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M-I-NA AMBASSADOR, Manufacturing
Dangote Cement Plc’s huge investment has been described as one of the major contributors to the development of the Senegalese economy. Besides, the Cement plant located in Pout, 60 kilometres away from Dakar, has greatly assisted in strengthening the business relationship between Senegal and Nigeria.

Dangote Cement Senegal currently holds a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year, producing higher quality cement to meet the country’s demand as well exporting to neighbouring countries around Senegal.

Charge D’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, Senegal, Mr. A.K Zanna, who spoke on the contributions of Dangote Cement’s investment in Senegal at his office in Dakar recently, called on Dangote and other interested investors to explore the investment opportunities available in the Senegalese Salt Mining and Real Estate industry.

According to him, Dangote’s Cement investment in Senegal is contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), through its export revenue from neighbouring countries and social investments in the country. “I think the company has done a lot in strengthening the existing relationship between Nigeria and Senegal,” he added.

Zanna stated, “As one of the biggest foreign investors in the Senegalese economy, Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the country’s economic development. We are proud to associate with the company as a Nigerian brand. The company has done a lot in Senegal since its establishment in 2015. It has created huge employment for the Senegalese; it has created both direct and indirect employment opportunities for many people in Senegal.

He said Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the relationship between Nigeria and Senegal. “Unfortunately, most of the trade relations between Nigeria and Senegal are in the informal sector. However, with the ways things are going, there is going to be improvement in economic activities between both countries. Already, we have two Nigerian banks operating in Senegal. And Many Nigerian companies have signified interests in investing in the Senegalese economy. This will further improve the business relationship between the two countries,” he said.

The Envoy also commended the company for contributing to the well- being of its host and surrounding communities in Pout, Senegal. “Dangote is involved in corporate social responsibilities programmes. The company has done a lot for the communities where it is located. The company’s community development in Senegal is assisting the government’s responsibilities to its citizens.

“I know that the company has built maternity clinics, health centres, schools, awarded scholarships to students, and created avenue for poverty eradication in the country. The company is also fully involved in women empowerment. Dangote Cement’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes are having direct positive impact on the host communities. So, by extension, the company is shouldering some of the responsibilities of the Senegalese government.”

He also urged investors from Nigeria to invest in Senegalese Real Estate industry. “Senegal is becoming a vibrant economy and the country building a new city at Diaminadio. There is opportunity for investment in real estate in the Senegalese economy. Apart from that, maybe by 2023, Senegal will start production of crude oil and many opportunities will be available for Nigerians with technical expertise in the oil sector.

Country Manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Luk Haelterman attributed the success of the company in Senegal in the past five years to the company’s investment in quality production and introduction of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Senegallisation’ Policy.

According to him, the company’s introduction of 42.5-degree brand of cement to the major market in Senegal upon entry has enabled the company gain the desired market share in the country.

He stated, “The success of Dangote Cement is coming from quality planning based merely on the improvement on the quality of cement to 42.5R that was not available everywhere and certainly not to everybody at affordable price in Senegal. Introducing this into the market was a guarantee for us to gain the market share that we needed.

“Secondly, without any doubt, is the creation of a very good team spirit and passionate involvement in aiming at continuous improvement towards excellence. When we entered the market, it was characterised by 32.5-grade cement. We supplied 42.5-grade cement at affordable price. Putting up quality gave us a chance to enter the market.”

Luk also disclosed that Dangote Cement Senegal has developed a culture of supporting local employees and prioritising local hiring, which allows local country employees have the necessary knowledge, experience, and support to take up key roles within the company.

He said the policy aims to gradually reduce the number of expatriates employed by the business by enhancing the skills and capacity of Senegalese employees to take up leadership positions.

“We have ensured that our image has been aligned with two key principles from day one: maintaining high quality, and taking a local approach in everything that we do,” he said.
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ICT, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR
Airtel Africa plc, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in Nigeria and 13 other countries across Africa, announces Olusegun “Segun Ogunsanya, Managing Director and CEO Nigeria is to succeed Raghunath “Raghu” Mandava, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer following Raghu Mandava’s informing the Board of his intention to retire. Segun Ogunsanya will join the Board of Airtel Africa plc with effect from 1 October2021.

Segun Ogunsanya joined Airtel Africa in 2012 as Managing Director and CEO Nigeria and has been responsible for the overall management of our operations in Nigeria, our largest market in Africa. Segun has more than 25 years’ business management experience in banking, consumer goods and telecoms. Before joining Airtel in 2012, Segun held leadership roles at Coca-Cola in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya (as MD and CEO). He has also been the Managing Director of Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd (Coca-Cola Hellenic owned) and Group head of retail banking operations at Ecobank Transnational Inc, covering 28 countries in Africa. He is an electronics engineer and also a chartered accountant.

