Nigeria’s leading digital bank, VFD, has deployed Bolanle, an AI-powered digital assistant, to support customers in banking transactions across Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. In less than two minutes, Bolanle can set up a new account with zero paperwork, transfer funds, pay bills, and perform cardless ATM withdrawals among other functions.
The introduction of this Chat Banking solution follows the launch of its mobile banking app ‘V by VFD’ in March 2020, demonstrating the bank’s resolve to tackle issues of financial inclusion in Nigeria by ensuring that banking services are available to all Nigerians on all possible customer channels. The goal is to offer a fully digital one-stop platform to both the banked and the unbanked Nigerians.
As a leading digital bank, VFD relies on the surge in the adoption of mobile connectivity and digital service to bring banking services closer to its customers. It is therefore a natural progression to team up with eBanqo to leverage the rise of messaging apps and advancements in conversational AI to build Bolanle.
“Since inception, we have simplified digital interactions between businesses and their customers. Our platform automates responses to frequently asked questions, provides self-service options, and gives real-time assistance to customers on Webchat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messaging, WhatsApp, and several other direct messaging platforms. Furthermore, our solution is completely self-service and automated, which means organisations can offer their services 24/7 without disruption,” explains Charles Ifedi; CEO eBanqo.
Highlighting the merits of VFD’s partnership with eBanqo, Gbenga Omolokun, Executive Director Risks, Compliance and Technology for VFD Group said; “Our customers are now able to transact across more channels than before. eBanqo has helped our customers access alternative channels to interact with the bank and other entities of the group and we’ve enjoyed great support flexibility. We remain committed to our brand promise to all our customers, ensuring that the fulfilment of their goals is secure, enjoyable and memorable.”
eBanqo’s omnichannel platform gives businesses a comprehensive view of all customer interactions. These interactions are managed from one dashboard, making it easier to manage interactions. Its analytics feature gives businesses a granular view of interactions across all platforms, arming them with the right data to make better business decisions.
Other functions Bolanle can support with across the messaging apps include; airtime purchase, balance enquiry, and recurring savings.
VFD Microfinance Bank is a member of the VFD Group, a proprietary investment company that focuses on building positive and socially conscious ecosystems by aggregating potentially viable business with the objective of creating innovative products and solutions that are accessible to the everyday Nigerian citizen and entrepreneur.
For more information, visit vbank.ng
eBanqo Inc. is a customer engagement company that empowers businesses to deliver instant and efficient services on messaging channels. eBanqo helps businesses build and deploy AI-powered virtual assistants that handle routine inquiries, support self-service options, and live chat on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, webchat, and other messaging apps.
For more information, visit www.ebanqo.com
Audiomack partners Slum2School to support the education of students from underserved communities
These funds will go towards supporting 38 learners with tablets in the virtual learning program.
Moving music forward means empowering the next generation of creatives. In that spirit, Audiomack will be donating $5000 USD worth of tablets and headsets that will support the Slum2School initiative in Africa, which is a volunteer-driven development organization empowering underserved children in slums and remote communities with quality education, entrepreneurial skills, and psychosocial support to enable them to realize their full potential and become social reformers.
These funds will go towards supporting 38 learners with tablets in the virtual learning program which was designed to combat the impact of COVID-19 on education in disadvantaged communities in Nigeria.
Speaking about the initiative, Charlotte Bwana, Head of Business Development and Media Partnerships for Audiomack Africa reiterated Audiomack’s commitment to empowering its host communities. She said, “While the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted all aspects of our lives including the education sector, we recognize the increased gap on children from underprivileged communities as they are unable to access quality education and learning materials. This donation demonstrates our efforts to bridge this gap because we are committed to fostering a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper.”
Also commenting, Otto Orondaam, Founder of Slum2School Africa said, “We are glad to collaborate with Audiomack who shares in our vision to transform the society by empowering underserved children in slums and remote communities with quality education. We also call on individuals and organizations to support this cause and help make an impact in Nigeria’s educational development”.
This donation comes on the heels of Audiomack donating to Girls Who Listen and Pretty Girls Sweat for Women’s History Month.
Dangote: Cement price from our factories is between N2,450 and N2,510 per bag, VAT inclusive
…says Nigeria price is in line with or lower than prices across the West African coast.
Management of Dangote Cement Plc has clarified that the price of a bag of cement from its factories and plants across Nigeria (as at 12th April, 2021) is N2,450 in Obajana and Gboko, and N2,510 in Ibese inclusive of VAT. The clarification was made in view of recent insinuations that the company sells cement in Nigeria at significantly higher prices relative to other countries, particularly Ghana and Zambia.
Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Devakumar Edwin revealed that, while a bag of Cement sells for an equivalent of $5.1, including VAT in Nigeria, it sells for $7.2 in Ghana and $5.95 in Zambia ex-factory, inclusive of all taxes. He said that though the company has direct control over its ex-factory prices, it cannot control the ultimate price of cement when it gets to the market. He advised that it is important to distinguish Dangote’s ex-factory prices from prices at which retailers sell cement in the market.
He, therefore, frowned at intentional misinformation or demarketing, allegedly sponsored by some individuals, that Dangote sells its cement at higher prices in Nigeria relative to other African countries at the expense of Nigerians. He described the allegation as false, misleading, and unfounded, while giving the media persons present at the press conference copies of invoices from Nigeria and some other African countries (Cameroun, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia), and urging them to conduct independent investigations on the price of cement across the West African coast.
Edwin further explained that while Dangote cement has 60% share of the market, other companies have the remaining 40%. DCP has no control over neither the prices charged by other cement manufacturers nor the prices charged by retailers in the markets.
He further explained that “Demand for cement has risen globally as a fallout of the COVID crisis. Nigeria is no exception as a combination of monetary policy changes and low returns from the capital market has resulted in a significant increase in construction activity. To ensure that we meet local demand, we had to suspend exports from our recently commissioned export terminals, thereby foregoing dollar earnings. We also had to reactivate our 4.5m ton capacity Gboko Plant which was closed 4 years ago and run it at a higher cost all in a bid to guarantee that we meet demand and keep the price of Cement within control in the country.”
He said: “Over the past 15 months, our production costs have gone up significantly. About 50% of our costs are linked to USD so the cost of critical components like: gas, gypsum, bags, and spare parts; has increased significantly due to devaluation of the Naira and VAT increase. Despite this, DCP has not increased ex-factory prices since December 2019 till date while prices of most other building materials have gone up significantly. We have only adjusted our transport rates to account for higher costs of diesel, spare parts, tyres, and truck replacement. Still, we charge our customers only N300 – 350 per bag for deliveries within a 1,200km radius. We have been responsible enough not to even attempt to cash in on the recent rise in demand to increase prices so far.”
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Tantalizers Plc reports a loss after tax of N422.05 million in FY 2020.
- NASD Plc announces admission of newly demutualized NGX shares.
- Lotus Halal Fixed Income announces dividend of N20 per unit for Q1 2021.
- Friesland Campina Wamco Nigeria Plc announces AGM, proposes dividend of N6.74 per share.
- ETI appoints Akin Dada as Group Executive, Corporate & Investment banking.