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May is Africa Month: The Africa Soft Power Project to hold a series of sessions on the Creative & Cultural industries

The Africa Soft Power Project seeks to establish May as Africa month.

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Tuesday 4th May 2021: The Africa Soft Power Project (ASP) will this month launch the 2nd edition of the Africa Soft Power Series virtual summit focused on Africa’s Creative & Cultural Industries (CCI). Taking place between May 5th – 25th, the event will include high-level sessions and 80+ speakers, examining how the continent can harness the power of its creative and cultural industries to effectively propel itself forward, while championing the inclusion of African voices and the voices of the diaspora community in global discourse.

Attendance is free, register here: https://bit.ly/AfricaSoftPower

Africa is not Next, Africa is Now

Themed ‘The Bridge: The Past, The Present, The Future’, the global gathering will see thought leaders, influencers and pioneers engaging in a longer and broader conversation on Africa’s creative power, knowledge economy, and how these assets can strengthen ties between the continent, diaspora community and the wider world. The sessions – on film, music, fashion, sports, technology, finance, art, social impact and more – will explore tangible strategies and new initiatives for accelerating economic growth and retelling the African story on the world stage.

“This year’s Grammy Award wins for African artists Burna Boy and Wizkid show that this is Africa’s time,” says Nkiru Balonwu, Founder & Convener of The Africa Soft Power Series. The global reach of these artists and the inspiration that they bring not only to Africa and its diaspora community, but to young people from all backgrounds around the world, highlights the growing influence of African creativity globally. And this influence is not only limited to reconstructing narratives. The creative and cultural sectors, fuelled by Africa’s expanding digital economy in recent years, can be a strong catalyst for investment, employment, and future economic growth across the continent and beyond.”

In addition to changing narratives and supporting growth, the theme, “The Bridge is about connecting and enabling Africa and the global black diaspora to engage, build, and develop together, a more progressive future – a more connected future that will benefit all of the world”, explained Obi Asika, Co-Convener of The Africa Soft Power Series.

Similar sentiments on the power of Africa’s creative industries and the need to build a progressive and connected future were echoed by Afrexim Bank President – Professor Benedict Oramah at the Africa Soft Power February event ‘The New Face of African Collaboration’. According to Oramah, “The creative industries can be potent vehicles for more equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth strategies for African economies.”

The opening session – ‘Africa Now: Defining The Future’ will feature Keynote from foremost French diplomat, author, global thought leader – Ambassador Rama Yade. Ambassador Yade is director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and senior fellow for the Europe Center. At the age of thirty, she was appointed France’s deputy minister for foreign affairs and human rights. She was the first ever French minister for human rights and first woman of African descent to become a member of the French cabinet. She was later appointed deputy minister of sports and successfully promoted France’s bid to host the Euro 2016 football tournament. Ambassador Yade was also ambassador of France to UNESCO and was instrumental in the designation of World Heritage Site for the French natural sites Causses and Cévenne. She is the author of several books, including Blacks of France, Letter to the Youth, and A Chronicle of Power. After serving France, Ambassador Yade’s aim is to serve the African continent where she was born.

Other esteemed speakers on the session include: Laureine Guilao; CEO, TipMe Liberia and former Deputy CEO MTN Liberia | Nmachi Jidenma; Head of Scouts & Partnerships, Sequoia Capital. Prior to Sequoia, she led global strategy at WhatsApp Inc. She also previously led partnerships at Facebook and spearheaded global business development at PayPal. The session will be moderated by Sophie Masipa; CEO Kgommuu International and former Head of Communications and Media Relations, Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

The conversation will explore how Africa’s teeming youth population are taking decisive steps to shape their evolution into formidable global leaders and moving beyond talks of the continent’s potential to securing a future where our place in the global economic and cultural space is assured.

Also, happening this week is ‘Collective Threads: Digital Connectivity, Creative Power & Global Black Activism’, featuring young, vibrant and progressive voices such as –

  • Otosirieze Obi-Young: Editor-In-Chief, Open Country Mag, an African literary magazine & Editor, Folio Nigeria, a CNN-powered multimedia storytelling platform.
  • Mona Eltahawy: Egyptian-American journalist, award-winning columnist & International public speaker.
  • Sena Voncujovi: Afro-Asian BLM Activist & Co-founder, Jaspora (Japan Africa Diaspora)
  • Zoe Ramushu: (Moderator) Zimbabwean-born and bred filmmaker, multimedia journalist & Activist.

