Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Man United Sign Up Seven Official Soft Drinks Partners In Asia

Manchester United Football Club today announced a multi-year regional sponsorship agreement with PepsiCo in Asia-Pacific.

In a release on Business Wire via The Motley Fool, under terms of the agreement, PepsiCo will become the Official Soft Drinks Partner of Manchester United in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei. PepsiCo will hold exclusive rights to use Manchester United branding on its products and point of sale materials within these markets.

Manchester United enjoys a combined fan base of more than 38 million consumers in these seven countries. Connecting this fan base to PepsiCo's strong portfolio of brands is expected to unlock new growth opportunities and further increase the reach and popularity of the Manchester United and Pepsi brands in the region.

Throughout Manchester United's 135 year heritage it has grown to become the most recognisable and biggest sports brand in the world, winning 61 trophies and boasting a global fan base of 659 million followers.

Commenting on the agreement, Manchester United Group Managing Director Richard Arnold, said "Manchester United and Pepsi are two iconic brands and the Club is delighted to be teaming up with PepsiCo as our Official Soft Drinks partner in these seven territories in Asia. Our huge following in this region and the strong popularity of both brands within Asia-Pacific can only benefit our fans. PepsiCo understands what our fans love and through our partnership will be bringing them exciting promotions and incentives and getting them closer to the Club they support".

Diamond Bank Announces Growth In Operating Income

Diamond Bank remains on track to deliver superior returns to shareholders at year end with an impressive H1 result after declaring a profit before tax of N17.6 billion- an increase of 14 per cent from N15.4 billion in June 2012.
Group Managing Director/CEO of Diamond Bank,
Dr. Alex Otti

This is reported in the bank’s Unaudited H1 Results for 2013 prepared in accordance to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and made available to financial correspondents in Lagos, Nigeria.

Speaking at the Bank’s Corporate Head Office in Lagos, Dr. Alex Otti, Group Managing Director/CEO of Diamond Bank commented, “We are proud of the latest set of results which underline the sustainable financial robustness we have achieved following our consistent growth and overall balance sheet efficiency.”
A closer review of the profit in the period under review, Diamond Bank recorded an operating income of N57.2 billion in H1 of 2013 compared to N44.5 billion reported in the same period of year 2012.

Similarly, interest income of the Bank rose by 35 per cent in the H1 period which ended June 30, 2013 as Diamond Bank posted N70.1 billion compared to N52.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2012.
According to Dr. Otti, “Our innovative and customer focused services gives us access to a faster growing share of Nigeria’s newly emerging bankable population, while maintaining our strong net interest margin in an increasingly competitive environment.”
The bank showed good appetite in funding the real sector with loans and advances to customers going up by seven per cent to N624.5 billion as against N585.2 billion in December 2012.

Total Assets of the Bank now stand at N1.3 trillion up 13 per cent from N1.2 trillion in December 2012, while deposits from customers rose to N1.03 trillion up 13 per cent from N910 billion in December 2012.

“With a strong retail product innovation strategy showing positive results as well as consistent sound risk management practices, Diamond Bank is firmly positioned to continue delivering sustainable returns in 2013 and beyond.” concludes Dr. Otti.

Winners Emerge From Visa’s Financial Literacy Mobile App Development Challenge

Three winners have emerged in the Financial Literacy Challenge mobile development competition, sponsored by Visa, the global payments technology company, and delivered by the Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria.
(From left) CEO and Co-founder of Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) Mr. Bosun Tijani, leader of the winning team of Visa's Financial Literacy Mobile Application Challenge Mr. Francis Osifo and Business Development Manager Visa, Ms. Holly Jones during the ‘Show and Tell’ event on Sunday
Six finalist teams presented their completed prototypes at a public “Show and Tell” event yesterday (28th July) at the CcHub office in Lagos, and the final three were then selected by a panel of judges comprising representatives from Visa, First Bank of Nigeria, StanbicIBTC, the Development Initiative Network and Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA).

Team ‘Money Talks’ won the grand prize of N1,200,000, while Team ‘More Than Money’ and Team ‘Market Trader’ came second and third, winning N960,000 and N800,000 respectively.

The winners were selected based on the quality of the applications presented and their capacity to solve local problems, their relevance to the financial literacy needs of Nigerians, as well as the extent of creativity demonstrated by the developers.

Ade Ashaye, Country Manager for Visa in West Africa, said: “This competition is part of Visa’s strategy to educate Nigerians on financial literacy. We are constantly introducing innovative programmes to better inform consumers on how to manage their money regardless of their cultural standards, educational needs and levels of economic development.”

The first team, who won the grand prize, comprises Peter Ihesie, Dolapo Popoola, Francis Osifo, Emmanuel Itemuagbor, Afolabi Legunsen, Olayinka Tanimomo and Osagie Osemwegie. Their entry, ‘Money Talks,’ is an audio tutorial solution that aims to provide financial information using SMS, voice interactive system and the web.

Another team, comprising Ajibola Aiyedogbon, Ikechukwu Obiakor, Akinsete Sunday, Dapo Olaopa, Sheri Adegbenro, David Umoh and Damilola Adenusi, achieved the second position with their entry, ‘More Than Money,’ a game developed to reinforce students’ money management skills. The game is an adaptation of the Community Game used by Junior Achievement Nigeria in primary schools across Nigeria.

The third prize went to ‘Market Trader,’ a mobile/web based game that teaches kids about how to make smart financial decisions in a fun and engaging way. ‘Market trader,’ was created by Bayo Puddicombe, Olusegun Fasika, Damilola Akinwale, Willie Anniebiet, Kesa Oluwafunmilola and Segun Fodeke.

Battle for Etisalat Geek Force Internship Contest Enters Final Stage

In line with its ongoing commitment of offering its customers, particularly the youth, a chance to join its workforce, Nigeria’s most innovative and fastest growing telecommunications company, Etisalat recently unveiled the Top 10 Finalists of its Geek Force Internship contest at a media event held at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi.

The Etisalat Geek Force Internship Contest which focuses on two core areas of innovation and customer satisfaction is yet another unique idea from the leading telecoms company. The contest came about as a result of etisalat’s commitment to not only provide innovative products and services to its customers, but to also provide a platform to help in the development of career opportunities in a creative and exciting way.

Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans disclosed that the five winners of the contest, which started as an online competition designed to recruit innovative and technologically savvy individuals, will have the opportunity of a one year paid internship with Etisalat Nigeria. The 10 interns competing for the five Geek Force Internship spots include Peter Ndirpaya, Habib Lawal, David Alozie, Victor Alayande, Muyiwa Iyowu, Onyemaechi Okafor, Okon Etim, Tajinere Sagay, Gbenga Olaoye and Valentine Ubalua.

Explaining the selection process, Evans disclosed that the competition was designed in the model of a social media reality show that required contestants to upload 2-3 minute videos showing how geeky they were. “We received over 1,000 interesting videos and went through a rigorous selection process to select 41 videos which we uploaded online for voting. The top 20 videos were then selected based on viewer ‘likes’/votes on our Facebook/Tumblr page, and the 20 contestants went on to face a panel of judges who made the tough decision of selecting the final 10 contestants we have here today,” he said.

“The Top 10 finalists are going to go on and work in five departments in our organization; they will be assigned with a variety of tasks and tests as well as mentors from our senior management team. After six weeks, the top 5 will be the winners of a one year Geek Internship at Etisalat,” he added.

Guinness International Champions Cup Announces Partnership With Emirates Airline

Today, the Guinness International Champions Cup officially announced that Emirates will be a founding partner and the exclusive international airline of the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup.

The inaugural world-class tournament will provide never before seen competition between 8 marquee clubs from around the world. Competition began July 27 with AC Milan defeating Valencia in Valencia, Spain and continues in 7 additional cities across the U.S. including Glendale, Ariz.; San Francisco, Calif.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Los Angeles, Calif.; East Rutherford, N.J., and Miami, Florida.  

