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Onas: Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ) already Attracting Investors

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Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has put every necessary process in place to make the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ), an impetus for foreign and local investors, the Coordinator OGFTZ, Dr. Abbey Onas has stated.



Addressing stakeholders in Abeokuta on his recent visit to Poland for an investment/economic forum, Onas said he was essentially at the international forum in his capacity as the Coordinator of the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ).

“My mission on that foreign land was clear: to woo global investors to Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria. That meeting was the 32nd in the series of the Economic Forum that has become a tradition. It was a gathering of leading investors and economic giants that came with lots of opportunities,”



The coordinator said the body language of the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu so far speaks to its readiness to tap economic opportunities from across the world and open up Nigeria for business and investment, pointing out that the President has assumed the role of the Chief Marketing Officer of Nigeria and Africa, telling the global audience at every avenue that we’re ready for mutually beneficial partnerships.



“Most recently at the United Nations General Assembly, President Tinubu argued that Africa is not a problem to be avoided, calling the rest of the world to work with the continent as the key to the world’s future. His presentation at the session has been applauded as masterful.



“This body language of the federal government, in addition to the investment drive of Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, is what I’ve seen and is motivating me to push for economic opportunities from across the world to the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone.”



Abbey pointed out that Governor Abiodun has made huge investments in critical sectors that attract and sustain investment in the state, especially in the area of road infrastructure, transportation, energy, security and others.



He has done creditably well in his first tenure, raising the hopes of the people that more will come in this second tenure. “In his determination to make Ogun State a major investment destination in Nigeria and by extension Africa, Governor Abiodun established the Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency. This government organ has the mandate to attract investors into the state; coordinate private sector investment activities, and streamline processes and procedures to ease investors’ experience in setting up their businesses in the state. That was a brilliant initiative whose positive impact has begun to manifest, as Ogun is now a state of interest for many investors.



Governor Abiodun has also supported this with the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads and road networks in the state. Over 400km roads have been touched by the Dapo Abiodun-led administration of Ogun State. This, no doubt, has changed the face of the state and eased transportation within Ogun. Good road networks are a major catalyst for investment. It’s exciting that Governor Abiodun has his eyes fixated on renewing road networks in Ogun State,”



Speaking on the measures being put in place to consolidate on protection of lives and properties in the state, the coordinator said the state government was aware of the place of security in attracting investment.

“Ogun people are generally peaceful and welcoming. They are always ready to extend the hands of fellowship to visitors. Governor Abiodun has also strengthened the security architecture of the state by keying into the Amotekun initiative of Southwestern regional governments in Nigeria. This is in addition to restructuring the Security Trust Fund of the state which has made it possible to mobilise resources for security personnel. The adoption of ultramodern security techniques such as drones and other sophisticated technology in surveillance and monitoring the state has prevented criminal gangs from gaining a foothold. The security of the state can always get better.



“Indeed, I’ve seen the investment drive of Governor Dapo Abiodun over the years, and it is really propelling me to make moves on my own to attract investment to the state. We have a Governor that has a growth and progressive mindset.



“So, at the economic forum, I made a case for Africa, Nigeria and Ogun State. This was even long before the President’s address at UNGA 78. My message was similar to that of the President. I told the session which has a global audience that Africa should not be seen as a challenging investment terrain. On the contrary, we have the presence of highly educated Nigerians and Africans eager to collaborate with global partners in achieving great feats.



“Some investors might want to wait to see how things pan out. However, this may be costly for them. It was my view at the economic forum that with the pace at which the present administration of President Tinubu is working on securing foreign investments, such category of investors might miss out on the available opportunities. The perfect time to invest in Nigeria is therefore NOW,”



Speaking further on the direct advantage of his recent trip to Poland, Onas painted a glowing picture of what on the 23rd of September, when a select number of accomplished Polish investors and seasoned CEOs from reputable companies in Poland and Europe from diverse industries arrived Abuja to usher in new possibilities and collaborations between Nigeria and Polland. He stated that the visit was a follow-up on the fruitful discussions had at the Economic summit and aimed at exploring investment opportunities and establishing fruitful partnerships within Nigeria.



In the final analysis, he called on investors to look inward and consider the opportunities in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Nigeria, which he said serves as a powerful reminder of the untapped potential in Africa’s rapidly evolving economic landscape.