This session will examine the rising role of social media in activism and what the future holds for movements like BLM and EndSARS.

Check out the website for other unmissable sessions.

May is Africa Month

The Africa Soft Power Project seeks to establish May as Africa month. The series has been specifically timed to begin on UNESCO Africa World Heritage Day (May 5th) and culminate on Africa Day (May 25th), the anniversary of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity.

By establishing one month out of the year to celebrate African and diaspora achievements, the Project intends to normalise the continent’s inclusion within global conversations and make it a more regular – and familiar – fixture.

“We are excited to be a part of the global community highlighting the history of Africa Day and bringing new energy to its recognition through Africa Month,” said Dr. Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center based in New York City’s Harlem community. “At a time where African voices on the continent and throughout the Diaspora continue to push the dialogue about what is possible for Africa and its people forward, there is no better moment than now for us to turn our attention toward each other and into tangible ways of collaborating and building closer connections that benefit us all.”

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CHI Limited celebrates its maiden Hollandia Dairy Day

The Hollandia Dairy Day Conference is a public interest initiative created to highlight the importance of dairy in everyday nutrition and healthy living in Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s leading dairy brand, Hollandia, is set to hold the maiden edition of its Hollandia Dairy Day. The event which will be celebrated on the 18th of May 2021 will provide a veritable platform to drive national discourse on the unrivaled health and nutrition benefits of dairy consumption to people of all ages.

Set to be hosted as a conference, the theme of this year’s event is “Dairy Nourishment to Support Healthy Living”, and it focuses on the vital role dairy consumption plays in our everyday nourishment, its benefit to our overall health, and why dairy products should be included in our diets every day.

This conference, which is designed as a hybrid of physical and virtual event, will feature presentations, interviews and panel discussions from health experts and nutritionists as they provide insights and share perspectives to guide informed decisions about dairy consumption as part of a daily balanced diet. The event is opened to the public through the brand’s multiple social media platforms.

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2019, Nigeria has low dairy consumption levels per head – 15 to 20 liters’ per capita consumption. This is partly attributable to low purchasing power of the average Nigerian household, who rank milk and dairy products as non-essential luxuries and prioritize other staple foods such as rice, beans, and yam.

By provoking the conversations and stimulating public action/intervention, Hollandia aims to drive consciousness for dairy consumption and its importance to achieving optimum health, and to get many more Nigerians drinking, using, and consuming dairy products.

The past year has presented unprecedented shocks and disruptions, including a global COVID-19 pandemic. As communities throughout the world look for ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19, maintaining and boosting good health is top of mind for many. Dairy foods such as milk and yogurt contain essential nutrients, including Vitamins A and D, Zinc and Protein, which support immune function.

The Hollandia Dairy Day Conference is a public interest initiative created to highlight the importance of dairy in everyday nutrition and healthy living in Nigeria.

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Mastercard New Payments Index: Consumer appetite for digital payments takes off in Nigeria

78% of consumers in Nigeria say digital payments methods help them save money.

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  • 96% of consumers in Nigeria are considering emerging payments such as wearables, biometrics, digital wallets and currencies, and QR code, in addition to Contactless, according to the Mastercard New Payments Index
  • 86% of Nigerian consumers have access to more ways to pay compared to this time last year
  • 78% of consumers in Nigeria say digital payments methods help them save money
  • 81% say they are more loyal to retailers who offer multiple payment options and would shop at small businesses if offered more diverse ways to pay

As the world went into pandemic lockdown in 2020, consumers shifted their spending habits to embrace contactless tap-and-go payments and online shopping. As stores closed and social distancing took hold, retailers worldwide moved their businesses online, embraced e-commerce and explored the potential of new ways to pay. More than a year later, research from Mastercard shows that the adoption of new payment technologies is rising, and consumer appetite for new, fast and flexible digital experiences continues to grow.

The Mastercard New Payments Index shows 96% of Nigerian consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year.

