Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tosan Jemide: Nigeria Cake maestro

By Sotunde Busayo

Cake making, particularly in the traditional African belief, is regarded as a craft that is perfected by women. However, Tosan Jemide, a sociology graduate has proven critics of that school of thought wrong with his sumptuous and luxurious cake production.

Having grown up in a cake-making family, Tosan was first introduced into the cake business at the tender age of 10 while helping his mom in the kitchen to mix cream and sugar. But his apocalypses journey into the professional world of cake making began when his elder brother wanted to do his wedding – This was actually the first wedding in the family.

Finding it “absurd” to usher a caterer in to do the wedding cake, his eldest brother pinpointed him as the person to do the cake even if he had not baked a cake on his own before. After several attempt of not getting it right; he later got the perfect finish for his brother’s wedding cake and to his surprise, many people who tasted the cake were amazed and satisfied with the luscious taste of the cake as they had even thought it was made by a professional. From there, he began to make cakes for people who had something to celebrate.

Prior to that time, Tosan’s entrepreneurship journey started by venturing into clothing business while he was still an undergraduate at the University of Ibadan. It was during this time that his eldest brother unknowingly opens his eye to the cake business.

Having many raw talents with no specific expertise, Tosan proceeded to the United Kingdom to learn more about cake making business. He stayed there for four years and at that time he started working for different cake companies including Gloriette in Knightsbridge. After a while, he started his own business before he opted to come back home to establish his own business.
He launched Cakes by Tosan in Nigeria in 2001.

Since he took that giant leap of forgoing his academic discipline as a sociologist to become a baker; Tosan’s creation – Cakes by Tosan, has become a household name for top-notch cakes in Nigeria. Its creator, Tosan Jemide is acclaimed one of Nigeria’s finest cake decorators.

While adhering to his mission to become Africa’s best cake maker, the Nigerian born sugar craft Maestro, has made Tosan cakes, through its exclusive blend of creativity and excellence to consistency, a confectionery brand to reckon with.

Tosan’s unique style has earned him titles like   “Wedding cakes Maestro” of Nigeria, “cake maker”, and “Nigeria’s finest cake decorator” over the years.

His cakes are considered masterpieces not only because they taste good, but because they also look SPECTACULAR! . He actually confessed once that “when it came to the designing aspect, I quite enjoy that and that time I always made sensible input even though I was under 10.”

Tosan said the fact that he is a man and he can do it well or better than the women gives him an edge and a boost.

Perhaps what has made Tosan succeed this far is his adherence to putting customers’ satisfaction first; as he puts “passion for customers, integrity, excellence, team work, mutual respect” as the core value that guides his business “Tosan Cakes.”

Tosan’s clients include Presidents of nations, Ministers, celebrities and multinational co-operations. Some of his corporate clients include Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Intercontinental bank, Banwo & Ighodalo. His individual client lists include Bella Adenuga, Hijia Turai Yar’ Adua- widow of the Nigeria’s late President Musa Yar’Adua and Dizzany Madueke, Nigeria Minister of Petroleum.

Undoubtedly, Cakes by Tosan is a market leader in the Nigerian bakery industry with product lines that include state of the art Sugar Craft cakes for the premium market and Budget Cakes. Over the past decade; the innovative and market savvy Tosan has expand his coast from his parent production. Tosan Jemide today, is also the CEO of Celebrations by Tosan (A Commercial Cake outfit about to Launch), Topcrust Bakery – a multi-million commercial Bakery that provides quality bread for the mass market and Cupcakes by Tosan.

When asked if selling cakes is lucrative, Tosan said; ‘If it is not lucrative, I wouldn’t still be here. I came back in the 2000 and I have been doing cake since then. So if it was not, I would have pack up.”

Apart from being in the cake making business, Tosan owns a restaurant/cafe Le Saison and a Training School. He is also an avid philanthropist as he dedicates time and resources to youth charities.

According to Tosan, Le Saison was born out of the idea of wanting to create an eating place that would give people a sense of lifestyle and a dining experience. The refectory serve as a café during the day and at night, it is a restaurant. It is frequented by celebrities.

Tosan believes “If you can think… then you can do it.”