The tournament will feature Real Madrid, Chelsea, A.C. Milan, Juventus, Inter Milan, Valencia, Everton and the LA Galaxy. The first ever Guinness International Champions Cup will be awarded following the championship match on August 7 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla.

The Guinness International Champions Cup, organized by Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, and broadcast by FOX and Fox Sports combines the competitiveness and prestige of European club soccer with the growing passion for the sport in the United States. Emirates’ involvement in the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup is a strong addition to their continued promotion of international soccer, highlighted by Emirates’ sponsorship of participating tournament teams, A.C. Milan and Real Madrid.

“We are thrilled to welcome Emirates as an inaugural partner for the first Guinness International Champions Cup,” said Charlie Stillitano, CEO of Relevent Sports. “The teams and sponsors are world- class and we are excited to offer fans the opportunity to see a champion crowned.”

Emirates doubles services to Amsterdam

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, will serve Amsterdam with a second daily non-stop flight from 4th December 2013. The airline’s Boeing 777-200LR aircraft will add capacity of more than 3,700 seats a week in both directions.

The new daily service will complement Emirates’ popular Airbus A380 flight to Amsterdam, which commenced last August, less than two years after the launch of the route with a Boeing 777.
The second service will feature 266 seats in a three-class configuration - eight seats in First Class, 42 in Business Class and 216 in Economy Class. Flight EK149 will leave Dubai at 1610hrs to reach Amsterdam at 2040hrs. The return flight EK150 will depart Amsterdam at 2210hrs, and will arrive in Dubai at 0740hrs the next day.

“Our decision to add another daily service to Amsterdam is a direct result of a surge in customer demand. The enhanced capacity and schedule will offer our customers more choice when travelling between Amsterdam and Dubai and onwards to a multitude of destinations in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Far East and Australasia,” said Hubert Frach, Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West.

Earlier this year, Emirates launched services to Warsaw, Algiers and Haneda. The airline has announced plans to launch services to Stockholm on 4th September. On 1st October, Emirates will commence flights to Clark in the Philippines as well as link the transatlantic route between Milan and New York.  In Africa, Emirates will launch a linked service to Conakry in Guinea from 27th October. Expanding into Eastern Europe, Emirates will launch services to Kiev, Ukraine on 16th January 2014.

Mammoth Crowd Throng MDA 7 Lagos Auditions

The main bowl of the National Arts Theatre, Lagos was a beehive of heightened activity as thousands of budding dancers stormed the venue of the Lagos audition of the popular Maltina Dance All (MDA) family dance show to showcase their dancing skills as the quest to select family representatives for the Maltina dance academy continues.
Final eight winners of Maltina Dance All 7 after the final selection in Lagos
At the end of the long hours of competition, eight finalists emerged in the future battle to cart home the grand prize of 6 million naira, a brand new car and the highly coveted title of Nigeria’s number one dancing family. The huge turnout and skill exhibited by contestants, further confirmed Lagos, as undisputedly Africa’s major talent hub.

The eight dancers who were unanimously picked by the judges are: Blessing Ekpo, Gloria Idundun, Promise Enweribe, Peter James, Aniebet Emmanuel, Emmanuel Ibeotuche, Jackson Obinna and Ekwerre Elijah. They will however undergo comprehensive medical screening which is on-going and the medical fitness result will ultimately be the basis for the selection of their family considering the highly physical and mental rigours of a competitive dance competition like the MDA.

As expected, the Lagos auditions, was highly entertaining and indeed in consonance with this year’s Maltina Dance All theme, ‘The Evolution”. Contestants across all ages displayed a high level of dance dexterity which made it a bit challenging for even the judges to pick winners.

The first day witnessed dancers between the ages of 5-12 and 30 and above, compete for prizes ranging from brand new Home Theatres, Flat screen television sets and Blackberry smartphones. For the 5-12 year category; Sunday Dolapo, a 10 year old student of Kingsplace Secondary School, emerged overall winner. While Bankole Olamide, 11 and Ibukunoluwa Agbedo, 10, took the second and third positions respectively. For the 30 and above category; 35 year old Mrs. Oluwakemi Adetula emerged overall winner while Mr. Rasheed Balogun, 31 and Ibrahim Rasak, 42, came second and third respectively.

The second day was indeed intense as dancers between the ages of 13–19 and 20–30 battled it out. At the end, for the 13–19 year category, Tolu Okelowo, 19, Daniel Bernard, 17, and Daramola Oladimeji 19, came first, second and third respectively. For the 20-30 year category, Gloria Idundun, 24, Aniebet Emmanuel, 22, and Austin Ashor, 22, equally occupied the first, second and third positions respectively.

Commenting on the Lagos auditions, a member of the panel of judges, Bimbo Obafunwa, confessed that it was a very tough exercise. “As usual Lagos is always very rigorous, the contestants have shown that they really want to be in the Maltina academy. What we have seen so far shows that a great degree of dancers in Lagos appreciate Maltina Dance All and want to be a part of it. Because there were so many good dancers, it was somewhat challenging picking winners but eventually we were able to select just eight dancers. We looked at their versatility, the strength of the dancer, stamina, skill acquisition, transition from one move to the other, charisma when they come on stage and most importantly the ability to entertain and keep the audience going and of course the spirit of evolution”.

Jumia Nigeria Opens More Cash-on-delivery Centres

In an attempt to provide a more convenient stress-free shopping experience to its customers, Jumia Nigeria has opened another 16 cash-on-delivery points in the city of Lagos.

The initiation which is coming just after being nominated in two categories (Pure Play Retailer of the Year and Best New Retail Launch) at the World Retail Awards, the new development is believed to further take the marketplace to their customers.

The new cash on delivery locations are Ikotun, Okokomaiko, Mile 2, Ojodu, Satellite Town, Ojo-Military Cantonment, Ojo-Ajangbadi, Ojo, Lagos Trade Fair, Igando, Iyana Iba, Ejigbo, Isheri, Badore, Iyana Ishashi, Alaba. 

Glo Nigeria Launches N500 Million "Recharge to Stardom" Promo for Subscribers

Glo Nigeria has launched "Recharge to Stardom" promo, offering its loyal subscribers the opportunity to celebrate in their 10 years annivasery.

Customers stand the chance of winning various prizes ranging from N10,000 up to the grand prize of N25 million during the promo which will last for 100 days.

According to Globacom's National Sales Coordinator, Kemi Kaka, the prepaid and post-paid Glo subscribers who recharge with N200 and above during the promo period stand a chance of winning any of the fantastic prizes. He said about 25,071 winners would emerge during the promo.

To win any of the cash rewards below N1million, subscribers must recharge a minimum of N200 every day to stand a chance of winning N10,000 and N25,000 daily. Multiple recharges will increase the participant's chances of winning the daily prize. To win any of the cash rewards between N1million and N5million, subscribers must recharge a cumulative of N1,000 in 10 days. They can appear in every draw of N1million and N5million if they recharge with N1,000 every 10 days.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Etisalat Market Access held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja

L-R: Head, Business Market Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Bidemi Ladipo, presenting an Etisalat Easybusiness prepaid package and a Smartphone to Jemima Angulu of Krump Dance Studios, Abuja while Deputy Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, Nneka Okekearu looks on at the Abuja edition of the Etisalat Market Access held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on Wednesday July 24.

