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CBA Foundation Launches Social Enterprise Initiative To Take Underprivileged Widows To Next Level

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CBA FOUNDATION LAUNCHES SOCIAL ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE TO TAKE INTERVENTION AMONG UNDERPRIVILEGED WIDOWS TO NEXT LEVEL

CBA FOUNDATION LAUNCHES SOCIAL ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE TO TAKE INTERVENTION AMONG UNDERPRIVILEGED WIDOWS TO NEXT LEVEL

Olushola Okunlade Writes

If indications from two separate but related events that were held last December are anything to go by, then one of Nigeria’s most vulnerable groups may be on the verge of experiencing better times.

The events, hosted in two separate states/regions and separated by a 20-day interval, held at a time when self-splurging by many young Nigerians was at octane levels, and saw young men and women behind an NGO that caters to the welfare of underprivileged widows and their vulnerable children, passionately putting the widows’ needs above their wants.

The NGO, CBA Foundation, its dedicated and passionate staff, supporters, and donors came out in their numbers on two dedicated days in December to give widows in selected communities in Lagos and Anambra a treat during the festive season. The Lagos outreach benefitted, in a unique way, widows in six communities in Ibeju-Lekki, namely: Badore, Iberekodo, Museyo, Magbon Alade, Okunola Ilado, and Magbon Iga.

CBA Foundation seized the opportunity of the outreach to launch a new initiative it tagged Social Enterprise Initiative. The Initiative, which is aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of all efforts to protect and promote the welfare of widows as well as their children, is to cater to the financial, mental and physical health needs of beneficiaries. The Initiative is to provide comprehensive support, including health interventions, skill acquisition, business set-up, food and drinks, clothes and shoes, and general support for all affected widows.

The Founder/CEO of CBA Foundation, Mrs. Chinwe Bode-Akinwande explained the reason for the Foundation’s shift to the new Initiative: “We have been doing outreaches and it has been non-stop, but the essence of this Social Enterprise Initiative is for the widows to have something that will sustain them even for a longer period, something that will give them hope, knowing that they have a sustainable source of livelihood and activities that remind them that they need to keep going.”

Continuing, she reveals when the idea for the new initiative began: “When the lockdown came last year [2020], we realised that there was a need again to have something sustainable for these women. With the Social Enterprise Initiative, we identify the skills they need to possess, and what they are passionate about, we also empower them with the necessary training and then set them up with all they need for the business. At the end of the day, they won’t have to wait daily for the CBA Foundation to give them food or clothing.”

Mrs. Bode-Akinwande noted that the Initiative had been informed by a rigorous analysis of the data in their database, gathered over the years on widows whom they have reached out to and the support they have been receiving from both individual and corporate donors. She said that they had dimensioned all the critical issues from widows with critical needs, where the Foundation needed to begin its interventions, to widows who needed to be set up in business, and to several widows’ children who needed to be reinstated back in school.

She also remarked that plans were underway at the Foundation to take the skills acquisition training further, beginning with Adire-making (tie and dye). She announced that the Foundation would have a line of products that would be its Adire pattern, displaying its unique signature. When sold, a percentage of the profit would be ploughed back into the Foundation as a constant stream of income.

The idea, the Foundation CEO stressed, would inspire the widows who show a keen interest in Adire-making as they would be involved and exposed to its value chain which is essential to optimising their execution after their training. So, the Adire-making training followed with tutorials on the step-by-step processes involved in it, materials needed and how to identify them, necessary safety precautions, various tie and dye techniques, packaging and distribution, and how to make a living from Adire-making.

For widows with impaired vision at the event, they were able to have free consultations with an ophthalmologist, get free eye tests, and free reading glasses, courtesy of a partnership between FirstBank and Vision Spring. What followed when beneficiaries had the free reading glasses fitted and could see clearly were scenes similar to ones where people had experienced supernatural miracles. The ecstatic joy was palpable.

Take 59-year-old Hassanat Oyewunmi, for example. Tears of joy rolled freely from her eyes as she remarked that her farsightedness challenge had been addressed. She confessed excitedly that she felt “better, much better now with the glasses, and I can even see everyone clearly. It is good to know that we are not forgotten.”

Olabode Sadiat, 62, could not contain her joy as she wore her glasses and pointed in the distance while indicating that she could see everything in her line of sight. She had suffered from a blurry vision that made reading her Bible difficult. “Nothing is more painful than not being able to read your Bible,” she had noted following the medical intervention.

The widows also received food, drinks, clothing, and other materials that were distributed during the outreach. They were also given a final charge by Mrs. Bode-Akinwande in which she reminded them that they were not alone and could always count on the support of the CBA Foundation.

