Zoho Grows Business By 50% in Nigeria, Supports StartupSouth 

Emma Okonji

Zoho, a global technology company, has said it grew its business by 50 per cent in Nigeria last year and also partnered StartupSouth, a startup ecosystem with focus on the South-south and South-east regions, in order to provide support for startups in the regions, with plans to extend same support to startups in other regions.   

Zoho will also be providing its contract management solution, Zoho Contracts, free of charge for three months to help businesses improve compliance to the Nigeria Data Protection Law.

Zoho made the information known on the sidelines of Zoholics Nigeria, the company’s annual user conference, held at Lagos at the weekend. 

Speaking during the Zoholics Nigeria 2023 conference, the Regional Director, MEA at Zoho, Ali Shabdar, said: “Our growth is a direct result of Nigerian businesses embracing cloud technology, especially unified platforms, to digitally transform and build resilience to adapt to challenging market conditions. Zoho’s unified technology stack, built from the ground up, allows us to meet such transformation needs of businesses with robust solutions that deliver consistently seamless user experiences at unbeatable value.”

According to him, Zoho’s growth in Nigeria is primarily driven by adoption of Zoho One, the operating system for business, and Zoho Workplace, a unified enterprise collaboration platform. Additionally, Zoho CRM Plus (unified customer experience platform), Zoho Books (accounting software), and Zoho Desk (helpdesk software) are the other top-selling products in the country. Zoho also grew its partner network by 22 per cent and more than doubled its employee count in 2022 in Nigeria to reinforce its local presence and better serve the customers.

Country Head, Zoho Nigeria, Kehinde Ogundare, said: “Our transnational localism strategy of being locally rooted while staying globally connected is also key to our growth in Nigeria as we are able to serve our customers directly with our locally hired teams in Lagos. Zoho is also one of the few vendors in Nigeria today that continues to provide their offerings in Naira, thereby protecting businesses from the fluctuating dollar rates, and ensuring that enterprise technology remains accessible to businesses of all sizes. Our partnership with StartupSouth and the special offer on Zoho Contracts, are further steps that underscore our commitment to serve the business community in the region.”

Eze’s Investiture as SALTCCIMA President Holds November 29

The investiture of Chukwuemeka Eze, a seasoned lawyer, tax expert and an Exco member of NACCIMA, as the maiden President, Salt City Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (SALTCCIMA) will hold in Ebonyi State on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

In a statement, SALTCCIMA said the high profile event which will hold at the Super Nike Hotel, Opposite Federal Government College, Okposi, Ohaozara, LGA, Ebonyi State at 10.00 a.m. will attract dignitaries within and outside the State. 

Expected at the occasion is the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru, fniob, who will deliver the keynote message.

The keynote address will be delivered by the National President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA), Otunba Dele Oye, while the President, South East Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, (SECCIMA), Mr. Humphrey Ngonadi, will deliver a goodwill message. Ide John C. Udeagbala, ksj, npom, the immediate Past President of NACCIMA, will chair the occasion. 

Members of the Organized Private Sector, top business leaders, community leaders, and several companies CEOs in the South East, with interest in investing in Ebonyi State, will also grace the occasion as a mark of solidarity with the new SALTCCIMA chief.

Tinubu: Human Resource Professionals Key to Economic Resurgence

President Bola Tinunu yesterday emphasized the critical role of Human Resource (HR) practitioners in molding and effectively managing people to become catalysts for economic resurgence in an increasingly competitive and changing world.

The president said versatility remained the watchword particularly after “COVID 19 transformed the way we work” adding that physical locations have been traded for remote locations and meetings are now held virtually.

Speaking at the opening of the 55th International Conference and Exhibition and Emerald Anniversary of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), with the theme: “Sustainable HR, Business and National Development”, Tinubu insisted that while poverty was not a shameful thing, it remained unacceptable in the country.

He said, “Therefore, my vision for the Nigerian workforce is one where every citizen who wishes to be, is gainfully employed and able to take care of themselves and their family. Together, keying into this vision, we will banish poverty.”

Represented at the conference by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, the president also promised to “put together the best brains in the civil service, to build a great Nigeria. One that we will all be proud of, one in which our youths will thrive and no parent is compelled to send a child to bed hungry”.

He said the government’s commitment to ending poverty was deeply intertwined with its focus on economic growth and job creation, realizing that sustainable development could only be achieved by fostering an environment where job opportunities abound, ensuring food security, and eradicating poverty.

