President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday congratulated Nigerian entrepreneur, Temi Giwa-Tubosun, over the Africa Business Hero Award, instututed by renowned Chinese technology entrepreneur, Jack Ma.
The Award, accompanied by a cash prize of $250,000, is only the latest in a series of inspiring wins by Giwa-Tubosun in recent years, and is testament to the vision and doggedness which had helped grow her startup, LifeBank, into an organisation to reckon with on Nigeria’s and Africa’s healthcare and technology landscapes.
The President acknowledged “the huge impact LifeBank has made in a relatively short time, by delivering blood, oxygen and other medical products to hospitals in a timely and efficient manner, thus helping save countless lives.”
Reiterating the commitment of his administration to creating the right environment for business and innovation to thrive in the country, the President assured that the “efforts put in place so far, which have seen Nigeria rise a total of 39 places on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index in the last three years, will be pursued even more vigorously.”
The President added that the administration would “continue its active engagement with leading minds in the technology and creative sectors including through the Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity, under the National Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council chaired by the Vice President.”
Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, urged “Nigerian youth to emulate Giwa-Tubosun’s can-do spirit and problem-solving approach, as well as her firm belief in the potential of her fatherland.”
He wished Giwa-Tubosun even greater successes in the months and years ahead, urging her to use the “latest recognition as a stepping stone to even more impactful and transformative work.”
The trip of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to China has began to yield results as Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Motors) and Gree Electrical Appliances have expressed their willingness to visit the Centre of Excellence to study the viability of establishing their assembly plants.
These were some of the major highlights as Sanwo-Olu visited the headquarters of GAC Motors in Guangzhou and Gree Electrical Appliances in Zhuhai.
At GAC Motors, the governor inspected the automobile manufacturing company’s factories, research and development centres as well as its training facilities.
He identified the huge job potentials that would accrue from establishment of similar facility in Lagos and implored the company to consider building an assembly plant in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.
“I am excited at what I have seen in the course of my tour of your facility and I can assure you that there is a huge market for auto brands in Lagos State. We have a population of over 22 million people, and Lagos is the most prosperous city in Africa, with our economy ranking as the 7th largest in Africa.
“On the government’s side, I think now is the right time for you to come to Lagos because we will support you. There is a free trade zone you can locate your factories and Lagos has a pool of highly talented and innovative people that can provide a steady workforce supply for your operations,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to business innovation and process review, saying this has been acknowledged by the World Bank as major drivers of Nigeria’s 15 places upward movement in the Ease of Doing Business Index.
Responding, the GAC Group Chairman, Zeng Qihong, disclosed that the group was considering expanding its business in international markets.
According to him, “With the governor’s invitation, we are quite confident and encouraged that coming to Lagos would be exciting. We will look into the process of establishing an operation base in Lagos after our international business department has visited to carry out a feasibility study of the market. We are optimistic about coming to Lagos because of the market size and the significance of the economy to Africa.”
Top management members of GAC Motors, including the President of the company, Mr. Feng Xingya; General Director, Zhang Yuesai, Director for International Business, Yu Jun; and Regional Sales Director for African Region, Kamel Zheng, attended the meeting.
It’s anticipated that GAC Motors operations in Lagos would contribute to the development of the state’s economy and encourage technology transfer between China and Lagos.
GAC Group is ranked 189 on the list of Fortune 500 companies. The company’s total revenue for 2018 was $53 billion and its profit $10 billion. In 2018, the GAC brand passenger car exports accounted for 70 per cent of China’s passenger car exports to Nigeria. It has a national brand store and service centre in Nigeria, and recently completed its first SKD factory in the country.
Similarly, Sanwo-Olu has engaged the leadership of Gree Electrical Appliances on the possibility of siting a plant in Lagos to support the company’s expansion into Africa.
The governor stated this while on a tour of the company’s expansive facility in Zhuhai, China, told the company’s leadership, including the company’s Assistant President, Xie Dong Bo, who represented Dong Mingzhu, the President and Chairperson.
Speaking during the facility inspection, Sanwo-Olu said: “Lagos State is open to socially responsible and viable companies like Gree Electric Appliances.”
He said: “As you know, Lagos is the largest city in Africa, with a population of over 22 million people. The state’s economy is the 7th largest on the continent of Africa. The state is central for easy distribution of products and a fertile ground for recruiting a highly skilled workforce that will help further the innovation for which Gree Electric Appliance is globally reputed.”
Allaying the management’s fear about the challenges of doing business in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu told the potential investors in that “every region of the world has its own peculiar challenge(s). Even here in China, you have your own issues, but your challenges may not be what our challenges are in Lagos.”
“However, the good news is that Lagos State is committed to innovation and excellence in everything we do. We have our eyes on the ball and the Government I lead is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that business processes are simplified enough to support entrepreneurial efforts to grow and succeed,” he said.
In his remarks, Bo, who has managed the company’s international subsidiaries in Brazil and Pakistan, expressed gratitude to the government and people of Lagos State on behalf of the company for the invitation to establish an international subsidiary in the state.
