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Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020

A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs.

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Microsoft plans to train 25 million workers for free in 2020

Microsoft Corp aims to provide free online classes and resources for job-hunting to 25 million people by the end of 2020 as a way to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The classes are going to be held on LinkedIn andGitHub online platforms and are expected to teach 10 highly demanded jobs. 

The training is available to workers across the globe and it is geared towards teaching digital skills. The pandemic, having created a more technology-dependent face of work, and Microsoft is on a quest to aid the development of digital skills ranging from data analysis, digital marketing, and help-desk services.  

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Microsoft, leveraging data from its LinkedIn business, chose 10 job roles as a result of the growing demand for them as well as their potential to provide opportunities for a wide range of people – including those without college degrees.  

READ MORE: Microsoft acquires CyberX to beef cybersecurity 

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s presidentcalled it “the largest skills initiative” explaining that Automation and artificial intelligence are changing the skills required for probably every occupation; hence, workers without digital skills will fall further and further behind.  

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“Everything we envisioned when 2020 began has accelerated more quickly than we imagined. Even when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, equipping individuals with work skills will remain an extremely important priority for companies like us and for the economy as a whole.” 

Skills training in recent years has moved increasingly online, as providers of online classes like LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and others have emerged, offering ease and affordability compared to traditional education options.  

READ ALSO: Just In: Opay shuts down other business arms to focus mainly on fintech

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A number of organizations, over the past few months have come up with similar training programs. Just last month, Bank of America noted that job training and career reskilling would be one of its four focus areas for $1 billion in funding for economic-opportunity initiatives over the next four years. In the same month, Walmart Foundation had also donated $6 million to Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying and scaling successful workforce-development programs. 

Microsoft will give users access to LinkedIn content for “learning paths” relating to the 10 jobs until the end of 2020. Its commitment also includes $20 million in grants to organizations that will support individuals using the free resources, as well as $5 million to companies that cater to the needs of communities of color. 

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Companies

Africa’s largest telecoms firm, MTN, to divest from its Middle East operations

The MTN Group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder.

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Africa’s largest telecoms firm, the MTN Group, has announced its plans to exit the Middle East. This is part of the wireless carrier’s strategic plan to shift focus entirely to its home continent, Africa.

The mobile operator said that as part of its medium-term strategy, it will be leaving the Middle East, starting with the sales of its 75% stake in MTN Syria. Overly reduced revenue from war-torn Syria and the complex nature of the operating environment in the country are part of the reasons MTN is divesting.

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READ MORE: MTN seeking to sell stake in Jumia Technologies AG

MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter, noted during a conference call with reporters, that “the Middle East environment is becoming increasingly complex and it contributes less to the group’s earnings.’’

Shuter disclosed that the disposals in the Middle East region will be done in a phased manner, with its 3 consolidated subsidiaries in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria earmarked to be sold first. These markets only contribute about 4% to the group’s earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation, and amortization.

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READ ALSO: Why MTN is being dragged to court by families of American soldiers 

The MTN Group is in advanced talks to sell its stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder, TeleInvest, who has 25% stake in the firm, according to the CEO. He believes that the telecoms firm is better served to focus on its Pan-African strategy and simplify its portfolio by leaving the Middle East region in an orderly manner.

In the medium term, the group will also dispose of its 49% stake in MTN Irancell, one of its largest markets.

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The South African firm plans to exit the entire portfolio in time, which will then leave it with 17 subsidiaries in Africa.

Just yesterday, Nairametrics reported about MTN’s plan to sell its stake in Jumia Technologies. MTN will also be divesting from telecommunications infrastructure firm, IHS Towers. The divestments from Jumia and IHS Towers were informed by the decision to raise funds in order to reduce MTN’s debts. It will also help the company to refocus its operations.

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Airtel and Telkom discontinue merger plans

The disclosure was made in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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Raghunath Mandava, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa, Airtel Africa receives NCC approval to acquire 10 MHz spectrum for $94 million

Telecoms giant Airtel Africa Plc and Telkom Kenya Ltd have decided to discontinue the completion of their merger plans due to the lengthy process of the transaction which has been on since February 2019.

