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Sahara Group restates commitment to developing South Sudan’s energy sector

Executive Director, Sahara Group, Tope Shonubi has said the energy conglomerate remained resolute in its decision to contribute to the growth and development of South Sudan’s economy through investment in the oil and power sectors of the world’s youngest democracy.

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Sahara Group, South Sudan

Executive Director, Sahara Group, Tope Shonubi has said the energy conglomerate remained resolute in its decision to contribute to the growth and development of South Sudan’s economy through investment in the oil and power sectors of the world’s youngest democracy.

Shonubi who made the assertion during a courtesy call on South Sudan’s President, H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit at the State House yesterday in Juba, said Sahara Group was firmly behind the administration’s policy requiring all local and foreign investors to align with the nation’s good governance protocol in all sectors of the economy.

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“Sahara Group has a track record of good governance that is widely acclaimed across various markets where we operate in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We are behind full compliance with all governance requirements in South Sudan. In fact, we are here to join hands with the good people of South Sudan under the leadership of President Kiir to ensure sustained economic development in the nation,” he said.

[READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Petroleum minister and Saudi Aramco discuss investment options]

The meeting which was chaired by President Salva Kiir also had the Presidential advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak, Minister in the Office of the President, Mayiik Ayii Deng, Minister of Petroleum, Awuou Daniel and the Minister of energy Dr Dhieu Mathok in attendance.

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The Minister of Petroleum Awuou Daniel commended Sahara Group’s partnership role in South Sudan, noting that Sahara Energy had continued to make good its interest in the energy sector and power plant projects through ongoing investments and collaboration with the ministries in charge of the sectors.

Shonubi said Sahara Group will also contribute to projects designed to enhance sustainable development in South Sudan through the Sahara Foundation which had since upgraded the Computer Centre at the University of Juba with modern equipment.

(READ MORE: Nigeria lacks policy direction under Buhari – Ituah Ighodalo)

Following the intervention, the centre now boasts a better learning ambience, brand new computers, central UPS and server, air conditioners, roof-mounted projector and furniture.

The Computer Center project has set the foundation for other development interventions that Sahara Group is exploring to drive economic empowerment in South Sudan, Shonubi stated.

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“We enable ATM withdrawals without a card” – Ecobank

With Xpress Cash, customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked.

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Ecobank Transnational's 32nd AGM

Ecobank has stated that cash withdrawals can be made at all its ATMs, without a card. The Ecobank cardless withdrawal concept, Xpress Cash, enables users to withdraw cash from ATMs using only a mobile phone, no ATM card is required.

The solution is seamless, secure and is driven by the generation of a code (e-token) by an account holder via the bank’s USSD code *326# or mobile app, Ecobank Mobile.  The e-token can be sent to customers, non-customers and even people without bank accounts for cash withdrawal at all Ecobank ATMs nationwide.

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Speaking in Lagos, Head, Consumer Banking, Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi said, “Digital payments are fast evolving. Customers want seamless experience across channels. We are committed to providing suitable options for our customers. Forgetting your card at home should not be a showstopper when you need cash.”

She went on to explain that the concept recognises the needs of the unbanked. In her words, “With Xpress Cash, our customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked. You can send money to your domestic servants or unbanked staff just by generating a code and sharing the code.”

“As a bank, we are not only keen to make our services accessible, but also affordable. Xpress Cash attracts only a flat charge of N50. Our USSD code, *326# offers zero session charges; and transfers of N5000 or less using our digital channels are absolutely free of charge. Also, people abroad who need to send money to their loved ones can do so without paying transfer charges using the Rapidtransfer app,” she said.

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LSETF re-launches Idea Hub for tech start-ups

The programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas.

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In line with its mandate to provide entrepreneurship solutions, training, and upskilling opportunities to innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Lagos tech ecosystem, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has re-designed the Idea Hub Programme, under its Lagos Innovates Programme.

The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub Programme is a 12-week incubation programme designed to support tech-enabled businesses with relevant skills, networking opportunities and mentorship from seasoned industry experts; geared towards building a competitive and sustainable brand.

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It is expected that the programme would afford budding entrepreneurs with tech solution with the necessary leverage to grow their ideas. The benefits include business incubation and coaching by Lagos Innovates experienced and seasoned Mentors; an opportunity to pitch for Lagos Innovates Workspace Vouchers for 6 or 12 months (valued between ₦120,000 – ₦1,800,000); and access to Lagos Innovates network including Government, corporates, start-ups, local and international investors, etc.

