Regardless of how long a brand has been in business, all it takes to bring you down is news on incredibility among customers. The lack of credibility is a business killer and would stop any aspiring customer from doing business with your brand.

Tips on improving your brands credibility include:

CUSTOMER REVIEWS: what others are saying about you is valuable to an aspiring customer. Posting client reviews on your website immediately tells visitors your brand is transparent and ready to own its image. Transparency and consistency each have a significant part to play in building your brand's long-term credibility.

CERTIFIED TRUST SEAL: Ensuring online security isn't enough. You need to show your customers what you're doing to protect their transactions and their information. Most customers don't have the technical know-how to determine your specific toolkit. All the same, they do value the sense of security these seals provide them.

NOTABLE ONLINE REPUTATION: Many consumers won't patronize a business whose principal member has a poor reputation online. Building online brand credibility only works in tandem with your personal identity, even more so for small businesses. You should leverage content marketing to create a strong, personal identity. In turn, your online credibility also will get a boost.

VISUAL CONTENT: Video content can help your online business connect with consumers better than text and images. As consumers become more accustomed to fast content and reality TV, they expect businesses to adopt similar practices. Small-business owners who allow consumers to see and hear them will gain more trust than those who hide behind stock photos and static text on a web page. 

PERSONALITY IS BRAND REPRESENTATION: Customers want to relate to your business before they seek a connection with you. This means your business must interact with customers on a more personal level. It's a good practice for small businesses to allow their founder's or CEO's personality to be reflected in how the business is run. That includes the tone, message and format of communication tools such as content pieces, emails, and videos.

Those are the few tips necessary in building your brands reputation and credibility online.

How has Botswana fared in economic diversification?

The call for diversification of African economies is not new and in fact has been the rallying call from many of the continent's governments. How has Botswana fared in finding new markets and new revenue streams outside of the diamond industry?

APAPA GRIDLOCK: SHAME OF A NATION'S GATEWAY


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

It is not for want of raising the alarm over the years that rather than get reasonable attention, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway has continued to go from bad to worse.

It has reached an extent that someone asked: "What else are you going to write that has not been written about this road, yet no one cares?"The reply was: "But, the road is of such importance that it cannot be ignored. We will continue even if it means shouting ourselves hoarse, until someone decides to do what is necessary."

Today, probably more than ever before, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway constitutes a major setback to businesses as terminal operators, shippers, tank firms and other industries in that axis are losing millions of dollars to the gridlock.

The Guardian's investigation showed that shippers have been diverting their cargoes to neighbouring countries due to difficulties encountered in clearing goods from the port.The road, which has suffered neglect for over 40 years now is described by operators as an eye sore and a testimonial to infrastructure decadence in the country.

Besides, customs agents are lamenting that the bad roads have necessitated astronomic hike in cost of clearing goods, as vehicles find it extremely difficult to access the terminals for easy delivery.

Yet, the route is one of the most economically strategic to the national economy as it links the seaport in Apapa with the airport in Ikeja.It is currently posing threat to over $650 billion investments at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, going by the estimates of the operators.

The road was partially completed from Cele Bus Stop to Berger with the uncompleted part from Berger to Wharf now taken over by commercial motorcyclists who shuttle between tankers and container-laden trucks to access core port commercial area in Wharf. Many are compelled to ride against traffic while the few conscious one have to wade through the heavy pit of holes to find a route.

Indeed, the terminal operators, Customs officials, port users, truck drivers, depot owners, and transporters who spoke with The Guardian, lamented that the road is retarding business growth and development.The Acting Managing Director, Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, Alhaji Mohammed Bulangu, said the access roads to the ports are in a deplorable condition and this has created a source of worry to stakeholders in the industry.

He described it as a major challenge to operators, while appealing to the Federal Government to urgently address it for the overall good of the economy.Bulangu said the company has done some palliative work on the road several times, but this could not help unless government look into complete overhaul of the road.

The President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCAN), Prince Olayiwola Shittu said: "The road is in the hands of government. Several ministers have made several promises and yet nothing has been done. No individual can tackle that road, even to do palliatives. Some of the companies there came together, but it was difficult because the foundation needs rebuilding.

"Considering the heavy traffic and heavy load the road carries day in day out, it should be concreted with iron, but the government said it does not have money to do it."Some sections of the road had been fixed sometime ago, but it is very difficult to complete because of the monetary measures put in place by the government.

To do procurement, it will go through some rigorous steps and many offices. That is what you see in some of our budget. There is no way we can do even 40 per cent implementation of the budget because of the restrictions. We have many of our members who sleep in Apapa and go home at the weekend.

"Importantly, let me say this: anybody who has no business should not be at the ports. Go there, you will see people reading newspapers, idling away their time along the road. Ask them what are they doing they will say: 'I am looking for my importer.' Why don't you go to the office and wait for your importer.