The two telecom firms resolved not to complete the business combination despite their respective efforts to reach a successful closure and having it drag on for a while.

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The disclosure was made in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by Airtel Africa and signed by its Group Company Secretary, Simon O’Hara, on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

A subsidiary of Airtel Africa Plc, Airtel Networks Kenya Limited and Telkom Kenya Limited, in collaboration with other parties, had entered into an agreement on February 2019 to combine their businesses in Kenya, so as to create an integrated telecommunications platform with mobile, enterprise and wholesale divisions.

Airtel Africa Plc in its statement said, ‘’Airtel Networks Kenya Limited (Airtel Kenya), an Airtel Africa Plc subsidiary, and Telkom Kenya Limited (Telkom) amongst other parties, had entered into an agreement dated 8th February, 2019 to combine their businesses in Kenya, so as to create an integrated telecommunications platform with mobile, enterprise, and wholesale divisions.’’

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‘’The completion of the business combination was subject to the satisfaction of various conditions precedent, including regulatory approvals.

“Despite Airtel Africa Plc and Telkom respective endeavours to reach a successful closure, the transaction has gone through a very lengthy process which has led the parties to reconsider their stance. Accordingly, Airtel Africa Plc and Telkom have decided to no longer pursue completion of the Transaction.’’

In his own reaction, the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, said that Kenya was a large and growing market and stressed on the commitment of Airtel Africa to build a growing profitable business.

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He disclosed that the telecoms giant currently serves over 14 million Kenyan customers, a number that is growing every month. He pointed out that the revenue numbers were up double-digit in constant currency in Kenya in the last quarter.

The Airtel boss reiterated the strategy of the firm is to focus on winning more customers, invest in a best in class voice and data network and progressively expand their mobile money business, will continue to build on these results in order to deliver against the opportunities the Kenyan market has to offer.

Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries in Africa primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa.

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Austin Avuru retires as CEO of Seplat petroleum, to receive huge benefits

According to the notice, Avuru will be considered a “good leaver” on his retirement.

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Austin Avuru retires as CEO of Seplat petroleum, to receive huge benefits, Seplat to acquire more oil & gas assets after Eland's acquisition

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Austin Avuru has retired as CEO of the company, but will remain on the board as a Non-Executive Director.

According to a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and signed by the company secretary Mrs Edith Onwuchekwa, the resignation took effect on July 31, 2020.

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READ MORE: Seplat denies swindling FG of N600 billion despite co-conspirator’s guilty plea

What this means

According to the notice, Avuru will be considered a “good leaver” on his retirement and receive his remuneration and benefits as such.

The Remuneration Committee has confirmed that Avuru will receive “a lump sum payment in lieu of notice equal to his salary, benefits, and pension allowance until November 18, 2020” as well as other security and travel benefits.

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He would also receive a loss of office payment equal to 12 months’ salary, as compensation and in accordance with the Nigerian market practice.

READ ALSO: Seplat’s Austin Avuru no longer has direct shares in company 

In line with the provisions of the Directors’ Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders of the Company at its 2018 AGM, he will also receive a pro-rata bonus (in cash) to reflect his time as CEO during the financial year, and same “will be provided in the Company’s Directors Remuneration Report for 2020 and subsequent years”.

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Seplat will also vest awards made in form of deferred shares in 2019 and 2020 at the normal vesting dates, and subject to the achievement of the relevant performance conditions, and Avuru will be subject to the post-employment shareholding requirement for two years.

The company management and board appreciated Avuru for his ‘excellent leadership’ in growing the company to become a notable player in the Nigerian and wider African hydrocarbon industry.

READ: Okomu Oil Palm ‘s profit declines by 43.22% as at Q3 2019  

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Backstory

On November 18 2019, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc announced that Mr Austin Avuru will be retiring as CEO at the end of July 2020.

This is in line with Avuru’s earlier plans to retire sometime around his 62nd birthday.

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