He said, “In the pursuit of our vision, inclusivity is paramount. We will prominently feature women and youth in all our endeavours, recognizing them as integral contributors to our nation’s success.”

Tinubu specifically congratulated the President/Chairman of the Governing Council of CIPM, Mr. Olusegun Mojeed, and his team on the 55th anniversary of the institute, adding that with the “cooperation of all involved, we will arrive at our destination, a great Nigeria which we can all be proud of, truly bound in freedom, peace, and unity.” 

In his remarks, however, the CIPM President described this year’s theme as apt amid the current global workplace dynamics. 

He said, “Sustainability is not a fad or a buzzword. A trend? Yes. But it’s a trend that’s worth understanding and considering for your people, businesses, and the nation.

Airtel Nigeria Restates Commitment to Grow SME Business

Emma Okonji

Airtel Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to support the growth of Small Medium and Enterprise (SME) business in Nigeria, through its data and cloud management solutions.   

The telecoms company stated this during a media roundtable event organised by Airtel Nigeria in Lagos, recently.

The Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Femi Adeniran, in his welcome remarks, expressed gratitude to the media, adding that the roundtable is a platform for Airtel to bring the media partners up to speed on the activities of Airtel Nigeria.

Speaking about Airtel’s commitment to SMEs growth, the Director, Airtel Business, Ogo Ofomata, revealed activities that Airtel Business has been up to in terms of providing data and cloud management solutions to both SMEs and government agencies.

According to her, “Airtel realised that the buying behavior of the private sector is different from the public sector, so this year, we created a special public sector event to showcase how their various parastatals can be upgraded to become more reliable. It was important to showcase to the public sector how their bulky data could be well managed. We had about 46 government agencies represented, to show that we were listening to the needs of the government on the digitisation agenda.”

Head of B2B Sales, Smartcash PSB, Judith Osiobe, also discussed the Airtel Smartcash international remittance service, revealing that the service is to ensure financial inclusion on a global scale.

“We recently launched the Smartcash Remittance Service that offers competitive tariffs compared to traditional means. Customers can simply activate this service by opening an account with an existing mobile number by simply dialing *939# or downloading the app to activate an account. Smartcash is here to stay, and we are changing lives and making financial services accessible for everyone. We are also proud to say that we have the best and cheapest rate in the market when it comes to sorting utility bills on our payment service app,” Osiobe said.

In his presentation, Airtel Nigeria Director of Marketing, Ismail Adeshina, expounded on Airtel 5G rollout and its commitment to innovative service delivery advancement through collaborations.

“Airtel is investing heavily in 5G infrastructure, including towers, base stations, and spectrum licenses, to provide widespread 5G coverage across Nigeria. We are actively collaborating with technology partners, device manufacturers, and local businesses to explore and develop innovative 5G use cases, such as Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart city solutions,” Adeshina said.

Fielding questions from Journalists about whether 4G will be affected following its 5G rollout, Adeshina said: “Every Airtel site is a 2G, 3G and 4G site. 5G deployment will not affect any of these, especially because the deployment is prioritised based on used cases and the need.”

OAS Acquires New Helicopter to Boost Offshore Operations

Chinedu Eze

An offshore and allied services company, Odengene Air Shuttle Services Ltd (OAS Helicopters) has announced acquisition of a new equipment, 2023 model Leonardo AW-139.

The AgustaWestland AW139, now known as the Leonardo AW139, is a 15-seat medium-sized twin-engined helicopter developed and produced by the Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer, AgustaWestland (now part of Leonardo). It is marketed at several different roles, including VIP/corporate transport, military use, offshore transport, fire fighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical service, disaster relief, and maritime patrol. 

OAS Helicopters in a statement said that the helicopter is already in the country and that it will be deployed for offshore services and dedicated to one of the major E and P companies in Nigeria.

“It is also necessary to share with you the short story behind its acquisition and timely delivery to Nigeria. At agreement, OAS consented to provide the aircraft within six months of contract signing. But due to financial and technical capacity we and our technical partners have mustered and deployed in the industry over the years, this aircraft through the manufacturers, Leonardo, was procured and delivered in Nigeria within three months (90 days). A feat not common nowadays with Saudi Arabia multiple aircraft back-orders running in upper tens.

“We are aware of the oil and gas industry scope and desire to expand their operations in Nigeria at this critical business moment in our country, and we think it might be necessary to inform you that we have the capacity to provide you, on short notice, this type of oil and gas worldwide most reliable workhorse, straight 7-ton, helicopter – AW-139,” the company said.

