The Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) has stated that technology has become a great tool for driving the desired changes in Nigeria, altering ways of life, individual engagements and interactions, especially amid Coronavirus pandemic.
During a webinar organised by the Centre and attended by Nairametrics, Managing Director/ CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, explained that the 20th century has recorded major breakthroughs in technology through innovation in health, energy production, disease control, business engagement, financial services, and other enterprise solutions.
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She lauded the event partners and sponsors – Bank of Industry, Stanbic IBTC, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and media partners; Nairametrics, Regtech, BBbuzz, The Nation and Financial Nigeria for making the event a huge success.
One of the speakers, the Managing Director of Zercom Systems, a software technology company, Tayo Awosanya, noted that digitization, creativity, and resourcefulness are key elements in achieving personal and organizational success in today’s world. He noted that one of the very bright spots on COVID-19 pandemic is the acceleration in digital learning being witnessed across the different sector of the economy.
For Tayo, aside from turning to technology for effective and smart learning outside the classrooms, the pandemic has triggered rapid online product advertisements which is a formidable space for everyone to explore in growing their businesses and acquiring knowledge, which in turn can also become a huge source of livelihood for implementors.
In her submissions, Chief of Staff/ Co-Founder, Future of Africa, Adenike Sheriff, urged youths to consider ways of designing and implementing solutions amid challenges. She disclosed that while Africa has a plethora of problems, the problems invariably presents opportunities for the people of the continent to explore and deploy solutions for the benefits of mankind.
According to Sheriff, leveraging and finding investible ideas opens doors for organizations that will provide the needed take-off grants. Still, the promoter of such idea, she said, must have a clear understanding of how it works and what to do to turn it to reality.
Musty Mustapha, Co-Founder & CTO of Kuda, who spoke on the “Rise of Bedroom Coders” among others, stated that more Africans, many of whom are women, are learning software development with free resources online. He noted that as the continent produces coders, potentially disruptive start-ups are being founded in sectors ranging from fintech to transportation.
According to Musty, while digitization is spreading across the African continent, it is not quite a revolution yet. “Only about 20% of the people living in sub-Saharan Africa have internet subscriptions. In the same region, the average subscriber uses 300MB of internet data in a month,” Musty noted.
While listing the gains of affordable banking services to the people, economy, and businesses, Musty noted that smart technology is leading and bringing people to take advantage of the global digitization that is taking place.
“There are lots of start-ups springing up around Nigeria, and people have to take advantage of the industry that is exploding. What we need currently, is the democratization of knowledge to enable more people take advantage of technology to drive their businesses and promote connectivity” Musty stated.
Also at the event, FITC announced the top three winners in the maiden edition of its Youth Connect Essay Challenge 2020.
The winners were announced during the FITC’s virtual Pan African Technology Summit which held on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, in Lagos, with the theme: “Accelerating Growth and Development in Africa: The Role of Technology and Innovation”.
Oke Donatus Chibuzor, an undergraduate from the National Open University, Lagos, Nigeria was announced the star prize winner for the essay competition. He was rewarded with $1,000 cash prize, a laptop, a Leadership Certification programme and a one-year mentorship programme.
The second prize went to Abdul Pelumi Ganiyu, a 20-year old undergraduate at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, who received $500, a laptop and one-year mentorship programme while Ololade Oshodi, a 23-year old undergraduate at the University of Lagos, emerged as the third-place winner and was awarded a laptop and one-year Mentorship programme.
In their comments, the judges said submissions by the finalists were judged on originality, expression, creativity, and appropriateness to the theme.
Speakers at the summit and awards event – Managing Director/ CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, as the key note speaker, Tayo Awosanya, Managing Director, Zercom Systems; Greg Malize, Founder, IMPACTGEN; Adenike Sheriff, Chief of Staff/Co-founder, Future of Africa and Musty Mustapha, Co-Founder, Kuda- discussed extensively on the growth and development Africa can achieve by leveraging on technology.
