As part of the effort to diversify the nation’s economy away from oil, the Federal Government has begun leveraging on the creative industry to boost its internally generated revenue (IGR) and meet international standard.
Government believed that the industry could be a strong alternative to oil if well harnessed and developed to the acceptable standard at the international scene.
Speaking at the grand finale of Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA) beauty pageant in Lagos, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, declared that government was focusing its attention on developing the creative sector as an alternative means of boosting the nation’s economy.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Grace Gekpe, stated that the ministry has discovered the potentials in creative industry as an alternative to oil, hence, the need to work harder to support the sector.
According to him, the creative industry is an area that opens up employment opportunities for the talented youths, thereby, reducing unemployment and possible youthful crimes.
The minister commended the Heritage Ambassador to QMA, Ronke Ademiluyi, for her efforts in promoting culture, and advised other groups to encourage the youths to develop more interests in promoting their cultures.
“Promoters of our culture and tradition such as Princess Ademiluyi should be encouraged because she is complimenting the efforts of the government to ensure that our culture does not go into extinction.
“Such a cultural pageant as the QMA will also empower young girls not only to learn their traditional language and history, but also make them to be creative and productive,” he said.
The minister also encouraged more groups in the entertainment industry to key into programmes that would promote Made-in-Nigerian fabrics, foods, dances and local languages which would make the country the world’s tourist attraction.
The 2017 QMA pageant produced 22 year-old, Oluwatosin Shola-Shittu, an indigene of Ikere Ekiti , Ekiti State as the new queen.
Shola-Shittu emerged the winner out of no fewer than 500 young girls who registered for the second edition of QMA cultural beauty pageant.
She received a cash prize of N5million, which she was expected to use for investment as part of the empowerment programme of youths initiated by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi , the patron of the pageant.
The new queen was crowned by the outgoing queen, Blessing Animasahun.
Following 90-day quit notice issues Arewa Youths to indigenes of South East in North, Miss Nigeria, Chioma Obiadi, has implored the Acting-President, Yemi Osinbajo, to embark on educative, sports and other programmes that would interest youth and serve as an avenue to spread the administration’s message on unity and peaceful co-existence.
Obiadi, the 40th winner of the beauty pageant, said that it is good to engage with leaders of thoughts on the issue of Nigeria’s unity, and suggested that a critical look at the recent spate of hate and divisive speech meant that the threat to the successful integration of the country comes from the youths.
According to her, let me use this opportunity to urge the Acting President to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to engage the youths on peace-building through activities that interests them.
She said: “The youths in Nigeria have shown times without number that in education, sports and entertainment they can put behind parochial interests and ethnic sentiments and relate freely with one another irrespective of socio-cultural backgrounds,” Obiadi said.
“The federal government can look to these areas to pool the youths across the country together and reach-out to them with the message of unity and peaceful co-existence. Such heart-to-heart meetings could go a long way in addressing the unity challenge that has robbed attention from the economic hardship Nigerians are presently reeling under,” she said.
“The youths should be encouraged to use their fertile minds and creative talents to become solvers of problems that affect the nation. They could be encouraged to sing unity songs, shoot movies that centre on national integration, write storybooks that preach love for one another, and all engage in inter-regional cultural tourism and fairs. These activities apart from building bridges could also stem the tide of unemployment in country.”
Obiadi, in a statement made available to The Guild, stressed that activities in education, sports and entertainment that have held Nigerians together in the past irrespective of family background, ethnicity, social status, and religion, could reduce hate speeches and distrust observed among youth groups in various regions in the country.
She commended Osinbajo for his engagement with leaders of thought drawn from several parts of the country over the quit notice slammed on the Igbos by Northern youths. The beauty queen suggested that it was high time the Presidency reached out directly to the youths for a ‘heart-to-heart’ meetings and discussions.
“She further said that such parleys meetings made possible through events that cause youths to ignore parochial interests would impress upon the minds of the youths a sense of belonging in the Nigerian state.
In the same vein, she also appealed to leaders at all levels to demonstrate a strong commitment towards the creation of a just and humane social order across the six geo-political zones in the country; in which the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians are respected and the security of their lives and properties are respected.
“I commend the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He deserves commendation for the steps he has so far taken to calm the frayed nerves occasioned by the recent spate of secessionist agitations and counter-agitations in recent weeks,” the statement revealed.
She called on leaders at all levels to demonstrate a strong commitment towards the creation of a just and humane social order across the six geo-political zones in the country.
“This, I believe, will give every citizen a sense of belonging, ensure that fundamental human rights of all Nigerians are respected and security of lives and property are guaranteed,” Obiadi added.