MTN strengthens its leadership structures

MTN has made key appointments to bolster its leadership structures within Group and at its key operations in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

Michael Ikpoki, currently the CEO of MTN Ghana is the new CEO of MTN Nigeria. Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of MTN SA, is the new CEO of MTN Ghana. Brian Gouldie, Chief Customer Sales, Service and Distribution Officer at MTN SA, is the new CMO of MTN SA. Farhad Khan, Executive for the Group Enterprise Business Unit, takes over from Gouldie as Chief Customer Sales, Service and Distribution Officer at MTN SA. Philisiwe Sibiya, Executive in Group Finance, is the new Chief Financial Officer of MTN SA.

“MTN has a strong leadership bench strength. As part of its talent management and leadership development, MTN invests significantly towards building a sustainable supply of quality leaders. We are therefore pleased to make these announcements drawn from our leadership succession pool,” said MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa.

Ikpoki replaces Brett Goschen, who took on the role of Group Chief Financial Officer and Executive Financial Director on the Board on Monday. Ikpoki was appointed CEO of MTN Ghana in April 2011 after successfully running MTN Nigeria’s Sales and Distribution channel as its Executive from 2006. He joined MTN in 2001 as a Regulatory Advisor after a six-year stint with the Nigerian Communications Commission’s legal division.

A seasoned business executive, Ikpoki brings to his new role a rich academic profile that includes a General Management Programme at Harvard Business School, Sales from INSEAD Business School, Finance and Analytics from Lagos Business School and an LLB degree from Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

Google Play Games app launched

Google has launched its new Google Play Games app to be used for the company’s social gaming service. The app connects user with friends by noting achievements, games played, apart from managing leader boards, and also suggesting new friends.

The app serves as a companion hub and portal for the Google Play Games Services, announced at I/O earlier this year. The service allows developers to include cloud saving, multiplayer features and achievements in to their apps.

The app is Android’s answer to Apple’s Game Center. Just like Apple’s Game Center, the Google Play Games app lets you enjoy gaming on your mobile device. You can compete with friends, discover what your friends are playing and much more through the Google Play Games app.

The Google Play Games app is available on the Google Play store. Users can download the app on their smartphone and tablets with Android 2.3 or higher. The app comes pre-installed for Google's new Nexus 7 tablet launched recently.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Windows Server 2012 technology to grow small business

Leading chips maker, DELL and Microsoft has introduced a new range of packages targeted at small scale business that are time poor and need to keep cost to a minimum with the introduction of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012. The latest update to Microsoft’s core server operating system comes with over 300 new features.

DELL is accelerating the benefits of the Windows Server 2012 for small business in line with its philosophy of investing people, process and technology.

“Dell server solutions with Windows Server 2012 offer everything needed to support small business growth including the creation of a strong IT infrastructure, enabling employee collaboration and flexible working as well as a virtualization platform and connectivity to private and public cloud services,” George Akpan, an IT expert.

Speaking further, Akpan explained that, “The Windows Server 2012 also come with other functions like Easy restore which can beused with Windows server backup to restore any device connected to the network, making it ideal for supporting remote employees. It also allows for Easy access to files and applications which allows employees to securely connect to the company network from anywhere that there is an internet connection and creating a virtualized server environment – using Hyper V in Windows Server 2012 enables one physical machine to be turned into several virtual ones. The is so that small businesses can effortlessly advance their virtualization strategy while reaping the benefits of lower operating costs and scalability,” he concluded.

Konga launches Nokia app

Nigeria’s online mall, Konga.com in a partnership with global phone manufacturer, Nokia, have announced the launch of a brand new mobile app designed to give shoppers in Nigeria mobile access to the wide range of products and services available on the site.

The app interface built with functionalities like “search”, “browse” and “request an order” to ensure that both new and old customers can enjoy easier shopping and discovery of the increasing number of Nokia mobile devices and several other products available on Konga.com.

The app is now available for selected phones on the Nokia Asha range (Nokia store) and the Lumia range of phones (Windows Store).

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

...Behold Nokia Lumia 625

Expanding its budget Windows Phone 8 range, Nokia has officially unveiled the Nokia Lumia 625, a larger-screen alternative to the budget Lumia 620 Windows Phone 8 mobile.

Lumia 625 will feature a 4.7in LCD display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, as well as packing a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage and a 2,000mAh battery.

"With our largest smartphone screen to date, the Nokia Lumia 625 is a perfect example of how Nokia is delivering leading smartphone innovation and experiences at every price point,” Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices said.

Despite making a jump in size, the 625's main spec cut is in its screen. Where the high-end Nokia Lumia 925 has a 1,280 x 768 pixel display, the Lumia 625 uses a lower-resolution 800 x 480-pixel screen. 

Samsung Unveils New UHD TV in Kenya

Samsung has unveiled its the world’s first and largest Ultra High-Definition (UHD) Television 85-inch television in the Kenyan market, to be priced at KSh3.7 million (US$42,000).

Ultra High-Definition (UHD) Television 85-inch television launched in Kenyan
According to the General Manager of Samsung Electronics, Allan Oyier, “with the proprietary Samsung up-scaling engine, the Samsung UHD TV up-converts HD or Full HD picture to UHD-level quality by restoring detail to create greater precision and real-life picture quality. Whether you’re catching your favourite TV drama or the latest movie on Blu-ray, you’ll be immersed in the most stunning picture possible.”

With the Samsung Precision Black Pro technology, the S9 is able to deliver enhanced contrast with deeper, more realistic blacks and purer whites. Together with Micro Dimming Ultimate, which enhances picture quality with threefold adjustment – optimization of contrast, colours and details, the S9000 displays unprecedented picture quality and presents users with a detail-rich viewing experience that exceeds Full HD TVs.

Photo Of The Week: Anthony Akaeze Wins Best Tourism Feature, GE Participates in African Leadership Academy

Anthony Akaeze collecting his prize for the Best Tourism Feature from Nick Blazquez, President, Diageo Africa, Turkey, Russia, Central & Eastern Europe during  the 2013 Diageo Africa Business Reporting Award (DABRA) at the recently concluded award ceremony which held in London recently.

CEO Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema; Director of Communications, GE Africa, Patricia Obozuwa; Communications Coordinator, GE Nigeria,Yewande Sobamowo; and Chairman, Access Bank Plc ,Gbenga Oyebode; during the African Leadership Academy(ALA) Indaba Dinner Programme on Saturday 20th July 2013 in Lagos.

MDA 7: Qualifiers for Final Battle Emerge at PH Audition

The first step into how the famous Maltina dance academy would look like was crossed at the Port Harcourt regional audition of Maltina Dance All (MDA) season seven tagged “The Evolution” which took place at the Atrium Event Centre in the garden city recently.

Eight budding dancers were able to satisfy the judges with their dance steps and were thus selected from the hundreds that participated as potential family representatives. These eight dancers, alongside their family members will now progress to the next phase in this highly competitive selection process.
Eight finalist from the Port-Harcourt audition
The rave-making family show sponsored by Maltina, the premium non-alcoholic malt brand from the stable of Nigerian Breweries which has brought happiness and excitement to homes across Nigeria and beyond shortlisted Ebi Williams Konugah, Sotun Briggs, Felix Ekadio, Ikumonein Titus, Nornubari Treasure, Jones Pius Samson, Emmanuel Asiyefia and Miaya Tom as the deserving and potential family representatives and qualifiers into the MDA house. They will however undergo comprehensive medical screening which is on-going and the medical fitness result will ultimately be the basis for the selection of their family considering the highly physical and mental rigours of a competitive dance competition like the MDA.

Not to the surprise of many, the Port Harcourt audition was highly entertaining and undeniably in line with this year’s MDA theme, ‘The Evolution’. Contestants across all ages displayed a high level of dance dexterity which made it pretty difficult for the judges to select the finalists.