Tosan represents entrepreneurs who have being able to throw caution to the wind and pursue their passions vigorously while succeeding at the end.  He has become Nigeria’s foremost cake-maker, sugarcrafter and confectioner.

On the secret to his success over the years; Tosan acknowledged that he has always been a creative person and this has helped him a lot. “I can do extraordinary cakes because I have that extra-artistic flair.”

Apart from that, Tosan includes passion for what he does. He will be quick to admit that he is adventurous when it comes to food. When he travels out of the country, he likes to dine out. This, he said has given him the feel of different people, culture and different food from different places.

He admitted that he gets inspirations from things around him. In an interview with Genevieve magazine, he said, “Sleeping or waking up; I am thinking cake. I look at something and say “oh! I can do something like this with a cake. As a matter of fact; my motto has always been; nothing is impossible with cakes. I like challenges and it actually gives me the drive to achieve more. Basically, that is how I have developed.”

As he would be quick to admit in an interview, “Getting a cake out is not as important as getting a cake out perfect”. “Perfection is the word.”

Posted from Ventures Africa

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Ethiopia Airlines Set To Build New Cargo Terminal

 A recent report has revealed that Africa largest cargo operator, Ethiopian Airlines, has awarded the contract to build a new cargo terminal with a capacity to handle more than 1.2 million tonnes per annum to Germany's ICM Airport Technics.

The warehouse is billed to become one of the largest in the world when completed. It will be able to contain both dry and perishable goods that need cold storage.

Citing anonymous source, Ethiopian’s Addis Fortune, said both companies are negotiating over finances before signing the contract. About 10 companies were said to have participated in the bid but ICM was chosen after a review of the technical and financial proposals forwarded.

Addis Fortune reported that ICM, had previously constructed the Airlines’ cargo terminal along the ring road from Bole to St. Micheal church in 2005 on 14,000sqm space for 35 million dollars. Currently this terminal has a warehouse which can hold 350,000tonnes of cargo per annum and has a cold storage room with a space of 2000sqm that can go as low as minus 23 degrees Celsius.

The capacity of the new cargo is said to be identical to that of the Cargo Mega Terminal built in Dubai in 2008.  

Over the years, (2006 to 2011), the amount of cargo being hauled by Ethiopian Airlines has increased from 42,000tonnes to 110,000tonnes.

The airline recently celebrated the arrival of its first Africa's first Boeing 777 Freighter this month.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Africa success story: Adenike Ogunlesi, the Brain Behind Ruff n Tumble

By Sotunde Oluwabusayo

For more than a decade now, Adenike Ogunlesi’s has earned accolades, both at home and abroad, with her exciting and hip apparels in the children clothing business. From the time she “kicked herself out school” during her second year as a law student at Nigeria’s foremost institution, Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, to discover what she really wanted out of life; Adenike’s journey into the  business world has been reckoned with as a business model to entrepreneurs not only in Africa but the world as a whole.

After opting out of school, Adenike reluctantly accepted her mother’s invitation to work in her women’s Afrocentric clothing business called Betty O at Ibadan. That experience helped her to discover what she wanted to do as she discovered at the long run that she loves making clothes.
However, after getting married with kids, she took a break from the clothing business to be a full-time mum in order to spend time with her children.
However, the idea that metamorphosed into the creation of her business, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, was conceived when her kids ran out of pyjamas. She then decided to make pyjamas for her kids.
Subsequently, she thought that pyjamas could not be the only thing children need. With encouragement from her husband, she decided to take some of her children’s clothing apart to see how they were made and started making clothes for children.

At the long run, she advertised to a friend and her sister in law that she can make pyjamas for their children.  They showed interest and from there the journey to the creation of Ruff n’ Tumble started. She later moved on to making play group wears like jeans, t-shirts and skirts for her children. With time, her business started gaining ground as she started selling the clothes to mothers with kids at the play group.
Moving on, she enlarged her business coast by taking her clothes to bazaars and reasonable places where she could make reasonable sales.

“I started in 1996; I was selling from the back of my car.” “Wherever there was a bazaar, I was there, my table and my suit case, my children and sometimes even my husband.”