No fewer than one in every three girls in developing countries is married before age of 18, with one girl married off every two seconds, World Bank said.
The global bank disclosed that curbing child marriage will cost developing countries trillions of dollars next decade if not check, saying, this is seriously hampering global efforts to eradicate poverty.
World Bank suggested that curbing child marriage would reduce population growth, boost girls’ educational achievements and increase their earnings and would also lead to women having healthier and better educated children, further boosting prosperity.
The bank economist, Quentin Wodon, disclosed the new statistics in a statement made available to newsmen, explaining that child marriage not only puts a stop to girls’ hopes and dreams, it also hampers efforts to end poverty and achieve economic growth and equity,”
Wodon who co-authored the report – the first to look at the economic impact of child marriage, emphasised that ending the practice was not only the morally right thing to do, but also the economically smart thing to do.
According to the study co-authored by the International Centre for Research on Women, one of the biggest economic benefits of ending child marriage would derive from a reduction in population growth. Moreover, girls who marry young have more children on average than those who delay marriage.
Ending child marriage would reduce fertility rates by 11 per cent on average in 15 of the worst affected countries analyzed in the study.
Global gains from lower population growth could exceed 500 billion dollar annually by 2030, with cumulative gains topping four trillion dollars, the study said.
Although world leaders have pledged to end child marriage by 2030 under the UN Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015, investments to end the practice remain limited.
There are strong indications that more than one million African children have benefitted from social enterprise development in Africa in the last five years.
This was disclosed during the five- year anniversary report of Reach for Change Africa, Thursday in Accra Ghana, as the group marks its 5th anniversary with the theme: “Accelerating Impact. Driving Change”.
In the organisation’s report card, it reported that over 300 early-stage social entrepreneurs were supported to develop organizations that are improving the lives of children, youth and women in seven African countries.
The organisation which came into establishment in Accra, Ghana in 2012 has provided crucial business development support for social entrepreneurs who, in turn, used their social businesses to impact over one million children.
It was gathered that from the activities of the organisation, over 435,000 African children were protected from mental abuse and threats, over 308,000 children were provided with high quality education, and over 156,000 children were supported to develop and live healthy lives.
“The social enterprise movement is really starting to take off in Africa, and we are honoured to be a part of this movement for change. With the right supports, social entrepreneurs have the potential to lead Africa’s development and impact millions along the way,”Reach for Change Africa’s Regional Director, Amma Lartey said.
In the report, which was released on Thursday in Accra Ghana, a number of social entrepreneurs from the seven countries, where Reach for Change Africa operates, explained how the organization’s programs helped them to develop their social ventures.
“Being in the Incubator has helped me develop a scalable model,” the founder of Apps and Girls in Tanzania, Carolyne Ekyarisiima,”said.
Apps and Girls is a social enterprise that is bridging the gender gap in ICT through coding clubs, workshops, exhibitions, hackathons, bootcamps and competitions for girls and young women.
Since joining the Reach for Change Incubator, Ekyarisiima said she had scaled her organization from just one location to 21 clubs in Dar es Salaam.
“This year, I spoke with my mentor at Reach for Change about the possibility of franchising my social enterprise and got great feedback. This led me to apply for the NEXTGEN franchising competition and because of the great influence and impact of the Reach for Change Incubator, I was among the winners! Now I am looking into scaling Apps & Girls across all of Tanzania and other African countries,” Ekyarisiima said.
James Kofi Annan also alluded the fact that the Reach for Change Incubator has also helped him build a social enterprise that’s fighting child-trafficking in Ghana.
“I owe a debt of gratitude to Reach for Change. Its Incubator program brought direct benefits to me and to Challenging Heights. Today, Challenging Heights is a well-respected global leader in the fight against child trafficking.” said James Kofi Annan.
It was gathered that from the age of six to 16, Annan was enslaved, starved, abused and forced to work in appalling conditions. After managing to escape and turning his life around, he was determined to prevent other children from experiencing the same thing.
He founded Challenging Heights, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates children from slavery, identifies and educates vulnerable children and establishes income-generating initiatives in at-risk communities and empowers youth and families to help prevent child trafficking.
Since joining the Reach for Change Incubator in 2013, Annan has more than quadrupled Challenging Heights annual budget and is implementing a five- year strategic plan, developed with support from Reach for Change. Most importantly, he has impacted the lives of over 8,000 Ghanaian children.
The five- year anniversary report also details Reach for Change’s plans for the future. Over the course of the next five years, the organization plans to run additional accelerators to increase the number of African social entrepreneurs that they reach, enriching the social enterprise ecosystem across Africa through research, and implement new programming, such as the rapid scale program for more established social entrepreneurs in the growth phase of their development.
Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that runs incubators, accelerators and other customized programs to help local social entrepreneurs develop sustainable organizations that impact the lives of children, youth and women
The Dangote group has consented to provided a platform that would promote women empowerment and integration especially in Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry, to sustain drive towards showcasing innovative women led technology entrepreneurs.
The Executive Director, Africa’s giant conglomerate, Dangote, Halima Dangote, pledged support the company for women leader in technology on need to integrate and empower women in wave of digital led globalization that is redefining humanity.
Dangote, who recently spoke at Social Media Week, ignited insightful conversations on convergence of leadership, technology advancement and gender parity.
She highlighted multiplier effect any investment made in women and girls have on economies and called for more deliberate women participation in key leadership roles, specifically in ICT space which is reputed to be traditionally dominated by men.
Meanwhile, reported at World Economic Forum had women make a smaller share of overall workforce in technology companies and are even more under-represented when considering technology related roles and that to close gender gap, more women need to be empowered and encouraged to take up roles in tech sector.
At forum, the gathering stated with increased focus on gender gap in work places and society, significant gains have been made by organizations invested in integrating and empowering women entrepreneurs.
“Worthy of note is the Dangote Foundation multi-billion naira micro grant initiative targeted at rural women across federation. The women empowerment initiative provided financial resource to women beneficiaries and also cell-phones to help connect and share information in a progressive way.
“The Dangote Women Network (DWN) active in area of championing professional development for women through collaboration, also raised over N20million for women and children IDPs in Nigeria last year and 4,000 Euros in Senegal,” the forum said.
It added that five women, who participated at session were able to showcase how innovation by and for women have yielded technology driven business successes.
It listed them as: Stephanie Obi, Founder/CEO of St Hub, an online course content creator; Joy Chukwu, CEO, Smart Hire, a platform for connecting professionals with job opportunities; Morenike Hemba, CEO, Novaria Trust, a platform that offers a variety of tech/media services.
Others include: Thelma Chukwu, CEO, Roomies Connect, a platform offering a room-mate matching services and Damilola Teidi, CEO, Gomyway services, a platform for connecting travelers with drivers who have spare seats.
The Oil and Gas sector’s importance to Nigerian economy cannot be overemphasized as it has been its mainstay over the years. For a young entrepreneur whose daily activities revolve round the sector, a lot is been involved in running the business. The Chief Executive Officer of HIMAK Global resources Limited, Alabi Hammed Kehinde, spoke with The Guild’s Editor-in-Chief, Billiameen Obafunsho and Zuli’ah Akinbami on wide range of issues as regards the downstream sector, relating to how the business is fairing, necessary factors to consider, involved challenges ahead. Excerpt:
With discipline in chemical engineering from University, can you relate that face with your current business?
In Nigerian context, courses study at university are no longer determinants of reality after graduation because of the country’s system and rate of employment which has continue inclining daily.
As a graduate of chemical engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH), Ogbomosho in Oyo State, i ventured into downstream aspect of oil and gas as an entrepreneur few years after school, as i could not wait more years for companies to hire me as an employee. And since the country is about survival of fittest, i found my way into the business with little cash i gathered even though the business is very capital intensive.
Graduating as chemical engineer assisted gave in the sector because my company deals more with petroleum products including Kero (DPK), Alternative Gasoline Oil (AGP) and Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS).
Been an independent entrepreneur, tradings in the oil and gas sector comes with enormous challenges, because the industry is a critical aspect of the economy, both to oil producing nations and non, to extent that if the sector is fine, it means the economy of nations would also enjoy good time.
What role does experience play in the field and beside, what would you say drive you in becoming an entrepreneur in the downstream?
My entrepreneurship journey started barely four years ago and it has been so dynamic though, there are lot of factors contributing to the dynamism of the sector; of which are Forex and start up capital, government bureaucracy, as well as regulators and union among others few to mention, and any inexperienced investors maybe forced out of the business if he or she does not have full understand of human factors attached to it.
Not even my four years experience in the business is not enough to solve issues when surfaced from the listed factors.
Although, experience can not be downplayed as it plays key role in the industry, besides event too which also claims shares.
And another major is Forex which serves as another super determinant of the sector, and no player in the industry can predict what is likely to happen to products’ prices since large per cent what the country consume are importation. Both marketers and those of us who represent as vendors in the downstream are having issue with Forex and it is affecting every aspect of the economy including that of oil and gas sector seriously.
And what i can tribute to the Forex case is that the nation refine less than 20 per cent of products the entire country consume locally in terms of energy, and rest 80 are imported, and that factor (dollar) which rate is not so favorable at present, is the determinant of the phase.
