This E-Book is a Complete Guide to Business Sustainability in Nigeria (DOWNLOAD)

With organizational risks from climate change, resource depletion, environmental regulations, social pressures and customer perceptions, businesses now have to find more sustainable ways of operating that will maximize their positive impacts on people, planet and profit.

Two young women, Adiya Atuluku and Jennifer Uchendu who connected on social media for the love of Sustainability have launched a downloadable e-book following their weekly articles on Business Sustainability in Nigeria. The series which lasted for thirteen weeks covers a myriad of issues and concepts of Business Sustainability in Nigeria.

The e-book explains just how Nigerian businesses whether small and large can embed sustainability into their corporate strategies and why they should too, it discusses concepts like CSR, corporate philanthropy and stakeholder engagement in simple terms that everyone can relate to and understanding.

In this e-book, young professionals and businesses can find simple steps to reporting, financing and most importantly learning from some of the mistakes other large corporations have made with regards sustainability operations and communication. The idea that sustainability is too expensive to achieve has now been completely debunked and demystified.

According to Jennifer, the decision to begin this series came from a long discussion and realization that content on business sustainability by thought leaders were not very appreciated by young people, and so there was need to bridge the gap and provide content that young people can discuss on and in turn emulate in their respective businesses.

“Our guide on business sustainability brings this home to Nigeria and shows business leaders how they can become more sustainable so that they can deal with these risks and take advantage of new opportunities” says Adiya.

The E-book ends with both authors’ personal experiences in business sustainability and how their interests and experience in the subject matter is driving them into new opportunities in the sustainability sector.

The e-book is free, downloadable and can be downloaded here

Corporate Communications Pitch Competition 2017; Call For Entries

Sesema Public Relations, a leading Public Relations and Marketing Communications firm in conjunction with, is calling for entries into the second edition of the “Corporate Communications Pitch Competition”.

This year’s competition will focus on two different categories; Public Relations and IT/Graphics Design. View highlight of 2016 Edition   CCPC 2017 call for entry

Grand Prize: Six (6) month paid internship with Sesema Public Relations which may lead to full employment and One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira (N130,000) cash prize for each category.

And other prizes

As part of the selection process, applicants for the PR/COMMUNICATIONS ASPECT are requested to write an essay on “How PR agencies can manage negative perception of government in a dwindling economy” while applicants for the IT/GRAPHICS DESIGN ASPECT will be required to “Design an AD banner to promote a new talent management company (The Company in focus engages in managing talents in music, acting and fashion)”

The Corporate Communications Pitch Competition is supported by Jobberman, Business Day, , Olorisupergal and The Alpha Reach

 Follow the link to submit your entry:

The call for entries will run from Friday 27th January till Monday 27th February, 2017


JAHDA Clothing Unveils ‘JAGABAN 2017 Collection Featuring Woli Arole

Popular celebrity stylist and designer OPUSUNJU DANIEL YINKA popularly known as JAHDA clothings releases pictures of his new designs tagged the JAGABAN STYLE which features popular comedian WOLE AROLE and himself.
OPUSUNJU DANIEL again raised the bar of casual native dresses in the fashion industry with these exciting and amazing new collections. According to the designer, he claims to have wanted to bring in the fusion of both the AGBADA and the normal DANSIKI with a little flavour of BUBA AND SOKOTO all together to create this wonderful design.
Jahda, the co-costumier for top celebrities, and a designer for quite a number of Nigerian A artistes alongside top-notch corporate workers, has remained a force to be reckoned with in the industry when it comes to creativity in fashion.
The creative director OPUSUNJU DANIEL has been resilient and consistent over the years to scaling through the hurdles of breaking into the world fashion market and setting trends for others to follow, thereby making jahda Clothing a precedence and the hub of all designers.

Blackberry To End Making Smartphones As Revenue Slumps

BlackBerry Ltd posted a 31.8 percent fall in second-quarter revenue and it said it would end all internal hardware development, including its well known smartphones.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a net loss of $372 million, or 71 cents a share, on revenue of $334 million. A year ago, it reported a profit of $51 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenue of $490 million. Excluding one-time items, the company said it broke even.

Credit: reuters

#NES22: Experts Set Agenda For 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit

#NES22: Reviving Nigeria’s EconomyExperts set agenda for 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit

In the midst of what some analysts describe as the worst economic downturn in decades, Nigerians have spared no effort in making known their discomfort and disappointment at the present economic realities. The grave misdeed of too much dependence on sale of crude oil for revenue generation cannot be overemphasized, this is why, when oil prices fell from more than $100 a barrel to about $40, the naira lost more than a third of its value and is still falling.
For the foreseeable future, signs abound that the price of oil will remain low, not only because of oversupply in the market but also as a result of several other indices, green technology is catching up both in cost and efficiency, also manufacturing, ICT, agriculture and other viable alternatives to oil are been embraced around the world as part of efforts to create a stable economy in order to withstand global uncertainty.
As a huge consumption economy, Nigeria is definitely paying a costly price of been unable to feed itself, resulting in undesirable economic growth, dwindling foreign reserves, stress in balance of payment and a constant mounting pressure on local currency exchange rate relative to major currencies. Commendably, discussions on diversification have been held at virtually all economic and business sessions in the last few years, with many conclusions on the need to consciously adopt the change in Nigeria alternative.
Speaking on the need to embrace the made in Nigeria initiative, Erudite economics scholar, Professor Gafar Ijaiya of the department of economics, University of Ilorin, describe the made in Nigeria initiative as long overdue, expressing that Nigeria enjoyed a rich and vibrant economy during the early days of deliberate localization “in the decades following Nigeria’s independence in 1960, before we fell into the trap of overdependence on oil, we had very vibrant industries that were producing for our local consumption, The manufacturing sector helped to stabilize the nation’s economic development in terms of employment, export and agriculture which serves as source of foreign exchange earnings, however, when the oil boom came, we abandoned all that worked for us and gave undue concentration to oil which contributed to the present economic realities”
Calling on delegates at the forth coming NESG 2016 summit to provide valuable recommendations that will lead the country in the right way out of the present economic recession, Ijaiya maintained that local production and consumption is a must for any economy facing recession “Any economy that wants to survive a recession must learn the strict culture of self-sufficiency, particularly as it concerns moribund industries, strengthening the agricultural sector and even empowering ICT, we must go back to the drawing board and embrace the spirit of growing, producing and buying our own if we are to experience success from the change agenda of the present administration”.
Interestingly, the 2016 and 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit has, as its theme, “Made in Nigeria” and experts are looking forward to leading discussions that will inform the structural and fiscal changes required to strengthen the Nigerian Economy, Setting an Agenda for the summit, Foremost business consultant, financial analyst and columnist Opeyemi Agbaje, CEO, RTC Advisory Services Limited,. Commended the choice of this year’s theme, describing it as a step in the right direction as long as the sentiments are objectively articulated.
Opeyemi Observed that the country still needs to work on getting its policies right “For me, we still have to get our policies right, for example there should be discussions about attracting investors, which I would love to see addressed at the summit, secondly the foreign exchange conundrum needs to be fine-tuned.
“We have spoken extensively on oil dependence, but I say that, Nigeria’s economy is diversified, since the contribution of the oil sector is reducing drastically as we have seen non-oil sector make significant contributions to the country’s GDP. However, made in Made in Nigeria for me means a very strong domestic Non-oil sector, which comprises agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, education and other industries in Nigeria, exporting to the world, so in the end, we don’t just stop import, but we ensure to sell our made in Nigeria product, services and ideas to the world” He concluded.
As the nation awaits recommendations from the 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit, in the approaching weeks, the made in Nigeria agenda will ultimately guide discussions and the overall direction of the summit especially at this time of pronounced economic recession. The production and consumption of made in Nigeria goods and services will progressively help in maintaining a trade balance between imports and exports, conserve and even add to our foreign reserves while reducing the pressure on the naira to other currencies, above all a wholehearted support of the made in Nigeria drive, will help to achieve self-sufficiency.

Web Summit Package From The Nigeria Portugal Friendship & Business Association And Five Thousand Miles

The Nigeria Portugal Friendship & Business Association and Five Thousand Miles developed a Web Summit package for those who wish to come to the Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon.


If you are interested in coming to the Web Summit 2016, please check our site and fill in the form at and find more information in the brochure at


Web Summit is the world’s fastest growing tech conference, having been considered by Forbes as “The best technology conference on the planet”. From 2016 onwards, for at least 3 years, the Web Summit will take place in Lisbon, Portugal. The Web Summit 2016 will take place from 7th to 10th November. 50,000 attendants are expected.


In past editions the Web Summit has hosted attendees and speakers such as Elon Musk, founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX and co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors; Ed Catmull, President of Pixar; Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook; Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram; Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and founder and CEO of Square.

4 November 2014; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, centre, receives a presentation from Adam Kostyál, Head of European Listings, NASDAQ OMX, after ringing the NASDAQ bell watched by Paddy Cosgrave, Founder and CEO, Web Summit, left and Cllr Christy Burke, Lord Major of Dublin, centre, on the centre stage during Day 1 of the 2014 Web Summit in the RDS, Dublin, Ireland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE / Web Summit

4 November 2014; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, centre, receives a presentation from Adam Kostyál, Head of European Listings, NASDAQ OMX, after ringing the NASDAQ bell watched by Paddy Cosgrave, Founder and CEO, Web Summit, left and Cllr Christy Burke, Lord Major of Dublin, centre, on the centre stage during Day 1 of the 2014 Web Summit in the RDS, Dublin, Ireland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE / Web Summit

In addition to the daily program, once Web Summit closes for the day, the night activities begin. Night Summit has been at the centre of Web Summit for the past 4 years. It is essentially a 3 night festival where the Summit takes over the city centre for 3 nights with parties, dinners, cocktail receptions, live music, comedy and much more. Great things happen in pubs when you have a gathering of the most innovative minds on Earth. For example, Uber raised $37 million in Dublin over a few beers.


Please reach us if you want to find out more about Web Summit 2016.


Samuel Pires

Office Manager

Five Thousand Miles


Tel: (+351) 211 943 598


Omojuwa, Arese, Alibaba Unveiled As Rémy Martin Brand Influencers #OneLifeLiveThem

Japheth Omojuwa, Arese Ugwu and Ali Baba last week were unveiled as the new influencers for the Rémy Martin #OneLifeLiveThem campaign.

The campaign tagline, One Life/Live Them®, which assumes its grammatical error, identifies that today’s consumers are not defined by one talent or skill, but are multi-faceted and should be applauded for their many passions.

Rémy Martin’s One Life/Live Them campaign encourages consumers to explore and celebrate all their talents. It is a call to live richer, larger lives, to expand the horizon and seize all the wonderful opportunities that life can offer, beyond the one-dimensional paths that former generations could have embraced.

RM Artwork_Curved.cdrArese Ugwu 2RM Artwork_Curved.cdrJapheth Omojuwa 2RM Artwork_Curved.cdrAli Baba 2

Richard Nyong, Ishaya Bako Others Inspire Social Change At Inaugural AlphaIMPACT Convened By Japheth Omojuwa

We talk about problems a lot in Nigeria, but rarely proffer solutions. There are people who not only talk about problems but also do something to change the status quo. In so doing they meet a lot of opposition and encounter challenges, but they keep going nonetheless. We often do not celebrate greatness and people making change happen but through AlphaIMPACT we will celebrate people doing great things for themselves and other people. AlphaIMPACT is not about awards, it is about celebrating excellence.

Japheth Omojuwa

Japheth J. Omojuwa, Convener AlphaIMPACT

Those words by Japheth J. Omojuwa, the Convener of AlphaIMPACT, set the tone for what turned out to be a truly inspiring night that left an indelible mark on the minds of attendees and speakers alike. Omojuwa, who is also the CEO of Alpha Reach, a new media and online strategy management company, stated his vision for AlphaIMPACT is to honour change makers, known and unknown, who are making Africa a better continent in their own little spaces.

From maternal and newborn health, to education, to entertainment and business, the line-up of speakers at AlphaIMPACT reflects a diversity of passion and efforts held together by a common purpose – birthing social change and impacting lives.

Faith Fookes

Faith Fookes, Founder and Executive Director of Bridgewise

Faith Fookes, Geneva-based lawyer, is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridgewise, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the prevention and eradication of obstetric fistula in Africa. Faith was inspired by personal experience of what it is to suffer from pregnancy-related complications to embark on advocacy against fistula in Nigeria by raising awareness on preventive measures and sponsoring surgical treatment for fistula patients.

Ishaya Bako

Ishaya Bako, award-winning film maker

Ishaya Bako, a 29-year old award-winning film director and screenwriter studied at the London Film School. Ishaya is exploring the nexus between entertainment and advocacy by using his films and documentaries to raise the social consciousness of the public. “I love telling stories. I straddle between fiction and facts with the blurry lines between them” he said as he narrated his experience using the films Henna and Silent Tears to raise awareness on girl-child education and domestic violence respectively.


Simi Fajemirokun, Read2Succeed

“We not only have an unemployment problem, we have an unemployability problem.” Simi Fajemirokun gave one of the quotes of the night speaking about her Read2Succeed initiative. Simi, whose Martin Luther King Jnr’s I have a dream narration held the audience spellbound, pointed out that nowhere in the world is education left in the hands of government alone. The impact of Simi’s advocacy is already apparent with a number of structural changes made at Utako LA Primary School in Abuja. “We didn’t dole out money to make this change happen, we just showed up!” she said.

Richard Nyong

Richard Nyong, CEO of Lekki Gardens

Richard Nyong has through his company, Lekki Gardens, brought about a revolution in Nigeria’s real estate sector. Richard narrated how he, armed with a N750,000 loan and a dream, embarked on an audacious quest to make housing affordable for Nigerians of all income groups. Five years later Lekki Gardens has delivered over 6,000 housing units, making a lot of people millionaires in the process. “To make it in life you must be tired of making excuses” said Richard as gave insight into how he and his company have surmounted setback at different stages of the business. The philosopher and businessman in Richard combined effortlessly to give one of the most impactful and memorable quotes of the night when he said “we are not children of our circumstances, we are fathers of our future.”

The impact of the truly inspiring event extended well beyond the packed Alpha Reach Power Library as tweets sent through the hashtag #AlphaIMPACT reached well over 800,000 people on Twitter and was the third trending topic in Nigeria behind football related content from the UEFA Euro Cup.

Meet 35 Year-Old Entrepreneur Who Owns Nigeria’s 2nd Largest Rice Farm

Nigerians consume more than 5 million metric tons of rice every year, with a significant portion of its consumption needs sourced from imports. Rotimi Williams, an ambitious 35 year-old Nigerian entrepreneur and rice farmer, is on a quest to change that.

Williams, a former Journalist, is the owner of Kereksuk Rice Farm, the 2nd largest commercial rice farm in Nigeria by land size. His farm, which is situated in Nasarawa state in northern Nigeria, currently sits on 45,000 hectares and employs more than 600 indigenes of Nasarawa.

Forbes’ contributor, Mfonobong Nsehe, recently caught up with the budding entrepreneur in Lagos, and had a brief chat with him where he recounted his journey and mused on how Nigeria can attain self-sufficiency in rice production in the near future.

What’s your educational and professional background?

I attended King’s College in Lagos. After attending secondary school at King’s College I proceeded to obtain my first degree at University of Aberdeen where I graduated with a degree in Economics. I also obtained a Master’s Degree in Economics from the same institution. My quest for more knowledge led me to enroll for yet another Master’s Degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London where I gained an MSc. in Finance and Development Studies.

Upon graduation, I landed a role as an analyst at the European Economics and Financial Centre in London. Afterwards, Euromoney Magazine- employed me where I covered the African space.

I would say that this is where my journey truly started.

Credit: Forbes



Lagos State Govt Transfers Chief Magistrate For Granting Bail To Lekki Gardens Boss

The trial of the MD/CEO of Lekki Garden, Richard Nyong, by the Lagos State government for the collapse of an uncompleted building at one of the company’s constructions sites some weeks ago took a bizarre turn today when the Magistrate handling the case, Mrs. Folashade Batoku, was transferred under strange and suspicious circumstances.


Mrs. Folashade Botoku, the Chief Magistrate in Ebutte Metta High Court has been transferred in an act of unfairness by the prosecutors of Lagos State Government who are apparently not happy because she acted in the line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011 by granting bail to the M.D of Lekki Gardens (Mr. Richard Nyong). After the 1st Hearing held on March 11th, 2016, he was remanded in police custody with no charges preferred against him.


The 2nd hearing on the case was slated to hold today April 12th, 2016 wherein the Police Prosecutors in line with their investigations were supposed to bring formal charges against Mr. Richard Nyong. Strangely, the court didn’t sit, and everyone was informed by the Registrar that the court won’t be sitting because the Chief Magistrate has just been posted out of that particular court and cannot continue with proceedings.


It is important to state clearly that as at date, the Police and the Director of Public Prosecution Lagos State Ministry of Justice are yet bring any formal charges against Mr. Richard Nyong who according to the bail requirement has been reporting to state CID Panti every day since he was granted bail 3 weeks ago. Richard’s international travel documents were submitted to the court in line with the conditions for bail, so he poses no flight risk and has met all the other bail conditions given to him as a law abiding citizen. The case has been adjourned to June 30th, 2016.

Via Abusidiqu

Harvard Psychologist Says This Surprising Trait Can Make You More Successful

While researching her new book, “Presence,” Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy interviewed a number of venture capitalists about what personal qualities successful entrepreneurs demonstrate.

Perhaps the most striking observation she collected was this: “I don’t mind if they’re a little bit nervous; they’re doing something big, something that matters to them, so it makes sense they’d be a little bit nervous.”

In the book, Cuddy outlines two key reasons why a moderate amount of nervousness can be helpful in stressful situations.

For one, anxiety can be an adaptive response that keeps us alert to danger and things going wrong. Sometimes, Cuddy says, nervousness can also signal respect for the person you’re interacting with.

Additionally, “some nervousness can even signal passion to others,” she says. “After all, you wouldn’t be nervous if it didn’t matter to you, and you can’t easily persuade an investor or potential client to buy into your idea if it’s not clear that you care deeply about whether or not it succeeds.”

In other words, if you’re not nervous at all, the VC you’re pitching or the interviewer you’re meeting with might get turned off by your apparent lack of investment.

In a recent talk at the 92Y in New York, Cuddy used an example from the TV show “Shark Tank”:

“The people [entrepreneurs] who I find most compelling are not the ones who come in super-energetic. They’re actually quiet and sometimes they’re nervous. You can be nervous; that’s okay. In fact, it sometimes signals that this is a serious thing and you really care about it.”

The idea that it’s okay to be nervous is closely linked to the concept of “presence,” which Cuddy defines as being attuned to and able to express your full potential.

Of course, as many of us already know, getting overly anxious can hurt your performance. The key to letting your nerves help instead of hurt you, Cuddy says, is to “avoid clinging to your nervousness.”

In other words, try not to get anxious about being anxious.

Credit: BusinessInsider

NNPC Top Bosses To Replace & Accounts To Probe- Report

Incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration will replace the top management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Reuters news agency reported yesterday.

It will also review the accounts of the oil company to restore credibility, Reuters said, quoting sources within Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). It said the new government will submit a bill to break the NNPC into four entities, as already prescribed in the latest PIB draft.  One APC source told Reuters that the Bill “will also, crucially, remove the oil minister from the NNPC’s board of directors to curb political interference.”

Others said more generally that the minister’s current powers would be heavily trimmed. Oil and gas will have separate companies for upstream, with a third covering pipelines and refining, while a fourth will be an inspectorate. The proposal could be submitted to parliament in the first quarter of next year, one parliamentary APC source said. The NNPC Management is made up of Group Managing Director Dr. Joseph T. Dawha; Group Executive Director, Finance & Accounts Mr. Bernard O.N. Otti; Group Executive Director, Corporate Services Dr. Dan Efebo, and Member, Alhaji Abdullahi Bukar, who make up the Board.

The Board is chaired by petroleum minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and members are Mr. Danladi Wadzani, Prof. Olusegun Okunnu; Mr. Danladi Kifasi, Mr. Steven Oronsaye, and Mr. Ikechukwu Oguine, Coordinator, Legal Services/Secretary to the Corporation.  Reuters said oil firms keen to know how the new government plans to tax them could be waiting for a long time as the President-elect makes ending corruption and reforming the opaque national oil company his most urgent sector priority. Four party sources in the APC told Reuters the issue of fiscal terms, seen as crucial by the industry, will have to wait on current thinking about oil and gas policies in Nigeria.

Crude output has stagnated close to 2 million barrels per day over the past few years, owing partly to underinvestment. “We need to address the structural issues and leave the fiscal for now,” Senator Bukola Saraki, told Reuters. “A more transparent NNPC) is needed with reasonable accounting,” he said. Buhari owes his March 28 victory against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan partly to a perception that Jonathan allowed corruption to get out of control — especially in the oil sector.

A string of multibillion dollar oil corruption scandals tainted the NNPC and other bodies that handle energy.
By contrast, Buhari was seen as one of the few Nigerian leaders to have cracked down on corruption during his military rule in 1983-1985. Many Nigerians hope he will again, Reuters said. APC leader Bola Tinubu, whose support was instrumental in Buhari’s victory and wields huge influence, told Reuters a transitional committee would be set up. “No way will we discuss that now,” he said.

Read More: dailytrust

Bureau De Change: Naira Loses N3 Against Dollar

The value of the Naira on Monday depreciated against the dollar by N3, to close at N208 at the Bureau De Change (BDC) from the N205 it sold for on Friday. The development was an appreciation following the N224 it sold for before the March 28 presidential election.

The Naira, however, at the parallel market, otherwise known as the black market, remained stable at N206 to the dollar since Friday. The currency traded against the pound at N301.50k at the BDCs and the black market, respectively.

The Naira also exchanged for the Euro at N228, from the N230 it traded for on Friday. Meanwhile, the official rate is still N197 to the dollar at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Credit: NAN

CBN Devalue Naira Again?

Indications have emerged that the Central Bank of Nigeria may devalue the naira again following developments in the foreign exchange market.

The currency has been experiencing free fall since November 25, 2014 when the CBN Monetary Policy Committee devalued it by eight per cent from 155 to 168 against the United States dollar.

The Bankers’ Committee which comprises the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, the deputy governors, chief executive officers of Deposit Money Banks and other stakeholders gave the hint of further devaluation on Thursday just as the nation’s External Reserves dropped by $1bn in 12 days.

Read More: Punch

Naira Appreciates at Interbank Market

The Naira, at the Interbank market, on Thursday gained 80 kobo to the dollar, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says.

The apex bank, in a statement in Lagos, said that the Naira closed at N185.50 from the N186.30 recorded on Wednesday. News reports that the appreciation may be due to regular intervention at the interbank and foreign exchange markets by CBN.

One of such measures included review upward of the Net Open Positions (NOP) of commercial banks’ shareholders’ fund from 0.1 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

The upward review is to increase liquidity at the interbank and foreign exchange markets. The Naira had been on the downward trend due to the drop in oil prices at the international market.

Credit: NAN

Why We Stopped Buying Nigeria’s Oil -White House Economic Director

Zients, US Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, and White House Policy Council Director, Cecelia Munoz, were addressing a few US journalists on Thursday afternoon on the state of the American economy when The Guardian raised the question wondering why the US brought oil imports from Nigeria to a complete zero, while still importing oil from Saudi Arabia and other major oil producing countries.

According to the White House Economic Council Director, “across the last several years, US oil production has ramped up significantly by more than 50 percent to now over eight and a half million barrels per day.”

He explained that such a high turn up in local US oil production “has now dramatically reduced our dependency on imports,” Zients noted, adding that “in fact, we now produce more here than we import.”

The White House official stated that the development is consistent with President Barack Obama’s energy strategy, which has changed “quite a bit over the last few years as we are much less dependent on oil imports.”

That strategy has not only left Nigeria in the lurch, but has generally also driven down the international market price of oil to a ridiculous $60 range by the close of trading on Friday. Oil price, which soared around $100 in September, is now $56.52 for the WTI Crude and $61.38 for the Brent Crude oil.

But Zients and the other US officials at the press briefing did not address the issue of the ongoing importation from other oil producing nations, including OPEC members like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and non-OPEC suppliers like Canada. In fact, as at last month, it was reported that, while US completely halted oil imports from Nigeria, it increased its importation from those three countries.

The reduction of US oil importation from Nigeria to zero is the very first time since 1973 that the US did not import oil from Nigeria. US Shale oil production is responsible for the infusion of “light, sweet crude,” said to be similar to Nigeria’s Bonny Light oil, and US refineries are said to have preferred buying the locally produced oil, which is cheaper than Nigeria’s light crude.

Before Zients explanation on Thursday, there have been muted concerns whether the decision to completely end oil importation from Nigeria has any political connotation. For instance, a German top bank, Deutsche Bank had commented last month that “as if the recent drop in oil prices was not enough bad news for Nigeria’s economy, recent data show the US completely stopped importing crude oil from Nigeria. This marks a dramatic reversal for Africa’s largest economy, which in 2010 was still among America’s top 5 oil suppliers and exported at its peak 1.3m barrels per day to the United States.”

The German bank analysis further questioned why Nigeria was singled out, an aspect of the question posed by The Guardian to which the US government officials did not address. According to Deutsche Bank, the decline in US imports from Nigeria, “proceeded much faster than for the US’ other major suppliers.’ It is the rather drastic and complete zero oil imports from Nigeria that suggested a possible political connotation, which was however left unexplained by Zients.

Observers say it is not unlikely that oil imports termination with Nigeria and the refusal of the US government to sell weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram might both be political signals from President Barack Obama to the Nigerian presidency as it can be seen as demonstration of a lack of commitment by the US government to a supposed strategic partner –Nigeria — in Africa.

The Obama administration’s outright refusal to approve the sale of specific military equipment to Nigeria, in a clear-cut public renunciation of the Nigerian military and security apparatus which requested the okay from the US Defense department is also a potential dampener to US claims of a thriving diplomatic relationship with Nigeria. First, it was the US Ambassador in Nigeria who confirmed that the country would not okay the weapons sales to Nigeria, and then the State Department in response to Nigeria’s Ambassador’s complaints on the issue.

This particular refusal is sending clear indications that there are strong oppositional voices against President Jonathan in the White House, the State Department and Pentagon, causing further strain between Nigeria and the American governments, according to knowledgeable US sources.

Read More:

Meet Nigerian Entrepreneur Who Built A $10 Million Toy Company

Paul Orajiaka, a 37 year-old Nigerian entrepreneur, is the founder of Auldon Limited, a manufacturer of African-themed toys. Auldon manufactures dolls and other toys which depict, promote and teach Africa’s cultural heritage to children. Orajiaka founded the company 17 years ago with less than $100; it now has annual revenues of more than $10 million.

Apart from Nigeria, Auldon’s toys are now sought after in countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and some parts of Europe. Last year, Auldon launched the Unity Girl Dolls, a set of multi-cultural dolls clad in the traditional attires of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups. It has been a runaway success and a tremendous hit among Nigerian parents and their daughters.

Orajiaka is currently studying for a Doctorate in Business Administration [DBA] at Henley Business School of the University of Readin, majoring in Entrepreneurship. I recently had a chat with him where he recounted his journey and spoke about his future plans.    

Why did you decide to venture into manufacturing African-themed toys?

I grew up in Warri in Southern Nigeria, and I did my secondary school education in Benin state. I recall that immediately after my secondary school education at Igbinedion Secondary School, Benin City, my sole ambition was to travel to the United States to seek the proverbial greener pastures. I never exactly planned to venture into the toy business. I was 18 at the time and determined to leave Nigerian at all costs. So, along with my friends, I made countless unfruitful trips to the American embassy in pursuit of an American visa. Eventually, all my friends were given visas, except me.

Naturally, I became dejected and ashamed. I had no clue as to what my next line of action was going to be. So I decided to stay back in Lagos and not return to my hometown where I would be mocked by my friends. You see, a lot of shame was attached to my disappointment at that time, being the only one out of all my friends who was denied an opportunity to go the U.S. So I decided that the only way out for me was to stay back in Lagos and work with my in-law in Idumota market and that is how that reluctant step taken out of frustration ended up becoming my glorious journey to success and fulfilment.


Naira Drops as Central Bank Controls Choke Trading

The naira weakened a second day and Nigerian stocks headed for biggest drop since 2010 as central bank measures to protect the currency of Africa’s largest crude producer from falling oil prices stifled trading.

There were nine trades in the naira between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in Lagos, compared with 122 in the same period four weeks ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from at least 39 local and international banks. The naira weakened 0.8 percent to 185 per dollar, extending losses over the past three months to 11 percent, the most of 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

The Abuja-based regulator last month told banks to clear foreign exchange positions daily, having previously allowed them net-open positions of 1 percent of shareholder funds. The move has made it difficult for non-Nigerian investors to exit their holdings, according to Samir Gadio, head of African strategy at Standard Chartered Plc.

“For those who remain in Nigeria, it’s become virtually impossible to get out,” he said by phone from London. “There’s a risk that these measures last as long as the central bank feels it doesn’t have the ability to control the exchange rate.”

Calls to the mobile phones of Ibrahim Mu’azu, a spokesman for the central bank, weren’t picked up and he didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions. The steps are short-term measures to stabilize the market, he said last month.


Nigeria, not Kenya, is About to Become Africa’s Next Big Technology Hub

Largely off the back of Mpesa, the hugely successful mobile money-transfer system, the Kenyan capital has gained a reputation for technological innovation—and with it an influx of no-strings (or few-strings) development funding that has crowded out some of the private investment searching for tech startups to finance.

 Now investors are looking to the other side of the African continent for results. Nigeria, with nearly 200 million people, a growing economy, and no shortage of local problems, stands out as an option. It’s slowly building up a tech sector of its own. The funding circuit is still small: probably no more than 10 companies investing money, says Kresten Buch, founder of the Nairobi tech accelerator 88mph (which has since expanded to South Africa).
The biggest difference between Nigeria and other major African economies is its sheer size. With roughly four times as many people as Kenya or South Africa, Nigeria is big enough to reward products and services that are domestic in nature.

One example of that is Obiwezy, a venue for selling used smartphones. Nigeria is primarily a pre-paid market, where customers pay the full cost of a handset up front. That puts most high-end devices out of reach for all but the very rich. But the aspiration to own a high-end Apple or Samsung handset remains, as it does elsewhere in the world. Obiwezy’s founders figure that a secondhand market—with warranties—is one way to sate that demand. They have tied up with MTN, a large telco, to offer the service.

 Nigeria still has a big hole where investors willing to put in between $100,000 and $1 million should be. For now, investors are ensconced in Nairobi. But that might change as Nigeria’s companies grow larger, signaling opportunity to deeper-pocketed investors looking for returns.

The Hut

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Represented Nigeria at the World Economic Forum Meeting at the Vatican. He shares his experience from his meeting with the Pope.

The Hut

by Jake Okechukwu Effoduh.

Insight from the World Economic Forum meeting at the Vatican

 There is a common Igbo[1] proverb that says, ‘A man who does not leave his hut will bring nothing in.’[2] This saying describes a person with self-interest who is only concerned about the business in his hut and does not see the need to go or look outside. The hut represents a mindset. It is a way of thinking, that restricts not only the individual, but also their family and community at large.

Reflecting on this proverb reveals the potential of an increasing value to an individual and the community at large when a person is willing to go outside and bring more people in. The notion of: ‘with more people in the hut, the food gets smaller for everyone’ is a deceitful concept because with more people let inside, there will be more food. There are more resources outside therefore, more people coming in, means more resources and capacities.

“Whoever looks into a mirror in order to improve himself hasn’t really changed”. The capitalist world has looked at businesses in the same mirror for many years and the image it creates is a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Perhaps it is time to look, maybe not at the mirror anymore, but the window – to see who is outside the hut and if possible open the doors to let them in.

This reason why the World Economic Forum called together 80 leaders from around the world was to explore ways of overcoming social and economic exclusion. The event was a result of the collaboration between the Holy See (Pontifical Council for the Laity) and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and it took place on the 18th and 19th of November 2014 in Rome, Italy. The meeting was inspired by the teachings of Pope Francis contained in the book, Evangelii Gaudium[3] and his message to participants at the Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos-Klostiers[4]. His Holiness states that, ‘Business is – in fact – a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life’[5].

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Speaking With Chidiogo Akunyili, The Senior Manager Africa Of The Global Shapers Community As Well As, Mauro Ometto, A Global Shaper Of The Rome Hub.

Jake Effoduh Speaking With Chidiogo Akunyili, The Senior Manager Africa Of The Global Shapers Community As Well As, Mauro Ometto, A Global Shaper Of The Rome Hub.










Today, half of the largest 100 economies are companies[6]. The governments who are meant to be custodians of the ‘greater meaning’ are now losing economic power to the Fortune 500s. Businesses are more interested in profits than the ‘greater meaning in life’ and this has dragged the world to an extreme poverty trap. With a billion and a half of the world’s population living in slums, the current social inequality has resulted into a global economic dysfunction. Economic and social inequalities are the root causes of social evil. This is evidenced by Oxfam’s statistics revealing that more than half of the world’s population owns the same wealth as the richest 85 persons[7]. In other words, 85 individuals in a world of 7 billion are living in huts that can accommodate half of the world.

Participants at the Vatican meeting comprised of World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs communities. Also present were representatives from the Holy See, senior business leaders and global experts on inequality and social inclusion. We examined the drivers of inequality and explored novelties from the private and public sectors, and civil society that can help build more inclusive, entrepreneurial economies that are based on the principles of love and respect for all.

The outcome of the meeting was the creation of a new social contract for all human progress, which will provide essential resources for economic engagement, ensure well-functioning institutions, rights and responsibilities, and enable all global citizens to lead purposeful lives. The three areas to enable the realization of a new global mindset are: personal transformation, organizational transformation and cultural transformation.

Jake Effoduh Discussing With A Caucus Group As They Draft The "New Social Contract"

Jake Effoduh Discussing With The Caucus Group As They Draft The “New Social Contract”









On personal transformation: The Pope made it clear that people can make relevant contribution by placing their expertise at the service of those who are still in poverty; “The vocation of an entrepreneur is a noble work when it is led by a quest towards the broader meaning of life[8].” One hut can change the mindset of an entire community. One person can make the difference. Professor Klaus Schwab is one person. He founded the World Economic Forum in 1971[9] through inspiration from his own book, Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau[10] – in which the stakeholder principle was first ever defined[11]. He is the same person who created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship[12] in 1998, at a time when nobody knew what social entrepreneurship was! Two heads may be better than one, but one head is enough to inspire and commit others to improving the state of the world. Schwab’s ideology is that even if one hut (or stakeholder) may be too small, one must realize that there are those who do not have huts – and they constitute one and a half billion people.

The purport of organizational transformation is to create a new language in organizations. The language of using long term dynamism to meet short term goals; the language of leadership not rulership; the language of owning the responsibility for social transformation and human development. We have to evacuate ourselves from the circular economy of “take-make-waste” to “take-make-retake-remake-retake-remake.” Capitalism in its current model is unequivocally broken and it is going to get worse if we don’t incorporate ecological boundaries as well as the need to embrace equality in humanity. We need a world of plenty and not plenty for a few. Therefore there is need for organizations to transform their mindsets. It’s not about making profits but about making people.

Cultural transformations will only fruition with acceptance. We must work towards a system that embraces all people from all backgrounds, ensuring that each individual and group has the ability to contribute to a prosperous, purpose-driven world to their highest potential. They say what a man can do; a woman can do better. But why do women constitute 70% of the world’s poorest?[13] Anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation have an especially strong correlation with GDP per capita[14]. But do we need a business case before we advance equality? Living by the culture of your hut is like looking into the mirror to improve yourself. Stepping outside your hut will give you an opportunity to have a better perspective. Stereotypes must be unlearned.


The Podium









The new mindset is about recognizing the human dignity. It is about selflessness and sacrifice. It is ensuring that institutions exist for common good and stewardship. Businesses must be capable of feeling emotion, compassion and humanity. ‘How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’[15]

The Qur’an instructs us to ‘give them [the poor] of the wealth of God, which He has given you’.[16] The bible says ‘whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed’[17]. Charity is a necessity in life because some of us are tested by being rich and some of us are tested by being poor, but charity is not enough. The new mindset goes beyond the thinking that the poor cannot help themselves, or that they have no capacity. Our role in helping the poor is not likened to filling up empty vessels but to ensure that the vessels are uncovered to all their potentials. There is no dignity in giving another man bread, if you are capable of teaching him how to make bread.

Social and economic exclusion is not our inescapable destiny. We can make what seems inevitable, intolerable. We need to change the mentality of “we can’t fix this world” to “we can’t have this world like this” Hence the reason why the pope calls us to action, with a sense of urgency: ‘to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it’[18].


Cross Section of Participants

At The Plenary With Participants





Speaking With Experts On Inclusion


Jake Okechukwu Effoduh is one of the 4,401 Global Shapers: A Community of exceptional young individuals under the age of 30, initiated by the World Economic Forum with currently 359 independent hubs worldwide. Jake Okechukwu is the Deputy Curator of the Abuja Global Shapers Hub, one of the 5 existing hubs in Nigeria. He was invited to The Forum’s meeting at the Vatican where he worked with a selected caucus to draft the new social contract; a framework for meeting the challenge to overcoming social and economic exclusion in the world. It was submitted to, and accepted by His Holiness Pope Francis I. Email:


  • [1] A tribe from the South- Eastern region of Nigeria and one of the major spoken languages in Nigeria.
  • [2] Akporobaro F.B.O and Emovon J.A Nigerian Proverbs: Meaning and Relevance Today Nigeria Magazine, Lagos, (1994), p. 113.
  • [3] His Holiness, Pope Francis I ‘Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Cergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World’ accessed 7th December 2014.
  • [4] The Vatican, ‘Message of Pope Francis to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum on the occasion of the Annual Meeting 2014 at Davos-Klosters’ (17 January 2014) Vatican.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Michael Posner, former U.S Under Secretary of State, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, July 2012
  • [7] Oxfam International, “Number of billionaires doubles since financial crisis as inequality spirals out of control”, accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [8] Ibid. (n3).
  • [9] The history of the World Economic Forum, accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [10] Meaning “Modern Management in Mechanical Engineering”
  • [11] This concept states that the management of an enterprise is not only accountable to its shareholders but must also serve the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and, more broadly, government, civil society and any others who may be affected or concerned by its operations.
  • [12]
  • [13] Carly Fiona on ABC’s “This Week” January 12th 2014. accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [14] The Williams Institute, ‘The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: An Analysis of Emerging Economies’ (2014) P.2.
  • [15] Ibid. (n3), P. 53.
  • [16] The Holy Quran, Verse 24:33.
  • [17] The Holy Bible; Proverbs 19:17.
  • [18] Ibid. (n4).

‘Putin’s Revenge’: Russia And China Try To End The Dominance Of The Dollar

Russia and China just agreed to a second major gas deal, worth slightly less than the $400 billion agreement reached earlier this year, according to Bloomberg.

The details of the deal mean Russia will supply China with another 30 billion cubic metres of gas every year for the next three decades through the Altai pipeline, a proposed pipe transporting the gas from western Siberia to China.

Earlier in the fall, Keun-Wook Paik at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies said this kind of deal would be “Putin’s revenge,” according to the Financial Times.

Many analysts see the move as evidence that Moscow is pivoting away from reliance on European customers and toward East Asia, where relatively rapid economic growth should prop up demand.

It’s also a political move, as relations with the rest of Europe have become increasingly cold after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the tit-for-tat sanctions between the European Union, United States, and Russia.

The value of the Russian rouble has collapsed recently as the price of oil has declined. Russia’s economy is dependent on oil, so the currency fluctuates with the oil price. The price declines in turn threaten Russia’s ability to meet its budget obligations and pay debt. In sum, the country faces an economic crisis if it can’t find new demand for oil and currency .

But the rouble is rallying against the dollar today. Here’s the US currency dropping by about 3% against the rouble after the central bank announced it would stop trying to defend the currency’s collapse.

The China deal helps both Russia and China lessen their economic dependence on the West. It also helps Russia get around the economic sanctions imposed by the West because of the Ukraine situation.

Curtailing the dollar’s influence fits well with China’s ambitions to increase the influence of the yuan and eventually turn it into a global reserve currency. With 32 percent of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves invested in US government debt, China wants to curb investment risks in dollar.

The quest to limit the dollar’s dominance became more urgent for Moscow this year when US and European governments imposed sanctions on Russia over its support for separatist rebels in Ukraine.

Credit: Business Insider

#SmartStart Skills: 3 Skills for developing Confidence in Public Speaking

Public speaking is feared by many at the same level as the fear of death. Often, this fear comes from not feeling confident in your appearance or with your skills. A life coach shares tips to boost self-confidence to improve public-speaking skills.


Sophie Skover, a coach and inspirational speaker from LSS Harmony Life Coaching, explains how to boost self-confidence so you can deliver that speech with style, not sweat. Skover says to start with the basics. Be prepared — know your overall message and practice your speech with a timer. You’ll be confident in your words and your timing. Then, you can focus on your delivery. Below are Sophie’s top-three confidence-boosting tips for public speaking.

  1. Be you, flaws and all

The fact is, no one is perfect. Let go of that expectation, and keep reminding yourself that you were picked to give this speech. True authenticity and confidence are attractive. Skover explains how to do this. She says, “Give yourself permission to be you, flaws and all. You are the only one in the world who is an expert at being you. Let your true heart shine through your words and know you are great the way you are. Sure, you may have some growth areas, but don’t let that rule your nerves or your approach. Know that everyone standing on stage has experienced the same feelings you are feeling, and you can do it. Say to yourself over and over, ‘Everything is OK. I am OK right now.’ Know it is OK, you are OK, and show your true strong and capable self.”

  1. Laughter is a strategy

Laughter breaks — internally and externally — the ice. You feel good about yourself when you laugh and when you make others laugh. And people look lovely when they smile and feel good about themselves! Skover suggests using a joke to start your speech because by opening with a joke, your smile will lighten your look and mood and set a great — and confident! — tone for the rest of your speech. If possible, try weaving anecdotes throughout your speech for the same reason. Your audience will remember the smiles you shared.

  1. Mind games

Ever since The Secret, everyone who has wanted to has used this truth: Everything is possible. Turn this into what you need to hear: You are wanted, and you are worthy. Skover says, “Now this is something that you can only give yourself. Come from that deep place in your gut where you know and believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Believe you will have a positive impact. Believe that one person out there needs to hear what you have to say and that you saying it is the only way they will hear it, and finally, believe that you are great!” Confidence has the greatest impact on your looks and on your success. Gift yourself the knowledge that you’ve got this, and you’ll look great doing it!

I am @StevenHaastrup.

After 30 weeks of writing straight from my heart, I will for the next 7 weeks be sharing relevant articles, properly referenced and credited; ones I trust will help you grow bigger and better.

Make sure you share it among your followers and mutual friends; it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.


3 Ways To Become A CEO Before You Turn 30

For many young professionals, the ultimate career goal is landing a spot in the corner office. But getting there by following a traditional career path can take years, even decades.

However, several young executives have proven that it’s possible to streamline the process and become CEO before your 30th birthday.

To find out the secrets of climbing the corporate ladder at record speed, The Guardian’s Matthew Jenkin talked to two young CEOs about how they got where they are today. Here are the three best pieces of advice they gave about how to reach the top:

Choose the right environment.

Finding an industry and company where colleagues will respect you for the work you do, not how old you are, is key, says Danny Waters, who became CEO of Enterprise Finance at 25. If you aren’t able to work at your own pace and stay true to your own goals and values, success will become extremely difficult to attain. “Never lose sight of who you are,” Waters advises. “It’s really important that you enjoy what you do because if you do, then you tend to achieve and excel at whatever career you are in.”

Take risks .

When you’re young, you have much less to lose than older colleagues, so take advantage of it, suggests Jonathan Samuels, who was named CEO of Dragonfly Property Finance at 28. “Because the consequences of failure are far less, you can afford to be bolder,” he says. Without a family or mortgage holding you back, you can take bigger risks and go for those bigger rewards.

Demand respect.

A lot of getting ahead involves commanding the respect of your colleagues — which can be extra difficult if you’re younger than most of them. Samuels recommends asserting authority, then backing it up by doing your job well. “There will be times during negotiations with other parties when people will be surprised by your age,” he says. “In my experience, they will get over that very quickly when they realize you know what you are talking about.” Prove your worth and your more senior coworkers will recognize you as someone who’s going places.

Click here to read the full post.

The Social Media Awards Africa Unveiled In Lagos #SMAAfrica

Development Diaries Ltd/GTE is pleased to announce the maiden edition of The Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA) – a premier continental initiative established to recognize and celebrate excellence, creativity and impact of social media.

The SMAA features 4 categories and 15 awards targeted at personalities, platforms, institutions and indigenous initiatives that have demonstrated far-reaching impact on human socio-economic development in digital and social media practice through various tools and platforms.

Nominations opened on October 1, 2014 and can be made at until midnight on October 27, 2014.

The initiative was unveiled at a closed event on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 to a cross section of media professionals and social media influencers in Lagos, Nigeria.

Individuals, Organisations and brands are invited to participate in the nomination process in 4 categories distinct categories summarised below:

  1. PERSONALITY BASED (Awards for individual achievements in social media):
    – Blogger of the Year
    – Social Media Personality of the Year
    – Social Media Hero

  1. PLATFORM (Specific Social Platforms):
    – Facebook Page of the Year
    – Twitter Handle of the Year
    – Influencer of the Year (LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram)

  1. INSTITUTIONAL (Best Use of Social Media by):
    – Government/Public Sector
    – Private Sector
    – Non-Profit
    – Start-up/MSME
    – Financial Institution

  1. INDIGENOUS (Local Campaigns and Brands):
    – App of the Year
    – Hashtag of the Year
    – Brand of the Year
    – Best Rated Platform

Nominations close at Midnight on October 27, 2014 and Winners will be celebrated at the ‘Night of Virtual Wonders’ holding on December 6, 2014 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Each winner will take home a cash prize of $1,000 USD and SMAA Plaque. Other benefits such as: Social Media Training, Access to memberships and attendance of Social Media events, Publications on Social Media and Complimentary advertising on Social Media Africa Portal.

The Social Media Awards Africa is sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc. African Media Initiative (AMI), AIESEC Africa, West African NGO Network (WANGONET) and Beat FM are Partners.

To nominate, visit


ABOUT STERLING BANK, @sterling_bankng,

LR: Tolu Onile-Ere, Ojoma Ochai, Naomi Lucas, Abiola Aloba & Japheth J Omojuwa

LR: Tolu Onile-Ere, Ojoma Ochai, Naomi Lucas, Abiola Aloba & Japheth J Omojuwa

China, World’s Largest Economy; Overtakes U.S.

Us Dollar Versus China Yuan

Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us back in April this year that it was all about to happen.

The simple logic is that prices aren’t the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than San Francisco, so it’s not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have. The Economist’s Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market exchange terms, and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy.

Also, according to the IMF by the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion).

IMF, Google Public Data Explorer Adjusted for purchasing power, the IMF thinks China’s economy is now the world’s largest.

It’s not all sore news for the US. It’ll be some time yet until the lines cross over in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China still sits more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn’t likely to overtake for quite some time. But in terms of the raw market value of China’s currency, it still has a long way to go.


#SmartStart #MentorshipSeries (3): Mentorship Lessons from my Trip on a Nigerian Road

Benin-Ore-Lagos-Road1Oya… Manchester United don enter Top Seven, two points behind shouting Arsenal and three points behind silent Manchester City. And to all of the Arsenal fans waiting for Welbeck to save them, you are on a long thing, Welbeck wasn’t what you needed and all of you knew it but it’s good if you cling on to the hope that he becomes an Henry. And for lying Mourinho using scope to beg Spain not to invite Costa, I sensed fear, because he knows the day that guy crashes, he would struggle to get fire, fear and goals upfront. Anyways, No football talk today *laughs*.

Good day, my name is Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

This last weekend was a very busy one for me, one that I had to travel over 12 hours on Nigerian roads, an exercise I haven’t done this year. For months now, friends and colleagues of mine have always complained of DELAYED FLIGHTS due to OPERATIONAL REASONS by airlines in Nigeria, and that is after them sending you a text that your flight has been postponed by 2 hours, they still most times further delay by another 2 to 5 hours depending on their madness for that day. A colleague of mine booked an AERO CONTRACTOR ticket from Enugu during August for 2pm and his other friends went by road and they got to Lagos and have forgotten they travelled before AERO CONTRACTOR boarded from Enugu by 8pm and landed Lagos 9pm.

These experiences made me cancel my ticket for Asaba and made me decide to go to ASABA by road which by average estimate from people who ply this road said may take 6 hours from Lagos. Going to Asaba by road was hell, it was rainy so heavy and the big gutters on the road were covered with water so the pot holes couldn’t be assessed before even an SUV dashes into it. If an SUV could suffer that way, I wonder what a car would have gone through on that road this fateful day.

I left Abeokuta for 2pm, got to Asaba for 10pm, thank God for the TRANSFORMATIONAL Benin–Ore Road that Pastor Reno has advertised tire on Twitter, it helped our speed though. Connecting Benin to Asaba was hell, as we were novice and they were no road signs to say this is the road to Asaba and Onitsha and sorts.

Leaving Asaba on Saturday had drowned me in thoughts, as our president (GEJ) was in Benin and some roads were blocked, we couldn’t afford to miss the way this time around and also the big gutters waiting for us was scary to think of. We joyfully didn’t miss our way till we got out of Benin and after Ore, the terrible road awaited us, the rain was falling so hard and so we expected the same situation as when we were going to Asaba and this is where I learnt my MENTORSHIP LESSON.

We saw a transporter 14 sitter CHISCO bus ahead of us, He was running and could avoid all the ditch on the road, He was so good but fast that others never wanted to follow him, they felt running in the rain would be dangerous especially with the road gutters awaiting you from Ore to Ijebu Ode which was a 3 hour journey on an average. We decided to follow though, if a bus could skip and run this way, an SUV should be able to do same. Then we followed this bus, the bus knew the road like a map, as he avoided every holes so we did. Where he ran, we ran, where he slowed, we slowed. It was a pleasurable journey returning, He saved us so much time that we were so excited about the trip. I got home in 5 hours.

3 things I learnt from that trailing mentorship:

  1. Mentorship brings Speed through leveraged experience.
  2. Mentorship builds in YOU confidence
  3. Mentorship makes you equally smart. 

It was simple, we needed a good trail; we identified an experienced bus which qualified it as the right mentor for the journey, we trailed all through the difficult roads until Ijebu Ode and we were not stupid to stay behind the Bus after Ijebu Ode.

Another Lesson,

  1. We knew when it was time to move on.

We were an SUV so we sped past this angelic Bus. Listen to this, because we were an SUV following a Bus didn’t make us less than an SUV; we knew when we had to trail and knew when we had to blaze.

We couldn’t say thank you to the driver though as we were both glassed up… But please show gratitude and know when it’s time to MOVE ON.

I hope you enjoyed my Asaba story. I did it in a rush.

I am your StartUp Management Consultant – Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Got questions or comments? You can send me a mail via


If you missed the last series on Mentorship: (Robust Mentoring) Rules of Engagement; search it out on this platform and read it. It is an awesome building block to getting the best off this Mentorship Series. As for next week, I wouldn’t promise a topic but it would be our last episode on the MENTORSHIP SERIES.  Don’t miss this for anything, it might be another story. Make it a date next Monday here exclusively on

Tell your friends and partners, share it among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

#SmartStart #MentorshipSeries (2): Robust Mentoring: Rules of Engagement

The right mentor coaches to be the Best

The right mentor coaches to be the Best

No football talk today Oh. Man United lost shamefully, Welbeck scored for big mouthed Arsenal, Liverpool reviled & rejoiced as they got a defeated mate in Man United while Lampard turned so Frank with his former side (Chelsea). So, no football talk today, until maybe when Man United wins again *smiles*. I came across a very interesting tweet on Twitter weeks ago and I thought I should share this with you especially for this week where there is the World’s biggest ever Climate march in New York… “Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our kids, can we also put the same effort in leaving better kids for our planet”

Good day, my name is Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

No story today because Man United didn’t win (joking though), so straight to the issue “How do I make Mentorship work for me?” the answer lies simply is in the response “How do I engage my Mentor?” Engagement means RELATING and it takes two to relate successfully. A mentor to protégé relationship isn’t a friend or peer kind of relationship, so it takes wisdom and patience to relate with a mentor. Today, I would be sharing 7 rules for engagement with your mentor or future mentor.

  1. Put their interest ahead of yours: It sounds stupid you may say but that’s how it works here, no mentor wants a parasite who always want his/her interest dominating their relationship. The truth is when you put their interest first, they respond with all support when yours pop up for help.
  1. Be a Person of Integrity: Your mentor would directly or indirectly or should I say consciously or unconsciously through a test for your integrity, if you can be trusted and the result of this would determine the quality of the relationship. So don’t compromise at all.
  1. Be sincere and ready to learn at whatever speed: Be sincere about what you know and what you don’t know, your mentor can’t teach you everything you might need to know so learn the skills essential to the need of your mentor so as to keep interest alive and growing
  1. Become a Person of Value: This for me is becoming indispensable. When you become a person of value, your mentor would find it so hard to think through a day without thinking about you and how much you can contribute to his success and remember that when you become a person of value, they respond with all support when yours pop up for help.
  1. Don’t ask for Money: I never asked for money until a very broke day that I genuinely asked because I was stuck and he gave me 10 times of what I would need and that was the only time I ever did. It made our relationship robust and made myself sincere about real mentorship.
  1. Always seek advice whenever you stuck: Even though their interest is put ahead of yours but no good mentor wants a slave so they want you to be informed about your pursuit and they want to be involved in advising and networking for you whenever you get stuck so learn to genuinely ask for advice. I have won so many mentors over because of the honesty they saw in my person to learn and always ask.
  1. Ask about their welfare: Your mentors would love to be cared about especially from someone they consider a protégé. It would be nice to ask for their welfare once in a while from them, ask about their family and kids when the opportunity arises and all these make for a robust engagement with your mentor.

The 7 tips that I mentioned to you today are practical for me and without a reference to any book, but note that the personality differences of our diverse mentors should make us wise in how we apply them.

The Holy Bible says in a verse and I quote… “The silence was deafening – they had been arguing with one another over who among them was GREATEST. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “SO YOU WANT FIRST PLACE? THEN TAKE THE LAST PLACE. Be the servant of all.” (MSG Mark 9:34-35)

So it’s simple, pay the price of greatness today. Someone else will someday pay their price for greatness through you. Knowledge wouldn’t teach you in three years what the right mentorship can teach you one year.

I am your StartUp Management Consultant – Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Got questions or comments? You can send me a mail via


If you missed the last series on Mentorship: The Guardian of Pursuit, search it out on this platform and read it. It is an awesome building block to getting the best off this Mentorship Series. Next week, I would be talking about “Mentorship Index: Assessing your Quality during Mentorship”. Don’t miss this for anything. Make it a date next Monday here exclusively on

Tell your friends and partners, share it among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

#SmartStart #PursuitSeries (4): Clarity (Segun’s Story): Just Chill and See

black-mam-worriedI think we have been too serious lately, today I intend to crack you up before we go into our last episode of the Pursuit Series, It’s a joke I stole off Twitter… ”A Bentley just bashed a Range Rover SUV in Lekki. The two owners came out, inspected the damage; exchanged business cards and left”… I know you loved that swags that just happened, but seriously if it were to be you what would you have done? *laughs*

Good day, my name is Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Segun walks in tired, lies on the couch and with a pack of food he got from an eatery down the road, he flings it on the table. Segun screams I hate this job; It cracks me up, takes all my time and gives me money in return”. On hearing this, I knew Segun has returned from his late work trips around Lagos. I kuku came out of the room and said to him… “Segun Pele o”.

Segun is single, a banker and a focused handsome dude, We have always lived together for the past 3 years now. I can remember Segun usually talks of one day owning his own IT firm that has its own app or service that serves humanity; He says it’s been a longstanding dream for him. I can remember one of those days, Segun came home so tired and said to me while I watched the TV that “My dream seem to be fading, I get consumed chasing customers to bank with us and I so much hate that I feel so stuck”I just smiled to him and said, at least you earn good money, then Segun amazingly replied saying, My earnings hasn’t made me happy.

One fateful day, Segun surprisingly went for a weekend conference which a friend invited him for and a top notch Nigerian career and business coach was among the ones who spoke, Segun said none of them got to me as that man did. Checking from Segun’s jotter, I discovered, the speaker spoke about “Achieving career and business excellence”. I sha knew that on this historic day Segun came home, so excited and threw his jotter on me, He said, Mr Man, open that thing… I have got my vision back. I picked it up and began reading through and as I read through I kept looking at Segun’s smiling face in between, and then some words caught my eyes then I focused by reading them aloud as he wrote it in his jotter.

“Don’t let your Job become your stop in reaching for a more satisfied you, don’t let it be like its for survival in a country like Naija, see it as either your ladder to the top or your pointer to your course that leads to the top of a very satisfied you. You must love what you do, it should bring satisfaction, that’s the only way your day can be productive and to never stay stuck.

Segun screamed “Like this man was just reading my mind”. I just kept reading aloud…

I want you to ask yourself anytime you feel unhappy that… Today, am I the man I saw 5 years ago? If Yes! Renew your love for what you do, by challenging yourself to knowing or learning more about what you do but If No! Don’t stay regretting your past; Start afresh by beginning to ask yourself… What and Who am I seeing 5 years from now?

A smiling Segun tapped me and said… “Steven! Read this part loud abeg”

If your present environment doesn’t look like where you want to be, don’t just jump ship immediately, you need to Chill and See. When you Chill and See, you will stay happy and always having a productive day because of the profound knowing of what you see and what you are working towards. Remember that while you chill, document what you see, strategize your exit, plan your savings… It is like putting yourself on course to your destination. My best advice for you today is “Stay on Course, Be Happy, Be You!

After reading this and still in stare, Segun faced me and started giving me his own perspective for his own dream, He said, I would start reading relevantly and will also talk to my IT friends about how they started up and what is really needed to start up, because I want to beat however they started, so I need their benchmarks. I looked so awed and screamed, Segun! So what happened? Is this how change comes? The he said… It’s all because today I saw that “Clarity is the backbone of sustainable pursuits”, the truth is my dream will remain vague if I don’t get it clear with in terms of sight and action. Clarity keeps you breathing; you only get snuffed out because you lost sight and then you lost the fight.

Today, after 5 years of smartly quitting his job, Segun owns one of the biggest IT consulting firms in the nation today consulting for many international organizations aside the Federal government and several state governments.

It’s easy, just “Smile, Chill and See” and no matter where you feel you are stuck  you would begin to “Stand and Productively Move”. *smiles*

I am your StartUp Management Consultant – Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Got questions or comments? You can send me a mail via


If you missed the last week episode of the #PursuitSeries – “The Dynamics of Pursuits: Do dreams really change?” search it out on this platform and read it. It is an awesome building block to pursuing productively. Next week, I would be switching to a new series on “Mentorship: Getting your Rib”. Don’t miss this for anything. Make it a date next Monday here exclusively on

Tell your friends and partners, share it among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

#SmartStart #PursuitSeries (3): The dynamics of Pursuit: Do dreams really Change?

Article picture

This morning I woke up with a moody face, feeling like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I didn’t wake up too happy and I couldn’t just spot the reason why. I muttered some words of prayer then I remembered I had to speak to Adebola. I swung my left hand blindly to pick up my phone from the left side drawer of my bed and accidentally my left hand went hitting the glass cup with which I used in drinking myself to bed last night. With the frustration of a lazy me looking angrily at a broken glass cup and my precious phone in the midst of it and then my phone cried out ringing with the tune “Because I am Happy by Pharrel”

Good day, my name is Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Sweetheart, don’t tell me you are still on the bed? Chai! You are a Lazy boy. How was sha your night? And then I replied “Adebola you know I am not lazy, it’s just that I have to sleep very well on my Saturdays, anyways, I had a good and cold night”. Sweetheart I called for a reason, Adebola continued… there is something I want to discuss with you and it has been bothering me. What’s that Adebola? It’s about the work I do; don’t be angry I would be talking very serious this early Saturday morning. It’s because I am so bothered… Steven, you know I am into fashion designing but of recent I have been getting a rich network of people and it has been fetching huge jobs for me.

Great! So what bothers you Adebola?

She stammered… it’s that it is requiring me to go the extra mile of cutting my designs to cloth myself and then sew them which I don’t do before, and this is one part of fashion you know that I don’t like but these recent jobs are huge and I don’t want to be doing this niche-thing and lose out of great jobs like this… Steven, you are my amazing coach aside being my sweetheart, and I would want your advice on what I can do in a fix like this.

“Steven are you still there?” I am Adebola… I was just listening to you and wanted you to finish speaking before I say anything about what you should do.

Adebola! It’s simple! Our dreams are like balls. In execution, we kick them towards the goal of full realization and if we can’t do that, we have failed. That’s why from the beginning, we should be so damn clear about what we want, who we are and who we eventually want to be. We don’t know everything, we don’t know the twists but one thing we know is ourselves.

Adebola! You remember the gist I told you? About when I had this meeting with a former minister of this country and I didn’t ask for a job even though I felt tempted to almost throw away my dreams because this former minister asked me to mention anything I wanted and you can remember what I told you? That I knew what I wanted before the meeting with the former minister, all I said was that I needed LEVERAGE and then I detailed it in our conversation.

Adebola! In your life pursuits, advancements are advisable but make sure they still lead to the same life goals or even an improved, aligned one. Make sure your advancement is not momentary; make sure it is an UPGRADE of your whole person. There are 4 heat signals that would let you know it is time to upgrade, they are:

  1. If recurrent opportunities don’t match your expertise for delivery, then skill up
  2. If it is in vogue and it’s the exceptional requirement of the day, then skill up
  3. If this advancement will bring speed to your pursuit, then skill up.
  4. If you are stagnant and you seem stuck, then skill up.

Steven, were you saying ZIP UP? Adebola, you are not listening, only God knows where your mind was, I said SKILL UP! Conclusively, dreams change, they twist, don’t be scared of losing that so called original dream. To skill up is the only way your idea can survive the speed of pursuit, it’s your maneuver in journeying along. If you don’t, you would be trampled upon. So, watch it, make sure you have probed yourself real good with those 4 questions and make sure you could answer at least 3 of those questions to make your twist right.

I am your StartUp Management Consultant – Haastrup Steven Adeshope.

Got questions or comments? You can send me a mail via


If you missed the last week episode of the #PursuitSeries – “Kunle’s Story: It could have been your Story”, search it out on this platform and read it. It is an awesome building block to pursuing productively. Next week, I would be talking on “Clarity: The backbone of sustainable pursuits”. Don’t miss this for anything. Make it a date next Monday here exclusively on

Tell your friends and partners, share it among your followers and mutual friends, it might be all they need to get up and stand tall.

Have a great week ahead.

Unlocking Africa’s Youth Potential Through Mass Market Innovations – David Lanre Messan

Despite the entire hullabaloo in the news about Africa, the continent is beginning to take its place in the spearheading of business and technological innovations and not just leapfrogging into 21st century trends and inventions as used to be the case. Some of these innovations are being created within fields that deal with the most basic human needs such as education, banking, agriculture, healthcare, entertainment, information technology etc.

With the majority of its population being youth, there is need for these innovations to provide mass employment which will serve as an opportunity to unlock the potential of other African youth. Thriving African innovations taking the world by storm include the following;

Innovation: M-PESA

Country: Kenya

Mobile money innovation began in Africa with the launch of M-Pesa six years ago – the service has spawned a number of further products built around the mobile money concept which includes M-Shwari, which allows customers to borrow and save money via their mobile handsets, generating interest.

Innovation: IrokoTV

Country: Nigeria

iROKOtv, the world’s biggest online Nigerian movie distributor, is making great strides in mobile video (as opposed to focusing purely on an online video-watching service). In January, it announced that it was teaming up with Nokia to develop a mobile app allowing Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 users to watch Nollywood movies. Visitors to their sleek website will also notice subtle differences between iROKOtv and Western equivalents – including categorisations by actor as well as genre and the ability to watch certain films for free.

Innovation: Spinlet

Country: Nigeria

Spinlet enables African music artists to upload their singles and albums for sale. A point of difference between Spinlet’s Africa-based model and the business models of music platforms like global giant Spotify is its greater emphasis on enabling users to access music via their mobile phones, rather than online. Spinlet’s capacity to innovate in this particular area is therefore something to celebrate.

Innovation: Yolo Smartpones/Wise Tablets

Country: Congo/SouthAfrica

A low-cost revolution in smartphones and tablets Smartphones and tablets are another area of innovation to watch in Africa.In December, for example, Republic of Congo-based company VMK launched what it claims is the first African-designed smartphone and tablet – although it is manufactured in China and powered by Android. The price is competitive – at $170 for the smartphone and $300 for the tablet. The South African firm, Wise Tablets, has also developed its own extremely competitive tablets, starting at R1500 ($163) for the Wi-Fi-only seven-inch version.

Innovation: Changamka Creative e-health solutions 
Country: Kenya

Kenyan company Changamka (meaning ‘Be Happy’ in Kiswahili), which offers health-card smartcards in the cities of Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa. These allow Kenyans who are outside the private health system to save and pay for treatments via a prepaid wallet system, which can be topped up using M-Pesa.

Innovation: M-Farm, Agriculture

Country: Nigeria

Africa is also witnessing pioneering developments in agribusiness, as companies seek out ways to cut costs and deal with risks commonly associated with agriculture. Agribusinesses are seeing the value in using ICT for all of these different purposes and in many cases are making the investments into implementing them themselves. M-Farm, a mobile app that allows farmers to access market information in real time designed to prevent farmers being exploited by middlemen because of their lack of knowledge of the markets inspired M-Farm co-founders Jamila Abass and Susaneve Oguya to come up with the system.

Innovation: kwiksta, wise tablets, M-prep, ukufunda; E-learning takes another step forward

Country: South Africa

Cutting edge e-learning development is taking place in Africa.

The South African Wise Tablets, which include access to a range of pre-loaded content, including an Education Centre aims to make the tablet a practical tool for education and so work directly with educational institutions to develop their own content and use it on the Education Centre, which provides a standard way of viewing educational content via a removable SD card.

Online training provider’s platform, Kwiksta, which makes it easy for anyone to develop their own online courses, Kenyan company, MPrep, also offers a similar platform, usable with mobile phones rather than computers and Ukufunda, a mobile platform for a virtual classroom on Africa’s biggest social network Mxit.

David Lanre Messan is Chief Innovation Officer at ideas portfolio management firm, Infinite Impact Ltd and founder of Follow on Twitter @ideastrategist

Views expressed are solely the author’s

How To Access Capital For Your StartUp In Africa – David Lanre Messan

Financing The future through innovative channels: Breaking the barriers to Financing SMEs in Africa’ by David Lanre Messan

The 21st century is introducing transformational models for financing, utilising technology, the frontline driver of this age in the achievement of its aim. While these models are becoming policies in modern economies, growth markets especially in Africa lag in leapfrogging approaches to participating in this revolution. Positively enough, the question this revolution has put on the lips of finance seekers is not necessarily ‘how do I get funded?’ but ‘when do I get funded?’ As such, financing the future will be tailored to meet all business ideas and needs (even those undeserving of it) with all but a time barrier.

One of such models set to power financing is community, as close knitted, identifiable and authentic groups will have greater access to various forms of funding that will include the well beaten paths of micro financing to technologically driven crowd funding opportunities for consumers and entrepreneurs. The powerful impact of crowd funding can be seen first-hand with creative project fundraiser, to low income lenders, as these tools enable financing access across borders, regions and continents, creating a global brother keeper community. With crowd funding gaining policy momentum through the USA JOBS act, preparedness for African youth to take advantage of this funding landscape is essential, albeit with obstacles needed to be tackled.

These barriers include extremely low or completely non-existent credit ratings, low management capacities, unpreparedness for funding access, poor financial inclusion strategies, slow implementation in government policy as regards funding etc.

Solution orientation should drive the future of financing African SMEs in order for tangible, scalable long term benefits to be realised, requiring collaborative efforts that consists of a blossomed ecosystem that include financial service providers, businesses, institutions, governments, political leaders, consumers and the third sector. A viable structure such as this is the Harvard Research, Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) a credit screening and risk evaluation tool that helps issuers unlock capital for SMEs in partnership with Mastercard, improving their credit rating and providing over $200 million for the unbanked in developing markets. Also, the Nigerian government and Mastercard national identification card partnership is driving a prospective future of credible financing.

Private equity has been an effective financing method but largely remains foreign and seemingly far-reaching to most African businesses, as a result of the unawareness of its availability in growth markets. To effectively finance the future, an understanding of the economic and social benefits of private equity for SMEs is key, as it channels significant flows of international capital into Africa as such a regenerative awareness drive by SME service providers, governments and private equity firms are essential. SMEs can therefore position themselves to tap into private equity by standardising their businesses and strategizing these businesses to meet high growth demands by these firms as private equity firms are only likely to invest in high yield markets.

Solution Highlights;

  • Technology: The powerful impact of technology can be seen first-hand with crowd funding as it enables access to cash through a pool of funds. E.g creative project fundraiser, to low income lenders, as these tools enable finance access across borders, regions and continents, creating a global brother keeper community. Youth should create and be made aware of these channels.
  • Microfinance: African entrepreneurs should form and work within trust-communities in order to access funding. All African governments and financial services providers could engraft the scale-up of savings-led microfinance solutions as part of an overall strategy for tackling poverty.
  • Financial Inclusion: Sustainable financial inclusion programme offered via formal financial structures and partnerships could be enacted through cooperation with private and public stakeholders.
  • Policy Drives: African governments should make access to financial education, a primary focus of their work, targeting vulnerable demographies.
  • Management know-how should be improved through mandatory government or partner business development trainings for start-ups to enable them better prepare for finance opportunities.
  • Adopting Innovations such as Entrepreneurial Finance Lab psychometric testing would lower the demands on SMES to access needed business finance.
  • Financial institutions and regulators should welcome innovative approaches in community or demography based savings financial generation by supporting the development of products that boost ratings, help people save and earn at the same time.
  • Private Equity: SMEs can therefore position themselves to tap into private equity by standardising their businesses and strategizing these businesses to meet high growth demands by private equity firms as they are only likely to invest in high yield markets.


David Lanre Messan is an Idea Strategist, wrote in from Lagos

CSR-in-Action Makes History; Launches 3C Index – a ranking of Nigerian businesses along sustainability lines.


Host: CSR-in-Action (Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness and Advancement Initiative)

Venue: CVL, Victoria Island, Lagos

Date: Thursday, 24 April 2014

On Thursday the 24th of April 2014, CSR-in-Action (CiA) launched Nigeria’s first ever ranking of Nigerian businesses on Corporate Social Responsibility, using the MDGs and United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Principles as yardsticks.

The sophomore edition of The Collective Social Investment Report: Nigeria 2013 featured the nation’s first ever competitive index on corporate social responsibility, the CSR-in-Action Corporate Citizenship Index (3C-Index) on page 191. The event took place at CVL, Victoria Island, Lagos and was graced with notable persons such as Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, Chairperson of the event, Prof Juan Elegido, Vice Chancellor, Pan Atlantic University and Mr. Daniel Obi, Editor Marketing and Brands, Business Day Newspaper, amongst many others, who were present to witness history.

CSR-in-Action, a social enterprise devoted to the advancement of social ethics, social responsibility and corporate governance in Africa, in a bid to promote its focus areas and objectives, by assessing private sector companies’ approach to CSR implementation, introduced an interesting feature of its second publication: CSR-in-Action Corporate Citizenship Index (3C-Index).

The Report featured ranking, highlighted organisations’ commitment levels to promoting sustainable initiatives in Nigeria, and ranked a total number of 117 private sector companies, using six ranking pillars namely: Human Rights, Anti-corruption, Community Investment, Environment, Labour and Reporting. In the report, the ranking hierarchy was compared side by side with the Business World Newspaper Nigeria’s 2013 Business Ranking by Profit; to show business profit vis a vis their investment back into the society.

Ms. Bekeme Masade, Executive Director, CSR-in-Action, at the launch said that although a poor 10% of ranked organisations submitted requisite data, data was acquired through a myriad of professionally unbiased, primary and secondary research methods.

Furthermore, she said “The index was independently developed, tailored to suit the local milieu and its challenges, totally unbiased and the ranking criteria were well structured and thought-out, using a diverse team of stakeholders. Furthermore, sponsors of the 2013 report were unaware that they would be ranked, on purpose, in order to maintain the integrity of the results”.  She also re-iterated that summaries of all the 117 private sector organisations included in the report were free, and those organisations that were not included in the present edition were welcome to send their information for next year’s publication.

The launch of the report also brought about an engaging platform for stakeholders present to interact more on the issues surrounding the report; the need for improved cooperation of organisations in supplying relevant information to the research team and most especially, the need for companies to be held accountable by their stakeholders in respect to their implementation practices were seen as important areas of engagement during the event.

Elegido, playing the critical role of academia in reviewing the report reiterated the general message of the event which was that “visibility will encourage companies to improve social responsibility”. In preceding comments by the report reviewer, Phillip Isakpa, who was ably represented by Daniel Obi, endorsed the report as being viewed as a bible for CSR practitioners.

He further added that “all the contributors of the report approached the issue of CSR from different perspectives but arrived at the same conclusion which is the importance of CSR as a basis for corporate sustainability and economic development.” Other key players of the report also aired similar agreeable views towards the report; Olutobi Onajin, team lead of the research team, expressed continued gratitude to CiA for the opportunity to be part of the project team and gaining insightful knowledge and experience necessary to conduct subsequent unbiased and well thought out researches in the future. He said to the writer “CSR-in-Action’s vision is one everyone should embrace. I am very happy to have worked with such a young and dynamic group of socially-conscious change makers. I am truly humbled, motivated and hopeful”.

Overall and sector winners from the report were revealed and commended during the event. Access Bank came first in the ranking, with the highest overall score of 83.3 percent. The bank impressively outperformed Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Exxon Mobil, GTBank, and Procter and Gamble (P&G) who were the top five companies in the ranking in respective rder.

Financial supporters of the Collective Social Investment Report: Nigeria 2013 such as Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Pan Ocean Nigeria, Forte Oil, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC, and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) were visibly present at the launch event to express their continued support towards the collective mission of CSR-in-Action.

CSR-in-Action pledges to make this ranking an annual event and plans to engage more stakeholders in the data collection phase, in order to get a well-rounded ranking. When asked how the organisation would overcome the challenge of resource-generation for future reports, Ms Masade said “Our concern for the present is making sure that our impact is felt positively. When the time comes, I am positive that there are local and international organisations that will be willing to support our vision”.

————————————————————————————————————————————–The publication will be disseminated to a diversity of stakeholders across sectors both locally and internationally, including United Nations entities, embassies, state governments, fellow private sector practitioners, universities and lots more. Members of the public that are interested in viewing this publication can download a soft copy version at

Tips on Building Stronger Business Relationships


Building a firm and strong business relationship is very paramount for New Entrepreneurs to maintain in other to have a strong Personal Brand. As the old saying goes, ‘It is not what you know but who you know.’ This is very true with Entrepreneurs because relationships lead them to Potential Investors, Clients, Suppliers and future Clients.

The Big Companies like MTN know the effect of keeping and maintaining Business Relationships. These are reasons why you would see them pay so much to have PR/Advertising companies manage their brands for them.

For Business Startups these are tips that would help you maintain your personal brands and build strong Business Relationships.

Trust and Rapport: Keeping in touch with people who have been with you before you started your brand, old school colleagues, ex-co workers, acquaintances, friends. These are people who knew you and over the years trust has been built, whom if you keep the rapport with are the ones who can put in a word for your brand.

Starting a virtual assistant firm, the fear of who would be the first clients clouded my mind. Going through social networks that I had opened in time past for leisure, I was so surprised to see people that could be of benefit to the firm in whom I had lost contact with. The word game here is consistent contact check through calls, emails, social networks, and even an invite for an outing.

Because people tend to be busy, make sure you always have a reason to meet. If you don’t, you can still stay in touch remotely. Ask a quick question over email. People will feel complimented that you’re viewing them as an expert and will be happy to provide advice.

Being helpful to a contact who is trying to pave way into doing or starting something, or someone who needs an advice on something. Contacts that you have been helpful to would do all they can to put in a word for your brand because you have won their trust in the help you gave them.

Researches that you have done in time past or just a word of support that you extend to a contact who reaches out for your help would go a long way to build a strong relationship for your business.

Offer relevant and mutually beneficial introductions. Provide advice, expertise or feedback. Share information such as events, articles or research that may be helpful. Promote your contact’s work by sharing it with others.

Per the law of reciprocity, when you are helpful to others, people will feel more inclined to be helpful to you.

You need to build a strong online presence on social network sites like Linkedin, Twitter. Try and post something as regular as possible on any of your social networks and your blogs/websites. Clients get tired and easily forget brands that are not in their face as often as possible. If need be you can employ the services of an Internet Content Provider, who supplies you with contents to post and you can also post upcoming events your brand is planning.

Building Relationships is one of the strongest points of a succesful brand which can not be taken lightly especially for an upcoming brand.

Wishing you the very best as you try this tips in the New Year.

Temidayo Ijaola

Business Development Manager