In all, 165 widows across the six communities of Ibeju-Lekki benefitted on 4th December 2021 when the Lagos outreach was held. The Anambra outreach, on the other hand, benefitted 75 widows from four communities in the Nnewi area of the state. The outreach in Anambra was held on 24th December 2021.

Food items and financial empowerment constituted the bulk of the support CBA Foundation gave the Anambra widows to celebrate the festive season. The Anambra initiative has enjoyed tremendous support from a donor who has been consistent over the past four years. The Founder of the Foundation expressed gratitude to the donor while remarking that the outreach was being embarked on “at this festive season, so the widows can at least have something to eat and share with their loved ones.”

CBA FOUNDATION LAUNCHES SOCIAL ENTERPRISE INITIATIVE TO TAKE INTERVENTION AMONG UNDERPRIVILEGED WIDOWS TO NEXT LEVEL

She continues: “We give hope to the hopeless. We are driven to support underprivileged widows to have a positive outlook on life despite the problems they experience by losing their loved one, mostly the breadwinner of the family.”

Both Lagos and Anambra outreaches were in some sense CBA Foundation’s way of giving underprivileged widows a “December to Remember” treat. Of course, that treatment would at best be modest compared to how people who were not in any known vulnerable categories took care of themselves and themselves alone. Even with the best of intentions, CBA Foundation could only work with donations received from donors and supporters at a time of the year when most (young) people were dedicating more resources to the self-splurging that December has come to represent.

While it may not be in one’s place to dictate to others how they should spend the money they have worked so hard to make, one cannot help but try to point them to ways they could better dispense their hard-earned cash that would be in their enlightened self-interest. Or what sense is there in spending on oneself so lavishly and ostentatiously as though spending was going to go out of fashion at any moment only to provoke the have-nots to make one the target of their misdirected anger in a society that is largely dysfunctional?

A similar question should be addressed to the government and public officials: What sense is there in expending huge public resources on projects that have no direct bearing on the welfare of vulnerable groups when it only widens the gap between the haves (including public officials) and have-nots and exacerbates the conditions that heighten security concerns among the haves? At what point will the government, public officials, and the privileged class start acting in their enlightened self-interest by committing genuine efforts to narrow the gap between those who have and those who can only wish?

It is high time public officials and the privileged began building strong coalitions and partnerships with groups and organisations that have been working to protect and support as well as advocate for the vulnerable for years now. They must begin to key into and support the organisations’ laudable initiatives that show great potential in helping to narrow the frightening gap.

CBA Foundation’s Social Enterprise Initiative represents one of such laudable initiatives. It is a well-thought-out initiative capable of transforming the existing arrangement for care and support of vulnerable groups such as underprivileged widows and their children and taking their welfare to the next level. The Government, individuals as well as corporate organisations must join hands with the Foundation if the Initiative is to have any chance of success.

Through its avowed commitment to “touching lives, giving hope…” not in mere words and empty promises but genuine and visible action on the ground (see ample examples captured on its website: www.cbafoundation.org), CBA Foundation has already demonstrated its readiness to do more with more support. It has shown that it is living true to its #CareIsAction DNA and can thus be trusted with more support. The Social Enterprise Initiative, therefore, enlists all to send an email at: cbafoundationng@gmail.com to partner with the Foundation in the drive to take the welfare of underprivileged widows to the next level where its long-term sustainability is guaranteed.

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PhotoNews: LCCI President Visits Association Of German Chambers Of Commerce And Industry (DIHK) In Berlin, Germany

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LCCI President Visits Association Of German Chambers Of Commerce And Industry (DIHK) In Berlin, Germany

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, CON, has paid a courtesy visit to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) in Berlin, Germany.

Asiwaju Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, CON met Mr. Heiko Schwiderowski, Director of the Africa section of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) during a courtesy visit to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) in Berlin, Germany on Thursday, September 28, 2022.

LCCI President Visits Association Of German Chambers Of Commerce And Industry (DIHK) In Berlin, Germany
President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, CON, and Mr. Heiko Schwiderowski, Director Africa Section of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) during a courtesy visit to the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) in Berlin, Germany on Thursday, September 28, 2022.
LCCI President Visits Association Of German Chambers Of Commerce And Industry (DIHK) In Berlin, Germany
President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, CON, and Mr. Edgar Zedler Head of Regional Affairs NUMOV/ German Near and Middle East Business Association during a visit to the Association office in Berlin, Germany on Thursday, September 28, 2022.

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The Impact Of E-commerce On Supply Chain

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The Impact Of E-commerce On Supply Chain

….as Jumia leads the fast and reliable digital market hub

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The rise of E-commerce and the digital marketplace has changed the composition of consumers buying behavior and expectations, as consumers now expect fast, free shopping and competitive pricing.

