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Elumelu Challenges Japan – “Partner With us in Empowering African Entrepreneurs”

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In an impassioned keynote speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu CON, challenged the Government of Japan to invest 5% of its $50billion commitment to Africa, in empowering African entrepreneurs.

“At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30billion for Africa. This year you have generously increased this to $50 billion. If we invested just 5% in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my Foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives, across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability”, said Mr. Elumelu.

Mr. Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure: investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.
He urged Japan to learn from the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which champions empowering African entrepreneurs, as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development of Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, in just five years has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African country, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme.

Elumelu’s advice carried the weight of his track record of business success, founding Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has grown its presence to 20 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, and the USA; and Heirs Holdings, Africa’s private investment company which actively invests in key sectors of Africa’s economy and controls millions of dollars in its investment portfolio. Together, they employ over 30,000 people and transform the communities they operate in.

“Africa is one of the world’s viable destinations for investment. Our huge population, of nearly 1.3 billion people, creates one of the most attractive markets anywhere in the world. The world is paying close attention to Africa, but is Japan at the centre of this conversation or is it on the sidelines?” he queried.

Mr. Elumelu’s philosophy has become increasingly popular on the African continent, where he is acknowledged as the pioneer of a private-sector-led approach to accelerating development. He repeated the message at the Generation Unlimited breakfast meeting with H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, with its focus on job creation in Africa, where he emphasised the role the African youth plays in this narrative.

President of South Africa and Co-Chair, TICAD, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa corroborated Mr. Elumelu’s stance. He said: “If you want really good returns, as Mr. Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa. Africa presents risk-adjusted returns and is a market in which investments are flowing at a hundred billion dollars – that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator praised Tony Elumelu’s Private-Sector led approach to development in Africa. He said: “I want to refer to my dear friend and colleague Tony Elumelu because he alluded to the vital role that business can also play in investing in the future of the youth. These are the kinds of partnerships that will drive business and development agenda to very different heights in the future”.
Speaking on the potential of the African continent, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan said: “In Africa, some countries have joined top nations in the ranking on the ease of doing business. The scale of the market continues to expand. We can envision a day when the entire continent of Africa becomes an enormous economic zone.”

Organised by the Japanese Government, TICAD is a three-yearly forum for advancing Africa’s development through people, technology, and innovation, bringing together government, business leaders, companies and other stakeholders. The event hosted Presidents and private sector leaders including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan; H.E. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; H.E. Mr. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt and Chair of the African Union (AU); H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; and H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and a host of other African Presidents.

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Is There a Hostile Takeover in Wema Bank?

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Tongues are already wagging about a hostile takeover of Wema Bank, principally owned by three core investors, Nemtree, about 40%, SW8 about 20% and Oodua, 10%. SW8 nominee became the MD with the understanding that Nemtree being the majority shareholder will produce the next Chairman. This has always been the norm since new investors came in some nine years ago.

Unfortunately, a nominee of SW8 has now been appointed as Chairman following the retirement of the erstwhile Chairman. Invariably, SW8 with less than 20% wants to also produce the MD and Chairman af the same time. This development has started generating a lot of issues in the bank…

Watch out for more details exclusively from The Boss…

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Rotary Should Continue to Inspire Women for Economic Growth- Alaba Lawson

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Mrs Geetika Tandon, Rtn Gabriel Otsu, Chairman, organising Committee, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, Keynote Speaker, District Governor, Rotary District 9110, Rtn Omotunde Lawson & Rtn Francis Lawson
A call has gone to Rotary International District 9110 and indeed organisations around the country to  consistently inspire and promote women for economic and national growth
The appeal was made by former President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Chief Alaba Lawson while presenting the keynote address at the first Rotary District 9110 Women in Rotary Conference held at the Nigeria Law School Auditorium, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Rtn Francis Lawson, District Governor, Rtn Omotunde Lawson, Mrs Angela Emewa, Chairman, Punch and award recipient & Rtn Gabriel Otsu, Chairman, Organising Committee

Speaking on the topic “ The Transformational Woman: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion For Socio-Economic Change”, Chief Lawson stated that Rotary as an organization has made giant strides in the area of women empowerment and advised that the body should do more as it will ultimately lead to the nation’s growth.

Rtn Gabriel Otsu, Rtn Francis Lawson, District Governor, Rtn Omotunde Lawson, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson & guest speaker

She noted that women are the key to Nigeria’s economic and political advancement, and the more women involved at the top echelon and decision-making process, the better.
 According to her“When more women work, economies grow. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes”.
Describing women as the future, she stated that studies have shown that companies with more women on their boards outperform those without them by a significant margin, and organisations with greater gender diversity globally grew to 32% in 2022.
According to her, women often excel at soft skills required for business leadership and they represent a significant economic force and provide valuable consumer insight that any nation needs to thrive.
She further highlighted the fact that Nigeria needs traits such as ability to connect, collaborate, empathize, communicate and be prudent which are inherent in women to make progress in key sectors including economy, politics and more.
She, however, lamented that despite the fact that women are in the majority in terms of population, the opportunities for them to show their skills and contribute meaningfully have been hampered by systemic bottlenecks.
She therefore advised that to fuel its fire of progress and revolutionize its economic, political and social structure, women must be given adequate representation in government and key sectors of the economy.
Also speaking, Tax expert and  management consultant, Mr Gbenga Badejo who spoke on “10 Top Financial Challenges for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises” noted that if women can overcome these challenges, they would be able build formidable businesses and play in the big league.
He gave the challenges as: limited or inconsistent cashflow, not using budgetary control mechanism, no preparation for unforeseen expenses, not raising enough capital, too much debt, neglecting necessary financial reporting and book keeping, , poor regulatory compliance, mixing business and personal finances, poor marketing tactics and poor managing of receivables and payables.
Earlier in her welcome address, Rotarian Omotunde Lawson, District Governor, Rotary International District 9110 noted that the conference, the first in the 41 -year history of the District, which covers Rotary Clubs in Lagos and Ogun States, was aimed at equipping women with the right support for personal and financial growth.
The conference was rounded off with a dinner and awards ceremony at the same venue where eminent women were honoured for their contributions to national development.

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Buhari Headlines Commissioning of Dangote’s 650,000bpd Refinery on May 22

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President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to be in Lagos on May 22 to commission the Dangote Refinery.

Bashir Ahmad, special assistant to the president on digital communications, announced the development in a tweet on Sunday.

“Efforts by the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in local refining of crude oil to save the scarce foreign exchange used in the importation of petroleum products have received a boost as the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery, the world’s largest single-train refinery, is set for inauguration on May 22nd, 2023, by President Muhammadu Buhari,” the tweet reads.

The Dangote Refinery is a 650,000 barrels per day (BPD) integrated refinery project located in the Lekki free trade zone area of Lagos state.

The project, which cost an estimated $19 billion to build, is Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility.

The integrated refinery and petrochemical project is expected to generate 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs.

Its output is expected to be more than enough to meet Nigeria’s fuel demands and turn Africa’s largest crude producer into an exporter of refined crude.

Last year, Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Group and Africa’s richest person, said his oil refinery would be commissioned before the end of Buhari’s tenure.

In June 2021, Mele Kyari, group managing director, NNPC, confirmed that the federal government would acquire a 20 percent equity stake in the Dangote Refinery.

Two months later, the federal executive council (FEC) approved the sum of $2.76 billion for the acquisition of a 20 percent minority equity stake in the refinery.

TheCable

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