“We are open for business and partnership. The Dapo Abiodun-led administration is making progressive policies and programmes that support investment and business in the state,” he added.

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Oando Foundation’s Clean Our World Project reaches 47,000+ beneficiaries

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.…expands environmental education reach in Nigeria.

Lagos, Nigeria [17th May 2024] – Oando Foundation, an independent charity established to support the Nigerian government in achieving its Universal Basic Education goal has commenced the fourth phase of its Clean Our World project (COW IV) in Lagos reaching 54 public primary schools in 25 communities. This milestone marks a significant step forward in the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to environmental education, sustainability, and community development.Building on the success of the previous phases, COW phase IV focuses on standardized lesson delivery through wide-scale capacity building for teachers, deployment of environmental educational materials, and various in-school climate action activities, laying the foundation for a cleaner, greener future. With active government participation, this cycle of the project ensures uniform, consistent, and high-quality delivery of environmental education in schools across Lagos State.“Environmental education plays a crucial role in equipping students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to address complex environmental challenges. As we confront these challenges, investing in environmental education becomes imperative for building resilient communities and securing a sustainable future for all. We are excited to commence the implementation of Clean Our World Phase IV, which will empower teachers, engage students, and foster a culture of environmental stewardship and citizenship, ” said Mrs. Adekanla Adegoke, Head of Oando Foundation. Since its inception, the Clean Our World project has evolved and expanded, reaching more communities and schools. In collaboration with Sumitomo Chemical, a leading Japanese chemical company, Oando Foundation has enlightened various schools and communities in Lagos State about environmental education and sustainable waste management practices such as recycling. From reaching seven schools in three communities in COW phase 1, twelve schools in five communities during the second phase, and twenty-four schools in ten communities for the third phase, the project has demonstrated its effectiveness in promoting environmental education, sanitation, and recycling.Through robust government participation and strategic partnerships, Oando Foundation through the COW phase IV has ensured sustainable impact and created a legacy of environmental awareness and action. Lagos State Universal Basis Education Board (LASUBEB) provided technical support and coordination, ensuring the project’s alignment with local educational priorities and policies. GreenHub Africa Foundation also served as a trusted co-implementing partner, contributing to the successful implementation of COW IV.In furtherance of its commitment to promoting environmental education and sustainable action for pupils in target schools and their host communities, Oando Foundation is expanding the reach of Clean Our World project to other communities in Nigeria such as Plateau state. This expansion will impact over 6,000 direct beneficiaries in 20 public primary schools through targeted activities such as establishment of green clubs, training of teachers and education managers, deployment of the environmental education syllabus as well as engaging students in gardening, upcycling and recycling activities. The Foundation continues to lead advocacy efforts and policy level engagements with key stakeholders for standardization and inclusion of environmental education lessons in public primary schools across the country.

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Ecobank MySME Growth Series: Artificial Intelligence Holds the key To Business Development, Says Erhabor

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Lagos, May 14, 2024 – Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country have been advised to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to grow their businesses. Founder AI Nigeria, Ehia Erhabor, made this submission in his presentation titled “ Using AI for business innovation” delivered at the Ecobank MySME Growth Series webinar. He emphasied that AI is a gamechanger particularly for small businesses. According to him, AI is rapidly transforming industries by automating processes, enhancing analytics, and enabling personalized customer experience, stressing that the future of AI is its democratization where companies of all sizes including SMEs can harness its power to drive innovation and gain competitive edge.

Specifically, Erhabor pointed out that “AI technology holds the key to the future. It is quite pervasive. It is part of our existence and will impact businesses the way we can ever imagine. It can help SMEs develop new products and services by analysing data and identifying customers’ needs. AI can also be used to automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and improve efficiency by reducing operational costs.” He listed the challenges and risks of AI as bias, explainability, privacy, transparency and misuse, debunking claims in some quarters that AI will lead to the end of the world but rather a tool for development.

Also speaking, former Chief Operating Officer, Flutterwave, Bode Abifari said AI technology holds the key to the future, explaining that it simulates human intelligence to perform complex tasks like research, decision making, pattern recognition and problem solving. She submitted that AI was capable of improving customers’ experience and engagements for the SMEs, adding that the technology can personalize interactions, provide personalized recommendations and enhance customer service leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty for small businesses.