Discovering that the venture of making and selling children clothes was actually a lucrative business, Adenike conducted a market research on consumer preference on children clothing. She did this to know and understand the gap she would be able to fill in the children clothing business.

Her market research did not entail hiring a professional to do the work for her as she could not afford it at that time, rather, she drove through the city to observe what other children businesses were selling and what they weren’t. Her findings revealed that none of them were selling children’s clothing as individual items. So she came up with the idea of selling producing and selling ‘separates’ for children.
From there, she began hiring tailors to meet the increasing demands of the business. She also rented a small shop to create a permanent location and a retail outlet for her business.

To get more people informed about her product; Adenike did not rely only on direct marketing, she also devised a plan by using her children as models for her clothes. She would dress them in outfits she has made for sales and take pictures of them which will serve as a catalogue for potential customers .
According to her, this was the most powerful and effective advertising campaign ever. People were quick to identify with a Nigerian face, wearing ‘Made in Nigeria’ outfits. Till date, this has been her advertising line.

This innovative marketing strategy was devised at a time when such move was unheard of. ‘It was the first time that anybody had ever marketed children’s clothes like that. Not a clip art of a foreign magazine but actually using Nigerian children,’ Adenike said.

In the third year, the business has grown as many people started showing preference for made in Nigeria product. She then moved to a shop opposite her business site at the cost of 500, 000 naira ($3, 171) per year. Nike moved into the building all self-financed through profits from the business. She situated the workshop on the first floor and a showroom on the ground floor.

For a company that started out of need, Adenike’s Ruff ‘n’ Tumble is today one of the most successful and innovative children apparel companies in Nigeria with outlets carrying its own brands as well as other brands. She has built a reputation as one of the best manufacturers of children’s clothing in Nigeria.

Ruff ‘n’ Tumble is also a strong children clothing line in West Africa. With more than 50 employees and 7 branches nationwide, the business has grown from her home as a creative children clothing line to a lifestyle brand that has transformed into a multi-million naira business with recognition beyond the borders of Nigeria.

Apart from this, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble has transcend beyond making pyjamas and T-shirts to producing socks, jackets, swim wear, shorts, trousers, suits, shirts and other accessories.

While targeting young adults, Adenike’s have also expanded her business from the Ruff ‘n’ Tumble clothing line with the introduction of two new brands – NaijaBoysZ and Trendsetters brands. This brand was introduced to cater for the unique fashion sense of today’s young adults while celebrating the colourful iconoclastic fashion sense of Nigeria’s emerging youth.

One amazing lesson from this trailblazer is that she grew her business at a time when there was no business support system or matured infrastructure necessary to support small to medium businesses in her home country, Nigeria. It has indeed not been a bed of roses so far as she encounters blockage in access to finance at the early stages of the business when she wanted to move the business to a bigger premises despite the fact that the business had been consistently profitable.

Her business, however, continues to strive amidst the challenge of unreliable electricity supply, ban on importation of fabric, increasing cost and overheads and human resource challenge, where the people who are coming out of school do not have the real education and what they bring into the business is very little.

Through diligence and hard work and creative license which she says has always worked for her, she was able to build a successful venture. Adenike’s story proves that it takes passion, strong will and patience to own and run a business in Nigeria.
According to her, “one of the things that had helped our brand is the fact that we always move with the global trends.”

Adenike really believes in the African dream , as she is quick to say that investment opportunities abound in Africa.”We don’t export now. Export to the West African coast, yes, all along the West African coast, yes, but to say, America or to England, I’m not interested in it at all. If 40 percent of the 120 million people in Nigeria are children, I have the potential of a huge market here.”

She posits that “most of the solutions that black communities in places like Nigeria are looking to the west for especially in the area of business can be more effectively proffered and implemented by the people living in the communities because they understand the culture and how the community works.”
Over the years, Adenike has been featured in the BBC World Documentary of the Year winning entrepreneurial documentary, Africa Open for Business Documentary and was honored as FATE Foundation Model Entrepreneur in 2005. She is currently a mentor of the Fate Foundation and Junior Achievement of Nigeria organisation. She also featured on the CNBC program Dangers and Dollars: Africa the final investing frontier anchored by Erin Burnett who went all the way to Nigeria to interview Adenike for the programme.

