Summit Tasks Fintechs to Drive Borderless Trade with Intra-African Payment Solutions

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Emma Okonji

The business community in Nigeria and players in the Fintech sector have been charged to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by developing intra-African payment solutions to ease trade settlements.

The recommendation among others, was discussed at the 7th edition of PoS Innovation Summit organised recently by Global Accelerex with the theme “African Continental Free Trade Agreement : Driving Borderless Trade Through Fintech”.

The Managing Director of Global Accelerex, Mr. Tunde Ogungbade, in his welcome remarks, spoke on how Fintechs couls facilitate easy and seamless payment across Africa in this new era of borderless trade and how the former bottlenecks and barriers could translate to breakthroughs and possibilities for continental commerce.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who was represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Liman Liman, explained the intricacies of the treaty, pointing out that African countries stood to gain a whole lot by doing business with each another. He opined that the pact, which has a goal to create a single market that allows free flow of goods and services across the African continent, would expand intra-African trade through harmonisation, liberalisation and facilitation of trade instruments across Africa.

During his keynote address, the Senior Partner, KPMG Nigeria and Chairman, KPMG Africa, Mr. Kunle Elebute, who was represented by Senior Manager, Technology Advisory at KPMG, Mr. Hilary Daudu, explained that the non-existence of automated, secure, real-time and cost effective payment settlement systems across the African region would continue to lead to high cost of transactions and increase in the viability of trading options outside the continent.

He urged Fintechs to leverage the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System to enable their customers send and receive fast, real-time retail and large value payments across Africa in their local currencies.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Senator Ibrahim Musa, reiterated the government’s support to Nigerian exporters and revealed some of the initiatives that were already put in place such as the Export Expansion Grant.

The panel discussion session, which was moderated by the Head of Business News at Channels TV, Boason Omofaye, addressed the concerns raised by participants about impediments faced in their business transactions across Africa. Panellists included the Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube; Executive Director, Shared Services and Products, Fidelity Bank, Chijioke Ugochukwu; a member of NACCIMA, Kunle Eyitemi; a representative of the NEPC, Samuel Oyeyipo; and an exporter, Yetunde Adekunle.

At the end of the summit, attendees were eagerly looking forward to taking new territories with seamless payment processes on the wider African continent, a possibility that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) guarantees.

LADOL Retains ISO 45001:2018, 14001:2015 Certifications
Eromosele Abiodun
The Lagos Deep Offshore Logistic Base (LADOL) has retained its International Organization for Standardization certificates in ISO 45001:2018 and 14001:2015 certification, being the first Company in West and North Africa to do so.
The company said in a statement that the success builds on the company’s marketing leading track record in implementation of quality, health, safety, environment and occupational health policies and procedures.
“LADOL’s management systems keep sustainability at its core and the Occupational Health and Safety and the Environment standards the company maintains reflect this throughout. LADOL transitioned to the ISO 45001:2018, the Occupational Health and Safety Management system in December 2018 and also retained its certifications for ISO 14001:2015 the Environment Management System in the same year. LADOL is already ISO 9001 certified.
“Retaining these certifications was achieved after a rigorous and transparent audit process conducted by RINA at LADOL Free Zone. The entire staff and management of LADOL showed exemplary dedication and leadership, which is improving and strengthening year on year as the company grows, “LADOL said.
It added, “The ISO 45001:2018 certification is a badge of honour, confirming that LADOL provides safe and healthy workplaces for its employees, contractors and clients, preventing work-related injury and ill health, as well as proactively continuously improving its OH&S performance. The ISO 14001:2015 confirms LADOL’s adherence to the highest global environmental standards. As the company’s systems are linked to achieving the United Nations 17 Sustainable development Goals, there is a deep and sincere focus on more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining the company a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders.”
The Managing Director of LADOL, Amy Jadesimi commented, “This success comes at the end of a very challenging year, when many hurdles have been thrown in LADOL’s way. I am grateful and moved that despite this our staff and management remained focused on our core business and worked hard and diligently to meet and exceed the standards we achieved last year. “Getting ISO certifications and our commitment to the achieving the United Nations 17 SDGs are not about reaching for empty goals or accolades – this is about ensuring the company’s long-term success for decades to come by building on strong foundations that will enable us to scale both locally and globally – helping Nigeria to become West Africa’s hub. These successes are to the credit of our staff and management and an example of what real team work can achieve.”