Even though the government has been able to stabilize the PMS which is just fraction of the sector, others are seriously on the high side now.
When people talk about experience in the downstream, to me, it must be about players’ critical understandings of Forex and other challenges because they appear as permanent predicament which young and older players in the filed including new investors aspiring to venture into the business, can not do away with.
Although, such challenges are no longer new to me because part of training i have received from several mentors is to position myself to whatever challenges that comes my way, and that has been helping.
When flashed back on what inspired my venturing into the business, i consider it to be entrepreneur zeal; and since chemical engineering is my discipline at university, i did not miss opportunity of doing business of oil produce when it surfaced during that year, even though the phase of the industry i grabbed, is monetary part, which is opposite to my area of study.
And over time, due to change in dimension after university education, several changes occurred and that aspect of higher education discipline fizzled out, because of a new area of concentration which is pricing.
During the business starting year, even though i did not show interest early enough, i discovered that an average person who does not attend any formal school, could do a lot better and still gets to understand principles of the business. But at the same time, university education has it advantage, particular in making right decision, taken steps, as well as products identification.
So experience and understanding of every bit of transaction of the downstream, go hand-in-hand to checkmate trading affairs and authenticity of product, such as density, flash-point, temperature, the level of particle, to avoid lost of capital as well as integrity.
In clarity, becoming an entrepreneur has always been my way since university day, but i never thought that it would be so immediate, or foresaw oil and gas business as sector where i will make ends meet or earn daily mean because of people fear on losing of capital as experienced by people who have continue series of tales.
With highlighted challenges, do you still advise new entrepreneurs to put their heads in same basket?
Basically, experience is important for any aspiring investors, particularly young entrepreneurs considering investing in the field, and challenges should not deter them from going into the sector even though the industry is capital intensive. But, at the same time, interested persons have to prepare minds to do the right thing and been able to face whatever that comes your way.
People should not that experience would not form when there are no challenges; what existing people in the vendor aspect of the downstream do difference, is that they take calculated risk, since business is all about risk, and not just those of uncertainty but accepting right ones .
Besides, going into the business does not really require much anticipations other than the zeal and the will to pick up again after challenges. Those two identified things are important to do whatever is to be done.
In fact, my company commenced operation as a one man business and every decisions taken today are done solely though, i consult other players who friedns and partners whenever there is critical issue.
People considering going into the business should know oil and gas business would not be different from other sectors in term of challenges and crisis, but the important thing needed is entrepreneurship spirit to face the challenges. And for new starters, there is need to prepare for a fall and same time, courage to pick up and continue, even though it is not all business men and women who have such luxury.
People believe that oil and gas industry has complications and that for a young person, it is a no go area, Do you subscribe to such insinuation?
Of course, every sectors of economy, particular in Nigeria and other African nations, have various complications, and there would always be a twist business when owners do not have capacities to face challenges confronting their enterprise, and then, the only choice left would be to take exist door out of the business.
This happens in every business and it is common in the oil and gas particularly when hazard aspect of the business set in.
Besides is recurrent problem of inflation and the nation’s currency which has diminished in value. Imagine vendors who could barely afford procurement of 33, 000 litres truck of diesel at N3.5 million a year and six months ago, not hesitating to take their leaves now that the cost of same volume is N8 million.
There are times when players in the downstream, make profit but as a business owners, there is need to understand that life is not a bed of roses, and challenges in terms of loses, in terms of logistics and in terms of those that worked for company, should be expected.
If there are monsters in the sector, it would be Forex and inflation affecting the business at present, because it situation has reach a climax as no vendor can tell what would be faith of N20 million investment in six months.
As matter of fact, most transactions in sector depend mostly on projections, as no player can predict what situation might be in one, two, three months or even the next day because oil and gas is not predictable.
And With current Forex at N500 per a dollar, people cannot be blame for whatever insinuation they spread and fear they have develop for the sector, because the complications would not disappear at moment.
Would you too ascribe recession as ailment responsible for the sector instability, just as other sectors’ players identified?
On serious note, oil and gas would not be exempted from current recession affected businesses across the nation’s economical sectors though players in each of industries seems affected than one another, but those in manufacturing maybe consider facing more tough time than others because of sudden spring in cost of raw materials.
What happens in oil and gas is, vendors sell products end consumers at rates they received commodities from marketer who are importers. These marketers too would only sell base on rate of Forex.
This is a chain of trading, and there is nothing vendors or consumers can do to resolve the trend, save authorities.
Recession problem is something that has cut across every phase of business in the country, even vendors within the oil and gas are not having good time, as lot business of owners have become redundant due to lack of enough funds to trade, just the way those other sectors too are facing