Raghu Mandava will be retiring as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, as a Director of Airtel Africa plc and as a member of the Market Disclosure Committee on 30 September 2021. Arrangements have been made to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities. Following his cessation of employment at Airtel Africa, Mr. Mandava will be available to advise the Chairman, the Airtel Africa Board and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer for a 9-month period.

Appointment of Managing Director and CEO Nigeria

An announcement naming Segun Ogunsanya’s successor as Managing Director and CEO Nigeria will be made soon.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman said: “We are delighted to appoint Segun Ogunsanya as the Group’s next Chief Executive Officer. He has displayed significant drive and energy in turning around the Nigeria business by focusing on network modernisation, distribution, and operational efficiency. It is this commitment, together with his industry experience, strategic vision, constant customer focus and proven record of delivery that will enable him to continue to deliver our strategic objectives and to lead the Group in the next stages of its development.”

On behalf of the Board I would like to thank Raghu Mandava for being instrumental in successfully leading and transforming Airtel Africa into a powerhouse telecommunications and mobile money company. Throughout that time, Raghu has worked tirelessly first to repair and then to strengthen Airtel Africa’s business and to champion our stakeholders. As we look forward to Segun assuming his new role in October 2021, we do so from a position of great strength as a result of Raghu’s highly effective stewardship. Raghu will retire from the Board with our very best wishes and sincere appreciation for everything he has achieved.”

Raghu Mandava said: “I am thankful to Airtel Africa for providing me and my team the opportunity to transform the business and fulfil our responsibility to the countries in which we operate. It has been a privilege to serve in the African continent and I cherish my time here. Airtel Africa is a remarkable business with fantastic people. Having been at Bharti Airtel for 13 years and at Airtel Africa for 5 years as Chief Executive Officer, I feel now is the right time to take a sabbatical.

The last five years have been an exhilarating journey where we have been able to turnaround and transform the business into a strong high growth and profitable company.We have been able to build the business with our unique management and problem solving approach to bring in substantial performance improvement. I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past 5 years in Africa, and I look forward to seeing the Company make even greater progress over the coming years.”

Segun Ogunsanya said: “Having been part of the Airtel Africa journey for the past nine years, I am looking forward to taking up the role of Chief Executive Officer. On a personal note, as an African, I feel honoured to have the opportunity to lead a Group that continues to make a difference to millions of people, bridge the digital divide and expand financial inclusion. This is an exciting opportunity to position Airtel Africa for further success in a dynamic continent full of potential. I look forward to building on the achievements of the last five years during Raghu’s leadership.”
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Education, LIFE STYLE, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR

The Vice- Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, and another botanist, Dr Temitope Onuminya, have won 2021 Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) grants.

Mrs Nonye Oguama, a Principal Assistant Registrar, Corporate Affairs of the institution, made the disclosure in a statement on Saturday in Lagos.

According to Oguama, the awards are part of the 2021 Biodiversity Information for Development (BID) programme, funded by the European Union.

Ogundipe, a Professor of Botany, won a national level grant of 38,000 euros for his project proposal: “Implementation of the Biodiversity Information and Data System for Coastal Ecosystem in Nigeria”.

Onuminya, on the other hand, won an institutional level grant of 18,850 euros for implementation of a BID project proposal: “Expanding the Visibility of the Lagos Herbarium through Digitisation and Mobilisation of Plant Specimen Data”.

”The university of Lagos is rejoicing with them (mentor and mentee) and wishes them successful implementation of their proposals,” Oguama said.

The GBIF, an international organisation with Secretariat in Copenhagen, focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available through the internet.

It provides  human resources and technical infrastructure enabling publication of and access to large volumes of data gathered over centuries about the earth’s species.

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ICT, LIFE STYLE, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR

The Nigerian Communications Commission has expressed its commitment to protecting the rights of telecoms consumers and ensuring that operations are regulated in compliance with global environmental target.

Addressing the theme for World Consumer Rights Day for 2021, “Tackling Plastic Pollution” during a press conference, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta on Monday explained that the commission is committed to supporting global drive for environmental sustainability through proper management of waste.  

On NCC and the Global Vision of a Satisfied Consumer, he commended the idea behind the theme for this year’s consumer right day, with activities and actions set out to raise awareness and engage state and non-state actors on the global plastic pollution crisis.

He noted the focus of this year’s theme is in line with the vision of the commission, which is coming three years after the NCC drafted the Nigerian Communications Industry E-Waste Regulations In 2018.

According to him, “The objective of the Regulation is to manage E-Waste; promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery; improve environmental management system of operators in the telecom industry; and reduce greenhouse emissions as well as enhance sustainable development efforts.”

He added that the Commission, worried by recurrent cycle of fraudulent deployment of fake and substandard mobile devices – usually made of iron and plastic components, collaborated with the Office of the National Security Adviser and other relevant government agencies to inaugurate a committee to implement Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS).

The EVC said that the NCC is aligning with the philosophy of World Consumer Rights Day to reiterate its commitment towards providing accurate, adequate and timely information and education that enables the consumer to take informed decisions and feel protected.