Malize, stated that FITC is passionate about empowering the youths with the right skills and knowledge needed to excel in todays’ tech-driven world. She noted that the star prize winner went the extra mile in his report to give depth and showed mastery of the subject, which gave him an edge over others.
“Africa is filled with very intelligent people and we are proud of all the contestants for the zeal and knowledge displayed in the course of the exercise. FITC will be adopting all winners from across Africa and exposing them to fantastic programmes in the next one year.
“This is definitely not a winner takes it all programme as there is something significant for everyone that has shown interest and commitment in this maiden edition,” she assured.
FITC wins BIZZ, IBX Global Awards for Business Excellence, Strategic Leadership
FITC was announced the winner of the two global awards in an elaborate virtual ceremony held in Doha, Qatar and Houston Texas respectively.
FITC, the world-class, innovation-led, technology-driven, knowledge and professional services institute has emerged winner of the 2020 Business Excellence Award (The BIZZ Awards) and the Strategy, Change, and Transformation Award (The IBX Awards).
FITC, which provides cutting edge Learning, Advisory and Research Services to organizations within the Financial Services and other sectors, was announced winner of the two global awards in an elaborate virtual ceremony held in Doha, Qatar and Houston Texas respectively.
The Nigeria’s premier knowledge institute, FITC, won the Gold category in The BIZZ awards and Silver category in Strategy, Change and Transformation in the International Business Excellence, IBX Awards in recognition of its phenomenal initiatives that have led to innovative and exceptional transformation within the organization.
Also presented with an award was the Managing Director and CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, who won the IBX 2020 Award for “Inspirational Leader”. The award was in recognition of the innovative, dynamic and game changing work at FITC in 2020 at the height of the global pandemic resulting in the extraordinary organization wide transformation at FITC and positive impact on the Nigerian financial services sector, FITC’s primary focus area.
Other IBX 2020 Award winners include Microsoft and Virgin Mobile.
The International Business Excellence (IBX) Awards is part of a global business movement, giving organizations the chance to meet and compete with others from all over the world. Over the last twelve years, IBX Awards have been leading the way in recognising inspirational business practices, holding over 100 events and hosting more than 2000 companies.
Organized by Awards International, the IBX Awards recognises long-term sustainable profitability achieved through the practice of excellence, which occurs across a broad range of disciplines and defines the modern business agenda.
The BIZZ Awards gathers and recognizes leading businesses from different regions that contribute to the daily growth of their local economy and the world economy. THE BIZZ was created by World Confederation of Businesses (WORLDCOB), to offer to the global business community a range of benefits that further their development.
WORLDCOB was founded in 2004 in Houston, Texas, in the United States of America. Its primary mission is to promote business development worldwide, recognizing and boosting the growth of leading businesses and businesspeople in every country through the special tools and services that it offers its members. The organization has approximately 3,500 members representing over 130 countries.
Considered to be the most important business excellence award in the world, The BIZZ Awards is organized and given out to the most outstanding companies and businesspeople in each participating country. The award which targets small, medium and large enterprises was created to recognize businesses with practices worthy of recognition who end up being examples for other businesses to follow in their communities and internationally.
Speaking on the awards, Malize, said the organization would keep going beyond the ordinary in its effort to delivering innovative knowledge solutions to its clients in the Financial Services and other sectors.
“For 40 years, FITC has been an innovator, enabling people and organizations to excel and it was in line with our vision to build a world class innovation-led and technology-driven organization that we defined our six success pillars which are programmes, process, platforms, people, positioning and performance.
“We took deliberate and strategic steps by making significant changes across these key drivers of the positive transformation experienced today by our stakeholders, and which has also culminated to these awards and recognitions being given to our organization today. We are extremely delighted by these awards and we remain committed to helping our clients in the Financial Services and other sectors navigate and advance their careers, while building on our member firms’ successes through our clear vision, strong corporate values, and our culture of excellence,” Malize said.
Established in 1981 as a non-profit organisation limited by guarantee to provide capacity building and serve as a knowledge hub for the Nigerian Financial Services Sector, FITC is owned by the Bankers Committee, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and all deposit money banks in Nigeria.