The show, according to Mrs Ngozi Nkwoji, Senior Brand Manager, Maltina is all about the emotions, excitement, fun and the unbreakable bond that ten families will showcase when they challenge themselves by learning and performing various dance styles from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and to the present in the famous Maltina Dance All academy. “This is going to be evolution of dance from time past to the present. The winning family will go home with the grand prize of a whooping sum of N6 million and of course, a brand new car. The first and second runners up will also get N1 million and N500, 000 respectively. The show will bring to the fore, the Nigerian people’s essence and values of sharing, happiness unity, cooperation, vitality and creativity”. She added.

The TV show will be aired from 1st of September this year on major TV networks and video uploaded on YouTube and Facebook. Also, viewers can participate and win fabulous prizes through the interactive SMS platform during the show.

Pathcare, Cycology Promote “Know Your Number” Health Card

PathCare, the premier pathology services provider, in collaboration with the Cycology Cycling Club, has embarked on a health awareness drive to encourage people to be more health conscious through a special campaign tagged ‘KNOW YOUR NUMBERS’.

A 45 kilometre ‘KNOW YOUR NUMBERS’ awareness event proceeded by a health ride, was organized recently in Lagos by the partners. The ride took off from the Astro Turf, Ikoyi through the Third Mainland bridge to Oworonshoki , Yaba, Alagomeji, Adekunle and back through CMS. There was free health screening, a health talk and distribution of ‘KNOW YOUR NUMBERS’ health cards.

Martha Maha, Head of Client Services of PathCare explained that the campaign provides an exceptional opportunity for people to obtain credible health information from the experts. “We are using the campaign to encourage people all over Nigeria to collect this special ‘KNOW YOUR NUMBERS’ health card as it showcases all the essential health numbers everyone should know”, she said.

Frank Ozoma, Captain of the Cycology Cycling Club, on his part disclosed that the “Cycology was established to promote cycling as a lifestyle and create awareness about social issues. We are extremely concerned about health and fitness and we are happy to partner with PathCare on this laudable health initiative. But more important than listening is actually taking action. All Cycology members have been encouraged to participate and they have done so. People need to take action to prevent illness.”

PathCare has developed a special “Know your numbers” Health Cards for this campaign which is available free of charge at all PathCare Clinical Laboratories and other participating outlets across the nation. The card has a unique Blood Pressure Chart which enables individuals to understand the difference between normal, pre-hypertensive and hypertensive levels, which helps in the management of blood pressure. The card also captures important numbers on Blood Sugar and cholesterol among others.

The “KNOW YOUR NUMBERS” campaign was created by PathCare Laboratories, in association with a popular radio health program – Doctors-On-Air. Doctors-On-Air is aimed at ensuring everyone in the society is empowered and understands the risks involved in order to take responsibility for their health. This is based on the fact that studies show that Nigerians are prone to an increased risk of uncontrolled blood pressure and diabetes which in turn is responsible for the high rate of stroke, kidney disease and heart attacks that are prevalent in the Country today.

“Arbitration will enhance the appeal of FDI in Nigeria” - Experts

Experts have restated the positive impact of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by promoting business opportunities in Nigeria. This was indicated at the recent International Market Place Conference that held in London.
L-R: Olasupo Shasore SAN; Bimpe Nkontchou; Yemi Candide-Johnson SAN and Megha Joshi, Executive Secretary/CEO, all Directors of Lagos Court of Arbitration, at the recently held 2013 International Marketplace Conference organized by the Law Society, London  themed ‘Innovation, opportunities and challenges in emerging markets’.

The conference, organised by the Law Society, attracted speakers and delegates from all corners of the world, was themed ‘Innovation, Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging markets,’ and highlighted the business opportunities that exist for firms of all sizes in providing legal services in commercial transactions and projects in, and between, emerging markets.

Dr. Augusto Lopez-Claros, World Bank Director of Global Indicators and Analysis, who gave a keynote address, put into perspective the contrast between developed countries, which are growing slowly, and some poorer countries that are developing fast.

“Even with annual growth of 6%, compared with less than 2% for mature economies, it will be 2116 before the people of poorer countries earn the same as us,” he said. He also reminded delegates that ‘economic miracle’ China is still ranked 100 out of the world’s 190 countries in terms of income per capita.

While delivering an address at the event, Mr. Yemi Candide-Johnson (SAN), a Director of the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), spoke about the business opportunities and challenges within Nigeria and the role of ADR in promoting FDI.

Reiterating the vast opportunities available to investors in Nigeria, he pointed out the fact that Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with over 150 million people and is currently one of the world’s 25 fastest growing economies. This according to him, goes to show why “commercial activities, including cross-border transactions, within the region need arbitration as it is faster and more efficient, making it imperative for businesses to include arbitration clauses in their contractual agreements.”

“FDI will be encouraged when investors know that there is the possibility of quickly resolving disputes and the LCA stands to provide parties with a flexible and neutral setting for dispute solution,” Candide-Johnson said.

Megha Joshi, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), also spoke about the role of LCA in the provision of infrastructure and dispute resolution mechanisms. She reiterated the necessity for efficient dispute resolution mechanisms to be in place in developing countries and the need for businesses to embrace arbitration, emphasizing how it enhances foreign direct investment.  

“LCA represents the private sector taking initiative to enhance infrastructure and provide dispute resolution services to help businesses operate easily. Foreign investment between developing and developed markets like Nigeria necessitated the formation of the LCA as an efficient dispute resolution mechanism, especially with the rising profile of Lagos as Africa’s Big Apple.”

Grammy.com Introduces New Web Series: Re-imagined

The official website for the GRAMMY Awards and The Recording Academy, www.grammy.com, launched a new Web series today titled ReImagined — melding the legacy of the GRAMMYs with the present and future. This interview and performance-based series highlights contemporary artists expounding on how they were personally influenced by past GRAMMY-winning and/or -recognized songs and includes their own reimagined interpretations of the recording.

Artists are able to select tracks that won in the General Field — which includes the Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist categories — or recordings inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, a collection of some of the greatest recordings of all time, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Artists participating in the ReImagined series so far include Eric Benet (Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind"), The Lumineers (Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way"), The Shins (Bukka White's "Fixin' To Die"), Tamia (Patsy Cline's "Crazy"), and Youngblood Hawke (Phil Collins' "Another Day In Paradise").

Additional performers include Alberta Cross, Milo Greene, Ivan Neville, Jake Shimabukuro, TJ Stafford, Allen Stone, and ZZ Ward. New ReImagined installments will be added on a regular basis. 

$20,000 Up for Grabs in the Nokia Don’t Break Da Beat Rap Competition 2

Nokia in Partnership with Trace urban, have announced round 2 of the Don’t Break Da Beat rap competition.

Interested rappers can now enter for the competition and stand a chance to win $20,000 by visiting the Nokia Nigeria Facebook page, click on the Nokia Don’t Break Da Beat app to fill in the entry form and your rap line using one of the new Nokia Asha 210 feature OR you can tweet your rap line on Nokia Nigeria twitter page (@NokiaNigeria) adding the ash tag; #DBDB2013 at the end of your tweet.

Easy Taxi Commence Global Roll Out, App Starts in Nigeria

Easy Taxi, Latin America's #1 taxi app, today announced its global expansion in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. After receiving an additional funding of USD 10 million from Rocket Internet and the African Internet Holding, the company decided to continue the strategy of fast growth. Just one month ago, Easy Taxi obtained 15 USD million from the Latin America Internet Holding.

“Today, Easy Taxi starts in Lagos, Nigeria in a metropolitan area with 20 million inhabitants and huge potential. In the same way, we will launch Easy Taxi in more African countries in the upcoming weeks,” says Sacha Poignonnec, co-CEO of the African Internet Holding.

It would be available for both iOS and Android users, and the company says it would equip drivers with devices that will be preloaded with the app so that they can get taxi calls and respond back.