“Gree Electric Appliances is grateful for the invitation and the opportunity to expand into Lagos. With this invitation, we see an opportunity to increase our share of the air-conditioning market to 35 per cent and our annual production capacity of Residential Air-Conditioners (RAC) and Central Air-Conditioners (CAC) from more than 60 million and 5.5 million sets respectively.
“In addition to being in Brazil and Pakistan, we want to be manufacturing and packaging our products in Lagos. So, this invitation aligns with our expansion goal and the company will seriously deliberate on this, because Nigeria is a big market for our products,” Bo added.
Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai is an international air conditioning enterprise, which has integrated research & development, manufacturing, marketing and service into its operations. Initially assembling residential air conditioners, the company has over the years diversified into a technological global group, with expanded operations to air-conditioners, home appliances, high-end equipment and communication apparatuses sold widely in over 200 countries.
In 2015, Gree Electric Appliances ranked 385 in Forbes Global 2000 and number one in the household appliances industry. Two years later, the company, which started operations in 1991, was listed among the world’s top 500 public companies.
It has been number one in the production and sale of residential air conditioners since 2005. Its sales revenue is over $16.51 billion. The company paid up to $12.21 billion in tax to become the foremost taxpayer in the home appliances industry in China for 15 years consecutively.
“The Lagos State Government has noted the discomfort commuters and motorists have been experiencing since the beginning of the massive road repairs under ‘Operation 116’ across the state.
“There is no deliberate action to cause Lagosians any pain; the present situation is temporary. The contractors are speeding up their jobs and they are being encouraged to work at night where possible, even as motorists are being advised to use alternative routes.
“The administration sympathises with residents on the inconvenience suffered daily but in fulfillment of its commitment to making the roads motorable immediately the rains subside, resources and equipment have been deployed to fix degenerated roads. The discomfort will be short-lived.
“The state government has directed the relevant agencies to review traffic control and regulation policies towards identifying a long-lasting remedy to the problem.
“The daily influx of people from other parts of the country into Lagos has contributed to the big human and vehicular pressure on the roads. The government will surely surmount the challenges with technology and enforcement of traffic rules.
“The government appreciates the perseverance of Lagosians and pledges its commitment to pooling all its resources together to achieving a permanent solution to the problem posed by the rehabilitation of bad roads. The administration will ensure that majority of the roads become smooth and motorable before the Yuletide.”
Signed Gbenga Omotoso Honourable Commissioner Ministry of Information and Strategy
The nomination of Burna Boy’s “African Giant” on Wednesday for Grammy Awards sent fresh excitement to Nigeria’s music and entertainment industry.
“African Giant” album released in 2019 was selected for the Best World Music Album category for Grammy Awards 2020.
This was disclosed by the organisers on their website, where the full list was published
Burna Boy’s nomination is for albums containing at least 51 per cent playing time of new vocal or instrumental World Music recordings.
Other artistes nominated in the same category with Burna Boy include: Altin Gün (GECE); Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley (WHAT HEAT); Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet (FANM D’AYITI) and Angelique Kidjo (CELIA).
More than ever before, a number of people has been expressing high hopes over the possibility of a Nigerian winning the Grammy Award this time around.
In the past, prominent Nigerian musicians had been variously nominated for the Grammy Awards.
For example, King Sunny Ade was twice nominated for the Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording with his “Syncro System” in 1984; and Best World Music Album with his “Odu” in 1999.
Babatunde Olatunji was nominated for the Best World Music Album with his “Love Drum Talk” in 1998.
Femi Kuti has been nominated four times for Grammy Awards – in 2003 for the Best World Music Album with his “Fight to Win;” in 2010 for the Best Contemporary World Music Album with his “Day by Day;” and in 2012 and 2014 for the Best World Music Album category with his “Africa for Africa” and “No Place for My Dream” respectively.
Seun Kuti was nominated in 2019 for the Best World Music Album category with his “Black Times.”
The quest for Grammy Awards made 9ice to sing thus at some point:
“Categorically I’m the best mentally
No gainsaying I’m the cutest physically
Don’t doubt me
I go bring home Grammy
Incredible, remarkable, unbeatable, palatable, reliable.”
Nigerian music and entertainment industry has come of age and the influence of the industry on global cultural landscape cannot be underestimated.
This time is now for Grammy Awards to come to Nigeria.
Global CEO and Chairman of the Coca-Cola Company, James Quincey, has visited Nigeria and South Africa, where he met with business and political leaders as the company scaled up investments and looked forward to continued growth on the continent.
Chief among Quincey’s engagements was discussions with Africa’s foremost entrepreneur and industrialist, Aliko Dangote, who stands out as an example of indigenous African investors, driving growth across the continent.
Other engagements included meetings with top executives from Discovery Group, MTN, Unilever and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and thought leaders such as Tony Elumelu (Chairman of Heirs Holding), Doyin Salami (Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic Advisory Council) and Fred Swaniker from the Africa Leadership Academy. These engagements provided Quincey and his team with critical insights about Africa’s opportunities.
“Having operated in Africa for over 90 years as a local business in every country, we believe Africa is a region that will increasingly influence the growth trajectory of our global businesses in just a few years.