Will she tag herself successful? Adenike said in an interview: “Success for me is a journey. It is not a place you would say you have reached. It is not only about money, it is not about awards or accolades. It is about what you stand for, what your values are. For me, there has to be a wholesome definition to success.”

“The most important thing I did in the past was centering myself in God and His knowledge. It is very important for your spiritual and emotional balance.”

Are you planning to come out with your own production or explore your God’s giving talent, Nike says, “Be focused and clear in your mind about what you want to do. If you set out to do something, complete it. Don’t procrastinate. It is also important that you develop yourself. Finish your degree and then you start a whole way of learning. Self development makes you know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.”

Monday, 24 September 2012

Gatosen Signs $10 Billion Deal With Nigeria Firms To Build ECOWAS Market In Lagos

Multitech Concepts, a construction firm   and Huntergreen Investicorp Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gatoson, a Hong Kong conglomerate company to invest and develop a new ECOWAS International Market and financial center at a cost $10 billion (about N1.5 trillion)within the period of three years, counting from the date of getting the government approval.
The MoU was signed by President, Gatoson Europe, Middle East and Africa Oswald Wong, Abraham Olu, President, Huntergreen and Adesina Oyebanjo, signed the agreement for their respective companies.
Under the arrangement, Gatoson will invest and establish the ECOWAS regional financial market on the site, an onshore free zone, in strict compliance with the international financial and commercial laws and regulations. Gatoson will also introduce various qualified Chinese manufacturers and licensed re-sellers in all sectors, to sell the products in Nigeria with the aim to serve all the communities in the ECOWAS member countries.
The new market will be built on 30.12 hectares of land in Lagos, a first of its kind on the African continent with world class infrastructure, international financial centre, manufacturers’ direct sales commercial trade centre, five- star hotel, Customs bonded warehouse, jetty and fuel station, among other world class facilities.
Apart from the development of ECOWAS regional market and commercial trade centre, all parties will invest and develop a 5- star hotel with Africa’s largest casino in term of gambling table, night club and pubs, and the required infrastructure, including independent power supply, jetty and warehouse.
The proposed international market which will be built in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria financial system strategy 2020 will house a regional financial centre to cater for the West African financial services. The ECOWAS regional financial market will include the development of securities market, bond market, derivate market, Islamic finance products market, real estate trade market, foreign currency market, and a free zone area with global reputation like Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai International Financial Centre.
While serving as a trade and manufacturing haven for distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and exporters, the commercial trade market is structured to make sure buyers get the right products at the right price while ensuring the non-existence of duplicate or fake products at the commercial trade market.
The proposed initiative will also promote the implementation of the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and persons. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Meet Jacqueline Kamsu Souba: Africa's Bead Genius

By Busayo Sotunde

“It will be up to you, young people full of talent and imagination, to build the Africa of the next 50 years.” -  US President, Barack Obama at the Young African Leaders conference in 2010.

Jacqueline Kamsu Souba may not be the suave, big buck entrepreneur who’s face is splashed on national dailies regularly, but she is an African woman making a change in the lives of people in her community in the northwestern Cameroonian city of Bamenda, where she uses her business savvy to help alleviate poverty and the hardship of single motherhood.

Cameroonian-born Jacqueline is the founder and CEO of Beads Space, a small non-profit business created out of necessity in a society where young people often feel frustrated as a result of  minimal job opportunities.

She established Beads Space in 2006 after she could not find a job as a single mother.  According to Jacqueline, Beads Space was born without a single dollar from her one bedroom home where she operated for six months.

Explaining her reason for targeting single mothers, Jacqueline said: “A single mother is all alone. It is very difficult for her, if she does not have assistance to take care of her children and herself. Often, they are tempted to get into odd jobs like prostitution.”

Her plight for other single women is understandable given the fact that she got pregnant after her high school education. She was rejected by her family and community and she had to struggle to fend for herself.