Due Network Launches in Nigeria to Enhance International Payments

Emma Okonji

Due Network, a next-gen fintech startup, has announced plans to launch its global payments platform in Nigeria.

The company, which made the announcement at a virtual media meeting, said the payment solution would offer borderless multi-currency accounts, enabling seamless international money movement for businesses and individuals alike. 

Due Networks provides uninterrupted access to global liquidity to over 50 markets by connecting various domestic payment rails around the world, while facilitating the transactions at much lower costs and significantly faster settlement times compared to existing methods.

According to Due Network, a company in Nigeria will be able to use the Naira via NIP to pay their vendor in Europe, who then can receive the payment in EUR instantly via SEPA, at near-zero costs and with a few clicks from a single interface.

Giving further explanation about the payment platform, the CEO and co-Founder of Due Network, Robert Sargsian, said: “The global payments ecosystem is riddled with inefficiencies. Receiving funds from overseas, paying international vendors or even moving intracompany funds across countries is expensive, slow and hard to access. We are here to challenge and change all of that.”

Powered by open and interoperable decentralised ledger protocols, Due Network enables Nigerian clients to use Naira to add/hold digital US Dollars and Euros in their accounts, which can then be used to send/receive funds across sub-Saharan Africa, the UK, EEA and the US.

Notably, all Due Network accounts are fully non-custodial, meaning the clients maintain complete control and custody over their funds on the platform. No intermediaries and not even Due themselves can access the client funds in any way, providing the account holders with direct and unobstructed access without any restrictions or dependencies. 

Olokpo App Launched to Boost Catering Service in Nigeria

Emma Okonji

Olokpo, a revolutionary catering service app that will seamlessly connect customers with food vendors and caterers within their locations across the country has been launched in Lagos.

Speaking at the launch, COO, Faiken Dawn Group, Jennifer Onose Eromosele, said the app, which has 100 per cent local content, was developed to address the challenges people face in getting catering service when they are in need of it.

Coined from an indigenous name in Nigeria, Olokpo, which means ‘People that cook good food’ was designed to revolutionise catering service within the neighbourhood.  The app offers innovative features such as easy connectivity, trust, quality food, as well as seamless payment and booking methods.

According to Eromosele, the app will be launched across African countries, beginning from Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.

The campaign to onboard caterers on the platform will run from November 20th to December 20th, and Mercy Johnson and other social media influencers have been contracted to drive the campaign.

Addressing the issue of verification of professional and trustworthy caterers who will operate on the Olokpo platform, Eromosele said caterers have to undergo several stages of verification, which include facial recognition, email address, full names, phone number that is linked to BVN and location, among others.

“Verification is key for all caterers on the platform because we need trusted people who will deliver on promise. But in the case of breach of contract, a dispute resolution platform has been created and managed by our legal team, to address any dispute that may arise from payment and delivery. If any caterer is found to be dishonest, such caterer will be delisted from the platform,” Eromosele said.

The app will surmount the persistent challenge of finding skilled caterers within close vicinities, as it is designed to connect users with caterers nearest to them, using a map-based interface.

Ethiopian Airlines Acquires Additional 17 Airbus A350-900 for Long Haul

Chinedu Eze

Ethiopia’s flagship carrier, Ethiopian Airlines Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 11 additional Airbus A350-900s with six more purchase rights to be added to its existing fleet.

The latest agreement takes Ethiopian Airlines’ total order book and commitment for the A350 to 33, including four A350-1000s.
Ethiopian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 20 A350-900s and with this commitment, it will confirm its position as Africa’s biggest A350 customer. The signing of the MoU took place at Dubai Airshow in the presence of Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, Christian Scherer.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew said, “We are excited to place this commitment for 11 Airbus A350-900s. As a customer focused airline, we are particularly excited for these fleet as it offers extra comfort to passengers with its features like the quietest cabin in its class and ambient lighting. We are keen to expand our fleet size, acquiring the latest technology aircraft to offer a convenient and memorable onboard experience to our esteemed passengers.”
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International, said, “Ethiopian Airlines is a great example of how to leverage the exceptional values of the A350 for long-haul travel, playing on the benefits of Ethiopia’s unique geographical position that offers the fastest connections between China and Latin America. We are delighted to further strengthen Ethiopian Airlines fleet, and through this, continue the great relationship we have built up together.”

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