Easy Taxi was founded in Brazil in 2011 and is now one of the world’s largest mobile Taxi apps. The company is active in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, South Korea and Venezuela. The value proposition is straight-forward: download/open the Easy Taxi app, available for iOS, Android and the new BlackBerry devices, confirm your pickup point and order your cab with the press of a button. 

Airtel Rolls-out Attractive Tariff Plans for BlackBerry Users

Airtel Nigeria has rolled out an assortment of pocket-friendly tariff plans for BlackBerry users on its network.

The telecom giant has also reintroduced BlackBerry Pay-For-Two-Get-One-Free plans, tagged Airtel 2-PLUS-1 Offer, which enables customers to make upfront payment for two subscriptions of any of the daily, weekly or monthly service options and get the third subscription free of charge.

Similarly, Airtel has also adjusted the tariff for its BlackBerry Complete and Absolute plans. The subscription charge for the BlackBerry Complete service has been adjusted from N1400 to N1000, while the rate for Absolute Plan has been pegged down from N3000 to N1500.

To enjoy this friendly BlackBerry tariff plan, customers on Airtel network are to dial *141*1# to access all the offers and select with ease their preferred plans.

Speaking on the offerings, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Deepak Srivastava, said the new tariff plans provide yet another reason for Nigerians to port to Airtel and experience the power of its 3.75G network.

“By rolling out pocket friendly tariff plans and introducing yet again our unique 2-PLUS-1 offer, we are confidently providing the public, especially the youth, not just the opportunity to witness our data efficacy, but also to make informed choices and activate these services to enjoy the benefits that come with it as we strive to become the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians”, Srivastava, stated.

The Chief Operating Officer further revealed that customers do not need to memorize series of SMS or USSD short codes or strings to access the BB plans, but should simply dial *141*1#.

Only recently, Airtel Nigeria confirmed its leadership position in providing reliable and fast 3.75G network coverage to telecoms consumers in the country when it was adjudged the fastest growing Internet/data operator in Nigeria, based on a recent study carried out by industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), covering the period of June 2012 to March 2013.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

DStv Subscribers to View Premium Channels Over the Weekend

MultiChoice Africa has announced its Open Weekend plans for DStv subscribers in other bouquets will be able to view selected DStv Premium channels at no extra payment.

The promotion commenced from Friday, July 19 will end on Monday, July 22 at 9p.m., the DStv Open Weekend is the latest development in the DStv Rewards campaign, which aims to reward subscribers for their loyalty in different ways.

In a statement by the company “if you’ve ever wondered about these channels, and exactly what viewing they offer, then wonder no more. Now is your chance to see them firsthand and experience some of the finest content available on television today.

The channels that will be part of the offer include some of the biggest, most popular television brands in the world - AfricaMagic Entertainment, Animal Planet, BBC Knowledge, Cbeebies, Comedy Central, Big Brother The Chase (Channels 197 and 198), Fox Entertainment, History Channel, MTV Base, Crime and Investigation, Discovery, Sky News, SuperSport channels 1 - 3 plus SuperSport 5 and 6 along with Trace Sports Stars. 

Afrinolly Now Available for Windows Phone and Windows 8

Windows Phone and Windows 8 users can now use African entertainment app, Afrinolly on their devices as its Windows App has been launched.

With the adding of a Windows phone app, Afrinolly is now available on all major mobile operating systems. Afrinolly scores a first with its Windows 8 (PC) app as the first African entertainment app developed in Africa on Windows 8.

Developed by the young folks at FansConnectOnline Limited working out of Lagos Nigeria, Afrinolly allows users to watch full length Nollywood movies, African movies, Trailers, Short films, Music videos and full length Bollywood movies on

On Afrinolly users get to watch the Nigerian movies and other African movies including Short films/Documentaries and comedy. Afrinolly also brings the latest African celebrity news plus gossip about movies, music and celebrities in Africa to users.

Afrinolly have seen a progressive growth rate in terms of downloads across Africa and beyond, with over 2.5 million downloads across its various existing versions: Android, Blackberry, iOS, Nokia Symbian, Nokia S40 and Java.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Incidence of Tobacco Use in Nigeria Not High: the GATS Report

A cardinal factor of modern life is the adoption of constitutions by nations of the world and one of the reasons for adopting same is to put in proper perspective ways and manners of peaceful co-existence among the citizens of the particular country. One basic inclusion in such constitution is human rights and freedom of choice. Even though those rights are enshrined in the constitution, the authors are mindful of the need to restrict the exercise of those rights to persons of certain age and above.

One of such rights is the universal adult suffrage which empowers an adult of nothing less than 18 years old the right to vote in an election so long as the person is of sound state of mind. This is premised on the thought process that at that age and baring any mental deficiency, the person is capable of making an informed and reasonable judgment. The same is the issue of alcoholic beverage and tobacco consumption in many countries Nigeria inclusive.
Tobacco farm (Image source: mpoverello.com)
It is against the premise that this writer attempts an evaluation of the discharge of the individual’s freedom of choice and restrictions of tobacco consumption in particularly in Nigeria.

The Nigerian media space has been awash with anti tobacco stories of late. While some of the articles were directly judgmental, others merely play up the effects of tobacco use on the user and those who inhale smokes exhaled by smokers. Some of the news report also echoed the voice of supposed advocates of anti tobacco use.

The latest of these news reports was founded on the survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics. The survey attempted to give the number of Nigerian adults who use tobacco products. Though the survey is an effort to fill a void where no statistics are available, some of the results of the study are in itself questionable, hence the study in itself may remain a simple advocacy tool that can’t be trusted for providing accurate facts. Parts of the report which needs further explanation is that which claimed that “While at least one in every five adults polled saw a cigarette advert outside stores and sporting events". For those who are conversant with the tobacco industry and its advocacy one of the things that they will know is that the industry especially in Nigeria do not advertise at sporting events. With the wave of tobacco regulation growing globally, advertisement in the industry has really become more restricted with an over riding absence especially in sporting events. Hence this aspect of the report has to be checked since it has the potential of making the document inaccurate. In fact the APCON regulation to which many of the tobacco industries in Nigeria have voluntarily subjected themselves to have guided strict compliance in this regard.

While the push for public health must be sort, we should, however, avoid sensationalism for the simple sake of advocacy. It is also pertinent to do a reality check on the anti tobacco measures and laws that several countries have adopted over the years with a view to ascertain if it is achieving results or not. It is a fact that countries that have adopted harsh regulations as anti tobacco laws are indeed feeling the effect of increased tobacco smuggling leading to astronomical rise in the sales and purchase of illegal products and the funding of criminal groups. Countries such as Ireland, Canada and South Africa are to name a few. While on the other hand countries that have adopted moderate laws which are well balanced and applicable and enforceable locally have little incidence of smuggling, examples are Ghana and Russia.

If the report of the survey is right that “Nigeria has a relatively low rate of tobacco smoking compared to other countries, then we must safe guard this by having the appropriate laws that is suited to our local context in place and not simply copy and paste one that will cause more of a problem than anything else.

Giving Nigeria’s peculiarity, coupled with the physiological make up of the human mind to crave that which is shrouded in mystery, the chances that over flogging the issue, as some anti tobacco campaigners are clamoring for are high. It does make some sense then to posit that in order not to regress in the tobacco use roll back campaign, the anti tobacco use advocates and the government in particular should thread softly.

Lagos Honours Promasidor with Double Platinum Awards

Leading consumer goods company, Promasidor Nigeria Limited has received double platinum awards from the Lagos State Ministry of Education at the 2013 Jam Feast for Youths Invention and Educational Development.

The two awards came in both corporate and CEO categories during the 7th edition of the Jam Feast at De Hall Printing Corporation Complex, Alausa, Ikeja in Lagos.

Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Chief Keith Richards
The awards recognized the company and its Managing Director, Chief Keith Richards for their contribution towards youth invention and educational development in the country.