Her business, however, improved after she attended a skills building seminar for women in 2011. From there, she got more creative by turning old calendars, outdated newspapers, used card board boxes and used plastic bags into necklaces, colorful handbags, earrings, necklaces, rings and adornments for handbags and shoes.
A year later, she is hailed as an “imaginative innovator.”
Jacqueline  was part of 8 entrepreneurs from 5 African countries that attended the “Mentoring Partnership for Young African Leaders” , a two-week professional development program that brings together young African leaders to the  United States for leadership training and mutual exchange in the fields of social and business entrepreneurship, in June 2012 and the rest s history.

Apart from running Beads Space, Jacqueline runs a separate fashion design business. She keeps Beads Space as a non-profit company that trains other single mothers in order to promote economic prosperity for marginalized women (single mothers) who in conservative Cameroon communities are still viewed as failures. So far, she has trained 31 women, five of whom are running their own small business. She continues to support them to become independent producers even after their training has ended. Whenever she has a large order; she subcontracts some of the work to her former trainees.

Though her bead productions are hand crafted with limited supply to the public, her designs have since caught the attention of many foreign buyers.

“They always ask how much we can make in a week. I hope to industrialize production so we can meet
growing demand,” she said.

Last year, Jacqueline’s company, Bead Space won first prize in a national competition in Cameroon for the use of recycled material.

She has plans to upgrade her management and production skills with expansion into the global markets while reaching as many single mothers as possible. She’s planning to build a training center that can train two groups of 50 to 60 women every year.

Continuously overcoming barrier’s, the versatile CEO and mother, has carved a niche for herself. Definitely Jacqueline is one of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs.

Posted Ventures Africa  

Dangote Flour Records N2.61 billion Profit In First Quarter

Foremost flour Miller, Dangote Flour Mills has recorded N13.80 billion revenue for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012 and a gross profit of  N2.61 billion within the same period. This is in disparity to N14.934 billion revenue recorded in the corresponding period of 2011.

The recorded profit was marred by high operational cost which depressed the profit margin of the company as it posted a N117 million loss after tax loss at the end of the quarter against a profit after tax of N441 million in 2011.

A statement released by the company assures that the management would continue to work hard so as to deliver improved returns to shareholders in the 2012 financial year especially with the soon-to- be completed expansion plan of the company in enlarging its manufacturing and packaging facilities.

“Dedicated plant for production of our wheat meal brand Alkama and Danvita would soon be ready for commissioning any moment from now. This would no doubt, tremendously boost our top line growth this year as plans are already in place to massively launch the products and increase the distribution networks to all the hinterlands.”

The company has significantly raised its capacity over the past decade in anticipation of soaring demand for bread flour and, more recently, semolina, pasta and noodles.

“The ongoing semolina mills of 1,500MT per day would come on stream by the end of the second quarter. This is a dedicated mill for the production of Danvita- our brand of semolina with the latest milling technology. This would definitely lead to product consistency of every bag of Danvita and for the complete satisfaction of the general public. Not only are we one of the very few flour millers in Nigeria that have mills dedicated to semolina production, we are the only dedicated mill with the highest number of production lines,” the statement added.

Dangote Flour Mills have also expanded its manufacturing capacities across the country with direct export into Chad, Cameroon, Niger and the West Coast.
The direct export goes on side by side with ongoing indirect export of Dangote Flour products through the activities of  middlemen and customers.

The company plans to control a major chunk of the 295 million population within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) market, stressing that it remains thoroughly Nigeria-centric dedicating 80 per cent of its capacity to domestic market, and the remaining for the region.

To achieve its aim, the company has invested in ultra-modern technology, with machines that are between three months and nine years.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

GSB collaborates with Rotman To Tackle Business Innovation Leadership Problems

Africa’s top-notch business school, University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business (GSB) is collaborating with one of Canada's top business schools, the Rotman School of Management, to offer new Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice specialising in Innovation Leadership. The programme begins in December 2012 and runs until December 2013.

According to the Director of the GSB, Professor Walter Baets, both schools are aiming to approach innovations from a fresh angle.

Innovation is a much sought after skill in leaders, but training in the area is severely lacking, says Baets.
"For the first time, two top schools are coming together to combine two different perspectives on tackling innovation, with expertise from both schools being used to build and teach on the programme," Beats said.