This demanding delivery schedule challenges traditional logistics and supply chain models, and companies are now forced to adjust their strategies to provide the low-cost and on-demand delivery service that consumers now demand.

Technological advances in many aspects of our lives have resulted in buying, selling, and other forms of transactions being executed online. Once the consumer makes an online purchase, the work begins to transport the products from the seller to the consumer – and that’s where the logistics sector comes into play.

Statista claims that the logistics sector is one of the pillars of global trade, valued at more than 5.7 trillion euros.

In Nigeria, the logistics and supply sector is growing exponentially. According to the 2018 Logistics & Supply Chain Industry Report, Nigeria’s logistics industry was worth 250 billion naira ($696 million) as of 2018, which represents an increase of 50 billion naira ($140 million) from 2017 statistics. This value has increased over the years. The industry is currently expanding because of improved aviation and rail infrastructure, stronger international relations, expansion in the manufacturing and export industries, and continuous e-commerce growth.

E-commerce and the Supply Chain Sector

The Impact of E-commerce on Supply Chain

The supply chain links numerous parties and organisations, including consumers, enterprises, merchants, financial, and information flows. To deliver high-quality services and products, managing various groups and activities requires a method that can effectively and efficiently integrate interactions among the entities, particularly when organisations use resources from different regions of the world.

The supply chain has grown more adaptable and effective as a result of e-commerce. It has given businesses fresh and creative ways to connect with consumers. E-commerce also has made it possible for companies to offer goods directly to consumers instead of through conventional retail channels.

The increase in e-commerce adoption has made logistics services a necessary component of daily living in Nigeria’s major commercial cities. Access, cycle time, dependability, and cost of logistics are directly impacted by the state of the available infrastructure and the degree of integration. High-performance government agencies, funding, and industry expertise are also essential. Therefore, logistics is a primary marker of economic advancement as represented in trade facilitation and company competitiveness.

How E-commerce is Revolutionising the Supply Chain Sector

The Impact Of E-commerce On Supply Chain

E-commerce has several advantages in the supply chain sector. Firstly, it offers real-time data on inventory levels and order status. This lowers the possibility of stockouts or overstocks by helping businesses to make better decisions about when to produce or order products.

Collaboration between businesses and their suppliers and consumers is also made simpler by e-commerce. For instance, a business can quickly place orders and submit estimates to suppliers. This lessens the amount of paperwork required and helps to speed up the ordering process.

A company like Jumia in the supply chain sector, through e-commerce, connects vendors with consumers across a broad delivery area. As a result, local vendors and international brands can effectively reach more consumers across the country using the platform. In addition, consumers’ shifting preferences, lifestyles, and behaviours have led companies like Jumia to introduce quick commerce to make online shopping more convenient than ever before.

With speed and convenience becoming more important than ever, Jumia opened its logistics services to third parties. Its logistics network smoothly connects hundreds of logistics partners across Nigeria, from small business owners to significant logistics service providers. It offers merchants the advantage of a distributed and scalable logistics service and gives consumers quick access to the products they desire.

What Does the Future Hold for Logistics?

The Impact Of E-commerce On Supply Chain

Technology remains a strategic imperative for supply chain organisations. In the next three to five years, we will see an increase in the adoption of digital supply chain technologies, including those that improve human decision-making.

It is predicted that the future of the supply chain sector will be defined by data, analysed by artificial intelligence, and driven by machines. Gartner has predicted that by 2023, AI techniques will be embedded across 50% of all supply chain technology solutions.

Already, Jumia Logistics is leading the forefront, as the company has invested in machine learning and several data science techniques. This has helped to offer more precise delivery times based on multiple factors, and even to predict the ideal routes that delivery agents can rely on to meet their targets. Consequently, online consumers will have better experiences on the mobile app with greater certainty about the progress of their orders from purchase to delivery.

Furthermore, the company’s move into drone delivery with its recently announced collaboration with Zipline, the world’s largest instant delivery service, is another game changer for the industry. Using the latest instant logistics technology, Jumia will be able to offer consumers living in rural or remote areas on-demand delivery of the products they need.

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Sanwo-Olu To Intending Investors; Lagos Ready For You

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SANWO-OLU TO WOULD-BE INVESTORS: LAGOS READY FOR YOU

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu played the quintessential salesman on Monday, reeling off his administration’s achievements in the past three years to woo investors to the state.

Mr. Sanwo-Olu met a group of would-be investors in New York on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at a roundtable organized by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) at Park Lane Hotel in the heart of the city. He got an exciting response from the group of corporate giants who urged him to see himself as an ambassador of the private sector to the Federal Government.