"The new parking space is provided for them, I think NPA, which is the landlord and transport workers should tell us what is the issue with the parking lots. You will also see petroleum tankers parking on the road and waiting to lift fuel. In fact petroleum depots should not be located near the ports. No country allows tank farms near residences and ports. They could as well locate them in Epe and access it from that end in other to decongest the ports route. The ports have been in existence but those who took money in government to approve these tank farms have taken the money and they have gone, that is what we are suffering today," he said.

Managing Director, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL) Amy Jadesimi, said it was high time the Federal Government fixed the road to boost industrialization. Although, the route does not really affect LADOL since it is located on an Island adjacent Ikoyi and Apapa, Jadesimi said it is key to success of other important businesses that contribute immensely to the economy.

"Those who know LADOL very well know that we reach LADOL by water and we chose that location specifically for ease of logistics. Ikoyi to Lekki by water takes you less than 10 minutes, but to travel by road takes you more than one hour depending on the traffic situation. It is not affecting us because we have other routes that we can take.

"However, I need to say that it is critically important that we resolve this infrastructure issue to save our economy.Fewer than 20 per cent of the roads in Nigeria are okay, so we have a national crisis in terms of infrastructure which needs to be addressed, because unless we stand to fix the infrastructure deficit we are not going to industrialise our nation," she said.

Meanwhile, there are indications that AG Dangote Construction Company are planning to commence works on the roads.As part of the arrangement, the General Manager, Western Ports of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Michael Ajayi has appealed to all owners of underground cables along Apapa Wharf road to urgently clear or get alternative custody for them to allow for the commencement of reconstruction work on the road.

Ajayi reiterated that the early commencement on the Wharf road reconstruction project would depend on the timely cooperation of the owners of some underground infrastructures whose facilities may be affected by the project.

The general manager explained that as the handily contractor on the project Messrs AG Dangote Construction Company, a subsidiary of Dangote Group has mobilized to site and ready to commence work on the road. It has become necessary to appeal to all owners of these underground facilities to clear them or get alternative custody for them to allow work on the project to commence in earnest.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had approved Messrs AG Dangote Construction Company, to re-construct the Lagos Ports Complex access road from the Port to the foot of the Apapa Bridge by Area "B" Police Station along Wharf Road, Apapa.

It could also be recalled that in order to ensure a hitch free commencement of the reconstruction , the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Western Ports (Headquarters) convened a meeting of stakeholders to discuss modalities for the successful execution of the project.

Ajayi pointed out that it is in the interest of all stakeholders and all those doing business in Apapa to see to the early commencement of the reconstruction work on the Wharf Road and its successful completion as unnecessary further delay on this project would not be in the interest of the overall economic activity of Lagos State and the nation as a whole.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT TIPS


It’s quite discouraging to spend time and effort on a piece of content that ends up being ignored in publications or sales platforms. This is why it is essential to engage in content optimization, this ensures that you connect with your audience on a level that is exciting and acceptable.

Just like in novels and movies, it you can’t engage your audience till the last scene, you might not get that type of review or referral that you desire even after a few sales and we all know that referrals are crucial in business. Here are few tips a content developer can adopt to maximize productivity.

BE CONVERSATIONAL: it is always best to structure the content in a conversational way so that it is easy to absorb and retain for the average reader. Use everyday language that reads as if you are speaking to your audience in person. Keep it as simple as possible, don’t get people confused with terms and grammar.

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think of what follow-up questions might be asked so that you can address them in your initial piece.

IMPLEMENT ‘CALL TO ACTION’: An ideal way to create more engagement and make your content more exciting for readers is to implement calls-to-action once or twice within most of your pieces. A call-to-action doesn’t have to be treated as a sales tactic.

Asking your readers to try a specific technique at home, referring them to places they can get more information and offering invitations to sign up for free online seminars are all effective ways to encourage action and engagement among your audience. Challenging your audience to do something even within your content is a good approach to ensure content is being implemented.

VISUAL REPRESENTATIONS: visual are always useful tools in content development. It makes content exciting and understandable. It is obvious that audience react more positively to visual content compared to plain text. For this reason, high quality photos and videos are worth considering for any form of content.

Consider these tips for your content development today and watch your audience get bigger and more enlightened.

Navigating through the Mozambican market

CNBC Africa's Tshepo Modiba is joined by Thabo Ncalo, Founding Partner of Ankole Capital for more on the markets in Mozambique.

IMPACTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON BRANDING


It is no longer news that social media is an important component for building a profitable brand. Social media obviously has a lot of impact and effect on building a brand in the world of today but many business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs still fail to seize this opportunity for business success. Here are few tips on how social media can have impacts on your brand.

BRAND RECOGNITION: It’s quite simple, the more frequently you show up on social media, the greater your brand exposure and the more recognizable and credible your company, personal brand, product and business become. A smart use of social media will get you the type of recognition you need to make good business deals.