“In keeping with global best practice of digital public communication for information and complaints management, the Commission continued to leverage social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, to inform and educate consumers and to use them as complaints channels for the Commission. In addition, the NCC Consumer Web Portal serves as an alternative online channel for lodging complaints and making enquiries.”

“The specially created toll free number 622 and DND short code 2442, are as active as ever. They are emplaced respectively to enable consumers to escalate unresolved complaints earlier reported to service providers, and to manage unsolicited messages. Just last month, we provided evidence that “NCC’s DND crashes unsolicited SMS by 96.6% in three years”.

He stressed the success achieved with the NCC Toll-free Number “The results we are getting through the NCC Toll-free Number 622 has been phenomenal. Thousands of complaints have been received from consumers and escalated by the Commission to service providers for quick resolution to the satisfaction of affected consumers. In our latest report, of the 11,327 genuine consumer complaints received through the 622 between 2019 and 2020, 11,288 which translate to 99.1%, have been successfully resolved.”

“Furthermore, the Commission has reviewed the Consumer Complaint categories and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA). The CC/SLA provides complaints categories, the timelines for resolving complaints and prescribes penalties for defaulting operators. This has ensured quantifiable improvements in consumer compliant management process by the operators.”

He added that additionally, “in view of the challenges of security in the country, the Commission has completed and launched Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The process for the completion of the centers in the remaining states of the federation is ongoing.”

He noted that all activities of the Commission are designed to give assurance to the consumers that their interests are of paramount importance to the Commission. According to him, “This is because without the telecom consumers, there will be no telecom operators and there would be no regulator.”

 “This conference is conceived to highlight NCC’s commitment to protecting the telecom consumers and to highlight the regulatory role of NCC with respect to protecting the Rights of the Telecom Consumers and to connect it with the global significance of today’s celebration.”

“The Commission has ensured full compliance with Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards registration guidelines by the service providers and telecom consumers. This is to ensure proper registration to stop the use of improperly-registered SIMs, which usage is difficult to track. Having a credible subscriber database helps in tracing a SIM card to the real owner in case of any criminal investigation.  This will help in curbing the painful rise in tempo of kidnapping, robberies, banditry and similar crimes committed with the aid of the use of SIM cards.”

“We have made arrests and prosecutions in the past in this regard and through this effort, we have been able to sanitize the telecoms ecosystem of improperly-registered SIM cards that pose threat to national security. It is therefore pertinent to say that the linking of SIM and National Identity Number (NIN) database will further help us in this direction toward protecting the consumers and all citizens at large. In this regard, the Commission wishes to echo the voice of Mr. President by thanking all telecom subscribers for their understanding and co-operation in the ongoing SIM-NIN harmonization exercise.”

“The Commission has issued a number of Directions to service providers in order to ensure consumers are not shortchanged by telecom service providers. Some of the directions include: Direction on Do-Not-Disturb, Direction on Data Roll-Over, Direction on Automatic Renewal of Data Services, and Direction on Forceful Subscription to Data Services and Value-Added Services.”

“The Management of the Commission also takes consumer information and education very seriously. Just recently, it approved the re-structuring of our legacy consumer outreach and engagement programmes. These modifications were made to increase our reach to telecom consumers wherever they are while also observing COVID-19 protocols. “

Some of the new information and education programmes include:

Telecom Town Halls on Radio, a phone-in dialogic programme to be hosted via radio stations across the country where consumers at the grassroots level will be engaged in their own local language;

Telecom and The Citizen – a biweekly Twitter Live Chat targeting social media users;

Telecom TV Dialogue – a monthly television-based discourse on topical telecom issues; and

Telecom Consumer Conversations – which is segmented and targeted at different consumer groups including: The Village Square Dialogue, The Telecom Public Sphere, The Professionals’ Dialogue, Campus Conversation, Market Conversation and the NYSC Conversation.

The flagship outreach programme, Telecom Consumer Parliament, is still up and running. Similarly, other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials like digital banners and factsheets in bookmarks format, have been remodeled in a way that deliver lasting value to the consumers. 

 

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Entertainment, M-I-NA AMBASSADOR, music

Congratulations to Burna Boy for winning his first Grammy Award. His Album “Twice as Tall” which was nominated alongside four others including Malian band Tinariwen and US band Antibalas has won the Best Global Music Album at the 63rd Grammy Award ceremony.

This is the second Grammy nomination for the singer who clinched his first nomination in 2019 in the same category, for his “African Giant” album.

Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian born singer, songwriter, rapper and dancer. He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing “Like to Party”, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally.

His third studio album, Outside, marked his major-label debut. In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards, and was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist.

His fourth studio album, African Giant, was released in July 2019; it won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. He was awarded the African Artiste of the year at the 2020 VGMA’s.

He has sold out London’s Wembley arena and broken a UK music chart and a Spotify streaming records with his Afrobeat and dancehall style.

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