Over the years, FITC has demonstrated delivery of best-in-class services using a large pool of multidisciplinary and versatile professionals, who provide business support to its numerous clients within the public and private sectors, most notably within the financial services sectors and public sector of Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sahara Group celebrates 25 years of global expansion, operational efficiency
Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.”
Executive Director, Sahara Group, Temitope Shonubi has said the energy conglomerate’s impressive growth trajectory since 1996 has been driven by knowledge, business integrity, humility, diverse people and robust global network.
“These past 25 years, knowledge has been the empowering tool for Sahara, business integrity our greatest asset, humility our utmost ethos, diverse people and network our greatest value,” he asserted while unveiling Sahara’s 25th anniversary logo and the Group’s plan for the future.
Shonubi said Sahara had since disrupted previously held notions that put looking to Africa for the implementation of global energy solutions beyond imagination. According to him, since its inception, Sahara has deployed “transformational energy initiatives” to become a conglomerate with a proud African heritage and vast operations in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East Asia.
“Today, the narrative is rapidly changing with Sahara at the vanguard of the transformational story from Africa to the world. Founded in 1996 with an initial focus on Oil trading, Sahara Group is widely regarded as a leading energy conglomerate renowned for championing capacity building and promoting the ‘best in Africa for Africa’ to the world narrative globally,” he affirmed.
Shonubi said Sahara would increase its investment in technology, artificial intelligence, and human capital transformation as critical drivers of its next expansion phase, adding that innovation will define Sahara’s brand positioning and offering In the coming years.
“For us at Sahara, it has been 25 years of instituting a stamp of distinction. Like most start-ups, we were chasers then followers, and today are the dream actualized corporation. It is much more expensive and difficult to be a trailblazer, defying the impossible to emerge as an enterprise that creates value innovatively, responsibly, and sustainably. Still, at Sahara we are focused on remarkable growth and grateful for the opportunity to serve and bring energy to life across global markets.”
Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.” Emphasis will be on promoting the “capacity to do and achieve positive and sustainable transformation” in the energy sector.
An analysis of Sahara’s operational model shows that creating a sustainable economic, social, and governance impact has remained central to Sahara’s corporate strategy. The conglomerate has grown its operations to achieve annual revenues in excess of $10 billion, with over 4000 employees and operations in over 40 countries. “Sahara’s focus is on continuous improvement, operational efficiency, and sustainability. We plan to deploy best-in-class Terminal Automation System (TAS) for efficient terminal operations in the oil & gas sector, Plant Data Visualization System (PDVS) for enhanced remote monitoring of plant operations, Customer Energy Management (CEM), and GIS-based Network Monitoring System (GNMS) for customer-centric power distribution & data management services,” said Shonubi.
The Group considers the activities of the Sahara Foundation as one of its most cherished accomplishments. Following its initial partnership with the Carter Centre to eradicate guinea worm disease in Nigeria, Sahara Foundation has over the years, emerged as a global promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with over 2,000,000 (two million) beneficiaries across its locations through interventions in Health, Education, Capacity Building, and lately, Extrapreneurship – a concept that promotes opportunities for social innovators and entrepreneurs.
In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), through the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) established the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) as a pivotal platform for business leaders opportunity to contribute to extraordinary social impact and cultivate partnerships of tremendous transformative capacity. From an initial list of 100 shortlisted global multinational companies, the United Nations SDG-F selected 13 companies and inaugurated them in Madrid. Within the African continent, Sahara Group was one of the only two companies that made the final selection.
In line with its commitment to supporting growing global demand for safe and clean energy and the shift towards a lower carbon footprint, Sahara and the UNDP in 2019 entered into a partnership to promote access to clean and affordable energy in Africa, with a target of providing access to clean and affordable energy to over 650 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Sahara Group remains passionate about green energy and environmental conservation. Our Green Life project, aimed at driving energy and ecological conservation initiatives across our business operations and partnerships, saw the Group pioneer the commencement of an electronic billing system (e-billing) at Ikeja Electric Plc, the Group’s power distribution arm to promote environmental conservation in the energy sector,” Shonubi said.