Ecobank MySME Growth Series which started in February this year is designed to empower SME operators across the country. It is part of the bank’s commitment to train over 1 million SME operators in various sectors of the economy in 2024.  The training will provide resources for starting a business, registration processes, industry statistics, and essential considerations for running a business. The series cover key areas such as accounting, credit, sales & marketing, taxation, and inventory management.

Additionally, articles on important topics like increasing sales, advertising ideas, business management practices, case studies, and leveraging technology will be provided.  Ecobank also plans to launch an SME Mentorship program to collaborate with successful entrepreneurs. Taken together, the MySME Growth Series reflects Ecobank’s dedication to fostering growth and success within the SME community.

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Wema Bank Unveils New Digital Solution For Cooperative Societies, CoopHub

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Wema Bank, Nigeria’s foremost innovative bank and pioneer of Africa’s first fully digital bank, ALAT, has officially launched CoopHub, a new digital solution for Cooperative Societies. The groundbreaking platform was unveiled at the launch ceremony held on May 10th, 2024, to commemorate the 79th anniversary of the Bank.
CoopHub, the first of its kind in the Nigerian banking industry, is a digital platform designed strategically to transform the way Cooperative Societies operate by providing tailored solutions that bridge the gaps in the traditional framework of Cooperative Societies. The unique platform insulates Cooperative Societies against prevalent struggles like manual recordkeeping, limited access to loans, poor communication, insecurity, and other restrictions, supporting them with the solutions needed to not only mitigate these problems but also operate with the utmost efficiency.

L-R: Group Head, Partnerships and Ecosystem, Ajibade Laolu-Adewale; Divisional Head, Brands, People and Culture, Wema Bank, Ololade Ogungbenro; President Ogun State Cooperative Federation Limited; Alhaji Wasiu Olaleye; MD/CEO Wema Bank, Moruf Oseni and Executive Director, Retail and Digital Bank, Wema Bank, Tunde Mabawonku, at the launch of Coop Hub, Wema Bank’s digital solution for Cooperative Societies, held in Lagos today, Friday, 10th May, 2024
With CoopHub, leaders of Cooperative Societies can manage every aspect of their community’s operations from a simplified dashboard accessible on their phones, seamlessly managing their Cooperative Society’s finances, communication, member records, analytics and every other detail in real time and on the go. Members of the Cooperative Societies also enjoy increased access to loans, seamless contribution tracking, secure transactions, and easy communication with the leaders. Essentially, CoopHub helps Cooperative Societies maintain 100% transparency, reliability, and security, with the option of white labelling for a customised experience.
Disclosing the Bank’s motive for creating CoopHub, Wema Bank’s MD/CEO, Moruf Oseni, highlighted the Bank’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity. “Cooperative Societies have many pain points. As a bank that is committed to empowering lives through innovation, we examined the end-to-end value chain of Cooperative Societies and launched CoopHub to provide solutions that address the pains and headaches in the Cooperative Society experience for both the leaders of these communities and the members. CoopHub is the future of Cooperative Societies and we have designed every detail to address the needs of every player in the Cooperative Society ecosystem and empower these communities for optimal productivity”, he said.
Delving into the unique features of CoopHub, Solomon Ayodele, Wema Bank’s Head of Innovation, added, “CoopHub is taking Cooperatives to an era where conflicts, stressful physical meetings, mistrust, inadequate capital, poor recordkeeping and inefficient governance are all a thing of the past. With a digitised database for all records, a dedicated User Management section for leaders to manage members efficiently, a transparent overview of contributions for both leaders and members, seamless communication framework that allows for easy planning of meetings and events, and a host of other unique features, CoopHub truly is the solution that every Cooperative Society needs. To promote community and financial security, CoopHub also offers a three-factor authentication system that ensures that every withdrawal from the Cooperative Society’s account is subject to an approval of three members of the Cooperative Society, including the Admin. We have been very intentional with CoopHub and I encourage every Cooperative Society to come on board and experience the future of Cooperative Societies through CoopHub”, Ayodele concluded.
CoopHub is now live and open to every Cooperative Society across the world. This futuristic solution is set to not only empower Nigerian lives with increased access to their needs through Cooperative Societies, but also revolutionise Cooperative Society operations for the best.
To onboard a Cooperative on CoopHub, simply register at https://coophub.alat.ng/

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