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Erogbogbo Omolara said Promasidor and its Managing Director have recorded significant feats within their operating environments and continuously display innovation and record excellence in education development in Lagos State and the country at large.

Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Coordinator, Corporate Communication, Promasidor Nigeria Mr. Isiaka Lawal ascribed the awards to the company’s well defined operating strategy, the passion and commitment of the employees and adherence to values that include hard work, discipline, a passion for excellence and a service focused culture.

Lawal noted that the awards were further proof to show that the company is being noticed and that Nigerian Public appreciates what it is doing since it began operations.

“We are actually impressed and it is not a surprise to us because we are used to receiving this kind of awards. What makes it unique is that this is where we operate and the government of the state is recognizing what we do in the field of education. NASMAC reward for excellence in secondary schools and other several CSR initiatives such as our partnership with Orile Igamu Progressive Association for skills acquisition and Cowbell Football Academy and a host of others are clear examples of our efforts in education development,” he said.

Yahoo Acquires AdMovate

Yahoo has announced that it has acquired AdMovate, a mobile advertising startup.

AdMovate’s website displays nothing but a letter from the team announcing the move to Yahoo: “When we started AdMovate in 2012, we built a product enabling advertisers to create and deliver personalized, hyper-local targeted offers through the mobile channel. We’ve always been passionate about helping marketers engage their consumers at the right time and place through personalized messages.

Yahoo’s blog post also notes that AdMovate will join the Yahoo! advertising team: “This acquisition is part of our efforts to invest further in our ad tech platforms—Apt, Genome, and Right Media—and make buying easier for advertisers and agencies. Admovate’s personalization technology accelerates our capabilities in mobile advertising, and we gain an exceptionally talented technical team. Admovate’s engineers will join our Yahoo! display advertising team in Sunnyvale.”

Though, the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Admovate’s platform and technology is speculated to be integrated into Yahoo’s existing advertising platforms. Yahoo! has been upgrading itself recently through acquisition of new products such as Qwiki, Tumblr, Xobni and Flickr.

Emirates Voted ‘Best Airline Food and Wine’

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has been awarded ‘Best Airline Food and Wine’ by the readers of Frequent Business Traveler (www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com), an online publication written for and by affluent frequent business travelers.

The Frequent Business Traveler GlobeRunner Awards recognize the world's best airlines, hotels chains, automobile manufacturers, car rental agencies, luggage manufacturers, and travel websites. Voting was conducted online from January 9 through March 15, 2013, and over 110,000 votes were cast by readers.
Passenegrs Enjoying Emirates Meals Onboard

“At Emirates, we are always in pursuit of excellence and are constantly seeking to ways to deliver the finest product when it comes to hospitality. Food and Beverage are at the core,” said Robin Padgett, Emirates Divisional Vice President, Catering. “We are dedicated to offering our customers the finest cuisine in the world using the very best of produce that we can source. We believe that it is these high standards that keep our loyal customers coming back. We will continue to push the limits and explore new ideas, to ensure we are offering our passengers a dining experience that is comparable to some of the finest restaurants in the world.”

“Emirates has been singled out by the road warrior readers of Frequent Business Traveler for the best Airline Food and Wine,” said Jonathan Spira, Editorial Director of Frequent Business Traveler. “Our readers’ very selective preferences combined with their extensive patronage of hotels, airlines, and everything travel-related make their votes particularly meaningful.”

The award was presented this week at a ceremony at The Penn Club in New York City.

Emirates currently serves 134 cities around the globe with a young and technologically advanced fleet of 201 wide-bodied aircraft that are equipped with industry-leading comforts in the air. 

Diamond Bank Pledges More Support for MSME

Diamond Bank Plc has reiterated its resolve to continue to encourage entrepreneurs in the micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSME) sector of the Nigerian economy.

Mr. Chima Nnadozie , Head, MSME Propositions of Diamond Bank, stated this in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while addressing participants at the 34th Diamond BusinessXpress Enterprise Series. He noted that the purpose of the seminar which is being hosted across the country was to support owners of MSME grow their businesses through capacity building.
L-R Mr. Chima Nnadozie, Head, MSME Propositions,Diamond Bank Plc, Alhaji Abduraman Mohammed, Managing Director, Daily Need Distributors Limited, Mr. Collins Adeyemi, Chief Executive Officer, CA Diversified and Mr. John Ekpikhe, Senior Consultant, Mark-George Consultants at the Diamond Bank’s Business Xpress Enterprise Seminar held at Reiz Hotel in Abuja recently.
Nnadozie disclosed that the bank is supporting the SMEs with the realization that the wealth of a nation is directly connected to the level of entrepreneurship in that nation. “We are supporting the growth of SMEs because we recognize that the future of this nation lies in the hands of entrepreneurs, so any energy expended in building up that sector cannot be wasted. It is something that is going to benefit the economy in years to come,” he said.

He said the Diamond BusinessXpress Account (DBXA) is a current account designed to meet the needs of MSME such as hotels, supermarkets, businessmen, professionals, travel agencies, trading outfits, schools, churches, fast food outlets, restaurants, clubs and entertainment outfits.

He noted that DBXA account is available in three variants: Starter, growing and established; adding that it was designed to add value to micro, small and medium scale enterprises so that entrepreneurs could grow their business with smart banking.

The features and benefits of the account are zero COT, invitation to business development seminars, fixed monthly fee as low as N1,750, easy access to business loans, personal credit cards and access to a personal website at a discounted price amongst a host of others.

Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards 2013 Winners Announced

Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks company, has announced the winners of the 2013 Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards at a gala ceremony, which took place in London yesterday.

The Awards, which are celebrating their tenth anniversary in 2013, showcase the journalists and media outlets who have delivered excellent business journalism from and about Africa.

Winners from the ten categories came mainly from the UK and West Africa. Matthew Davies, a BBC correspondent, was named Journalist of the Year while the Best Newcomer title was awarded to Sherelle Jacobs, a journalist for African Business magazine. The award for Media of the Year also went to African Business.

Paul Walsh, Adviser to the Chairman and Chief Executive, Diageo plc, and chair of the judging panel said, "In the first year of the Awards I recall we had just 35 entries, predominantly from UK-based media organisations. Ten years later, we regularly receive over 1000 entries from right across the world, including a significant proportion from within Africa. This, I believe, clearly demonstrates that the interest in Africa and its opportunities are becoming more and more mainstream.  In the last decade we have seen great improvements in reporting on Africa and this has delivered clear benefits to business and the region, and I hope to see this continue well into the future.”

The 2013 winners of the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards are:

BEST INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) FEATURE
Africa’s healthcare technology revolution Fiona Graham (BBC, UK)

BEST FINANCE FEATURE
Private Equity in Africa Ola Omoyele, Tunde Akodu and Olu Omoyele (ACM Insight, Nigeria)

BEST INFRASTRUCTURE FEATURE
Africa’s Infrastructure Boom: Will this time be different? Adam Green (This is Africa, UK)

BEST AGRIBUSINESS / ENVIRONMENT FEATURE
The E-Waste Menace in Ghana Thomas Naadi Bitegma (ETV Ghana, Ghana)

BEST TOURISM FEATURE
Revisiting Tinapa Anthony Akaeze (Broad Street Journal, Nigeria)

BEST BUSINESS NEWS STORY
Guinea reignites $2.5bn mining tussle Tom Burgis, Helen Thomas and Misha Glenny (The Financial Times, UK)

BEST BUSINESS FEATURE
Africa Calling William Wallis (The Financial Times, UK)

BEST NEWCOMER
Sherelle Jacobs (African Business, UK)

MEDIA OF THE YEAR
African Business (UK)

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Matthew Davies (BBC, UK)

Visa Supports Financial Literacy With Mobile App Development Challenge

Global payments technology company, Visa, has announced a mobile application development challenge, geared at stimulating the development of innovative web and mobile applications and games, to teach money management skills and support the advancement of financial literacy in Nigeria.