Over two-thirds of respondents (66%) agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has galvanized people to try flexible new payment options to get what they want, when they want it. With this interest and consumer demand also comes a greater expectation for businesses to provide multiple ways to shop and pay. In fact, 81% of Nigerian consumers say they are more excited about shopping at retailers who offer the latest payment methods.  Additionally, (78%) Nigerian consumers say that digital payment methods help them save money.

“The pandemic made us think differently, partly out of necessity,” said Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer at Mastercard. “To deliver the choice and flexibility that consumers need – and increasingly expect –retailers worldwide need to offer a range of payment solutions that are easy to access and always on.  As we look ahead, we need to continue to enable all choices, both in-store and online, to shape the fabric of commerce and make the digital economy work for everyone.”

Contactless technology was the digital catalyst to explore new payment options because of its fast, secure, and touch-free experience. Between the first quarter of 2020 and the same period in 2021, more than 100 markets saw contactless as a share of total in-person transactions grow by at least 50 percent.  A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless is showing its staying power and dynamism – in the first quarter of 2021 alone, Mastercard saw 1 billion more contactless transactions worldwide as compared to the same period of 2020. All signs point to a continued growth path for contactless, with nearly 7 in 10 consumers globally anticipating using a contactless card this year.

“The world as we now know it has changed dramatically since the outbreak of the pandemic, accelerating long-term shifts in consumer transaction and payment methods. We continue to work with our merchants, fintechs and banking partners to rapidly innovate payment options that meet consumer needs while ensuring we drive financial and digital inclusion,” said Raghav Prasad, Division President, Mastercard, Sub-Saharan Africa.

Looking to the future, digital currencies and wallets, wearables, biometrics, contactless and QR codes are trending as emerging payments technologies as people’s comfort with them and understanding of them increases and the use of cash decreases. In fact, 86% of consumers in Nigeria have more ways to pay compared to this time last year. The exploding interest in new payment technologies may encourage businesses to expand their options at checkout. The Mastercard New Payment Index found:

  • Cryptocurrency1 Gains Ground – Today consumers can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency as a commodity or investment. Consumers are also increasingly showing interest in being able to spend crypto assets for everyday purchases. As global interest in digital currencies continues to accelerate, 6 in 10 people (65%) in Nigeria say they plan to use cryptocurrency in the next year, with 76% noting they are more open to using it than they were a year ago. While consumer interest in cryptocurrency – especially floating digital currencies such as Bitcoin – is high, work is still required to ensure consumer choice, protection, and their regulatory compliance. Earlier this year, Mastercard announced that it will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on its network.
  • Biometric Payments are More Trustworthy – Perceptions of safety and convenience have been front and center for people over the past year. 49% of Nigerian consumers say they plan to use biometric verification methods like gait or walk assessments and fingerprint authorization. In fact, over 6 out of 10 people (66%) feel safer using biometrics to verify a purchase than entering a pin.
  • QR Codes are Cleaner and More Convenient – Growing markets are leveraging QR-based options as a clean and convenient way to interact with merchants. Consumer desire for clean and convenient ways to pay will remain post-pandemic. 54% of people in Nigeria expect to use more payment technologies like QR codes in the next year. Consumers also find that that QR codes are cleaner (75%) and more convenient (77%) for in-person payments and have a significant potential to reduce cost of payment acceptance and increase financial
  • Digital Wallets Surge in Popularity – Nigeria is seeing a surge in the popularity of digital wallets. 73% of Nigerian consumers said they were likely to use digital wallets next year. 66% of shoppers even say that they feel safer storing their card information in one place such as a digital wallet.

To Meet People’s Demands, Businesses Forced to Jump into Emerging Payment Trends

With consumer interest around new payment technologies, the expectation for businesses to adapt for the long-term is here to stay. Over three in four Nigerian consumers (84%) say that they would shop at small businesses, if they offered more payment options, and 81% noted being more excited to shop at retailers that can offer the latest payment methods, and an equal proportion (81%) said they would be more loyal to retailers who offered multiple payment options.

This behaviour shift is reinforced by the desire for consumer choice – with 89% saying that they expect to make purchases when they want and how they want. The businesses that can provide multiple ways to shop and pay are best positioned to meet these expectations. As the demand for emerging payments and choice continues, it requires a wider range of payment solutions, insights, and products to meet the accelerating enthusiasm for the future state of pay.

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