"The course is premised on the notion that the world is a holistic entity and you have to treat it as such. Can business leaders innovate, not technologically, but in our business models? Can we, for instance, design from the bottom of the pyramid, not just the top? Questions such as this are crucial for the survival and sustainability of companies," says Baets.

The 12-month programme will feature both school heads - the Dean of the Rotman School of Management, Professor Roger Martin and Beats- teaching core principles.

The programme consists of four modules, each bringing different perspectives to bear on the topic. The modules are spaced over eight months, with a six-week inter-modular period during which a work assignment and position paper will be set to take participants' learning and reflection to deeper levels.
Rotman brings its expertise to two modules: integrative thinking and business design, and the GSB bring its experience in systems thinking and organisational learning, all of which come together into one comprehensive programme.

"We thought it would be interesting to bring these different aspects together, and then ask participants to reflect on their own decision-making processes - to bring their own personal ways of tackling these problems into the course," Jennifer Riel, Director of Content and Communications at Rotman, and lecturer on the programme, says.

"Wicked problems are the complex social and developmental business problems that change as you work through them. To begin to solve these, one has to apply new ways of thinking," Riel posits.
In a related development, GSB will be showcasing its leading business programmes including the Masters in Business Administration at the Meikles Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe; giving business leaders and entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe the opportunity to see what the business school is offering.

The GSB MBA is the only programme in Africa ranked in the Financial Times' Top 100 Global MBAs. It has also received acclaim for the international scope of its curriculum, which nonetheless retains a distinctive orientation to the business context of Africa.

Friday, 14 September 2012

BOI Opens First SA Branch

One of Indian’s largest banks, Bank of India (BOI), yesterday opened its first branch in South Africa in Johannesburg to expand its presence in the African continent. BOI already had an office in South Africa for the past five years which has now been promoted to a full-fledged branch.

''Africa has, for long, has been our favoured continent and upgrading our representative office of the past five years to branch banking in South Africa is one more step in that direction,'' said  BOI chairman Alok Misra said at the opening ceremony in Sandton, the city's financial hub.

South African Reserve Bank's deputy registrar Nkosana Mashiya, commended that, ''We are quite grateful for the confidence that (the Indian) government and business continues to show in the South African economy and of the South African banking system in particular.''

The Mumbai-based financial institution also has presence in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and it plans to open an office in Botswana in two month's time and also more offices in few other countries in West and East Africa due course.

“South Africa is the major powerhouse for sub-Saharan Africa, and we are committed to Africa as a continent. We see a lot of good things happening in Africa, where there are good resources and labour available,” Misra said.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Western Union Company Partners UEFA To Launches Educational Initiative , 3 African Countries To Benefit

Leading global payment services and new Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League, The Western Union Company, and the Western Union Foundation, has launched an educational program that will turn every successful pass in this UEFA season’s competition into funding - to support the education of  young people around the world.

The educational initiative tagged PASS, aims to reach one million school days over the next three seasons and builds on the work the company has already done to support education globally.
The initiative will provide teacher training and student scholarships through nonprofit, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), with an initial focus on eleven countries. Three African nations - Morocco, Nigeria, and Senegal stand to benefit from this program. Other countries include Brazil, China, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Romania, Russia and Turkey.

The initiative will start at the beginning of the UEFA Europa League Season 2012/13 will be fronted by former international football star Patrick Vieira, former AS Cannes, AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, Manchester City FC and French international player, who was born in Senegal before moving to France at the age of eight and is currently football development executive at Manchester City FC.

“Where I come from, opportunities for a quality education are rare,” explained Vieira the former AS Cannes, AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, Manchester City FC and French international player, who was born in Senegal before moving to France at the age of eight and is currently football development executive at Manchester City FC.

“Football was my ticket to success, but for the vast majority of young people education is the key that allows them to become whatever they want to be. That’s why I’m supporting this campaign. It will benefit students, teachers and schools across the world, particularly in places that need it most, like Senegal where I was born,” said Vieira.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 73 percent of students are excluded from secondary education, largely due to cost- the largest in all continents.