Microsoft Launches New Initiative to Address Software Piracy
Emma Okonji

Microsoft has launched the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, a programme designed to reduce the prevalence of Microsoft software piracy in Africa’s emerging markets. To implement the initiative, the organisation is working with its major PC partners like Acer, Asus, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, SMD Technologies and Mustek to improve the uptake and affordability of genuine software across the continent.
Providing consumers with an enhanced, authentic experience using genuine software, and in so doing, creating awareness around the topic at hand encompasses two key objectives of the initiative.
According to a statement from Microsoft, “Africa’s emerging market potential is unparalleled and business development and the growth of existing SME’s remains a key focus across the continent. To tap into this potential growth, access to affordable genuine software and hardware is necessary if the digital divide is to be closed. The future of Africa is reliant on entrepreneur’s ability to start and grow successful businesses, and access to genuine software, that guaranties comprehensive security and protections for devices and data, is critical to the long-term success of these businesses. The same applies for students, who rely heavily on access to devices, software and information to complete tasks and projects. If their devices or data are compromised by malware, viruses or cyber-attacks, they may not be able to communicate or access important information. This could limit people’s ability to learn new skills or limit businesses ability to compete and grow.”
Regional General Manager, Consumer and Device Sales, Microsoft Middle East and Africa, Deniz Ozen, said: “As per our estimates, only a third of PCs being shipped into Africa include genuine software. Because of this, data breaches and malware attacks have increased significantly, resulting in loss of important data and decreased productivity.”
Executive Director and General Manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Lenovo, Shashank Sharma, said: “At Lenovo, we want to build smarter technology that will equip us with the right tools to improve our lives and the way we work in order to make an impact in the world we live in. We believe that smarter technology can solve problems, create opportunities and transform the way we all live, learn and work. The Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative is aligned with our Smarter Technology for All vision which aims to deliver meaningful impact through technology and create a diverse and dynamic world that enhances the human experience.
“Our partnership with Microsoft allows us to leverage the best in class software to create highly productive IT environments that can help businesses and consumers achieve true innovation through the use of genuine products that do not compromise the security, reliability or efficiency of any of our devices.”
In its June 2018 report, The Software Alliance reported that the overall rate of pirated software across the Middle East and Africa was 56 per cent, the region also has several countries that rate as the highest users of unlicensed software with Libya and Zimbabwe tipping the scale at 90 and 89 percent respectively. Pirated software is often installed without the end user’s knowledge, and it is those users who suffer the consequences including lost data and unusable PCs.
Vice President, Consumer and Device Sales at Microsoft, Bradley Hopkinson, said: ‘’Through the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, we aim to educate consumers on the risks of using pirated software, and to work with our PC ecosystem partners including Acer, Asus, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Mustek and SMD to make Genuine Windows 10 PCs more affordable across Africa.”

• Expert Charges Chartered Accountants on Professionalism

Rebecca Ejifoma

Members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) have been charged to endeavour to uphold integrity, professionalism, patience and accuracy, which are core professional values of the profession.

The Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer of Total E&P Nigeria, Mrs. Tai Oshisanya, gave the charge in Lagos at the ICAN Sharing Experience programme, saying, members should take those values as their watchword.

“Whatever we do, we must uphold our watchword, uphold good characters as we journey through our careers”, she said.

Oshisanya, who was also the guest speaker at the event, however, admonished members to keep developing themselves without limits, adding: “Do not be comfortable around your seat. Keep yourself motivated, and always have a plan”.

Also speaking, the Chairman, ICAN Lagos and District Society, Mrs. Omolola Oke, described Oshisanya as an epitome of integrity that up coming accountants could tap from in Sharing Experience.

“She is the personality we brought for upcoming accountants to tap into her record of integrity and be motivated to attain such heights in their career,” Oke said.

According to her, “a celebrated resource person that has passed through so many stages in his or her career, is brought to relate well with other people.

“It is for such personality to share with us the stages of his or her life, career, marriage, social life, political and more.”

The high point of the occasion was the presentation of a piece of art painting and a plaque to Oshisanya, in recognition of her high professional integrity and positive impact on young accountants. Pi