To reinforce its commitment to clean energy initiatives, Sahara Group also initiated the use of electric buggies and bicycles at its Egbin Power, Africa’s largest privately-owned Power Plant, with plans to replicate same at other operational facilities across the Group.
Shonubi said Sahara’s zero-waste approach to promoting operational efficiency and commitment to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen Egbin Power Plc invest in an oxygen bottling facility on the plant to harness the oxygen generated as a by-product of the plant cooling mechanism. Egbin Power supplies oxygen, a key ingredient in the fight for life in the ICU, freely to medical facilities in Lagos State and the FCT, Abuja Nigeria, through Fortitude Children’s home, the largest orphanage in Nigeria.
Sahara’s Covid-19 interventions also include donation of personal protective equipment (PPE), driving Covid-19 awareness and education in sub-Saharan Africa through educational literature in indigenous languages across various countries and leading the delivery of the 300-bed Thisday Dome Isolation and Treatment Centre and donation of medical equipment, including fully equipped world-class Intensive Care Units, to the centre and other medical facilities across Nigeria.
Meristem presents Outlook for 2021 titled ‘Bracing for a different future’
Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space.
Meristem Securities Limited, a leading capital market conglomerate has recently launched its economic outlook report for the year 2021. The outlook report titled ‘Bracing for a Different Future’ highlighted in depth a wide range of issues relevant to an evolving future. With a global economy that has been scarred by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic economy was not left out, as the Nigeria economy slipped back into a recession, amplifying the structural weakness of the domestic economy in the form of weakening exchange rates, rising inflation, among others.
In Meristem’s H2:2020 Outlook: “Unmasking Value in a Scourge”, Meristem had warned that the threat of a second wave of new infections was very much a possibility. As a result, the recovery of economic activities would remain fragile until a vaccine is developed. Hence, much would depend on strict compliance with social distancing and healthcare measures as economies gradually re-opened. The Deputy Managing Director of Meristem, Sulaiman Adedokun, stated that while the rising number of daily infections pose a threat to economic activities, we expect a rebound of the domestic economy”.
Launching the outlook “Bracing the future” during a webinar attended by institutional investors, corporate clients, retail investors amongst other industry professionals, Sulaiman also commented on the equities market highlighting that “The equities market recovered from deep selloffs to finish as the best performing equities market last year, citing unattractive yields in the fixed income market, excess liquidity and a resilient corporate performance in the middle of a pandemic as major factors which drove the market.” “We expect these factors to persist thereby sustaining the positive momentum of the market through the better part of the year; in the first half of the year, we expect the financial market to be dominated by attractive dividend yields and the low yield in the fixed income market,” Sulaiman added.
The face of work has changed and many corporate organizations and their employees are rapidly adopting cutting-edge technology to meet the future of work in a COVID-19 era. While fielding questions from journalists about how the organization has deployed its business continuity plan, Sulaiman expressed that “The pandemic has influenced changes amongst people globally and we have enabled this change in our organization by utilizing the power of technology, we have also adopted a work from home culture that enables team collaboration through technology, we intend to maintain this even beyond the pandemic.”
Meristem offers a wide a range of services that cater to all classes of investors regardless of the stage in their financial journey, services like stockbroking, wealth management and financial advisory help clients to access various opportunities within the capital market. Via Meritrade, an online stockbroking platform, investors can trade stocks from anywhere around the world as well as better manage their shares and enjoy access to the most exclusive market research.
Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space. In 2018, the Nigerian Stock Exchange awarded Meristem as the Best Digital Broker of the Year. In the same year, Meristem also became the first Nigerian asset management firm to attain compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) by the CFA Institute. Still, in 2018, Meristem received two nominations from Business Day, for the best Money market Fund and Equity Fund.
The firm has remained a leading player in Nigeria’s competitive investment market with a solid reputation as a highly professional and client-centric firm, helping to take their clients farther.