“According to UNESCO1, 71 million bright, hardworking students globally are not enrolled in secondary or vocational education. It’s a tremendous loss of economic and human potential, since each extra year of school can increase an individual’s potential economic opportunity. Through PASS, we intend to harness the power of football to build awareness of this challenge as well as deliver on-the-ground support that will make a difference to young people and their communities,”  said Hikmet Ersek, Western Union President and CEO.

Through the UEFA Europa League’s global audience, football fans from Africa, the Americas, Asia as well as Europe, will be given the chance to add to the fund during the season through a range of online and social media mechanics.

To support PASS, Western Union will also be carrying out a comprehensive marketing and communications programme that will seek to involve its customers and UEFA Europa League fans from around the world.

The Western Union’s PASS initiative will also allow players give something back to their hometown communities beyond simply the excitement and entertainment they create on the pitch, David Taylor, CEO of UEFA Events S.A. added

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

UBA Launches Mastercard To Customers

Pan-African banking group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has introduced a new product, the UBA MasterCard to its customers, which will allow customers to carry out financial transactions through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) and on the Internet, anywhere in the world, in a seamless manner even as they benefit from the bank’s range of cost saving e-banking products and services.

MasterCard is the second largest financial network in the world and is accepted in 210 countries, over one million ATMs and 32 million merchant locations.

Head Cards, UBA Plc, Adedeji Olowe said Mastercard will be servicing all UBA branches across nineteen African countries.

“UBA is offering customers world-class products to roam their Money in Naira and 3 other currencies, dollar, pounds and euro. UBA represents the biggest potential for MasterCard in Nigeria today and across Africa,” he said.

He stated that UBA has concluded plans to provide full bouquet of payment cards across debit, prepaid and corporate cards. These Cards, he said, will also come in premium levels such as Gold, Platinum and World.

Established in 1949, UBA is on the top 5 banks in Nigeria with subsidiaries in 20 sub-Saharan countries, representative offices in France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It offers universal banking services to more than 7 million customers across 750 branches.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Woolworths Counters Racist Allegations, Disables Facebook Wall

Following the “hate speech” on Woolworths Facebook wall and the allegation by some individuals that the company does not employ white people; company CEO, Ian Moir, has refuted the claim that the company follows racist recruitment practices.

The dealer has also disabled its Facebook wall after it became what the company terms "a platform for a well-orchestrated campaign of hate speech".

"The rumors apparently were sparked by some of our recruitment ads that designate certain posts for certain groups, and are being fuelled by an organisation that has called on its members to boycott us," he writes.

Moir said as a born-and-bred South African company, Woolworths "cares deeply about the long-term sustainability of our country. We've made significant contributions, through programmes like MySchool, to socio-economic development. We'll continue supporting transformation and socio-economic development because they're essential for our country's (and our company's) future."

On the disabling of the Facebook wall, Woolworths said, "Disabling our wall was not a decision we took lightly and not one we're particularly happy about. But when your page becomes little more than a platform for a well-orchestrated campaign of hate speech, we owe it to our customers not to subject them to such vitriol in our own house.”

"We have, in a variety of channels, repeatedly refuted the claims being made against us. We have also allowed thousands of comments on our Facebook page, debating the pros and cons of Employment Equity as a national debate... deleting only overt hate speech and comments inciting violence.”

Meanwhile, excerpt from the company (Moir) statement reads:

"As a Woolworths customer, we thought you'd like to hear the facts:

• Woolworths DOES employ white people. We employ women and men of all races - white, black, coloured, Indian, as well as people with disabilities, and will continue to do so.

• We're a passionately South African company, so diversity is important to us. So is offering fair career opportunities. There are some areas of our business where certain groups are seriously under represented. These are the positions where we actively look for qualified candidates from specific groups.

• Most other businesses do the same to bring diversity into their workforces. In fact, in South Africa all businesses that have more than 50 employees are required to do this.

• We believe the responsible thing to do is to be open and transparent in our recruitment ads about the type of candidates we are looking for. Integrity is one of the values we hold dear."

Woolworths Holdings Limited is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country, modeled on Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. The first Woolworths store opened in The Old Royal Hotel in Cape Town in October 1931. It was founded by Max Sonnenberg assisted by his son Richard and Fred Kossuth.