In her remarks on the initiative, the Executive Secretary/CEO, LSETF, Mrs. Teju Abisoye said; “The Lagos Innovates Idea Hub is a programme under one of our delivery mechanism tagged Tech Start-ups (Lagos Innovates), primarily responsible for cementing Lagos’ position as the leading destination for tech and innovation in Africa. With the recent global economic challenges due to the pandemic, we believe technology will be critical in proffering recovery and adaptive solutions as the world embraces the new normal.

“I am confident that with the Idea Hub initiative providing the institutional support, our young innovators in Lagos would be able to pivot toward this paradigm. We encourage growing entrepreneurs in the digital and tech space to take advantage of this programme to create compelling solutions that would accelerate the Lagos economic, business and lifestyle recovery trajectory”, she added.

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Some of the seasoned mentors and industry experts of the programme are Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder, We-Cyclers, and DG, Lagos State Records and Archives; Olu Akanmu, Executive Director Retail Banking, FCMB; Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, CEO, Future Software Resources Ltd; Ponmile Osibo, Partner, Platform Capital; Wale Ajiboye, Associate Director, Acumen; Oluwatoyin Oshinowo, Co-founder and VP Product, Field Insights; Dr Olanrewaju Phillips, Enterprise Account Manager, HP, Central Africa, and Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder and COO, Piggyvest.

Other mentors are Olutosin Oni, Principal, Echo VC; Damilola Thompson, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Echo VC; Oluwatoyin Emmanuel-Olubake, Associate Director of Portfolio, Acumen; Dayo Kolewole, Partner Microtraction, and Simeon Ononobi, Co-founder/CEO, Thank U Cash.

Interested applicants must run an early-stage start-up with viable and solution-driven ideas; technology must be the core or the enabler of the enterprise, and the founder must reside in Lagos State. Applicants should visit https://ideahub.lagosinnovates.ng to apply before the deadline date, Sunday 16th August 2020.

About Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

Established in 2016, LSETF’s vision is to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce unemployment in Lagos State. LSETF focuses on promoting entrepreneurship by improving access to finance, strengthening the institutional capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), formulating policies and actively intervening to improve the business environment. The Agency also trains and places unemployed Lagos residents in jobs, while driving innovation within the Lagos ecosystem.

Learn more at https://lsetf.ng. Communications contact: Charles Anyanwu, [email protected]

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United Capital Asset Management explains mutual funds’ positive performance

Available data showed that the funds surpassed the market realities and beat the benchmarks.

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United Capital Asset Management explains mutual funds’ positive performance

United Capital Asset Management mutual funds have recorded significant growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the economy and headwinds in the financial markets. Data made available showed that the funds surpassed the market realities and beat the benchmarks.

According to the fund managers, all our funds are actively managed to generate alpha regardless of the market conditions. For instance, the current return on the United Capital Money Market Fund is 5.7 per cent, which is better two per cent yield on the 91-day Treasury Bill in the secondary market.

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READ MORE: Moody’s affirms B2 rating for Nigeria, maintains negative outlook

Also, the United Capital Bond Fund and Eurobond Funds’ yields stand at 8.9 per cent and 6.9 per cent compared to benchmark returns of 6.0 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively. The benchmark for the two funds are 3-year average FGN Bond yields and LIBOR+2 per cent respectively.

The company said the funds grew mainly on the back of its robust distribution network. “We have been able to complement our physical touchpoints with effective online sales model that allows clients to subscribe and redeem funds seamlessly. Our superior returns also set us apart our funds continued to return above industry average and benchmarks. For our Eurobond Fund, another key driver of the growth was investors demand for FCY due to the weak outlook for the naira especially amidst the pandemic. We have also maintained a strong A credit rating for our Money Market Fund, which gives investors comfort in investing in our funds,” the firm explained.

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READ: Fund of funds, missing link in Nigeria’s mutual fund industry

Commenting further, the Managing Director/CEO United Capital Asset Management, Odiri Oginni, the firm has constantly supported its clients on their journey to financial independence through our mutual funds. “Our mutual funds have grown much faster than the overall market in the last 18 months while returns on the funds consistently outperformed benchmarks, placing us amongst the top five Asset Managers by mutual funds size in the market. We hope to continue in this streak and even surpass it in the months and years ahead,” he said.

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Also commenting, the Group Executive Director, United Capital Plc, Sunny Anene, stated: “the strong growth in the funds under management of our Asset Management subsidiary points to a high level of investor confidence in our brand as we continue to reward our clients with above-market returns regardless of challenges in the market. With an investment-grade credit rating, asset under management in excess of N150 billion, cutting across privately managed funds and 6 collective investment schemes, we remain positioned as a fund manager of choice in Nigeria today.”

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