With confidence, the Governor spoke of the major strides Lagos State has made in the past three years, despite COVID-19. He used the THEMES Agenda – the six-pillar development plan of his administration – as a guide.

According to the Governor, the state’s GDP has gone up by $5b to about $145,141b, the budget has doubled to about %N1.7tr and infrastructural development has been tremendous. He cited landmark developments in transportation, the first pillar of THEMES, saying the Red Line and Blue Line rail projects were on track to be commissioned by the end of the year. The rolling stocks for the Red Line, which his administration started, he said, are on the way to Lagos and work is going on as scheduled on the stations and the overpasses that will ensure a good transportation experience. There are about four other lines to be built for the state to be covered by rail so as to ease the pressure on roads.

Mr. Sanwo-Olu minced no words on the purpose of the meeting – to attract more investors to Lagos, which has 80 per cent of Foreign Direct Investments coming into Nigeria. He spoke of opportunities in water transportation, saying from seven ferries, the state’s fleet has risen to 21, besides many others run by private operators. Investors can double the fleet, Sanwo-Olu said.

Many of the 15 jetties being built by the state are ready for commissioning, he added, stressing that the aim is to have an integrated urban transportation system, strengthened by strategic road infrastructures, such as the Lekki-Epe Expressway and the Fourth Mainland Bridge, which attracted many investors, among which one will be chosen before the end of the year.

The state, said the Governor, plans to build an Infectious Diseases Research Centre to tackle health challenges, such as COVID-19.

Over 1000 school projects have been completed and “we have introduced technology to make teaching and learning an exciting experience”.

“We are seeing the results. We used to have about 36% pass in School Certificate Examinations; now we have about 80%,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“We are opening brand new schools and introducing technology by giving teachers tablets to aid their job.”

He spoke about the 6,000 km fibre optic cable being laid around the state, saying the first phase of 3,000 km was almost completed. This, he said, will aid faster and cheaper internet connectivity, thereby boosting service in hospitals and schools, besides boosting the impressive activities of the youth in the tech ecosystem.

Mr. Sanwo-Olu described Lagos as the “entertainment capital of Africa”. He cited the recent Headies Awards in Atlanta and added that a Film Village was on the way. He mentioned opportunities in housing and assured would-be investors of “the sanctity of contracts”, with the state appointing new judges to aid smooth operations of the Judiciary.

On security, Mr. Sanwo-Olu described Lagos as “the safest state in Nigeria”. He said small businesses were being supported with grants, even as the youth and women are being encouraged.

It was, however, not all a matter of passing marks. The Governor spoke of challenges, such as refuse disposal, saying about 4000 metric tons were being generated daily. This, in his view, should attract investors, who are willing to turn waste into wealth – a path the state is willing to tread. There are also challenges in water, power, and other sectors, which are awaiting investors, Mr. Sanwo-Olu said.

The applause was loud as Mr. Sanwo-Olu ended his speech.

Replying, the Managing Director (Africa) of McLARTY Associates, Amb. (ret.) Terence P. McCulley, praised Mr. Sanwo-Olu for an insightful account of his administration’s policies and projects. He said many “people who have returned from Lagos have spoken of how they no longer recognize the state because of the developments taking place there. He is of the view that the Governor has done well “because good governance is about providing services.”

Amb. McCulley said: “You can be the ambassador of the private sector to the Federal Government, providing an enabling environment for manufacturing, agriculture, and technology, which are drivers of diversification.”

A participant spoke about the discovery of talents among Nigerian youths in the tech space. He said such talents were being lost to other countries because they could not be retained in Nigeria. Mr. Sanwo-Olu said the government was doing so much to link young graduates to companies that train them to make them employable under its Graduate Internship Programme, which has absorbed thousands of youths. There are other programs, he said, agreeing that a retention strategy for talents was necessary.

At the meeting were Stephen Jennings, founder and CEO of Rendeavour, the organisers, Country Head, Nigeria, Rendeavour, Eyong Ebai, CEO, Africa, GE Healthcare, Mr. Patrick Santillo, Senior Vice President, BCIU, Mr. Biodun Dabiri, Chairman, Lekki Worldwide Investment and many others.

With the Governor were Economic Planning and Budget Commissioner Sam Egube, Energy and Mineral Resources Commissioner Lere Odusote, Information and Strategy Commissioner Gbenga Omotoso, Special Adviser on SDG and Investments Mrs. Solape Hammond, Special Adviser on Public Private Partnership Ope George and Mrs. Ibilola Kasumu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology.

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