INCREASED TRUST THROUGH LEVERAGED CREDIBILITY: leverage credibility helps boost your reputation and acceptability to your audience. Getting a retweet or a share post of content you put up from personality or established brand could help influence the way you are accepted. Social media recommendation can do so much in branding.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN COLD CONVERSIONS: The third social media marketing bottom line for your business or brand is a competitive advantage in converting visitors who come to you cold via internet search into members of your tribe. Having a strong social media presence than your competition will help you capture attention of more and better audience who you are likely to convert into paying customers.

MORE CUSTOMERS, MORE PROFIT: while social media is by no means a total solution to increasing your sales, it can do no harm. Sales reps that mostly use social media as their selling process are more likely to have better results compare to reps that do not.

Doing business, sealing deals and making more money via social media is viable and possible. Converting your audience and network to paying customers is mostly all that you are left to do.

Analyse This - CBN Floating The Naira: What This Could Mean For The Economy

On Analyse This today, Arese Ugwu and Tunji Andrews discuss the recent decision of the CBN to float the Naira and how this could affect the Nigerian economy going forward.

Nigeria, others strategise on local manufacturing of drugs


Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Economic recession notwithstanding, practitioners in the pharmaceutical industry have identified the imperative of new investments as driver of real development in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Nigeria and Africa.

They said that with growing reduction in foreign direct investment, stakeholders must re-strategise efforts at attracting home-grown investments to keep the sector robust and meeting the needs of the citizens.

The call was made against the backdrop of growing scarcity of some imported pharmaceutical products and rise in prices of their locally-made counterparts, both of which were blamed on spike in foreign exchange rate to the Naira.

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) said the health sector and the Nigerian publics are beginning to feel the scarcity of some crucial pharmaceutical items, and called for special intervention fund to save the sector.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PharmaAfrica, Miles Mudzviti, said it was high time major stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, came together to chart the way forward, with a common understanding on the type of industry they want to see in the next couple of years.

Mudzviti, who spoke ahead of the fourth edition of the Africa Pharmaceutical Summit and exhibition, said some of the issues most pressing for attention are in the area of capacity and capability for manufacturing, developing framework for deregulated environment and facilitating investments into the pharmaceutical industry among other.

He said, despite the current economic outlook, Nigeria, which is responsible for about 78 per cent of drugs manufactured in the West African region is at a vantage position to lead her neighbours into real development.

In his words: "I recognise that it is very challenging for local manufacturers in Nigeria at the moment with majority of the raw materials, equipment and maintenance all imported. At the current exchange rate, it is obviously that manufacturers will be on the back foot.

"There is, however, a space where government can play a role in supporting industries for the short term like giving forex till the economy improves. But on the main, there are opportunities in the long run."

He observed that over the years, there had been efforts to support local companies to get Who Health Organisation's (WHO) prequalification and a lot of investments through the Bank of Industry.

"Quite obviously, there is a lot more that can be done in terms of looking at how government, which is the main customer of manufacturers, buy these products. Public sector has really done well but there is more to be done.

"There are also interests from the private sector, with a lot still looking at Nigeria. The fundamentals for such investments are strong though the environment are quite challenging."

He added that the African Pharmaceutical Summit (APS) had been at the forefront of achieving the common frontier to develop the sector in Africa, organising APS summit across the regions.

He said Nigeria would lead neighbouring countries at the West African and fourth edition of the summit and exhibition, holding in Lagos from September 6 to 7.

Mudzviti said: "Nigeria is very key to the development of the sector in Africa, with greater concentration of indigenous companies here. This is the biggest economy on the continent as well.

"For us, we feel that it is an opportunity to bring the platform here and try to get some momentum on issues of common interest like distribution, upgrading capabilities, future landscape of health insurance, good distribution systems and practices," he said.

Chairman of the Lagos branch of Association of Community Pharmacists, Biola Paul-Ozieh, appealed to the Federal Government to activate the Pharmaceutical Intervention Fund (PIF), to save the pharmaceutical sector from total collapse.

Paul-Ozieh, noted that the high foreign exchange rate and the consequent high cost of purchase and importation of medicines were discouraging importers.

"The situation has also caused the increase in the products that have been imported. It is currently affecting the affordability of medicines among the ordinary Nigerians who pay-out-of-pocket for their healthcare. For us to be able to have universal health coverage we must have affordable medicine.

"The National Drug Policy also indicates that we must be able to make our medicines locally. If today in Nigeria, 80 per cent of the drugs we use are made locally, the drugs will be more affordable to the populace," she said.

Paul-Ozieh added that the PIF would serve as a revolving fund for drug manufacturers who need capital to build local manufacturing plants, thereby reducing the country's dependence on imported drugs.

"Government needs to encourage local manufacturers and put petrochemical industries in place, so that raw materials will be available and manufactures can source their raw materials locally. That way, we will be self-sufficient in terms of drugs production and administration in the country," she said.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN