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Google Earmarks $6m for Female Startups, Entrepreneurs in Africa



Google on Monday said it has renewed its commitment to support startups in Africa with a combined six million dollars funding to startups founders and female entrepreneurs in Africa.

Nitin Gajra, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, said on Monday in statement that It was part of the ongoing plans to double down on supporting Black startup founders.

Gajra said that the programme, in collaboration with the Tony Elumelu foundation, would provide seed capital to 500 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and selected Francophone countries.

He said it would prepare them to navigate their businesses through the start-up and early growth phase.

According to Gajra, as part of Google’s global commitment to support underserved communities, three million dollars was earmarked for Startups Black Founders Fund Africa.

‘’This fund, which is part of the company’s radical equity commitments announced in June 2020, will provide cash awards and hands-on support to 50 Black-led startups in Africa.

‘’Unlike most startup investments, it does not require founders to give up any equity in exchange for funding.

‘’Google will be working with the Co-Creation Hub, a Google for Startups partner and leading tech community hub with presence in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, to distribute the funding to the selected companies across Africa.

“We are to help black founders grow their businesses, not just through access to capital but also through access to the best of Google’s resources.

“We are dedicated to building a world where all women can thrive.

“A data collected by the World Bank in 10 African countries revealed that male-owned enterprises have six times more capital than female owned enterprises.

‘’This huge capital gap is not stopping the rise of female entrepreneurs, but it slows them down and makes their journeys that much more challenging.

‘’We hope that the support to the Tony Elumelu Foundation will help accelerate the growth of women techmakers and entrepreneurs in Africa,” Gajria said.

Bosun Tijani, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Co-Creation Hub, said it was encouraging to see Google’s continued dedication to strengthening and elevating the startup ecosystem in Africa.

Tijani said that Google was one of the early believers in tech entrepreneurs on the continent and its support over the last 10 years reflects a thoughtful commitment.

He said that the programme was extremely timely and would not only empower founders across the continent but also deepen the pipeline and unlock follow-on funding from both local and foreign investors.

According to him, Google understands that the growth and success of one player in the startup space lays the path for others.

Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO at Tony Elumelu Foundation, said that as Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs, the grant support would provide financial and technical support for additional women-owned businesses and marginalised groups in the informal sector.

She said that there was no better time to invest in women’s economic participation on the continent than now.

According to her, through this support, women will drive growth for local economies and enable better living conditions for their communities.

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Public Affairs Experts Warn Incoming Government On Booby – Traps



CMC Connect Set To Host 3rd National Policy Dialogue

….Canvass Policy Directions To lift The Economy

Public Affairs experts and economists have warned the incoming government about policy loopholes that can derail the administration.

They identified critical areas that have presently put Nigeria in bad shape which should be of major concern to the Bola Tinubu Administration.

These pit holes include: Risk-unconscious over-dependence on hydrocarbons – oil accounted for 90.5% of merchandise trade in 2022; Poor policy coordination – Expansionary fiscal operations, driven by massive borrowings vis-à-vis contractionary monetary policy; Fiscal inefficiency and revenue leakages – recourse to borrowing (it is relatively easy) and doing so inefficiently (largely through CBN), largely funding recurrent expenditure; Counterproductive fiscal policies– Fiscal Policy Reform (FPR) weakening manufacturing activities and new investments; Misplaced priorities – Deepening brown economy and disregarding sub-national comparative advantage, and discourages productivity and weak social compact.

These were part of submissions at the 3rd National Policy Dialogue webinar organized by the Public Affairs Service of CMC Connect LLP, Perception Consulting, which took place on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

The Webinar themed ‘Setting a Fiscal Policy Agenda for The Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration’, aimed to foster a national discourse on the fiscal policy direction of the incoming government especially in the areas of regulations, taxation, excise duties, and other policies that are making the ecosystem unfriendly for business growth.

The keynote Speaker, a distinguished economist renowned for his expertise in fiscal policy, banking, finance, and public sector consulting, Dr. Abiodun Adedipe stated that “The fiscal inefficiency, revenue leakages, misplaced priorities, risk-unconscious over-dependence on hydrocarbons, poor policy coordination, and counterproductive fiscal policies are the major reasons Nigeria is in a bad shape. However, I believe this discourse will serve as a platform to tell the incoming government the need to engage the private sector deeply in formulating and reshaping economic policies that will make Nigeria and the productive sectors bounce back, thereby promoting a better Nigeria,” he said.

Furthermore, he said, “What we are selling to Tinubu`s administration is to set an agenda for ourselves, to be the top 10 economy in ten years’ time”. Dr. Adedipe eloquently elaborated on strategic directions for Bola Tinubu Government. He said, immediately, the incoming government should match non-oil revenue to recurrent spending, aggressively promote exports to the world market starting with African countries; strengthen domestic manufacturing, and interrogate the nexus between import and export tariffs.

Elaborating further, the policy expert and Chief Consultant at B. Adedipe Associates, recommended that the Tinubu government should ensure actionable, consistent, and coherent fiscal, trade, and monetary policies by promoting high-level actions on policy coordination and ownership, unified voice on policy pronouncement, setting the right tone at the top, revamp reform on Ease of Doing Business, evaluate policies based on deliverables. He espoused that the government must expand non-oil fiscal space, push for tax/GDP ratio of 15% and above, and align fiscal, monetary, and trade policies.

The dialogue had a panel of discussants drawn from different sectors of the economy. They include Mr. Tilewa Adebajo, Chief Executive Officer of CFG Advisory; Mr. Vivian Ikem, Corporate Affairs and Communications Director at Japan Tobacco International; Mrs. Sade Morgan, Corporate Affairs Director at Nigerian Breweries Plc, ably represented by Mr. Uzo Odenigbo, Head of Public, External and Government Affairs, Nigerian Breweries Plc.

In his own submission, the Corporate Affairs and Communications Director at Japan Tobacco International, JTI, Mr. Vivian Ikem, who was a panelist, spoke about issues on policy consistency, stating that inconsistency in government policies can affect the drive of foreign direct investments. He urged the incoming government to ensure consistency of policies. He emphasized that the incoming government should ensure tight control of the illicit market and stop adulterated products from grey markets from being dumped into the country. Nigeria, in its present state he said, is a difficult place to do business. The incoming government should endeavor to reform the current fiscal policy and the civil service.

Other panelists Uzo Odenigbo and Tilewa Adebajo both submitted that the economy under the Tinubu administration should be data driven. Data is key in comparative fiscal analysis with other markets and in policy formulations. Adebajo advised that the incoming government should be people-centric in its policy formulations. Oil subsidy, he stated should not be removed at once. It has to be a gradual removal while refineries are being brought to optimal performance.

The former Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, and presently the Board Chairman of Odua Group Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, advised the incoming president to be very altruistic in his appointments into key positions that are germane to the success or otherwise of his administration. The former banker wants Mr. Bola Tinubu to follow in the footsteps of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration, by appointing Nigerians with the capacity to run the economy irrespective of tribe, religion, and party affiliation. He emphasized that the incoming administration should also prioritize agricultural transformation being the largest employer of labour and contributor to the gross domestic product of the economy.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the moderator Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, founder and Lead Partner at CMC Connect LLP, stated that “to achieve optimal growth and broadly shared prosperity, monetary policy must compliment physical goals”. Badejo-Okusanya enumerated key areas of failure of the Buhari administration, bringing out baseline facts and data on macroeconomic indicators from where Nigeria was in 2015 and where the nation is presently.

In his closing remarks, Partner, and Head of Public Affairs Service at CMC Connect LLP, Adetola Odusote, assured that “In our quest to make business thrive, government thrive and our nation to thrive, we at CMC Connect LLP shall continue with our National Policy Dialogue Series, a convergent platform for public affairs experts to champion policy direction for the government.. We have had policy Dialogue on Education and we brought the then Hon Minister of State for Education Mr Chukwumenka Nwajiuba, while the Hon Minister for Communication and Digital Economy Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami was our guest speaker when we held policy dialogue on Digital Economy and Fintech industry”.

Odusote revealed that key insights and submissions gathered from the dialogue series will be made available to the incoming government. “Our objective is to contribute to shaping a more prosperous and sustainable economic landscape for Nigeria. Our specialised services cover, Stakeholders Engagement, Government Relations, Lobbying, Advocacy & Issues Management, Strategic Communication, Crisis Management, Policy Research and Analysis.

CMC Connect LLP is a strategic communications firm headquartered in Lagos, and liaison office in Abuja, Nigeria.. The firm offers Public Relations, Reputation Risk Management, Publicity and Media Management, Financial Communications, Capacity Building, and ancillary marketing services to several companies including telecommunication giant, Airtel Nigeria. CMC Connect LLP was also recently awarded the ‘Best Place to Work’ at the Lagos State PR Industry Awards.



Adetola Odusote

Partner, Public Affairs,

CMC Connect LLP,

Perception Consulting.

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CMC Connect Set To Host 3rd National Policy Dialogue



CMC Connect Set To Host 3rd National Policy Dialogue

….To Set Fiscal Policy Agenda for Tinubu Administration

Rashidat Okunlade Writes

The Management of CMC Connect LLP, one of Africa’s leading perception management and public affairs consulting firms, is set to host public and regulatory affairs practitioners in the private and public sectors to a national discourse in the area of fiscal policy direction for the incoming government.

The program is billed for Thursday May 11, 2023, via an online webinar platform between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon. Theme: “Setting a Fiscal Policy Agenda for the Bola Tinubu Administration”. Keynote Speaker is Dr. Abiodun Adedipe, a distinguished economist with expertise in fiscal policy, banking, finance, and public sector consulting. The program will be moderated by Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, founder and Lead Partner at CMC Connect LLP.

The dialogue will have a panel of discussants drawn from different sectors of the economy. They include Mr Tilewa Adebajo, Chief Executive Officer at The CFG Advisory; Mr Vivian Ikem, Corporate Affairs and Communications Director at Japan Tobacco International, among others.

The discourse is designed as a convergent platform for private sector players in public and Regulatory affairs to make case for their business interest on key issues around fiscal policies and regulatory challenges in Nigeria.

Speaking on the policy dialogue session, Adetola Odusote, Partner, Public Affairs at CMC Connect LLP, explained that “as Nigerians await the swearing of the President-Elect, many businesses are anticipating with bated breath, the direction of the new administration’s fiscal policy. The last eight years have been very challenging for most Nigerian businesses and the hope is that the new administration will institute significant pro-business policy reforms that will re-inflate the economy,

“CMC Connect’s 3rd National Policy Dialogue, a non-political, non-partisan, pro-business platform, will bring together key stakeholders with the objective of aggregating views and making very incisive recommendations on how best the next government can move the Nigerian economy forward”, Odusote stated.


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30 Host Community Youths Graduate Enjoy Dangote Electrical Training Empowerment Program



30 Host Community Youths Graduate Enjoy Dangote Electrical Training Empowerment Program

… Ibese Plant donates solar-powered Borehole


No fewer than 30 youths from communities around Ibese in Ogun State have graduated from a training program put together by Dangote Cement Plc, Ibese Plant as a way of transforming society and providing employment opportunities for the youths.


The empowerment program which afforded the youths the opportunity to be trained on domestic electrical installation, wiring, and maintenance is aimed at accelerating the social and economic development of host communities and is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.


In the same vein, the Cement plant commissioned a solar-powered Borehole in Abule Oke in Yewa North Local Government, Ogun State in fulfillment of its promises made to the communities during its Community Day celebration last December.