The Financial Literacy Challenge is an innovation challenge sponsored by Visa and delivered by the Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, using their unique approach of involving stakeholders in the co-creation of new products and services.

The challenge will bring key financial services players like the Central Bank of Nigeria, commercial banks, personal finance NGOs and other stakeholders together with software developers and designers, to create interesting applications and games. These applications and games will advise Nigerians on how best to manage their money and financial affairs, and also educate them on the tools available to meet their financial needs.

Ade Ashaye, Country Manager for Visa in West Africa, said: “At Visa, we are dedicated to increasing financial literacy among the unbanked through strategic partnerships and educational programs. This is the motivation behind the Financial Literacy Challenge.”

The Financial Literacy Challenge kicked off at a session with key finance stakeholders and will culminate in a prototyping bootcamp from the 26th - 28th of July 2013 at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Lagos.

Six apps and games have been selected from a pool of eighteen submissions, and will be built to compete for the top three prizes of N1,200,000, N960,000 and N800,000 respectively.  To view the six shortlisted ideas go to http://www.cchubnigeria.com/flc/ideas.

For more information on the Financial Literacy Challenge go to www.cchubnigeria.com/flc. 

Photo Of The Week: Launch of ISO 26000 Sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria, Etisalat/TECNO Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Week

From Left: Director, PMO & Operational Strategy, Etisalat Nigeria, Ms. Ndidi Okpaluba; Representative of the Ministry of  Industry, Trade & Investment, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obaze; Director General, Standards Organization of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Odumodu; and Chief Executive Officer, ThistlePraxis Consulting, Mrs. Ini Onuk at the Launch of ISO 26000 Guidance Standards on Social Responsibility in Nigeria sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria on Tuesday, July 12th at Southern Sun, Ikoyi.

L-R: Head, Devices and Terminals, Etisalat Nigeria, Olayiwola Onafowokan; Business Development Manager, Operations Department, TECNO, Joe He and Retail Adviser, GeekForce, Etisalat Nigeria, Chinenye Ibekwe, during commencement of the Etisalat/TECNO Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Week, on Tuesday, 17th July, 2013, held at Etisalat Experience Centre at Adebola Shopping Mall in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos

Diamond Bank: “the largest employer of talent in the Nigerian banking industry”

Diamond Bank has recently concluded its Annual Performance Review exercise. This is in line with global best practices where institutions periodically review their human resource talent as a means of driving their corporate growth agenda.

According to Mrs. Ayona Trimnell, Head, Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank PLC, “The recent performance review is an annual exercise for us at Diamond as we seek to continuously recognize and reward members of staff who have excelled. We believe that the Bank’s performance is linked to the quality of the staff it retains. As such, in the last few days, 677 staff members who have excelled have been promoted, while 61 members of staff, who have consistently performed poorly over the last three years, have been disengaged.”

The statement also indicates that the performance review exercise is hinged on the Bank’s Enterprise Assessment Framework called the Balanced Score Card. The framework spells out carefully itemized parameters with which members of staff are measured and these parameters are communicated to all staff at the beginning of each financial year.

With well over 1,600 new recruits in the last financial year, of which 1,352 are fresh graduates from reputable  universities around the country, Diamond Bank is the largest employer of talent in the Nigerian banking industry. The bank boasts of a robust personnel engagement strategy that helps it to continually attract and retain the best talent in the industry. This is in fulfillment of its corporate vision of becoming a leading financial institution, with the best people, providing unequalled customer experience and delivering superior shareholder value.

Lambaréné Declaration to Establish Interdisciplinary Training Network for Health Professionals in Africa

In the final session of the Albert Schweitzer HospitalCentennial, “The Lambaréné Declaration” was announced, summarizing the agreement of more than 350 international health experts on specific commitments to fight the ‘Triple Epidemic” of HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in Africa – including a pledge to create a new cross-disciplinary training network to arm the next wave of regional health professionals with specialist knowledge and skills.

Speaking at the recent event, H.E. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic,emphasized the necessity of increasing the use of technology to enhance the efficiency of care and reaffirmed his goal to make Gabon a regional hub dedicated to mother and child healthcare.

The Lambaréné Declaration, in full, commits to: creation of a Lambaréné Declaration management structure under the authority of a multinational and trans-disciplinary expert counsel; creation of three permanent task forces on: trans-disciplinary research; training programs for healthcare and field professionals; and research support in Africa.  These task forces will be managed by the management structure; creation of anew ongoing training network, to benefit healthcare professionals and local populations in order to produce specialists in the Triple Epidemic, based upon cross-disciplinary collaboration and launch of a digital platform to enable communication between all parties and offer visibility to all initiatives conducted.

International Albert SchweitzerAward Announced
In addition to the Declaration, President Bongo also announced the creation of the International Albert Schweitzer Award.  The annual award will grant US$ 250,000 to an individual or a team to support a sustainable cross-disciplinary approach to fight the Triple Epidemic in Africa.

Albert Schweitzer Centennial Commemorates the Founder’s “Reverence for Life” Philosophy
Organizedunder the high patronage of President Bongo and produced by Richard Attias and Associates, the two-day event paidtribute to Noble Peace Prize Laureate Dr.Albert Schweitzer and his “Reverence for Life” philosophy, by convening leading experts to explore new pathways for increased medical innovation and scientific governance in Africa.

The Centennial gathered more than 350 international health experts including Nobel Laureates, medical researchers, scientists, doctors, social sciences experts, private sector stakeholders, and representatives of NGOs andhealth agencies.  In addition to intense dialogue and working sessions to explore new ways to address the Triple Epidemic, the event included a visitto the Albert Schweitzer Hospitalin Lambaréné,which was created by the Nobel Laureateat the startof the 20thCentury and is today one of the leading regional centers for medical research, patient care, disease prevention, child birth and maternity care.

Between Civil Advocacy, The Government And Corporate Organizations

Dividends refer to the portion of profit stakeholders (shareholders) get from an enterprise for their stakes (shares) in the business. With continuous evolution, everything, including state – the nation state has acquired the status of enterprise.

So, such things as dividends of democracy have become commonplace. What do people particularly ordinary citizens get for their stakes in the state? That is their dividend from the state enterprise because they hold shares in the state. It is an inalienable right. And where it is not given or partially given or in any way denied, the people put their feet down in demand for what they know is their right.

From the business of state let us progress to the state of business. Citizens are beginning to ask for dividends in ordinary businesses, particularly if the businesses happen reside in the same neighbourhood as they. Businesses are citizens and instead of the strongest stifling the weakest, a sense of community or brotherhood must prevail. So from he that has much, it must be taken and given to he that has less. An effort to strike at equilibrium sounds right and logical.

Social responsibility, mostly at corporate level has become an integral part of business. Thriving enterprises are now required to support the environment, host communities, and other stakeholders in the ecosystem. CSR has become central to business. Stakeholders demand it, often in bizarre and forceful manner. This demand has given rise to advocacy groups in several shades.

The burden of CSR has given rise to a peculiar kind of business, otherwise called not for profit evolving in the bid to enforce the rights of the weaker segment of the society and help them obtain from their more successful neighbours.

Several issues come to mind here. What manner of business can survive year on year without profit? What kind of business can make it its business to compel the strongest to take care of the weakest by letting go a part of what it has legally earned? Yet the not for profits, commonly called nongovernmental organisations try to make people believe they exist solely for others.