“Together with our bottling partners, we continue to reinforce our stake on the continent by accelerating investments that strengthen and scale our capabilities and expand into new businesses to drive our Total Beverage Company aspiration,” Quincey said.
He highlighted a number of positive and encouraging developments across Africa which he described as important foundations for strong economic growth and, if sustained, would fast track the continent’s role as a global growth engine.
These include the growing scale of domestic investments by African investors across sectors and the potential of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Added to these were Africa’s positive consumer demographics, the infrastructure expansion in many countries, and the growing emphasis on building African talent.
“It is clear that Africa is indeed a region that will increasingly influence the growth trajectory of global businesses and we have taken some bold measures to strengthen the Coca-Cola System in Africa for long term growth, enhancing our capacity to continue to win in the continent’s increasingly competitive landscape,” he added
Quincey outlined the company’s growth plans in Africa, including continuously investing to boost capacity ahead of demand, consolidating the bottling system to build scale and investing in new businesses to accelerate growth and expand its beverage offering.
He also cited Coca-Cola’s role in spurring Africa’s economy through the eco-system the company has built and continues to foster investments across multiple sectors on the continent.
Underpinning this, he emphasised that the company was committed to building a talent engine in Africa, creating shared opportunities to enhance the prosperity of communities across the continent.
“We have an enduring belief that our business is only as sustainable as the communities in which we operate, that means for our business to grow sustainably, our communities must grow also,” he said.
This is the strong motivation for the significant investments the company continues to make across Africa to help build more resilient communities, enabling the economic empowerment of women and youth downstream and upstream of Coca-Cola’s supply chain; providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN); supporting governments to strengthen health systems through Project Last Mile and the Safe Birth Initiative; and addressing environmental concerns particularly around plastic packaging with its World Without Waste vision.
According to him, “Over the past 90 years together with our bottling partners, we have built pervasive and very strong local businesses, creating shared opportunity in every country on the continent. This has been one of our greatest strengths and we will continue playing a significant role in Africa’s sustainable and inclusive growth”.
Accompanied by his extended leadership team, the visit was a testament of Coca-Cola’s commitment to Africa and its interest in the vast opportunity that the continent presents in driving the beverage company’s overarching growth strategy over the next decade.
Divergent arguments were raised on Wednesday at the Nigerian Senate’s plenary over the passage of bill to protect the social media from peddling fake news.
The bill for an Act to make provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019 sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East Senatorial district was re-read at plenary on Wednesday.
In defence of the bill, Senator Elisha Abbo expressed fear over the growth of fake news in Nigeria which, according to him, may destroy the nation if unchecked.
“I want to commend Distinguished Senator Musa for sponsoring this Bill. The issue of fake news in this country, if it’s not regulated is a cancer waiting to consume all of us.
“Even conventional media that are regulated are suffering from falsehood,” he said.
Senator Abba Moro, equally threw weight behind the bill, describing it straightforward laced with good intentions.
According to him, “I rise to support this Bill because it’s a straightforward Bill with good intentions. Some of us in one way or the other have been victims of fake news. I rise to support this bill as it will protect the society.
“Today we know that America has risen up against fake news as it has had very terrible consequences in America. Fake news is dangerous, therefore Mr. President, we must rise to the challenge,” Moro added.
Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, however, rejected the bill on the ground that it abuses the freedom of speech entrenched in the Nigerian 1999 Constitution.
“I have great respect for the sponsor of this Bill. In person, I not only oppose it in totality, I condemn this Bill,” the lawmaker strongly asserted.
He drew the attention of the National Assembly to the CyberCrime Act which makes provisions against such internet abuse.
“Based on our constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, there is a cybercrime act that deals with this,” Nnamani said.
Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report within four weeks, after passing its reading for the second time.
A Nigerian lawyer and Senior Associate with Centurion Law Group, Zion Adeoye, has been recognised as an ESQ 40 under 40 Lawyer at the Nigerian Rising Stars Award last week.
The ESQ 40 under 40 Award recognises distinguished Nigerian lawyers under the age of 40, who would shape the future of the legal profession in Nigeria and on the continent.
Since joining Centurion, Adeoye has earned himself a strong reputation among its peers and the firm’s leading clients from across the continent.
In his role as Senior Associate, Adeoye oversees a growing team of African lawyers working on the most complex energy transactions shaping Africa’s modern energy industry.
“I am truly honoured for this recognition and thank Centurion for providing me with the right environment to grow as a lawyer and as a person.
“This is a demonstration of what young Nigerian legal talent can achieve when given the opportunity to work and contribute to the growth of Africa,” Adeoye said.
Reacting to Adeoye’s award, the Chief Executive Officer, Centurion Law Group, Nj Ayuk, said: “At Centurion, we believe in young African talent and pride ourselves in hiring and training the next generation of African lawyers and energy leaders.”
According to him, “We are delighted that Zion Adeoye’s work is getting such esteemed recognition, which is only the reflection of how hard he works and the level of dedication he gives to the firm and its clients.”