The youths were also presented with start-up tools for immediate commencement of their vocation after the training which was put in place by the Ibese Plant in partnership with Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

30 Host Community Youths Graduate Enjoy Dangote Electrical Training Empowerment Program

General Manager, Human Assets Managemnet/Admin, Alh. Abu Sufyan (left) exchanging pleasantries with the Baale of Abule Oke, Chief Ramon Akinsanya at the Commissioning and Handover ceremony of a Solar Powered Borehole donated by Dangote Cement to Abule Oke community to the admiration of HRM Oba Lukmon Kuoye, Olu of Imasayi (2nd left) and Plant Director, Dangote Cement Plant Ibese, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin (2ND right).

Addressing the beneficiaries at the closing ceremony of the program, the Dangote Cement, Ibese Plant Director, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin, described the empowerment initiative as a demonstration of the Company’s commitment to the continued socio-economic development of the host communities in line with the Community Development Agreement signed in 2022.


According to him, the Company’s social development strategy “does not support giving people fish to eat but focuses on teaching people how to fish saying the Company was being proactive by engaging the community members, especially the youths with so much energy and vigour.  “Rather we empower them to be self-sufficient and self-reliant”.


Mr. Azad reeled out past empowerment initiatives of the Plant aimed at reducing unemployment gaps in the local communities and ultimately improving the standard of living, which include training in catering and event management, tailoring and fashion design, and Acutherapy, from which 275 indigent youths have so far benefitted.


He commended the beneficiaries for their determination and zeal to learn new skills to better their lives and urged them to apply the technical and entrepreneurial knowledge garnered during the training in building sustainable businesses while committing to continued development of their skills and expertise in line with global trends.

30 Host Community Youths Graduate Enjoy Dangote Electrical Training Empowerment Program

Plant Director, Dangote Cement, Ibese, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin (2nd right) presenting starter packs to one of the beneficiaries while the GM, HAM/Admin, Alh. Abu Sufyan(right) and Deputy Area Manager, ITF, Ogun State, Mrs. Funmi Coker (left) watch.

The Deputy Area Manager, Industrial Training Fund Abeokuta Area Office, Mrs. Funmi Coker, commended Dangote Cement Plc Ibese Plant for devoting resources to develop the capacity of the Youths in relevant trade areas to make them useful for themselves and their immediate communities. She further appreciated the Company’s consistent collaboration to achieve the Nation’s training objectives, while charging other corporate bodies to follow suit.


Mr.Dayo Ogunyinka, the Vice Chairman of the Community Joint Consultative Committee also expressed delight for the Company’s annual empowerment initiative. He enjoined the beneficiaries to see the gesture as a life-changing opportunity with the capability to take them to the pinnacle of success and ensure that the starter packs received are used for the intended purpose.


One of the beneficiaries, Ms. Elegbede Ganiyat, from Iboro host community appreciated Dangote Cement for considering it worthy to invest in the development of the youths and described her experience during the training as enriching and everlasting. She assured that the beneficiaries have been well prepared to carve a niche for themselves in the electrical services market in their locality and beyond.


Meanwhile, the Cement Company has handed over a multi-million naira solar-powered borehole to the people of Abule-Oke, a host community at a ceremony witnessed by the Olu of Imasayi, Oba Lukman Kuoye; the Baale of Abule Oke, Chief Ramoni Akinsanya other community leaders, youths, women and other indigenes.


Speaking during the hand-over, the Plant Director, Mr. Azad Nawabuddin emphasized the essentiality of water to the survival of humans and advised the community to make good use of the borehole facility and put up a framework to ensure its security, maintenance, and sustenance as their equity contribution to the project.


The Olu of Imasayi commended the Management of Dangote Cement for “being the transformer illuminating the entire Yewaland’’ while acknowledging the commitment of the Company to improving the standard of living of people in its host communities. He charged the people of Abule Oke to ensure that the borehole facility is sustained such that coming generations can benefit from the project, as only the judicious use of the facility can encourage the Company to invest more in infrastructural developments in the community.


The people of Abule Oke were full of gratitude to the Company for the provision of the water facility, as expressed by the youth leader, Mr. Rafiu Akinola who declared that the intervention was timely and value-adding, especially considering the fact that it is powered by Solar thus saving the community of the cost of fueling and maintenance of the generator.

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