Curiously, this branch of business would not have come up without the callous posturing of successful businesses that resist giving back to society as CSR is referred to in some quarters. This stance has opened an avenue for musketeers to parade themselves in different shades for the purpose of obtaining from the successful for the less successful. What is of concern is ‘what portion of what is obtained is passed on to the weakest of the society for whom it is meant?’ Yet this astute set of business people maintain, boldly so that they are in business just to help others, often referred to as less privileged.

Often proponents of these rights groups traverse every aspect of business including government. In government circles, they are often referred to as civil society. These pressure groups are making some impact. Observers note that the civil society played a leading role in the struggle for the return of leadership from military to civilian in Nigeria in what is commonly referred to as the third republic in 1999.

What is of concern is that this group of ‘civilised people’ also tends to be feeding fat from what they obtain from the strongest meant for the weakest. Being enlightened in their trade, they mount sophisticated campaigns, bring a feeling of guilt on businesses in the process, compelling them to hand out to them as they demand, because ‘it is for common good.’

Survival is important to all businesses. Be it conventional business or not for profit. It becomes imperative to seek the place of these pressure groups as they appear to quickly play the parasite, ever keen at obtaining from businesses in what is commonly referred to as grants. What is the place of ethics in this segment of business?

Given the skillful operation of advocacy groups, often with international networks, government and businesses can no longer ignore them. With their experience at advocacy, organised not for profit organisations are the preferred candidates for social or community mobilisation. Conscious therefore that they have this endowment, some of them now tend to commercialise it by trading loyalty from the weakest to the strongest, in tandem with the popular adage ‘he who pays the piper and dictates the tune’.

Perhaps, it is imperative to point out that those who hand out grants might be right in considering what they hand out as investment for which they expect yields. The expected yields can only be gotten if they keep an eye on the investment by keeping close alliance with the advocacy groups that seek the grants. Could knowledge that more grants are endangered except those who hand out the grants are satisfied with usage of what was already granted influence what comes out of the mouths of the advocates? This is a tough call.

However, the mere thought of it tends to paint a gloomy picture for the future of citizens’ rights as the resonating effect of the commercialisation of civil advocacy is the weakening of citizens’ voices and the strengthening of an already repressive hold of businesses on the environment and other stakeholders.

Granted that commercialisation of advocacy has the capacity to dilute and distract from a commitment to balance the influence wielded by businesses that are by their very nature collective as against common citizens whose individual voices can easily be drowned, questions must be asked. The grave danger in this trend is that without advocacy, collective stand, at grassroots level could be easily taken away with individual liberty severely curtailed, giving rise to an unchallenged reign by mindless profiteers in business.

To sum up this takes, it should be noted that Nnamdi Azikiwe is credited with the saying that “conscience and history are the best judges of human action.” As civil advocacy tends to go commercial in Nigeria, it is pertinent to point out that the promoters are businessmen, though they be branded not for profit, history and conscience will have the duty of assessing their actions over time.

Sprinter Obinna Metu, fastest man in Nigeria on CNN’s ‘Human to Hero’

Human to Hero, is a show that gets to the heart of what it takes to be a sporting star and explores the discipline, dedication and determination involved, as well as the sources of inspiration for the world's best athletes.

The show which airs on Wednesday, 17th July on CNN World Sport at 5pm, will this week feature Obinna Metu, the fastest man in Nigeria.

At 10.11 seconds over 100m, Obinna has been unbeatable at home over four seasons. He's been coached by two sporting greats- record-breaking distance runner Haile Gebrselassie and six-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt. Hoping to take on every scrap of their advice and win a medal at the Athletics World Championships he tells ‘Human to Hero’ that money is more important than talent for a young athlete - financial support is crucial to success.

According to Obinna, Haile Gebrselassie has been his mentor, “He made me to understand for you to become a great person in track and field or even in sports in general, you have to have the mind to withstand pressure. If you can't withstand the pressure, I don't think you have the qualities of a champion”, he said.

On his dream of breaking the world record, he said, “nobody knew that a world record could become 9.58. But Usain did it.  Another Usain Bolt might come out, and I pray, let it be me, he concluded.

Diageo Announces Change To Executive Committee

Diageo has announced that Ian Wright, Corporate Relations Director since 2004, is to leave the company. Ian will be succeeded by Charlotte Lambkin, currently Group Communications Director of BAe Systems plc. Charlotte will join Diageo in January 2014 and will replace Ian on the Diageo Executive.  Ian will support Charlotte through her first months and leave Diageo on 31 March 2014. His plans for his next role will become public in the coming months.

Paul S Walsh, Advisor to the Chairman and Chief Executive of Diageo commented: ‘Ian has been a principal architect of Diageo’s reputation.  It was he and his team who first articulated our ambition to be one of ‘the world’s most trusted and respected companies’ and he has been a major contributor in our efforts to achieve it.  I know he took particular pride on the two occasions when we were named Britain’s Most Admired Company.  He has made a very important contribution to Diageo’s standing among global corporations and has also been a key member of the Executive Committee.  We all wish him well.’

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive of Diageo commented: ‘I am delighted to welcome Charlotte Lambkin to Diageo.  Charlotte has an outstanding record of achievement in the corporate relations arena.  Her work at BAe Systems plc, where she has been a member of their Executive Committee for the past five years, marks her out as an excellent leader with a real grasp of the demands of managing the stakeholder agenda of a global business.  I look forward very much to working with her.

‘I want to thank Ian for all the support he is giving me in my transition, and for the part he has played in securing his successor to a critical leadership role for our business.’

Lady Gaga New Album, ARTPOP, To Be 'Supported' With An App

Mother Monster, Lady Gaga, has confirmed that her hugely anticipated album ARTPOP album will be accompanied by an app and be would released on November 11.

Photo: The announcement on the upcoming new album ARTPOP
The album/app can be pre-ordered from September 1, and is preceded by her single that is due out August 19.

On her Facebook page, Lady Gaga posted a statement about what we can expect from ARTPOP and the app itself, which promises to incorporate much more than just interactive videos:

‘Built by TechHAUS, the technological branch of HAUS OF GAGA, the app itself is a musical and visual engineering system that combines art, fashion, and technology with a new interactive worldwide community – 'the auras'. Altering the human experience with social media, we bring ARTculture into POP in a reverse Warholian expedition.’

As an icon herself, she has praised and celebrated those that she loves from the various creative spheres and intends on using this sense of obsession as driving force for ARTPOP. This isn’t the only this that the singer intends to do with her next revolution, for, along with Haus of Gaga, she wants, ‘to bring the music industry into a new age; an age where art drives pop, and the artist once again is in control of the ‘icon’.

Emirates A380 to Serve Barcelona

Following its successful launch in July 2012, Emirates has today announced it will commence a daily A380 service to Barcelona from 1st February 2014.

Increasing overall capacity by almost 44 percent, Emirates’ new 517 seat A380 service will be the first permanent A380 service to operate into Barcelona El Prat Airport, replacing the route’s existing Boeing 777-300ER service and offering 2198 additional seats per week between the two cities.

“Barcelona has been one of the most successful new destinations of 2012,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations West. “In line with this steady growth we feel that the time is ripe to announce the launch of our A380 service, which will continue to connect customers in Spain with Dubai as well as key destinations in Australasia, the Indian Subcontinent and the Far East.”

The new upgraded capacity will also offer strengthened support for popular markets from Barcelona, with the Emirates A380 servicing 12 destinations in Australia and the Far and Middle East, enabling customers to enjoy a seamless A380 experience.

In February this year Emirates’ popular A380 aircraft was welcomed into Barcelona El Prat Airport by hundreds of onlookers as the airline operated two ad-hoc A380 services to meet the destination’s burgeoning demand.

Since launching its inaugural flight to Barcelona last year Emirates has further committed to this dynamic destination with the five year sponsorship of the Barcelona Open Tennis Tournament earlier this year.